Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hapkido


"Hapkido aims to be an effective form of self-defense and employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and other strikes. Hapkido practitioners train to counter the techniques of other martial arts as well as common "unskilled" attacks. There are also a range of cold weapons including short stick, cane, rope, sword and staff which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.
Although hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, the purpose of most engagements is to get near for a close strike, lock, or throw. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength." -Thank you wikipedia.

SOOOOOoooo basically....a lot of my co workers take Hapkido. They all told me that the Kwan Jang Nim (the owner/operator) of the place wanted to have me come and watch them in their final practice for their exhibition. It was being held one day before their tounament. I arrived there and sat in the Kwon Jang Nim's office. I immediatly noticed the massive amounts of trophies on his wall. The next thing I noticed was all the pictures of him with different rich looking Korean people. In every picture he wasn't smiling, just looking dead ahead. I asked what they were and my co workers told me he use to be a body guard for Korean movie stars and comedians. Needless to say I was impressed. The guy walked into the office, standing about 5' 5" and pretty thick since Koreans are generally skinny. He definitely looked tough. Didn't speak any English really but it didn't matter, hopefully that will help my Korean. I was brought into the room where they practice and I sat down. They started doing their demonstration. They had 6 mins to show what they wanted to the judges. There were people jumping over other people doing back rolls and some other guys flipping off of their partners hands, this one girl was dis-arming another guy with a knife, they were dive rolling over a line of people ducking down. One of the assistant Kwon Jang Nim's dove over 14 people. It was rediculous. After that was done the Kwon Jang Nim showed me some different kicking techniques. There are only 9 levels of black belts for Hapkido, there are only about 10 people in the country that are that level. The man in front of me was a level 6. When he started to kick I could see why. He did a spinning back kick on a punching bag and basically almost knocked the thing off it's base. I could feel the impact and I was standing 5 feet away. If he kicked me in the face he would not only break my jaw but probably cause me to go blind and possibly shit my pants. The assistant was doing all kinds of double spinning kicks and a back flip kick which was all really awesome.

When it was over they brought me into the office again and asked if I liked it. Kwon Jang Nim wasn't there, but I told them I loved it and asked how much per month I had to pay. This was by far the best part. The answer was FREE! The Kwon Jang Nim wants me to come as often as possible...which will be mon-fri for an hour or two, and train with him and my co teachers all for 0,000 won. He is even giving me the get up too for no charge. I can not tell you how excited I am for this. My Mon-Fri schedule will be as follows.

School 8:30-4:40---->Hapkido 5-6--->gym 6:15-8:00---->Shower, dinner, sleep. Then do it all again.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. I know this one girl who is paying 80,000 won a month ($80) just to take classes and her Kwon Jang Nim isn't even half as bad ass as mine. When I get home i'lll be a jedi Hapkido master

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jim Jill BONG

This was all before chuesok I just didn't write about it until now.

I don't have a korean key board on my laptop but there is something in this country called a jim jill bong. That is exactly how you say it. Some of you might be familiar with these but only by word of mouth or internet research because we don't have them in the U.S.A. Another name for a jim jill bong would be a "public bath house." Yes, I went. My buddy scott took me. It was quite the experience. First you walk in and there is a room with a desk. You get a key for a shoe locker, then go into the next room and give the shoe key to another guy behind another desk. You give him 5,000 (or $5 bucks) and then money for anything else you want. EX: tooth brush and shampoo. You walk through an opaque glass door to reveal the "meat" of the operation. about 50 random korean guys buck naked walking around from sinks to toilets to lockers and everything in between. Now I have obviously never done this before but my friend scott has been here for 3 years and even though born in the u.s.a is a korean himself...So I followed him around the entire time. There is system to the jim jill bong for ultimate relaxation. First to the lockers to free yourself from the ties that bind. Then through another set of doors that reveal more naked men and an amazing number of jacuzzi looking pools right in front of you, stand up showers to your left and rows and rows of sit down showers to the right. First you are expected to take a shower with communal soap to rid you of your sweat and etc. Just like a pool back home. Then you put your stuff in a basket and leave it in a spot, in my case it was my tooth brush. After I followed my naked friend into the first of the many jacuzzi's. Different people do different orders of pools but I wasn't about to make up my own plan. It's like trying to create football plays and never even having watched a game before. Into the first tub. The hottest one of them all, I knew this because the temperature was there in celcius to tell us what temperature we were cooking in. Then to the next one, a little bit cooler in temp. After that we went into a tiled tub with about 5 chairs built into the tub's wall. These had strong jets in them. You sit down and the water comes up to your neck and you put your back against the jets. This one was just warm and VERY VERY wonderful. Scott and I sat there for about 10-15 mins talking about the previous night and who went where with who and how awesome the rock show was at that really cool bar around that really cool university. Time to exit the massage chair. Into the first of the sauna's...and of course the hottest one of them all. We stayed there for a little bit with a bunch of sweaty, and of course naked, asian dudes. Apparently it's o.k to most things in there so while i'm hanging out this random guy let the loudest fart I have ever heard go. I looked around to see if anyone was bothered by it but hey, it's a mans place. This was o.k, I was at home. After that we walked to an outside area. You had to see this it was so amazing. There was a typhoon in town for the last week so needless to say it was still rainy and foggy. There were two small tubs...but that wasn't the nice part. Over the chest high wall were two mountains covered in low lying fog. That combined with the rain and everything else was just breath taking. I looked around realized where I was and what the scenary was around me that thought escaped me. We sat down in the first of the tubs. It was not hot at all, very cool to the touch. It was dark water, scott informed me that it was water straight from a spring on the mountain that had salt put into it from a tank. Unfortunately we couldn't see the mountain from our sitting position. It would have been nice to have lower walls but then when the guys stood up out of the tub there would be people staring and taking pictures from across the way. I realized the need for the high walls. Two way glass would be nice...the kind they have at the police stations in the interigation rooms. Anyway, we sat in there and when we were done we went into the "salt room." It's exactly what it sounds like. A huge room with walls covered in salt and a big wooded bucket of salt in the middle. You rub the salt all over. I was saying something about how crazy the room was and then immediatly after asked if you were suppose to put it everywhere. Scott said "yeah" so I put the salt on my face. Right after that he said "no." Apparently he was saying yeah to what I said before my question..but told me it didn't matter really. So now I am standing there in a suit of salt on my way back into the first of the hot sauna. I figure it out immediatly why you shouldn't put it on your face. As soon as I started sweating again my eyes were burning from the salt dripping form my forhead into my eyes. My buddy scott started cracking up as I was saying OW! and so were the other asian guys. I told him to go fuck himself and I ran to one of the showers and washed my face off. I went back into the sauna a min. later and the old guys were still laughing and def. thinking "silly foreigner." I didn't mind, it was a cruel joke but still funny. After that room it was basically jacuzzi jumping for another 15 mins followed by another shower with this exfoliating wash cloth thing. It was a nice end to a previous night of drinking and a morning of relaxation. When we finished up we we back into the room with the lockers, redressed and drank a whole shit load of water from the cooler they had. Packed up and left. I have been looking for a Jim Jill bong around me for the last week. I am motivated to find one.

Been nice talking to me, peace!

Chuesok

For no reason at all this site decided to go back to being in Korean and I completely forgot how I changed it the first time. Thank god that I learned how to read the korean alphabet or else I wouldn't have been able to get to my dash board or make a new post. Dash board is actually spelled out in Korean and sounds like "dash-uh Bo-ard-uh. Kinda funny.

CHUESOK-
Chuesok is the Korean thanks giving and it did just that. I gave some thanks because I was off from work from after I finished class on friday to today (wed. the 26th). As I have been sitting here at my favorite bus stop right outside of my school (since I still don't have internet at my home) I have seen about 10 of my students and they have all crossed the street or stopped behind me to say hello and stare a little. I was originally planning on going to Japan but the ferries were all booked and I wasn't about to spend all that money on a plane ticket. So me and a couple of my friend decided to stay in this country and head down to Busan. It's south east of Daegu and on the shore line. THE BEACH! I have to tell you it was an amazing city. We were going to take a cab to a place about 5 minutes away from the famous beach there...Hyu-dae beach. On the way we passed the beach and when I looked out the window I saw hundreds of motel and hotel signs. I told my friends we should get out here and just find a motel. Turned out to be a good idea. We walked around for about 15 mins and found a place that was 40k a night...$40 bucks. B/t 4 people only 10k a night. Not bad at all. It was so nice to be able to go sit on the beach again. The water was really warm and I got to swim in the East Sea. The sand wasn't as soft as I imagined but it did it's job. We basically stayed around our area and met up with a couple of friends of ours from orientation that lived in Busan. I liked it so much I might request to stay there for my next year. I have pictures I'll put up at a later date.

I'm back home now and ready to go to work tomorrow after a nice long vacation. I have my Korean drivers license, which I don't think i'm giving back when I leave, so everything is comming together nicely. 2 things left to do...get internet in my apt and get insurance and a license plate for my bike. I am almost officially a Korean.

Monday, September 17, 2007

-ER

Today in class I was suppose to take pictures of me teaching the kids...no idiots, I know I can't take pictures of myself teaching...my co teacher took them. Anyway I have to maintain a page on the school's website that the kids would be able to ask questions in english to me and I would put a response up. I have to memorize the buttons to press because the site is in korean. But on the site they wanted me to put pictures up.
Tomorrow the school will be inspected by the ministry of education inspecter. I'll bet you 10,000 won that they take him to my class. It's o.k though because for this week my co-teacher and I have a kick ass lesson. I think my co-teacher isn't as nervous as the rest of the teachers because she has me...especially since she can blame it on me if something goes wrong. Nooo she wouldn't do that. Today's lesson was really funny however. Besides the kids completely getting into it one sentence in particular is laugh worthy. Lesson 9 part 3 is teaching them how to use the -ER ending...ie: he is taller than her, or I am faster then you. Towards the end of the class I always play a game with the students. Today I put them in pairs and gave them cards with sentences on it from the back of their book. All the sentences were normal but one was different. The kids had no idea why I was laughing and I don't even think my co-teacher knew... because after all of my 4 classes she asked me why I laughed at the one sentence. I told her I was just laughing for no reason. Now what was this sentence you ask???? Could it be the one that read "My pencil is bigger than yours!?!?!?!?!?" HAHAHAHAHA OF COURSE IT WAS

OH YEAH!
I got my motorcycle today. The guy was suppose to come to my apt. after 5pm....he called at 1030 and said i had to meet him down town and said he was there now. Of course that wouldn't work so my co teacher told him to come up here and drop it off at school. He did that but it was embarassing. Not that it was dropped off at school, but because I had to run down in b/t classes and take the stupid key from him. I was pissed, I don't think it made me look bad but that was my worry.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tony Chin Style






PIctures of my apartment and my desk at school. Read On



RESPECT:
First off, I know tony is reading this so yes buddy this one has to do with you. My parents always thinks it's so "cute" how Tony always bows when he says hello. They probably do realize it's his culture
(i know your not korean so shut up, same idea), but they don't actually picture it and know what it's like. EVERYONE in this country, be it a personal friend or a respected co-worker bows to each other. It's their ways of shaking hands. You do shake hands in this country but there are ways of doing it, just like pouring water...or soju for someone. To show respect you use two hands to shake. When you pour the said beverage you use one hand to pour and place one hand under your elbow to steady your pouring hand. When someone pours a drink for you it is customary to use two hands to hold your cup to recieve. The saying "when in Rome" applies here 100%. I refuse to be rude because that would only make my job harder. If you give respect you get respect, same all over the world for the most part. So yes everybody, I bow. What will be hilrious is when I get back home I will be so use to bowing I am almost positive by then it will be instinctual for me to bow.

CONCLUSION: Just as Tony Chin bows to my parents I will be bowing to other people as well. At least just until I break the habit. Or maybe I shouldn't break it because I might want to stay longer.



AGE: Intresting enough in America i'm 22 years old. In Korea I am 24. When you come out of the womb in Korea you are already 1 year old. Add the other 9 months while your in the oven and you get almost 2 years more.


I want to leave you today with a question.

If you spin an oriental man in a circle does he become disoriented??

Odd







So today's lesson was suppose to teach the kids how to say stuff like "that is mine" and ask "Who's sock is this." etc. The text book comes with a cd and has activities and videos on it. One of the videos was of three boys shirtless in a locker room after swimming. What they had on didn't look like bathinsuits, it looked like underwear. When it went on all the kids were giggling like even they knew there was something weird about that. NOTE TO WHOEVER MADE THIS: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!? Who puts 10 year old kids in a locker room in their underwear and films them for the specific purpose to show in elementary schools to other kids. What a sick fuck. Now that I got that out...

Today I finally met my last new class. Again they all cheered and yelled that I was handsome and they love me. Even the children I have seen for the last two weeks still follow me in the hall ways and want to shake my hand. This leads me to think WHEN WILL MY FAME FADE??? Not that I want it to but it's a question every famous person or rock star has to ask themselves at least once in their career...And believe you me, I am a rock star. I had a group of kids rush into my office with a pen and paper asking me to sign a piece of paper. My co-teacher told them no and that they could only come in to say hi and try to talk to me, they agreed. I took a picture of them (on the bottom left)....As soon as that happened one of the little kids whipped out the pen and paper and bum rushed me. He shoved the pen in my hand and kept saying "sign sign" my co-teacher kicked them out (as you can see in the top picture). I was laughing so hard. Oh yeah, by the way the lady in both pictures is my co-teacher. A really nice lady who helps me out with everything. My second mother except Korean....and not actually my mother. She took me to the bank to get a bank account, to the cell phone store for a cell phone...she makes calls for me to the bank and everywhere else that I need...she even takes me shopping for food and appliances. She has two kids so i'm a third one...only bigger and whiter and I talk funny.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm back in elementary school

Today we gave the kids a game to play just like every other day. It's an end of class thing. They had to cut something up and use them for a game. I look over and like three kids whip out box cutters. Huge blades. Anywhere in New York (and i'm pretty sure most other states) they would take those away and suspend the kids. It shocked me...why don't they just use sissors? What happens in a week or two if some kid gets mad at the other kid and stabs him with it during a game??? It's a horrible thought but they are just little kids. They wouldn't know any better. The most common thing a kid says after he does something like that is "I thought he would get right back up." I wouldn't allow it. I'm debating on if I should say something to my co-teacher...but again, who am I to intrude on their culture and rules.

On a happier note I love my 5th grade class. Today when I walked into the room they screamed so loud I literally jumped back. They still keep yelling out I love you and everything along those lines. They even yell it out in the middle of class while the Korean teacher is talking. This girl even gave me chocolates today (which were so fucking good). Some of the kids are so funny with what they say. Just like the previous blog about going "to the Jew." Today some of the kids were, instead of saying Lederman, were saying Ledermommy. I thought it was hilarious even though they were making fun of me. They meant no harm. I don't even think I have ever heard that one before. So much more original then anyone in the states.

Some of the kids in my class were actually crying today. Two in one class and on in the other. The one kid was crying cause I think another student hit him, but i'm so baffled as to why the other two were crying. I don't think that my co-teacher hit them. I didn't see her do that or hear anyone yelp. It was after an english test and possibly they were crying cause they didn't do well? One girl was actually balling. She was convulsing with sadness. I had NO idea what to do.

Another lighter note. The 4th graders (i don't have them in class) were following me today and every time I turned around they froze. And then continued to follow me into my office. It was so much fun. I kept hiding around corners and scaring them. Elementary school red light green light. I LOVE IT

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The American teaching teachers

So today started just like anyother day. It was a little hot, but again i'm not complaining. At least it isn't raining and it's not too humid. I had my first class of teachers today. All the teachers that want to come and learn about my culture and language are allowed to come to a class held two times a week, tuesday and thursday. All the english teachers are required to have these classes for the teachers if the school asks them to (side note: someone is blasting Korean rap right now as i'm sitting at the bus stop typing, it's silly, and another person just blatently ran a red light and almost hit a scooter. Yikes). I talked to my friend before hand that already had his teacher class and he said that there were about 3-4 teachers that showed up...There are 80 teachers in total in my school. 23 of them showed up! That is just over 25% of teachers that came to hear me speak and hopefully learn something from me. It actually was extremely flattering. I mean that is a huge chunk of the school that came to be taught. The teachers are not all english teachers so similar to my students they all have a different range of Englis ability. Unfortunatly some of them are really cute...but I have to remind myself "Poison Ivy." I can look BUT I BETTER NOT TOUCH! That could cause a problem...mixing business with pleasure. If any of you have any ideas for what you think I should teach them i'm open to suggestions. Leave a comment if you please. I'm about to pack up and go home so i'll catch ya'll later.

Students cracked me up

The students in each class vary in english capabilities. Some can't even read or pronounce words, some aren't that bad at english, some aren't that bad but try and speak anyway, and some can have a normal conversation. The idea is teach to the middle. It might be too hard for some and too easy for others but at least some will learn something...hopefully. today the students were playing a matching game. One of the sentences said "I went to the museam." The picture it pointed to was someone going to a zoo. I asked them "is this correct?" They answered correctly and said "no." I asked them what the correct sentence was. So some of them who actually knew what I was talking about and decided to answer yelled out very loud what they thought was the right way to say the sentence. Now remember, they don't have a Z sound in their language so what was suppose to be I went to the zoo today turned into "I went to the JEW today." I started cracking up on the spot. None of them realized what they said but i'm pretty sure my co teacher did because she was laughing too. I thought in my head, "guys, you have been going to the Jew for the last 2 weeks, get over it!"

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Gu

It's sunday and i'm on the internet??? Does that mean I actually got a connection??? NO! It means i'm sitting on the bench at the bus stop across from my school stealing another buildings internet. HAHAHAHAHA SUCKERS...anyway.

Since Daegu is one of the coolest places ever it only seemed fair for it to have a cool nickname. My friend dave happened to be calling it the Gu (goo). I think that is a good nickname if not a great one. It's fun to say and it rhymes with jew...So there is a Jew in the Gu...I'm in love. My friend came down from his northern provice...a town of 100,000 but his city only has about 2,500. He is from Canada so not a big town man, but he didn't want a small town life. He is basically in a tiny place. Now I live in a town called Chil gok. It's one of the smaller more spread out towns in Daegu. It's also about 30 mins by bus away from the downtown area. I can hit up the rapid bus and pay 1,300 won, or $1.30 and get to the main area for cheap. I'm very happy I found the bus and I don't have to pay $13 to take a taxi there. I def. have it better tha him. Down there is where it is happening so we took him there. There are a number of foreigner bars that all the english speaking teachers, guests, and asians who either want to practice english or love the white boys go. I'm usually drunk from going out to dinner before I even get to the bar which is a nice thing. The group here is great, all chill and down to have a good time. At any given time we have a choice of about 5 bars that we could go to and see people we know. There is also a number of clubs that are pretty cool. I have grown fond of one named FROG. I have met a couple of people there who are absolutely beautiful and love to dance. Probably the most important phrase I learned besides where is the bathroom is "will you dance with me." The girls are shy but after I bust a move or two they seem to be alright with it. The asian guys love to dance around me, it's great because I feel like i'm working. I have them waving their hands and trying to sing the words. I get a kick out of it. If it isn't a club night there are hooka bars and of course my personal favorite the karaoke club. Karaoke places are not like in america where you sing in front of the whole bar. You rent a room (usually only a couple dollars and hour) and you sing with your friends. It's great.

So back to my buddy...He went home with someone else that night...we tried to call Ty but his cell phone was lost (which we didn't know) so no go with that. So Dave and I are talking about how we might meet back up with Tyler and how he didn't pick up when we called...all of a sudden at 12:30 in the afternoon we hear a loud knock at the door. It opens and In comes Tyler. Hair all greasy and obviously please to finally be back in the right place. We later find out that he woke up next to a different person than he went home with, with a condom still on his willy. Escaped that place at 9am and had a 3 1/2 hour adventure trying to find an apartment that he was only at once, in a town he was only in once. I have NO idea how he made it back but when he came back in it was the funniest thing I have ever seen. I was laughing for a good couple of hours. As for the cell phone...we called it later and it turns out it was at a police station. We were in a different town and went to a different police station to maybe try and find out where the correct one was. They actually gave it to a cab driver and had the cab bring it over to the station that we were at. I was impressed with the service all for a stupid Canadians cell phone. BASICALLY: GOOD WEEKEND IN THE GU!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

THE START OF SCHOOL AND A NEW APT.

Alrightttt peoples what's good? It is wed. the 5th. I have been teaching for 3 days now. When I walk around school I feel famous. All the students want to say hello and shake my hand, the little ones that don't even know how to say hello just stare. But they stare from about 2 feet away and when I try to get them to say hello they just continue to stare. It's funny but kinda awkward. Even right now, after lunch, I am sitting in my office and they come in just to peek and say hello...then when i talk back they run away. It is a good booster for my spirit especially on this rainy day. All the teachers I work with are really nice, they guys and principle keep telling me all the girls who are single. Even the female teachers say hello and then snicker and run away. The school is a pretty decent looking school, 360 degree rotating fans on every ceiling (no a.c), and a t.v in every room...even the food is good. Everyone was impressed that I can eat with chopsticks. Especially the Korean ones because they are metal slippery and flat. What can I say, I got skills. I have basically just been doing listen and repeat excercises with the kids I teach mostly 6th grade classes but today I had my first 5th grade class. They were very excited to have a native teacher (me). I teach 20 classes a week and have 3 lesson plans to perform. Not always, but not more than twice a week, I have to teach an after school program for the kids who want to learn more english or I sit down with the teachers and they ask questions about what they want to know how to say. Yesterday after lunch I sat down with my guide (the lady who is helps me with my shopping and my immigration cards) and one of my two co teachers and just bull shit for an hour or two. They are very nice and funny too. Their english is good so I can communicate o.k as long as I speak slow. Everyone here drinks hot tea and coffee even in the 1,000 degree heat and rediculous humidity. I can't bring myself to drink that at this temp. I just drink cold water, they think i'm crazy. haha. As for my apt. I like living alone but it can get a little lonley since ya'll know i'm a people person. Today though i'm meeting some friends from orientation down town to get some dinner and drinks. It's nice to have people to chill with. Last sat night was crazy. Lots of Soju and beer. It's not as easy as I thought to get me some Korean chicks but that won't stop me from trying. I will try to set up a "language exchange." WORD, I like how that sounds.

The city of Daegu is mostly spread out but the down town area is busy and packed. It kind reminds me of a mini NYC...I say mini because the buildings are only about 3 or 4 stories high. Everyone is fucking beautiful which is nice. I'm waiting for international hug day:) It isn't an unusual sight to see two men walking arm in arm or hand in hand. Homosexuality isn't viewed the same down here. It is perfectly o.k for two straight men to walk down the street like that and it wouldn't turn any heads. Don't worry, I won't try to hold any of your hands when I get home. So basically every day I am done with class no later than 2pm and I sit in my office until someone tells me to do something. Tomorrow I am suppose to teach only 5th graders but they all are going on a field trip so I lucked out. My 5th grade co teacher's english isn't very good so she was really nervous about today...I had to get my other co-teacher to translate what she wanted me to do. We actually did well, the kids had fun and she did well. It's cute how they try so hard to communicate. All the teachers want to practice their english. I want to practice my Korean so it's o.k. I started to try and learn how to read Korean. I know the vowels already and their symbols. With a piece of paper with the other symbols on it I can read words...I just don't know what they mean.

All in all i'm having a good time, I just can't wait to be able to communicate back with those that don't speak english...like the restaurant owners. I can say beef, chicken, and rice...so I usually get one of those. I just have to make two thing clear...1) NO SANG SUNG (fish), 2) I'm a sun seng nim (a teacher)...people always think I am u.s.a military. They are trouble makers here, so much so they all have a 1am curfew. HAHA SUCKERS. I'll post more when I have more to say. BE GOOD YALL