Monday, September 18, 2006

Don't Like Salty Culture

I was searching for my buddy Jason's Blog on Blogger. What I found was even better...

Ps. Just uploaded four 4 photo sets: Alice's Birthday / Bryan's Birthday and a Roof Top Party With Mexicans / A Hike Up GumoSan Mountain / Another Korean Wedding Bonus: Now visited links turn dark brown! How crazy is that!

For those with bad eyes::

"Hi,I am a Korean man,Jason. Are you interested in Korean man? I like russian girl specially because she is very intelligent and pure. I think that Russia is one of the best cultural nations which can not be compared with u.s.a. I don't like salty culture as like american culture.I believe the true traditional nation in this world is Russia. To talk about my character is a bit difficult for me, it is better to let other people do. All I can say about me is, I`m friendly, fair, honest and with sense of humour. But I`m sure you also will find some weak points.I am working in golf club. service manager. I hope to have a good relationships with you. Waiting for your reply witn my heart fluttered.Thnks."

Sunday Reading

I read a 140 page instruction manual last night. It wasn't one of those little pocket book kinds that you get with a new camera, those are the children's stories of the manual world. This was a full-on A4 sized novel with tedious, ambiguous and confusing instructions on how to use the latest Traktor Dj Studio software. It was a 5 star read, perfect for Sunday afternoon... a real cliff hanger. I managed to work through it all, performing each task as I learned it. What prompted me to spend my entire Sunday afternoon, almost 12 consecutive hours, with a manual?

I was at the local tavern, "Psycho", a few nights ago sharing some beers with my roommate, neighbor and girlfriend.  A Canadian-Korean teacher/rocker named Jason Jang told us he would be jamming with his band at the end of the month.  Just before he told me this, I had brought up the idea of getting some DJs (namely myself and room mate) with the bar staff. 

I've been wanting to DJ ever since arriving in Korea but have been to scared to switch from Dj-1800 (a very basic program) to Traktor (an unbelievably complex program).  Psycho bar was all over the idea of bring DJs in and Jang, the band member, said he'd put our names on the flyer!  I'm gonna have my FREAKING NAME ON A FLYER!!!   

The whole thing isn't actually as huge as I'm making it sound.  We're talking a crowd of about 30 if lucky... faces which are all familiar, and people who have had to learned to like anything Gumi has offer in the form of entertainment. You can't be too picky when there is only one club to choose from. Ahhh, it'll be intement.  Bryan and I are gonna funk-ify the dance floor before, between and after the band's sets.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Turn On The Radio

It Never Ends...

Alright, I'm back... Maybe this time to stay a little longer. I'm trying to convince myself it's not always necessary to post these epic long posts including photos, music, movies, links and all the rest. A few sentences can surely suffice.

The usual, methodical, indexed me would try to resume this blog where I left off more than a month ago. But not tonight. Instead, I'll share a little story from one of yesterdays classes.

There exists a switch class full of 14-15 year olds= middle school students... a class so unbelievably lifeless no description can do them justice. Fate would have it that I have to teach this comatosed class our most conversation oriented text. Fortunately, I only face this challenge once a week so I have plenty of time to prepare for an hour of dialogue with myself.

Something amazing happened yesterday though, I made a breakthrough! We're currently covering a unit about all movies. You know, "What kind's of movies do you like?", "I think romantic movies are boring" etc. I've tried to stimulate conversation every way humanly possible but it's difficult do discuss movies when students can't recall a single Korean movie title. I actually brought my computer into class, googled "Korean Movies" and went through each poster. I took a tally to see who had seen what. It turned out they'd seen all twenty movies on the page and this finding is definitely consistent with a student population that reports having eaten, slept, played video games and watched TV every weekend since my arrival one year ago.

The last time we did a partnered speaking activity I had to place Nike, Adidas (two of the more original names), K, L, M and B (these are really the names they chose...) into two rows facing each other just to get them to look at each other. I know these students are good people. I know each of them actually wants to speak but they're all too scared about what the other is thinking, they don't want to stand out. So even after I explained the simple task at hand fifteen different ways and resorted to using my hand as a puppet to illustrate a conversation they pretended not to understand... and I become even more determined complete my mission. Eventually, they got tired of standing, gave in, and quietly mumbled at each-other.

Well today I reminded this class I could organize them into two lines again if need be. Almost instantly they turned in their seats but no one had the courage to ask the first question, "Do you like dramas?". And right than I had an epiphany, I reached over to the cassette player and turned the radio on. I cranked the volume on the Korean talk show and said, "Don't worry, no one can hear you." And that's all it took... some noise, and they were chatting away. I sat and marked papers with my head down as not to make them nervous and they diligently interviewed their partners.

I'm not sure this technique will work every time... but even once is enough for me.