Friday, July 31, 2009

Practicin' mah Hangul

Hey ya'll, I'm just chillin and glad to be home! Not a whole lot has been goin on, just hanging with my friends who I've missed dearly for a month! Other than the usual, I bought a Korean vocab book trying to actually make an effort and learn some Korean before the Koreans get here. I really do want to keep to my comitments, and not just make lipservice promises to others or myself. That means learn Korean, and travel to all those places the UIP students were from!

So I was Facebook stalking (what, I'm reeeally bored) and saw on someone from High School's bumperstickers they had...And I was curious what it meant! With my primitive Korean skills, I was able to read "N(?)-(?)m-ma." With a lil' help from my new Korean book, i was able to decipher it into "Noh-ohm-ma." Which, with a little help from the online Korean keyboard website linked to here, I was able to plug into Babel Fish translator and find out it means "Your Mom." Haha, I can insult in Korean now! YES!

On top of that, the online korean keyboard website is working -- I had ALOT of trouble with it in Korea (ironically.) So I'm just going to randomly throw a bunch a junk on here!

앤드류 - "Andrew" (technically Endiryu - the closest thing.)
메그 - "Mike" (as I promised him on Facebook, technically May-ku)
게라 - "Kayla" (no errors.)
데냘 - "Danielle" (Day-NyaL, I like this better than the one I used on Facebook.)
발발라 - "Barbara" (Bar-bar-ra)

바락 오바마 - "Barack Obama"
힐러리 클린턴 - "Hillary Clinton"
규 헌 - "Kyuhun"
김 지훈 - "Kim Ji-Hoon" (My Korean name, ala Kyuhun.)
해운대 - "Haeundae" (Like the Beach, and the movie.)

Korean Words of the Day:
Table: "Tak-jah" ( 탁자 )
Chair: "Oo-jah" ( 의자 )

Remarkable Cultural Observation: Haha, oh the wonders of the internet.
"kkk" in Korean does not mean the Ku Klux Klan (an organization that does not exist there.) Rather, it is they're version of "lol" (or more closely HaHaHa) cause in Korean its kakaka. So Koreans posting on facebook pictures may post "kkkkkkk" it means they're laughing, not agreeing with anything.

And as for one more Korean language phenomenon, Wikipedia says that there was no Korean word for the time of month a woman is menstrating. So introducted English words were "Konglish"-ized and now May-jik-tah-eem (or "Magic Time") means it, based off of "Magic" brand feminine products. So a Korean learning English may refer to "Magic Time" to you and expect you to know what it means.

Quote of the Day: While I was playing Amanda's new "MyJapanese Coach" game for DS, I had to speak to it as it said something...
"Mokuyobi (Wednesday)"
"Mokuyobi" (in Italian accent, like it sounded.)
"Hey it's me, Mario!" - Amanda
"Hey, It's me, Mokuyobi!" *we crack up*


Song of the Day: "Sorry, Sorry" by Super Junior (Korean song.) The Korean students kareoke'd this a couple times, enough that I recognize it. Haha, I realized the other day it was on the CD of songs I asked Amanda to make for me that are popular in SoKo.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grande Finale/Song of the...


(Comment, from the future!!!) Haha, I put this off waaay too long and don't remember what I was going to write. But I had the songs so I'll just leave those.

Song of the Day: I don't know it's Korean name, but it's some happy birthday-y kind of song that all the Korean students sang *at* Sean earlier, it roughly translates into "he who doesn't sing, doesn't find a woman." He then sang a song in front of everyone at the wedding place!!! It was awesome! Khaled also sang a song in Moroccan in front of everyone at the wedding place, which recieved great applause! Excellent job to both for singing on a stage like that!!! At a podium no less.

Song of the Month: (Not of the day, so as to avoid repeats.) And the song of the month is.... anyone in UIP guessed it, "NOBODY" by the "WONDER GIRLS!" This was the unofficial (if not downright Official) theme song for the UIP program! A hit (a year ago) in South Korea, we're gonna do what we can to drag it over to the U.S.! After I lent my copy around to people to rip onto their labtops, and James bought a single of his own. Anyway, at the final goodbye Graduation ceremony there was a 15 minute video of all the pictures the photographer had taken from the trip. And as the video began, a grin crossed my face as the first song immediatly came to mind! HAHAHA, even the staff recognized this song as the UIP song -- I love it! It's so hard not to clap to it n.n and afterall, as Alan put it: "This song is perfect for UIP, cause I don't want nobody but you guys!" Later at the dance club, and even later-er at Kareoke you know we all had to play this song like 3 or 4 time -- lol. (Lyrics, English Music Video)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Foreign Policy

:( the programs almost over! Today was our last day of class, tomorrow is the final and going away party. I've made great friends from around the world here, and I hope sincerely we stay in touch after the program is over!

Those are the flags of all the countries represented in the program. It's been a blast, and the friends I've made are excellent people I hope to stay in touch with and contact and even visit in the future!

So, the morning class was ~boring~ as always. The afternoon class was awesome! "Prepare for a debate on North Korea." I studied up some, but not as much as I should have. None the less, the time came and we went to Ulsan City Hall, and met with the Vice-Mayor (a post we don't have in most American cities.) He did his schpeal, showed us a promotional video of Ulsan, and then it was off to the City Council chambers. In there, we had a mock-debate sort of. We all randomly selected Dion as speaker, who went up to the big shiney podium. Then when it came time for the first person to go up and speak "their opinion on North Korea" I tried to get James to go, cause he and Mariel have such strong educated stances on the issue. Dion seeing this, announced "I see Andrew's hand up..."Ahhh, my first stance came off a little strong - suggesting a trade embargo against N. Korea, which isn't necessarily the extent of what I believe, but its a hard topic. I ended up probably being the person that went up there most, if not I was def in the top 3. My first couple attempts weren't very organized, but my last speech I think carried alot of wait and I was complimented and thanked for it later for the "logical back-me-up". I noted the Mutually-Assured Destruction policy, and the necessity of "police" nations to be allowed nuclear weapons to keep the crazy-rogues from taking over the world. I did very well actually, and even name-dropped Hillary Clinton (haha, which a friend noted "had to throw in Hillary didn't you...") though I did accidently call Canada a nuclear power (when it's not) I don't remember doing it in the logical argument in my head, so I think I just mispoke and meant to say Russia.

Continuing the tradition of posting the pictures I don't want on facebook, on here, here are the bad pictures taken of me speaking in the Ulsan City Council chambers. The top one you can see my roommate Kyu-hun in the background. Flattering, I know.
And one last bit of interesting news: Hillary is getting into a war of words with North Korea! She recently compared their behavior to being rambunctious children trying to get attention. They in turn refered to her as a "funny lady" who is "not at all intelligent." arr@north koreans. I was originally going to get into this more, but I'm not as enthusiastic about it as I was the other day.

Picture of the Day: Haha, this made me smirk, MSNBC News. Got from "All Things Hillary."
Quote of the Day: Haha, random thing I found on the internet. It's an article in The New York Times saying how the conventions were the most watched ever, and actually got the same ratings as a TV hit show. The interviewed mention why they think this is true, saying how it's got all the aspects of a real compelling TV show (the election season, that is.)

(re: Lieberman's switch to supporting McCain) “That would be what we call the end-of-the-season arc reveal,” said Rachel Kaplan, the head of scripted television at BermanBraun Productions. “The person you were following was really working on the other side,” she continued, adding, “It’s great television.”

...“this character showed up out of nowhere. Whether you’re left, right or middle, you want to know, Who is this mystery woman from Alaska?” Haha, a character the fans loved to hate...

“The only thing that’s scary in the end is the outcome is going to affect life as we know it on this planet.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Kids on the Block

Blah. So, a dozen Michigan State Univ engineers have been randomly merged into our program for the last week. And they're Annoying. As a Canadian friend I've made put it, they're the stereotypical Americans we were all glad had not been present on this trip. They are not here for the culture, they are here for internships they're getting paid for - which wasn't even work according to them, basically they took tours of the Hyundai plants for 3 weeks, and did nothing to learn about Korean culture.

The other night a bunch of us were at WaBar (Waba is Korean for Western, so its a "Western Bar" where you can get beers from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania.) And a group that decided to try putting up with them for a party night walked by and they went up to the Kareoke bar on the second floor of the building across from WaBar (me and Dion's favorite place to frequent.) One of the Canadian girls came up to us, and we were like:
"Oh my god..." - Her
"The Michigonians?" - Me
"Do you mean the 'Ameri-Can's? Because they "Can." And we're from "Can't-ada."
"On behalf of the United States of America, I appologize..."

(Behind the bar at Wabar. I've never actually sat at the bar, but the bottles look cool.)
And today we did Taekwondo which was alot of fun, but they were annoying and stayed in they're little corner. Adding people at this point is counter productive because we've all settled nicely into our cliques and friend circles, while being in a small basic group (the program) we are all friends on some level at least. We've tried to be nice to them, but for the most part they're dicks so we're good keeping our distance. In the locker room after VERY SWEATY Taekwondo, they talked so loudly and obnoxiously and arrogantly, and I did not hear a single word of Korean (meaning the Koreans are probably quiet in they're locker rooms. a fact the Michiganites did not pick up on at all as they complained about how Korea's not as good as America.) And just now, I passed a perfect example of the way they are avoiding interacting or learning from Korean culture.
(Drinkin with the Prof., as well as Jin, Mi-Yeong, and So-Yeong.)

Whereas most of us have frowned at even the suggestion of going to KFC or Burger King, "places we can get back home" - we have almost exclusivly tried to eat Korean foods to get the full experience. The Michiganders are in the lounge, eating Oreos and potato chips with Pepsi. Watching American shows (some cop, crime drama show.) The rest of us have watched Korean programing almost exclusivly since we got here, again, taking in the culture.

Haha, oh, and earlier the biggest arrogantist one came into the lounge (while we were watching a Korean drama eating Korean food ironically enough) in his underwear and asked where the dryer is. There are no dryers in Korea, they hang-dry they're clothes. But the arrogant Americans put all they're clothes in the washer, down to a pair of underwear. Now that's just dumb. On top of that, all the clothes drying racks have been in heavy demand since the group number increased from fifty-something to almost 70. UGH, Michiganders.

Interesting fact of the day: Michigan-folk, they're demonym (or 'name') is Michiganian or Michigander. Most of us in the program did not know this (until I wiki'ed it) so we basically have been coming up with a new demonym every time we mention them, including but not limited to: Michigese, Michigonian, Michiganite, Mich-lish (pronounced mish-lish, like English), Michgaanians, Michiganian, Michiginian (ie: Mish-ih-gan-ee-ins, Mish-ih-gane-ee-in, Mish-ih-ginn-ee-in.)

Song of the Day: The "Hello Song" from The Animaniacs, cause we were (on the bus the other day) trying to say Hello in as many languages as we could and this song helped up my score a bunch. It's actually the source of my first Korean word - Anyeong haseyo (Hello!). The youtube video appears to be missing unfortunatly tho. So you'll have to live with Lyrics.

Quote of the Day: (The first in a while, I think, to not come from something someone IRL's said around me personally.) So I was googling/wiki-ing in that way I often do, and found this poem on the wikipedia article for the fact that no word rhymes with Orange:
"In Sparkill buried lies that man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H.H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the long-sought rhyme for "orange."
Remarkable cultural observations: Haha, had dinner at my favorite Korean restaurant today with friends from the program, and one of their Korean friends not from the program who just came home to Korea from a year studying abroad in Canada. He was astonished at alot of things we did! He was literally shocked, jaw on the floor to see us eating with chopsticks. He was amazed at the tiny amount of Korean we knew, and the Korean facts we could say about culture even. It was entertaining, as Dion put it "Makes ya feel like you actually learned something don't it..."

Also the game "Panchigi" (which could double as Korean word of the day I suppose.) It's a game, where in you put 3 coins on a book on a desk. You then use yer palm to hit the book trying to flip all three coins to the heads side (without hitting them). After one shot, the other person (or more) goes, so you don't want to just flip two and make it easier for the other person I guess. I think I've seen this before, but it's a Korean invention - popular in middle school. Oh, if you win you keep all the coins, lol. Haha, the koreans were then astonished that I was able to find the rules online, "INTERNET IS AMAZING!" I then continued to astonish them with Google Earth of where their house is going to be in Ohio. Unfortunatly streetview had not been there yet.

(Van De Camp demonstrating Panchigi, enjoying some ice cream)

Other cultural note: the Ladder game (not the leather or letter game.) Haha, when the Korean guys say "want to play the ladder game" they aren't used to saying a hard-A (such as in Laughter, Andrew, Can, Ladder, etc...) so it sounds like they're saying the leather game and us westerners kinda smirk. But you draw the number of lines of people playing (ie: 3) and you have someone write at the bottom of one line "Lose." You assign a vertical line to each person, and you then each get to draw 5 lines between the three vertical lines (without crossing over any line.) The drawer then follows the lines made from the top of yours to the bottom, and if it hits the lose you lose.

In our case, me, Van de Kamp and Kyuhun played for ice cream. In Korean cultural, when guys play this game (for ice cream, apparently a popular reason to play) one person wins, one person pays for all three, and the other goes and gets it. I had to go and get the ice cream, and Kyuhun suffice it to say "Lost." Just another interesting aspect of the communal nature of Koreans. But man I can't wait til these guys come to Akron, they're awesome!

P.S. Today was a world-famous eclipse in South-East Asia, the longest one in the 21st century and I saw it! btw, I am now a superhero.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Haeundae

During the previews for Harry Potter, me and James saw one (among many) that actually looked Good. Called "Haeundae" (named after their most popular beach, in Busan.) It's a disaster flick with a huge tidal wave, and it comes out this week (7/23/09) but no where in Korea will have subtitles for it :( I may just see it anyway. Coincidentally, the next day I went with some others to Busan and Haeundae beach.

Katy Kameo (time index 4:27)
So, before I left for Korea, my favorite song was "I Gotta Feeling." (At present, it still is.) But I only ever heard the song on the radio twice, because I found it elsewhere on the "Boom Boom Pow" CD. Low and behold, I'm finding it's risin to #1 on the World Charts! (WOOHOO!) I found a song before it was popular, GO ME! This is like the first time this ever happened to me :D and unlike the whole indy-rock band thing with 3Oh!3, my hope was my song would become popular. And to make this song all the more awesome, Wikipedia (and other sources) say Katy Perry (second favorite artist at the moment) makes a cameo appearance in the music video for I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas. When I get back, I'm so listening to this song twice as much.

Also this Korean CD I bought and will be bringing home, the single for Wonder Girls' "Nobody But You." Haha, lets see if that becomes as popular in the US as it did in our group thanks to kareoke.

Back on topic, yeah, hung out with Jin and Van de Kamp for most of the weekend, also Kati and Danielle. The girls went to the club, but us guys weren't up to the whole dance scene so we went and got food at a bar (mm, chicken wings!) and talked about our cultural differences and women (MWahahaha! in hindsight that just sounds weird.)

Song of the Day: HAHAHAHA, It didn't have a name, but whatever random porno-music Van de Camp had on his CD's. When he first put the first CD on in his car while the bunch of us were driving, me, kati and Danielle went maybe ten seconds before cracking up out loud. His response was that "this was his kind of music" which did not surprise us at all, lol, playa...

His "western music" CD had such songs as Survivor (Destiny's Child), Get the Party Started (Pink), Candy Shop (50 Cent), and Jenny From the Block (J-Lo). HAHahaha, oh man Van de Camp cracks me up.

Remarkable language barrier: Things the girls explained to the Korean boys over the course of the weekend: Lingerie, birth control pills, the term "naked." Also when Kati gave her number to guys (or more accurately, Van de Kamp's number...) she had to explain to Van to tell them they had the wrong number if they called.

Quotes of the Day: "I'm best driver. Don't worry." - Van de Camp (right after every driving scare, ie: not going at green lights, bad turns, several close-to-fender benders, lol...) also "It's my first time." to other things, that cracked us up, lol.

"You are very blessed to have been born in the United States." - Van de Camp. I'm not quite sure why he said this, but I agreed with him. I love America, and look forward to going back. But I replied that Korea is awesome, and he clearly loves it very much, and surely he considers it a blessing he was born in Korea.

Remarkable observations: High schoolers in Korea and the US do the same boring things in their free time apparently, lol. I tried to get out of them what they did when they just went to hang in their free time, and it seemed to be the exact same stuff we did back home. Koreans, to get the good jobs, need to score high on the TOEFL (Toe-ful) or "Test of English as a Foreign Language." As such, Van de Kamp's book shelf was filled with biochemistry reeeally advanced books and TOEFL practice books.

When I asked them what westerners have done that clashed with their culture, they mentioned that in Korea you don't: french kiss in public, dance provocatively (as the American's did at the club, tsk tsk tsk. "Sex dance" I believe he called it), and um... oh, yeah, your not supposed to drink alcohol from the bottle ever. Always cups.

Random remarkable observation, the two Canadian guys and me's names (+ middle) create a chain. "Dion Andrew..." "Andrew James..." "James Brian..." [On that note, our middle names are all on our name tags. The Koreans keep trying to call us First and Middle, but we're trying to convince them we don't use our middle names except on paper.]

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Harry Potter VI: This Time, It's Personal..."

rofl. That is my quote of the day. I'll explain later. (Wow, Ron looks pi$$ed.)

UGH, Harry Potter 6 sucked dragonballz. (haha, note the pun...) It was like 3 hours long and NOTHING HAPPENED. I almost fell asleep, most of the people I went with did. I am a fan of the HP series and I thought it was horrible. There was almost action at like 2 points, but then there wasn't. The climax was dull and predictable. Very disapointing. On the brightside, the lead up was more interesting.

Me, Danielle, Sarah, (no, not the ones your thinking of) 'Puma', James and Jin-sik took the bus down town to the Lotte-mart Cinema. (Puma being his western name, haha, when Koreans pick western names it cracks me up. See Also: Van De Kamp.) We first got food at a *gulp* dog restaurant :( yes, its true, dog meat is a Korean delicacy. But modern people almost never eat it, its more of an older people thing. Danielle, Sarah, Puma and James agreed to try some, me and Jin-sik chickened out (haha, another pun!) and got Chicken Soup (which consisted of an ENTIRE chicken in a bowl of still-bubbling boiling soup!)

All was good til the food came out. They didn't think the dog meat was that bad (and for the record, its not like they're eating golden retrievers or chihuahua's. There is a special breed of dog they eat that is not pet-becomable. Like the first wild dogs or wolves.) Regardless, this didn't stop me and James from calling the dog-soups every dog in the book.

James: *staring at spoonful of soup* "what the story, Wishbooooone..."

Lol. Anyway, after calling their soup Lassie, and even Happy from '7th Heaven', the four of them quickly became full when Sarah noticed......one of the pieces still had fur. Similarly, I could no longer stomach my food (which tasted awesome, yay white meat chicken) after I found......a foot. And it was off to Harry Potter we went! But I couldn't leave without taking a picture of Puma's AWESOME surfing shorts.



...because, they reminded me of a shirt I once wanted! AND SO THE SEARCH BEGINS! If I can find both of these, I will buy both, just because they radiate with such awesomeness!

On the way to Harry Potter we stopped and played at some Batting Cages, which I haven't played at since I was quite young. I wasn't that great, but it was cool. After Harry Potter, we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts (or was it a Baskin Robins? Not important.) anyway -- I guess they had a promotion if you bring in ten reciepts, you get a free donut. But there was some confusion over this, because Danielle thought she could use it right away and the guy only said they were out of the kind she wanted. So we decide we won't go there the full 10 times before the programs over, so we give the reciepts to Jin-sik to have. (He is the one telling us the "10" thing.) He then goes up, and uses them to get free donuts right away like Danielle said they were for. (lol, wtf Jin-sik!) But he shared the donuts with us all, so all was cool.

Quotes of the Day:
(talking about having seen HP movies)
"Yeah, this one is Harry Potter 6..." - me
(in his dramatic korean-accented voice) "This Time, It's Personal..." - Jin-sik (xD I lawl'ed hard.)

(paraphrasing)
"If you close your eyes, you won't be tempted..." - Ginny to Harry Potter before she lowers down his front off screen. WOOOOOAH now! There was ALOT of implied innuendos in this movie I think. Ron and whats'r face? What kind of 17 year olds running around a castle like that aren't doin it.

"Yeah, Okay." - Jin-sik's reponse to Everything! lol, when we're asking him questions is best. (Ie: "Do you know where the class is eating today?" "Yeah, okay.") I may have already noted this. If so, I appologize. But he's awesome, I don't mean this as making fun of him.

Song of the Day: "I Don't Care" by 2NE1. A Korean band, lol, the lyrics are basically "I don't ca-a-a-a-a-a-are" over and over. It, like many Korean songs with some English in them, are quite catchy. Erg, I didn't remember the bands name so I passed on buying their CD at the store. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

No Pictures Please

Aww, I just saw another Seoul-pun as someone's blog title I liked! "Seoul'ed Out" TOTALLY would have fit for the last day. Kudos to them.

But what did we do more recently, oh, toured the Hyundai and SK-Oil major factories. They were HUGE! Like, the Hyundai factory was about the size of a city all its own. Hyundai heavy industries that is -- freighter building, uber-large sea ships. SK-Oil (or South Korean Oil) is a chemical factory and water reclamation center. It was sort of interesting, but mainly it was us being told not to take pictures.

At the first place, (or maybe the second?) they had a small museum dedicated to the Asan guy, who single handedly revitalized Koreas economy. The part of this that annoyed most of our group however? They had the SAME items on display at the other place!!! Ie: the "authentic" medal awarded by the Olympic Comission for running the Seoul Olympics, and some medal given to him by the Soviet Union for peace talks. As Alan put it, we all felt cheated. I'm going to use that as an excuse for not feeling guilty that after being reminded several times at both places, I TOOK LOTZA PICTURES BIOTCHES!!!!

My own personal word of the day:
Idiomaic (n.) - a language that frequently uses idioms, figures of speech, or colloquial metaphors. From root words Idiom and Aramaic. See also: Mom's language.

Korean word of the day:
Gwen-gwardi -- "Gong"
hamida (Haa-mee-daa) -- "is" (comes at the end of the sentence.)

Song of the Day: Love, Sex, Magic by Ciara ft. Justin Timberlake. I encounter alot of American songs (often old, or random semi-old) like I heard Destiny's Child "Survivor" the other day passing a store. L&S&M was playing at WaBar the other day tho. (Wabar is a combination of a Korean word meaning western, Waba, and Bar. It seems to be a place westerns gather in So Ko, in particular me and the Canadians.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Sick

Some of our group is unfortunately starting to get homesick, as the study abroad advisers invariably warned of. I am not quite there yet, but I expect I will be by the end of the week. I am still of the impression this is one of the greatest experiences of my life -- and it has been -- and I don't want it to end! It's like summer camp, but instead of learning to make fires and identify leaves, I'm learning about foreign cultures and traveling a bunch! AHHH! I LOVE IT n.n

I love it so much I'm already brainstorming my next trip! After staying in the Youth Hostel in Seoul, they are (often) an affordable alternative to hotels and they cover the globe! I'm thinking Europe should be my next destination, in particular the scandenavian countries: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland. Or maybe the Czech Republic to find the home of a majority of my ancestors. I've also been invited to visit new found friends in Canada, Germany, and China. And I've been advised not to come to some places we have people from simply because they are so boring and there's nothing to do there, lol, like Morraco and Alabama.

As for being homesick, I am just listing the things I can't wait to have when I get back home! The little comforts I never imagined missing, like oh I dunno -- a shower towel! I forgot to pack mine, and all they use here are what Americans use as medium-size towels (larger than hand, smaller than bath.) After two weeks of being tired of using that, I decided to go buy a large one at the semi-near by version of Walmart (Lotte Mart. "Low-*T*ay", hard emphasis on the T so it almost sounds like a D.) The Korean group mentality of course meant I had three guides, which I completely appreciated cause its fun to talk with them. Especially since they're curious about coming to America in the fall. But eventually I bought it, 10 bux... but I have a towel the size i wanted! Woohoo for creature comforts.

'Asian-style Andrew' happy with his towel.

Now, the reason I wrote this particular entry, to list things I want to do when I come back to America. Eat Wendy's, Arbies, the corned beef place in Bedford, Orange and White Soup, no rice for a month X_X, steak, fried chicken, um... pizza with pepperoni and black olives! Hot wings and ranch! As for things to do, I wanna watch... darn, I forgot the movies I started listing that I want to watch. Oh, Jurassic Park is one of them -- I'll watch that with a nice big tub'a KFC! WOO! Make a night out of that. :( food in Korea is too vegtable based, I'm used to a high fat and protein diet. Oh crud, whats my favorite pop. I CAN'T REMEMBER! ALL THEY DRINK HERE IS WATER xO is it Pepsi? Sierra Mist? Rootbeer!? OH GAWWWD NOOO! ... I think it's Pepsi. But the Pepsi here tastes bad, I think its made with real sug-- I MISS BLOOD ORANGE SODA!

Andrew! Get ahold of yourself, your going to let the Home Sickness take over. I'm really not all that bad when I'm not literally listing what I miss. Mmm, creme soda's good too. Oh, I remember now, the movies are Mulan and Kill Bill.

Language barrier of the Day: Explaining what air quotes are. And the rules of football, never having played football, that was interesting.

Korean phrase of the day:
Kok-tchong muh-say-yo (Kok-chong me-se-yo) -- Don't Worry!

Song of the Day: "New Divide" by Linkin Park. The theme for Transformers 2, at some point in the credits they credited Linkin Park more than the average theme-band is credited. I think the creaters of this movie just like Linkin Park and have them do all the music, cause they had some good song for the first one. :/ I dunno, all of Linkin Park's songs sound EXACTLY the same. It probably doesn't help that like, 3 of there singles really are the same song remixed years apart for some reason.

Quote of the day: Haha, this is from the Korean phrase website I got the above 'Don't Worry' from, its totally true too.
"Bless you (when you are sneezing) --- --- (No reaction, as if nothing happened.)"

[Kyu-Hun goes off]
Me: "Where's he going?"
Van der Kamp: "He has to call his, uh, girlfriend. Haha, like I said, 'Single Is Best.'"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seoul Survivor

(Survivor, Amazing Race, whatever...)

Haha, oh man coming up with these puns is fun sometimes. So in our final night in Seoul we went shopping. Our final day we went to the border of North Korea, then returned to Ulsan.

Shopping was interesting, I found the hanbok [traditional Korean clothes] I wanted - but it was [the equivilent of] 60$ and it was uncomfortable material. I did buy some hanji though (traditional korean paper craft) cause I think I'll make a scrap book of my trip! With all that free time I have :/

Song of the Day: "Every Girl" by Lil Wayne, ft. Young Money. This song is so bad, lol -- its about how he wants to f**k every girl in the world. (Unfortunatly I do not hear current music in the U.S. here, so I'm googling the US Top 40 lists. This is somewhere over 10, so I youtubed it.) Haha, this song is sooo stupid but kinda entertaining. "I'm about to get my Bill Clinton on, and Hillary could [Rodham/ride'm] whilst I get my pimpin on..." Wow, ya know Hillary don't get too many song mentions but good for her? HAHA, actually, now that I think about it - the only other Hillary song is also rap, "Grillz" ("got a bill in mah mouth like I'm Hillary Rodham...") But moving on. This song is ridiculous... "In about 3 years, holl'at me Miley Cyrus..." I just don't understand the multi-partner thought of polygamists or playah's. I have no such urge to fuck every girl in the world. I am quite monogamous, and would rather prefer the 1950's white picket fence family. Maybe I've been ruined by second generation of child-ruining media.

On a mainly unrelated note, Secretary Clinton is healing well from her surgery to fix her sprained elbow.
With official Department of State sling. (Haha, I find the patch entertaining. It covers up the brand logo of the sling to prevent free advertising.)

Cultural oddities: A majority of Koreans appear to be convinced the US is 90% Christian. Oh, I've been giving them the wrong figure I guess, based on my Wikipedia research just now. I've been saying 40% based on something Missouri-Danielle mentioned, but Wiki says the numbers closer to 76% in 2008. About 50% Protestant, 23% Catholic, 2% Morman, 2% Jewish, 1% Buddhist, etc. Hrm, I think I'd prefer Christianity to make up 40%. I have never liked how powerful Christianity is, because it dangerously abuses its power all too often.

There is *no* Cosmic bowling in Korea. And yet, their busses are something else...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Seoul Searching

Haha, if only there was a tag for "bad puns." So since Seoul was such an experience, I'm dividing it into three posts. Non-chronological just to confuse me :/

Lets see, on third day I think it was? We visited Ulsan University College of Medicine. Haha, but you have to say it like your the announcer in a 1940s Superman short. "The UNIVERSITY of ULSAN, COLLEGE OF !MEDICIIINE!!" which is how the oddly enthusiast, the fluent, English Narrator of a brief promotional video sounded. 4 largest hospital in the world, largest in Korea, the UNIVERSITY OF ULSAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE was actually interesting. They fed us like a 4 course western dinner, and then let us wander around their library for a couple minutes (a professional medical library, I don't know whose idea that was, 57 rambunctious twenty-somethings supposed to use their indoor voices.) But then we went to this museum built into the hospital dedicated to the Hospital's founder: nicknamed, Asan. Asan is probably the Most famous Korean in korea (d. 2002) he founded Hyandai, his statue is in the lobby of the main Ulsan building, and they had a museum to him in the hospital!

(Here is Asan and his wife, in a creepy reverse-carving, kinda looks like a playdoh mold. Reminds me of Han Solo encased in Metal in Star Wars IV.)

Apparently he pretty much singlehandedly turned Korea from one of the poorest countries to one of the richest and most influential, and one of the G20. After developing Hyandai for cars and giant-freighter building, he also did tons of humanitarian work, and ran for President (but lost - the people believed his life wasn't politically based enough.) I talked to one of the Koreans, and they don't appreciate the "Lincoln/Obama-log cabin-to-riches" story quite as much here.

Later me and Julia got bored one night, and decided to climb Mount Samsan, at the top of which is Seoul Tower. After 1.6 kilometers up of stairs x_X (yes I had blisters the next morning) not to mention the winding road just to find the stairs, we eventually made it up. Naturally, at midnight it was closed -- but it was cool to see close up. Then getting back took forever cause we forgot our way, and ended up in residential areas.

Quotes of the Day:
*we walk along a mall of shops over a mile long, the same 3 stores appear to repeat over and over (womens suits, camera's, etc.)*
"Ya get the feeling we're in an episode of The Flintstones, with the background keeps going over and over..." - Dion of Canada. LOL, I love this metaphor!!! I've said similar stuff with Scooby Doo.

Korean words of the Day:
Hanguk - Korea. Korea in Korean is not actually "Korea." Rather, anything relating to Korean culture starts with "Han" (based off the Han river.) The written language of Korea - Hangul. The traditional Korean clothing is a Hanbok.
Miguk - (Mee-gook) America. "-guk" means 'land of' I think. [Correction: Country] I guess America is shortened to Mi for some reason. They also provided the Korean words for Japan, and something else but I don't remember them.

Language barrier of the day:
Having to explain to Chinese students the phrase "off the top of my head", the word pornography, nerd, and others I don't really remember. But on the bright side I got to explain to a Chinese student (who was very interested in American government and history) all the basics of the American government system! It was truly a Andrew-s.s.-teacher moment! n.n In return, I had an interesting convo on the Chinese government from the POV of a chinese citizen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm in Seoul, but I'm not a Soldier...

So the last four days were a blast! Field tripped to the Capital of South Korea, Seoul -- where 50% of the S.Korean population lives! 10 and a half million people in one city, craziness. After the 5 hour bus ride (where many of us slept) we had fun at Korea's largest theme park - Everland! A Disney-world like place, with cartoon creatures walking around (from no particular story, just fairy tales in general it seemed.) We rode the "T-Express", the steepest wooden rollar coaster in the world! And there was an epcot-style building that had creeeeeepy dolls representing many of the worlds interesting-er countries. America was represented primarily as a football stadium with a new york dance show built into it. It was actually fun to watch every country's people with us go "that's not what _____ is like at all..." like Julia and Germany, or the Japanese students. But as someone who likes flags and foreign cultures, I found it entertaining -- and it was air conditioned!

Bought a couple souveniers, not as many as I'd liked but at this point I was running low on money. :( ERRR, 5/3rd bank was being annoying and cut off my access to my money this past week so I've been stressed about being out of cash. But all is good in the world now and I FIIIIINally got it settled. There are also various approching deadlines that are starting to bug me I need to deal with, but I'm going to enjoy this trip and those come second!

Staying in the Seoul Youth Hostel was a ton of fun! I want to stay in Hostels more often!!! From the Hostel you could see Seoul tower, so one night me and Julia decided to make the trek up. Took a couple of hours to go and come back, and we had to climb 1.8 kilometers up of stairs x_X but it was cool and alot of fun thing to do in the middle of the night.

We'd end up spending alot of time in malls and shopping centers looking for souvenirs and shopping, Korea is unfortunaly not known for its mens clothing which is mainly the same 3 boring designs. Boring polos with giant logos, boring t-shirts with English writing, or i dunno something else I felt I could find in America. I did find one button-up shirt I liked though, after the lady did her little pitch trying to get me to buy it (worked.) We'll have to see how it looks I guess. Double collar, oh-oh!

Quotes of the Day:
"It's so hot, I'm tempted to streak across [the President of Korea's front yard...]" - Judith
"See it on the news, Black Girl runs naked across President's lawn!..." - James
"Really!? Who!?" - Judith, serious. (lol!)

(Re: Ugly braclet) "It's .... different. But in a good way!" - Julia, later said about alot of things by all of us.

"Ugggh! This is so spicy! Isn't it hot!?" - Judith, re: Mexican place burrito
Me: "It's average I think, no spicier than the Korean food..."
[later]
Danielle: "I think this needs some hot sauce..." *puts on hot sauce*
Judith: "THAT'S HOT SAUCE!?" *we realize she put a ton of it on her burrito and proceed to laugh*

Korean phrases:
Miahn hamnida - I'm sorry

Yay for making new friends from other countries :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busan: City of Tomorrow

So over the course of Friday and Saturday, a majority of the group took a roadtrip to Busan (a major port city and tourist attraction ala` Cleveland to Ulsan's Akron.) The first group partied and clubbed as mentioned in the previous blog, the second group left in the morning and took taxi, bus, subway, other subway - and mainly went shopping. Led by our fearless leader - So-Yeong (who was awesome, she really stressed herself out trying to keep track of 19 students running across a city she wasn't even from.) we went to a big shopping center.

Remarkable observation: I'd noticed in Korea that the "popular" name brands were kind of everywhere. Not like, American Eagle or Hollister, but Polo, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, etc. While talking with Kyu-hun (who eventually met up with us while we were shopping) he implied you have to buy names in Korea - because non-name brands are probably badly made Chinese imports, that fall apart after you wash them once. Its interesting how that has impacted their culture, cause they're used to clothes being Ex-PENsive! Even for average people. I tried to explain how in America, you're popularity is somewhat affected by who you wear ie: Abercrombie/Fitch vs. non. Dunno if it got across, but I'm def going to have to take Kim to a mall in American when I get home.

Then we went to another mall - Shinsegae, the largest department store in the WORLD! Guiness approved. Didn't buy much there, but met up with some of the partiers from the previous night. Eventually when we were done shopping (didn't buy anything there) we split into "goign back to Ulsan" and "wanted to take a boat ride around the Harbor and see the city at night". I did the latter, led by Van De Kamp (Korean student) who btw confirmed he got his name from Desperate Housewives - lol. The boatride was really cool, and even tho we missed one of our busses back, we made the next one half an hour later and got home at like 1am.

Remarkable observations: The clothing thing noted above.
Korean's "4th of July" is August 15th, marking their independance from Japanese rule.

Remarkable facts: In 2007, 50% of all 5,000 won bills (about 5$) were counterfeit! Leading the government to massivly overhaul the design, which now features almost 2 dozen security features on the 1000, 5000 and 10,000.
On June 23, 2009 - the Government released the first 50,000 Won bill -- the first Korean currency to have a woman on it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Party All the Time

Stayed in a 1362 year old Buddhist temple. Just for my own math, it was built in 646 AD.

Korean words of the Day:
Interesting: Whom-mean-dinn

Remarkable language barriers of the day:
While trying to explain how Buddha is in everything, our teacher (who's an awesome translator most of the time) did not quite understand Christianity enough to use it as a metaphor. Also, he was under the impression 90% of North America was Christian -- and me and 2 other students explained Christian denominations to him. Regardless, while referring to God, he would always say "the Jesus". ALWAYS with a the, I found it entertaining.

Me and a Canadian student (this isn't really language barrier so much as accent barrier) were complaining about the food at the Buddhist temple and she mentioned how it could use some something and "paper." I'm like "What?" and she's like "What?" and that continued and I'm like "Paper???!!" and eventually I figured out it was her accent saying pepper.

While in a mediation pose Julia (German) asked "What is Hannis?" And I'm like "Hm?" and she's like "Your name is Andrew..." and I realized she was referring to "HANES" sewn on the bottom of my socks.

I managed to translate and confirm the existance of shrimp chips! Haha, at first *NO ONE* knew what I meant and thought I made it up (jokingly.) But I hate when absolutly no one knows what I mean. So I used the last of my internet to google it, and wikipedia's article didn't have a korean version to change to but there was a german version (Krabbenchips) which reminded Julia of their existance. Also the Chinese students recognized the picture. Eventually I figured out how to ask if they had Arseyu chips and they do, but not at Chinese restaurants.

Remarkable Observations:
Just like there is Americanized Chinese food, there is Korean-ized Chinese food (according to Kim.) Rather than traditional, it has been modified slightly to appeal more to Koreans (ie: includes the yellow radishes they're so fond of, also spicy stew on the side of Everything.)
And Korean-Chinese restaurants have (at the table) soy sauce, chili powder, and vinegar. But never salt, sugar or pepper. Korean-Chinese food is very different from American-Chinese food. And their eggrolls are quite di-- HEY I didn't get a fortune cookie! (jk, I know, Americanized.)

Now for the juicy part: Koreans have a group-based mind. They do things in groups, everything. This has been merely interesting until now, when it became an irritation for some of the Americans. You see, this weekend was supposed to be "free time" -- so a group decided to go to Busan (nearby major resort city - clubs, beaches, saunas, etc.) but we're not supposed to stay out over night. Eventually that group grew to like the 8 main ones (who'd wanted to from the beginning) and like, almost half the Program. To when the Koreans decided it'd be best to plan an organized thing, for people who want to go for beaches, shopping, clubbing, etc. A few of the Americans then started to get irritated when the Koreans (by which I mean head teacher, and his about 7 student assistants) tried to organize their road trip -- as it was meant more of a their seperate, "unplanned" thing. But Koreans like plans. So there was a bit of a culture clash, and I don't think the Americans took it as well as they should have - this is the Koreans country and all, and they did require some Koreans to go to translate.

Anyway, as I was not up to partying Again tonight at Busan clubs (that and I hate dancing, didn't really bring club attire, ...) I decided to go with the morning group. Kim, wanted sincerely to go with whatever I chose -- (Koreans are also very honor bound to their guests. He's pretty awesome actually!) but the most of the Koreans were going tonight, and as he explained it to me the other korean students feel more comfortable the more of them are in one place. Group mindset. I assured him it was no problem, so he's out uncomfortably "partying" (I've seen the man party. He does not like to party.) So hopefully tomorrow goes better, poor Koreans, I hope we respect them better for the rest of this trip.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canadia Day!!!

Happy Canada Day, eh? The Canadian school "University of Regina" in Seskatchewan is the largest delegation to this program with 10 people from that one school. (Akron, by comparison, has two.) So it was a biiig deal to celebrate July 1st -- Canada Day, er, their independence day? I dunno exactly what happened on this day but its important to them.

Walkin down the street somethin' caught my eye. No jk; in the Campus bookstore -- lol, but HOOOLY cow, this book was AWESOME! It was in Korean so I didn't buy it, but I bought a book of Hillary's 7 "greatest speeches" that was left side in English right side in Korean (to help advanced English speaking Koreans apparently.) Since it was half in English, I bought it! Only 13,000 won or about $10.40.

Yesterday we did paper decoration, or 'Hanji'-work, which was cool. And then went to a traditional pottery place. Later that night, partied it up on the Korean night life in celebration of Canada day!!! And in honor of scrubs, me and a girl named Sarah tried an Appletini. (To repair my manhood I followed it with a couple jack and cokes.) Remember everyone, the drinking age in Korea is 18 -- so I am not breaking any laws, just partaking in local cultural traditions. I would never drink in the great United States until I was 21.

Song of the Day: This song was on at Kareoke, and again last night at the club-- the Koreans know it, the Thai people know it, but I've never heard it before. It is VERY popular here. "Nobody But You" by the Wondergirls. I found a US single of it on youtube, but I imagine the it was a flop because Americans aren't big on songs in other languages.

Korean words of the day:
Pah : Green onions.
An-ne-yo/Aniyo : No.

Remarkable language barriers of the day:
Teacher saying "thongs" meaning "flipflops."
Teacher saying "keem" meaning "kiln."
American student trying to trick teacher into thinking "Guys" (in the way he used it) didn't mean everyone; it did.
My and Sarah's attempt to explain "Jell-O", gelatin, and Jell-O pudding to Chinese students.

Remarkable observations: Instead of swiping a zipcard to get into their cafeteria, their Cellphones have a bluetooth like setting that they swipe by a reader! That's so cool, and everyone has a cellphone.
All Korean women, when going out for simple things or fancy things, always wear high heels. ALWAYS.
My roommate changes standing on the bed. I have yet to ask why.
Canadians closely followed the US Presidential election, however pronounce Palin (as in Sarah Palin) paal-in; such as Palindrome, or to rhyme with Talon.

Remarkable facts: Onggi is a traditional form of Korean pottery, made from clay right out of the Earth and used to store and ferment the various rotting vegtables Koreans so like in their meals.
Canadians (not-surprisingly) wear white and red on Canada Day, also bring tattoos, flags, facepaints, and a variety of other things! (Us Americans did not think to bring American things for the 4th of July unfortunatly.
I have made a chinese friend who supported Hillary! n.n
A Canadian I've talked to was friends with a guy who knew a star of Degrassi.