Kim Jong-il’s newest neighbor

February 1st, 2007
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Winter Busy Season Breakdown
winter busy season is now finished, and here’s what we refer to in the business as an executive summary.

i’m living in bundang, a suburb outside of seoul that’s gone from entirely farmland to a metro in 10 years. my brother lives right above me on the 17th floor. we hang out daily. everything here serves as entertainment because it’s all new. we explore. snowboard. climb mountains. run in the park. go out at night. eat foods i wouldn’t have considered food 2 months ago.

korea has surpassed all expectations so far.

i consider my timing in coming to korea lucky. as i came at the start of a busy season, i am not sensitive to the pain of the other teachers who know the joy and leisure of regular season. i am used to working 12-hour days thanks to kdr. the difference? this is teaching. of course, that didn’t stop me from getting sick, a time-honored cliché for new teachers who come in winter.

on the 14th, kuno & i went snowboarding with son, ha yeon, and our head teacher audrey. we went to jisan park, which was just a few short runs with massive lines at the bottom. predictably, it was a blast. i ate a squidburger from lotteria. nothing happened.

i attended a poetry salon and met miguel, a teacher from another school whose reputation preceded him. he lived up to the hype.


*not miguel, but tory, another teacher who lives up to the hype

i went to japan to obtain my visa. on the way, i met other waygookies and we explored osaka. our energy was extroverted. we met with some people who lived there in japan, who took us out for a good night. i bonded fatefully with a canadian who pointed me to “the secret” and “wtf do we know?” i watched both movies with my bro, and failed to complete the connection with my new canadian friend, despite the message of both movies.

japan seems very fashion-conscious. the david bowie haircut is in, as is the punk style. bikes are everywhere. you don’t even have to lock them up, because it’d be like trying to protect the dirt on the ground – no one wants to steal it because it’s everywhere. i was propositioned in an alley. i declined. alyson threatened to anatomically prove she was a woman when the proprietor of osaka house, a hostel, doubted her femininity. i’ll be returning to japan for more, as this taste left me wanting more.

johnny cash chicken: 0, mike: 2
i’ve gone two rounds with johnny cash chicken, and both rounds have gone to me. i rechristened it “bangles” chicken on day two. as i embraced the pain that is hot nyum yam chicken, the chorus of “is this burning… an eternal flaaaame” came to my mind. johnny cash is the name that will stick however.

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