Sunday, November 2, 2014

November, waaaaaaht??

Rabbit, Rabbit, first of the month! I can't believe that October has come and gone, and that it's already November! It's even stranger to think that, as the months wind down, I'm getting closer to 2015. Which means that I'll have a full calendar year as an expat, without setting foot in America. Straaaaaange. 

It was a hectic week. I had lots of plans with friends just about every day, so I'm quite tired as I write this. 

I'll start off with a couple of pictures of me at the cat cafe, since my dad complained I take too many pictures of other things and people. My front facing camera is broken, so I can't take selfies... booo. I'm hoping my iphone update fixes that.

grabby pants here

in the zone

On Monday after school, Cesca and I met up with Young Ah for dinner, just to hang out after school. I'm glad we're actually able to be friends and hang out outside of school, it makes working here so much more awesome! 

We decided to get some bulgogi, which is delicious beef.

cooking it up

giant pile of meat. YUM.
On Tuesday, we did some halloween lessons, to fill some time and get our classes caught up to each other.

My students had a cooking class, so they gave
me treats like gimbap and suckers!

Young Ah explaining the decorations
we made

Ready to be bombarded with my students? They're so adorable

And I came back to a sandwich on my desk

some of them refuse to let me actually get pics of them

I stopped by daiso with Lauren after our Korean class, and we found these among the Halloween/generic party decorations

something was filming near my school.
No idea what
 Wednesday included more crafts

they also hate smiling haha

We also taught them this Halloween song and it was adorable to watch them sing. Now they all know how to spell Halloween.

They're too cute and I love them all.

On Wednesday after class, we headed out for "teacher bonding" at Changdokgung palace, which I've seen like 3 times. This was my first time in fall, however, so that was nice. My handler happens to know a lot of stuff about the palace, so it was fun, even if I got super weird looks for being a white girl in an all Korean group.

the design from the middle of the Korean
flag is in here haha

OK so see how that roof has a bar on top?
it supposedly represents a dragon

See how this is missing that bar on top? It's cause the King (the
real dragon) was sleeping inside. Handler's History Lesson

On the bus ride home, My handler gave me onion juice. boiled onion juice. ew. It was just weird. Not awful, but not wonderful. Of course I had to drink it all, since she was right there. Never again. But she's so nice and always offers me things, and it really helpful in explaining Korean history and words to me. I'm lucky to have a passionate co teacher. She always likes to clarify English things with me, and I appreciate that she's not too nervous or embarrassed to ask me to help her understand something. 

My handler also said that she can tell I am a thankful person and that I show my love for people with the gifts I give and the actions and acknowledgment I give. It just came up during the walk around the palace, but it felt nice that she said it to some of the other teachers (like the head teacher in the office). She really does help me out a lot, so I occasionally bring in gifts for her or the office (like after my Dokdo trip, when I brought in candy from Ulleungdo for them all). It was a good bonding trip.

On Friday, Janell, Sarah, Cesca and I met up with some of Cesca's friends to go eat Brick Oven Pizza in Gangnam. We also got garlic fries and hot buffalo wings. It was a little pricey but aaaaaaawesome. Then we hung out and skyped my grandpa.

This is how my grandpa skypes us. Adorable

Cesca and I wait every year for November 1st so we can make this Nightmare Before Christmas Reference:



three sixty fooooooouuuuuuuur

I woke up earlier than I normally do on Sundays because my friends, Liz, Casey and Andrea, were all in the same place for the weekend! Liz informed me she was visiting Casey and Andrea in Colorado this weekend, and they wonderfully made time to skype me for a bit. I generally know what's up in their lives, but it was great to see and talk to them again. I need to make more of an effort to skype them all more. It was so fun to see them!!!! Miss you guys!

I bought some stuff this week. We were on our way to go shopping on Sunday (Cesca and I spent Saturday chilling and running errands around town). We were on the subway when this old guy sat down, took up two seats, looked at us, scowled and shook his head. 

So I took a pic and am putting him on my blog. Weirdo.

Good. I'm glad he could see me documenting
him being a weirdo.

Anyway, we found awesome stuff shopping.

fifi! what are you wears sweaters. they actually bought them.

Highlight of the day!?

IT WAS SO GOOD even if the entree portions
were kinda small

Cesca, ill prepped for winter, stocked up and filled
up a giant bag of shopping goodies. All for
less than $200

I got a free Shinee poster from Etude House!
Putting my elementary level Korean books
to good use haha

 And I bought a few sweaters. I'm mostly stocked for the winter, but I needed a few wardrobe refreshers

This sweater is super popular right now.
Couldn't resist. It uses some Hangul letters
in the design

wool toggle coat for the winter!


I couldn't resist the black and white

It's just so pretty 

This part is moderately political, so if you're not in the mood for controversy, skip over it.

This week, there was an interesting incident: Abnormal Summit, the show I watch that has a panel of Korean speaking foreigners discussing hot issues, is being heavily criticized and threatened for having played part of the national anthem of Japan when they introduced a Japanese person. The song has strong associations with the military occupation of Korea that ended in 1945.

It's a big issue here in Korea. People are calling for the show to be cancelled because of the disrespect and disregard. Knowing the history, I understand the issue. Koreans were forced to sing the song (Kimigayo) and were tortured if they sang it wrong or didn't sing. It was a brutal time. Understandably, the Koreans do not want to ever hear that song again.

The song is banned from broadcasting networks, and so most people haven't heard it since 1945.

As a foreigner, though, the calls for the show's cancellation seem extreme, which I explained to Young Ah. Because I am not a part of the history here, I cannot possibly understand the depths of the feelings here, so here is a rundown of what happened, and the arguments for and against the show's use of the music.

Kimigayo is actually the world's oldest national anthem. It is from around 1830, and was the anthem from 1868 until 1945, during the reign of the Empire of Japan which ended in WWII. It was reinstated as the anthem in 1999 by the political leader, and many Japanese, who feel it represents an embarrassing time in Japan's history (it's brutal imperialism is well documented), do not like that it is the anthem, as it professes a desire for the Emperor to reign for a long time, and there isn't one anymore... The Koreans feel it is a slap in the face. Japan has never specifically apologized for the atrocities it committed, and has only given vague "we are ashamed we shamed the Korean people" apologies, which Korea has not felt was adequate.

Here are some of the counter issues I have seen brought up about this topic, though I think these opinions generally come from non Koreans.

The song, again, is not usually broadcast here. The show only played a small clip of the national anthem when introducing someone, so it was under dialogue. They didn't play the whole song. And they play the anthems of other countries. They could have picked another song, but couldn't they have forseen this issue when they started? The show did it episode 1 with the intro of the original Japanese guy, and got a little heat, but not much. Really, they should have known not to play a sensitive song like this, but I also cannot adequately grasp the gravity of the situation, because of other issues.

Another issue with the vehemence of the protests is that fact that, as recently as the Incheon Asian Olympic Games last month in Korea, Kimigayo IS played when a Japanese team wins a a gold medal in competition. People (mostly foreigners like me, I'm sure) are asking "If it can be played for sporting events, why can't a clip of it be played for an introduction of someone from that country?" Nobody is being forced to hear the whole thing in this instance, and since so many young people haven't even heard it, I'm sure most people didn't even notice it. But get a couple of angry netizens to spread the word, and you have a war.

The last issue with the controversy is the fact that the Japanese language is taught and used a lot in Korea, for professional, financial and personal gains. Now, Japanese, like Kimigayo, was forced on the Koreans during the occupation. They had to learn Japanese while Korean was not allowed. But nowadays, many people learn Japanese. Idols speak it and release albums in it. People use it all the time. Yet it's not banned. Doesn't that language remind them of the time it was forced upon them? But why isn't there an intensity against this, if it is this intense over a clip of a song played under dialogue during an introduction?? Why even have a Japanese person on the show then?

The show has, and certainly should, apologize for making a careless mistake. but many think it's an overreaction to ask for the cancellation of a show that played 5 seconds of a song to introduce someone from which it is their home song. Granted, the history and atrocities committed where extreme and terrible, but in that vein, there are bigger fights to pick, like the fact that Japan hasn't apologized for things like comfort women (or even acknowledged their existence...).

 It's not really my place to have an opinion on the matter, since I have no connection to the history here, but I've been thinking about it a lot this week and just wanted to throw it out there. I thought it was crazy they'd want to cancel the show after that, but after researching more, I can see where the Koreans are coming from, even if I cannot fully comprehend the reasons: my own history and experiences lack this kind of situation to draw on.

Just an interesting tidbit that you learn about when living in a country that is not your own, and one that has conflicts I never knew about. Maybe I'll never fully understand the situation, and I'm kind of thankful that I never had to experience that kind of oppression and horror to create such a strong resistance and revulsion of a song. If I hadn't lived in Korea, I never would have thought about the implications a song can have on people...

I hope the show can adequately apologize for this misstep. I love watching it because it gives me hope as a foreigner and Korean language learner, and I think that it's good for the Korean people to hear these things discussed with different perspectives, both Eastern and Western. The show is so informative and helpful, and I'd hate for it to be lost.

Phew, sorry that was heavy.

In other news, apparently it's reset week for me over here. My computer was 'fixed' at school resulting in my desktop being wiped... Thankfully, my actual lessons were saved, but my 'extra resources and misc' stuff was all lost.

On Sunday night, while updating my iPhone, almost all of my music was deleted (thankfully it was recovered), but all of my apps were gone too. I've been reinstalling some of them, but I can't even remember everything I had. I have my most used ones back, I think, so I guess I'll have to update that as I go along...

I guess it's a good time to consider this spring cleaning of my technology, both at school and home. In the fall. Meh.

On to some more fun Kpop!

Super Junior recently repackaged their album (meaning they changed the cover, added a couple new songs and re released it) and called it "This Is Love," which is one of the songs on the original Mamacita album. Each member made their own album cover and photobook. After much deliberation, I still chose my bias, Kyuhyun. 

so cute! also notice my awesome nail color. Huzzah!

They also released two new music videos, which I think go really well together!

The first is the title song

What's great is this song is about finding love and being in love. They seamlessly blended the concept into the next song, Evanesce, which is my favorite on the album.

This song is a song about losing love and wondering why beautiful things (like love) end and such. It's still a bit hopeful (the end professes the knowledge that the sun will rise again), and I just love that they used the same color scheme, ideas and concept. SO GOOD.

1 comment:

  1. Woo what a long post!

    Anyways, two thoughts:

    First, you are not terrible at skyping. I'm terrible at skyping. Ok, maybe it's both of us. I'm just always like "damn, remember Christina? Yeah. I miss her. I should skype her." and then I don't. I should be forced to wear the cone of shame.

    Second, I'm not sure what's better, the shirts/sweaters that Sarah and Cesca bought, or the guy photobombing them.

    Mi manchi!!