Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 10 Most Awesome Things Said By My Students

Here’s a list of the top 10 most awesome things my elementary and middle school aged students have said to me while teaching at ‘hagwons’ (Korean for ‘academy’. After regular school, Korean students go to academies every day, that specialize in one topic such as math, music, or in my case, English). Note, instead of ‘Mr. Johnson’ etc., teachers are called by the title ‘Sung-saeng-nim’ (teacher) in regular schools. It carries over to the English academies but as the English translation, ‘Teacher’.
10. “Teacher, your hair is trashy.”
9 . “Why don’t girls like you?”
8. From a spiky-haired, permanent mischievous-grin wearing 10 year-old boy: “Teacher, do you know what ‘anus’ is?” (class laughs)
7. “(Insert any of my co-workers names) is a better teacher than you.”
6. After making a corny joke: “Teacher, you are not funny.” Hearing the crickets is bad enough isn’t it?
5. In the middle of class: “Teacher, can I sleep?”
4. From the same boy as number 8: “Teacher, do you know what ‘testicle’ is?” (class laughs)
3. “Teacher, your clothes look poor.”
2. After asking an 8 YEAR-OLD BOY to turn off his cell phone. “Kae-seki…” This literally means ‘son of a dog’ but is closer to ‘motherfucker’ in obscenity level. Like the title of this post says - awesome.
1. And my favorite, from the same boy as numbers 8 and 4: “Teacher, I have invented a new word: ‘anusticle’. (class laughs hysterically)

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Weirdest Day of My Life

[The following is an actual email I sent to my sister last year. Names have been changed to protect the innocent! Also, the NOTES were not in the original email. Finally, the email looks kinda long, so I used CAPS on occasion for your reading pleasure.]
Just wanted to share a story with you because I think you might find it funny. 
I’ve been hanging out with OUR COUSIN TAE MIN (from Incheon) lately. [*NOTE - Incheon is a city directly west of Seoul, the 3rd largest in South Korea] Man, he’s totally different from when we were kids. He’s totally METROSEXUAL! He works part time as a “HOST MODEL” which are really handsome dudes that work as bartenders, but also provide someone to talk to for lonely women (I don’t know if you’re familiar with stuff like this, I think it’s big in Japan). So he told me he spends $500 a month on clothes and accessories, like various bling, shoes, vests, scarves, etc. His hair is quite the coif, one of those really metro haircuts that really handsome guys get out here, like the singers and actors etc. He’s got the same goofy sense of humor as he did as a kid, but now in this complete metrosexual ensemble.
Anyway, after a over a year of exchanging phone calls with him and not actually hanging out, we finally meet up in Incheon. I meet him at a bar and it’s TAE MIN, a GIRL he had met at a club, her overweight friend, and another dude, Tae Min’s friend, a chubby friendly guy we’ll call ‘JEOLLA-DO’. 
So we’re drinking and having fun and Tae Min really wants me to connect with the Girl. She says she’s a bartender. She’s seems a bit loud and a little on the skanky side. But she overall she was cute, so, what the hell. So all of us end up going to her apartment really late into the night. The plan was for us to have a drink there, then Tae Min and his friend would leave. 
We go into her place. This turns out to be a total trip. The entire place is COVERED IN PINK. She actually painted the walls pink herself, to go with a giant pink comforter. She also has about EVERY SINGLE HELLO KITTY ITEM KNOWN TO MAN. She’s got stuffed animals, blankets, dog bowls, bathroom items. slippers, and on and on. She’s wearing pink Hello Kitty pajamas. She offers us something to drink and proceeds to bring out 4 DIFFERENT HELLO KITTY MUGS. The whole thing reminded me of the Terri Garr character in After Hours, like this weird lonely girl, everything in the apartment was extremely clean, almost sterile, but there was something odd and borderline sinister to it all. 
Anyway, Tae Min and his friend leave. I’m alone with the girl and it’s a little bit awkward. After a few minutes she suddenly calls Tae Min and asks him to come back. And for some inexplicable reason, he does! With Jeolla-do! We all end up passing out on the floor of her tiny apartment.  
The next day, since it was a 3 day weekend, me, Tae Min and Jeolla-do decide to go to “Night” which is the Konglish term for booking club, because Tae Min really wants to see me meet a girl. We spend the day just lounging around his apartment.
But all of the sudden, his friend becomes THE WEIRDEST GUY IN THE UNIVERSE. I hear the place he’s from, Jeolla-do (hence the name), is the country side of Korea. Well there must be some real hicks out there, because this guy has no clue about modern societal customs. Like TAKING A SHIT WITH THE DOOR CLOSED! He goes into the bathroom and takes a shit with the door wide open. It’s a tiny studio apartment. He’s taking a shit, and smokes one cigarette and another while on the throne, for what felt like the longest shit taking session in human history. He also hocks one loogie after another into the drain of the bathroom. My mind is completely blown and I think I just laid down on the bed and tried to pretend I was somewhere else. 
After the 2 hour shit, Jeolla-do decides to take a shower. But again, HE KEEPS THE BATHROOM DOOR WIDE OPEN! This fat, butt-naked dude is mere steps away, water from the shower splashing into Tae Min’s apt floor. The whole time Tae Min doesn’t react to this like it’s weird. Until like 20 minutes later when he laughs and says, ‘Water’s splashing all over my floor!” He wipes it with a towel, but doesn’t even close the door! Jeolla-do then finishes his shower. And then proceeds to stand in the middle of the tiny apartment BUTT-NAKED! He’s toweling himself off in the middle of the fucking studio. I’m blocking out everything that’s happening by staring at the internet. I’ve never so intensely studied baseball scores in my life! The dude’s fat ass is right behind me and it’s fucking the weirdest shit ever. Then we sit around and watch TV while Tae Min gets ready, and Jeolla-do hocks a loogie every 5 minutes into a little paper cup. I’m about to throw up, but I try to be polite because I just met this guy, so I don’t run for the hills or anything, I just calmly wait.
Then Tae Min suggests I change my clothes and borrow some of his for the club. So I try on outfit after outfit. Needless to say, this was the most metro moment of my existence. I was wearing skinny jeans, vests, rings, bracelets, etc. He even tried tying these lacy scarves around my neck, but I couldn’t handle that. Even though this wasn’t my thing, I went with it thinking this was the stuff Korean girls dig. 
After we figure out my outfit, Jeolla-do, with this inexplicable enthusiasm, fixes up my hair. He takes fucking forever and I can barely stand it. I mean, the dude was naked or shitting or hocking loogies all day long, so I don’t really feel too comfortable with his tousling my hair. He’s finally done. And I LOOK TOTALLY FUCKING METRO, 11 on a scale of 10. But Jeolla-do and Tae Min are beaming as they think the hairstyle rocks. Jeolla-do can’t get over how good a job he’s done and keeps staring at his handy work. Then he would periodically look at me, reach over to my head, and re-adjust a strand. This happened like 10 times while we were waiting for Tae Min. I’m praying for him to finish getting ready, but he takes about 6 and a half hours, trying on one outfit after another, styling and re-styling his hair. Man, I just want to get the fuck outta here so Jeolla-do gets the fuck away and stop fiddling with my Goddamn uber perfect metrosexual coif! 
We finally go to the club. I don’t know at what point of the night this started, but Jeolla-do now KEEPS TOUCHING ME. Like every five minutes. He talks to me then, lays a hand on my shoulder. He caresses my arm. At one point late in the night he walks past me in the club and his hand grabs my shoulder then slides it’s way down to my stomach, inches away from my crotch, in this bizarre loving caress. I really don’t know if this guy was gay or just THE WEIRDEST MOTHERFUCKER ALIVE. 
We stay out late and of course I pass out after 5 drinks [NOTE - I’m a total lightweight]. But Jeolla-do, sitting across from me at the table, suddenly STOMPS MY FOOT to wake me up. I look up to see there’s no expression on his face. There’s no “I was joking around” smile on his face. He’s just blank. 
A moment later I pass out again. And he STOMPS MY FOOT AGAIN. I wake up to the same blank face. At that point, I’ve had enough and I just walk off and try to avoid this fucking insane idiot for the rest of the night.

We leave the club and I tell them I’m gonna take off. The subway is open at this point and I want to cab it over there. But Jeolla-do insists on driving me back to Seoul since he’s going there too. He wont take no for an answer. So I agree. We go outside and we’re smoking. He suddenly disappears and comes back with this HUMONGOUS BAG OF SNACKS from the convenience store. We all stand out there and he’s snacking and snacking and snacking. Smoking, snacking, hocking loogies, on and on and on. I tell them I have to go, I’m gonna take a cab. He finally drops everything and we get in the car.
He then proceeds to drive. AT ABOUT 10 MPH. Cars are whizzing by us left and right. This night will literally never end. He won’t stop hocking loogies. He wont stop touching my arm when talking. I want to blow my brains out. I tell him to just drop me off at the subway station. He does. 
Despite everything I try to give my warmest good-bye in Korean just to be polite. 
He kinda gives me a half-hearted grunt. 
Anyway, that was the single weirdest night of my life. How’s things in NY?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Top 10 Most Awesome Things I've Heard Foreigners Say in Korea

Here’s a list of the top 10 most awesome things I’ve heard foreigners say directly, second-hand, or read on the internet, in Korea.
10. “All Koreans are creepy.” (???)
9 . (tie) “Koreans walk sooooo slow.”
“Koreans are always in such a hurry.”
8. Military dude: “Did you know 90% of Koreans know Kung-fu?”
Response: “Kung-fu is Chinese. Taekwondo is Korean.”
Military dude: “Oh, that’s that f*ggot shit.”
7. In a conversation about dating Korean women: “I can pick these girls up with these two fingers (emphatically sticks two pinkies out).” (Note - Other than 60 year-old women there are barely any extremely short women out here. Everyone is surprisingly tall. Wait, maybe that guy just wanted to pork 60 year-old Korean women…)
6. The following was at a Culture Exchange Party where Koreans go to practice English with foreigners or vice-versa and people potentially make new friends. It’s supposed to be a warm and fuzzy multi-cultural bonding experience, etc.
Korean guy: “Do you teach English?”
Fat, bald dude: (mocking tone) “Yeah, I teach EnGRISH….”
5. From a 25 year-old: “Aren’t all Asian women submissive?” (Note - It is 2012, isn’t it?)
4. “Korean girls hate me because I’m tall, blonde and pretty.” (If you’re wondering if the girl that said this was actually pretty, just stop and think about what a person that refers to themselves as ‘pretty’ out loud would look like. Got it? Good. )
3. “I love laughing at Koreans.”
2. “Hey hey hey hey hey hey hey hey” while snapping his fingers impatiently. This was a 23 year-old co-worker I had, said to a 50 year-old cab driver. I heard he did this another time to a waitress. And another time to a bartender. And another time to a…you can figure out the rest.
1. And my favorite, my half-black/half white friend had the following exchange at a bar:
Friend: “So how you liking Korea?”
Guy at bar, a ‘you can’t be serious’ look on his face: ”I’m tall…and I’m white…”

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Asian Girl Booty Theory

A friend of mine in college once gave me a theory on why one becomes an “ass man” or a “breast man”. He said breast men are extroverts and ass men are introverts. The reason is the following: When you’re a child, if your mom is constantly praising you, you’re always looking up. Thus, you grow up to be a breast man. If your mom is constantly scolding you, you’re always looking down. Thus, you grow up to be an ass man.
I found this to be one of the most amusing ideas I’ve ever heard. Because it works! I’m pretty much on the introverted side, my mom ridiculed me on a daily basis (more like screamed at the top of her lungs and beat the living shit out of me every day for sport!), and I am most definitely, unequivocally, indisputably…an ass man.
The other day I was watching the UFC fight with a friend. He suddenly pops a random question.
“If you were a UFC fighter, what would your nickname be?”
“I have no idea.”
“I got it. Booty lover!”
I found this hilarious because: A. That nickname sure is a lot softer than other UFC nicknames. Quinton “RAMPAGE” Jackson would surely mop the floor against a guy named “BOOTY LOVER”. B. My friend knows me oh so well. 
When I was in the states checking out booty pretty much every second I was outside my apartment, I noticed a trend. If you’re walking behind a girl and she has a nice ass, 99% of the time she also has a cute face. You know those moments when you want to see if the face matches the quality of the booty so you subtly increase your walking pace. Then when you get to an angle where you can see her face, you check it out but pretend you’re looking at a store front window or something behind you. Right? (All of you do this, correct? No? I’m a big perv? Go fuck yourself.)
Anyway, 99% of the time, bam - nice booty, nice face. My theory on why: A nice, sexy, healthy, booty is good genes. Therefore, it makes sense that the face is also cute, because that’s of course good genes as well. And of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but from my experience it was pretty dead on.
It even went down to the quality of the booty. Like, if the booty is really nice, so’s the face. If the booty is medium nice, then the girl’s face is medium cute. If the booty is some nasty mess of misplaced cellulite, bulging through the jeans at odd angles then…you get the picture.
So I’m in Korea now, and of course, continuing my favorite hobby of checking out booty on the street. But the weird thing is, my theory doesn’t work. In fact the OPPOSITE is true. 99% of girls that have nice butts, are NOT attractive. You do the increase-your-pace, look-over-your-shoulder-pretending-to-look-at-something-else move (You know you do this. No? I’m a disgusting sexist pig? Go fuck yourself.) Then, bam - some girl with a horse face. Or a girl with a big mess of protruding teeth. Or some weird asymmetrical Pablo-Picasso-painting-looking motherfucker. Always.
Why is this the case? I put some thought into this and realized it’s the same reason for non-Asian girls: GENES.
A normal Asian girl is not SUPPOSED to have an ass. Asians are thin and flat. That’s the norm. That’s healthy genes. A crazy ga-dunk-a-dunk on an Asian girl is a genetic aberration. Pretty Asian girls are skinny, well-dressed, model looking types, but their uber tight jeans wrap themselves around some mediocre ass. Again, of course there are exceptions to the rule, but 9 out of 10 times pretty Asian girls have no booty. By the way, if you’re reading this and you are an Asian girl with a nice booty, you of course fall into the 1 out of 10 category and are fucking smoking-ass hot. (Translation: I need people to read my blog!)
I have another theory in regards to genetics/appearance/body parts that kinda correlates here. And it’s dudes with big dicks! Really handsome dudes (IE good genes) never have huge wangs. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt? Tiny wangs! It’s always these gangly weird looking motherfuckers. The best example I can think of is the cartoonist Robert Crumb. If you’ve seen the documentary “Crumb”, about his life, they interview a lady who works for some low end porn magazines. She mentions that Crumb has “one of the hugest penises in the world”. Goes with my theory perfectly. Big nosed, gangly looking motherfucker. Not exactly a genetic masterpiece of a human being looks wise. So it’s not so weird for him to have a genetic aberration, a gangly-ass dick between his gangly-ass legs. So 9 out of 10 handsome dudes do not have big dongs. By the way, if you’re reading this and you have a big wiener then you fall into the 1 out of 10 and you’re a very handsome motherfucker. (Translation: I really need people to read my blog!)
Anyway, if you’re in Korea go out and test theory and see if I’m right. Nice booty = mediocre face. No booty = really pretty.
But make sure you have your “looking-at-a-storefront-window” look down tight. 
You perv!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Quick Post About the Bus...

Today I took the bus to work and the bus driver slammed on the brakes at my stop 5 TIMES successively.

Not once, not twice...5 quick slams before opening the doors.

Foreigners living in Korea know that you must hang on for dear life when riding the bus. Oddly, the locals don't seem to mind or even lose their balance for that matter. I was wondering out loud why this was and without hesitation my Kyopo friend responds "It's because Koreans are ninjas!"

I would just love to see hidden camera footage of bus driver training in Seoul.

Do the drivers automatically pass if they make test passengers puke their brains out???

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Giving Directions

Whenever I ride the subway, there’s some old person that asks me for directions. This happens quite frequently, like once a week. They assume I’m a native, then out comes my bad Korean. I usually never know the place so I say “Chal mo-le-geh-sum-ni-da”, Korean for “I’m not sure.”
This is always followed by a completely dumbfounded look from the person that just asked me, which I can’t quite figure out. But even if I was a native Korean, questions arise. For example, why can’t these old people read subway maps? They’re everywhere! As I’m writing this on the train, there’s one to my left, and one to my right. There’s one I downloaded to my phone. And there’s multiple giant sized maps at the platforms of each station. How is asking some random schmuck easier than looking at a map that has every station laid out before your very eyes!
There was one time an old lady stopped me and asked about one particular station. I told her that I didn’t know. Again, utter dumbfounded look. As I’m walking away she goes to her friend and they both begin laughing. The tone (as well as the timing), suggested it  was a mocking laugh of some sort. I find this odd so hop down the stairs to my platform and quickly check the subway map (which the old bag should have done!) to see if it was some obvious, big transfer station that every living being in Korea knows about (doesn’t that mean Sophia and Blanche should know about this as well?!). I check the map and find the station (it took about 10 seconds!) and saw that it was some completely random station, way north, no transfers connected to it.
So why were those old bags laughing? Perhaps my accent is such utter shit and to them, worth a hearty chuckle. Perhaps I should’ve put more effort into helping them and they were making fun of my rudeness. Either way, if I can find the darn station in 10 seconds, mosey your orthopedic shoes over to a map and look it up yo darnself!
Today happened to be a very weird day in regards to giving directions. For two reasons: 1. The person asking was not an old Korean person, but an Indian or Middle Eastern guy. 2. I actually knew the station!
I don’t mean to offend anyone, this is purely written for description purposes, but this guys just looked like the dictionary definition of a terrorist. He had this crazy, vacant look in his eyes, appeared filthy, and had worn out old clothes on. This guy walks over to me on the subway car and asks me in English “Where’s Sindorim?” Well I knew where it was and a quick glance on the map showed it was 3 stops away. The guy sat back down. A job seemingly well done. After months of dumbfounded looks, finally some success! I was psyched!
A mere 2 stops later the subway doors open. The guy looks at me and asks “Sindorim?”
Not only did I tell him moments earlier it was 3 stops away, but I also held 3 fingers up in case there was a language barrier. I think he may have even repeated the word “3” back to me!
Now knowing that the dude couldn’t count to 3, I just shook my head and left it at that. I thought about saying “1 more” but if the dude can’t count to 3, there’s probably only a 30% chance he can count to 1. So I just sat there, hoping he’d figure it out.
A moment later, Sindorim arrives. The automated subway announcer clearly says “Sindorim”. I look up at him and nod. He gets up and walks over to the door. By George, he’s got it.
The train begins to slow down.
The dude looks over at me.
I found myself just staring ahead like a zombie and sarcastically nodding my head. If the dude wasn’t sure it was Sindorim then: A. Why’d he stand up? B. Why’d he subsequently walk over to the doors???
I wonder what it’s like when this guy needs to find a bathroom? He must stand next to a guy taking a massive leak and ask: “Toilet?”
His order at McDonald’s is slid over the counter: “Hamburger?”
He falls into the back seat of a cab and the door slams shut: “Taxi?”
Anyway, I hope he’s not a terrorist. Because maybe that day he was heading to some embassy to suicide bomb it. And it’s at Sindorim! That means I’m partly responsible.
“Today’s top story, suicide bomber kills 30 at a US Emabassy near Sindorim station. Apparently some Kyopo schumck gave the learning disabled man pitch perfect directions in English, for a place he never would have found on his own in a million years. Way to go, asshole!”
Maybe I should stick to  “Chal mo-le-geh-sum-ni-da”….

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sidney Lumet/Paris Baguette

There’s a chain of bakeries in Korea called Paris Baguette. There’s literally one on every block! One pleasant, sunny summer day I took a stroll around my neighborhood and decided to get lunch at one nearby my apartment. I order a sandwich and sit at a table outside. I take a bite of my sandwich and then look up to see ANOTHER PARIS BAGUETTE directly across the fucking street!
Anyway, since I’m out here in Korea to make as much money as I can teaching English, I cram my schedule with class after class, gig after gig. I’m running around like a chicken without a fucking head all over the city of Seoul. Sometimes I have like a 10 minute window to eat lunch before the next class starts.
At said omnipresent bakery chain there’s a croissant sandwich that was a perfect match for the sometimes small window of time I can eat lunch. It consists of a really light croissant, a slice of ham, a slice of cheese, a piece of lettuce and some delicious concoction of a sauce that I don’t have the foggiest clue of what the ingredients are. But the whole thing is so light that I can wolf down 2 of them fast. Real fast. I actually timed it once. I picked up two sandwiches, walked across the street to my academy, got up to my class and I had wolfed down both. Time: 4 minutes. That usually leaves time before class starts for my students to make fun of my haircut or tell me that my legs are short. (Kids are always making fun of their academy teachers out here. Or maybe it’s just me!)
The whole thing reminds me of a part in legendary filmmaker Sidney Lumet’s book “Making Movies”. Lumet talks about how his military experience taught him how to nap on cue to save energy. He used this skill while on the set of his films during his half hour lunch break, taking a power nap for 25 minutes. The other 5 minutes he spent wolfing down the following: a rolled up slice of turkey and a piece of lettuce, doused with a slab of mayo. I think he wolfed down 2 of these and took his nap. Anyway, I’m probably the only motherfucker on earth who thinks of Sidney Lumet while eating at Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette. And the weird part about it all, if you haven’t figured it out by now: They fucking rhyme!
So, a shout out to the Legendary director of Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (amongst many other classics). And a shout out to delicious, mystery-sauce-laden, wolf-downable croissant sandwiches!!!