Friday, July 31, 2009

jeju, day 1 (and a little of 2)

well, i got into jeju last night and got on the bus going to my place, not knowing if i'd have a place to stay or not. after i found the hotel i talked to the guy and he gave me a room. it's the size of a cardboard box, maybe, but this trip has only cost me 288$ for the flight and for a week's lodging. so i'm pretty happy with it. i went out around 11 to find out what was going on in town. the answer was surprising: NOTHING. i'm not in a really hopping part of town and need to figure out where to go.

i went to the roof this morning to read some and a british guy and his sister started talking to me and then we were joined by their parents. they were friendly and gave me a beer at 10:30 in the morning. me and the guy got along and so we made our way out and tried to find some sunglasses for him and went to the batting cages. again, batting cages are everywhere.

i called my friend padraig to ask him something and he told me he had bad news. apparently, one of the students at school died yesterday. his name was james and he was 5 years old. he was being watched by his cousin and he fell off of a balcony. it's really sad...sorry to be depressing. here is a picture to cheer you up. irene! my favorite!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a clock that sings...

today, i went to seoul to see all those experimental music crazies bang out some noise. it was fun as usual. i will post the video soon, but i saw a pretty amazing performance from a guy who used bowls to make music. they were "singing" bowls, if you've ever heard of those. they're just bowls that resonate tones very well and sound almost like tubular bells. before that though, i had a really phenomenal experience: a chicken quesadilla.

let's just say that it's the second time i've had mexican food in 5 months...and the first time doesn't really count because it was horrible mexican "i will spew you forth from my mouth" mexican food. but this, this was a legitimate quesadilla and it had nacho chips with salsa on the side. i normally don't clean my plate, but i threw caution to the wind and didn't care if i was being an american stereotype. i'm very conscious of being an american and so there are things i do and don't do over here to hopefully reflect well upon myself/my country:
1)i attempt to use korean as much as possible, even if they speak english.
2)i do not go to mcdonald's
3)i hold open doors for people and offer my seat on buses/trains to elderly folk (this is just a holdover from georgia i think, most of the times people are surprised because this is not something that's done here) it's almost like they can't conceive of a stranger being polite. more often than not, if you're a stranger, you might as well be dead to everyone you don't know. strangers do not talk and people do not mingle. it makes the social aspect of this country perplexing. it's also ironic that one of the main t-shirt slogans pushed by polham (clothing company that EVERYONE wears) is "world without strangers."
so i guess you could say that i am ultimately the greatest person to ever live and that i am worthy of your praise and respect......just checking if you were still reading. if you've gotten this far, i will tell you now that i'm none of those things.

recently, i've had a fascination with darts. electronic dart boards are at every bar in korea. you can see how high you can get your accuracy and what not. there are some really amazing players. i saw a woman last night who can hit anything on the board as many times as she wants. she was playing someone who wasn't as good as her and she would begin each turn by missing a shot, etc. people buy their own darts. i need to buy my own darts. the game of cricket is pretty amazing. padraig beats me most of the time. for some reason he's really good at bar games. oh that's right, he worked at a "fecking" bar for years.

glenfidditch is only 5,000w a finger at the crazy duck. easily the best scotch i've found in korea. everything else is johnnie walker or some bizarre ones i've never even heard (which padraig, the scot, hasn't heard of either). the staff at the crazy duck (loud,obnoxious,militarily occupied bar) are really nice. i only go there once a week or so, but they remember my name and talk to me. victor shows me card tricks (i've learned how to do magic tricks with cards, so sue me), bonnie works on her english (her electronic name tag says "hi, i'm bonnie. i'm cute and sexy! do you think? haha! i love u. have fun!" and jessica holds my hands for inordinate amounts of time when greeting me before going in for the hug (which is fine, because i have a fantasy crush on her).

for some reason or other, i'm talkative tonight. i think i said last night i want to come back for a master's degree here. my school really sucks still and i'm thinking that i might need to get them to release me due to their severe breaches of contract.

in other news, the song "wings of love" by nirvana (uk) is really one of the best psych rock songs around. if you go to you can download a bunch of nirvana (uk) stuff. i have most of their stuff, but if you just want a best of then the third entry should be what you're looking for. if you like the zombies, the left banke, the kinks, kaleidoscope, etc. then i suggest you get it. the bizarre garden guy really has some excellent albums on his site, you just have to search around sometimes. he'll get on a kick about a band and post everything they have for a month. go check it out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

but where it's going no one knows

nothing's happening here but i've thought about a change of plans. i was considering coming back to korea and teaching next year, but i'm considering coming back here instead on an education visa and getting my masters. it's about 1/4 of the cost compared to the states. so i might come home for a few months and come back in august for my master's in english literature. the classes are in english and all that. i'd have to stay in a dorm, which would be fine...but the only thing i'm wondering is how i would live. i could do some private lessons, but those are much harder to come by than i was hoping. i figure that if i taught 5-10 hours a week i could live a relatively normal life, making between 500,000-1,500,000w a month. i just don't want to take out a ton of student loans. the thing is that the programs over here are based not only on your academic standing but also on your interviews and gre scores and personality. so it seems like a good deal. i think that maybe i'm starting to think of this place as home. it feels like so much has changed since i left and that home will never be the same. oh well, so it goes.

i bought a t-shirt today. i like it for some reason or other. the perplexing array of t-shirts here baffles me. there will be a shirt and it will have an amazing design and some random english phrase that somehow makes sense in a way that an english person couldn't. for instance, one is a shirt with these geometrically arranged cassette tapes and the slogan is "slow life." i like this one for the fact that it's sort of an obvious yet still bizarre phrase. "when changing the way you think, there will be a...wonderful change." it's rather obvious but still evasive in a way that only a non-native speaker could be evasive. it's still odd though because koreans for the most part will never understand the irony of things like a "three wolf moon" t-shirt or even that new threadless shirt with the three cats playing piano under a full moon...i guess most americans don't get it either.....all the same. i think i like the shirts here because they are equally bizarre to anything you could find back home, but they're worn in complete sincerity. often times they have no idea what they say. i saw a guy wearing a shirt that said "fuck you!" on it and a girl wearing one that said "about our conversation earlier...i never said shit." in a way, i don't think they appreciate the innocence of their t-shirt choices in the same way i do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

pour your oil in our hair

had a flea market today at the school. parents brought in things for the kids to buy with fake money. i stole a stuffed animal for myself though. it's a hamster thing. i call him funnel cake. it's cute. the older kids were helping to run the booths, but were charging outrageous prices because they were told that they could spend whatever fake money they earned. so each kid got 15 fake dollars. i sold stuffed animals for 2-5$. the older kids were selling everything for 5$-10$ so they'd have money. it was sad because these little 5 year olds were just forking it over and not having any money for anything else. so when the older kids tried to buy something from me i'd say "for you, 60$" they'd complain and i'd say "ok, ok...80$" i gave them a lecture in the afternoon when i taught them about how i was disappointed in them for price gouging kindergarteners.

feeling a bit down today. realized i haven't really spoken to anyone in weeks. i'm starting to feel a bit isolated. all my friends here are on vacation or out on dates. my vacation is a week after everyone else's and i don't intend to ask a girl on a date anytime soon/ever. i'm having another dip in mood...but a week from today, i'll be on jeju island and i hope i'll feel better sleeping somewhere where i can see the stars (it's been a few months since i've seen them)...i'll probably sleep outside the first night because my hotel was booked that night and so i have nowhere to stay when i arrive.

i still miss people.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

i had sex with a whore and have herpes

not really...i'm just seeing if you're paying attention. things have been slow lately. i'm getting into a pretty normal routine. after work, i eat dinner and go to one of three places afterward to do some reading: holly's coffee, rotimum, or the now bar. i've been trying to change it up though. i bought some traditional groceries in order to cook at home upon occasion. this week's menu: fettucine alfredo, a rare dish in korea.

i also took a taxi to the next town over to get an iced grande no classic green tea from starbucks. this was a phenomenal experience since it has been nearly 5 months since i had last had one. by the way, if you work at starbucks, feel free to mail me china green tips or zen since they sell neither over here. i met my friend kakki. she's going home to the states for a week and is going to buy me cigarettes. i gave her a lot of money for their purchase. korean smokes just don't do it for me...maybe i should quit 3 years ago.

after that, i walked over to a bar called the crazy duck to have a quiet beer and to read "bluebeard" by vonnegut. crazy duck is never quiet, due to the kpop blasting out of the speakers, but there weren't many people there. i studied korean for a bit, read a bit, played a game of darts by myself, admired the waitress who speaks token english phrases (i speak token korean phrases), and then my friend rachel walked in on a date. she was shocked to see me because of various reasons which are personal to her and not to me, and so i won't go into it. i then came home to brush my teeth with my newly purchased electric toothbrush. did people even brush their teeth before electric toothbrushes were purchased by me in korea? i know i didn't.

work sucks. i'm advertising this saturday for a few hours because i was coerced by my boss. supposedly, i'll get paid.


i made a kid cry today. he cried for about 20 minutes. why? i took away a water bottle he had fashioned into an improvised watergun (achieved by poking a small hole into the cap and applying pressure to the body of the bottle...a trick they picked up from me, as i squirt them when they are behaving badly). i told him to "man up." fat tony (his secret nickname) has been giving me trouble for some time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

women of the world...

here's some videos i spliced together. there are some random subway shots, a little bit of bongeunsa temple, a little bit of dongdaemun, etc. this is the second time i've done anything with imovie. i liked playing with it, but it certainly made me long for my imac...

a smattering of korea from Josh Nelson on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

boys becoming men, men becoming wolves

let's see...on friday, i went to a trampoline park with the kids. they told me to get on the trampolines. it was fun...oh, except for almost breaking my tail bone. turns out that the trampolines were only about 2 ft. off the floor, so when i jumped up really high and landed on my bum to bounce the kids, i almost blacked out in pain. wtf is up with me sustaining physical injuries in korea? i landed squarely on the ol' ass bone and crawled away...i thought about seeing a dr., but they can't give you an ass cast...they can only charge you money to say "take advil." so it's still hurting, but is a bit better.

i went to the casino in seoul today. i didn't lose any money! i actually made 33,000w...which is not a lot. i went with 100,000w and at my high point had 200,000. i should have quit was texas hold'em and it was fun. casinos are bizarre and wonderful places. you're telling me that there's a place where they will give you free booze, you can smoke free cigarettes inside, you can play a game you like, and make money? i'm there. when i cashed out they gave me two of the new 50,000w notes that were just introduced a week or two ago. i feel rich having them. it's like walking around with 50$ one will accept these, i don't want to spend them.

i am also happy to say that i will get to see harry potter a good day before everyone else. i'm going to see it at the imax 3d at some point too. it's harry potter week! i've also watched almost two seasons of 30 rock in the past week. oh, tina fey...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

random pictures

photo 1: this is actually a tag i found in hongdae. i liked it.
photo 2: claustrophobia. myeong dong was packed. i felt like i couldn't move most of the time. i found myself making for less crowded pockets, you know, like in diffusion.
photo 3: a bunch of disgusting looking ginseng roots. in the jars, they look like animals or organs or something else that is dead.
photo 4: two of my co-workers, kai and nara, keeping me "out on the booze" on a school night.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"i'm the guy who sucks, plus i got depression" -roast beef

photo 1: a park in hongdae where the fringe elements of seoul gather
photo 2: that same park in hongdae around 5am
photo 3: a bird on a lamp post as the sun was coming up.
photo 4: some graffiti in hongdae. i particularly like "art is over." i can only assume that because of the font and arrangement that it is a homage to "war is over."
photo 5: a young man after a long night of dancing and fornicating. this photo reminds me of the minor threat album cover. i think this photo somehow encapsulates the youth culture in seoul.
photo 6: a young lady standing in the window of the apple store in myeong-dong showing off some ipods. (this is actually a photo taken by my friend jon, i was too embarrassed to snap a decent one myself).

i'll try to post another entry about my journeys in seoul. i went to namdaemun market around 3pm to look for trinkets from home...but found nothing. i purchased the following items: a sketch book, 3 microns, a cannister of oatmeal for briana, a tripod for my cameras, and one of those apple world travel kits so i can plug my computer into a normal outlet over here. i thought there was an apple store in seoul, but it turns out it's just a reseller. it was odd because the layout of the store and everything were exactly the same, but it's called "frisbee." since i guess they were all refurbs, all the computers and the products in general were significantly cheaper than back home.

the big plan of the evening was to pull an all nighter in hongdae. hongdae is a university area and the people who go there are generally of an alternative ilk. it was fun, but exhausting. it was me, rachel, briana, colleen, and two new teachers that just joined their school. they had intended to go "clubbing" but as it is, they wore open toed shoes and so they were not granted permission to enter. so we went to a bar and sat for a while and then went to a nore bang where i performed a rendition of "bohemian rhapsody" which i'm sure rivals the original. there is video, but i might have lied a bit about how well i sang...i did that one, "goodbye yellow brick road" by elton john, and a duet of "under pressure" with rachel. we then went back to the park and waited for the subways to open up again. i didn't get home until after 7am. i was exhausted. if i come again for another year though, i'll be sure to be in seoul. i can't stand having to travel for 30 minutes by bus just to get to the subway. oh well. it was fun.

today i slept till about 1 and then met up with a girl from craigslist to buy some books. i got some haruhi suzimiya books from japan, that i'll be sending home to the boys, and some korean language study material (you can never have enough). i drank some tea, read a bunch of brothers karamazov, studied korean, and rode around on the scooter. it was a pretty lazy day and now it's over and school is happening again tomorrow. i can't wait for my vacation. i'm going to jeju, an island off the southern tip of the peninsula. it really looks amazing. i don't know what i'm going to do there, probably a lot of sleeping/reading. until then...