Monday, September 19, 2016

Chuseok Soccer Game

Finally got another FC Seoul game--first time since Foreigner Day--only to find that they've brought back the "Fun Park", only now it's the Food Park.

I had the garlic beef mok-sal from the "Chilling Kitchen" truck for 6,500 W, and it was quite honestly delicious.

Sadly, the game vs. Jeju United, didn't go so well--it was a scoreless tie: a fairly even first half, with FCS coming to dominate but unable to convert. One of the best chances near the end was this corner kick.

Above, the crowd streams out of World Cup Stadium into a lovely autumn afternoon in the west side of Seoul.
Below, the subway station was built for the stadium, but I never noticed before that won awards. Well, at least one:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chuseok Baseball Game

Ventured forth to Gocheok Skydome today with pal The Stumbler to watch the Heroes meet the KT Wiz. The start was inauspicious, and I'm not only referring to the Wiz taking a 6 - nil lead in the top of the first. It was our understanding that the ticket prices were 50% off--this was true, but as it turned out, only in the nose-bleed seats.

First, a little context as this is the first time I've arrived from the new exit (#2) at Guil Station on line 1. I blogged one of my previous trips here. The exit there was more scenic, but they've done some interesting things at the new exit, including a series of stellae that display a timeline of the history of baseball in Korea.

Even though the little pizza/soju kiosk in the second pic above was closed (and as The Stumbler pointed out, if one is going to grant a concession, a minimum requirement should be that it is open on game days ...) the food available was pretty good. New York Hot Dog and Coffee still has the closest thing to a legitimate chili cheese dog in Korea. There was also a chicken skewer shop good enough that we went back for more. And they are now selling the 1 liter "saeng maekchu" for 6000 W like they did back in Mokdong Stadium.

And if you could wait, there was a "maekchu-nim" who came by with fresh Cass on his back:

Sadly, he was the only such dude for the whole stadium! The other traditional constant one must love about baseball in Korea is the cheerleaders. Here are the KT Wiz boosters:

Anyway, the game. The Heroes' opening pitcher, Park Ju-hyeon (sorry, no hangeul on this computer), quickly dug a deep, deep hole, giving up five runs without a single out in the first. The Nexen squad gradually fought their way back into the game, with a big 4th inning and finally taking a 8 - 6 lead in the seventh. Here I am posing as the tenth run scores in the eighth:

There's no "pocha" scene after the games--at least not yet--so we wandered across the street to a promising-looking "eating street" and settled into a "Beer Caps" for a while with a nice view:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Hwesik

While I became well-respected at the school I have just left, my early days there were less than promising; for example, my welcoming hwesik (roughly, business dinner) was about two weeks in. And we had boiled octopus, even though I made it clear to my handler that's one of just a few foods I don't like. By contrast, my new school had a delicious hwesik for me last Thursday--my first day.

A pork restaurant, just about my favorite, with three varieties, expertly tended by dudes in funny hats. Turns out, it was "Christmas in August".

Now some food pr0n:

We did go to e-cha (second round), a quirky place nearby, which had three things on the menu: French fries, fried cheese sticks, and beer.

Yep. Potato House.

Anyway, I was informed this was "man's dinner", and all ten of the male employees came out (except the principal--who is leaving) and most of them made it to Gamja jib. I feel well-welcomed to Geumyang-cho!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Street Scenes XIV: My New Neighborhood

I took up residence this week in a postage stamp of a place at Hyochang Park, immediately adjacent to Sookmyung Women's University. So far, my new school seems great (stay tuned for more later), and I went wandering for a bit in the cooler weather of Saturday. Here are some things I saw:

That last pic above is a pedestrian tunnel on the way to Sookdae station on line 4. My nearest station, though, is Hyochang Park on line 6--where the odd motorcycle was. It is three stops from Itaewon, where I took the photo below of Yongsan (meaning: dragon hill) as clear as I've ever seen it from Seoul Pub.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Camp: Week 1

My Summer Camps this time are Toys and Games Around the World for grades 3 and 4, and The Bean's English for older students.

On Tuesday, we learned about and held our own Scottish Highland Games, including Maide Leisg, the "Lazy Stick" game, in which opponents try to lift each other's bottom off the ground.

The next day we learned American "desktop games", including three penny hockey and flick football.

On Thursday, students had to bring in empty egg cartons to make a mancala set, and Friday we learned how to play:

We also made and colored our own Tangram sets.

The Mr Bean class learned vocabulary then watched a Mr Bean story. They completed worksheets, made conversations, and played games, then watched one of the animated Mr Bean episodes. On Friday, we watched Mr Bean make a sandwich, and made our own sentence sandwiches. Here are a couple of them.

One week finished, one week to go.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Farewell Week, Part 2: S'mores Festival

Full disclosure: My school has had a "Science Festival" every year, an event which I am totally in favor of, which led me to wish for an "English Festival". My new co-teacher Nicky, without my input, actually just did it, although it was less school-wide than classroom-wide. Though none of us knew it at the time, the event coincided with my "farewell" lesson. This was fortuitous, as it turned what could have been a dreary occasion into quite a lot of fun. You have already seen the gestures many students and classes made to thank me for teaching them during the last (up to) four years. I was moved by the genuine emotion many of them expressed. And we had s'mores!

S'mores are are a kind of sandwich wherein a melted/toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate are smushed between two crackers--usually graham crackers. Not much in the way of grahams available in Korea, but I have to say saltines worked just fine. 'Cause s'mores are somewhat an American cultural phenomenon.

Nicky went somewhat overboard in requisitioning the supplies, but I always think it's better to to have extra than not enough. We treated the whole "Festival" as a camp out, so the English language connection was to sing campfire songs--"If I had a hammer", "I love the mountains" and/or "Puff the magic dragon". It was great!

In America, we would doubtless melt the marshmallows in the microwave, but this being Korea, we roasted them on open flames over what most of us call the "samgyupsal burner".

Don't worry, forceful instruction in English and Korean insured they stayed seated, blew their burning marshmallows out upward (not to the side or down into the burner flame) ...

...and never put crackers, chocolate or plain wooden skewers into the flames.

A tasty and delicious time was had by all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yangmyung Farewell Week

I mentioned previously that I will be transferred to a new school for my next contract, and this was the last week of classes for the semester (two weeks of camp starting Monday). So, in addition to being English Festival week, about which more later, this was my farewell to the students after four years with them. Or, their farewell to me.

Different classes said farewell in different ways. The third and fourth graders presented enormous cards and played recorders for me. Their teacher apparently had some trouble impressing the honorific "Mister" on them, though they always use it when speaking to me. Third grade:

Fourth grade:

Sixth graders wrote longer, individual notes, some of which I thought were creative. some tears were shed, even by the big boys!

My fifth grade co-teacher taught with me last year, and perhaps that prompted her and them to put a bit more effort into their gifts. They made some pretty neat music videos and sang along in class. I've pulled a couple good shots from them. I've also compiled them together and uploaded the result to Youtube.

Each class chose a different song and each student illustrated a line from it. I like them. Granted, almost no one spelled my name correctly, but they got some important details right, like my phone holster, and the joy and laughter my typical lesson (okay, my ideal lesson) engenders.

Anyway, this was a sad as well as fun week for us, and sometimes gratifying. One of their common themes was "Don't forget us--we won't forget you." I won't forget.