Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leaning Left, Walking Right

Big news day here in the Seoul Patch--swine flu, Arlen Specter switches to Democratic aisle in Senate, Obama administration at Day 100--but a pair of stories in the Korea Times caught my eye. First, a Presidential Commission has recommended to President Lee Myung-bak that Korea change its present system of traffic signs and signals to fit with international norms.

My initial response was, what traffic signs?

Well, okay, they do have have traffic signs, at some intersections, but mostly they just suggest which directions you can turn. And I say "suggest" pointedly. There are no stop signs, though tricky intersections may have a convex mirror so drivers can see what's coming.

As if to confirm the Times' xenophobic editorial stance, the story states, "The measure reflects complaints from foreigners here that Korea's different traffic signal system for automobiles confuses visitors."

The real reason, fortunately, is also provided:
The green-amber-red system used by most advanced countries will help save up to five trillion won in taxpayers' money annually in dealing with accidents, air pollution and carbon emissions, the committee said. ...
The committee forecast that, if the system is introduced, cars will run faster on downtown streets in cities, and the risk of accidents will be reduced for both cars and pedestrians.

Speaking of pedestrians, a second article announces that "Walking Directions Will Be Switched to Right."
The National Police Agency said it will seek to revise related traffic law to switch the walkers' direction to the right side. The current law stipulates that people should walk on the left side of a road without sidewalks.

The authorities appear to have used actual scientific studies to determine that people are more comfortable, therefore safer, walking on the right. Right-handed people, that is ...

The article tags Koreans as 88% right-handed, suggesting that 12% are lefties, like myself. Now, that number fits with the human population at large (I remember having one of my physical science classes at Heritage do a survey on handedness among all two hundred-plus students for FrEdMail, and getting right at 10%) but it is not borne out by my casual observations at Young-il.

I teach 785 or so students this semester and I have counted their handedness by observing which hand they use to write with--not a perfect methodology, I admit: A) they're a selected group, as you pay to go to high school here; B) they're all boys; and C) writing is a good measure of handedness, but not inerrant (batting, throwing, etc).

Still, the result is telling: 11. That's 1.4%, in a sample size that should yield about one percent error in a properly randomized sample, as Korea's population is only 50 million.

Anyway, the curious history of the left/right rule is provided:
During the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) era, regulations stated that people and carriages keep to the right, but it was changed in 1921 to put Korea in line with Japan where cars keep to the left.
After Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule, the U.S. authorities changed the regulation again by putting cars to the right, while maintaining that pedestrians keep to the left. The Korean government followed suit when establishing the law on road traffic in 1961. It was applied only to roads without sidewalks so that pedestrians could face oncoming cars, but the rule has been adopted as a custom in other public facilities such as the subway system.

Bonus Photograph: Here's a shot of traffic on the main road where my bus stops when I come home from anywhere, taken two weeks ago.

traffic in Deungcheon-dong

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Street Scenes III: Tuesday Market

Tuesday sidewalk market
Every Tuesday, a line of EZ-up tents appears two doors down on my block, and a small sidewalk market is set up. They sell fresh produce, seafood and the occasional item of clothing or electronics.

Tuesday sidewalk market
Tuesday sidewalk market
Here we have generously sized squid, once a rare delicacy, now common fare due to modern fishing techniques, and skate, usually served raw.

raw squid for sale
raw skate for sale
As the sun starts to go down, so do the tents. Everything will be loaded into box trucks and set up again tomorrow in another neighborhood. But don't worry, they'll be back again next Tuesday!

Tuesday sidewalk market

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Free Lunch

--who said there ain't no such thing? Well, it may have been US Army General Leonard P. Ayres in about 1946, but that's completely beside the point.

Of course, it is true that there is an opportunity cost associated with my free lunch today, being that I had to sit through presentations about the new technologies installed in the new English wing at school. I would have had to sit through those in any case, so the lunch arguably was free.

The restaurant is located in Gimpo, at the Airport. This is where Radar was always having to go to pick up new cast members--I mean, staff for MASH 4077. Located in the Sky Park directly adjacent to the terminal, its name is Sky Onn Food:

The photo above was taken from our table, the one below was taken on our table. The food is reputed to be the best west of the river, at least in the moderate price range. There were three sushi/sashimi chefs, a steak flipper, and several other people wearing toques and preparing food right in front of us.

The cuisine was international, but still exhibited a Korean influence, including six different kinds of kimchi. The plate you see above was ostensibly my dessert wave, but I couldn't resist grabbing some more sushi and salmon, and a bit of fresh crab there in the middle.

The food was definitely very good, and at W22,000 per head, not exorbitant; though it wasn't the best I've ever had, I can certainly recommend it. The only thing it really lacked was a quality cheese table. To get there, take the Olympic Expressway to Gimpo Airport, and turn in to the parking lot immediately past the passenger terminal. Or take AREX to Gimpo and follow the signs to Sky Park.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Baseball Post? WTF?

Yeah, but this one isn't so much about baseball per se--not that the others were, either--but about afterwards. Anyway, let's be chronological. I met Nick and Andy, the usual suspects, at the Sindorim subway station so we could proceed together to Incheon (the airport city 30 km west of Seoul).

We were headed for Munhak Baseball Stadium, which is adjacent to Incheon Munhak Stadium, home to Incheon United FC. In Incheon. The ballpark hosts SK Wyverns baseball games, and holds about 30,000. The SK Wyverns have won the Korean championship the last two years (you may remember I attended a playoff game vs. Doosan Bears with Andy back in October). SK is a Korean telecom. All the teams (except for Heroes) are sponsored by a Korean 'chaebol'.

Here are the restroom signs at Munhak Baseball Stadium:

Men's room sign at Munhak StadiumWomen's room sign at Munhak Stadium

The Wyverns were hosting the Seoul Heroes (formerly the Woori Heroes, formerly the Hyundai Unicorns, Chongbo Pintos, Taepyoungyang Dolphins, the Sammi Superstars, etc) for a 5:00 start on Sunday afternoon. Well, the weather wasn't great, but it had looked okay when we agreed to go at about 10:00 this morning.

As the class of the league, SK were expected to hammer the Heroes, but it was only 4 - 1 at the top of the ninth when "Ba-rum-ba", one of two Western players each team is allowed, hit a two out, two run homer to ignite the remaining fans. Next up was Clark, the other Westerner, who predictably grounded out.

The game had zipped by and was over by 7:30, so rather than hurry home, we stopped into one of the myriad tent restaurants between the stadium and the subway for some refreshment.

tent restaurant
After five minutes of normal eating and drinking involving a very tasty kimchi pajeon (spicy pancake) and a big bottle of beer, our foreign-ness was noted and our table served as the nexus of these phenomena: 1) old drunk Korean dudes love talking baseball with foreigners; 2) old drunk Korean dudes speak marginal English; 3) old drunk Korean dudes remember the Korean War/Vietnam War/Cold War and think all Americans do too; 4) old drunk Korean dudes don't actually give a damn if you understand what they're saying; 5) old drunk Korean dudes are as touchy-feely as young, undrunk Korean dudes, which is plenty.

new friends
It was really kind of crazy, these old guys yelling at us about their favorite ball teams, and stuff that Nick and Andy couldn't even understand, until finally friends of these interlocutors ended up hauling them away, so we could enjoy a drink in relative peace and quiet before getting on the subway toward home.

For the first time in a while, I got to Sindorim station without being kicked out onto the street to find a taxi the rest of the way home. Good thing I don't actually have to teach tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Next Week

Next week at Young-il High School is mid-term exam week. There is no English Conversation exam, but I still have to show up every morning and stay until 11:20. On Monday, the company that put in the new English listening equipment (Howdy) will demonstrate how to use it; after that, we will go to lunch on the school's dime at a restaurant near Gimpo Airport called Sky Park or Sky Inn (?). I am told it is the best food west of the Hangang.

Then, the next week, after exams are finished, Monday is school picnic day, and Tuesday is Children's Day, a national holiday. So I will have three days of classes (actually two and a half) over the next two weeks, with no papers to grade.

Sometimes it is a challenge trying to get 37 or 38 students to speak English, but I balance that with the fact I never have to grade a paper or give a test. And I only prepare two lesson plans per week. And my workday ends no later than 4:30 every day. No faculty meetings, no basketball games to announce, no parent conferences ...

Bonus Photograph: We sometimes joke in the States about stores having perpetual 'going-out-of-business-sales'. Well, the Hi-Mart (kind of like Circuit City) next door has been having a 'Grand Reopen Sale' for the last three months and counting. They put in new counters and shelves and set up a PA system outside, which a pretty young woman uses to yammer for hours on end about the good deals you can get inside.

Hi-Mart's Perpetual Grand Reopen Sale

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Java Jive

I love coffee, I love tea, but my preferred caffeine delivery system is a 20-oz bottle of Diet Dr Pepper.

Alas, not only do they not have Dr Pepper in Korea in any form, low calorie sodas are pretty hard to come by--virtually only found in national brand convenience stores like Family Mart and Buy the Way. Diet Coke is occasionally available as Coke Light, but most often you will find Coke Zero.

Well, surely you can just have a cup of coffee, then, I hear you say. Alas, Dear Reader, this too is hard to come by. I mean, a properly brewed cup of black coffee is hard to come by. A product called "Coffee Mix" is practically ubiquitous, though its exact relationship to coffee is shrouded in mystery.

Korea Times image of a 'coffee mix' sachet These thoughts are precipitated by an article in today's Korea Times detailing the Korean addiction to this concoction, which I initially found to be undrinkable. As with so many things, though, the passage of time softens the edges, and nowadays I meander down to Cheong-gi's studio on my first break, put two sachets of mocha mix in my mug and settle in for a smoke. Never think twice about it.

Well, okay, sometimes I think twice about it, or even three times, but I drink it anyway. The stuff comes in a foil tube which contains some instant coffee, some artificial creamer and some sugar. Each sachet is enough for about four ounces of water. You can also get it from vending machines (unironically branded "Teatime") for W200 (about 15 cents). Back to the article:
"It's housewives' job to do grocery shopping in most families. These consumers try to be frugal and tend not to spend much when purchasing product items like coffee, which are inessential," [said an office worker named Song]. "They can buy the cheap bulk instant coffee and I think this probably explains why sales records of the instant coffee brands are relatively good amid the economic downturn."

Ah, it's cheap. Frankly, I don't buy this argument, as Koreans are as sophisticated as any consumers--and they consume big-time. Besides, this is the stuff they buy even when times are good. No, it's weak, it's over sweet and it's simply what they like!

As for me, I don't have room for a coffeemaker in my flat, so I just keep a jar of Taster's Choice instant (no fake cream or sugar mixed in) and boil water in a saucepan, as needed. I do mix it, though ... with Kahlua, vodka, and a dribble of milk. I think I'll do that now, and listen to a certain song. This is a pretty decent a capella version by some folks at Hawaii Pacific University:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hump Day in the Seoul Patch

The weather can't seem to make up its mind--reminds me of Georgia. The temperature was in the low seventies over the weekend, then took a nosedive, with today's high being about 50. Last week had the same pattern--but at least it has the courtesy to be lovely on the weekend! It rained all day yesterday ...

Meanwhile, one of Young-il High School's spring rituals is underway, the intra-class soccer tournament. I only know this due to the fact that three of my classes this week have been cancelled because the students were to attend a soccer match out in the schoolyard.

Early in my career, I would have taken offense at such blatant disregard for the pursuit of academic excellence. Over twenty years in, I am still very jealous of my class time, but I take a more laid back approach. To everything.

Another complication to my lessons this week was a mysterious internet outage yesterday afternoon that seemed only to infect my computer. The whole second grade (that's high school juniors) lesson this week involves watching and identifying elements of video clips from romance movies. So we played a version of Twenty Questions, instead.

The first grade lesson is going pretty well, beginning with a ppt on food riddles. Each slide asks the riddle, then answers it, then explains it--word play doesn't translate but at least it can be used to build vocabulary. Maybe.

A few favorites:
* Why did the tomato turn red? It saw the salad dressing.
* What do you call cheese that does not belong to you? Nacho cheese.
* Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 - 8 - 9.
* What cheese is made backward? Edam.

One that absolutely no one understands, despite laborious explanation:
* What do you get from pampered cows? Spoiled milk.

Anyway, after that we have a ten minute 'listen and repeat' exercise with restaurant phrases, and finish up by drawing a multi-course Western style meal on a plate template, and then (in theory at least) critique one another's menu, a la Michelin Guide.

plate template
The favorite foods by far: steak and robster. Sometimes even together; can you say surf and turf?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Korean Baseball, Week 3

Mokdong Stadium
Three weekends, three baseball games. I know I said I wouldn't go this weekend, but you gotta understand--it's really inexpensive, convenient, and fun. With the usual suspects, I attended the Lotte Giants (from Busan) hosted by the Seoul Heroes, in Mokdong. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Deungchon-dong.

A quick cab ride to Dangsan Station (W4000), one stop to Yeongdeungpo-gu Office, transfer to the blue line for two stops to Omokgyo (W900), then a short walk. Well, not all that short, about fifteen minutes. General admission ticket, W9000. 16 oz beer, W3000. Total cost, up to first beer: W16,900 (USD 12.31). Even cheaper if I take the bus instead of a cab.

Compare that to a Braves game--and believe me, I'm not knocking the Bravos, or the Ted, here: 40 mi. drive by car @$0.35/mi. (USD 14.00). Parking, USD 5.00. Aggravation, priceless. Fifteen minute walk, if you find a really close lot. Cheap seats, USD 8.00. 16 ouncer, USD 6.00. Total cost: USD 33.00. And the price differential escalates with each additional beer, should I choose to have more than one, that is...

Now, you can argue that the quality of play is much better in the States, and of course it is. But whenever you have two evenly-matched teams, there will be some excitement. The Heroes are leading the league at the moment, and did not disappoint, as their bats awoke in the bottom of the third and drilled in four runs, sparked by a two-RBI stand-up triple down the first base line. Or so I'm told, as I chose the ten minutes of these events to take a smoke break.

Mokdong stadium holds 15,000 fans, home of the Seoul Heroes. They were the Woori Heroes last year (and the Hyundai Unicorns the year before last), but the company (the tobacco Woori, not the financial Woori) dropped its sponsorship for this season. Korean baseball teams are unabashedly controlled by the 'chaebol' that run things here--LG Twins, SK Wyverns, KIA Tigers, etc.

Salaries are pretty stable across the board, but are very low, in relative terms. This Korea Times article brags that over 100 Korean players will earn "nine digits" this season--the high figure quoted in the article is about USD 175,000; the average player makes around W85 million (USD 62,000). In comparison, the average player in the Japanese league earns 17 times more. This Chosun Ilbo story complains that at USD 375,000, the foreign player cap is set too low--each team is allowed two foreigners in the line-up.

I am not arguing that pro athletes should make more money--far from it. In fact, the absurd money "earned" by American athletes is a clear symptom of our American decline. And I see no reason that the American taxpayer should subsidize it--we do, you know. Our municipalities build stadia that will never pay for themselves and give hundreds of millions in tax breaks to the billionaire owners of our teams, which they can use to pay the athletes obscene money--the American sports market is totally socialist. Leave Obama alone and go after the Falcons/Yankees/Lakers!

Indeed, it looks to me like the Korean remuneration system has it about right--the baseball league has a parity that the Americans can only dream of: each of the eight teams has won the championship at least once (and all but the Hanhwa Eagles twice or more) in the league's quarter-century of existence. Eleven of the fifteen K-League soccer teams have won the title since its 1983 inception.

The downside of this is that the best Korean talent makes its way overseas. Man U is so popular here largely because 박지성 Park Ji-sung plays right wing at Old Trafford. Last week, the faculty lunchroom had a Japanese baseball game playing--I wondered why, until I learned there was a Korean pitcher in the game!

Andy, Nick, noisemakers, Hyperion Tower A
The Heroes are a little bit disorganized, and perhaps underfunded, as the fans had virtually no noisemakers at the start of the game. By the middle of the second inning, however, someone had noticed this and started giving away inflatable noisemakers. You can see the pair I snagged in the photo above. You can also see Andy and Nick. You can further see the tall building in the background, Hyperion Tower A, which is the second tallest building in Korea. 63 Building is NOT the tallest building in Korea, it is only the third tallest, despite what you will hear from almost everybody.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Saturday in Spring in Seoul

The weather today being what it was, I couldn't resist the opportunity to join my fellow Seoulites at their version of the National Mall--Yeouido Park. (If you click on 'Yeouido Park' in the Label Cloud to the right, you can see my other posts about the island.)

Yeouido was built on a sandbar in a turn of the Han River, which for centuries was an uninhabited pasture until used as an airstrip during the Japanese Occupation beginning in 1924. Military leader Park Chung-hee constructed a six-lane highway to the island in 1970 as part of a Han River beautification project, and development blossomed. Today, the island is home to headquarters of many of Korea's most powerful banks and chaebol, as well as the National Assembly and Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest congregation in Asia with 700,000 worshippers.

The Cherry Blossom Festival has just concluded, but cherry, azalea and others are still in full bloom.

In additon to the flowers, Yeouido Park also has several other features being enjoyed by Seoulites on a lovely spring weekend, like bicycle rentals ...

... pick-up basketball games ...

... and the carp pond.

Venturing north from the park, I snapped this great view of the opposing bank of the Hangang:

Wandering further, I followed some folks up a path to a hilltop immediately behind the National Assembly building, to find this delightful little park and sculpture garden:

A close-up look of the Assembly, on the path leading down the other side of the hilltop copse:

Looking the other direction, a view of the Hangang:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuttle Update for April 17

Hola, amigos! I know it's been a while since last time I rapped at ya, but I've been busy tryin' to keep myself dry in the shitstorm. [/classic Jim Anchower opening]

So, I have been watching the progress on my classroom--while faster than paint drying, it's still been plenty slow. In fact, my room won't be ready on Monday! The guys who hook up the SmartBoard will be in "next week". Chrissakes!

Still, I went and dropped about 70 grand on a half-dozen plants in Deungchon market to really make it look nice. I'll post pictures once I actually teach in the new room. Though I can tell you now it will be a pain to keep tidy, since, instead of tables, I have individual student desks, arranged in tables of four. The kids will constantly displace them, meaning I will spend five minutes after every class straightening up.

In other news, it is my opinion that the studio version of "London Calling" by The Clash is the best tune ever for pounding out the clicks on the elliptical trainer. I am no longer adding time to my workout--25 min on the stationary bike, 15 on the treadmill, and 35 on the elliptical. Instead, I try to increase the distance or the setting. Three months ago I thought I'd never exceed 19 km/h on that elliptical, nowadays I try not to go under 24. Progress is slowest on the treadmill, where pain in my left calf is still really limiting. I dl'ed a free exercise tracker at the beginning of the month to keep track. I wish I had dl'ed more weight by now, though!

I am writing to you from the main room of my favorite chicken hof while eating some fried chicken mild-uh and consuming mass quantities. I like this place. The food is great, the service good (for Korea) and they don't seem to mind this strange waygookin taking up a whole table and typing on his laptop. I can't wait until they start setting up tables on the sidewalk again--should be any day now, but we had a little cold snap in the second half of the week.

This weekend, after two straight at the ballpark, I'll be staying home, or at least closer to home. I may venture out to the Yeouido Festival during daylight--stay tuned to this channel for more!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another 'Meeting', A Different Duck

... this one of the Young-il first grade teachers. Mr Lee Gum-cheon told me about it at about 10 o'clock today, so I had to rearrange some things or else miss out on free food and alcohol.

As I mentioned yesterday (or tomorrow if you're reading down the page), I had no classes today, but had to come in just the same. I spent a part of the morning dozing off, until I was awakened by the principal knocking at my lonely office door, which is all the way down the corridor, the last left before the stairs.

"Come in!" I yelled, startled suddenly awake, brandishing the pen I was unconsciously grasping as if writing in the notebook open on my desk. "Come in!"

"Ah, Mister Cam-BRELL," he said upon entering. "How you like your new classroom?"

"Huh--wha--?" I said, dazed. "They finished?" It was 9:05 AM.

"Come see!"

Well, I did, only to find that the room was exactly as it had been when I arrived at 7:45, which meant the furniture mentioned in my last post had been unloaded and placed in the room, higgledy-piggledy, still wrapped in plastic. The computer gear was still boxed up.

Anyway, long story short, now that I was up, as it were, I made myself useful, and kind of grimy, by removing the plastic wrappers on all the desks and chairs. This was more arduous than it sounds. Somewhere in there, Mr Lee told me about the teacher meeting at 5:00; Mr Hwang came by as promised, and we went for galbitang; I ended up completing several errands and came back to school to find Miss Lee Cheong-hyun waiting for me outside my office--I was fifteen minutes early.

We went to a duck restaurant about a ten minute walk from the school, another Korean style place with floor seating, for a dish called something like garlic seasoned spicy grilled duck. I tried to memorize the Hangeul, but the computer won't let me type it, so obviously I got something wrong.

Anyway, the adjumma explained that this duck is fed garlic throughout its life so its meat will be infused with the flavor. It is then marinated in gochujang and cooked at your table with ddok, mushroom, potato slices, onion and herbs. In addition to the regular dishes of panchan, this is served with a bland vinegar-turnip kimchi soup, ice-cold.

After the meat is eaten (and it was really delicious), the adjumma then puts a bowl of leafy greens, rice, corn, chopped carrot and a handful of dried seaweed on the griddle where it soaks up the leftovers and fries up. Finally, a boiling bowl of jiggae is brought out, flavored with white pepper and leeks.

This is the third variety of duck I've had in Seoul; though it's hard to argue with the stuffed roast duck I had in December (or for that matter the table-grilled smoked duck in September), this may be the best so far. Still, Peking Duck in actual Peking has to top the duck list. Although, for duck shoes, I'll continue to go with LL Bean.

I hung back after many folks left to do a little drinking with Lee Gum-cheon, who was late due to playing soccer with his homeroom class. At about 8:30 we went down the road a little to a bar called Meka for 2nd course with about four other teachers, all young guys.

I'm not great with names, and I'm even worse with Korean names, so you'll just have to know there was a Mr Han, Mr Hyo, another Mr Lee and some other dude, who is a henpecked husband (with the Asian alcohol blush), who only stayed as long as he did because he dreaded going home to his wife. He agreed with this characterization.

We talked about Korean history, mainly, with Mr Lee translating, until the subject of makkuli came up. I am a well-known makkuli fan, as were two more of our congregation, so we moved on to 3rd round (w/o translator Lee) in a downstairs makkuli bar. Curiously, at this point, math teacher Mr Hyo, who had spoken about five words of English, seemed to become remarkably more proficient. While not up to the best Korean English teacher standard, he did just fine.

This is exactly what irks me about English here--everyone wants to speak the language, but no one wants to give it a try! As if one can miraculously absorb new linguistic structures like, say, articles, and suddenly master pronunciation of sounds completely absent from your native tongue.

Anyway, the 해물파전 haemul pajeon, or seafood pancake, at this place was even better than the one we get over in Bongcheon--loads of shrimp, not overcooked even though they were fried until the batter browned. The makkuli was good though not equal to that of the brewmaster of Bongcheon. And home before eleven!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Photos

Photo No. 1:
The continuing saga of my unfinished "English Only Zone" classroom, um, continues. Mr Lee Geum-cheon, titular head of the English Dept, told me on Friday that my classroom would be ready on Monday (today).

I smiled, and acted all excited, but I knew it wouldn't be so, even though they had delivered two big boxes that appear to be the SmartBoard and other such paraphernalia. For grins and giggles, I asked Mr Hwang on the way to school today if he thought my classroom would be ready.

"Oh, I think so," he answered, with a level of conviction I would give a 7 on a 1 - 10 scale. Gullible.

Needless to say, though I'm going to say it anyway, the room was virtually unchanged from Friday, when I had hopefully (well, to show them I was serious, and prepared for the new classroom) stapled up a bunch of information on the bulletin board labelled "English Information".

So, today, as I was leaving, I was pleased to see the truck I've photographed below outside my building. I am informed that it contains the furniture for my classroom, and perhaps even the office.

truck containing my classroom
Ironically, I learned today that I will have no classes on Tuesday (tomorrow) as the students are all taking mock-up exams. So perhaps I will be able to put this new classroom, or at least some furniture, in order!

Photo No. 2:
The new unit in the first grade textbook is about food, eating habits, poverty, etc. I dl'ed a powerpoint from Dave Duebbelweiss titled What People Eat, and added a component at the end about restaurants and restaurant foods. The endpoint of the lesson is a student survey of their classmates about their restaurant preferences and habits. In English, of course. [cough, cough]

Anyway, I decided to inform them about YUM Brands, the world's largest restaurant company, which has a strong presence in Korea--and about 80 other countries. KFC is the strongest American fast food brand here. Its popularity after arrival in 1984 is the source of Seoul's ubiquitous "chicken hofs" that pair fried chicken with draft beer--an Oriental Breweries import that arrived soon thereafter. And, as I have mentioned before (just look it up in the label cloud to your right), I am nicknamed the KFC grandfather (AKA Col Sanders) by the students.

At the appropriate point in my presentation, the following photo comes up:

KFC halabudgie

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More Neighborhood Art

This post provides photos of more public art I have seen in wandering around my neighborhood, following up on a post titled Neighborhood Art, back in November. Korean language inscriptions aren't usually helpful, but I've provided them when I could find them.

Deungchon Intersection Plaza:

걷는사람들: Which is something about mankind ...

In Front of An Apartment Complex:

축재: Which may mean 'My Personal Axis' or 'Ladder No. 2' or several other things, like 'My Personal Ladder' or 'Axis No. 2'...

Public Plaza: (small child sold separately)

In Front of Handi Art & Construction:

I know this is actually just the sign for the company, but it is pretty cool:

In Front of KoreanAir Headquarters: