Monday, May 18, 2009

Hitting for the Cycle

Gifts: Cool news today was that in celebration of Teacher's Day and Young-il Founder's Day at the end of last week, all teachers got some gifts, each one stamped, embroidered or otherwise impressed with the date and name of event. This seems to be standard procedure in Korea.

First, of course, was a box of tasty rice cakes (ddok)--the slogan here seems to be "Say It with Rice". There was also a high-quality umbrella, with the personalization burned into the wooden handle. Plus two--count 'em, two--gift towels.

These are gift towels number six and seven I have received so far (plus the Metro 9 one). It's a good thing, too, as it takes about that many to dry oneself after a shower. See, Korea has an extensive textile industry, so I will grant that the towels are high quality, plush and colorful. The ones I got today were coral, and pink. However, they are only 16 by 32 inches, a dimension that applies not just to gift towels, but almost any towels you can find here.

Full size towels, like you will find in the West, are available, but hard to find and as exorbitant as they are absorbent. It is a curious phenomenon, one discussed widely and at length by expats and their Korean friends. Why are Korean towels so uselessly small?

Of course, Koreans are defensive of their tiny towels, just as they are their minuscule table napkins, which aren't much bigger than an index card. "Waste not, want not," they will say, or would say, if they knew that expression. Still, if it takes four of them to get the job done, I doubt there's much savings involved.

So, why the small towels? No one so far has given me a really good answer, though the best I've heard so far is that they weren't really for drying yourself, but for wetting yourself. That is, farmers and laborers would soak the towels in cold water and wrap them around their necks and shoulders for the purpose of evaporative cooling. Back in the old days. Well, maybe.

Baseball: Anyway. This weekend was wet and cold, so naturally we went to a baseball game. Well, actually, we went on Sunday--joined by old pal Steve W--for a rare KBL doubleheader. It became a DH in order to make up a rain cancellation on Saturday.

Though the weather had been less than ideal, it cleared up, and warmed up, by Sunday afternoon, when Samsung Lions from Daegu came to Jamshil to play the Doosan Bears. The make-up began at two, to be followed by the originally scheduled game. Tickets for both was a reasonable 9,000 W.

If you have been following the blog very carefully, and I mean very carefully, you will recognize that this game represents an event of sorts: a trip through the batting order, going around the horn, hitting for the cycle. All of which is to say that I have now been to a game to watch each team in the entire league.

Granted, it's a league of only eight teams but Opening Day was April 4 and we've ventured no further afield than Incheon.

Lesson Plan: This week and next both classes will be doing a lesson on Jobs, ending next week with an English 'Job Fair'. I open this week's class with 'Sixteen Tons' by Tennessee Ernie Ford to warn them to study hard so they don't end up in a life like that--owing their soul to the company store. The truck system or debt bondage, as we call it today.

Just as a minor political point, you do realize that if it weren't for labor unions, this would probably be your lot in life today, right? An interesting New Yorker article is just out, illustrating Chief Justice John Roberts's ideological bias for big business and the executive branch over virtually all comers.

Next, students rate various factors for their importance to them in their future job preference, such as: challenging, fun, make the world a better place, etc. I also play a couple verses from George Thorogood's "Get a Haircut" to lead into some vocabulary on job interviews in preparation for the Job Fair next week. Finally, we do a survey activity for speaking practice.

Here is a final cautionary "tail": remember, there is an employee inside that suit!

sandwich board cow for galbi restaurant


Chris said...

A Metro 9 towel? As in the new 9-line Subway? I want one!!! -Chris

Tuttle said...

Yes, Line 9! Jealous, aren't you? Well, you needed to sign up for the prevew rides they gave earlier this month--it was our free gift.

Scroll down to my entry for May 10th and you can read all about it--with video footage!