Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

To Buy or Not to Buy

If you plan on staying long term in Korea, the issue on whether or not to buy an apartment may come up.

We tried to buy one a few years back.  We had found a great deal on a new place that was too sweet to pass up, or so we thought.

With Financials in hand, we approached several banks, who all told us the same thing: no home loans for waegs.  A couple were actually quite rude.

At the time, the F5sponseree was heavy with our second and wasn't bringing in much income.  Despite our savings, my steady earnings, our lack of debt, my visa status and the number of years I had been here, every bank said the same thing:

Not for waegs.

I was pretty steamed about it at the time.  I work hard to support my family, have a decent amount of savings, no criminal record or debt at all.  I dreamed of those bank managers going to my country and facing the same shit.  Problem is, if they were in the same position as me, they wouldn't have.

In the end however, it worked out for us.

We invested some of the cash, sent some of it out of country, and then watched as new apartment construction exploded in Wonju.  Despite there being already a market glut on apartments, so many new ones are being built.  Pure insanity.

After talking with many of my Korean and waeg buddies, I'm glad the bank told us to go fuck ourselves.  Almost everyone I know who bought is now moaning about how they are locked into a slab of concrete that has depreciated since they bought it.  They'd lose 10-20% on their place, if they could sell it.  No one is buying.  The complex that we originally looked at has seen the prices on their apartments go down by 1500-2000 manners per unit.

The moral of the story?  Sometimes when other people are severely infected with the human stupidity virus, it can work out for you.

Snakes!

Last night once the kids were asleep the waeg dads sat around and had a few beers.

Talk came around to snakes in Korea, and just how dangerous some of them can be.

I shared a story of seeing a Huge Green Bastardtm over two meters long that moved insanely fast when I walked by it.

Totally freaked me out.

In a fine show of oneupmanship, one of the other waeg dads pulled out his IPhone and said lookey here:
Not the actual photo, and maybe a different species, but you get the point
He had actually seen a pit viper.  I googled that this morning and sure enough, pit vipers can be found in Korea.  I knew there were some nasty snakes, but watch out for this one!

Most of the snakes I've seen in Korea are the small green garter snake variety, although I did see a small black one about 2 weeks ago, about half a meter long. And of course the Huge Green Bastardtm

To bring the discussion to a new level, I challenged Mr. Snake Picture by talking about how that snake would probably be damn tasty, and of a trip to Taiwan where I drank snake blood and ate a nice fat rattler.  In your face!

The discussion changed to the wisdom of buying an apartment in Korea. . .

Halloween!

Halloween was a blast!

Even more so for the 20 or so rugrats.

Ghouls! Witches! Enough sugar to induce insulin shock in a herd of bull elephants!

We've already started making plans for next year.  The kids need to get what halloween is all about.

Its not about getting a year's supply of candy, or toilet papering an entire block, or fooling around with a feel box or bobbing for apples.

No no no.

It's about endurance!

I remember walking for miles and miles, extra large pillow case slung over my back.  That was a workout!  You'd push yourself until exhaustion, just so you could get a few more houses.  You knew that every step away was one more you'd have to walk back, but still on you went.  As one of my waeg buddies said last night, you had to hold out until people ran outta candy: then they'd start handing out change.  That way you could get a pile of candy and enough money to buy something really fun!

So we're working on getting more houses set up for trick or treaters.  Times like this living in a waeg ghetto would be an advantage.  But there's no way I'm taking the kids anywhere near haebangchon.

The girls are sorting out all their candy.  They've got it divvied by flavor, organized by color.  They pooled all of it, which is nice.  I used to do that too, but then we got more selfish seeing as I'd invariably end up with all the best stuff.  Go figure.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cleaning!

This morning I had to clean out the famvan.

All the camping gear was still in there from the summer.

I'll be ferrying around a bunch of kids tonight for trick or treating.  It took me nearly 2 hours to get the famvan in reasonable shape.

I had forgotten how much stuff we actually had.

Almost all of it manufactured in the ROK!

Kovea hwighting!

Actually, I really like my camping gear.

We spent 9 days total camping in August.

I know some great spots.  I always stay away from the popular autocamping places.  One nice spot I know is a short 2 km trek from the road.  There is a nice clean mountain stream with a cool sandy pool and a great flat spot for setting up my beast of a tent.  Great for kids.  The best thing?

Hardly anyone ever goes there.

Camping isn't really a huge deal in Korea, although there are definitely some enthusiasts.  Still, my idea of camping involves not having my tent tied up to my neighbors poles.

Friday, October 29, 2010

So Many kinds of Wrong





Halloween theme!

I want a random youtube video generator!

Update!

So Many Many kinds of wrong.  Especially the video.

Dokdo Is Ours: I am Want Explain the Visa is Prostitute but English teacher HIV still.


Reading Time

As soon as I had finished posting on Freedom, the youngest came and asked me to read some books.

The F5sponseree was totally passed out, so I rose to the task.

I vetoed the Hello Kitty shite and the Clifford the ginormous dog tripe.

We read four books.  This one was a new one to me.

Its an old one, but has a great multicultural slant: the humans are a mixed bag.  The hero is an old Chinese guy.

Not bad for 1957.

Highly recommended.

Freedom!

After a grueling two weeks, I have finally finished two major projects.

I actually got home at a reasonable hour tonight!

My brain is completely my own for the next 6-10 hours.

So what am I going to do?

No going out!  Tomorrow is going to be super fun day with the kids!  Can't go into full on mode!

We have costumes to make, a pumpkin to carve, people to see.

I haven't entirely decided what I'm going to do, but I'm quite sure it will involve at least part of that left over bottle of Jack.  I see you there!

Tease!

I'll probably post some more random youtube links later.

Stay tuned!

Mr. Happy!

A reader by the name of TheTodd asked me a question here.  He seems to think that we may know each other from back in the day.  He also wondered if I looked down on E2 visa English teachers, and what I do for a living.

Seeing as I'm caught up for this week, let me attempt an answer.

TheTodd:

I think you may have me confused with someone else although I wonder how, since as it is clearly visible, my awesomeness automatically excludes the potential for douchebaggery.  The person you describe in your post is obviously a douchebag, and thus we are not the same person.

I am not down on E2 Visa folks.  I used to be one.  I did the ESL circuit for a few years.  Then I got out.

I got tired of being characterized as this:

I think you have to the longer you stay in country, if you wish to preserve your sanity.  Or what's left of it.

I sympathize with my E2 brothers and sisters.  I know how soul crushing it can be selling out to some institute owner and singing ABCs playing hangman all day, going home to your small box of an apartment, being told you have AIDS, are a cancer only here to exploit, pillage and rape.

That can get to a person after awhile.

In fact, its enough to drive anyone completely bonkers in short order.

Luckily, many Koreans don't think that way, so take some comfort!

As for where I'm from or what I do, I'm sorry TheTodd, but that information is confidential.

I've been around the Korean blog circuit long enough to see what happens to waegs  posting about living in Korea.  Any waeg who has been here long enough has ample stories of threats against livelyhood or family made by crazies who think waegs should just be quiet.  We recently lost Mr. Wonderful himself!  His last post in still in Google cache, but I'll repaste here in case its lost:

Recently, I received a threat from a Korean netzien claiming that he and his buddies are going to track me down and run my name through the mud because they don't like An Idiot's Tale.

The internet is anonymous. So the guy who made this evil promise might actually be a white dude pretending he's a netzien.

Who knows?

If he is Korean, his anger is ironic.

I have the most pro-Korean blog on the peninsula.

I enjoy living on the peninsula. Plus I've always had a healthy affection for Her people.

Shit! I married a member of the tribe.

I think my twisted love-affair with the ROK comes through strongly in my blog.

But let's face facts. Netziens are crazy bullies who have literally driven people to suicide.

Furthermore, I have a family. So I can't take these threats lightly.

It would be different if I had the talent of Ernest Hemingway. Then I would have to continue writing for the good of mankind.

But I don't possess that type of skill. I'm just an entertaining hack killing time between classes.

I have no right to put The Dragon Lady and The Children of the Rice in jeopardy over a stupid website.

Some of you might call me a pussy. And maybe I am.

But there's no way in fucking hell that I want to face the ire of the Korean internet community. They'll rip poor old Mr. Wonderful a new asshole.

I'm scared. Plain and simple.

Nobody is more saddened by this sorry state of affairs than me.

However, all things must come to an end.

And I'm afraid it's time to kill An Idiot's Tale for the well-being of my family.

I'm not 100 percent certain. But I don't see any other option.

Anyway, best wishes.

And Blian Golden Balls to you all.

As for me being like Mr. Wonderful, I thank you for the generous compliment, even though I think its an exaggeration.  Mr. Wonderful is impossible to imitate, and to do so would be in poor taste and a hack job at best.  I do hope he comes back soon, since not only is he fun to read but I got a lot of traffic from his site.  With his new job he should clean out the pictures of himself and his wife from the blog though.  That kind of thing can come back and bite you in the ass later.

Anyway, if you don't like the name F5waeg, just call me Mr. Happy

He Looks Damn Happy!

Bloodsuckers!

This post isn't about your typical institute owner.

No, this post is about the scourge of autumn:

It always seems to be in fall when these little whores insects are at their worst.

The ones with the blue bodies are the worst: getting stung by one of those leaves a huge nasty welt.

They come in through the drains.  You can spray the drains daily with enough F-Killa to down a medium size dog, but still they come.  One of our bathrooms is on the master bedroom, so we have to keep the door closed at all times so as to not inhale all the toxins I spray and to keep the bloodsucking fuckers out.

Even still, as soon as you hit the pillow, they divebomb your head repeatedly, and you wake up in the morning with bruises from slapping yourself in the face so many times.

Last night was no exception.

The F5sponseree, bless her, decided to try out a new solution: apparently, if you place drops of peppermint essential oil around the bed, this will keep the little bloodsucking beasts away.  This is one reason I like to keep some peppermint and spearmint plants growing in my balcony garden, it does repel some of the bugs.  If this worked, I woulda been ready to pour a barrel of the shit down every single drain in the house.

Thing is, as she was flicking drops of peppermint around the bed, she flicked a nice fat drop right into my eye.

FUCK that stang.  I rinsed my eye out for more than 10 minutes.  In the process I'm sure 50 more of the little fuckers flew into our room.

My eye burned for a good 4 hours.  During that whole time, little whining bloodsucking flying beast fucks kept at me. 

I'm a little tired today.

But my eye is better.

Time for coffee.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween!

Halloween is right around the corner.

I don't know who is more excited, me or the girls.

The eldest wants to go as a ghost.  The youngest as a ballerina.

Lame!

I'm failing as a father!

What we need is a readjustment in possibilities:





































Why go as a ghost when you can be Ebola Ghost?  Why settle for ballerina when you can be Zombie Ballerina??!!

The F5sponseree gave me an evil look, so I thought I better drop it then. 

But I still have a couple of days to see where it goes. . .

GMarket!

Yesterday I was talking with a buddy of mine.  He just moved into a new place and was laughing at the amount of texts he was receiving from his wife about all the stuff she was buying on GMarket.

I can relate.  The F5sponseree goes a little crazy there from time to time.  She lost her password for a while which was ok by me.

Luckily she remembered it in time to buy all the cool halloween stuff we got this year.

Ebay bought it in 2009, but they haven't integrated the two sites.  I know a guy who makes a pretty decent living by buying on GMarket and selling on Ebay.

I don't often go there myself, but you should.  Spend lots of money.  Tell them F5Waeg sent you.

This has been a paid advertisement brought to you by GMarket all rights reserved 2010

A = X

I found this funny little site the other day.

It's called pictures of Muslims wearing things

I thought it quite amusing, especially when I saw this guy:

I can feel your pain brother.

People tell me what I should be all the time.

It sure is a blast to have a listen.

Do I let it get me down?

Hell no!

Do I start ranting or take an extreme position?

Never!

Can I understand?  I'm sure many would say no.  I am white.

But I do know I'm not going to let anger rule my world.  Life's too short.  And it doesn't really make you feel any better in the end, no matter how justified you may feel.

Been there, done that.  It's a mug's game.

Listen: stupidity is a universal human condition.  You will find stoopid people no matter where you go.

But there are many who aren't.  Those are the ones you make friends with, the keepers.

I have some great friends in Korea.  Known them for years.  They've really helped me out, and I've tried to repay the favor whenever I could.  I've also tried to pass it forward.

Am I going to ignore stoopid shit?  Most of the time.  Other times I'll open my Big Mouth when I should just keep it shut.  What can you do?  I'm not exempt from the universal human condition.

Not walking around angry all the time is a good start.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Me and My Big Mouth

Sometimes people say all kinds of crap without thinking about it too much.

This blog is a case in point.  I just speak my mind, when I should just sit quietly.

Today I was feeling kinda snarky.  I shoulda just kept quiet at lunch.

A new guy kept marvelling at how well adjusted the waegs at work seemed.  He thought most waegs in Korea were losers who couldn't make it back home.  He said he often read in the newspaper how waegs were essentially a bunch of trouble makers.

But we were different.  For example, we could use chopsticks oh so well

wrong!
Now usually, many folks won't draw attention to my awesome chopstick skilz when they find out I've been here ten years.  This guy was one of those who will.  I fully anticipate that his next comment is going to be how I eat my kimchi "just like Korean", so I jump in:

Hey thanks!  Ah, but I see you use your chopsticks different from me.  You use your index and middle finger.  I use my two middle fingers.  My way is considered the best for a person's Ki.  Did you know this is the way the Chinese Royal family used chopsticks?

I have no idea if this is true.  When I first learned how to chopstick at the tender age of 18 from the woman who ran the Chinese restaurant I worked at, this was the line she fed me. 

I have used it before, to great comedic effect.

Still, this guy looked put out.  I think he may be sore at me.  I hope he'll understand that ignorance and stupidity are a part of the universal human condition, and we can put it behind us to form a lasting and productive work relationship.

The Mother-in-Law

I spoke a bit about my Mother-in-Law here

She lives with us, although most weekends she takes off.

Some of my waeg buddies can't believe that I'm cool with her living with us.

Why not?  She's pretty kind, makes great kimchi, helps the F5sponseree with the kids, and generally doesn't bother me too much.

When she does get on my case, for example to tell me how I shouldn't drink so much, or how I should quit smoking, I suddenly forget how to speak Korean.

She's trigged on to that one though: now she just gets one of the girls to tell me. 

She has had a shit life.  About a grade 5 education, growing up on a farm, husband incarcerated for several years during the Park Chung Hee era, sacrificing everything to raise her kids. . . I'm not going to give that woman any grief.

Did I mention she makes great kimchi?  Well, she does. 

She spends most of her days watching soaps on our 42" HDTV, hanging out with her halmoni buddies, or cooking. 

Every now and then I slip her an envelope with some cash in it.  I don't know if she gets that its supposed to be for her to have some fun, since inevitably she'll spend the next day and a good chunk of the cash whipping up some kamja tang or kalbi. 

I just say thanks and eat.

She's alright.  She's good to the girls, and doesn't mind when a troup of waegs shows up at the door.   So I got lucky there.

Some of my waeg buddies ask me if I don't feel outnumbered.  4:1 female / male is a skewed ratio.  I suppose it could be a problem for a guy with less awesomeness, or a weak sense of masculinity.

Not this waeg.

I have my man den (future post!), and I know when to be flexible and when to be a dick.  Generally though, I only have to act the latter once a month or three, so its all good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nice Girls

At work there is this very Nice Girl.

She's bright, more intelligent than many of the other people I call colleagues. 

She graduated from a Good School.  She got Good Grades.

But she has a problem:

Lack of Self Esteem.

You see, despite her great pedigree and many opportunites, most of the men in the office steer a wide berth.

For one, she's too bright, and shows it.  Her tongue can cut steel.

For another, she's probably about 8-10 kilograms overweight.

In other words, she doesn't fit the image of the ideal Korean woman:


When asked, the guys at work say she's too much like a man and needs to lose weight.  However, If I wasn't already taken, I'd seriously consider it.  I see a gem in the rough.

But there is a problem.

She's becoming bitter, and reminds me of another Nice Girl I knew in my first year in Korea.

Hanna worked as the secretary of the institute that first employed me in the great ROK.  Competent, organized, capable. . .too capable.  She was 32 and unmarried, about 60-62 kgs, which is considered heavy for a Korean woman.  When asked by anyone who had taken the time to know her, her response was that she was still single because she didn't want to be someone's housekeeper.  Harsh.  Really it was because most guys would pass her over as not being sufficiently 'feminine'.

She proceeded to date most of the male waeg teachers at the institute until she was able to convince one of them to marry her for 2000 manners.  That's right, she paid some 26 year old guy nearly $20000 for a marriage of convenience.  She wanted out.

Now Doug was a slimball.  He knew that he had his lady over a barrel, and he took full advantage.  Hanna had no illusions as to the nature of their relationship, so either accommodated him or simply turned a blind eye.  All she cared about was that residency card.  I won't go into all the slimy, sordid details seeing as this is a family oriented site, but let's just say that she more than earned that get out of Korea card. 

While still married, Doug came back to teach at a different institute while Hanna stayed back and got certification as a pharmacy technician.  Doug certainly lived the life!  When Hanna found out what he had been up to, she promptly divorced his ass.  See, despite the original transactional nature of their relationship, she'd actually come to like the bastard.  Too bad for her.

Now she lives doling out pills and generally hates men. 

The moral of the story?  You got to be right with yourself.  I don't judge Hanna for wanting something more, and perhaps she is happier where she is now.  But she never has found a way to be right with herself, and is still bitter. 

I really hope the Nice Girl at work doesn't end up the same.

Where's my wallet?!

I knew that I was going to run out of cigarettes, but I figured I could drive the 4 miles to the nearest store to get my Dunhills after dinner.  After filling myself with kimchi, rice, fish soup and pork, I popped the manner the F5sponseree gave me yesterday into my pocket, turned up the stereo, and booted 'er down the hill in the famvan.

The flaw in my cunning plan quickly became apparent when I looked at the gas gauge.  Of course I didn't do this until I was pretty much at the bottom.  And of course I had left my wallet in the office.

I suppose this would be an excellent time to point out that I should quit, thus avoiding such situations, but I just love filling my lungs with that delicious carcinogenic Dunhill awesomeness.

Luckily, I have a regular gas station I like to go to:

Worst. Name. For a Gas Station.  Ever.
The nice man at the S-Oil listened to my explanation, and said hey no problem, waesang is ok.  This basically means I'll pay you next time.  Its good that I usually go to the same spot and have thus built up a nice rapport with the local pump jockey.

Still, I do have to wonder how much forethought went into choosing the name S-Oil.  It does seem the most fitting name for a gas station, though, don't it?

Pumpkin!

Total Score!

On the way to work I found a nice old lady selling pumpkins on the side of the road.

Total: 5000 won.

I was worried that I wouldn't have time to grab one for this weekend, as I promised the girls we'd carve one out for halloween.  Now I'm good. 

I find the pumpkins in Korea are a lighter orange than the ones back home.

Anyway, you should never call a Korean woman a pumpkin.  Hobak is a nasty term to describe an overweight and ugly girl.  Just a head's up.

There used to be a nightclub in town called hobak.  It was considered one of the better places to go.  Back in the day they had Russian women pole dancing topless.

Those were the days!

Funny thing was if you wanted to get a private room, the waegs would pay more for a Korean hostess, while the Koreans would pay more for a Russian hostess.

That's smart business!  The owners of that club were pretty savvy!

Now it's a pretty lame place, although I haven't been to a nightclub in town for quite some time.  I hate going to those places just to be refused entry, which is usually what happens.  The last time was kind of embarrassing: a friend of mine had come up from Daejon with his brother in law.  We decided to hit the nightclub.  Two waegs and one Korean.

They said only Koreans.

It was odd.  We weren't drunk, were dressed well, three handsome guys with cash.

No dice.

Guess I'll have to save the nightclub ventures for when I go to Seoul.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Ride!

On my way home tonight I was flagged down by one of the workers at the factory next to the office.

He asked if he could get a ride into town.  Being a nice guy, I happily obliged him.

He was very thankful.  There were about 15 thank yous in the space of 5 minutes.

No problem, dude.

Then he apologized for speaking in Daegu satori.  Satori is basically a regional dialect.  Every province has one.  One of my waeg buddies speaks in perfect Gangwon satori.  I like to tease him about it.  Hes been working on cleaning it up, but he learned it on his in-laws farm, and old habits are hard to break.

Now, some of this guys words were a bit odd, but I had no problem and told him so.  He was amazed I could understand him so well.  Hey no problem my man! 

The only satori I've ever had trouble with was Jeju.  That's like an entirely different language!

In a spirit of comradery, I tried to make a funny: I like Daegu, I said.  Its pretty damn tasty:

Pacific Cod.  Yummy!
He didnt laugh.

Things got a bit frosty.  He asked me where I was from.  I changed the subject and turned up the Pink Floyd.  I took him into town and dropped him off where he needed to go.

I like picking up hitchhikers in Korea.  My favorite story was the time I picked up this halmoni in the middle of nowhere.  As she got in the famvan a powerful wave of ganja came in with her.  It was overpowering, and judging by the rustling of paper bags under her coat, Im sure she was carrying.  She really had no idea where she was going, and led me all over the place.  After doubling back a couple of times, I eventually dropped her off about 3 miles from where I picked her up.

Hitchhiking isnt the same as back home; dont stick out your thumb for one.  Just wave at passing cars the same way you would a taxi.  Someone will eventually stop and pick you up, and you can meet some interesting people that way.  Caveat: it only works if youre in the countryside somewhere.

Breakfast Lunch and Dinner!



I would vote for this guy.

Magic Green Potion!



I can't believe this stuff is legal!

This is not an energy drink for girly men.

This is Ya!



This week is crunch week.  There was a big project due last week, but this week's makes that look juvenile.  It's times like this that I happily down a can of Ya!

I used to use Bacchus D.

That stuff is old school for old people. 

Ya! not only contains taurine, guarana, caffeine and the standard litany of stimulants; it also contains ginseng, hongsam and royal jelly!  grrrrrr!!!  Dae Han Min Gook Fighting!!!!

And its green!

AWESOME!

Let me say that again:

AWESOME!!!

Now if I can just slow down the vibration enough to focus on the computer screen, I'll be set!


please send the free case for advertising to my address thank you.

Chicken!

This morning I played the Korean version of chicken for the 12000th time.  The outcome of every game is never predictable, which makes it a very fun game to play.

Some streets in Korean cities are nice and wide.  But many look like the picture on the left. 

If you find yourself playing a game of chicken, remember that the flow of traffic arrows painted on the road are only suggestions, and do not indicate which person should have the right of way.

This is great since if a particular street is a good shortcut, feel free to gun down it at mach 4.


Now some may argue that the person with the most expensive or biggest car is automatically the winner in a game of chicken.

Poo poo to that I say. 

If you find yourself playing chicken, the best thing to do is to simply not move and hope that another car comes up behind you.  Whoever gets the most cars piling up behind them is the obvious winner.  You should never honk or curse at the car facing you, since the people piling up behind will do so for you.  This way you get to keep serene and you don't lose face.  If the driver of the car facing you begins cursing and honking, the best bet is to just stare impassively at them.  This will only make them freak out more.  You will thus win the game of chicken, even if you end up having to maneuver your vehicle into some small nook.

However, if possible, under no circumstances should you try to move over to let a car pass.  If you do this, the cars that come behind you will simply box you in and drive past, thus costing you valuable time and face.

And remember, if you are the one who must back down and move, be sure to glare at the drivers as they pass.  Since you lost the game of chicken, you can at least take consolation in that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So Many kinds of Wrong

I was cruisin around youtube, looking for some videos for the girls. I ended up finding these instead:




That second one may get played when they're a bit older.

This link is totally worth it.  Not to mention this one.

Woo boy!

Choi Min Sik!

Choi Min Sik is my favorite Korean actor.

Why? He's ugly and would never carry a murse.

He's got bad ass written all over him.

Here is a picture of him in one of my favorite Korean movies.  Most people know of him as the star of Old Boy.

Too many Korean actors are pretty boys with no character.  Dime a dozen metrosexuals who wear too much pink and makeup, and who can't act.


Choi Min Sik can act.  His characters are usually completely intense.  And I've never seen him wear pink.

Now why not write a post about my favorite Korean actress you say?  Soon, people! Soon!

Narrowing that down to just one is a lot tougher.

And I felt the need to get this out there first.

I worry that all the estrogen in the tofu and pomegranate juice is emasculating a whole generation of Korean guys.  Combine that with a male media image that is the antithesis of masculine, and you have the only explanation you need for the declining birth rate in Korea.  God forbid one of my daughters comes home with something like that on her arm!  Or a starcraft pro-gamer, god, NO!

Choi Min Sik is cool.  'Nuff said.

Meltdown!

Yesterday after dinner I got drunk.

Really drunk.

I found this bottle of Jack Daniels lying around, and what started as just a single drink turned into 600 ml.

I think I may have a problem.  Isn't admitting it the first step to something?

Anyway, I had a meltdown over at the Marmot's.  Usually I avoid posting shit on blogs when drunk.  I went over there to post in the open thread to steal some of his traffic.

I am a total attention whore.

Still, I got a little carried away.  I had watched a program on kids in Britain having sex, and was like woopdeedoo.  Of course teens have sex.  Or try to.  I did think it funny that most of the girls they interviewed for the program were, ahem, overweight.  Guess nothing improves the self esteem like taking some dick.

I had been thinking about my girls' future here in the ROK.  I'm torn.  This place is definitely a male centered world.  Many of my Korean friends are women (much to the annoyance of the F5sponseree, future post!), and they tell me some of the shit they have to deal with when working in an office.

Then I take a walk around and see all the room salons, massage rooms, prostitute cards lying on the ground. . .

Having two girls who are going to be complete hotties when they age does strange things to a man.  They'll also have the half white thing goin on, which'll translate into a ton of guys rutting after em for it.

But I'm not going to keep a shotgun by the door.  Maybe a huntng rifle with scope, but just to wing the bastards.

I just got to be there for my girls, be friendly, and teach em right.

But, I should apologize for the meltdown.  I'm awesome enough to do it:

I'm sorry.

Have a good night!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where's the Kimchi?! Update!

Earlier this week, I posted  on the how-the-price-of-cabbage-is-totally-fucked buzz.

Good News!

Apparently, thanks to an influx of subpar Chinese cabbage and a better than anticipated fall harvest (!), the price of a head of the leafy stuff has fallen from 14000 won to about 3000 won.

Color me surprised!  And elated!

Looks like I can expect some fresh cabbage kimchi soon!  And it won't necessarily be Chinese cabbage!  Woo!

I am sooo glad I didn't horde the shit like I'm sure some did.  No Volvo for you!

Now some waeg at work said: I can tell the difference between Chinese and Korean cabbage.  That is some fine enviable bullshitin skilz!  I was totally jealous that I didn't think of it first!

But honestly the only thing I can tell the difference between is those who can make kimchi well and those who can't.  And whether they let the cabbage grow enough before they dig it outta the ground.

shhhh!

It's important to keep peaceful and harmonious relations.

Anyway, my fave kimchi is still the gat kimchi, or mustard leaf kimchi:

I don't know whether its a mustard leaf as advertised, or some leaf silk mustard wtf, but it sure is tasty.

Although when the Mother-in-Law adds fresh oysters to the cabbage kimchi, I experience something nearly akin to Pure Deliciousness.

All this talk certainly does ignore the fact that I'm payin way too much for local food, however.

Farmers!  Grow a serious cash crop or GTFO!

Electronica!

Right now I feel like sayin fuck guitars. Mostly.

This'll probably change in about 26 minutes



Emart!

I went to the Emart in my town for the first time in two months.  As usual, I ended up spending too much money.

I'm no Emart aficionado, but the one in my town sucks ass.

Now you kids out there may want to pay attention, this post will serve as an example on how to get sued in Korea.  No bad mouthing anything!

As I was saying, the Emart in my town truly blows.  The fruit and vegetables inevitably come with their own colony of fruit flies, the staff are usually surly, if we go too often the girls start humming the 'Happy, Happy, Emarteu!' song at home, and everything is outrageously expensive.

I'm a Costco guy.  I go once every 4-6 weeks to stock on what I need (future post).  If I need anything else during the week or fresh vegetables, I usually hit the Hanaro mart not too far from my place or head down to the early morning 5 day markets for amazingly fresh and cheap produce.

Emart is considered kind of special because they carry stuff like Australian cheese, imported beer and coffee.  This was why I went this time: I needed more java and didn't feel like going to one of the rotisseries in town and have no time for the next two weeks to hit Costco.  There is great coffee to be had in my town, but the rotisseries sell it for 6000 won per 100 g.  I thought I could do better at Emart.

I could have, if I wanted to drink hazelnut flavored Blue Mountain shite.  I truly despise hazelnut.

So I took a chance and bought two bags, one Columbian the other Ethiopian.  Total cost: 22000 won for 450 grams.  Shoula gone to one of the rotisseries.  This was made very plain as soon as I opened one of the bags this morning.  Before even grinding it, I knew it was too old and was third rate coffee.

This was the second time I've been to Emart in about 5 months.  I've noticed that they've begun stocking a more diverse selection of wares, such as dried cranberries, hot sauces and other western style goods.  Almost exactly what you can find at Costco in fact, although the portions are smaller, cost a LOT more, and are generally grossly inferior in quality.  Although that Australian cheese is pretty damn fine I will admit.  9400 won for a small block.

Anyway, some people like to wax on about the Emart and how it is so cheap and awesome.  Nuts I say.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bidet!

After dinner I took a prodigious shit.  I didn't think it possible for a single human to excrete that much feces.  Immediately after I felt exhausted and strangely buoyant.
 
It's times like those that I love my bidet.

Once you use one of these bad boys, you'll never be satisfied with mere paper again.

Not only do you feel completely clean afterward, but you never have to worry about klingons or smearing after a particularly nasty dump.

I never use paper unless it's a serious emergency, or only as a final clean up after the jet of pure mountain water rinses my asshole clean. 

If I can't use a bidet, I'll use the shower nozzle instead of paper, which makes a standard Korean bathroom awesome due to the drain in the floor.

It's no fun going to a house with no drain in the bathroom floor, since you have to hop into the bathtub; it really sucks if the shower nozzle is fixed to the wall.

Bathrooms in fairly modern apartments all come with at least the drain in the floor and detachable shower nozzle.  Pure Awesomeness!

Me and My Big Mouth

Sometimes people say all kinds of crap without thinking about it too much.

This blog is a case in point.  I just speak my mind, when I should just sit quietly.

Today I was feeling kinda snippy.  I shoulda just kept quiet two times today.

The first time I shoulda just put a sock in it was when a coworker asked me why was it that place names always ignored the original pronunciation or name when written in English.  Florence Italy shouldn't be called that for example. 

I thought about my buddies who live in Illinois, California, Hawaii, Quebec, Canada. . .

Sure, something gets lost when you put it into its romanized form I said, but I don't think there is a single reason why names get changed.  Kimchi is still kimchi however.

Then I asked him about his trip to Hoju, or how his cousin was doing in Mi Gook.  And how I wouldn't mind if my friend from Kaenada would come visit me this weekend.

I think he may be sore at me now.  Hopefully he won't keep being mad at me for long.  He is a nice guy and I like talking with him.

The second time was when another coworker and I were talking about the greenhouse effect.  His view was that America and other developed countries should pay to help less developed countries develop as a means to atone for their history of colonialism.  This way we could prevent further destruction and stop global warming.

Now I could see his point to a certain extent, but America and most other developed countries are bankrupt or in hock to China.  You can't get blood from a stone.

I said businesses act like businesses no matter where they are from.  Korea's no different.  All big business should pitch in following your logic.

No no he assured me, Korea is a special case.  We aren't finished developing yet.  We're kind of in between.  Korean companies need protection.

I know, I love paying 3000 won for an apple as a show of support for the rural life.

But, I mused allowed, would a Malagasy think that about Daewoo Logistics?  I wonder how those touched by the Korean Fisheries Industry would see it.  Oddly, he had no opinion.

Now, stupidity is a universal constant, and I'm hoping these two guys won't hold a grudge against me and that their panties aren't in a knot about it.  From experience, these types of conversation never end well.  You can't win and its best to just smile.  When will I ever learn?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Home!

So I caved and didn't do any of the shit I planned for my extra work schedule.

This will cause problems since I'll have to do double time to catch up over the next few days. 

But kamja tang, playing cards with the kids, and the Max were calling.  You deserve a break today!

All work and no play, so they say.

I'm four beers in spiked with a mini Jack I found hidden in my authentic Tilley hat in the famvan.

We played crazy 8s.  All three of us won a game, imagine that.  While playing I stealthily implanted the idea that watching Here comes Science for the 8000th time was what they totally wanted to do.  While they did that I watched a vapid movie called Jonah Hex.

I was prepared to trash it.  It was more enjoyable than anticipated.  I love that cultural appropriation shit where the white guy steals some skewed version of Native spirituality and adds guns and a bad ass attitude.  Avatar was awesome.

I gave the girls a break from their homework tonight cuz the eldest was feeling under the weather.  I kept thinkin of those little shits I saw earlier that pulled that Hi Hello crap on me.  I thought of this:



The eldest has had Gabe classes, art classes, Korean language classes and gone to a cooperative kindergarten before hittin grade 1.  We send her to this small elementary school in the countryside so she won't be freaked out by spiders and snakes.

The youngest gets art and the cooperative kindergarten.  The Gabe toys are now uncool, since payin the teacher to come in often misses the point.  The teachers just prompt the kids to build stoopid shit that can be shown off as results to the parents.  Still, playtime is fun, and we haven't ruled it out.  The youngest aint too freaked out by spiders and snakes naturally, but she'll still do the small school in the country.  Fuck the moms' associations at all the trendy elementary schools.

Total cost per month: 100 manners.  That doesn't include the encyclopediae, books, puzzles and toys.  That's cheap.  We get a deal on Korean classes, since the F5sponseree is an F5sponseree, and we don't get gouged on English.  Luckily we're only paying for one to go to the cooperative kindergarten right now.

I know some families that pay 200-300 manners a month per kid.  Insane.

Fluent English speaking is essentially the equivalent of learning Chinese 6-8 hundred years ago. 

I'm sure there are plenty of smart kids from poor families out there that are totally getting fucked by it. 

I'm definitely not going to spend that on basic education for my girls.  I am gonna teach them how to figure it out for themselves.  This seems to be a problem for most Korean kids.

They expect to be told how to do it, what with all the teachers, institutes, and Confucianism weighing down heavy on em.  Not to mention rags informed by  the likes of No Cut News.

The free spirited ones with their own ideas get lost in the cracks.

Here's hoping that noise changes.

Daddy are you coming home?

Not my kid but mine have been trained since about this age
My eldest just called.  She wanted to tell me the Mother-in-Law had made kamja-tang.  I love that shit.  She also wants me to come home early and play rummy and crazy eights.

She just loves to play cards, and sometimes I even let her win. My youngest still has trouble holding eight cards in her hand, but was chiming in with her sister.  It was a nice call to get, but sorry kids, daddy needs to stay at work a bit longer tonight.

My eldest has no problem dialing me up and making such a request.  Her mom, the F5sponseree, started training her when she was still crawling.  Usually the call would come when daddy was in full on drunk mode.

I used to get annoyed by it.  I used to consider havin em call up their mom when she was out with the girls.  Now, I just smile and count myself lucky.  It's quite possible that they'll end up hatin' this old waeg in their teens; that often happens.  Hopefully, I'll do things right and they won't.  But just in case, I won't get worked up now if I get a call from em, even if I know the F5sponseree is puttin em up to it.

I'll probably go home earlier than I had planned.  Drinkin some Max and lettin em thrash me at crazy eights would be a welcome distraction.

The Hello Chorus!

Something happened to me this morning that hadn't in a while.

I went into town to take care of some bank stuff.  As I was walking away, I passed a group of what looked like elementary school kids.

As I passed, they all started shouting "Hello!  Hello!! HELLO!!"  a few more intrepid of the lot said things like "How are you?" "Where you from?" and "Fuck you! hahahaha"

I think the last time something like this happened was about 3 years ago, but then I don't walk the streets much these days.

It reminded me of some ridiculous discussion that made the rounds a while back on some site mainly visited by malcontents and those of questionable parentage.

At first I was somewhat bemused: despite all the globalization talk, and multiculturalism talk, and Hub of the entire universe talk, a white guy walking down the street in a medium size city could still elicit such a response in Korea Inc. ver. 2010.  Then I laughed a bit when I thought of a Waeg buddy of mine who would completely lose his shit everytime it would happen to him.  He had created quite a litany of responses for the situation.  Our group at the time told him he needed to relax a bit, maybe go to the gym and work out, but this advice always fell on deaf ears.  Luckily he took his wife back to the States a few years back, and is supposedly much happier.  Good for him.

Me?  I just smiled and walked on my way.  Let little kids play I figure.  A Korean kid's life is pretty rough with all the focus on study, I'm not going to shit in their dwenjang chiggae.  Eventually they'll probably run into some guy like my waeg buddy who will drop a couple of F-bombs on em while insulting their parents.  Me, I'm too awesome to bother.  Besides, maybe one day one of em could end up dating one of my daughters, or being their senior at uni.  You never know what curve ball life's gonna throw your way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Marry Korean?

This was a question I fielded today, and it wasn't the first time I'd been asked it.

I remember a few years back a kyopo friend of mine advised me to NOT marry a Korean woman

He said they were too expensive, and expected too much.  He said they were a bunch of Dwenjang Nyeo, a nasty term used to denote a woman who was only interested in the money a man could make.

Isn't that like many women the world over I asked?

He assured me Korean women took it to a whole new level.  He advised me that if I was going to go Asian, I should get a Chinese or Vietnamese wife since they were cheaper.  I guess he had seen too many signs like this:
Vietnamese Virgins! Call Now!!
If I was more cynical, I might assume services like the one above exist partially due to Waegs like myself running off and marryin the local lasses, combined with a Korean preference for boys and easily accessible abortion; advising me to not marry a Korean was subconsciously prompted by my friend knowing I was about to take a Korean hottie off the market and make her the F5sponseree.  Let's not get crazy, though, hmmmm?

When I was asked the question today: Why Marry Korean?  I didn't answer that I caught yellow fever, or that Asian women are more feminine, or that western women have serious penis envy, or that I wanted to be a race traitor to improve the human gene pool, or that I wanted to get an F visa and live the easy life in Korea, or any of the other cliches that those not in a similar relationship usually ascribe to waegs like me.  I answered honestly:


I knocked her up and did right by her.


Sometimes I marvel at how lucky I got.  Other times I wonder why I didn't get my fucking head examined.  All I know is I'm locked in, my kids are awesome, the F5sponseree is still looking pretty damn fine and even gives me lovin from time to time, I do work I enjoy, and I can look at myself in the mirror and like the face I see.  Better than most, I guess.


Oysterhead!





One of my favorite bands that I've been revisiting on my drives to and from work is Oysterhead.  I've always been a big fan of Les Claypool and Phish, so when they tossed the drummer from the Police into the mix, I found myself giving up my money gleefully and without hesitation.  Rarely do I do this.  Usually if it doesn't involve alcohol, substances that improve general health and well being, the chance of getting laid, and these days the happiness and well being of my children, you have to pry my money from my hand with a crowbar and a winch.  To reconcile all this, I insist on playing the album for them repeatedly whenever we go for a jaunt in the country.  They dig it, so all's well.

Enjoy the tunes!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where's the Kimchi?!

The Cheese of Korea
Lately there has been a lot of talk about the Kimchi crisis.  I didn't really think too much about it until I realized that there hasn't been a whole lot of the cabbage type kimchi on my table of late.
My Mother-in-Law is the kimchi queen.  She can make damn tasty kimchi out of anything, including but not limited to any type of grass that grows on this fine peninsula.  Lately, we've been eating a lot more cucumber kimchi, chive kimchi, and bean sprouts.

For the neophyte, being presented with a bowl of the deliciousness of kimchi can be a bit daunting.  Do I eat it?  Do I use it to degrease my engine?  If you haven't grown accustomed to it, the old stuff can be a bit too rank and sour for the average waeg.

I remember cleaning out the fridge one fine afternoon and seeing a mystery tupperware container.  What's in this I thought, and promptly ripped the cover off.  The stench that came outta that container coulda brought tears to the most hardened navy seal.  Fighting back the urge to hurl while retching, I put it on the counter to the consternation of the F5sponseree.  She proceeded to berate and scold me for not knowing the good stuff if it bit me in the ass, or in this case burned all the hair outta my nostrils. This of course just made me laugh and retch at the same time.  It wasn't a pretty sight, but it still brings a smile to this jaded old waeg.

Since then I've developed a tolerance reserved for the most aged of ajusshis.  Moogoonji is a type of stew made from year old kimchi.  Now that is some tasty shit.  If I had been a bit more savvy, I woulda held on to all the kimchi the Mother-in-Law made last June and sold it for the equivalent of a new Volvo in spring.  Live and learn.

Meltdown!

After Lunch today I nearly totally lost it on a coworker.  And he did have it coming.

But I'm more forgiving than the average bear, and can overlook the shortcomings of my disadvantaged brethren.

I've been saddled with this pretty big project.  Everyone else was smart enough to realize it for the nuclear waste that it was and ran away.  I opened my big mouth and said I thought it was great.  Even offered suggestions.  Then it became my project.

Everyone in the office got to put their 2 won in on what they thought, what to include, how to approach etc.  Everything seemed settled on what needed to be done and why.

3 weeks after several meetings, round table discussions and email storms, 3 weeks after everything has been settled and I've invested a large number of hours into getting it sorted, the rumblings start.

"Maybe we should have done it this way"
"I can't exactly forecast how this will work out"
"How will this be successful"

All done behind the back or in private correspondance of course.  When called to put their reservations forward to the group, nothing is forthcoming.

If you think it sucks, say something!  Don't wait until we're three days from deadline to start shitting on it!  You mad we didn't use all your ideas?

I overheard this dude trashing the project to a senior coworker.  I was in part of the building that I rarely go to, and the look on his face when I walked around the corner was priceless.

Busted!

I didn't say anything then, just asked a banal question about another project I've been working on.  But he knew.  He knew I had heard it all.  The look in his eye spoke of the day of reckoning close at hand!  I smiled and went back to my office.  We'll see how fast I run to help you out with some of your shit later brother.

What is it with whiny pole smoking rimjob artist waegs?  Do they hate themselves that much that they have to go out of their way to fuck with those of us who actually work for a living?  Too many times I hear waegs in Korea complaining about the dumbest shit.  Why can't they just adapt and stop being such negative nancies?

I should go back to running my own business.

Time for coffee.

They Might be Giants!



My Girls love They Might Be Giants.  I remember back in the '90s I had a soft spot for a few of their tunes.  Well I guess they got married and had a bunch of kids, since the last couple of albums they put out are very kid oriented:


It is a challenge to provide opportunities for my girls to speak in both English and Korean.  The Korean is no problem, as most daily interactions occur in it, but the English can be a bit daunting at times.

Luckily they seem to be getting on fine. Both of them speak Korean and English extremely well.  I insist on speaking to them only in English, and I buy DVDs like these to play repeatedly until even I can't get them out of my head.
Some of the tunes are pretty damn catchy.

The eldest is in grade one and can read in both English and Korean; she won a prize in Korean poetry for her school, and kicked butt in the English speech contest despite it being only open for grades 3-6.  She did get a special mention though, but no prize.  Boo!

Anyway, if you have young kids, I highly recommend these.  You can watch most of the video on YouTube, but I decided to actually give some of my hard earned cash to these dudes.

Keep up the good work!

Deer!

This morning I hit a deer on the way to work.

Ok, it wasn't this morning, but I did see one sprawled out on the road.  I live and travel in country areas, but seeing or hitting a deer still isn't that common.

This type of deer was a goranee, or water deer.  My buddy said that it was sad to see a baby deer get it, but I assured him that was the size of a full grown adult of that species.

I did hit one a few years back while driving near Hongcheon at night.  Thing just ran out and smack, nice clean hit, barely registered a dent on my car.  The only evidence consisted of a few hairs stuck in between where the bumper met the chassis.

My first thought had been: I could eat that.  But then the practicalities of loading it into the back of the famvan and slaughtering it in my bathtub came home.  I'd probably get blood all over the back of the famvan and the bathroom would smell of blood and entrails for months.  So I sadly pulled it off the road and chucked it into the bushes.  The funny thing was when I got home and told the F5sponseree, she said: "we coulda eaten that".  Little things like that remind me why I chose to impregnate this woman.

There is a nice pair of Noru or roe deer near the office; the male has a nice set of antlers.  They always hang out in this one spot on the other side of the mountain.  But generally seeing anything bigger than the goranee is rare, and it's not much bigger than a medium to large size dog.  I occasionally ask some of my Korean buds why that is, and the answers are generally blank stares.  I figure that a civil war with limited agricultural production is going to end up in the decimation of any edible species, but usually when I bring that up I'm chastized for not understanding Korea.  Oh well, makes sense to me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beer!

I'm a Max guy.  I used to drink Cass, but I find its unreliable as quality goes. . .too often did I end up with skunky bottles that would be next to impossible to refund.  Max is not bad, and I have yet to find a skunk.  My local market sells em for 1300 won for a 500 ml bottle, which is great.

Every now and then I get crazy and drink somaek, soju and beer together, but you take your chances as the next day you could end up completely tit ass useless at work.  I have no time to be tit ass useless at work. Still, for 5000 won you're completely trashed, 3 bottles of beer and one soju.

If I'm going for a full on drunk, I like to put a decent dent in a bottle of Heaven's Hill, Jim Beam, Black Velvet or CC.  Now some of you may say I'm living large, but hey I've given up on the single malts.  Married guys like me can't afford that shit.  Some things about the single lifestyle aint so bad, but I'm lucky that the F5sponseree likes me and my girls are awesome. 

Tonight I'm going to put away three bottles of Max, then hit the sack.  I may check out the football pool I'm in, but my whole thing about that was to randomly make all my picks for the entire season in week one then forget about it.  I've done that for the last four years, and last year I was in first or second for the entire season.  It was great.  I was the king of trash talk: all these sports obsessed wannabees back home investing so much time and energy into memorizing player stats and other useless junk couldn't own me.  I shat the bed in the post season however, because I actually started to think about it.  Sometimes you just gotta go with the gut.  I ended up finishing fifth.  I think I'll resist the urge to check the stats and just let it slide.

I'm not a big fan of TV, so when I drink I watch videos on youtube or talks on TED.  Mostly I randomly surf webpages like http://thedailywh.at/ or http://www.boingboing.net/, or http://www.fark.com/

Sometimes I also like to read  http://www.nerve.com/

And of course all the Korean expat blogs.  I read a lot.  Nerdgasm!

Steer! Ode to Korean Beef


Yesterday was the Han Woo festival in Heongsong, where they let you pet cows and pay 8000 won for 100g of tenderloin.  I always thought it would be nice if they let you pet the cow that they'd subsequently slice up for you, but it seems setting up a portable abbatoire takes a little more than hooking up a hose and plugging in a meat cutter.  Anyway, we haven't gone for the last two years, much to the chagrin of the F5sponseree.

Now don't get me wrong: I miss eating Korean Beef.  That shit is tasty.  In the past, I'd happily drop 6-8 manners on enough for a single meal at home, once or twice a year.  But then, something crazy happened. . . .
You can read about some of it here, and here

MooOOooOoO
Nowadays, a lot of people talk about The Beef Protests as more about protesting president Lee Myung Bak's poor policies and heavy handed manner in dealing with domestic issues.  At the time, it was weeks of 100000 plus people filling up the areas around city hall chanting slogans that essentially stated "fuck America".  Did you know that if you kissed someone who had eaten American beef, you too could get mad cow disease?  Or if your child was wearing a diaper that was made from tainted American beef products, your baby could get mad cow disease?  Or that Americans were only selling the worst of the worst beef possible to Koreans since they wanted to undermine them, thus stopping the great Asian advance (spearheaded by Korea) that was sure to come in the next few decades?  These were all typical rumors that were spread during the whole protest. It'll take years to reprogram all those middle and high school students, since they were the ones who typically bought all of that crap hook line and sinker.

The funny thing is American beef is now flying off the shelves, and is the top selling beef in Korea.  It's cheap, what can I say?  I don't eat it however; I find grass fed beef tastes better, so I buy Australian.

For these reasons, I now refuse to eat Korean beef.  Shame really, but I can't in good conscience allow my hard earned cash to be put to such ends.  But if they did let me pick the cow, pet it and then slice it up in front of me, I might reconsider.

Don't Get Involved!

I was reading this post when I remembered one freaky thing that happened to me shortly after the birth of my first daughter.  First, some preamble:

Generally, if you see some freaky shit going on between two Koreans, the conventional wisdom is to walk away.  As a Waeg, you don't stand a chance if things escalate.  I've heard enough stories of Waegs getting in between a dispute, and when the cops come the Waeg ends up being the one hauled off the cop shop for interrogation / fining.


Same goes if you get into a fight: no matter who started it, the Waeg is generally the one who gets the shit end of the stick.  From personal experience, I can say this is true, but we'll save that story for another day.

This particular story happened at the first apartment my family lived in: it was a government owned building and was quite cheap; most of the people who lived there were lower middle class or retired people who had given most of their assets to their kids.

Our neighbor was a taxi driver, married with two boys.  My eldest had just been born, and like most in that situation, my night's sleep was generally broken 2-3 times for feeding.  This would have been fine if the taxi driver hadn't been a shit heel soju head who came home 3-4 times a week at 3:00 completely shit faced.  He'd often decide it was quite sporting to thrash his wife for some perceived slight, like the fact that the dishes had been left to dry on the rack, which he proceeded to throw onto the floor and at the walls.  He'd beat his wife while his two sons probably cowered in their room; he rarely took his disatisfaction with being a taxi driver from Inje out on his kids, thank fuck, but after about a month of this I just totally lost it.

Now, it is good advice to just not get involved, and you'll see this by the end of my story.  I didn't give a fuck at that point.  Pots slamming into walls, crying ajumma, crying baby, working on 2 hours sleep, needing to get up at 6 and go to work. . . . a fellow can only take so much of that.  I grabbed a short handled broom from the closet next to the door and stormed over to their apartment.

Once there I started screaming a mix of Korean and English profanities while slamming that wooden broom on their door: "Cmon motherfucker, you wanna slap someone around cmon out here I got something for ya" "Shippal gaesekki nom!  Nimi shipal pet pojida! Fuck you!" (My swearing has much improved since then, I assure you).

He didn't open the door, thankfully, cuz I woulda smashed his head in.  Things got reaaaaalll quiet after that.

A couple of days later the wife comes over and tells that the husband left, and that they were getting divorced.  She wanted to apologize for us having to endure what we had for so long.  She brought over some great food and all the wedding silver she had received.  She said she wanted us to have it because we had been the only people who had stood up to help.  Apparently she had tried the police and other agencies to no avail.  But now, she was free.  I was kinda shocked and embarrassed, but hey the silver candlesticks were pretty nice.  More than a few times I'd invite the boys over to play Playstation 2 and eat hamburgers or chicken.  It was fun.

Fast forward five months.  The husband finally comes back.  He took over the place while wife and 2 sons went to live in Seoul.  He wouldn't look directly at me, just glare at my back or at me sideways.  For the first month, he proceeds to have weekly parties with soju, whores and taxi buddies until 3, but usually fairly low key.  Then the parties started getting sloppier, and the eldest son came back to live with dad.  This was when things started gettin sketchy.

I had 2 flat tires one morning.  Every day someone would piss in the elevator.  The taxiwank started glaring at me directly, and started telling his son to not talk to me.  Then someone started writing racial epitaphs on the wall outside our apartment: Foreign bastards ruin our country!  Foreign Fuckers destroy our culture.  Well if your culture is about it being ok to throw pots and pans around and beat your wife at three in the morning on a regular basis, uh yeah, I got a problem with that.  Then someone left a nice pile of shit outside my door.  Some of the local kids who hung around with the taxiwank's son also started openly mocking the F5sponseree and me.  So we decided to move.

It was time to get a new place anyway, but I can't help but think about that kid: he just may end up growing up to be a carbon copy shitheel of his dad.  Despite the good times we had, dad poisoned him, since I was pretty sure the dad was getting the son to do at least some of that stuff.  So I helped spawn another little hater.

So don't get involved?  I can only hope mom and the younger boy are having an ok go of it.  I did get lucky on that one: he didn't open the door, the cops didn't come, my family wasn't hurt, nor was I.  It could have been bad.  I don't regret what I did.  And I still have the silver candlesticks.  They look great in my office.