5/25/2008

Jar & Joia in Japan! (Part 2)

Soooooo....after the short harbor cruise, I decided we should head out to Shinjuku. I really wanted to see the Meiji Shrine, which is a huge shrine (duh) dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. It's set in the middle of a deep, dark forest actually. It's so peaceful and quiet that you don't even want to sneeze. It's reminiscent of Central Park, except way bigger. In the middle of such a hustle-bustle part of town lies this haven. And mosquitos. Gotta have mosquitos.



When you first enter, there's an area to do a hand-washing ritual. It was kinda neat. You pick up the spoon with one hand and pour some water into your other hand and...I don't really know. What I do know is that this crackhead decided to just sip from the cup which it CLEARLY told you not to do! Who comes into a sacred shrine just violating all the rules?? Luckily, no one was around to witness it but me. *slap*



This is really my only regret about visiting Tokyo - that I didn't get to see more of Shinjuku and Harajuku. We were in the area but didn't explore it at all because we were really tired. Jar caught some wicked jetlag and I was just beat in general. Next time, maybe I can afford to stay in the neighborhood. So we headed back to the hotel for some R&R. Not surprisingly, once we got back, I wasn't especially sleepy but Old Yeller was snoring away. So I watched some TV and dozed in and out. Later that night, we got ready to hit the town again! I rarely wear heels now but I busted them out Friday night. I don't mind being tall anymore, but when I put these heels on, I'm about 6 feet. It's a little unnerving because I'm not all that stable wearing flats so heels are a challenge. I lasted about 2 solid hours trekking through downtown Shibuya in these puppies. Once we started walking uphill on cobblestones though, I had to throw in the towel. I dunno how these Asian women do it everyday!



After wandering aimlessly, semi-enraptured by the sheer frenzy of Shibuya, we finally picked a random restaurant called Christon Cafe. Had no idea what to expect, but this turned out to be one of the COOLEST (ok, and creepiest) restaurants I've ever seen. It was a sacrilegious, church-themed place, very gothic and well, Christian. All rolled up into one! A mingling of cherubs and gargoyles, a cavernous celebration of Mary and Mephistopheles. I didn't know whether to pray or party but it was definitely cool. We also had a three or four-course meal for about $75, including drinks! And my favorite part of course, the HOT waiter! Wow...he was almost too pretty, a little shy, and totally adorable. I kept ordering random stuff just so I could say "Sumi masen!" and watch him scamper over. Oh well, that's how I get my kicks!





I pretty much swallowed that strawberry cake whole. Jar barely got any and I nearly ordered ANOTHER one!! Partly because I'm a piglet but also because of Hot Waiter Guy. So anyway, after that we walked around Shibuya but the nightlife seemed to just die after a certain hour. Everyone was getting in taxis and heading other places and since we had no idea what was happening there, we went back to Roppongi. It was jumping there! Unfortunately, no free champagne for me but we did end up rocking out at Club 99 again, until about 730am!! My goodness, it's been a long time since I've done but oh what fun I had. Let me recount the randomness:

1) First, I had the unfortunate problem of wearing FLIP FLOPS in a nasty @$$, dirty @$$ club!! Why did I do that?! I think I had every kind of liquor spilled on my feet. People stepping on my toes and MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, using the ONE grungy, unisex bathroom. What a freakin' nightmare for a germophobe like me. I'm holding onto my bag, my pants, squatting while my toes are gripping the edges of my shoes so not one iota of flesh meets that cesspool of a floor. I morph into Cirque du Soleil when faced with a mangy club bathroom. Lesson learned.

2) Some drunk guy kept hanging onto me. All...night...long. He was like the damn repo man...everytime I turned around, he'd be behind me blowing his hot breath on my neck. Jar had wandered off at this point, but he would've been real handy as a fake stand-in boyfriend. That's one good thing about having him around - he is a repellent for disgusting men that may try to hit on me. So, I was basically dancing on the floor by myself which I didn't mind actually. But oh if I could've gotten rid of that fool...




3) I got hit on...I think...by a chick. This ghetto fabulous black and Japanese girl rolled up on me and said, "What's your name? Who's dat? Your boyfriend?" And I said no, that's my brother! She was cool and we were chatting. She wanted to know about my braids, said she did hair. Then she hit me with, "I'm not a lesbian or anything but you're a very pretty girl. I don't understand why you don't have a boyfriend!" **blink**stare**blink** Uh huh...check please!!

4) A bright spot though was meeting a cool guy. He was a server there and I noticed him earlier from his crazy hair (black & Japanese maybe?) but I kinda glossed over him. He came up to me once before asking if I wanted to buy a drink and I looked at him like he had snakes growing from his head. He probably thought I was a jerk. But later, after my Lady Lover disappeared, he commented about how "crazy" my friend was and I quickly responded, "Oh no, I don't know her!! I met her tonight!" So we just started chatting and it turned out he was from Harlem! He said he really missed NYC and was trying to get back there by the summer. So he gave me his email and told me to hit him up. I like how he wrote his information down though - as an addendum to my Friday itinerary. Cute points!

5) The extreme public drunkenness!! Breathtaking. Jar got some priceless shots, but this guy was definitely my favorite. He was literally unconscious with nary a friend in sight. I wish my friends would try to drop me off abandoned baby style in front of a coffee shop!! We'd have some problems...Seriously, how the hell does that happen!? He was passed out in front of the Starbucks which meant that ALL those people inside had to step over him just to get through the door. High class all the way. Jar decided to lay down next to him, head resting on him and everything just to get a better shot. I'll be posting that nonsense when he emails it to me.



Whew!! I'm tired. I'm still trying to recoup from all of May really. But Tokyo was definitely worth all the money I shelled out. I really could appreciate the diversity of Japan compared to Korea. Everyone really looked different and had unique style. Not to say that all Koreans look alike but there is definitely a mold when it comes to how to dress and behave. Truthfully, I love both places. So, I'll be back to Japan someday. And I'll be sure not to miss my flight. :)

Until then,
J

5/24/2008

Jar & Joia in Japan! (Part 1)

(If you haven't already, check the previous post "How to Blow $2000 in Tokyo...)

Our whole trip actually got off to a rocky start. We nearly missed our flight TO Tokyo because we overslept! Got on the wrong bus stop...TWICE! We were those people sweating and running through the airport at breakneck speed, knocking over children. But we made our flight there and let me just say that Japan Airlines has the BANGIN-EST Economy class you will ever see! Dang, I should've taken a picture. But basically, each person has his own individual Jetson-esque chair pod. The leg room is a-ma-zing. And your seat can lay totally horizontal without so much as disturbing the people behind you. It's all automated, too. So you know we sat there playing with the seats for a good hour.



We arrived at Narita Airport and took the Limousine Bus to Tokyo Station. Narita is probably the most inconvenient airport in the world because it's still about 2 hours from Tokyo. It's in the freakin' sticks. So the 2-hour flight is really just the beginning. Fine. We kicked back and basically had the bus to ourselves! Jar was acting THE FOOL though, hands hanging out the windows and cracking jokes. They soon realized that maybe it wasn't safe for him to be doing that and put the air on. Anyway, we arrived at Tokyo Station and got directions to take the Metro to our hotel. But something got lost in translation because SOMEHOW we ended up on an express train BACK to Narita!!!! Talk about kicking ourselves. We were SO pissed. So that meant, you guessed it, another FOUR hours of transportation. I was in such a foul mood and Jar was all chipper with his "C'est la vie" attitude. But I'm sort of a brooder about certain things. When things go terribly wrong, I piss and moan and pout until the feeling passes. I have to come to terms with the futility of a situation before surrendering completely. So, anyway, we finally got to the hotel around 5pm I guess. Showered immediately, ordered a $20 baby-sized pizza from Domino's and watched sumo wrestling on TV. I totally love these fat-looking muscular men in diapers and slicked back hair. It's all very Baby Huey-ish and extremely entertaining.

Later Thursday night, having no itinerary at all, we decided to pick a neighborhood and just go out. We started in Ginza, which is a huge area chock full of designer stores and sleek businessmen. Or at least I noticed the sleek businessmen. May as well touch on this now because you KNOW my yellow fever is in full swing. Japanese guys are pretty hot, too. I do love a man in a nice, tailored suit. Unlike Korea where the shiny, metallic suit is king, in Tokyo it's all business. And I found the classic black suit and white shirt incredibly refreshing. And not to mention sexy. Tie or no tie, I was loving the look. My head was on a swivel. So, in Ginza, we stopped by the Gucci store so Jar could get a glimpse. It was gorgeous and sprawling of course. It felt just like the Fifth Avenue store but it was nearly empty. One of the saleswomen, nicknamed Zoo (perhaps short for Izumi), was asking us how she could improve her English, while speaking to us in perfect English. That's Asia for you I guess. So modest.



After that, we wandered over to an off-beat bar called Doggy's. The 70's soul music flowing from the window was an instant temptation so we had to go. It was nearly empty except for a few businesspeople drinking and mingling. We got right down to business though, ordering a couple rounds of drinks and some shots. The bartender was so incredibly chipper that we had to get pictures with him. Every 2 minutes, we were saying, "Sumi masen!" which means excuse me in Japanese. If he got sick of us, we couldn't tell.





Later that night, we headed out to Roppongi, which is sort of like the Itaewon of Tokyo. Lots of foreigners and foreigner-loving Japanese people. My brother has pictures from that night. For some reason I don't. Oh, now I remember why! We went to Bar 911, which serves FREE champagne for ladies all night on Thursdays. I had about 6 or 7 glasses - both regular and the rose kind. I was feeling pretty nice. The club was cool. We met these 2 guys who were engineers or telecommunications workers, Mark and Andy. Mark was half Japanese and once he found out that Jar was my brother and NOT my boyfriend/husband/lover (something that messed up my flavor ALL weekend!!), he started hitting on me. He wasn't cute though so I just kept drinking the champagne! After Bar 911, we went to a hip-hop club called Bar 99. So reminiscent of college days at HU, sweating out my perm and smelling like an ashtray. I danced with a child most of the night. A 20-year old half-black and Japanese kid named...dang, can't remember. Starts with a U. Anywho, he was cool with his 1998 cornrows.

We stumbled out of there around 3am and went to McDonald's. Greasy food is mandatory after binge drinking right? Jar was so plastered that he kept trying to touch the cashier girl. I thought they were gonna call security on him! He kept ordering more food (a #1 Big Mac meal, a fish sandwich, fries, 5 piece nugget, soda...) and saying how "little and cute" she was. EMBARRASSING!!! The taxi home was about $40 and most of the ride was spent having Jar talk about how much he loves me and that we're "all we've got" in this family thing. "If anyone ever messes with you, I'll kill him...I'm serious...Wow, I'm drunk in Tokyo right now.." Priceless. WHY DIDN'T I TAKE A PICTURE?!?!??!

The next morning, hangover in place, Jar wakes up and asks, "Wait a minute, who had McDonald's last night??" NO recollection of the debauchery. This is why evidence is mandatory. Friday was a cool day. We ate lunch at a noodle bar near our hotel. They serve it with bibs and this place was packed with people just slurping and munching. It was surreal. Beautiful men and women in their fancy clothes and big, ole white bibs. So, we wore them too!




After lunch, we took a short cruise around the harbor. It was a gorgeous day albeit a little overcast. Nice breeze and cool sights. I have no idea what these buildings are and thanks to my crappy camera and foggy sky, neither do you! Hahaha!! On to the next post...this may be a 3-parter!!!




How to Blow $2,000 in Tokyo...

Let me preface this by stating that I'm really great at budgeting and staying on task with my expenses. I had a budget of about $400 to spend while in Japan and I stuck by it.

But apparently, I'm not so great at making my flights on time. Jar and I had an amazing time in Tokyo, but the rose-colored glasses fogged up real quickly when we missed our flight back to Seoul last night. And the ONLY flight back to Seoul was on Asiana Airlines to the tune of...**drum roll** $810 per person for a 2-hour flight.

Yes, I crapped my pants. Ok, I didn't but I think my eyes just kinda glazed over and rolled out of their sockets when she politely pushed a piece of paper towards me that said "83,000 Yen". Move that comma one place to the right and that's the rough US dollar conversion. So I thought, "Oh whew...that's not so bad! For two people, fine...I'll suck it up." Nuh uh. PER PERSON. For lack of a better term, Asiana Airlines bent us over and well...you get the idea. Jar didn't have $800 just laying around (To be clear, NEITHER DID I!!!) so I whipped out the plastic which I've been steadily paying off for 7 months and let the sodomy begin. My credit card is actually still smoking and I won't even begin to fathom what kinda international charges Chase is gonna bitch slap me with.

**siiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhh**

But God certainly does work in mysterious ways because while sitting there licking my open, hemorrhaging wounds, I met someone very, very important . I overheard a couple speaking in Spanish and my ears perked up right away. I haven't heard it spoken in a long time and definitely not in Korea. So, I wasn't eavesdropping at all. Just reveling in the familiarity of it, almost like getting reacquainted with a long-lost friend. When the husband got up to go somewhere, I sat there thinking, "Should I talk to the wife? I need to practice my Spanish but I mean, will she think I'm creepy?" But I bit the bullet and overcame my shyness to chat her up. I said, as smoothly as I could with my shaking voice, "Perdon, senora...de donde son ustedes?" She looked so surprised and in complete shock that she came right over and sat next to me! Turns out they were from South America and her husband works for the military. We chatted for about 30 mins, all in Spanish. I was amazed at myself quite honestly, but it felt good. When her husband came back, she explained who I was and blah blah blah. Before parting ways, he gave me his card and he took my information, too. But it turns out that he's not just "in the military". Oh no. This man is a military attache. (sidenote: an attache is a specialist assigned to the staff of a diplomatic mission...I had to Google it myself) I think I dislocated my jaw because it was on...the...floor. He said to call or email him on Monday. He has some people he wants me to meet! And he also said that I can practice my Spanish with them now. I'm killing like 59 birds with one stone!

I usually have a fatalistic point of view on things thinking that God is pulling strings to lead me in a certain direction. While I make my own choices, the way the actual events play out always seem to be the doing of a Higher Being. And this is a wonderful case in point. Sure, I spent a ridiculous amount on those tickets but I think the non-monetary reward of that sacrifice will bear some interesting fruit. :) Ok, just wanted to get that outta the way. The next post will be a recap of our adventures!

5/20/2008

Imaginary Korean Boyfriends #3-8

I have officially caught the "Yellow Fever". This term refers to when foreigners in particular start to become obsessed with Asian culture...or at least the guys!! So, my last imaginary Korean boyfriends were biracial. However, I've been drooling over a few others who are all Korean and in my opinion, pretty damn hot too! First up is Crown J, Korean rapper with SO MUCH swagger. He lived in Cali for 12 years and graduated from UCLA so he's basically American. How come I never saw Korean guys like this growing up!??! Anyway, it's funny but I've been hearing his music at the gym for awhile now but didn't know it was him. Then last night, I almost FELL OFF the treadmill when I saw him on TV. I pulled over Justin and said, "Uhhhh, who is this???" And when he told me, he asked, "Oh, you like him??" And I could only nod my head like a deaf mute.





Ok, so Crown J just got married to this chick. She's cute. *eye roll*teeth sucking* hahaha...However, I'll keep looking!! He's yummy.

Then there's Kwon Sang Woo....ummmmmmmmmmmmmm.....sorry, my mind went blank. He's an actor. Ummmmmmmmmmm...sorry, wiping the spittle off my keyboard. He's just plain hot. And I appreciate all opportunities to stalk...um...see him. :) The fact that he is usually half-dressed doesn't bother me at all.


This is So Ji Sub, another actor. I actually bought a calendar with him plastered all over it. Granted, sometimes he can look a little girly, which is a quality that seems to be popular in men here. But overall, I like the way he's put together so I'll slather another pic on here! You are welcome...



Hyun Bin, an actor who has the ability to be both cheek-pinchingly adorable (oh those dimples!) and incredibly sexy...how does he do it?!





Gong Yoo, hot actor from my favorite drama, The First Shop of Coffee Prince...**swoon**



And then there's this guy, who's in a category all by himself...he's not even famous. He's a celebrity personal trainer in Korea...and he's just WOW!!! It really makes no earthly sense for a person to be this attractive. Choi Seong-jo...future imaginary HUSBAND!!




If I ever bump into any of these lovelies on the street, you just might be reading about me in the news. The headline might go a little something like this: "Deranged, Heathen Foreigner Assaults and Violates Five Korean Men In One Day" Uh huh....that's me!!! Gonna be famous for attacking poor, unassuming hot Korean guys. Just to demonstrate how much of the "Yellow Fever" I have, I went out and bought some "personality frames" (as Jar calls it). I'm almost Korean, yall!! Well except that I don't speak Korean, hate kimchi, and OH YEAH, I'M BLACK!!! But here goes anyway...


Well, Jar is driving me up a wall but that's okay! I've felt bad because we haven't been able to spend lots and lots of time together. As I look over at the big, snoring lump of flesh and crazy that is my brother, I just smile to myself. It's the only peace and quiet I've had since he arrived. :) But I know will miss his silly behind once he's gone. Gotta pack....Sayonara, folks!!! Updates and pics on Sunday!! Until then, J

5/19/2008

He's Here!!!


Yay!! My brother got here and he's already acting THE FOOL! He got in around 930pm and we went back to my school to meet my coworkers. Their first reaction was, "Wow, he's really tall..." Then we stopped by my gym so that he can get access for the week. Many of my normally chatty Korean friends were suddenly very quiet and timid, which I thought was hilarious. But he's already trying to get me in trouble, drinking copious amounts of soju and what not. Anyway, this is a short post. Just posting pics!! Yes, I got my hair braided yesterday...after 7 hours at the African shop, I was ready to scream but at least I don't have to do my hair for an entire month. The way my coworkers and kids reacted to it, you would have thought an alien walked up in the class. For the first 5 minutes of class, I let them ask me questions and touch my hair. Only in Korea!! Ok, I'm tipsy but it's wearing off. Jar is wide awake so I'll be drugging him now. :) Until then, J

(Look at this foolywang!!! He got REAL golds with our last name printed on it...why Lord???)

5/17/2008

Too Close For Comfort...


I went to North Korea today.

Hmmm...perhaps I should clarify. I visited the DMZ (the Demilitarized Zone). Most of the advice I received from friends and family before coming out to SOUTH Korea (one of my friends actually thought I was in China...oh for crying out loud) was to be sure I didn't go near North Korea. Knowing that Kim Jong Il's North Korean territory is Communist with loads of deadly nukes and an enviable military is scary enough. However, most people don't know that North and South Korea are technically still at war. They signed a cease-fire agreement around 1953 but many violent attacks occurred since then, prompting the US and the former Soviet Union to help stabilize the peninsula. I think some common courtesies (and the fact that they are, after all, brethren) are the only things really keeping war from breaking out again. In my embryonic opinion, it wouldn't really be in North Korea's best interest to attack South Korea since the South is providing a lot of desperately needed commerce to them.

Anywho, Margot and I woke up before the sun even thought to rise, grumbling and mumbling about why in the hell we were doing this tour. I needed constant reminders during that hour long bus ride to the DMZ. Being near the most heavily armed border in the world was very....ok, I'll admit it...I was a little nervous. We had to sign a waiver that basically said, "In case North Korea attacks while we're holding this tour, uhhh, it ain't our fault!!" LET THE FUN BEGIN!!! But I wouldn't call this a fun tour despite the fact that we laughed a whole lot. It was very educational. I learned so much more about both Koreas and how they walk a booby-trapped tightrope daily. We went to the Panmunjeon (also known as The Joint Security Area), which is a neutral zone. This is the only spot where North and South Korean military comes face-to-face. Basically, inside the little blue buildings is where North Korea comes to negotiate. Split down the middle inside, one half is North Korean territory and the other is South Korean. One door leads to North Korea and the other to the South. It's kinda eery. They have a very elaborate system of securing this room for visitors after North Korean soldiers apparently dragged a South Korean soldier to the other side. Now they always have two soldiers present when they need to lock the other side's door.
(on the South Korean side)

(the North Korean side...but this is a South Korean soldier, guarding the door)

So, since it'd be impossible for me to recap everything and keep this at a reasonable length, I'll use my favorite system - LISTS!!! Oh yes, I know you like that.

MY FOUR CENTS

1) At the Panmunjeon, it was quite desolate during our tour. But that big, white building across from us is like the North Korean welcome center. Who they're welcoming, I couldn't tell you. Maybe Chinese dignitaries. But anyway, there is a guard who stands up there with his binoculars, carefully observing any and all activity. Our tour guide informed us not to pay any attention to him. Do not wave, smile, make gestures, or anything of the sort. This can be taken as a symbol of attack and they can retaliate. And sure enough, he stood there looking at each and every one of us. Just observing and we did the same. You would have thought aliens had landed. Or monkeys.



2) Speaking of monkeys (and no, they're not in my classroom), this building below is nicknamed "The Monkey House" because oftentimes North Korean soldiers will sit inside, pulling back the curtains and making faces, gesturing and taunting the South Korean soldiers. They were not present today but in general, they are also to be ignored. It all seems very elementary school playgroundish but it's real. I say why not try rock, scissors, paper to decide these things? Take it old school? I mean, it's fair, quick, and easy. What more can you want?!


3) The Panmunjeon is also nicknamed "The Truce Village". North Korea's response to this is the "Propaganda Village" of Gijungdong. We were able to see it from a distance obviously. The most notable part of this village is the ridiculously tall, 600-lb North Korean flag trying to wave in the air. According to our tour guide, North Korean propaganda is (or maybe used to be) blasted for about 13 hours a day over the speaker system. I would imagine it went something like this: "Good morning, faithful citizens. This is your leader, Kim Jong Il. Yes, yes... I am amazing, as you know. All that you have is because of ME, as you know. I work hard to make sure you have nothing. I am awesome. North Korea will conquer the world. Oh yes, as a matter of fact, I AM God...ok, that is all. Back to work." Ok, I'm sure it's not quite like that but the truth is that North Koreans' quality of life is pretty much nonexistent. Much of the aid being offered by South Korea is knowingly going to feed the President and the military. It is not going to those who need it the most. On a sidenote, there is an actual tour INTO North Korea to the industrial town of Kaesong. I considered going on this tour actually, but when I realized that it cost about $100 and $80 of that would be greasing Kim Jong Il's palms, I decided against it. Somehow, it didn't seem right. But it would've been very interesting to see. Boy, I bet they'd REALLY be staring at Black folks....

(this image is courtesy of Getty Images...it was way too cloudy and my zoom function is way too crappy to get a decent shot)


4) Sometime in the 1980s, the South Korean military discovered numerous tunnels that were being built right under the Military Demarcation Line leading to Seoul. Yup, that's right - North Korea had planned a massive attack on Seoul but never went through with it. Kinda scary right? So, part of our DMZ tour included going down into the 3rd tunnel. Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures but I was breathing so hard and my back was hurting so badly that perhaps that was a blessing! This tunnel, which seemed interminable, was built to hold about 30,000 North Korean soldiers! It was cold, dark, and dank inside. The low ceilings meant that I was constantly stooping and the steep sloping trudge out of there meant that my hips and thighs got more of a workout than I've gotten in 7 months at my gym. Horrendous!! Next time, I'm riding the escalator back up with the ajummas.

Going to the DMZ has completely piqued my interest in North Korea. I wish I could learn some more about the people and how they live. I'm so curious. North Korea puts out their own propaganda but what country doesn't?? There's no denying that they are on the extreme end of the spectrum but I sure wish I could pick the brains (or what's left) of some of these folks. Guess that's one dream I'll have to let go. :) I can't help but wonder though - if North Korea ever did become a democracy, opening up its doors to the outside world, would the world be ready?

Oooooook, just to end this post on an upbeat note, my brother comes tomorrow!!!! Jar (rhymes with bear) is my bestest, bestest friend in the whole world! But let's be clear, I've tried to kill him many times...and I'm not ashamed to say it! My parents may or may not know that one day when they were at work, Jar taunted me mercilessly (as big brothers are born to torment younger siblings) and I lost it. I fully grabbed a knife and started chasing him around the house. He locked himself into our dog's bedroom and wouldn't come out. So, winded and weary, I gave up the fight. He'd defeated me once again. So I stuck the knife in the door, serial killer style, and went back to playing with my dolls. Since we became teenagers though, and that 3-year age gap didn't seem so monumental, we've been great friends. Well...until we were roommates and then I had my "Why didn't I kill you back then" moments. But truly, the love runs deep and I'm glad he's coming to see me out here! And we ARE leaving for Tokyo on Thursday...so many, many crazy updates to follow I'm sure! :)

Until then,
J



5/12/2008

Hoo-kah



I really intended to sit around all weekend and vegetate, but my friends had other plans. I was thankful for another 3-day weekend honestly. On Friday, I just hung out with Bryan. Watched a Korean movie with English subtitles. It was one of those romantic comedies with my imaginary Korean boyfriend #1, Daniel Henney. Yum!! On Saturday, I went to my Korean class. This used to be exciting and interesting to me, but lately I've hated it. You know why?? Because my new teacher SUCKS! I think she's a perpetrator...she's not a real teacher! For one, she has no structure to her lessons. We kinda start in one area and inevitably wind up discussing ancient Korean medicine or nuances about Korean culture. That's all well and good but I wanna be able to speak. In Korean! Let's try making a Korean sentence or something relevant, lady! Secondly, she speaks to us as if we were native Korean speakers.

ARE...YOU...SERIOUS?????

I can't even describe how angry I get when she starts speaking at hyperspeed. I want to crush her head. It also doesn't help that this woman has a terrible lisp. And sloppy handwriting. I'm thinking to myself, "I know your friends and family can read that chicken mess on the board but since I'm NOT fluent in Korean, can we try making the letters properly?!?!? DAMN!!" There are just so many negatives that I really don't see a reason to go back. I'm irritated by her. I'd rather be waxing my scalp or walking across hot coals than sitting there miserable in her class. I feel bad ditching her but seriously, I don't know why they hired her. Oh right, it's volunteer. Anyway, I sure hope that my kids aren't feeling that way when I teach. Jesus, that's awful.

After Korean class, I went to the gym. I actually made it through a workout because Justine and crew were not there to chat me up. They're cool people but they are RUINING my workouts. I assumed that reclaiming my Ipod would deflect them from conversation but ohhhhh no, they just keep on yapping. So I don't stop to chat anymore. I just keep on doing my reps and I think they get the hint. Later that evening, I went out to Itaewon with Aeja. I succumbed to my weakness and bought yet another fabulous bag. "My name is Joia and I'm addicted to purses." I don't even like yellow but this bag was calling my name...in every language.


On Sunday, I had lunch with my friend Jack. He actually teaches Korean so I may get him to help me out! But we went to Friday's and chatted and I ate way too much as usual. I love when I work out all extra hard and it's all dissolved in a matter of seconds when I binge on french fries. It's a great feeling. Really. After that, I met up with my friend Rio and another black teacher out here. We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. But since I already pigged out, I just ordered dessert. Because that's SO much healthier. :) Oh well, I will never say no to sticky rice! Then we all went to a cute lounge and smoked a hookah. And drank MOJITOS!!! I have a love-love relationship with mojitos. I never hate them. I will always welcome them into my body...copious amounts if necessary. Winter, summer, spring, fall. January, November, April, July. Despite what some may say about this being a summer drink, I have to disagree. It really works anytime. Try it. If people didn't think I were nuts, I'd be drinking them for breakfast. Anyway, smoking a cherry-flavored hookah was pretty neat. I'll be back there I'm sure. Alright, I'm rambling again because I'm tired. Being tired means my brain starts to ooze from my nostrils...and then asinine sentences like that spring forth. See what I mean??? Goodnight..

Until then,
J



(me and Rio)

5/05/2008

Pooped!




I'm tired, yall.

Dang...I'm just...so, so beat. But what an incredible treat to have Meeka out here!! We did a lot of things that probably would've taken normal people about 2 weeks to do. I think it was most interesting to be stared at though. We got stared at twice as much. Suddenly when there are 2 of us walking around, people's brains just malfunction and can't understand what's happening. One little girl thought she was really slick, broadcasting to her mother and younger sister to "Look!!! Look!!" But the funny thing was she just stood there, pointing at us behind her back and turning around to gawk. Classic. Her mother ignored her though and didn't turn around to look at us, signaling that perhaps people are realizing how rude this behavior can be perceived.

I won't discuss everything we did because honestly, you might develop eye strain. And then you'll never come back. But I'll mention some of my favorite things.

1) Riding a tandem bike around the Han River

Aside from the fact that I'm abnormally uncoordinated, this experience was heightened by the fact that everyone was really friendly and or/laughing at this sad sight. It also only cost 6,000 won for an hour! Can't beat that...and the weather was perfect for it. I sensed many people playing hooky that day...and I can't blame them :)



2) Going to a norebang with GOOD friends...

My first experience with norebanging (singing rooms for those who don't know) was quite despicable. For one, I was the only foreigner when I went out with my co-workers. They sang in Korean...mostly lilting ballads. And Steve just screamed over some heavy metal lyrics. I was totally out of my element...and I hated it. So not surprisingly, when my new group of friends proposed this idea after dinner, I was more than reluctant to go. I really wanted to get out of it...but then I remembered that Tamieka was here and to come to Korea without going to a norebang and drinking soju would be criminal. So I sucked it up...and I'm so thankful I did. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. I realized that norebanging, like anything really, almost hinges entirely on the company you keep. :) So, thank you to my new pals for forcing alcohol down my throat and making me sing like a dying bird...




3) The Take-Out Cocktail Stand

I don't have a drinking problem. But if I did, you'd probably find me hanging around this place near Ewha University - the Take-Out Cocktail stand. I was so over the moon that this guy was serving high-quality, low-priced alcohol that I entered a mild state of euphoria. And the drinks were delicious. On a hot day, some people crave ice cream or water ice...or air conditioning. But I crave a mojito...or some other mixed beverage. Public drunkenness is illegal back home but if it weren't...man oh man, I can only imagine the foolishness that would ensue if you could get cocktails on the street. "Yeah, uh, lemme get a hot dog with the works and a gin and tonic. Thanks..." So, hats off to this guy...he'll be seeing me again. Very soon. Like tomorrow.



I went into work yesterday thoroughly worn out and not in the mood to teach. But then I saw my kiddies and got happy all over again. I kinda missed them, even the bad ones. I checked my email and BAM! there it was...my brother's flight information. OH SWEET LORD!! So in two weeks' time, I'll be doing this all over again...and I couldn't be happier :)

Until then,
J