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Monday, 30 April 2007

The one...the only...SOJU MAN!

Today is holiday in South Korea. That's why it's 2pm (I normally start work at this time) and I'm blogging. It's May 1st, also known as Labor Day here. The month of May has various holidays with the next day off being May 24th, Buddha's birthday. That's your tidbit of info for the day--let's move on...

Soju is the alcoholic beverage of choice by many Koreans (and foreigners). It's made of rice and other ingredients and the taste is similar to vodka. It's extremely affordable, thus very popular, with over 3 million bottles consumed in 2004. There are certain customs when it comes to drinking soju. I am not a big fan of soju (or any other alcohol for that matter--blame it on the Asian blush) but when drinking it, there are certain customs that should be followed. It's like dining etiquette for drinking copious amounts of cheap alcohol!

Want to learn some soju customs before coming to Korea to travel or teach English? According to Wikipedia...

While most Koreans will understand foreigners are unaccustomed to their drinking traditions, they will generally follow these norms themselves and notice favorably when foreigners comply. Most, if not all, of these customs are applicable in Korea regardless of the drink.

  • Soju is usually drunk in group gatherings.
  • It is against traditional mannerisms in Korea to fill one's own glass. They wait for someone else to fill their empty glass. Others are expected to fill the glass, and are eager to do so as soon as they spot an empty glass.
  • A glass should not be filled unless completely empty.
  • If one's glass is going to be filled by a superior, one should hold the glass using two hands. Similarly, when pouring soju for an elder, one holds the bottle with two hands.[2]
  • If a senior gives an empty soju shotglass (usually his/hers) to you, it means that the person is going to fill the glass and wants you to drink it. You do not have to drink it bottoms up, but at least you have to act like you are drinking it (sipping is okay). And if you drink "the glass" and make it empty, then turn the glass back to the senior who gave it to you. You are not supposed to turn it back soon, but holding it for a long time is considered rude.
  • Koreans say "one shot", a challenge to down your glass in one gulp.
  • When drinking in front of elders (people older than you), you should always turn away from the elder and then consume. Drinking the shot while facing the elder is disrespectful.
  • When drinking among friends of equal social stature, it is often considered overly formal to use two hands when pouring or receiving a drink.
As I mentioned before, soju is inexpensive. It's cheaper than a bottle of Coca Cola and various brands of bottled water. Check out the price for one standard bottle at Homever--that's right, 880w (approximately 90 cents US) or in other words, one heck of a drinking night:

Speaking of getting inebriated, I have never witnessed so many people puking from excessive alcohol consumption in front of my eyes. Don't believe me? Head over to Sinchon or Hongdae on the weekend around midnight and you'll see various people hunched over, throwing up (in Konglish, they called throwing up "o-bite," which is a blend of the words "over bite" which means "over eating"--according to my students) on the sidewalk or down in the subway stations--it's gross! Not that I'm a big fan of analyzing puke, but it always seems to be orange in color--maybe due to the influence of kimchi from dinner? hahaha!

This video was not filmed by me, but by Jessica (also known as HC--hardcore). It's a video of a man on the subway...the best part is how the dude on the right hesitates slightly and pretends everything is fine and dandy, before finally realizing the guy who is falling onto him is drunk out of his mind--that man is SOJU MAN (you can see his lost brother here):

For those in Korea, do you have any soju stories? Have you seen SOJU MAN in your neighborhood?

Sunday, 29 April 2007

A Dust Buster's Worst Nightmare

Living on your own and cleaning...is not fun. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to clean and dust an entire house, let alone the officetel (one huge square studio) we live in. Anyways, Seoul is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. When you put together so many people in such a small area, there's bound to be excess amounts of dust and other pollution.

Remember when I mentioned about the newest addition to our family? That was our beloved and trusty dust buster. Anyways, it's been working overtime here and some more. We have a sweeper thingy that we bought from Costco during our initial arrival in Seoul. What we do is sweep our floors, then suck up the dust with the dust buster (as opposed to my old method of shaking the broom out the window, and watching chunks of dust fly down to the streets below--I wouldn't recommend that). Living next to a major highway can result in a lot of dust being circulated around the air. We usually crack our windows open just a tiny bit (but we had them closed during YD) for some "fresh" air. Now that flowers are blooming and trees have leaves, the potential for somewhat cleaner air is possible.

Take a look at the build up of dust from our dust buster. I empty it once a month in the hallway into a plastic bag, while wearing a mask. It's incredible the amount of hair and dust we sweep up. There are some leftover bits of dust and hair outside in the hallway because one of the extensions was plugged with too much dust--the ajama is probably going to punch me in the stomach the next time she sees me (or shove me from behind/budge in line).

This picture doesn't really do it justice, but this massive dust ball was just downright disgusting!

On a side note, the Hi Seoul Festival has officially launched in Seoul. We will most likely check out this upcoming weekend or maybe during the week. This picture was taken at City Hall a week leading up the festival.

AGLOCO Viewbar Update

For those who have signed up for AGLOCO and are patiently waiting for the Viewbar to be released, here is an update I just received via email:

We will be releasing the AGLOCO Viewbar software soon and want to update Members on how things will work when it is released.

Each Member will get an email informing them that their Viewbar is available. It will contain detailed instructions on the download, which will be done from the agloco.com website. Members will be invited to download in groups of 50,000 a day for a two week period, with Members contacted in the order in which they signed up.

Shortly before the first set of download emails go out, you will receive an email notice that the AGLOCO website will be ‘out of service’ for a few hours – this is necessary for us to move the Viewbar download system from the test server to the main servers.

Also, please be aware of the following:

1. AGLOCO Hours: You will accrue hours in your AGLOCO Member account (current maximum is five direct hours a month). Hours are earned during active surfing on the Internet. The Viewbar has a green light on it that notifies the Member when it is accruing time. Your referrals’ surfing will accumulate hours for you at a 25% rate, meaning if one of your referrals surfs for the maximum five hours you will get 1.25 (0.25 x 5) hours credited to your total referral hours. You can only get credit referral hours up to the amount you directly surf (meaning if you surf 3 hours but a referral surfs 4, you will only get credit for the first 3 of your referral’s 4 hours). AGLOCO accrues these hours each month and also has a cumulative total of all hours earned. These hours are what AGLOCO will use to calculate cash and other distributions. The Viewbar contains a one click inactive button which turns it off and removes it from your screen at any time.

2. Initial Release for Windows: The initial Viewbar release will be for Windows Vista, XP, 2000 Pro and 2000 Server. Later, we will release Mac and Linux versions of the Viewbar. Until that occurs, Mac/Linux users can still log onto any supported Windows computer and accumulate their five hours. The Viewbar works with browsers IE 5.5 or higher and Firefox 1.5 or higher.

3. Cash Distributions: To be a sustainable entity in the long term, AGLOCO makes Member cash distributions from its positive cash flow (revenue minus costs). Therefore, please do not expect a check after the first couple of months as it will take time to collect revenue from advertisers and this revenue must exceed costs in order to make cash distributions to Members. We will be keeping Members informed of our financials and you can visit the Official company blog at http://blog.agloco.com for the latest updates.

4. Multiple Users on One Viewbar: As stated previously, multiple Members may use the same Viewbar on the same computer. Only one Viewbar download will be necessary as the Viewbar software will enable each Member to log in and log out using their AGLOCO Member ID# and password (obviously, only one Member ID# can be accumulating Viewbar hours at any one time). Please note, only one Viewbar is allowed on a screen at a time.

5. One-Time Download: The v1.0 Viewbar is purposely simplistic and minimalist, but it also comes equipped with an automatic self-updating feature. Once you download the Viewbar for the first time, your Viewbar will be seamlessly updated with new additions and features as they become available. These future features include the direct cash back feature when a Member purchases items on sponsor site and a portion of the purchase price is added back to the Member’s AGLOCO account (as described on the Official AGLOCO Blog at http://blog.agloco.com/index.php/post35/ . )

We look forward to your active participation in the AGLOCO community.

Dan Jorgensen
Member Coordinator

If you haven't signed up yet and are interested, you can sign up here under my referral. As I mentioned before, I had success with AllAdvantage so if these AGLOCO guys follow through on their service it could be a way to make a little extra income for...surfing the net! If you're skeptical, that's fine too because you'll have nothing to lose (but money) and registration is free!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

How To Get Trapped Inside a Washroom at Starbucks

I love visiting Starbucks (and I know you do too--don't lie) even though their drinks can put a dent in your wallet. Another reason for visiting Starbucks is for their washroom facilities. Most of the time they are clean and well maintained. Sometimes, if you're really lucky you could even encounter a Starbucks washroom with cardboard taped/glued over the non-existent door knobs...ummm...wait a minute, missing door knobs?!

Yup, this was the case when I visited the Starbucks in Insadong last weekend. The freaking door had no handles! I almost got trapped inside with another dude because we had trouble opening the door WITHOUT HANDLES! If the door was closed completely there would have been no way for us to open the door. Trapped inside a Starbucks washroom in Korea--that's an English teacher's ultimate dream!

I could not believe my eyes so of course I had to snap some pictures of this. Here was the view from the front of the door. Given the fact that the piece of cardboard has the Starbucks logo, I would assume the staff glued it on there:

The view from the inside--it looks like the missing door handles have been absent for quite a while, since the cardboard has tear marks on both the top and bottom. The pity the poor souls that have been trapped inside in the past:

I alerted the staff that the washroom door didn't have handles--I showed them my pictures to inform them. One guy immediately ran upstairs to check out the situation...who knows if they ended up fixing it or not. So the big question remains...have you ever been trapped inside a washroom before?!

The Korean National Assembly + Cherry Blossoms

Remember the last time I posted about the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival? Well, it was a case of bad timing because it was the first weekend of the festival and we arrived late in the afternoon--it was screaming busy. I was determined to give it another go but this time I decided to take an alternate route to see the blossoms. After exiting Yeouido station I walked directly towards the Korean National Assembly (which I have yet to see up close and personal). By walking through the National Assembly, I was able to bypass the busy entrance that we tried to enter the first time around. Let's take a look at what I was able to see this time around.

Walking towards the National Assembly I passed a bunch of trees growing inside vertical-shaped rectangular blocks. Looks are very important in South Korea and you will see mirrors everywhere, from subway stations to other random parts of the city:

These guys were part of a roller blading club that does tricks and other fancy things that normal people can't do, or would probably bust up a knee trying. The funny thing is they were doing all sorts of crazy stuff, but the moment I started filming a video with digital camera I think I jinxed them, because they started messing up. Here is one of the better videos, a guy doing a slalom on one leg going at full speed--the cones were only spaced about 30-40cm (12-15 inches) apart:

The Korean National Assembly (check out the back of the building here)...lots of people were out enjoying the day on the lawns out front:

In front of the building there is a huge fountain. Check out these police officers--they are merely teenagers serving their mandatory military service (shouldn't they be working?):

Behind the National Assembly I made my way to Yunjungno Avenue. This was the way to go as it was less crowded. Everyone loves cherry blossoms and they will take every opportunity to snap a pic:

For all you cherry blossom lovers out there, eat your heart out:

...more, just for you:

These pretty orchid blooms can be found all over the city. Can anyone out there identify them for me? There must be some plant lovers out there...

After finally making my way to Yunjungno Avenue, you can see that many people are having a great time--it's all smiles here. The cherry blossoms create one giant canopy of love...

Near the entrance to Yunjungno Avenue, this was the most popular composition for pictures. Smiling in the background with tulips in the foreground, while holding some sort of random new born, young child, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, or miscellaneous animal:

This update came a little late, but nevertheless I was pleased with second attempt at checking out the cherry blossoms. Before I finish I will leave you with one of my favorite sights in Seoul, couples in love that dress the same. It's like winning the lottery snapping these pictures because you have to ready to shoot fast (or you could secretly follow them):

Friday, 27 April 2007

The 32cm Tall Ice Cream Cone

If you love ice cream, then you'll enjoy your options in Seoul. There are numerous frozen novelties and in the summer I was averaging almost one a day (there's nothing wrong with that!). What are your other choices? Well, there's Cold Stone, Baskin Robbins, the pig in a tuxedo bar, and Weis Mango and Cream (from Costco) to name a few options. Last weekend after lunch with Hoo Kang, I had the honor to experience an ice cream cone in Myeongdong that is advertised to be 32 centimeters tall (from bottom to top).

At first we walked by without even hesitating, but after seeing so many people enjoying these cones we quickly turned around to join the crowd. These cones were cheap for only 1000w each. We opted to go big and get a mango/yogurt twist cone for 1500w (big spenders, baby). Once again, these guys are going for volume in sales as they have dudes clapping on the street to get your attention.

Here's the outside of the ice cream shop. There's seating inside and from what I saw it was a popular teen hangout:

Aside from the blurry picture (I snapped it quick) take a look at the decoration inside--fluorescent Post-It-Notes all over the ceiling and the walls. My eyes were in pain afterwards from the sensory overload:

The final result...one gigantic ice cream cone that was pretty tasty. Although their cones are tall, they are also skinny so there is not that much ice cream. So basically these ice cream cones are one big sham. I wanted to eat another one after I finished mine! We got suckered in--doh (I say this now, but the next time in Myeongdong I'm going back)!

Check out this video of these guys making the cones. It is an art form the way he makes the perfect twist, time after time. I think he deserves a medal for his hard work (notice the random pan to people nearby and their reaction):

What's your favorite ice cream?

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The Korean Dozen

Who loves eating eggs? You'll find eggs in many Korean dishes, such as bibimbap, gimbab, Spam covered with fried egg as a side dish, and many more. I love eating eggs too at home for breakfast or for a quick snack. Recently, something popped into my head--the Korean dozen actually consists of ten eggs. So does that mean people here don't use the term "a dozen eggs?"

Here you go, count 'em. Ten eggs in a package. The only reason I would want a dozen eggs in a package is because those extra two eggs would come in handy when I'm hungry (yeah, I could buy a bigger package but I don't want to)! Do you miss having a dozen eggs in your fridge, or am I crazy?

*edit*--I forgot to add this picture to the mix. It's a boiled egg I received from a student during Easter. Anyone care to translate? It says something related to Easter, from what I can remember.

Have you noticed the green tea theme going on in Korea (green tea Halls, green tea cereal)? I wonder what these eggs taste like...or is it some sort of marketing ploy?

Here's some more green tea action for you--green tea flavored soft serve ice cream with chocolate brownies (it's a unique combination but it was pretty good):

Gyms in Korea: Hyundai Fitness in Mokdong

*The following is a review of Hyundai Fitness located in Mokdong. Read on to learn how to get a discount on a membership*

When you're eating barbecue at least once every couple of weeks and eating out a lot on the weekends, you might have a tendency to put on a few pounds in Korea. If you do, you should immediately hit up a gym because "thin is in" in Korea. There is so much pressure to look good here it's like a pursuit of happiness. Anyways, the last time I worked out was...the summer of 2006. So when a brand new gym opened up shop in the basement level of our building, I was quick to check out what it was all about.

Hyundai Fitness is a large facility that offers a full gym with equipment, free weights, treadmills with LCD TVs, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, a steam room, stocked locker room with showers (complimentary lockers, soap, shampoo, Q-Tips, lotion, towels, etc. are all included), an exercise studio, two indoor driving ranges, and a golf simulator. All the equipment is brand new at Hyundai Fitness. They definitely did not spare any details when it came to setting up the place.

Like most gyms in Korea, workout clothing is supplied with your membership! This is an awesome service because it saves you from doing laundry at home. You just show up, trade your membership card for a locker key at the front desk, pick up a pair of shorts (the kind that has the built in underwear lining that we all love to hate), a dri-fit-like t-shirt and you're ready to go. They have blue shirts for the guys and red shirts for the women. It's quite the site seeing everyone wearing the same clothes...it's like we are on some sort of sports team in training.

Working out is convenient for us because we can just go straight after work at night. The gym so far is relatively busy with lots of people working out. There are two to three personal trainers on hand at all times that speak English. They are very helpful and motivate you when you're trying to slack off. So far we have enjoyed using their facilities and the staff there is extremely friendly and helpful. The big question remains...how much does a membership cost?

The Part You've Been Waiting For:

You all know by now that Gdog is known for getting deals (tea deals that is). Today is your lucky day because I've managed to secure an EXCLUSIVE discount on membership for readers of The Daily Kimchi! Did I say discount? Yes I did...let's find out what I was able to come up with! There are three different type of memberships available: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. All memberships are a minimum six month term at Hyundai Fitness. Here are the prices before and after the discount:

Mention The Daily Kimchi to get this discount. You might have to talk to the owner as he is probably the only one that knows about our deal at the moment, but I am sure word will spread. Be persistent and you will save some cash!

Gold Membership (12 month term; price is per month)
Golf + Gym + Studio Classes 110,000w----90,000w
Golf + Gym 100,000w----80,000w
Gym + Studio Classes 70,000w----60,000w
Gym 60,000w----50,000w
12 month savings: 120-240,000w

Silver Membership (6 month term; price is per month)
Golf + Gym + Studio Classes 130,000w----120,000w
Golf + Gym 120,000w----110,000w
Gym + Studio Classes 80,000w----70,000w
Gym 70,000w----60,000w
Six month savings: 60,000w

Now that's not a bad discount at all if you ask me. Given all the extras that are supplied by the gym this is a pretty good deal if you're looking for a gym in Mokdong especially when you can hit all the balls you can handle in the golf area (the driving range is my favorite part--we'll get onto that later).

This is what you will see the moment you enter Hyundai Fitness. Smile, you're on candid camera!

Give them your membership card and you'll be presented with a locker key attached to a bracelet:

These pictures don't do justice. This calls for a walk around video...here we go. Watch for body shaking machines...do they actually work? People love them here. I'm sure they were delighted to see me walking around with my camera, hehe:

Here's a picture of all the men and women in red and blue...it feels like a police academy or something! Notice the LCD TVs in the background. Every treadmill has one...I was watching two dudes duke it out on the Korean Game Channel, which looked like an Ultimate Fighting Championship match, but in a video game. The game of choice?--Starcraft (released in 1998!!).

The fitness studio...they offer various group exercises. I noticed some belly dancing classes going on when I first visited the gym...not in this pic though!

Here's my favorite part of the gym--the golf area. There are two different rooms dedicated to golf, along with a putting green. Golf clubs and balls are included! I no longer need to stick with my homemade driving range!

...notice the monitors on the last two stalls. These monitors track the speed and distance of your shot. Also, there is an auto-loader that tees up your ball after your shot. It was my first time seeing one of these things...pretty cool.

Alright, move aside KJ Choi and Se Ri Pak...watch and learn from the master. Keep an eye on the automatic golf ball loader that tees up your ball. When you're hitting a couple thousand balls a day, this thing will come in mighty handy. How's my swing?

Here's the golf simulator room. Who needs to go to a course when you can let a computer do all the work?

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. We feel much healthier now that we are exercising more (it helps cough up the yellow dust build up in my lungs) plus I can hit a few golf balls in the process (the last time I hit some golf balls was in the UAE). Hyundai Fitness was kind enough to sponsor a membership for me in return for writing a review of their gym. At the same time, readers out there looking for a gym in Mokdong can get a nice discount too. In this case, everybody wins!

Hyundai Fitness is located in the same building as TGI Friday's and Dan Sushi in Mokdong (basement level) about a 10 minute walk from either Omokgyo or Mokdong station. Hours are 6am to midnight, Monday to Friday, and 6am-9pm on Saturday and Sundays. They can be reached at 02-2061-0333.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

How to watch free television in Korea -- Part Deux

*we just had to write progress reports for the month of April; my apologies for posting late*

One thing you might have to get adjusted to while teaching English overseas in Korea is the lack of English television from back home (sure, there's AFN but I want more). Okay, some of you might not be TV junkies like us, but you only realize how much you miss TV shows from back home when you're overseas. You might have remembered my previous post about how to watch free TV in Korea. We have cable TV but the selection is lacking. That's expected when you're living in a foreign country. Well, TVU player has been written off in my books so I thought I'd add another update for all you TV fiends out there.

I'm going to keep this simple and recommend two websites for your TV viewing needs. Right now the Stanley Cup playoffs are currently underway. The Vancouver Canucks had a thrilling game 7 victory over the Dallas Stars yesterday. There was no way I could've seen that game live in Korea--until now. Thanks to a handy tip from my friend Darryn, SopCast has live streaming channels from back home. You will need to download their WebPlayer (this lets you watch within your web browser). There are lots of sports channels, network channels, and movie channels. I'm not going to get into the specifics (there's a FOX/CBC/CTV/NBC channel!), but I'll let you peruse the site to find out more.

The next website for your TV viewing needs is TV Links. This site is a junkie's dream. If you haven't heard of this already, it can be either a good thing or bad thing because once you get started you won't be able to stop watching all the streaming shows. You'll have to see what I mean when you visit their site. Currently, I'm watching 24, Prison Break, and Lost. I hope you enjoy these websites and may your butt get sore from being a couch potato. =)

I usually have a picture with every post, so here's a random food picture dug up from the recent archives--homemade breakfast (omelette, prawns, hashbrowns, salsa):

Monday, 23 April 2007

China Factory Chinese Kitchen...in South Korea

We've started to explore the different varieties and styles of Chinese food in Korea, trying to venture away from sweet and sour pork. Recently there was a new Chinese restaurant that opened up near Omokgyo station right across the street from the Hyundai Department Store. The name of this place is called the China Factory Chinese Kitchen.

Now, when I think of a China factory the first thing that comes to my mind is a bunch of Chinese workers manufacturing consumer and electronic goods for the world market. There's a reason why this place is called the China Factory Chinese Kitchen--it's because you take on the role of the worker and create your own dinner by choosing from a variety of dishes, minus the long hours and low wages, and the fact that you're paying to do this. Let's get on with the review, shall we?

Approaching the China Factory Chinese Kitchen you immediately get a sense of the decor and ambiance that they've created. The waiting area is secluded from the dining area via an automatic sliding door. This helps create a pleasant dining experience--as opposed to places where you can see people waiting for a table giving you the evil eye to finish up and leave!

They had a lot of these terracotta soldiers standing guard throughout the entire restaurant:

I mentioned how we would be the brains behind our dinner since we both had to choose dishes for dinner. We had a choice of three dishes each, access to their unlimited dim sum bar, plus dessert. They had various seafood dishes, so if you are a big fan then this place might be for you. Here are pictures of the menu to give you an idea of what we had to choose from:

What's that? You can't decide because you tend to over-analyze things in life? Well, you can always choose from one of their combination dinners:

Alright, that was tough but we managed to get through it. Ordering is pretty easy if you can't speak Korean. Just tick off the numbers on the provided sheet and away you go!

First up, how about some dim sum to start our meal? I went to the dim sum bar and got us a sample of each variety:

The selection here was limited (it definitely was not a mega dim sum of over 100 dishes), but if you're also ordering multiple dishes with dinner, how much dim sum can you really eat? To the cook on the left, smile, because you've made it onto the internet!

The first dish was their stir fried seafood and scallop dish. It has been a long time coming since we have experienced a stir fry dish that resembled Chinese food from back home! It was pretty tasty and had a good selection of shrimp, scallops, squid, clams, and mixed veggies:

For our second dish we had the Sichuan (Szechuan) style spicy grilled shrimp with stir fried spinach. These shrimp were more like tiger prawns. Again, we were happy with this dish and it tasted fantastic. What was the best part of the dish you ask...?

...sucking the guts and juice out of the prawn's head of course (my dad would be proud of me right about now)! MMmmm....deelicious!

This was probably my favorite dish out of all. It was their tenderloin stir fry with black bean sauce and mushrooms. The beef was so tender it literally melted in our mouths. One side note was the dish came lukewarm which I found very odd. I soon realized as we were leaving why it wasn't piping hot. They have a conveyor belt system that transfers dishes from one side of the kitchen to the other. The belt is so long even boiling water won't make it to the end of the line without going cold!

Next up, we had their Sichuan style clear noodle soup (it was spicy) and mixed stir fried rice with shrimp:

Right about now we were getting stuffed, but I was determined to keep going. A little loosening of the belt and I was back in action, baby. Here we have their original hot and sweet fried chicken. It tasted like sweet and sour chicken and was very good too:

*Burp*...excuse me, but here we will move onto the dessert portion. A simple fruit plate consisting of half a banana, previously frozen lychees, pineapple, and these tiny tart flavored mandarin-like oranges (someone help me out here!):

It doesn't end there, you get a choice of "coppee" or ice cream...we went with the ice cream:

Wow, looking back that was a lot of food for two people. The price for dinner was 22,800w ($24USD) each, not including a 10% VAT (Value Added Tax) which is an auto gratuity added to the bill (there is no tipping in South Korea!). For the money spent, we enjoyed a satisfying meal in a pleasant dining atmosphere. How to get there? The China Factory Chinese Kitchen is located beside Cold Stone Creamery by the Mokdong Megabox and across from the SkyView 41 building.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Velociraptors at Costco

Every time we visit Costco I always end up observing something interesting. Children sleeping in shopping carts, live karaoke performances, tree planting, and ideas for dinner. Now, for all you Costco fans out there, part of the experience of making the trek to the warehouse is tasting all the samples. Why eat at the food court when you can get a balanced diet for free? Anyways, usually near the meat and poultry section there is a lady cooking steaks of Australian beef for sampling. South Korea is home to some of the world's most expensive beef prices (although that may change).

So let me tell ya, when there's free samples of steak, people will gather around and hover like a pack of wolves. Upon passing the steak at first it was about half cooked. I wasn't going to wait around to have a sample. That was until ten minutes later I saw a crowd gathering around the station--I knew I had to get in on the action. I recognized one lady who was patiently waiting around the station the moment the steak hit the grill. As people pushed and shoved their way to the front of the station, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get this on video. I had my plastic green toothpick ready and waiting, so the moment we were given the cue it was a free for all to get delicious morsels of Australian beef.

The following scene reminded me of that scene from Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex and the velociraptors got their meals by devouring live cattle put inside the electric pens. After ten seconds of shaking in the bushes and growling sounds, there would be nothing left but bits and pieces of cartilage. That was how this little scene played out in my head:

Did you notice that dirty little trickster planted out in front just kept on eating? The little bugger stole my thunder. At least I managed to quickly pull my double poke technique and score two pieces of beef, which would probably equate to 10,000w (maybe a slight exaggeration). The unfortunate aftermath of all this? The lonely pieces of onion and green pepper left sitting idle on the grill, withering away until they are dumped into the garbage can (the food compost garbage of course).

Here's a clip of all the food eaten by dinosaurs posted on YouTube, a fitting video for this post:

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Review: A Really Good Book (About Korea)

The following is a review...of many to come written by yours truly, from Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon. I should be doing progress reports but as you can see I'm procrastinating.

There many things that go hand in hand in life. Peanut butter and jam. Popcorn and butter. Mixed berry smoothies and tofu (okay, maybe you ignore the last one). Something that I've noticed that also goes together is teaching English in Korea and starting a blog about your adventure. It almost a mandatory thing "to do" when you come over to Korea. It's like some sort of new age olympic sport.

If you take a look at the blogs listed on The Korean Blog List, you'll see hundreds of blogs. Some are maintained often and some become abandoned quickly. One blog that been maintained for a while has been Seouliva. Anthony has kept his Korea blog going since September of 2003. When he asked me to review his self published book on Korea, I agreed to help him get some publicity for his little project.

Titled A Really Good Book (About Korea): A Collection of Language, Lifestyle, and Love, this is Anthony's interesting picture book on his adventure so far in "the land of the morning calm". He writes about the miscellaneous ramblings and his personal observations and experiences in South Korea. I read a few pages of the book and it's really quite interesting. I wish I had seen it before I came over to Korea as it definitely would have been handy. Anyways, if you're looking for a good read about the life of someone doing the "teaching English in Korea" as Anthony puts it, this book just might be for you.

Devante's Dell Inspiron 640m (she had a tall caramel macchiato and I had a tall double blended caramel frappuccino, totaling 10,200w [$12US] for both beverages).

You can run, but you can't hide from the wrath of my camera. Actually, she just happened to be covering her face and I snapped the shot. As I'm editing this post right now, she can probably see her own picture on my laptop.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Choo! Choo! Here comes the Technorati link train!

Technorati is a website that ranks the millions of blogs out there in the blogosphere. Your blog's ranking is determined by the amount of incoming links to your blog. Currently, The Daily Kimchi sits at a reasonable 48,475. I got a seat on the train from Ed Lau, who got his seat from Mr. Gary Lee. Basically, this link train will get passed on and on from one blog to another in the blogosphere. If your blog is on this list, that means another link to your blog, and therefore increasing your rank--very clever.

Anyways, I'm going to follow the instructions and add my three faves to the list. If you haven't already, add The Daily Kimchi to your Technorati favorites! Bring on the train!

***Start Copying Here:***

Here are the rules:

1) Write a short introduction paragraph about what how you found the list and include a link to the blog that referred you to the list.

2) COPY the Rules and ENTIRE List below and post it to your blog. To avoid duplicate content and increase the amount of keywords your site can accessible for, go ahead and change the titles of the blog. Just don’t change the links of the blog.

3) Take “My New Faves” and move them into the “The Original Faves” list.

4) Add 3 Blogs that you’ve just added to your Technorati Favorites to the “My New Faves” section. Remember to also add the “Fave Me” link next to your new blogs (i.e. http://technorati.com/faves?sub=addfavbtn&add=http://www.yourfavesdomain.com)

5) Add Everyone on this list to your Technorati Favorites List by clicking on “Fave the Site.” Those who want good kharma will fave you back. If not, you will for sure get the benefits of faves from the bloggers who continue this list after you.

My New Faves

ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal - Fave the Site
My Korean Kitchen -Fave this Site
it's K-Rad, yo - Fave this Site

The Original Faves

Leo Chiang - Fave the Site
Michael Kwan - Fave the Site
The Daily Kimchi - Teaching English in Korea - Fave the Site
Stephen Fung - Fave the Site Add him to your favorites and he’ll donate to charity!
Ed Lau - Fave the Site
QMusings - Fave the Site
Gary Lee - Fave the Site
Dosh Dosh - Fave the Site
Nate Whitehill
- Fave the Site
Ms. Danielle - Fave the Site
Jeff Kee - Fave the Site
Scribble on the Wall - Fave the Site
Jimi Morrisons Head - Fave the Site
Jon Lee - Fave the Site
Samanathon - Fave the Site
Eat Drink & Be Merry - Fave the Site
The Man of Silver
- Fave the Site
Hannes Johnson - Fave the Site
My Dandelion Patch
- Fave the Site
Nathan Drach - Fave the Site
SiteLogic - Fave the Site
Julies Journal - Fave the Site

***End Copying Here***

To everyone above, I've added you to my Technorati favorites. Let's see how long this link train can go on for. Thanks again to Ed for the add. Cheers!

The Simpsons Movie in Korea

The Simpsons is the longest running American sitcom on TV today. Watching The Simpsons while growing up was one of my favorite things to do (Sundays, FOX, 8pm PST). The laughs were just endless and will be etched in my mind forever. People always relate real life stories back some sort of random Simpsons episode. I haven't had time nowadays to closely follow the show as I did before, but I do watch the occasional episode. Did you know that episodes of The Simpsons were subcontracted to Korean animation studios to save costs? I had no clue--the things you learn from Wikipedia!

The Simpsons Movie is currently under production and will be released worldwide in theaters later this year on July 27th. What made me want to post about this was the fact that their official movie website has languages for countries around the world--with South Korea being one of them!

I found it interesting to read the Korean writing on one of the movie wallpapers. The large black and yellow letters read: "Shim-shuhn daw-moo-bee," in Konglish...which translates to "Simpsons The Movie" (which I'm sure you already figured out!). Ahh, the joys of learning how to read Hangul!

Check out the following screenshot from the movie website...the mouse rollover includes Korea! Yeah, Korea! Korea! Korea! Baekdu Mountain is ours! Kimchi is our famous traditional food! Jeju is the Hawaii of Korea (this is ultra Korean nationalism rubbing off from my students' essays to me)!

They have even created MSN Messenger icons for all the hardcore fans out there:

So there you have it...mark July 27th on your calendars because I know I will. See you at the movie theaters! Does anyone out there still watch The Simpsons religiously?

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