New Korean Drama HERO + No Innovation

One thing about working with executives and some of the more elite individuals in South Korea is you gain a better idea of just what Koreans are thinking and why they behave (slightly) different from their American counterparts. A lot of my students have the exact complaint that I do, that Korea has no innovation.

While you could also argue the opposite, most of my students believe this idea due to the fact that you still work under someone with more seniority and that the major companies  still practice the idea that the boss is always right. With that in mind,  you do not question the boss or offer alternative suggestions. Times they are a changing, but at a snails pacing.

There is a new drama set to hit the Korean airwaves soon, OCN which is a channel I do tend to watch more often than the others, has unveiled their new show HERO. Apparently it is South Korea in the future, a dystopian future. The government is corrupt (some could argue that has already occurred), and the police take no action to solve crimes or stop them (that too could be argued that it has already occurred). So, in steps South Korea’s superhero crime fighter. Think Korean Batman. Which is must be what they are going for. After all Korea has no innovation. The picture below has him in Bruce Wayne’s “Batcave” from Dark Knight.

Korea's New Drama Hero

I am all for new shows, but the photo above goes to prove my point regarding South Korea’s lack of innovation. Korea wants a superhero show and we show Dark Knight once a month so, let’s steal the set to promote our newest show. The commercial doesn’t do a very good job of telling you much of anything either.

Doesn’t tell you much, the other commercial is also vague.

The other thing that has gotten my goat recently is LTE a.k.a. 4G network for phones is running a series of commercials featuring Darth Vader (of Star Wars fame). That’s cool, except that his buzz word is WARP which has nothing to do with Star Wars. But no one in Korea has any idea who Spock, Bones, or Captain Kirk is (the former Priceline guy and TJ Hooker). So, Lord Vader is their go-to-guy. The ads are also not very innovative. I tried to post them but sadly could not. To sum it up, not innovative, funny (to a degree) but not innovative and truth be told, inaccurate.

Darth Vader LTE Campaign

Star Wars Typeface Used in KT Commercial

Well, it has been a while since I have updated this site and it is mainly because I have been so busy and the new job has some odd hours. Not that anyone actually reads this blog but I had planned to post often and that just hasn’t been the case. I am even more behind with my book reviews on my other site, but such is life. I hope to improve in the near future.

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Sad Day for Cosplay girls

Presented without comment:

Sad Day for Cosplay Hotties

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Escalation of Abuse on the Subway

Over the course of the last few months many videos have surfaced of abuse on the subway. From older Ajummas to young men attacking others in the subway for the smallest of things.

Sometimes it is best to just look down and not make eye contact with anyone.

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Strange Fashion Trend in South Korea

It certainly isn’t new here in South Korea, you see it as you are on the bus or walking the streets of Seoul. But it has now hit my classrooms. What am I talking about? Why it’s glasses without lenses. It has been a fashion trend here for a few years, but recently I am seeing more and more students wearing frames without lenses.

Spot the student without lenses.

Not sure why, perhaps Koreans think it makes them look more intelligent. although when you realise that they are sans lenses, I would think that would destroy the whole look you were going for.

Not sure why this is a fashion trend or why Koreans think this is a good look but it has been around for a while and more than likely will stay around for a little while longer.

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Student’s Desks

In all honesty the 2 years that I have been here I am still unclear as to what the desk policy is. I know that they have a seating chart but because they switch classes based on ability, they sit pretty much anywhere. So, I am confused as to whether or not they can write on their desks. It may seem strange but it looks as if they can. I have watched kids write on desks right in front of my co-teachers and also carve deep pits and ruin the desk altogether. The latest trend seems to be to to apply stickers to their desk, or perhaps other desks.

I found these two stickers on neighboring desks, I had to get a picture:

 

Don't Take Shit Anybody

Don't Be a Chicken Shit, Live Your Life

 

 

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Busan Trip

During my winter vacation my girlfriend and I decided to take a trip to Busan. Neither one of us had been there before and we didn’t feel like spending a lot of money to go out of the country and we had both been to Jeju-do. So, Busan seemed the most likely spot to escape the cold temperatures and also get in some sight-seeing.

If you can navigate your way through the Korean websites, or like me you have a Korean girlfriend, you can get a packaged deal. We ended up with a relatively decent hotel with our KTX bullet train tickets included. We did have to get to the Seoul Train Station by 7am but after we were there we didn’t have long to wait to board our train. I had never been on a train before and was impressed with how efficient it was and even though we were traveling at a decent speed, roughly 250+ miles per hour, I didn’t really notice it until another train going the opposite direction passed us. With 3 hours we were in Busan and riding the subway to our hotel.

Our hotel was also very nice with a nice view of the beach and a large comfortable bed. The one problem we had was that our heater was stuck on and we had to turn on our air conditioning to compensate. We were right on the beach and just a few blocks away from several restaurants that all looked good. I really wanted to get some fish and chips as I had heard that there were a few great pubs with some tasty fish and chips. I ended up going to the Wolfhound Pub which has the same menu as the one found in Itaewon.

The first thing we decided to do was go outside and walk the boardwalk surrounding Haeundae Beach. Since it was winter there were no bikini clad girls playing on the beach. This is probably a good thing as it would not do me any good to be looking at them with my girlfriend at my side. She is the jealous type. Many of the scenes from the disaster movie Haeundae or 해운대 are right there for you to see. There were plenty of people milling about on the beach and taking in the sights.

As you walk the boardwalk you can hop in to one of the most expensive hotels, The Westin Chosun Beach Hotel, where many foreign dignitaries stay. From there you can look down the beach. After checking out the raw food restaurant we headed back out onto the boardwalk and checked out the light house and BEXCO the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center. From here you have a great view of Gwangan Bridge. The walk also takes you past a major housing project that caught on fire early last year. The fire tore right through the outer wall and burned upward in a strange pattern.

Busan Lighthouse

There is a lot to see and do in Busan and we had to hit the world’s largest department store. The Shinsegae known as Centum City was massive. But the real let down was that there really wasn’t much difference than any of the other Shinsegaes found throughout Korea.

Since we were there just days after the New Year began we woke up early and took a taxi to Beomeosa Buddhist Temple. I think this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It is the said that it is the first place in Korea to see the sun rise and we were there with a few other people to see the sun rise over the horizon. The problem was that the day was very cloudy and we never saw the sun come up. But we did our best to observe the tradition. Another great thing that was at the temple was these little figurines that people leave behind in hopes that their children will do well on their exams. There were hundreds of these little figures on every nook and cranny they could find.

Beomeosa Temple

figures

Figures on the ledge

After Beomeosa we took another taxi to back into the city and went to an outdoor market with the hopes of finding some red bean soup. My girlfriend really wanted to find this soup but ended up eating sweets instead. I found a deal for about thirty mandarin oranges for 2,000 won ($2) and snacked on them as we cruised the market and walked our way to Busan Tower. The tower is in a small park at the top of the hill that has a few statues and a gift shop. The park is notorious for old men who ask if you want them to take your picture and then tell you astronomical prices to receive a copy of the picture. We were not approached and didn’t have that problem. But we did observe it happen to another couple.

The last major site we went to was a place that I made sure we went and visited. The United Nations Memorial Cemetery. It is was a little out of the way from where we were but since my grandfather served here, I wanted to see what South Korea had done to honor those that fell in the ongoing conflict. It was fairly impressive and the only downside was that every country that came to South Korea’s aid had a nice statue except the United States. I was a little disappointed that the United States didn’t take the time and money to put up some sort of monument to honor the heroes that died defending the county.

UN Memorial

UN Flags

Busan was a lot of fun and it would be nice to return to the city once the weather warms up. While we managed to see nearly every site the city had to offer I would like to see the beach full of people and as my girlfriend says “hot body girls.”

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The Barnes and Noble NookColor

For Christmas my girlfriend was having a hard time finding something for me as I am rather hard to shop for as I tend to just go out and buy it or I do not say much about an item one way or another. She first decided that she wanted to get me a Galaxy Tab but after looking into it, the Tab would have been nearly one-thousand dollars which is way too much. Even though the item is made here in South Korea by Samsung it is not cheaper.

Galaxy Tab

As an avid reader she asked if I would be interested in the Barnes and Noble NookColor. It does what I want it to do, read books and it allows me to listen to music and other stuff that she figured I would enjoy. I already have an Amazon Kindle and love it, but I figure between the two readers I should be able to read just about anything. I called B&N and found out it would “run” in Korea and I ordered it. After being sent to my parent’s house and finally making it to Korea I open it up and register it to find out I can not use it in Korea. As a matter of fact, I can not use it anywhere but the United States and Canada. Needless to say I was not happy and neither was my girlfriend as her perfect gift was a dud.

NookColor

What is the point of an eReader if you can not enjoy it while traveling? It is a selling point as far as I am concerned. With my Amazon Kindle I can buy anything and start reading it in a matter of minutes, no matter where I am in the world. While the NookColor looks and feels impressive it is anything but. I was really looking forward to using it and drawing comparisons but after one day I was already calling B&N and preparing to send it back to the States to get a full refund.

If you are in North America you have a big decision between many different eReaders but if you do a lot of long-term international travel or you are like me and live abroad there really is no comparison, the Amazon Kindle is the ultimate choice at this time.

Amazon Kindle 3

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