Thursday, 28 October 2010

Korea F1

This weekend just gone me, Sarah, Chris and Amy (two mates from England who came over for the race and a holiday) all went down to Mokpo to watch the F1. Took the KTX, which was hassle free, played Trivial Pursuit on the way down on Sarah's iPod touch and slept on the way back because it was gone midnight... We turned up at the race track after a great night at the hotel with the friendliest hotel manager in the world (he had a small Paris Baguette cake waiting for us when we turned up, gave us a lift to the shuttle bus AND when Sarah left her phone at the hotel he posted it to her a couple of days later... great bloke) at around 11am ready for the Hyundai series race an hour or so later.

This is when things started to go wrong.

It had rained quite hard the night before so it was all muddy. Very muddy. We had to buy cheap plastic ponchos because there was a constant light rain that wasn't going away. There was also a long, arduous walk around the track to do anything, i.e. get the tickets, get food/merchandise etc. But we couldn't get any food in the end because no one was selling any... thousands of people and not ONE food vendor. Apparently, a lot of people had got wind of this and brought their own food (either that or they thought that food would be too expensive and cleverly brought a lunch of their own). So we were starving. And wet.

The track was so sodden with water that the race was delayed by an hour to see if it would dry up. It never really but they started the race anyway, albeit behind the safety car for like 20-odd laps. As soon as the safety car buggered off though the race was awesome :)

Here are some pictures:

Yes, Dad and Ryan, we had a flag :) Were we on telly? I doubt it.. I never saw one TV camera the whole race...
Good close up picture of some of the racers that Sarah took. Alonso looks smug. It's like he already knows he'll win.

Nice picture of me and Sarah in our ponchos and F1 lanyards :)

F1 gets underway!! It was seriously so exciting. Saw a few cool overtaking maneuvers down the straight and saw a couple of crashes and this:

Uh oh... Vettel's out. His car was on fire and after he got out of his car he hopped on the back of a moped and zipped off lol.

This was the view for a long time :P As you can hear the cars are soooooo loud. They gave us ear plugs, which I didn't use because I'd feel lame if I put em in, but they were definitely needed. This video was taken when they were going 'slowly' behind the safety car too, so you can imagine the noise when they are going full throttle... and we were on the huge straight. Great experience it was.

Still, an awesome race weekend at Yeongam, Korea! Let's hope Korea gets it's act properly together for next year and spruce up the place a bit :P

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sports day preliminaries

Turned up to class today (class 2-5) to find no bugger there and a load of kids shouting at me to go outside and watch the football. This took a while for them to get across because I initially thought that they were winding me up and their English was shocking. I also thought I might've got prior warning that I got to watch football instead of trawl through the textbook with the kids, but this is Korea after all and I've gotten used to it :P

Here's a few pictures I shoddily took of the game:

The kids, and even one of my co-teachers who was sitting next to me, were well keen about the game. My co-teacher kept like slapping me on the back when things happened, cheering really loudly... It was the Final of the group to see who progresses into next weeks Sports Day. Serious stuff.

The game ended in a goalless draw with penalties to come and it was pretty tense, as you can see by all the nail biting going on in the picture above :P

This is our glorious playing field. Almost as dusty as my apartment :P

The game ended 5-4 on penalties with class 2-5 (the team I was cheering on) beating class 2-3.

If this was tense, imagine next weeks Sports Day...

Cool Korea: Update

I haven't seen the show, but for all you One Piece fans out there (Sarah and Tea Leaf..) here is a particularly time consuming piece of graffiti that I found on one of my students desks:

I asked the girl sitting behind it if she had done it and she sort of nodded sheepishly in that kind of 'I'm gonna be honest in the hope that my honesty saves me from punishment' way. Then I asked her if I could take a photo and her face beamed :)

One of these days I might get around to teaching...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Cool Korea, Part Three: Stargate and Gorillas

I found the extra pictures that I was going to use for this blog, so here I am writing it as the class I was supposed to teach got cancelled because of Sports Day preliminaries.

Starting off with a mug. No, it's not a picture of myself... It's a mug that I was given in a restaurant months ago that I thought was, and still is, hilarious. I took 4 pictures of the mug from different angles.. Can you spot the odd one out?

They aren't hiring thousands of native English teachers for nothing you know... I wouldn't be surprised if this mug was designed by a native English guy for his own amusement actually.

Coolness rating: 8/10 - I cracked up.

Koreans love their manga (Japanese comic books). I took this photo in a manga rental shop (that also hired out some DVDs). Here they didn't just have the standard shelving to house their massive collection, oh no, they had two extra layers of shelving behind the normal shelves that you could slide away to get to the hidden manga behind it.

Also, it's mostly quiet at lunchtime here at Myeonghyun middle school because there are about 200 kids in the library reading manga... To be honest, I'd be reading it too if it wasn't all in Korean :'(

Coolness rating: 9/10 - there's nothing uncool about a shop full of manga :P

In Korea there are many frilly little, girly places dotted around that you stroll into when your on a date and have some cake, papingsu, and/or coffee. They are essentially desert places where you sit in relative comfort in your own little booth and have a chat with your woman about whatever over desert. This is one we went to in Bucheon. It was larger than most we've been to, looked as girly as ever, cheesecake was nice... Wait a minute... is that a f-ing Stargate?
Yes. Yes, it was a Stargate. I was sitting there eating cheesecake and sipping at coffee for 20 minutes without realising this pansy-ass place had a bloody Stargate as the entrance. The glass door was even frosted to make it look like the event horizon... I don't know why or how, but it's there.

Coolness rating: 10/10 - Bit of Stargate while I'm having a cheeky coffee never hurts :P

This is my desk at work. I'd like to say that it isn't usually this messy but that would be lying (as I'm writing this blog I have a half eaten ddeok just sitting there in it's packet sitting on top of a pile of lesson plans, my headphones strewn across the desk, and an old newpaper from last week...). Anyway, this picture shows how much they've been plugging Starcraft II over here. I've seen ads everywhere from the side of Lotteria (the Korean equivalent of McDonalds) drinks cups (pictured) to on the side of buses. I've been suckered in and bought the game.. I'm really bad at it :/

Coolness rating: 6/10 - Everytime I ask a student what he did on the weekend 9/10 times the conversation goes like this:

Lee: What did you do on the weekend?
Student: Computer game.
Lee: Which computer game did you play?
Student: Starcraft? (In that 'you probably don't know what game I'm talking about' kind of way)
Lee: Of course you did.

It's starting to get annoying.

Finally, here is a picture of a drunk/crazy guy on the subway. Notice no one is helping him or even looking at him (except us, of course). He was staggering around trying to sit down next to that poor girl in pink but kept falling over. He was shouting at people and ended up emptying out most of carriage :P

Coolness rating: 7/10 - I see it all too often...

And that concludes my lame little series on what I've called 'Cool Korea' :)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Cool Korea, Part Two: Student Stuff

Figured out how to transfer pictures. It was slightly tedious :/

Part two of my little series on what I've called 'Cool Korea' (I've tried to make it sound professional but is basically whatever pictures I found on my camera phone that I deemed to be 'cool') is on things that my students have done and mostly centers around graffiti... :P

Most of the graffiti I saw in my school in England seemed to focus around three things: someone is in love with someone else '4eva', anything to do with Pompey FC, and, last but not least, the standard drawings of a mans privates... Although I have found the same stuff in Korea (minus the stuff about Pompey, unfortunately :'( ) I also discover mini works of art that I assume could only have been drawn in my classes as I think they like maths and science too much to bother in those..

In a first grade class I found these anime drawings on some kids desk. Didn't tell him off because I was impressed... bad teaching, sure, but I don't want to be the guy who takes the paintbrush from Da Vinci :/ To be honest, I've found better graffiti, but I thought it was cool :)

An improved version from what must be the same kid sitting at a different desk. Looks like he's almost perfected it. Also, is this a Pokemon or a Digimon?

Now this is a work of art. Different uses of colour, shading, and it's pretty creative... This must've taken a good hour at least to do, so definitely drawn in my class then... My favourite by far.

Coolness rating: 9/10 - if your gonna graffiti, you might as well draw a Digimon or a flying fish :P

By the way, I see plenty more stuff drawn on kids' desks (mostly anime) but I'm not keen enough to snap all of em - the students thought I was weird even taking photos of the Pokemon.

Guess the art teacher got the students to make papier-mache masks because the office was littered with em. This kid clearly done the best job though... Ichigo ftw :P

Coolness rating: 6/10 - Haven't seen Bleach in a while..

Drawing of a beaver I quickly scrawled on the board to show them that a beaver is not the same as a squirrel... Everyone was cracking up :'(

Coolness rating: 1/10 - although professionally drawn, accurate and almost unidentifiable from an actual photograph of a beaver, it's shit.

Finally, graffiti my co-teacher showed me on the wall by the stairs leading to the first grade. It means 'native teacher is the best' :)

Coolness rating: 10/10 - love how students risked being punished to declare that I'm the best :P although I don't condone it... much ;)

Part three coming up sometime next week :o

Monday, 4 October 2010

Cool Korea

I've been here around 8 months now and so I think it's about time I showed you some cool pictures I've taken since my arrival. Ok, they're not the most professional photos (they're semi-pro at best) but I think they're pretty cool anyway :P

During my time in America, and the two hours I spent watching 'Bowling for Columbine', I learnt that you can buy a gun and ammunition in Walmart, just a few aisles down from the kiddy bikes. The Korean equivalent is that they sell martial arts equipment in Home Plus right next to the board games. It's not quite as mental as selling things that might later be kept as evidence from some kind of shopping mall killing spree, but I'd say it's cooler. I wasn't even remotely shocked to find that they were running low on aluminium nunchucks in my local Home Plus.. I just thought it was pretty cool. Anyway, this is training gear, but it still could cause some damage, and I bet there is plenty a chav in the UK who would give up his last bottle of Stella for a chance to wield that solid steel baton in the centre of the picture around the streets of Portsmouth :P

Coolness rating: 8/10

Cool thing I saw near Sarah's place in Nonhyeon-dong: A 'robot' with a movement sensor of some kind bowed at you and said something in Korean. I think it was on a cycle of 'Anyong haseyo!' and then said something about a phone deal :S

Coolness rating: 9/10 (Sarah didn't really like it but I loved it :P)

Anime is so big in Korea that they even use it on the front cover of the Twilight books :P

Here is Edward and Bella looking particularly emo on the front of 'Eclipse'. It looks like Edward is doing that thing where you hold your hands together and blow into em to make the sound of an owl hooting :o

Coolness rating: 6/10 (it's pretty cool, but doesn't reach the dizzy heights of nunchaku and training swords)
Kids having a Pokemon battle, again, in Home Plus, apparently the home of coolness. The guy in the gray hat on the right was well keen and definitely over 18. I had a closer look and he was playing a kid of around 7 or 8 with cards that were in little plastic sleeves as if they were valuable :P

Coolness rating: 4/10 (would've been higher if the keeno hadn't shown up)

Part two coming up whenever I figure out how to transfer photos from my phones internal memory to my micro SD card..

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