Monday, July 30, 2012

Music Monday #12

A bit late -  but better late that than never.  In celebration of me being home in New Zealand for my vacation, this one is from New Zealand band Shihad.

Shihad - Home Again

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Vacation

Yay it's finally here - Summer Vacation.

For many of us teaching here in Korea this coming week is Summer Vacation and I for one am super excited for it.  It will be the first real holiday I've had since coming here, I took a short one to Jeju Island for Winter Break but last Summer I worked at a camp so didn't get a holiday.

Also super excited as I decided to spend a bit of money and go home, I feel like I should go an explore Asia more but to be honest its been a year and a half and I'm a bit homesick.

So I fly out this afternoon and will be in New Zealand by this time tomorrow - I will do Music Monday from home but not sure if I will get to do any other posts.  We will see how we go but I only have one week so will probably be busy trying to do everything and see everyone I want to.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Korean Buses - Larva (라바) Cartoon

Since the instalment of flat screen TVs in most of the inner city buses we have been fortunate enough to be able to view this wonderful cartoon - it's called 라바 which transliterates to la(r)va which in English is of course larvae. Most of the advertisements and other bits on the bus TV are in Korean so not very interesting if you don't know the language.

The cartoon Larva can be viewed silent, in fact until I watched it here on YouTube I had never heard it because the bus does not have sound on for the BusTV. Larva does not need the sound to be fully enjoyed. They are just short stories about two little Larva (caterpillars or something) that live in a drain and their various other acquaintances and or the things that they find washed into their drain. Each episode is about two minutes long and they are often pretty macabre.

It’s cute, funny and mildly diverting on my daily bus ride to work

Monday, July 23, 2012

Music Monday #11

Today I thought I would entertain you all with another Korean song.  This one is apparently not K-pop but is considered to be Hip Hop.  Not sure if it is exactly what I think of when I think of Hip Hop but I guess for Koreans the difference between this and K-pop is quite vast.

Psy is an American educated singer who has been around for a few years and has had considerable success. He is signed to one of the biggest record labels and although not what Koreans would consider mainstream he's not underground or independent either.  In a land where K-pop rules it's probably a bit hard to do something different.

Psy is known for his sense of humor and for imitating leading ladies of K-pop. So anyway he is back with a new album after two years of break and this is one of the main songs of it. The video itself is well worth watching, it's pretty funny.

Psy - Gangnam Style

I have also included the English Translation for this song below - just so you know what he's talking about for once.  The basis of it is from

FYI - Oppa is the term that girls use when referring to their older brother, however in recent times is has come to be used for boyfriend and for referring to idols. (so if you come to Korea don't be concerned if you hear a girl call someone her brother and then kiss him :D)

Oppa is Gangnam style
Gangnam style

A girl who is warm and kind during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it cools
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Beautiful, lovable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, lovable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

A girl who looks quiet but knows how to play
A girl who lets her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensible girl like that

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but knows how to play
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

Beautiful, lovable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, lovable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end

Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

You know what I’m saying
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

Monday, July 16, 2012

Learning Korean #2 - The Alphabet (Hangeul Part 1 of 4)

In my last 'Learning Korean' post I talked about numbers as I think that it was one of the best things I've learned so far.  I don't really want to go too far into Learning Korean as I am in no way an expert but I am happy to share some things that I have learned so far.  There are also many other resources out there if you are serious about learning - I would recommend 'Talk to Me in Korean'.

TTMIK is an online resources made up of podcasts, videos and other stuff to help you on your journey to becoming a Korean Language expert.  They are produced by Native Korean Speakers who have impeccable English. This is a free resources and is really helpful, they do also have a sister site that is one where you can pay for more support, it's called Haru Korean. The free site has more than enough to get you started.

Today I wanted to talk about the Korean Alphabet, the most common thing you will hear its that it's easy to learn. The Korean alphabet is a created writing system that is the result of careful study and planning, prior to its invention the Koreans had been using the Chinese writing system.  There are still some Chinese charters in Korean writing but they are slowing being phased out - for our purposes you don't have to learn them but its good to be aware that they are there and that Korean children are expected to learn and memorize them at school.

As I have mentioned before I'm not the best learner so I was a bit dubious of people when they said they learned the alphabet in an afternoon or a weekend.  I did a bit of study when I first got here and figured out the most common letters but I soon let it lapse and did not continue.  I finally booked myself in for a Korean Language Course at a Training Institute so that I could force myself to go and try and get on track.  I only ended up going to one months worth of courses as it was cancelled due to low numbers and it was coming into winter, the course was in Seoul so I had to travel a couple of hours to attend.  I decided to wait until it got warmer and see if I still wanted to continue, I have not booked into anything so far but might do something next month.

The course was pretty hard for me and I found the teacher went a bit fast, it was more about grammar than speaking and pretty soon it was over my head.  However the one good thing to come out of it was that I learned the alphabet - it was our first homework assignment and we had to learn it or we would have held the class up. I was already the slowest in the class so I did not want to be the one who did not do their homework and held the class back; I made a concerned effort to spend the week memorizing.  Many people can do it quicker but I spread it out over the week, I copied all the letters out I recited them and even had an iPod app that recited them to me so I could listen on the bus.  I'm still a bit unsure of some of the double vowels as I did not spend as much time on them but the main consonants and vowels I can read OK now - I do still have to think about it a bit usually.

Once you know the alphabet you can practice almost anywhere you are, there are always signs on the buses or in shops you go to.  I find myself practicing on the bus the most, not really trying to read the words but trying to recognize the letters - every now and then you surprise yourself and find you actually know the word which is a great feeling.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to do a few Hangul Posts where I go over the alphabet and give tips to how I learned it and links to the resources that I used.  Feel free to leave comments to let me know how you learned and share any tips you might have.

Visit the Tourism Korea site for the complete story of the Korean alphabet - Hangul.

Music Monday #10

Music Monday this week is another blast from the past.  It's nice to revisit songs that I have liked over the years.  This one is a bit outside of my usual fare - I never really went for the post-rock stuff but despite that Linkin Park have always intrigued me.  I think its' the energy and passion that their music seems to imbue - it always seems so lively.  I used to have one of their first Cd's in my car back home and found it great driving music.

So this is Music Monday Ten and I think it has been a great way for me to make sure that I am visiting my blog every week - I have been posting more but it's still a bit haphazard.  Hopefully I will keep thinking of things to share and hopefully people will find some of it useful.  Remember to post a comment if you like anything or just want to say hello, it's great to hear from you all and I appreciate your time.

Linkin Park - In The End

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cinema in Korea (Going to the Movies)

There are many movie theatres in Korea so chances are if you are here long enough you will want to go an see a movie at some time.  You are in luck because most of the big American (and some other country) films will show in Korean cinemas in English.  They will usually be in English with Korean subtitles, I believe its more common to dub the cartoon ones so watch out for that. 

If you want to find out listing times and book your tickets you can do so online at this website - it's an English language service run by BookinBooks Bookstore for Foreigners.

Basically if you want to buy a ticket you send them the money and they purchase it for you (you will need a Korean Bank Account to be able to transfer the money). Once they purchase the ticket they send you a text message on your mobile phone that you can show at the cinema to pick up your tickets.

The biggest cinemas in Korea are CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox - you can find a few other ones around also but if you are in a city or town of reasonable size you will have one of these three chains there.  The website above covers most cinemas and also has a request part where if you can't find your cinema then you can request that they set it up.

If you are looking for Suwon you will find it under Gyeon-gi Province.  There are quite a few around Suwon so you should be able to find one near you.  They also have links to maps so you can see the locations of the cinemas listed too.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Music Monday #9

What's not to love about this one - New Zealander making good, Muppets and happiness.

Bret McKenzie (feat. Kermit the frog) - Life's a Happy Song

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Korea in the News #2

Another article about Korea in New Zealand news.

This one is about a South Korean man who has been detained after visiting North Korea.

Gmarket Haul #1

These are some things that I bought a couple of months ago on Gmarket.  I wrote a post a while ago about how much I like shopping online with Gmarket but have not followed it up with anything. I have not been buying quite as much as usual as I am saving to go home for a holiday at the end of the month.  These are a few girly bits that I got and thought were pretty cute.

Cute hand creme, this is one of a series and I thought was the cutest of them all.  It was also fruit scent which I liked the sound of the best. It's expensive for the size but you are really paying for the packaging rather than the creme. It was 4,900won.  Link to Seller.

I needed some new mascara so was looking on Gmarket when I found this one, I was sold simply because it looked so cute.  Its called 'Cats Wink Mascara' by Tony Moly and you can get two kinds - this one is Volume and Lengthen  and the other one was Curl and Lengthen and and it was 6000won.  Link to Seller.

I bought these two headbands and was really happy with them, they are just some cheap cute ones but they look nice and they fit pretty comfortably too. They were about 5 or 6,000won each. Link to Seller.

Two chunky style necklaces, I usually go for stuff much smaller and simpler but I saw one of these types on a T.V show and thought it looked cool so thought I would find something similar.  These two are nice, they are just cheap ones at 10,000won each and are both from the same seller.  The faux pearl one is No.54 at this link and the black one does not seem to be on there anymore.  The seller was really good on this one and put a couple of extra gifts in too - a heart pendant necklace and a string of faux pearls.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kiwis and Aussies - Breaking News

There is currently Vegemite available at the Foreign Market in Itaewon.  It's something that you don't see on the shelves very often as its so hard for them to get into Korea.  If you need to stock up and can't wait for the next care package from home then this is your chance. 

Be warned you will pay a hefty price for your treasure - 10,000won for a tube.  That's around $10 dollars give or take in either of our currencies.  Many of you more sensible people will agree that its way too much to pay for Vegemite - I bought three tubes.....

This is the first time I have ever seen it on the shelves but my friend who has been here a good many years says it does come in every so often.

Address: Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong, 137-67. (서울특별시 용산구 이태원동 137-67).
Directions: Itaewon station on line 6, and exit 3. Turn right at the Dunkin Donuts and walk up the hill about 100 meters – it’s on your left.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ESL Teaching Tips #1 - Useful Websites

There are hundreds probably thousands of ESL websites out there, so one of the first things to do as a new English language teacher is get online and see what is out there.  A lot of what you will need will depend on your school, some have their own books and might already have a curriculum arranged.  In that case you probably only need the odd supplementary materials.  Other schools will not have anything set and it will be up to you to devise a schedule and lesson plans, don't panic because there are loads of people and sites ready to help you out.

These are some of the most useful websites that I have used and continue to use:

Waygook - a forum which is a great source of information and is also rich in materials.  You can download many ESL materials from full lesson plans to games and other bits and pieces.  No matter what book you are teaching you will probably be able to connect with someone who is also teaching it or has usedit before.  Make sure you join this community I could not recommend it more.

ESL Printables - This site has some of the most well made and comprehensive downloadable printables on it.  However you do have to join and you have to submit your own work in order to be able to download. It is well worth it and a great way to give back to the community.  I can always find things on here when I need a extra worksheet or something - you can search by grammar point or topic which is great if you are looking for something for a specific for a lesson.

Barry Fun English - this is a resource website for games, worksheets and some other teaching stuff.  Mainly aimed at elementary level students. You do have to pay a subscription fee to use most of the services but it is well worth it as it has some great stuff.

There are loads more but these are the first ones that I check out when I am looking for something.  Hope these help you out and remember if you have any questions just let me know in the comments and I will be happy to try and help.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Music Monday #8

Just like all good boys and girls of the 90's I was a grunge fan - it was a music that defined our teenage years.  I liked Nirvana just like everyone else, even had posters of Kurt Cobain and the band all over my walls.  When I look back now I realise that I did not like them as much as I liked Alice in Chains. I thought I did but really that was just peer pressure becuase everyone loved Nirvana.  Truth be told during my teenage years I only had one Nirvana album that I bought (had a few dubbed tapes) but I had three Alice in Chains albums. 

I recently re-watched their MTV unplugged gig and was reminded of how much I loved and still love their sound, their songs and their music.

Alice in Chains - Rooster