photo update 2

Sorry for the lack of updates on here. These are some photos I have taken since my last update. I bought a bike and have been going on weekly bike rides that always end up turning into mini explorations around the city. Hope you enjoy!

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GANGNAM STYLE MADNESS

Unless you are living under a rock, you have seen the latest pop trend called “Gangnam Style”. The song is by Korean K-pop giant Psy and it has taken the internet by storm. It is the most popular thing to come out of Korea since Samsung. It is pretty crazy to be living in South Korea while this pop culture phenomenon is happening. I have posted the video on here before, but this time I want to post it along with some of my favorite parodies that I’ve seen so far. There are literally hundreds of parodies so I haven’t seen them all.

Psy has recently appeared on the Ellen show, SNL and the Today Show. 

Some context: Gangnam is a famous district in Seoul that is known for high fashion, clubbing and nightlife.

ORIGINAL (currently has 213 million views):

PARODIES:


London Style


Chicago Style


Hongdae Style: This is the best parody in my opinion, instead of Gangnam style it is Hongdae style (Hongdae is my favorite district of Seoul).


This is a parody from a Korean comedy show featuring one of the stars of the original video who is apparently a famous Korean comedian.

Last one. This is the funniest one I’ve seen. Someone took the viral video of Hitler going nuts from the film “Downfall” and chopped it to match Gangnam Style. The results are hilarious.

So that’s just a small sample of how insane this new dance craze, internet phenomenon and pop culture explosion has completely taken over. To give you an idea of how it is here in Korea, let’s just say I have heard the song about 5 times a day on average since July and that’s outside of clubs. It’s common to hear it being played just walking down the street at any given time of day or night. It’s really a huge deal here and Koreans are very proud of how it has taken off in the west. My students always try to make me do the dance!

 

North Korea vs. South Korea

North Korea vs. South Korea

In case you live under a rock:  Gangnam Style

a day in the life of a Korean student

Accurate.

end of the summer semester (and summer)

August 31st. I am finished with my first semester teaching in Korea and on this day next year I will be flying back home. I also found out I would be switching to middle school next semester, which is what I originally was supposed to be teaching. So this would be my last time teaching elementary. I was sad to leave some of my classes, especially this one:

This is my lower level class. When I first started teaching them, I couldn’t get them to speak. They would just sit there and stare at me with a blank look on their faces. After about 2 weeks, they started warming up to me. By the last day, they wouldn’t let me leave the classroom. 2 of them kept the door shut and 2 of them grabbed my arms and pulled me away from the door. It made me pretty sad to leave them.

I told them to make funny faces but I don’t think they got the message

This is my upper-mid level class. All the classes had a pizza party on the last day and the kids very generously offered me slices even though they were told its for them and not the teachers.

I won’t forget these 2 boys…the one with the stripes is Jeff but he calls himself Kim Jong Il. The kid in the white is Eugene but he insisted on being called Hitler. I went along with it and the whole class thought it was hilarious. This is definitely not the west.

Randy and Jason…best buds. They are smart kids and always laughing at something. Randy is a Red Sox fan so naturally I would bust his chops about it (I even offered him 5 stamps if he would come to class wearing a Yankees hat)

More of the kids goofing around. The kid on the bottom right is Peter but everyone calls him Peter Parker. On the left is Tom (Cruise). This class was really fun.

My favorite class, high level kids. They are fluent in English so I had lots of fun teaching them. I even learned a lot about Korean culture from them and they taught me some Korean language.

Teaching is very rewarding and I have finally found a job where I am not miserable showing up to work every day. Every day is something new and different. You never know what to expect from these kids. Some of them really surprise you. They work so hard and are in school all day up until 9-10pm, so they are obviously brilliant. Even the lowest level class knows more English than any other language I know as a college graduate. I am sad to leave elementary because the kids are actually cute. Teaching middle school will be quite different but I think I will enjoy it as well. Either way, I’m excited for whats next.

-A

journey to Jawol-do

First of all, sorry for not posting in so long. These photos are from 3 weeks ago when I took a weekend trip with some coworkers to Jawol-do, one of the series of islands off the coast of Incheon. We had planned this trip about a week in advance and were all pretty excited to go and be on the beach. It felt like a long trip, going from taxi to subway to bus to ferry, so we were pretty thrilled to finally get there. Here are some pictures from the trip.

bike and hike to gwanggyosan mountain

Seoul time lapse

maple story

headbanging til my neck hurts

Image

I have been frequenting a bar in my neighborhood called Rhythm & Blues since it opened last week. It is a western style bar with amazing food, rock music and craft beer that makes me feel right at home. To my surprise, when I went there last night I saw a band setting up. I thought, “Hmm…this should be interesting.” I had no idea what I was in for. They opened their set with Led Zeppelin’s “Rock n Roll”. The lead singer starts wailing and my jaw drops. I had heard hundreds of bands cover Zeppelin before and every single time they completely butcher the vocals. Not this guy. Now I’m thinking “Ok here we go, this is gonna be awesome.” 3 songs into their set I told my friend I had to bail on the game of pool we were in the middle of, I couldn’t miss these guys. Being the white guy in the bar at that moment, as I walked out, the singer points to me and says “Hey where you from?” “U.S.A.” I said. Then I thought I’d put them to the test. “Play some Maiden!” I yelled. ImageHe talks to his bandmates for a few seconds, then suddenly broke out into an Iron Maiden classic. They nailed it. Not only that, but they played 2 Maiden songs. Now I’m a fan. These guys impressed the hell out of me. They loved that I told some friends to come and check them out and they saw how excited I was getting about all they songs they played. I quickly made friends with all of them after the show. I will be seeing them again next time.

CRUX playing “Cemetary Gates” by Pantera

These guys proved to me that Korea isn’t completely in the dark when it comes to western rock music. I talked with them mostly about music, they know their stuff. Other bands they covered were Dream Theater, Metallica, Slayer, Deep Purple, AC/DC and Rush. They nailed it.

The band with my friend Sam after the show.Image