Funk & Seoul

My photos & findings, thoughts & ramblings, angsting & whatevers; Of living and teaching in Seoul, South Korea

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

—   Rumi

Career Mistakes

                          Some good advice, that hopefully future me takes use of.

My new hero

7 Days Left

Friday night after we finished work, we went out to the samgyup sal place across the street. It’s become kind of a regular spot for us, especially on Friday nights. They’ve even come to know what we usually get. If we spoke Korean, we could even say “The usual”.

Saturday, we lounged around a while, before heading to Suwon. We read on the subway, and proceeded to meet Matt outside the station. From there, we went to a delicious Indian restaurant that we had gone to once before. They played Indian electronic music and had Indian movies playing with the sound off, while we ate. After that, we searched nearby for a love motel where we could stay the night, because Matt’s place is a little small. We all hung out there for a bit, drinking some beer, watching Korean television. We took a nap, and when we woke up it was 11:30 at night. Matt had snuck out to meet up with some friends. Lawra and I met up with him and his posse and continued our night.

First we went to a nightclub with crazy seizure lights and techno. We got a drink and stayed there for about a half hour before moving on to Sam Ryan’s. Sam Ryan’s is an American sports bar that we had gone to the last time we went to Suwon. We each had a beer and some nachos, while we watched some MMA fighting on the TV screens. Lastly, we met up with some more of their friends at a nearby norybang. We stayed for a few songs, until the time was up, and by then it was 2:30am and we were ready to call it.

We checked out of the love motel around noon. It was humid, but raining pretty good around then. We decided to just head back to the city and have an easy Sunday. And that’s just what we did.

As surreal as it feels, a week from now, I’ll be on an airplane; On my way back home, with this all being a memory of a past life.

“If I don’t experiment, I’m not gonna make new mistakes. If I don’t make mistakes, I’m not going to grow from them.”

—   Dan Deacon

“Let’s say you’re the next Kurt Cobain. You will be appropriated on your first album by the Pitchfork community. Your record company will rally round that idea because that’s your marketing platform. But the minute you’re in that world you’re frozen. Those Pitchfork people are very much about social codes, about whether you’re wearing the right t-shirt. That orthodoxy is no different than the rigidity of the football team at school.”

—   Billy Corgan

Now, ain’t that the truth

Nu Foods

Prior to arriving in Korea, I had never tasted Korean food. Here is a list of the new foods that I tried and would be open to trying again.

  1. Sam Gyup Sal / galbi (Korean Barbeque)
  2. Mushroom Soup
  3. Kimchi Jang (Kim chi pizza)
  4. Bibim bap (rice, fried egg, lettuce, sprouts)
  5. Bokem bap (fried rice, egg, kim chi)
  6. Je-uk (pork and rice)
  7. Mandu guk (dumpling soup)
  8. Dankas (fried pork cutlet) 
  9. kimchi ji gae (kim chi soup, meat inside)

Honorable Mention : Non-Korean foods that deserve a special shout out

  • Jalapeno Burger (M Burger in Itaewon)
  • Indian food (Khaja raja in Hongdae) 
  • Fried Chicken (Various places around the neighborhood)
  • Pizza School (Can’t hate on 5,000 Won/$5 pizzas)
  • Kebab (Myeong dong)

Domesticated

I don’t think I’ve ever watched so much TV in my life. Although they were all watched on a computer, this is a list of most of the TV shows I watched during my time here.

  1. Seinfeld (Seasons 1,2,4,7,8)
  2. Friends (1,2)
  3. Entourage (Complete Series)
  4. The Big Bang Theory (Complete Series)
  5. How to make it in America (Seasons 1,2)
  6. Wilfred (Season 1)
  7. Girls (Season 1)
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 2,5,8)
  9. Eastbound & Down (Complete Series)
  10. Portlandia (Seasons 1,2)
  11. The Chris Lilley Collection (Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, We Can Be Heroes)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi  -  Really interesting and inspiring documentary about a famous Japanese sushi chef.

I was an A-list writer of B-list productions

This is a neat article I found about a screenwriter who’s made a career out of writing-made-for-TV movies.

"When you got a career, there ain’t enough time in the day. When you got a job, there’s TOO MUCH time" - Chris Rock

The Muddy People

Boryeong

15th Annual Boryeong Mud Festival

So I had been hearing about this mud festival for quite some time now; Maybe even before I came to Korea. From what I had heard it sounded awesome and I knew it was one of the few things that I had to check out while I was here. Lawra and I decided to go with a few of her friends through an expat travel group called WINK (When In Korea). They arranged the transportation and housing for the weekend. We left on Saturday morning to get on a bus that drove us to Boryeong.

Boryeong is a small beach town that is most likely pretty quiet for the rest of the year. However, I am pretty sure that this annual mud festival is now its claim to fame, especially considering there were ads for the festival on all of the city buses. The streets were packed with foreigners, coming from all different parts of South Korea. There were Koreans that had come for the festival, but they were definitely a smaller percentage.

It was like going to a small beach-side fair. There were vendors set up all around selling food and drinks. Inside the festival were some mud activities, like a slide, a pool, and a pit for wrestling. Most people, us included were covered in mud. People walked around and splashed mud on each other. The overall mood and environment was playful, happy, and festive. They also had bands and DJs playing music near the ocean. The weather was mostly overcast, as I came back slightly sunburned. It rained a bit, but not too bad.

The pension that we stayed at kinda sucked. There were like 9 of us in a room, all sleeping on the floor with nothing but a blanket and pillow. We ended up seeing pretty much everybody that we know in Korea, including Matt and his crew, as well as Tessa and Christy from work.

It wasn’t the best festival that I’ve ever been to, but I’m glad that we went. It was also interesting seeing how the only people taking pictures at this event were the Koreans, who were avoiding the mud. At times it felt like we were some National Geographic animals that they were studying. They probably think of us as pretty sloppy or savage. It also struck me how foreigners go all the way around the world to gather with other foreigners to do the same things that they did back home; Not that it’s wrong, or even surprising. I guess it reminds me that ultimately we are just creatures of comfort, seeking something familiar.