Archive for June, 2010

Landon the Free, Donov the Brave

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 24, 2010 by yujinishuge

Okay okay, I know this is a Korea blog, and I know that the World Cup has seemingly taken over my blog. But I have to mention how awesome it is that the United States made it through to the round of 16.  Let me tell you how my night of watching it was.

I got home tired from staying up the night before for the Korea game, and being super sluggish all through work. After a nap and dinner I turned on the TV only to find that SBS was only playing the England game, because I guess England is more famous. I heard that the U.S. game was on a cable channel, but I have 500 of them in my directory and only 50 of them work. It would have been impossible to find the right one as with IPTV you have to wait 10 seconds on each channel to see if you can access it or not, so I went to my computer and tried to find it streamed. Most U.S. stream sites were only allowed to stream within the U.S., so I actually ended up settling on one in Arabic. I then assumed incorrectly that I’d be able to use my radio to tune in to AFN for the play by play. AFN didn’t have it on, so that sucked. I searched the bandwidth for Korean radio commentary, only to find that on the radio too, Korea only cares about England! Anyway I’ve been watching replays in many languages on youtube, and I think the ESPN guys did it best.

So what happened?

Not only did the US make it through, but they did so in dramatic fashion, and they won the whole group, ahead of England, which also advanced.

Dramatic Fashion?

Just… watch. Keep in mind this was the 91st minute.  If it had remained a draw, the US would have been eliminated.  This is basically the most important goal of the 2010 campaign (so far). Some are calling it the greatest goal in U.S. Soccer history.
http://www.youtube.com/v/w6T0sIlu-MY&hl=en_US&fs=1&

Edit: FIFA is blocking the top video so I will instead leave you with this awesome fan reaction video

Anyway… my prediction for the US and Korea in the quarterfinal is well on its way to becoming reality.

Korea must beat Uruguay, and US must beat Ghana.  Both are entirely possible.

(Edit: What a horrible prediction I made. Neither of that happened.)
Landon Donovan might not be the most handsome athlete ever, but I think I’ll always remember him for one of the most important goals in U.S. soccer history.

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Sweet! Korea advances to sweet 16!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 23, 2010 by yujinishuge

Fans of Korea's team react to their team advancing past the first round. Notice the Korea 2022 sign. Yes, Korea wants the world cup again!

So yesterday I watched the first volley of worldcup games in a bar in Jongno.  One of the customers was from France and was really excited for their game with South Africa, but SBS was showing the Mexico Uruguay game instead.  I guess it doesn’t matter because no matter what happened in the France South Africa game, Mexico and Uruguay both advanced.  After that game I went home and tried to stay awake so I could catch Korea vs. Nigeria at 3:30 AM (Korea time). Continue reading

All about the KOR-US FTA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 23, 2010 by yujinishuge

So one of my readers asked me what the KOR-US FTA was after I mentioned it in the last article about COSTCO and their delicious pizza.  I think this shows how long I’ve been in Korea, because I naturally assumed that everyone would know what the KOR-US FTA is, as it’s such a big deal in Korea.

I am smacked back to reality to realize that in the grand scheme of things, in other parts of the world, there isn’t quite any reason for anyone to care about it, as it either doesn’t affect them, or it affects them so little that they don’t really notice it.  In Korea, naturally it’s really important, and it’s also quite a politically charged topic.

What does KOR-US FTA stand for?

It means the Korea – United States Free Trade Agreement.  Ideally, under free trade agreements, all tariff and taxes on goods are lifted between participating countries.  Did you ever wonder why Japanese cars are expensive in the U.S. despite being relatively cheap in Japan?  It’s because of the import taxes.  The U.S. government basically is taking their cut of your auto purchase.

WHAT?  That’s not fair!

Well, there are actually two schools of thought here.

Some would say that the domestic industry needs to be protected against foreign competitors who have a superior product at a cheaper price.  They usually cite labor costs in the U.S. for the reason that the American product is so expensive.  If people can buy a Honda Accord for less than the price of a Ford Taurus, then nobody would buy a Taurus.  The Ford factory would lose massive amounts of business, and thousands of American workers would lose their jobs as a result.

Others would say, yes, that’s not fair and they would want the government to step out and let the market decide.  So then if we take our Honda Accord vs. Ford Taurus example, Accords would naturally sell better, but this would force Ford to change their company or product somehow in order to stay competitive.

Okay so what’s this got to do with Korea? Continue reading

The Best Pizza in ALL of Korea!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 22, 2010 by yujinishuge

Yesterday I went to the Seoul Immigration Office to get my visa renewed, and so, I’m proud to announce that I’ll legally be in the country for 3 more years until I need to renew my visa again.  The first time I renewed my visa two years ago, it took 3 seconds.  This time, the person kept asking me questions about when my father became a U.S. citizen because I guess if it was after I was born, I’d be a Korean citizen, and thus eligible for military service.  So it took about 3 minutes this time.  I explained in Korean about my situation, and she basically waived it through.  And that’s how people should work in these government agencies.  Be as thorough as necessary, but get the job done quickly.  In other government offices, I’ve been told to go to this floor and talk to this department, then after that they tell me to go to a different office, whereupon the person in that office tells me to go back to the first.  I’ve heard other people complain about their troubles at the immigration office, but for me, it’s been relatively painless. After renewing the visa I decided to take the missus out for pizza, as we were close to the best pizza place in all of Korea.

Mmmm, Pizza! (No, that's not ME! It's not the missus either. It's some picture I found on the internet!)

They have this place in America and other countries too.  It’s relatively cheap, made fresh, and is mega-delicious.  Sometimes they put too much cheese on it, but that’s not too much of a problem, because cheese is also quite delicious.  In addition to pizza, they also have a lot of other things to eat too, such as hot dogs, clam chowder and some calzone like things that they call chicken bake and bulgogi bake.  (I’m not really sure how to describe it.)

I wouldn’t reccomend going there every day, because after a month you’d have gained 10 pounds.  (I think, I’ve been here so long that I wanted to say 5 kilos, but 11.02 pounds doesn’t flow off the tongue as nicely as 10 pounds.)

Great for pizza. Not so great for ambiance.

So where is this wonderful place in Korea that we can all go to to get some good pizza?

COSTCO!

Wait a second, COSTCO?  Really?  COSTCO?!?!?!??!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

No no, wait a second, let me explain! Continue reading

Mildly Funny Korean Joke of the Week (Part 5)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 18, 2010 by yujinishuge

So, Will Smith goes to a Korean restaurant for lunch and the waitress asks what he wants.

Will Smith says “I’d like a bowl of white rice please,”

Then the waitress says, “That’s all?  Only rice?”

Will Smith says Continue reading

Disaster! Korea loses badly to Argentina, but still alive.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 18, 2010 by yujinishuge
ouch!

CHO Yong Hyung's face shows the mood of an entire nation after Argentina scores yet AGAIN

Well, everyone who knows anything about soccer expected Korea to lose to Argentina, but nobody expected the team to lose this bad.  Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain scored three times in last night’s match, and Korea scored two.  A 3-2 score isn’t so bad, but that wasn’t the score of this game, because one of Korea’s goals was scored against itself, a miscue by Park Chu Young.  Lee Chung Yong’s goal came just as time was running out in the first half and one of Argentina’s players was having a brain fart.  In short, this game was embarrasing.  This is the kind of score I expected for the Brazil vs DPR Korea game.  The Korean team looked helpless as Argentina basically ran circles around them.

Korea losing 2-1 would have been an accomplishment, 3-1 would have been respectable, but 4-1 is downright nasty.  It’s okay, people expected Korea to lose this game and for the outcome to be decided against Nigeria, but they also expected Nigeria to manhandle Greece, which didn’t happen.  Well a manhandling happened but it was the Greeks manhandling the Nigerians, further complicating things.

So what happens from here?  The final match of group B will be Korea vs Nigeria, and Greece vs. Argentina at 3:30 AM Korea time on the 23rd.  Had Nigeria defeated Greece, then Korea’s destiny would have been 100% in their own hands, and Argentina would have qualified for the second round.  Now there are some strange scenarios, and even a win over Nigeria doesn’t necessarily guarantee a place in the sweet 16.  I’ll list the scenarios here for each team. Continue reading

The Boryeong Mud Festival is stupid.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 16, 2010 by yujinishuge

The NAACP probably wouldn't approve of these festival mascots.If you are a native English speaker living in Korea, chances are you will somehow get on someone’s mailing list, join a group on facebook, or otherwise be connected to the expat community such that every year, someone will give you some information about the stupidest annual event.  It’s called the Boryeong Mud Festival.  Here’s a description of it from the Korea Tourism website describes it like this:

Of the numerous festivals in Korea, it is the Boryeong Mud Festival that probably attracts the largest number of international visitors…

Woah!  Stop right there!  Largest number of international visitors? Why? Why is this marketed specifically at international visitors? Does it not appeal to Koreans?

I’ve seen pamphlets and brochures for this year after year.  When I was in grad school, the organizers of the festival sent lots of promotional materials because our grad school had a lot of foreigners.  When I managed a foreigners’ bar, the festival was often the topic of discussion amongst the customers.  When I started working, I had a lot of foreign coworkers.  We got materials about the festival and our company even offered to organize transportation for us.  It’s marketed as a foreigners’ event.
Okay, so what goes on at the mud festival? Again, the same tourism website says:

…visitors enjoy mud wrestling, mud sliding and even swimming in the mud mega tub.

Really?  Mud wrestling, sliding and swimming in mud?  How is that fun at all?  Why would anyone want to go to do that? Find out why after the jump. Continue reading