Crazy little piece on how many Korean professional baseball players are legally changing their names for better luck:
“It seems other players have been inspired by Son. According to the Korea Baseball Organization, eight players changed their first names during the 2013 season. Kim Min-sik, 22, who recently joined the KBO’s 10th team, the KT Wiz, through the second-round draft, changed his first name to Ju-won, and Giants outfielder Hwang Sung-yong, 30, changed his first name to Dong-chae. The KBO said three players from the Kia Tigers, two players from the Nexen Heroes, and one each from the NC Dinos and SK Wyverns changed their first name in the past season.
‘The number could increase later because the teams have not finished finalizing their 40-man rosters after the hot stove season,’ a spokesman of the KBO told the Korea JoongAng Daily. ‘I think many players who might have changed their names are still registered with the KBO with their old names.’”
Also, KT Wiz? Really? NCSoft Dinos is terrible enough.
The Wachowskis haven’t made a good film since The Matrix (and Bound before that). Not sure why, like clockwork, my fellow nerds swoon when they hear there’s a new film coming out by them.
You know you’re in for a serious beef encounter when you walk into a restaurant and the first thing you see you a meat counter.
My sister was visiting from America and it was the end of the semester, so we went out with my adult conversation students. About 20 minutes away from north Daegu, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, is a bulgogi joint that does a “wet” style that I wasn’t familiar with. The slices of beef cook in a broth along with various vegetables and glass noodles.
Needless to say, I’m putting some extra time in on my exercise bike this week.
Located in downtown Daegu, Seo-mun Market (“West Gate Market”) is one of the oldest traditional markets in Korea.
It’s a bit weather-beaten, and it sits in the literal shadow of a shiny new Hyundai Department Store. Still, people come here for the best deals on everything from meat to clams to toys to socks.
Before-and-after samgyeopsal, or grilled Korean pork belly.
A pretty common dish, but for good reason — it’s awesome.
Somewhat overblown but still interesting article on foreigners now accounting for a small percentage of South Korea’s homeless population:
“The center said the nationalities of the homeless were varied and included people from the United States, Canada and Russia.
‘As of now, about 60 homeless people from various countries are staying at four temporary shelters around the city,’ said Yeo Jae-hun, head of the center. ‘I believe there are more on the streets of Seoul.’”
As globalization continues to penetrate into what was traditionally a very highly regimented and guarded Korean society, this seems inevitable. The English teacher who gets fired but doesn’t have the money for a plane ticket home might just end up on the street. (It’s no secret that many private English schools will can teachers prematurely to avoid paying for their return ticket home.) The Afghanistan veteran who has undiagnosed P.T.S.D. might have a manic episode and wind up in a strange town with no identification.
Soju, the national alcholic beverage of South Korea, is now the most widely imbibed booze in the world:
“In a country with the world’s highest per capita alcohol consumption (hey, it can’t be easy living next door to North Korea), soju takes a whopping 97% of the spirits market. But this is a drink embedded in Korean culture since the 14th century, when Mongol invaders taught the locals how to distill, with fermented rice as the traditional starter. Today, the final spirit ranges in strength from 45% ABV to more common varieties that hit your glass ataround 25% ABV.
As with most spirits there’s good stuff and bad stuff about – the latter being low-grade muck made from sweet potatoes and tapioca rather than artfully distilled fermented rice. Look for respected brands such as Chamisul or the delightfully named Chum-Churum. If you’re in Korea, search out Andong – a 45% ABV beauty so highly regarded it has been officially designated as Korea’s Intangible Cultural Assets No 12.”
I’m not surprised that soju has become so popular globally, but number one? I’d have guessed beer would still have to win world-wide.
But it’s nice to know I’ve been doing my own part of support Hallyu, or the South Korean cultural wave.
Update: Once again, I’m an idiot. ”Spirits” doesn’t seem to include beer, as I suspected, but liquor and wine only. Stupid British English.
Daegu, South Korea.
This is the entrance to the Daegu YMCA. I come here every Saturday for Korean class.
On the one hand, I’m definitely making progress with the language. On the other hand, I really should be doing more to study on my own.
It’s a pretty cool place though. They run a kindergarten, Korean classes for foreigners like me, cultural programs, and you can rent space for your theater or improv group.
For some reason an astoundingly high percentage of ex-pats in South Korea are way into theater and improv. It’s slightly disturbing, honestly.
Explaining Thanksgiving to South Koreans is a bit tough. On the one hand, it’s based on a ridiculous national myth of Benevolent White Christians bringing modernity, slaughter, and smallpox to Native Americans. And that’s ridiculous and abhorrent.
On the other hand, in practice, it’s a rare opportunity for American families to spend time together given how little vacation time USians typically enjoy (which is also strange, because the only people who tend to have less vacation time than USians are South Koreans). People are much more invested in the football games than they are in talking about national myths of bringing “civilization” to the unwashed heathens.
So not to excuse the actual genocide of Native Americans, but give us stupid Muricans a little credit. Nobody believes that horseshit about the happy natives and the first Thanksgiving.
National foundation myths are always ridiculous, America’s as much as any other country’s.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Living in South Korea for five years, I can safely say that turkey is something I don’t miss. Stuffing, however, is a whole other story.