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Posts Tagged ‘Korea’

Huh?

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Ladies and gentlemen… fresh from the honeymoon island of Jeju, South Korea… I present to you… RAPE HONEY!

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Categories: Travel Tags: , , ,

American Kimchi

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been an activity/stress-filled two months, but I’ve still not forgotten about Korea.  How could I?  In fact, I still find myself bringing it up in conversation… frequently, and probably much to my friends’ dismay.

Though, I’ll admit, it would be hard to forget the good ‘ol ROK in a place like northern VA, which absolutely must have one of the most active Korean populations in the country.  And if you think I’m full of it, then just travel to Annandale, VA – a small city in which SEVERAL whole strip malls will be nothing but Korea-themed operations.  In fact, I saw whole office complexes with nary an English letter visibly anywhere on the building’s facade.  It’s a wild place, but one I’m very comfortable in.

At any rate, you would think that with all of these Koreans here, I could get some quality Kimchi.  Unfortunately that has not been the case, and I’m straight pissed about it.  Most Americans can’t understand this, but Kimchi fucking rocks!  It’s healthy, it tastes fantastic with meat, and you can use it to make endless amounts of hangover-busting soup.  I miss it as much, if not more, than the curious looks I got from throngs of intensely attractive Korean women.

America has not been good to my waistline.  I don’t look like trash, and I haven’t been keeping a routine as I should, but damn does American food make it hard to stay svelte.  Quite frankly I’m glad I let it go a little bit at the end of my Asian stay, because it would have been really awful if I came looking in shape, and then watched it go down in a blaze of glory.  Now all I have to do is contend with the fact that it went from bad to worse.

Why am I ranting?  You guessed it: I WANT MY KIMCHI!  But not just any watered-down (read: American) Kimchi.  I want the good stuff.  I want the stuff I had in Korea, that I would gladly have over any pb&j.  Koreans of America: why are you holding out on us?  You know that there’s an all-consuming health craze in this country, where are your infomercials about the ‘Kimchi diet’?  This is a billion-dollar industry that you are not breaking into!

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Gahzunteit

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

sneezeThere are certain behaviors that have been socialized into almost all of us.  Of those, almost none are more pervasive than the act of ‘blessing’ someone after they sneeze.  I had never thought anything of this habit, that is, until I went to Korea.  It’s not that Koreans aren’t into God.  We’ve already discussed that Koreans most definitely are a God-fearing people, like us.  However, unlike us, they forego the post-sneeze blessing.  You could let loose an air-raid level sneeze in a crowded room in Korea, and hear nothing but crickets.

I suppose I found this disquieting at first.  Sometimes I would relent and toss out a ‘bless you’, though it would usually fall on deafening silence.  It’s not that Koreans didn’t know what I was doing, in fact many of them were excited to hear me use it, as they had heard that Americans do such things.  Though that excitement only came out because they saw my reaction as a novelty.  To them, I suppose sneezing is a personal thing, and any acknowledgement thereafter is superfluous.  I definitely didn’t get it at first.  Sneezing to a room of utter silence just felt so… naked.  Then I began to think about the ramifications of the post-sneeze blessing.

What does it say about us as a people that we invoke God after what is essentially just a bodily discharge?  Having considered that, why don’t we all bless each other after a fart or a burp?  After all; farting, burping, and sneezing are hardly dissimilar.  There’s almost no difference between a sneeze and a cough, and yet coughing goes unanswered.  Do we not bless after the cough because it’s less… silly-sounding than the sneeze?  If so, isn’t the blessing then totally superficial?

I think the most fascinating thing about the ‘bless you’ is that it is commonly used by people who practice little-to-no religion in their daily lives.  When you don’t profess to have faith, from what well of divine juice do you fish out your blessings?  Of course most non-religious people don’t consider the implications of a ‘bless you’, because it’s just something that Americans do.  When someone sneezes, we bless them, and it has nothing to do with God.  Right?  But when you think about it, blessings cannot really be secular.  Thus, I have no problem with a religious person throwing it around after I let fly, but how can it not be hollow from a non believer?  Listen, I don’t personally buy into faith, so I can’t really accept a truly religious ‘bless you’.  But I appreciate a religious ‘bless you’ a bit more because it has some weight.  I’d rather get something else from a non-believer, maybe something that actually means something to them.

So let’s really discuss the merits of a ‘bless you’, and I’m talking now to all those out there like me who don’t really see a place for ourselves in the pews on Sunday.  Do we a)just cut out our use of bless you (as I basically have) or b)do we come up with a secular alternative for our use.  Let’s talk about the second option.  What is important to secular people?  Let’s say… money.  So if money is the God of secular people, do we then say “Good wealth, brother” to a dude who has just sneezed?  Or let’s say you’re a secular person who’s really into music.  Should you use “Rock on!” when in the presence of a sneeze?

Right now I’ve officially abandoned saying anything after a sneeze.  In Korea this would be normal, but just yesterday it got me into an awkward situation.  I’m sitting in a room with one other guy, we’re both working on various materials, he sneezes, I do nothing, he sneezes again, I do nothing again, repeat x 2.  The whole time I’m sitting there thinking, “This guy must think I’m a douche bag.”  But really, aren’t I just a more conscientious person for not blessing him with religious capital that I don’t really have?  After all, you wouldn’t write a check you couldn’t cash…

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