Learning #Korean in #Korea

When I was in Canada, I was simply stunned at the number of immigrants that simply refused to learn English.  There are whole communities that never leave their area and never speak the language.  I find this attitude to be the ultimate insult to the place you are living in.  I mean, you wouldn’t go to a friend’s house, use his TV, toilet, fridge but never speak to your friends would you?  Yet there are people who do this.

So, since I am here, I am trying my best to learn the language.  It is not easy.  Oh, not because the language is hard, certainly there is a challenge there without question.  What I mean is that I have to learn English in order to learn Korean.

“What did you say?!”

You heard….errr….read that right.  I have to learn English in order to learn Korean.  Why do I say that?  I say that because as a native speaker, you rarely get into the technical details of a language of any significant depth yet that is what many books on other languages do.  Take this example:

어더 is attached to a noun to form a predictive verb.

– Practical Korea, my study book

What the heck is a predictive verb?!  Sigh….Google time.  Wikipedia should be fine.

There are two competing notions of the predicate in theories of grammar.


Theories?!  THEORIES!  You mean this term, which I don’t ever recall hearing in high school, is not even a FACT?  Great, so not only do I have to learn English, it now seems I must learn English theory too before I can begin to learn Korean.  This is not my day…

Lets try another site.

Every complete sentence contains two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is what (or whom) the sentence is about, while the predicate tells something about the subject. In the following sentences, the predicate is enclosed in braces ({}), while the subject is highlighted.

Judy {runs}.
Judy and her dog {run on the beach every morning}.

University of Ottawa

Well this is certainly a hell of a lot better and easier to understand yet my brain is still mush over the first explanation.  I guessed this is just not the day for reading comprehension for me….

Seat belts in #Korea

The further away you get from “civilized” society (in other words, the modernization attempts at older cultures) the looser the rules become with regards to law.

In Canada there are zero exceptions to the seat belt law.  Zero.  If you are in a car and it is on a public road, you are mandated by law to wear a seat belt.

In Korea, only the people in the front seat are required to wear a seat belt, at least that’s what we keep being told.  Just make this insane lack of thought that went into the law a significant point, when a family goes on a trip, where do the children sit?  Same place in Canada as they do in Korea….the back seat.  I have seen no end of kids wandering around the back if a car or SUV.  Hell, I’ve seen a kid sticking his head out the sunroof, all  while the vehicle was in motion….on a public street.

In Canada, specifically Ontario, there is are inter-city busses and I have never once worn a seat before in one of them.  They simply do not exist.  I do believe that had to do with the odds of such large vehicles ever being in an accident, where you would need one, are pretty low. Yet, here I am on Korea, having to wear a seatbelt on an inter-city bus.


There seems to be some consistency issues with the laws here….

This shows the degradation of respect for the laws that goes with converting native cultures into modern standards, I’ve seen whole families on mopeds in Thailand and saw one lady riding “side-saddle” as a passenger there.

To borrow a SciFi acronym, YAKI (Yet Another Korean Inconsistency).

Eager #Koreans

Some Koreans are extremely eager to use their English.  As I was making my way back to my place, I stopped in a store to grab something to drink.  I greeted the Korean store worker in Korean and he said ‘hi’.  As I walked past him he said something in English that I couldn’t understand.  I obviously looked confused so he repeated it.  Then he said something else, in English but didn’t get it.  As my brain slowly grasped the sounds, the last thing he said was “PGA”.  Then immediately I knew what the horribly accented English sentence he said.  “I am future Golfer.”  Obviously he is a beginner at English, despite looking in his early 20s(maybe late teens at best) because right after you learn ‘hello, my name is…’ you usually get into jobs.

Wow, it’s amazing the skills you have to learn beyond the language itself.  I tried to mention the language-exchange club that I run but I guess that was too much for him to grasp.


I used to do this on twitter but now I’ll do it here.

I score one goal for every Korean who purposely moves away from me.

Today, I walked up to the subway platform, there was a lady standing there.  I put down my bag and was waiting like her.  Next thing I know, she’s moved to another area. Ha!

Wonder how many points I’ll get this year.  Should be less as I won’t be using the subway of often. :)

Internet in #Korea

I’m afraid I have been spoiled…even on the cheap plan.  We are paying a whopping $20/month (3 year plan) and my speed is about 5 times faster than the fastest internet I could get when I was back in Canada where it was costing me $80/month.  So in essence, I am getting 20 times the value on the cheapest plan.  This is rated at 50Mb/second.  Just so we are clear.  That is MegaBITS(Mb) and NOT MegaBYTES(MB).  To put it in layman terms, an average DVD could technically be downloaded in about 2 minutes(assuming a 700MB file size).  Remember, this is their cheapest plan!  Next step up would be 100MB/s which means a DVD could be downloaded in 1 minute.

Now, moving is interesting.  Koreans are really good at customer service and it is pretty top-notch here.  We had to put our internet on hold until we have an address of our new place.   Our provider (KT, Korean only) allows you to put your Internet on hold up to 3 times in one year and for a maximum of 90 days each time.  Way more than most people need I think but awfully damn handy if you are a person who travels a lot for work/pleasure.  So with a bit of language-fumbling around, a few phone calls to friends and/or translation service, we managed to put our internet on hold and then go to the local office here and tell them our new address.

Today the Internet guy comes and apparently he can’t use the current setup.  He has to run a line to our place.

Now, I have to take a break and explain the construction of apartments here for a moment.  Remember that post where I briefly touched on the extreme conservatism that is pervasive here in Korea?  Well that idea applies to nearly everything here and I DO mean everything.  Including the construction of buildings.  In order for the technician to run a cable to our place, it literally will run from the top of the building, along the outside of the wall, and he has to drill a hole and feed it inside to our apartment.  Typically they drill holes through the vinyl frame of the windows and just seal it up with silicone.

Now, he asked me if it was ok to do this.  Well, I can’t just say yes because I’m not the owner of the building.  I have to get permission.  Sure it is probably just fine but I am not going to just assume that.  Koreans(Asians in general?) don’t like you doing things without asking first.  Even if you know they will say yes, they want the opportunity to be able to give you permission.

So now I have to wait and go through a long chain of people to get this number so permission can be had.  The chain, in case you were wondering, goes like this: Me -> Wife -> Supervisor -> Owner.  At lest, I hope it’s only this short.  At least we’ll have the number for next time, should anything come up again.  We will see what happens on Monday when he comes back.

#Seoul Tim Burton Exhibit

So there is a Tim Burton “media” exhibit. I use the word media because there are a few types of visuals on display. First are gates to the Art museum.  They do look pretty cool.

Tim Burton Gates

Then you have the dressing up of the ticket box oh the outside.  A nice touch I think.

Box Office where the pumpkins puke out your tickets after you stuff money down its throat.

Of course the entrance is all dressed up outside too.

Gallery Entrance

Once inside, there is a giant inflatable character plus at work all around.

Giant inflatable character, main hall

We were told no pictures of anything inside the exhibit halls.  This time I decided to go with that.  I can tell you that besides numerous drawing, napkin scribbles, paintings, there were also video displays.  The videos ranged from short small screens to full-scale movies, although, none of the Hollywood stuff of course.  That would be breaking some short Intellectual Property violation or least cost way more than it would be worth.  Still, our was nice to see the artwork.  The early writings of his ideas for movies, and even a rejection letter from Walt Disney Co on one of his submitted children’s books from his early beginnings.  Rather amusing that he ended up working for them years later.

Entrance to exhibit halls

It was worth the trip and 12,000 won.

Tim Burton Batman drawing
Tim Burton Batman shoving me out-of-the-way.
Inflatable character, other side.