It’s the subtle things

Ever since being in the UK,  I am constantly reminded of the little things that I really enjoy. The place where I’m staying,  the current residents (flat mates) play a local radio station (102.8 Diverse for   The music is in a unique range,  some where between chill out and  dubstep. Not quite hitting either but a rather comfortable middle ground,.   Worth checking them out on their website to listen to them live.

It’s not so much the genre but that is in English. Understanding the words does bring a subtlety that isn’t present in listening to  k-pop.  Don’t get me wrong,  there is a lot of that loan did that I enjoy but it is just that much better to hear music you can understand and then while you are out,  hearing some of the classics you know (like  Phil Collins : I can’t dance,  Lenny Kravitz : Are you going my way….).

I was never really into a lot of online radio stations,  nor am I the kind who likes to RENT songs from Apple/any other online music retailer. is about the only thing I have listened to but it’s not quite the same and it seems they only get away with paying “live” versions of any modern song. I only like  live songs when….. well,  when they are live.

The things you realize while living in a totally foreign environment.

Welcome back to Korea!

Two weeks back home was nice but I definitely won’t do it during the winter time again methinks. Glad I missed the nasty ice storm but still hit this ‘polar vortex‘ buzz word the media seemed to jump on too much. Well, that is all done, I’m looking forward to my double-digit temps that we are getting now. And here we go, I got my typical Korean experiences back.

So, rough start to my morning. First, the hotel driver doesn’t pick me up at 10am like he said. So I grab a taxi at 1015 and will bitch at them for that cost. Not that I suspect it’ll do much….things are that much more difficult for us foreigners here.

Then I find out that my 10:30 bus is sold out. Ugh. Ok, I ask for the next one, 1:20pm. She says it goes to some place in the city I need but not either of the two bus terminals. I hand her my tablet with map and ask where. She is confused and just repeats the name. Ohhh, I am so back home now…..

Ok, so I now need someone who can speak Korean better than me. I Call the free translation help line…..on hold forever. I try one of my Korean friends….no answer, I try one of my foreigner friends who speaks Korean pretty well, no answer. I try my Korean friend who looked after my cat while I was away….no answer. Dafuq is this? No one answering?? I try another foreigner friend who is really good at Korean…..success! He’s home. I hand the phone over to the agent. They speak, I hear her repeat the area again and after a few mins she hands me the phone. My friend tells me she can’t tell him where it is, just repeats the area. I say thanks and try something else.

I hand her my tablet but I already have the map open and the city name typed, I then ask her to type the name she keeps repeating. Map opens up and I know where it is, just didn’t know the name. Geeze. I get my ticket and head to the Starbucks to kill a couple of hours till the bus leaves.

So good to be home again….mostly.

South Korea calls for ‘language purification’ campaign on Korean alphabet day | South China Morning Post

South Korea calls for ‘language purification’ campaign on Korean alphabet day

Chung’s remarks come as many Koreans bemoan what they see as a language crisis resulting from abbreviated speech on the internet, adoption of foreign words, widespread use of slang among youngsters and incorrect conjugation of honorifics.

Talk about backwards thinking and a compete pack of understanding of human nature!  Communication will always evolve and change.  Hell, even the Korean language is an evolution itself, yet there are many who refuse to accept change.  This does not mean that slang should be a daily part of legal proceedings or should sweating bree included in a  doctorate thesis, but to try and eliminate it completely…..good luck with that.

But hey, a bunch of people got an extra day off at least.

Translations….your mileage may vary….

So I was browsing one of the popular online shopping websites and because I am using Chrome, I let it do some auto-translation for me.  Sometimes I wonder who creates these services.  This is actually some flavour of Mandu.


A couple of Korean experiences for you

Being in Korea, there never seems to be an end to the odd and/or annoying things that you find.  Allow me to tell you about packaging and random phone calls.

First packaging.  After opening chocolate bars and bags of chips a certain way for the vast majority of my life, ot had become one of those automatic skills that you take for granted.  Like how you automatically adjust your body on a moving surface that changes inclines.  You don’t think about standing upright, your body just does it.  It is built in.  Yet when it comes to Korean packaging, you simply can not pull apart the ends like you do on a bag of chips or a chocolate bar.  You can only tear it.

Korean version of a Mars bar

For some reason, Korea has seen fit to use f#&!=+* super glue for their packaging and it gets me every time.  I buy something, try to open it and go “WTF?!”  Then I remember where I am and have to tear it open, not pull.  Super annoying.

Now, let’s talk about random phone calls.  Tell me, if you called a friend but got someone who did not speak your language on the other end, would you stay on the phone and keep asking for that person?  I didn’t think so.  I got a random call today, and answered the phone like I normally do. “Hello?”(clue #1).  The other person said the Korean version of hello (which is different than what you say to someone on the street/in person .  I forget what it means at the moment.)  I said hello again and he asked something in Korean.  I believe it was a persons name.  It kinda sounded like my Korean nickname.  So I said that I only speak a little Korean (in Korean)(clued #2) asked if that was the name.  He repeated the name again and my brain, still being a little slow at processing Korean, made me pause.  Then he said that ‘hello’ again.  I automatically repeated “hello”(clue #3 that you are not speaking to a Korean person and most likely the person you are looking for is not there).  He repeated the name again and I said there its no person here named that.

That was the longest random phone call i every had.  Usually when they hear English, they just hang up.  Not this guy though.  He wanted to hear a definite “아니요”(no in Korean, pronounced ah-nee-yo).

So there you have it.  I have taught you about Korean packaging and how to say “no” in Korean to a person on a random phone call. :)