I just ordered my first pizza over the phone in #Korea! (Update)

There are many things you need to learn before you can call a place and order food.  Sure the basics of what to call the food you are order, and where you life along with how much will it cost.  There is always the unexpected questions that throw you for a loop because you simply don’t know what the person said or the person said it too fast for you to catch.  Luckily this was not the case here.  The guy seemed to understand a bit of obvious English (“delivery” for example, even though I looked up the word, I have a healthy distrust of Google Translate at times for context).

The other thing you need to know is your address.  This can be a challenge because Korea is poised to switch from block addressing to street addressing.  Block addressing is kinda neat.  Each city block is given a number and each building on that is given a number as well.  So you could be block #100 and building #2.  Pretty  easy once you know it but too limited with all the growth that Korea has been experiencing for the last 50 years.  Old houses going down, new building going up tend to mess with this addressing system it seems.  Now Korea is switching to a more modern street address.  Street name, building number on that street name.  Just about every building now has a new address on it but not everyone is using it.  This will take some time because of the plethora of GPS devices.  Every taxi has one.  Just about everyone with a car has one.  It is surprising how little the Koreans know about having to get around without knowing where they are going.  With street addressing, this will probably be easier as all you have to do is find the street and then it’s a matter of just watching the numbers go up/down as you drive.

Well, I was able to give my address to the guy in Korean so my pizza should be here in 30 mins.  It’s a little exciting that I can now order food (basic stuff, it’s not like there’s much you can add to a pizza order, unlike other places with tons of options).  So this is more than me just being slightly lazy, it’s is a good test of me being able to interact in a foreign country…even if it’s just to order pizza :)

I’ll update the post if when the pizza gets here ok :)


Holy Crap!!  That was fast!  No soon had I published this post than the guy arrived minutes later!


Something that is pretty cool about Korea.  You always get a drink with your pizza (or chicken even!) when you order it.  It is a weird world here when you go to a restaurant and there is nothing to drink but water at times.  Most have now added drinks (pop, soju) now and it seems they extended this idea to delivery food as well.  Fine by me.  And delivery cost of the pizza is the same as if you went to pick it up.  This ‘regular size’ , 24cm pizza, with the cute little stubby 245ml can of Coke, costs about $10.  The blue container is sliced pickles, there is a packet of Parmesan cheese and a packet of hot sauce.  I’ll use the cheese and coke, but the rest is not useful to me.

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….

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.

Survival Korean aka Learning what you need to learn

I found this little quick survival guide.  There is a lot more to Korean, like any other language, but Survival Korean will get you through some fairly common things.

Koreans are kinda funny when it comes to knowing their language.  First, they are always surprised that you know ANY of it.  It’s like they don’t expect anyone outside of their country to learn their language despite they themselves learn English.  That surprised can be expressed in many ways.  The most common is “Wow, you know Korean?” but I have had one guy who replied with the most oddly nervous laugh I have ever heard.

Now, when you pick up a few phrases another weird phenomena happens.  They think you know more than you do and will start talking to you in Korean.  That’s when I learned how to say “I only know a little Korean.”(Pun not intended but amusing still).

Another common phrase you will learn while here is “How much is this/that?” All-my-e-o. This is a simple phrase to learn but there was a problem.  See, before I learned that, they Koreans would either type it out on a calculator and show it to me, or point to the cash register.  When I asked them this in Korean, they would automatically reply in Korean.  That was when I needed to learn the Korean numbers.  Even after that, they still spoke too quickly to me.  That was when I learned ‘Could you please repeat that slowly?”

What is funny is while you are learning Korean, you want to practice it.  It becomes somewhat frustrating when you walk into a store, say hello, pick up your product, ask how much it is (all in Korean) and the guy behind the counter replies in English because he is a University student who wants to practice his English!

The first Korean I learned was actually the subway names.  The digital signs on the subway alternate between English and Korean (Chinese too but I haven’t the foggiest clue on that language).  So it is easy to learn alternating words.

Once you know the alphabet, you can read everything, almost.  There are a few tricky rules where the sound of a character does actually change depending on it’s position in the syllable.  Still, outside of that, most things are pretty straight forward.  Until you read the ‘Konglish’.  Konglish is an English word made using Korean characters.  Here I am thinking it’s great to read Korean when I get this while reading the name of a restaurant “Chee….ken….dok…ter….oh, Chicken Doctor!”

The Contest Winner! And a new City: Daegu

In March I posted a mini-contest to see who could interpret some Korean characters and what the English word was. This is the word.

Korean Word

The word is bus but pronounced bus-uh. In general, Korean words always end in a vowel so English-based words, for which there is corresponding Korean equivalent, get some added sounds. Learning the sounds of each character is pretty easy. I can read quite a bit of Korea but my comprehension will take a while yet :) Still, it is useful for the ‘konglish’ words like bus :)

Here is Shawn opening the parcel.

The box looks like it had ah been in ah some kind of ah Tsunami AH! The cardboard just fell apart. ( as you can tell ah I am writing ah this with a Korean accent …..AH)
My CHOPSTICKS ah… how nice, thank ah you very much! Enjoy da picture ah.

Enjoy them well Shawn!

Ok, onto Daegu.

The city bills itself as the ‘Colourful City’. Well, we weren’t disappointed. Although I find all the cities here very colourful. I will apply this ‘colourful’ term to the types of things I see here. As mentioned before, and pretty much common knowledge, Asians tend to copy till they figure out who they are instead of trying to be popular like the Western stuff that influences their young people. So when I see a posted for a Korean James-Bond type of movie, I immediately took a picture of it.

Of course the ‘walking mascots’ are very popular for promoting some product or event too. Don’t ask me how Winnie The Poo is connected to anything in Korea though.

There are many different shops in this area. Korea has done some great things in designing their downtown cores. They block off streets and cobblestone the whole place. It makes for wonderful shopping experiences and a cool place to hang too.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

So tell me, is this t-shirt from a good artist or a great artist?

You probably don’t need to answer that…

Remember when I wrote about Coffee in Korea? Well, if a massive 3-story coffee-house doesn’t prove that Korean’s love coffee, nothing will!

A few blocks away and this same chain had another 2 story place as well!

Click to see all the albums.

I’m an ALIEN!

“Time flies like an arrow.” – Ancient Proverb

“Fruit flies like bananas.” – BBS Tagline Addendum to Proverb.

It’s amazing how fast time can go by when you get busy. I have been working on a….let’s call it a project, so my free time has been cut in half. Out of that time I sleep and been pushing my self-directed education on ‘all things tech’. As such, my blog posts have been obviously more quiet. Now I am slowly settling into a rhythm and forcing some time for more update. I’ve got lots to show you at least as I have not been slack in taking pictures Winking smile

Yes, it’s true. I am an alien. I even have an officially issued ID card to prove it!

So, for all those who suspected me of being one, now you have your proof. More shall be revealed in due course about our plans for your puny world….err, I mean this beautifully human-food-laden…..err…scenic place.

Let me start my catchup with everyone’s favourite subject…..food.

I will say this, the strawberries here are the largest and sweetest I have EVER tasted! Although I can’t really give proper description of the taste, suffice to say that the reason most people use whip cream to dip their strawberries in is to off set the tartness. Such a practice would totally kill the natural sweetness of these berries!

Yeah, that’s my hand. Damn thing is near 3” long!
Yeah, that’s my hand. Damn thing is near 3” long!
Who knew that only 5 strawberries would cover my entire keyboard!
Who knew that only 5 strawberries would cover my entire keyboard!

(Click here for a few more pics of these monstrosities)

Now, on the flip side of this trip we’ll be displaying a rather bizarre collection of pets. Spiders! (Yes….I said collection….)

I think this is the poisonous one.
I think this is the poisonous one.

And what collection of pet spiders is incomplete without a Tarantula!

You can click here to see a few more pics of his collection.

Now that you are thoroughly freaked out (well, most of you, some are probably already clicking on the link for more), let’s go onto a few other mildly strange things here.

I’m going to teach you some Korean. You’ll be totally amazed at how well you will pick this up!

The interesting thing about older languages is that the rules for modern words vary wildly. Older languages have no rules for incorporating modern terms. So each culture will do what they feel is best. With Korean there is a term called Konglish (Korean/English). There are some words that just do not have any way of being created with the Hangul characters. This is because the Hangul language was originally based on Chinese characters. Chinese writing has dated back around the 14th century. So, using a language based on that kind of age you are bound to run into a problem with new words. For example, Computer or Network. Both very modern words and do not have any direct translation whatsoever. Although I never did quite understand why they didn’t form the same words the same way the word was formed for English.

Yes I know computer comes from the two latin words (with[cum] and think[putare]). Still, as a modern implementation of a device, such words do not always translate well. In Korean computer is ‘kom-pyew-tuh’. Just about every Korean also ends with a vowel. So Koreans will take English words and add a ‘uh’ on words that have a consonant at the end.

For example….end will become end-uh. “is” becomes is-uh. It’s very tough to get them out of that habit but the ones who pay attention will stand out in their English pronunciation.

Now, armed with that knowledge let me give you a few Hangul characters and see if you can figure out the following words.



This is an like an ‘eww’ type of sound but very short. Close to an short i type of sound.

bThis is a b (or p sometimes) sound. It’s not ‘bee’ but more ‘buh’ sound.

sThis is an s. Sometimes a ‘sh’ sound.

eoThis is ‘aw’ sound. It gets shortened typically after a consonant to ‘uh’.

So, test your new found knowledge and figure out this word.

Korean Word

First person to email me what this means will get a special Korean gift from here! (You Koreans on my list, and people I KNOW who are learning Korean are not eligible).

I can tell you that after learning the Hangul characters I get a huge laugh when I read Konglish words like ‘mechanic’ and even ‘chicken doctor'(a restaurant).

Ok, that all for this post. Up next…..the DMZ.