Saturday, 30 May 2009
As well as I felt I did, clearly I have a long way to go before I leave Korea and probably Hapkido behind. I feel like I did well deep down inside and a lot of the students kept saying well done to me in their basic English. In practice my kicking is a lot better and so too is my self defence. Being honest I thought maybe I could win an award (trophies and certificates are given to outstanding performances of the day), but it was not to be. Regardless, today was a big improvement. Perhaps in the future I can do well enough to win something but that's not my primary objective. My next test is two months from now and I know that I cannot let up. This is the time to push on and work even harder. After that I think there are no tests for my level until maybe January where I should be testing for a 2nd degree black belt. Truly something that is keeping me going in Korea-land.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Being a Liverpool fan for over twenty years I was in two minds whether or not to watch the game as I couldn't bear the sight of seeing Utd winning a fourth European Cup but I stayed up till 6am here in Korea and I'm glad I did. Usually I really miss the English language commentary on football games but was delighted not to here ITV's Clive Tyldesley waffle on about 1999 and "That night in Barcelona" as he has for the past ten years. The word Barcelona is now a memory of a different kind as well as carrying a different resonance. In the aftermath of the game I can't get it out of my mind at how overrated (though still very good) this Utd team has been this season. Surely based on the past three months evidence winning the English Premier League was something that my beloved Liverpool should have done. Perhaps we have blown our best chance for years to come - unless Benitez gets some serious spending money. Never mind, "This time next year we'll be millionaires"...
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
However, IF things go badly and I don't get a new contract I don't know what I will do. The chances of that happening I feel are slim. So far observations have gone very well from both my foreign and Korean managers. Also, though I don't know the percentages, overwhelmingly the company likes to keep its teachers. Unless there have been serious problems with staff they like to re-sign teachers as hiring new employees is always risky. I expect to get a new contract but it feels wrong to presume I will get one. If I don't get the new contract some of my plans are in jeopardy and the immediate future would be most uncertain. Fingers crossed.
Monday, 25 May 2009
Last night's film was Glimmer Man. In case you haven't seen it, here is the plot summary taken from Wikipedia.
Jack Cole (Steven Seagal) was once a government intelligence operative known as "The Glimmer Man," because he could move so quickly and quietly that his victims would only see a glimmer before they died. Having left the Glimmer Man job behind him, Cole—steeped in mysticism and not used to working with others—has become a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Cole is partnered with Jim Campbell (Keenen Ivory Wayans), a tough, no-nonsense cop who has little patience for Cole's New Age philosophies and outsider attitude. Cole and Campbell have to set aside their differences when they're assigned to track down a serial killer called "The Family Man," for his habit of killing entire households.
So Seagal is steeped in mysticism and is not used to working with others...hmmm, and we have a no nonsense cop. And they have to work together to solve murder cases. OK you may have seen something like this before but wait. Seagal demonstrates his powers in one scene, in a morgue overseeing a dead body his colleague comments on the dead girls dead body. Seagal "A little bit too nice" then promptly takes a scalpel and removes her breast implants and tracks down her identity from this. You had to see it to believe its outrageousness. In another scene, Seagal demonstrates that he can actually fly.
Usually Steven Seagal AND Keenen Ivory Wayans are straight to video guys, but not this time (1996). How can you not watch this when it's on Korean TV at 3am? Somehow they got Brian Cox to stoop low enough to be in this film. Shame on you Brian. Literally unbelievably Wikipedia claims this had a budget of $45,000,000. If so I wonder what it was spent on. Clearly not on Seagal's wardrobe. Perhaps on his lunch.
It is easy to parody Seagal and many have done so, but just like Jason Staham, fun can had watching his films. Yes the quality goes down film by film, as we see him grow larger and larger. Yes Seagal carries not weight of expectation but only the weight of ridicule. BUT how can you not enjoy this clip?
I guess my standards are slipping blame Korea! Glimmer Man, I think I have seen the film maybe four times here during my time in the ROK and I still don't know how it ends because I always fall asleep. A perfect cure for insomnia so everyone is happy.
Friday, 22 May 2009
This is the street I live. I can't tell you it's name as there is no sign post. Oh to be a postman in Korea.
My street viewed in the opposite direction.
In my area and I guess many residential places like this cables fill the skyline. Disturbing for someone from the UK, but I've seen similar in Canada.
Littered around every street in my town are academies where you can learn many things. This one is for piano students. Co-workers of mine live above here. Do they love piano too?
Onto the small park just seconds away from my house. A place to rest and hide from the sun if you choose to.
You can find several of these in Chilgok, the area I live in. Free exercise machines, mostly loved by middle aged women. I have never seen these particular ones used though.
More park shots. Kids often play baseball or basketball ball here on weekends or evenings. Night time in particular is very popular.
In the middle of the park is a slide and other activities for children. My area is pretty child centric which is admirable when you conside how many kids live close by.
Another shot of the slide and swings. In the background are flats, a church and a restaurant that serves pigs intestines. I'm never going in there!
A rare sight. A gardener! Tending the grass of the park. When I say grass I mean straw with some green patches scattered around.
First noticed this today. I can't believe I have never seen it before. Presumably rubbish.
The fountain that I pass by. Only alive come Summer time. Kids also love just seeing this in action.
Some kind of sculpture. I cannot give more information. I kind of like it but don't know why.
Street sellers with fruit on offer. These guys only seem to be here on Fridays. I'm yet to buy from them. Fruit here can be found on so many street corners.
I first noticed these 'berries' if that's what they are, today. Perhaps I should take out more time to notice my surroundings in future.
Next to the ATM machine is this stone turtle. I presume there is a significance to Korean culture as I have seen several in other places, but I don't know what they mean. Yet.
Again, another new find. Though slightly off my normal path I took a further look around and found this kiddies slide.
Apartment buildings dominate the skylines of pretty much most cities in Korea. How different is my life to these people? Very. I do find these omnipotent structures a tad depressing.
More 'grass'. Well Korea's equivalent to grass. How can you live in a country with no grass? It's weird but you get used to it. Pretty much no-one has lawns here.
Another sculpture, this time with seating. Again I like this but can't explain why.
A corner shop with a delivery. This time the truck has brought only alcohol. Koreans love alcohol but their beer is appalling. If you get the chance, try some Korean soju. It's vaguely similar to vodka but not as strong.
Nearly at work now. Just minutes away. Though I do only live minutes away.
A corner shop with good outside. It's common to see some of their items actually outside the shop. This could never happen in the UK.
Academies dominate this street, which also has restaurants and convenience stores. It's absurd how many shops and buildings selling education that fill the skies here.
Not just ordinary buildings here, but restaurants (there must be millions of those in Korea), phone shops and PC rooms. Those along with academies are ubiquitous here.
A fish restaurant. The fish tanks are hidden because it's not opening time yet but when open you can see whatever fish they have close up.
A church. Koreans also love churches. This time two side by side. I'd like to know the ratio of churches to people who go in them. I wonder how they fill them.
And here we are. My workplace on the right hand side of the picture and here the day begins in earnest. As they say, it's not the destination, it's the journey.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
Is it never to be? A question most reds will surely be asking themselves right now. Sure there this season was good at times. High points being two league wins over Utd, but too often we flattered to deceive just when we needed to perform. Signs of progress? Definitely. Benitez can be pleased that we have lasted the course but the margin between success and (ultimately) failure is small, but we are lacking in some areas. Food for thought for the backroom staff then. What cannot be argued is that this Summer is a pivotal point in the future of the club.
Rick Parry's (welcome) ousting means we face an uncertain immediate future until a new Chief Executive is appointed. Rafa has what he wanted - careful what you wish for? The press reports suggest the owners loans will be restructured but the debacle of club ownership still rumbles on with no end in sight. And lastly, the matter of Summer club transfers. It is clear, as Rafa is inclined to say, that 'we' don't have much money to spend. I do not envisage us having a large transfer war chest. But we MUST buy and buy quality not quantity. Last season's transfers hindered us rather than helped. A repeat just cannot be allowed to happen.
The side is desperate for three significant signings. Players for the flanks and a striker. One thing is for certain, the other sides will spend and maybe heavily - especially Chelsea. Continued press reports suggest Alonso may be sacrificed to sign Gareth Barry. I doubt any Reds fan would like that as Alonso has inarguably had his best season at Anfield. What is certain is that players will have to leave. Voronin, Dossena, Itandje, Deggen and maybe Babbel and Riera won't be missed but will hardly bring in the money for super signings. Replacing Hyypia's professionalism and influence in the squad may prove difficult too. It all points to three massive months for Liverpool FC. Will we push on, stand still or fall back like we did under Houllier? It could still end on an even sourer note. There's the small matter of the Champions League final in Rome. Viva España!