Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Korean statue of liberty

Last week I bid farewell to one of my students. He's now moved up to a class level that I thankfully don't teach. I have always found him quite strange, especially his fixation with guns and overuse of the words "death", "die" and "kill". He's always drawing in his books. This was his goodbye piece for my class. The statue of liberty, complete with machine gun and sword.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Uzbekistan restaurant in Daegu

On Saturday we tried something new, a new restaurant, new food and more importantly, new beer. Wandering through the streets of down town Daegu looking for a bite to eat we once more passed through an area that is home to a Daegu Uzbekistan restaurant.

Also, I've been pining for more European cuisine. It's hard to get decent European food in Korea, never mind the insular Daegu. In Korea many restaurants that claim to serve Italian, French or even Spanish style food often give you a combination of European food made to suit Korean palates. Often the results are disappointing messes.

I've always been curious as to what they serve and how good it would be but never took the plunge until now. The food wasn't fantastic though this is perhaps partially due to the dishes we chose. Not being able to read Russian and not strictly trusting the Korean translation I chose foods that resembled more Western foods. This was a mistake. The food was a bit bland but I think I would go again to try more authentic dishes. What we ordered did not seem to us to be representative of Russian/Uzbekistan food but we could be wrong. The dumplings were good, containing discernible meat but the rest left me a bit flat.

Onto more important matters, the beer. Never having been anywhere near Russia and never having has the chance to sample one of their brews I jumped at the chance to sample the beer. The Korean translation read "Russian beer" so I didn't know what brands were available.

The waitress asked if I wanted strong or normal. I chose strong and the wife chose normal. I was expecting a 5/5.5% lager. What I got was a mighty 8%, and it tasted pretty good. I associate beers of that strength back in the UK to be unpleasant, tasting more like a bitter treacle but this was light. After a while I began to feel like I was drinking 8% beer but I would definitely drink this stuff again.

It's worth pointing out that this was a big beer, 500ml, not the normal 330mls you get in most bars and it was only 5,ooo won. A Bargain. After doing some research on Wikipedia I have found that the beer I drank was Baltika 9 (Krepkoe) and my wife drank the Baltika 7 (Export Beer).

If you are in the area and fancy a change, this place may not or may not meet your needs but its worth a look at, especially if you are missing European style food.

The restaurant name is Samarkand

Saturday, 27 March 2010


A trip downtown today ended up witnessing a screaming mass of Korean teenagers. We stopped by Kyobo book store to exchange an item and check out some books when we noticed something different. A crowd was gathering and made up of primarily teenage girls excited by something. It turned out that Korean boy band Beast (referred to as 비스트, or more confusingly, B2ST) were on the premises. I had never witnessed anything like the pandemonium I saw - perhaps it was because it's Daegu and why would anyone whose anyone be there.

These guys aren't even very famous but perhaps they will be soon. Musical acts here are pretty disposable and there is always someone 'new'. They usually lip sync to a backing track and litter their songs with ill fitting English words or phrases. Koreans really go wild for famous people but I guess they're not the only ones. What a shame most of the 'famous' people here tend to rely on plastic surgery and have no discernable talent other than being a clotheshorse/money making exercise for their representitives. But a bigger shame that it wasn't Lee Hyo Ri in the building!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Some bright spark in class

Highlight of the day. More evidence that a section of my students don't listen to me, though I did enjoy the momentary spectacle.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Numbers game

Earlier this week my youngest class had a whip round and presented me with some birthday presents. A lemon vitamin tablet, an (in)edible sweet, some money (160won) and my favourite kid in the class bought me a pen. I saw the funny side and went on to have a fun class. Yesterday was my actual birthday, my fifth consecutive away from home in Korea. A pretty uneventful day but with some highlights, particularly an after work dinner. Birthdays continue to become an irrelevance as I age.

I'm starting to get very annoyed/frustrated with my workplace, my branch and its management. In truth I think I would like to move on from where I work (the branch) but I have some ties to the area where I live. These days work is becoming less and less enjoyable and it is inevitable that my effort is diminishing - I need another holiday! A number of curriculum changes don't seem to be working. Even if well meant, the change from reading classes to listening have been ineffectual and the students put in minimal effort, only studying to avoid retest and not to actually improve.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tokyo trip photos (day two: part one)

Here are some more pictures from our Lunar New Year trip to Tokyo. Here we were spending time in Shibuya, more specifically at the impressive Meiji shrine.

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