Sunday, 25 May 2008

Photos, and A Message for my Korean readers, when a Canadian mentions Terry Fox to you. . .

To my dear Korean readers:
Terry Fox is a Canadian hero. He is as important to us and our view of who we are as Gwanggyeto, Yi Sunshin, or Yu Gwan-sun is to you. He lost his leg to cancer, and instead of giving up on life, he tried to run across Canada (the second largest landmass) to raise money for cancer research. Just before he reached the halfway point of his Marathon of Hope, he had to stop, because the cancer returned, now in his lungs. He was hospitalized, and he died in a coma about a year later, in 1981. His story is heartbreaking and inspiring.He is a Canadian hero, so, my dear Korean readers, when your Canadian friends mention him, it is not considered appropriate to say "Oh. Like Forrest Gump." That's about tantamount to saying, "Yi Sunshin -- oh. He's great. Like Luke Skywalker." Except worse, because Star Wars is a better movie than Forrest Gump.

Terry and Forrest: NOT THE SAME


Every freaking time I've mentioned Terry Fox to Koreans, they've compared him to Forrest Gump, and it just sticks in my craw to have one of Canada's greatest citizens thoughtlessly trivialized by comparing him to the least believable segment of Tom Hanks' sappiest movie. (And Tom Hanks' sappiest movie. . . that's really saying something. That's like Marlon Brando's weirdest episode, or George W Bush's most inarticulate sentence, you know?)




Don't trivialize my culture, please.

Now that that's off my chest. . . pictures.

Soundtrack: Freddie Robinson. Hit play and start reading.

Title: Off the Cuff

From the weekend of the 12th, and the weekdays in between.

Another soju ad: she's not my type, so I don't find this one particularly attractive, but notice the colour combination. . .
I suddenly have a craving for watermelon.

Just take one letter off, and you can't quite pin it for copyright infringement, can you? Meanwhile, a K-pop band just released a song titled, "I cannot get no satisfaction." (not really)

Near Jongmyo park:
Basically, anything long and thin is considered good for a man's "stamina" and maybe even other stuff, here in Korea. (eel is too)

My sister brought her kids to visit my brother, who's a new father. As you can see, his kids are going to laugh a lot as they grow up.
Carrie-ann (left) hasn't quite gotten the hang of making funny faces for the camera (though her oldest brother got photographed so much he'd learned to pose by age two), but Bethany sure knows what to do.

On the phone, my sister-in-law summed up being a new mother about as well as I think I've ever heard: "It's the best, hardest thing I've ever done."

Only my Canadian readers will understand this.
There it is. What's the problem?
NOOOOoooooo!I'm out of Tim's coffee. I bought a package of Starschmucks, but it's so strong I've been hopping all day long on the caffeine buzz.

The roses are out in force in Seoul.
Near Anguk station.

In Jongno 3ga station: this picture sums up exactly what I love about the Jongno/Gwanghwamun area.

Signs like this are actually illegal, because they block pedestrian traffic.
On windy days, they also blow over and sometimes hit pedestrians.
A few windy days ago Girlfriendoseyo said to me, "Don't go outside. The wind blows over illegal signs and they hit people sometimes." (In Korean culture, this kind of fussing [which in N. America is the domain only of mothers] is considered endearing, and a sign of high affection between lovers as well. It may include gestures like over-assiduously fixing my appearance [ie, straightening my collar, smoothing wrinkles on my shirt, and even cleaning out my ears] and encouraging me to eat far beyond the point when I'm satisfied. Exgirlfriendoseyo once even reached over and tried to cut the meat on my plate for me, which, as any North American knows, is one of the cardinal sins of Western eating etiquette: Hands off my grub, honey! These attentions are meant affectionately here, though a North American sensibility would read them as patronizing and a little intrusive.)To her warning, I answered, "Cutie, I'd rather die, killed by a street sign blown over in the wind, than live a life where I'm afraid to go out in the wind, on the off-chance I might." And I'm pretty sure I meant it. (Knock on wood... no need to tempt the gods of irony.)That one looked pretty bedraggled after a long, windy day.

My daily snicker: restaurant signs that say "homemade"
So, did you make them at home and bring them to the restaurant? Has the health inspector certified your kitchen at home? Or do you sleep in the restaurant at night, so it is your home? Why not say "made fresh" or "made fresh on site" -- doesn't have the same ring, does it? Anyway, unless you're at someone's house, it's always a misnomer, and makes me grin.

Seen near Sinchon: my family name's Oprivacyhand, so considering the way I came up with my nickname Roboseyo, and then extended the 'oseyo' suffix to everything else around me (joboseyo, girlfriendoseyo, officeteloseyo, bossoseyo, poposeyo [that's you, Dad]), this seems like the best name for the family pizza chain:
If they open a sister franchise called Pizzaseyo, I'm gonna flip.

New to the "hire a proofreader, nimrod!" file.

You pretty much don't find better pictures of ol' roboseyo than this: girlfriendoseyo took this one, and I guess she just brings out the best in me.
This is Lee Hyori, an entire cultural phenomenon unto herself. (See James Turnbull, here here and here and especially here for a start.)
Advertising a waterpark. I do believe if we created a database, we'd discover that Lee Hyori has officially now been pitchperson for every product made in Korea.

Speaking of which, here's 조수미 - Jo Sumi, Korea's top opera star, (very good) apparently using her décolletage to try and convince me to sponsor hungry children.
I think they told her "Every inch you lower your neckline, another thousand children will be sponsored!"

Not a bad idea -- showing skin for world hunger. Too bad there isn't a slogan they can use that's as catchy as "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur" to justify it.

At the Leeum near Itaewon: giant spiders.

Re: Mad Cow Public Hysteria in Seoul: I don't really want to talk about it. Read this, this and this instead.

Some pictures, though: students gearing up for a protest.
An old guy in Kinko's, very thoughtfully making a tract to be handed out later:

Don't know what it said, but he seemed to be giving it a lot of thought.Seen in Seoul: a girl wearing a t-shirt with an arrow to her right, (like the "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts), that said, "I think he's gay."

Some more Buddha's Birthday weekend pictures:

Buddha's birth, from a lotus flower:

On Buddha's birthday itself, at Jogyesa, people lined up around the corner to go in and pay their respects to Buddha.Lining up to pour water onto a statue of the Buddha.
As you can see, the coloured lanterns hanging above the main courtyard made a pattern.
They were kind enough to put an aerial photograph up, so we could see the pattern the lanterns made. These people are all lining up to bow to the Buddha.
(there he is, presumably very pleased with himself, all the adulation he's receiving)
There was a sign that said "3000 bows ceremony" 3천배
That's right. These people each bowed, face down, and stood up, 3000 times (or, I suppose, until exhaustion - whichever came first. You'd need to train for Buddha's birthday the same way you train for a half-marathon!)

All chanting, with each bow, "석가모니불 석가모니배" which, if memory serves correctly, means "Buddha heaven , Buddha bow" -- feel free to correct me in the comments if you know better.It was pretty impressive to watch them all go.
The lamps hanging from above were in two sections. The coloured ones you saw above were above the main courtyard. There were also some white ones on the other side of the main temple.
The white ones, Girlfriendoseyo explained, are prayers for the dead.
While the coloured ones are prayers for the living.
See the contrast.
Last one: saw a girl with her grandma, who insisted on climbing each of the sidewalk barriers and jumping off it, and that made me think how, if I were four, I'd want to do exactly the same thing with a bunch of just-climbable-height barriers. Have a great day, dear readers. Go climb something, and jump off it, just because you can.



melissa said...

Oh my gosh, go climb on things and jump off them unless you are my children. Jeepers, that gets old. Especially when you are walking somewhere and need to get there on time. Or you're simply tired of trying to make sure two small boys in two separate places don't fall off and kill themselves, or jump off into traffic, or dawdle too much and get lost.

Boy I"m a party pooper, aren't I? But seriously, this activity is wayyyyyyy passe for me.
That's likely why you see a GRANDPARENT putting up with it in this pic. Which is why we have grandparents. For putting up with the smell the roses type crap that us parents haven't the time for.
I've decided you can send me a one paragraph email if you like, instead of a full update. Since I did get a phone call.

Brian said...

Freshness Burger is great. Me and some coworkers went to the Grand Open(ing) of the one in Bundang, and we asked what was on the burgers and the employees said "freshness sauce." But it's mad expensive, and the portions are small. Last time I was there 3,500 for a burger smaller than a Quarter Pounder. But damn, I wish they had one around here. I almost wanna take the bus to Gangnam and have one for dinner.

Roboseyo said...

I actually also really liked the burger -- it really was fresh. Restaurant-made, but whatever.

Yup, mel, you're right: grandparents ARE more patient with the meandering. I used to wander a lot too.

Rebecca said...

Carrie Ann, at one and a half, already started climbing up on the concrete barrier to walk along the top (like her big sister, of course). I had to hold both hands, but she made it to the other end! The best that day was going down the stairs. I tried to take her hand, and she clearly said, "My do dat!" -- I can do it myself! So I waited until she realized she actually did need a hand as well as a railing to hold, and then we continued. Like Mel said, it's not every time that I can let the kids wander -- but on the other hand I try really hard not to be so busy that I can never let them play on the way.

matt said...

Those blow over-able signs made me think that someone should shoot them flapping about in black and white and add in godspeedyoublackemperor's "dead flag blues" over top. It'd make for a good... 60 second film. Or part of a larger film. But then you'd have to make the rest of the film. Anyways, I'd never spent much time thinking about those signs before.