One day I was walking up the road in the local town – Cheongju with a male (western) friend – and several young Korean ladies (drunk) approached us… (well him actually) screaming. Throwing themselves into his pathway I decided I couldn’t compete with this PDA. The only thing I could really do was offer him out for 10000 won (6 pounds)…
Of course Korean girls do fit the stereotype they are hot, slender and extremely attractive. So it is no wonder why western men should not be tempted. They are also under a lot more pressure from their counterparts to maintain a respectful household, cooking, cleaning, running a dignified home – and as a male friend of mine put it so well ‘with dating a western man – Korean women can jump straight into a feminist friendly world without having to go through fifty years of bullshit’.
After moving to Changwon – in the South of South Korea – I found myself living in an area with not many westerners. Walking down the street one day I was approached by a young guy whose English name was Kaka (22) – he was named after some football player (ugh football). He came right up to me and stated: ‘I feel very proud right now everyone is very scared of you because you are western but you can be my first western friend.’ How could I turn an approach like that down? After all I couldn’t be choosey I didn’t have any friend’s. And thus came about Korean nightclubbing..
Of course Korea does have the ‘normal’ westernized nightclubs where people get drunk and dance together.. but a Korean nightclub is seriously a whole new world with a whole new list of rules and regulations.
After paying the entrance fee which is about 50 manwon (35 pounds) – you are led to your own table filled with alcohol, fruit and a limitless supply of anchovies. If you want to dance you must only do this on the da
nce floor which is a stage at the front of the club. You are then issued with your own waiter/waitress who will see to all your needs. So there you are – sitting and drinking – and the waiter will come to your table and tell you some ‘men’ or ‘women’ on the table in the far corner want you to join them. This is how people meet each other in these typical korean nightclubs. They will then usher you to their table where they will entertain you and if you want you can get up and leave or… stay if you should find their company so appealing. Now – I had my big coat on.. was wearing jeans and above me were half naked Korean ladies dancing on podiums but as the only western girl in the vicinity that night – or that had probably ever been to this nightclub – all eyes were on me. And yes.. that definitely felt very strange.
Needless to say I was ushered around a few tables that night (uh of course!) – and had chats with Marlborough cigarette advertising men.. MD’s.. Politicians most of whom had their wives sitting at home with the children. When it came to dancing (yeah on the stage- ahem) I was greeted by a group of girls one who danced the dance of Eminem in proof of her hotness. Like I say I wasn’t really competing though. So I gave everyone a handful of anchovies in a friendly – ‘I don’t dance this dance hon’ kinda way… and that night I realised how hot I really was.. no not really – that night I realised – which was the point I was trying to get to – was that sometimes we can live day by day looking at the same things and the same people and the same landscapes and we forget to see how beautiful – just how beautiful they really are.
Crap. I drank a beer towards the end of this – does it show?
It was five years ago that I moved to London. I moved into a hostel in Peckham.. there were three aussie girls upstairs, a Polish family in the front room and a drug fiend that frequented the place. It was lovely. When the day came to make a sharp exit…(like get me the hell out of here pleeease.. )..a friend from University that had also moved to London arrived in his beaten up car to help me out. His name was Guil. In those years of friendship he recommended that I teach English in Korea. And five years on as I sat in my love motel somewhere near Incheon airport, Korea – there was a knock on my door… guess who it was? It was indeed my old friend Guil… ‘you can’t stay here! It’s terrible! Why didn’t you get in touch earlier?!’ he demanded… I shook my head…
After an eventful six months in Korea I have decided to move on to pastures new. This time in Korea.. has indeed been eventful. For the first 4 months I was sick. I had pains in my stomach.. and I had no idea why. Was I dying? Was I the Virgin Mary? Was I dying!?! I was probably dying..
In Korea there is a separate doctor for each part of your body. Of course not being able to speak or read Korean… I ended up visiting many of these different doctors. I went to a bone doctor…. a gynecologist… an internal intestine doctor.. a baby doctor.. and each time.. in frustration.. the doctor would always give me a huge amount of drugs and an injection in my bum. Five injections I had in my bum… FIVE… never before in my life had I had an injection in my..
Anyway moving on.. It wasn’t until I visited the baby doctor.. that it all started to become apparent. After being sent to have an xray.. the doctor sat me down.. and.. started to laugh. The nurse.. then also.. started to laugh. I was obviously.. a bit bemused by this. Was I the Virgin Mary after all? What was so funny? Surely this isn’t very professional? What are they saying? Where am I? Who am I? Why is there baby stuff everywhere? What are they saying? Seeing my worried expression.. the doctor coughed.. turned to face me.. and shifted his computer round so that I could see it. He showed me the xray and said.. ‘a lot a lot of dong..’. I looked up at the nurse.. who again.. started to laugh.. Dong is the Korean word for er.. poo (should I write about this? Am I ruining your fairytale of women never going for number.. this is a little embarrassing actually..)
‘er.. a lot of dong?’ I replied… and yet again my doctor…unprofessionaly burst into fits of laughter and proceeded to show me the xray. Wow. It seemed from the xray that I was indeed… seriously full of shit. And I was very relieved at this.
And so..for the next five minutes the nurse.. the doctor and I sat there laughing together.. simply looking and repeating the one word ‘dong’ to one another… because that was the only word we all knew..
TO BE CONTINUED..
Working as a foreign teacher is a stressful job. Not only because of the language barrier but managing kids is generally pretty hard work. Especially elementary school kids. Phew. So tonight I decided to embark on my first jjimjilbang experience. For those of you that don’t know (don’t feel stupid…it’s ok.. ) a jjimjilbang is a large public bathhouse (based in Korean towns/cities).. that is split into an area for men and an area for women. It’s nicer than it sounds. It is also a place where you can relax – distress sorry I mean destress and while the week away. Wonderful.
On entry I was issued with two towels and a prison outfit to change into if I should want to sleep. I entered the ladies area – and was greeted by an old Korean lady with only a pair of shorts on. As she continued to tell me in Korean how I should proceed in my venture.. I thought ‘shit..this is a bad idea’ as she ferociously pulled my trousers down..
But what the hell! I’ve got an open mind.. so I continued to tell her I wanted a massage. I thought yeaaah.. – a little treat.. it’s been a hard week – and we managed to agree on the 25000 won price. Not bad. Although of course – I had no idea what I was ordering. As I entered the jimjaebang.. fully naked.. (the other Korean lady had snatched my towel and left me as God had intended) – I showered and was sent to the massage area where I was ordered to lay down on the bed with my face pointing towards the ceiling. And here she proceeded to massage every part of my naked body. As she ran her hands over my face I thought.. ‘mmmm … this woman lurrrves to smoke..’
So as I rolled over onto my front. Of course.. completely relaxed by now…why wouldn’t I be.. I’d just had my breasts massaged for god’s sake.. the lady climbed upon me.. straddled me and gave me the most painful massage I’ve ever experienced. Then she pulled herself up.. (let me point out that she has of couse got only her knickers on) and continued to walk across my back. She then grabbed my arm – and pulled it up behind my back – much like the self defence method – and rammed her elbow into my shoulder…and as I lay there screaming.. literally – she was shouting. So for a while.. I screamed.. she shouted.. I screamed.. she shouted.. I screamed.. and she shouted.. and I lay thinking why is nothing ever easy? And then that was that I was free to go.. I paid my money. And I entered the world once more.. exposed.. relaxed.. less prude and at one with my femininity. But not in a rush to go back just yet…
I went to Super Color Super this weekend in Hongdae Seoul, South Korea to check out some new music and caught up with Bamseoum Pirates an angry grindcore band from South Korea. We had a little chat about what inspired their music..
I’ve been in Korea for three months now. And I’m slowly getting to grips with K-Pop (Korean Pop).. I saw a few K-Pop bands a few weeks ago in Incheon including Generation Girls, Super Junior and Taeyang.. (and noticed the Mayor of Incheon sitting at the front nodding away at Generation Girls.. gosh loves his music doesn’t he.. ) After going to a party and seeing everyone dance the moves to ‘Sorry Sorry’ by Super Junior.. I have become more inquisitive about this K-Pop scene actually. I’d written off my disinterest to do with the language barrier. But the expats around me knew the dance moves surprisingly well.. and now I’ve found myself with a wee addiction to ‘Sorry Sorry’ by Super Junior..
It’s gotten so bad that I’ve started acting like a 16 year old – you know….like… super imposing yourself on band photos… writing.. ‘I love SJ’ all over the books in form class…
I guess that last one wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t the teacher..
Anyway I’m pretty sure that when everyone moves to a foreign country they go through this. This is completely and totally normal behaviour .
But you probably want to know the band I’m talking about.. the band.. hotter than Backstreet Boys.. SEXIER than JLS..
I know you might want to sing along..so here are the english lyrics to the chorus (the best bit):
‘Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry
I I I first
For you for you for you I fell
fell fell fallen baby
Shawty Shawty Shawty Shawty
Eyes are blinding blinding blinding
Breathe is stifled stifled stifled
I’m going crazy crazy baby’
Can anyone explain what has just begun? Is this the beginning of.. no.. I can’t say it..