American [no longer] In Korea

The New Jersey of Asia


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Dirty South Part 2: District Gay/ Texas Street

  We'd actually walked through this area during the day once. It was pretty heterosexual fora back alley aside from a few signs that wouldn't be obviously gay to Koreans. There weren't any guys trying to hustle or directions to the nearest glory hole.

The first bar of the night was Banana. We heard this place gives you a banana with each drink and I find that to be hilarious. Cum took a deep breath and opened the door. I'll be damned if it wasn't the classiest gay bar I've ever been in. Very well put together with tasteful art and a lacquer black color scheme. There was an aquarium with angel fish, dim lights and lasers, and somehow even the stripper pole on the bar seemed to fit. You could tell this bar drew a more sophisticated crowd, and not ten minutes after we sat down, they walked in. Two were businessmen who looked like they just got out of work, two looked like a couple, and the other three were a bit more flaming.

The bartender spoke very good, very gay English, and gave us a gay guide to not only Busan, but all of Korea. I was surprised at how many gay Karaokes, gay “one shot” (liquor) bars, gay Soju bars, gay DVD rooms (hook up spots), and gay bathhouses they managed to cram into this barren looking back alley.

한국어 Pt. 2

On The Very First EFL Teacher Blog Ever

As a follow-up to my last post, I'd like to talk about my personal experience learning Korean so far and my take on the language. Last post I briefly mentioned that Korean can be seen as harder than it is. I can especially imagine this being the case among long-term foreigners who have been here long enough to have Korean-speaking family (even children!). It is also the case among many Koreans. While most would agree that foreigners should try to learn Korean, few seem to believe that foreigners can. Speaking Korean as a non-Korean is seen as this Sisyphean task, which must be undertaken, but can never be accomplished, unless you are a member of Non-Summit:

"Korean culture, through the eyes of a foreigner." It's a delightful comedy/variety show set around a board-room table, where non-Korean men inexplicably speak in Korean. I don't especially like Non-Summit, but if I were a Korean man, I would resent this show's extremely high popularity among Korean women. Sort of like a goofy "Foreigner Eye for the Korean Guy," where your average Korean (and person) is a ways less telegenic, clever, and wealthy than the cast.

On Non-Summit, Koreans are first amazed by the fact that foreigners are speaking Korean. Most amazing is that a few, including the Turk and the American, practically speak without an accent. Considering the shock with which some Koreans, especially those less accustomed to foreigners, regard any sort of foreign normalcy here (tolerance of spicy foods, toddler-level chopstick abilities, etc.), this isn't too surprising. But let's be clear: there is nothing so damn special about Korean culture, or any culture, that it can't be learned. Being Korean is not a prerequisite to learning Korean. Being Korean is a prerequisite to being Korean.

Korean is especially easy to jump into. You, random foreigner, what sort of writing system do you think of when you think of Korean?

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