Wednesday, 22 April 2009


I was dropping off in class with only 700 in my pocket. Lotteria then, my last resort, the Korean McD's. Stepping in I found my reality warped - 2 American businessmen were inside standing around with a Korean suit. I rarely see outsiders here, and these 2 were suited on the other side of 40, which is uncommon even in Seoul.

For the sustenance, I bought a white soft cone ice cream, and listened to these 3 'talk'. The younger Korean spoke of 'screen golf' which the other 2 didn't clock onto at first. Then followed an awfully long stretch of silence as they stood hands in pockets unable to look at one another. It continued as I paid my 500.

Monday, 20 April 2009

what's a girl to do?

So I think I'll quit while I'm behind / Now that I'm twenty-two

Spend too much time walking the main highstreet of Kangnam really. That's where I get off on the bus from Yongin.

Everytime I walk past the clothes shop Giordano, they're blasting out this UK 90s club classic outside onto the street, 'Show Me Love' - you gotta show me loove! This week I heard it once in the afternoon on arriving and again as I left for the bus in the evening. The housey Korg pads are iconic.

The next evening I was there and I walked past a 20 something Korean woman sitting on the highstreet steps, waiting for someone to answer their phone. She was in a skirt with no underwear, legs apart for all the walking crowds to see.

The 2 guys standing around offering FREE HUGS had a little whisper about it.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


One of the 6 year olds in class was wearing a green t-shirt. In the monologue printed on the back I spotted a 'Fuck' scrawled in white. Wondered if I should tell anyone. Didn't!

Monday, 13 April 2009


At the weekend, we were scouting for a noraebang in Gangnam. As always, a drunk Korean was being hoisted by the armpits, dragged along the street, but it wasn't even 8pm! They were 3 high school boys, letting us walk the stairs in front of them. As we waited for our room to vacate, the trio caught up, the catatonic young lad in the middle spewing all over the lobby, a real red soju catastrophe which I know about all too well.

The funny thing about this building was the restroom, for it had a glass panel in the top half of the door, so as I stood at the urinal my upper torso was on display for anyone climbing up the sets of stairs. Nice. Actually, my friend Steave has a similar problem for the window in his bathroom is right by your head when you stand to slash, and it's directly opposite the living room window of a family in the opposite flat. Hehe. Thanks for reading my 'sadly ahead of its time' classic by the way Morphster. Cheers.


Today as I walked to work the lovely waitress from Uncle Tomato called out my name as I turned a corner. I retraced and saw it was her with her Buddy Holly glasses, taking out a flower in her hair as I said hi, a brief exchange cos she was about to cross the road to work. She doesn't speak English well anyway. And she gave me her flower, a white kind. Spring is here, but it feels like summer...

I was gonna pop into Uncle after work to give her flower back, but the thing had wilted in my manbag. If I was feyer, I'd look for a fresh one to adorn her fake ginger hair.

the white flash

I went for omurice in a Korean fast food place. It was the first time I'd ordered that dish there, not being a regular customer because of the bare naked windows on all sides of the shop, meaning people can see me inside, like kids from school who then come in and demand 1,000 when I just want to eat in peace, hehe.

Last night it happened again, hearing a knock on the window, seeing two people I know from my neighbourhood, luckily adult, one a Korean guy and another a middle-aged foreign teacher. I was tucking into my omurice, which was unfortunately laden with ketchup, something I'd never seen done to these omlette rolls before. Yucky.

They sit and we have a great conversation, and the teacher mentions she's leaving Korea after 5 years (!), finding it too lonely. She is an intriguing woman who's lived around the world, who always seems to have a dreamy pull behind her stoic young face, the fragile with the firm, plus an African accent accustomed to ruddy British slang. I ask her to explain.

'It's really tough for foreign women here, it's just so transitory. All the guys just want Asian girlfriends... This country seems to change men.'

And listening to how she'd been misused over the years, I found I couldn't meet her eyes, just looking down at my plate with guilt, seeing a glint of

The White Flash.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


I always worry about the speedy delivery boys on their scooters, chunky boxes attached to the back. One nearly ran me over...last month, I think.

Today I was on the 33 bus, standing trying to keep balance. At one stop gasps rung out - a passenger was getting off when a kid hit him between the bus and the pavement.

I was worried about the elderly passenger on the floor but it was actually the kid who was in more pain. He lolled with a helmet on (thank god), scooter on its side as the older man got up and brushed his trousers off, earlier crumpled, horrible sight.

Eventually the young man got to his feet, no blood. Bus moved on.

Even the more older delivery guys drive too fast thinking about it, the ones in my sleepy district, buzzing around outside my apartment. This is typical of Korea's 'get it done NOW' attitude, which extends to the buses going through red lights, dominating all other vehicles with the drivers shouting out the window.

That same night on a different 33 I saw the bald driver with glasses who always recognises me after we first met 2 months ago in the same area, who always states the place name where I live to me as I scan my card. I always nod back laughing, saying thank you in Korean.

I have been here 3 months.

moon class

Each elementary class has a spacey minimalist name on the door - Sky, Moon, Star. The Moon class is cursed, it seems.

The Wednesday of one week, a commotion charges up. I leave my Star room and smell the problem out - the little white fashionista pooch one girl brought in left a DONG!! on the Moon floor. I retreat wondering why no-one else expected this to happen.

And the Thursday, the very next day, more drama.

I'm teaching in Sky, when the 40 something teacher comes in, begging me to use the fire extinguisher she's clutching. Oh shit - I grab it and run, she can't open it, I step into Moon and see my doom >

Smoke is frantically choking the place up. It's billowing from the lamp-like electric heater at the back of the room. 40 something had turned it on and now it had struck. All the kids she was teaching were shooed away, and the other teachers are standing outside the room waiting for me, the sole male in the establishment, cock of the roost, to put out this disaster.

Shit, I can't open the extinguisher up either.


the heater's now up in flames, a big ball of carnage. The smoke is blinding, I'm yelling for someone to call the brigade instead of just waiting for me to fuck up and the school to burn down.

The boss runs in, short snappy thing who only never shouts at me, the white guy. She's followed by a father who was downstairs filling out an application to send his kids here. The saint knows how to open an extinguisher, already armed with one, a real hero on his way! Day saved.

The funny thing is, the blaze was very indirectly my fault.