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Posts tagged ‘Korea is funny’

A Scrub at the Jjimjilbang, Or: How I Got to Third Base With an Ajeoshi

Personal space is of course culturally determined, but it isn’t until a masseur crosses the “bathing suit line” that the truth of that statement really hits home.

Say what you will about regulating a cottage industry like massage therapy, but in this case, regulation has definite benefits: by standardizing the certification process, the customer has something to lean on as he is stripping down to underwear or less. I’m naked with a stranger, but this is a professional environment. Nothing weird is going to happen. Massage therapists employ a long list of comfort-bolstering rituals—all geared at preventing that molesty vibe—but the sine quibus non of the professional massage are as follows: anything not currently being massaged stays happily hidden beneath a drape or towel; going much below the waist requires permission; and genitalia, inner thighs and butt cracks are all OFF LIMITS. Read more

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Sorry, Mister, I’m Not Santa Claus.

Today at about 4PM, I had a little run-in with the native fauna of Itaewon. Standing on the subway platform, I was engaged in a rather spirited discussion with an Asian lady-friend of mine about white dudes with samurai swords and their wanting to show said swords to Asian ladies (verdict: creepy and thinly-veiled). Apparently, I and my loud American voice were attention grabbing because a festive gentleman approached us and joined our conversation. And by joined, I mean totally interrupted. Read more

Mr. Pizza: A Menu Planned by a Five-Year-Old, Executed by a Multinational

Last week, HCB and I had the great pleasure(?) of experiencing the Korean culinary phenomenon that is Mr. Pizza. A friend of ours (Ms. Temple!) suggested a visit to Mr. Pizza for the ongoing Korean scavenger hunt that is our lives. I was actually already well aware of Mr. Pizza because during the live StarCraft Tournament, a commercial for the popular Korean chain restaurant played repeatedly during the breaks between matches. The product being offered: Lobster Pizza. Read more

Scavenger Hunt Task 6A: Non-Korean food in Korea

Back in California, I eat two types of food on a weekly (daily?) basis: Chinese food and Mexican food. Considering the geographic and historical context in which I now live, I invite you, Dear Reader, to wager a guess as to which of these dietary pillars is harder to come by in Korea. Need a hint? There are no tortilla chips in the supermarket.

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Scavenger Hunt Task 3A: 2012 Global StarCraft League Semifinals!

I hope you’re all sitting down because I have something really shocking to report: living in Korea is EXHAUSTING. I know! Who could have guessed?!? As a result of this general fatigue that is the by-product of doing anything in this country, I’ve fallen behind on my reportage. But I have a new strategy that I am borrowing from HCB and his years of dissertation work: write outside of the home, far from bed and books and easy internet and dishes that need washing and the other thousand things that can distract from storytelling. Read more