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Posts tagged ‘Korean interpretation of…’

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

HCB’s Guest Post: Squid Jerky and Two Months in Korea

Our second month living in Korea flew by so quickly we barely registered our two-month anniversary last Monday. Instead of marking the occasion with something special, we just lived our lives, which is probably accomplishment enough: DME went to his Korean class; I graded papers and attended an electrifying department meeting. These days, the actual activities of making a life are absorbing more of our energy and attention than arbitrary dates and anniversaries. We’re not counting days and weeks here, and that’s a huge step. Well…I am marking our 60 days in a special way, with this little guest post. 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

Outdoor Climbing Classes in Korea: It’s a good thing.

In keeping with the wild mood swings you’ve come to expect here at Abrupt Departure, I’m having a phenomenal day. No, I haven’t finally gone crazy, and this isn’t a manic episode. I went climbing yesterday and it was, to date, hands down, the best day I’ve had in Seoul. Read more