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Thursday, 31 December 2015

3 Animated Holiday Advertisements (Short)

Watch these 3 ads:

Monday, 28 December 2015

Parking in Gunpo

Perhaps this driver ran out of gas, had a mechanical break-down, or decided to take a stroll, but parking in the middle of the street in a cross-walk zone should come with a hefty fine.

Alas, pictures like this are all too common.

Saturday, 19 December 2015


I try to stay out of politics on this blog, but sometimes things need to be said:

Trump is a divisive, sexist, xenophobic 'person' who does not deserve to even be in the qualifying race for President of the United States.

But that is just my opinion.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Class Shopping

Last week I took 6 students from a young class (3rd grade) outside the academy to buy some snacks/candy.

It was a surprise.

First I told them that every student needed ten coins from my coin cup.

(We have played money games before, so they thought they knew what was coming.)

Then I went went out of the classroom, returned with my jacket, and said, "Let's go!"

The students looked at me as if I were demented.  "Go where?"

"Go shopping!" I replied.  "Your book says 'go shopping', so let's go."

They continued to stare a me.

Now, to be fair, we have never, ever ventured outside of the academy before, and I knew that I was going to be vastly entertained by their reactions to my plan.

"Grab your jackets and line up!" I told them.

"Really?" (Repeated 5+ times.)

"Teacher, really?"

"Yes," I said, laughing. I started walking toward the elevators.

I think it wasn't until we got into the elevator that they actually believed me, that we were going outside.

However, I told them, "This is still English class, so you need to speak English outside, ok?"

One girl looked at me and asked, "Even to Korean people?"

"Yes!" I replied, chuckling.

So we went to the candy store and had a great time, and, of course, when we got back, one of the students asked, "Teacher, can we go next time too?"

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Sanbon Department Store + New Pics

It appears that Sanbon (Gunpo-si) will be getting its first department store (Lotte) sometime next year.

Work on the site has been progressing for a year and a half, about 8 months of which was spent digging (and blowing up rocks) for 3 basement levels (probably parking).

(The site is across from the train tracks, on the western side of Sanbon station; as the train leaves Sanbon station, headed toward Surisan, you can look out the right side windows and see it (for a second or two)).

This week the workers started attaching siding to the top floor (presumably a cinema).

Here are a few pics, from two different sides:

New pics:

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Doctor

I went to the doctor yesterday.

I have been sick for about a week--sneezing, a runny nose, a bit of sinus stuffiness, etc.

Usually, especially when the seasons change, I get a mix of allergies that inevitably lead to a sinus infection.

That time seemed to have come, especially since I had an additional sore throat Sunday night.

So I went to see the doctor.

The ear, nose, and throat guy (E.N.T.).

His office is in my building, as is a pharmacy, and, since with South Korea's good health care I don't have to pay more than $5 for a visit to the doctor or $5 for medicine, it is a good opportunity to heal.

However, and I think that I have written about this before, there is the issue of the nasal camera.

This doctor has a slender metal stick, atop which is a camera.

While you sit in the (fortunately high-topped) chair, he brings out this little wand and says, "Don't move or you might have some discomfort."

Based on past experience I freeze.

I tense my body ad my head.

He says, "Relax," but I can't, because I know that one little movement will hurt.

The metal stick-camera is about 3 inches in length, and it always surprises me how far he can move it up my nasal cavity.

There is a video camera next to my head and I can see into my nose and view my mucus membranes--it isn't a pretty picture, especially when you are sick.

The doctor prescribes 3 days worth of antibiotics, which sets off another round of foreboding, as I know the camera will be used again.

"Come back again in 3 days," he says.

I am thinking about appealing to him on my next visit:

"Doctor, I am still sick. I know it.  Please give me 4 more days of medicine and no camera this time.  OK?" 

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Today I went to a restaurant/lunch place that I hadn't been to before.

I knew that they served pork cutlets, but, fortunately, they also served fish cutlets, as that is what I was in the mood for:

The food was good, but I didn't eat the white bread toast.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


Our English academy is shifting into minibook mode, one of the two large projects that we do every year (the other is presentations in the summer).

For the last two days all of my classes have been writing, creating cover and contents pages, coloring, etc.

I have been especially happy with the younger kids as they have shown a lot of enthusiasm and have spoken English in classes while completing their work.

We have more classes this semester doing writing books, so they have already written (and, in many classes, typed) texts that can be incorporated into the minibooks.

I hope to add more about this later, hopefully with some pictures.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

A Surprise Class Trip

On Friday evening, in one of my favorite classes, the six girls (5th grade; usually there are seven, but one went on a trip to Jeju) were their characteristic chatty and happy selves.

However, two of them asked me for food and said they were so hungry.

A plan formed in my mind:

1. I had hungry students (aren't they always?)

2. We did not have a lot of book work to do (very unusual)

3. I had a cup of coins that had been stacking up for a year

So I went and got the coin cup, took it to class, and started counting out piles of 1,000 won/$1.

One girl asked another, "What's this?"

Another other girl responded, "It's a game!"

I didn't say anything, just checked their notebooks as they finished the evening's writing assignment.

Then I stood up from my desk and said, "Yes, it is a game.  The game is to go to the mart (convenience store) and buy a snack.  Each student gets one pile of coins."

A student said, "Really?"

"Yes," I said, "Get your coins, grab your jacket, and let's go!"


For context, we very rarely do things like this at my academy, and I had never taken these girls outside before, as we are too busy studying English and doing book work.  Two of the girls I have taught for 1 and 1/2 years and have never taken them out before.  However, they are great kids--they always do their homework, never complain about the workload, are are always bright and cheerful--so I like to reward them sometimes.  (When they do start singing K-pop songs, however, I tell them that they have to sing in English.)

As I walked toward the elevator they still didn't believe me.

"Teacher, are we going to the mart?  Is it true?"

They were excited, and they made me feel happy that I had decided to act on a whim.

So we went to the convenience store (less than a block away), where the Korean clerk watched with interest as I told my six Korean girls in English to quickly choose a snack.

They paid up with their coins, and then we returned to class to finish a worksheet that I had prepared for them.

All the while they kept saying, "Teacher, really, really thank you!" which was useful in prompting me to remind them to say "Thank you very much!"

A few of them were so happy that they said they would write about the experience in their diaries (that they write for weekend homework).

 I'm looking forward to reading the diaries on Monday.

Maybe I should do this more often--?

Pastry Pizza

Friday's lunch:

Very good!

(But definitely not healthy.)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Short Films

The first short film is a horror/comedy about snails.  Some of my students didn't like it; they used the words "dirty" and "disgusting".  However, I think it is quite well done (5 Min.):

Film 2 (3 min.):

Sunday, 1 November 2015


On Thursday and Friday we had a Halloween party for our students.  There were four theme rooms, including "Pin the heart/pumpkin on the skeleton":

The kids really enjoyed it, but they were so loud (they practiced "left, right, up, down") that I had to start telling them "No crazy yelling" because my ears were physically hurting.

The students also did a skeleton treasure hunt, face painting, and dead witch's body (feeling the icky stuff).

For the first time we rented a popcorn machine

which was a big hit, except that there was a lot of spillage to clean up, and, soon after starting it up on Thursday, it smoked and caused the building's fire alarm to go off.

However,  all's well that end's well, and this Halloween was a good one!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

K-Pop Dance Practice

I posted before that there is one place (at least) where I live that teens go to practice their K-pop dance moves, in part because there is a long and tall mirror:


Here's something you don't see very often: workers laying down cobblestones.

Some kind of underground pipes were replaced in this street:

Friday, 16 October 2015

Class Story

Today one of my 2nd-3rd grade students was looking ahead in our coursebook, and she found a page with vocabulary for places, such as "clinic", "office", etc.

She asked, "Teacher, what is 'factory'?"

I replied, "Check the computer dictionary".

(We have a computer in class and use a Korean-English/English-Korean translator often:

While she was doing that, another student said, "Teacher, if I don't study my mother says, 'You go to factory'."

I had a hard time not laughing.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Shabu-Shabu Lunch

This restaurant in Pyeongchon is good, but we ate too much:

(partly due to the help-yourself side dish area)

Still, it was nice to find an enjoyable place open on Chuseok (Korea's Thanksgiving Day).


The museum is in Seoul:

Actually, the museum building occupies only a relatively small part of the grounds.  There is a very large courtyard where you can, for instance, see a changing of the guards ceremony; also, there are lots of places to walk around, but not very much to see aside from the outsides of buildings.  

The museum was a bit disappointing (boring), though the exhibits were nicely presented.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Student Diary

From the 4th grade until middle school my students write in their diary once a week.  I find diaries to be an educational and entertaining source of information about Korean life.

Normally students write about what they do on weekends, such as going to a birthday party or visiting grandparents or having a boring period at home.

Last week one of my students wrote about her school taking pictures for the yearbook.

She said (wrote) that in one picture she looked very ugly. (She isn't.)

In another picture, she said, she looked like she was "chewing shit".

I was startled to read that, though I found the language use funny.  I asked a Korean co-teacher about it, and the teacher said that it was a direct translation.

Later, I told the student (a 6th grade girl) that it was ok to write such things in her diary, but that "shit" in English was a bad word and should not be used in public.


This boribap (barley rice) restaurant is cheap ($7 a person), tasty, and healthy.  It also has a nice informal atmosphere:

It is essentially a make-your-own bibimbap type of place; you mix some of the fresh, prepared vegetables (on the platter in the middle of the table) in with the rice, add some sesame oil and hot pepper paste, stir it up, and eat.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Book Festival

Last weekend, Sanbon had a book festival--many tents with books, things to do for kids, a sound stage, etc.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Short Film

A well-made, 8-minute short film:

Teens & K-pop

This is the place in the Sanbon Culture and Arts Center where teens go to practice their K-pop dancing.

Personally, I'm not into the whole K-pop thing, but I find it kind of cute when I see these teens getting together to dance.  (Plus, it's a whole lot better than other things they could be doing.)


I had lunch with a friend at the "Boiled Broccoli" restaurant that I posted about last month--I like eating there:

Saturday, 29 August 2015


A slow-moving yet emotional short film (11 min.):

(pay attention at the end)

Trunk Monkey Video

Do you remember the "trunk monkey" car ads?

Watch here:

Friday, 28 August 2015

Another Student Shirt

Saturday, 22 August 2015

North Korea's Attacks in the News

English language articles from South Korean newspapers:

Student T-shirt

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Student Presentations

My academy rented space at a public building so that our students could do presentations in a professional setting.

Over the course of two days, students took turns to go onto the stage and--microphone in hand--deliver their presentations.

All went well . . .

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sanbon Restaurant

There is a restaurant in Sanbon, on the ground floor of the Gunpo Culture & Arts Center, which is quite nice: "Boiled Broccoli".  It has individual shabu-shabu burners (electric) plus a buffet (on the small side but plenty enough and with good variety).

Sunday, 9 August 2015


Part of the homework for several of my classes was to write two jokes in their notebooks,  Here are a few of the jokes:

Q: Why is 6 afraid of 7?

A: Because 7 ate 9.

Q: What begins with "t", ends with "t", and is full of t?

A: A teapot

Q: What is different between a dead skunk in the road and a dead lawyer in the road?

A: The dead skunk has skid marks before it.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Naksansa: Part 2

More pics: