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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Korean Breakfast

Last Sunday, while staying at a friend's home in a Gangwondo village (northeastern Korea), I had a very nice breakfast:

We had rice, kimchi stew, vegetables, kimchi, lightly fried tofu, and dried seaweed for wrapping the rice. A bit salty, but a nice variety.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Korean Dinner

Last Saturday night I ate dinner at my friend's house in Gangwondo, and this is what it looked like:

Rice, vegetables, seaweed soup (with some beef), flounder, a semi-spicy pork+vegetables dish, and lettuce/sesame leaves for wrapping food.

Very good!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A Small Buddhist Temple

In the countryside near Gangneung (in Gangwondo), there is a small Buddhist temple.

To get there, you have to go to a small farming village (no stores, restaurants, or anything) and start walking up the narrow mountain road

Past some farmhouses and small fields

Some family burial plots

Until you reach the top of the road and the seemingly vacant temple

It looks out on a peaceful mountain view

And on the walk back down to the village you might enjoy the beginning of a pleasant sunset

Monday, 28 March 2016

Korean Porridge Restaurant

At this restaurant you can order many different kinds of rice porridge, such as seafood (right side of picture), tuna, mushroom, etc.  The bowls, and thus the servings, are very large.

If you are not up for porridge, you can also order bibimbap (left side of picture).

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sokcho Seafood Restaurant

In Sokcho, directly across the street from the ocean (in a quiet area, next to a scuba business/coffee shop), is this seafood restaurant (owned by a friend of a friend):

It has a relaxed look and feel.

The food is excellent!

Here's what we ate on Saturday afternoon:

The menu is large:

Also, the views are fantastic:

If you ever get the chance, go there and have a delicious, relaxing meal.

Buddhist Temple: Naksansa

This weekend I met at a Buddhist temple with the Korean wife of my friend Ken who died a year ago.

The temple is a large, famous one near Yang Yang city on the east coast (near Sokcho; I have posted pics before).

Last year, the monks there did a special ceremony for him, so his wife/widow wanted to return (along with some of her Korean friends).

Here are some of the pics that I took this weekend, when the weather was great (cool and sunny) and the ocean views were both wonderful and peaceful:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Short Film

An interesting short documentary, set in Sweden, about helping Syrian refugees (9 min./family friendly):

North Korea Article

What's North Korea up to?

Not many answers:

Sunday, 20 March 2016

About Trump

Read this article:

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Cruz: New Political Worries

Read this article about Cruz's "Security Adviser":

Friday, 18 March 2016

Another Short Film

A 15 minute dark comedy about teen love, a psycho uncle, and pop music.  Contains some bad language and a fair bit of blood, but is well-scripted and filmed and features a young actress who we'll surely see again in the future (not family friendly):

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Short Film

This  is a well-made 17 minute short documentary about how life in one remote Alaskan community revolves around basketball (family friendly):

About North Korea and Stupid Americans

If you are an American, you should not go to North Korea.


Because Kim Jong-un wants to arrest you, force you to repent on tv, throw you in jail, and sentence you to 15 years hard labor.

All in an effort to use you as a bargaining chip.

Knowing this, if you go to North Korea you are stupid.

For religious reasons.

For self-serving reasons.

For personal reasons.

If you go to North Korea you are stupid.

No American tax-payer dollars should be spent helping out Americans who go to North Korea and get arrested.  No political dealings should be made.  No envoys should be sent.

A buddy of mine one joked that motorcycle riders in the U.S. who do not wear a helmet, and motorists who do not wear seat belts, are only serving to increase the IQ of the country.

The same reasoning applies to those foolish enough to visit North Korea.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Letter to Trump

If you haven't read Brandon Stanton's letter to Donald Trump, read it now:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Reading Circles

One activity that my English academy started about 2 years ago is "reading circles".

Students (6th grade to middle school) read a book and then talk about it in class.  The reading is done as homework, usually about 5 pages at a time, and then students form a circle of chairs or desks in the classroom and discuss what they read.

To facilitate the process, each student has one of six designated jobs:

  *Discussion Leader
  *Word Master
  *Passage Person
  *Culture Collector

The teacher is not part of the circle and only participates to offer guidance or clarification.

One of my middle school classes is reading Matilda (Roald Dahl).  Other classes, depending on their skill level, have read Animal Farm, 1984, The Giver, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, HolesWhen You Reach Me, and part of the Narnia series.

With Matilda, I am learning the book circle process for the first time.  The students were trained by another teacher last semester, so they know the process.

I was a bit stressed about the first class, yet I found that the students (9, so some jobs are doubled) enjoy their independence and collaboration.  It is rewarding to sit back and watch them take over the learning process in the classroom.

Of course, there are some difficulties.  Some students may not be prepared for their roles (which becomes glaringly evident, yet helps to encourage them to be prepared, lest they feel shamed in front of their peers).

The language they use to discuss novels may also be low, so they need training in how to respond to questions or how to form answers (however, what better forum, practically speaking, for doing so?).

In class on Friday there was an issue with students resorting to speaking Korean, so I will have to address that on Monday (my predecessor used a bell).

This same class will also take some breaks from reading to write (and type) some essays connected to the book.

For more information about the book circle program, start here:

(click through the slideshow)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Tedx Talk Video

An interesting article and video about "conservation dogs":

Short Bumblebee Video

Nice slow-motion video:

Short Film

A cute short animation with a lesson (kid-friendly):

Thursday, 10 March 2016

More about Trump's Lies

Read this article from National Public Radio (NPR):

Sunday, 6 March 2016


I am glad that Trump lost the most recent voting.

He is, as has been reported in the news, not fit to be President of America.

He is a bully.

He is a liar.

He has openly advocated the use of torture, then, when facing public opinion, done an about-face.

He is racist.

Why do people vote for him?

If they are the least bit religious, that is like buying a ticket to hell.

That's my opinion,  None of the other Presidential candidates appeal to me, but anyone of them is better than Mr. Boastful.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Short Film

A 13 min. short musical, very upbeat (with a star appearance):

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

New Semester

Tomorrow, March 2nd, is the first day of the new public school year in South Korea.  The same is true in some other countries, and not just in Asia.

Our private English academy follows the public school schedule, so we will also be starting new classes, welcoming new students, opening new books . . .

I'm reminding myself that this is the first time that some of our young Korean students will encounter a foreign teacher, so I will try to be patient, cheerful, and encouraging. I want them to go home on the first day with a smile on their faces and with a desire to learn English.

At the same time, many of my students from last year are returning, so I am looking forward to guiding them into more challenging English texts, paragraphs, essays, etc.

I hope that all of you who are teachers encountering a new school year are as excited as I am!

Great Food Store Ideas

Read this news article: