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CONTENTS

On the Cover:

KT Sonic Boom Girls Photography:

Ben Weller

On -Site Assistance :

Mi-son Yang

FEATURES

On the Cheap: Crashing in Seoul | 14 Double Your Pleasure | 18 5 Questions: Dave Sperling | 22 Holiday Cheer | 26

REGULARS

Events | 09 Short Stuff | 10 Earthly Possessions: Winter Wish List | 12 On the Beaten Path: Skiing Korea | 16 Fully Booked | 20 Tharp On: Leaving | 46

SPORT

Bright Side of the Moon | 38 Schedules | 39

PROFILE

Tesol-ution| 21 Bella Beautiful | 34 Up on the Hill | 36

TRAVEL

In to India | 32 Green Travel: The Move to Biofuels | 33

GUIDES Restaurant Guide | 40 Bar Guide | 43 Area Maps | 44 Busan Metro Map | 48 06 | HAPS_winter 2011

recently got to wondering why winter is the season of “cheer.” A little research into mythological history reveals that a fair number of God’s birthdays have been celebrated on the 25th of December. The Greek’s Dionysus, Egypt’s Osiris, the Pagan’s Attis, Persia’s Mithra and of course, the Christian’s Jesus, all share the same birth date on the calendar. Can you imagine what a bonding moment that must have been when they all happened to be at the same frat party? Then, it dawned on me: It’s the dead of winter, literally, so why not warm up the spirits of the masses with a celebration of birth? There are no calls for summer cheer, spring cheer or fall cheer, those three seasons are cheerful all on their own, but the winter, when most things are dying or looking that way, needs a little help boosting itself up into higher esteem. So with that in mind, as the long Korean winter settles in, I wish you an abundance of cheer in the frigid months ahead. If that is not enough to warm you up, try a good coat. Happy 2012!


Publisher | Ju Shin-hye Editor in Chief | Bobby McGill Marketing Director | Michael Schneider Art Director | Russell McConnell Managing Editor | Jeff Liebsch Webmaster | Danny Himes Manager | Jeong Jin-bong

Writers:

Translation:

Chris Tharp Jen Sotham Nicole Brewer Chris Backe Stephane Turcotte Anthony Velasquez Jeff Liebsch Bobby McGill

Hye-Jeong Bae Heo-yeon Kim Ju-Hee Jung

Illustrators:

Interns:

Kelsey L. Smith Sarah Elminshawi

Ju-young Moon Melinda Rubianto

Photographers:

Mike Dixon Ben Weller Matthew Golem BMC

SUBMISSIONS busanhaps@gmail.com

ADVERTISING mikey.busanhaps@gmail.com j.busanhaps@gmail.com (한국어) Follow us @busanhaps Busan Haps Magazine

Busan Haps Winter 2011/12 Issue 16 Business Registration Number: 00001 First Publication Date: Sept, 2, 2009 Address: Ocean Tower #1726, 760-3, Woo 1 Dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea 612-822

www.busanhaps.com Disclaimer: The opinions in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Questions or comments: busanhaps@gmail.com ©2011 Busan Haps Magazine


CONTRIBUTORS www.busanhaps.com

HRegulars

1. CHRIS BACKE Chris Backe travels the country in search of good times and fun folks, while covering unusual events, and everything in between. Long walks on the beach? Only if you’re a cute girl. Chris also pens one of Korea’s most popular blogs, “Chris in South Korea.” www.chrisinsouthkorea.com

3.

2. ANTHONY VELASQUEZ Anthony claims Steve Perry, the lead singer of the band Journey, is the second most famous person ever to come out of Hanford, California. Who’s the first? This guy. “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

3. JEN SOTHAM

1. 4.

Jen Sotham hails from New Yawk. She has been living in Busan since 2006 and writing for the Haps since the get go. She really, really likes food. The first phrase she learned in Korean was 배고파.

4. CHRIS THARP Chris hails from Washington State and has lived in Busan for over six years. When not when banging on a guitar or screaming into a microphone, he likes to write. If you buy him a drink he’ll tell you all about the times he met Kurt Cobain, but you probably already know the story.

5. NICOLE BREWER

2.

08 | HAPS_winter 2011

5.

Nicole hails from Detroit, but has been in Busan for three years. She’ll return to the States once rapper Common proposes marriage, or she tires of traveling the world; whichever come first.


EVENTS

www.busanhaps.com/calendar

HRegulars

YOON JEONG-MEE PHOTO EXHIBITION A resident of both New York and Seoul, photographer Yoon Jeongmee, is most well-known for her Pink and Blue series. Photographs are drenched in either pink or blue by way of a myriad of typical household items. Her display is up at the Go Eun Museum of Photography in Haeundae through mid-December. Visit them on the web at: eng.goeunmuseum.org

GLOBAL CENTER ON-SITE SERVICE

From 3-7 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month, Busan Global Center offers free counselling and services on a wide range of expat concerns: from labor issues, banking, to just about anything you might need help with. Representatives speak English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Indonesian and Japanese. Visit their website at: www.bfia.or.kr, or stop by their shiny new offices across the street from City Hall. 051-668-7900

10 DAY SILENT MEDITATION RETREAT IN GYEONGJU The recently opened Vipassana Meditation Center, just outside the historic city of Gyeongju, will begin running ten day silent meditation courses on a monthly basis, starting with two this month on December 20th, and then again on December 31st. The courses are taught in both English and Korean. You can get more info at: www.kr.dhamma.org

2011 winter_ HAPS | 09


HRegulars

SHORT STUFF A little bit about a little bit BUSAN CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL BEGINS The 3rd Annual Christmas Tree Festival on Gwangbokro in Nampo-dong is once again underway this holiday season. Beginning December 1st, it runs until January 9th. The highlight of the festival is the Christmas Tree Festival belt, a 450-meter-long decorated road, along with traditional Christmas songs under this year’s slogan of “Shine a Light for Peace”. Other events to look for include the Songdo Beach Christmas Tree Festival, and the Kosin University Christmas Tree Festival. For more information, you can check out www.bctf.kr but the website is currently only in Korean.

부산 크리스마스 트리 축제 시작된다. 남포동의 광복로에서 제 3회 크리스마스 트리 축제가 이 번 휴일 시즌에 다시 열린다. 행사는 12월 1일부터 시작 해 1월 9일까지 진행된다. 축제의 하이라이트는 450미 터 거리를 장식하는 크리스마스 트리 축제 벨트이고 ‘ 평화를 위한 빛을 밝혀라’는 슬로건 아래 전통 크리스 마스 노래가 울려 퍼진다. 눈여겨 볼 다른 행사로는 송도 바다의 크리스마스 트리 축제와 고신대학교의 크리스마 스 트리 축제가 있다. 더 자세한 정보는 www.bctf.kr에서 확인할 수 있고 웹 사이트는 현재 한국어만 서비스된다.

SOLAR NEW YEAR There’s plenty to do around the city this New Year’s - from the traditional to the local bar and club scene, or a quiet sunrise on the beach. Around one million visitors and locals hit the end-of-year festivities, which turn into the city’s largest winter gathering. The Dadaepo Sunrise Festival, the Haeundae Beach Sunrise Festival and the traditional “Bell of Hope”, “Bell of Love” and “Bell of Peace” ringing 11 times each at Yongdusan Park bring in the new year with a slew of concerts and activities for the family. Check out the Busan Haps event page at busanhaps.com/events as the holidays approach for all your New Year’s party planning fun.

부산의 새해맞이 바나 클럽 지역 혹은 해변에서 조용한 해맞이를 갖는 등 도시의 새해 맞이 행사가 다채롭게 준비돼 있다. 백 만 명 가량의 관광객과 시민들이 이제 는 겨울 최대의 행사로 자리잡은 도시 축제에 참가한다. 다대포와 해운대 의 해맞이 행사를 비롯해 용두산공원에서 ‘희망의 종’, ‘사랑의 종’, ‘평화의 종’을 11번씩 울리는 타종 행사와 함께 가족들을 위한 다양 한 콘서트와 프로그램이 마련된다. 즐거운 새해 파티를 계획한다면 부산 햅스의 이벤트 페이지 www.busanhaps.com/events에 접속하면 된다. 10 | HAPS_winter 2011


HRegulars LUNAR NEW YEAR: THREE DAY HOLIDAY IN JANUARY Lunar New Year, or Seollal (설날), as it is commonly known in Korea, falls on a Monday this year, making the three day holiday run from a Sunday through Tuesday. Seollal falls on the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice, and is the most important of the Korean holidays after Chuseok. Koreans traditionally perform charye, the traditional ancestral rites, while children perform sabae, where they bow to their elders and receive money. Rice cakes are the food of choice during the holiday, and traffic is at its worst, so be prepared for some long commutes if you plan on hitting the roads. Many Koreans like to visit east coast locations such as Gangneung and Donghae in Gangwon province to also catch the first glimpse of the sun as it rises for the first time in the New Year. - January 22-24, 2012

설날: 1월에 3일간의 연휴 한국에 널리 알려진 음력 새해 혹은 설날이 올해는 월요일 이고, 연휴는 일요일부터 화요일까지 3일간 이어진다. 설 날은 동지 다음 초승달이 새로 두 번째 뜨는 날이며, 추석 다음으로 중요한 한국의 명절이다. 한국인들은 대대로 이 날 전통적인 조상 의식인 차례를 지내는 데, 아이들은 어른 에게 절을 하는 세배를 올리고 용돈을 받는다. 설 연휴에는 떡국을 즐겨 먹고, 교통이 최악이므로 도로를 탈 계획이라 면 긴 체증에 대비해야 한다. 새해에 떠오르는 첫 일출을 보 기 위해 많은 한국인들이 강원도의 강릉이나 동해 같은 동 해안 지역을 즐겨 찾는다.

2011 winter_ HAPS | 11


HEarthly Possessions

WINTER WISH LIST By Bobby McGill

Think Big. Spend Big. File Bankruptcy. VOGA WINES

CHAUMET TIMEPIECE You were going to attend that kimchi making exhibition... really, but that old watch of yours once again let you down. You need to upgrade, man. Do it right with a French made Chaumet. They got their start as a favorite of Napoleon, so they likely know what they are doing by now. They start at about $6,000 on the low-end, but isn’t learning how to make kimchi worth it? Check their site for stores around Korea. www.chaumet.com

While vanity hungers attention, what is it to do with its thirst? VOGA. Leave it to the design merchants in Italy to transform the wine bottle into a whole new form. It resembles a perfume bottle, but thankfully differs greatly on the taste and is the cheapest wish on the list. They’ve got you covered from Pinots to Merlots. Around $25. www.vogaitalia.com

BOSE SPEAKERS It’s winter. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some nice warm, soothing sounds while relaxing at home? Break out that bottle of VOGA wine, plug in the iPod Mini and let the Bose speakers do the rest. Before long, the Beach Boys become prophets and their good vibrations etch away at any remembrance of the cold outside that Johnny Mercer sang of again and again...and again, to get his girl to stay the night. www.bose.co.kr

CRYSTAL COVERS You’ll be wrapping yourself up this winter to keep warm, so you might as well wrap up your devices to keep cool. Crystal Rocked brings the bling-bling to everything from your iPad to your iPhone, and your headphones to your microphone. You can get a 24-carat gold plated case, or a crystal-studded version offering all manner of means to bring attention to your high-priced, high-tech devices. www.crystalrocked.com 12 | HAPS_winter 2011


HEarthly Possessions

AUDI A8 SPYDER Sure, you love to call mom and dad back home and tell them what a great public transportation system Korea has. Why not allow mom and dad to enjoy a deeper sense of pride by telling them you bought a brand new A8 Spyder? Public transpo is great and the intent often noble, but most of the emissions here get blown west by the sea anyway. Live it up. Only $203,000 at www.audi-mania.co.kr

VERSACE VANITAS FRAGRANCE A good coat is not the only thing that can help you keep warm this winter. Next time you’re out at the noraebang or the night club, a little spritz of Vanitas could very well lead to some additional warmth on those cold, winter nights. It’ll run you over a $100, but unlike your coat, you can wear Vanitas throughout the year. Available at finer stores across Korea. www.versacehome.co.kr

COUPLE RINGS If you are going to buy all of the items on the Winter Wish List, you are going to be throwing around some serious cash. In turn, members of the opposite sex are going to be throwing a lot of attention your way. No better way to seal the possibility of a future long-term deal than with couple rings. It says to that special one, who loves you for the Audi, that you revel in their materialistic nature, and your soul shares their perspective on the fashion show that is life.

$40 MOISTURIZER As the winter winds turn your skin into the Mohave desert, why not get away from that cheap stuff you’ve been using? London’s Molton Brown, though not exactly the most soothing name, makes several soothing lotions for a nice departure from Vaseline Intensive Care. With natural oils and fragrances, Molton Brown has a hefty enough price tag to impress your friends who go snooping through your medicine cabinet as well. Sold in most department stores or online. kr.strawberrynet.com 2011 winter_ HAPS | 13


HFeature

ON THE CHEAP:

CRASHING AT THE JJIMJILBANGS IN SEOUL By Chris Backe

rashing - everybody eventually does it. Coming to Seoul to party is fun. Trying to find a place to crash afterwards is not. Presuming you haven't already arranged to stay at a friend's house or reserved a hotel, there are plenty of 24-hour jjimjilbangs to lay your head in Seoul. Five star hotels they are not, but at 7,000-15,000 won a night, they are a great option when visiting the Korean capital. The ample baths and showers feel great the next morning.

SEOUL STATION:

HONGDAE:

GETTING THERE: Within stumbling distance of Seoul Station. If you’re in a taxi, say 'Seo-bu yeok’ (서부역) to the taxi driver, and he'll take you around the back entrance of Seoul Station. If you’re in Seoul Station before the subways shut down, take exit 1 to street level and walk as though you’re transferring to the Gyeongui line. After walking down the stairs, turn right and walk along the sidewalk. After about 200 meters, begin looking for the classic sauna logo: three rays of steam above a bowl. Cross the road to your left and bear left, then look right.

The best option is within walking distance of Hongdae's club scene and the subway station - Happy Day Spa. Open 24/7 and with plenty of sleeping room, there's also a nice selection of food in the restaurant - open 24/7 as well. My main complaint here is the lack of darkness - unless you're in one of the sleeping rooms, the lights are never turned off. 371-10 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu 02-332-9000 GETTING THERE: Hongdae station (line 2, exit 9). Walk straight along the main road for about 400 meters along the way. You’ll pass a 24-hour FedEx/Kinko's along the way, in case the Jerry Maguire urge hits. Perhaps you and a paramour are looking for something a little more... er, private. Take a quick taxi ride from Hongdae to the Sinchon area. Within walking distance of Sinchon subway station (신촌역) are literally dozens of cheap hotels (average price 40,000-60,000 won for the night). From exit 4 of Sinchon station, take the first left and meander down the side streets.

ITAEWON:

Itaewonland! Don't bother with a hotel or a taxi, as both will take you for a ride. This jjimjilbang is within stumbling distance of Itaewon’s party zone, and great even if you’re new to the saunas. There are plenty of sleeping rooms, and each sleeping cave has two plugs - perfect for recharging your phone. 732-20 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu 02-749-5115 GETTING THERE: Itaewon station (line 6, exit 3). Walk straight. Look for the big set of stairs on the right and head up. 14 | HAPS_december/january 2011-12

Siloam Sauna - 'nuff said. Plenty of sleeping areas, plenty of baths, and plenty of massage chairs. Bonus: several saunas, oxygen rooms, and a play room for the kiddies. Several floors of stairs might get tiresome - especially if you’re drunk - but there’s an elevator to make things easier. 128-104 Jungnim-dong, Jung-gu 02-364-3945 www.silloamsauna.com

MYEONGDONG: Myeong-dong han-jeung-mak (명동한증막) - Yep, it's a jjimjilbang in Myeong-dong, and thankfully, it's very close to the subway station. 62-12 Chungmuro-2-ga, Jung-gu 02-752-7506 GETTING THERE: Myeongdong station, line 4, exit 9. Once at street level, look for the second building on the right. It’s in the same building as a Coffee Bean.

GANGNAM:

Two nice options in the area - one within walking distance and one that's a short taxi ride from the action: Hwang-geum On-cheon (황금 온천 - Gold Spa) features a chance to practice your golf swing, along with the usual jjimjilbang amenities. 1332-4 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu 02-581-4888 www.knwater.net


HFeature

GETTING THERE: Gangnam station, head out exit 5 or 7 and walk about 600 meters to the Woosung Apartment intersection (the first major intersection you'll run into). Take a right and walk another 350 meters to the entrance. Central Spa - If you prefer something a little closer to Seoul’s behemoth subway system, the Central Spa is inside the Express Bus Terminal. This is a little tricky to reach even when sober, since the XBT is such a huge place. Your reward is the best possible place to get an early start the next morning. Plenty of dark sleeping rooms, with a few plugs around if you go and look for them. 19-1 Banpo-4-dong, Seocho-gu 02-6268-3400 GETTING THERE: Express Bus Terminal station, line 3, 7, or 9. Ask the taxi driver to take you to the Honam line side (호 남선 - Ho-nam-seon). Once inside, follow the signs for exits 4, 5, and 6 (the subway and the stores will likely be closed, but the hallways are open). Go up one escalator, then turn right into a commercial area. Central Spa is on your right.

SEOCHO: For women only, I'm told that Spa Lei is a luxurious place to do anything, from getting a massage to crashing. Sagebrush, kelp, and rose hot tubs are just a few of the more exotic options, although plenty of standard options are available as well. Cresyn Building, 8-22 Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu 02-545-4113 www.spalei.co.kr GETTING THERE: Seocho station (line 3, exit 5), walk 150 meters and take a left. Look left down the alley.

NORTHEAST SEOUL: Wolgok Land- The focus here is more on the sweating rooms, but there's plenty of sleeping rooms. There's not much partying to do in this area, but it might be closer for you than some of the other options. Go up to the fifth floor for cavelike sleeping rooms (separated for men and women). An extra fee also gives you access to the fitness center, and there is also an “ice room” there as well. Put simply, there’s enough here to keep you busy an entire afternoon or evening. 27-5 Hawolgok-dong, Seongbuk-gu 02-919-2266 GETTING THERE: Wolgok station (line 6, exit 2). Walk about 50 meters before turning right down the first alley you see. Walk another 100 meters then bear left. Follow the parking lot on your right until you see an opening to the front entrance. If coming at night, you’ll easily spot the buildings neon sign from the alley.

SOUTHEAST SEOUL:

The Spa in Garden Five: Nice, new, but a bit out of the way. The place has plenty of standard amenities, and still gives off that 'new jjimjilbang' smell. Until the rest of the Garden Five complex takes off, there's not much else to see in the area. 294 Munjeong-dong, Songpa-gu 02-404-2700 www.spagarden5.co.kr GETTING THERE: Jangji station (line 8, exit 3). Make a U-turn out of the station, then turn left at the first light. Walk 300 meters, then look left for a large metal sculpture in front of the building’s entrance. Take the elevator to the 10th floor and follow the signs.

NORTHWEST SEOUL: The 24-hour Sambu Geongang Land (삼부건강랜드) is one of the best in the area, if your party has taken you this far northwest. 361 Sinsa-dong, Eupyeong-gu 02-302-7737 GETTING THERE: Eungam Station (line 6, exit 1), walk straight 300 meters and turn right. Go straight through the first intersection, then look left.

Chris Backe is one of Korea’s most popular expat bloggers. You can check his travel and life in Korea blog at www.chrisinsouthkorea.com

2011 june/july_BUSANHAPS 17 2011-12 december/january_ HAPS | 15


HGuide

SKIING KOREA

On the Beaten Path

n a country with 70% mountains and a long-ass winter, you can expect there to be some good spots to ski. For Busanites, there is but one hitch: get ready for a serious trek to reach them. The peak winter ski season runs from midDecember to mid-February. As with most seasonal attractions in the ROK, expect a lot of company on the slopes. Here are a few places worth a look.

MUJU RESORT Muju features the highest and longest slopes, as well as a Nordic Run going 48 km from Muju to Chonju. Kangsan Travel sells package trips from Busan including chair lift, transport and rentals at a reasonable price. www.mujuresort.com 063-322-9000 elev:1530m

BEARSTOWN While the chances of seeing a bear are as likely as seeing an ajjuma taking to the slopes in the buff, there is some decent skiing to be had here. There are also hot springs and some good local grub. Hotels near the resort if you don’t wanna pay resort prices. www.bearstown.com 031-540-5136

PHOENIX PARK Near Yongpyong, Phoenix Park is considered to be one of the more snowboard-friendly resorts. If you are looking to whip it around without tee-ing off the ski bunnies, this is your spot. www.phoenixpark.co.kr 1588-2828 elev:1050m

YANGJI PINE RESORT If you happen to be up in smog central for a few days, Pine Resort is close to Seoul and offers some fair to midland skiing for the average Joe or Josephine. But if you are going all the way from B-Town, pass. www.pineresort.com 031-338-2001

HIGH 1

EDEN VALLEY

Stop with the stoner jokes. This is the newest ski resort in Korea, and it has all the modern amenities including those absolute musts, such as a couple of casinos. Catch a train from Seoul’s Chongnyangni Station at 9:50 p.m. which arrives at 1:45 a.m. and ski the next day. www.high.co.kr 033-590-7811

Mount Sinbulsan and her seven runs is home to the only ski resort in our very own Gyeongsang Province. You can get there on a bus in a few hours. Two of the slopes are for beginners, three for intermediate skiers and two for advanced. www.english.yangsan.go.kr 055-379-8000

YONGPYONG Opened in 1976, Yongpyong is way up in Gangwondo province, so count on a long bus ride from Busan to get there, or jump from Seoul on over. It’s worth the trip since it has some great slopes and resort living. www.yongpyong.co.kr 033-335-5757 elev:1350 m 16 | HAPS_winter 2011

HYUNDAI SUNGWOO You can take a train to Wonju Station and then hop in a taxi for 20-30 minutes, or hitch a ride on the local shuttle bus that runs during the day to the resort. There are plenty of hotels nearby. Not one of the higher mountains, but the runs are good. www.hdsungwoo.co.kr, 033-340-3000


HMusic

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE Busan’s newest mega-club, Club Fix, opened its doors in early December, and right out of the gate they’re taking a shot at Elune for the title of best dance club in town. On January 6th and 7th, the Seomyeon club will hit Busan with a doubleheader of internationally acclaimed DJs taking helm of the dance floor. First up on Friday night, will be Italy’s Alessandro Alfonso Fortunato Gaudino, better known as DJ Alex Gaudino. He’s been strong on the international DJ circuit since the mid-nineties, most recently loading up the dance floors with Destination Calabria, a collaboration with Christal Waters. The wonderfully sleazy YouTube video has over 16 million views and rising. On Saturday night, Fix follows the ladies man with the stunning duo of lady DJs known simply as ‘Diamonds.’ The Ukrainian pair are famous all over the net for their highly provocative photos together, but they have garnered respect for driving a groove on the dance floor as well. We suspect there will be considerably more men in attendance for this show. You can get more (a lot more!) on them at www.djdiamonds.pdj.com Just in case you were thinking of popping into Club Fix sporting your ragged jeans and Havaianas, a dress code applies. So dress up to get down.

18 | HAPS_winter 2011

Image courtesy of Diamond Duo


HReview

Good winter reads

FULLYBOOKED By Stephane Turcotte

BROTHER ONE CELL BY CULLEN THOMAS “I thought I could do it all, that I’d never fail. Korea changed that.” Brother One Cell is the story of an expat. An expat like one of us that made the ultimate mistake of thinking he or she was invincible. As an English teacher working in Seoul, Cullen Thomas was convicted of drug smuggling and served 3 ½ years inside a Korean prison. Gazing upon the front cover, one imagines a cautionary tale of how not to live your life in Korea, i.e. do not smuggle drugs! However, what follows is neither an attack on his host country, nor a description of the horrors of Korean prison life. It is the story of his life and the incident that shaped everything that was to come. The story takes us back and forth through time as he describes in detail his early childhood growing up in America, his time in Korea, the day of his apprehension, and his years in prison. It is whimsically peppered with Korean proverbs and myths that add to its depth. We not only learn about the severity of Korean drug laws, but we also get his surprisingly non-bitter view of Korean culture. One where the language is important, and where we the visitors are ultimately responsible for our actions in our adopted country. Additionally, one where the prison food is quite good?!? Thomas’ endearing humanity comes across throughout, and particularly hits home as he lands at JFK airport and is hugged by his mom who promptly yells, “Don’t ever do that again!” - 347 pages

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON BY DANIEL KEYES “I just want to be smart like other pepul so I can have lots of frends who like me.” – Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon, IQ 84, works at a bakery and is recommended for a voluntary operation to increase his intelligence. What follows is a timeless story of isolation and humanity’s obsession with intelligence. Told as an epistolary novel through Charlie’s journals, we are transported via our loving, yet dim-witted central character through this radical treatment that has been initially tested only upon a mouse, Algernon. Charlie’s journal entries hauntingly provide the lens through which we see his external societal pressures, and more importantly, his internal struggles to understand himself. Though this novel is categorized as science fiction, the themes are timeless and straightforwardly relatable. It is a novel about morality as well as relationships; Charlie’s relationship with his estranged family, his girlfriend, and Algernon, the mouse who he exalts as his brother of circumstance. Charlie also faces the catch-22 of society’s intellect castes: in the beginning, he is too dull to be respected and is cast aside; after his transformation, ironically, he becomes too intelligent to tolerate those who before wouldn't tolerate him and thus remains perennially on the outside looking in. - 311 pages

Fully Booked is Busan’s used bookstore with coffee, wine, and beer to enjoy alongside board games and a growing collection of books available for purchase or trade. We also enjoy good tunes and provide a non-smoking environment. Come on by for a pint, a glass or a good read. Fully Booked is located in Kyungsungdae. Call 010.4469.9658 for detailed directions. 20 | HAPS_winter 2011


HHProfile Feature

TESOL-UTION n a job market saturated with teachers, anything you can do to make yourself more attractive to employers is a plus. Gone are the days when just setting foot on the peninsula could guarantee you employment. More and more teachers are getting their TESOL certifications to help beef up their resume, while at the same time improving their teaching skills in the classroom. Going abroad to get your TESOL can be an expensive prospect, so why not do it here? The locally owned and operated TESOL Alliance is the only certified TESOL program in Busan. TESOL Alliance was formed three-and-a-half years ago by CEO Fabio Suh, who has lived and worked on four continents around the world. Along with Vancouver native, Education Director James Lochhead, the two have teamed up to offer Korea’s only TESOL program specifically designed for foreigners, by foreigners. The 120-hour long course provides teachers with practical insight into the second language classroom, as well as English education’s theoretical underpinnings. They are also the exclusive operators of the Asian EFL Journal TESOL certificate in Korea – one of the most respected TESOL certificates in the world. The course, which is done through e-mail assignments as well as on-site class lectures, has over 1,500 graduates since it was started. Suh explained that most Internet certification programs fail to provide any real methodology and techniques which can be used in an actual classroom setting. Their program is designed with teachers in mind, but that’s not to say everyone will complete the course. “Actually, the failure rate is about 20%,” according to Suh. “Just signing up doesn’t guarantee a pass. We want our students to become better teachers in the classroom.” Suh said that having an internationally recognized certificate will help teachers seeking positions both here and abroad. For those teachers in the EPIK program, the financial benefits of completing the course are immediate usually about $100 a month. Lochhead, who was taught under Professor Rod Ellis, a leading theorist on second language acquisition,

designs activities that are easily adapted to any situation in the classroom. “We enjoy a student-centered classroom environment which teaches the fundamentals and practical ideas for the classroom,” Lochhead says. Other benefits of the program include a website for online resources, a built-in network of teachers to communicate with, classes available in Busan, Daegu and Seoul, special guest lecturers, the chance to have credits transferred towards an M.A. TESOL at select universities around the world, and a great opportunity to experience quality professional development. “Having a TESOL certificate definitely increases your marketability as a teacher, and taking a program gives you a chance to meet others and exchange ideas,” says Brad Serl, President of the Busan KOTESOL Chapter. For those of you who are looking to upgrade your teaching skills and increase your marketability in the international teaching market, TESOL Alliance is your first place to start.

THE BASICS Class for: Foreign Teachers Taught by: Foreign Teachers l Cost: 790,000 won l Completion: 6-8 weeks l Achievement: 120 hour Asian EFL Journal TESOL Certificate l l

ADVANTAGES OF A TESOL ALLIANCE CERTIFICATE One of the few TESOL Certificates in the world where universities grant accreditation should you go on to Master’s level studies l Access to annual International Conferences l Backed by the world’s leading EFL/ESL practitioners l Taught by experienced, qualified EFL practitioners l Considerably cheaper than other certificate courses l Accepted by Government teaching programs in Korea (EPIK, GEPIK and TALK) l More credentials mean a higher salary l

2011 winter_ HAPS | 21


HFashion Five Questions

22 BUSANHAPS_august/september BUSANHAPS_june/july 2011 2011 22 | HAPS_winter 2011 20 | HAPS_october/november 2011


DAVE’S

HFeature

WORLD BY BOBBY McGILL ILLUSTRATION BY KELSEY L. SMITH

Over the past sixteen years, Dave Sperling has created the world’s most popular ESL site in the world for finding jobs, teaching tips and reliable rants on the forums. ave Sperling. You might not think you know the name, but you do. At least the first of the two when it’s famously attached to “ESL Cafe.” Launched in 1995, eslcafe.com staked out its share of the web as a bare bones site for finding teaching jobs abroad and discussing the life lived there. A decade and a half has passed, and the site is still pretty much bare bones, but everyday over 25,000 people stop in for a look at what Dave’s done. And that is create the world’s largest resource for teaching jobs and one of the most populated forums on the planet. It is admirable all the more when one considers the amount of peaceful human traffic that has passed from one country to the next through his servers. And business is good. A rough count of the ads posted on the International, China and Korea job boards stood at around 800 at the time of printing, with advertisers paying upwards of $75 a month. There is nothing bare bones about that at all. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sperling received his degree in psychology in 1983 before taking a job working with the mentally handicapped right out of school. It was after a patient smacked him in the side of the head with a chair that he decided his degree was better put to use as a courier for a travel agency. When asked about the abrupt change he quipped, “I didn’t make much money, but it was a great experience – kind of like teaching right?” He later married, fathering two children, a son now 20 and a daughter, 15. Sperling started ESLCafe alone and remains its sole employee to this day. Fortunately, much of the site runs itself, giving him a chance to pursue his love of travel and photography, as well as affording him time to chauffeur his daughter around and give quality time to his dog. We gave him five questions. 1. When you started ESL Cafe, did you imagine that it would become one of the most popular sites in the world? Were there any ‘lucky breaks’ along the way that propelled the site into the spotlight? Any high traffic days that stick out over the years?

No, I had no idea. It really just started as a hobby in 1995, when a professor encouraged me to learn HTML so I could create graphical web pages (thank you Dr. Levine!). My first web page was created together with my ESL writing students at California State University, Northridge and I was hooked. Afterwards, I began creating interactive web pages for ESL/EFL students and teachers, and the rest is history. I can't really think of any lucky breaks. I just remember a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, and presentations and workshops around the world to help promote using the Internet in the classroom. Dave's ESL Cafe actually took off pretty fast in 1996, but the hardest thing was getting my "infrastructure" in place, you know, the hardware and software to handle the increasing traffic. A lot of high days stick out because the traffic kept steadily increasing, especially in the first few years. This was actually a very difficult time for me, because it meant that I had to move everything onto a new server and pay a lot of money in excessive bandwidth fees. 2. The ESL Cafe Forums have been a place where people can both praise their host countries and also vent their frustrations about living and teaching abroad. Having read thousands of posts over the years, would you gauge people’s overall experience teaching abroad as positive or negative? What are some of the most common gripes? I do think that most people have a positive experience teaching abroad, but forums often attract people who complain or rather vent about the problems with their working conditions and the difficulties of living in their host countries. I do think that this is a good thing, because it helps both the poster and the forum readers to get all perspectives on what it is like to teach abroad. The most common gripes are about bad working conditions at particular schools – a difficult boss, problems with co-workers, late or no payment, etc.

WHAT DAVE HAS DONE IS ADMIRABLE ALL THE MORE WHEN CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT OF PEACEFUL HUMAN TRAFFIC THAT HAS PASSED FROM ONE COUNTRY TO THE NEXT THROUGH HIS SERVERS. 2011 winter_ HAPS | 23


HFeature

“FIVE YEARS AGO, I WANTED TO RETIRE AT 50 AND DO OTHER THINGS WITH MY LIFE, BUT HERE I AM, 50 YEARS OLD, AND STILL RUNNING DAVE’S ESL CAFE. MY PERSPECTIVE HAS CHANGED AND I’VE REALIZED THAT I REALLY LOVE RUNNING MY WEBSITE AND STOPPING WOULD BE LIKE LOSING A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF WHO I AM.” 24 | HAPS_winter 2011


3. What were some of the more meaningful forum topics you remember? Some of the more disturbing? What are the parameters for moderation?

HFeature

Believe it or not, I don't often spend much time reading my forums! Topics that have moved me personally have been experiences during such natural disasters as the 2004 Tsunami, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and the recent floods in Thailand. I am often moved by the compassion, concern and encouragement from other teachers on the forums. 4. One would assume that, over time, a country that imports native speaking English teachers would have enough English speaking citizens to teach itself English in the classroom. Is this a trend you see happening? Or is the trend for native speaking jobs increasing? That should be the case, but it doesn't seem to be at all. Most countries still do not have a good enough English educational system, and therefore need native English speaking teachers. I have, in fact, seen an increasing need for teachers to work abroad. That said, I was recently in Israel and was blown away with how well the young people spoke English and how comfortable they were using it. And this is in a place where most of the English teachers are from Israel. 5. How much time do you put into the site on a typical week? Has the time spent maintaining it increased or diminished over the years? Is this something you see yourself doing far into the future? If not, what’s your plan? Well, a typical day for me is as follows: I'm up around 6 a.m. and usually get online to check my email and do a quick check of the website to make sure that everything is working well. After I take my daughter to school, I spend the rest of the morning answering email messages, posting jobs ads, and "approving" new members to my forums. This is interspersed with breaks to walk my dog, or do an hour workout at my local gym. I do less work in the early afternoons, but get back online around the end of the day and work until 5 p.m. The time maintaining Dave's ESL Cafe has definitely decreased for me, because I have finally got it down to a science and have a daily routine that I have been doing each and every day for several years. As to what I will do in the future, that’s a good question. Five years ago, I wanted to retire at 50 and do other things with my life, but here I am, 50 years old, and still running Dave's ESL Cafe. My perspective has changed and I've realized that I really love running my website and stopping would be like losing a very important part of who I am. Luckily, I can now get online just about everywhere in the world, so I am able to travel and still work no matter where I am. I often take trips to Europe and Asia, and it's easy for me to maintain Dave's ESL Cafe just as well as when I am home in Los Angeles. Last July, I was running the website in Luang Prabang, Laos. Can you imagine that? Wow! So the future will be more traveling the globe to places that I've always dreamed to visit and enjoying my life.

2011 winter_ HAPS | 25


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26 | HAPS_winter 2011


HFeature

HOLIDAY

CHEER Like it or not, winter is here, with its frigid Siberian winds descending down into the peninsula for the next few months. So, what’s a person to do in the city by the sea, when the sea is no longer an option? Haps went around town to ask people how they plan to spend their winter holidays. Who better to start off with than three girls who make a living dealing in cheer? Photography by Ben Weller, Matthew Golem, Mike Dixon & BMC GEUM BO-AH, SONG YOON-HWA, KANG BO-KYUNG, SOUTH KOREA, CHEERLEADERS “Our holidays aren’t really different than other people in Korea. We usually do things like other girls do, like going to parties, watching movies, attending concerts or musicals, or spending time with our families, friends or boyfriends. But we also have to work, and we even have to cheer on Christmas Eve because there is a game!”

2011 winter_ HAPS | 27


HFeature

PETE NEONAKIS, AMERICAN, TEACHER “When the weather gets cold, I like heading for balmier climes (Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines) if vacation permits. If not, I do the second best thing and soak my bones in one of Busan’s many spas. Some of my favorites are Haeundae Spa Center, Spaland and Hurschimchung, although there are hundreds of smaller ones in every part of the city. For $5-10, it’s an excellent way to beat the winter cold and keep the sniffles and various winter ailments at bay. Happy Holidays!”

28 | HAPS_winter 2011


HFeature

LYNN BARATTA, AMERICAN, PRESIDENT BUSAN INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION “During the winter in Korea, I enjoy celebrating American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with friends at my house. One of my favorite outings is to take a group of friends to Millak Fish Market at Gwangan Beach, buy some fresh seafood then carry our goodies over to the nearby soju tents to cook over a hot grill – it’s so much fun and the food is great!”

2011 winter_ HAPS | 29


HFeature

RIFAT MAHMUD, BANGLADESH, STUDENT, DONG A UNIVERSITY “This will be my third winter in Korea and I really don’t like the cold. In Bangladesh, the average temperature in winter is 15C. We never have snow, so enjoying it here is the only exciting thing about winter in Korea for me. This holiday season, I want to travel around Korea and visit places like Seoul and Gwang-ju because I love traveling and photography. Until then, I am just waiting for the snow to fall.”

30 | HAPS_winter 2011


SEAN HONG, SOUTH KOREA, ASSISTANT MANAGER, BUSAN FOUNDATION FOR INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES

HFeature

“For me, winter is the time of year to forget any bad memories from the year passed and make wishes for happiness and good tidings in the new year – especially a fatter bank account! This winter, I will spend time teaching my son to swim and will take the family for a trip to Everland Amusement Park near Seoul.”

MARTIN VERMEULEN (With newborn son, Tommy) THE NETHERLANDS, ART GALLERY OWNER “Now I am 8000 km away from where home used to be, back in the Netherlands. Busan is now my home of choice, and I really enjoy it here. No more winters with thick packs of snow on the rooftops. For me, the perfect thing to do in the winter is to enjoy the company of my wife, my newborn son, Tommy, and soft music. And of course, a glass of good Malt Whiskey and some matured cheese makes for a perfect winter evening.”

2011 winter_ HAPS | 31


HTravel

IN TO INDIA

By Nicole Brewer

NORTHERN INDIA OFFERS A GREAT CHANCE TO SEE THE ASTOUNDING SITES OF THE WORLD’S SECOND MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY. hile I sat atop my beautifully adorned camel, the sun beamed down on my skin, a light breeze tickled at my hair and I began to feel a sense of ease on this animal I was once so afraid of. Suddenly, a swarm of kids approached me and my fellow group of travelers and started singing in a beautiful melody. All right there in what was their backyard, the Thar Desert outside of Jodhpur. Two fellow English teachers from the States and myself spent two incredible weeks touring the Northern Indian state of Rajasthan. While there, we hit the cities of Jodhpur, Udaipur, New Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Jaipur. It was a fabulously enriching journey. Upon arriving in Jodhpur, we settled in at the Kothi Heritage Hotel. It is essentially an old mansion that has been restored with highly elaborate décor including chandeliers, swords and an old-wordly charm. Jodhpur is known for the Mehrangarh Fort, which offers beautiful views of the city which has been dubbed the “blue city” for all the varied hues of blue painted on the buildings that seemingly melt away into the sky above. Jodhpur offered magnificent shopping for richly colored Sarais and mouth watering chicken curry with a range of Na’an bread, from cheese garlic to buttered flavors, followed down by a nice, frothy mango lassi drink. We became friends with a local shopkeeper who extended us immeasurable hospitality by treating us to a delicious meal with his family in JODHPUR, KNOWN FOR THE MEHRANGARH their home. FORT, HAS BEEN DUBBED THE “BLUE CITY” After our welcoming FOR ALL THE VARIED HUES OF BLUE PAINT- time in Jodhpur, we ventured to Udaipur. ED ON THE BUILDINGS THAT SEEMINGLY Udaipur is described MELT AWAY INTO THE SKY ABOVE. as the “white city”, because of its splendid architecture composed almost entirely of marble. While in Udaipur, we visited the Jain Temple. It was simply breathtaking – the stone elephants, pillars and detailed carvings throughout the temple left me speechless. It also played host to traditional Indian dance performances, puppet shows and fire dancers in the open air theater at Bagore-ki-Haveli. The next stop on our Indian adventure was Varanasi, known as the “holy city” and home to the Hindu religion. There you can witness countless temples, as well as the spiritual cleansing and bathing at the Assi Ghats. A word of warning though: you must mentally prepare yourself for the sights and smells that you will come upon in Varanasi. An overnight visit should suffice to see the attractions in the holy city, especially if you are able to make it there during Diwali, the “festival of lights,” which is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. Following Varanasi we headed on to Jaipur, also popularly known as the “pink city,” where The Hawa Mahal or “Palace of the Winds” sits shaped like a crown in tribute to the Hindu God Krishna; ornamented in the city’s signature pink colors. The 32 | HAPS_winter 2011


Amber Fort, which sits atop of a hill overlooking the city, is also a stunning sight to behold – especially when seen during the day. One of Jaipur’s most gorgeous displays in the evening is the light and sound show. Beautiful colors and harmonious sounds are magnified around the Amber Fort, all while telling the story of the Fort and the Jaipur dynasty. While in the city, we stayed at the Jaipur Umaid Bhawan Hotel, also a heritage house. It had the same dynamic flair as the Kothi Heritage. At every corner, I was greeted with beautiful art work representing the history of Jaipur and antique furnishings that were designed in traditional Rajasthani style. Along with the traditional dancing performances on the roof and the great food and comfort, the $50 a night charge seemed nothing. Another must see spot, while en route to Agra from Jaipur, is the Chand Baori, Abaneri. It is an age-old “step-well,” which was used in the past to harvest rain water. While most make a mad dash to see the Taj Mahal, I suggest you make a request to your driver to detour over to the Chand Baori. (You can book a driver through most of the hotels in Rajasthan). Taking in the exquisite sites of Chand Baori is worth the extra hour off your path before going to the Taj Mahal. Ahhh India. It was a fabulous two week visit, and to think, that was only the north.

PLACES TO STAY: Jodhpur: The Kothi Heritage www.thekothiheritage.com +91 9314135700 Jaipur Umaid Bhawan www.umaidbhawan.com +91 9314503423

HTravel

GREEN TRAVEL: THE MOVE TO BIOFUELS

What was once a vision of the future is starting to work its way into the now – Biofuels. The environmentally friendly fuels, which are produced from natural plant oils, have become an airline industry trend, with several carriers now testing them on limited routes. The German flagship carrier, Lufthansa, which is the first airline to introduce the use of biofuels on regular scheduled flights, has been running trials on the Frankfurt - Hamburg route served by an Airbus A321, using a 50 percent blend of bio-synthetic kerosene. To enable the airline to compare the two engines on the aircraft as part of the testing program, Lufthansa, which employs 117,000 people worldwide, uses biofuel in only one of the aircraft’s two engines, while the other is running on pure jet fuel. At a recent press conference in Frankfurt, Vice President for Aviation Biofuel, Joachim Buse, said that while a total switch to biofuel has “a long way to go,” the testing has thus far gone well, eliminating concerns that biofuel might interact with the engines differently than traditional jet fuels. “So far, the good news after three months of trials is that there has been technically no unexpected behavior,” said Buse. Buse added that not only is the non-fossil fuel base fuel more environmentally friendly, it will also reduce fuel consumption levels, since it combusts at higher levels than current jet fuels. “The expectation is that if we were to use a full blend, the overall reduction in fuel burn would be two percent.” The International Air Transport Association’s most recent numbers show that total emissions for the airline industry stood at 649 million tons of CO2 worldwide in 2010, up 3.5 percent from the previous year. The IATA estimates that replacing only three percent of the kerosene in jet fuel would reduce aviation emissions by over 10 million tons. Following Lufthansa's lead, other carriers such as America’s United Airlines, Australia’s Quantas and Dutch-based KLM have introduced similar programs, with Virgin Airlines hoping to have a testing facility up and running by 2013. Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Christoph Franz said replacing traditional fuels would take time, and with the nature of newly developed biofuels, it must be done so prudently. “We first want to acquire experience in daily practice in the use of biofuels. We are doing pioneering work in that no other airline to date has operated an aircraft engine with biofuel over a longer term,” said Franz. 2011 winter_ HAPS | 33


HProfile

BEAUTIFUL

BELLA

By Jen Sotham

When seeking out international cuisine, it is not often that you get the whole package wrapped into one perfect presentation. Bella Citta, in Gwangan, breaks the trend, offering an incredible atmosphere, and truly authentic Italian cuisine. ’ve often complained to my cohorts about how, with most restaurants here in Busan, it’s an either/or thing. Either the food is good and the atmosphere is off, or the atmosphere is wonderful and the food doesn’t live up. I’m sorry – but no matter how appetizing the food is, or how beautifully it is presented, if I am forced to eat it at a white formica table under fluorescent lights, I am not going to enjoy it as much. I’m more inclined to delight in a meal in beautiful surroundings – even if the food is meh. When Bella Citta’s manager, Mr. Woo, led me into the back garden, I thought, ‘now here’s a place where I’d settle for mediocre food.’ It’s that beautiful. Between the rustic wooden furniture, the art deco ironwork and the ample amount of greenery, I almost felt as if I had been transported. Not to a

of twenty was ramen. When, after an unsatisfying year of university, Jun decided to seek greater things for himself in Seoul, he found it difficult to find work. So when his aunt proposed that if he worked in the kitchen of the Silla Hotel for one year, she would pay his living expenses, it was a no-brainer. Not long after he started working, Jun caught sight of one of the chefs peeling carrots, in that cool way that chefs peel things. He found himself completely mesmerized, and marks this as the moment that set his course. After completing one year of employment, a company perk saw him on a week long trip to Italy to take part in a workshop. The next thing he knew, he was enrolled in culinary school in Turino. Bella Citta’s menu is not extensive, nor is it incredibly unique. But a quick peek through the window of the open kitchen was enough to assure me that the menu is ‘right.’ Between the rack of drying handmade pasta and the custom-built brick oven, I settled in for my first meal at Bella Citta with the notion that maybe, just maybe the cuisine would be on par with the ambiance. After my first course of Caprese Salad – perfectly ripened tomatoes layered with melt-in-you-mouth mozzarella, roasted veggies and fresh basil, I couldn’t wait for what was in store for me. The Pasta Amatriciana (onions and bacon in a spicy tomato sauce) had me wishing for more of the homemade bread to clean the plate with. As my companions and I vacuumed up the Spaghetti Carbonara, we exchanged comments about how light and subtle it was in comparison to the gazillion other restaurants in Busan that boast this dish on their menus. I was interviewing chef Jun when my pizza arrived – a thin, crisp crust with fresh mozzarella, cracked pepper and a mountain of porcini mushrooms. Needless to say, the interview took twice as long, as my mouth was too preoccupied to ask questions. I’ve been to Bella Citta twice now. Their only departure from authentic Italian fare is the evening barbeque set, a mix of meats and shellfish, which is 35,000 won and includes two beers or glasses of wine. Though the wine list is limited at present, the staff is in the process of developing an extensive list. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of that wine list. It’s nice to eat proper Italian without getting my apron dirty. And it’s even nicer to dine in the kind of place that makes you want to linger.

BETWEEN THE RUSTIC WOODEN FURNITURE, THE ART DECO IRONWORK AND THE AMPLE AMOUNT OF GREENERY, I ALMOST FELT AS IF I HAD BEEN TRANSPORTED. NOT TO A DIFFERENT TIME OR PLACE, BUT TO AN ALTERNATE REALITY different time or place, but to an alternate reality, where maybe if I squinted hard enough, I’d spot a fairy or two flitting around in the corner. It’s no wonder that the space is so artfully designed, as owner Lee Hae Jin’s long history as an art enthusiast is what compelled her to visit Italy in the first place. After several visits there, she established Bella Festa, a high-end course menu restaurant and art gallery, just behind where Bella Citta now stands. This was ten years ago, a time when that part of Gwangan wasn’t really developed, so it was one of those places you just had to ‘know’ about. As the years pressed on, beachfront high rises sprung up inexorably, all but burying Bella Festa. But a loyal following persisted, and in 2006, Lee opened the first Bella Citta in Haeundae. When the building in front of Bella Festa became available last January, Lee jumped on the opportunity to create a space that would entice the now constant foot traffic on Gwangalli Beach. And chef Jun Joon Hyung jumped on the opportunity to take the reins in the kitchen. A self-proclaimed country boy, Jun never dreamed that he would become a chef. In fact, the only thing he had cooked until the age 34 | HAPS_winter 2011


HProfile

UP ON THE HILL By Anthony Velasquez

alking through the front door of Starface on Dalmaji Hill in Haeundae, a veritable pioneering pub founded nearly two decades ago, my first concern was that somehow I had the wrong address; that I had stumbled into the well-appointed parlor of a private residence. This initial unease was quickly allayed by the conviviality of the intermingled, multinational crowd interspersed around the spacious, yet cozy-feeling pub. Englishman, Charles Young, who owns Starface along with Moon So Jeong, relates that the comfortable, lived-in feeling was a result of both design and of chance. “I like the idea of a public house. Historically, there was one house in every village where the community would gather, drink, and share songs. That’s what I was going for.” It’s an ideal that many emulate, but few pull off as well as Young and Moon have at Starface. With its subtle lighting accented with table lamps and furnished with over a dozen sofas, settees, and upholstered chairs, it’s the type of place that invites one to shed the coat and stay awhile. Framed photos of local musicians who have played there and varied shots of scenesters adorn the deep green and vermilion walls to complete the homey aesthetic. However, the current incarnation of Starface was precipitated by chance when a kitchen fire three years ago damaged the site extensively. A thorough remodeling was required, resulting in what is now the pub that the partners had envisioned. “Starface has always been a place where Koreans, seamen, expats, and all types of people have come. Though, it used to be more spit and sawdust,” Young recalls. He then describes what was once a grittier bar evocative of a Tom Waits song, a bit of a dive, where brawls between drunken sailors, ajjeoshis, and expats weren’t uncommon. However, in talking to Charles and bartender extraordinaire, Kim Bu-kyung, about the history of Starface, one name kept coming up: Dany Kang. A luminary of the local bar scene, Kang opened Starface 18 years ago, a time when nightlife options in Haeundae were far more limited. He spoke with great fondness about its past, what it has become, and his motives when naming this unique bar on

the hill. Kang says the name “Starface” was coined for the customers, as well as his high school friend, Ji Dae-han, the actor who went on to play Oh Dae-su’s best friend in the famed movie “Old Boy.” “I named it Starface for two reasons. One, I wanted to make people feel like they’re a star (admittedly, this may sound trite until you meet the man). Also, for Ji Dae-han. Back then, he was just an extra, but my wish was for him to be famous.” While Dany is no longer a partner in the pub, the ethos of treating people like stars is still evident on Dalmaji, an area that houses many of the city’s best art galleries, some of its most impressive architecture, and there in the middle of it all, right next to the mystery library, Starface.

“STARFACE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PLACE WHERE KOREANS, SEAMEN, EXPATS, AND ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE HAVE COME. THOUGH, IT USED TO BE MORE SPIT AND SAWDUST.”

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Those thirsty for a cold one will find your standards on tap and a wider selection available by the bottle. However, the cocktails are where Starface shines. The spirits selection is not enormous, but it’s smart, with one key being those little brown bottles with their yellow caps and iconic, over-sized labels: Angostura Bitters, which were procured on Charles’ returns to England, with their herbaceous magic in tow. Precisely-crafted Manhattans, old-fashioneds, and pink gins (a house specialty), mojitos featuring garden-grown mint and the Dalmaji Iced Tea dressed nicely with cognac and Cointreau, are all in play when you saddle up to the bar stool. And Young loves his wines, evident in a unique offering from Spain: Torre Tallada’s blend of Tempranillo and Monastrell (Mourvèdre to the rest of the world). With hints of cherry and plum and enough acid to keep the fruit fresh, it’s a steal at $5 per glass. The pub grub is solid, and well aligns itself with the diversity of the patrons. Anju, fried chicken, fish and chips, burgers, and the Mexican pizza are all very popular. On my first visit, I opted for the steak. The flank arrived perfectly temped to medium rare with a pile of crinkle-cut fries. A simple dish, but well done all the same.

Continued on page 39


HSports

BRIGHT SIDE

OF THE MOON By Jeff Liebsch

LG Sakers star Moon Tae-young, aka Greg Stevenson, has come a long way to find home. eading into the midway portion of the 2011/12 Korean Basketball League season, it has been another stellar year for Changwon LG Sakers star Moon Tae-young. Tae-young, now 33, was born Greg Stevenson, to an African-American father and Korean mother. After playing at the University of Richmond, he headed overseas to fulfill his dream as a professional basketball player. Moon had a successful career in the NBA D-League and Europe, playing in France and Germany. Known as a prolific scorer, the 6’6 guard/forward was second in the league in scoring last year. In 2009, the Korean Basketball League held an ethnic Korean draft, which allowed import players with Korean ties no longer to be considered “foreign players”. Stevenson applied for the draft, and was selected third, after Tony Akins (Jeon Tae-poong) and Eric Sandrin (Lee Seung-joon). Greg Stevenson - The Man Initially, it wasn’t an easy go for the new pool of ethnic play-

visits to the country. “I think Hines Ward opened some eyes in Korea and about Korea, with his situation, being a top level professional athlete with Korean descent,” Stevenson said. But the one thing that Stevenson and the ethnic players could do, and better than almost everyone in the league, was play ball. After time, the trust and acceptance came. This past July, he along with his brother Jarod, became Korean naturalized citizens, not only to represent Korea in international basketball tournaments, but to become closer to their mothers homeland. During the off-season, he splits time with his family back in the States and playing in the Puerto Rican Basketball League (BSN) to stay in shape and work on his game. And when he’s not on the court, he also takes Korean classes so he can learn the language, making it easier to communicate with teammates and learning the culture. “Korean classes have been going well. I have a great teacher who really enjoys teaching, which makes for a great learning environment. I feel more Korean, yes, but I still have problems communicating. I feel like I am a little slow,” he said. Moon Tae-young - The Player Along with his older brother Tae-jong, who plays for Incheon ET Land, the two have been dominating presences in the league since they arrived on the peninsula, Tae-young first in 2009, and his brother a year later. This year, LG has gotten off to a slow start due to injuries and personnel changes. LG recently acquired import Aaron Haynes to help take some of the scoring burden off of Moon, a move he thinks will help the team, but has affected the team’s chemistry. “It has been hard, but it is the cards that were dealt, so we have to do our best to make it work. Building team chemistry is an ongoing process that will always need to be worked on,” he said. Additionally, from this year, the KBL decided to only allow one foreign player per team, which as Moon sees it, might not have been the best move for the league. He says that having only one

“I THINK HINES WARD OPENED SOME EYES IN KOREA AND ABOUT KOREA, WITH HIS SITUATION, BEING A TOP LEVEL PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE WITH KOREAN DESCENT.” ers coming into the Korean league, including Stevenson. Korean coaches and college players were unhappy that American players were not only grabbing spots on the courts from locals, but also dominating the game. Off and on the court, there were the adjustments that the team and the incoming ethnic players had to make. Language was definitely a barrier, but also culturally, Stevenson had to start from scratch. The first months were the toughest – Tony Akins once famously referred to themselves as “the black sheep” of the league, as the ethnic players got very little respect. The negative stereotypes is a fight that Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers has tried to eradicate about mixed-blood Koreans in his frequent 38 | HAPS_winter 2011


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foreign player on the squad naturally draws the spotlight – along with all the responsibilities of producing on the court. “There is an enormous amount of pressure on the foreign player to perform on a night in, night out basis. I think the

“THERE IS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PRESSURE ON THE FOREIGN PLAYER TO PERFORM ON A NIGHT IN, NIGHT OUT BASIS. I THINK THE LEAGUE WILL BE AFFECTED IN TERMS OF WHAT TYPE OF FOREIGN PLAYER THEY GO AFTER AND BRING TO THE KBL.” league will be affected in terms of what type of foreign player they go after and bring to the KBL. The reason I say that is because these guys are pretty much averaging around 37 minutes a game and the KBL plays a 54 game regular season. That is a lot of wear and tear on the body. Foreign players better be and stay in great shape physically and mentally,” he said. As for his future, this season will be his last with the Sakers. The ethnic players must re-enter a draft after three years, and he, along with Akins and Sandrin, will be forced by league policy to switch teams. Moon would like to continue his career here — and when asked how long he wants to continue playing the game he loves? “That is a good question. I would say at least four years, provided that I am healthy and still enjoy playing the game.”

December 18 vs. Dongbu Promy 3 p.m. December 21 vs. Mobis Phoebus 7 p.m. December 24 vs. KCC Egis 5 p.m. December 28 vs. Samsung 7 p.m. January 4 vs. SK Knights 7 p.m. January 6 vs. Anyang KGC 7 p.m. January 10 vs. ET Land 7 p.m. January 14 vs. LG Sakers 7 p.m.

UP ON THE HILL Continued from page 36

On another visit, I laid into a heaping bowl of curry chips. Young describes his curry as “Kerala techniques with Punjabi style,” which he culled from four years spent in India. Unlike the yellow version that tops most chips, this curry is darker and thicker, with mushrooms and eggplant providing the texture, while accentuating the flavor. While those among us with a predilection for lounging and imbibing will definitely feel welcome, Starface has much more to offer. There is a pool table, darts, an ample stage for live music, Sunday trivia, and special theme nights to round out the schedule. Approaching 20 years since its founding, Starface still attracts an international legion of patrons and appears none worse for the wear. Looking for something different or perhaps familiar; head on up to the house on the hill. Starface is located on the top of Dalmaji Hill in Haeundae. Your best bet is to hop in a cab and tell the driver, ‘Dalmaji, joo-ree-moon-hakwon-jook-oo-ro, ca-chuseyo. 달맞이 추리문 학관쪽으로 2011 winter_ HAPS | 39


HGuide

Restaurant Guide Guide to Restaurants ₩ - Meals Under ₩10,000 ₩₩ - Meals are Reasonably Priced ₩₩₩ - Be prepared to spend some cash 3 - Smoking area is available Busan Haps recommended restaurant

FOO

ST

D IS GOO D

VIS ILL HU FO IT B andR MORUSAN NG RY MO E H RE FOO APS MA D LI .CO ? PS STI M N GS

Gwangan-li

Kyungsungdae

Western

Western

Beached Cafe and Sports Bar 051-924-9662 ₩ Good bar fare, great view, right on the beach. Burger and Pasta 051-751-6631 ₩₩3 Solid burgers on the beach with good wines. Service always friendly and food consistently good. Breeze Burns 051-754-4670 ₩₩ Burgers on the shore. One of several locations. Guess Who Restaurant 051-757-1213 ₩₩3 Always busy, the kitchen sink is on the menu.

Aussie Burger ₩ Burgers, fries and Aussie pies. Burger and Pasta 051-625-6651 ₩✔ The original. Great change of pace. Same managment as Thursday Party. Great service. HQ Bar 010-2857-2367 ₩✔ Solid, gut bomb Americana. For real men. Painted Chair Cafe 051-611-3666 ₩ There’s the art, the coffee and ambiance.

Italian

Chinese

Seomyeon Western

Breeze Burns 051-818-4670 ₩₩ Chain burgers, but good quality. Fuzzy Navel 051-746-6439 ₩₩✔ Have a wide variety of Mexican dishes. Judie Nine Brau 051-667-7979 ₩₩✔ Good beer and tasty side dishes. T.G.I. Friday’s 051-805-3164 ₩₩ The regular T.G.I. Friday’s fare. The Pancake ₩ The name says it all. Good all day.

Italian

Bella Citta ₩₩₩ Incredible interior, top notch menu and indoor garden seating. Haps top pick. Art gallery. Pasta e Vino 051-746-2500 ₩₩ Intimate beachside spot with good Italian cuisine.

Ni Hao Chinese ₩ Very good Chinese - the real deal.

Indian

Buona Oven Pizza 051-904-8239 ₩₩ Nice, oven-baked pizza and spaghetti. Florian’s ₩₩ Buffet with a wide selection of dishes.

Korean

Italian

Korean

Shim Hae Raw Fish Market 051-753-6868 ₩₩ Everything seafood, all in one place. North end of the beach. Four Season Raw Fish ₩₩ English speaking owner. 2nd fl Raw Fish Market Korean Natural Food 051-751-5534 ₩₩ Eating the good stuff that is good for you too.

Japanese

Sinshen 051-627-9191 ₩ Ginza 051-751-7077 ₩₩₩ Fam Island Sushi Buffet 051-751-6100 ₩₩ Large selction of sushi on offer. Good quality.

Mexican

Fuzzy Navel 051-754-6349 ₩₩✔ Solid burritos and tacos. Good party spot

Vietnamese

Saigon Pho ₩₩ One of the few non-chain Vietnamese spots in town. Across from Starbucks south end. 40 | HAPS_winter 2011

Shabana 051-621-4821 ₩₩ Good, affordable Indian food. Bon Bon 051-621-0906 ₩₩ Great little spot next to Kyungsung U.

Korean

Baekdu ₩₩ Great variety of side dishes. Eu Dae Di ₩₩ Great Korean BBQ, side dishes, the works. Maesaengiga 051-622-0611 ₩₩ Green algae food. Yes, really. Very healthy. Naraso ₩₩ Beef bbq’d at your table.

Buffalo Chicken 051-805-3512 ₩₩✔ Good chicken chain with several interesting sauces. Dragon Dream (The Cave Bar) 051-646-5924 ₩₩ Very interesting decor with nice selection of food. Golm Ok ₩₩✔ Korean BBQ. Beef and pork selections.

Vegetarian

Loving Hut 051-808-7718 ₩₩ The veggie lovers paradise. www.lovinghut.kr

PNU

Japanese

Chibi Chibi Oknomayaki 051-904-8257 ₩₩ Good Japanese at reasonable rates. The Sushi 051-611-4043 ₩₩ Affordable, quality Japanese food.

Mexican

O’Taco 051-627-8358 ₩ Great Mexican food and lunch specials.

Western

Farmers Burgers ₩ People rave about it. Nominated in Best Burger Contest.

Indian

Ganesh ₩₩ Small spot with good Indian fare on the menu.


HGuide Shabana 051-517-1947 ₩₩ Nice Indian food for cheap.

Mexican

Taco’s Family 010-5688-6303 ₩ Small in stature, but great food.

Turkish

Kebabistan ₩₩ Back to the original great taste from years ago.

Vietnamese

Pho ₩ Nice Vietnamese food in PNU.

Vegetarian

Loving Hut 051-518-0115 ₩ The growing world-wide chain doesn’t disappoint. www.lovinghut.kr

Haeundae Western

Breeze Burns 051-747-4670 ₩₩ Big sloppy burgers. Good atmosphere. Geckos Bar and Grill 051-747-3069 ₩₩✔ Solid food, drink on beach. geckosterrace.com HQ Jangsan 010-2857-2367 ₩✔ Great pizza and wings. Good stuff. Sharky’s 010-4038-2907 ₩✔ Busan Haps Best Burger Winner 2011. Starface 051-742-0600 ₩✔ British and Indian Cuisine. Great curry, Fish n’ Chips T.G.I. Friday’s 051-740-6531 ₩₩ Reliable chain with wide selection of Americana. The Wolfhound Pub 051-746-7913 ₩₩✔ Great menu. Excellent variety. Fun bar. www.wolfhoundpub.com

Indian

Ganga ₩₩₩ Excpect to spend some good money, but good food. Namaste 051-746-1946 ₩₩ Indian fine dining. Good prices, great food. Ganesh ₩ Small place but it’ll do the trick.

Italian

Bella Citta 051-747-6351 ₩₩ Delicious, real Italian cuisine with awesome interior. Cine De Chef 051-745-2880 ₩₩₩ In Shinsegae. Movies and great food. El Olive Italian 051-752-7300 ₩₩₩ Delicious Italian, close to Costco. Il Sole 051-7474523 ₩₩₩ Changed ownership. Still has the fantastic view. Van Gogh Terrace 051-741-3767 ₩₩ Nice view of the water while you eat.

Japanese

Gen Sushi 051-740-6630 ₩₩ Affordable sushi. Good stuff.. Suntory Japanese 051-742-5788 ₩₩ Great location and delicious food. Umi 051-741-4337 ₩₩₩

Korean

An Ga Korean BBQ 051-742-7852 ₩₩ Cheolma Hanwoo Bulgogi 051-709-4000 ₩₩₩ Hurgsiru 051-722-1377 ₩₩ Jagalchi Eel 051-742-5387 ₩₩

Maris 051-704-8870 ₩₩ Great seafood buffet. Across from Primus. Somunnan 051-746-0003 ₩₩ Good traditional Korean food.

Mexican

Fuzzy Navel 051-746-6439 ₩₩✔ Good burritos and tacos, fun at night when the crowds pour in. www.fuzzynavel.co.kr Hello Kimchi 051-701-5199 ₩ Popular Mexican restaurant. Excellent Fajitas. Celebrating only one year, but already very popular. Taco Senora 051-744-4050 ₩ The original. Ownership changed. Still quality food.

Mr. Pizza - 1577-0077 www.mrpizza.co.kr Pizza Etang - 1688-3651 www.pizzaetang.com

Family Restaurants

Bennigans - 1577-4800 (2 locations) www.bennigans.co.kr Outback Steakhouse - 1577-0500 (10 locations) www.outback.co.kr T.G.I. Friday’s - 1588-2590 (4 locations) www.tgif.co.kr Thai VIPS - 1577-0700 (7 locations) Hello Thai 051-731-5033 ₩₩ You can’t go wrong with Thai food. Coconut milk www.ivips.co.kr rules, green curry is king.

Vegetarian

Loving Hut 051-747-2979 ₩₩ All organic, all good, all the time. Veggie paradise. www.lovinghut.kr

Vietnamese

Pho Kim 051-740-4868 ₩ Good food at great prices. Great soup, pork bowl. Located in SFUNZ. Open for years.

Fast Food McDonalds - 1600-5252 (30 locations in Busan) www.mcdonalds.co.kr Lotteria - 1600-9999 www.lotteria.com Burger King- (7 locations in Busan) www.burgerking.co.kr Popeye’s Chicken (10 locations in Busan) www.popeyes.co.kr KFC - No delivery (7 locations in Busan) www.kfckorea.com Quiznos - (4 locations in Busan) www.quiznos.co.kr Dunkin Donuts (45 locations in Busan) www.dunkindonuts.co.kr Mister Donut (5 locations in Busan) misterdonut.gsretail.com Baskin Robbins (66 locations in Busan) www.baskinrobbins.co.kr

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANT

Burger & Pasta

With many options to choose from serving burgers and pasta these days, why not treat yourself to a place where you can get both? With two locations, one in Kyungsung and the other in Gwangan-li, Burger & Pasta offer an affordable place where quality reigns supreme. Great service and the open-air seating in Gwangan make your trip to the beach that much more fun. Sandwiches, pizza and fine wine are also available. Kyungsung 051.625.6651, Gwangan 051.751.6631

Pizza Dominos - 1577-3082 www.dominos.co.kr Papa John’s - 1577-8080 www.pji.co.kr Pizza Hut - 1588-5588 www.pizzahut.co.kr 2011 winter_ HAPS | 41


HGuide

Bar Guide Kyungsungdae Club Realize The home for Metal and Rock. Great sound. Almost Famous Funky atmosphere, great staff, live music. Blue Monkey Ladies drink 1/2 price 7-9. DJ’s on weekends. Cafe Radio Great atmosphere. Relax with a book. Club Fabric Live music, warm cozy decor. Pool & Darts. Fully Booked Used book store, bar, cafe. Great concept. HQ Bar Where the real men go to drink and BS. Kino Eye Dark atmosphere. Live music on occasion. Long. T Bar Large bar with pool, darts and cheap Long T’s. Monk’s Jazz Club Busan’s only jazz club. Tuesday nights are hot. Ol’55 The best open mic in town on Wednesdays. Painted Chair Cafe The art, the atmosphere. Good place to chill. Thursday Party A staple across Busan. Great service. Darts. Vinyl Underground Consistently the best spot for live music. Zip Code Nice little spot for drinking. Good staff.

Haeundae Billie Jean A Haps favorite. Great decor. Ladies drink free on Thursday nights. Club Elune Busan’s super club. A must see at least once. Fuzzy Navel Usually packed on weekends. Good grub. Geckos Beach front bar. Consistently good food. HQ Jangsan 010-2857-2367 Great bar to get your drink on with some wings. Maktum If Elune is packed, head to Maktum. Miami 88 On the beach. Patio, good service. Murpii In Novotel. Dancing, drinking, business class. Rock n’ Roll House Great atmosphere. Two pool tables. Great view. Sharky’s One of the most popular bars in Haeundae. Winner Haps Best Burger 2011. 010-4038-2907 Starface A classic. Great atmosphere, excellent staff, trivia on Sundays. Pool and darts. 051-742-0600

Suntory Japanese Food and drink in a classy setting. Bonzai! The Wolfhound Pub No bullshit pours and great food on the menu. www.wolfhoundpub.com 051-746-7940 Thursday Party Always consistent. A Busan cornerstone. U2 Bar Caters more to the Korean crowd these days, but still a good place to dance and lounge out.

Metal City Pool, darts and live music. Rock n’ Roll Bar A true dive. Good atmosphere. Pool and darts. The Old Record Bar Want to pick some vinyl to play? Go ahead. The Spot Very cool new place, bottle service. Thursday Party Consistently busy. Great place to meet people. Have a listing? Contact busanhaps@gmail.com

Gwangan-li Beach Bikini Spacious night club with dancing and such. Beached Cafe and Sports Bar 051-924-9662 Kiwi run. Has in a short time become hugely popular. Great service, awesome view of the beach. Club 3f Dance club looking out on the water. Elegant. Fuzzy Navel On the beach. Usually packed. Burritos & Tacos Paris Half coffee shop, half bar. Food is good too. Thursday Party Two locations next to each other. Enough said. WA Bar Wide selection of beers all laid out for your choosing.

PNU Crossroads The first foreigner bar. Still going. Open mic Thurs. Interplay Live music, hit or miss if you catch on a good night. Monks Can catch some great Korean indie bands here. Red Bottle Good spot to get a drink, play some darts. Soultrane Home to the HaHa hole comedy open mic. The Basement A Haps favorite. The anchor to the PNU scene.

Seomyeon Club Fix New super club. International DJs and dress code required. Division 9 Pinball, basketball, darts, drinking, good fun. Foxy Dance club, usually packed on weekends. Fuzzy Navel Similar to the other FN’s. Usually packed. Also has good Mexican food. Judie Nine Brau How about a little home brewed beer?

Directory & Assistance Busan Global Center 1577-7716 Tourist Info in English, Japanese & Chinese 1330 Gimhae Airport Tourist Information Center – International 82-51-973-2800 Gimhae Airport Tourist Information Center – Domestic 82-51-973-4607 Busan Station Tourist Information Center 82-51-441-6565 International Ferry Terminal Tourist Information Center 82-51-465-3471

i

Radio (English eFM) FM 90.5

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HRegular

THARP ON:

LEAVING Illustration by Sarah Elminshawi

Life in the R.O.K. & whatever else comes to mind. hen I first came to Korea, I was in heaven. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. This is truly awesome, I thought. I loved it so much that I’d have regular nightmares about going home. There I’d be, stumbling off a plane in America, suddenly gripped around the neck by the scaly, clawed hand of a demonic, glowing-eyed immigration officer, who’d lift me from the ground, open his reeking, sulfurous maw and bellow: “YOU, WORM. BACK TO THE TEMP AGENCY!” “Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!” I’d wake up, heart pounding, and covered in sweat. It was only a dream, I’d think, emitting a sigh and looking over the reassuring environs of my one-room apat-uh. “It was only a dream. I’m still in Korea. Thank, God!” Many years have passed since then, and while the honeymoon period is definitely over, I still love living here, despite any inconveniences, shortcomings, or flare-ups of anti-Americanism (not to mention flare-ups of burning ass due to too much pepper paste). Koreans often ask me, “When are you going back to America?”, as if I’ve set an arbitrary date to pack my bags and skedaddle, to which I never have an adequate answer. Sometimes I tell them what may be the truth: “I’m never going home. I will stay here forever,” which elicits a variety of responses, the most common being a cocktail of dumbstruck awe, pity, and deep sadness. Sometimes I can even hear the fissures crackling in their skulls, the tell-tale sign of a head about to implode. I really have no plans to leave this place. I’m not saying that it will never happen, but it’s not an active concern. I actually 46 | HAPS_winter 2011

try not to think about it, since the concept itself disturbs me deep in my bowels. This is the truth. I hate it when anyone leaves Korea. It’s something that should never happen. It really, really bums me out. Sometimes an old-time expat friend will approach me with a graven, somber face, sit me down and say: “You know, Tharp, there comes a time for all of us to move on. That time for me is now. I’m leaving Korea and going home. Time to get on with real life.” …to which I can only reply: “Why???? Don’t leave. Please, please, stay. No one should ever leave. Ever. Really, there’s nothing out there for you. Look!,” I say waving towards the black night sky, “it’s just a void.” This is especially true for my fellow Americans, who foolishly head back to a country burning on the inside and unraveling at the seams. I was just there last summer and can attest to how dysfunctional the place is. Everyone hates each other and except for the uber-wealthy, almost no one has any money. Over half of all the people I met were on parole and knew much more about pepper spray than pepper paste. It’s a nice place to visit, but after each successive trip home, I slap my own back and congratulate myself once again for coming to Korea in the first place. Living as an expat for so long can cause you to lose all perspective. We lifers begin to experience time differently. What used to be a year for me is now only about three-and-ahalf weeks (I worked it out). Einstein’s theory of relativity now makes sense: Time slows down at both the speed of light and the speed of Hite. This is especially true when I go back home, where my friends’ babies are now writing smartphone apps

LIFERS BEGIN TO EXPERIENCE TIME DIFFERENTLY. WHAT USED TO BE A YEAR FOR ME IS NOW ONLY ABOUT THREE-AND-AHALF WEEKS (I WORKED IT OUT). EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY NOW MAKES SENSE: TIME SLOWS DOWN AT BOTH THE SPEED OF LIGHT AND THE

SPEED OF HITE.


and plotting school shootings. Have I been here this long? This time warp exists on the peninsula as well. Case in point: Newbie going away parties. If you haven’t been here for at least 17 years, don’t invite me to your going away party. Your sojourn is not even on the radar. To think that I am flooded with these events each week on Facebook: “Ashlee’s Going Back to Canada! Come See Her Off in Style!” Ashlee’s going back to Canada? I didn’t realize she even got here… Oh… wait, yeah… now I remember. Didn’t I meet her last night at Ol’ 55? We talked for five minutes, did a couple Jagerbombs, and then I went home, passed out, woke up, took a crap, and now she’s gone. Time sure flies when you’re wasting your life away in a foreign land.” Am I jaded? Sure, but it’s more a survival mechanism than anything else. Sometimes I feel like the grizzled old sergeant from those old World War II movies. The newly arrived expats are like the fresh-faced private, asking for advice: “Say, Sarge. I don’t want ya to think I’m yellow, but I’m feelin’ a little funny inside. Do ya think I’m gonna get it? Do ya think I’m gonna catch a bullet from Jerry?” “How should I know, kid? I’ve seen so many of you green recruits come through this platoon that I stopped countin’. I don’t even learn your names. You’re just a number to me— nothin’ more. Keep your butt down and your mouth shut and you might t make it through this thing… but I wouldn’t count on it.” Cut to the end of the film. The young private, now a corporal, arrives in New York harbor and is reunited with his beautiful bride. He swings her around and gives her a victory kiss. The camera pans out. Where’s the old sergeant? Cut to a shallow, unmarked grave, somewhere in Belgium…

2011 winter_ HAPS | 47


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48 | HAPS_winter 2011

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Busan Haps Magazine Issue 16  

The Magazine for what's happening in Busan

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