TURN UP THE NOISE
THE WORLD DJ FESTIVAL
$H!T KOREA TAUGHT ME
THE NEW SWINGERS CULTURE
BUCHEON’S BAND OF THE SUMMER BRINGS ENTERTAINMENT TO THE CITY’S EXPAT COMMUNITY
MICHAEL HURT CHRONICLES THE STREET FASHION AT THE WORLD’S BIGGEST DJ CONVENTION
WISDOM FROM THE FORMER FRONT AND DRUNK MAN OF THE BAND DRUNK AND DISORDERLY, RAY GRIMES
A NEW SWINGERS CLUB HAS OPENED IN SEOUL AND SALLY ANDERSON HAS SOME INFO ABOUT GETTING YOUR SWING ON
3 4 6 29
NEH AGENDA LETTER FROM THE EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS HOROSCOPES
THE NOISE: Bucheon’s new up and coming band of the summer
THE NEW SEOUL SWINGER CULTURE: Wanna swap? There’s a place for that.
$H!T KOREA TAUGHT ME: Ray Grimes, former DND front man
PERFECT STRANGERS: Andrew Prange makes some new friends on the streets
PROFILE: Kara Johnson’s interview with rapper Ryan “DA” Green
AGONY AJUMMA: The only woman in Korea strong enough to give advice
TATTOOS IN HONGDAE Looking for a place to get a tattoo?
THE WORLD DJ FESTIVAL: Michael Hurt of feetmanseoul.com profiles the fashion in the world of DJs
THE AJUSHI-O-METER: For the ladies, a follow up to our “Is your girlfriend/wife an ajumma?” quiz
“Have a good walk- you might not believe this but guys have hawk eyes when it comes to the way a girl walks. Ladies, don't scuff or drag your heels: guys hate that! Don't hunch over or walk in a crooked line. It's really annoying. Stand up straight, sway your hips, walk like you have a purpose.” ― J E N D U
JEN DU AND NICK SANJI PHOTOGRAPHED EXCLUSIVELY FOR NEH BY LEN PAYNE
ADVERTISING | PROMOTIONS | EVENTS | OPPORTUNITIES
On April 30th NEH magazine hosted the release of its second issue featuring the best food in Bucheon at the Pub in Park with special musical guests DX Ki-Hong and the Bad Moon Band. The night also featured DJ Pandemic, Paul Hillier, spinning the beats. Congratulations to Ryan Watson who was the winner of our jelly bean counting contest and the foreigner gift basket which included Miracle Whip, Kraft mac and cheese, a large box of Mrs. Fields cookies and other Western goodies.
(1) NEH Design Director Harriet Bodkin, Creative Director C.J. Koster and Editor Kelly Williams; (2) NEH’s Kara Johnson with Mike Tyson; (3) C.J. Koster with second issue cover girl Joanne Kim; (4) Harry Delaney; (5) Bad Moon Band introducing the second issue of NEH; (6) Future K-Pop sensation DX Ki-Hong with C.J. Koster and Kelly Williams; (7) Simon Stawski of eatyourkimchi.com; (8) Yoon-jeong Lee; (9) NEH CEO Jinah Kim with contributor Sally Anderson and Editorial Director Kristin Annable; (10) The Bad Moon Band.
We at NEH love GQ. So for our June issue, we decided to design our pages as a homage to GQ. If only we could get one of these guys on our cover. C.J. KOSTER & KELLY WILLIAMS
Kelly Williams Cynthia Adkins Harriet Bodkin Kristin Annable Claire Armstrong Sue Kim & Igor Pachkevitch Ryan Rutherford Sally Anderson
Everything is new this issue. The layout, the content, the ideas, the philosophy and even you are different. Yes, you. You‟re different because you‟ve now seen two issues of Bucheon‟s newest, and now very popular, foreigner magazine. Yeah, so, what makes you different? Because you‟ve become accustomed now. Accustomed to our greatness and now you have expectations. Now it‟s our turn to meet those expectations. Here we go.
In this month‟s somewhat sexier edition of NEH!, we‟ve waded into the dark and murky waters of the after hours scene here in Bucheon. Vincent Van Gogh said, “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day.” We are more than inclined to agree. Nocturnal goings on take up a lot of time, energy and planning in the lives of us expats. Our extracurricular activities are the things which get us out of bed in the morning or make it virtually impossible. They are the hours in which endless brain cells are mercilessly massacred by copious amounts of alcohol as well friendships, random or otherwise, are forged. In the morning, we will either love or despise ourselves for the ways in which we passed the time between sunset and sunrise. It is our mission to eradicate any wastage of valuable non-teaching time and send you out in search of new experiences. We‟ve highlighted a number of individuals who certainly know how to make the most of their free time.
Kara Johnson sat down with the rising stars of „The Noise‟ to find out what gives them the edge on the music scene. Jamie and JD Greer wormed their way in with a tattoo artist who gives us the low down on his undercover business. Ever feel the itch to break out your inner skateboarder? A NEH! newcomer, Andrew Prange, blows the lid on the skateboarder way of life right here in our own city. Sally Anderson investigates a raunchy new club and fills us in on all the things we need to know about swingers in Korea. We‟ve got info about convenience store drinking culture as well as our usual outstanding fair of music, movie and TV reviews from Ryan Rutherford, Kristin Annable and Casey Dyson. There is no reason to be bored for a single moment in Korea or to mindlessly fill your time with the same old same old. NEH! is the result of a couple of foreign types getting together, pooling our resources and trying to make the most of our Asian adventure. We hope you‟ll be inspired to go exploring and try something new. Happy reading. KELLY WILLIAMS Editor
Dennis Kim (Photography), Jamie Greer (Reviews), JD Greer (Reviews), Kara Johnson (Profiles), Marcia Tyler (Horoscopes), Michael Hurt (Fashion), Casey Dyson (Reviews), Andrew Prange (Perfect Strangers), Len Payne (Photography)
MISSON STATEMENT NEH is a foreigner magazine in Bucheon, South Korea. Its mission is to educate, entertain and be relatable to Bucheon’s foreigner community—helping them to understand the Korea they live in and the Korea they know. CONTACT US: email@example.com. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR can be sent to us by email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write to us about anything and everything like … yeah, whatever you just thought of, write about that. INTERESTED IN CONTRIBUTING TO NEH? Are you a writer, wanna-be editor, amateur photographer, graphic designer, herder of cats, librarian of Korean experience? Find us on Facebook by typing NEH into your search bar and join our group! EDITORIAL POLICY NEH magazine accepts submissions regularly from freelance writers, journalists and photographers. NEH does not compensate artists for their submissions. Submissions must be original works and must not have been published in hardcopy or electronic form either in part or as a whole prior to its submission to NEH. The editors reserve the right to edit all submissions for content, grammar, spelling and clarity. Authors must include their real name and contact information with their submission. Photographs and art should be submitted in *.png format. NEH regularly publishes works of short fiction but does not publish poetry unless officially solicited by the editors. NEH editors reserve the right not to publish any submissions that do not match the mission statement or goals of the magazine. For more information on NEH’s editorial policy, please contact us. NEH DISTRIBUTORS You can find copies of NEH at ... The Pub in the Park Café Nicolia Madigan’s Irish Pub Rhythm & Booze Taco Ria NEH BOARD OF DIRECTORS C.J. Koster, Chairman Jinah Kim, Chief Executive Officer Kristin Annable Jon Beaton Tim Luea Ryan Rutherford Doug Thompson Kelly Williams NEH is a non-profit organization. Revenue from advertising, events and other forms of fundraising are dedicated to maintaining the longevity of the publication. No officer or staff member helping to produce NEH magazine receives any sort of payment or remuneration for their contributions. To enquire about NEH’s board of directors, annual general meeting or about how you can contribute to the future of Bucheon’s foreigner magazine, please contact us at email@example.com.
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SERIOUS INQUIRES ONLY. Join the NEH team. Contribute reviews, short fiction, photography, art, and express yourself. NEH is Bucheon’s newest foreigner magazine offering a wide variety of opportunities to creative and enthusiastic expats. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SALLY ANDERSON is a writer and teacher living in Ansan, South Korea. She is primarily a poet but enjoys other types of writing, especially on topics epicurean or hedonistic. Before coming to Korea she taught in the Czech Republic and traveled extensively. This year she satisfied her goal of 25 countries before turning 25. Born in California, she is British Bohemian by heritage. She dreams of making enough money in Korea to travel in South East Asia before settling down in London to pursue a career in publishing. Preferably while wearing vintage sundresses and knowing lots of fabulously weird people. READ ANDERSON’S ARTICLE ON PG. 22
ANDREW PRANGE is originally from Detroit, Michigan. Following his dream of living abroad, he came to Korea in September 2008. He is now Head Instructor at his hagwon as well as the author of Perfect Stranger: Korea, among other projects. Favorite quote:You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety. -Abraham Maslow READ PRANGE’S PERFECT STRANGERS ON PG. 16
MICHAEL HURT hails from Dayton, Ohio and is completing his doctoral dissertation while pursuing a living as a street/documentary photographer. Hurt‟s photos appear on the Korean street fashion website feetmanseoul.com and have been featured in a wide variety of publications including 10 magazine and the Korea Times. CHECK OUT HURT’S PHOYou‟ve probably seen her blue hair zipping through the streets of Hongdae or taking over your Facebook news feed. But when JEN DU isn‟t saving the world one Youtube music video clip or news clip at a time, she‟s most likely dancing the night away. Try to keep up if you can! Turn ons: sweets, good hair, intelligence, good taste in music, loud fashion, wit. Turn offs: Lame pick-up lines disguised as even lamer jokes, stupidity, laziness, bad breath, baggy pants. READ DU’S “10 WAYS TO MAZIMIZE YOUR SEXINESS” ON PG. 9
NEH IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY AND IS DISTRIBUTED IN BUCHEON AND IN WEST SEOUL. Submissions from freelance artists are accepted. Submissions in the form of feature stories, artwork, photography and short fiction are welcome. For more information about NEH, our deadlines or advertising information, please contact us.
1. Posture - don't slouch, even if you are tall. It makes you look ugly and weak. Good posture shows confidence and does the outfit you took so long putting together more justice.
2. Be confident - if you’re confident, your sex appeal auto-
your outfit, fixing your hair or covering your face! By doing so, you just look like you’re uncomfortable and that makes guys feel uncomfortable about approaching you. Who would you rather hit on ... the guy who looks like he's having fun or the guy constantly looking at himself in the mirror?
matically increases. Guys are attracted to women who exude 7. Don't be afraid to be bold - this is Korea, not the square, boring city you likely came from. Don't shy away from color confidence. or loud designs. Stand out! 3. Accentuate your strengths - all women are insecure about 8. Have a good walk- you might not believe this but guys some aspect of their body. However even if you don't have have hawk eyes when it comes to the way a girl walks. Ladies, the body you want, that doesn't mean you can't be sexy. Know your strong points. I don't have cleavage, but I have a don't scuff or drag your heels: guys hate that! Don't hunch over or walk in a crooked line. It's really annoying. Stand up good neck line so I wear tops with cuts that show off my straight, sway your hips, walk like you have a purpose. collar bone and shoulders.
4. Turn your weaknesses into strengths - I personally have very athletic legs that are naturally thicker than most girls' but damned if I'll let that stop me from wearing skirts and skinny jeans! So I work to keep my legs and glutes toned so I can keep up with those skinny-legged girls!
5. Have a good smile - nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a
9. Don't be afraid to be feminine - guys don't like girls that can't be feminine. Don't shy away from skirts or heels. You don't have to wear them all the time and wearing them doesn't make you weak. Even if you’re wearing jeans and a tshirt, don't forget to have a hint of femininity by adding a headband, cute shoes or playful accessories.
good smile. It can lure people in, men and women alike, or it 10. Have "the look" - we've all seen it in movies: women can make them turn and run for cover. So brush those teeth, who can do it—women like Sharon Stone, Angelina Jolie, Scarlette Johansson. I bet you can even name the movie and moisturize and shine those lips and start luring! scene where these women do "the look." The look I'm talk6. Don't be self conscious - girls, let's say you are unhappy ing about says, "I want you. Come over here and talk to me with a part of your outfit, hair or makeup and you swear that NOW." Either you have it or you don't and trust me, you everyone in the room notices what is so clearly wrong with don't want to be up against a woman who does because you; here's a reality check, they (and I mean guys) don't have nothing can withstand that look. ― J E N D U a clue. So don't draw attention to it by constantly adjusting PHOTOGRAPH BY LEN PAYNE
If entertainment motivates potential viewers to attend the cinema, and said viewers ask whether they ought to see Iron Man 2, the answer is a resounding Neh! The dialogue is witty, due partly to Jon Favreau, whose comic brilliance has kept many laughing since Swingers. Some might complain that the one-liners were a little heavy in a movie doing well without, but IM2 manages to stay on the right side of excessive. Having Favreau in the movie keeps the mood light while Downey battles drinking, faulty tickers, imaginary diseases and womanizing. From trivial issues to ideological issues, the creators were certainly seeking to make the movie palatable to a large audience. It has all the necessary ingredients to put it in the category of ‘summer blockbuster,’ including action, comedy, special effects and A-list celebrities. That is fine, but to what end? To find that out, one must first ask another question: Who is Tony Stark? Tony is the apex of Americana: wealthy, handsome, famous, intelligent, male, and a playboy. What are the ideals being put forth to the huge viewer-ship expected to indulge in this film? Commercialism/ consumerism and capitalism are high on the list. Tony dresses in expensive garb, is self obsessed, and people love him for it. He is famous worldwide (seen regularly on Russian television). He is also the most intelligent person in the world, challenged only by one Russian chap. Tony’s masculinity is essential for a slightly misogynistic hero. He has no
mother to speak of, routinely gets caught trying to make moves on different women, who ,it often turns out, are trying to exploit him. Then, after all his womanizing in the face of Paltrow, she cannot help but fall for him. Tony gets his girl. Paltrow’s character is the 21st century housewife. She has been upgraded since the days when women couldn’t vote; she temporarily becomes CEO of Stark Enterprises, and is to be interviewed by someone writing a piece on ‘powerful women,’ (which on the one hand celebrates how far things have come, while simultaneously demonstrating that women are rarely afforded such opportunities) but she plays subservient secretary for most of the movie. She finally relinquishes her position and settles on dating and becoming secretary for the CEO. Get that girl back in her place. Tony Stark is Iron Man. The movie Iron Man 2, is American capitalism and ideology. Iron Man wins out against the world, just as the movie expects to crush in the box office. Until another country creates a media machine to rival the U.S., the U.S. will be the ‘best’ because they say so. The movie is created for American eyes, and ‘just happens’ to have global eyes watching said propaganda. The whole world sees the U.S. win an intelligence war against Russia and, as referenced in the movie, the Axis of Evil, that is “Iran, North Korea, and China.” Evidently, these countries are not smart enough to remake Tony’s technology. America won a war they hosted and to which they received the only invitation.
They beat the world in another Cold War and paved the way for a peaceful future (“legacy”). Tony’s reference to privatizing peace is a fun notion, as America has been making plays to ‘keep the world safe for democracy’ for some years now. George F. Kennan’s “Containment” is hard at work in modern American media, typified by Iron Man 2. Visibility/cultural capital is currently the most effective tool in American warfare. America is the only country capable of maintaining “world peace”, so the world ought to leave the military power in their (Tony’s) hands. America always keeps the world’s best interests in mind. One need only ask American slaves (past and present, including ‘domesticated’ women who work inhome for no pay), the innocent victims of atomic bombs, and the victims of unilat-
eral decisions to wage war, to see how closely the ‘privatization of peace’ resembles the ‘egalitarian’, ‘democratic’ ruling of the world routinely attempted by the United States. Thankfully, any lack of continuity between reality and the film will be smoothed over when enough people watch the movie enough times, and can thus be convinced that representations of Pepper, Tony, and the global hierarchy are the ideals for women, men, and the global community respectively. All it will take is a bit more globalization, higher visibility, and a more docile, subservient, malleable, working class, and the world will be safe for ultimate dictatorship (dressed to look like democracy).
― CASEY DYSON
3 GREAT SCENARIOS, 3 HILARIOUS FACIAL EXPRESSIONS, 3 REACTIONS, 3 PHOTOS
You‟re a fifteen year old Korean girl who is out walking her dog while also talking to your friend on your cell phone and all of a sudden your dog takes off and is running away.
You‟re having sex with your Korean boyfriend and you‟re just about to orgasm when all of a sudden he starts weeping uncontrollably.
You‟re at a teacher‟s dinner with your principal, vice-principal and all of your co-workers when your principal calls you up to the front of the room to give a speech. As you get up, your co-teacher tells you that the principal wants you to speak entirely in Korean.
There are few safer pronouncements than declaring a film or television show to be inferior to the novel upon which it is based. Naturally there are smatterings of exceptions such as Fight Club or The Firm, but they‟re called exceptions for a reason. To suggest that a television series could be superior to a novel, even a particularly mediocre one, would seem to border on insanity or indicate that the particular proponent of that view has little or no taste. As an unabashed admirer of the Showtime series Dexter, entering its fifth season in September, and having now read the first two books which served as its inspiration, I can safely opine that the unprecedented idea of a television programme being better than the book is no longer a hypothetical possibility. The serial killer genre is by now so cluttered with stale variations that to find any fresh angle is in itself an impressive achievement. It is thus to author Jeff Lindsay‟s deserved credit that his novel introduced the world to a unique serial killer named Dexter Morgan who just so happens to be a really nice guy. He is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department who has something of a thriving sideline in disposing of murderers who slip through the cracks of the justice system. His sister Deborah is also with the Miami PD and his late father Harry Morgan was one of the department‟s top cops. We learn that Dexter was adopted when he was three and that from an early age he demonstrated certain ominous behavioural traits. Realising that there was no way to effectively dampen his son‟s macabre impulses Harry devised a set of rules which Dexter refers to as Harry‟s Code. A central pillar to these prescriptions, besides the all important one about avoiding capture, is the idea that Dexter should only go after bad people who he is absolutely sure are guilty of heinous crimes. We learn this through flashbacks and those familiar with the series will know that Harry reappears periodically to Dexter in the form of a spectral guide or conscience. Every hero, even one as unconventional as Dexter, needs a villain and he arrives in the form of the “Ice Truck Killer” who targets prostitutes and leaves behind a trail of chopped up, chilled and completely bloodless limbs. Dexter soon notices striking resemblances between this killer‟s MO and his own style of offing people. To make matters that much more mysterious, the ostensible antagonist leaves some teasing clues in Dexter‟s apartment while he also starts having strange dreams that appear to suggest some connection between himself and Miami‟s latest monster on the loose. In crime fiction a mystery introduced denotes a mystery that needs to be solved and, sure enough, there are plenty of revelatory surprises in store for the reader and our pseudo-hero as the novel heads towards its confrontational conclusion. What elevates Darkly Dreaming Dexter above the crime caper pack, and gives the subsequent show so much of its artistic heft, is that there is an attempt to offer a serious meditation on the existential condition of the main character. After having first watched the show and then reading the book, my greatest disappointment is that the question of Dexter‟s humanity, or lack thereof, is in many respects so glibly handled by his creator. In the book Dexter often makes mention of the fact that he isn‟t really a human being and how various important aspects of “humania” consistently elude him. In fact, this type of observation is far more consistently featured in the book than in the series where Dexter‟s occasional voice-overs still, however, provide clear indications of how distant he feels from other people and how emotionally empty he sees himself as. The Dexter of the book all too blithely accepts his inhuman condi-
tion and as a result he seems unchanged and possibly even glibber in the second novel, whereas Michael C Hall‟s incarnation appreciates the necessity and inevitability of developing his character by straining against easy certitudes about himself in light of significant new knowledge that emerges as the series progresses. Taken as a whole that is admittedly as yet incomplete, the narrative arc of the Dexter show could well be summed up as the titular character‟s attempt to become a human being. While never ultimately successful, at least not if the conclusion of the latest season is anything to go by, there is still a sense of search, of purposive intent that animates Dexter‟s endeavours and gives the series far greater resonance than a show merely about the exploits of a nice guy serial killer would have had. Herein lies the series‟ claim to greatness and the novel‟s comparable failure to deliver such an intellectually stimulating final product. Although at virtually every juncture, whether thematically or narratively, the makers of the show have improved on their source material, at least Lindsay‟s original entry will always have pride of place for being Dexter Morgan‟s first fictional foray. As a result people are able to read Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and any of the other print-based follow ups, safe in the knowledge that the Dexter mythos has not found its termination point on the page but rather exists here as merely a springboard for the magnificent alternative creation that is the rightly celebrated series. .— RYAN RUTHERFORD
The cast of ABC’s ‘Gravity’ and the cast of Starz’s ‘Happy Town’
My mission for this issue was to pick two new shows, or “electronically procure” them, and watch with no prior knowledge of what they are about. First up on the docket: “Gravity” a show which debuted on April 18th in the United States. When I saw the title “Gravity”, visions of Battlestar Galactica and Babylon Five version 2010 sprang to mind. Yet, within the first two minutes I was greeted with scenes involving bird poop, gay cruise ships, and a suicide attempt. The setting is a suicide help group; the cast are stunningly gorgeous suicide survivors. As the drama unfolds, the archetypal characters appear. We meet the “will they/won‟t they Rachel/Ross, Joey/Dawson, Bert/Ernie” couple; the esoterically wise token black character (this time played by the always affable Ving Rhames); the tight bodied fifty something attempting
Beautiful Smoking hot Watchable woman older fewith minimal paired with a male usage of the desperately brain geeky and/or fat man
Requires an intense usage of the cerebral cortex and complete sobriety
House The Big Bang Theory
to come to terms with her aging beauty (picture the entire cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County); and the thirty-something woman lamenting the perils of getting older and being alone. Yet, what makes this show interesting is these people aren‟t just characters who whine about their problems. With the knowledge that each of these characters went to the extreme of attempting to off themselves, there is an extra layer of depth to them. This makes for intriguing television, and by the end I found myself hooked into the drama and wanting to see what happens next. After reviewing “Gravity”, I decided to journey into what I hoped would be more lighthearted fare. I figured with the title “Happy Town”, it was going to be a warm-hearted drama set in one of those eter-
Supporting Stunningly Chevy Chase character hot male as an old whose ethnic who needs perv trying minority to be shirt- to re-gain his status is less onscreen youth by played up for more attending laughs community college
Two and a Half Men
Fringe The Vampire Diaries
Male and female characters that constantly hook-up, break-up, and get back together
With a brutal murder within the first two minutes, and a few other disturbing scenes, I wouldn‟t recommend this for the fainthearted. For anyone looking for something new to indulge their need for mystery, gore, and the darker side of small towns or just something to watch now that “LOST” has finally been found, “Happy Town” may just be your new show. ― KRISTIN ANNABLE
Hot twentysomething’s trying to pass off as high school students
nally happy/friendly/quirky small towns that don‟t exist in the real world. Instead, “Happy Town” made me more depressed than the show about depressed people. Happy Town, it turns out (as I maybe should have guessed), is a town that is perpetually unhappy. The town folk are kind, it‟s a place where everyone knows your name, and everyone hangs out at the local diner. But, as with what happens in many small towns in TV land (think Twin Peaks, Sunnydale, Eerie Indiana), it‟s a town with many dark secrets. “Happy Town” is setting itself up to be a mystery show that hooks its viewers with a cliff hanger at the end similar to “LOST”. I won‟t spoil what the secrets are but they involve an ominous “Magic Man”, a forbidden stairwell, and a missing little girl.
With the release of their newest album this past April, MGMT‟s “Congratulations” started out strong grabbing the #2 position on the Billboard charts in their first week. Being known for such a psychedelic sound, I was surprised to see that the album had started as strongly as it had, with its demographic being much smaller than most albums they are competing with. Previously known as “the Management”, the new wave band has found popularity world-wide, especially in England, Australia, and their home country of America. With a large growing fan base, I was intrigued as to what kind of comprehensive album a band with such strong singles would put together. Their first album under the guise of
MGMT, “Oracular Spectacular”, received much praise and extensive air time, which leaves one question to be answered: “Will this album settle into the typical sophomore slump, or will MGMT transcend the trend?”. Upon first listening of “Congratulations”, I was not a fan. I found it to be a lot of senseless noise, with only a few songs that I really felt entertained by. There was a lot happening musically, which had a tendency to drown out any verse, chorus, or bridge that was supposed to be coming across. I had been so excited about holing up with great music, but instead came out feeling utterly disappointed. In my dejection, I contemplated my inability to escape
music in which I had no idea what was being said, except for a few words here and there, and wondered if, perhaps, my ears were breaking. I gave the CD a rest for a few days and then, mostly out of obligation, decided to give “Congratulations” another go. Upon second listening, I did find myself much less hasty to dismiss the album, and especially drawn to the songs “Someone's Missing” and “Flash Delirium”. I can appreciate that MGMT is the type of band that does a good job of giving an old sound a new twist, and you can easily hear the influence of bands like the Doors and the Beatles (whom I love the most). However
obvious their influences might be, I will hand it to MGMT for their originality in composition. They truly think outside of the box, and that is a quality that is hard to come by. On the down side, out of 9 tracks on the album (one of them being entirely instrumental) I would undoubtedly skip about 6 of them if they came up on shuffle. Nonetheless, I encourage you to check out www.whoismgmt.com where the band has uploaded the entire album to stream for free. — JAMIE GREER
Burrito…………Beef 5,000₩ Chicken 5,500₩
Craving a kebab? OAN’S KEBAB, owned and operated by Jong Oan Seo is located on B1 of the Toona building near Songnae Station and serves a variety of delicious kebab sandwiches including chicken, beef and vegetarian options. For more information or for directions, contact Jong Oan at 32-622-7340. And yes, Jong Oan can speak English!
Fajita……………Beef 6,000₩ Chicken 6,500₩
Quesadilla………Beef 5,000₩ Chicken 5,500₩
Tacos……………Beef 4,000₩ Chicken 4,500₩
Soft drinks …………………………………… 1,000₩ Beer …………………………………………… 5,000₩
Songnae station, walk thewest FromFrom Songnae station, walk to to the west side of the Toona building. Taco side of the Toona building. Taco Ria is one is one of Toona block Ria north of block Toonanorth (on the right(on side of the right side of the street). the street).
New York Wedding Hall
For a country that doesn’t care much for cheese, it cares a lot about yogurt. But, why? Why do I walk into Home Plus and see a whole aisle dedicated to these little bottles that taste like fruity flavored sugar? At first, I didn’t care to answer this question. Then, I got sick, again, and again, and again. I was singing, “Oh, Korea, youuuu suuuuckkk…” Until one day my coteacher gave me a yellow bottle of gold-kiwi flavored yogurt. It featured a tiny picture of the large intestine with the word PROBIOTICS in English. On the back it read: Glucan. Fructan. Galactomannan. Sounded like sugar from a galactic ‘mannan’. Also, BB-12 (Bifidobacterium), Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Sounded like I was about to drink lactating acid bacteria that would give me strep throat. I went ahead and drank it anyway. Then I quizzed my co-teacher on what this stuff was. Despite the language barrier I gathered that little friendly bacteria will nest themselves in my intestines and help expel all the bad food I eat. My co-teacher drinks a small Yakult yogurt drink every day and swears it helps with digestion. I immediately Googled ‘Yakult yogurt drink’ and Wikipedia told me it’s from Japan and has its very own strain of bacteria. It also comes with a large amount of sugar. The next day I hopped over to E-Mart and surveyed my options. The top row had yogurt drinks with children dancing on the bottles. Not for me I guess. The left side had tiny bottles to buy in bulk, and the right side had bigger sized bottles in different flavors. I stood there wondering, “Why can’t I just buy one of each?” If I wanted the tiny bottles with all the sugar I would have to buy 20 of them. Well, sure, one yogurt a day for 20 days, but no, no, no. The expiration date is next week, so I’d have to drink 3 a day!? I’ll pass. I moved to the right and started again. Colorful pictures of intestines caught my eye. Apple, grape, peach, prune juice… They look so pretty that I grab one of each. I’ll be like my co-workers and share. At work, my co-workers eagerly scanned the bottles and declared the one with the most English as the best. However, when I asked what they drank at home they all had a particular brand and flavor they liked. In that moment I gave up on trying them all. Instead, I decided to go with the yogurt that had the biggest English words, and the least amount of sugar. Weeks later, I’m not getting sick as often, but I also started bringing my own lunch to work. Or maybe my stomach is getting used to spicy and fermented foods. Either way, I don’t skip past the yogurt aisle anymore. These little bottles of intestinal goodness are a permanent addition to my fridge. ―MARCIA TYLER
Andrew Prange introduces some of Bucheon’s most interesting and creative strangers.
Going against the grain in Korea, skateboarders Lee Jong-mun, Ahn Hae-kyun, Choi Yun-soo, Lee Jin-wan and Jeon Jinwang practice their preferred art form openly, using the paved areas around Hyundai Department Store and GS Square as their canvas. With strong connections to social rebellion and counterculture, skateboarding flies in the face of traditional Korean sensibilities, but that‟s never stopped these five. Taking inspiration from American pros in their high school years, they have been addicted ever since, practicing without the luxuries of specially-designed skate parks or a large community of fans to learn from and socialize with. That hasn‟t stopped any of these young athletes, though - Hae-kyun even brought his skateboard to bootcamp and kept practicing during his state-mandated two years of military service. “When I first started, I wasn‟t technically allowed to skate, but after a few promotions no one stopped me,” he says. They get a lot of curious looks and some people stop to ask questions, but rarely does anyone express interest in taking up the sport themselves. Still, they‟ve done what they can to grow the sport locally. “We made a group on Cyworld about five years ago for our club, Impossible Skate Crew,” says Jong-mun. “It got up to about 200 members, but a lot of them were just interested in skating, not active. We cut it back to just the active skaters - about fifty, all in Bucheon.” Hae-kyun sees the Korean education system, with its highly competitive atmosphere and emphasis on university entrance exams, as a key barrier to the sport‟s growth. “Most people are so busy studying for exams that they don‟t have time to practice with us.” Korean-American Alex Borowski skates with the Impossible Crew regularly and sees similar > The members of Impossible Skate Crew problems. always accept new members of any skill “The daily public reaction ranges from dismislevel, Korean or not. If you are intersive to apathetic to mesmerized. Generally ested, you can find their Cyworld page there's no ill-will towards skaters. I think most at http://club.cyworld.com/ClubV1/ parents view it as a pointless, futureless enHome.cy/50950084 or look for them deavor for children. It's not popular, and there's near Hyundai Department Store no money to be made. So it's not even worth a most weekends. second look in most cases.” That‟s fine for Alex. “You never get hassled and you can skate anywhere,” he says. Exchanges with the authorities are generally brief and friendly. “Sometimes the security guards from the mall come out, but most of the time they just want to see what we‟re doing. Once they realize we‟re not going to hurt anything, they leave us alone.” During my trip to Seoul to meet with members of the Monthly Grind, a group of skaters from the capital and all of the outlying districts in Gyeonggi-do, I witnessed this interaction first hand. Shortly after the skaters, with backward caps, tattoos, and baggy clothing, rolled in on their boards, two policemen were on the scene to investigate. As with the Hyundai security guards, once the officers were reasonably certain this ragtag group of young men and boys weren‟t going to cause trouble, they left. Alex sees some other differences between skating in America and Korea. While he is comfortable meeting and talking to local pros, the others “tend to give a respectful distance but purely out of respect, not timidity. However, it really goes to show that, despite not outrightly talking to guys, they still know who everyone is. Every skater, by name and ability.” For Jong-mun, one of the highlights of his skateboarding career was seeing the Volcom skateboarding team touring in Korea. “I had my picture taken with them and got an autograph. It was awesome, but made me a little sad because Korean skating is nowhere near as good.” With the efforts of these five and others like them throughout the country, that may be changing soon. N
The Monthly Grind meets at 9 pm on the first Saturday of every month in front of the statue of King Sejong at Gwanghuamun Station, exit #2. Special thanks to Koo Ji -hye for her work as translator.
NEH is seeking creative writing and art from the ex-pat community to exhibit in its July issue. Work can be in the form of short fiction, poetry, photography, hand drawn or electronically drawn art. It can be a collage of your old high school photos, a haiku about this or that, anything that expresses you.
Guidelines for submissions: Short fiction: 900 words maximum, submitted in *.doc format. Poetry: 70 lines maximum, submitted in *.doc format. Photography: Photos should be edited to the photographer’s liking prior to submission, photos should be submitted in high resolution *.jpeg format. Images (artwork, etc.): Should be submitted in *.jpeg format.
Where to send submissions: Submissions should be sent to email@example.com with “Creative Thinker” included in the subject line.
Editorial Policy for Issue 5: The editors of NEH magazine reserve the right to decline the publication of submissions that might be considered offensive or inflammatory. The editors also reserve the right to edit or revise submissions for grammar, spelling, content and clarity. NEH magazine also reserves the right to improve the quality of photos that may not be sufficiently modified for print.
Deadline for Submissions: The deadline for submissions is 3pm, Sunday, June 13th, 2010. Writers will be notified via email about any edits or revisions that may need to be made.
ONE OF THE MOST difficult things for a foreigner to do in Korea is to get a decent tattoo, or rather to find a place where said decent tattoo can be arranged. It‟s not so much that tattoos don‟t exist in this country but they‟re not exactly acceptable—particularly in the smaller, rural areas where conservative hagwon directors and public school principals will most likely ask you to cover them up. Or worse, students will stare, gawk and coo at the smallest appearance of any ink. But there are some places in Korea that offer amazing work from some talented and diverse artists. This month, JAMIE and JD GREER explore the nearly underground business of a tattoo artist in the back streets of Hongdae where their cousin was getting a tattoo done.
The artist’s study: a small studio apartment in Hongdae with the tattooing room in the back. The outside of the artist’s studio
“Hey, where are you guys?” “We're on our way to Hongik University Station. We'll be there in about 10 minutes.” “Hurry up! The guy is coming to pick us up, and he'll be here soon.” “Pick us up?” We wondered. “Like a shuttle service? That's odd.”
and I had been accustomed to the Western ways of getting ink. JD and I have befriended several Korean tattoo shops on Facebook since our search for a tattooer first began. I remember looking at one of the pages of a place in Gangnam, a pristine shop, with a row of red tattoo chairs and artwork on the wall showcasing the artist‟s talent. It looked just as you would expect it to: like a shop in the states, except newer and more organized, resembling something of a studio that might be the setting of a reality TV show in, say, Miami. When we reached the building, however, we noticed it looked nothing like the picture of the other studio we had seen, but just another typical building you would see in any given alleyway in Korea. We ascended the unkempt staircase, opened the first door we came to, and walked into what looked like a college guy's apartment. The first thing we saw were two men sitting on the couch watching a soccer game on a enormous television. It was then that I realized that the Korean guy was not just the shuttle service, but Hahn, the sole artist of GTO Tattoo, and we had interrupted the session of the halfinked, shirtless guy on the couch. We took a few minutes to talk with Hahn about a design for Chris, made an appointment for May 9th, and were on our way, allowing him to get back to tattooing his client.
est topic at the moment, the three of us discussed our previous tattoos. We all agreed that the first 10-15 minutes hurt the most, and the time after that is more of a numbed annoyance. Before having found GTO, JD had done a lot of researching the regulations that exist for tattoos in Korea. The most outstanding finding was that you have to be a doctor to administer them legally. We knew that most of the artists in Korea were not doctors, and that made us very curious as to how Hahn felt about the existing law. We first asked him about the repercussions of being caught tattooing in Korea, and his response was, “It is illegal, but it doesn't matter. Piercing is illegal, too, but the law is not tight. [If you're caught] Punishment is payment of 1-2 million won. The first time, not a big problem. Second time or third time is serious.” We spent the next few minutes talking about Hahn's band, his parents‟ negative view of his career (his father actually thinks that he TWO WEEKS LATER, JD AND I MADE our way works in the design business), his upcoming back to GTO. As we walked in, we heard the tattoo festival in L.A., and the sameness of When my husband JD and I arrived at all-too-familiar hum of the tattoo gun, beckHongik University Station, we were greeted tattoo sterilization standards with the US and by our cousin Chris, his friend Korinne, and oning us to peer into the back room, where Japan. a Korean with his bike. Unfamiliar with this Hahn was finishing the outline on Chris' However far from typical our most recent type of situation, I mistook our new Korean tattoo. Chris was sitting in a chair, propped tattoo experience was, it was an incredibly friend to have been just another part of Chris' up against the table with his right arm danunique adventure. In most countries, I would always changing entourage. It only took me a gling over his head. “It's hard for me to talk. I shy away from getting a tattoo in some guy's few moments to realize that he was the shut- can't breathe very well like this, so I have to apartment, and I certainly wouldn't suggest tle service. As we hiked up the hill, JD and I focus on that.” he said. “This is the most that anyone else do it. But, in Korea, it's an uncomfortable position. My body is tremdiscussed our realization for the purpose of interesting look into an underground culture bling from having to keep my arm like this.” that we wouldn't normally see. Plus, what's having to meet someone at the station. No After having stood there for awhile, our pres- cooler than getting a super secret tattoo in a directions in the world would have led us to ence obligating small talk, Chris seemed to the right place. super secret tattoo parlor? Nothing. N find it a little easier to talk. Covering the easiAs previous tattoo canvas' ourselves, JD
BUCHEON’S NEWEST MUSIC SENSATION IS LIVING UP TO THEIR NAME. WITH PACKED SHOWS AT BOTH RHYTHM AND BOOZE AND THE PUB IN THE PARK, YOU CAN’T HELP BUT MAKE SOME NOISE OF YOUR OWN FOR THESE FOUR UP AND COMING ROCKSTARS.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DENNIS KIM
Who better suited to feature about nightlife than a band causing ripple effects at each venue they visit? Quite possibly the most talented band to make their way through the live music circuit in recent months is The Noise. They possess it, whatever it is that causes a room full of people to put their party faces on. Each of these guys have a talent that, when blended, creates a Noise that owns the night. The forked roads that inevitably brought Matt Hum, Jake Cousineau, Sean Naylor, and Quentin Felix together have merged and are now being marked by those of us that crave nights of live music to get our blood pumping and bodies moving. A few weekends ago I had the privilege of listening to and meeting this group of musicians for the first time. With their white collared shirts, black ties, sneakers and sunglasses they were easy to spot, preshow. Their presence was magnetic, on and off the stage. Prior to lifting their instruments, they clearly had the crowd waiting in anticipation simply by suiting up in attire that conjures curiosity. As soon as the first notes flew, the venue gained an exuberance that had been waiting in the wings. This was one of the best nights I have seen in Bucheon, to date. With a set list that commanded attention, they took the night.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with these guys before one of their shows. It was to be the second time I would see them perform. As excited as I was to get to know them, I also couldn’t wait to hear them play. Each engagement delivered. We meet at Rhythm and Booze, their venue for the night. The evening unfolds rather casually, their stress-free approach a breath of fresh
air. Matt and Quentin, affectionately referred to as Q Baby, are first on the scene. Unwinding from a day at school, yet presumably revving up for what is to come, they play pool and hang with friends. Jake and Sean turn up an hour before show time, having each come off their own daytime obligations. Three of the four live outside of Bucheon. With commutes and differing schedules involved, they’ve situated themselves into a routine that creates a relaxed aura. Stress isn’t an option, nor does it seem to exist in their blood. Their relaxed manner is one of many things that make them appealing and, allow for nights of pure fun. We sit down to chat and are only a few words deep when the opening act begins. Hearing each other speak becomes impossible. We take ourselves outside and get comfortable on the floor right outside the bar’s doors. Sean, the bassist pulls up an E-mart shopping cart that was arbitrarily right outside and climbs in. He stays there for the duration of the interview, as if it were ordinary. Awesome.
During our Q&A, I pick up on a dynamic between the guys that seems fitting. Matt is the pilot, suitingly. Q Baby is the accountable one, mak-
ing sure preparations for the show are in order. Jake is the party, and Sean the self-proclaimed “choreographer” brings the whole thing together. The current four have only performed five shows together, yet they interact as if they’ve been doing it for much longer. When asked about the size of show they typically play, they all agree that it isn’t about the numbers. They say its about the feeling and energy of the crowd. “Come on now, we all know size doesn’t really matter,” is added with a laugh.
The Noise has only been an item for a total of five months. Matt Hum, guitar and lead vocals along with accompanying founder and first drummer Ryan Norwood, no longer in Korea, started the whole thing. Later joined by Jake, guitar and back-up vocals, and Sean, they find themselves short a drummer after Wood leaves. As teaching contracts end and begin, band evolution is assured. The hunt began. A month and a half ago, Jake woke up to a text from someone he apparently met the previous night. The text reads, “So, I guess I’m in your band now.” The sender is Q Baby, the newest member and second drummer for The Noise.
As we chat, friends of the band come out periodically with curious as to what is holding them up. It seems the curiosity is less about the interview and more about the fact that they’ve been MIA. The guys have been absent for too long from the games going on inside. Towards the end of the interview, Sean’s parents, in South Korea for a visit, step off the elevator. They walk right past the band, and their son, still curled up in the shopping cart, heading towards the entrance of the bar. “There they are,” Sean announces, as if now the real party can begin.
When asked what can be expected from The Noise in the coming months they answer, “Play more shows, one including a main stage
performance at Mudfest in July.” With an impish look on his face Matt adds, “Yeah, you should put that in there. Main stage.” As routine would have it, a major transition is about to take place for this group. The two guitarists will pack their bags and head to Taiwan for their next teaching stint. Too soon, I would say, and right as their notoriety is really taking off. Over the next few months they plan to make the most of the time they have together. Hopefully performing as many shows as possible. As the onset of Taiwan approaches the immediate future of The Noise is yet to be determined. It’s too good a thing not to be continued.
As The Noise suits up and begins their show, the vibe flips from typical Friday night to one that allows everyone to cut loose. Dancing, singing, drinking, and verve ensue. Matt’s voice carries a deep rock ‘n’ roll ruggedness that has eyes focused towards the stage. Sean, center positioned, plays bass with an energy that makes everyone wish they had some of what he does. Q Baby looks like he is having the time of his life, and Jake has the people out of their seats, partying. As they wrap up there are resounding requests for an encore. It’s the first chant I’ve witnessed on a night out. They give the people what they want. With these guys around, it is going to be a good summer. N
If your partner turns to you and says “Honey, I think we should become swingers” don't don your fedora and begin researching Benny Goodman. And no, I'm not talking about Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn either. I’m talking about “the lifestyle” that has crept its way from 1950s American suburbs to Seoul's most exclusive Gangnam clubs. Simply put, Swingers are couples that are interested in fucking people outside their relationship. Though it's not always penetration, swingers often swap partners to engage in sex. Of course orgies, cuckold fetishism and any kind of -lingus can be part of the game. Today swinging is a popular, albeit underground culture in America and many other western countries. The North American Swing Club Association (now NASCA International), offers everything from swingers travel (dreampleasuretours.com)
to club listings around the world with names like “Couples Social Club” or simply, “The Kum Kum Club. But swingers in Seoul, cheongmal? In a society where bare shoulders scream slut, homosexuality is denied, and “sexy” is limited to Girls Generation gyrating in school uniforms, sexual expression isn't exactly a strong point here. A lifestyle club dedicated to giving pleasure to the man and the woman even in a marriage seems beyond the socially acceptable anma and norekwangchang, i f you don't know what these are, please don't ask your coteacher. Ill fitted as a swinger’s club may seem to the underworld of Korean sex services, last summer amid the designer retail and 8,000 won nokcha frappes in Gangnam, such a club did open. It's called Couple's Theme Club (Club Desire), http:// clubdesire.co.kr/ though you need
a Korean social security number to enter. The club offers traditional partner swapping, group sex orgies, and live sex viewing. As you can imagine, a club like this didn't go unnoticed and there were crowds demanding it be closed down for promoting immoral behavior and debauchery. I wonder where are these so called “moral protestors” outside all the brothels that proliferate in South Korea? Happy endings at the anmas boast they are “condom free” and the women at norekwangchangs vary from desperate housewives looking to make extra money to high school students pretending to be of age. I don’t see anyone criticising that. And what about the thousands of Russian and Southeast-Asian women who are told they are coming to here to sing only to be sold into a multi-million dollar trafficking business? I say if these swinger clubs are full of consenting adults paying only for a place
to pleasure themselves, their partner, and maybe a willing stranger, so be it! And props to Korea for providing a safe place for people who crave this sort o f erotic environment. Though swinging isn’t fun and games everywhere you go. In China any amount of partners over three is illegal. Last month Ma Xiaohai, a 53-year-old professor was charged for “group licentiousness” for setting up a website where swingers could meet. Now he is facing up to 5 years in jail. Luckily for Club Desire in Gangnam, no such Korean law exists and since no one is technically paying for sex or doing anything in public, the club is a go. Try typing “swingers South Korea” into Google and you'll be surprised by the amount of (yes, English friendly) meet up sites that exist. And next time you are in China...stick to a threesome. ― SALLY ANDERSON
INTERVIEWED BY KARA JOHNSON
The live music scene in Korea is at times very predictable. Cover bands, rock bands, and soloists dominate nightlife. Talent seems to be around every corner and the creation of entertaining performances spring up as quickly as the revolving door for English teachers swings. Good times are always to be had, but a desire for variety creeps in more often than not. There is a certain individual that is delivering such variety not only in Korea, but also throughout other desiring Asian countries. Ryan Damon “DA” Green is taking the Korean rap scene to new heights. That’s right, there is a quickly expanding community of talented artists growing the rap culture of Korea. Managed by Iconz Media and recently signed to UN Records he is working on his freshman solo album. He’s been in Korea teaching and performing for the past year and seven months. The journey that led DA to where he is now is one that is hard to imagine wasn’t preset from the beginning. As I listen to DA tell his odyssey I can’t help but believe he was meant to be at this place, exactly. At the ripe age of 14, DA received his first verifying omen of the true talent that lie within him. Always inclined towards song writing and
poetry he was approached by local professionals who spotted the youngster writing in a park. They read his work and that same day took him to the studio to record for a party being held that night. A few years later, DA was with his best friend Squeeze who was quickly becoming known on the DJ circuit. DA too, was testing his ability at turntables. One day, Squeeze turned to DA and told him flat out to stick to rap, knowing that it was the place DA would leave his mark. The third moment that made evident to DA what his life’s work should be was at a crowded party back home in Massachusetts. Present at the party were DA’s cousins, also rappers. DA found himself in the middle of the packed basement freestyle rapping. As he pushed out rhymes, his unknowing cousins heard the crowd responding to the rapper of the moment from the room next door. When they realized it was their cousin killing it, DA’s place was solidified around the freestylerapping scene. Being a songwriter and poet isn’t possible without a source of inspiration. DA’s 4-year-old son, Dasan is the heartbeat behind his work. DA strives to create a product that can be felt by the people following. He loves developing
art with a punch line recognized by friends and fans. His favorite part of a performance is when the crowd is gathered around, a line is dropped and everyone responds out of knowing. Presently, DA spends his days teaching, weeknights recording, and weekends performing around Korea and throughout Asia. Though now his priority is finishing his freshman solo, he can still be found booking gigs and attending freestyle battles. Seoul venues, among many include, Roofers in Itaewon, Club DGBD, and Club TA in Hongdae. The aim for release of his album is set for fall. Until then look for DA’s mixed tape, OUTSTANDING slated for release the beginning of June. In addition, he has collaborations in the works with DBSTK another movement-making artist located in Seoul. Once his album drops, you can be certain nightlife in and around Seoul will feel the affect. Find DA’s music online at reverbnation.com/ daglobal or at myspace.com/8thcontinent. N
PHOTOGRAPH BY LEN PAYNE
Michael Hurt captures raw street fashion and posts on www.feetmanseoul.com
Clifford, eat your heart out: The matching of the red and black, coupled smartly with the black bag creates a creative and authentic statement The mask says it all
Sexy yet simple: this look is definitely more about attitude than style or color and without a doubt, she pulls it off
Trio of cuteness: these outfits, though not eccentric or overwhelming speak to the personality of these three ladies
The gorgeous gypsy How many people do you know who can pull off head gear like that? An outfit that screams LOOK AT ME!
The Secret Look: There’s something mysterious about women who style their hair to cover an eye. Something definitely sexy too.
The Press Pass: If only the old time press guys knew how to dress like this.
Drink Your O.J.: Blending colors like reds, greys and blacks can’t be easy but these girls make it seem almost effortless.
The poster girls The Bad Ass: there’s something classic about his look; it’s tough but there’s a reflection of personality in the way its executed
In Front of the Spotlight On the weekend of May 8 and 9, DJs from around the world, including artists from Japan, Australia, the UK and others converged on the Han River Park Nanji Area in Seoul.
> “What a long strange trip it’s been.”
I don‟t think that Korea is what The Grateful Dead had in mind when they wrote those lyrics, but I don‟t think there is a better quote that captures my last two years in Korea. Like any “trip” I‟ve experienced in my life, Korea has had its share of eye opening, mind blowing, life changing experiences; along with horrific moments that made me want to loose my fucking mind.
> I came to Korea like a lot of Americans: a few grand in credit card debt, student loans to pay off, and about $1000 in my pocket. Knowing only what I read in my Korean phrase book, and the little bit I read on the Internet, I was lured in by recruiter‟s promises of great pay, good vacation, health insurance, free housing, and a paid round trip airfare. It all sounded pretty good—especially with the American economy crashing, unemployment rising, and a jackass of a president taking away Americans personal freedoms. Armed with a sense of adventure and a trusted best friend we made the journey to the wonderful Republic of Korea.
> My first year, I worked at a hagwon.
Not just any hagwon, but one of the worst fucking hagwons in Korea: ESD in Mansu Dong Incheon. Our housing was a dilapidated shoe box with ancient furniture and appliances that constantly broke and left us without heat or hot water in the winter. We were paid late more times than not. We never received our proper health insurance. Our taxes and pension were stolen by the owner. We went through about twenty teachers in the year I was there. I literally got into a physical confrontation with the owner who grabbed me while I was demanding my money. I had resorted to complaining to the government, threatening to call the students parents, having him threatened by a lawyer, and it still took me 2 years to get all of the money I was owed. > It wasn’t all bad. By the end of my first year I had made a ton of amazing friends, was singing in two different bands (D&D and Fandeath); I had played concerts at many venues across the country, had been on Korean TV, experienced Mudfest (a must do while in Korea), traveled from north to south, east to west, went to all types of festivals, concerts and clubs. I was living the dream. Did I mention I had a Korean girlfriend whom I had knocked up. Needless to say I decided to stay another year. > “Fool me once, it’s on you. Fool me twice”…and I’m a fucking idiot. So I did some homework this time, found a highly recommended recruiter, and found an amazing public school job in Bucheon. I also promised never to impregnate another woman (I got engaged). I loved public school. I was paid on time every time and had awesome vacation. I got a decent officetel apartment, and went on countless school trips and dinners (a.k.a. soju drinking events with the bosses) paid for by the school. My co-teachers, supervisors, vice principle and principle were all great. It was a cake job, and I appreciated every minute of it after my first year in hagwon Hell. If you‟re debating whether or not to stay another year, or are miserable at your hagwon, public school is the way to go.
> My advice to you is to make the most of your stay here.
I enjoyed living in the city with countless things to do and a lot of great foreigners. Even the crowded city made trips to the country that much more enjoyable. I‟ve eaten and enjoyed bosintang (dog soup) and gaegogi (dog meat) on numerous occasions; I‟ve eaten live octopus wrapped around a chopstick, and eaten the ass of a chicken - just to say I did it. I grew quite fond of pig spine soup as well. I‟ve raced go carts, gone bungee jumping, skied black diamonds, hiked mountains, gone to baseball games, visited the oceans and hot springs, went four wheeling and played hockey. My point is there is something for everyone.
> My advice to the “newbies”: Korea is not as respectful as most foreigners are led to believe, get used to it. Korea is more about “keeping up appearances.” Get used to being shoved on a subway, pushed getting on or off an elevator, elbowed in the back by an ajumma while waiting on line at a convenience store, almost getting hit by taxis while in a crosswalk, almost getting run over by scooters while walking on a sidewalk, experiencing prejudice just for being a foreigner, and everything in between.
> In the end I can only hope for you that your stay has been as good as mine.
I hope you “come down” from this trip with a loving wife like mine (Kim Suhyun), a beautiful son like mine (Eddie Hyun), surrounded by some of the best friends that you‟ll ever meet, at a going away party where everyone tells you their favorite memory of you, while giving you a plaque that states “Ray takes on the R.O.K. NAKED”, before taking you to the first foreigner bar you ever went to in Korea to remove the picture of you naked doing the limbo from the wall, then get an awkward reintroduction to the first Korean Cougar you “got to know” two years earlier, only to eventually come home and finish an article that you‟re writing for NEH magazine at 4am, and finally realize, it was the family, friends and memories you were making that kept you in Korea. Everything else is just par for the course.
Dear Agony Ajumma Exactly 5 months, 11 days and 13 hours ago I climbed off the plane at Incheon International. I had a suitcase full of expectations and resolutions. I was determined to make this Korean adventure my ‘Great Detox’. No more smoking! No more drinking binges! I was abandoning my ‘cheeseburger-a-day’ philosophy for good. Yup, that lasted for about a week. The welcoming dinner with my school was a smoky, soju-filled blur. I was forced to go one for one with the hardcore P.E teacher. The next day, I woke up at the top of a very slippery slope into degeneration. If it’s not smoking with the male teachers at school, it’s drowning in Cass-uh at the local bar. I feel like I’m watching my goals get stuck in the drain. Any advice for this sad case? Well-intentioned Waygook Dear Well-Intentioned It sounds like you need to start grabbing the rice by the paddy, if you know what I mean. You need to take responsibility for your own journey. Just say ‘ani-eyo’, ‘gwaenchanayo’, ‘oppsoyo’ or a big fat NO thanks. Life is like an ancient ajumma, way too short for its own good. The last thing you need is regrets. Start making a list of all the things you wish you were doing and do them! Instead of being sucked along by the crowd, put out that last cigarette in the nearest kimchi pot and try making your own decisions. I think you’ll find that things will quickly turn around. The cherry blossoms will smell sweeter and you’ll be happily humming in no time.
Dear Agony Ajumma I’m writing this curled up in a terrified ball under the covers in my bed. I live in a 15 story apartment building. I have a loft which puts my head very close to the floor of the apartment above me. Every night, strange and ridiculous noises seep through the floor. Sometimes it’s agonized yelling, sometimes it’s methodical droning and banging. I don’t know what to do. I don’t speak enough Korean to go up there and talk to them. I can’t call the police- for personal reasons. I need sleep! I can make green tea with the bags under my eyes! Bushed in Bucheon
mountain down to respectable hill but it mushrooms like an atomic bomb every time I come back from E-mart. The individual wrappers on everything…I’ve started to hiss and spit at my recycling because it’s become such a hideous affliction. Last night I dreamt that I was being swallowed by a cookie wrapper and a potato chip packet was trying to make out with me. I’m afraid of becoming one of those people you see on TV, who live in amongst all that garbage as if it smells like flowers because they’ve become too overwhelmed to deal with it and have blocked it out psychologically. Help. Terminally Trashed
Dear Bushed This is an interesting case. Of course, it’s not strange to get the occasional loud neighbour noises at odd hours. I usually put it down to a rousing game of Wii or a frisky night after a few drinks. But, the repeated and torturous nature of the sounds seem dodgy to me. I don’t want to scare you but I reckon you could have axe murderers or gangsters living on top of you. Don’t mess with this. If you can’t go to the authorities, I suggest investing in some good old fashioned earplugs and developing a healthy sleeping pill habit. Then again, it may just be a K-pop dance class practicing for a big competition. I guess you’ll never know.
Dear Terminally Trashed Never fear, Agony Ajumma is here. Honestly, I think there’s a very simple solution to your problem. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but it’s usually the unhealthiest stuff that comes with all that plastic. The cookies, potato chips, baked goods, soda cans, chocolates. They all have a million layers of plastic to keep them preserved. Try buying more fruits and veggies with their natural wrappings and I think you’ll find your waste problems diminishing. Next time you hit up the local E-mart, think before you pack your bags with food that is just as good for you as the junk it’s wrapped in. Eliminate the trash before it even gets to your apartment.
Dear Agony Ajumma I’ve got a problem. And that problem is: TRASH. It piles up so fast I can’t deal with it. I have one corner in my apartment dedicated solely to junk. I try to keep the
Send your questions about love, your job, Korea, anything and everything to NEH’s Agony Ajumma at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a pseudonym and contact information to verify your identity. Agony Ajumma is not a certified psychiatrist. What a surprise.
Gemini 21 May – 21 Jun Distracted? Yeah, me too. I think it’s because of spring. Did you know Korea has 4 seasons? Oh, your fortune! Wake up, wash your face, change your pants, and don’t step in spit.
Taurus 20 Apr – 20 May Don’t forget that everybody but you has the right of way. Sounds selfdefeating? You can always pretend it’s ironic. That usually works. Crying will bring small white dogs to your rescue.
Cancer 22 Jun – 22 Jul
Aries 21 Mar – 19 Apr Be weary of Noraebangs or you may be stuck singing a 1970’s love song with a drunken principal. And avoid old people. They will zap you with their eyes if you dare walk in front of them.
Abomination and fornication! These two words sum up your life. After suffering what can only be described as “hell”, act daft, and randomly bump into people as they bump into you.
Pisces 19 Feb – 20 Mar
Leo 23 Jul – 22 Aug Many of your words have been plagiarized by others who have no idea what you said. Congratulations! Sing “Ole, ole, ole, ole” to the next motorbike delivery man and get a free Hite.
K-pop stars not finding you attractive? Glue hair to your forehead. It doesn’t have to be your hair. Next, illegally download the ABC song and sing it to Korean girls who smoke in public.
Aquarius 20 Jan – 18 Feb
Virgo 23 Aug – 22 Sep
Hi-lo! Combining Hi and Hello makes the Korean elders proud. This is your new name. To not get run over on Sunday, sign ‘I love you,” to the goldsequined cowboy-hat-wearing car guards
Looking into your future is like looking into an endless bowl of ramen noodles. And pizza. Your power phrase for the month is “옥수 수 빼주세유” (Oksusu bae-jusayo)… unless you like corn.
Capricorn 22 Dec – 19 Jan
Libra 23 Sep – 23 Oct
Never fear, Bubi is here! Pronounced [Booby], this breast-like hand-u-phone wants to stroke your face and massage your ears. Buy quickly, before the fumbling virgins grab them all.
Have you cleared your chakras lately? Good. Neither have all the other masochists. If you smile while you chew that force-fed piece of gum you’ll be G-Dragon’s lollipop. Mashiso,
Scorpio 24 Oct – 21 Nov It may be time to stop drinking this month. Or start drinking? The stars were unclear. You could end up getting pummelled to death by gangsters from Gangnam, or be kindaaa…OK.
With this special Zodiac signs compatibility report based on zodiacal signs personality stereotypes, you can take a whole new light on your relationship. Or maybe it will help you find a new love.. Let us know how it works out for you.
COMPATIBILITY Most Least Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo
accepts no responsibility for any personal injury, death, loss or damage of any kind suffered by any person as a direct or indirect result from following the advice from the NEH magazine horoscope section.
Sagittarius 22 Nov – 21 Dec All the kimchi in the world won’t make up for the fact that you are socially retarded. No worries. Destiny will give you a new friend named Hi-lo. And remember you are a GENIUS!
Libra Aquarius Gemini Pisces Scorpio Cancer Aries Sagittarius Leo Taurus Capricorn Virgo Aquarius Libra Gemini Cancer Pisces Scorpio
COMPATIBILITY Most Least
Aries Leo Sagittarius Taurus Virgo Capricorn Gemini Libra Aquarius Cancer Scorpio Pisces Leo Sagittarius Aries Virgo Capricorn Taurus
Cancer Taurus Gemini Leo Cancer Virgo Leo Libra Scorpio Virgo Libra Sagittarius
In our first issue, almost two months ago now, we included on our last page a quiz for men. It was a bunch of questions that men could use to determine if their girlfriend/wife has reached the ripe old status of ajumma. In fact, the quiz was very well received—by both our male readers who thought it was funny and our women readers who … well, not so much. We thought in the interest of fairness, we’d give the ladies an opportunity to check just how ajushi their husband or boyfriend is. 1.
Has your boyfriend/husband ever been so drunk that he has thrown up controllably somewhere other than in a toilet? Yes No
Has he ever cleared his throat and horked a loogey more than half a meter without any consideration for the people around him? Yes No
10. Does he know more than two Korean curse words? Yes No
More than 10 yeses: Says it all 3.
When you’re at a Korean bar and he is ordering a beer, does he know immediately which brew he wants? Yes No
Does he do the “hhhssssssshhhh” after a shot of soju? Yes No
5 to 10 yeses: he’s not quite there yet
Less than 5 yeses: He’s no where close
Does he like kimchi? Yes No
Are his shoes so shiny that you can see yourself in them? Yes No
Does he smoke a Korean brand of cigarettes? Yes No
Has he ever sang “Bohemian Rapsody” at noraebang? Yes No
Has he ever sang “Bohemian Rapsody” at noraebang with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other? Yes No
11. Does he know how to properly wrap galbi, samgyupsal, or any other kind of Korean BBQ meat in a piece of lettuce with all the fixings? Yes No 12. Can he read Korean? Yes No 13. Does he know the differences between mekjo, somek, and mahkoli? Yes No 14. Has he ever exercised in a suit? Yes No 15. Does he know the rules to baduk (바둑: the game with the black and white stones)? Yes No
June 4th- The Lemonbrains June 11th- The New Edibles June 18th- DJ Pandemic July 2nd - NEH Magazine Party
Sunday - Thursday, All you can drink Max and Cass Draft 5,000 won per hour.
Ex 1 Fr p. ee 30 Dr /0 ink 6/ 10
June 2010, Issue 3: Published in Bucheon, South Korea.