Monthly Archives: November 2011

Teenagers Rampage!

News article for The Gyeongbuk Province Times (Hypothetical since 1862)

Headline: Teenagers Rampage Downtown Gimcheon!


Early last night, hundreds of plad-clad teenagers were seen flooding the local city streets, gorging on lightly blanched fishcakes, deep fried tentacles, and clearly reveling in the carnage as red glaze dripped down their chins from the recently ravaged wastes of deokk bokki, a word that stutters fear even into itself, as its spelling clearly shows. These rice cakes never knew what was coming… One minute they were lazily basting in a warm sea of spicy, saucy goodness, the next they were being heaped into bowls wrapped in sanitary gloves for their own protection… Yes, even the bowls had reason to fear the deokk bokki… But not the teenagers – with toothpicks, an item previously famed for its dental proclivity, they skewered them with a seeming delight, and laughed as they gnashed their underdeveloped jaws upon the quickly snuffed lives of these innocent – if dangerously spicy rice cakes, clearly enjoying it all. But lo, the proto-humans did not stop there – they pranced away from the old sellers of simmering souls – into the cold darkness – only to seek new excitements and intrigues.  Apparently, their appetites had but been wetted.

After the destruction laid down upon the booths of many things – they were seen darting in and out of the many stores on the main road that had, until then, known the kind of peace and quiet that only a lazy afternoon in the countryside can offer a shopkeeper sometimes… Yes, these overgrown rugrats, these marsupialine cyberjunkies dove into the unsuspecting shopfronts with fire in their eyes and malice in their hearts… It is the only explanation for what was to follow… It was as if they had to try on every single hat in order to convince themselves that they didn’t really want one after all – and all the testing of pens – good God! The amount of ink lost in those few seconds could have allowed children in lesser lands to do arithmetic that would forever allude them, now that these tornadoes of testing had blown through…

But when all was nearly lost, after the pencil cases had been dismissively tossed aside, and the notebooks completely disorganized – there was a moment where it was as if an angel of clarity flew into the room – As I peered from my safe distance, far across the way, behind the protective enchantment of the aura created by the steam coming from my caramel soy latte. I could see them coalesce as if they had reached a moment of enlightenment – as I squinted to see what they were holding, I could see in their hands small scraps of some sort – they seemed to be of many different colors and designs… So I got up from my seat, considered the dangers, and began walking towards the window…. I stepped outside, warily keeping my distance lest I be spotted by a student or a high schooler who thinks I’m one of them, all the while smelling my latte to make sure it was still there… As I stepped through the gateway of the cafe into the sidewalk, I saw what it was, I saw the trigger of their mood. I saw… the socks…

These socks were no normal socks. They were cute, really cute, dangerously cute if I may say. Dangerous because they distract. They distract teachers from chastising, and schoolmates from focused study – they are dangerous to the cold rigor of morbidity that is required if they are to be the future leaders of their people – Oh sure, people say that they are just children and should be allowed to run free – but they are only safe to be around when they have the socks! Without the socks, they are evil, conniving, destructive beasts of consumption and interactivity. Let this article stand as a warning to anyone who would walk during nighttime in the streets of Gimcheon, Korea. There are teenagers on the loose. And they will stop at nothing to find those cute little socks with all the pictures of monkeys, rock stars, cartoon characters and God knows what else! I was a witness… When they finished swooning like a lion after a feeding on its woe-begotten prey – they fled from there in a fury that could only have been called a stampede, as the dust thrown up in their wake was as dark a cloud as the tension that hung in the air from the places from whence they had just come.


The Following Photo is Unrelated (and should be considered for scratch-and-sniff computer screen status.) 

This is what I do to myself when you're not around!


Take care out there.

~jimmer out

This story is copyright 2011, James Jordan.

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Believe it!

( if you want to maximize any of the photos – just click on them.  Cheers.)

Jik Ji Sa

I’m writing again!

Long-neglected is this blog. Hopefully, this lil’ note’ll make it feel better a bit.
Where to start? Well, I”m still here in Gimcheon – doing my best to stay as isolated as possible for the sake of my guitar skills. I actually sound like a mediocre player these days – that’s exciting. It’s been 6 months, half of which doesn’t count. Listening to such a diversity of music that I don’t know where to start for picking one or six to focus on – so I have focused on the circle of fifths. Working on how the tones work together, rather than putting myself into someone else’s song just yet. So this is where my brain is. My fingertips have changed to where I can either barely feel with them, or they hurt. But just the tips.

It’s kind of a nice place to be doing this.

Teaching – I”m actually teaching. It’s nice – every day I have a different set of kids except for the set that repeats on Mondays and Fridays. I’m even on the verge of trying to remember three of the kid’s names. What a surge that is – huh? I like being a teacher that they both like and that makes them work. I can do that as a once-a-week’er more easily I think than I’m used to. Usually, students get a sense of regularity with a teacher where the balance is hard to find. But because I teach the same lesson to different groups, I can focus on it for one, then I can refine it as I pass through it. It’s cool like that.  Lots of teachers that aren’t my co-teachers are fun.  Some really go out and try to be friendly.  Here’s a science teacher who can speak about 24 words of English – but always kind.

I found a huge collection of educational games today that I’m going to start integrating. I’ve been keeping it to the lesson for the whole trip – but the 3rd graders (of the middle school) just took their finals, and they’re actually finished and will start high school in February, after a month off in January. I’ve no idea what we’re expected to teach them for December, so I’m getting ready for anything.
Recently we had an expo of the kid’s art and such.  That’s where I took that picture from above.  Here are a few more.

I’ll warn you that this site is not for your kids to peruse.  It is peppered with comically-engineered material that is as they say “not suitable for children” at times.  That being said – That link is here:

Grading is different here – in a big way. Kids don’t need to pass to pass. They just get promoted, no matter what they did on their exams. Wow. So if anything – the ones that are inspired to do well, are genuinely inspired – not just because of pressure to do well on tests. I’m sure that involved parents have a lot to do with it as well. I saw the final – it was 25 questions. 25. Some kids were done in five minutes. Seriously. Weird.

As far as it goes though – the classes are still on par with what I would expect in a country town in the states – I mean – seriously, my experience is very skewed. I teach at four schools that all have 60 kids or less. I have classes with five kids. It’s kind of ridiculous, in a nice way. My time here is more academic than anything else. I’m forced to focus more on myself than I ever remember being able to do, much less not having the option otherwise. There are a few Westerners here to hang out with, but I really only see them on the weekends, and so between Monday and Friday, it’s just me and the co-teachers for company. To be fair, two of them are genuinely interesting. That’s three of my days. So that’s cool. I can’t sit and talk stuff on the others, they’re lifers in the gig, and set in their ways – ways that I neither understand nor find reasonable for spending my time getting to know. But they aren’t trouble. They keep to themselves pretty directly, and that serves me fine. I hope I don’t come off like that.   Trying to focus on my guitar and all.

Meh – whatever.  I’m having a fine time, if not for the isolation that spins the brain a bit now and then.  Like right now – I just went for a walk to this cafe – took 20 minutes to get here, been sitting in the window for for nearly an hour in the busy, walking district of town, not one foreigner has passed by.  Some high school boys tried to talk to me – got as far as hello, and that was it.  They seemed pretty proud of themselves for getting there – got uncomfortable and left.  Heh.  I did kinda vibe privacy for the sake of this note, but still, one word in the last three hours, and that’s more than normal.   Thank god for headphones.

And I hike.  I’ve been able to get out and see some amazing places for sure.  Sculptors, check this out:

Then there’s

Which as situated somewhere near this…

… in this amazing scene…

,,, which leads to a 15oo year old temple called Jik Ji Sa.

Jik Ji is one of the oldest temples in Korea, and has some fun hiking around it too.  I’ve been through it a few times now, and it’s still a good time.  The following picture is of the main building – now, mind you – the compound is something like 40 buildings, but this is the center one, the main one – inside are three giant paintings that are about 600 years old – the structure is about 400 years old, and the stone pieces in front are at least 800 years old.  Dig:

Then there was this time that one of my schools took me up to a mountain to check it out and have dinner under it….

Tell me it ain’t a good-lookin’ spot.

Then there was this…

and these…

So it’s understandable why I stay I think.  I have time to practice at arts that I’m trying to master, and am surrounded by all this weird coolness – and I’m fed fairly well.  All that’s missing is you.  I’ll get back when I can…  And you know I can.  But it’ll be a minute.


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