Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living with a disability in Korea

I read this article last week about KBS hiring a disabled person as an anchor .  KBS is a broadcasting system for Korea and it recently stated that it hired one of its first disabled news anchors.  In America something like this would never make news unless it was a famous person or had some significant meaning to the public.  There are  laws to protect individuals from discrimination of race, gender, and even disability when it comes to finding work. This does not mean an employer may not subconsciously be judging or choose another candidate over one that "appears" not to be able to complete the task as well as another. This would cause a lot of frustration among people I know if this were how things were run in America.

One of the interesting things about Korea is that most people with disabilities are rarely seen in society.  A lot of elderly and people with disabilities live in the shigol/countryside because many of the cities cannot entirely accommodate people with major disabilities. If such people do exist in the cities, they probably remain at home.
I hope that what this article says is true and that it will encourage other companies to in the future hire more people with visible differences whether or not they may be physical disabilities.  A physical disability does not constitute a mental disability. Plenty of elderly people lose control of their bodies before their minds.  (Although quite a bit do lose their minds before their bodies.)  People with muscular diseases may have trouble walking or speaking, but can perform with IQs much greater than the average person. For example,look at Stephen Hawking, and English physicist who lived with ALS, a motor neuron disease. He is a very well known scientist that  served as a professor in some of the best universities as well as traveled the world speaking about his work.

I want to see more accommodation and awareness for people with disabilities.  I don't want my friends, brothers, and sisters to be hidden from society because of a disability.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's runch time

Are you an English teacher in Korea? Do you eat lunch in your school?  Here is a very typical conversation you will come across at your school. Although this may be offensive to Koreans, it is hilarious because it is so true.  Anyone else know how this feels?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Black Day - April 14th

Are you a lonely single?  Well, then today is your day!  It's the 14th of April, which means it is Black Day (블랙데이). The 14th day of every month is a special romantic day observed to express love for couples or drown in loneliness for singles.  Not all of the days such August 14th-Green Day, a day for couples to seek nature and relax while singles drink soju (it is a green bottle) to drown in sorrow, are as well-known or openly celebrated as Valentine's Day, White and Black Day.

Black Day, coined solely by Koreans to "celebrate" singleness, is marked by dressing in dark colors and together with friends eating jajangmyeon (자장면) or noodles with a black bean sauce.  Black Day is a day for those that did not have a date or love interest to exchange chocolates with on Valentine's Day or White Day. On Valentine's Day in Korea, girls give guys gifts such as chocolate while on White Day, a day that started in Japan and rapidly picked up attention in South Korea, men return the gift of chocolate more often giving candies and gifts to the women they received chocolates from on Valentine's Day.  Koreans eat noodles covered in black bean sauce or other dark colored foods on Black Day to represent their sorrows of single-hood.

About Jajanmyeon 
Pronounced with a hard j like jjajangmyeon 짜장면, but spelled 자장면
jajang (자장) - fried sauce, myeon (면)- noodle.

The jajangmyeon that Koreans traditionally eat on Black Day is a Korean-Chinese dish that originated in Incheon, South Korea from Chinese immigrants to Korea.  It was believed to be founded in 1905 in a Chinese restaurant called Gonghwachun (공화춘)  It is made of noodles known as sutamyeon ( 수타면) that are traditionally hand-made with white flour instead of potato starch that other noodles like japchae are usually made of.  The specifically hand-made noodles are an essential for good jjajangmyeon.  Due to its long history, jajangmyeon is considered a special "national" food of Korea.

In making black bean noodles, after noodles are quickly boiled, sauce is added to the mix. The sauce consists of pork and vegetables cooked in a pan. To make the sauce- pork, veggies, and seafood are stirred in a frying pan.  The black bean sauce made of chunchang (춘장) is added to the cooked goods. A stock is added to cut the saltiness and cornstarch added to thicken the sauce.  Mix it up a little with some chop sticks and the dish is ready to eat.

Are you sad to be single?  Put on your dark clothes, grab a few friends and commiserate with each other over a bowl of jajangmyeon. They say misery loves company.  If you're lucky, you may just end up finding another charming single out there. Who knows, by May 14th (Rose Day) you may be exchanging roses with someone.  Smile and have a happy Black Day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The journey to becoming an idol fanatic.

jung il woo

jo hyun jae

Jung Il Woo is gaining much of the attention for the drama 49 Days.  I can't forget Jo Hyun Jae.  He's finally back on the screen after a long sabbatical... he was away for military, that is.  I "met" this lovely guy in the drama Love Letter. It was one of the first Korean dramas I watched all the way through.  It was okay.  I was more so entranced by Jo Hyun Jae. I wonder why.  He carried with him such a sweet innocence, although he played a much older/mature character in his younger age. He's definitely grown up and matured.
Jo hyun Jae back in the day

I'm not one for watching dramas, but watching drama and listening to kpop prove highly effective for the studying and improvement of language skills.  Listen first, speak second, and read third. Writing gets thrown in there somewhere, as well.  Those are some of the keys steps to learning a foreign language (in my opinion)...which is why I find myself succumbing to the drama fanatacism, the hallyu (wave of Korean drama and music) craze, and idol love.  It's true I'm on this journey to becoming an idol fan even though all I want it to learn a bit of Korean. It has been extremely difficult to force myself to watch some dramas, but once I sit myself down to the task, I can't let myself go.  There is some form of brain washing or mesmerizing trance that it puts you into. You probably start drooling without knowing it or looking in the mirror to see if your looks even compare to your favorite actors and actresses on the screen.  Who are your "idols"?  I don't believe in having other idols, but there really aren't many other words for them.  Koreans call them "idols" because loads of people look up to them.
We'll see if  I finish watching the 49 Days drama. Sounds like it is building popularity.