Sunday, December 2, 2007

My seaside city

My hometown, Busan, is located at very south of Korean peninsula. It is second big city after Seoul, the capital city, and has huge port and several famous beaches. Originally, Busan wasn't a significant city. However during the Korean war, Nakdong river which draws city border of Busan, worked as a protection wall for the refugees from north. After the war, some of refugees remained in the city, and add diversity to it. Talking about diversity, another special feature of Busan is that the city has a few foreign district like Chinese town, Russian market, unlike the other cities in Korea. Busan has been developed a lot more than any other cities after the war. Now it has a huge bridge which across the ocean, and lot of super tall buildings everywhere. Someone said that Busan is so unique, because the city has lots of small mountains and river and ocean, and still containing the brilliant modern architecture. What I think the most proud of my hometown, is PIFF, Busan's international film festival. Its start was not that fabulous, but during the past 10 years, it has grown up to important film festival in Asia. I grew up with this film festival, although all the mid terms stopped me to enjoy that, I have special feeling toward it.
I hope someday I could feel the festive fever.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

my cousin's wedding.

I haven't been to many wedding ceremonies in my life. None of my friends are married, so I've been to few of my cousin's wedding. The last time I went to someone's wedding was last November, it was my close cousin's wedding. He was 34 years old, and was quite successful business man. Both of the couple were from rich family, so their wedding was gorgeous. They borrowed a whole floor of hotel and buffet for their wedding. Unfortunately, bride's brother was involved in the stem cell gate as one of the important figure, which was pretty huge issue of entire nation. He was often showed in 9 o'clock TV news and headline of major newspapers, so I was more excited to see him in the flesh. Anyway, despite of family disaster, bride's family looked quite calm and happy. I was late for the ceremony, so I went into the ballroom directly. There were 30 or 40 tables in the room, and at each table, people were eating their meal while the ceremony was proceeding. We could choose our dished between steak and some kind of sea food dish. In addition of those dishes, we could have traditional wedding noodle, wishing the couple's long-lasting happiness. After that, bride and groom changed their clothes to traditional Korean garments for following korean ceremony. I remember it was all of their wedding day. I felt it was a little bit perfunctory, all those mixed elements of the wedding was confusing. I don't know why, but wedding ceremonies are becoming more Westernized, though now is the time for me to feel awkward to use the term "westernized". I hope people to make their special day more about them, not restrained by "tradition". :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

difference between English and Korean

English and Korean language have completely different structure.
Enlish have 24 alphabets and they make word vertically, but Korean have seperate alphabets for consonants and vowels. To make one Korean phoneme, at least one consonant and one vowel alphabet are necessary.
e.g.) 아 /a/ (ㅇ : consonant with zero sound value, ㅏ : vowel same as /a/)
카/ka/ ( ㅋ : consonant sounds like /k/)

If you want to write 'a dam' in korean, (I think it is a good example, because we adopted english word 'dam.') here's Korean word for 'dam'

We can seperate this word into '대' and a coda 'ㅁ'.
This lower 'ㅁ' makes the syllable "closed"

Here's other interesting story about korean characters. About 2 or 3 decades ago, when computer is not developed yet, and people were using type writer, there was a calling for changing the entire character system to vertical system. For instance, now and since forever we write "I'm sleepy" as "졸려" but these people said that we should unpack this phrase into "ㅈ
ㅗㄹㄹㅕ." Just because it's easier to use type writer. How confusing it is! I should thank smart people who didn't change our character system. I also heard that Enlish Qwerty keyboard is quite inefficient, in order to make less mistakes. Dvorak keyboard is faster than Qwerty but some people thought that if people type words too fast, they probably make more mistakes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Korean English curriculum & ..

I've always answered that English is my favorite subject in school to grownups. I've started to learn English since I was 3rd grader. From the start, English was fun stuff to learn, not like the other fields which I HAVE TO learn. I, myself chose to learn English, it was fun to speak foreign language at that time and it was fun to be outstanding at this particular subject than other kids. I really enjoyed learning English, I still feel sorry to Andy, who was my very first English tutor, I picked on him a lot about his bald head (but I was 8 years old, I believe now he's living hapily with his family somewhere in the world.) Anyway, from the middle school, studying English is no more optional thing, it was mandatory for middle school kids, and the text books were absolutely stupid. Although majority of kids already knew some about English, national curriculum at that point of time, assumed that 'this kids have no idea about English'. Thanks to our numbed bureaucrats, it wasn't nesessary to study for school exam at all for entire 6 years in middle school and high school. I was just wasting my English saving from my elementary school days. High school text book was more about grammar, prescriptive grammar, so it was slightly hard to get good grade, but it was still easy. After I started to study English education in college, I couldn't help but criticize the curriculum. For instance, we had learnt about adverbial phrases like "frankly speaking", as if the phrase is an idiom in English, but I've never heard native speaker's using that phrase in my life. There's a lot of absurd stuff in English education in Korea. First of all, text books contains poor contents. Most of the times they teached American English, but sometimes they also carry British expression, or even a broken expression without any notice. Well, moreover entire nation is fanatic about English, so grownups set a high goal for students and test them in a bundle. Eventually there's natural explanation why Korean people are poor at English in spite of enthusiasm. I thought about this, and tried to convey my thoughts to my friends, that language has to be a mean. It can be a wonderful tool for everything. In fact, I could find great interest about language itself, and this ability made my travel more thrilling. Thinking about the amount of knowledgement in English, it became clear English is not just about good test score.

Monday, October 8, 2007


First, I apologize that I’ve been insincere with my assignments. I had trouble figuring out ‘what am I doing here’ kind of thing during the past weekend. Well, this is my second semester in IIEP, and I still make terrible grammatical mistakes, I don’t even speak very well until now. And I would never speak or write like native speakers, English would remain as my 2nd language for rest of my life. It’s unreasonable to think like this, but it bothered me. Yes, I admit I’m perfectionist while I hardly try things. Thus I always carry this contradiction from English to cleaning my room. Moreover, this course is not necessary or it gives me any advantage for my career, so my brain and inspiration became quite dull, I think. However, I especially like Niki’s class, I really mean it, and I have tons of things to learn. I’m going to try to enjoy, not just push myself into pressure.


Last Tuesday was my second trip to Chicago. When I came to US this time, I arrived to Chicago international airport, and I spent 4 days alone in Chicago. I like Chicago. I’ve been to many places in America, I’ve been to California and Nevada 4 years ago, and I had traveled the Grand Circle of Utah and Arizona this summer. Still my favorite city in US is San Francisco, but if I have to choose my favorite city beside San Francisco, it is definitely Chicago. I like the magnificent and somewhat antique building in Chicago. The buildings in Chicago look not so modern, I know nothing about architecture, but I love how the exterior of buildings look like. And Millennium Park! It is so unusual to me, since I came from tiny tiny country, that this gigantic park places just at the spot, among the expensive buildings and beside the lake. If it were in Korea, I am sure that people already built thousand of tall apartments. However, I went to most of places around Michigan Avenue, so this time it was all about shopping. I dropped by Aveda at the very beginning of my trip, I bought an after shave balm for Dave, which smells like citrus and lemon. And I went to Ghirardelli to buy STRONG dark chocolate for my best friend in Korea, who’s studying hard to go Pharmacist school. After that I picked up the store map of Michigan Avenue and shopped my clothes. Urban Outfitters was interesting place, though I couldn’t find any clothes suits my tastes, but I’ve always wanted to visit there since I saw the store at the Union Square, San Francisco.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Everybody who knows me saying THIS can’t be imagined as my hobby. Because they know how I leave my room so messy, and how I dislike wearing girly clothes, such as skirts or lacy blouses. However, I like sewing, making things with fabric and embroidering. I’ve always like these kind of things since I was little child. My mom always hates me sewing, sine she thinks that I’m wasting my time. Despite her opinion, somehow I’m still carrying this as one of my hobbies. I know what my mom’s trying to say, it does takes lots of time, moreover it makes my posture worse and worse, and also my eyesight. What makes me get into this sewing thing is the pleasure of accomplishment. I once read the phrase that accomplishment is the most pleasant emotion that human can feel. When I finish one piece of work, I’m full with certain delight which comes from the fact that I made a thing from a piece of fabric. Among the various handmade jobs, my favorite is making teddy bears. The most recent one I made has brown fur, relatively huge head that its body, and green polka dot pattern on its ear and paw. I named this bear “Krispy” from the donut brand, since its ear and paw look like the donut box.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Nature of the Universe

The universe is very big. It takes many light years to get to the other solar system.A light year is the distance light goes in a year. A light year is very long, because light travels very fast. Actually, if you travel as fast as light, you may travel to the future. However, you may not come back where you belong. It would be hard to live in the future, because people in the future are a lot different from me and all my friends will be dead. But, maybe future technology could bring them back. I could start and account at a bank, and put a dollar in it, and in the future it would be worth a lot, because of interest. And that is the nature of the universe.