Tagged: Gwangju

KOTESOL Conference Gwangju 2011

I’ve mentioned this acronym a few times, but this time it’s relevant to Gwangju. KOTESOL is holding a conference in the City of Light this Saturday, March 12 at 12:30 p.m. Where, oh where? Chosun University (본관 Bon-gwan), North Wing (북쪽 2F).  Admission? Free! Do they serve Hite or soju at these events? Anyone? We definitely had plenty of alcohol for our Teacher’s Seminar Day. One item of particular interest might be the Young Learner Classroom Methods: Guiding Young Learners into the World of Extensive Reading, presented by Bora Sohn for KOTESOL’s Seoul Chapter. I’m curious if this is more for adults learning to read a foreign language, or children. The delivery methods would  change with the age group, but the presentation’s takeaway is likely the same: Make them want it.


ER (Extensive Reading. Finally, another acronym!) has gained great interest in Korea as an effective language learning approach. Guiding young learners to become independent readers, materials must be introduced in a manner which provokes curiosity from the student. As a famous comedian once said, “Leave them wanting more.” Independent reading outside of the classroom should develop more naturally because the student actually wants to read. Materials alone cannot be depended upon. From a learner’s viewpoint, reading a foreign language book purely for pleasure is not as easy as it sounds.  It sounds more like work than anything else. However, the Teacher can trigger a positive attitude towards reading, and even willingness to read in a foreign language, with thought-provoking guidance. This presentation will review the characteristics of extensive reading and how it can enriching the learner’s reading experiences.  The speaker will then show how teachers can adapt supplementary activities to help young learners find pleasure in reading and relate the stories to their lives.


Bora Sohn received her MA in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia University (USA). She is the co-author and co-editor of several Juice series books (Reading Juice for Kids, Speaking Juice for Kids, Grammar Juice for Kids) published by E-Public of Korea. She is currently working as a teacher trainer at Paju English Village, training Gyeonggi Province public school teachers. In her free time, she enjoys reading children and young adult literature.

You might also enjoy such topics as What Color is Your Personality? Mine is orange. But that doesn’t really say a whole lot about me, other than being exceptionally bright of course. I’d also have to say ‘bubbly’.  Orange and bubbly, yes. Like Fanta! But not all the time. Mondays would be black and bitter.  Read more about the KOTESOL Conference in Gwangju here.

in Art


Here is a four part progression of an original photo taken from my indoor balcony at our apartment in Korea during the last days in Gwangju. I punched the colors and curved it out using CS3.


in Life

how to get your haircut in korea

This blog has been getting a few hits a week now from people searching “haircut in korea” or something similar to. Probably they end up finding this blog because of a rant a while back about how awkward it was getting my first haircut in Korea. No doubt, when the stylist speaks little to no English, getting a haircut in Korea can be an awkard, nail biting experience. You can approach this a few ways.

1. Bring a picture and hope for the best. I go to a place called Hair Tokyo in Gwangju. They actually bring out a huge picture book of different styles for me to choose from. Most are over the top ridiculous, and I’d rather not look like a pointed, blond penis (G-Dragon).

2. Attempt to communicate with gestures and whatever Korean you know. This might work out great… Or it could be the poorest of poor ideas.

3. Have a Korean write down on paper what you want. I’ve been doing this for 9 months now without failure. If you don’t have any Korean friends yet, print this out and use it. It means, keep my current style and don’t go fucking nuts with the shears.

Food in Korea: Eat and be Fearless

Forget about BeeBimBap and Bulgogi. There is a wide world of Korean cuisine out there just waiting to be explored by the Western palate. Some of it is really quite delicious, and some of it, well… let’s just say that you’ll want to be sure and keep the toilet paper fully stocked. Koreans eat a lot of raw and uncooked foods, such as fish, beef, and kimchi. You can read more about my experiences with raw Korean food on Tripwolf. Below you’ll find pictures of one glorious shit pile after another; our greatest hits and misses. Some of our favorite culinary conquests over the past year include…..
Sam Gyop Sal: A Korean Barbecue dish. Pork belly cooked on the spot and served with garlic, lettuce wraps, sesame leaves, and super hot gohchoo peppers.

Meat Shabu Shabu: Shredded beef boiled on the spot in a spicy garlic broth with garden variety weeds and mushrooms.

Seng Go Gee: Sliced raw beef slabs, served straight up with Soju. Hell mother effin yeah!

Chawm Chee Hwey: Sliced raw tuna slabs, served straight up with Soju.

Dak Bal: Chicken feet sauteed with onions in hell sauce. Best served from an orange tent in a dark alley sometime after midnight.

Neng Myawn: A spicy (or non spicy if you prefer) Summer soup dish comprised of noodles, boiled egg, cucumber, and shaved ice.

Seyoo Bohk Um Bap: A carefully sauteed blend of rice and shrimp

in Life

bongseon-dong, namgu, gwangju, south korea

This post is long overdue. Behold! Bongseon-dong, Namgu, Gwangju, South Korea. A virtual tour of our neighborhood.

A box in the sky is where I live.
Some are much nicer than others.
A fair amount are abandon and used for garbage dumping.
Vehicles are vacant for long periods of time
Not far from there is a PC Room.
Children hate them because of “no light and smoke”
Push carts are also very common.
Nearby is Jeseok mountain where you can find outdoor exercise equipment.
Keep walking and you’ll come to a bridge.
Where the morning view is very peaceful

in Life

dead buildings

Don’t be fooled, they are not Churches. So far as I can tell, these buildings are completely abandon. Passing by them every night, the cross is the only part ever lit, and all sorts of rubbish is clearly visible through the windows. So what are they then? Advertisements? Apocalyptic foreshadowing? Memorials of a once great, errr, office building?

Another Day @Mudeungsan

What to do today… Oh, what to do today… How about some more hiking in Korea? Seems that’s all I’ve been doing since the weather has turned nice.  Today’s adventure began with a cab ride from 봉선동 to the entrance of Mudeung Provincial Park at 증심사, where instead of the usual trek up the rabbit path towards 서석대, I veered right for a 1.9km climb up to Saeinbong (새인봉). Blessed with clear skies and perfect temperature, the trail was most crowded. Not 5 minutes into the hike, an old man slapped me on the back and said something to me in a native tongue which I could not comprehend. Shaking my head and saying to him (in Korean), “I don’t understand you”, the old man started laughing and grabbed my hand as he motioned for us to move onward. Apparently, he just wanted someone to walk with, so I held this old dude’s hand as if he was my wife for 1/3 of the way up the mountain. Awkward? Yeah at first, but he insisted, and I’d be damned if he was going to go the rest of his life telling his buddies about a rude and stupid American he met at Mudeung. So I imagined he was my grandfather and it was kind of nice. At the top I came across a group of hikers in their 20’s laying out food and burning incense as they stood in silence with lowered heads. Upon further inspection, I discovered a framed picture of a young man as the centerpiece of their offerings. The nature of this memorial service lead me to believe that the circumstances of this young man’s demise were quite tragic, and I stood nearby for a moment in contemplation. Decending from Saeinbong, I came across some random burial mounds just off the trail which are actually quite common around here (pictured above). Then there was the tomb of Ullim-dong, a stone burial chamber believed to be from the Baekje Dynasty. Yeah I don’t really know what that means either, but it was one of the only things mentioned in English on the plaque. Up close it looked like a big grassy igloo, but these particular types of tombs are apparently quite rare. No idea who, when, or what, was buried there. Why do they even bother making English guides if their not going to include worth while information? From here, I ventured over to a temple which had a bunch of lanterns setup in preparation for Buddha’s Birthday celebration, which is this coming Friday. This is a big holiday over here and we will be heading to the second largest city, Busan, to witness some of the festivities.

Night Hiking in Korea: Mt Geumdang

mt Guemdang in Gwangju

Loaded up the backpack with some beers last night and set out on a night hike up Geumdangsan in Gwangju, my new favorite place for local hiking. It would have been a lot better if Gwangju World Cup Stadium was lit up, but the scenery was no less amazing. FYI, the lights going up the main paths go out at midnight.

Below is a view from the top during the day time, the opposite view of the above image. Finally found it after seven months into Korea this past weekend at the top of Mt. Geumdang right behind my apartment. The relatively easy climb divides the Namgu and Seogu districts of Gwangju, which has better scenery than even Mudeung mountain can offer on a clear day. At the top, we found a couple of old ladies selling shaved cucumbers and cold beers alongside boiled eggs and rice rolls. What a country.

gwangju south korea