Archive for August, 2010

What is it with Dokdo Island?

August 31, 2010
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What is it with Dokdo Island?

I’m going to get in trouble with this entry no matter what, so I better check all my facts. It’s worth mentioning that during my two years in Japan, I never heard mention of Dokdo Island (독도 or Takeshima, 竹島, as it is known in Japan), though I did hear about disputed territory north...
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Baegam Hot Springs Festival

August 29, 2010
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Baegam Hot Springs Festival

It’s only been three weeks, and I’m already comfortable getting away for the weekends. Keep in mind I still haven’t attempted a long-distance trip to Seoul or Busan (or tried to find my way back), but I’m getting used to the bus system. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s never any confusion. I missed the...
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Then and Now: Japan and Korea

August 28, 2010
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Then and Now: Japan and Korea

To anyone who’s been following my posts the past few week, I’m sure it’s immediately obvious I have a tendency to compare my time in Korea with that of Japan. After all, this is the second time I’ve signed up for a year’s contract to teach English in Asia, and since I’ll be “settled”...
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Quick Notes on Korea

August 27, 2010
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Health Insurance Just like the Japanese, Koreans enjoy two types of insurance and pension plans: the national plan, which covers all citizens by default, and the employee plan, which is only available for companies that employ five or more workers. As an employee of a small hagwon (학원), I only qualify for the national...
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Between Busan and Hakata

August 23, 2010
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Between Busan and Hakata

My plans to visit Japan over Chuseok holiday are underway. Best of all, thanks to my quick response to a ryokan owner in Nikko, I will be able to stay in the Japanese countryside with all expenses paid for two days. So what’s the plan? September 18th Leave Bugu by bus and head to...
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Climbing Near Deokgu

August 22, 2010
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Climbing Near Deokgu

So I’ve discovered another cross-cultural similarity between Koreans and Japanese: looking the part. So what if you’re physically incapable of climbing a mountain? So what if you have to stop and rest every thirty minutes? You’ve got your fancy gear, don’t you? Your shirt made of the special fabric that sweat only helps to...
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Around Town: Bugu-ri and Uljin-gun

August 21, 2010
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Around Town: Bugu-ri and Uljin-gun

It occurs to me that every last expat on the planet has it easy now compared to, say, thirty years ago. Using Facebook to keep in touch with friends back home. Using Skype to call family. Googling the definition of a foreign word we learn. If I had been confined to Bugu in the...
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Settling In

August 19, 2010
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Mainly a laundry list of things to do… I received my foreigner registration card today. Let the records show it took three days’ processing time and one day to send via courier (for an additional 4000-5000 Won). Not bad at all. Now all I need to do is apply for medical insurance, register with...
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For Your Soaking Pleasure: Deokgu Hot Springs

August 16, 2010
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For Your Soaking Pleasure: Deokgu Hot Springs

I am a water snob. Even with a Korean bathhouse less than 30 meters from my current living situation, I feel compelled to hop a bus and take a soak in mineral water. What can I say? I feel the difference, just as a wine connoisseur can distinguish your average house red from a...
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