Big Bang - Haru Haru & Oh My Friend

Monday, November 23, 2009
Well, today you're in luck!

I missed Music Monday last week, and I actually had a couple people tell me they also missed it. So, no promises, but I'll make a better effort to get something up every week.

Anyway, this week I'm giving you double the music to make up for last week. Well...sort of. It's two songs, but they're both from the same mini-album.

The group is Big Bang. They're a pretty big deal in Korea, and they've actually crossed over into Japan as well. You can read more about them here.

The first song is "Haru Haru", which roughly means "Day by Day". The song is kind a of hip-hop ballad...or something like that. I dunno, give it a listen!

There's also a music video, but I posted a live version. Mostly because of T.O.P.'s big red gloves.

The second song is "Oh My Friend", which features the Korean ska/punk band No Brain. It's definitely a rock song, and it's also the first Big Bang song I liked. I had actually heard of No Brain before, and when I heard this on TV I recognized the singers's quite distinct. Anyway, enjoy!

If you want both of these songs, the download link is below!


Monday, November 16, 2009
It's been awhile since I've written anything here. I have a lot of things I could write about, positive and negative, but I haven't really been in the mood to share. I'm not exactly in a writing mood right now either, but I have some downtime at school and a story to share, so here goes.

My co-teacher and her family have been very kind to me, so a few weeks ago I offered to invite them out to dinner, my treat. The date was postponed a couple of weeks, but it finally happened this past Saturday.

We started out at a shabu-shabu restaurant, with 5 people: my co-teacher, her husband, her daughter, one of her brothers, and me. We ate some delicious shabu-shabu and drank some soju. It was a pretty good meal, although in a rare display, I was actually have a little bit of trouble with the soju. I think I can blame Friday night for that...

Anyway, the food was good, and afterward we went up to my co-teacher and her husband's apartment. To be honest, in many ways, it really wasn't anything special. We just sat around, ate some more, chatted about random things, and played drinking games. Eventually my co-teacher's other brother showed up. I had met him briefly one time before, but I had a chance to interact with him a bit more this time. Both of her brothers are pretty cool, and they do their best to communicate with me despite limited English ability, which I appreciate.

This continued until pretty late, and I eventually started to feel pretty tired, so they let me go to sleep in one of the side rooms. Then I think the people who were still up played some Wii Sports. Late the next morning, everybody woke up, we had some breakfast, and then I went home with my co-teacher's brothers in a taxi. And that was that.

As I said above, on the surface this experience might not seem like anything special, but it was actually pretty important to me.


Well, I've been in Korea for about 3 months now, yeah? Especially the past few weeks, I've really been feeling like an outsider here at times. And I suppose that's only natural, because I am an outsider here. And because of my living and working situation, I think I feel it here even more than I did in Japan.

So, to chill with my co-teacher's family for a night, and feel almost like a part of her family for that time was a pretty big deal for me. It reminded me that despite Korea not being my home, it's still possible to feel at home here.

Really, I wouldn't say I'm homesick. If you asked me right now if I'd like to stay here another year, I'd say yes. I've having a good experience overall. But some days are better or worse than others, and that's something that's probably amplified a little bit here. Today I'm feeling a little down, but I'm sure something will come along to cheer me up.

And frankly, despite what I've been feeling recently, I know I've felt like an outsider before even in my home country, probably to an even greater extent than I feel it here now. So, I know I can survive this feeling. The key is to keep moving forward, and that is something that I know I can manage.

Lee Hyun - 30 Minutes Ago

Sunday, November 08, 2009
Alright, today we're going with a Korean ballad. Stuff like this is pretty popular over here.

I choose this song for two reasons:

1) The video is kind of strange...I can't decide if it's sad or just kind of ridiculous and over the top. Especially the ending...
2) It's pretty slow, so I think with a little bit of work I could probably sing it at noraebang. Badly. But hey, you have to start somewhere...

Anyway, enjoy!

You can download the whole mini-album below.

A busy week, in brief

Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday: Okay, nothing special happened Monday. Fair enough.

Tuesday: Went to Outback Steakhouse with some teachers from Seonhwa Elementary. I'd never been there before actually, in the US or Korea. Not bad, and it was fun. The same group is going to go somewhere again in two weeks, with some drinking this time.

Wednesday: School got out early for some reason, and I went to get noodles with 2 teachers from Jungang Elementary. And tonight I'm meeting a group of teachers from the same school for some food and beverages (probably soju).

Thursday: Some kindergarten teachers are taking me on a hike to a temple. Too bad the weather is so cold these days...

Friday: My main co-teacher has been really generous to me, so I offered to take her and her family out for dinner. Should be fun. Also, I don't have to go to school, because there's a big EPIK teachers conference during the day. That should be a nice break from the usual "grind".

Yeah, busy week, but it's better than being bored in my apartment. I'm the kind of person who needs a good bit of alone time, so I probably couldn't handle this much stuff every week, but it's fun on occasion. find something to do on Saturday...

Recipe Band - Vol. 3 - Shine Days

Monday, November 02, 2009
Alright, after a one week hiatus, here is another edition of Music Monday.

This time we have a band I found over the weekend, "Recipe Band". They have a pop-punk kind of sound.

I can't find much information about them. Naver (a Korean search engine) doesn't have their lyrics available like they do for most other groups, so I suspect they're still pretty underground.

Give it a listen!

And here's the link to the full album!