Tuesday, June 28, 2005

dance, dance, dance

I went to the The 11th Anseong Juksan International Arts Festival. It was quite a weekend. I'm still digesting it all.

The Laughing Stone Arts Village reminded me of Jacob's Pillow, Buck's Rock, and the summers I went to see amazing contemporary dance in the woods. The dance performances in Juksan weren't the most spectacular that I've ever seen, but there was a great collection of people in attendance that made it all worthwhile.

dancing on the moutainAll of the performances were staged outdoors with the mountains and trees as a backdrop. I loved how they were like site-specific dance installations. One of the first pieces was set on a series of steps and eventually the dancers made their way into the audience. They jumped on the benches and danced around people, almost as if we weren't there.

run along the pathIn another piece, the audience was put at the bottom of a stone path. Two women ran down the path just beaming with joy holding hands. When they got to the bottom of the path they would hold hands and spin around in a circle, like you would as a kid to make yourself dizzy. Then they stopped looked intensely at one another and then screamed. One would then get behind the other and slowly push her up the hill again. This was repeated over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I kept watching, looking for the slight differences, waiting for something to change. People got up and started leaving. Finally the piece ended. Turned out that it was part of the piece. The dancers would continue to repeat this short series of movements until a lot of people left. I guess it was a bit about endurance.

The best part of the weekend, by far, was the all night dance party. The dj could have been considered "bad to terrible," but I was so happy. Some drummers came out and joined the dj. There I was, barefoot on a mountain, in the middle of the night, with red clay squishing between my toes, amongst about a hundred modern dancers and really free people, just moving around and having fun dancing. Did I ever dance! I was sore the next day I danced so hard. I remembered how long it has been since I was "a dancer" and thought about taking some classes again.

Monday, June 27, 2005

burger and burger

I don't know why these things strike me. Two burger joints, one day.

burgerPreviously the Burger Shop, now the bus stop.

burger2Well-made burger

lovedreams spilled all over my floor

lovedreams pour out

Lovedreams poured from me. They bounced and wobbled across the floor. As they came to a halt they began to glow. I continued to sleep into the morning.

lovedreams glow

When I woke up I knew what had to be done. I scooped them up into a pile, with the intentions of throwing them away, but at the last moment I decided to put them in a small box to keep for later, just in case.

dreams in a pile

in a different dream...

blank dreams in a cup

multiple use blanks, to be painted on location

I went to a Korean bank to take out some money. I had to take a tiny piece of yellow construction paper, put it in my mouth, make a perfect ball, then take it and hold it between my thumb and index finger while I waited for the teller. This was the only way to get money out of an account. I remember that it specifically had to be YELLOW CONSTRUCTION PAPER. I had an immense fear that I was going to have the wrong color. Maybe I was supposed to eat pink at the bank.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

yesterday, today, tomorrow

Today is the Pride Parade in NYC. I've been going for years and this will be the first in a while I'm going to miss. Tomorrow marks 6 months that I've been in Korea. A week from today I turn 26.

I've had a fantastic year. 25 was filled with so many great things. Last year I got on a plane and went west for my birthday. I decided I wanted adventure, and I went for it. In 25: I got lost in Denver, lost my glasses, lost my camera, decided I hated L.A., but I loved San Fran. I went to Toronto, saw Niagara Falls, moved from Brooklyn to Philly, to Seoul. I let go of old tainted love, then briefly found love again, and then lost love (again). I made the same mistakes I've made before and made a whole bunch of new ones, but I learned this year. I made some choices about where I want to be. I quit some bad habits and picked up new ones. And most of all I was okay with all of that. I feel that I've accomplished something this year and I want to keep moving along in this direction.

For 26, I want to continue to see this all as an escapade. Additionally, I want to be able to love more freely. I want to let go of some of my fears--my fear of a disappointing future, my fear of getting hurt, my fear of failure, my fear of disapproval. If I can move past these things I'm sure that I'll feel growth, see more places, understand more, and connect with more people. I'll let myself love and love and love again.

Friday, June 24, 2005

ten minutes to spare

Ten minutes early for my lunch date. 1/4 of a block. GO!

Directly in front of me was the first parking meter I've noticed in all of Korea. I didn't realize they even had them since cars seem to just park wherever they want to. I'm not joking. People park on the sidewalk. People will park so that they are completely blocking in another car without thinking about it. This has become the norm to the point that people have cute little signs or hand embroidered pillows on their dashboard with their cellphone number on it. If their car has trapped you in the space, you just call them up on the phone and tell them to come move their car. I was tempted to put a 100 Won coin in it just to see if it actually worked, and to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

Next, hungry out of my mind, I walked over to the sushi restaurant next to the rendez-vous point and looked at the pretty pictures of the food. Curious as to what they call some of these thing in Korean, I started to read the signs. Okay so I'm sounding out this one and it says "ra-e-suh rol," basically rice roll. There is a word for rice in Korean. As a matter of fact, they have several words for rice. "Bap" for when it's cooked and "sol" one for when it's uncooked. Why would you translate something like that into ENGLISH and then write it in KOREAN? It's not like it's a hamburger. I don't get it.

I wandered into the Paris Baguette, which actually is quite different than the Paris Croissant I visit more often, due to its close proximity to work (ie. it's in the same building), but they seem to be of the same chain or something. French bakeries are really popular and we have quite a few in the hood. I like the Koreanized French pastries the best. The green tea mousses, the sweet potato cakes, and the strange little pizza thingies or hotdog pastries (well, these last two I enjoy looking at them, eating them is a different story completely). After drooling over the chocolate cakes and raspberry fabulousness I wandered back to the street.

I was bored. I started to count the little yellow melons on the street vendors cart. I have yet to try these. I'm not exactly sure how to cut and eat them properly. I started to wonder... if all the melons on the cart were cube-shaped, how many little yellow ones would stack up to measure the same height as the watermelon.

By then my ten minutes had come to a close and I was so happy to go eat bori bap. Yummy. I realized after lunch that I had spent ten minutes taking pictures of totally random and bizarre things.

I think all of this insanity is a result of my recent insomnia and coffee drinking. I just don't sleep anymore. It makes me a bit nutty, but things are slightly more interesting this way.

By far the best catch of the day was found on the walk to work. Yes, it's true. It's a vending machine with a pay phone. I wouldn't have ever come up with this one. My first attempt to take a picture was foiled by some guy trying to engage me in conversation. I didn't understand a word he was saying, but what it came around to was that the phone doesn't actually work. Maybe it did once upon a time, but now it doesn't. Dude was trying to be helpful, but he wouldn't get out of my shot.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

persistence of memory

At 5, I went to le Centre Pompidou in Paris, and saw a funky fountain. I've dreamed about this place for decades now.

At 21, I visited the Atomium in Belgium. I climbed to the top and felt the structure moving in the wind. Though that was unsettling, it was the coolest place on earth right then.

Today, I captured the recently erected mushrooms across from Garak Market in all their glory. What a sight. I had this fantastical thought that this was a community initiative to have more public art. I imagined that the members of the apartment complex had multiple heated meetings, demanding the beautification of their neighborhood to give the area something unique to contrast the bland landscape polluted with bad architecture. Then, something went terribly wrong and they ran out of money causing them to resort to hiring someone's cousin's next door neighbor's son, who had only been in design school for half a semester (which he spent downloading Japanese porn), to design the massive work. Last second he and his friends came up with a soju induced moment of brilliance--a patch of mushrooms (you know... it's right next to the market. Market, vegetables, mushrooms, of course!) that sprayed mists of water up into the underparts of the cap and had a variety of colored lights that lit up at night. It was perfect.

I walk by this spot everyday now and see myself up there on top next to a caterpillar with a hooka. Sometimes we sit quietly, just smoking and people watching. It's nice experiencing liminal moments together. I love how he and I just shoot the breeze or point out the ajiuma "fashion don'ts" that waddle by. That caterpillar is such a queen bitch, he makes my days worthwhile and notable. I know one day I'm gonna stop by with the expectation that he'll be there and he'll have fluttered on to a new life, and I'll have to do the same... but for now, it's just good times on the mushroom.

Anyway, to the people who put this one together, whoever they may be, this one will stick in my mind like the Atomium and the fountain. So, thanks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Once upon a time in Jersey (and again in Cheonchun)...

I was captured by the colors of the leaves on a tree and lead to think of a thousand other things.

photo by sugarmonk

Identity is a funny thing. Every once in a while I try to define myself--who I am, what I believe, and the way I live my life. I'll feel like I've figured it all out and that mindset seems to fit me for a while, till I hit another road block where the logic no longer works. I'll revisit all my old documentation to see where I went wrong.

The last philosophy that seemed to work was what I could now call "the pursuit of newness." Once upon a time in Jersey, of all places, I found myself admiring leaves on a tree. It was a spark. It was the image that symbolized a whole era of thinking in my world. I was pondering ignorance and how that leads to all kinds of bad things. At the time I decided that if we all focused on things like "newness" things wouldn't suck.

It's the lack of a desire to know, learn, explore, or understand newness.


It's newness. Like the crisp untainted empty first page of a journal full of opportunities to be filled with an infinite amount amazing possibilities. It's in taking the familiar (and making it foreign), or the foreign (and looking at it differently to make it understandably familiar), and finding the beauty which exists within it all. It's in the exploration of the same block you've always lived on (discovering that the leaves outside your window since childhood are purple on one side, green on the other, but through the light are a deep and magnificent red), or listening for unique compositions of words in conversations you've had with your best friend a million times.

When I read old stuff I cringe at some parts and adore myself at others. I'm an outsider here, more so than I ever was at home, and I've found great freedom in that as well as isolation.

Back in the world of pursing newness...
JerseyBoy asked:

"where or how does one go about intentionally discovering newness? is it a matter of blatant denial of familiar impulses, or instant pursuit of unfamiliar ones, or gradual absorbance/analyzation of daily sights, or...what?"

And I replied:
I would have to say that personally I am constantly looking for different ways to find newness, but somehow never intentionally. The process of discovery for me comes in so many different flavors and with different toppings. It's been in really having a sincere desire to look around, and look again. It has been in holding myself to trying to go to at least one new place, preferably a foreign country, every year, despite how much money I don't have. It has been in going to museums, in writing, in reading, in discussing everything and anything, in meeting people, in going on walks to the same places, in dreaming, in observing, in watching people, in asking questions, in watching tv, even just in thinking. It's been in trying things I haven't done before, or watching a movie I've seen a million times before to try and find the tiny details to answer the why did he do this or that questions. My attitude towards newness reflects more of the last options "gradual absorption and analyzation," as well as "or... what?" I think it's in being a true observer, taking notice, and paying attention. Looking, and looking again.

For me I constantly need to document, to hold on to what I have seen, what I have known, what I have realized. I look back sometimes and I almost want to throw away some of the things I once said, for they seem so foreign to who I am now. I don't though. I know that it is a sign of a metamorphosis I seem to believe in, that I will always be growing, changing, and always hoping to be or find someone new (notice the word choice here wasn't better, but new- meaning different) within myself.

If there is one thing I've learned, it's that I know nothing. I don't want to act like I know the answers, because now I know that there are so many different answers to the same questions we all seem to hold. So then I'm left with nothing to say.

Then I found myself looking up at a tree in Korea, reminded of New Jersey, and thinking... that I'd like to fit in. Wouldn't it be nice, when you wanted to, just to be like everyone else? Or, when you wanted to be, completely different? Like changing into a different outfit, putting on a wig for fun, dying your hair a new color, or changing the wallpaper on your desktop. Just as common as anything else, as simple as putting on a new pair of underwear, but being able to switch up your gender or sexuality, or your race, or whatever.

The experiences and identities I've gained through my pursuit of newness now conflict with each other. I've collected all these selves and now I can pull out different cards to make connections with people and camoflauge potentially undesirable parts of myself with obscure fabulousness. I want to live more honestly, freely, openly, and unafraid about the ways that I'm conflicted. I want to tell the whole story, even the parts that were embarresing or sucked. I don't want to pretend to be only one piece of me, just so I don't offend someone else, or because I'm too afraid that they won't adore me anymore.

So yeah, it's hard to balance my love for being feminine, divalicious, and sexy with my feminist rage against objectification of women. It's hard to accept everyone as they are, when that means I have to accept people who are bigots, xenophobic, or just plain rude. And yeah, I'll say that it's not easy to talk about racism, to defend black culture or black people, to speak of an African-American experience, when I've never genuinely felt accepted or part of the black community, because I'm not just black (or not black enough). Simultaneous guilt and appreciation of my priviledge is in constant battle with my desire for so much more. I'm an academic who hates to study and I'm not as well read as I should be. I'm an artist who can't draw. I'm a lesbian who dates guys. I'm a straight girl that isn't. Sometimes I'm really Jewish but by no means am I religious nor do I really beleive in god. I'm an adventurer who loves to lay in bed. I'm defining myself and I hate categories because I never seem to fit into them properly. It's messy, but I'm not as messed up as I could be. My life is a bit crazy and complicated at times, but it's a lot of fun. I'm fed up with playing all the games and I don't want to care about fronting for other people's benefit.

I want to be accepted, loved, and adored, like everyone else, and be surrounded by people who are somehow just as unique, fabulous, faulty, and conflicted for like-minded fun and conversation.

Monday, June 20, 2005

where my girls at?

I had a weekend full of celebrating and having fun with women. I went to the The 2005 Anti-Sexual Violence Festival: porNO? porNA! It was more about sexual freedom and empowering women than it was about watching porn, so don't get the wrong impression. They had an anti-Miss Korea competition among some other things. Unfortunately, when I got there, the tickets to the main event were sold out. The nice guy at the ticket counter let me in for a peek of the show, just as they were doing a funny lecture (in Korean) about sexually transmitted diseases. They had a lot of booths and video artwork set up in small screening rooms outside the venue. There was a really diverse mix of Koreans there. Differently abled people, people with original style, kids with their very alterna parents, very butch looking women, and my favorite was the professor in the skirt. It was a really beautiful skirt and it suited him.

I was pleased to see all these people there. I don't think Koreans talk about sex in this country very often. Though the world of technology here is very advanced their minds seem to still be stuck in the 50's. At least the 50's in America with respect to their views on women and sex, etc. The most sought-after job for a woman here is a flight attendant. You should be married by 25 popping out a kid or two soon after. There is no real dating because people don't often move out of their parent's home until they are married. Pornography doesn't even show any genetalia. Anyway... here were a bunch of people who come from all that, being really free and open and I was happy to be around them. They were celebrating themselves and speaking against the narrow and negative things promoted by (most) pornography. I dig.

Later, I got the chance to meet Rose Tae Young. She's a jazz singer, a totally wild and inspiring woman, a serious drinker, and a completely self-made woman. I get chills (or chicken skin, as the Koreans would say), just thinking about her beauty and strength.

Then we went to "All That Glitters" a drag show at SOHO, a gay bar in Itaewon. It was a lot of fun. The drink special of the evening was a "GOLDEN SHOWER" and everyone was getting one. The drag queens were a mess, chest hair showing and everything, but they put on a show. The star, by far, of the evening was Rick O'Shae. The drag king stole the show. In real life "Rick" is crazy and funny, on stage Rick is a real spectacle. JUST FABULOUS! Rick did two solo pieces, "Be A Dentist" from Little Shop of Horrors and "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago. It was so good it made Tae Young hot. Did I mention it was fabulous? Because it was. FABULOUS, FABULOUS, FABULOUS!

I figured a day like this wouldn't be complete unless you make out someone's wife, witness a fight between a trannie hooker and an elderly midget, or at least go out dancing with a bunch of gay men (ever played two truths and a lie?). So, I got up on the stage of WHY NOT? (the not so fabulous club next to SOHO) and danced on the pole for a bit until my toes hurt and it was time to pass out. The sun was up when I finally got into bed. And I thought to myself "typical. you crazy bitch." as I drifted off to sleep.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Project L

On Sunday, keeping with the WOMAN theme, I went to see Project L. It featured works of Korean lesbians. Some of the work I enjoyed and the presentation of the work was very professional. I liked the vibe and even got the chance to talk to one of the artists.

Words from the Project L people:

"Project L is the exhibition to make lesbian identity
and cultures visible in Korean society and to take
away the distorted images of lesbians under the rude
and violent gaze of patriarchy and heterosexism. In
this exhibition, we attempt to reveal clearly the
voices of lesbians rarely referred even in homosexual
art. Here are the hotly heated voices of lesbians."

Okay that's great. However, what this show lacked was to really talk about what it meant to be a lesbian in Korea. The only piece I would guess was by a Korean lesbian was the Lesbian Box where you sat in a chair surrounded by curtains and opened a little painted box that played interviews with lesbians in Korean. All the other pieces just seemed like they were pieces by women, or about women, but they didn't speak much about their Korean identity. I was hoping to understand more about their experiences in this country holding this homosexual identity. What makes them different than a lesbian from another culture? Maybe I wasn't looking or listening hard enough, or maybe they aren't any different.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the good stuff

My online adventures have lead to the following discoveries:

The daily dancer - This guy, in his living room, records himself dancing, EVERYDAY. My personal favorite, PUMP UP THE JAM

Urban camping - Love it! These guys set up a campsite in the middle of Times Square.

Lastly, I can't get enough of Lady Miss Kier. I just wanna hear a good beat.

Monday, June 13, 2005

sustained fabulousness

Ally and Raina (possibly the most insane girly Korean girls on earth) tried to talk me into green toes, then sparkly neon blue toes, then bright purple toes. I wanted a dark purpley bronze or a neural toned pink. Somehow I ended up with flashy fuchsia. I believe that with the right attitude you can pull off almost anything, but I don't know how long I can sustain the hot funky fuchsia.

I woke up this morning at 7AM wanting to feel my toes through sand, no rice... look at them glaring in contrast to something natural. hmmm... there's a bag of barley in my cupboard. okay. why not?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

a perfect day

woke up feeling gorgeous. finished grading all my essays. went back to sleep and had a funny dream. woke up again feeling adored. went to meet friends. ate tofu. had an english breakfast tea latte--light and sweet. got my toes painted while I watched j.lo in concert. went shopping. ate chunky monkey. bought paper. walked home past the lake. drank a beer and looked at the moon. there was a black out to add some excitement and it lead me to contemplate the past and plan a possible picnic in the park. went to bed feeling like tomorrow would be new.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Seoul to Cheoncheon, to Incheon, to Seoul

I went to a wedding in Cheoncheon. Got on the bus around 10 in the AM. The bus had nice seats, they were wider and cozier than I expected. The wedding was at noon. We arrived just in time. The actual ceremony was really quick. There was no kissing. I was sorta upset about that. Then everyone went to have lunch. The bride and groom weren't anywhere to be found during the reception, and people weren't getting drunk like at the weddings I've experienced. The traditional soup with long noodles was served and then everyone left. All in all I think the wedding took about an hour and a half (reception included).

the wedding hall

I got to hang around and be part of the wedding party. The friends of the couple rented a Benz for the wedding car and decorated it. We hung around for a while, and I started to get bored. Woo seuck's girlfriend and I took pictures of the wedding hall, and each other to keep from dying. It was so HOT.

Here I am flashing the diva version of the oh so popular victory pose. Check out one of the Cheoncheon boys, who I call Harry Potter, in the back. Funny guy

We drove to Incheon to take the couple to the airport. We had some dinner, then I had some ice cream (mint chocolate chip), said goodbyes and they went off to Paris and we made our trek back to Seoul. I traveled for about 7 hours in one day.

It didn't seem like it was a long time. Woo seok's friends are fun and good to talk to. When we got back I changed and we went out to eat and drink. They all drink a lot of soju. It's quite impressive.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I thought this might be fun. Found this on The World of Ashley

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your LJ (or blog) with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions

So I left her a comment and she responded with some questions. Here we go:

1) how did you end up in Korea?

After graduate school I stayed around NYC for another year, my 7th year, and I thought it would be my lucky one. Instead, I was miserable. I moved to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, got a decent job, but it made me feel worthless on a daily basis, and I was generally discontent. I started to get bored with the place I had been in love with for so long. I realized I couldn't stay there forever. New York is great but it's not everything.

I needed something new. So as a gift to myself for my 25th Birthday I went west on a trip. I went to Denver to see my aunt, LA to see my friend Dave, and to San Fran to see my Uncle. When I came back I quit my job and took a 4 month hiatus from life. I hid out back in Philly and came to the conclusion that what I really needed was an adventure. Though what I really wanted was a successful career, more importantly I wanted a full life. So, I applied for a job teaching English and I got it. I had no expectations and had no idea if I had sold myself into sexual slavery or something by mistake. All turned out to be good though. No sexual slavery.

2) what do you miss most from home?

This is kinda silly but I miss VARIETY and familiarity. I want Thai food, Burmese food, Mexican food, Indian Food, Mexicans, Indians, lesbians and gay boyfriends, trannies and a variety of gender and sexually oriented people. I miss good falafel, belgian beer at the corner store, all kinds of tofu creamcheese, a variety of cheese, soft toiletpaper, being able to understand people (at least on the simple level of comprehension of the words that they are using), walking on sidewalks for pedistrains only(when's the last time you had to do the which-way-should-I-go dance with a delivery guy on a motorbike or A CAR in the states, ON THE SIDEWALK?), The New York Times Magazine, having a vast variety of tea to choose from... just to name a few. I miss New York for the variety it always had so readily available. I miss "home" for the people I couldn't pack and take with me. At home, I didn't have to search so hard for interesting things or fascinating like-minded people.

These pleasures and simple joys have been replaced with other new things to love, like a variety of flavored milk, or sitting on the floor at a restaurant. But there's nothing like home, right? ...where'd I put those red slippers?

3) what do Koreans think about the Japanese?

I'd have to agree with the general consensus, that due to historical conflicts, Koreans generally don't like the Japanese. However, they really enjoy many Japanese things and they admire cultural tidbits. I'm sure that many Koreans when actually put in a situation to interact with a Japanese person they have no problems with them. With my students, there is this strange thing that happens when you talk about Dokdo--"It's our land"--it's like you can see that the wheels stop turning in their brain. There is no budging or questioning the hatred. At that moment, the Japanese aren't people, they're monsters or some alien being only in existence to be detested. To me, it seems that this prejudice is taught, it is rarely questioned, and frequently promoted. It can be "un-taught" but it takes a lot more effort.

4) what's your favorite part of Korean culture?
Though I've felt my "otherness" in outstanding ways in Korea I've also been overwhelmingly included, and sucked into people's families and their entire world. This weekend I'm going to a wedding in Cheonchun and I'll go hang out with the Jung family. They rock.

I must also add that I love the food culture here--the behaviors and excitement that surrounds eating are fabulous. Such a production!

5) what's your least favorite part of Korean culture?

They push and make no gesture of apology, but instead ignore your presence. Many people say that it's because Seoul is crowded, but I've lived in cities all my life, and that's NOT the case. They push, and Koreans even hate it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

projects of the past

I realized it's been a while since I've baked a batch of cookies. For about two years I spent a considerable amount of time in my kitchen baking, sculpting dough, and I truly enjoyed putting on the persona of Miss Koco Dupricious to feed the masses with my goods. Everything I made I turned into a vagina. I was "consumed" by my CONSUME MY GOODS project and turned it into my graduate thesis (and just for fun, here's the pdf).

I guess I needed to move on to something new. So, I started knitting and crocheting and that lasted pretty much up until I came to Korea.

Crocheted lavender breast. Body from cashmere, with wool and mohair nipple, silver nipple ring, stuffed with lavender.

Collection of lavender pouches for your garment drawer

A slightly more abstract crocheted piece--a "felted" wool breast

I haven't been up to much lately, but I thought it was about time to resurrect the archives, clean them up a bit, and put them out there.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I don't know why but this cracked me up. What would you call the drive-thru in Korea? The "McDlibe-uh" of course!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Words from the creator

As I was saying my goodbyes to my mother on the phone today, her last interjecting line was "Be careful crossing the street!" She really does tell me this, all the time. When I was little it was "Don't walk in front of the swing." Lately, my hilarious Jewish mother has been sending me emails that deserve to be shared.

On Feb 12th:

Hey here is an interesting gem of info. On NPR Radio I heard today that some academic historians (U of Mass.) are researching and trying to gain evidence that Abraham Lincoln was gay, or at least bisexual. I find the possibility fascinating. I looked at a picture of him today. I agree, he is gay.

On April 25th:

Dad saw Mr. Oh walking down the street in Philadelphia, trying to pass the gallery without stopping. Dad ran him down like a criminal. Dad calls out, "Mr. Ho! Mr. Ho...oh no, Mr. Oh." They are meeting on May 3 to discuss everything. Mr. Oh thinks you are delightful.

**Note: I've never met Mr. Ho, I mean Mr. Oh.

On June 2nd the email (without a subject) in its entirety read:

Are you still alive?

Miss Koco does Korea, and Mom does Toronto:

So I decided to venture out on my own tonight, it is Gia's last night in town, so she is off with the boyfriend Brendon...nice guy, from Jamaica...so I scoped out the map, made my plan, got myself to this massive mall, called Yorkdale. It looked like everyone in Toronto was there. I decided on a movie, The Interpreter, with Nicole Kidman (you know, I don't like her but she has been dating Lenny Kravitz, so now she is cool), and I get to the movie theater, and there was a fire earlier and they closed down the theater! Everyone in Toronto, all 8 million of them, were there trying to get into the theater to figure out why it was closed. I decided to then take the subway into town. But I had to pee, didn't have a coat (it is 44 degrees here), my leg hurt and I didn't have change for the subway. So I went to the liquor store, got a bottle of Pinot Noir, and went back to the hotel to watch Spanglish on the TV. Oh well. I did enjoy that massive mall I went to. It was like all of Toronto was there. One conversation I overheard was, "Mom, this place is like the airport."

**Notice the repetition. I wonder... were there a lot of people at the mall?

What can I say? I laugh out loud all the time. I guess I'm a lucky girl to have a mom as crazy as I am.

Fried Hard Tack

Yes the name of this snack is Fried Hard Tack. It says on the packaging:

Take the delicious
Fried Hard Tack with you,
When you climb mountains,
go fishing and eat between meals.

Yeah. I like how they give eating instructions. It's not so bad. A bit sweet and crunchy. As a bonus, it comes with a little piece of candy in a purple wrapper.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Pusan isn't much different from Seoul, except Pusan has the beach. This weekend was non-stop adventure. I didn't sleep much but I chilled out and relaxed a lot. It was filled with a lot of ups and downs, but overall it was great.

Highlights included arriving at 5 in the morning and wandering around, the beach, VESTA (absolutely amazing JimJil Bang overlooking the beach. Yoga at 11Am everyday), going out to taste the nightlife, and the fish market.

The fish market had some serious sights to see. It had quite a stench and I wished I wasn't wearing flip flops, but it was worth it.

Fish heads, 10,000 won.

Pig heads. Display only?

dried frogs. I imagine they're a bit crunchy.

I loved all the ladies sitting around selling fish. They put such great effort into the way they displayed their funny fishy goods. Carefully stacking clams in bowls, lining up fish one by one, creating perfect grids out of bowls filled with things I wouldn't have a clue to how to prepare.

And then there were octopi, everywhere. I thought of the sweet sugarmonk, and took ojingo pics.

and now for a rant

I've been really careful about what I say out loud with regards to the US military in Korea, or elsewhere for that manner. At this point my frustration, irritation, and disgust isn't even based on opinions on US foreign policy or international politics, but simply the ignorance and vile behavior I've observed, and now experienced, here.

On Saturday I went to a couple hip-hop clubs in Pusan. Though I had fun, danced a bit, and talked to some random interesting people, the evening was also tainted by GI's breaking curfew and acting like idiots.

While waiting in line for the hwajongshil(otherwise known as the bathroom) a guy strikes up conversation with me. After a couple minutes he tells me he's from Philadelphia. A South Philly boy, 15th and Wolf. I was delighted to be so far away from my hometown and find someone from the same city. Then we get around to talking about what high schools we went to and as soon as I told him I went to Central, his entire attitude changed and he responded with "Oh, you're one of those people" and then gave me the well-it-was-nice-talking-to-you-buh-bye. WTF?!? I guess I was too smart or something for him to continue the conversation.

Whatever. Then they started playing some J5 and I made my way to the dance floor and found a nice little spot amongst the crowd. Some big dude with a southern accent comes over and asks me if he can dance with me, to which I reply "Maybe. Are you in the military?" He told me he was visiting family and then started popping every stupid thing he could come up with, and slowly exposing himself as a GI.

As I remember it went something like this:

"Do you think Irish people are racist? This girl behind me keeps bumping into me."
My response: (I look over and see a white girl with blonde hair. I quickly ask myself, how does he know that she's Irish, then realize that he doesn't) I think there are prejudice people in every culture and ignorance regardless of race.

"I'm all real. Always tell the truth."
My response: Oh, yeah? The first question I asked you was if you're in the military and you lied.

"Well, I gotta watch my back. I don't know if you're the police out here to get guys breaking curfew. But if you were going to arrest me, I'd willingly go, as long as there were handcuffs involved."
My response: I gotta go.

Okay so these two were annoying, but I wasn't going to let them mess with my good time. My outfit was cute. Brand new jeans, strappy heels that weren't hurting my feet, and a black sheer top with a deep V-shaped neckline. We went to the next place. I'm walking past the bar and someone's got their hand on my butt. Not just that I walked too close to someone and their hand grazed my body mistakenly, but a full reach out and grab--a perfect example of "I got 5 on it." I was enraged.

I turn around WHACKED this huge guy with my my patent leather black clutch. He was shocked. So was I. I couldn't beleive I reacted violently. I immediately felt that I had endangered myself while I was aware that he deserved it. He stood there with his crew of dudes, all with their ever so attractive GI haircuts, and glared back at me. As he said "WHAT?!" I remembered standing helplessly just last week as a woman was beaten in front of me, in the street, by a man, with 20 or so people standing around. I remembered Denise telling me that it's something that just happens here and that she no longer lets it bother her. She just accepts that she can't do anything about it. Did he expect me to turn around and ask him to dance with me? Ask him back to my hotel? This is supposed to be okay? I'm supposed to walk on, act like nothing happened, accept what had happened? So I screamed at him "Don't fucking touch my ass!" and stomped off.

UNACCEPTABLE. I'm so disappointed that a huge portion of the foreign population is made up of these jerks that act stupid. I'm really dirty about the fact that idiots help to form an image about (brave and honorable) Americans and represent where I'm from. Gross.

Friday, June 03, 2005

It's a big swim

Fake Friday = Thursday night out partying like you don't have to work the next day. This is equivalent to 5 pitchers of soju and 6 little barrels of bad beer. If you look at this picture and ask "where the hell are you?" then you're asking yourself exactly what I was asking myself all night. Maybe it was the strobe lights, the smoke machine, the fake cobra, or maybe the stalagmite and stalactites that set me off. I can't exactly say what it is about this place that makes me uncomfortable. It just has a certain je ne sais quoi. The really scary bit is that I've been to this cave themed bar once before. I am a repeat customer. I'm ashamed.

Search Query Report

So, for fun I'm checking the stats for misskoco.com and I pull up the search query report. Not that hundreds of people are searching for my site, but it's interesting none the less. I got a real kick out of the results. This report shows the queries that my site's visitors have sent to search engines to find misskoco. This report is useful in determining what keyword(s) refer visitors to the site.

Search QueryNumber of requests
1.miss korea 200510
2.miss korea3
3.woman nudes korea2
5.recipe for chop che1
6.lg mart in chuncheon1
7.history of chocopie1
8.chocopie korea times1
9.what does falafel mean?1
10.koco stationary1
11.miss world cup korea pics1
12.kimchi cures bird flu1
13.2005 miss korea1
14.www.korea plastic1
15.ba guan therapy pictures1
16.school of bakery in seoul1
17.zapping seoul1
18.dalkalbi recipe1

"Zapping seoul" is just golden. I'm sure that the people trying to find "woman nudes korea" or "what does falafel mean?" were greatly disappointed to find my blog... or maybe not. You never know.

Upon snooping into my ISP reports, I also discovered that 6.37% of my traffic comes from THE CURTIS INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. I'm guessing that's you Liz. Awesome! I think you check more than my mom. Other notables: 1.70% comes from Plano, Texas--Shout out to you Mun! You're the only person I know in Texas. There's a high percentage of NYU ISPs. Nice to see the alma mater looking out. And there's someone out there checkin in from Scottsdale, Arizona... and I'm not exactly sure who that is, but I can guess. Lastly, there's someone out there in Streamwood, IL. Who are you?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

walnut milk

The dairy section is full of crazy treats from banana milk to sweet potato milk. I've made it a personal goal to work through these crazy beverages before I leave. At first, walnut milk didn't sound to me like something that would taste good. I was hesitant and thought I might want to leave it for future grocery store adventures. But I went for it, and I'm proud to announce that it is great! I put it on cereal and was even more delighted than my first experience with black soy milk.

A new addition to my favorite foods: HODU UYU

The mantra of the day (an oldie but goodie): "Don't knock it 'till you try it"
Sweet potato milk, here I come. Watch out!

sites full of fun

Have time to waste?

I'm loving overheardinnewyork and cyranet (that has funny cards like this one). ALSO, forgetmenotpanties is worth a click.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005