Category: Life in Korea

Losing stuff in Korea

After reading about a foreigner who lost and then found his cell phone, and comments about the taxi driver who wanted compensation for returning it, I thought I’d write about a few experiences I know of.

There certainly are people who would have returned the phone without demanding or even accepting a reward. I know I did when I found a student’s mobile on the ground during our university’s festival.

I once left my bacpack on the subway and was able to get that at the lost and found. Although my backpack is very fashionable no one took it home and it found itself in the Seoul subway lost & found.

I was once talking to a taxi driver in Singapore who lost his traveling cash and passports and everything on the subway in Seoul. It was all returned to him.

However, taxi drivers have it rough. I was once told that a taxi driver working 12 hours/day and 6 days a week would pull in about 1.5 million/month (around 1,500 dollars). I’d be miserable in those circumstances.

Festival time at Korean universities

I know that Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul and catholic University in Bucheon are ahving their annual Spring festivals. At Sookmyung, the festival continues tonight and tomorrow (Friday) night.

I think festivals are fun with live music (when we stopped by the Sookmyung festival the music was pretty bad, but my wife says there were some good (and famous) musicians at the festival a few hours before we arrived.

Not surprisingly, there were quite a few males at the women’s university festival. You certainly don’t have to be a student or even remotely associated with the university to attend, so why not visit a university festival?

Moving in Korea

So I recently moved from Bucheon to Seoul and the move cost about 350,000 won. They came to my house, packed everything, drove it to the new house, and unpacked. Certainly this was much cheaper than a move in America as my wife and I have our share of stuff.

However, not everything went well. There was quite a bit of traffic in Seoul on that Monday afternoon and the driver blamed my wife’s directions. So he decided to go left when my wife said straight and we immediately found ourselves in a bigger traffic jam. Then he got lost. The drive was about an hour longer than it should have been.

One interesting part of Korean culture is that you’re expected to buy lunch for the movers. We did our best, buying coffee and steamed buns in the morning and then offering to order Chinese food as we (finally) approached the new house. Wouldn’t you know it, the driver had a problem; he doesn’t like Chinese food.

The real problem was that since we were new to the area we ddin’t ahve any other places to order from. We ended up stopping at a Galbi Tang place which was naturally more expensive than the Chinese food would have been.

Then came the unpacking job which was pretty bad. We ended up with lots of clothes on the floor, a computer with everything put in its place but nothing hooked up (so we had to take everything out, hook things up, and then put it back in the computer desk) and other things like that.

For the most part nothing was damaged. Our TV cabinet now has uneven doors and some TV channels have poor reception. The cable guy says its our TV but I’m not convinced since some channels are fine. We might have to try another cable company if we have a choice.

Anyway, the move was cheap and the job got done, just in a somewhat annoying way with one guy giving us a hard time about directions and food.

University festival

Every university in Korea, including mine, has a Spring festival. This year classes after 1:00 on Tues., Thurs., and Fri. were cancelled as were all classes on Wednensday. With only a couple of weeks before final exams, this was big news for several of my night classes that missed an entire week of class.

The nice part is that we all get to relax a bit. Several teachers and I went to the student bars that get set up so that different clubs can make money while underage students sell alcohol to other underage students.

Where to find foreigners in Chinju

We have found that foreigners in Chinju still go to the restaurant downtown called Zio Rico’s (Ricco’s). They do this for a live foreigner band every Wednesday night and sometimes on Saturday or other nights.

Then on Wednesday and Saturaday nights, foreigners go to JJ Event Bar. This alternates between pop/techno dance music and karaoke (which is often boring for me). Things start late, maybe around 1:00 AM.

Expat life in Chinju

As regular readers will know, I live in Bucheon a satellite city of Seoul. It feels like I live in Seoul. The last week or two I’ve been experiencing a very different atmosphere in Chinju, also spelled Jinju.

Chinju is a city of about 350,000 people and is considered to be quite conservative by Koreans I know. The expat community is, of course, much smaller than in Seoul.

This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. My wife and I are having a great time. We’ve probably met most of the foreigners in Chinju and they are quite freindly. Foreigners say “hi” to each other when they see each other and it’s normal for strangers to introduce themselves when meeting for the first time. In just a couple of weeks my wife and I feel that we’ve begun several friendships and have really been welcomed by the Expat community.

Making friends in Seoul take quite a bit longer, at least in my experience. I ahve heard a few rumours about places in Chinju you really do NOT want to work. If you’re entertaining a job offer you might consider contacting me to see if that’s one of the schools I’ve heard of.

Seoul may be becoming more dangerous for Americans

An email recently sent out by the American Embassy about danger in Seoul:

Subject: Potential Threat to US Citizens in University Areas

The U.S. Embassy is transmitting the following information through the

Embassy’s warden system as a public service to all U.S. citizens in the

Republic of Korea. Please disseminate this message to U.S. citizens in

your organizations.

Recently, inflammatory sexual content was posted to a website for

English language teachers in Korea. That posting together with subsequent

postings were taken by some to demean Korean women. We have noted

recently, strong reaction in the form of web postings threatening attacks in

the vicinity of Hongik University and the Sinchon area against

Americans and other foreigners who speak English. All Americans and their

families (especially young adults) are encouraged to exercise prudence and

caution when visiting these neighborhoods. The Embassy advises that

inappropriate social behavior in public may be seen as provocative by

Korean nationals.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul will continue to keep the U.S. community

informed of any changes in the overall security situation. The Embassy

encourages all U.S. citizens to register their presence in Korea with the

American Citizens Services (ACS) office at the U.S. Embassy or via the

Internet at or

American Citizen Services

U.S. Embassy Seoul

32, Sejongno, Jongno-gu

Seoul 110-710, Korea

Tel: 02-397-4114

Fax: 02-397-4101

DSN: 721-4114 (English) (Korean)


English teachers’ opinions about Korean women

Thanks to some negative somments about Korean women, one English forum for teachers in Korea is temporarily offline:

As a result of negative newspaper reports depicting but a small percentage of user opinions, we at English Spectrum have decided to pull the offensive forum and are taking steps to re-organize how these forums are operated and monitored.

Yours truly just completed an interview with about this and other issues regarding English teachers in Korea. The interesting thing is that I just returned from a vacation in America last night and this is the first I’ve heard of the issue.

Comments about the issue would certainly be welcome as I suppose this is something I should know more about.

Staying healthy in Korea

Like many foreigners in Korea, I used to get colds that lingered for weeks. The germs in Korea are tough on most foreigners. And work-related stress and lack of sleep often weaken our immune systems just when we need them most.

Recently I haven’t had any problems because I’ve been taking ResishiMax (standardized Reishi Mushroom Extract capsules) from Pharmanex. This is a safe, all natural dietary supplement. Each capsule contains 495 mg of standardized Reishi mushroom extract and 5 mg of Reishi cracked spores.

ReishiMax is intended for adults who wish to maintain a healthy immune system; who smoke or who are frequently exposed to environmental pollutants; who do not get enough sleep; or who are under constant stress.

ReishiMax is not cheap at 120,000 won for 60 capsules (a one month supply). It works for me and it’s worth the money. Becoming a Nuskin/Pharmanex distributor gets you a significant discount (yes I know network marketing has a bad repuation, but it’s free to join; I did and have no regrets).

If you want ReishiMax (its available through Pharmanex distributors like myself) or have some questions, you can email me: or call me (leave a message with your name and number if I’m not in): 032-345-2046 or call my wife’s cell phone: 016-366-2046

ReishiMax FAQ:

What exactly is in ResihiMax?

ReishiMax is composed of Reishi fruiting bodies and cracked spores. The key active constituents found in Reishi include polysaccharides (beta-1,3-glucans) and triterpenes (ganoderic acids and others). Other ingredients naturally found in Reishi include nucleosides, fatty acids (oleic acid), and amino acids. The active ingredients in ReishiMax are standardized to 6% triterpenes and 13.5% polysaccharides. ReishiMax also contains a 1% extract of 100% cracked spores.

How do I take Reishimax?

The recommended use is to take one to two capsules of ReishiMax bid with food and liquid. For optimal health benefits, take one (1) capsule twice daily for health maintenance, and two (2) capsules twice daily for immune modulation.

I take one capsule twice daily and that’s all I need to stay healthy.

Are there any side effects?

I haven’t noticed any, except for the time I took ReishiMax and then rushed off to class without drinking any water. My mouth and throat felt pretty dry. Remember we’re talking about mushroom extract not some chemical formula so its safe.

Here’s the official version: ReishiMax is safe and well tolerated at the recommended dosage. In animal studies, Reishi has been shown to be non-carcinogenic, has not produced hepatic toxicity, and has not impaired growth or development. In high doses (1.5 – three pills- to 1.9 grams/day – four pills), some people have experienced temporary symptoms of sleepiness, thirst, rashes, bloating, frequent urination, abnormal sweating, and loose stools.

Take two pills a day and you’ll be fine.

So it’s perfectly safe?

As usual there is a disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant or nursing, or taking a prescription medication, consult a physician before using this product. Consult a physician if you are concurrently using anticoagulants, receiving immunosuppressive therapies or have an immune disorder. Individuals with known fungal allergies should be cautious when taking Reishi. Discontinue use of this product 2 weeks prior to and after surgery.

My contact info once again: email me: or call me (leave a message with your name and number if I’m not in): 032-345-2046 or call my wife’s cell phone: 016-366-2046