Friday, October 24, 2008

Busan Comic World Festival 51!

Just put it in my veins!!

     Last Sunday, I had the good fortune to be invited by my former roommate Amanda to the Busan Comic World convention. Also on board too early for a Sunday was her man Glenn of course, and Scott, who knows everything about everything, except the Korean language.   

We took a bus and then the subway to BEXCO convention hall.  

    Entering the inner convention hall, there were about three things to see.  Largely, there were booths set up of people selling their various anime, anime-style swag and doujinshi.  There were posters, cards, t-shirts ("daeth note?!"), mugs, key chains, and all sorts of other goodies.   Events like these seem to be a rare outlet for those artists who like to portray the um...more "rainbowish" lifestyle in conservative Korea.   

    There was an especially long line of people in front of a booth selling stuff related to the manga Reborn! , so I got into it and bought a few things, including a manhwa I can never show my children.  

    Also present was some of the  the Deleter company's comic book making supplies:  comic paper, pens, Copic markers, manga software, etc.  I found myself far more exited about this (and bought some paper and pens).  Maybe this stuff was being resold illegally, as I was discouraged from taking photos!  

crappy clandestine photo!!

    And to round it all off, there was a large screen set up in the back apparently showing nothing but the opening credits sequences to different popular anime.  I really hope they showed something more interesting later, but I didn't stick around to see.  

    Of course there were the various cosplayers, few of which we could identify.  Some were advertising "free hugs".  

Rose of Versailles, right? 

Glenn gets some awkward first-time Fruits Basket love.

And just when you thought it was impossible to look like more of a dork...

    I must admit that the experience was a tad anti-climactic, as those of us who are just weird enough to know about "nerd" conventions had higher expectations.  There should have been more to see, it should have been bigger, it should have been more interesting.   Amanda  had her hopes nearly crushed as there weren't many Naruto-related sights to be seen; although she did probably find the only  doujinshi in the universe that wasn't gay porn.    

    Comic World, as it turned out, was little more than a comic village; and apparently Busan hosts one every two months!  Maybe they should have them less often and make them more anticipated events?

But it was fun to go out and experience a real manga/manhwa/anime convention in Asia with TaLKing friends.   

    As I've pontificated before into many a tired ear, I have a love-hate relationship with manga and especially anime.   On the one hand, I have enjoyed many anime over the years,  on the other hand, I find the anime style in general to be cold and soulless, and in terms of animation itself, prefer American style (when it's done well, which is sadly almost never).   There have been anime that I thought were cute, fun, cool, or interesting, but besides some of Hayao Miyazaki's films, there are none that I *love.*  I'll watch just about anything animated once, but there's very little I would actually spend money on.   

    Seeing these Korean kids dressed up in kimonos and watching Japanese anime was interesting to think about.  What do they think about participating in this celebration of Japanese culture? Do they ever think about that sort of thing, or do they give a darn?  Do Korean young people under the age of 30 really give two bento boxes about the Dokdo Islands, or Japan's WW2 atrocities, or is it just something that older people and the government go on about?  Maybe they're just kids who like what they like, regardless of where its from.  Korea and Japan have a lot in common.  It would be interesting to know what the Korean youth's opinions are about Japan--hence one more reason I'm studying the language.    

    Anyway folks, that was the big event of last weekend--here at the beginning of another weekend, I'm sure we'll experience even crazier adventures, the likes of which this blog cannot hope to contain, 


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ulsan World Music Festival!

I think I'll wear a mask everyday.

This weekend, I went to the Ulsan World Music Festival.  I said I would.   Did I detect a wave of collective displeasure from the head office for not attending the obligatory mask festival in Andong?   Perhaps, but I agreed to no such overnight trip, they just signed me up,  or so the cryptic phone text message said.     

Still, I'm glad I went to this instead, for I met some interesting people:  

Two eligible young bachelors if I ever saw any. 

    I also met Dan Gauthier who owns the Ulsan Sun Magazine-- a publication for foreigners in Ulsan.  For some reason I don't have a picture of him.  Will the frustrations never end?

Pour moi?  

Kickin' it old-school.  Extremely old school.  

    Most of the guys in this band were really cute--you know, if you're into that.   They played latin jazz, latin funk, and raggae.  Who knew that Ulsan would invite some soul? 

Goodnight, giant scary disembodied head! 

    Saturday night, I met Penny, a Senaglese -English girl from Bristol.  She was teaching an African dance class On Sunday.  I just watched as she tried to get Korean folks to bring the noise and the funk.  In the end, Penny and her crew were the ones who supplied it.  This is their organization, Tribe of Doris.   

How can Monday be faced?  


Friday, October 3, 2008

하 루 하 루 / Day by Day

The buck...slows down significantly here.  

As you can read from the post below, yeah, today is a national holiday, a fact of which I was vaguely aware, but didn't fully sink in until finding the school locked and deserted this afternoon.  

So,  I came back home (this little rectangle of sovereign American territory) to blog to yoo!   

"I have often walked down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before."

"Everyone Loves" studio apartments

My children are very cute and I am concerned for their future.  I wish I had some more candid photos of some of my classes.  For that, we need an extra pair of hands.  

My first class (1:10-1:50) is 1st and 2nd graders.  --Really, too young to be in my class, and there are too many of them too boot (34-37?).  It's more a battle of containing and directing their behavior towards something vaguely educational and organized.  Even songs, chants, and games don't completely quell the chaos.   Don't think it's worth My and my co-teacher's effort, really, unless perhaps you're talking about pay---in which case, we aren't being paid enough!

My second class (2:10-2:50) are 3-4th graders.  They're all right.  It's hard to think of activities for them sometimes, because they are neither here nor there.  They're not babies who are enthusiastic about cute little actions songs like the 1-2 graders, yet, they aren't advanced enough to do the somewhat more interesting activities and subject matter of the 5th and 6th graders.  I like them, though.   

My third class (3:10-3:50) are the 5th and 6th graders.  They're cool, because you can relate to them a little more.  They can comprehend quite a bit of what they read--but with them you get all the adolescent insecurities, so they're really shy about speaking.  Poor babies.   

My fourth class (4:00ish--4:45) is my Youngo sarang bang class which means  "English Love Room".   Sounds kinda sexy.   These are the best English students in the school--and their parents are proud of them and think they're hot stuff.   Actually, few of them are as good at English as their parents seem to think, but it's a fun class of 13 or so students with whom I can do fun things with.   This week, the theme was food, so I made some restaurant related dialogue skits for the kids to act out, complete with "menus" for the fake restaurant I dubbed "Chez Anglais".   

So that is my usual day of teaching--, if you want to call it that.  But I'm not even going to worry to hard about whether they know this or that.  I have to keep in mind that I'm a sort of "Ambassador of English", or ambassador of America, or even an ambassador of African-Americans.   I never had any aspirations to be a "teacher" in the professional sense of the word, and never will.  The relationships and social interaction--the opportunities to speak with a naitive speaker, and have fun are the main things---which is actually perhaps the harder thing--me being woefully undersocialised and a private person by nature.   ---Not to mention the language barrier.   

     Even when the kids act up or aren't cooperating, or a plan falls apart, or whatever, I find I can't stay upset about it for long.  Often I find...after hours of anxious lesson-planning, that these precious plans have little bearing on what will really take place or how the week will go in general anyway.  

So my kiddies (who I will probably never learn most of the names of)  will hopefully be left with a positive impression of me and a good attitude about English.  If we can say that at the end of the year, I'll be satisfied.