Friday, April 8, 2011


Every once in a while I check up on my blog stats. It sort of keeps me in the loop about where people are reading my blog and gives me a nice ego stroke when I'm feeling unpopular. It doesn't tell me specifics, just general locations*. Today I realized I can also see what people searched for in Google (or their search engine of choice) when they found my blog. It seems like people often have questions about Korea...or sometimes other stuff...when they come across it. I thought I'd try to answer some of those questions here.

1. Noraebang: this one comes up a lot, sometimes as "itaewon noraebang," "korean noraebang," or "best noraebang seoul." Noraebang is the Korean version of Karaoke. "Bang" means "room" and the way it works is that you rent out a room with some of your friends and then you can sing without the embarrassment of doing it in front of strangers. It ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 won per hour, depending on the place. Some are very nice, almost like hotels, while others are more simple. I can't really give any recommendations since I only went a few times and there are thousands in Seoul, but I highly recommend doing it.  I've even been to one in Chicago.

2. "Why is Chairman Mao in the Forbidden City?" Good question. Actually, he isn't in the Forbidden City, but rather in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square has great significance for China for various reasons and it is no surprise that he would want to be buried in such an important location. I believe a poster of him resides somewhere nearby.

3. "Chungdahm sketchy?" This made me laugh out loud because I may have typed in the exact same thing when I was offered a job with Chung Dahm. The short answer: No, it's not sketchy. Long answer: It's a large corporation with a huge research and development office, a large training facility, and dozens of branches across Korea employing thousands of teachers. It's legit. On the other hand, will you enjoy working there? That's a question I can't answer.

4. "Walking to Namsan Tower from Itaewon" It's a pretty long walk, so I wouldn't. I think the tower is only a couple of subway stops away from Itaewon and there is a funicular that will take you from somewhere near the subway to the gondola thing that takes you to Namsan Tower. Sorry that's not more specific.

5. "Whipped cream curdles on the body." Oh, really?

6. "Coatel Chungdahm": Coatel is really nice, so if you have accepted an offer with CDI and you're about to embark on training don't worry about the accommodations. CDI actually owns a bunch of really suave apartments in the middle of the nicest part of Seoul, Gangnam. They have full kitchens and washing machines, so you can even cook and do laundry there if you wanted to.

7. "bento ramen camden": I'm not sure what to say. I enjoy bento boxes. Ramen is OK every once in a while. Camden, New Jersey? Never been there. I'm not sure how you found my blog looking this up. Did you use Yahoo?

8. "Other names for tomato (4, 5 letters)": Fruit, plant.

*It's pretty cool that people from all over the world (or one very well-traveled reader) are reading my blog. Here are some of the locations that are tapping in:
South Korea
United Kingdom
South Africa
Hong Kong
Saudi Arabia

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Travels Continue... yet another continent! That's right, folks, I'm headed to South Africa on a research fellowship this summer. I'm super excited as I've never been before and my mom's side of the family hails from there. I'll be stationed in Johannesburg at the Centre of Applied Legal Studies of the University of Witwatersrand, home to Africa's only rock museum and alma mater of Nelson Mandela*.

I don't have quite enough details yet to expand on this, but it's definitely a go at this point. I'm just waiting for my official start and end dates so that I can buy my plane ticket.

*The law school, although he never got his degree.