Did I mention that it turns out the puppy (who was bought to replace the last school mascot at BuDong Middle School which died presumably from ill-treatment and being left outside in -20 celcius temperatures over winter) has been ‘disappeared’ by local townsfolk after he was left free to roam and bothered some chickens. I think the vice-principle has caught on to the fact that I’m drinking almost $1000 worth of the Maxim coffee packets from the teachers’ office a year (at the rate I’m going). You know that great feeling when you buy someone an awesome gift and see how much they like it? I’m so happy my new co-teacher is getting so much use out of the cane I gave him as a gift when he first arrived! And 3 months on, I finally got round to doing my Christmas lesson I had planned for the high school class. Completed Time Crisis 3 at the Lotte Mart, now to return to Jongno to finish Time Crisis 4, wish me luck.
I’ve written a few times before that eating Korean meals is eating mainly out of biological necessity. What I didn’t write is that it appears Koreans mainly eat for the same reason. While Koreans might sit down and have dinner together, it seems that the primary focus is the consummation of nutrients rather than enjoying good food and company. Even in Cheong-Song there are dozens of diners, but I assume people eat out because it is probably cheaper than buying ingredients and cooking at home. And in Seoul the only real restaurants as we know them in the West that I have seen are Western restaurants serving Western style food. In the main, it comes across that Koreans (less so in the big cities where there are more Western influences) just don’t enjoy food in the same way we do. Case in point: the Chef’s wife brought apple pie for dessert after dinner at the kimbap shop and asked the ladies working there if they’d like a slice (the Chef disapproves, not liking to share treats with Koreans because they won’t appreciate it,) to which the ladies handed the Chef’s wife a knife still coated in meat and gravy in order to cut a slice of the pie!
Of course, while I say that I believe Korean food is most distasteful and that Koreans eat mainly out of biological necessity, it is very different from the situation in North Korea where the people have stripped the mountains bare of foliage out of starvation. Which brings me to an interesting point ? South Korea is one large mountain range covered completely in a blanket of trees. Talking to one of the teachers at my school, apparently it wasn’t always the case, and that 20-30 years ago most of the mountains were bare before the government ordered the planting of trees and banned cutting them down for fuel, which I think would make Korea one of the few countries in the world with more trees at the end of the century than at the beginning.