WTF?! Wednesday ~ The Dirtiest Soap On The Block

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today marked the third day it’s snowed this winter in Seoul, but the first time I’ve woken up to a winter wonderland that’s stuck through the night, and formed a giant ice skating rink through the day!

I see many a fall in my near future.

Today in WTF?! I have decided to take it back to one if the first things I ever found so unbelievably odd about this country.

When it comes to getting clean, my mind just wanders to dirty with this soap doodad.

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I don’t think I need to address why I feel dirty every time I wash my hands in an elementary school or public restroom. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ Read My Lips

I know I’ve slacked lately with my Wednesday postings, so my deepest apologies! I don’t really have an excuse aside from being a bit busy / tired now that the freezing cold has begun to rear its ugly head.

But, don’t fret, for we are back this week in WTF?!, and in BIG BOLD LETTERS.  I found this at one of the eons of boutiques in my neighborhood, and whenever I walk past it, I can’t help but laugh. When I took a picture of it, the girl working there started giggling, though I doubt she knows what “make out” means.

So, for those who do know the meaning, if you want to snag that cute guy over there, THIS is the sweater you should be rocking.

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If he doesn’t catch your drift, which more likely than not he won’t, on to the next. There’s no reading between the lines here.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ Drugstore Cowboy

As most of you know, Cori has been visiting me the past few days, and today we are popping off to Tokyo Town!! We are quite excited. And, well, hoping to not get radiated.

During her few days in Korea, as I’ve been giving her the grand tour, I’ve obviously told her to keep her eyes peeled for ridiculous Engrish all over da place. Well, the other night we were in Dongdaemun in one of the big shopping department warehouses, and I stumbled upon this gem.

I’m not quite certain what a drugstore cowboy is, but he sure sounds like a funny chap!

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WTF?! Wednesday ~ Please, Do Warn A Brother

Happy Wednesday peeps! Guess who’s classes are all cancelled today in preparation for Sports Day this Friday? MINE! I do miss having my little baby doll 4th graders though. It feels like I never see them because we’ve had so many Wednesdays off in a row lately! But, I welcome any break I get!

Moving on to today in WTF?! I bring you something ghettosilly. I found this piece of fab a while back at a little boutique that I always used to shop at in my old hood while I’d wait for my pizza at Pizza School. I stood there for a good 30 seconds just shaking my head and laughing, and then immediately sent this photo to Tim who greatly appreciated it’s amazingness.

20130925-094405.jpg“If you see da police, warn a brother”

This is one shirt where I do regret not making the purchase. Tim was pretty mad at me as well. Le sigh.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ The Pet Trashcan At 7-11

Hello everyone! I have yet another Wednesday off (and Thursday AND Friday!) It’s Chuseok, which is essentially Korea’s Thanksgiving, and my happy excuse to not go to school / take care of “me” stuff.  Last year at this time I was saying “konichiwa bitches” to the typhoon in Osaka and Kyoto, and this year I’m laying low and opting for that money sucking trip to Tokyo in 2 weeks over our NEXT long weekend!  I love fall in Korea because it feels like every week we have another long weekend or random day off in the middle of the week.  It’s quite loverly! Tomorrow I’m going to head on over to Chuncheon and Nami Island about 1.5 hours away by subway to do some exploring and perhaps some bike riding, my fave thing to do in foreign countries.

On with it now! Wednesday means one thing, and that is to grace your eyeballs with something weird and odd and bizarre and totally Korean. So, this week I bring you this trash can of a gem sign. I ran into 7-11 on my walk to the subway en route to school the other morning, and noticed this sign on the trash can that never seemed to grab my attention before.

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I know Korea is quick to dispose of their pets once they outgrow that “cute” phase (whenever that happens), but ummmmm.  I would advise against throwing your pet away in the 7-11 trashcan (or anywhere since we’re on the topic).

I’m still trying to figure out a logical acronym that “pets” could stand for, but I’m stumped. That, and the Korean “페트” literally reads “pet”. Maybe they meant pet poop?

Has anyone in Korea seen this and willing to enlighten a sista? Until that time comes, you are welcome to throw away your pet like an empty ramen cup 😦

WTF?! Wednesday ~ WHAT’S The New Black?!

As you know, one of my favorite things about Korea is the #justclickprint t-shirts that are everywhere. Well, today I found a new fave!

Tonight I was at one of the big shopping complexes in Dongdaemun helping my friend Dustin pick out some dapper new duds. While he was trying his shirt on, I spotted this gem just barely peeking out from behind a tasteful button down shirt.

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I’d say I’m just as big a fan of this t-shirt as I am of that show by a similar name.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ Mrs. Lee, What Planet You From?

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since posting my last WTF?! Wednesday jam because I was on a wondrous trip to Bali followed by a big move out of North Korea.  But, I’m back today! And happier than ever because A) I just found some new bedding so my apartment will slowly stop looking like a college dorm, and B) because CORI is coming to visit me at the end of the month!!! She’s coming to Seoul and then we are planning to pop on over to Tokyo since I have a long weekend in the beginning of October. WEEEEE!!

Now onto this week in WTFness! I actually took these photos 2 weeks ago when I was forced to co-teach (if you could even call it that), with the laziest, sloppiest, most absurd ajumma (old Korean woman) I’ve ever come in contact with.  I feel she, her wardrobe and just general demeanor are well deserving of their own post.

I am actually unsure if her name is really Mrs. Lee because she never even responded when I called her by “name”, but that’s what she told me it was… that one time she actually spoke to me. That brief moment in time was very brisk and almost non-existent.  It was like she couldn’t be bothered to be around a dirty foreigner. She didn’t ask my name, didn’t say hello, but just tossed me this handwritten questionnaire and ran away.  If you are confused, on the left side it says “Question 1-5”, and on the right it says “Answer”. So, I did as was asked of me and wrote her 5 questions that I was burning to know about her, expecting to receive some awe-inspiring answers in return.  Never got those.

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Then came the time to meet and do something called TEACH the students. You’d think that one would dress presentable for a day on the job, and also be a little more involved. But no no. Not “Mrs. Lee”. She showed up to work like so and carried on in the back of class reading the newspaper and catching up on some zzzzz’s. She also walked into each class carrying a box of glue sticks and a mug filled with pens that she never used.

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The only bit of teaching that “Mrs. Lee” did was when she began class.  She started by yelling at the students, followed by hitting a few so hard on the head, and finally, wrote a grammatically correct phrase on the board for the students to repeat 10 times. Only they weren’t grammatical at all, and the students knew it.  Her phrase choices were stupid, to put things bluntly.

In the first 6th grade class the phrase was “How you?”, the second was “Where from?” and the last (which she finally got right!) was “Be quiet”, also quite suiting for that particular class, but that’s neither here nor there.  I began class by asking the students how to correct their “teacher’s” English.

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One of the biggest things that qualifies this as a WTF?! moment is the fact that she had ZERO idea of how to use a computer. She didn’t know what a mouse was or what to call the monitor. I know that she is older, but I found it bizarre that Jin had to spend a good portion of her time teaching “Mrs. Lee” the basic vocabulary that accompanies this technology that’s so abundant in our lives. Actually, the Vice Principal wanted me to teach “Mrs. Lee” how to teach, but I refused. My job is to teach the students, not to teach the teacher how to be a teacher. Especially when she had applied for this position under the pretenses that she was a teacher.  Oh, and because she couldn’t be bothered to even ask me my name.

On top of no basic computer knowledge, she also refused to eat in the cafeteria with everyone else, but instead conned a student into bringing her lunch in her classroom, which the Vice Principal was outraged about. She also STOLE one of the 3rd grade point frogs and one of the 6th grade point monkeys off our progress board. A token of her time as a teacher, perhaps?

If I can find it within myself to find one thing that I am pleased with in regards to “Mrs. Lee”, it’s that I strongly believe she brought me closer to my 6th graders. They are usually too cool for school, but having her there really made them appreciate me and hands were actually shooting up to volunteer, which NEVER happens.  So thank you for that wacko lady!

Alas, those two WTF weeks came and went, and now I have a brand new co-teacher named Shin hye and she’s young and sweet and pretty and I’m excited to have permanency once again!

WTF?! Wednesday ~ A Poo-tiful Afternoon At Mr. Toilet House Museum

We’re gonna get shitty with today’s WTF?! Wednesday.  And when I say shitty, I mean it in the most entertaining of ways possible.

Korea has this really odd fascination with poop, and well, poop is hilarious to me so it works out swimmingly. A past boyfriend and I always used to have long weird conversations about poop and all the whathaveyous of it, but that was in the privacy of our own banter (and apparently now the rest of cyber space). Little did I think that many years down the line I’d move to a country that for some strange reason has a very impassioned love affair with the matter. But I did, and I’ve documented the mosaic’d and artistically crafted shit throughout this weird country I live in.

Well, unbeknownst to me, the shitty (“city” said with a Korean accent) of Suwon is where the great Toilet Culture Movement started, and since it’s inception in the late 1990s by Mr. Sim Jae-duck (respectfully nicknamed Mr. Toilet), it has really swept the nation and beyond in an effort to improve the “toilet culture” for all mankind. His dedication to the cause birthed the Mr. Toilet House Museum, and I of course had to make a trip down there.  So me, Andria and the beautiful Steven made an excursion down south to get educated in the culture of excrement.

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Nestled deep in Suwon is Haewoojae, otherwise known as Mr. Toilet House.  This museum and poop park used to be the home of Mr. Toilet, who after having been born in his grandmother’s toilet and nicknamed Gaetong-i (doggy poop), felt an intense connection to the porcelain God for the remainder of his life. His love of the toilet ranged from ensuring that toilets were hygienic and efficient, to remodeling his house in the shape of a toilet bowl. Talk about a passionate man!

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When you first arrive at Mr. Toilet House, you are greeted by Toile, the mascot of the museum. He is a, and I quote, “cute little poop character” there to guide you on your journey through the world of toilet culture.

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The museum is really bizarre, as you can imagine. It basically consists of old photos chronicling the growth of the Toilet Association, the evolution of the toilet since the 1950s, really graphic pooping statues, and different toilet symbols from around the globe.  Shockingly, I have never seen any of these so I’m calling bullshit on them. But still, funny nonetheless.

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My personal favorite big breasted woman enjoying some alone time.

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In the middle of the bottom floor in Mr. Toilet House is the bathroom, which we only thought was for show.  However, this bathroom is actually functional and pretty special because A) when the lights are turned on from the inside, you can watch everyone outside while you do your business, but the glass is opaque from the outside, and B) because Mr. Toilet hovers over you as you relieve yourself. He may even get a special treat as well (if he’s lucky!)

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When you decide to exit the actual house, there is a poop park outside. This park shows the evolution of the toilet since the before Christ days.

Baby’s first toilet ~ Mom’s hand.

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Years of perfecting that squat, and it still suffers from stage fright in Southeast Asia.

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Cute pooping friends.

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Some would say they do their best thinking on the toilet.

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Stepping in shit has never looked or felt so awesome!

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In all seriousness though, I guess we really can thank Suwon and Mr. Toilet for the cleanliness of the public restrooms in Korea. I was telling Jin this morning about our gallivanting at the Toilet museum, and she told me that prior to the 2002 World Cup in Korea, the public restroom situation was actually really disgusting. In order to make the facilities more appealing to the foreign community visiting Korea, the Toilet Association of Suwon stepped in to tidy things up.  Since then, the “toilet culture” of Korea has been held to very high standards.

There is also a video at the end of the tour showing the devastation that comes from the lack of proper toilets in nearly 40% of the world. As a result, 2 million people die each year from waterborne contagious diseases.  Ridiculous museum with a meaningful message, I suppose. I wonder if they actually donate the money from the Toilet Angels to fund toilet installation in less fortunate countries.

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Happy pooping peeps, and remember: “The first thing a human being is required to do for sustainable life is to defecate.  That is why feces can be such a ‘poo-tiful’ (beautiful) thing.”

WTF?! Wednesday ~ Would You Like Some Pig Midriff?

I’ve been super busy the past couple weeks, so apologies for my neglect on the WTF?! Wednesday front. I’m going to be moving when I return from Bali at the end of August, so Jeewon and I have been lugging our sweaty asses threw dingy shoebox apartment one after another until I finally found a cute little one bedroom to call my own! Praise all that is glorious and holy in this universe! My Vice Principal can finally lay off the overbearing mother role.

Now onto the weird.

This week and next week I have English camp, so that means I get off work at 12:40 everyday. This leaves lots of time to run errands and mosey around town in the sweltering dumpling cooker weather. On Monday I had to visit the US Embassy to add 48 more pages to my passport (!!!!), so I went on a long stroll after I was done with that.

The Embassy is located in my favorite part of Seoul, the Gwanghwamun/Jongno area. As I was just wandering down one of the tiny side streets in search of a naengmyeon restaurant to cool myself down, my eyes caught this awesome menu item.

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Yes, would anyone care for some PIG MIDRIFF for dinner? I don’t know about you, but when I think of pig midriff I think of a pig dancing around in a belly shirt circa the Britney Spears hey day era. It also comes by the “slaughter expert’s recommendation”.

So yea, instead of some pork belly, you get a PHAT slab of midriff. I hope it tastes sexy.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ The Saucy Scarf Sales Gypsy

Hi everyone! This is a day late on my clock, but according to the rest of the Western world it’s still WTF?! Wednesday!

I had an old friend, Robyn, and her new husband stop into Seoul on a layover on their return home from honeymooning in Thailand, so we went to dinner and ice cream and I showed them around my favorite area of Seoul, Jongno.

So, my (I think) 12th and 13th visitors to Seoul are my excuse for being tardy!

Now onto the weird!

Earlier this week I went to Namdaemun Market looking for a travel pack backback for my upcoming trip to Bali in August. Namdaemun is a very traditional Korean market where you can buy souvenirs and trinkets, and pretty much anything, and bargain bargain bargain (if you have cash).

Well, I didn’t find a pack I liked, but I did find this gypsy drag fella/heShe selling scarves with a new twist. This is SO bizarre for Korea, and I just started cracking up when I saw him standing in the middle of massive piles of scarves shaking her hips and groping his breasts. I stopped to take the photo, he posed, and asked me where I was from. All I could slam back was “Where are YOU from?!”

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