Re-entering the Twilight Zone

Korea has become collectively known around here as the twilight zone- so crazy and fast paced that no-one ever quite knows what day it is or quite how long it’s been since they last escaped! It’s also a reference to the fact that wokring hours are so long that most of us rarely see sunlight during the week. I love it here, but it’s so busy and introverted it’s easy to forget about the world for days at a time. Going home has made me marginally home sick for the first. I’ll cope with it, but to be honest homesickness never really came into it before, I was just too busy.

This week, of course, has been another crazy one. I mean why wouldn’t I go right back in the deep end again? I’ve had Rokon articles and events galore, a total number of working hours as high as ever and jet lag all to deal with at once. In fact I’ve barely had any chance to make a start on my extremely ample quantity of imported cheese. Fortunately the weekend seems to have countered the worst of it, and I do have some extremely fun new classes (my crazy little eight year old and the very amusing men down at Google for a start).

Anyway, here’s my best effort to summarize the events of (mainly) the weekend:

FC Seoul vs. LA Galaxy – La Galaxy or ‘David Beckham FC’ – he seems to be all the locals are interested in –came to Seoul this weekend for play a pre-season game against FC Seoul. It was terrible. Seoul won on penalties after the two teams contrived to miss nearly all of them between them, eventually taking it 2-1. The game itself finished 1-1, with Beckham crossing for an impressive Galaxy opener and Seoul equalizing from yet another (extremely dodgy looking) penalty. The Beckham theme was cringey: throughout the weekend there have been people walking around town in huge promotional banner suits with pictures of Beckham on them, LA Galaxy shirts have gone from being unrecognizable to being in every shop window. Most of the locals even supported LA at the game, despite the fact they are from Seoul… traitors. The ‘Beckham support group’ sat down one wing screaming pathetically every time the man himself touched the ball, whilst waving around a load of Green scarves with ‘Herbalife’ written on them. I hope for their own sake they all at least worked there. I think from now on I’ll stick to going to football matches rather than irritating publicity stunts!

More Farewells – Barely a week goes by without someone leaving. This week it was almost all of Helena’s school, who all joined for a school year at the same time (apart from Helena, who was a replacement). It’s been an extremely emotional week for her, as almost all her friends in Seoul have gone. Hopefully the new lot will be nice too. I’m missing Stewart, who left while I was at home – he used to light up Gangnam with his eccentricities. I hope his replacement is as much fun.

Rokon Events Are starting to dominate weekends: Club Volume – a new super club within walking distance of my place – was Friday night’s destination. Not that we ever got to see much of it: the queues were ridiculous and the venue had decided to give everyone guest list passes as a promotion. They won’t be getting much promotion from the magazine as this tactic meant we could barely get in before it closed despite our press passes… Saturday night was much better – Mark Baker, who’s a Seoul ‘local hero’, launched his CD down in Hongdae. He’s good in his band, but playing Solo Mark called upon half of Seoul’s musicians to join him on stage at one time or another. The set was totally stunning – perhaps the best I’ve seen in Seoul so far. The Bellows supporting him were pretty good as well – the deeper I get into the local music scene here the more I realize just how strong it is. Check them out:

Mark Baker:

The Bellows:

Lokomotiv Goyang 3 – 3 Cheongju Tigers – The start of another Sunday league season, and Loko finally get the chance to play in a league in which we should really be winning, rather than finishing bottom. Cheongju were very average, Loko were suffering from new season mistakes and lack of fitness. We managed to concede at the end and mess up what should have been an easy win. At least it’s more fun this year!

More published articles

I’ve had over two every three days published in February – clearly it’s silly to post them all up here, so here are the links for anyone who’s interested:

Sport in Seoul: An entire new section for the Seoul government tourism website. I wrote this in its entirety apart from the very inappropriate introduction, which I will be replacing in the near future:

Events – the top article and the bottom five articles in this section are also mine:

Student quote of the week: ‘I slept with 19 men’ (one of my younger female students referring to the time she went backpacking and had to share the men’s dorm because nobody recognized her name as a woman’s….)

What I learnt this week: Never leave freshly imported chocolate on your Korean style Ondol heated floor. At least it wasn’t the Easter egg.


James x

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