Tag Archives: whatthefuckery

Sports Day Triumph

17 May

As a kid in elementary school I always looked forward to Track and Field day. For one whole day classes were cancelled and all the students were allowed to display their athletic talent (or lack thereof) in a series of olympic-like events of their choosing. While some kids(usually the same fatties that hated P.E. class) pissed and moaned about having to spend the entire day pitted against their peers in physical competition for nothing more than the chance to earn a shitty ribbon, I took it quite seriously and wanted nothing more than to dominate and bring home as many shiny blue first place ribbons as possible.

At the risk of seeming like a complete rube, I must admit that I was almost just as excited for “Sports Day” (Korea’s equivalence to Track and Field day) at my school. Clearly this is not because I would be competing in any events nor receiving any ribbons, but I was mainly excited because I knew–if nothing else–that I would be spared from teaching classes and would be able to spend the whole day outside.

As preparations were being made the week before, I began to wonder what my assigned roll for the day would be. Up until this point the only thing that was certain was that I would need to wear athletic clothes.

When I’m finally told by one of the other teachers (with my co-teacher translating) how I will factor into the day’s events, I’m a bit surprised as to what I’m tasked with doing. First I’m told I will need to pull a cart around a giant circle in the middle of the field.

No problem.

Then I’m told that the object of the event will be for the students (in this case, sixth graders) to stand around said circle and hurl as many small beanbags as they can into cart before the time runs out.

It sounds odd and a little painful, but I’m still game.

Lastly, I’m told that I will need to wear woman’s clothing, preferably a dress.

At this point I look up and repeat what was just said to me to make sure I understand correctly.

“Wait, you want me to dress up like a woman?”

I ask for clarification but in all actuality I understand quite well what they are asking of me. For my part in Sports Day, they want me to go drag.

I was  still wrapping my head around having to dress up as a woman when I’m asked if I owned or could get a hold of any cosmetics.  I start to laugh fully thinking they’re joking, but apparently my involvement was not going to be a half-ass production. They wanted me to go all in.

Lucky for me I have some experience with cross-dressing. In the seventh grade school play I was “lucky” enough to land the lead role in a comedic spoof of Sleeping Beauty. Not really the tyoe of role that launches one’s acting career, but at least it was enough to prepare me for my upcoming Sports Day debut.

After agreeing to do my part, I return to my desk and contemplate on how to secure some woman’s clothing within 24 hours, without having to spend any money. I put out a quick message on Facebook and before the afternoon is out I have arrangements to go pick up not one, but two dresses from nearby friend. That’s right, bitches. I had options. Oddly enough some friends had just thrown a transgender party (don’t ask)not too long ago and a couple of my buddies still had their drag wear laying around. In other words, my cry for woman attire was answered by men. Because I figure I couldn’t possibly be lucky twice in one day I decide not to look for make-up.

That night I try on both the dresses and make my final decision: a black tube dress that shows off my shoulders. No sense in going drag if you can’t look good, right?

The next day I show up ready to go, not sure of when the event I’m in will be held. As my official Sports Day day uniform, I am given a neon yellow athletic polo. It looks like something you might wear if you were planning to hike up a mountain and then play 18 holes of golf once you reached the peak. I’m not fond of the color but realize I it’s a lot better then the black dress that is neatly folded in my backpack that I will soon be wearing.

As it nears time for me to take the field for my event, I’m greeted with good news and bad news. The good news: I won’t have to wear the dress. The bad news: They’ve managed to find some bright pink lipstick for me to put on.

Instead of the dress, I’m handed a white blouse, a beige bucket hat, and a plaid pair of what looks like the Korean equivalence of bloomers. I keep telling myself that I’m doing this for the kids, but it hardly helps. The lipstick is quickly smeared on my lips and cheeks and I take the field looking like a transgender ajumma circus clown.

At least I wasn’t alone. One of the other male teachers, a guy around the same age as myself, had to dress up and wear lipstick as well. Only his attire resembles that of an ajossi pimp. He would be pulling a cart in the giant circle opposite from mine that the opposing team of sixth graders would be tossing beanbags into.

As we entered our respective circles, I imagine we were thinking the same thing:  please let this whole ordeal be quick and painless and may no photographic evidence ever surface on the internet.

A strike of the gong signals the start and almost immediately I’m pelted in the face with a bean bag. Then and only then do I realize the shear rediculousness of having an event like this for Sports Day. This was in no way the display of athletic grace and finesse that I took part in as a kid on Track and Field Day. This wasn’t an exercise to foster healthy competition amongst the students. This was something that probably should’ve taken place at a school carnival, where professionals could have been hired to take beanbags to their face and nether regions. I don’t remember any mentioning of this in the EPIK brochure when I was first applying to teach in Korea. But maybe that’s just my bruised ego talking.

After the spectacle came to a close I retreat into the building to wash the make-up of off my face and change back into my neon yellow referee shirt. Before the day is over I witness several other questionable Sports Day events and help out as much as I can and generally enjoy being outside whilst cheering my students on.

Would I agree to do something similar if it took place back in the states?

Probably, but as I alluded to above, most Track and Field days in the U.S. wouldn’t involve foreign cross-dressing circus clowns. Looks this will be another experience I throw in the “cultural differences” category.


Kimchi Dreadlocks


Korean What-the-Fuckery on the Bus

15 Feb

I often visit a blog call What the Kimchi??? On it, Flint does a series entitled “Mook of the Week” where he details some of the crazy shit that he notices Koreans doing.

Many of these posts are incredibly funny, and while I have no intentions of starting a similar series on this blog, I experienced something last week that reminded me of the Korean what-the-fuckery I often read about on What the Kimchi???

Everyday after work I hop on a tiny bus that weaves its way down a mountain on narrow streets packed with parked cars. . I often marvel at how drivers moving in opposite directions negotiate who gets the right away when there’s not enough room on the road for both vehicles to pass simultaneously.

Normally the right to pass is given to the bigger vehicle while the smaller one waits its turn off to the side of the street. For the most part this system works well, and even during rush hour, traffic seems to move along at a steady pace. On this particular day however, we were met with a road hog that decided to fuck up my plans of getting home in a timely manner.

As the bus I’m riding makes it’s way down a steep incline a van approaches from the opposite direction and  instead of turning off into a nearby driveway to let the bus pass, this bastard decides to speed up and stop right in front of us while motioning for the bus to back up and let him through. At this point I take a look out the back window and notice the bus would have to reverse back to the top of the hill into the middle of an intersection in order to let the asshole get by. It made much more sense for the van to back up and turn off into the driveway that was all of ten feet from his rear bumper.

Instead, a 45-second stare down ensues with both drivers motioning at the other to back up and neither vehicle moves an inch. I begin to get frustrated and search the faces of my Korean co-passengers hoping I wasn’t the only one. Surprisingly, no one seems to give a damn.

The driver of the van then hops out, approaches the bus and begins arguing with the bus driver, each man motioning for the other to back up and let him by.

I haven’t the slightest idea what was said but I imagine it went a bit like this:

Van Driver: Why aren’t you moving out of the way?

Bus Driver: Because I was here first. Why don’t you move?

Van Driver: There’s no way that I should have to move. Sure, it’s much easier for me to back my van up a few meters and let you pass, and clearly this would be more logical than you backing your bus up a hill into an intersection, but I was here first and as such, should be awarded the right to pass first.

Bus Driver: Wait, can you explain all that again. I have passengers that need to be somewhere and I’m pretty sure they want to sit here longer while we argue about which one of us should let the other pass. They enjoy watching two grown men act like complete jackasses.

Van Driver: Fine. I’ll just return to my van and stare at you some more through my windshield hoping you and your bus mysteriously vanishes from the road.

The van driver then returns to his vehicle and does just that.

I again look around at the other passengers hoping to find at least one person who shares my growing frustration (In hindsight I think I secretly hopped a gangster ajumma would come to my rescue, going upside the stubborn van driver’s head with a bag of freshly bought bean sprouts. Alas, this is an imperfect world).

After another minute-long stare down, it’s now the bus driver’s turn at an attempt to exert his will. He climbs out and approaches the van, and once more, an argument kicks off, this time with more arm flailing and gesturing. Another minute or two passes (I would have been home by now had I chose to walk) and he returns to the bus swearing (I’m assuming they were swear words) under his breath. He then calmly takes off his sunglasses, wipes them clean and places them back on his face. I got the feeling a curbside brawl was approaching (which I no doubt would have stuck around for) or maybet a game of “chicken.”

The van driver, meanwhile, is wildly pounding his steering wheel and screaming out his window at the the equally stubborn bus driver. I finally decide to get up and walk the rest of the way home when the van begins to creep backwards. What should’ve been a simple 90 degree back-in to the driveway turns into a five-move NASA space shuttle manuver that nearly clips the side mirror off a parked Hyundai.

As the bus finally pulls forward and continues along it’s route I contemplate standing up and applauding but this would have been pointless. I was the only one on the bus who even remotely cared that we were finally on our way. Everyone else was too busy staring at their cell phone screens or otherwise not giving a fuck about what was going on around them.


Because I live in Korea.


Kimchi Dreadlocks

Subway Nuisance

11 Jan

Riding the subway never fails to provide a little excitement and entertainment.Believe it or not I’ve actually started to enjoy the anticipation that comes right before I enter a subway car packed full of unsuspecting Koreans. I stroll in, take up a spot by the doors on the opposite side of the car and await the random looks of bewilderment and pointing that often accompany my unforeseen presence. I’ve read accounts of foreigners being quite annoyed at this, but I often find it amusing.

When I notice someone starring obsessively at me, I like to stare back with as little expression as possible. Do doubt, their probably wondering where I’m from (a lot of Koreans swear I’m from Jamaica) or if my hair is real, but there are things that I’m curious about as well, and the starring provides me with a good opportunity to relentlessly observe and ponder all the shit that continuously blows my mind about Koreans. For example:

Why, sir, do you have what looks remarkably like a woman’s Louis Vitton purse slung across your arm? Is a backpack or messenger bag not sufficient?

Excuse me miss, but it seems you have an addiction to applying pink lip gloss in 30 second intervals in addition to combing your bangs and starring into your pocket mirror.

You seem to have some flem stuck in your throat madam  and I respect your persistence in trying to hawk it up, but your method doesn’t seem to be working.

Now some of you might consider  this as rude or inconsiderate, but I think of it more as Korean cultural awareness. As I said before, it might be easier to allow the incessant staring annoy me,  but I’d rather use it as an opportunity to learn something.

That being said, there are times when I’m just not in the mood for subway nonsense and therefore would rather zone-out until I get where I’m going.

Once when making my way back from the Busan KTX station after a long weekend in Seoul and Daegu, an ajosshi decided to plopp down next to me on the subway. I hardly notice at first because I was enjoying watching Superbad on my ipod. Seconds later I notice the rank stench of soju and b.o. wafting around me, and as I look up and turn slowly to my right I am greeted by an old korean man smiling toothlessly in my face. He was so close I though he was leaning in to give me a kiss.

Startled, I jerk backwards, and before I am able to resume watching Superbad, he begins clapping his hands and happily yelling something at me in Korean, spewing out spit and soju stench with each word he spoke. Not wanting to cause more of a scene, I do the first thing that comes to mind: I point to my ipod and offer to let him watch Superbad with me. He lets out a loud “ahhhh, ok, ok, ok” then scoots closer for a better view. I look at the subway map and notice I’m still seven or eight stops from my apartment. I figure if I can keep him distracted until I reach my stop, I can make it home peacefully and return to breathing unsoiled air. Unfotunately, my friends, I’m not that lucky.

He begins speaking to me again, seeming to ask me an array of questions which I do not understand. This time I try to ignore him which only makes him lean in closer as to catch my attention. I glance across the subway and notice I now have a full crowd of onlookers, some who seem to feel sorry for my situation, others who look as if they’re curios as to what I’ll do next. I look down again and continue to ignore the toothless admirer which brings about more yelling and hand gestures, all while wafting more funk fumes.

With two more stops to go, I finally look over and tell him (in as calm a voice as possible) “You smell really really bad and it’s making me nauseous. Please stop talking to me.”

He clearly had no idea what I said, but it didn’t matter because after a quick pause smiled and yelled “American” and opened his arms as if to invite me in for a hug (which I decline).

I reach my stop, go home and proceed to cry myself to sleep. In a perfect world, me and the toothless fellow might have been friends.


Kimchi Dreadlocks

Crown J is Gangsta!

8 Dec

Big ups to Brian in Jeollanam-Do for the heads up on this story. I couldn’t keep myself from posting about it.

It appears that Korean and American rap artists have more in common than I thought.

Last week,  K-rapper  Crown J was arrested in Seoul for smoking weed during his recent stay in Atlanta, GA, where he was recording songs for an upcoming album release.

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of  Crown J since arriving in Korea a few months ago. He’s released several albums since he debuted in 2006 and also appeared on a reality TV show.

Apparently, the fuzz grabbed him up soon after he arrived at Incheon International Airport and immediately made him drop a piss test, looking for evidence of  “drug taking.”

From The Korean Herald:

…Crown J had been buying the drug from international sources since May 2010 while residing in Atlanta, and shared it with some other Koreans. The police are now looking for further information.

This shit blows my mind.

I know Korea has some strict drug laws, but this has got to be one of the only places where you can get arrested–after the fact– upon returning home, for smoking a couple of joints in a completely different country. Also, I’d really like to know how the hell the authorties found out he was smoking in the first place? And sharing it with other Koreans? Unless Crown Jizzle was dumb enough to record the act and post it on the internet, I fail to see how they would have ever known, that is, unless one of his cronies is stone cold snitch. Check your homies, Crown J, check your homies.

Assuming Crown J is familiar with Korea’s drug policies, maybe the question that needs to be asked is: why blaze up in the first place? Peer pressure? Street credibility? If it’s the latter of the two, he’s going about it all wrong.

If you want street cred in an American commercial rap market, you either have to A. Get shot, B. Get caught with guns in your possession, or C. Be a member of the Wu Tang Clan.

Either way, I feel sorry for the kid.

Here in Korea, he’ll probably be shunned out of the public eye for a while, negating the possibility of a successful album release. In the states, even with a drug charge, I doubt he’ll see commercial success. Sadly, his music just isn’t that good–even by shitty mainstream standards.

But what the hell do I know?

Check it out for yourself.


Kimchi Dreadlocks

This Might Get You Slapped!

5 Oct

Big ups to Kelly in Korea, Brian in Jellanam-Do and The Marmot’s Hole for alerting me of this.  I couldn’t resist posting it for my readers.

This, my friends, is the type of shit that might get you jumped on just about any street back home.  However here in Korea, it’s damn near a novelty to wear a t-shirt splattered with english sentences that either make no fucking sense whatsoever or are overtly offensive. It kills me that this chick is actually grinning from ear to ear, proud as ever of her racist ass purchase.

The worst part? Most  Koreans wearing this shit have no clue what the words even mean.

I keep asking myself  what would happen if I came across this in public. Three reactions come to mind:

1. Do nothing and chalk it up to ignorance.                                  
2. Point and give the famous Korean arm cross signaling “not o.k.”
3. Let the dreads down and flip the fuck out black kung-fu style (and possibly end up in Korean prison).

I guess we’ll find out if/when it happens. Roll with the punches right?


Kimchi Dreadlocks

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