Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I was sitting at my desk surfing the Net and blogging and writing emails that were ungodly long when I realized that while it was cold outside it was also a nice day--so I got out of the apartment and walked in the general direction of Julianne's middle school where she was finishing up winter English camp Day 3.

On the way there I saw a typical sight in Korea--the fruit truck selling stuff next to the side of the road.

Further down the road I decided to take a pic of this exercise fitness clinic that I've seen several times because I find it very 'interesting' that they have what appears to be an African tribesman on a massive poster above their clinic. How this is advertising their services is a leap of cultural imagination and advertising that is beyond me.

It may also just plain have nothing to do with the fitness clinic at all. It could have been put up by a previous tenant for another kind of business . . . or maybe the building owner took a trip and blew up the picture he took while on vacation and put it on the side of his building--who knows . . .

This little shop is a doggy hair salon. Julianne walks up and down this street every day while coming to and from her school. She'll occasionally drop in and play with the dogs for a few minutes.

I took a pic of this 'establishment' because the name makes me laugh every time I see it. "Sexy Shocking" . . . lol.

I find it interesting to see what types of buildings and institutions in Korea look almost exactly the same as American and Canadian things. The post office here looks almost like it could be found in America or Canada.

I like the building in the center background because the texture of the bricks, and its colors, are simply different than your typical pale yellow giant box shaped apartment buildings in Korea.

The back gate looking onto the middle school Julianne teaches at.

There is this massive wall that surrounds the school like a fort or prison . . . a little too 'institutional' for my tastes . . . but what do I know . . .

I wonder if the wall is some kind of reinforcement for the ground/foundation the school is built on because the elevation is higher than the street level where I was standing. Construction in Korea has to deal with building on angled slopes and the sides of hills and mountains a lot.

I really liked the tree's colors against the blue sky.

I walked into the school and found Julianne's office but she had gone out for lunch with another foreign teacher and her primary Korean co-teacher . . . doh! So much for surprising her by dropping in . . . so after calling her and finding out when she would be back from lunch I wandered around enjoying the wonderful aroma that the girls lockers give off . . .

I decided to take a pic of the source of this aroma . . .

This middle school actually had really good English signs for each classroom and type of office--I was impressed that there were no signs like, "Sex Counseling Room," that I've heard about from friends who work in the public system, lol.

I had to take a picture of this washing station in the hallway for one simple reason: there is a BAR OF SOAP on the counter! It's been very rare in my own experience, and from what I generally hear from other foreign native teachers, to see soap consistently available for students to use to wash their hands after using the bathroom . . . I'm told that efforts are being made to correct this issue but haven't really heard much from foreign teachers to confirm that the general soap and hygiene situation has changed much in the public schools . . . I'm keeping my fingers crossed though.

Julianne is doing a Fantasy Island themed winter English camp where the girls make their own island. They have to make a map of the island (seen below), and then a flag, money, etc etc.

And the girls have been very true to the Korisney aesthetic that generally seems to dominate a lot of the culture in Korea. Take a look at the top right corner of the island's map . . . lol.

I'm kind of shocked that Dokdo didn't somehow find itself integrated into the creation of a fantasy island map--lol, wink wink.

Later on, after Julianne was finished, we headed towards GS Mart to pick up New Year's Eve supplies . . . I still really love to see the mountains that are almost always a part of the skyline in Korea.

I actually went and stood in the middle of the road to get this picure--I didn't think it was all that dangerous but Julianne made a comment or two . . . lol.

Standing next to GS Mart I snapped these two shots trying to figure out the best aperture setting in order to bring the distant details of the mountains into a higher degree of clarity . . .

Well, time for a short nap before Julianne and I enjoy our first New Year's Eve together.

Happy New Year!



Sarah said...

Great pictures!

I think the fitness centre with the tribesman you photographed is actually a shoe store. They sell shoes that are supposed to be healthier for walking. As far as I know, the stores are owned by a Swiss man. His story was featured on a documentary series here...He's living in a beautiful home in the Alps thanks to his shoes...

Jason said...


"sell shoes" . . . yeah, but doesn't it also look like they do personal training or something inside the store? Don't know. I just kind of glance inside every time I walk by and wonder what they do in there.

How long have you been in Korea? Or for that matter, in Chuncheon?

Happy New Year,
p.s. Thanks for the compliment about the pictures--I still think I have a LONG way to go with learning how to use my SLR, but I do think the pics in this blog are looking better than others I've taken in that area before.