buddhabday.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so it was buddha's birthday this weekend. insadong is where you wanna be. luckily for me i was visiting swon, and she's only a ten minute walk from there.
swon ended up spending time with her dad at the hospital, but i met up with some co workers and friends for the festival. here's a shot of a cute shopping area in insadong all decked out for the festivities.


buddhabday.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

roasted chestnuts, not a bad way to start a festival day.


buddhabday.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

walking up to the jogyesa buddhist temple near the end of the festival street. all along the street there were craft tables and information tables about buddhism and such. there was also a stage where different performers were showing off their traditional dances and music.

it would've been nice to make my own lantern, but the weather probably would've damaged it. a little drizzly, and a little chilly. but totally worth it.


buddhabday.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the lantern canopy outside the temple. something is spelled out in lanterns toward the center.


buddhabday.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a nice calm moment inside the jogyesa buddhist temple while the festival ramps up outside.


buddhabday.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the lanterns that parade watchers were given.


buddhabday.11, originally uploaded by ekissam.

somehow, i don't think these count as 'lanterns'. . . .


buddhabday.12, originally uploaded by ekissam.

some festive elephants.


buddhabday.13, originally uploaded by ekissam.

lest we should forget, is it the LOTUS LANTERN FESTIVAL. this lotus opened and closed to reveal a buddha.


buddhabday.14, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a smoking dragon. later on there were ones that spit fire as well.


buddhabday.16, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this one was animatronic. his tail flared up and down. . . oh yeah, and he spit out fire. coolest peacock ever!


buddhabday.17, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i couldn't tell you what these were all about. . . but there were a lot of them throughout the parade.


buddhabday.19, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the railing in front of us was a bit cursed. three people leaning on it, or reaching for it fell, or nearly fell. but it all changed once we were visited and blessed by the 'itty bitty buddha' seen here.


buddhabday.18, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so many lanterns. some were battery operated too, and don't think for a minute that i wasn't planning out a better way to pack the batteries inside the holding sticks. i took a lot of shots, but most were blurry.


buddhabday.33, originally uploaded by ekissam.

there were a few odd floats, including this one, which i am dubbing, the jet set buddha. yep, it's buddha in a helicopter.


buddhabday.28, originally uploaded by ekissam.

you can barely tell i'm sick here, what with the all the pretty glowing lanterns.


buddhabday.29, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it's not incredibly noticeable, but all the lanterns overhead are lit. they were having a ceremony after the parade.


buddhabday.32, originally uploaded by ekissam.

leaving the temple. i had to run back to swon's to get my overnight bag before catching a train.


3.17.09.ansan.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i was out with a group of teachers going for drinks when this caught my eye. i found it comforting that even the korean teachers were a little stunned. two patients out for a walk and a smoke, still hooked to their IV!


3.18.09.dongdaemun.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

last weekend a couple of co workers and i headed into the greater seoul area for some shopping. our final destination was itaewon, where i found vermont cheddar cheese (right next to a brick of extra sharp cheddar. . . talk about your deliberations!)

on our way we walked through dongdaemun, which is a massive market area. here's a nice walkway that i'd like to check out again sometime.


3.18.09.dongdaemun.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we passed through an area that was nothing but fabric stores, and then came across an area dedicated to small pets. i guess here in south korea, chipmunks are kinda exotic!


3.18.09.dongdaemun.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's a partial view of a street full of footwear.


3.18.09.dongdaemun.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the gate at dongdaemun.


3.15.09.zoo.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

our march field trip was an outing to the seoul zoo.


3.15.09.zoo.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

part of our trek.

i thought for a while that we had brought a professional photographer from the school, or that the zoo had a few photographers planted throughout, since there were people taking shots of our students with massive lenses. . . following us from place to place.

turns out, it was just people taking pictures of our students. kinda creepy.


3.15.09.zoo.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it was sort of a foggy day, but you could still see some of the blooming trees on the mountain side.


3.15.09.zoo.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the students get a peek at a sea lion.


3.15.09.zoo.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the dolphin show was pretty cute. saw a couple of tricks i hadn't seen before, like one of the trainers surfing on one of the dolphins.

good news, we didn't get lost going home from this trip.


wallet, phone, keys

i say this before i leave for work every day. i figure, no matter what else i might forget, no matter what else might happen. . . if i have these three things, i have the ticket to getting almost everything else i need.

-keys can get me into my car (though not really anymore) so i can get somewhere else
-keys can get me back into my place to get what i maybe forgot
-wallet can get me a place to stay if i can’t get back to my place for some reason
-wallet can get me food if i forget to bring my lunch
-phone can get me in touch with help, whether professional or just friendly
-phone can get me information, ie, where can i stay if i can’t get home, and is there a good movie playing somewhere where i can waste some time

you get the idea.

i’ve said my little ‘leaving for work’ reminder mantra everyday. . . even when my wallet was empty. . . even when i didn’t need the keys. . . even when my phone didn’t have any signal.

this morning, as i left for work, i said my little reminder mantra. . . and it was the first time in a long time that i had all three objects, and all three could perform as i have become accustomed.

which means, yes. . . i finally have a phone. there was a lot of waiting, and a lot of finagling. there may still be some more, but it is already functioning. i’ve made and received calls. it’s a nice looking machine. . . not the iphone that i had hoped for. . . south korea isn’t open to the iphone. but this one has some pretty nice features. . .

i’ve missed my electronic leash, and i’m glad to have it back. i doubt i’ll be making tons of calls, but it’s nice to have the option. . . and now swon doesn’t have to worry so much if i get lost on the subway, or if i’m delayed in traffic. . . i’m just a few clicks away.



4.1.09.prank.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i wanted to do a prank. keep in mind, i have no crew at my beck and call, and i don't have keys to deal with anything large scale outside of work hours. . . plus i wasn't quite sure how it would translate culturally. . . so. . . the prank was small, something i could do quickly, and by myself.

i made these origami candy boxes for everyone, just in case the joke didn't go over well. the thought being that chocolate and candy would quell most irritations.


4.1.09.prank.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

told you it wasn't much. kinda lame actually, just wrapping all the board erasers and markers in tin foil. but it was just enough to catch people off guard.


4.1.09.prank.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i saw this done with bean sprouts online somewhere. i didn't want to deal with anything perishable. i also didn't want anyone to be too upset about a possibly ruined keyboard. this computer's real keyboard is sitting on the side of the monitor. this was a spare keyboard i found in the office. it kinda worked. . .but at first, all the korean teachers thought it had been one of the kindy students. they didn't think it was funny till i told them it had been me.

my bar trivia quiz

as mentioned, i had to come up with some questions for a trivia night. just in case you are seriously bored and looking to exercise some brain cells. . . here are the questions i asked. (answers to come later, heh heh.)

- What song’s hook did John Williams play upside-down to create the theme to Star Wars?

- Of the upright and hoop antennas on the theremin, which controls the pitch?

- When reading the key signature, what are the first 4 flats, in order?

- In 1913, on it’s opening night, the music for Igor Stravinsky’s ballet incited a riot due to it’s bold new sound. What was the title of the music?

- What legendary blue musician supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the cross roads near Dockery Plantation?

- Currently there is an organ in Germany playing a piece of music called, “As slow as possible.” It started in 2001 and will end 639 years later in 2640. What 20th century avant garde composer wrote the music?

- Which of Mozart’s operas is largely known as a masonic opera?

- There is a singing road in South Korea. What city is it in?

- What nobel prize winning physicist took a year sabbatical in Brazil, learned to play the bongos, and competed in a samba competition during Carnival in Rio?

- What gravely voiced singer/ songwriter/ composer appeared as Dr. A Heller in the 1999 movie, Mystery Men?

- What former Stray Cat now leads his own orchestra?

- Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, wrote and filmed a musical while attending college in Colorado. What is the name of the movie?

have fun.