Butt Out

It has been a year since Korea really pulled out the stops on its anti-smoking campaign. Now cigs are pixilated in all movies and TV, prices for smokes are much higher, and disturbing warnings are printed on each box. Smoking is now banned indoors for all businesses and institutions. There is even a number you can call to report indoor smokers. (Call 120, then select your region. I tested it for Jeonju and was connected with friendly officer who spoke English) Smokers face a hundred dollar fine for getting photographed smoking indoors, and the establishment owner has to pay 5 grand. These days, everyone walks with a camera, and store owners certainly don’t have that kind of fine money rolling around. This has certainly caused smokers to retreat to designated areas.
Combined with an 80% price increase, those who enjoy tobacco have taken some serious hits. image
Smokers, unite! And they do. Congregating in designated smoking areas,
enduring all kids of weather, huddled together, cigarette smokers have
developed a heightened comradery and even become a prominent subculture. So prominent, in fact, that the fellowship of the weed has taken on a family-like identity. image

Dr. YongCheol Lee, respiratory specialist at Jeonbuk National University Hospital, observed that “Korean Society has four kinds of relations

혈연 blood relations – family
지연 regional relationship – hometown
학연 educational relationship – alumni
and now …
흡연 inhalation relationship – smokers banned together

Of the myriad ways to perish, deaths by heart and lung disease far outnumber other causes, including accidents and violence put together. It is beyond argument that cigarette smoke is a major contributor. In dreading with the tobacco problem, Korea’s signature enthusiasm is laudable, but, has the campaign been effective? A year is a little early to see any effects on mortality rates, lung disease, and other burdens on the nation. To the untrained eye it seems as though the smokers are just grumpy about paying more but other numbers have not significantly changed.
Reports of mass quittings are not flooding the news desk.

Is the country doing enough? What about leading the other nations in a radical step in the right direction. image toward human wellbeing? Korea is poised to set a global example in pro-active
health care. What is this radical step?
A total ban on smoking.
Such a bold initiative would make international headlines. Korea would manifest immediate, well- documented results in the healthcare numbers. The effects . . . please, its time to stop drinking out of lead cups.
It would be pretty impressive if Korea banned all tobacco use in the nation. This is a great way for Korea to take international leadership on an issue. Not only is it cheap but it would save the nation a lot of money. It would be a controversial but courageous step in a healthy direction.

Sightings

imageSo,  what’s with the hula skirts on the trees?  There are little parasitical bugs that feed on the juices that are meant for the spring blossoms. These insects find refuge in the stylish grass skirts. In Spring, they are thrown into the fire, with other field cleanings in the fiery first moon festival.

Sightings

imageIs it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a little pink Zamboni? It’s the yogurt lady!

She’s working her route  no gas will she burn. She’s poised and potent and secretly stern.

Last night you were down because you went to the store, you had finished your yogurt and had to get more.

You didn’t care that the local mart’s prices went up, but long ago somebody left with the last cup.

And she has the yogurt for which you still yearn. She’s going the distance.
She’s going the whey.
She brings culture and taste every day!

(This is a parody of Going the Distance, an epic song by a band called Cake.)

Huge Protests in Seoul

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The largest  protest marches since 2008 are underway in the nation’s capital. They are spicy marches, too.   Why?  Because the current president, daughter of a former dictator, has ordered the crowds be pepper-sprayed.

What are the masses rallying about? Well, there are basically two reasons: first, Ms. Park’s government has just announced sweeping and austere labor reforms; secondly, the president is forcing a new version of Korean history into the school system.  Her father (ParkChungHee, 62-79) indeed made some needful changes for Korea; but as a ruthless dictator.  Her textbook is big on the needful changes; but the acts of tyrranny are whitewashed or omitted. Her adoration for her dad is understandable. However, it is shared by few. And historical revision, in this case, may be meeting with revolution.

Frustrated at the singular power the president still wields; many Koreans have taken to the streets to protest this revisionism.

She’s only using water and capsaicin at the moment.  The next few days will reveal just how far the apple falls from the tree, and just how much exectutive use of force the Korean president can or will exercise against her constituents.

Blood is thicker than water;

‘hot’ water is spraying

No blood yet shed in the main arteries of downtown Seoul.

Read more here http://thewatchtowers.net/protests-in-south-korea-that-the-media-isnt-covering/

Jeollabukdo’s new English mag: Jeonbuk Life!

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Sponsored by the (also new) Jeollabukdo Center for International Affairs,  the aim of this magazine is to be Jeonbuk’s voice in the global milieu. The full color, 40+ page magazine  is a showcase for tourism and investment; but also a forum for multicultural growth in the region.  Stay tuned for an online version later this year.

For inquiries or to submit an article, send e-mail to JeonbukLife@gmail.com

The first edition Is now available for pick-up at Jeonju Diner, Radio Star,  and other participating locations, (to be added to this post shortly.)

Check it out!

Jeonju Knowledge

REPOSTED FROM MAY 11, 2011
A great Facebook group called Jeonju Knowledge was started recently by Dan Octon. It has gone viral. Jeonju-viral, at least. It is a very cool forum-style discussion and info sharing place. So far, it has seen a very helpful exchange of information. If we can keep a lid on profanity and the flaming of bad employers (in Korea it’s libel), this promises to be a very helpful resource. It will help English-only speakers and Korean speakers alike! It’s an open group! Easy to join! Check it out!
Update 2015 Oct 31: spammers have forced us to go underground. The FB group “Jeonju Knowledge,” now over 4000 strong, has gone from ‘open’ to ‘closed’ and now to ‘secret.’ But we don’t want it to be a secret from people who want to join for not-spam reasons. Just send a message on FB to Dan Octon or David Van Minnen, or anyone in town if you know someone, and we’ll send you an invite. Just promise not to sell Raybans or prostitutes, pick fights, or go way off the topic of life in Jeonju. Cheers!

Climbing the Walls

Do you ever find yourself climbing the walls in your city life here in Jeonju? Want to get away for some mountain tranquility without blowing too much time and money? Let me recommend to you one of my favorite spots: Namgosa. It’s not far from Hanok village. It’s near the Education University. And, you can see the walls from downtown. Yes walls. When you’re climbing the walls, I suggest you literally climb the walls. The walls extending up the mountains visible from downtown are Martyrs’ Mountain (left) and Namgosa (right). imageThe Namgosa (or SamGyeongSa) side has easier access and has been undergoing beautification.
You can walk here from Hanok Village in twenty minutes. The actual climb of the wall takes about 15 minutes. The view of Jeonju is unparalleled. Right now, I’m typing this into my phone, smelling the wood fire of a villager cooking, hearing the dogs bark, and the gentle gonging of a temple bell. Less than ten minutes ago, I watched the sun set over Mt. Moak., and in ten minutes, I’ll be back in the fray of Jeonju’s Friday night 6:30 traffic.
imageThis is a really nice getaway when you don’t have time or funds to really get away. Your experience of Jeonju really wouldnt be complete without at least one climb up this wall.

[please see The Jeonju Hub on Facebook for a video that WordPress wouldn’t load.]

The Classic Hotel

imageVisit the Classic’s website

The Classic Hotel is Jeonju’s premiere luxury stay. image
Rooms are spacious, well-appointed, and comfortable.

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Perfect for seminars, conferences, weddings. image The top floor has a retractable roof, for open-air events.

 

 

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The Penthouse is amazing, with its own lap pool.

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Continental breakfast.

Covered secure parking.

Shuttle Service.

 

The Classic is the finest hotel in the region.

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Standard rooms start under $250.
Very accessible in Jeonju’s new town (hyeokshin-doshi).
The proprietor, Terry Kim, is warm and personable, with a fine command of English.

 

Highly recommended for visiting family in comfort and style.

 

Well equipped for conferences, seminars, and weddings.
visit Classic’s Website

063-226-3211

Immigration Busts Balls in Busan

More than 120 foreign English teachers are faced with fines ranging from 1M – 20 M KW or face deportation.

What do they have in common? They all signed up with an agency called EthXX EduXXIion to coordinate private tutoring gigs for them.

“They appeared legit, asking for proper visas, and taking out tax deductions, etc.,” said one of the teachers, who has been summoned to appear at immigration at 4 today.

Under pressure from immigration, the company turned over his entire roster and all teachers have been contacted and summoned to appear immediately.

The fine amount seems to be determined by how long a teacher has subcontracted for this corporation.

Many comments have surfaced such as

“I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong” and “they hire a broad diversity of visible ethnicities, it looks pretty racist.”

On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, many teachers are struggling with a life-altering decision–right now.

Teazer– El Nido: a novel by Peter Towney

Fukuoka Bound

The ferry made its way out of a bustling Busan Bay on that bright Monday morning. As they passed through the heads, the waves had already begun to get bigger. Nev raised his eye brows to see if Yuki was bothered.
“You would expect the waves to get bigger as we go, wouldn’t you?” she said.
Yuki whispered that most of the Korean tourists were off on a once in a lifetime trip. They watched as many of them ate, drank and laughed voraciously. They were devouring pork filled buns, bundles of sticky rice while drinking copious amounts of wicked Korean soju.
The Japanese staff were polite and friendly in their own detached way. Once all the tickets had been checked, they sat fully upright in the staff chairs, gazing past the faces of the passengers, towards the bow, with soft eyes.
Upon reaching the open sea, it started. People began vomiting here and vomiting there. Some people tried not to vomit anywhere and ended up vomiting everywhere! It was comical, embarrassing and, because the scene was exacerbated by the increasingly rougher seas, a little scary. As the waves continued to get bigger, all but the stoic staff were looking worried.
Later, the wind decided to join in, becoming very strong. The dingy outside Yuki and Nev’s window flailed about like a poorly designed kite. Nev wondered if they had not turned back for the simple reason that they were already more than half way to Japan. Perhaps other passengers were wondering why they hadn’t learnt to swim.
“Nev,” said Yuki, “are we going to be okay?” as her trembling squeezed his. He put his other arm around her, something she’d never let him do in public before. She was shaking all over. It was stifling inside the air-tight compartment and the smelt of vomit added to the growing sense of suffocation.
“We’ll be fine,” he replied in the most convincing voice he could muster. Though Yuki noticed the fear in Nev’s voice, she felt a little better. Years of fishing off Sydney’s beaches had taught him one thing about rough seas. Don’t panic! Save your energy… you may well need it. The butterflies in his stomach were doing overtime. The waves continued to grow in size as the wind howled louder.
The boat was lurching and diving as it tried to battle its way through the waves. As soon as it cleared the crest of one wave, it jagged down the back of it into a deep trough. It would bottom out with a jarring thud before lurching towards the crest of the next wave. These mountains of water kept getting bigger and the depressions between them deeper.
Eventually, even the staff gave up and unveiled their true feelings: their faces conveying absolute terror as they clenched the end of the arm rests with all their might. Their already white knuckles became even whiter! They had already passed the islands the Japanese and the Koreans squabbled over and nobody gave them so much as a cursory glance.
Amazingly, the storm died down about twenty minutes away from Fukuoka! All the people on board were obviously relieved and no doubt a few people who weren’t on board were too! The coast guard would have been alerted by the Captain but Yuki told Nev that she’d lost phone reception soon after leaving Korea. None of the passengers could have alerted their relatives that they were in trouble.
Yuki’s aunty and uncle, who travelled often, would feel just a little outdone when she told them about the ferry trip. They only lived a few doors away from her parents. While she hadn’t matched them in the number of overseas trips they’d taken, and probably never would, the idea that her trips turned out to be more adventurous would not be lost upon them or the rest of her extended family.

This is an excerpt from El Nido. This novel can be sampled for free and/or purchased from this link: http://www.amazon.com.au/El-Nido-Peter-D-Towney-ebook/dp/B00CH2J15O

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Warning: some taxi drivers are whack-jobs

20140226-120623.jpgWomen, beware of which taxi you enter. A Jeonju woman reported getting into a silver colored cab and instead of being brought where she requested, she was driven slowly through back streets while the driver masturbated. She got the plate number: 30 바 5??0. She reported it to the police, who were dismissive.
I have obscured two of the numbers of the license plate because the potential libel law harm to me vastly outweighs the potential good I could do others by posting all the numbers. The driver or the company could easily file a libel suit that I posted his license plate, and that the masturbation was just hearsay. No good deed goes unpunished.
So, what good can we pull from this?
How can ladies decrease their chances of getting in the car with a wanker?
It helps to use larger company taxis. There are many private one car affairs, and illegal unlicensed taxis.
Legitimately licensed taxis have one of these four syllables in the middle of their license plate: 아,바,사,자(think “daddy, lion”). Checking for this could be helpful, but, as you may notice by glancing above, the offender in this case had a legally licensed taxi plate.
Obviously, many of these illegal taxi guys aren’t directly harmful or dangerous; they are just cheating certain licensing fees and taxes.
Besides, when the rubber hits the road, such discernment is usually quite impractical. It’s often dark or rainy or other impairing conditions may apply, so when you flag down a taxi, you are seldom in a position to be fussy about the labels on the outside of the car.
How about a simpler approach?
There are bad people everywhere, even in good companies. We should keep our hand ready to our video feature of our phone as though it were a can of pepper spray. If you have the presence of mind, take a video of the offender. There’s great power in this. There is no hearsay. The police will look at it. And if not… There’s always YouTube.

First rule of the code: Don’t Get Caught

downloadPhone Phishing is not new, but there are lots of new tricks every day. In Korea, some people answer the phone to hear, “We tried to deliver a document to you. For more information, press 1.”  It’s a scam.  If you get any automated call, its usually best to hang up. Pushing the option can allow charges to your phone bill, even if you haven’t given any credit card info.  Don’t give any ID details such as ARC or passport number over the phone.  If it’s a human caller, say you’re tied up right now and will call right back.  Ask for company name, rep name, extension number, and the number of a reference, just for security reasons.  Any half-decent company will be happy to oblige.If not, the sound of the click will tell you otherwise.

Airport Bus

Incheon to Jeonju : first 6:00am / last 10:45pm

Jeonju to Incheon : first 2:20am / last 7:00pm

In airport, just ask for “Bus to Jeonju” in English

In Jeonju taxi just say “Airport Bus to Incheon” in English

Drivers License

Assuming you have driving experience back home this will be easy for you to get.
Just go to the Jeonbuk Drivers Licencing Agency near Jeonju WC Stadium early in the morning. I believe the first learners session starts at 10am (get a korean to call and check for u) Take with you two pictures and alien card.
1. Sit through an english subbed Drivers Education DVD ( 1 hour)
2. Take written/ computer test ( need to score 75% minimum to pass)
3. Sign up for the in house driving test
– get in a car and follow the subs on the navigation screen. U have to ‘do the required action’ before the 5 second counter reaches 0
things included like…
– turn on left indicator / right indicator turn on headlights
– when u start driving the L shaped course u will hear a siren.. it means to stop car immediately and hit the emergency lights within 3 seconds
– stop the car over the finish line

4. then u can sign up for ur road test…
they will show u a possible 7 courses ( i think ) which u could possibly drive. there are maps so u can study the course.
When its ur turn u will be randomly given one of the courses.

drive the course and when u get back to the driving agency u need to perform a parallel park to finish the test.

hope that info helps u. It’s possible to get this all done in HALF A DAY!!! and itll cost u about 70 000 w