Sunday, June 28, 2015

KGSP - Beyond the Ocean

So now that we're entering the final month of my time here at Keimyung, it seems like the events are finally picking up again and in full force. By far, the highlight of this week was my trip to Busan this weekend.

Before I came to Korea, I was already thinking about what I was going to do for my concert fixes. Korea isn't really well known for their rock or metal scenes, so I just kinda accepted that I wouldn't really be going to many concerts, let alone any good ones.

But I was so, so wrong.

I looked online previously to find random Korean rock and metal bands. I found a few that I liked and it just so happened that they were all performing at a concert in Busan. So I grabbed a few of my friends and we went to Busan for the day to check out the concert.

Now, going into the concert I didn't really know what to expect. Of the concerts I've been to previously that had more than two bands performing, half of the bands were always kinda meh or just plain ok.

But seriously, this lineup.

Not only that, but every concert I've been to has always started off kinda awkwardly with people just kinda standing there not wanting to be the first person to start things off. So really, I expected an ok night with a few good bands, a few meh bands, and a boring crowd.

Wow I was so wrong. The first band opened up explosively and the crowd matched their energy. People were like moshing and headbanging and seriously just really into it from the first song from the first band. I didn't even imagine that level of energy would be possible.

Mirror of Erised starting the night off with some good metalcore.

And that was only the beginning. Every single band was pretty good I thought. Which was honestly really shocking because there were nine bands. But each one was actually really awesome. I came primarily for three of the bands, but now I'm thinking I have to look up the other six as well.

Each band had a lot of energy and played music that I just really like. So for six hours the crowd was insane and the music was great. Overall a really awesome night, but it was also really tiring. But man, I'm pretty hyped. Korea has an awesome underground metal scene.

I'm also pleasantly surprised that there were a lot of females in both the bands and audience.

Man that was a great concert. I didn't stay too long in Busan though cause I had other stuff to do. I came back early afternoon today to make it to the card shop to play some Magic. One of the military guys I met here is finishing up his time here in Korea so we had a farewell event.

It was pretty fun. We had a legacy tournament where we could proxy cards so people could actually play with real legacy decks. I've never played legacy before but I managed to put a deck together that actually did pretty decently. Ended up fifth in the tournament, well within top eight.

Of the remaining prizes I chose the Russian Electrolyze. Cause #redblue4lyfe.

But yea, pretty fun weekend overall. In other news I randomly applied to be an university reporter for the 2018 Olympics and got chosen, so I'll be doing that from July to December. Should be interesting.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

KGSP - TOPIK 3 Complete

So this week wasn't all that eventful, but it was fairly significant. One of the conditions that I have to fulfill before I start my masters in September is that I need to obtain level 3 in the Korean Language Test, TOPIK.

Before I came to Korea, I thought that since I'd be studying for a year, it should be fairly straightforward to obtain. But months rolled on by and I started to realize that it wasn't as easy or stress free as I initially thought. But now I can finally say that I did it.

Yea, technically only 45% on the exam, but whatever it's enough.

The test itself is structured in a very.. unconventional format. I'm not going to really go into it too much, but it's designed to pretty much make everyone feel bad about their Korean skills unless if you are practically fluent or a test master.

That's what happens when you roll in intermediate and advanced proficiency questions into one exam I guess. But anyways, this was the second time I took TOPIK and I more than exceeded the 120 points I needed for level 3. This is good because now I'm gonna aim for level 4, for fun.

Korean exams are so fun they dedicate a room for even more fun.

So now that TOPIK is over with I can go through the rest of my language studies stress free, which is great. To celebrate passing TOPIK, me and some of my friends went out to watch Jurassic World. We were initially going to watch with the language school, but they cancelled it because of MERS.

Speaking of MERS, just so happened that literally the day before we watched it a case of MERS was found in a guy who stayed at the hotel literally across the street from the theatre. But I'm sure I'm ok. I'm honestly not that worried.

But if I do get it, Canada has my back, right?

Other eventful events that happened this week was that the regular Korean semester ended, so we had to once again move to a different dorm room. Back to Mideumdong, the dorm with no private washrooms. Sigh. Only one roommate now, but ugh, public washrooms.

Granted I guess I don't feel as bad about it now as I did back in December. I guess being here for so long, plus having to go through that once before has kind of numbed me to the whole experience. Like I've probably mentioned before, my standards have changed.

We got a special sized room too cause we're next to the electrical room.

But yea, life is better now. I'm a bit more at peace and since I don't have to study TOPIK anymore my brain will probably feel less fried too. Win win all around.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

KGSP - Chicken Street

So this week was kind of interesting. Between the regularity of just going to class and stuff, I had some sort of uh, food adventures I guess. Waiting for the TOPIK results to come out is actually surprisingly unnerving.

Like, it's not that bad, but I can't help but have it kind of linger in the back of my mind. As a result I tried to find a bunch of random distractions to distract me from the wait and just help pass the time. Apparently that resulted in some food adventures.

Starting with strawberry covered shrimp chips.

I walked around one night and found that gem in a convenience store. It's honestly the most random combination of food I could think of. Like seriously, shrimp crackers are great. The strawberry covering Pocky has is also great.

But together? That's a weird combination. The taste of it actually wasn't that weird, but the texture is just like, off. And just as a coincidence, the next day one of my Japanese friends brought in this bag of chips which I also got a chance to try.

Peach flavoured chips.

Safe to say Korea out-weirded Japan in this head to head competition. The artificial peach flavour was a bit weird when matched with the potato chips, but overall the combination wasn't as glaringly shocking.

Aside from trying out random snacks, on Friday my friend invited me and a few other friends to help him film a video for Daegu Tourism. My friend got a volunteer position as a foreign reporter for them and apparently they needed some foreigners to help them advertise for the Chicken Street.

Pictured: Foreigners pretending to enjoy being interviewed.

So I naturally joined because I wanted the free food and drinks promised by helping out, so I went. I didn't really know what to expect, but it turned out they wanted to film like, a short segment on the street, specifically focusing on this one restaurant.

So they had us essentially just walk through the street, had us pose at random parts of the street, and interviewed us about our opinions. To be honest a lot of it was not very natural. We had to "act" for a lot of those parts, which I'm sure resulted in some pretty seriously awkward footage.

The food they wanted to advertise. Not the most appetizing appearance but it tasted ok.

Like seriously, at one point they were like "ok after we order the food, we want you to look at the camera and say 반반 뭐예요? (What is NAME_OF_FOOD?)". That was super awkward and felt kinda silly, but they wanted us to do it so after a few takes we managed to do it.

I really want to watch this video. I'm sure it's gonna be so cringe worthy but that's exactly why it'll be fun to watch I think. After the shooting was finished they treated us to a real dinner at the restaurant and essentially said we could eat and drink as much as we wanted.

And as the poor university students we are, we took full advantage of that.

So that was a pretty interesting night. This week has some activities too, TOPIK results come out Tuesday so that'll be a thing. Also watching Jurassic World free of charge courtesy of the language school on Friday and then moving dorms on Sat, so that's some stuff to do.

Monday, June 8, 2015

KGSP - Moving On

Just another week of Korean classes really. It's kind of an awkward time of anticipation because in nine days we'll have the results of the April TOPIK come out, and that weekend we have to move again.

So really, there's just a lot of stuff coming up, but that wasn't this week or last week. So nothing that special really happened. It's been pretty hot this week though. When it's not raining it's like 30 degrees and then when the sun shines it feels really hot.

Speaking of the sun, I'm sure this mole I saw today doesn't enjoy it either.

In other news, MERS has been a big thing this week. I didn't really know too much about it, but this last week a lot of stuff have popped up about it. There's like 50 or so cases of MERS in Korea so far, and some people have died from it.

Luckily, Daegu hasn't had a case yet, but a bunch of cities in Korea have it. I'm still not really sure how big of a deal it is yet, but people are just kinda wary about it and just kinda monitoring it. I'm assuming it's mostly media panic, but who knows?

Even MERS doesn't wanna come to Daegu.

I guess one thing that kinda stood out this week was on Thursday. I woke up at 3:45 am that day because I wanted to watch a live stream. A friend of mine back home passed away in October, so the school held a memorial on Thursday for him.

It was a nice gesture. They planted a tree and added a plaque next to the Business and IT Building. So since it was streamed I had to watch it, so I woke up and really tiredly watched the event. It was nice, and you know, gave me a bit of closure considering how I missed his funeral.


But yea. Week of stuff going on, but stuff not really going on as well.

Monday, June 1, 2015

KGSP - Post Vacation

So this week was the first (almost) full week of class for the new semester. The taste of freedom I got from the two weeks before that was enough to kinda make me want to not study even more, which I guess is counter-intuitive.

Regardless, I'm in level 5 now, so I have to pretend like I know some amount of Korean or something I guess. Despite being new in level 5, we started from chapter 6 instead of chapter 1. The reasoning behind that was because we have two students in our class that finished up to 5 last semester.

Despite being used for literally a week, pages are already falling out.

It's dumb. I could go over how terribly they managed to work out the classes for this semester, but that would take up way too much time and I don't really want to talk about it. It doesn't make sense though, but whatever.

Aside from classes I mostly spent the week chilling with friends as usual. For example one night me and two of my friends just went to get some ice cream cause we had a coupon. So we went to Baskin Robbins and ended up getting like, a liter of ice cream.

The one on the right has popcorn in it.

It was good, but man that was a lot of ice cream. We also had an event hosted by the Sarangbang on Saturday which was a picnic out in Duryu Park. I don't have any pictures of that, but essentially a flock of foreigners went to the park, had some fried chicken, drank some beer and a good time was had.

Lastly today was another day of Magic. Modern Masters 2 came out recently, so I wanted to do a draft. It was a lot more expensive than the average draft, being three times more, but I wanted to draft it so I went.

Not sure how I feel about the cardboard packaging.

I didn't get any good cards, but I still managed to pull out an ok affinity deck which netted me first place in the tournament, so that was pretty good. But yea, for now I'm just going through life, waiting for the April TOPIK results to come out. The wait sucks.