Saturday, 25 February 2012

Vinyl Williams & Toro y Moi

It's Saturday night as I am writing this. My last Saturday in Korea. And I'm sitting at home in my pajamas. I didn't feel like going out. But in a good way. Last weekend was the perfect end to my year in Korea so I didn't want to go out again this weekend and ruin the great things I feel by having a mediocre night. Because most of my nights out here have been quite mediocre. But that's not what this blog post is about!!

I had tickets to see Toro y Moi again because I had such an amazing time when I saw them here this past summer. My friend Sean invited me to go along with him and the opening band Vinyl Williams on their tour of Busan and Daegu - two cities I hadn't had a chance to visit. Of course I said yes!!!

Katie and I
The show was pretty short but great. They played stuff of their EP which I was stoked to hear. Then, Katie, her boyfriend and I went to the afterparty at this really small bar called Strangefruit. I introduced myself to Nikita, who plays keyboard in Vinyl Williams and told her I was going with them to Busan and Daegu. We got along well right away and the rest of the night was a lot of fun.

Nikita and I

The next day I made my way to Seoul Station (every time I cross the river on the bus I try to really pay attention because I remind myself that it will be one of the last times I will be crossing the river, and I think it's really pretty). I met up with everyone: Nikita, Lionel, James, Billy and Ian (whose mom was traveling with them because he is only 17 years amazing!). We took the train to Busan which took about 3 hours. Korea is a tiny country! Nikita has this really beautiful crystal necklace. I really want one.

We got to Busan and they had to do sound check right away. I started getting to know the other band members better (they were sleeping on the train) and right away I knew they were the kind of people that I get along with really easily and well. They were all so excited to be in Korea and were really impressed with it. It was refreshing, especially for me, because I don't have the most positive outlook on this country. It was a pretty mellow show. They played really well. We hung around afterwards just talking and drinking (I think most of them can't legally drink in the States yet). I don't recall too many specific conversations (patterns/triangles/music/California/flea markets) but I know that I was getting great vibes from everyone the whole time. I was happy to meet people who have interesting things to say.

Not traveling light

Lionel wanted my sweater...I figured if he could pull it off he deserved it

The next day we walked to around the city a little bit. The beach was beautiful. I could only imagine how insanely packed it would be in the summer. Towel to towel. Then we hopped on a train to Daegu. We went to a bunch of thrift stores which I was so happy about!!! I found some great things. Thrift stores are rare in Korea. I've definitely been missing them. We ate some food then went to the venue. I took a bunch of pictures through prism glasses, I had a blast :)

Everything was $2

Okay I am obviously not a music critic. But, I've been to enough shows to be able to give my opinion on a live performance. But still, whenever I try to write it down I lose my words. If someone asks me about a show I've been to I can usually channel the feelings that I had during the performance when I start to talk about it. I know which bands were a lot of fun, really dancey, which were boring, which ones ignored the crowd, which ones sounded better live than recorded and so on. So let me try to explain why I enjoyed the Vinyl Williams performance so much, especially in Daegu.

They are all super passionate about their music and music in general. There is something that I really like about people who are passionate about something (except cars and most sports - haha - two things I can't relate to in the slightest). All of the members seemed to be hypnotized by the music they were making. They were so in tune with each other, maybe sending each other telepathic messages. They all took turns playing almost every instrument, rotating around the stage. The visuals were great, hundreds of colourful pictures overlapping and changing; washed out rainbows. There was a really strong energy in the room. Maybe it was because I was watching them through the prism glasses. Maybe it was because by the third time I saw them perform I really liked all of them as people. Either way, it was wonderful!

I didn't really sleep that last night, then I got on the 6:30am train to Seoul. Got to Seoul Station at 8:30am, then hopped in a taxi straight to work. It was an interesting Monday. But I didn't mind being tired. It was a very memorable experience. I was introduced to a lot of great new music this past weekend. So many new songs that will remind me of all the fun that was had. I am going to California in April so hopefully I will get to meet up with these guys again. And I really do hope that they continue to be successful at making music.

Also, I am leaving Korea this Thursday and I can't even believe it. Sometimes I get little bursts of joy and clarity (like in a dream when you know you're dreaming), where I actually comprehend that in a few days I will be in Canada; in Halifax with my best friend Natalie. It's all really surreal. I can't believe another year of my life has passed.  I say it really often but time flies!!!

I will probably write one final post from Halifax.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Misadventures

I was so tired today from going out last night and all I wanted to do was relax when I got home from dinner but instead....

Okay I will start at the beginning. I lost my camera this morning on the bus. I called the tourist help line and the girl on the phone was super nice and helpful and called the bus company for me since I can't speak Korean and my camera had been found! Good karma, I was happy. I just had to go to the Suwon parking garage to get it.

So I got on the bus and the driver asked me where I was going. Umm 'last stop, parking, ummmmm'. I got really flustered. I looked to the back of the bus and saw some young guys who I figured would speak English. Luckily one did and was able to explain to the driver where I needed to go.

I sat near him and we chatted for a bit. He was a first year student. He was so nervous and said 'oh my god' after every sentence he spoke. He told me it was an honor to help me and that he had never spoken to a foreigner before. He was really excited.  I was really happy he could help. He asked me for my phone number and I gave it to him. This caused him to miss his stop. But ending up saving me.

I got to the bus depot and there was a row of portables in front of me, one of which was the office. My camera was safe! Now to get home....I wasn't sure if I could get the bus from there or not...the drivers asked me where I was going. Suji, I said. Where in Suji? UHhhh. Okay, I know I've been here almost a year but I still don't know the name of my bus stop. Ugh, flustered again. So my new bus friend had called me in the meantime but I didn't answer so I figured I could call him back and he could help me.

The driver talked to him for a while and then told me to come inside the 'office'. I waited inside but not sure what for so I called my friend back. He said he would come and meet me and help me get home. So I waited for a while in a warm space until he came. He told me he was worried about me and he wanted to make sure I was alright. Haha, I must've seemed so helpless.

We figured out which bus to take, which is the bus I thought we could take after all...I just wasn't sure if the depot was an actual stop. We had to wait for 20 minutes and it was really cold. Then I realized I forgot my hat on the bus!! So my friend told the driver and we went back to the bus and got my hat!

Our bus finally came, we got on, he stayed on until my stop and then got off and went across the street to head back home. I was so lucky! Koreans can be so friendly and helpful.

But what a night...not something that should happen to me after almost a year of being here.

Thanks Yoon Jun Young
Goodnight buses!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Valentine's Day According to 11 Year Olds

I teach this speech class at Langcon and it's sometimes really enjoyable. The students can speak really well so I can actually have conversations with them and joke around. Also, the class is not taken too seriously by the students, my bosses or the parents.  I really like this because there is no pressure on me. I can be relaxed.

Every week they are given a new speech topic and have to write a short essay about it and then I edit it and they present in front of the class. Today's topic didn't seem super exciting but three kids managed to make me laugh with their I photocopied them and took pictures to post on here. I hope they are legible. Enjoy!

Valentine's Day is about being with the one you really love: YOURSELF :)
He figured it out early on...girls are very crazy and stupid!
A very Korean Valentine's...a lot of meat, instant noodles, a jjimjilbang, PC room, arcade...the fun doesn't end