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The night after the morning before

It was an entertaining evening at Beer Plus last night, even in the absence of the usual card game and international consumption rules. I left at about 3:15 and made my way home to take part in the Aegis raid in a mild state of inebriation (I’d been pacing myself, and, although I did partake of soju, it was of the mixed-with-fruit-juice variety). The only problem was that the promised raid didn’t take place because of the absence of the ringleaders. Nearly a day later, they haven’t posted any explanation on the in-game forum.

I got to bed at about 4:30 and got up again three hours later to go to my new Korean course in Seoul. I was fifteen minutes late because I couldn’t find the building at first – and then I needed the toilet. This particular class was also attended by an American English teacher, an Australian English teacher, a New Zealander English teacher and a French engineer – all men. It wasn’t easy; the seonsaengnim (teacher) used only Korean for the most part. As the American guy said – now we know how our students feel.

Trying to grasp the Korean words and phrases being taught was like trying to snatch fluff out of the air – it slips away even as you grab for it. On balance, I understood pretty much all of what she taught, but she moved quickly for one thing to another so there was little chance for it all to sink in and I felt lost when she went back over the previous topics later in the class. I feel reasonably confident that it will all sink in. Eventually. The main problem for me is the inability to visualise the language – I know what all the hangeul letters refer to, but subconsciously they’re still just random shapes. I’ve paid for the classes now, so I’m going to continue with the course anyway.

Afterwards I met Sue, who’d just finished her English class. She took me to her sister’s hair salon in Ansan. She wanted a haircut – and tried to persuade me to get a trim, but I was intransigent on the matter – but it was too busy with real customers. Her sister, it turns out isn’t her sister, but her cousin.

We went to a restaurant where I had bogumbap (a fried rice dish) – which has quickly become my favourite Korean food. I put a dollop of hot sauce in it and said, ‘Scorchio’. Then I explained that ‘scorchio’ comes from a British comedy programme called The Fast Show. It has a series of sketches portraying a Mediterranean-style news programme, the weather report of which is dominated by the word ‘scorchio’ – everywhere is very hot and sunny. So my bogumbap was scorchio. Within maybe two, certainly five minutes, the Engelbert Humperdinck song ‘Release Me’ – the signature tune of The Fast Show – came on the restaurant’s stereo.

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