Elwood 5566

Interlude (5) and Suneung Countdown – 수능대박

Posted in Education, Interlude (Theme), Korean language, Uncategorized by 노강호 on November 15, 2010

D-Day Minus 3

Suneung Dae Pak (수능대박)


Dae-Pak (대박), means ‘awesome,’ ‘excellent,’ ‘jackpot,’ and so suneung dae-pak (수능대박) can be translated as ‘suneung jackpot,’ or, ‘have an awesome suneung.’ Of course, you still need the ‘fighting’ spirit. (화이팅!)


As someone permanently struggling with Korean these are my notes on words and phrases I find useful and which are usually not in a dictionary.  Any amendments, recommendations or errors, please let me know.


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Suneung Countdown (수능)

Posted in Education, Uncategorized by 노강호 on November 11, 2010

D-Day Minus 7

Parents praying for suneung success


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Suneung Countdown (수능)

Posted in Uncategorized by 노강호 on November 4, 2010

D -Day Minus 14


praying for success


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Monday Market – The Intricasies of Persimmon – 감

Posted in Uncategorized by 노강호 on November 3, 2010


persimmon tree

You know the cold weather is well on its way when the various nuts and persimmon begin to appear in markets. Persimmon (감) appears in several varieties both astringent and non-astringent. The non-astringent variety is eaten hard, almost the same hardness as an apple, and the the astringent variety can only be eaten in a soft and pulpy state.

The harder, non-astringent variety is known as dan-kam (단감) and it is the smaller and rounder of varieties which is a much lighter orange often with a tint of green. At first glance it often resembles a slightly unripened, large tomato.

dan-kam 단감 persimmon

as dan-kam often appear in supermarkets

Hong-shi (홍시), are a much larger variety and a little heart shaped and they vary in softness between a ripe tomato and a very soft bag of jelly.

a hong-shi (홍시) persimmon, bright orange, large and heart shaped

Another soft variety, almost identical in taste and texture to the hong-shi, is the yeon-shi (연시). This is similar in shape to the dan-kam but much darker, brighter orange and soft.

yeon-shi 연시 similar in size to the dan-kam but eaten soft

Yeon-shi and hong-shi are very sweet and in their ripest state, resembling a bag of jelly, need to be transported with care as they burst very easily. Both types are perfect for freezing, losing non of their sweetness and I have had no problem keeping them well into spring. What flavour they do have is very mild but their jam-like innards are enjoyable.

an abundance of market yeon-shi. (The universality of green grocer's spelling; unless mistaken, these are not hong-shi and further, 'shi' is spelt incorrectly.

G’ot-kam (곶감) is  a different astringent variety again and is usually dried. The fruits are often left hanging on trees to be bleeted by the first frosts which speeds up the ripening process prior to drying.They are quite delicious and similar to dried apricots.

got-kam 곶감

To confuse matters further, both hong-shi and yeon-shi can be bought unripened but they are not pleasant to eat and may cause stomach blockages (phytobezoars). In the unripened state they are known as daeng-kam (땡감) and should be allowed to ripen which can even take place at room temperature (around 20 degrees).

Persimmon Uses

Dan-kam is cut and eaten like an apple while softer versions can be  cut as you would a boiled egg and scooped out. In Korea, you are privileged to buy persimmons that are super ripe and I quite like to simply puncture the skin and suck the innards out. It is a very enjoyable experience especially if the fruit is chilled.


persimmon sorbet (Independent UK)

You can also find persimmon sorbet and many some cafes serve hong-shi / yeon-shi smoothies which are quite delicious.

A Korean non-alcoholic drink is based on persimmon,


And then there is persimmon vinegar (감식초) which is what is known as a ‘drinking vinegar’ the drinking of which is seen as health promoting (Link on Korean ‘drinking vinegar).

persimmon vinegar (감식초)

Persimmon leaf tea (감잎차)

persimmon leaf tea

Some Interesting Persimmon Facts

♦Eating unripened persimmons causes 82% of the cases of phytobezoars, these being abdominal obstructions caused by ingested matter. Unripe perssimmons contain high amounts of the tannin shibuol which on contact with weak gastic acids polymerizes, thus causing an obstruction. Phytobezoar epidemics occur in areas where persimmons are grown and though surgery has sometimes been required to remove them, depolymerization is effected by drinking coca-cola. (see Wikipedia).

♦Recently, persimmon wood, related to ebony, has been used by by bowmen in the traditional manufacture of longbows.

♦Originally, persimmon wood was used to manufacture the highest quality golfing ‘woods’ before being largely replaced by ones made of metal.

♦A persimmon fruit is technically a ‘ true berry.’

♦Sharon Fruit is a trade name for the D. Kaki variety of persimmon which is ripened via chemicals. The Daily Mail article linked below gives some suggestions on using this but in the UK I have found this fruit quite expensive and unpleasant. Leaving the fruit to become soft didn’t seem to work and given they were the size of an egg,  no substitute for soft persimmon. Sharon Fruit is definitely an ersatz version of  persimmon.

♦And yet another fruit claimed to ward of heart attack. According to the Daily Mail (link below), Sharon Fruit can prevent clotted arteries. However, I’m skeptical as the research was carried out by Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and of course, the fruit is grown in this area.

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Suneung Countdown

Posted in Education, Uncategorized by 노강호 on October 30, 2010

D Day minus 18 

a cup marking D Day minus 100


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Coffee Break – 'Well Being'

Posted in Uncategorized by 노강호 on October 30, 2010

I can never buy biscuits without eating the whole packet shortly after purchase and hence  buying them to accompany anything other than one coffee session,  is doomed to failure. If the packet does manage to make it back into the cupboard it is probably because they are boring and even then, the chances are they will be consumed within the day.


a pleasantly surprising experience

You can expect your gluttony to be staunchly curbed with the Korean version of morning elevenses; sweet Potato and coffee make an excellent combination and one of my friends even dunks her spud in the brew. I prefer Maxim coffee mix but other varieties are probably just as good and I would imagine milk also provides a suitable accompaniment.  Simply microwave the potatoes, sprinkle with a little water and eat, hot or cold with intermittent sips of coffee. The potatoes don’t keep long and discolour quickly. Sweet potato can be a little dry so its combination with coffee produces some enjoyable textures.

Incidentally, sweet potato eaten raw is also an interesting experience and has a highly nutty taste and a hard, crisp texture. Unlike biscuits, the chances are very high that your sweet potatoes will survive to last several morning coffee sessions.


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Bathhouse Ballads Pocket Version

Posted in Daegu, Uncategorized by 노강호 on October 9, 2010


information to suit many tastes - Daegu Pockets

Bathhouse Ballads now has a monthly feature, specifically on bathhouses and bathhouse culture, in the magazine, Daegu Pockets. The first article was in the September edition with October’s hot off the press. Daegu Pockets is an international magazine that is published online and conveniently sized  – capable of fitting in your pocket alongside your hard-earned Won!

Launched in 2009, the magazine has a number of full-time staff and team of dedicated Korean and expat volunteers all of whom work together to produce a useful bilingual resources  for local Koreans and expats alike. The magazine is locally funded and edited by Craig White. More information on Daegu Pockets can be found at Galbijim. The magazine is also on Facebook.

On a personal note, a great resource which is provides a range of information to suit many tastes – as a snob who likes opera, very refreshing!


Link to Daegu Pockets website

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Ben (3) Korean Teenagers

Posted in Education, Gender, Korean children, Uncategorized by 노강호 on August 23, 2010
Kim Jun-hyoek (김준혁)

Ben on a low

Ben has been up and down lately. At the end of last term he was on a massive high after passing a string of exams with 100%. One evening, on the day he received the marks for his final set of exams, he was  delirious with happiness and once again bouncing around the school declaring how he felt. In the UK I’d have assumed he was on drugs because British kids often down play any trait of intelligence as it can alienate them. And then, several days later, he finally got his reward for his efforts  in the form of two small puppies. For the next week he constantly assaulted my boss and I by thrusting his hand-phone in our faces to show us the latest series of puppy pictures. His accompanying leitmotiv was ‘my puppies, my puppies,’ made all the more endearing by a mild speech impediment which renders, ‘puppies,’ ‘puppish.’

Once the joys of owning a couple of puppies had subsided however, he became markedly strange in class and seemed to flit between happy and almost depressed. Neither was he very responsive when you tried to draw him out of his mood or ask its cause. The cause was obvious and one we’ve encountered on a number of occasions. Ben’s class consisted of 6 girls and two boys and the other boy, Kyle, had left Daegu for the summer vacation to attend an intensive study school: the equivalent of an academic boot-camp. Hence the root of Ben’s mood swings was the fact he was the only boy in the class.  Cherie and I tried to ride the problem for a little while but soon he was begging  for us to make changes so he wouldn’t be alone.

In a Korean setting class dynamics can change drastically if someone is older or younger than the other students, or, in the case, is the wrong gender. Kids lively and confident one moment can be  passive and introvert the next if a shift in personalities disadvantages them.  Because peer groups are not so important for British children, such problems do not arise. British kids can easily accommodate  friends  or fellow classmates, older or younger than themselves and a gender divide is not as noticeable as it is in the Korean class room.

and on a high

Ben, who is 16, was disturbed enough at being the only boy in the class that despite his recent academic success, we feared we might loose him when suddenly, a new boy arrived who was ideal to place alongside him.  Instantly, he returned to his old self and re-assumed his role as the class comedian but if ever the other boy is absent, he can quickly relapse into a sullen state.  I’ve spent so much time slagging off teenagers in my other blogs, I’m consoled by the realization I don’t dislike teenagers, just the ones who are rotten and rotten teenagers in Korea are rare. Ben is what Koreans might call a ‘flower-boy,’ or identify as ‘pretty,’ neither term being derogatory, though he might well be when older. If anything, his body is built like a chopstick and he looks closer to twelve than sixteen, a point the girls in the class often tease him on, but both my boss and I would love him for a son. Reading other K-blogs, I know many teachers share a similar regard for the nature and personality of Korean children and teenagers.

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Paedofinder General – On a Lighter Note

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized by 노강호 on July 22, 2010

Paedofinder General - formerly The Witchfinder General

One reason I love Roketship.com is that ‘a picture certainly paints a thousand words’ and with an added caption or speech bubbles that thousand is stretched even further. It seems my opinion on paedo-paranoia, expressed in Uncle Ernie’s Daegu  Antics Prompt a Rant, has attracted a few comments on The Marmot’s Hole and a few nasty ones which I deleted from my pages. Well,  popular sentiment has never been my bag. Boo-hoo sentimentality leads to war, one still being fought, and all sorts of other social travesties.  I work under the axiom that if it’s popular it’s shit – or in this case, suspect! Rap – that’s shit and a lot of it borders on repugnant. Most Hollywood movies are crap and the majority of celebrities fucking wankers! Even the  shittiest chocolate is the most popular and as for the Bible… boring. I’m a Mahler man. There’s more spirit and humanity in Mahler’s music than you’ll ever find in the pages of religious twaddle. Mahler should be a religion!  And then there’s Bruckner, and Handel… and a pantheon more! I’m a snob to anything popular and proud of it.

Mahler fiddled with my head when I was 12. Ich liebe Dich!

Then I found ( via The Marmot’s Hole), this excellent link to some animations which express exactly what I was trying to say  about Ernie’s Antics  and obviously  didn’t.  The sketches are very funny and encapsulate what I failed to articulate. Amusing animations have the capacity to go places where words often fail without causing irritation.

Paedofinder General: Fiddler on the Roofhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoxQINcVBgU&feature=related

Paedofinder General: We Three Kingshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC6iQwoXc-w&feature=fvw

Paedofinder General: Don’t ever go with Strangershttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBFqe_3M2Z8&feature=related

And just who is Uncle Ernie? Fiddle About, from TommyThe Who

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Posted in Uncategorized by 노강호 on July 10, 2010

Not surprising since their favourite patches are usually sewer outlets

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