Monday, March 15, 2010


It's less than a week since North Korea announced that it would no longer abide by the armistice that halted the Korean War.  Since there was never a truce signed, the North and South have technically been at war this entire time, only both parties agreed to an armistice and to cease combat operations.

This is apparently not the first time North Korea has done this; a news story from the Korea Times on 27 May 2009 reports an increase in vigilance from South Korea after the North announced an end to the armistice earlier that day as well. 

Last week's announcement is likely just a scare tactic from Pyongyang to gain more leverage in its nuclear goals, and hopefully it will amount to nothing.  But in the past few months there have been several naval encounters where North and South Korean navies have fired upon one another. 

And to top it all off, this morning there were two series of alarm signals broadcast on loudspeakers that each went on for several minutes.  Having lived in a tornado prone area in Tennessee, it sounded like an emergency weather warning; having seen enough WWII movies, it also sounded like an air raid siren. 

If my students are to be believed, tornados don't hit South Korea, or any really bad weather for that matter.  So let's hope they were just testing the system.

Update: 27 March

A South Korean naval vessel sank in the Yellow Sea today after an "underwater explosion", with 46 sailors still missing.  Around the same time, other South Korean ships fired on an "unidentified vessel" on the North Korean side of the maritime border.  No word yet on the cause of the explosion, or whether the mystery vessel was involved.  Hopefully the two events were unrelated, and the unfortunate incident with the South Korean ship will be the result of accident or error, not northern aggression.  We really don't need anything to further exacerbate the tensions between the two Koreas.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


yesterday at Costco i bought the largest pizza i've ever seen, and for only 12,500 won - and to top it off, there were only 6 slices, so each one was like an entire meal unto itself.

the job, as usual, is wearing thin.  but the good news is that we have passed the halfway point of our contracts, so hopefully it's all down hill from here.

this was a 4 day work week (aren't those so much nicer than 5 day weeks?  i wonder why we don't all work 4 10-hour days.  i'd much prefer that).  it was also the start of a brand new semester.  unfortunately, we don't have another break until our vacation starting april 19, so that's a bummer.  but the vacation should be really cool.  we're flying to Jeju island, off the southern coast of Korea.  you can learn more about this awesome sub-tropical getaway, the "Hawaii of Asia," on the offical government tourism site by clicking here 

and since we're such misers with our income, we decided for once to actually splurge, and we'll be staying at the hyatt regency.  it's a beautiful hotel, right on the beach, so it should make for a nice stay.  you can see pictures of it here

lastly, because i haven't taken advantage of our Amazon Associates affiliation before, and since they've finally come to an author-friendly agreement with McMillan and i can like them again, i thought i'd put a friendly reminder here.  i will still be in korea on my birthday, so anyone who wants to get me a present, and have it waiting for me when i get home, you could do a lot worse than buying the latest book in the Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, Book 12) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.  just throwing that out there.

have a great weekend everyone