Thursday, March 5, 2015

The End

Last week was among the most bittersweet of my life.  I don't think I can put into words the emotions I am currently feeling, but I will attempt to.  I am feeling a bit sad after saying my final goodbyes to my final group of students of my final contract during the conclusion of four years as a teacher in Korea.  But it's more than just that.  I am feeling a combination of sadness, excitement, happiness, and gratitude.

I am a teacher who puts everything into my craft, emotionally and intellectually.  I am a teacher who demands that my students learn.  I am also a teacher who resolves to love my students, and show them that somebody cares for them, especially if they aren't cared for at home.  I don't know how effective I was at it, but I did my best.

Being that I am a person who is guided by intuition and emotion, I didn't know what exactly I would feel on my last day of school, but I resolved to allow myself to feel freely, without suppression.  I went into my final week thinking I wouldn't be emotional, because I've done this teaching thing for a long time, and I've taught a lot of students, so maybe what triggers me has hardened and grown numb.

In my school, the younger kids have class first, and the older and upper level students come later in the day.

When my last class with my little kids was concluded in the morning, I was fine, until after the children walked out of the door of my classroom, and two of the little girls were looking back waving and softly saying "Good-bye!" over and over again as if they knew what was happening, until they turned the corner, and they were no longer visible.  That was difficult.

The classes in between were pretty much the same, until my last with the sixth graders.

Sixth graders are the most difficult students to teach.  They are at an age when they first realize that adults aren't perfect, so they have a tendency to be rebellious.  They also have the exuberance of children, coupled with fact that they are no longer cute and small, so that can sometimes make them rather difficult.  And many times, I handled situations with them in an impatient, or an unfair manner.

In the final lesson with them, I exhorted them to chase their dreams, and I gave them some final advice.  As it came time for that final class to dismiss, I commanded the attention of every single student in the class, and I proceeded to apologize.  I apologized, and told them sorry, if I was ever unfair, or if I ever said or did anything hurtful to them, especially to the boys.  In the middle of my apology, I again became emotional.

With the other classes, I did so after the kids were gone, so none of my children saw it.  But I couldn't hold it in this instance.

Probably my biggest motivation as a teacher is not that my kids learn as much as possible, although it is a wonderful one, and a significant one for me.  My biggest motivation is to be remembered favorably when they look back on their time as my students.

This past year was one of victory.  I make no bones of being a spiritual person, and I prayed very hard over my students, my school, my coteachers, and myself as a teacher.  This was a year where I saw so much improvement in my students of all levels.  This was a year where I grew so much as a teacher.  And this was the best group of students that I've taught.

Today is the first Monday where I didn't make that daily one-hour commute south to my school, and I feel sort of an emptiness that is almost similar to breaking up with a girl friend.  As I've stated earlier, I put so much into my teaching, and my philosophy as a teacher is to first love my students to the best of my ability, because when a teacher uses love as a motivation, he/she will certainly have their highest welfare possible in mind, whether or not they, or people around them, understand it.  There is not a higher, nor a stronger motivation than that.  So when there is no longer an avenue that you've once had to channel all of that, I guess that emptiness can be natural.

This is now a time of transition as I move on from teaching to the next calling that is upon my life.  And pretty soon, I will say goodbye to South Korea in the teaching realm.

As a high school student at Slidell High School who was once "too cool for school," when it came time to graduate, and move on to our new lives, I heard my principal, Mr. Joseph P. Buccaran, say sincerely to us graduating seniors, "Good-bye, meaning farewell..."

When it was time to leave my last school here in Korea on my last day of teaching, upon the conclusion of erasing everything in my computer, upon packing up all my personal belongings that were in my classroom, and upon locking the door for the last time, I was able to make the connection to my old high school days, and it was then when I truly realized what "farewell" really means.

To my students, I may never see you again, but I wish nothing but the best for all of you in Incheon, Anyang, Gwangju, and Seoul.  I pray that blessings will be poured out on all of you.  I pray that all of you achieve every single dream that is upon each of your respective hearts, and are truly successful, prosperous, fulfilled, and happy in all that you do.  I wish you strength and determination when things become difficult, especially during your upcoming middle school and high school days.  I pray that you will truly feel loved unconditionally, and that you will love unconditionally also in all the days of your lives.  God bless all of you.  Thank you for being blessings to me.  I will always think of you as fondly as the word is able to express, and I will never forget you.  Truly  ay  to all of you, good-bye, meaning farewell.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Advice for New ESL Teachers

I've taught at three different schools, two of them being public for their respective after school programs, and one for a hogwan.  I spent two years working for the hogwan, and nearly two working for the after school program.  I've realized that a lot of you who read this blog are teachers who are just getting started here in Korea, or even people in the English speaking world who are looking for a job, teaching English in Korea.

When I first started, I had absolutely no experience teaching.  I took an online TEFL coarse, and it helped a little.  With that, I went from being absolutely clueless, to knowing a little, but I knew solely about methods of teaching English, not how to control a group of children, in order to implement those methods, or the methods that the school trained me to implement.  I was sort of "thrown into the wolves."

I am feeling the urge to share what I've learned as a teacher throughout my time here.  So this post is for those who are like me when I first started.  This is for those who have never taught before, and have just landed that first job, or are currently looking, and are preparing to move across the Pacific Ocean, across Eurasia, or into the Northern Hemisphere.

Without further due, here you go:

1.  Be firm, and take charge of the class.  Children will run over you, if you allow them to.  Do it from the moment you walk up to the front of your classroom during the first time you teach your first lesson.  Demand their attention and their respect when you take attendance, and it will set the tone for the rest of the class.

2.  If you work in a school setting without established rules, it's important to make your own.  Keep them short, simple, and easy to understand.  Even if you teach in a hogwan with an established system, and rules, I would even suggest doing this, to show the students that you are in charge, and that you are an authority.  I would suggest rules, such as

"Respect the teacher."
"Respect your classmates."
"Be Kind."
"Be clean."
and etc.

If you make them too complex, they will never understand them.  Make learning the rules your very first lesson with each class.  Even if they don't initially know exactly what the rules mean, teach them how to pronounce them properly, and they will understand that you are in charge.

Throughout your time teaching, when a student breaks any of the rules, point to the one that was broken, and briefly make them say the rule as a class, and they will begin to understand what they mean.

3.  Be firm with the little children, and be willing to compromise with the older kids.  It's sort of counter-intuitive.

Little children generally follow the teacher, and feed off of the atmosphere that the teacher sets.  My natural inclination is to want to play and be goofy with them, and many times, it causes them to lose focus, and chaos ensues.  You can be goofy and playful with them, but there is a thin line between having fun, and losing control, so I would suggest being more focused in the classroom.

Your goal with the little kids should be for them to learn through loving discipline.  Most of them will love you and smile throughout the class anyway.  For little kids, generally, English is easy and fun.

Older post-pubescent students are different.  For me, it is my natural inclination to be serious with them, but they actually respond well to being goofy, and humorous.  Your goal should be to make them smile, while teaching them at the same time.

With that particular age group, the lessons become difficult and boring.  Most of them begin to dislike English, and all of them begin to realize that adults are not perfect, so they begin to question authority, and many of them can be downright rebellious and rude, and that behavior becomes more likely, the more firm and unmoving you are.  They work well for a teacher who is able to make them smile, who lightens the mood, and gives them a little freedom.

4.  It is impossible to force anybody to learn.  There will be a few who will absolutely refuse to follow along, and buy into the lesson.  I am generally ok with it, as long as they are quiet, and not being disruptive.  But many times, that is not the case, and a large percentage of them tend to be rather disruptive.  Those students are cancerous to a proper learning environment.

With little kids, I find that making them stand in the corner, nose facing the corner for a period of time works well.  If he/she refuses to stand still, or is continually disruptive, then send them to the Korean teacher, and let her discipline the child how she sees fit.

With older kids, I simply kick them out of the class when they get out of control.  It's a funny coincidence how the class environment instantly improves.

5.  If a little kid refuses to do something that you tell him to do, or refuses to move somewhere that you tell him/her to move, be calm, and physically pick him/her up, and/or drag them, to the place you want him/her to move, or physically force them to do what you want them to do.

You are stronger than they are after all.  Do this unemotionally, and do it gently with a certain matter of firmness.  Most of the time, they will get the message, but in the instance that they don't, simply repeat the use of force in the same exact manner, as if you were a machine.  When this is done, other kids notice, and usually they move where you tell them to move, or do what you ask them to do.

6.  With older kids, I play on their desire to be acknowledged as adults, so when they are uncooperative, I simply open the door of the classroom, and express to them that they have a choice whether or not to be there.  If they don't want to be there, they have the choice to walk through that door, and leave.  I show them that if they want to talk and socialize, they will have to do it outside, but when they are in the classroom, they have to learn, and buy into the lesson.  If they continue to be disruptive, kick them out.  If they refuse to leave, gently grab them by the wrist, and show them to the door.

If a class is falling behind, because they are being too rowdy, I make them stay past the allotted time to finish what needs to be done.  They hate this one, but sometimes it's necessary, and when you start cutting into their time, they focus begrudgingly.

7.  With the older kids, for the most part, many times, they will intentionally try to make you angry for no reason.  It amuses them.  You have to be bulletproof, and you shouldn't take yourself too seriously.  It's ok to fire back, as long as you aren't vulgar, and as long as you aren't downright insulting.  Just a small amount of condescension and a quick whit is required.  The goal is to make other students in the class to laugh at the student you are targeting.

8.  With that being said, things that I will absolutely not tolerate:  laziness coupled with loudness; continued disobedience pertaining to disrupting the people who are buying into the lesson; bad language; students being rude to other classmates; and students being rude to the teacher to the point of undermining your authority, and your ability to teach.

Those things must be prevented as much as possible from happening.  Obviously you can't prevent everything, but if any of the violations mentioned above happen, the child must pay in some way for what he/she did.  Nothing disrespectful/rude/disruptive should be free.

9.  Don't take it personally when children are disrespectful.  The moment the day is over, I forget it.

10.  Second only to the children's safety is maximizing what the children are learning in each class period.  Make that and finishing the lesson your first priority.  If anything is preventing that from happening, quickly remove it in any method that is efficient and appropriate.  

11.  The most important thing to remember when going into your first lesson is speak loudly and authoritatively, but keep a kind demeanor.  If you do that, the children will respond well, and learning through experience will be easier.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Excitement for the Future

I have been away from the blogosphere for a while now, but that doesn't mean that nothing has been happening.  Quite the contrary has been the case.  For now, I will just say that my time as an ESL teacher in South Korea is coming to an end at the end of February.

Nothing negative is happening, nor has happened.  I am simply being called to another place.

I've mentioned in a previous post that I moved here to Seoul from Gwangju, a city that I still love, because I have felt called by God to do so.  I did so sight unseen, not knowing anybody, and knowing very little about the city.   From the time I landed at Incheon Airport to permanently move here, God has put people in my life who have helped me get settled, remain happy, grow as a Christian, and further pursue the calling I have in my life.

Seoul is a city where the churches, both Korean and Expat are on fire for God.  I've heard on more than one instance people say about the city, "This is a place where God is moving."  I definitely believe it, because I've experienced it myself.  It is a place where I have experienced an enormous amount of growth in my passion for, knowledge of, and experience with Jesus Christ.

I can't speak on exactly what I will be doing in the future, but I will state that it will involve me working with Koreans from a place other than South Korea.  The longer I work with Koreans, and the more I experience the favor that they show me, the more I realize that an enormous purpose that God has for my life is to minister, and to help them.  I'm sure many of you who have been with me from the beginning will be able to "put two and two together" to figure out exactly what that calling that I will be pursuing is.

It is now November, and the ending of the current contract that I have signed with my current school is in sight.  I know it will be an extremely bitter sweet time, because I have experienced an enormous amount of growth as a teacher, and I am now extremely confident in my ability to enable a person to improve in their ability to master the English language.

It will be an even more bitter sweet time, because I will really miss the children that I teach.  I am fighting tears now thinking about it, because I have taught some extraordinary children who will grow to be extraordinary contributors to their respective societies.  And not to mention, they are wonderful people for whom I have grown to really care about, and chances are high that when I say my last goodbyes to them, it will be the last time that I will ever see them again.  It won't be easy.

If it were up to me, I would be teaching students, and experiencing South Korea for the considerable future, but I've come to learn that God has a different purpose for my life, and it involves me sacrificing the comforts that I have come to know here, and totally relying on him to provide financially, logistically,  relationally, and spiritually for my future.  I've come to learn that man is at his most powerful when he is completely reliant on that, so I look to the future unafraid.  It will probably involve me suffering and sacrificing for the sake of Christ, as Paul called Timothy to do with him as he was imprisoned, writing the book 2 Timothy.  I don't do it unwillingly, because quite honestly, I am really excited about pursuing this next dream that God, the true dream giver, has revealed to me.

Please pray for me.  God bless all of you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yes, I'm Still Alive II

Just checking in to show everyone that I'm still alive.  My lack of posts is not because nothing is happening.  Actually, it's quite the contrary.  It's because of the sensitive nature of everything.  Being that my future has sort of a sensitive nature, I'm not sure if something that I post can jeopardize my future.  I'm sure it won't, but I'd prefer to be cautious.

Let's just say that I will become a missionary, and am working towards that.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"A House Divided"

I am proud of the fact that I am an alum of LSU, an SEC university.  My pride for my university is not a unique thing in the south.  People hang flags outside of their homes.  They put various paraphernalia on their cars such as bumper stickers, decals, license plates, and etc.  Many people wear their university colors everywhere.

Naturally, people affiliated with different universities intermarry.  It's quite common, especially in states with at least two major universities, like Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia.  When that happens, most of the time, people don't stop cheering for the team that they are affiliated with, because their spouse is affiliated with a different one.  So naturally during football season, things can be rather tense in those respective households, especially at family gatherings with in-laws.

Many of these families display their pride for their two universities with a license plate on the front of their cars with the words, "House Divided", and the plate will be divided in two with the logo of a respective university on each side.

I wonder sometimes which teams the children of these couples cheer for.  Perhaps I can provide some insight into that, being that I am an American with Korean ethnicity living in Korea, a country that I have come to care about, during the World Cup.

Here in Korea, I am really proud of the fact that I am an American, especially around my non-Korean friends.  I am a fan of sports in general, especially football (American football for all my non-American friends) and basketball.  Being that I am from Louisiana I am very vocal about my fanhood for LSU football, LSU mens basketball, LSU Baseball, the New Orleans Saints, and the New Orleans Pelicans.  And recently here in Korea, I have been quite vocal about the U.S. world cup fanhood.  On my twitter account, I've posted pics of such American icons as Hulk Hogan, George Washington, Rocky Balboa, and Abraham Lincoln to display my fanhood of American soccer.

I am extremely proud to be an American.  One of my students said during the London Olympics, "I don't like America, because they always win in the Olympics."

My immediate automatic almost-instinctive proud response was, "Yeah, we're the best."

I enjoy imagining what I would do, if the American Soccer Team came to Seoul to play Korea in a friendly.  Obviously, if that happened, I would sit in the American section of the stadium with my American friends in my red, white, and blue, and celebrating if we scored a goal, or even won.

At the same time, if that moment were to happen, it would be rather bittersweet, because although I am really proud to be an American, I don't enjoy in the least bit seeing Korea lose, even when it's to my country.

As a passionate sports fan, it's a rather confusing feeling.  There are moments when I will say unequivocally that I would cheer for America, but on the rare occasions where competition between the two nations happens, I find my support secretly shifting to Korea.  There are moments when I am secretly cheering for Korea, but then I would notice an American on the other side that I identify with, and I begin to feel better about cheering for America.  Then Korea would start losing, and I would find myself secretly cheering for them again.  Sometimes my support wanes periodically throughout a competition.

I've experienced this only a few times.  The most recent being a women's volleyball match between the two nations during the 2012 London Olympics, and a women's curling match during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

As my American pride in terms of sports and competition is rather extraverted, my pride in the nation of Korea, as a Korean-American is rather introverted.  Many times, my support for Korea is just as strong or stronger, despite that.  I can't explain exactly why, but I was extremely proud when Korea scored their first goal in their opener in the World Cup against Russia as I was eating my breakfast getting ready for work.  It was a stronger feeling than any that I had that was associated with any good thing that America did in the tournament.

I was moved while watching a reality show that follows some Korean celebrities in Brazil as they cheer for Korea during the World Cup, when one of the female celebrities started to tear (with a long e) up when the Korean team was introduced before a match, and the Korean National Anthem was sung.  I was also moved when they showed a Korean man in the stands crying when Algeria scored their third goal to go up 3-0 early on in their match, and Yoo Jae Seok, tried to rally support in the stands.  I was really proud during those moments.

I don't vocalize my support for Korea during competitions, because I am not a Korean citizen, but my support for them, many times, is every bit as strong as my support for America, sometimes even secretly cheering for them against my home country.  So many times, during international competitions, I really do find myself being a "house divided."

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Normal Weekday Morning Commute in Seoul

As I lay here on my bed, looking out the window of my 13th floor apartment at all the cars riding along on the highway, and at all the lights of the city, I sit here wondering what to write.  Recently, I've felt the urge to write more, almost as if someone important, whom I don't know, is reading.  To that person, whoever you are, Hello.  Thanks for reading.  God bless you.

I am fairly entrenched into a routine here.  I have friends.  Everyday, I wake up, get ready for work, walk out the door of my apartment, wait for the elevator, step in when the door opens, sit and wait for a few seconds for it to touch down on the first floor.  Sometimes, it stops on it's way down at a floor in between mine and the first, and someone steps in.  Sometimes the face is familiar, but most of the time, it isn't.  If it's an attractive lady, and she is flirty, sometimes I say something to break the ice.  But most of the time, I sit silently, stand tall, and stare straight ahead at the closed door, and so does the other person, as the elevator descends.

I step out of the elevator, and walk into the lobby to greet the security guard, before walking out the door front door of the building.  He knows everybody that lives in the building.  Every resident knows him, and greets him also, just like I do.

I step out of the front door near the busy road that runs a few yards away.  The sound of traffic dominates, including the hum of cars, and the roar of busses.  I have to turn my headphones up rather loud in order to hear my music and podcasts clearly over it.

I walk a few feet to the bus stop to wait once again.  In my year of living here at this particular place, I've never seen the same person more than once at this particular bus stop, and I am pretty good at recognizing faces, even those of people I don't know personally.  Seoul is a big city, and so is my neighborhood.

Some days, I have to wait longer than others.  When the bus comes, I see usually the second familiar face of the day, and usually, it's the last until I arrive at work, and that being the bus driver.  There are around five to ten different buses that run along that route.  I know the faces of each driver, and they know the faces of many of the regulars.  They know mine, at least.  The kinder ones smile upon seeing me, and say "hello," and "welcome" in Korean.  I like it when they do that.

I normally sit alone in my seat, sometimes I have to stand when it's crowded, as my music or podcast plays through my white Apple headphones.  (To see my taste in music, and to get an idea of what is played in the mornings, check out my Twitter feed on the right side of this page.  There are always links to stuff I like.  As far as podcasts, I really enjoy The Rich Eisen Podcast, The Fighter and the Kid, In the NO, and The MMA Hour.  Sometimes I like Bill Simmons, and I always listen to Zack Lowe and Jalen Rose on Grantland.)

The bus that I take takes me to the subway station.

Korean bus drivers have absolutely zero consideration for the passengers.  They slam on the breaks extremely hard at bus stops and stop lights, sometimes throwing people.  They hit the accelerator just as hard.  They are terrible at shifting gears, and working the clutch smoothly.  The bus ride to the subway station is always rough, but the music and podcasts make it more pleasant.

After the bus driver slams on the breaks at my stop, I exit the bus, and begin weaving through the people at the crowded bus stop near the subway station.  I continue weaving through people as I walk along the crowded sidewalk that is lined with cafes on one side, and twenty-four-hour street food tents.  Because most of it is fried, and because it's rather unhealthy, I never eat the street food, even though sometimes I am interested in how it tastes.  If I'm craving fried food, I'll eat something better, so I am always able to talk myself out of stopping and trying it.

Koreans walk really slowly.  At least to me, they do, so I find myself weaving through them whenever I am walking anywhere in the city.  This is especially true during my morning commute.  It's refreshing whenever a Korean is walking at least at the same pace as I am in front of me.

As I enter the entrance to the subway, I climb down a rather long set of stairs, and weave through an underground market full of vendors setting up for the day.  In this particular subway station, in the mornings, I seem to be going against the morning traffic, because a lot more people are getting off of the train, and walking in the opposite direction through the underground market, some of them in a rush and running, many of them being ladies in skirts and high heels.  I'm really impressed at their ability to run in them without tripping, or even stumbling.

Sometimes there are so many people who are walking in the opposite direction that it feels and looks like I am walking against wave after wave of a high tide of Korean people.

My station is one where numerous people exit the train in the mornings, and few enter, so there is almost always a seat available upon entering.  When the train stops at the next station, the train suddenly becomes packed with people, as the people who are standing have to squeeze to make room, and it remains that way for the duration of my thirty minute subway trip.

When I exit the train, it's like a tale of two subway stops.  I leave my neighborhood full of business people, and young professionals who are in a hurry, and the train takes me to the neighborhood where I teach, where the sidewalks seem full of Korean mothers slowly and leisurely pushing baby carriages in a sea of high-end high rise apartments.

As I enter my school at 11:00am, the school day is in full swing for the children and other teachers.  I suddenly see familiar faces again.  I see children playing in the soccer field in front of my school, and the P.E. teachers organizing them.  I walk into my school, and I see some of my students wandering the hallways.  I walk up the stairs to my room on the 4th floor.  I take a right, and see the kind and attractive 4th grade teachers teaching their classes across the hall from my classroom.  I briefly enter my classroom to drop off my things, turn on the lights, and power on the computer.  Then as I exit, I make my way to my co-teacher's class room down the hall to check in, and receive a quick briefing before preparing for the day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Land of the Rising Sun

The thing that I really like about Japan, and find most fascinating is it’s inherent calmness, and sense of order.  The people here really seem to show a proper sense of restraint.  They show a keen understanding and implementation of self control when in public.  For example, it is rare to see someone shout, speak boisterously, or show strong emotions in public.  It is also rare to see a sudden burst of laughter among a group of people.  Japanese people seem to wait in line much more than Koreans and Americans are willing to do, and they do so rather patiently.    

They seem to not be in quite as much of a hurry as Korean people, but it definitely isn't motivated by a relaxed attitude.  The calmness here seems to come from a certain etiquette where it seems important to keep oneself composed, in order to maintain ones’ sense of dignity, and it is something that is practiced for the betterment of society, as a whole.  

The people here seem to realize that they are a component of something larger, or greater than the individual.  Korean society has a similar mentality, but it’s manifested in a much different way than Japan.  

I am not saying that this is a universal truth, and applies to every single person, but I find that here in Japan, society and the group seem to be more highly valued, where in America, the individual to usually takes precedence.    

It is fascinating to see, to witness, and to experience.  There are places here in Tokyo that are absolutely overflowing with people, but it isn’t overwhelming like it is at other places, and the crowds aren’t as tiresome as they are in other large cities.  Whenever I told people in Seoul that I need a vacation, they would respond with, “Where do you plan on going?”

“I really want to go to Tokyo.”  

“Really?!  It’s even bigger than Seoul.  And you want to go there to recharge?!”  

After having the same conversation a few times with different people, I began to doubt my desire and my intuition, and I began to think about going to a place like the Philippines, or Thailand.  

I am glad that I followed my strongest desire and greatest interest, despite hearing people advise against it, because this trip has been exactly what I needed.  I feel refreshed, and rejuvenated.  As a person like me who has no attachment to this society, I am able to find rest in the inherent tranquility, and in the fact that I am seeing and experiencing something different.  

I would tend to think that if I were a part of the society here, and if I knew the ins and outs of the etiquette, I would probably be less able to relax, but being detached, and yet still able to observe, and to a small degree, experience the way of life has been perfect for me, and my condition.  

I sit here in a cafe on Ginza Street here in Tokyo on a Spring Sunday afternoon among a large crowd of people, but not overwhelmingly large, with everyone dressed in their spring apparel  (And Japanese women, much like Korean women, are extremely well-dressed.), while walking calmly and quietly in public.  It has been beautiful to witness, and every place that I have visited here has been that way.

The fact is, upon returning to Korea, if I were to tell my Korean students about the trip, most of them would have absolutely no interest in hearing about it.  I would go as far as saying that they would probably have some rather unkind things to say about my experiences.  

It isn’t a baseless prediction, because that very thing happened the last time I attempted to share with my students from one of my previous schools about a visit to Kyoto and Osaka, upon returning.  Those feelings that they possess do not come from nowhere.  They don’t develop these feelings themselves.  They have to be learned, and acquired from another source.  They come from their parents and grandparents, and the ill-will that Korean society, as a whole, has towards Japanese society.  Although those feelings are justified, because of the dark history between the two nations, they are not right.  

Despite those feelings, I’m quite sure that if a Japanese person were hurting, or in need of help on the streets of Seoul, that a Korean would be there to help them, but nonetheless, the feelings are rather strong.

The ill-will felt by Koreans towards Japan does not change my opinion that Japan has a beautiful culture, language, and a fascinating way of life.  It was a great vacation.  It was eye-opening, enlightening, inspiring, fascinating, and beautiful.  I hope to return for another visit.