Thursday, May 26, 2011

Smoking and Fasting

I have a confession to make, and my parents are not going to like hearing this.  I started smoking again.  I had been smoking, on and off, since I was 18.  I've previously quit for probably over a year and a half.  And throughout that time, I would sometimes crave one when I would see somebody doing it in public, or when I would see somebody smoking in a movie.  I would simply resist the urge, because in the States, it's kind of rare to see people smoking in public, or in movies.  But in Korea, it's everywhere.  Everyday when I walk to and from school, I see several people smoking.  People are allowed to smoke in most restaurants, so whenever I am eating, I see it.  A lot of my Korean male coworkers do it.  They have a spot on a balcony on the fourth floor of our building with a nice view of the street.  And every time I would see somebody smoking, I would say to myself, "Man, would I love to have one of those."

I gave in to the urge last week.  I bought a pack of cigarettes for 2,500 won, which is around $2.20.  When I quit smoking in the States, a pack of cigarettes costed around five dollars.  I bought a pack, smoked one or two, then realized what I was doing.  "I can't believe I am doing this," is what I would say to myself.  I would then put out the cigarette, walk back up to my apartment, walk into the bathroom, pour the remaining cigarettes into the toilet, and flush them.  But the next day the urge would come back, and it would be stronger.  So I would walk to the convenience store, spend another 2,500 won on another fresh pack, light up a few, then realize what I was doing again, and flush.  I went through three cycles of this, and flushed 7,500 won down the toilet.  How sickening.

I realized that I needed to do something, and that I was unable to do it myself.  I've heard several sermons on the power of fasting while watching the christian networks back home in Louisiana.  And I've done it a few times before, and knew this was the right time to do it again.  I started my fast on Tuesday morning, and ended it late Thursday night.

The first day is not difficult.  Anybody can go a day without food.  What is difficult on the first day is turning down food from those who offer it to you.  I've never realized how much people offer me food daily until I consciously decide to go without it.   And the best dishes always seem to be offered while fasting.  At work, they handed out these chocolate covered butter pastries that looked absolutely amazing.  Another difficulty is explaining the concept of fasting to those who aren't particularly spiritual, especially when you turn down their offer of food, and you have previously accepted in every other instance.

Fasting becomes painful probably around lunchtime during the second day.  Whenever you sit for an extended period of time, you become lightheaded when you suddenly stand.  You begin to notice that you have very little energy, and that the mere act of walking becomes more strenuous.  The only thing that I consumed during my fast was water.  My mouth seemed constantly dry on the second and third days.  On the third day, my calf muscles seemed to want to cramp from the mere act of walking to and from school, and from standing all day long teaching students.  The hunger definitely begins to become painful on the second day.

After finishing school on Thursday night, I had plans of eating an enormous Korean feast, but I was too tired to walk anywhere before eating.  I went home cooked up some ramen, added some dumplings for the extra protein, ate it, then took a multivitamin, brushed my teeth, and went to sleep.  I woke up at 11:30 this morning.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." 

As painful and difficult as fasting is, I definitely felt God's presence while doing it.  I can't explain it fully, but I had an inherent assurance that he was near.  Why else would you fast?  You do so to seek God, and to let him know that you are serious, and sincere.  While fasting, I spent more time praying, because sometimes, you have to pray for God's strength to get through it.  And fasting is good for the mind.  I still crave cigarettes, but I know now that I have the strength to resist the urge.  If I can go almost three days without eating, I can definitely resist the urge to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Here is another Korean beauty.  I watch K-dramas.  I have only a basic idea of what's going on from observing the nonverbal, but I don't mind, because the actresses are usually beautiful.  I don't know the name of the shows, or the actresses.  The amount of times I watch a particular K-drama is directly correlated to the attractiveness of the actresses.  There is a particular show that is one of my favorites.  And this lady plays the main character.  Again, these images are not mine.  I downloaded them from various websites via Google Images.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Being Sick, Korean Hairstyles, and Shabu Shabu

I currently have some sort of stomach virus, or food poisoning.  I'll spare you of the details, but I am at that stage where my entire body aches, and it's uncomfortable to sit, stand, walk, or even sleep.  It seems as though I have had some sort of illness the entire time that I have been here.  For the first two weeks I was here, I had a cold, and was unable to talk for three days.  The pharmacist gave me some tea to drink, and it felt better.  My throat was completely well only before the yellow dust came.  I am not sure exactly what yellow dust is, but it comes from China, and it is definitely visible.  When it is here, many Koreans wear masks when they are outside to prevent breathing it in.  My throat, once again, does not feel completely right.  Acne was not a problem in the States.  It's been a problem here.  I don't understand it.  Could it be the soap?

I've been told that once you get off the plane in a foreign country, your body is exposed to germs and illnesses that it had previously never come into contact with.  Apparently, it is inevitable that you will get sick, because it takes time for the immune system to adjust to these new germs.  Any of you doctors out there, correct me if I'm wrong on this.

I recently got a hair cut.  I had the sides trimmed, and the top thinned out, so it will grow out better.  The stylist did a great job, and I will go back to see her again when it comes time to get another.

Seeing a good stylist is always the same, wherever you are, whether it be in the States, or Korea.  They trim your hair, and you feel comfortable with what they are doing, until after they finish, and style it.  After finishing the cut, they all love to style my hair in the latest trendy hairstyle.  And I am not a trendy guy.  The lady who cut my hair back home loved to gel it to make myself look as if I had just stepped out of the shower.  My hair would be spiked in all different directions, and would leave people who see it wondering, "Did he, or didn't he comb it?"  Modern American stylists seem to love for their subjects to have that air of mystery.  I am sure you know the style that I am referring to.  A lot of guys wear it, and it's "in style."  One time, back home, I saw the lady who cuts my hair at the grocery store.  She asked me, "Why didn't you style your hair the way I showed you?"  And her feelings seemed to be genuinely hurt when she saw me.

I nervously replied, "Oh...  Uh...  I ran out of hair gel."  But in reality, I am thinking, "because I don't want to look at my pictures twenty years from now, and notice that I looked absolutely ridiculous, because I had to be 'in style' at that particular time."  Hair styles that are "in" may vary from country to country, but again, all stylists are the same.

And again, American stylists love that "just out of the shower" look, and their weapon of choice is hair gel.  Gel gets very sticky, and when you touch your hair two hours later, it gets all over your hands.  Korean stylists prefer the "just out of bed look" with the same air of mystery as to whether or not he combed it.  The lady put this cream in my hair that made it extremely hard and impliable.  I felt like my hair could have been used as a helmet.    Behold.

Recently, the English ministry at my church took us new comers out for lunch.  The meal that was served was Shabu Shabu.  I have heard people talk about it here in Korea, since the day I stepped out of the plane, and I had no clue as to what it was.  I asked my mother about it, and she didn't know either.  Apparently, it is a relatively new dish that has only recently become popular.  After eating it, I understood what the fuss was about.  It was light, yet filling, and delicious.  

There is a procedure to eating this dish.  The first step is to pour the vegetables, and the beef in the broth, and allow it to boil, and cook down.  On the yellow rack on the bottom right is rice wraps.  They are the same thing that you would wrap a spring roll with.  You dip the hardened wrap in the pink broth next to it, and it becomes soft.  And once the vegetables and meat are cooked, you wrap it in the rice wrap, and eat it.  They give you different types of sauces to dip it in.  The next step, once all the vegetables and beef is eaten, is to pour noodles, and egg into the broth, now with enhanced flavor from the beef and veggies.  Once the noodles are eaten, rice is poured into the remainder of the broth.  So every bit of the broth is consumed.  It was an amazing meal.  


Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Language Barrier

I have been asked by several people if I plan on staying for in Korea for another year.  I met a foreign teacher who teaches across town, Steve, who has been teaching in Korea for three years (I could be wrong on the length of time).  He said to me, "I envy you.  You are at that stage where everything is new and exciting."  That comment resonated with me, because I take that into account every time I am asked the question of whether or not I will stay.  I usually tell them, "I don't know."  If I had to make a decision today, I would say yes.  At the moment, I am thoroughly enjoying my experience here, and the transition has been relatively easy for me.  The most difficult thing, so far, has been the language barrier.

You have seen all of the foods that I have tried.  Looking at a menu in a foreign language and pointing to an item, and ordering the item based only on the price, then looking confidently at the waitress, who doesn't speak your language, as if you know exactly what it is that you are ordering, can be stressful and exciting the same time.  It is exciting because I have thoroughly enjoyed Korean cuisine, and when ordering, I have that hope that it could something that I have never tried before, that would be among the best things that I have eaten.  Each table has a pager, and after serving the entree, waitresses only come to your table when you ring them.  The kinder ones will come back to check up on me even when I don't page them, and some even sit next to me and attempt to converse in Korean, even though I only know a few basic words.

Attempting to converse with somebody in another language involves a lot of miming, and usually they do not understand what you are attempting to convey.  And many times, they just may understand, but they are unable to convey it to you.  The stress involved with communicating with someone who speaks an unfamiliar language is indescribable, and unmistakeable, even when they are friendly.  But I have yet to meet a Korean who is unfriendly and inhospitable, so that sort of minimizes it to some degree.

Flirting doesn't seem to be as stressful.  Flirting with somebody who speaks an unfamiliar language usually involves, again, a lot of miming, but I try to reduce it as much as possible in an attempt to appear more suave.  So I replace the miming with more touching, and find it to be relatively effective.  But it still doesn't replace the effectiveness of comfortable fluent conversation.  On one occasion, the lady made fun of my gestures and my mannerisms, and I did likewise to her.  It eased the tensions, and made it fun, because we were able to laugh at each other.  I find that it is not as stressful as other things, because when somebody is attracted to you, they seem to be a lot more forgiving of obvious shortcomings, and in this case that would be the language barrier.  There is no mistaking attraction, and there is no mistaking letting somebody know that you are attracted to them also, even if it is nonverbal.

I am not as interested in television because of the language barrier.  Usually I find myself watching baseball, and K-dramas.  Baseball is baseball, even when the announcers speak a different language.  With K-dramas, all the actresses who play the main characters range from very attractive to extremely attractive.  Although I don't understand the dialogue, the basic story always seems to be the same.  Man and woman are initially attracted to each other, then along way they argue, and the woman cries...  a lot.  In the process, the lady will argue with her mother, her father, and her boss.  Both parties usually find comfort in their friends, but even then, sometimes they argue as well.  And sometimes, the man will heroically save the woman in some form or fashion.  The children in K-dramas are always well behaved, calm, and mature.  They seem to be the most calm and mature of all of the characters.

Again, for me, the most difficult thing associated with living in Korea has been the language barrier, but it hasn't taken away from the enjoyment of my stay so far.  As my mother explained, people are a lot more welcoming when the visitor smiles.  I have smiled a lot more than usual, and find it to be extremely effective.  When accepting change, or receiving something, I use two hands, and bow.  Koreans find that to be polite, and I always make it a point to say, "comsomnida," which means thank you in Korean.  When dining, I will call the waitress, "Emo," which means Aunt.  Apparently, the older ladies love that.  I always make it a point to say, "mashiseoyo," which is a respectful way of saying the food was delicious.  The last thing that I want to be is somebody who perpetuates the stereotype of Americans being loud, self-centered, arrogant, and obnoxious.  So wherever I go within Korea, I always attempt to maintain the mindset of a guest, and be as respectful as possible.  Thus far, to my knowledge, it has worked.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Controversy Back Home

I've noticed that LSU has made national news this week.  (Here is a link to the story from the LSU student newspaper, The Daily Reveille.)  Some may say that the publicity that my alma mater has received has been negative, but I find it to be a beautiful demonstration of our first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  Allow me to explain before being quick to judge.  Back home at LSU, a student apparently took down the american flag that waives above the World War 2 memorial in the Parade Grounds, then proceeded to burn it, and later turned himself in to police for vandalism.

Soon after, a grad student threatened to burn an American flag publicly at Free Speech Alley.  For those of you not familiar with LSU, Free Speech Alley is an area in front of the Student Union that serves exactly the purpose stated in it's name.  Most of the time, Free Speech Alley is occupied by wanna-be televangelists screaming at students, telling them they are going to hell because they party on the weekends.  But sometimes, Free Speech Alley can be interesting, and this week was one of those times.

Nowhere in our constitution does it state that "a federally established flag will be the colors red, white, and blue. White stars representing the states will be displayed on the upper left hand corner in front of a rectangular blue background covering one quarter of the flag.  The other three quarters will consist of thirteen alternating horizontal red and white stripes, beginning and ending with red."  Old Glory was not a state established flag, but one that was established by the private sector of the United States of America.

The first Amendment to the Constitution does state that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  It is the first amendment because it is the most important of all the amendments.  (So what does that say about our second amendment?  But that is another discussion for another time.)  Any law prohibiting the defacement of a mere symbol is a direct violation of the first amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional.

What makes America beautiful is that "We the people" are allowed to disagree with the government.  Our beauty as a nation is that we are well within our rights, and are protected by law, should we decide to undergo such an extreme measure that evokes such emotion and indignation, as the act of physically burning Old Glory.  But what also makes our nation beautiful is that those who disagree with the burner are also well within their rights, and are protected by law, should they decide to peacefully protest such a burning, which is exactly what happened at LSU.  What made the incident at LSU beautiful is that the police was there merely to keep the peace, and probably spent most of their resources protecting the flag burner.

I have read two books concerning North Korea, one entitled, Nothing To Envy, and the other entitled, Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader.  Both were fascinating reads.  Based on what I have learned, if a North Korean citizen was caught willfully burning a North Korean flag, or a portrait of Kim Jong Il, he/she would be tied to a steak, and blindfolded.  His/her mouth would then be stuffed with rocks, so he/she would be unable to speak, then he/she would be shot in front of his/her fellow citizens.  Needless to say, the public execution would take place without a "fair and speedy trial."  What if, God forbid, our flag became a similar symbol of oppression as that of North Korea?  Would such a burning invoke the same indignation and emotion?

The beauty of the event at LSU is that the people were the ones who stopped the potential burner, not a government entity.  Who prevented the extremist minister from Florida from burning the Quran?  It wasn't our government.  It was outraged citizens.  The beauty of our nation is in our reliance on the competence and discernment of our citizens, with the belief that they are inherently good, and that their judgement is sound.

What if an American flag is successfully burned?  It happens fairly frequently in the middle east.  All you have to do is watch the news to witness it.  Is America still America after a mere symbol of our nation is defaced?  Is our nation greater than a mere symbol?  Absolutely.  Will a flag burning make our constitution less timeless and less ingenious?  Will it cause our people to be less competent, and will it take away from the greater good that the people of America stand for?  Absolutely not.

Last Sunday, some friends from church, and I hiked Meudung Mountain, the highest point in Metro Gwangju.  It was a beautiful hike, and I am still a little sore from it, but we had an amazing view from the top, and it was a great time.  It took a little less than four hours total to get to the top, and back down.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Puttin' the Hammer Down

Contrary to popular belief, nice guys definitely finish first.  People may not reward the nice guys, but God definitely exists, and he is a God who makes "karma," or whatever else that you want to call it, a reality.   I am living proof that God rewards the nice guys.  But there are few exceptions to the rules.

I teach second to sixth graders.  And when I first came to Korea, I thought I would enjoy teaching the older kids more, because older kids speak better, and know more.  My thoughts were that I would be able to have deeper conversations with them, because of their maturity.  I thought that teaching more complex concepts would be funner.  I also made the mistake of thinking that they would be receptive to my teaching.

With all of my classes, upon meeting them, I projected the "nice guy/teacher" image.  The younger students (2nd grade - 5th grade) abide by the principle of respect being a two-way street.  You give somebody respect, and they will give it back to you in return.  The younger kids, for the most part, have been receptive to the "nice teacher" image, and have been absolutely wonderful, and a lot of fun to teach.  My favorite level to teach is the fourth graders.  They know enough English to converse.  They have a developing maturity, and an understanding of what's expected of them.  And yet, they are still kids, and might I add, respectful kids.  Their lessons are still relatively simple, so preparation is short and easy.

The "two-way street" principle applies to less than ten percent of all sixth graders that I teach.  There may be one or two kind students in each of my sixth grade classes, and the rest are some sort of combination of loud, defiant, uninterested, and disrespectful.  The sixth graders enjoy testing the teacher to see how close to the limit they are able to push the "nice teacher."  Since the beginning, they have gotten progressively louder, and more disrespectful.  And three days ago, I snapped...  in a controlled manner.

I always pray that God would give me wisdom in discipling difficult students.  It is simply not in my personality to be stern and strict.  I would rather be kind and flexible, but this week, I have learned that sometimes, you just have to "put the hammer down."  And by "putting the hammer down," I mean recognizing the ring leader, and taking him/her out, and also showing no mercy to the good students who associate with them, and encourage their behavior.  When reading the rest of this post, it may enhance the effect to sing the song, "I feel pretty..."  from the movie, Anger Management.

Last Tuesday, one of my sixth grade classes was being especially irritating.  They were being so loud that I had to shout to get anything done.  Then I saw one student very defiantly doing his math homework in my class, and I snapped.  Only recently have I learned to, like a light switch, turn my anger on and off.  In this instance, I switched it on.  And for some reason, I am able to focus when I am angry.  I authoritatively snatched the homework off of his desk, and angrily exclaimed to the entire class while holding the math homework above my head,  "DO.  NOT.  DO.  MATH HOMEWORK.  IN.  MY.  CLASS!!"  It was in a totally different tone than the previous yelling, so students were caught off guard, and the class was silent.  I kicked the caught student out of the classroom.  I noticed how well that worked, so the next time I heard the slightest peep out of the ring leader, I kicked him out of the class too.  Then one of the students had the nerve to take their math homework out again, but this time for some reason, he passed the paper work to one of the few good students in the class.  I caught the good student red handed.  I gave her the most menacing look that she had ever seen in her life, snatched the math homework out of her hand, and yelled, "GET OUT!!"

"But teacher, It is not mine,"  she desperately replied in a Korean accent.


"But, but teacher-"


She immediately left her seat, and the classroom.  I later let them back in, and they sat in their seats embarrassed and silent, while the other students fearfully paid attention to, and participated in my lesson.  After class, I reported each offender to their Korean teacher to face further punishment.  Each student of English at my school has a Korean teacher who teaches them grammar, and vocabulary.  We teach them how to verbalize what they learn from their Korean teacher.

Since then, similar incidences occurred in my other sixth grade classes, and I reacted similarly, and they fearfully reacted to my reaction in the exact same way that the first sixth grade class did.  Besides that, teaching has been incredible.  Again, contrary to my thoughts when I first started, I find that I am better with the younger kids.  They are a lot more pleasant, and are better able to channel their enthusiasm to the lesson.  In the younger ones, the defiance that you get with the older kids is virtually nonexistent.

I am going to try something new here.  As many of you know, I have enjoyed Korean professional baseball.  A big reason for that is the language barrier associated with watching other programs on Korean TV.  The language of baseball is universal.  But there is also another reason why I follow baseball so closely.  When I come home from work at 10:00pm, the baseball games are winding down.  And the highlight shows are revving up.  There are three different sports networks here in Korea, and they all have post game highlight shows that air simultaneously every night.  And the only reason that I choose to watch KBSn Sports' highlight show over the others is because of their hostess.  I think I'm in love...

In order to protect myself from being sewed, these are not my photos.  I take no credit for these.  They are photos that came up in google images, under the google search, "KBSn sports."  I downloaded these from other websites.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Following American Sports

I love sports, and competition.  And apparently, it was a big sports week in New Orleans, and I did all that I could to witness it in the best way possible.  The Hornets gave Kobe Bryant and the Lakers all they could handle in the first round of the NBA playoffs before fizzling out in game 6 in New Orleans.  The Saints landed two very promising prospects in the NFL draft in Cameron Jordan, and Mark Ingram.  Hopes are very high in New Orleans for the Saints' second Lombardi Trophy in three years.  And I just finished watching UFC 129 for free on cable TV here in Gwangju.

The Hornets playoff games started at around 9pm central time, and 11am Korea time, which is around the time that I usually finish my mid morning run around the lake.  I was unable catch the television broadcast, nor was I able to catch the radio broadcast online.  The way that I was able to keep up with the game was via, where they had a live game cast with real time updates in text.  These were the updates:  "Ariza  three pointer, Paul assist...  Bryant fouled by Okafor (2nd PF, 3TF)...  Bryant makes both free throws..."

I'm pretty sure you get the picture.  I guess it beats choosing the K-drama with the most attractive ladies...  well maybe not.  I had them playing simultaneously.  Experiencing the game via web updates was not as exciting as watching, or even listening to the game live, but I found myself fist pumping whenever I would read, "Paul three pointer, Fischer foul..." as the Hornets would take the lead.  And knowing that the Hornets put down the Lakers twice in that series was still exciting and gratifying.

I was able to witness every pick of the NFL Network's live broadcast of the NFL draft live on  I watched live every pick of the first round up until the Saints drafted Cameron Jordan the University of California.  "Good pick,"  I said to myself.  Then I went on my mid morning run.  I came back less than an hour later to notice that the Saints had traded up to pick Mark Ingram from the University of  Alabama.  I did a fist pump upon noticing that.  I love how coach Sean Payton knows exactly what he wants, and does whatever it takes to get it.  Louisianians are very familiar with Mark Ingram through LSU's rivalry with Alabama, and we know that he is an excellent running back who will make the Saints a better team.  I immediately switched to the broadcast on to get the local pulse.  Then I was immediately informed via the broadcast that running back Reggie Bush tweeted, "It's been fun New Orleans."   I got conflicting reports on what he was referring to.  Some said he was referring to his impending departure, and some said he was referring to the Hornets final loss to the Lakers in game six of their series.  I was able to catch Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellevia's thoughts, and I was also able to hear the call-in segment.  Many of the yats were saying, "Good riddance."  And one even said, "Hey Bobby, I think they should make Reggie Bush a wide receivah."  

For you non-New Orleanians, natives of metro New Orleans have a unique accent.  Most non-natives say, "Where are you at?"  The last time I checked, it was a five-word sentence.  But the yats made it a two word expression, "Where y'at?"  And hence the name, "yat."  Yats can pronounce their r's if it is at the beginning of a word, but are unable to pronounce it if it is at the end of a word.  Notable pronunciations are, "receivah, truck drivah, leadah, undahweyah..."   And if you are around them for long enough, you will find yourself talking like them.  The yat accent is found to be contagious.

I enjoy the fact that UFC events are not on paper view here.  They are broadcast via cable tv. It was a delayed broadcast, as I caught it Sunday night our time, and Sunday morning USA time.  I simply avoided reading the results, and it was as if I were catching it live.  Georges St. Pierre fought Jake Shields, and appeared rather sluggish, and very unGSP-like.  He could have taken Shields down, had his way with him, and ended the fight early, but he decided to fight via "stand up."  I believe he intentionally did so with his impending superbout with middle weight champion Anderson Silva in mind.  He knows he will be unable to take down Silva at will, like he has routinely done with the other welterweights that he has fought.  I believe GSP is working on his striking in preparation for Silva, and he knew he could keep Shields at bay while doing so.  He threw numerous right hooks, and looked almost uncomfortable doing so.  In previous fights it was rare to see him throw that right hook.  

It still annoys me that I am unable to catch new episodes of The Office here in Korea via  I have tried all the other sites that you guys have recommended, and they do not work.  Michael Scott's final episode just aired, and I don't know when I will be able to see it.  Oh well, there are greater tragedies in life.  I just hope that I will not find out what happens before seeing it.

Back by popular demand is the food segment.  As you can probably already tell, Koreans eat a lot of soups.  This is a pork and kimchi stew with noodles.  This was probably the best thing that I have eaten so far.  It was so good that I have eaten it twice.  This particular restaurant is open twenty-four hours, and I spotted it while going for a walk on a random night that I was unable to fall asleep.  On the second visit, I had the same waitress, and she knew that I wanted this particular dish.  I thought, "How did she remember what I ordered?"  These waitresses see numerous customers everyday, but it is probably rare for them to see a foreigner, much less one that returns, so it is probably easy for them to remember my previous orders.  This has also happened at a few other restaurants to which I payed a return visit.  The broth of the stew was rich and extremely spicy, almost too spicy to handle.  The pork in the stew was extremely tender and still on the bone.  Next to it to the left is rice.  Above the rice is fermented bean paste that the peppers and onions above it are to be dipped.  Above the peppers and onions is seasoned seaweed that was very tasty.  The best way that I can describe the next dish over is to call it a cold radish soup.  It was served just as it began to freeze, and was not spicy at all, but was tangy.  When the spicy stew became too much to handle, it was very refreshing to have a few spoonfuls of the cold radish soup.  Next to that is the korean staple, kimchi.  Below the kimchi is bean sprouts, and to the left of that is Radish kimchi.  Again, this was my favorite meal that I have had so far.