Saturday, 28 July 2012

July 28th, 2012 Day 8

It’s a Saturday, so pretty quiet around ye olde prison.

Breakfast wasn't so bad— a couple of bread rolls, strawberry jam, mushroom soup and coleslaw. Not so traditional, but no rice or kimchi either.

I have a list of things I am able to buy. Things like pens, paper, food/snack items, toiletries, etc., so I decided that if I have to stay the full 80 days, I should at least buy a comb before my hair naturally dreads. Some pencils and other stationery would be nice, too. I have all this stuff already, but my sketchbook is the only thing from my personal belongings they will allow me to have since I have addresses and phone numbers listed in it. I had to borrow a pen to write this.

I also requested a Korean – English dictionary. I figured I could pass the time by using the dictionary to translate Korean versions of Maxim (I’m reading the articles, honest!) or GQ. Aaron also has a Marvel graphic novel in Korean. I've already read it in English; it could be cool to learn to read it in Korean. It’s ironic that three months in jail will probably teach me more Korean than 10 years living and teaching and married to a Korean in Korea.  And then, I’ll get deported, never to return.

Lunch and dinner was totally uninspired. Lunch was rice, kimchi and kimchi soup, so I got served kimchi twice. They just added water to one of the dishes. Dinner wasn't much different. The soup was hot water and bean sprouts. The side dish was marinated garlic. Nothing else, just gloves of pickled garlic.

“Hi honey, I’m home! Sorry I’m late, long day at the office. “

“Oh hi, did you eat?”

“Yeah, I’m good. I grabbed a couple cloves of garlic on the way home.”

WTF?

They started showing the Olympics on TV. The opening ceremonies were pretty awesome, then right in the middle, some asshole switched the feed to some k-pop boy band. I have a hard time telling the difference between the boys and girls, except the girls all wear short shorts or skirts that show off their legs. Other than that, there is not much difference. Anyway, one of the most important events in the world was switched to effeminate dancing boys. To make up for the shot of estrogen, they did show the movie Real Steel afterward. And now it’s back to actual Olympic events. However, the idiot guard behind the controls can’t decide which event to watch, so I haven’t seen anybody win anything yet. I've watched archery, 400 m freestyle swimming and air rifle targeting and I have no idea who’s in lead in any event because the guard in charge of the TV channels for the entire prison keeps switching channels.

I should mention the TV is controlled by the prison. There are three channels, but two of them usually show exactly the same thing at the same time and the third one is usually off-line. So really, there is only one channel on for a limited time, at certain times of the day. They shut it off at 9 PM. When it’s not on, they play K-pop over the loudspeakers. It’s torture. No volume control and I can turn it off. The TV channel that is usually turned off shows educational TV, when it’s on. It's usually math or English instruction. The (Korean) English teacher has a terrible accent and can’t actually speak English, but she is very enthusiastic about teaching English grammar. The other channel shows mostly human interest stories about “everyday” Koreans who have strange hobbies. Sometimes, they show travel shows that mostly showcase how normal Korea is compared to the rest the world.  Maybe I’m biased and bitter, but there is nothing superior about anything Korean. Although they will do their best to convince you otherwise-- there are four seasons, kimchi cures cancer, fans kill, only foreigners have AIDS, SARS and H1N1, Jesus and the Christmas tree come from Korea and Dokdo is in the East Sea.

They also have lots of varieties/talk shows with other “famous” Koreans and dramas.

There are two types of Korean dramas, historical for the boys and love triangles for the girls. I even have contempt for the dramas on TV. I can’t watch them without scoffing in disbelief. The mothers can’t stay out of anybody’s business; the men treat the women like shit, and act like mama’s boys. Women act like poor, little, weak victims and the older men act like assholes to everybody else. It just disgusts me. I don’t see the appeal behind the Hallyu (Korean wave) craze at all. All the boy bands look like little girls. The girls look like they’re barely out of middle school and the dramas trot out every stereotype known-- men are assholes  and the women are weak without them. Unless, they’re married. Then the men are mama’s boys and the women are dragon ladies.