So I haven’t posted since late September, and to solve this I will make individual posts in the coming days on the grammar points I’ve covered lately and I will try to share my interpretation of them. (I say interpretation because I might make mistakes!)

While I go and write these blogs I want to leave a video here from Talk To Me In Korean which I found really interesting and funny.

At least it makes me happy that I read 한글 more fluently than the Koreans are reading the English, haha! I don’t blame them though, romanization is pretty awful.

As an assignment for my Korean teacher I had to write a self introduction in Korean (of course). This took me way longer than I would like to admit, and I’m sure there is was a lot wrong with it. ㅠㅠ”

어서오세요! 이 블로그는 자기소개서 될 겁니다.
어서오세요! 이 블로그는 자기소개서입니다.

저는 조디입니다. 네덜란드 남자입니다.

저는 프로그밍하고 한국을 좋아합니다.
저는 프로그래밍하고 한국을 좋아합니다.

그럼 저는 공식적으로 언어를 10개 이상 소통할 수 있습니다!! 농담으로 해 본 소리입니다.
그리고 (그래서?) 저는 공식적으로 언어를 10개 이상 할 수 있습니다!! 농담으로 해 본 소리입니다.

2년 쯤 전에 한국말을 공부하기 시작했습니다. 금년에 한국에 다녀왔습니다.
2년 전쯤에 한국말을 공부하기 시작했습니다. 금년에 한국에 다녀왔습니다.

하지만 저희 한국말을 아직도 상당히 고약했습니다저는 다음 에 더 잘 하고 싶습니다.
하지만 제 한국말이 아직도 상당히 좋지 않았습니다. 다음 해에는 더 잘 하고 싶습니다.

저는 여기에서 약 진전하고 문제들을 쓸 겁니다.
(Completely wrong)

감사합니다!

조디

The final result:

어서오세요! 이 블로그는 자기소개서입니다.

저는 조디입니다. 네덜란드 남자입니다.

저는 프로그래밍하고 한국을 좋아합니다. 그리고 저는 공식적으로 언어를 10개 이상 할 수 있습니다!! 농담으로 해 본 소리입니다.

2년 전쯤에 한국말을 공부하기 시작했습니다. 금년에는 한국에 다녀왔습니다. 하지만 제 한국말이 아직도 상당히 좋지 않았습니다. 다음 해에는 더 잘 하고 싶습니다.

감사합니다!

조디

I post not nearly enough. But I’ve got something tiny to share again… I am currently developing some cool things, related to my passion for K-pop and learning Korean…

I could very well make it into a small educational game as well… Possibly something that could be worth checking out (soon^tm)! :)

I’ve always been a fan of italki and their service. I’ve used it for both professional and community tutoring and both times were good and fun. My first teacher was a professional teacher and her lessons were so informative and fun. It’s truly sad that she had to quit because of personal issues that I will not post here.

After this I got in touch with a community tutor, which was a lot more informal and unstructured. I asked for things, I got my answers. For me this is a little harder to do because my Korean studies have never been too structured in the first place. Something that I now regret when I decided to take the TOPIK.

I’m glad to say that just half an hour ago I finished my trial session with another professional teacher and she basically confirmed all my weaknesses in my Korean studies. Speaking and listening for me are by far the hardest and I feel confident that with her lessons I can improve again.

I’m excited to take lessons again! :)

So I haven’t really studied yet since I came back from Korea last week and my excuse is that I am catching up on all the dramas that I’ve missed out on last month. I remember putting on the pilot episode of Good Doctor on my iPad for the flight to Seoul but I never watched it. As I have nobody that actually shares my interest in Korean drama shows, which ultimately isn’t that weird, I’ll just leave it here.

Heartless City is going strong, I went up to the halfway point I believe and it’s been amazing. There are the Korean cliches, but this drama has some of the most unexpected plot twists probably in TV ever. It’s exciting, well produced and in my opinion a must watch for anyone. The reason however why I temporarily stopped at the halfway point is Good Doctor.

Good doctor is probably the biggest surprise for me this year. I’ve never been fond of medical dramas in particular. I imagined lots of crying and cliches. While this is partially true I can not help but empathize with and cheer for 박시온. The autistic aspect can be a little annoying at times but it makes sense.

The real reason why I am completely hooked however is 문채원. Wow, she can act! Her eyes tell entire tales and the smile she can put on could charm anyone. Cute, strong and determined. In my opinion a perfect combination for a character. It’s usual for the love interests to come forward slowly in Korean dramas but damn I’m aching badly for it!

There’s something about Good doctor that made me sit down for 4 hours, 3 days straight to watch it all through. The worst thing is that now I actually have to wait an entire week for more. UGH!

As a final note, I’ll just leave this here…

I’ve been thinking for some time now, how cool would it be if there was a Khan Academy for Korean?

For people that are not familiar with Khan Academy, it is a website that offers lessons and most importantly, interactive exercises, for a variety of topics in areas such as math and physics. It’s truly a wonderful way to learn as the exercises are generated to keep coming up with new questions.

Wouldn’t this be possible for Korean too? What if I made something like this? It could feature exercises such as reading time, writing dates, it could even do proper conjugation checking for verbs. I have so many ideas and no clue where to begin.

I would definitely say this is food for thought though.

On a side note, I’m back from Korea and am setting up a proper studying schedule. I will post more about it soon! :)

So in Korea there are the two main tourist performance acts. Nanta and Jump, today I went out to the latter. For those who are not familiar with Jump, it’s a “Comical Martial Arts Performance”. It’s accessible for everyone as there is little to no speech. A little English, a little Korean (of which I understood everything *little proud*). Here’s a logo:

jump-image

 

I can definitely see why this show is so popular. It consisted of 4 episodes with each it’s own theme. I’m not sure if these themes change over time but I’m sure they do (the show has been running since 2003). If you are planning to go to the show I would advise you to stop reading if you don’t want to be spoilered!

——– SPOILER WARNING ——–

The first theme was about a visitor coming and had lots of impressive and funny moments. It had lots of the Korean etiquette and cultural aspects of family going on. It was really inspiring too…

The second act is where it got interesting however. “Who is today’s master?”. They were going to pick random people from the audience and do acts with them. Guess what, they picked me. I had to come up on stage after introducing myself and telling where I was from (which obviously, I did in Korean!). I became 네덜란드 마스터 (“Nedeolandeu Master”).

So I got on stage and was asked to repeat a set of actions, first the bow into a high kick. I didn’t know I could, but maybe the adrenaline made it possible… I kicked pretty damn high! (Got a round of applause for it xD). After that I had to do somersault forward and directly backwards into a hand-stand and a back flip. Obviously, this didn’t go as well but the forward, backward thing went okay!

I was ready to fight, but before that it was time to get searched to make sure I wasn’t going to fight dirty. They ended up pulling a giant axe out of thin air from my back. At this point all the actors ran towards me and removed chopsticks, swords, knifes and whoever knows what other kinds of weapons from my pockets, shoes and back.

After about 20 weapons were lying around me they ended up running away to the other end of the stage jumping towards the ground and acting scared. I was laughing so hard, it was absolutely hilarious. To add to the effect I made a little improv taunt towards them and they reacted very well to it, such natural actors.

As reward for my efforts I got thanked by all of the actors and received a free booklet of their show which I had signed by all of them to Master 조디! I feel like I’m on top of the world right now. Nobody is taking this away from me! :)

The other 2 acts were just as good. The third was your typical Korean love drama story with the cutie that’s on my right (left girl in the picture). She had some sick looking moves and stomped everyone that got in the way of her and her perfect moment with “the one”.

The last and final act was about two burglars coming into the house with one being a master thief and the other a douche. It involved taking a bullet for family and various other underlying messages. It had really good moments.

The show was amazing, it was the perfect length and I really had a good time. I would really recommend this to everyone that is able to go!

PS: Shout-out to the grandfather in the story. He wrote 조디 right after me saying my name. First one that actually did it right from the beginning!

My first week in South Korea has already passed and I have to say that it feels so amazing to walk around in a country where everything is so different, yet familiar. After my trip to Daebudo island I have been taking it easy for a little bit and only went out to a couple of places in the area.

Even while doing very little I am enjoying it thoroughly. Finding the best food places in the most unexpected or tucked away places in Hongdae, walking through the markets and stores listening to the K-pop or even just hanging around listening to people speak in Korean has been so amazing.

While I find it a little frustrating that I don’t understand as much Korean as I would’ve liked it’s also quite motivating to be left in utter confusion. I want to specifically mention the people that work in the guesthouse where I am staying. Listening to 아름 and 원 banther away is so funny and it puts a huge grin on my face even though I don’t understand most of it. They both speak so fast, haha.

The best part about being in the guesthouse here is that everyone allows me to speak in Korean as broken as I can come up with. I feel really bad because I know I’m not properly using the formalities and in essence am being rude towards my Noonas. 누나들에게 미안해요… ㅠㅠ

With each of the guesthouse hostesses being such different personalities it’s been so interesting. 여원 is more reserved but very friendly. 원 is such a cool and down to earth person and last but not least 아름 is so funny, she’s a giant quirky ball of energy and very passionate. I’m really glad that I chose this guesthouse and met these amazing people. The thought of leaving in 2 and a half weeks (which is still quite some time away) absolutely terrifies me.

Even though I’ve been here for a short time I feel truly at home. If you go to Seoul, go to Namu guesthouse.

Here we have it, the actual purpose of this blog. After confirming that my Korean still sucks (very much) here on my trip I took the opportunity to get two books recommended by the absolute expert on Korean self-studying Hangukdrama.

This also means that I now finally have set an actual goal in my journey to learning Korean. At the moment I am not even sure if I will be able to take the TOPIK as my country does not actually conducts these tests but I will contact our Korean embassy and ask them for further instructions. It’s quite possible I can apply in Germany or the UK right? With that said, the locations for the 2014 TOPIK’s aren’t even known yet so let’s not jump to conclusions.

I would say that my grammar and my ability to actually construct correct sentences is very lacking. With that said I’m kind of impressed with myself by how many words I’m pulling out left and right. I’ll be starting at the very beginning of the grammar book while already “knowing” ~30-40% of the points.

Practice, practice, practice. The 34th TOPIK would be like 8 months away and while I feel that aiming for level 2 seems a little low… But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

It may be a little weird as a first blog post, especially when I have not even layed-out what I will be using this blog for and why I made it in the first place.

Having that out of the way I want to go a little into some of the random encounters I’ve had so far here in South Korea. While I’ve only been here for 2 days it’s been amusing, overwhelming and inspiring.

First of all, Koreans really do not expect you to speak Korean at all. Once you do they are either amazed or freak out, which has been quite funny. I’ve gotten several “Omo” and “Oh…”s (Kind of equivalents to omg) .

One of the first especially funny ones was around the corner of the guesthouse where I am staying. Having just ordered food at a chicken place 2 girls picked exactly the table next to mine while nearly half the place was empty. They instantly “smiled and waved” (Heh, reference!) and started to overly excited ask me things in (very) broken English. I barely got to eat but we had a good time and I’ve got a lunch date with new friends coming up ^^.

The other encounter which especially stood out to me was just a few hours ago in the subway. Subways here in Korea are really packed and it’s hard to find a place to sit. They have special seats for the elderly, pregnant and disabled people. Before coming to Korea I researched a lot of the ethics of this country and it was normal for these seats not to be taken even if there are no elderly, pregnant or disabled people.

I was standing right in front of 1 empty seat while 5 koreans (who did not meet the “requirements” of these seats) were sitting there. I was really tempted to take the seat anyway because I had to get off about 15 stops later and was still in for a 30-35 minute ride. An ahjussi entered the subway and made a hand gesture for me to sit down. With a little confusion I told him that I would not sit down and asked him to sit down instead. He was a little hesitant but when I told him again he gave me a little bow before he sat down.

The part that impressed me the most was when on one of the next stations a seat next to him freed up. He basically forced me to sit down next to him. Let me tell you, if an ahjussi wants you to do something… he will make you do it. What bothered me was that another old lady that came on could’ve taken my seat instead. Here comes the kicker, the ahjussi made one of the Koreans who was already sitting when he came into subway stand up for her.

I don’t know why, but this felt so good. Respect in this country can still really be two ways. When he got off 2 stations before me he said “Bye bye, goodbye.” and made another bow.

I already had a really good day but this encounter truly made it better.

Looking forward to tomorrow! :)