I’m back bitches…now run away!

i'm back bitches and I'm asian

Here’s the deal. Three-and-a-half years ago I stopped writing this wildly successful blog and went into a death spiral.

I re-evaluated life. I touched the bottom, sat there a while, looked up at the world from a different angle, and enjoyed the journey.

Along the way I lost nearly all my friends, and gained a really close one.

Said friends read this blog, and were mentioned in this blog. So, I had to close this blog.

I came back two years ago for a slap-in-the-face redemption of my hap-hap-happy-go-fuck-yourself blog style as I revisited Korea, but I just couldn’t keep it up.

Shit hit the fan in Korea faster than a KTX plowing over a wayward bottle of Toad Juice. 

(B.T.W. there’s so much foreshadowing in those last two words).

Let me tell you long-lost friends, when the shit is seriously hitting the fan, it’s fucking hard to keep up care-free and jolly without an nearly endless supply of Piss-Max and Toad Juice.

But, things got better…and they keep getting better.

More on this later

Here’s the deal.

TL;DR RIGHT HERE FOLKS

I’m moving to Vietnam in 2 days. The bags are packed. The plane is booked.

What’s more…I’m no longer in Korea, and….there’s a tear in my eye as I write this…I’m no longer a Husker. Never again will I call the state with “The Good Life” home.

I’m now a Yankee…

So….that pretty much fucks this blog.

Follow me on my next blog, where I bring my fucking jolly face to you at least weekly from Vietnam.

(For the die-hard fans, I’ll also be blatantly ripping off my now-off-air blogging mentor’s name and characters)

Friends. Meet YankeeNam, Toad Juice, and The Dragon Lady.

yankeenom

http://yankeeinnam.wordpress.com

Welcome back. Click and Subscribe.

-Yankee

I’m back …. and more Asian than ever (Just look at my face)

BruceMau460

Hello my lovely flock. I’m back!

No need to discuss why I’m back, or why I left, or what that last blog post was all about.

For now, let’s just chalk it up to “1/8 life crisis” and count on the fact that I will get drunk enough one day to sit down and spill my guts about my pseudo-mental-breakdown/life-affirming-moment/best-decision-I’ve-ever-made.

But…here I am, flying high over the pacific, half way through my 10 hours flight between the inhabited volcano of Honolulu and Seoul. And, I’m here again to bring you another blog in the 482 part series entitles “Why Asians are better than McWhiteys.”

Reason #1: They vote with their dollars.

We all know that American-based airlines all suck ass. You pay a giant fee, wait in a giant line to get your ticket, pay another fee in another line to check in baggage, and then wait in another giant line to get the most action you’ll get in a month  patted down by an overweight TSA agent that hates his/her job.

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Once we’re on the plane, you get handed a minibag of butter-power-infused corn chips by an equally overweight flight attendant that is set on winning the “Who gives less of a shit about their job” championship.

(BTW, Delta won)

You want fries with that? $10. You want a beer? $10. You want another minibag of poop and popcorn? $10. Why?? Because you’re 35-fucking-000 feet above sea level and you don’t have a parachute, that’s why.

So why the poop am I happier than shit-faced cookie monster eating a crap-encrusted cookie while I’m cruising on Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu to Korea?

Because…over here…on the pacific side of things…it’s a completely different flight. More like, it feels like a different airline. It feels like I just boarded one of the award winning airlines like Asiana or Luithuana.

Here’s what comes on my flight: Free beer, free wine, free whiskey, 2 meals of restaurant quality served with real forks, spoons, knives, or chopsticks.

And…as a snack…we all got a cup of Korean noodles. If you ever want to make an Korean hap-hap-happy, give ‘em a $1 cup-o-[spicy]-noodles. Damn! There were so many happy old (and young) Korean men, women, and children that the plane almost fell out of the sky from the weight of the unicorns and rainbows.

How to Loose Weight in Korea for Dummies (and fatties)

Why?

Now that’s that great question. It’s simple math really. By my (completely inaccurate) estimation, 80% of this flight is made up of Korean and/or Asian people.

And, unlike their American counterparts, Koreans wouldn’t pay their hard earned money to get treated like shit! Don’t believe me? Think about this. Walmart, with all it’s money saving techniques, got driven out of Korea by the consumers because they didn’t like the atmosphere in the stores. A little bit of saving wasn’t going to convenience customers to give up on a comfortable shopping experience. Korean stores, when they make an error, they refund you your money….and then give you a “gift.”

700px-Walmart

Another excerpt. An Asiana flight ticket purchased in the USA and one purchased in Korea, while the same price and service, has one major difference. Cancelation fees. My ticket I buy through Orbitz has a $200 cancelation fee and a $100 change fee plus the price of the increased fare.

The one I purchased in Korea? It was a one-year ticket. Done! Do I want to change my date? Sure. Do I want to return ½ a round trip ticket for ½ the money? Done. Just do it in one year?

Why the change? Clearly it’s not the morality of the company, it’s the demands of the customers.

I would be willing to bet that if a Korean airline started charging a fee for each bag, they wouldn’t sell any tickets.

My antidotes could go on and on. About how bank fees, something we have been forcibly accustomed to over the years, don’t exist in Korea. There’s no such thing as an overdraft fee, monthly maintenance fee, etc. The consumers wouldn’t allow it?

Come on Americans? Why do we not protest with our dollars. How can we allow Bank of America and Wells Fargo and Delta and Walmart and Comcast and ……. to still be our sellers of choice?

comcast2

Because, somewhere in our culture, we’ve started to believe that the value of things is related to the cost. Somewhere we started to think that the beer at 35,000 feet somehow has more value than the beer at a bar at 350 feet which has more value than the beer in my fridge.

Somehow we began to think it was an insult to ask for a discount.

Somehow we allowed ourselves to subject to corporations.

Somehow we lost our dignity.

Somehow we lost.

And here we are!

Okay…I’m done with my rant! Now that you’ve seen what kind of fuss my brain can create by being offered a free beer, maybe you can have a better comprehension of my constant insanity.

It’s been 1.5 years! Can’t wait to see you Korea.

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And so it ends

This will be my last blog post.

There are certain situations in life that change your perspective so severely that it becomes quite difficult to even remember how you perceived life before.

The past few months have changed my life in ways that I am not, as of yet, fully aware.

Change is gradual, and change is fast. When you are faced with a choice you never thought you would be faced with in ten lifetimes, followed by making a conscientious decision that is violently contrary to the one you previously thought you would make, interesting things happen.

You become the choice and the choice becomes you. It is hard to distinguish between the two, as if you would want to. Black and white fade to grey…and then slowly fade back to white. I am blinded by logic. I am smothered by the inconsequentialness of my decisions. I am scared by how little fear I feel. I feel inspired by the pain of my decision.

I am neither arrogant enough to go as if this never happened or to ever seek any type of redemption, nor humble enough to retract my decision and give myself up for the sake of someone who was once a friend.

“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.” Hermann Hesse in Demian

I haven’t found out who I am completely yet. I’ve barely scratched the surface. But I’m a whole lot closer this month I was last, or the one before.

There’s darkness there. There’s light there. There’s fervent laughter and deep-seeded hatred and altruistic humility and extreme selfishness and burning passion and intense numbness and uncontrollable joy and life-defying sadness.

But it is all me.

I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life trying to find ways to fit into this world, and I made it a long way perfecting my façade.

I’m sure now that I’ve never been fully Nebraskan, or Christian, or Agnostic, or American, or even *my last name.* Instead all of those labels I have assumed over the years have been attempts towards a vain hope that one day the mask would finally match the man.

How many relationships have I destroyed or sabotaged because I couldn’t handle the pain of someone putting their trust into my ruse.

But the person that is finally emerging, the person beneath all the defenses I have set up for myself and others…that is the person I want to be.

And I’m thankful to the person who could see that.

So, I’m going to take some time away from the internetesphere and work on figuring out how to develop this person. I will be fighting for my life. Not against the possibility of death, but against mediocrity and stagnation.

So long friends.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son! 

If – Rudyard Kipling

Throwing people down the escalator…and dating

There’re certain things about my personality and character that have changed over time: my looks, my religion, my clothing style, my thoughts about drinking, smoking, and drugs, etc.

But one thing has remained a constant…I…will…always…walk…fast.

My freshman year of college I was dating a girl who was perhaps a little taller than me and was about as long legged as she could be and remain normally proportionate. When we would walk around campus, our friends would comment how freakishly fast we walked.

I remember as a kid yelling at my parents and getting mind-blowingly angry because they wouldn’t keep up with me on afternoon walks.

Last year, while teaching high school, the style got the name: “ mylastname-er walk” for my tendency to get through a crowd at high speeds no matter who was in the way…except my principal!

So, when I heard that Korea was known for its “speedy Koreans” I thought I may have finally found a place where I fit it.

Sadly, no.

Koreans are indeed faster than Americans…but that just means that they are not chronically lazy and perpetual time-wasters. Being faster than American’s is not a big claim. It’s like being a smart kid on the short bus: no one is surprised.

I’m still the fastest person on the sidewalks. In the subways. Taking two stairs at a time…always. Life it too short to waste any time at all walking somewhere! I want to use my time enjoying my destination, not gawking at street vendors and cheap clothes salesmen.

Now in Seoul there is an unwritten rule that you stand on the right side of the escalator, and walk on the left.

It makes sense. There have been a very few times—usually when hung-over—that I’ve not wanted to walk up the entire incredibly long escalator ride and decided instead to stand on the right. But never…I repeat never…should a person stand on the left.

In my opinion, this is a jailable offense. (This is one of many reasons I would make a horrible dictator)

But, once I leave my cozy confines of Seoul and venture into the wild west of Korea….AKA Bucheon, people just don’t have that thought.

Here’s the deal folk…and I’ll end with this thought…ensuring that you can hold hands with your significant other in a non-awkward, 180 degree, situation is not a reason to stand beside him/her and keep me from climbing up (or god forbid down) the stairs.

Which provides a nice transition to my next topic: Girls.

The Philosophy of Fantasy

The question was direct, and a little shocking. “What’s you dating fantasy?”

Usually when someone talked about relationships and fantasy, they are referring to sex…that’s what was shocking about the question, but this wasn’t about sex.

This was an honest question, and one that I’d never really thought about before.

She continued: “Girls have fantasies all the time…And…If you can fit into that fantasy, you have the girl.”

I felt like I was getting a key to a door that has been a locked cage of questions to me before: Why do girls actually like guys? What makes one guy get the girl more than another? Why do I see so many ugly assholes with girlfriends?

So I asked the obvious question: “Well….then….what are girl’s fantasies?”

Then the perfect response…one you might except from a psychology major was this: “Well I guess that’s your homework. Think about what a girl’s fantasy is.”

Now, I have not been doing my homework. I still have no fucking clue. But, I’m at least one step closer that I was before…I know where the locked door is…I just have to find the key.

Instead, I’ve been focusing on a much more egotistical task…trying to decipher my own dating fantasy.

Her hypothesis was simple. It’s the same with guys. Guys have fantasies, and a girl simply just has to fit into his fantasy and she has the guy.

Truth. Truth. Truth.

History is strewn with stories and love and sex and money and destruction and The Wife of Bath.

It suddenly became super important to me to understand myself in this way so that I could be a smarter dater.

As I continued to delve into my past I found out that…damn it…I do have a fantasy. And it’s pretty complex.

Every single one of these girls that I liked caught me off guard by having just a small part of my fantasy. They didn’t have to use sex, they didn’t have to flash money, they didn’t have to use any of the obvious super-powerful fantasies…they hooked me with the small ones.

That’s it. That is the difference that night between “Wow this is a seriously amazing person” and “Well, that was an okay night”.

There’s no difference in the person because of that fact. There’s nothing about that little fact that makes either one of them better or worse husband/wife material. But that was the door that let them find it.

It’s all about fantasy.

So…in conclusion…what’s do I learn from this?

Two things (damn it I do love lists)

  1. I have a fantasy that drives my attractions. The difference between me liking a girl or not is whether or not she fits into a part of my fantasy. This is shown greatly by how quickly non-Korean girls have dropped of my radar. It has little to do with attractiveness—although that is a factor—and a lot to do with the fact that I think I’m stuck here mentally…and my fantasy right now is to live here…for a very long time.
  2. A girl can OWN me if she gets me by a fantasy without me knowing it. I have begun to realize how many times this has happened to me in the past. I get caught on one part of my fantasy, and I start to rationalize the rest. And ignore the bad. All because of a fantasy. For me to fight that power, I have to know my fantasy.

So…I guess that’s where we’re at. I have another way to evaluate girls…the fantasy scale. And I need to figure out my fantasy so I can enjoy it…and defend myself from it.

Anyways, I sure didn’t mean to write a 2000 word essay on the subject…but there you go: fantasy is a power to be enjoyed and feared.

-Yankee

Summer Club Tour…Week 1: M2

Well what started out as a random idea has fruitionized : A tour of the Seoul Korean club scene for 2 months. Who knows, maybe I’ll even keep it up after that.

Let’s give some history to start out. For the past two months I have been going to VERA club in Hongdae.

I like that club a lot. I feel very comfortable there. I have friends there. It’s like a weekend home.

So, when my friend Dowon suggested that we go to other clubs, I was a little apprehensive. Change is…. well change. It’s a risk.

When you’re plopping down $20+ for an entrance fee, you never know what you’re going to get.

But when she suggested that I blog about it, I suddenly got more interested and thought it might be the re-kickstart I need to write again.

So, here it is, my unfiltered opinion about a few clubs in Seoul.

Let’s start off with the ground rules.

  1. I’m no expert. I didn’t really like clubs until about 4 months ago. But now I really like them.
  2. I like electronic style dance. Hip-hop and top 40 are okay to listen to, but unless it’s heavily mixed with electronic beat, it’s kinda boring to dance to.
  3. I’m biased. I like VERA. I will probably compare each club to VERA in ways that are good or bad.

So, without further ado, let get started.

About the Club:

M2 is nestled behind the main streets of Hongdae slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the packed main drag.

Don’t let this fool you. Even though it is the only real business on the little side street it is on, people will be lining up to get in.

On a Saturday night around midnight the line stretches around the corner.

(For maps and directions here is their website http://www.ohoo.net/)

The fee is a little steep. For guys it 25,000 for girls its 20,000 and it includes a free 5,000 drink coupon.

Don’t be a fool. If you’re too drunk. Or angry. Or…really anything, they will say no go and you can get in for the night. Don’t try to talk your way out of it, once their mind is set, they won’t change it.

The Night:

The night started around 10.

Actually that’s a lie…and that was the problem. My Korean class decided to drunk together with the teachers after class.

So, my night had started at 4pm. I wasn’t drunk at all, but I already felt a little tired when I showed up to Hongdae.

After quickly failing the “I wonder if my friends will know that I’ve been drinking” test in 2 seconds flat, I did what any logical person would do…pump my body full of caffeine and bull testicle extract!

We felt it was a little early to go to the club, so we went to Hongdae playground for a little while.

I haven’t been there is such a long time. It’s amazing how my feeling change over time. I remember it being one of the most amazing places in the world in my mind. It’s still pretty amazing, but a bit of the luster is gone.

It’s amazing how things can change in a few months’ time.

But, Joon was there from last summer. Now, for a little plug here for his business. He runs a delivery bar in the park. You want a drink? He will mix it there and deliver it to you wherever you are in the park.

Vodka drinks 3000. Jager bombs 5000. All good taste and good service.

After reminiscing a bit about last summer, and having a moment of sadness that Andrew went back to the US, we took a picture.

I’ll have to stop back by there before any Hongdae clubs next time and support his business.

On to M2.

The Club Experience

We showed up at M2 and got through the gate with no problem. When we got to the main area there were already a lot of people there. Not completely packed, but very comfortable.

The music was amazing.

Club VERA usually has good music, and then the music gets amazing around the 2:00am DJ change.

But this music was amazing throughout. The DJ was into it. The crowd was into it. Everyone was having a good time.

The thing that really set M2 apart for me was the lights. Lights and images really make a club atmosphere, almost as much as the music does, and M2 had that down.


It was super fun for a while then the experience started to go downhill.

The only culprit…way too many people and an inefficient dance floor design.

When you are dancing, when you are in the moment, when you are feeling the music, sometimes the littlest thing can take you out or your groove.

I want a dance club. Not a mosh pit. Not a subway car.

Around 1-2 am the place simply got too crowded.

Now, VERA is a rectangle. When it get crowed rectangles are good, there’s a logical place for people to be moving (the edges) and there is a logical place for people to be dancing (the middle).

But, M2 is more like a circle…with some tables awkwardly placed in what should probably be the dance floor; entrances to the VIP area scattered about the edges, and a few other small things that just makes moving difficult.

I found that people were always passing and trying to push by from all different directions and there was no way to avoid it such as “move to the center.”

For another hour or so we danced and enjoyed the scene and the amazing music and lights.

Eventually, the crowdedness got so we could hardly even move out feet and our hands had no place to go.

In my book, bobbing around like armless buoys in a sea of sweat is not my style. I would much prefer moving all my body parts in a sea of sweat.

When the person to my right dropped his beer bottle on the floor and it shattered, I took that as our cue to leave.

Overall summary.

I think this weekend was more crowded than normal. It’s rainy season here and this was the only night Saturday in weeks.

M2 is a great club. I little expensive, and the people aren’t as friendly in my opinion as at VERA, but the pure club atmosphere is awesome.

Great music.

Great lights.


Next week it’s another club and more dancing!

-Yankee

The Hangover That Just Won’t Stay

It’s been a while folks.

It’s not because I have nothing worth telling, it’s because I don’t really feel the need to share.

See, Korea is slowly changing me in ways that I don’t necessarily appreciate.

I’m gradually becoming much less egocentric, arrogant, and drama-queenish.

While that may seem like a blessing, for an American, that’s pretty much like cultural rape. If I can’t tell stories that make me look good, what the fuck am I going to do with my time?

Well I’ll tell you the answer to that rhetorical question.

1.  Be hungover.

Drinking has consequences. Long term it is eating away at my liver like a Korean woman eats cheesecake: so fucking slow you don’t even realize it’s happening until it’s all gone.

But, amidst all the consequences there is a benefit: hangovers.

I love them.

Waking up with a hangover is one of the worst things you will ever do. It’s early (like 1pm). It’s bright. You’re hazy. All you want to do is sleep.

But when the housecleaning lady from the $120 hotel that you thought was $12 keeps banging on your door and telling you to leave…you really don’t have a choice.

Actually, every time I’ve actually forced myself to wake up and do something with a hangover, I enjoy it. It’s like an all day after-buzz. Everything moves slower, and coffee tastes like the best thing you’ve ever had.

You might even write a blog post…who knows.

Back to my pointless description of life…Korea is all about who you know. Connections are king.

Thankfully for me I look like Jamie Oliver, and that guy is a fucking stud in Korea. I had no idea who he was until I came here, but everyone and their mother’s child loves him here.

Last night I got told 4 times that I was his doppledanger. What to do? It gets me attention and I like it.

But my connections are not all so shallow. Last night I experienced a part of Korean life that was so new and exciting: The life of a VIP.

I love clubs. I love dancing. But when a friend of a friend invited us to a club in Hongdae, I didn’t know what I was in for.

We walked in the door, past the lines of people waiting to get in. Flashed the VIP badge, the lady took our bags and coat, we took some complementary shot and were whisked away to the upstairs part where we were able to look down on the “common folk.”

Instead of buying drinks, there were bottle of alcohol on the table to poor from. The ladies were beautiful, the men were friendly, it was like a subculture within a subculture.

1:00 turned into 2…then 3… then 6.

When we decided to go to round 2, the sun was coming up…but the party was just beginning.

We went across town to Shinsa, my old neighborhood, to a club I never knew existed.

I will call it hooker bar.

My old area of Seoul is famous for its high class, expensive, and beautiful hookers.

These are women that, even if I decided to reach down in to my whoreish heart for a night of scandalous fun, would be so far out of my price range that my bank card would make them laugh.

But, hookers have to party too. So, there, with the sun shining brightly outside, was an amazing club filled with the most beautiful, most unpretentious people I have even seen.

They weren’t trying to get laid…they’d had plenty of that earlier.

They weren’t there to judge you…they’ve had plenty of that directed at them in their lives.

They were just there to dance. And dance we did.

Finally at 8am, when the group was moving to the 3rd club of the night, I decided to go to bed.

It was an amazing night, with amazing people, and new friends.

Honestly, now that I’m awake, I love being hungover…okay, now to escape this dark PC room and go study some Korean!

Happy Birthday Buddah!