Sunday, February 27, 2011

Peace, Love and Naked Asian Men

Family, friends and random internet surfers: 
     A good friend of mine, Mr. Danny Dover is blogging about his international experiences and recently shared a rather amusing and nightmare inducing sex dream experience he had on a plane during an international flight.  
     My journey in Korea won't get as many stamps on my passport as Danny and the Kodak Moments will be a bit more dispersed but he inspired me to share my experiences. 
    If majoring in Business taught me anything it is the principle of scarcity.  Acting on this, I will only post every month or so and try to keep things interesting.  I understand that the attention span of those on the internet is comparable with that of a NASCAR fan. I'll try to be entertaining and brief so you can go back to Lol Cats or that video of a monkey peeing into his own mouth.
Yeo Yeo.  Always smiling.  Great person

Peace (kinda...): If you feel relaxed and at peace after meditating Buddhist style, your not doing it right.  With the exception of gymnasts, ballerinas and the cast of Cirque De Soleil, humans are not meant to sit in such an uncomfortable position for a long period of time.  I am talking about the Lotus position.
Lotus Position
Does it look easy?  I thought it would be.  It isn't.  Try it.  Remember to keep your back straight, don't move a muscle or make a sound and hold it for 20 minutes while thinking about nothing (that last part might be a bit too easy for some you...).  I consider myself to be a healthy person.  I enjoy the occasional gin and tonic but I don't smoke and I exercise on the regular.  None of that matters in mediating.  If done properly, muscles you didn't know you had will be sore for a few days.

Yeo Yeo, the Buddhist Monk and spiritual guide who walked us through life at the temple took mercy on us foreigners and kept the "Whacking Stick" (thats what I call it anyway) on the shelf.  During Monk training, any monk-to-be who is meditating with poor form is hit in the back with a big hollow bamboo stick by a silent monk who is walking around the prayer room Crouching Tiger style looking to find unsuspecting victims!  Try reaching zen with that going on.  My form was so poor I would have been beaten to death in 5 minutes.  I won't go into all the details of my 24 hours at the Temple but I'll say a few things.

1.  Buddhist chanting is awesome.
2.  Waking up at 4AM for the chanting after sleeping on a hard floor is not.
3.  Buddhist food is gross (sorry Vegans but your food is 85% awful.  I'll sacrifice 5 years of watching Price is Right, playing golf and seeing everyone else my age die if it means I get to enjoy chicken and barbeque a burger whenever the hell I want while I'm alive).
4.  I do NOT want to be a Buddhist.
The uniform (all orange) reminds me of prison jumpsuits.


T-Swift doing her thing.
This section is titled love because I might just love Taylor Swift.  Back off. I like the NFL, Gladiator and the Rolling Stones too.  The concert itself was great.  T-Swizzle could never disappoint me.  The crowd itself was a different story.  Everyone sat the whole time and the silence between songs was painful.  Why weren't there screaming girls?  Where were the drunk people?  At least take out a lighter or a cell phone and wave it in the air.  I guess maybe Taylor Swift just isn't that popular in Korea.  Maybe I need to go see Girl's Generation in concert.
Full disclosure:  I think that this song is catchy.

I'm sure there would be so many screaming teenagers at a Girls Generation concert that Justin Beiber  would be jealous.

Naked Asian Men:

 Korean Bath Houses, or jimijibongs, want you take it all off.  You know that old guy in the gym locker room who walks around completely naked, strolling back and forth like someone looking for their car in a crowded parking lot?  His favorite activities are stretching and doing lunges.  I don't know about female locker rooms and I'm sure the depictions I've seen on the internet are not at all accurate but at every gym I've ever set foot in some manifestation of this guy can be found. In a Korean Bath House "that guy" is every guy.

The bathing room is very orientally ornate (say that 5 times fast) and after showering you have a choice of many different jacuzzi style tubs.  The water can be freezing, very hot, or somewhere in the middle and comes in the colors of clear, robin-egg blue, and sea-foam green.  Sorry, no pictures.  I didn't think it would be appropriate for some reason.  Being a first-timer to the bathhouse scene and life-long hot tub enthusiast (at one point I had spent 4 consecutive New Year's Eve's in a hot tub, a point of pride) I jumped from tub to tub, excited to discover what temperature would greet my naked body next.  I am sure that there are different health purposes for each tub and that they all have minerals of some sort. There is likely a logical order  that Koreans follow during the bathing process, but in true foreigner fashion I did it my way.  My gallivanting about the room combined with the fact that I am white drew quite a bit of attention my way.  Have you ever had that dream where you are naked and everyone is looking at you?  Well, come to a Korean bath house and your dreams can become a reality for only 8,000 won.

There are also misty steam rooms of various decor, seating arrangements and temperatures to choose from.  And if that's not enough, for a nominal fee you can get a massage or a full-body skin-peeling scrub down.  After a hard workout this place is an inexpensive haven of relaxation and recuperation.  If you can ignore all the naked men it's great.  If you can't, you might be gay (no judgement).

Remove the girls and add old men.
Until next time.  Go forth and prosper.

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