Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Obligatory Feast

Since I started working at the public school in November I have gone to 3 obligatory meals with the school teachers and staff.

Last semester, when I had my old coteacher, the staff didn't say much to me, but tried to nevertheless. My old coteacher would talk to me but her English was still developing so it was usually not lengthy conversations. But what should I expect, right? I am sure my coworkers are eager to speak with me, but there is the language barrier.

These obligatory meals can be quite interesting to partake in, even if I don't know what everyone is saying during the meal. The choice of restaurant has been "Sushi" type seafood places. But they don't just serve sushi, it is more like a tasting from the sea kind of deal.

Last week we had our obligatory feast for the start of the semester and new teachers. I took pictures this time so I can show you guys what this type of restaurant serves and also a peek into staff dinners.

These restaurants are meant to be Japanese themed, so you kind of get a mix of Korean and Japanese decor.

Typically it is a sit-on-your-bum kind of restaurant, with variations on the sitting. For instance, this place you sit on the floor but on chairs. As a westerner who never really practiced the art of sitting on your legs for long periods of time I end up getting leg cramps.
My new coteacher and I hurried to the restaurant to get there early enough. Why? She didn't want to sit close to the Principal. The history on this guy isn't pleasant, especially when it comes to stories about his drinking behavior. But I have been watching him lately and I think his obscene behavior seems to have died down. He is still like a "Dictator" at work with the Korean teachers, but I think he is behaving himself.
The Flow of Dishes:
The way the set up works is that many dishes come to you one after another. They go from panchan (side dishes) to larger servings of fish to.....well just take a look.

Rice Porridge (Jook)


Fish dishes and a corn concoction (Tried the fish it was good but I didn't eat much of it, loved the Corn stuff)

The girls are going at a Korean "pancake" or "pizza" ... kind of like a potato pancake but with seafood and veggies inside it. Sorry don't know the Korean names still. Other dish was a kind of sweet and sour seafood thing.

Sashimi (Raw fish). I have to tell you this restaurant was the lowest quality of all the ones they took us to so far. I wasn't too impressed with the quality and so didn't wanna risk eating it.

Various sea creatures for your delight. My stomach is sensitive to sea creatures so I stayed away from this plate. But others found it delicious.


Fried Pork Salad... healthy and fattening all in one!

There were more dishes but I didn't get a picture of them. I think the people around me were sick of my picture taking, ah well. One of the dishes was a
panko type fried shrimp dish. So good!

Here is another look at the interior.
Chit-Chat with the English Teacher:
As the soju (Korean whiskey) got passed around more (I didn't drink any) people became more friendly. And so I was visited by a few people who wanted tell me how they enjoy learning English.

One of which was a man who is one the head teachers. He said that he use to work at rural school, and took the English class. He enjoyed listening but couldn't speak it well. But he said that the class made him more comfortable around foreigners. This was good to hear, because it reinforces a positive presence of us foreigners in Korea.

Another visitor I had was the new Vice Principal. This guy is a nice warm looking man who has been friendly to me. He talked to me about how his eldest daughter lives in Florida and is a Yoga teacher. His English wasn't bad, but he was still bashful. He said he thinks my parents must miss me a lot and are scared for me. I reassured him everything is ok.

It was great to feel a warmth with the new teachers and new Vice Principle. Hopefully I can get the Teacher class started and help them learn some English.


  1. Fotos of your co-workers? Is it considered poor manners there to take fotos of people at occasions like this?

    In the US we usually take fotos at these type gatherings. Especially after the people get looped & then the fotos are used for blackmail -not really ;-) or at the end of the year for a blooper sort of reel!


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