Thursday, February 25, 2010

moving on

I will post here a few more times, possibly even a few more times per month.  The name of this blog and my email address "kwandongbrian..." don't carry on to other locations very well.  I admire Kushibo for blogging about Korea while living in Hawaii and can even see that my location has little to do with how I find content -most of mine comes from Korea's English newspapers and they will continue to do so.  Still, I don't work for Kwandong U anymore and don't live in Gangwondo anymore.

I have found work at a university in Busan and also live in that city now.

Find me at

One of the many things I need to do now is visit several sites and announce that I am writing under a new name and not sock-puppeting.

Canada is learning about Pyeongchang

Yahoo Canada has an article about Pyeongchang and how it almost took the Olympics away from Vancouver.  Old news to us in Korea, but from a Canadian viewpoint.

The comments about the weather annoy me a little.  Pyeongchang probably has good snow through the season but to discuss the snow they currently have is to ignore the snow-free January most of Gangwon has had.

For their last two bids, Pyeongchang's theme was "Bringing Peace to the Korean Peninsula," a reference to the fact the province it's in sits on the border with North Korea.
At the 2006 Winter Games, South and North Korea marched together into the stadium during the opening ceremonies, but didn't do so for 2008 or 2010, a nod to their increasingly frosty relations.
This time around, the city has switched the theme of its bid to "Making Pyeongchang Green for the Games."
Observing the Vancouver Games in action, Kim said he has learned a few things.
"The conditions here in Vancouver are slightly different from those in Pyeongchang but I believe that when it comes to Games operations, it will be the same," he said, citing transportation, volunteers and accommodation in particular.
One of the concerns raised by the IOC in its evaluation of their 2010 bid was a relatively low number of hotel rooms and the distance of them from venues.
What South Korea could have delivered differently, and perhaps better, than Vancouver is the weather.
In the bid phase, the IOC had noted that Pyeongchang's winters may be a bit stronger than Vancouver's.
"The Olympic region should offer stable winter conditions and sufficient snow, with no specific problems expected during the Games period," read the evaluation commission's review of Korea's plan.
For Vancouver, they said: "The coastal climate provides variable weather, with rain spells in Vancouver and snow in the mountain venues that may impair visibility."
Over the last week, while temperatures in Vancouver ranged between 4 C and 8 C degrees, in South Korea it was between -2 C and -5 C.
Knowing the climate, the IOC was repeatedly asked in the first few days of the Vancouver Games, did you make a mistake choosing Vancouver?
"If we had the decision again, we would take the same decision,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said at a briefing.
“It would come to Vancouver.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

The next 24 hours

  I am currently at my in-laws with my son.  soon, I will drive into Busan and pick up Kwandongwife and drive to sokcho (the little guy is staying with the in-laws).  I will crash until my wife wakes me up.  We will bax all our belongings and the movign truck will arrive in the afternoon.  We will load it up, then I will drive to Jinyoung (near Busan) to stay the night with (other) in-laws (not entirely sure why).  Sunday morning (OK, we have moved beyond 24 hours by now), we will drive into Busan and mee the moving truck and begin settling into our new home.

24 hours, about half of that driving - oh, boy!

I can't decide if I will make a clean break with this blog and move to a new one -already chosen and with a few posts on it- or if I will continue to follow Gangwon-related news story and post them here.  This blog hasn't been very active in February, yet it will not become any more active.

I will miss Gangwon and am sorry that my current schedule doesn't allow for much in the way of face-to-face goodbyes.  I am certain to visit it when I have the chance in the summer though.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kwandongbrian has a job!

Tomorrow, I will sign a contract with a university in Busan that is situated on a steep slope of a mountain.  I will probably leak more details later.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sympathy for Lee Ho-seok

I've been watching the Olympics as much as I can, which isn't that much.  I watched, with awe, Canada's Women's hockey team beat Slovakia 18-0.  I was under the impression that if two or three teams finished prelims with an equal number of wins, the goals scored would determine ranking going into the final round.  Do I have the wrong sport or league?  Anyway, I felt sorry for the Slovakians and I wonder if the Slovak goalie stopped more goals than the Canadian one? Sure, she let 18 through, but she was under greater pressure throughout the game.

Speedskating.  When I watch it, my legs twitch.  Being nearly moved to a city with a few rinks, I had already planned to skate and try to teach my son.  Now, I want to visit Ottawa and try to skate the entire canal.

I watched the 1500 metre men's final and have a few unpopular opinions.  First, I haven't watched much speed skating, but Ohno and the others bounced around a lot before the final lap.  He might reasonably have felt disqualifications were in order.

Second, it's a shame that Lee Ho-seok is in for a lifetime of torment.  Or, a few  weeks of torment, which feels longer for young people (I'm such an old fogey).  I can say he clearly made a mistake that cost him and his teammate medals, but he was absolutely right to try to improve his placing.

Speed skating is not a team sport and it is every competitor's duty in individual sports to strive for their personal best.

Yes, it hurt him, his teammate, and his nation's medal count.  However, he would have been untrue to what I feel the Olympics are about by accepting third place if he could have gone faster.

He did the right thing, but did it poorly, as far as I, with no real knowledge of how his sport works, can see.
I see the Samsung chairman, recently pardoned, is again an IOC member.  I am late to comment, but I have to say it does not make the IOC nor Korean justice look good.
VANCOUVER, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- Former Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who was recently reinstated as a member of the International Olympic Committee, attended an IOC general assembly in Vancouver on Wednesday.
I would like to link to a fellow K-blogger on the subject, but a quick search of Roboseyo, ROKDrop, Bizarro Brian and Chris in South Korea (links in the sidebar -I'm using the 'not my home computer' excuse again) showed nothing.  I do remember posts on the subject.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

TED talks and bikes

I remember hearing, years ago, that no Western mountain bike was as tough as the cheap bikes Chinese farmers rode.  Having ridden (rode?) them myself, I can say they are simple, strong bikes with large enough wheels to be plenty fast enough, although a bit cumbersome on hills.

At TEDtalks, Worldbikes are promoted at being one of the few inventions that can have great benefits for the masses.

I am still on the road and uncomfortable writing long posts.  i have to admit that I am linking it here so I can read it further later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bloggers invited to travel Korea

I am still  in Kyeongsangnamdo and looking for work in Busan.  I am still unsure if I should be writing Busan or  Pusan.  Anyway, I am using my brother-in-law's computer so it doesn't feel comfortable writing many or long posts.  More later, sometime...

But not me. Rahul Prabhakar was invited, and traveled through Gangwon Do and elsewhere.  Listen to, and read about, his interview with KBS.

Oh, nobody invited him, but  Chris Backe has also blogged about  his trip to caves in Gangwondo.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

In Busan

Kimhae, at the  moment.

A quick  refresher: my wife has been transferred to a Coast Guard station in Busan.  She  was going to travel alone on Monday, settle in somewhat, then have us join her.
At the last moment, my wife and I decided to travel  to Busan together.  The three of us (son included, of course) made the long, long trip in our two-seater Korando on Monday.  I  have continued to flood the market with  resumes, even resorting to applying to a few hagwons.  I continue to wait...

The toughest thing about being here is learning how to get around not one, not two, but  three cities.  I am fairly capable of reading a map but in Korea, there  are few street names.  (Most) highways are numbered, but  a few are not.  The trick is to  look  near your destination and remember a few landmarks.  Then you look for  signs for those  landmarks and follow them. I have found travel in Busan to be really interesting due to using a map more than five years out of date.

"Why three cities", you ask?  We are staying with in-laws in Jinyoung, a tiny town near Changwon.  We are also visiting with in-laws in Kimhae.  Depending on how and when we get settled and what job interviews come up,  the little guy will likely stay in Kimhae while I  go to interviews and make whatever other arrangements.

This is my brother-in-law's computer and I shouldn't stay too long on it.  More news when I have time.