Category Archives: Random thoughts

The Best Korean Breakfast in Seoul

I’m not talking about eggs, bacon and toast because that’s definitely not Korean.

My favorite Korean breakfast in Korea is and always be Hwangtae Maeul:


This place serves up a great bowl of Pollack Soup in the heart of Gangnam in between Yeosksam and Seolleung stations just off Teheran Ro (Road).  Directions below, but look at Continue reading

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Living in Korea

winterEarlier, I wrote about how it was getting colder here in Seoul.  However, if you see this snapshot I just took with my iPad, you’ll see that there’s a huge difference between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and -2 degrees Fahrenheit – 43 freaking degrees difference!  

Excuse my french accent here, but it is definitely colder now and according to Yonhap, today may be the coldest day this winter here in Korea.  In contrast to the temperatures in the article though, it was actually -19 degrees Celsius vs. the -16.5 they reported.

Being from the Northwest region of the U.S., this is definitely a stark contrast to the mild temperatures I am used to.  When I originally wrote about 41 degrees being cold, I really did feel like it was weather that would require a few extra layers.  However, after walking literally just 3 minutes from one meeting at…

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Living in Korea

If you grew up on burgers and fries like me, you probably had a hard time living in Korea a number of years ago.

But no longer do you have to suffer from just McD’s and Burger King!  Korea has landed in the 21st century.  This Top Asian destination has stepped it up when it comes to grilling up some “all beef paddies.”  Here are a few options to seek out if you land in Seoul:

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Typhoon Bolaven Appears to be Heading West

Typhoon Bolaven Appears to be Heading West.

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2012 Guide to Getting a Cell Phone in South Korea

2012 Guide to Getting a Cell Phone in South Korea.

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U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy Seoul
Consular Section, American Citizen Services (ACS) Newsletter
MARCH 2011

The U.S. Embassy is transmitting the following monthly newsletter via its warden system as a public service to U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea.  Please disseminate this message broadly to other U.S. citizens.

In this issue:

1.      Greetings from the ACS Chief
2.      Holiday Closure, March 1
3.      IRS Announces 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI)
4.      Consular Services in Busan, March 21-22
5.      Making Appointments or Using the Courier Service
6.      Questions of the Month: I have questions about taxes.  Who should I ask?  What’s the current Foreign Earned Income Exclusion amount?
7.      Travel Warnings Continue reading

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See you later Korea…

Four+ years ago, I came back to the motherland to start another chapter in my life.

The time has passed by quicker than expected and I was fortunate to meet many great people here.  I know I’ll be leaving out some of them here, but I want to say a huge thanks to the incredibly great people I was lucky to meet:

Tim, Jareb, Joey, Chris, Matthew, Mike, Petra, Inae, Amy, Ian, JJ, Kitaek, Sidney, Banessa, Bianca, Paul, Mike, Hana, Hyeri, Jiwook, Harry, Mikyung, Mira, Yunjin, Daniel, Ellis, Kelly, Joon, Erica, Eunhae, Harry, Lauren, Jesse, Leona, Lynn, Julia, Robyn, Kyle, David, Levi, Steven, Brenton, Jason, Anthony, Rebecca, Heather, Lee, Sean, Andy, Leo, Jinyoung, Stacy, Noemi, Janet, Tony, Devin, Tamara, Laura, Elissa, Dongmin, Maya, Julie, Amity, Tom, Amanda, Dr. Kwon, Dr. Park, Dr. Han, John, Heejin, Peter, and I’m sure many other great people I’m neglecting here.

I’d normally say “good-bye”, but who knows?  I may be back…

It was a great 4+ years here.  I really enjoyed and sincerely wish all my friends the best.  I’m sorry to be leaving…


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A writing example for Andy

Alrighty, this is for Andy who is my student living here in Dongrae.

So, Andy if you ever want an example of what I’d like you to write, feel fre to come here to this blog and see this.    Basically, just write whatever you’re feeling.  A few examples could be like the following:

Example A:

Right now, I’m typing away at this computer or rather on this keyboard and I don’t have a lot of original ideas.  However, I am just typing because Brandon told me to do this.  This desk that I’m typing on is very white.  In the next room, my mother and father are resting from a full day of work and other things.  Today, I went to E2E and it was o.k. However…oops, I shouldn’t use “however” twice in a paragraph.  Alright, is that enough today?

Example B: 

Today, it was quite cold.  Brandon mentioned that actually it was so cold that he couldn’t ride his motorcycle to my house.  So, he’s taking the subway which is something he isn’t used to these days.  However (and it’s o.k. to use this once since this is the first time I used it), he bought a new iPod Touch to keep him from being bored.  Unfortunately, his old ipod fell in the toilet and so it doesn’t work anymore.  As a result, he had to buy a new device and tonight, he explained why he bought it in addition to being something that keeps him entertained in terms of music.

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An update on life these days in Busan…

Sorry for the lack of activity lately. Been quite busy with the radio station gig, classes at Korea Maritime University and my private English lessons. The University also asked me to do an extra high school class this month making it even more busy recently.

Well, here’s something a little fun. If you’re interested in some new songs and possibly wanting to know what I listen to a bit these days, check out the Play List on my radio show here. The last song is usually called “Brandon’s Choice” and I usually try to play a song that I like or is upbeat. Sometimes it’s to make a point, but I aim for the entertaining. I do lean toward Hip Hop to be frank or K-pop like beats with the emphasis on songs that are relatively popular, just fyi. I like country and a few other genres once in a while.


Filed under Busan stuff, Byung-hyu, Korea life, Kyopo life, Random thoughts

Wow! Cigarettes aren’t cheap!

10.50 Camel CigarettesEver since quitting smoking in 1st grade (yes, I smoked for a full week when I was 7 years old!), I’ve been an opponent of cigarettes.  However, my folks run a convenience store and growing up, I’ve always seen prices of smokes up close since I handed over those “packs” to customers for a dollar plus and up.  I saw this on Yahoo’s News & the images associated with the news and literally almost fell backwards in my chair.  While I think this is a great thing that tobacco’s gotten very expensive, I was still a little floored at how much it now costs for a pack of cigarettes.  I wonder though how much of this $10.50 is margin versus how much is actually the price going up.  I realize that taxes and other tariffs account for a lot of this price, but just like gas prices, I wonder if the tobacco companies’ profits have grown in line with the prices of the products they sell.

On a side note, why is it that oil companies do make much more money when they’re gouging customers throughout the world with higher prices?  I mean, while a barrel rises in price, why is it that the margins seem to increase as well for the leading oil companies in the world?  It’s definitely not my parents or the many convenience store and gas station owners fault because their margins stay the same.  I’ve seen it up close.

Tisk, tisk oil companies…


Filed under Business practices, Companies, Interesting..., Just interesting..., News, Politics, Random thoughts, Rants, Sneaky, Stupid, Unfortunate

A day in the life of…

Korea october 2009 347…Brandon.

a.k.a. Byung-hyu Na.

These days, I’ve been focusing on writing a book I’ve been wishing to complete for some time now.  Actually, it replaces what I thought would be my first book titled “Hit or Stand.”  I’m going to try and get this book done primarily for you great friends out there asking “So, why did you go to Korea?” and my boys who I hope some day will understand what their father was thinking all these years.

For now, I’m focusing on ER: The Urgency behind Korea’s Real Education Emergency or something like that.  I have a few opinions on the future of South Korea and thought my 10 chapter book on it may help the future generations of Korea stay competitive despite Korea’s success thus far.

Back to the “day in the life of…” me…

These days, I focus a bit of time on Inside Out Busan at eFM 90.5.  I should actually be writing for my radio show, in my opinion, but decided to take a couple hours for a break today since I feel like I’m non-stop with the radio show, my classes at the University and my privates which are nowadays on Wednesday, Saturday and a couple hours on Sunday.  I’ve also been asked to do a couple more, but not sure if I want to spend more hours on Sunday and literally fail to have even a single weekend day off.  The sad irony is that I’m still making less than I was before I decided to go solo and that I’m working every day of the week.

I do have Tuesdays through Thursday’s during the days off, but have to go into the station to do the show in the evenings so they’re just 1/2 days off with my only other day off being a 75% day off on Sunday.  So, I guess I sort of have 2.25 days off split over 4 days.  I use one of the half days though to catch up on sleep from the lack of it on my Mondays that are spent early in Korea Maritime University.

Oh before talking about my weekly schedule, I am very grateful in seeing my folks who visited recently.  Also, on the near term horizon, I have Edwark Park, a Principal of a Chinese language school in or near San Diego, coming to visit.  Looking forward to seeing Ed.  What else?   I think I need to find a cheap car for the winter as well.  Any ideas anyone?   Continue reading


Filed under Announcements, Books, Byung-hyu, Friends and Family, Random thoughts, Rants

Fascinating article about targeting foreigners in Korea…

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 18 21.26From my brief scanning of the article titled “How the Ugly American Ate the Ugly Duckling“, I thought I’d bookmark this for future reference because it has some interesting stats and observations of how foreigners are treated in South Korea.  While it’s a somewhat defensive opinion piece on Koreans targeting foreigners, I’d have to agree with many of the tenets of the piece and come back to this to reread what the author wrote.   I just wish they had more sources (a bit better citing) and who the author was.


Filed under Expat, Just interesting..., Korea life, Opinions, Random finds, Random thoughts, Rants

Another dose of sexy korean girls dressing up quite UN-modestly

OK, I’m definitely not one for “jumping on the bandwagon.”

I posted back in July of 2008 about Girl’s Generation (aka So Nyeo Shi Dae or in Hangul, 소녀시대).  It was nothing special, but for some reason the song was a bit catchy to my ears at the time, but…WOWser…what’s up with these outfits?  Makes me think “All starbowlines ahoy!!!”

All starbowlines ahoy!

All starbowlines ahoy!

I hate sexism more than most women, but like I’ve said numerous times (since 2007 & probably in my head since my college days), Korean women (or should I say ‘Korean girls’ here) are the sexiest dressers and continue to be so. You can’t ignore the obvious…
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Not the best week thus far…

The other morning, I fell down the stairs in my apartment for the first time.


It wasn’t a pleasant fall either…

I slid down the last three or so stairs landing face down on the floor. I looked up thinking “Jeez, I had better be careful next time.” I then look down to my arm which is throbbing to find the following “rug burn” (I guess the best term I can pin down for now). It didn’t help to add it to the recovering cigarette burn to my arm (no, I’m not joining the ranks of all the smokers here, but in an attempt to pat the back of one of our newer teachers who was smoking (out on the town), I caught the end of his cigarette instead).

Anyway, now writing this, all I can think of the phrase we may use when getting older “I’ve fallen and I can’t get back up!” I hope I never reach this point. Continue reading

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Talk about sh*t hitting the fan…

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Is it me?  Or did I just land in the country most well known for “drama?”  

Just visited my great friend Derek at his wedding in Hawaii with the beautiful bride Bonnie and great friends.  It was seriously a beautiful wedding. Here’s the couple dancing to “Bella’s Lullaby” played by you would think a professional piano player, but rather by their niece “Rachel” who is AMAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZING!!!! (think of Will Ferrell yelling this like he did at the Harvard Commencement speech).

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