Category Archives: Rants

Protected: Year in Review: “Brandon” Byung-hyu Na

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Filed under Busan stuff, Byung-hyu, Journal Entry, Just interesting..., Kade and Kamden, Korea life, Kyopo - Korean American, Kyopo life, Motorcycle, People, Rants

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

Great weight loss and physical health tips from my roomate

workoutMy roomate Devin Nowroski gave some of the best advice to me the other day about working out, your food intake and not being misled about the misconception that running for example equals more energy or that you lose weight via traditional methods.  I’ve been running about 5-6 kilometers 2-3 times a week, but still feel my gut getting bigger or less “thinner.”  I do have to admit I’ve been reducing my stomach and back exercises a bit recently, but Devin’s advice still is some great stuff I don’t ever want to forget.

I pointed him to an article here on Time magazine which points out that exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that you lose weight.  The writer actually argues the contrary.

He replies:

“Thanks for sending the article. It was an interesting read. The author was not entirely inspiring though. I feel like the average person who reads it could be less inclined to exercise all together, which is not really ideal. The point they are trying to make is fine, and correct in my opinion, but not giving enough info to the reader. Stuff like that makes me angry. Continue reading


Filed under Advice, Impressive, Inspirational, Just interesting..., People, Rants, Sports, Statistics

Hagwon Advice…

esl kidsI’ve been around the (Korean) block a few times…

More specifically, I’ve been in the English as a Foreign Language (and as CDI or Chungdahm Learning likes to call it their patented ESL programs) industry for more than five years in Korea.  I get questions constantly about how to enter the industry, who to choose for work and honestly what to do if interested in this field if you want work.

Well, I just got another question (or should I say set of questions) asked of me about work here in Korea as an English teacher.  Instead of just answering this gentleman directly and minimizing the impact, I thought I’d write it up here so a few more can read and hopefully benefit from my advice.  In addition to reading the following, you can also read my piece called “Advice for Teachers” (they titled it that way even though I didn’t) which should actually be named “Advice for ‘Prospective’ English Teachers (in Korea).”

The guy asks: Continue reading


Filed under Advice, Busan stuff, Business, Business practices, Entrepreneurial life, Entrepreneurship, ESL, Expat, Impressive, Inspirational, Jobs, Korea life, Kyopo - Korean American, Kyopo life, Rants, Theories by Brandon, Unfortunate, Work

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

Facebook down again…

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It’s definitely not a life crisis or emergency and may be something secluded to us here in the Asian region (oh, did I ever mention Asia will represent MOST OF THE WORLD soon if not already?), but it’s annoying. I’ve been waking up a bit early and going to sleep later most days since getting back from a quick trip abroad. My body clock isn’t back to normal, but I also have a million things on my mind and feel like I need to do. Anyhoo, in the midst of all the stress, I have to admit facebook is a nice stress release. Did I say “stress release?”

Today it’s a STRESSOR instead of a stress relief.

I’ve tried to log in for the past hour and all I get is a page that hangs. You can see from these images that I have the hourglass icon because it’s hanging or the page displays improperly because I can’t get anything back from the Facebook servers.

ScreenHunter_01 May. 28 10.26






I guess the post I wrote a few months ago is finally coming true…or at least more signs point to it.


ScreenHunter_02 May. 28 10.26










(USUALLY this shows up on the right hand side, but resolved to the left and basically in a broken page)

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Filed under Business, Business practices, Facebook, Interesting..., Just interesting..., Rants, Stupid

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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Not being able to access Google…

Wow, but the other night was really (virtually) painful.  It also showed me how much I am reliant on Google as a search tool.  Basically, I think it was on the 13th when for some reason every time I did a search on Google, I got the following message returned to me: 


we're sorry virus check spyware remover message from google

we're sorry virus check spyware remover message from google

And an additional pop up message saying “TypeError x0 is undefined” as well attacks my browser like this: 


TypeError x0 is undefined

TypeError x0 is undefined

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Filed under Business, Business practices, Korea life, Rants, Search Engine Management, Stupid, Technology, Unfortunate

Six letters. Many combinations. Possibly the cure to all the world’s problems.

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Six letters.

Many combinations.

Possibly the cure to all the world’s problems.

In Korea, this one word makes or breaks peoples’ lives. Without these, many go homeless. With these, many have a roof over their head. For many foreigners or expatriates who date Korean women, it’s our biggest hurdle in getting to know them. However, after we get to know them, our bonds can be tighter than superglue with the Korean women we might love. Continue reading


Filed under American life, Communications, Inspirational, Interesting..., Korea life, Korean women, Kyopo - Korean American, Kyopo life, Love, My writings, People, Philosophy, Random thoughts, Rants, Theories by Brandon

Oh, forgot by the way that the shortest month of the year broke my all time blog views record

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After breaking my daily blog record a week ago, I then carried on to break my monthly views record at the end of February which I failed to post earlier:

Blog views in a month record

Blog views in a month record

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Filed under Interesting..., Online projects, Rants, Search Engine Management, SEM, Statistics

Doing a little spring cleaning on the blog…

cleaning up

cleaning up

Please excuse the mess here including all the excess categories for links, topics, etc.

I just added a few other blogs I had failed to keep up to date – unlike The Real South Korea.  As a result, it does a bit of “adding” verses optimizing which is what computers have failed to learn how to do thus far.  We can thank technology for the fact it can never do what we do well as humans.  😉

Anyway, if you see anything a little too messy or what not, feel free to comment.  Thanks for visiting!

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Turning ideas into action…

Sorry folks…I’ve turned some of these ideas into active projects.  Thus, my lack of posting here in a while…

Some of the exciting projects include:

  • – tips, advice and leads on great “almost” free telecommunications services
  • – Answering questions about MBA’s and the importance behind them
  • – advice and insightful information about the Real Estate industry
  • – All about Domains and Keywords how they affect the world
  • – Recent trends in web site rankings
  • – Online Marketing Consulting

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Filed under Interesting Cos, Live projects, Online Tools, Other Cos I like, Rants, Startups

The beginning…

Soloosh will be the start of my documenting of my many business ideas & at some point implementation of these ideas into fully fledged businesses.

Soloosh is like the beginning of Solutions phonetically sounded out…since of course the “” would already be taken like Internet domains were taken many years ago.

I’ve had a fascination for creating business ideas ever since the beginning of the Internet boom.  I had some initiative to even create a business before 1993 with more offline solutions to business problems, but the interest grew even stronger with my Internet knowledge and understanding, along with the ease at which you can create businesses online these days in contrast to the old brick and mortar style of businesses.

I just reminded myself of an idea I had about 3-4 years or more ago about starting a business which would help manage their relationships.  It included my main business idea I’ve been thinking about creating and will likely try to start later this year called  Additionally, it included a scheduling tool which helped families keep on the same schedule as they got busier, along with a “goals” or “interests” management application which helped couples stay “in tune” with each other by setting up what they both want to achieve in the short, medium and long term.  It was a tool which basically helped keep both members of the couple not divert away from shared goals or interests.  It was a way of truly documenting things that are/were discussed between one another.  It’s like a way of managing “promises” made since we easily forget about things we talk about with one another, but having it documented makes it easy to recall what was agreed to before.

Other Social Relationships management tools that are being exploited by many Web 2.0 companies also were included in this company which created many relationship management applications for improving peoples’ lives.

Also, another business idea I’ve been thinking about lately is a company that either creates a better search engine than Google by taking it’s results & parsing them to have more qualified results.  It’s nice to have 12,000,000 results for a search, but we all know only about 5-10 of them are even worth anything.  There needs to be a way for people to waste less time when they search.  We — as a company that builds the better search engine — will develop better algorithms to get higher quality results.  It should be less of a game of SEM’s out there trying to get sites in front of consumers, but rather an engine for consumers to get more qualitative results.  Plus, with the advent of blogs and less reliable information, there needs to be a way for it to be verified — maybe a tool to verify information should be made as well?

If not a better search engine, the company could focus on being a consulting company which helps Google & other Search Engines truly help them become better search engines by finding out what consumers would like.  An idea that would be nice is perhaps a welcome screen which asks consumers do they want “all available results”, “results filtering out certain items”, “less commercial results”, etc.  The layout on how they return should potentially also be changed over time.  People don’t always think in a linear manner even though that’s what is returned.

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