Happy birthday to David Street... and Buddha. I move for a joint birthday party: frisbee, meditation, Luby's macncheese, and moderate amounts of beer for all!
This weekend, an American girl bought a birthday cake for our Korean friend and presented to him at a big gathering. Another Korean friend of ours, an accomplished martial artist, then proceeded to KICK the cake into the bday boy's face. The American girl was furious, but everyone else was mightily amused-- and allowed to be. Apparently Cake on the Face is a customary birthday practice. Usually it takes the milder form of a finger scoop of frosting, but I guess there's some flexibility when your friend is a national mushu star.
Speaking of national stars, Buddha's upcoming birthday inspired a Lotus Lantern Festival this past weekend, the highlight of which was a 2.5 hour parade downtown. It was a magnificent spectacle-- huge robotic lantern-lit animals, musicians in hanboks, dancing school children-- and it seemed like the entire foreigner population of Seoul was out to see. It was an odd experience to see masses of non-Koreans, because with the exception of the Itaewon and Hongdae areas, it's noticeable when I see a foreigner out and about. It's like a living game of Where's Waldo (PS Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding. When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he doesn't push himself up; he pushes the world down. They once made a Chuck Norris toilet paper, but it wouldn't take shit from anybody.).
Because Buddha's birthday is a national holiday, we have a three-day weekend coming up, so we're headed down to the coastal city of Busan for some beach time. We'll be celebrating one of my friend's bdays, in honor of which I have re-written the lyrics from Journey's Don't Stop Believin'... Don't stop BEING... Ok ok, it needs some work...
A more successful creative pursuit was the scavenger hunt I put together last weekend. Teams had to take pictures of actions/items specific to Korean life, and the team with the most points won the cash pool. I can't quite take credit for all the clues, but here's a copy:
**The team to return with the best costume gets 70 points!!!**
**Mandatory first photo: group shot of all your team members (^^)V **
-A funny (read: poorly written) Konglish sign/menu/shirt.
-Team members making obscene faces/gestures in front of double barber poles.
-A couple: a white guy and a Korean girl.
-A sparkly necktie.
-Find someone passed out drunk and stack miscellaneous objects on them.
-A dog wearing clothes/sporting painted body parts.
-A ridiculously big bow in a girl’s hair.
-Team members drinking beer in a crazy/random location.
-An FC Seoul jersey.
Have you found a costume yet?
-An ajumma squatting (the Asian squat where the bum touches the heels).
-Team member in a hanbok (Korean traditional dress).
-A foreign car.
-A Korean man wearing makeup.
-Team members sitting bobsled style in the aisle of a bus or subway.
-A Korean girl showing cleavage.
-Team members doing a love-shot round of Irish Car Bombs or Red Headed Whores.
-An older Korean couple (40+ years) holding hands.
-An origami frog riding a taxi naked.
-Team members taking over cooking duties for a street vendor.
-Have a stranger pour soju into your mouth. 30 points if they baby bird it (from their mouth to yours).
Giddyup! Where’s your getup?
-Team members all posing as Kim Yu Na.
-A couple: a white girl and a Korean guy.
-Team members putting on a puppet show using whole dried squids.
-A Korean girl not wearing heels or Converse.
-Team members serenading Koreans. The world is your noraebang.
-Team members mimicking a K-Pop promotional poster.
-A Korean couple with matching shirts.
-Team members spelling out a word with their bodies (word must be Korea-related). Ex: SEOUL.
-One team member giving a Korean man a piggyback ride (must be a stranger!).
-Walk into a hagwon and insist on signing up for English lessons.
-Acquire a crab. Get the crab to dangle off a (any) portion of your body.
-Sell something on the subway. Crabs maybe?