Can We Talk About More Than Plastic Surgery?

Quite the fuss is strewn across the internet about how the 2013 Korean beauty pageant contestants all look like the same person.  There’s this reddit image of them all in a line. And here’s one of them in a Brady Brunch-type block set. Then there’s this quickly looping .gif of the candidates combined into one, which hurts to look at for longer than a minute. And then there’s Buzzfeed, who summarized it all for you.

While some netizens cry race and other blame plastic surgery, I claim there’s got to be more to it than that. There’s make-up. There’s Photoshop. But really, this exhibits a symptom (not in the negative sense) of a greater whole: at what strict, narrow definitions beauty and attractiveness have in South Korea. Moreover – from where do these definitions come? Continue reading


Korean Goal: Week 2


I need to learn numbers. I can confidently state there are at least 2 numeric systems: one for counting, and one used with money.

On the whole, I have stayed away from street venders (food or otherwise) because I am unable to understand the amount due or suggested (haggling is normal). Stores are safe, because a price is listed and a register produces something visible.

Not being understood isn’t what bothers me, it’s that I would probably just hold up a bill and am worried the seller would take the whole amount, sensing my ineptitude to know the difference.

edit: there are 3. Another system for ordering.

9 Observations After 6 Days in Korea

Michael: I want to tell you everything if… if you’re willing to listen.
Rita: I’m a very good listener.
Michael: Great. Start with the misdemeanors and then, we’re gonna push right on through to the lighter treasons. So, 1983…

Instant coffee.

Everywhere. All the time. Only thing. Coffee snob. Dying inside.

If a café is boasting about their coffee, it’ll be advertised as “drip coffee.” In reference to this. Not this.


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An Exercise in Buddhist Ethics: Moving Across the World in Two Suitcases

To those about to monk, we salute you.

This blog has been in existence since June 5th, 2012.

And I have avoided posting on it since its inception. Done everything I could to make it through this transitive period in my life other than creating a blog post. I’ve talked to friends about my plans and ensuing emotions. I finally finished Catch-22. A Farewell to Arms has been on my shelf for 6 years – read it. I sent mass emails when I felt like sharing something witty about the move. I re-watched The Wire in its entirety, reading analysis after each of the 60 episodes. Dostoyevsky has been downloaded onto my Kindle and I have bought electronic subscriptions to The Atlantic and Newsweek. I even took to Word in a blatant mimicking attempt.

Anything has been more worth my time than starting to blog.

Until today, when packing became a top priority.

Because I leave tomorrow.

Continue reading