Friday, July 30, 2010

"New" Address System

I was at the factory outside of Seoul for about 10 days straight since moving, and didn't get a chance to go report my new address to the Immigration Office. I almost forgot, until last night I suddenly remembered. First thing this morning, on the last day (you get 14 days to change without penalty), I went down to get it changed. It really wasn't any big deal, but when she handed me my card back, she showed me the new address, and it wasn't anything like the address I had given on the form! I didn't want to question it (don't rock the boat with Immigration, is my motto). On returning to the office, I asked CH about this, and he said that this was a new form of address that the government was adopting, although it wasn't widespread.

Well, for all these years in Seoul, I had finally gotten used to the address system. Now they're changing it? Did a little research online, and found this post from 2004 (!) describing the new address system, which is like we have in the USA. Street names, street numbers with odd and even numbers on opposite sides of the street. Wow, this has been around since 2004? Here is the official website, you can translate an "old" style into the "new" style, and also see a map showing street names and house/building numbers. But wow, at least 6 years going and it's still not popular?

How Many Real Estate Agents...

...does it take to sell apartments in one building?

There are FIVE real estate agencies all next door to each other in my building! And there's at least one more around the back - there could be more. Amazing...

Even More Signs

After reading my friend Tuttle's post on signs, inspired by his friend Jo-Anna's post on signs, I couldn't help but share these two bathroom signs I saw last week at lunch. Don't quite know what point they are trying to make - are you supposed to climb over the stalls? Or hang like a spider from the ceiling?


Click to enlarge:

Click to enlarge:

Found some free Microsoft software that makes panoramic images. I played around with the view from my new home. You give it a series of images (which of course have to have been taken ina panoramic sequence), and the program automatically "stitches" them together. Pretty cool.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


That's the name of my new apartment building. Here are some photos of the new place. Still organizing, but I'm basically comfortable and it's liveable and cozy.

Crazy Busy

Well, let me try to catch up on the past to weeks. The first excitement was my move. I've known for a couple months now that I would be moving, but there were some issues setting the exact move date. I had located two possible new places, and I coudn't decide which one. Suddenly I found an online advertisement for an apartment that turned out to be perfect. It is just a 10 minute walk from the office, and located right at Sindorim subway station. At this station, there is a huge "Technomart" building, which includes numerous shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and yes, technical shopping, too. I claimed the apartment, and began he process of moving.

The first order of business was to downsize. The new place is a large studio apartment. Not exactly a one-room, but almost. This downsizing required me to sell my treadmill and my refrigerator. That took up an interesting half day, helping the truck driver wrestle these down to the truck:

Moving day went smoothly, despite the constant rain. I think the two moving guys had under-estimated the job. They worked extra hard, and we still didn't finish until 7pm or so. I couldn't believe how many boxes I had.

Some things I'll miss from my old apartment, the doggie-decorated hooks:

the four-burner stove (the new place just has two):

And as a testament to my poor housekeeping skills, this hairpin was in the floor of my closet when I moved in back in Feb 2008. Two and one half years later, it is still exactly where it was, plus a little extra dust:

Goodbye Room 1404

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Choices - NOT

When I first came to Korea, there were four really big shopping "mart" stores (think super Walmart-like). Carrefour, Homeplus, Homever, and E-Mart. Carrefour was closest to our apartment, and coincidentally seemed to have the widest selection of products to choose from. Over the years, through a series or acquisitions, there are now just two big ones left, Homeplus and E-Mart. You might think that when two stores merged, you would get a super-set of each stores product lines - the best of both worlds. Instead, they went the opposite way. At eash acquisition, I observed the product choices seemed to be fewer and fewer.

Then we have this article in the morning newspaper "Retail chains cull range of products on shelves". Well, to me, this isn't news - they've been doing it for years already. But apparently they're getting serious about it now. One chain will take an "intelligent" approach, and eliminate products that don't sell well. Maybe logical, unless one of those products happens to be my favorite strawberry jam or my real, American-style mustard! Another chain will restrict manufacturers to just one size of their products - the example being given was laundry soap - you will now only find one size of each brand on the shelf. I guess from now on it will only be 50Kg bags of laundry soap, purchased once a year, or 1Kg bags purchased every week.

I'm not sure how this is going to play out. If I worked in this industry, seems like I would already be acutely aware of the large reductions in product choices over the past years. Cutting the choices even further seems like the last thing I'd want to introduce. At some point, the customers are going to revolt.

Well, let's see how it plays out. In the meantime, I'd better stock up on mustard and jam - and oh yeah - laundry soap!


As a public service, I will post some baby-sitting do's and don'ts on my blog today (click on any image to enlarge):

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Korean Elvis

The Stumbling Mother reports the following appeared on her whiteboard recently:

I take partial responsibility for the awkward looking man on the left, but that's all. Someone else's been changing my artwork!

The Stumbler vs. The Chair

Met a couple of friends for a pleasant dinner and conversation last night (review to be posted on ZenKimchi Dining soon). After dinner, we chose a decidedly Korean activity of sitting out front of a convenience store to chat and have a few beers.

I am reminded at this point in the story that although I am losing weight, I still have quite a ways to go. In the middle of our conversation, suddenly my chair broke and I went flying to the ground:

I escaped injury, except a small scratch on my elbow, not to mention embarassment. To add insult to injury, one friend suggested I switch to Lite beer! You won't hear me saying this anytime soon: "One more bowl of rice, please..." It's time to redouble my efforts at weight loss, before I do further furniture damage.