December 09, 2010

오징어 vs 피라니아

I'm a pretty lanky fellow, so I often find that I have nowhere to put my arms or legs. It's time for a moment of pretty sincere honesty. Most of the time I don't know what the fuck to do with them. It's probably not a very shocking revelation, but hey whatever. One of my classes has taken to calling me 'ojinga teacher' (ojinga means squid in Korean, 오징어 is ojinga). They like to dance around the class exaggerating my arm motions.

I went zip lining for the first time a couple of weeks ago and if you would like to find an activity to highlight limb control, zip lining is it. There is something about hurling down a 100m track suspended by the waist, that highlights your abilities. My (not so) graceful moments were recorded on film as I dangled lifelessly, flailed like a ragdoll, and sailed like a human torpedo through the trees. My arms and legs were simply passengers along for the ride. My friends laughed, and snapped (photos).

In sharp contrast, Koreans seem to know exactly what to do with theirs. I checked out an International Food convention the other weekend, and some Koreans were snapping up giveaways and freebies with surgical precision. I could say that I was shocked but I'd be lying (I've lived here for 9 months now, I was shocked for the first 8, I've given up sampling most things).

Yet, I have to stand somewhat in defence (and admiration) of some of the actions at the convention. This convention was handing out free booze, and a lot of it. You could easily get hammered if you sampled only half the booze being dished out. Most people tend to get a little grabby when they are tipsy as well. I don't know if I'm excusing the actions, or simply explaining them. I don't know if being grabby is ever fully excusable.

Anywho, I think I'm writing this more out of jealousy. From my inability to know what to do with my limbs comes the fact that Koreans know exactly what they would like to do with theirs (even drunk). I swear some of these Koreans would be able to grab a grain of rice flying through the air, with a pair of chopsticks. I'm speaking of some serious precision here.

Free samples would disappear with lightning speed. I came across a booth selling French chocolate truffles. These delicate truffles would barely hit the bottom of the dish before they were gone. The two Frenchmen working the booth were visibly disgusted as they gawked at the Koreans (I found it a little funny to watch their expressions) The same thing occurred with pajong (what am I? click and learn!). I'm surprised the chefs had it cut up before it vanished. I had to go back to the booth 4 times in before I managed to sneak some Korean pancake action.

Even a chaotic line up for free samples in NA is tame compared to Korea. I'd compare a Korean line to a piranha (피라니아 ) feeding frenzy. It's totally different, and something to truly behold. I'm jealous not because of the frenzy, but the precision. You can't strip an animal to the bone with random bites. It takes accuracy, and the ability to know your weapons. Judging by my zip lining pictures, and current nickname at school this isn't talent I possess.

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