Well the party lived up to expectations! 24 of the staff including principal and VP went out at 6.30 pm to a sushi place “downtown”, it is more back street Bradford (no offence TG) than cutting edge East side Manhattan. As usual the tables are 9″ high and the expected position is to sit cross-legged for the whole meal. A number of obstacles face a westerner:
- Get close enough to the table to ensure that,
- food can be reached and that,
- using chopsticks I could manoeuvre the food into my gob without covering the others in raw fish and chilli sauce.
- If you have a groin strain or do not do Yoga you will need to sit in the same position for two hours!
- Knowing where the bogs are to give yourself pain as well as bladder relief.
- Realising that you do not pour yourself a drink, you wait to be asked.
- You are expected to say yes to everything including a mix of beer, Soju and Brandy, what a cocktail!
- The principal will cuddle up to you and tell you she loves you, no change there then!
- All 23 of the other staff will talk to you during the meal and each one will pour you a neat Soju and expect you to pour one back
- You will not pay for anything, the school will, this includes the taxi home
From around 9.00 pm we went on to the norebang (karaoke) until 12, with more free food and drinks. I was the only one relatively sober, sober enough to resist more cuddles from the principal. We were all expected to perform a ditty, so after 10 or so K-pop anthems had been screamed into the mike a the great balladeer Gary “Barlow” Hayes stepped forward to croon Take That’s, Take me back for good. I had the P and VP as backing singers and thankfully my rendition was celebrated by rapturous applause, it’s great that they have an X factor voice fixer!!!! After more hugs from P and VP we heard a great crash!. One of my new fellow teachers is learning Hapkido (http://www.typesofmartialarts.com/hapkido) and decided he was being attacked by the table so he had to defend himself against it! The table was left in 5 pieces and of course the floor glistened with gallons of beer and Soju (http://www.trifood.com/soju.asp). Of course the management were not particularly impressed but regardless the P and VP carried on singing. Several of us tried to lift him as he was by now swimming in the sea of alcohol, unfortunately he was not having this and continued to practice the Hapkido on us, this went on for a good 40 minutes.
At 12 it was announced that we were to move on to venue 3, the noodle house. Again the Soju appeared backed up by:
Makgeolli (막걸리), also known as takju (hangul: 탁주; hanja: 濁酒), is a milky, sweet alcoholic beverage made from rice. It is also callednongju (hangul: 농주; hanja: 農酒; lit. “farmers’ alcohol”). A regional variant, originally from Gyeonggi-do, is called dongdongju. Another variety, called ihwaju (hangul: 이화주; hanja: 梨花酒; literally “pear blossom wine”) was so named because it was brewed from rice with rice malt that had fermented during the pear blossom season. Ihwaju is often so thick that it must be eaten with a spoon.
After the above a great Ramen of noodles arrived and the chat carried on until around 1.30am when taxi’s were ordered to take us home. After new cuddles from the VP I arrived home around 2am. The school paid for EVERYTHING!!!
I had a little numb head this morning but nothing too bad and worked out I have only spent £300 since I arrived and this includes the walking shoes that I bought last week. I decided to go cycle hunting this morning and the stylish Man City coloured Solo bike by Kia was my preferred choice. I visited 5 cycle shops and finally for the price down to £120 including a steel lock, lights and a rear stand. It can really move and has seven gears, much better than a MTB for around town. If the weather picks up tomorrow I will be “Indianajonesing”, looking for the Jungwon Mireukrisaji which is Historic Spot Number 317 in the Korean list of important archaeological relics.