Posts Tagged ‘busan’

Finally argued enough to get them to take my blood.

September 16, 2015

It took a surprising amount of work to get the staff in the blood bus to take my blood.

blood take it

Image from here.  All other mine.

I asked some medical students to assist me and they spoke to the staff but were quickly convinced that I wouldn’t be able to give blood and they were unable to translate the form correctly.  I want to thank them for trying.


I took the survey to our office assistants and one was able to help me through it.  Once back at the bus, I showed them the completed form and told them I’d given blood before.  That finally made them interested and seemed to start the process.  Sitting in the waiting area, I, and four students, could hear them discussing the Wae-guk-in (foreigner) in what I felt was a breach of privacy but finally I met the nurse for an interview…and they showed me a fully translated form of the sort they had demanded I find translation assistance for! Jerks!


Some photos of the process.
blood donation (3 a)


Above my head were a set of posters.  I think the one below lists suggestions in case I feel dizzy.  It might just as well be ways to exercise to get a real good head rush after donation.  ‘Feeling dizzy? Don’t waste it.  Do some V-sits!”

blood donation (1 a)


Really, I was treated well.  After all, I was a hero! At home I shared the cookies, which I described to my son as the most expensive in the world.  Nobody can buy many cookies as 400ml per box. None for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

blood donation (5 a)



After I gave blood, I asked the guides if I could take their picture.  They made jokes about the sashes and a Miss Korea contest. Then they told me I could give blood if I wanted to.  I guess I had snuck in and out behind themblood donation (6 a)

15 km run

July 16, 2015

I’ll go swimming this afternoon and see if that relaxes my legs.

humble brag

The course was 2.8 km out and back, followed by 1.35 km out and back on the same route times three and 0.65 km and back at the end.  I had planned for a little further but needed to get home and wake up my son for school.

Although I started ten minutes later than I wanted, I am pleased with my planning.  I got up at 4:20 AM and walked around the apartment and got dressed: Vaseline various places where clothes rub and bandages on my ankles for the same reason, standard running clothes and two extra bandannas packed with my Gatorade so I could replace them as they filled with sweat.  I also packed an extra shirt but chose not to make that exchange during the run.  I needed to walk around the apartment before the run to loosen up.  As a middle-aged runner, it takes a while before I can walk comfortably in the morning.

I am not sure how the GPS device in my phone works.  The course was 2.8, 1.35 or .65 km in one direction, followed by a 180-degree turn.  I feel I ran 15km and Mapmywalk recorded 15.89km so maybe at each turn, it pretends I made it to the edge of the error bar, giving me twenty-ish metres extra on each leg.  That doesn’t quite add up.  It also shows a thirty metre change in altitude while the course varied by perhaps five metres.

Anyway, I am proud of the run and will definitely attempt a half marathon in the Fall, when it is cooler.


Summer plans

July 1, 2015

This summer I appear to have a lot of free time.  I hope to work an ESL camp in August and have a few other commitments but essentially I have time to work on my own projects.  Most of these projects deal with writing.

Writing Plans and Goals:

  • 13 blogposts for 6,500 words.  Why 13?  I can’t recall why I chose this number.  Somewhat more than two a week, I guess.
  • 3 short stories: Working titles are 1) Ants, 2) Vampire on a boat and 3) Hyperbaric Chamber.  I’m figuring 2,000 words each
  • Push forward one or all three of the books I have started and let sit.  30,000 words is the goal and I don’t mind jumping from book to book as seems fit. Working titles are 1) Return of the Haloed Hunter, 2) the Distancing Engine and 3) Creationism’s worst arguments
  • 2 letters per week to friends.  Around ten letters and 2,000 words.
  • Perform research and planning for future “Crowded Sky” story. As much as 5,000 words.

To keep the writing interesting, I have made further goals.

  • I want to write over the course of a full day.  That is, at least once in the month write from 12:00 to 1:00 AM, once from 1:00 to 2:00AM …
  • I want to write in a variety of locations.  The local mountaintop has a good table. There are some nice libraries to write in.  I’ll talk about coffee shops in a moment.  Eulsookdo Eco Centre might be a nice place to work in for an afternoon.
  • Soundtrack: I may use Ommwriter which has its own soundtrack but otherwise it will be autoplayed classical music starting with some Janecek and letting Youtube suggest from there. Away from Internet connections, Doug and the Slugs and other 80’s music would work; the tunes are so familiar that they can be white noise or a fun background as needed.

Snacks: I bought snacks for my Nanowrimo writing and I will definitely eat in front of the computer but I need to show restraint here.  My weight is slowly dropping and I want to keep it going in that direction.  Controlling my weight is my greatest concern this summer.


  • 18 runs with an average of 7.0 km.  I hope to attempt a solo half-marathon this summer late one evening and have been working out the course and where to place energy drinks along the way.  I am currently at 96 runs over the past six months so only the weather could prevent reaching this goal.
  • Run faster than a subway train.  The local subway stations Seo-dae-shin and Dong-dae-shin are about 500 meters apart and the train takes 2:35 seconds from doors open at Seo- to doors closed at Dong-.  Further, this route is slightly downhill.  I can easily run this fast on a level surface but Seo-dae-shin is deep underground. I have no qualms or conscience problems about using the escalators but even with that assistance, there is a big climb at the start of the run.
  • Swim 2km at a time. Korean pools are crowded with conversationalists and it is hard to get an unbroken swim in.  I am likely to need to stop a the end of a lane a few times.  Today, I did 1250m, with breaks and could have gone farther.
  • Find 3 snorkeling places in and near Busan
  • For at least 6 days, eat three meals, plus one snack plus one sweet drink.  I snack a lot and plan to spend a lot of time in front of a computer so this will be a challenge.

Education:  I am enrolled in 3 MOOCS.

  • The Bilingual Brain
  • Modern Korean History
  • Archaeology of Portus


  • Teach my son to swim.
  • Go on a weekend trip with the family. I would prefer a swimming site but that is negotiable.
  • Read two books with my son.  I don’t want this to be a purely teaching experience but one we both enjoy.  Tintin is a good contender here.
  • Work on the farm.


Ship leaking oil near DaDaePo

February 17, 2014

From Busan Haps:

BUSAN, South Korea —  An accident involving an oil supplier and an 80,000 ton cargo ship has caused a huge quantity of oil to leak into waters about 2.8 miles northwest of Busan Saeng-do, with  237 kiloliters of Bunker C oil has leaked into the sea.

The amount of the leaked oil is one-and-a-half times more than that of the recent Yeosu accident. The oil has spread 4.5 kilometers south from the scene of the accident.


There is more at Yonhap. And Daum media.

I have learned elsewhere that the Coast Guard has more than 60 ships onsite.  The Korean Navy, Busan Fire Dept, private environment cleanup groups and other groups also have ships and boats onsite. When the recent Yeosu oil spill first occurred, it was deemed to be easily manageable and only a small fleet was sent to work on it. Then, it was found to be larger than previously reported and more ships and personnel were sent but the oil had had time to spread. This time, the response was much greater. Coast Guard vessels from as far away as Sokcho responded to this spill.

Who wrote this? Who would write this?

May 25, 2012


I can understand the thrill of writing ‘bad’ words into the cement as it dried, but the number of people who would write the medical terms, in English, has to be limited… Although I am now thinking of doing something similar should opportunity arise. “excrement”, “Sexual intercourse”, “Female dog”…

Lunar Eclipse, Dec. 10

December 11, 2011

Most of these photos were taken from the roof of my apartment.  I zoomed in as tightly as I could but also cropped the photos on my computer and dimmed the exposure somewhat.  I think the blurriest ones were taken using the ‘automatic’ setting, while the clearer ones were taken using the ‘low light’ setting.  The whole thing made me long for my film camera where I could better adjust shutter speed and f-stop.

Because the whole post is just glowing blobs on a black background, I have placed some of the images after the jump so less interested visitors don’t get too bored.


My presentation at the Local Kotesol Meeting

September 18, 2010

Yesterday, I discussed ‘Creativity in the classroom’ at the Busan-Kyeongnam branch of KOTESOL.  My talk went for about a hundred minutes and I am mostly satisfied with it.

I posted about the upcoming meeting a week or so beforehand and mentioned that I was nervous about it.  I can say now that I was indeed nervous, very nervous, for the first few minutes of my talk.  Teaching students now seems comfortable.  Speaking before my peers remains, well, less comfortable.

In my talk, I described how teachers could encourage creativity and even teach how to be creative, but to be careful because sometimes you don’t want creativity in a specific lesson.

The last point first; When it comes to memorizing multiplication tables, there is little room for creative thinking for the student.  In a more scholarly vein, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy of education, one first builds knowledge and comprehension, then works towards using that knowledge creatively.  Beginners are not ready to be creative in most fields.

In how to teach creativity, I discussed a few exercises designed to ‘force connections’.  Creative thinking can be defined as deliberately focusing and loosening your concentration.   You think specifically about your problem – perhaps how to flood-proof your house.  Then you think generally about houses.  Hey, a turtle carries it’s house.  A mobile house might be flood-proof.

To encourage creativity, I referred to Drive, By Daniel Pink.  It’s an interesting read about motivation.

I am not sure if these slides will be all that useful without the one-hour-plus of narration that accompanied them, but have a look, if you like.

Hmm.  I can’t embed the Google Doc.  Alright, time to give up a little more privacy.  Here is a link to creativitiproject.  Someone else had already taken the name with ‘creativity’ spelled right.  The linked blog feels a little rougher than this one as I wrote it mostly for myself and left links that I could check up on later and such. Still, it includes just about everything discussed in the presentation and has the slides.

Some people don’t like swimming within the buoy-line

August 27, 2010

Let me redact the location reference in this quote from The Economist:

You have to stay inside the dinky little waist-deep swimming areas, with their bobbing lines of white buoys. There you are, under a deep blue …. summer sky, the lake laid out like a mirror in front of you and the rocks on the far shore gleaming under a bristling comb of red pine; you plunge in, strike out across the water, and tweet! A parks official blows his whistle and shouts after you. “Sir! Sir! Get back inside the swimming area!” What is this, summer camp? Henry David Thoreau never had to put up with this. It offends the dignity of man and nature. You want to shout, with Andy Samberg: “I’m an adult!”

I feel the same way. Well, I don’t really know if I’m a Thoreau fan, but the rest; yes.  I just want some open water to actually swim in.

Oh, the location is any Massachusetts state park.

The reason for the restriction appears well-intentioned, I must admit. And it might be.  Reducing drowning deaths is hard to argue against.  However, at least part of the reason is financial- to reduce liability costs.  This is also good, but bean-counting our way to a nanny state doesn’t appeal to me.

The park officials in Massachusetts aren’t really trying to minimise the risk that you might drown. They’re trying to minimise the risk that you might sue. The problem here, as Mr Howard says, isn’t simply over-regulation as such. It’s a culture of litigiousness and a refusal to accept personal responsibility. When some of the public behave like children, we all get a nanny state.

Yeah, nobody wanted the Aqua Assault RoboFighters to be recalled.

The Economist article contains many links, including one to a TED Talk on fixing the legal system.

Before looking -very superficially- at Korea, let me check out drowning deaths in Canada.

At least 237 people have drowned this year in Canada. That’s an increase of nine per cent from the same time last year, according to the Lifesaving Society, a group committed to water safety.

Many of the deaths have occurred in Ontario….

She [Lifesaving Society spokesperson Barbara Byers] said parents need to keep a close watch on their young children around pools.

“If you’re not within arms reach, you have gone too far,” said Byers. “And you have to have your eyes absolutely locked on the child. I think some people think they will have lots of time (to react).”

Rivers and beaches have also been the sites of several deaths this year….

The Ontario Coroner’s Office says it will look at all the drowning deaths between May and the end of August, to see if any recommendations can be made to make the province’s pools, rivers and lakes safer for swimming.

Quick public service announcement:  Drowning doesn’t look like drowning!

Briefly, drowning people don’t and can’t  call for help, nor can they wave for help.  They are too focused on getting their mouth high enough to breathe.  They can’t get their arms out of the water to wave them.

The warning comes from Dr. Frank Pia, who has been in the biz for a long time.  I learned how to do the Pia carry twenty-five years ago.

Next Public Service Announcement: Be leery of the advice coming from Busan eFM!

I like eFM.  I want Busan’s English radio station to do well.  However, a month ago, I listened in horror to one of their PSAs.  One bit of advice for beachgoers was, “If you go into deep water, bring a tube or inflatable to protect yourself.”

No, no, no!  If you can’t swim, don’t go into deep water! Fer Cryin’ Out Loud!  If your child can’t swim, don’t let him/her go into the water at all unless you are nearby!

Okay, back to Canada:

…a study released Thursday suggests immigrants are four times more likely to be unable to swim than native-born Canadians.

The study, conducted by the Lifesaving Society, found that about one in five newcomers don’t know how to swim, compared to one in 20 people born in Canada. The research is being billed as the first in Canada to examine the links between ethnicity and the ability to swim. …

Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in Canada for children under the age of 10. …

The report’s release comes amid a spate of drowning deaths across the country, including 10 in a recent 10-day period in Ontario from the end of June to the beginning of July. …

Byers said that during heat waves, people are often more inclined to go to swimming pools to cool off. In a normal year, about one of every 10 drowning deaths happens in a pool. This year, 28 per cent of deaths have occurred at pools, including five of the 10 in Ontario.

It is hard to discuss Korean drowning rates.  I can only imagine they must be high because of the great restrictions imposed on those who want to swim here.  I do recall in Sokcho a few years ago, a school group on a class trip went to Sokcho beach and returned to their dorm rooms, there to discover they were one short.  Again, better observation of the young should be common sense.

Pools in Korea typically have a ‘rest period’ of ten minutes per hour.  This allows the guards to be sure the pool is clear and the patrons to regain their strength so they are safer.  And too bad to the patron who is on a tight schedule and ends up losing ten minutes of their swimming time.

The water level at the beautiful pool at Sajik Sports Complex is deliberately  kept at 60%.*  The depth should be around two metres, but instead is 1.3 metres.  This is a great depth for standing but it feels weird to be in a pit, with walls rising high above you.  It would be hard to drown, though.

Okay, it is difficult to search for Korean drowning deaths but I did learn that North Korea is not waving, it is drowning.

In 2006, seventy-six teenagers drowned.


*I don’t know what that means for the filter system.  The water looks clear and clean, but normally most contaminants are on the water surface and the skimmers, in this case, are a metre above the surface.

Another internet oddity

August 15, 2010

Of the spam form, that is.

I recently did a Google search for “Busan Department Store” – I probably left out the capitalization.

The second link was for Asia rooms , which gave me this paragraph:

In Busan, shopping in one of the best activities to indulge in as the city affords its visitors a range of choices and provisions. In Busan in Korea, you can expect the same kind of experience as you would from any progressive global culture. One of the many tempting shopping destinations in the city is the Busan Department Store in Busan. The specialty of the Busan Department Store in Busan is that it houses big global brands and is mainly an up market place to shop in. moreover, here, at the Busan Department Store in Busan, the activity of shopping is not just a pastime; the authorities have improvised the Busan Department Store in Busan to transform shopping into an experience.

The words are mostly right and mostly in the proper order: the “in” in the first sentence should be ‘is’, but I’ve seen and occasionally typed worse.  Still, there is no content there.  you might wonder where the “Busan Department Store in Busan” is.

The Busan Department Store in Busan is centrally located in the city and is a shopper’s haven.

Well, that’s a big help.

The one thing that convinced me there is no such store was this:

Also, the daily hours of operation of the Busan Department Store in Busan are between 09:00 am and 08:00 pm.

Those hours are too good.


I am an HTML neophyte – I tried to link to Asia Rooms using “rel=nofollow” to avoid increasing it’s page ranking.  I hope the link works.

Busan Aquarium

June 6, 2010

On Saturday, I took the little guy to the Busan Aquarium with one of his friends and his family.

I’m still new to wordpress: I had trouble adding text after inserting a group of photos.  commentary either with or after the photos.  General comments about the aquarium are at the end of the post.

Hmm.  That’s not exactly what I wanted, but it does look good. Left-to-right, top-to-bottom, here are some descriptions.

1) We arrived early and walked through the Haeundae Sand Sculpture Festival.

2) The little guy loves doing this pose these days and it is infuriating!  Also in the pic are two of his friends.

3) The fish and other animals were great,but so were the railings!  It was hard to pull the boys away to see more fish.

4) The Moon jellyfish are in a cylindrical tank and I shot the boys through the tank.

5) Cast of a fossil shark jaw.

6) Just outside of the Aquarium proper is a 3-D video ride.  Here are the boys after their ride.  We saw a ‘Happy Feet’ based video, but earlier the little guy and I saw a dinosaur video. The video is 3-d but also, you are sitting on a hydraulically controlled platform that can lift and drop and tilt.  You really feel like you are moving.  In the dinosaur video, we felt like we were in a helicopter and the dinosaurs were all around.  It was terrifying for the little guy.

7) Swimming at Haeundae beach.


The aquarium is well-done but not large.  Don’t come to Busan just for it.  Still, it is right on the beach and makes an air-conditioned break from the hot sun.

The little guy and I have season passes (46,000 won each for Koreans, 40,000 won for foreigners). The passes came with two extra free tickets which we gave to the family that came with us.  After two visits, and including the price of the free tickets, we are already ahead from using the passes.

I have not tried the ‘shark dive’ experience- you can dive in the main shark tank, full of large grey nurse sharks- but I think I will try it.  The nurse sharks here do not look like the nurse sharks I was familiar with in Tobago, where I dove studying the coral reefs as part of my Biology degree.

Haeundae Beach looks great and was about at parity between foreigners and Koreans on Saturday.  The water was plenty warm enough and i hope to return several times before the August crowds (Haeundae is the busiest beach in Korea but I suspect will not be crowded until the school break.  Koreans seem to think the water is only warm enough between August 1 and August 31). A friend told me about Songdo Beach, which is apparently clean enough to swim in (compared to the much closer DaDaeBeach which looks clear enough, but is in a bad location, pollution-wise), so I will have check that one out.