My name is Jared Way. I was born in California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. Now I'm contentedly expatriated in South Korea.
For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature.
I quit my well-paying job and starting in September, 2007, I spent 2 years teaching EFL to elementary kids in Ilsan (suburban Seoul), South Korea. From April, 2010, until April, 2011, I worked a public school position in rural southwestern Korea (Yeonggwang County). I have since returned to Ilsan and continue to work there.
As of June, 2013, I remain in Ilsan in South Korea, but I was diagnosed with cancer, and have been undergoing treatment. As a consequence, the focus and tone of this blog has changed somewhat.
I started this blog before I even had the idea of coming to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably play a central role in this blog's current incarnation. Let's just say... it's a blog about whatever I happen to be thinking, that currently takes place in Korea.
Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find. I also have a professional website: jaredway.com.
I like to take photographs. I'm NOT a photographer. Recently, I've been trying to consolidate my "good" photos and have opted to try hosting them at a webstie called panoramio - partly because I mostly take pictures of landscape or scenery and panoramio is well-integrated with google earth. Here is a slideshow of some of my photos.
A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
"Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).
Think about it. We could have built a high speed rail network for the whole country for that price - if you assume $100 million per mile construction cost (very generous), you could get more than 10000 miles of high speed rail.
My Sunday was a bit strange. When I got home from work yesterday evening, I was very tired, and I fell asleep at the unusual hour of 6 pm. Instead of a short nap, I slept until midnight. The consequence of this was that I then didn't really sleep well the rest of Saturday night into Sunday. I napped fitfully and had a strange dream that I was on a city bus in a snowstorm and trying to talk to a group of mentally disabled Koreans. It was challenging, as they all had speech impediments on top of the fact it was in Korean.
I was feeling disoriented all of the day. I was trying to draw something but it didn't work out. I read some of my Mesopotamian literature-in-translation. Enkidu went to "Earth" (which means Hades, too, interestingly, in Sumerian-Akkadian myth).
Este es el poema en el que existe un hombre sentado, un hombre que está vestido de gris, que viaja a visitar a otro hombre que ni siquiera conoce, a un hombre que también ha tomado el tranvía y viaja a su encuentro y que va pensando lo mismo que el otro hombre de gris.
Este es el poema donde existen dos hombres sentados, los dos han amado, los dos han sufrido, los dos han tomado el tranvía, se ignoran, no saben que ambos viajan al encuentro de un hombre vestido de gris.
Este es el poema donde existen tres hombres sentados, tres hombres que hablan de un hombre que habrá de venir, un hombre que vestido de gris estará esperando el tranvía sentado en un banco no muy lejos de aquí.
Este es el poema en que cuatro hombres sentados se miran, pero ninguno se atreve a pronunciar la palabra, la misma palabra que está ardiendo en sus labios desde el instante preciso en que cada uno de ellos se decidiera a venir.
Esperan, aguardan a un hombre que aún no ha tomado el tranvía, un hombre que está abriendo el armario y saca su traje y se ve en el espejo vestido de gris.
- Juan Carlos Mestre (poeta español, b 1957)
Translation, by the author
THE MAN IN GREY
This is the poem in which a man is sitting, a man who is dressed in grey, who is travelling to meet another man he doesn't even know, a man who's also taken the tram and is heading to this meeting and who's thinking the same thoughts as the other man in grey.
This is the poem in which there are two men sitting, both of them have loved, both have suffered, both have taken the tram, they do not know each other, nor do they know that both of them are heading towards a meeting with a man dressed in grey.
This is the poem in which there are three men sitting, three men who ate all speaking of a man who is to come, a man who, dressed in grey, will be waiting for their tram, sitting on a bench not very far from here.
This is the poem in which there are four men sitting and looking at one another, but none of them dares say the word, the same word that's been burning on each of their lips from the very moment each one of them decided to come.
They are waiting; they are waiting for a man who has not yet taken the tram, a man who is opening his closet and taking out his suit and looking in the mirror at a man dressed in grey.
My coworker Ken is leaving KarmaPlus. Today was his last day.
I've mentioned him often enough in this blog, but that doesn't really capture the extent to which I interact with him. I sit across from him at work, and he is the only native English speaker at KarmaPlus, besides myself. Consequently, he and I have a basiscally continuous patter going at work whenever we are both at our desks in the staff room.
I've known Ken since 2008, when he started at LBridge after I'd been there a few months. My vague recollection is that he was hired as Basil's replacement. For a few years, when I went to Yeonggwang and came back to Karma, I didn't see him, but when Karma swallowed up the dregs of LBridge, two years ago, then Ken was one of the LBridge refugees that joined us. He's the longest lasting, now, except for May (the front-desk lady). All the other LBridge refugees have moved on (myself and Helen don't count as refugees, although we both formerly worked at LBridge, because we left LBridge before the "crash").
Anyway, over the last two years Ken has become a kind of surrogate younger brother to me, and I've grown to respect immensely his talent for teaching, his commitment to the kids, and his wide-ranging intelligence. I tolerate his foul language and conspiracy theories, and almost always enjoy his company. I will miss him greatly.
The steam wheels ride the iron, fast as if flying; Travelling and halting, they follow their own mind, not even slightly faltering. Having mastered the theory, what kind of person realized this method? Bubbling the tea’s one leaf has created a divine machine. - Kim Deukryeon (金得鍊, 김득련, Korean poet 1852-1930)
I found this poem online at a website about translating Korean poetry written in classical Chinese (which was the main way to write poetry in Korea until the 20th century). The author of the poem above apparently traveled around the world in 1895-96, and upon his return published poems about his experience.
I want to write about something called "문장의 5형식." This translates as "[the] 5 forms of sentences" and is a core component of what Koreans learn when they study English grammar. This disturbs me to no end, because, of course, despite my training in linguistics, this concept has no meaning for me. It's specific to English-as-a-foreign-language as taught in South Korea, as far as I can tell. But most English grammar books include it, and it has become apparent that I need to know about it, if only to be able to best help my students to make sense of what they're being taught.
I remember, vaguely, running across this same issue last year some time. I decided that since I have had the same issue twice, I should "document" it on my blog, because my brain is too porous to retain the specifics and searching for the relevant terms online revealed nothing that was sufficiently bilingual to prove remotely useful by way of explanation or summary. By putting it in my blog, here, I will be able to find this information in the future quickly by googling. This is the essence of the sense in in which this blog has, more and more, become a sort of aide-memoire for me.
Here is the page from the student textbook that mentions the grammar point of the five forms.
Like most Korean EFL grammar textbooks, the text book is mostly in Korean. This is annoying, as it makes it challenging for me to provide any kind of support to the the Korean-speaking teachers in teaching material from the book. (The book title, for completeness's sake, is 중학영문법3800제 [at right]).
Anyway, what are these five forms? I speculate that they're linked to, or derived from, something in classical Korean grammar (which in turn is linked to classical Chinese grammar in the same sort of geneological relationship as modern English grammar has with classical Latin grammar).
The first form (1형식) is an intransitive sentence, with a non-pronoun subject and verb. This form also allows prepositional-phrase complements (and adverbials?). The book examples are
The sun shines. I went to school.
The second form (2형식) is a verb with subject complement (a subject complement construct? 주격보어 is "subject complement"). The book example is
He looks happy.
The third form (3형식) is a transitive sentence with subject-verb-object (SVO). The book example is
Amy likes her teacher.
The fourth form (4형식) is a ditransitive sentence with a subject-verb-IO-DO (간접목적어 is "indirect object" and 직적목적어 is "direct object"). The book example is
She gave me a book.
Does this mean it only allows prepositional indirect objects? Typically ditransitives with phrasal indirect objects occur with the two objects reversed, e.g.
?*She gave a book to Mortimer.
The fifth form (5형식) is what I would call an "object complement construct" - I don't really know (or recall) if there is some other term for this type of sentence in English (복적격 보어 is "object complement"). The example in the book is
We call her 'Angel.'
I find it very ironic, that the single thing that is impelling me most toward improving my Korean, these days, is my desire to understand English Grammar (*as taught in Korea - that's the caveat).
I spent part of the weekend trying to resume my drawing habit, which has been moribund. Because the weather was hot and unpleasantly humid, I decided to draw snow. That helps me feel less hot, I guess.
I made this picture.
It is titled The Snowy Road to Hwna. This is an imaginary place (of which I have a plethora in my mind). Specifically, it lies somewhere in the mountain country on the island of Puh in the western part of the Mahhal Archipelago.
The style of the drawing is strictly derivative, of course. I think of it as a "contemporary Korean faux-traditional" style - the kind that is ubiquituous in cheesy decor and is for sale as paintings on street corners by third-rate artists. Regardless, I was pleased with it.
A while back I wrote about how I had bought some dirt (potting soil) because my gift plant from when I was in the hospital last year looked like it needed some new digs. I said that having bought more dirt than I needed for that plant might impell me to buy another plant. It did. I bought two more, but then I felt I needed more dirt, so I bought some. Once again having left over dirt, I bought more plants. This is what one calls a feedback loop. So far, the plants seem to be surviving.
Joan Baez, "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word." The song was written by Bob Dylan, but it's Baez's version that everyone knows.
Seems like only yesterday I left my mind behind Down in the Gypsy Café With a friend of a friend of mine She sat with a baby heavy on her knee Yet spoke of life most free from slavery With eyes that showed no trace of misery A phrase in connection first that she averred That love is just a four-letter word
Outside a rambling store-front window Cats meowed to the break of day Me, I kept my mouth shut, To you I had no words to say My experience was limited and underfed You were talking while I hid To the one who was the father of your kid You probably didn't think I did, but I heard You say that love is just a four-letter word
I said goodbye unnoticed Pushed forward into my own games Drifting in and out of lifetimes Unmentionable by name After searching for my double, looking for Complete evaporation to the core Though I tried and failed at finding any door I must have thought that there was nothing more absurd Than that love is just a four-letter word
Though I never knew just what you meant When you were speaking to your man I could only think in terms of me And now I understand After waking enough times to think I see The Holy Kiss that's supposed to last eternity Blow up in smoke, its destiny Falls on strangers, travels free Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me And I do not really need to be assured That love is just a four-letter word
Strange it is to be beside you, many years the tables turned You'd probably not believe me if told you all I've learned And it is very very weird, indeed To hear words like "forever" plead though ships run through my mind I cannot cheat it's like looking in a teacher's face complete I can say nothing to you but repeat what I heard That love is just a four-letter word.