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 maintain a work-related blog on the Korean portal Naver: jaredway.com.
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).
Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and these sites enable this vice.
I have, in fact, been working as a volunteer administrator for OpenGeofiction for about half a year
now. I enjoy it, and I've learned a lot. I created and maintain the site's main wiki page: OGF
The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
I originally discovered the above site when exploring this site Urban Geofiction.
Another geofiction site Norscand. They recently linked to OGF, too.
TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.
Online English Grammar reference Grammarist. Useful for settling disputes over grammar.
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.
Many people don't realize that the name of my birth state has a rather unusual etymology. California was named by Spanish explorers after a fictional place, which is named in a novel they were familiar with, Las sergas de Esplandián, by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. Montalvo, in turn, made up the name, probably under the influence of La Chanson de Roland, from a few centuries earlier, where we can read,
Morz est mis nies, ki tant me fist cunquere Encuntre mei revelerunt li Seisne, E Hungre e Bugre e tante gent averse, Romain, Puillain et tuit icil de Palerne E cil d'Affrike e cil de Califerne;
I suppose these medieval and renaissance authors were trying to evoke the "enemy" of Christiandom, i.e. the Caliphate. Thus California has the same "conceptual etymology" as ISIS, via a very different path.
Yesterday after working in the morning, I took the subway into Seoul and met my friend Peter. We hung out for a few hours.
There were a lot of protests going on in downtown Seoul. Along Jong-no (the ancient, main east-west drag in downtown Seoul), we saw these protesters and a very disproportionate number of police.
I guess some are protesting about the president's impeachment. Others are protesting the endemic corruption that the president's impeachment seems to represent. There will be elections in about 6 weeks, so some people are protesting just because it seems like a good time to protest. It's part of Korean culture, to a certain extent.
The group above is "leftish" - the red banner with yellow letters, on the right, reads 노동자연대 [nodongjayeondae], which means "Workers' Solidarity."