An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: September 2010

Chuseok Holiday

There hasn’t been too much going on around here lately, thus the relatively long time between posts. The weather has finally turned nice, with the gray, rainy skies and humidity of the past few months giving way to cool mornings and crisp, sunny days along with lower, but still high, humidity. Very nice and just in time for Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok, of which there is a nice writeup here.

This year, the holiday falls on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the upcoming week. It makes for a short week of teaching, but, unfortunately, we do have classes on Monday and Friday. Most of the students are whining about this, of course, since they want to leave early for their hometowns and don’t want to come back until next weekend. I don’t blame them a bit. If it were me, I’d take off and not worry about being counted absent for the one or two days I’d miss. I told them that and said that if this were the U.S., almost all the students would turn this into a 9-day vacation and wouldn’t worry a bit about being counted absent.

I told my students that one or two absences are not going to affect their grades all that much, especially if most of them are absent. The grades are based on a curve system here and they are only graded within each individual class, not with all the other classes combined. But some of the kids are so overly worried about missing even one class that they probably have trouble sleeping at night thinking about that particular stain on their otherwise spotless record. Darned overachievers anyway. 🙂 Sheesh, take a break, go home and enjoy the extended holiday, lighten up.

Oh, well, whatever the case, I have to be in class on Monday and Friday, though I expect there will probably be a pretty light turnout, especially on Friday. If most of the students are in class on Monday, maybe I’ll give them homework to do over the period, so that if they want to be absent on Friday, they can get some extra credit for doing the homework. Something like that, anyway.

Also over the last few weeks, the teachers’ apartments have been without cable TV. We had the admin people check into it, and we were told that the cable is no longer available. We’d always had it, and I assumed it was part of the annual maintenance fee that we pay every year. Apparently not. It was hardly worth it anyway, with only 15 channels available and of those, 3 were English channels — CNN, a sports channel and Animal Planet, which never came in good. The rest were Korean, Chinese or Japanese broadcasts, and whenever a lightning storm or heavy rain hit, the reception was knocked out for several days.

But, today we’re going to have a new cable package installed, one that brings with it close to a 100 channels, including quite a few more English stations. We have to pay a one-time installation fee of 30,000 Korean won (about $25) and a monthly subscriber fee of 14,000 won (about $12), but it’s worth the price. Now, in my two years at the Yankee baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, I never had a television, so I could do without, but it’s nice to have anyway.

P.S. TS Malou never did amount to much; it eventually passed quite a ways to the south of us, so we got only a few inches of rain and a small amount of wind.

TS Malou–A Surprising Update

I posted yesterday that Tropical Storm Malou was predicted to slide up the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean Peninsula, bypassing Yeosu. But when I checked the Weather Underground website this morning after I woke up, I was surprised to see that Malou’s predicted path had been changed to take it through South Korea, much on the same track that Kompasu took–namely, through Seoul. However, the Korean Meteorological Administration predicts that Malou is heading directly for Yeosu, sometime on Tuesday, though we’re starting to feel its effects already. At any rate, we’re in for several inches of rain and gusty winds tomorrow and thereafter. Here’s the KMA forecast. Click on the image for a larger version.

Tropical Storm Malou, Typhoon Naming System

Well, TD 10 did develop into Tropical Storm Malou; however, it doesn’t appear that it’s going to gain any more strength before its demise, and it’s predicted path takes it close to the east coast of China and then shows it veering northeast across the Yellow Sea (the West Sea, to Koreans) to make landfall in North Korea. I doubt that it will have much affect on Yeosu if the predictions are correct.

By the way, Malou is a Chinese word meaning “agate” or “chalcedony” according to the Japan Meteorological Association. I much prefer the naming system for typhoons than I do the American naming of hurricanes. I mean, hurricanes get named for every Tom, Dick and Mary–literally. US weather is acquainted with hurricanes on a hum-drum, first-name basis. Here in the Far East, the typhoon names are much more exotic and evocative in meaning–chalcedony, mythological gods and goddesses, trees, rainbow and even milk pudding. Here’s a list of the current typhoon names adopted by the “Typhoon Committee for the western North Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.” Malou is in Column IV near the bottom of the list. It looks like in a year or so they might have to compile a new list.

Another thing you’ll notice about the list, if you look, is that many countries in the area contribute to the naming, not just one country. The US is even on the list of contributors. I think it would be interesting to name some hurricanes in Spanish, the other predominant language of the Americas. How about Hurricane Merengue or Arco Iris (rainbow) for starters?

Furthermore, many Atlantic hurricanes are born off the coast of Africa, so there could even be a few African references thrown in. I think it would make for a vastly more interesting naming system. 😎

Another Storm Brewing–TD 10

Well, Kompasu has come and gone. Yeosu got between 4 and 5 inches of rain, and I haven’t seen any wind damage, so we got out of it relatively unscathed. Much of the rain seemed to come down early this morning, between 5 and 5:30, right after I woke up. I mean it REALLY poured with an intensity that we certainly didn’t see in TS Dianmu.

In Seoul, parts of the massive subway system were shut down, power was lost in some areas, flights were canceled and 3 people were killed, according to various reports by The Chosun Ilbo, Bloomberg News and The BBC.

Now, however, another storm is brewing just over the horizon. Tropical Depression 10 is forming in nearly the same area of the Pacific where Kompasu was born. Weather Underground shows the depression gradually gaining strength until it hits the southeast coast of Korea (that’s us, more or less–we’re south central) as a category 2 typhoon next Monday evening. It’s still very early in the game, so it could hit anywhere or be swept out to sea before it reaches us. Stay tuned.

Typhoon Kompasu Update

It looks like Kompasu is going to come ashore way up near the DMZ or Seoul, thus leaving Yeosu pretty much out of the path of the category 3 typhoon. We’ll probably get several inches of rain and 30-35 mph winds, but nothing too severe. The huge megalopolis of Seoul and its environs will probably get nailed quite badly. Let’s hope everyone up that way is prepared for the worst.

Right now, Kompasu is packing winds of around 115 mph with gusts up 145, according to the Weather Underground site. The forecast calls for winds to diminish somewhat and for it to come ashore as a category 2 typhoon on Thursday morning–still plenty mean. In Yeosu, we currently have cloudy skies, light winds and no rain. Our worst will probably come later this evening and very early Thursday. More later.

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