Saturday, January 21, 2006

criminality with Liminality

Bazaar in 12 Days!

On Friday evening, I had the great privilege of meeting Charles of Liminality fame.

The stuff that's cooking in the above photo? That's not Charles. In the above photo, Charles is the bib and pair of long-sleeved arms you see across the table from me. The arm to my left belongs to a restaurant worker who took it upon himself to cook our dak-galbi.

Thanks to my sickness, my nose was stuffed and I was unable to taste anything. Charles and I agreed that dak-galbi, which is a spicy chicken and vegetable dish, might have a better chance of breaking through the mucus barrier than the Italian food we'd originally intended to eat. I felt guilty for having diverted Charles from what would probably have been an exquisite meal. On top of not eating Italian food, Charles had the pleasure of watching me fail to deal with my runny nose because I didn't notice the trickle. We really should've gotten a photo of that.

We were in Kangnam, which is always crowded on Friday evenings. After dinner, we managed to find a cafe away from the main street (FYI: my taste buds remained dormant all evening). Charles and I talked while we waited for his wife, Hyun-jin. Charles's Korean is impeccable. Once Hyun-jin arrived, a cruel decision was made to speak only in Korean. I, of course, was unable to keep up my end of the deal, but I gave it a college try.

Below, you see Charles, who looks like White Jesus:

I like the sign outside the window. Not only do we have iMacs and iRivers and iPods-- we've also got iRish!

People who read Charles's blog know that he's a professional translator. Hyun-jin teaches Korean and is learning Japanese. Here's the blushing couple:

Actually, "blushing" is entirely the wrong adjective for both Charles and Hyun-jin. I had thought, based on my reading of Charles's blog, that I'd be meeting someone who was somewhat shy and quiet.

Wrong. The man is a nut.

Charles was easily persuaded to take up a crucifixion pose so we could get a photo of him as White Jesus. Hyun-jin took a shot of us outside the cafe. The Photoshopped result (and soon to be a comic series) is below:

It was a fun evening. While we talked about many interesting things, I'll do as I did for Joel and stay mum about the topics. Charles is free to blog about them on his site, but seeing as he posts only about ONCE A DAMN MONTH, I suspect tonight's meeting will be a fading memory before the man blogs again.

Charles, the invitation to dinner (you and the Missus) remains open. It was great meeting you both Friday evening.



Anonymous said...

I had a great time, and my wife confessed that you did not turn out to be the raving lunatic she was expecting. (Then again, she hasn't seen the impressively PSed crucifix photo yet, either.) All in all, a very enjoyable evening. We will definitely be taking you up on your dinner invitation--sooner rather than later if you promise to make that mousse. Yummy.

The other photos serve to remind me how utterly incapable I am of smiling for a photograph without looking like a complete moron. I can understand why you do that grimace thing. I'm going to have to try that.

Oh, and my Korean isn't impeccable, and your Korean wasn't nearly as bad as you suspect. I think you held your own just fine.

Lastly, thank you for the subtle reminder to post more often. I will do my best to post soon (ie, sometime within this decade).

Kevin Kim said...

re: wife's assessment of the raving lunatic

Keep in mind that I was medicated. Things might have gone very differently.

re: dinner

Yes, the mousse will be a feature at dinner. So let it be written. So let it be done.

re: impeccable Korean

"Not nearly as bad as you expect" is the most honest assessment I've heard so far. Koreans are usually very polite and still (in general) have low expectations of foreigners with regard to language skills. It's hard to get an objective assessment from friends, as well as from people I don't know, such as taxi drivers.

On the official "geup" system, I'd rate myself about a 2.5-- barely breaking into intermediate level. Although my speech has some speed to it, vocab IS an issue, and so is listening. I nod a lot while listening, but it doesn't mean I understand everything I'm hearing.

I usually try to squint when I'm confused-- not all Koreans take the hint, though, because squinting can sometimes be a subtle indication of agreement when coupled with nodding. The problem for me is that, if someone is speaking full-speed and at length, I can't really trip them up by saying, "Could you repeat that?" every other sentence.

So I struggle to understand as best I can, and occasionally try to ask questions to clarify in my mind what I've heard.

re: "subtle" reminder to post more often