February 25th, 2011
I took the 무궁화 Mugunghwa train back to Seoul. It was nice to be able to be at the station in 5 minutes from Georgy and 진홍 Jinhong's house, but honestly I don't like the trains unless they're the fast KTX trains (which are so expensive).
In Seoul I attended a Fulbright Forum because Professor Pai, Hyung-il was speaking about her research. I had heard much of her presentation in the past, but she is an amusing speaker (partially because she says some things that most academics, especially junior scholars, would never say—I guess that's the advantage of being a more senior scholar). Afterwards I probably should have hung out and socialized for longer, but I did at least manage thirty minutes of hang shaking and card exchanging. I met some interesting academics, and Jenny from my dissertation support group was there.
I left the gathering and rushed to 대학로 Daehangno, one of the big college kid hang-out zones and met up with 6 out of the 10 (besides myself) students of 상모 sangmo in week 6 of the 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak winter session. They had already been together for a couple hours, I had one cup of 막걸리 makgeolli and then we headed to a 노래방 noraebang (singing room for karaoke). It turned out no one could sing worth beans (although I was still probably the worst) so we just laughed a lot. It was really awesome to see everyone, my favorite people 진영 Jinyeong, 범준 Beomjun and 지원 Jiwon were there. Beomjun leaves for the military in two weeks, so it was sort of our last chance to hang out as a group. Although I didn't have a chance to have any in depth conversations, it was good to sort of secure the connection by meeting back up in Seoul.
Despite the fact that all 7 of us are non-smokers, by the time we left the hof they had been drinking in we all stunk to high heaven of cigarettes. Ventilation appears to be completely unnecessary. Ugh. I had forgotten that really bad aspect of going out in Korea. I came home and stripped on the verandah then took a shower so I could tolerate being around myself.