Wednesday, May 2, 2012

진보 = Jinbo

What is there to say about Jinbo? It's a tiny town in the eastern part of Korea, with about 8000 inhabitants calling it home. And that includes me, except for the weekends (see: staying in Jinbo during weekends = Phil with crazy eyes from boredom and lonely bugs). Jinbo's (in)famous for hosting the province's maximum security prison. Which is why there are so many people living in this otherwise-unremarkable town.
Panorama of Jinbo from my roof

In Jinbo's defense, it is pretty well-connected by bus to the rest of Korea. And so I spend a lot of time looking at this on the weekends. By my calculations, I think I've spent at least 150 hours on Korean buses in the last seven and a half months. 
The bus. Every bus.
Actually, I take the bus to work every morning. The elementary school where I spend most of my working hours is about five miles from Jinbo. And it's painted a rather jaunty shade of pink. Well, maybe it's just a subdued shade of pink. 
Despite the logo, this isn't a secret space academy. Too bad.
My desk in the English room is where the magic happens. Or really, it's where the magic is created. Then the magic is transferred to my students by Powerpoint lessons, flashcards, and vocabulary games. It's very powerful juju; I figure the students should be fluent English speakers after about 50 years of my lessons. Now that's magic!
My desk, Korean-speaking PC, English-speaking Mac, and my sweet Hugh-Heffneresque school slippers. My velvet robe is at the dry cleaners along with my ascot.
Full monty view of the classroom. I might have a thing for panoramas. Last one, I swear.
Hmm. What else? Oh, this county is famous for peppers, from which gochujjang and gochugaru are made. These are two of the six ingredients that are used to make all Korean food (see also: dwenjjang, garlic, sesame oil, and rice). Seriously. Can I get some cilantro up in here?!
고추 = Gochu; Deceptively not spicy.

So many gochu.

There's not much else to add. And while it may sound like I'm not a fan of Jinbo, our relationship is more complicated than that. I love the fresh air and the view of the mountains surrounding the town. It's a little (read: a lot) isolated for my taste, but it's quiet and peaceful, and I get the chance to scare the kind inhabitants of this town with my non-Koreanness on a daily basis. After 7.5 months. Really.

You should come visit. I have plenty of floor space and bedding. And a brand new coffee shop in town; going there is pretty much the same* as going to Stumptown or Spro. All the bases are covered.
Cafe There's? Random English FTW.


*Any claims made in this blogpost may or may not be factual. Truth is overrated; get on top.


  1. Oh Phil! This post has so much sexual energy! I would ask why your Hefner outfit is being dry cleaned, but any girl scout worth her weight in thin mints already knows the answer.

    1. Clumsy intern spilled some coffee on it. Duh.

  2. "powerful juju." "Gochu." A picture from the back of the bus. And "my non-Koreanness special surprise" ...

    This post had everything I wanted, and then some. I can't wait to experience Jinbo and Cafe There's first hand. Good posting.

  3. Phirip, this was awesome. I reary enjoyed your Foders guide to Prease-never-visit-this-place-unress-you-are-coming-to-visit-me Jinbo. Awesome.