Punching Strangers

There’s something about seeing people bash their fellow human being’s faces in which really gets us all going…

I don’t know what it is exactly – perhaps it is rooted in our more animalistic side which we ordinarily stifle for the sake of being more civilised and not getting weird looks as we bulldoze through public places…or maybe we are just disgusting and should be euthanised for our cruel ways for the greater good…hmm, that’s entirely possible actually…

High GIF

But whatever it is, and whether you choose to believe it or not, it is there. And things like boxing, UFC, and horrendous fail videos are blatant evidence of this.

Now as you probably all know already, or if you don’t you can look at photographs and work it out by reading between the lines – I am an exceptionally skilled fighter. Not just a brawler but an absolute powerhouse unit, kind of like a really big refrigerator except there’s no ice dispenser in there, just huge uncompromising punches to stranger’s faces…well no, more like a rhino. If rhinos could stand up and didn’t have such laughable fists – because my fists are way more like a…like a ball. Big basketballs of violence that slam dunk your head until you cry and wish you never pushed in front of me whilst queuing for ice cream.

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So it makes complete sense that I went to watch UFC in Seoul the other weekend…and isn’t an odd out of place incident in the slightest. Thank you very much; just wanted to clear that one up before we proceed…

Yeah so someone got me tickets, and I went along with a few friends to see what all of the fuss is about – one of which who asked “so you’re a big fan then?” Well no, I thought, but I think of myself as a aficionado of the classical arts and I respect the culture of the Ancient Greeks with their love of the theatre, and the Ancient Romans for their imposing colosseums as bastions for gladiatorial showdowns…and…FINE – I’m lying, I haven’t the foggiest idea about it aside from that they try to hurt each other.

However I did have one question: “will there be lions and swords?” No?! Dammit…then we’re going to have to get a lot of beer in to make this half-way tolerable…

Beer GIF

And that we did. Despite a rule that meant the beer you bought at the stall you couldn’t bring into the actual viewing platform…”so you just want me to buy seven and drink as fast as I can before heading back in? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” No qualms there…and anyway, it certainly added a different sort of energy to the experience. Running in and out between rounds, and then moments later finding yourself in the humongous stench of the bathrooms alongside a million other men attempting the same impossible task; to both pee quickly despite the pressure, whilst also holding your Budweiser high enough that a pee splash beer cocktail wouldn’t occur. A version of heaven some may say??

Anyway the fights themselves were entertaining, certainly took me back to the school days where much of the day seemed to revolve around punching and kicking humans for questionable reasons…or at the very least planning to. But this time it wasn’t on the schoolyard, in a park, or at the back lane of a corner shop at 3:15…it was organised and with thousands of fans cheering it on. Oh how times of changed, I thought to myself; perhaps this is what being a grown up is all about…

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After the 100th kick to the 100th head I tired of the spectacle somewhat…well no, that’s not entirely true – I was probably just finding it hard to keep my eyes glued in one place. The friend who appeared to be somewhat of a self-proclaimed expert was sleeping with his left hand glued to his chin (that last drink was a bad idea I suppose!) So I took myself off on a little walk, as is often the custom when one is severely off their rocker – and bought even more beer for reasons I can’t be sure of.

I then proceeded to forget the rule (or just flouted it altogether) by attempting to brazenly thrust myself through the security so I could effectively multi-task in my seat…by watching and drinking at the same time; and who know? Possibly I could do some peeing too if I was brave/intoxicated enough.

Of course I was stopped – but the hand wasn’t one of a huge imposing no-nonsense type that would be better placed as a tough cronie of a supervillain mastermind…it was instead a young Korean lady, a student I imagine. I tried to be polite in my protests and naturally pretended like this wasn’t the 300th time I had been through: “OH…OH REALLY? EYEDIDNEVENNOO?!”, whilst making gestures that signalled I was totally unaware of the rules and it was all fresh new very interesting info she was giving me…“AHHH SOH-NO? AHHH RIGHT, YES”I probably looked ridiculous, but in my head I was the master of disguise and deceit.

POnder GIF

I then asked her how I would finish these four beers? A valid question! What should I do with them? Throw them away? Return them? Attempt to give them to the winner of the next UFC bout whilst saying “there you go, this is your golden reward!” Well no, of course not – that would be absolute lunacy.

So clearly there was only one thing for it…and after a very minimal amount of suggestion we chugged two each, high fived, and then continued about our business never to meet again. It was a beautiful moment.

The rest of the night is a blur – but I can say this, I enjoy watching punching a lot more than I do getting punched. That I can say with concrete confidence. 

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Plastic Surgery (강남 언니)

One thing that makes me a wee bit uncomfortable about South Korea is the whole plastic surgery thing – they are easily ahead with the highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery in the world. But it’s not really the fact that it is so popular that freaks me out…I mean live, and let live, right? I know I have parts of myself I wouldn’t mind changing (the McDonalds forehead wrinkles, and wonky rugby player looking nose to name two!) The problem I have is that there appears to be only one accepted “style” that people go for…and that because of this it’s simply recreated, again, and again, and again…so much so that the rather offensive stereotype of “every Asian looking the same” – quite literally becomes true when you walk around in Gangnam, Korea. (As bad as I know that sounds.)

In fact things are so uniform on that front that it  takes no imagination for me to envisage an experienced surgeon doing all of the alterations with his eyes closed…just leaning back in a chair, while his hunchbacked assistant throws people on his conveyor belt one after another…shifting the forehead, elongating the nose, widening the eyes, sharpening the jaw…

“That’ll be a gazillion dollars please and thank you – now go and be a star, off you pop!”

Plastic Sameness GIF

I don’t get why you would want to be uniform, and fit in…at least not so much you would alter your entire appearance to do so – these people are beautiful just as they are, so it absolutely baffles me!

That’s why I want to give the message that I  strongly encourage people to stand out, and be different – after all, YOU ARE ALREADY EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU – so it’s simply easier that way! However if you must get surgery than I wish people would get something that differentiates you from your contemporary counterparts…an alteration that truly sets you apart.

Such as (and not limited to):

  • Shifting your eyes to where your cheeks are – so you can look at food more closely as it goes into your mouth. This will no doubt make the eating experience a lot more enjoyable.
  • Moving one ear to the back of your head – so that no one can ever speak behind your back, and if they do you can hear every word.
  • Getting a hand attached to your forehead so you can easily wipe away sweat, or keep your hair in check on a windy day.
  • Attaching extra skin to your chin, so you can use it as a fashionable scarf during casual occasions, or emergency rope when you are in dire need.
  • Putting an extra mouth on your thigh, so when people say “put your money where your mouth is!” you can insult them and make them look dumb. (Great party trick!)

So yeah, I feel these changes serve much more of a purpose, and at the very least no one can ever call you a sheep. So please take it as it is meant  – not as some smear campaign…more as a few words of wise advice.

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UHHHH-OHHHHH…I HAD NO IDEA SHE WAS ANGRY YOUR HONOR, HER EYEBROWS DIDN’T MOVE!!!

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When MERS Attacks!

My boss sent me a rather rushed message last night regarding my work for the next day, the gist of which was; no school tomorrow. Please stay home. 

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This is because South Korea is on high alert at the moment, especially in my close area, due to the recent outbreak of the MERS virus*This is pronounced like “Merris” for some reason, which to me sounds like a sweet old grandmother who bakes cakes, and sucks on extra strong mints in her spare time – but the reality couldn’t be further from that. It’s actually pretty serious, or at least that’s what I’ve been told…

Little is known about it other than that it is thought to have started in Saudi Arabia…possibly something to do with camels. Never did like camels – all that spitting always struck me as insanitary. I’m not quite sure how it all works, but I imagine the camel spat in someone’s eye, and then that guy licked someone, and so on, and so on…in time the camel had enough of being judged so took a flight to Korea, naturally one thing led to another and now…MERS virus panic in SK!

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What does that mean for me? Well, I am forced to have the day off (BOOO HOOO, I’m crying a river over that one), and when I go out I am recommended to wear a face mask in case someone sneezes directly into my mouth at some point. It makes me look like a bit of a ninja, especially with sunglasses it just feels like a rather shit halloween costume…so I’m opting out of that. Instead I’ll just try my best not to kiss any camels should they start to flirt with me.

Wish me luck… 

*Jokes aside, here is a link to a more credible source for information regarding the MERS virus, should go without saying that I urge everyone in the proximity to be careful – and should you spot any symptoms seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. 

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Scream Train

Public transport is a funny thing isn’t it? Not haha funny, but you know…weird. Odd. Strange. Often horrifying. That kind of funny – so not really funny at all I suppose, but still – often eventful…

I find the Seoul subway is actually quite tame for the most part, perhaps because I am comparing with the trains in my hometown…filled with youths attempting to use your face as a punching bag, and piss-smelling strangers trying to tell you their life story over their first morning beer. The Korean experience differs somewhat. People are just in their own personal space, on their phones or books – generally keeping themselves to themselves.

I’ve adopted this side of their culture; and consequently no longer punch people in the face, piss my pants, or have morning beer. So big pat on the back for me – hopefully I’ll never relapse. Instead I smile politely, pop in my earphones, and either play the Pokemon Fire Red emulator I have on my phone – or read the New Yorker articles I had bookmarked during the day (depends if I wake up feeling like a child, or an adult). Anyway, I basically blend in – as anything else would be breaking strict protocol…

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So on my way home last night it was to my shock and horror that I heard a wild screaming match taking place (even over the top of some pretty blaring earphones!) It sounded shrill, rage-filled, and totally out of control…a domestic thing of some description – not my business, so I kept my back turned to it…but couldn’t help but peer into the small window of the door to catch a reflection of the drama…

But there was no heated argument, no back and forth; it was just one woman, clearly intoxicated – yelling, and cursing things out at random. She was middle aged, with greasy black hair draped over her dark sunglasses…I’m not quite sure she knew what she was saying, but my goodness was she going to say it anyway. As a result people were evacuating left, right and center, as if she was a mad hate filled hurricane one must get out of the way of as soon as humanely possible…meanwhile others were just staring at the floor, or glancing across nervously whenever they thought she wasn’t looking.

It was all very very polite, but was still very very weird. 

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I tried to tune into what her mad Korean ravings were actually about, if anything. I could make out that she wanted everyone to fuck off, and that everyone but herself was a massive prick (not her words, but her actual words were a little more harsh), but apart from that it was anyone’s guess. Until she caught sight of me in the door’s reflection.

That’s when I became the target, something about “English, English, English – fuck off is this Korea, or England?!” She was shouting and balling with such ferocity it was like dragon fire on my back…well, I was certainly sweating like it was anyway. My entire being was emblazoned red with embarrassment, and my palms were so moist with nervousness it was becoming difficult to even hold my phone. I slipped it into my pocket instead, and decided all I could do was do my time…stare at my feet like the others…and do my time.

Awkward GIF

Eventually she exhausted herself – or possibly ran out of offensive vocabulary to use against me, so switched and went back to telling the rest of the carriage to fuck off – instead as well as continuing to remind them all of the fact they are massive pricks, just in case they had forgotten. So back to the status quo then, that’s alright…

But oh no, the story doesn’t stop there my friends! Just as I thought it was over, out of nowhere a dwarf man…sorry – what’s the politically correct way to say that? Not midget I know that much, so let me Google it; smaller man, little person…ah – person of slight stature. Yeah anyway he popped up, and started to talk with her – trying to get her to calm down by a series of soothing tones, and a weird sort of shoulder massage thing (what a brave, and possibly stupid gent!) Unfortunately for whatever reason she didn’t take kindly to the treatment, and unleashed a frenetic and hate filled inferno of insults towards him – so loud that I thought the window screens would split and smash as a result…I couldn’t tear my eyes away – I thought at any second he was going to get a swift kick in the bollocks, or a fork to the eyeball.

Instead as her tirade continued, the man didn’t flinch at all…instead he chuckled broadly and then turned to face me with a wide smile and two over-enthusiastic thumbs up…A THUMBS UP!? IN THIS SITUATION MAN, LIKE…REALLY?!

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Don’t bring me into this?! I’m just an English guy…an English guy in Korea!

She lost it upon seeing this – and was suddenly reminded of her beef with myself mere moments ago…I span back to staring at my shoes, as the rage echoed throughout the carriage once more. It was then that I realised she literally hadn’t stopped for breath ever since stepping foot on the subway…maybe she’d pass out soon, and give our ears a break…

Well it could have happened, but instead she stood up – gave one last mad Chewbecca warble, before pointing at myself and marching out at the next stop. Phew. I had been saved, and returned the thumbs up to my miniature hero a few minutes later upon finally reaching my station. Thanks my friend, I owe you one… 

So that’s the story, just another day on public transport people, another weird, odd, horrifying – yet funny day. I’m suddenly very tired.

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Genius on the Subway!

As we all probably know…it’s often a challenge to get a seat on the subway, especially at rush hour! But this young genius had the answer…

Subway Seat

Spotted somewhere near Seoul – proven way to be guaranteed a seat! Brilliant!

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Masterchef (For Two Hours!)

Received a message out of the blue from an in-need friend…modelling for a clothing line he said – well I’m never one to say no to anything weird, or wonderful – which is just as well as the photo shoot was for a chef’s outfit range! Good fun! 

These are just ones he got on his phone from the sidelines…I’m sure the professional ones will follow…

Cooking

p.s. my current hairspray is fantastic – doesn’t matter how many different chef’s hat they rammed on top of my head, it stayed firm and true. So shoutout to the hairspray, the real MVP.

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Kiss Me, I’m not Irish.

So it is upon us again…St. Patrick’s Day! Or as I like to call it “the day Americans tell you they are Irish because their Grandmother’s half-cousin once dated a guy who once had a teacher who was Irish.” ..so yeah, with that in mind it should come as no surprise that the global Irish population expands temporarily by about 10,000% (just for the festive weekend, of course!)

Go on GIF

But what’s the harm? None really. So you pull on something green, sip something strong, and head on out to celebrate life – and just have a fucking good time! Perhaps the true meaning has been lost, but it brings people together in a joyous (although slightly blurred)  beautiful moment – so I’m all for it!

I was wearing these green jeans I have for some reason, which I thought looked cool…but which actually make me look like a demented pixie. But it was too late, I was on the subway – and people are usually against strangers stripping off in public. Especially in tight spaces. But I eventually got into Seoul at 12, and we immediately went hammer, and tongs with the soju, and beer. And lunch…but honestly that was an after thought. After which we headed over to a big event that was happening – probably guffawing as I laughed manically at my friend’s moderately funny jokes. I read a quote someplace that said something along the lines of, “when you laugh, laugh like hell” – which I guess is saying, make the most out of happy moments…

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Well I imagine I looked worse than this…how much worse though? I picture myself as a pterodactyl who just learned to fly…shaking my massive head around in celebration – and making bizarre squawks at irregular intervals. That much worse.

Mind, I loved the performances that were going on…so many talented people – dancing, singing, playing musical instruments – the lot. My favourite were these guys who played hip hop songs with violins…each time it took me a minute or two to realise! Fantastic stuff! It was also wonderful to see so many old friends, acquaintances, and naturally new people – I love things that bring people together, and this was one of those events ~

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 Anyway, great times…with some great people…what more can a person want, ey? If you are celebrating, enjoy yourself – if not, kick back, and eat some bacon or something. Toodles! 

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