A Suffocating Child

I remember seeing the little warning notes on plastic carrier bags as a kid…something along the lines of ‘To avoid danger of suffocation, keep away from babies and children!’ And like most people (I imagine) I thought “DURRRRRRRRRR! Why must people constantly be told what is glaringly obvious?!” 

Well…hmmm…about that one…

Today I wandered into a classroom to be greeted with a strange figure donned in a rough and ready hood:

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The mysterious character had pulled tightly around the neck, and had been amusing others by sucking at the plastic from the inside, so that it moved on the outside for all to see…hilarious, and captivating I’m sure! But now the airflow had been cut off altogether, and the hooded individual was wailing in a high-pitched tone, whilst belligerently banging all over the room in a bizarre attempt to fumble his way to safety…

…I ran up in total worried parent mode, and very nearly exclaimed: “you fucking stupid bastard!” but I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, and simply point out the blatantly obvious. Instead I clawed like a rabid dog at the plastic of the bag, piercing through with my barely there fingernails…creating a mouth hole so the kid wouldn’t, you know…die! That’s when I felt the gross slimy breath on my hand, and the saliva build up inside…disgusting…but the whimpering had stopped, and had been replaced with a vague, rather awkward laughter…

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But I didn’t find it funny at all, I know I know – total DAD alert – but I couldn’t help it. I just kept asking over and over; “why would you do that? WHY? What were you even thinking?!” and other questions of that ilk. Naturally I just got blank stares, as the daredevil/absolute moron continued to breathe like a wheezing old turtle.

I mean, this was the first time in all my years I had ever seen anyone disregard the rather well-documented plastic bag warnings and proceed to jam it over their heads, in a “haha – aren’t I dangerous?!” kinda way…I sometimes wish I could be down with the kids, and chuckle at these things along with them – but I can just see the news headlines now!

‘TEACHER CHEERED ON AS CHILD SUFFOCATED HIMSELF TO DEATH WITH A PLASTIC BAG HE PROVIDED. CLAIMS IT WAS “JUST A BIT OF A LAUGH” AND DIDN’T CONSIDER IT DANGEROUS.’

Long headline like, but I am sure you get the picture – it doesn’t read well! So I have to continue with the adult facade…probably for the best, just this once.

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HOW NOT TO FACE-PAINT 101!

So this week we had a “fun day” for the kids because there’s a Korean children’s holiday coming up soon! We sang songs, did some arts and crafts, and there was even a magician! Such laughs, such jokes, such jolly good fun! 

Then a big horrible monster of a man ruined it. As soon as he came bursting in a dark cloud was cast above the classroom…thunder and lightning began to crack, and air became cold. The beast spared no one…scarring both faces and minds alike – with simple strokes of a paint brush. Ruining childhoods, and lives with every ignorant flick of his accursed wrist.

Here is a picture of one of the survivors…he’s still alive, but who knows what degree of mental damage has been done?

Face Painting

I’m sorry, so so sorry…what’s worse is this was 100% my best effort. I’m surprised the parents haven’t came around to my home with flaming torches and pitchforks…

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Lost Child

Gotta tell you this one real quick…it’s a story I was told just yesterday – drama central over here trust me!

So there’s a larger school near the kindergarten I work at…and the parents are up in arms at the moment – full pitchfork and flaming torches kinda deal (well you know, metaphorically!) …news travels fast here with a dedicated community of Mothers in place to spread stories, as and when necessary! And boyyyy, is it necessary!

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Usually such upset is over trivial matters…but the latest is pretty ridiculous I have to admit, and the uproar levels are definitely justified; let me cut to the chase…one of the students (five years old I think) was on the school bus home…when he decided to have a little snooze! I mean, there’s nothing better right? You wake up, and you are at your destination! Perfect! 

Ingeniously he decided to stretch out over a couple of chairs for maximum comfort! And slowly but surely the bus made its way around the student’s homes…and before long there was no one in it ! Apart from the driver, and that little sleeping chap in the back of course…

Well the driver wasn’t the most screwed on fella in the world (it seems) – because he eventually finished his usual route, did one little look back and saw no one…so then proceeded to drive the bus to the school’s shelter and head on out into the night! Naturally an hour or so later the boy woke up to nothing but darkness, wondering just where the hell he was!

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Thankfully the door of the bus was open – so the petrified boy was able to free himself from his prison…but that only meant he was in a strange place, with no idea how to get home. It’s basically the kindergarten version of The Shawshank Redemption. Poor lad. So all he had left in his arsenal was to wander these unfamiliar streets, whilst crying out loud. This went on for an hour or so apparently.

Finally the police asked him what the hell was going on. Or words to that effect I imagine! And were able to get in touch with his parents…who were freaking out. Like Drake getting kissed by Madonna levels of freaking out. 

Anyway, important info is – he’s coming to our school now! Feels kind of intriguing, he has an air of something about him…he is the boy who lived! Not quite Harry Potter, but definitely someone with a story to tell…just think of the things he must have seen on that detour of his! The bus seats…the pavement…the…well okay, it’s bland when I put it like that!

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But come on! HARRY POTTER IS COMING TO OUR SCHOOL! REJOICE!

In unrelated news, we now have a strict seat-belt policy for the kids, and a final check procedure when the bus is finishing its route. But as I say…totally unrelated. 

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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!)

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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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Washed Thumbs.

I’ve noticed something (BREEEEP-BREEEEEP! MASSIVE GENERALISATION ALERT! BREEEEP! BREEEEP!) there is less of a fondness towards the washing of one’s hands after use of the lavatory here in Korea. Well, the men at least, the older men in particular – I can’t really speak for the ladies – they frown upon me entering their bathroom you see. I know! Political correctness gone mad! Anyway, I digress…

My point is that a healthy majority just seem to splash, and dash. I imagine they feel that the urinal (hate that word! That’s my equivalent to people’s distaste to ‘moist’) is less of a touchy, touchy situation so they reckon they don’t have to wash their hands…

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Now I’m not here to launch some kind of campaign. I don’t want people to start ranting on Twitter, and making phrases like #SKHandWash, or #PeePeeGate trend. I just needed to provide that background so I could tell you of a funny little occurrence I had today –

I was in the public bathroom after watching the surprisingly good Big Hero 6 – and as per usual I’m cramped in the corner, and just trying to be over, and done as fast as humanely possible. It was really squashed, and tight in there which made the whole process all the more stifling, and irritating. However for how many people there were in there – there was only one guy standing at the sink washing his hands! Result, I thought to myself! In a weird kinda way…the lackadaisical approach to basic hygiene has paid off!

So I strolled over there – well not strolled, the floor was all wet, and a relaxed stroll could have meant I’d slip over and fall face first into a thousand men’s combined urine trail. So no, it was more of a cautious stepping, I lied about the stroll thing. Wanted to appear more cool I guess. Apologies. 

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Anyway I got to the sink, and felt my other hand-washing partner stare me down. I could sense him in my peripheral vision – just glaring at me, as he massaged the soap into his hands. Perhaps he is so used to being the only one washing his hands that he took me as a threat?! A rival to his position?! I couldn’t be sure, so I looked back at him, to see what his deal was –

But he wasn’t grimacing with anger at all – he was smiling, in fact he looked over the moon!

“Hand washing?” he beamed, as he winked, and held up soapy thumbs as a sign of his excitement,

“Yeah…” I said, rather blankly – instantly feeling bad for not reciprocating his positivity,

“We’re cool guys. Hand washing is cool!” he cooed, as he dried his hands. I nodded, and did my best fake smile – which felt convincing at the time. He then clicked his fingers, and did a little half-dance wiggle, before heading out.

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So my thoughts regarding the whole thing are this – perhaps a nationwide commercial/advertisement? With that guy as the face of the whole thing…he could revolutionize the culture. He certainly changed my view on the whole thing!

But how do I find him…hmmm…

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Umbrella Please!

I should probably preface this by pointing out that (in my experience) Koreans are an amiable, friendly, and warm-hearted lot! But naturally there’s always the bad apples…and I met one on Saturday night…

The setting was central Itaewon, it’s a very ‘foreigner-friendly’ place, which isn’t particularly my bag – but I was out with friends, and we were heading to the next place in high spirits…it was then that we were stopped by a kind looking middle aged Korean lady, who looked rather unassuming, and normal…if there is such a look. Anyway, she was stroking my friends arm, and speaking in a soothing voice, what exactly I am unsure. But after a few awkward moments we started to walk away, and that is when all hell broke loose. That was when I definitely knew what she was saying…

“SHEEE-BAL! SHEEE-BAL! KAAAAYSECKY! SHEEE-BALLL!”

(“Fuck off! Fuck off! CUNT! FUCK OFFFF!”)

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Yes, I know the swear words better than than the language itself, but let’s not focus on that issue! Let’s instead focus more on the fact that this stranger was suddenly spitting (literally) at us, for just carrying on our way. I actually didn’t know what to do – I don’t think anyone did who was there to behold the spectacle. She had just went from 0-100…from a sweet Minnie Mouse, to a mad spluttering Donald Duck. 

All I could do was try and dodge the spittle, because no matter how much I wished that I had an umbrella – I knew that wouldn’t make it suddenly appear.

KAAAAYSECKY! SHEEE-BALLL! KAAAYYYSECCCCCKY!” 

Her eyes were flooded with violence, as she wagged her arms like mad hate-filled propellers in our general direction. We stared in disbelief, and then just shrugged, and turned away…hoping she wouldn’t follow us further to give us an earful! Thankfully she didn’t – I’m assuming she must have met another unsuspecting group, and started the whole mad conversation all over again.

Single life, huh? Fun times. 

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Nike – Just Do…

I don’t know who makes all of the t-shirts in Korea...but there are some bad products out there! Bad is an understatement – there are some AWFUL products out there! Actually, I don’t even know where to begin! Sometimes they are just harmless errors, or sometimes the English doesn’t make sense at all- but occasionally the English sentence is just down-right woeful!

I have no idea who who checks the grammar, or perhaps it doesn’t even matter in people’s minds…but for some reason I reckon the old lady with ‘SEX GIRLS ONLY’ written on her cap would probably have a minor heart attack – if someone where to tell her!

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The best example, (and by best I mean worst!) I can give is this particular instance…you see I was walking around a shopping mall, when a little girl ran into me all of a sudden – this surprised her for a second (and me too!) but then she toddled off someplace else, the image of her stayed with me though. You see she was wearing a t-shirt that was meant to be an imitation of a style one…you know their famous marketing phrase – ‘JUST DO IT!’ Which is supposed to excite people, and tells them they should always try hard, take risks – and do their utmost in every task! Quite inspiring! Right?

Well yes, I certainly think so!

But the imitation t-shirt was just that, And so it wasn’t exactly like the original…it was the same colour, and it had the style tick design…the same type of font for the lettering…but instead of ‘JUST DO IT!’ it read…

‘JUST DO ME!

Which errr, yeah…means something completely different…

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Winter Sickness (AKA: KIDS!)

First, and foremost thank you to everyone for the show of support, and concern – the love is appreciated, that’s for sure! I’m feeling a little under the weather, but with better spirits…so I made this video to warn you of the dangers of children – wrap up, wear a mask, and keep your distance!

I’ve caught the winter sickness…that doesn’t mean you need to get infected to – SAVE YOURSELF!

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Table Manners (DON’T MATTER?)

I need your help here my friends! You see naturally there are different table manners, and rules – when it comes to different countries…so what should I teach my Korean kids? The Western ways…or…do I try and get on board with the Korean etiquette? Help me out, please! 

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Dreaded Dong Chim (똥침)

I’ve discussed it before…but that doesn’t mean it’s anything less than shocking – every – single – time! Surprise fingers jolting up your bum…no one should get used to that!

Oh,  and here’s the aforementioned post, about the dreaded dong chim! I hope the craze stops soon…I’m sore. 

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