Jun 3, 2007

team player

Ever heard the song, 'Peel Me a Grape'?

I've always thought the lyric is silly. I'd ask a boyfriend to do a lot for me, oh yes, I would, but I've never imagined that actually asking someone to peel me grape could be the norm there (let alone the height of romantic song-worthy luxury). Peeling a grape for someone must be a big deal. And yet, here's the Vice Principal offering me a peeled green grape in a simply casual sense. I was totally amused watching him gingerly taking off the skin of each one.

It was the just start of a hilarious 'sports day' off (there but for the grace of sun).

"Do you have days like this in Canada?" Kil asked me (he's that benevolent-faced co-teacher you might remember from those rail bike pictures).

"I vaguely remember something like this called 'field days'," I told him.

They tell me that Kil is the strictest teacher at the school. Yeah right. There's a kid trying to kiss him in this picture.

We did have field days, am I right? That was elementary school as far as I can recollect. Soccer baseball, tug-of-war and dodgeball were the main events at home and they are here too, along with some Korean folk dancing to cap it off. The Grade 1 Middle Schoolers are the age-equivalent of a Grade 5 primary school, so context makes sense. Don't ask me to explain why the age thing is. I'm 25-years-old, but in Korean age I'm pushing 28. It's something about having a national birthday as well as your regular birthday and starting at 1 instead of 0. But re-crossing the Pacific Meridian means I'll get those two years back, trust me.

The teachers broke out the beer and fried chicken by 10am, the soju by noon and then they were playing some serious red-faced soccer at 3.

Here's us at 10am.

Turns out I still know how to play soccer baseball, although I should have rethought opting to be the first baseman, since yelling, "throw to me! throw to ME!" does not help. I learned too late I should have been shouting, "YOGI!" - that means 'here' in a commanding sort of way. No one threw the ball to me.

The kids came up with ingenious t-shirts designs for their teams that rip off some well known logos. One of them featured North Face's trademark, but instead of North, it read, 'The GANZI Face'. From what I gather, Ganzi (pronounced something like, 'khang-chee') is a slang indication of the sexiest guy or gal. I had no idea Korean Middle-schoolers have a sexiness scale, since they all seem so androgynous and in self-imposed sexual segregation (or that The North Face is so popular over here for that matter).

I didn't see Sunny all day, except once on the field, she was running around coordinating. Sunny being Sunny.

The 'stadium' is next to the river, painted a little like a gay pride parade, it's a standout. The speaker system was pipping some Korean pop song on a loop. I could sing it by the end of the day, unfortunately.

Best part: before we all went to dinner, which is a whole other story, the team that whooped The Ganzi Face and practically every other of the teams' butts gave me one of their shirts for being an awesome soccer baseball player. They were obviously exaggerating, since I kicked mostly foul balls, I did kicked 'em hard though, so I accepted.

Their shirt kicks too, and here's why: I may not remember those field days, but the 80s Astro Boy cartoon import is too awesome to forget.

Thankfully, Astro did not go gently into oblivion like so many cartoons from back then, and made a huge comeback in 2003. I bought the box set for Mark Palermo, hoping it'd have some traces of the original, but I'm betting it doesn't have the big draw - the old Canadian dub added a crazy epilogue to every show where Astro asked you to spot the 'error' in his story recap. Astro doesn't take the time to insult your intelligence anymore, but it's nice to see the rest of the little rocket man is intact and timeless, and that there are still dirty soccer baseball field days happening somewhere.

The shirt features Astro Boy's body with Bruce Lee's head stuck on it, and the caption down the side there reads 'never die' in Korean.

You know you want it, but you can't have it.

Not Yours.


Sam said...

Apparently, they know Astroboy as "Atom."

And to think all we had for "field day" was indescribable orange drink and blue and gold mesh jerseys called "pinnies."

riley said...

I was a big fan of the whole spectrum of indescribable 'drinks', except purple. I still have a problem with artificial grape flavor, there's something SO wrong there...

I wonder if Atom still has his little tomboy sister, 'Astro girl' - in the CAD version her English name was Sarah. Must have been why I liked the show ;)

Kelly said...

I love the pic of you and the other teachers. Makes me think of Sesame Street!

One of these things is not like thte other. One of these things just doesn't belong!