Lotte World Tower, Seoul

In July 2016 I visited Lotte World Tower in the Seoul suburb of Jamsil. At that stage the building was complete (at 555 metres, currently the fifth highest building in the world) but still being fitted out, so the observation decks weren’t open, but a shopping mall at the base was open. It was officially opened last week, on the 3rd of April, preceded by a fireworks and laser display on the night of the 2nd.

Short documentary about the building and the fireworks (from Lotte World Tower-Mall’s Youtube Channel)

News report about the fireworks (from YTN News)

My own photo

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Last thoughts about South Korea

Last Sunday, I attended church in Korea for the last time. At the end of the service, the congregational leader announced that I was leaving, and the priest invited me to speak. I noticed that a Korean woman who’d lived in England for some time, and spoke English well, had also come to the front and was standing next to me holding a microphone, obviously to translate for me. But I surprised everyone, including her, by speaking in Korean, about 30 seconds of thank you and goodbye which I’d been composing in my head the day before and during the service. At the end, I turned to her and said ‘Please translate that’. She was so flustered that she gave a brief summary in English!

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Don’t worry, be happy

I was sitting in the bar at which a social group of teachers usually meets, at the time we usually meet, but I was by myself, because everyone else has gone away on holiday already. Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ came on the sound system. I got wondering about how to translate that into Korean. I know the negative imperative verb form, but not the verb worry, and I know the positive imperative adjectival verb form and the adjectival verb happy.

I checked don’t worry on Google Translate when I got home. It depends on your politeness level. Plain speech (said to same-age friends or juniors) is 걱정하지 마 (geok-jeong-ha-ji ma), which clearly does not fit into the rhythm of the original English. Standard polite speech (said to general acquaintances in semi-formal situations) is 걱정하지 마세요 (geok-jeong-ha-ji ma-se-yo), which even more clearly does not fit the rhythm.

Be happy is 행복 해 (haeng-bok hae) in plain speech, which does actually have the right number of syllables, but doesn’t fit the meter, or 행복 하세요 (haeng-bok ha-se-yo) in standard polite speech, which doesn’t and doesn’t.

kick baseball

The college associated with our university had its sports days two weeks ago and the university had its last week, so for several weeks I’ve seen students practicing various sports around the campus (and seen the college sports days in passing). One of them, I’d never seen before. It’s obviously a hybrid of soccer and baseball, with a soccer ball being kicked from the home plate but otherwise following the rules of baseball.

On Monday, one of my students asked if I’d come and watch her team play – long pause – ‘kick baseball’ on Friday. I asked her where and when, but she couldn’t tell me. I’m not surprised that she didn’t know the name of this sport, because *I* didn’t know the name of this sport. But ‘kick baseball’ is a very, very good attempt.

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