Friday, October 2, 2009

Episode 20: In Which DFM "Invents" A Korean Traditional Game, And Watches A Korean Stick Fighting Contest

Thursday was the last day of work this week before the Chuseok long weekend. The children had been busy all week preparing masks and other crafts in their classes in expectation of the important holiday. Today they had a chance to enjoy themselves by wearing their hanboks, eating traditional snacks, and playing many traditional games. While it was great fun for the kids, I've noticed that any time children get to enjoy themselves at school it usually means the poor teachers have to work extra hard to control all of the wild screaming "monsters," and by the end of the day they look exhausted.

As mentioned earlier, there were lots of traditional games being played, including the folded paper Pogs game, and Koosh ball hacky sack, I played played on my first visit. There was also "Korean hopscotch" and the timeless (and apparently borderless) "roll the hoop with the stick" game.

I did not get to enjoy any of those games though, because I was told to stay upstairs on the outdoor, second floor playground all day (the other games were in other areas). The games being played there were the "throw the wooden darts in the bucket" - also featured in my earlier blog post linked above - and a new game I'd never seen before, in which participants try to carry wood blocks on any part of their body (other than in their hands) a pre-determined distance and then drop them at other wooden blocks, standing on edge on the ground, in an attempt to knock these second blocks over (this will now be referred to as "Korean bowling" - a name I just made up - but note that many Koreans already participate in modern bowling).

Up until now I have included very few pictures in my posts compared with my last visit. I realise this, and today I will make it up to you with a super smorgasbord of pictures, including many with your favourite students from past blog posts.

(That's Giant-Micky-Mouse-Ears Girl on the right)

(That little girl who used to stare at me from the top of the stairs.)

(He was actually posing this way for me, of his own volition too.)

(You might remember the shining face on the left as Fight Girl.)

(I'm not sure who this boy is, but if you make a face like that you're going to get on the blog.)

(It's Thomas!)

(Lew - Balance Boy - says "hello.")

One of the games the kids were supposed to play involved throwing wooden darts from behind a red line into a wooden bucket. The darts have hard tips and bounce out of the bucket if you don't throw them just right, so the game is harder than it looks. Here (below) some boys shows us how it's done.

(Lew actually makes a "score" with this shot. I can't remember what it's called when you get the arrow in the bucket though.)

"Throw the wooden arrows in the wooden bucket" (actual name, tuho) game takes patience, and some boys at the school have trouble with games like that (can you believe it?). Below, Lewis (Taekwondo Boy), gets a little too exuberant with his throw. Also, note how close he is to the bucket which is actually being held up by another boy to give him a better target.

(Lew is in the orange pants.)

Other boys though forgot the bucket all together and just had stick fights with each other.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the children were also playing "Korean bowling." The easiest method to carry the block to the goal and dump it accurately, resulting in the necessary toppling of the "pin," was to use the back of your wrist. Sticker Girl shows us how below.

Some of children tried some harder methods, including using their head and shoulders. I was able to even use my thigh. The boy below definitely found the hardest method though. He tried to carry one block on the top of each of his shoes.

The hanboks definitely looked cute, but I'm not sure about the wisdom of sending children to school to play in silk clothes that cost a lot of money. You might have this happen...

Or this...

(Yup, he's crawling on the wooden playground equipment.)

Not to mention this...

(Thomas and friends make sure that the sandbox is still fun to play in, even when you're wearing a hanbok.)

While I'm sure many of you noticed that Louis was not present in any of the pictures, it's not because I didn't want to show him. I'm not sure where he was during my time with his class, but later in the day I saw him running around his classroom in his underwear trying to get in a fight with another boy, so I can only assume he was probably off getting into some sort of mischief.

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