I woke up at four this morning. TV show. The date “February 6, 2015” popped up.

“I know this is significant for some reason.”

It took me a while.

Then I realized this was my Koreaversary. 11 years in Korea today.

If you’re not an expat, it’s hard to comprehend. Go back to high school lit classes and Huck Finn jumping into the Mississippi. It’s a significant baptismal moment. To any long-term expat, the day one lands in his new country is the day of his rebirth. Emotionally it’s a big deal.

How did I spend it this time?

I’ve stumbled upon the tradition that watching “Lost in Translation” works best. It came out right when I arrived in Korea. Even though it’s about Tokyo, a lot of the situations in the movie relate to peeps in Korea, especially today. It’s weird how I get more out of the film as I get older and more ingrained in Korea. It’s quite a quiet flick. Yet there were moments that my wife and I laughed together. That’s hard to do in a multi-culti marriage.

Seoul is what Tokyo was ten years ago. I first watched “Lost in Translation” at a a DVD bang with my first Korean girlfriend. She felt offended by the movie, especially the shower scene where Bill Murray has to adjust the height of the shower head. Yeah, that gets more embarrassing with age, but the film still holds up. It expresses the disorientation, confusion, and adoration I felt when I moved to east Asia.

So many subtle moments in that film. Oh, Sophia Coppola–to have a drink with you. And Bill Murray–BIlL MURRAY!

By coincidence, I was wearing this t-shirt today.

I Bill Murray Bill Murray - BustedTees - Image 6

When I was around seven years on in day camp, we had Celebrity Day. We had to dress up as our favorite celebrity. Most of the boys dressed as the Fonz. (This was in the early ’80s). I dressed as Bill Murray from “Meatballs.” No one knew who I was or who Bill Murray was.


I guess I was a hipster even back then.

Despite people’s PC criticisms about the film, it still encapsulates the feelings I have felt in moving to east Asia. It is very western-centric in its POV of Tokyo. But yeah, that’s how I’ve felt in this part of the world, and my feelings are legit. Like I said, disorientation, confusion, adoration.

EJ seemed to rediscover the film herself. She complained that she couldn’t understand the English. I replied that I couldn’t understand much of it myself. It’s so quiet. You don’t need the words. The scenes communicate.

Neon. Awkward translations. Business cards.

The root of my hatred of shabu-shabu lies within this film.

But it’s my 11th Koreaversary. I celebrated a bit. Got some beer and wine. I made some chicken wings. The girls enjoyed them. That’s all.

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