Itaewon and Seoul Food

Korea is an interesting contrast of socially conservative yet technologically liberal viewpoints. On the one hand you’ll have a rigid social hierarchy and the encouragement of submission to elders, and on the other hand you have Aegis-equipped destroyers and 90% of the population owning a mobile phone. But I guess a land of contrasts is always going to be more interesting than a land where everything makes perfect sense.

Read more

Toastmasters in Korea

Although I like to think of myself as a rather tough and emotionally hardy man of sorts, a few months of living alone in Seoul seems to have drained me of something. Is it the lonesome daily treks back to the dormitories at midnight? Is it the lack of contact with an older and more familiar social network? Is it my crazy laboratory senior, Hoon Cheong, who ignores me everyday? I know not.
But what I do know is that when you’re feeling in the blues, there’s always something you can do about it. That is, apart from whinging on your blog.

Read more

Science Park and a Wedding

After an initial flurry of motivation for lab work, I’ve since found the inevitable slow-down that occurs approximately 3 months after you start. The main ideas of science are always exciting to me, however the daily routine of mindless protocols is sure to wither away even the most ardent enthusiast. But I was expecting this to happen anyway. One thing I’ve learned in life thus far is that in order to get where you want, you often have to do a lot of things that you’d rather not do.

Read more

BK International House

There I was, minding my own business in my 2 X 3 metre koshiwon, when all of a sudden I find out that there’s a vacancy for me at the BK International House. My new residence is located just outside the back gate of the university and I can walk to and from the lab now. Joy.

Read more

Dog Soup and Fine Dining

It was Heather’s birthday last weekend so I went down to Busan for a visit. Luckily I managed to schedule my experiments so they’d be running over the weekend.

Here’s a two day old capsicum seedling growing in the greenhouse. Upon seeing this photo, any self-respecting plantologist would instantly recognise that this plant is a dicot. A dicot means that when the seed first germinates, two ‘leaves’ sprout out.

Read more

An Umbrella in the Laboratory

I’ve just entered my third month of the Ph.D here and getting into the swing of things. It takes around six months to a year in most labs until you can work completely independently. This is because there’s a lot of know-how involved and the fine tuning of your methods really means the difference between an experiment working or failing. Some experiments take a few hours to do, but the more complex ones like a Yeast 2-Hybrid can take a couple of weeks in their entirety.

Read more