Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to Survive Jangma ‘08!

jangma logo

The Korean press and the ex-patriot bloggers in Korea have focused all of their attention on the pending Mad Cow genocide about to be unleashed against the Korean people. While, it looks like the genocidal beef has been repelled for the time being, another danger has crept up and overtaken Korea: Jangma! (장마)

Jangma! is the deadly monsoon that comes every year. Jagma! takes the shape of a weather front that covers the entire region and brings oppressive humidity, drenching downpours, and gray skies for nearly a month. Those caught unprepared may be washed away. Below are some helpful tips from someone who weathered Jangma! for one (1) season—um last June. Perhaps if you are lucky and you follow my advice, you too, like me, will survive Jangma ‘08!

1. Stock up on umbrellas


You will probably need about 10-12 umbrellas to get you through this rainy time. Why so many? There are three reasons.

First, you will probably want to use at least two umbrellas simultaneously to maximize the shelter and protect yourself from the rain (see 3 and 4 below).

Second, you will probably leave at least one or two behind in a cab or at Dunkin Donuts. Jangma! is sneaky. The rain may stop and maybe even a little sun will shine through so you forget that you had an umbrella. Then just when you’ve left that umbrella behind, the clouds join and you get drenched to the bone.

Third, the wind blows hard. Those of us who have seen the cautionary movie Mary Poppins know what happens to greedy people who cling too tightly to umbrellas. To prevent being carried away by the wind, let go of your umbrella at the first sign of a strong gust. Its better to lost an umbrella and be wet than to lost your life!

2. Make sure to pass out only in well-drained areas.

Jangma! often causes flash floods of streets. The storm drain system, at least in Gohyeon, is very below par. Just last night, as I walked home in the Jangma!, I had to walk over a drunk ajoshi passed out on the sidewalk. At first look, it didn’t seem to make sense. It was pouring rain, and there was this guy, peacefully sleeping off the soju with a little nap in the middle of the sidewalk. Then I realized this guy was a genius.

Water was draining off the sidewalk and into the street and gutter, and thereby minimizing his chances of drowning in a puddle. If you choose to drink yourself to passing out, I suggest you are at least as prudent as that ajoshi. Its better to endure the occasional kick while passed out on the sidewalk than drown in the gutter!

3. Set up a four day pants drying cycle.

You are going to get wet. If wear your pants a few times before washing then take my advice. You will need to implement a four day rotation policy. For example, you wear your Monday pants and despite using two umbrellas, you get wet anyway. The humidity is so high that those pants will take at least four days to dry. So you will need to hang them, and get a different pair on Tuesday.

On Friday, Monday’s pants will be dry enough for you to wear again. Simply repeat the cycle until Jangma 08! has passed us by. Its better to have wet clothes all over your house than get the fungal infections that come with skin that is constantly wet (that could kill you).

4. Protect yourself from acid rain!


The same pollutants from China that cause the Yellow Sands in spring also cause damaging acid rain in during Jangma!—or at least that’s what the Koreans tell me. So, if you do get wet, be careful. Go home immediately and dose yourself with baking soda—this will counteract the acid. Then, wash very well. The acid rain has been linked to male baldness in Korea. Above is a man’s picture before Jangma ‘06! and then after. Disturbing. Its better to be covered in baking soda than to lose your hair and die from the acid rain of Jangma!

5. Never cross the street.

We all know that Koreans are dangerous drivers. However, something happens when it rains: well actually nothing happens, and that’s a problem. See running red lights is one thing, but running red lights in a downpour is another. Lower visibility, oils seeping up from the road, and standing water create dangerous conditions for anyone trying to cross the street. So I recommend that no pedestrians cross the street until Jangma ‘08! has passed. That may sound alarmist, but this is coming from a survivor.

6. Never sleep with the fan on.


I cannot stress this enough. Jangma! makes the air very humid and it is almost impossible to get cool. Many people turn to the use of electric fans to cool the air, or air conditioners to cool the air and suck out the humidity—to their doom! Do not make the mistake that my friends’ wife’s cousin’s friend’s sister made when she fell asleep during the Jangma! in a closed room with the fan on. She never realized her mistake, because she never woke up! Its better to be drenched in sweat, than be cool, dry, and dead!

Final Thought

On that same walk home the other night among the drunk Samsung workers, I realized the great benefit of Jangma!—it washes the sidewalk clean of piss and puke.

Good luck on surviving this treacherous season of Jangma ‘08!


Photo Credits:

Umbrellas by ericinrok

Bald guys based on Hair Club for Korean Men by SuzÿQuzÿ

Killer Fan from Extracurriculars

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I'm glad you appreciated my lovely rendering of how FANS CAN AND WILL KILL YOU.

    much love


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