Posts Categorized: 1.

A Story About a Korean Baseball

A colleague visited a baseball game in Seoul, Korea in 1995. During match break time, a legendary LG Twins player signed a baseball and hit it into the crowd. What were
the odds of my Dutch colleague to catch that very ball? He took it back to Holland and kept it proudly at his house, not knowing who that player was. Until one day 18 years later, the colleague mentions this very story to me and we both became curious. The next day, he brought the ball to our office and we were staring deeply at the autograph to decipher the origin, but we gave up after some time. Then we decided to take a picture and put it on Facebook. A few hours later, people (Mostly Korean men) found out that the player was 김재현! In fact, the discovering commenters was bright enough to notice that we had actually been holding the ball upside down! So far for our own search but again solved thanks to the power of social media… The mystery is solved for now but now the next question is, what is the ball worth?

10km Run at Rotterdam Marathon 2013

Beer!Ran a 10km run at the Rotterdam marathon with my dad and my friends today. We drove to Rotterdam in the Morning. We were well on time and as the real marathon started 15 minutes earlier, we had time enough to watch Lee Towers sing ‘You never walk alone’ (Youtube). We then headed out and were allowed to start right in front. We ran 15km in Rotterdam last December but today’s run was very special. The start was so cheerful I had goosebumps from it!

The race was well organized and I enjoyed the people cheering from the sides. See track here: Google maps. The temperature was a bit on the high side but that was ok. We started in front with the fast runners and I got a bit carried away with that so when runkeeper gave me my averages at 2km I realized I was running too fast. I slowed down a bit until I reached the final two kilometers. Generally I really enjoyed the scenery and the Rotterdam vibe. At the last kilometers, I was able to speed up again and really went for ‘empty’ in the last meters. It was at the finish that I both lost my breath and at the same time bumped into Paul Koole who I didn’t see ever since both of us worked in Shanghai. He had subscribed for the NY marathon last year which was cancelled due to Sandy. It was nice chatting with him again. Then I got a call from my friends Bart and Michiel. They actually pointed out this marathon to me a month ago so we had to meet up at the finish! They ran a nice time so we celebrated, together with my dad at Blaak with a view on Rotterdam in the first spring sun. A great start of the running season!


There seems to be treasure all around us! Well sort of. Try geocaching! Geocachers seek out treasures called ‘geocaches’ hidden by other players around the world. Players use GPS to track down these geocaches, usually small containers with a paper logbook inside allowing the players to mark their find. In the Netherlands there are over 50.000, covering most of the country. I looked up our home address and found one 500 meters away, so we checked it out. Using the little GPS map in the iPhone app, we reached the destination. We searched for a few minutes and suddenly we noticed a small water pipe at a tree root. We found that we could detach a part and we unscrewed the lid to find the geocache inside. A perfect hiding location! We went over the logbook notes and saw that this geocache is visited almost daily, with visitors as far as Germany. Finding these geocaches matches our walking habit quite nicely, the geocaches in the city are sometimes very nicely kept!

Planting Trees

As the Dutch winter is dragging on, we’re happy that spring is luring around the corner. A few weeks ago, we bought some seeds and started a small project in our own back yard to grow some vegetables. However, my parents asked for help for a bigger project today. They were about to plant 80 trees! Even though we had a small crane, we worked from sunrise to sunset. At first we dug holes, put the trees in, then we put a gate around it so the sheep will leave them alone until they are grown. It was fun seeing Suna plant her first tree. Also rewarding to see the result of the work at the end of the day. But for Suna and me, we will now focus on our own small vegetable project for the moment.

Korean Intermediate 3

Korean teacher explainingYesterday I went to Amstelveen in the early morning to take the Korean Intermediate 2 exam. For the past few months, I have been studying Korean sentences in the train but I wasn’t sure if it would be enough. At this level, the exam includes speaking, listening, writing and reading. Enough to say that I got a bit nervous and studied a lot in the past week. But good news, already one day after the exam I was told that I passed, so I’m very happy to join the next level: Korean Intermediate level 3! Looking back, I have been studying Korean for three years now, starting in Shanghai. Although, during that time studied both Chinese and Korean, which became to confusing to me. However, during the Korean classes in Shanghai, I was only non-Chinese in the class and learning Korean from a Chinese/Korean workbook. But now in Holland, I can finally learn from an English explained Korean book in Amstelveen. Every day I try to spend some time learning the language. After three years, I now am able to grasp some context from conversations and form very simple sentences in dialogue. An advantage of moving countries is that due to my fellow Dutch students that have similar culture, I get lot’s of good Korean movie-house recommendations. These days I try to watch more movies from Korea; it’s a fun way to learn the language. However, it wouldn’t be possible without a weekly rhythm. Going to class every week really helps. So for me, these Korean language institutes make this all possible. It seems that Korean government has some sort of program to promote their language and culture. In China they are free to attend, in Holland it’s just 150 euro’s for a semester. Teachers are usually in the country due to working or studying abroad. However, seeing the amount of effort they put in the lessons is amazing. I’m really grateful for the effort of the teachers. In a way, South Korea is pushing soft-power in both culture and language to a lot of countries this way. It would be interesting to think if/how Dutch people could setup a program to promote language and culture. For example… would a volunteer based Dutch language institute in Shanghai be able to persevere?


20130224-120619.jpgStamps went from boring the new hipster vintage. My dad collected stamps in the 60’s and we found the albums this Sunday morning. His favorites are stamps from the US featuring an airpost stamp and one with a cowboy from 1947. There are also stamps from around the world during the second world war. I found a page featuring north Korean stamps too.

Carnaval Weekend

20130210-223022.jpgThis weekend was not only about lunar new year in Korea but also about carnival in the south of the Netherlands. We started friday in Breda with friends and today we drove down to Neerkant to celebrate with my family. It was great meeting up with them again and also celebrate this typical event with Suna. We watched the parade and then headed to the bar pretty much after that. Afterwards we ate typical food (erwtensoup and bacon) and shared memories.

I’ll Never Trust a Padlock Again

Suna had lost the padlock key at the airport. At first we were frustrated that we couldn’t get to her stuff but with an ordinary paperclip and 5 minutes, we were unpacking! I simply used one paperclip, broke it in two and used both ends to wrickle the padlock open. I never imagined it would be that easy!

Happy New Year! My Highlights of 2012

With new year’s eve around the corner, business is a bit slower than usual. It allowed me to reflect a bit on the past year and think about the next. Here are some of the highlights of my year categorized by spring, summer, fall and winter, I wish you a happy new year in 2013!

Spring: A lot of sports activities – In the spring we spent some time in Austria where I did an 65km speed-skate marathon. Since then, Suna gotten some real speed skates and she’s getting very serious about it. This fall and winter we still skate almost every week.I also played my first game of table tennis with my father in law. Table tennis is incredibly fun and it inspired me to buy my own table-tennis bat and play at least once a week for the remainder of the year. Over the year we made a few trips and the trip to yellow mountain (黄山) was one of my favorites. We kept costs really low by travelling hours by bus and sleeping in a tent. The mountains are beautiful and the local people are very friendly. We gotten a ticket from Marc van der Chijs and family to visit the Shanghai formula 1 training with them. Not only did we enjoy the race sounds, we also got a ride in Hamiltons private Maserati and Suna got her picture with Porche cup drivers Ho Pin Tung and Alexandre Imperatori taken. A non sports related highlight was a DJ gig at the first Dutch carnival party in Shanghai wth DJ Angrybird. I discovered that being a DJ is very cool, the experience of putting on songs received with cheer is exhilarating. To hear what I mean check this youtube video.

Summer: With unitedstyles to Silicon valley – I am thankful for the opportunities that I’ve gotten though unitedstyles. Not only was launching the site in Russian and Chinese very exciting, I learned a lot about foreign payment systems and culture. Due to the business, I got to know some prominent people in the fashion and Internet industry. I’ve received an entrepreneurial prize from my former professors at a university gathering in Amsterdam. I also visited Singapore and Silicon valley. After visiting San Francisco too briefly in another business trip in 2009, I was happy that I booked some extra time to enjoy the city a few days as well. Fall: Moving to The Netherlands – For Suna and me the year of 2012 will go into the books as the year that we moved from China to The Netherlands, which is my home country. We moved here after being more then five years abroad. Still after all these months we miss our friends, food and our neighborhood in Shanghai. However, the few months here have been very good. I started working at Sanoma media, where I’m involved in a job where I meet a lot of interesting people and learn a lot from the way they deal, so I consider myself very lucky with these experiences. Suna and I live in the middle of the Netherlands and enjoy simple things like cooking and the fact that we have a garden, it’s great to meet with old friends and having family close again. Winter: Working hard and enjoying Holland
The winter isn’t over yet but we enjoyed a nice marathon in Rotterdam where Suna was interviewed by local tv. Furthermore I’m finalizing my first semester at the Korean school of Amsterdam. Besides that we celebrated the holiday season with my family. Suna and me also made a nice trip to a place called Valkenburg in the south of Holland. 2013 – new year resolutions –  This last day of the year, you hear a lot about new years resolutions. I’ve been rewriting mine for the last day and realized that I’ve achieved 4 out of 5 goals of last year. I read a tip that it’s best to pick just one challenging goal and keep focussed at that, I can give a tip to write it down and stick them to your fridge. In any of your quests and goals, Although we didn’t really celebrate new years in Asia, we are celebrating with the family tonight with traditional oliebollen – I missed those the past couple of years. I’m wishing all my readers the best for 2013, not sure if you set goals but good luck with them if you do!