I’ve been thinking about the E2 visa situation here after catching wind of an editorial suggesting mandatory drug testing for foreign teachers.
While they don’t have that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the agenda at some point down the line given the even-more-right-wing turn the country has taken since I was last here. Just to get the document that says that Korean Immigration will consider letting you into the country, you have to spend a lot of time and money “prove” that you’re not a criminal nor a child rapist. (I put prove in scare quotes since all it proves is that a child rapist/ criminal hasn’t been caught.) Once here you also have to prove that you’re not filled with AIDS. Then you can get a card that says that you can legally work here. You have to really love PSY to want to put up with that if you had other options.
Once here, if you have a bad job, tough shit. You’re better off leaving in the middle of the night with your latest paycheck than trying to move on like an adult. Other than putting a neon sign up in Incheon airport that says “Fuck off” I can’t see how they can be more clear about us not being welcome here. And while white skin/ passing for an American does shield most of us from the more blatant expressions of tribalism/ bigotry, that seems like a pretty thin shield to me.
You know… My last run through Korea ended because I was filled with anger from my collection of negative experiences over those six years. This time I think I’ll be leaving due to disappointment in humanity.
The photo was taken at the Koagoshima City Aquarium. The low light meant that I had to leave the lens wide open which created a very shallow depth of field. Funny thing about fish is that they tend to be bad models with their constant fluttering about so my only shots were of things that tended to just sit there like the guy up above.