Here's the question:
I think I'm a good tenant. I separate my trash and recycling and don't make much noise, but my landlord constantly gives me bad looks. Is this normal? What can I do to make the remainder of my stay in Korea (8 months) better?
This is actually a more complex question than it seems. We're dealing with more than a rude landlord here. This touches on perceptions, responsibility and scapegoating as well as plenty of other issues.
I remember when I first got to Seoul, nobody had told me about the special trash-bags I had to buy, so I threw my trash out in a normal looking black trash-bag. That bag sat and sat until one day I returned from work to find the bag of trash in front of my apartment door with a note resting on top of the now opened bag of garbage. I brought the note into school and from that I learned about the special bags. Innocent enough and I never made the mistake again.
You would think that that would have been the end of my trash-related troubles, but it was in fact just beginning and one that I have dealt with many times since. Apparently, some of the Korean tenants knew about my trash-bag incident and decided to take advantage of it. So for the next few months, I was essentially framed by them. They would dump trash out improperly and make a big mess of the recycling and when confronted by the landlord, they would simply point their finger at me. And this scapegoating still continues today. I have a dog and when I walk him, I ALWAYS bag his shit. Sometimes I even bring water along with me to clean the piss. Yet, my landlord and neighbors always assume that the poop they see on the street is from my dog.
I shared those stories with you because the bad looks you're getting from your landlord could be because someone is blaming you for something that you didn't do. The only thing you can do is make your trash-dumping process obvious and visible and continue being a good tenant. You could also mention this to your boss. They can't change much, but it gives you the chance to defend yourself. If the landlord sees you doing everything correctly, eventually that image is going to stick rather than the image they have in their head of the lazy, dirty or confused foreigner.
Koreans love scapegoating, so get used to it.
The tricky part of this whole thing is how are we, the foreigners, suppose to control or change this perception? It doesn't seem fair that we should constantly have to walk on eggshells so as not to give foreigners a bad image, but at the same time we should be responsible members of the society. The cards are stacked against us on this one and there's nothing that we can really do about it. Sure, we could volunteer or lead public awareness campaigns and even if we succeed in transforming the perception of foreigners in Korea, the scapegoating will continue. We're an easy target.
The best way to combat it is to be a decent person in public. We stick out and will attract unwanted attention; sometimes that's good and other times it's not. All I do, as a manager, is tell my new teachers not to get too aggressive when drunk. That prevents a lot of problems.
That, or your landlord is just a cunt.