Month: March 2013

Jangyu by the Numbers

#701 I went to Japan for the first time in January 2000. The cheapest flight came with a stopover in Seoul. My one memory of Korea from that trip, apart from thinking it had a pretty nice airport, is the sight, from thousands of metres above, of hundreds of white apartment blocks jammed between the endless mountains.

The Plum Blossom Paparazzi

I’ve been doing private lessons with three nice people — they use the names Sally, Rachael and Victor — on weekends for a few weeks now. Their English is excellent and though we start with an article from the Economist (their choice!) we inevitably veer off into a chat before too long. Last weekend I mentioned my recent frolics among the spring blooms and Sally said that a high school in downtown Gimhae was famed for its meihua — the Chinese plum/Japanese apricot trees I described in the last post — display, and that a festival of sorts was held there each Spring. And thus my Saturday afternoon plans were set.

Glimpses of an Imminent Spring

It sure been a hard, hard winter  My feet been draggin’ ‘cross the ground  And I hope it’s gonna be a long, hot summer  And a lotta love will be burnin’ bright… ~ Rolling Stones, ‘Winter’ Happy Vernal Equinox, everyone! Well, everyone in the Northern Hemisphere; Merry Autumnal Equinox to the rest of you. Depending on your position on this half of our beautiful blue blob, in this neglected corner of the galaxy, at some point on March 21 day and night achieve a much-coveted equilibrium and we can officially kiss the Winter Blues goodbye.

Bonfire of the Deities

Please clean the plates, dear The Lord above can see ya Don’t you know people are starving in Korea? ~ Alice Cooper, ‘Generation Landslide’ Schools of rotting fruit bobbing cheerfully at the ocean’s edge. Dozens of half-melted candles in paper cups dumped in the sand or abandoned on rock ledges for the tide to claim…

House of a Hundred Rooms

Howdy, strangers. For the second time in Korea I’ve been knocked horizontal by something nastier than a common cold. Everything ached; party season at Club Mountaingoat was reluctantly curtailed. My malaise was exacerbated by an injured rib from a fall a few weeks back: every cough was a blade through my chest. Then just as the rib seemed to be mending, I coughed so hard I threw out my lower back, an old injury that flares up once or twice a year to transform me overnight from Bear Grylls to Grandpa Simpson. As you know, I’m not the complaining type, so I withdrew from the world and stewed in anonymity.