All posts tagged: history

Golden Gimhae

G’day, friends. Let me tell you about my day. I was in such a good mood today, I almost felt like I’d been possessed by really-quite-nice spirits. If you want to know the secret, I’ll spell it out for you: first, get paid for a week of doing nothing. Oh, you have to turn up, but you get to sit in your chair for four hours without any human contact whatsoever. Second, you can go home at lunchtime — or better, you can go climb a mountain and burn off all the fat that just accumulated around your buttocks over those gruelling four hours.

Two Shots at Fortress Busan #2: Defeat

A popular legend describes the governor in charge of [Dongnae] fortress, Song Sang-hyeon. When Konishi Yukinaga [leader of 7,000 Japanese invaders] again demanded before the battle that the Koreans allow the Japanese to travel through the peninsula, the governor was said to have replied, “It is easy for me to die, but difficult to let you pass.” 

Gyeongju: Royal Recreation, Peasant Peregrinations

Peregrinations: travel from place to place, especially on foot and with the suggestion of a roundabout route ~ The Free Dictionary I left Daereungwon, the walled cluster of elegantly rounded ruling-class burial mounds thatched with winter grass, and moved east towards the outskirts of Gyeongju, on foot and with the suggestion of a roundabout route, as is my preference. As I left most of the commercial buildings and traffic behind, the landscape opened up and I began to appreciate how special this place was. Tombs began to turn up everywhere.

Gazing out the Window at Independence Mountain

Seeing much, suffering much and studying much are the three pillars of learning ~ from the Day 1 class notes of my Korean co-teacher Thursday was Independence Movement Day, commemorating the first mass resistance to Japanese occupation on March 1st, 1919. When my vice principal told me about it, I recalled climbing a small mountain/big hill not far from home, half an hour downstream along the Dirty River:

The Goat & the Birth Goddess

A Cultural Sensitivity Primer Hi, all. It’s been too long between posts once again but this time my reasons are happier: I’m on holidays again! They’re rather optimistically labelling this week of leave my “Spring vacation”, and at first I could almost believe my Winter blues were over with. I had two excellent days of coastal walking and white sandy beaches to the east of Busan, then came home yesterday to bleak skies and even some more fluttering snowflakes. The dream was over.

Pagan Jangyu

A few weeks ago I went on a mini-expedition down the sorry Daecheongcheon, the local river. It was a disheartening experience, the river a sad trickle of its former self, its garbage-strewn banks and bottom safely contained in protective concrete and choked with thriving reeds and weeds. But I took a diversion that day where a road crossed the river, and found myself in a grittier, grimier, more “lived in” part of Jangyu called Mugye, and in its filthy, trash-cluttered backstreets found this relic of a far older and apparently much nobler Korea, the Mugye Dolmen.