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Archive for the ‘Korean Culture’ Category

Korean Street Vendors

22 Feb

In every Korean market there are vendors, usually in the middle of the street or at the side of the street selling wares. Unlike American markets, and Chinese markets, they aren’t districted to one particular area. The foot from street vendors are very cheap and usually various foods are seasonal. For example, you can get more Odeng in the winter months rather than in the spring.

It’s something one should try to experience whle in Korea. This vendor was just outside of Myeong dong’s main drag. They were also selling silk worm around there too, which my parents refused to allow me to try. (My mom was getting really up tight.)

This one is selling chestnuts, which they give to you in paper bags and are piping hot.

Technically, most of these stands are illegal, but the Korean government overlooks these vendors, and it’s become integrated into the culture.

I wanted some of her wares but my Mom whined and said no and started to move off without me. Since I had friends who were curious, I took this shot for them. If Ajumma is still there next time, I’d have her wares. One Odeng and one serving of Deok please!

It has a very sharp smell too.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Korean Food

 

Sunset in Seoul

22 Feb

The woman I was staying at has a balcony. This is the view from it. By the time I got back I was dark out…

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Halmoni in Korea

22 Feb

It’s true that in Korea, the older you get the brighter and more patterned clothes that you wear. I’m amused by this idea quite a bit, considering the reversal in the US.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Tools for the Trip

22 Feb

Pictured is a wallet I picked up from a Yomikiri in Nakayoshi (Japanese.) Nakayoshi is a compilation magazine of manga (Japanese comics) and they put in gifts into their magazines. I put that on a string and wore it below my shirt.

Also pictured is a public transportation card. At the time, there were no magnetic cards like that in the US, so tapping it like I did was a joy to my mind it was stuck on paper tickets. It’s also a lot cheaper than in the US for where I live. Also the thing that keeps the charge–the reader is also stronger. I kept it around pretty much to hang onto something even after the tripe to make me feel Korean, as if that small token could finally prove that to me. Or maybe to remind myself that I really was there.

And lastly, Korean money which doesn’t go higher than 10,000 won. Higher denominations are done in notes one gets from the bank, which can go up towards 100,000 won and higher. Many people use that instead of money.

Credit cards are only used for withdrawing money.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Clear shot of Namsam Tower

22 Feb

Koreans have a lot of pride in their country. Why one stands up straight with their back up is to show that pride. Why one tries to get their visitors to see all of the tourist spots possible in the city in one go is because of that pride. It’s not the kind of pride that’s self-serving so much as the kind of pride that is entrenched in history and time.

So when I was shyly trying to take shots of Namsam tower, Ajumma was pushing me to take more pictures–you don’t take enough pictures and even helped me a few times. This is taken from her car when I wasn’t with my parents, but I was meeting up with them. I think she didn’t understand why I liked pictures of the very common things–at least to her, but not these huge tourist spots.

So I took another picture of Namsam, because I liked the mix of Namsam with everyday life with people coming and going in their cars.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Korean Tunnel

22 Feb

I really like this shot. On the way to meet up with my parents, we went through this tunnel and something about the orangey glow appealed to my art sense. The way it blurs and saturates everything really made me impressed.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 

Kimchi Museum

25 Feb

After the fight, my mom tried to make it up to me in her nervous energy way. Our relationship had always been contentious. Not because of the adoption so much, but the fact that she used me for her stress relief–emotional stress relief. I resented this even more, because I was afraid she was going to try to Honeymoon phase me and then things would get worse like they had in my ex-boyfriend. I recognized that his behavior and her behavior were often the same. So when we climbed into the car, I knew Ajumma could sense the tension in the air. I was not happy.

We tried to go to Seoul Tower. We couldn’t because of the ajussi who said that we couldn’t go up ’cause only buses could go up, so Ajumma took us to the Kimchi Museum. Ajumma was interested ’cause she didn’t know it existed. No Koreans seem to know it exists, which I think is weird because its in the COex building, which is well known among Koreans.

When I imagined a kimchi museum, I thought it would be more interactive.  But then, maybe I was thinking of Kimchi Jang. I have to admit that I didn’t know that different climates had different kimchi pots. That interested me. And my dad was super interested in the pottery. My Mom was all nervous energy. Her voice warbled all over the place as if she could not calm down and she clinged to my Dad quite a bit. Maybe she had switched me to the evil side of her mask. When she didn’t know what to make of me–good or evil she often distanced herself.

I was still upset and sorely disappointed that the Kimchi museum didn’t have proper kimchi nor anything about the varieties of Kimchi. I love my kimchi (which is why I feel bad for my brother that can’t eat spicy food anymore.) So I wanted more out of the museum.

One thing I should note is that Korean museums are really cool because they put a lot of effort into helping you see how the buildings and things were used and made. So the Kimchi museum showed how a Kimchi jang would work. There were also displays of various people in all of the museums and you literally could see mannequins wearing real clothes inside.  I’d watched enough Korean dramas to fill in some of the dialogue for them as well. But that may be my writing side talking.

With the above picture I could hear her saying, “Kee~ you put in too much garlic.” Then the other women arguing over it as she argued that proper kimchi has ginger too, and the other women arguing with her that this was entirely improper. I think imagining this made my anger go down. Because I can’t be angry at kimchi. Because kimchi and my love of it was often the only thing I knew was entirely Korean and no one could call me inauthentic for.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Korean Food

 

Buddhist Temple

25 Feb


After the Kimchi museum we got in the car and Ajumma asked us what we wanted to do next. The tension in the car–I knew anyone could spot it. It was alike a sledgehammer pounding into the neighbors. I knew that Ajumma was picking up on these issues and knew that I was not very happy. She’s super intuitive. And at the time I wished my Mom would honor intuition. I was full of resentment and anger. Not only for the events of Building 63, but all of the rejection I felt from that event.

I called out Dad twice to ask him what he’d like to do and my Mom answered for him twice, using we, which just served to piss me off even more considering the events of Building 63. I passively aggressively snapped at her, “I asked Dad. Are you my Dad?” My Dad finally answered that he didn’t know what he’d like to do. I suggested maybe looking at Korean pottery or something like that. He said that the Kimchi Museum was enough for now and he’d seen other pots.

So Ajumma, sensing this suggested a Buddhist temple nearby. She is not Buddhist herself, but in the East there tends to be less exclusion like there is in the West of other religions. It’s kind of like recognizing there is a function. I was really pissed off and it took a lot of power to keep my voice from shaking.

Ajumma insisted I go into the temples in that Korean way that my parents couldn’t read. Ajumma is the best. She knew what I needed even though I didn’t really know I needed it.

We went to the temple, and Ajumma commented that it was Buddha’s birthday. That’s why there were prayers and the red lanterns. Being resentful, I was further annoyed at my mom’s continued, “You have to like me now” mode. I call it her Shiny Wall. It’s like June Cleaver mixed with the threat of the Stepford wives. What’s worse is that she doesn’t know she’s doing it half the time. So I wandered ahead and tried to separate from them to give myself time to cool off. My mom hated that. (Switch of modes.) So wherever I went they also went.

I resented them talking when people were praying even in low voices like tourists. I tried to pretend I was not with them and did a little meditation-0-because I was taught in Hinduism class to do so. Also in acting classes–I knew the basics. first get rid of aches and pains, find your center ground, reach out to hear everything, then slowly close everything off one by one until you reach yourself. After you reach yourself, be aware of everything about yourself, then work on shutting everything from your toes up until you’re in your mind only. Adjust discomforts along the way. Once you have attained just your mind then start cutting off all other thoughts within it. Cut off the anger, emotions and feelings and try to attain the nothingness. If you have a question you want to ask yourself, this is the time to do so. In respect to the people around me I asked Buddha for a type of enlightenment. But my parents kept talking so I wandered to try to find a place to meditate.

 

I started again.  I decided to take a mat and ask Buddha for wisdom. I’m not a Buddhist, but I think sitting in front of a statue of a person that was supposed to hold so much wisdom, I was hoping it would help out.

My parents chatted in front of the statue which was rude. Even if it’s light chit chat, you shouldn’t talk in front of a figure while others are trying to pay and meditate. I chose to meditate. Because it is respect.

I asked Buddha for tolerance and the ability to get through this leg of the trip safely. I started again, and this time I asked Buddha for tolerance for myself and the ability to get through this leg of the trip safely.

If you see other people meditating–it’s politer to not say anything at all.

 

Green Hills of Korea

10 Jul

The mountains I saw on the way to Tong Yeong. What’s interesting is that since Korea is so mountainous there are pocket villages along the way often with long-haired black goats, and brown cows roaming out in the fields, including the ones the farmers plant in. Minding their own business like it is nothing to be doing so.

 
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Posted in Korean Culture, Search and Korea Trip

 
 
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