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    I'm tired. My body is slightly sore and I smell of sweat and bus fumes. Yesterday was all about hiking, and today we rented bikes and cruised all over this city, seeing it the way it should be seen. Kunming is great because all of the big roads have large, well-established bike lanes, blocked from the rest of the road by metal barriers. A lot of locals do indeed get around via bicycles, along with electric scooters. It seems that China has banned gas-powered scooters in many of its cities, so people cruise on electric models. This is good, as it cuts down on both air and noise pollution. If they would only do the same for cars...

  • Thomas's Dog

    Studies have shown that patting an animal lowers your blood pressure. If I had time and energy, I'd get a fish, because there's not much space in Korean apartments. Attempting to pat a fish though, would probably raise the stress levels of both parties involved.

  • Korean Sociological Image #14: How And Why Koreans Became The World’s Greatest Consumers

    ( Source ) If you’re reading this, then the news that Koreans now spend more and save less than Americans may well come as a bombshell. I base that on the natural assumption that, as an English speaker interested in Korean sociology, most of your earliest and most-deeply held views on the subject were likely gained [...]

  • Going yeast

    The summer after I finished school I worked for a time at Belfast's Asian Supermarket. Whilst there I stacked freezers, lugged sacks of rice and put together orders for the city’s numerous Chinese restaurant owners. During this time I also became acquainted with Tsingtao, the German founded beer hailing from a city of (almost) the same name in Eastern China.

  • Time to Evolve

    While I've always tried to keep Lee's Korea Blog running in the background of my daily life, I must admit that it has grown into something I'm rather proud of at times. However, the downside of this is that it has become something begging a certain amount of upkeep. A compulsory voluntarianism of sorts. Usually a week after I blog, I feel fine. But toward the 2 week mark, the impending urge to update the blog increases to a dull roar.


    Well it appears as if the Chinese censors have UNBLOCKED livejournal for the time being. This is cool, since now I don't have to email posts to my girlfriend or go through unreliable and slow proxy servers.

    I am now in Kunming, which is the capital of China's southern Yunnan province. I flew in yesterday from Busan, with a brief stopover in Shanghai. After boarding the plane in Shangers, the sky opened up with solid sheets of rain, beating the roof and wings of the plane. It was a properly huge thunder/rainstorm, and we were stuck on the tarmac for almost three hours as we waited it out. I passed the time by busily reading Christopher Hitchen's anti-religion screed "god is not GREAT" and knocking out a crossword.


    I'm off to China in the morning. I'll be posting through a third party for most of the trip, since livejournal is BLOCKED in China, along with facebook and any/all other "subversive" sites.

    What this means is that I will be generally unable to respond to comments, but don't let that stop you from pitchin' in your two cents or abusing this here silly blogger. Anywhow, the material should be juicy; let's hope it passes the censors' muster.

    Talk amongst yourselves.


    I just returned from the requisite trip to Jeju-do, Korea's largest island and southernmost point. I've been here nearly five years and hadn't visited yet, despite the fact that it's only a thirty-minute cheap plane ride from my fair grungy port town. A flight to Jeju is only neglibly more expensive than a train to Seoul, yet I've been to Seoul about ten times now.



    Merce Cunningham, ground-breaking American choreographer, died today. He was 90.

    Cunningham, along with composer John Cage, helped to put Cornish (my alma mater) on the map way back in the 30's. They laid the foundation for the experimental and orignal-work emphasis of the school, which to me, has always been its strongest quality. Cornish continually puts out artists who can self-produce.

    Cunningham was born and raised in Centralia, Washington, which is a hick lumber town just a stone's throw from Chehalish, Washington, where coincidentally, legendary choreographer Mark Morris grew up, who could be considered an heir to Cunningham. Something in the water?

    While I can make no claim to be a fan of modern dance, Cunningham's impact goes well beyond the dance world, and a nod must be made.

  • Korean Sociological Image #13: The Kiss

    It’s amazing how quickly things can change in Korea sometimes. Granted, you’re unlikely to see an eye-catching kiss akin to the above on primetime TV at the moment, but at the rate things are going then it won’t be too much longer. It was only at the end of May that Shin Min-a (신민아) for instance, [...]


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