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Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #82: Making Adverbs

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We've already learned how to use adverbs (typically directly before a verb), but now let's learn how we can make some of our own adverbs using the ending ~게.

Remember that this series goes in order, and will have 100 episodes total. Watch these from the beginning if you're new, because you might miss something important if you jump in later on. There are only 17 more episodes left!

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #82: Making Adverbs appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


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Translation: Is making a safe school for LGBTQ+ students really something to criticize?

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I posted earlier this week about the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights and the conservative backlash that painted the plan as radical and a force that would inculcate kindergarteners in the homosexual agenda

I wanted to translate a more progressive view of the plan, posted by the more liberal Hankyoreh. The article, titled Is making a safe school for LGBTQ+ students really something to criticize? The article talks about how the plan would actually help protect LGBTQ+ students.


Is protecting LGBTQ+ students from discrimination really something that is going to spread homosexuality? When LGBTQ+ students are still driven to suicide due to the many stereotypes and discrimination they face, is it right to criticize the push to create schools that keep kids safe? 



From a video by Ddingdong (a group that supports LGBTQ+ youth). This is an image taken from their Youtube video titled "It get's better - because we have Ddingdong"


On the 19th, a Seoul elementary school teacher who has taught for 20 years, Mr. K, filed a petition on the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education's (SMOE) website with the title "Promoting the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights and schools without hatred." Related to the activities of the "SAM: Teachers for Human Rights Education", Mr. K. stated that "During my regular monitoring of policies related to student human rights, I thought that the second draft included needed content, but seeing all of the loud complaints against it, I knew that there would also be so many more people who supported the plan so I filed the petition." Mr. K. emphasized his point, saying "Isn't this one of the first times a public education institution clarified 'protection and support for LGBTQ+ students" and that "the opposition voices cannot win - this content cannot be removed." 

The petition that Mr. K. filed has garnered more than 2,000 agreements, but in comparison the petition titled 'Against the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights which will inculcate children as young as 3 on gender ideologies and biased ideas' has had more than 30,000 agreements which far surpassed the number needed to warrant a response from the superintendent. Groups like the Seoul Education Love Parent Association stated that the plan would 'strengthen compulsory homosexual education' and held a press conference in front of the office of education on the 14th. 

On the bulletin board for citizen petitions 27 cases have been posted in the last 10 days on the second draft of the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights (2021-2023). The office of education collected responses on the second draft of the plan at the beginning of December directly at schools after drafting the three-year Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights, and discussions on the pros and cons of this plan have heated up. The office plans to hold a debate on the 26th of January (Seoul Students' Rights Day) and make a final draft of the plan by February. How will this final draft be completed? 

‘성소수자’를 말하지 못하는 교육청:An education office that can't say 'LGBTQ+'

Among the contentious points, one rises to the top: "protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ students". In this draft, among the five policy objectives, one is to preserve the rights to students' life through 'making schools without hatred and discrimination." Under this, the draft mentioned compulsory education for disabled student rights 2 times a year at all levels of schooling, the strengthening of student rights for children in multicultural families, and guaranteeing student athletes' rights among others.  Furthermore, under the title 'Protecting and Supporting LGBTQ+ students" is the inclusion of counseling support to LGBTQ+ students who face violence.  

The first established Comprehensive Plan for Student Rights (2018-2020) included content 'preventing discrimination and supporting minority students,' but it did not mention specific groups, such as disabled students or student athletes. For that reason, it was able to avoid controversy. Representatives of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education explained that "In reality, LGBTQ+ students exists at schools and when they demand help we cannot turn away. This time we are including content on supporting LGBTQ+ students; in the first plan some groups stated that this was 'AIDS-spreading education' and because of this 'the first plan ended up removing content around the protection of LGBTQ+ students due to these opposing voices, but for the second plan we are in the process of gathering opinions for how this content should be included". 

“매일같이 피해 상담 접수되는데…” We provide counseling for damage every day ... 

"At Ddingdong, we provide counseling for damage incurred at school day in and day out. Jokes such as 'you seem gay' or 'you look like a lesbian' are pervasive in the environment, cases of the threat of outing (where someone's sexuality is forcefully disclosed), bullying, and physical violence have not decreased in years . Distance learning as a result of the Corona pandemic has resulted in hearing more students saying things such as 'I don't get pestered because I don't go to school, which is fortunate.' Schools is a place where LGBTQ+ students have to endure pain day after day." 

The LGBTQ+ youth center Ddingdong issued a statement asking for support in including protection of LGBTQ+ students in the final draft. The secretary general of Ddingdong stated that describing the language of the bill as "compulsory homosexual education" rather than basic contents to "protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination" is baseless fearmongering. The organization stated that it was saddening that these voices were not those of civil engagement but rather hate incitement.  

While the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education hesitates to include language on "protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ students," LGBTQ+ youth are in school experiencing hate speech and torment. The National Assembly's 2014 Survey on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity found that 92% of surveyed youth between the age of 13 to 18 that identified as LGBTQ+ (a total of 200 people) were targets of homophobic language from other students. 80% of students had heard hate speech from teachers. 54% of students responded that they had experienced bullying, insults, and torment from other students. 

Parents of LGBTQ+ youth are also clamoring for LGBTQ+ protection and support to be included in the second comprehensive plan. A representative from the Heaven LGBTQ+ Parent Association stated "I hope that LGBTQ+ youth no longer die from the hatred and torment they face at their schools any longer. Please help the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to guarantee minimum rights for students. These students struggling to survive are our children." 


Teaching kindergarteners about homosexuality? Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education faces controversy over its Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights

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After a five year hiatus, the Kimchi Queen is back! 

Coronavirus has been hard and boring. Hubby and I live in Pittsburgh now and life just seems like work then sit around the house then work some more. Since I'm no longer traveling for work, I decided to get back to blogging! (Also brush up my Korean) I'm probably never going to get back to posting every day like I did back in 2015, but I'm going to try to post something once a week. Mostly translations! Google translate has gotten much better over the past 5 years, but I do think there is still some value in curating and translating for the blogiverse. 

For my first translation, I'm going to translate an article from the Seoul Economy Daily (서울경제신문) on a controversial plan to protect students (including LGBTQ students) by my old employer - the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.  This article leans heavily conservative, so I might also find a more liberal take on this story. 

A controversy is brewing over the 3-year Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights put forward by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) beginning in 2021. This is because some members of  the church and parents believe it is a plan to push a leftist agenda on students as young as three years old. As the controversy spreads, including more than 20,000 people signing a petition against the plan on SMOE's homepage, SMOE clarified that the plan's purpose was to protect students' rights and provide education on human rights. 

According to the office of education, on the ministry's homepage on January 15th someone had posted a petition titled 'Against the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights which will inculcate children as young as 3 on gender ideologies and biased ideas" and by 10:45 that morning approximately 23,400 people had signed. From the 12th of this month until the 11th of January, if more than 10,000 people had signed the ministry would have to provide a response, but this was reached within two days.

A petitioner who identified themselves as a parent wrote "I couldn't believe the contents of the planned Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights" and that "from three years old (pre-school, primary, middle, and high school) protecting the human rights of sexual minorities ... they are going beyond protecting rights to confusing the normal students." Furthermore, "This is making it possible for our democratic education to be corrupted into a biased, ideological education, especially at an age when children are highly susceptible to this type of inculcation" arguing that this plan violates the neutrality of education. 

The Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights is a plan established by the superintendent for schools in Seoul every three years in accordance with the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance. This plan has 20 initiatives, including protecting LGBTQIA students' rights and supplying guidelines to prevent discrimination. The fact that this includes not only polices related to LGBTQIA students in elementary, middle, and high schools, but also establishes education on sexual minorities at kindergartens has resulted in a backlash from parents and church groups. 

Recently, the Seoul Education Love Parent Association and other groups stated that "the strengthening of human rights education on sexual minorities and  dispatching investigators to investigate sexual harassment events" will "result in stigmatizing students who don't agree as they fear of being labeled as discriminatory."  Furthermore, as it relates to 'democratic citizenship education' content, 'We have to clarify what kind of citizen education we provide - whether that is as a socialist democracy or a liberal democracy." 

Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has released a press release repeating that "education on sexual minority rights is not compulsory and is implemented at the school level" and that "information on AIDS and homosexuality reflects the medical position of national medical institutions, the World Health Organization, the World Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, "It aims to  cultivate citizens of a democratic community through both training and capacity strengthening for teachers, and to develop instructional materials for democratic citizenship education, which has no relation to left-wing communist revolutionary ideologies." Regarding the contents related to LGBTQIA people, the statement added "LGBTQIA education is not suitable for kindergarten students due to their developmental stages," and that, "The content in the Comprehensive Human Rights Plan is to strengthen support for LGBTQ students."


Don’t Bet on a Biden Breakthrough with North Korea – but Trump was Never Serious about it Anyway

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This is a re-post of an essay I wrote last month for The National Interest, but since Biden just became president, this seems like a good time to put it up here.

The short version is that America’s North Korea policy options are poor, so now that the adults are back in charge, US policy toward North Korea will probably snap-back to pre-Trump form. Trump tried all sorts of hijinks – threatening war, then cozying up to Kim Jong Un – but none of it was ever serious and all of it failed, because Trump was buffoonish dilettante.

And yes, the status quo with NK is bad, but the options are worse – war or appeasement, basically – so this is why the containment and deterrence of North Korea has basically been our North Korea policy for decades even though no one likes it. I figure that is what is coming back now.

The full essay follows the jump:

 

There has inevitably been much discussion since Joseph Biden’s election victory of how he might change American North Korea policy. Much of it turns on hopes that Biden will pursue more fruitful engagement than the erratic negotiations current US President Donald Trump in the last few years.

This should indeed be the case. Biden is obviously an establishmentarian. He has deep roots in the foreign policy community of Washington, DC. He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and played a major foreign policy role as vice-president to former President Barack Obama. And his cabinet selections to date have been seasoned Washington hands.

The contrast with Trump will be fairly obvious. Biden will be more steady on North Korea, rather than swinging dramatically from confrontation to conciliation as Trump did. Nor will Biden place as much emphasis on public relations. All the Trump sideshows – the search for a Nobel Prize, the forced bonhomie with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the outlandish language – will disappear.

Instead Biden will return to the long slog that is negotiating with North Korea. There will be no summit unless negotiations merit it, so most of the work will re-submerge into the depths of the State Department and North Korean Foreign Ministry. Perhaps some manner of deal will arise from working level-talks. But given how poorly such efforts have gone in the past, this is hardly likely.

There will be no war threats, nor rhetorical attacks on America’s South Korean ally. Instead, North Korea will likely be a mid-level issue for Biden: occasionally grabbing attention when the North does something outrageous, but otherwise the stalemated status quo of the last decade will likely reassert itself. And with so many other issues afoot – covid, tense relations with China, repairing alliances – the Biden team is likely to accept that stalemate by default.

The status quo is not ideal, but it is one all sides have slowly accustomed themselves to and can live with given the risks of change. It is essentially a stalemate. North Korea remains unbowed – still a Cold War relic, unliberalized and orwellian – and it has nuclear weapons. So long as those are not proliferated, the world resigns itself to the permanent sanction, isolation, deterrence, and containment of the North.

In other words, the Korean division remains as entrenched as ever, and although now nuclearized, it remains basically stable. The US is unwilling to risk war for denuclearization, and so long as it the North is responsible with its nuclear program, the US is accommodating itself to North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. The US will never admit this however, and the cost for North Korea is permanent exclusion from world politics. The North Korean elite, in turn, is willing to accept this banishment as it does not care if its people suffer the costs of global isolation, and it also believes, rightly, that nuclear weapons are its best deterrent against external attack.

This status quo is unhappy and dangerous: it punishes the North Korean people brutally; it dramatically raises the level of violence possible if the Korean War returns; it leaves a geopolitical flashpoint permanently unresolved with all the possibilities of misperception and inadvertent incidents that entails. But it is also stable. All sides prefer it to the costs of pursuing change:

– The US would like denuclearization, but the costs are too high: Strikes raise the possibility of war; a deal would require huge US strategic concessions, such as the withdrawal of the US from South Korea, which Washington is unwilling to make. So the US has adjusted.

– The North would like sanctions lifted and normalization, but the costs are also too high: Denuclearization is the clear price for an entry into world politics as a (somewhat) normal state. The United Nations Security Council has voted for sanctions, and even China and the dovish South Korean left support the North’s denuclearization. Given that the Pyongyang elite can push the costs of sanctions off onto the population – the people who run North Korea can still access the luxury goods of the global economy through smuggling – it too has chosen to adjust.

It is not clear what Biden can do to alter these deep-seated structures behind the grim, long-standing status quo. Trump tried all sorts of antics and gimmicks, only to drop North Korea as an irresolvable issue. His predecessor Obama tried a deal in 2012 which fell apart almost immediately. The South Korean left, now in power, has tried relentlessly for years to pull North Korea out its shell, only to regularly receive Pyongyang’s abuse.

So Biden will likely give North Korea a ‘college try’ – he will put out diplomatic feelers, consult with allies, go slow on the rhetoric – but it is unlikely he would make the huge concessions the North would demand for denuclearization. And there will be many other pressing issues. So the status quo stalemate is likely return, and that will be good enough for Biden.


Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University

@Robert_E_Kelly

 

 


Gounsa Temple – 고운사 (Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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Gounsa Temple in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

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Temple History

Gounsa Temple, which means “Solitary Cloud Temple” in English, is located in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The temple is located to the west of Mt. Deungunsan, which means “Riding on the Clouds” in English. The temple was first established by the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) in 681 A.D. While the name of the temple originally meant “High Cloud Temple” in English, the meaning of Gounsa Temple changed to “Solitary Cloud Temple.” So while the temple has always been named Gounsa Temple and had the same pronunciation, the meaning of the temple’s name changed after it was visited by the great Confucian and Taoist scholar Choi Chiwon (857-? A.D.), whose pen-name was Goun, or “Solitary Cloud” in English. During Goun’s prolonged stay to help renovate the temple, he designed two unique pavilions at the temple: Gaun-ru Pavilion and Uhwa-ru Pavilion. For this reason, the meaning of the temple changed to its current meaning.

Throughout the years, Gounsa Temple has undergone numerous repairs and rebuilds like in 948 A.D., when it was rebuilt by the monk Unju-jotong. Then in 1018 A.D., it was renovated by the monk Cheonu. It also served as a base for the Righteous Army, led by the warrior monk Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610), during the Imjin War (1592-1598). Surprisingly, and unlike so many other major temples on the Korean peninsula, Gounsa Temple avoided being destroyed by the invading Japanese at this time. After the Imjin War, Gounsa Temple underwent a large-scale reconstruction project that started in 1695.

During the 19th century, Gounsa Temple suffered serious damage during two fires: one in April, 1803 and the other in February, 1835. The temple was rebuilt after these destructive fires. Another destructive fire took place, destroying a few shrine halls at Gounsa Temple, in 1975. More recently, and in 1980, the temple grounds were completely renovated. And in 2010, a new main hall was built at Gounsa Temple. Several famous contemporary monks have called Gounsa Temple home like Goam (1899-1988) and Jeongang (1898-1975)

Gounsa Temple is home to one Korean Treasure, and it also participates in the popular Temple Stay program. Gounsa Temple is also the Headquarters Temple of the 16th District of the Jogye-jong Order (the largest Buddhist Order in Korea). Gounsa Temple oversees sixty branch temples in Andong, Uiseong, Yeongju, Bonghwa, and Cheongsong.

Some of this great information can be found at David Mason’s wonderful website. Please check it out here!

Temple Layout

Gounsa Temple is located up a rather remote valley. In fact, the road that leads up to the temple grounds is eight kilometres long. When you finally do arrive at Gounsa Temple, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful bowed pillars of the distinctly designed Iljumun Gate. Beyond this gate lies the Cheonwangmun Gate, which is home to four fierce-looking statues of the Four Heavenly Kings.

Before you enter the rest of the temple grounds, you’ll first be greeted by the oldest building at the temple: the Gobul-jeon Hall. Inside this compact temple shrine hall sits a ancient faceless statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). However, watch your head when you enter this temple shrine hall because the ceiling is rather low.

Beyond the Gobul-jeon Hall, and to the left, rests the most unique building at Gounsa Temple. The Gaun-ru Pavilion, which means “Floating Over the Clouds Pavilion” in English, was one of two pavilions designed by Goun (Choi Chiwon). This beautifully designed little hall, which is supported by wooden columns and foundation stones, is and was used for holding classes and studying. A tranquil stream flows past the long wooden support columns underneath the uniquely designed Gaun-ru Pavilion. The Gaun-ru Pavilion was rebuilt in 1835 after the previously mentioned devastating temple fire. And to the left of the Gaun-ru Pavilion, which was also designed by Goun, is the plain Unwa-ru Pavilion.

Backing these two pavilions, and before spanning a bridge to gain entry to the main temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). To the left of the collection of entry pavilions at Gounsa Temple is a pathway that leads you to the left of the monks living quarters. To the right of these living quarters is an older temple courtyard. Housed inside this area is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. Adorning the exterior walls to this temple shrine hall are a set of bluish Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of ornate statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

Past the visitors centre, you’ll come out on the other side of the Geukrak-jeon Hall courtyard next to the temple’s Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). The Jong-ru Pavilion is home to a beautiful fish and cloud gong. To the left of the Jong-ru Pavilion is the Yeonsu-jeon Hall. Uniquely, this hall enshrines the family records of the royal family. It was first built in 1774, and it looks Confucian in style.

To the far right, and still in the same temple courtyard, you’ll see the brand new Daeung-jeon Hall that was completed in 2010. The Daeung-jeon Hall is surrounded on all sides by Shimu-do (Ox-Herding Murals). As for the interior, and sitting in the centre of a triad of statues, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by a statue of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). On the far right wall is a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). And the entire interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall is adorned with beautiful Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals).

Up an embankment are a collection of temple shrine halls housed in the upper courtyard. To the far left, you’ll see a collection of three shrine halls. The first of these three is a smaller structure that houses the Stone Seated Buddha of Gounsa Temple. The statue, which is in relatively good condition, was made in the 9th century, and it’s Korean Treasure #246.

The other two shrine halls in this area are the Samseong-gak Hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The paintings housed inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall are of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) are rather plain in composition, while the statues inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld) and the black haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the main altar are rather scary.

How To Get There

From the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch a local bus to Gounsa Temple. These buses leave at 9:10 a.m., 10:40 a.m., 1:15 p.m., and 4:40 p.m. The bus ride takes about forty minutes to get to Gounsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 8/10

The remote Gounsa Temple is beautifully situated among mountains and stunning foliage. And because of its rather remote location, it’s perfect for a tranquil visit. Adding to its location are the beautiful temple shrine halls like the Gaun-ru Pavilion and the newly built Daeung-jeon Hall. Also of interest is the 9th century statue of the Buddha and the numerous murals spread throughout the temple grounds both inside and out shrine halls.

A look through the Iljumun Gate at the Cheonwangmun Gate off in the distance.
The uniquely designed Gaun-ru Pavilion.
The Geukrak-jeon Hall at Gounsa Temple.
A look inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.
The beautiful foliage that surrounds Gounsa Temple.
The Yeonsu-jeon Hall.
The newly built Daeung-jeon Hall.
A look inside the expansive interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall.
The Samseong-gak Hall (left) and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall (right).
A look at the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.
The 9th century Stone Seated Buddha of Gounsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #246.

Photographing The Canadian Prairies and Korean Cityscapes Takes a Different Mindset

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As you may know, I recently had to return home Canada due to the sudden passing of my Father, Don Teale. It was an difficult and unexpected journey home. Like most international travel these days, I was required to spend 14 days at home in quarantine. It was another difficult time because I could not see my family at all or even leave the house.

So by the time that I was finished with the quarantine and made sure that my Mother and family were ok, I needed some time to myself to just digest it all and come to terms with everything that happened. I also needed to spend some time exploring Brandon and using my photography as a way to help heal.

I mentioned this before when I lost my best friend in 2015 to a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Due to the connection that we had with photography, I found a way to heal through taking pictures. However, with the passing of my Father, this was a difficult task.

It was such a sudden shock to my system that I am not even sure that my brain full comprehended what had actually happened. For the longest time, I was still expecting Dad to just drive into the driveway and give me a hug. That never happened. So, I had to take it slow and let my brain adjust to it.

Prairie Life

As I slowing grew accustomed to being home, I needed to explore and go to the places where I had fond memories with my father. Much of those memories were driving around the city of Brandon. In the mornings, it was quiet and slow. The sun even woke up late but did so with such grandeur that I was often awestruck by the colours.

It was such a stark contrast to how I photograph the cityscapes in Korea. I almost didn’t know how to shoot such scenes. A couple of times I was so put back that I even forgot to use a tripod. I would take a few blurry shots until my brain kicked in and said “What the hell are you doing!!??” Then I would run back to the truck and get my Dad’s old tripod.

I didn’t take my usual tripod with me this time as I had mistakenly thought that I would not be in the right mindset to need it. I brought the camera as I wanted to get some more recent pictures of my family. However, my dad still kept his tripod from the 70’s out in the garage.

The biggest different was that I found that the prairies are an open canvas of sorts. It was really hard to nail down what it was that I wanted to express and even harder to photograph it. The vast openness of everything made me really think about the best way to compose a shot.

Sunrises over the Fields

I naturally gravitated to the fields as I felt for Brandon anyway, this was a defining feature. The entire city is surrounded by fields and this was something that my wife always commented on when we would come home. It was just a vast open prairie only a few minutes from my parent’s house. This is something that is very hard to find in Korea.

As I drove around out in the country, I also became aware of the wildlife. One morning, I went past the Brandon Wildlife Range. This was a shooting range that I pretty much grew up in. My Father was the president there and helped build much of the range that people see today.

At any rate, when I drove past it, I saw a huge herd of deer. After living in Korea for so long, I was put back by just how beautiful this scene was. Not to mention how fragile it was. One wrong step and all the deer would be gone in an instant. This too reminded me of the times my Dad would take us out to see where the deer were.

Culture Shock

One of the biggest differences that I noticed was just the isolation. When I photograph landscapes in Korea, you are never really isolated or away from people. Just before I left, I had a good chuckle as I was photographing the falling leaves. People saw my car and tried to figure out where I was as they assumed that if someone was there, something interesting must be there as well.

During my time back home, I was often a little freaked out because there not a lot of people around especially where I was taking photos. I subconsciously always expected someone to drive past or pop up out of nowhere. Rarely did I ever see anyone.

That also brings me to my next point which was the noise. Especially for cityscapes, Korea never sleeps. There are always people doing something anywhere at anytime. Back home, it was silent in the mornings. Maybe the odd car or truck but the silence was strange for me to hear (or not hear??) after getting used to the hum of city life in Korea.

The Return

Coming home to Korea was a bit of a challenge to say the least. The steps taken to prevent the spread of covid are no laughing matter. I even got stuck at the airport because the special “doctor’s note” that only long-term residents need ( the thousands of Koreans returning from trips abroad do not need one) did not have a date on it to prove that I got with within 48 hours of travel. Thankfully, I was able to prove that and get only way in a short amount of time.

I could only really look out the window. It was tough but what was worse was that during all this down time, I got out of the habit of exploring places around the region. When my quarantine was over, I had little interest in heading out to photograph places. I felt and still feel stuck.

After getting home, I spent another 14-days in quarantine and it was no joke. I had a tracking app put on my phone and between that and the calls from the health office, they kept close tabs on me. The sad part as a photographer was the fact that at this time, many people were out shooting the snow that had fallen over Seoul and other regions of Korea.


The bottomline here is that when photographing different areas as vastly different like the Canadian Prairies and the Korean Cityscapes, it takes a completely different mindset. One that needs a bit of time to come into fruition.

The post Photographing The Canadian Prairies and Korean Cityscapes Takes a Different Mindset appeared first on The Sajin.


Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #81: Cannot

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In this lesson we'll learn another way to say "can't" or "cannot."

Remember that this course goes in order, so start from the first episode if you're new to this course. There will be a total of 100 videos once this course is completed.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #81: Cannot appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


~은/ㄴ/는 and ~다는 것 Describing Nouns | Live Class Abridged

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Sunday's live Korean class was an advanced grammar lesson about the form ~다는 것, as well as several related ones.

The original lesson was over 90 minutes long, but you can watch it again in this 20 minute condensed version here.

The post ~은/ㄴ/는 and ~다는 것 Describing Nouns | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


Black Day in Korea – Everything You Need to Know About This Holiday

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In this article, we’re going to tell you all about Black Day in Korea.

South Korea is known for having a lot of special days on top of national holidays. One of them is known as Black Day.

In our other articles, we have introduced you to some important couples’ holidays in South Korea, including Valentine’s Day on February 14 and White Day on March 14. Today it’s time to learn of the holiday that follows them in April, called Black Day, celebrated every April 14.

A guy eating alone on a table with a flower in a vase

What is Black Day?

Where the other romantic holidays such as Valentine’s Day and White Day revolve around couples showering each other with candies, gifts, and doing whatever activities the days are known for, Black Day is quite different. Black Day in South Korea is a holiday that is reserved for single people, unlike all the other ones.

When is Black Day?

Black Day is celebrated every April 14, one month after White Day on March 14.

How is Black Day celebrated?

On this day, April 14, it is custom to eat 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon), which are noodles in black bean sauce, if you happen to be single. The black color of the sauce goes accordingly with the day’s name and the 짜장면 dish is also seen as comfort food by many.

A dish made of noodles with black bean sauce. There is also a pair of chopsticks and two side dishes

Some singles may go all out with this day and dress in black, from clothes to nail polish. You may even be able to find 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) eating contests on this day, there is an intriguing spike in the sales of black coffee, and some matchmaking events may be offered to single people on Black Day.

Unlike Valentine’s Day and White Day, Black Day doesn’t require people to give gifts.

How did Black Day start?

Originally this was seen as a day of sorrow, hence the name “black”. It was a day where single people could come together to mourn their singleness and drown their sorrows in comfort food. However, in modern-day South Korea, it can also be seen as a day of celebration for singles, as the emphasis on the importance of being in a relationship decreases in society. But whether you are celebrating or mourning, eating 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) on this day, perhaps with black coffee for dessert, is the quintessential way to embrace the day.

What exactly is 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon)?

At its roots, 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) is a dish made of noodles imported from China. However, today’s 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) in South Korea is incomparable to any Chinese noodle dishes. The noodles are thick and made of wheat.

On top of the noodles, or separately, is served the sauce. It is a black sweet bean sauce, mixed with soy sauce, pork, onions, and zucchini. Often it also includes seafood and cabbage, and it’s also possible to find meat-free versions. As a decoration on top, you may find cucumber and boiled eggs.

It is a popular dish also outside of Black Day, as its price is low and it’s easy to find restaurants serving 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) close to schools and offices. Its taste is mild, and therefore easy to eat for those who don’t like salty or spicy food.

What do you think about Black Day? Let us know in the comments below?

The post Black Day in Korea – Everything You Need to Know About This Holiday appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


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