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문래창작촌 | Seoul Art Space | Mullae-dong, Mullae Line 2
문래창작촌 | Seoul Art Space | Mullae-dong, Mullae Line 2
A rainy afternoon in Mullae-dong. Come out of Mullae Exit 7, and walk south for a couple of hundred metres. You’ll meet the entrance to the industrial area (there’s a couple of pieces of street art which you can’t miss) Once inside, you’ll find a mixture of steel workshops (still very much operational), artist studios, and some boutique cafes. Unlike some of the other artist villages around Korea, this place certainly feels more gritty. I chose to visit on a rainy afternoon which meant having the place to myself. I think the weather added a certainly gloominess and made the vibrancy of the art stand out even more. Towards, the main road, the village becomes more ‘gentrified’ and there were some pretty flashy coffee shops complete with posing hipsters (Very akin to parts of Shoreditch in London).
If you’re interested in the industrial side of Seoul, the juxtaposition of old and new, or urban street art, this is probably about as good as it gets.
Pick a rainy day and don’t forget your umbrella!
It is tough to be in a long distance relationship. I see friends who complain about being in a "long distance relationship" when their boyfriend/girlfriend goes on a school exchange. But being in a long distance relationship with someone from a different country or culture brings it to a whole new level.
Here is how we make our long distance relationship (LDR) work:
(Recent EMS with home-grilled seaweed, korean beans, korean snacks...)
I think the most important thing is to have a mindset that this relationship will work if you put your heart and soul into it. It will be a tough relationship, but the most rewarding one you will ever have.
As I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, South Korea is devastated over the loss of life in the Sewol Ferry tragedy. There are confusing, conflicting responses to this tragedy, really the first major national catastrophe since the country was created after the Korean War. For a culture that so highly values trust and respect, the idea of departmental and government oversights causing a loss of life this immense is overwhelming. Just today, the country’s prime minister 정홍원 (Jeong Hong Won) resigned amid a hail of controversy about government inefficiency. Distraught parents have threatened to march on the Blue House (South Korea’s presidential residence) in protest and are vocally and emotionally castigating a government they feel has failed to save their children.
I don’t know enough about the issue to point fingers. If the ferry was like any bus, train, or subway I’ve ever ridden in this country, I’m sure it was overcrowded. I’m sure captain and surviving crew made a host of mistakes in terms of organizing the ship’s evacuation and coordinating rescue efforts, not the least of which was leaving the ship without first ensuring their passengers’ safety. However, I also know that weather conditions immediately following the accident were miserable and extremely windy here in Busan. Additionally, the water here is frigid and seas can get pretty rough, which I’m sure impeded rescue efforts and created an enormous job for the divers. I’m sure someone will be judged grievously at fault for the incident and the botched rescue that accompanied it. I hope that over the next couple of years changes in safety and inspection policies will prevent another similar tragedy from happening.
However, more than pondering the physics of sinking ships and the politics of governmental corruption, I find myself flat-out mourning the loss of so many young lives. As a teacher, I have attended my fair share of funerals for students who passed away too soon, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a part of the Ansan Danwon High School community right now. Just think about attending a school that has lost nearly a third of its student population. Think about being one of the few surviving members of Danwon’s sophomore class and having to face graduation next year–or even classes for that matter. Consider being a teacher and gazing out over all those empty desks, or a principal supervising a too-empty hallway during class changes. The impact has to be staggering.
Now compound this by adding in cultural ramifications. South Korea is a country in population crisis, where many couples choose to have small families or no children at all. Though not mandated like China’s one child policy, the high cost of child-rearing in Korea has led many couples to forego or delay marriage and childbirth. Currently, the RoK government is attempting to deal with issues like how to populate a workforce in a country that isn’t producing enough children. A myriad of changes in attitudes about marriage, women in the work force, and child-rearing have resulted in one of the lowest birth rates in the world and a country that, if this trend continues, may be looking at a population decrease in the next generation. The issue is so severe that the government offers financial assistance to all pregnant mothers (even foreigners) in the hopes of encouraging people to start families. Now imagine the tragic loss of hundred of children from a single community.
Furthermore, Korea has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, especially among teenagers. A recent poll from the Korean Health Promotion Foundation found that more than half of Korean teens admitted to having suicidal thoughts, with more than a third describing themselves as “very depressed”. Suicide is currently the leading cause of death for Koreans aged 15-24, surpassing even car accidents. In a country where so many children are already at risk of self-destructive behavior, the issue of providing effective and accessible mental health resources for students is paramount in the wake of a tragedy like the Sewol disaster.
In the meantime, the country as a whole remains in deep mourning, with celebratory events cancelled or postponed out of respect for the victims and their families. Television programming schedules have been altered, and even the normally raucous Korean baseball season is off to a somber start with cheering, dancing, and game time festivities halted out of respect. Kpop stars, Korean actors, and citizens have posted yellow ribbons and “Pray for Korea” photos on their social media pages as a sign of solidarity for those directly affected by the tragedy. As one of my colleagues indicated this week, no one is really sure when life as normal will resume here because nothing like this has ever happened before. The loss of life, particularly young life, on such a large scale is tremendous. How does one even begin to grieve a tragedy of this magnitude?
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Korea, Sewol, Teen Suicide, yellow ribbons
In preparation for the Korea World Travel Fair, the Embassy of Slovakia hosted an event on Tuesday April 15 introducing Slovakia as an attractive tourism destination in Central Europe. They also launched a brochure showcasing the country entitled “Slovakia” in the Korean Language.
The fair is quickly approaching and will be held from May 29-June 1. For those who have a constant case of the travel bug, this is a one-stop shop to check out where in the world is calling your name. Both domestic and overseas tourism will be showcased.
The embassy showcased some of the most fascinating places to visit in Slovakia through a slide presentation. Locations included medieval castles and chateaus, caves, historical towns, healing spas, and a plethora of outdoor recreation. Slovakia has now been in the European Union for 10 years and is a significant trade partner with Korea. If you want a first hand glance at their brochure, as well as information about attractive travel destinations around the world, don’t miss Seoul’s 29th KOTFA.
Located at the COEX exhibition center, Hall A will house over 100,000 travel industry professionals, buyers and travel consumers throughout the event. Beyond the individual informational booths there will also be cultural perormances, presentations and raffles
KOTFA vision is:
1) To promote the exchange of travel information by sharing new ideas, products and services with travel professionals
2) To promote domestic and international travel by introducing travel attractions and products3) To introduce consumer travel trend and to help develop travel products suitable to the market
4) To publicize the participating companies and the fair itself by inviting overseas travel writers and tour operators with the tourism related organizations in Korea.
For more information about KOFTA visit their website: http://www.kotfa.co.kr
Period: Thursday, May 29- Sunday, June 1
Venue: 1 Fl, Hall A COEX
Adress: 58, Teheran-ro 87-gil, Gagnam-gu Seoul
Transportation: Samseong Station (Subway Line 2) Exit 5 or 6. COEX is connected to the station.
We communicate not by age but by wave length.
Not everyone will see eye to eye. Some of us will be too short.
Those older may be bolder with words but just as concerned with perceptions
perceived as impressionable Tweens not ready to be seen.
Age is just a number may be cliche to say but I’ve had better conversations with childless rakes in their 60s
and elementary school students in South Korea than some fellow 35-year-olds. The calendar may say we have
a similar time, but we are far from a similar place.
And you may have to accept not everyone will see things this way. Feel sorry for them.
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.
The Goryeo-era pagoda and golden roofed main hall at Geumdangsa Temple.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Geumdangsa Temple, which means “Golden Hall Temple,” in English, was first built in 814 A.D. It’s well known as a place where the Goryeon monk, Naong-hwasang, practiced his form of Buddhism. In fact, if you look closely up in the mountains, you can find Naongam Hermitage, which is a secluded grotto where Naong once meditated. More recently, in 1894, General Jeon Bongjun’s daughter sought refuge at the temple. Gen. Jeon Bongjun led the anti-foreigner campaign, mainly against the Japanese, for the brutal punishment meted out to Korean farmers during the Donghak Peasant Revolution. Geumdangsa Temple also acted as a base for Korean guerrilla troops in the Jinan area during Japanese Colonial rule from 1910-1945.
When you first arrive at the temple, which is about a kilometer west of Tapsa Temple, you’ll first be greeted by the gift shop/visitors’ centre to the right. Just a little further along and there are a pair of mythical Haetae that bookend a set of stairs that leads into the main temple courtyard.
To the far left is a golden statue of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) behind a beautiful artificial pond. Just before you reach this pond, you’ll notice a large collection of stacked stones that travelers have left behind for good luck and a safe journey.
Just to the right of this golden statue and pond is an all-new, yet to be painted, hall dedicated to the historic Gwaebultang painting. In the centre of this large sized painting, which dates back to 1682, is a solemnly faced Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This dominant figure in the painting is surrounded by twenty images of the Buddha in a multi-coloured fiery nimbus. In the past, the painting would be carted out and the monks would offer up prayers for rain during droughts. It is said to be one of the three most important historic murals in Korea alongside the ones at Tongdosa Temple and Muryangsa Temple. This painting is masterful in its execution.
Next to this hall, and to the right, is what looks to be the Yeongsan-jeon. The exterior walls to this hall are painted with the Palsang-do murals. As for the interior, and uniquely hanging on the main altar, are a triad of paintings. It’s unique because there are usually three statues and not just paintings. In the centre is a painting dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by two elaborate paintings of Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power).
Just up the embankment, and to the right, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Inside this hall are two newer paintings of Yongwang (The Dragon King) and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). These vibrant paintings flank the older looking mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). Strangely, between the main hall and this hall is a stone with an inscription on it with a large golden tiger crawling at the top of it.
The most unique hall at the temple is the golden roofed main hall. This newly built shrine hall has some rather crude Palsang-do murals surrounding the exterior walls. Inside the barren interior of the main hall sits a triad of statues on the main altar. The reason I say barren is that there is no large mural backing the triad of main altar statues. Sitting in the centre of the main altar is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul. He’s joined on either side by familiar company: Bohyun-bosal and Munsu-bosal. On the far right wall are a collection of wooden Nahan statues, as well as a guardian mural.
The final hall at the temple is the Myeongbu-jeon. Inside this all-natural exterior is a stately looking statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). He’s joined on either side by some extremely unique yellow based murals. The one to the left is a mural dedicated to the Dragon Ship of Wisdom, while the one to the right is dedicated to Jijang-bosal.
The final thing you can see out in front of the main hall is the smaller sized five-tier pagoda that dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty.
Admission to the temple, by way of Tapsa Temple, is 3,000 won. However, if you pay 3,000 won, you can see three temples: Tapsa Temple, Geumdangsa Temple, and Eunsusa Temple.
HOW TO GET THERE: First, you’ll need to get to Jinan Bus Terminal from wherever it is you live in Korea. From the bus terminal, you’ll need to take a bus bound for Maisan Provincial Park. These buses leave every 40 minutes and start at 7:30 in morning and run until 18:00. Once you’re dropped off at the entry to Maisan Provincial Park, you’ll need to walk up the path that leads to Tapsa Temple. A couple hundred metres up the path, and just beyond the restaurants and stores, you’ll see Geumdangsa Temple to your left. It only takes about 5 minutes from where the bus lets you off to get to this temple.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. Surprisingly, for a smaller sized temple, there’s a fair bit to see at Geumdangsa Temple. The two main attractions are the large sized mural dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal, as well as the five-tier historic pagoda that dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty. Other highlights are the extremely unique murals inside the Myeongbu-jeon, the vibrant shaman murals inside the Samseong-gak, the tiger crawling stone monument, and the golden roofed main hall. It’s a nice little stop along the way, as you head up towards the much more famous Tapsa Temple.
The beautiful sites that greet you at Geumdangsa Temple.
The collection of stacked rocks left by travelers to the temple.
The large golden statue of Mireuk-bul, which backs a beautiful artificial pond.
The hall that houses the historic Gwaebultang painting.
A look at the beauty of the amazing painting.
An even better look at the face of Gwanseeum-bosal.
To the right of the former hall is the Yeongsan-jeon hall.
Just one of the Palsang-do murals that adorns the exterior walls to the Yeongsan-jeon hall.
A unique look between the two halls to the left of the main hall.
The murals, and not statues, that hang on the main altar inside the Yeongsan-jeon.
The rather plain, and stout, Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.
A close look at Sanshin inside the Samseong-gak.
And a look at the equally vibrant mural dedicated to Yongwang.
The golden tiger topped stone monument with the Samseong-gak in the background.
The golden roofed, and newly built, main hall at Geumdangsa Temple.
One of the amateurish looking Palsang-do murals that adorns the exterior walls to the main hall.
A look inside at the main altar. Uniquely, there’s yet to hang a mural behind this triad.
A collection of wooden Nahan to the right of the main altar.
To the right of the main altar, and in between the monks’ dorms, is the Myeongbu-jeon.
The main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon with Jijang-bosal front and centre.
The beautiful and unique yellow mural dedicated to the Dragon Ship of Wisdom.
Off in the distance is the grotto where the monk Naong used to meditate.