Tagged: Festivals

Seoul Lantern Festival 2009

Polish up on yer chop-sticking, bow from the waist, and don’t forget to take your fucking shoes off because 2010-2012 is Visit Korea Year! That’s what I learned on our second trip to Seoul last year when we stumbled upon a very large, sugar cone-like plastic swirl across the street from City Hall. This turned out to be the beginnings of a lantern festival. Approximately fifty highly ornate paper lamps lit their way down the center of Cheonggyecheon Stream as the water calmly rushed beneath their plywood platforms. We were struck by how difficult it must have been to assemble and run power to these contraptions in the middle of the water.  Maybe this happens every year around November 13th, or maybe we just got lucky. English brochures were not available. In memory of happy times, here are a few of the pictures we took. Enjoy!

boseong green tea festival after children’s day

Over the weekend, we went to the Boseong Green Tea festival held in the neighboring town of — you guessed it — Boseong. Other than the mistake I made of taking two buses to get there, it was a solid trip. Much to my protest, Erica decided to make her own Green Tea from a bag full of freshly picked leaves which took nearly 2 hours of mashing, mixing, and burning. A local woman who spoke amazingly good English later explained to us that this was a real treat. Because it was the first harvest, and the tea had endured long winter months, it would be much stronger and have “real medicinal property”. Really though, I think it tastes almost fish like. Guess I’ve never really had good green tea.

Last Wednesday was Children’s Day, an otherwise random day off during the week which gave us a much appreciated break from the insanity. A few noteworthy incidents to report from the last week include: A student vomiting at random during lunch from eating too much rice (or perhaps it was the fish water), another exploding into tears because I took his pencil case (he threw it across the room first), and during our field trip to the World Photonics Expo, one little girl hurled a rock at the head of another student (direct hit). Never a dull moment at the unvarying six hour circus we call Kindergarten.

I went hiking up Mt Geumdang again —  a perfect way to relieve stress and forget about everything which does not concern another step upward and onward. This time, I paid a vendor at the summit 3000 KRW for a beer. As a service, she gave me a plate of those delicious dried bait fish some of you folks back home had the pleasure of sampling (I threw them off into the woods when she wasn’t looking).

Later that afternoon, I rode that so-called bike of mine along the river until I ran out of gas (metaphorically speaking). Pretty sure I ended up in the next town, but who knows.

Field Trip: 2010 World Photonics Expo

Finally, a field trip to some place other than the sixth floor of the school. This past Friday we took the Kindergarten students to the Gwangju World Photonics Expo, and apparently so did every other Kindergarten in the Jeolla province. See photos from the photonics expo on my first trip as an earlier post. Field trip is the wrong word for this actually. It was more like an on location photo shoot. We hustled from one garden to another all morning snapping goofy poses of the kids; I must have heard ‘1… 2… 3… kimchi’ a thousand times. A number of high schools were there as well, and I was surprised to see that all the boys had the same crew cut. “Why do all those boys have the same haircut?” I asked a Korean Teacher. It seems to me that schools would make the boys shave their heads in preparation for service in the military (Korean men are required to serve 2 years in the military before or immediately after college). But as usual when it comes to matters of cultural understanding, I was wrong. “The school worries they will be too focused on style and not on studies, so they must keep short hair” she replied. Seriously? Of course I didn’t believe her, so I asked another Korean Teacher and got a different answer. “Oh yes, the haircuts. Here in Gwangju they do it because its a kind of style, and everyone wants to fit in. If you go to Seoul, it’s not the same.” What I gather then, is that all the bad haircuts have something to do with style.

in Life

World Photonics Expo Photos

NEWSFLASH ::::: : We took a field trip to the photonics expo with the student only a week later :::  : : : :: ::

Read about all the neon, fire, and hardcore pornography on Tripwolf here.

Gwangju Sangmu Citizen’s Park from April 2 to May 9, 2010. Check out some of the choice Korean attempts at professional English writing that I pulled from the brochure.

“People around the worlds are following the enormous potential of photonics”

“The science class where has learning programs of various science about lights origin and kinds by characteristic interesting methods.”

“We meeting the theme image by 3D Animation”

“The article space where were creating by citizen and photonics artist.”

“Seven kinds of power contents which is able to experiencing only at the Photonics Expo.”

“You can watching the dynamic story of the light which is keeping the earth from darkness…”

“You can joyful experiencing and understanding the light’s principle by established various lights facilities.”

Dear Photonics Organization Committee, hire me please.

in deep kimchi

Gwangju World Cup stadium this year was the venue for the Kimchi Cultural Festival; a seven day celebration (without mud or mind altering drugs) of all things inspired by vegetables rotting in a ceramic jug. For anyone that does not live in Korea or shop the isles of obscurity at your local grocer, kimchi most commonly manifests itself as pickled Napa cabbage doused with chili pepper paste. It can be spicy, bitter, sweet, and served hot or cold. The taste is, generally, okay. Most Koreans eat kimchi everyday, and will tell you that it helps prevent everything from cancer to chronic masturbation. One of the exhibits at the kimchi festival went so far as to claim it was the “number 1 healthiest food in the world,” according to a U.S. Health Magazine. I can’t remember the publication’s name, however. It may not have even been named come to think of it.

Surprisingly, we only saw a handful of other foreigners here. This might explain why one event staffer followed us around all day taking pictures of us eating kimchi. My face will probably appear in some tourist promotion next year, plastered with a cheesy catchphrase.  “Say Kimchi!”