Life in the ROK
West goes East: The lives and adventures of a Californian couple living in Seoul
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Another delicious seafood meal at the clam and shell grill. When the shells open dinner is ready.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Katsura Imperial Villa is one of Japan's most famous gardens and was constructed in the 17th century by Prince Toshito. The gardens are truly amazing and painstakingly designed to include all the different garden styles from that period.
beautiful weather on our tour that morning. In the afternoon it started to rain.
Ikebana, the art of flower arranging, which in our opinion really should not be shown as a performing art but I guess they had to fill the hour.... These women are playing the Koto.
Gagaku, which is a strange/special dance done very slowly to kind of annoying high pitched 'court music.' We liked his costume but were happy it only lasted for about 7 minutes.
Kyogen which is a traditional comic play. They are tied up because their master thinks they will steal his Sake while he goes to town. And of course they do steal his sake even though they are tied up they get totally drunk before their master comes back. This one was Jay's favorite, the acting was pretty good.
Bunraku. Three men all in black control the movements of this large puppet. Apparently they train for years to get the movements just right. It was pretty cool to watch.
Kyomizu Temple was originally built in 789. Mizu is the word for water in Japanese and the temple was given this name because of the spring that is on the temple grounds. Many people come here to drink the water which is supposed to posses Divine power and ward off illness.
ko or Japanese performers as we were leaving the temples and snapped a few photos of them. We later saw an add for a place where you can dress up like a Mai-ko or Geisha and have someone photograph you at a temple or outside somewhere. Apparently the after effects of the popularity of "Memoir's of a a Geisha" are still being felt. We saw many more women dressed up in these costumes than I ever saw as a student in Kyoto 8 years ago.
Ginkakuji and apparently are the VIPs of moss, or like the VIPs of moss.
Ryoanjin rock garden is considered one of the best examples of a Japanese rock garden. The garden consists of a 300 meter area of sand and pebbles with 15 rocks very carefully arranged to represent islands in an ocean. Its high degree of abstractness embodies the the ultimate in the Kare-sansui style of rock gardens. People come and stare at this garden for hours, we didn't last quite that long as we had lots of things to do and see and eat in Kyoto.
Ramen on a machine before entering the restaurant. It was delicious.
Here is Colleen at the cute little ryokan that we stayed in. They brought us a Japanese breakfast every morning at that little table there. Seaweed and other delicious breakfast foodstuff like that.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Jay and I at the top of Ulsan-Bawi. The hike was pretty steep with a lot of stairs and a lot of Koreans. We are always impressed by Koreans love of hiking and the outdoors, but it is still a little odd to have to wait on a hiking trail because there are so many people bottled up in front of you. In the US we go hiking to commune with nature, and in Korea it is much more of a group activity and usually not just a family group most often Koreans hike in packs of about 15-20 fellow Koreans all in complete hiking gear.
Remembered today that I had wanted to blog this photo of the East Coast Crew in front of the Sorak National Park entrance. This is everybody who went on the fishing-hiking-naked public bathing trip. Forgot to mention that last part. Public bathing is a big thing in Korea, similar to Japan. Mr. Chon, the oldest Korean on the trip, paid for everyone to enjoy a public bath and thus we went. He's in the front left in the photo.
The bath was separated into men and women sides and, at least on the men's side, it was all ages enjoying some naked R&R as well as a good scrubbing. There were two big hot tubs, one hot and one hotter, a cold tub, and a hot sauna. My medic PFC Charlton welcomed me into the naked hot sauna with a nice bucket of cold water to the chest and face. I got him back when he wasn't looking. Then my Korean ambulance drivers started the naked splash fight in the cold water pool with DJ, the 9 year-old, who responded in full pre-teen fury. They all got yelled at by the bath employees. Apparently naked is not an excuse for rowdy in Korea.
Sorry, no naked bathing photos.
Monday, November 05, 2007