Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Pictures from Chiak mountain and a few extras.

First of all: This is Creased Comics. Some web comics are obscure, or weird, or gross, or occasionally crass, and I won't guarantee this one is ALWAYS on the up and up. . . but sometimes it gives you something so unexpected and at right angles to reality, that it just cracks a fella up.

For a web comic that's ALWAYS clean, and actually, really profound, try this one instead. It's a little nostalgic sometimes, but often it gives a really profound metaphor for the way some people see the world. It's hopeful, instead of just weird.

Littering cigarette butts is against the law in downtown Seoul now -- fifty dollar fine! To create a culture of "not littering" here in Seoul (will take a lot of work, but ) the mayor's put up little butt stations around Jongno. They're interesting, because they just curl smoke all the time. It's kind of pretty, actually, as long as you stand upwind.

Problem is, to discourage littering, the mayor also, counterintuitively, took all the public garbage cans out of downtown Seoul: "People are supposed to use the trash service in the residential areas, where they pay for special garbage bags to help fund the garbage truck fleet" . . except that instead of taking their trash home like the mayor expected, and putting it in a proper garbage bag like good, civil minded people, Seoulites are throwing it on the ground instead! Didn't see that coming! Or, here, near a street food stand, an ashtray has been adapted for another use.

I guess I admire that the mayor really did hope the best about people, rather than automatically assuming the worst, but . . . it's time to get litter off the streets.

That makes me laugh.

This is beautiful, though. Last weekend was the perfect time to climb a mountain in Korea and catch the fall colours. These are beautiful -- Chiak mountain is an hour train ride out of Seoul, and it's just goldurn beautiful. Difficult (the trails aren't as carefully maintained as the mountains in Seoul, and a bit cragged) but amazing.

We climbed up alongside a stream for a long ways.

At the peak were these kinds of towers; many mountaintops here feature big piles like this where, in ancient times, before cellphones, people communicated important news about the country back and forth using smoke signals. Think of the scene in Lord Of The Rings where the fire beacon is lit.

That's what these are for. Except in real life, violins wouldn't play.

A lot of the trees were already bare, so you can really see the shapes of the mountains -- tracing the ridgelines, the shadows of treebranches catching the sun.

At the bottom of the mountain was a temple.

Every Buddhist temple entrance in Korea (or at least most) is guarded by these four dudes. They're cool.

Also: look at the intricate detail work on the ceiling, and the lattices that support the ceiling -- the care and beauty just knocks me over. It makes me wish I'd gone to a Catholic cathedral while I grew up, and got to worship God surrounded by stained glass windows all my childhood, instead of protestant churches, which are relatively utilitarian.

I already posted this picture, but the episode with the bird was so cool I'm posting it again.

Finally, STOP THE PRESSES! it's a national emergency. . . THIS, this, THIS! makes headline -- FRONT PAGE news in Korea.

Gimchi/Kimchi is the ultimate Korean side dish -- it comes with literally, every meal. It's cabbage pickled in vinegar with garlic and hot chili sauce and a few other ingredients, according to the family recipy. It's an acquired taste, but once acquired, absolutely addictive. Kimchi in a Korean restaurant is like music in a coffee shop: if it's bad, I won't go back; if it's good, I'll probably return, especially if it has something else going for it, too.

They forget that 35% still can. . . and that young Koreans don't want to learn how to make Kimchi with their moms because the pressure to excel in school is so great that taking an entire weekend away from studying is unthinkable (and making kimchi IS a whole-weekend-long process). It actually IS a shame, because there are a lot of unique family kimchi recipes that are getting lost in the past as kids move to the city and get office jobs where they couldn't be bothered to learn how to make kimchi anymore, but even so, if I learned that Canadian men were losing the skill of backyard barbeque, I'd put that on page six, not page one: there are much worse threats to Korea's heritage and history (brand name invasions, all-consuming study binges and the test culture, mass urbanization) than the fact women are forgetting how to make Kimchi (funny, too, how it's never mentioned that 99% of MEN can't make kimchi.)

I'm well.

Gotta shower now.

Love you all


melissa said...

You make me HOWL with laughter!! I LOVE you!!! Ah, the loss of culture is definately the fault of those 99% of men who can't make Kimchi to save their lives...I miss kimchi, I haven't had any since you were here last. Too long!!
Why do you have word verification on your blog now? I hate word verification. It is really irritating. If you are going to pimp for comments you might want to take that down, b/c I'm much more likely to comment if I don't have to type in the random bloody numbers before I hit *post* at the end of my comment.
My $0.02

Roboseyo said...

OK, I took it down. If spam starts showing up, I'll have to bring it back, though.

Glad to know you're out there! I still read yours, too.

erica said...

Do you remember me? haha..

Your smile in the main picture looks a little crooked.

I am surprised at your blog.
There are many interesting things about your various viewpoint.

I will often visit here, and read our story.I want to keep in touch with you.

Good night~