On buddha's birthday I went to Gyeongju. It seems like a long time ago, because the ATEK stuff has pretty much hijacked all my free time, and might continue to, until I am satisfied that what's been needed to be said has been said, and them who needs to find out about it, can. I'm actually OK with that, because this is something that actually MATTERS to people: blogging is finally something more than me writing words and flattering myself that somebody might want to read them, and can actually be a way for people to connect, communicate, and try to understand each other...because that's what life is about, and that's what community is about, isn't it?
Anyway, I took a ton of pictures, but haven't put them up yet, as well as some video.
But first: 'Seyo's Bliss-out of the week, as soundtrack for the post.
Hit play and start reading...but here's the background. Dan Deacon is "freak electronic" artist. His music, rather than being "party music" like, say, The Chemical Brothers, which plays great AT a party, Dan Deacon's music sounds like he's taken a bunch of instruments and sounds, thrown them in a room together, and the INSTRUMENTS are having a party together. And you get to listen.
This song is long -- it's actually in two parts -- but it's also one of the giddiest songs I've heard, with the singalong chant at the beginning, and reprised at the end. He's apparently a wizard live, so I'm glad to have live video footage, and you can see and hear people dancing and singing along, and it's awesome. One of my new friends, Robyn from New York, just went to a Dan Deacon show that was webcast on NPR (recommended listen), and I'm seething with envy. Then again, I get to eat the world's most delicious Korean food every time I leave my house, and she's stuck with the crappy Korean food that you can dredge up in New York, so it evens out a bit. (I showed her around one Saturday, so she plugged my blog, too. But she called me strange. Next time she comes to Seoul, she's only getting SECOND TIER locations out of me. Take that, lady! Nah. I'm just kidding. I don't hold grudges. Or so she'll think right up until the other shoe drops.)
So The Hi Seoul Festival happened. These cool streamers were up in the night sky.Two white girls were dancing, and eight Korean guys were taking their pictures, and wishing they could join in, and occasionally doing so awkwardly for spurts of about eight second per.
The Korean bands No Brain and Cherry Filter, both awesome, were there. The show was set up with two stages, so people kept moving from one corner of City Hall Plaza to the other, which wasn't a bad way to do it. The mass migration was fun to watch.
I love all-ages shows. The three foreign girls dancing were funny, too.
Time to scandalize all my fellow k-bloggers (it was a big K-blog weekend last weekend. Don't know just why, but by some strange convergence, suddenly I managed to meet Seoul Eats, Kiss My Kimchi, Fatman Seoul, Zenkimchi, Kimchi Ice Cream, Expatriate Games, and Studio UR, not to mention some other, real human beings, all in the span of two days. And all that was along with flaking out and (I think) forgetting to follow up with Foreign/er Joy (sorry about that, Joy. Totally unintentional.)
I met Terry at a Buddhist Vegetarian restaurant. She was a pretty cool cat. But the real selling point in this picture is something all you ladies have been waiting for: look along the far right, and you get to see Dan Gray's crotch! (sweet! My blog is totally taking over the number one google hit rankings for searches with the keywords "Dan Gray's Buddhist crotch"! [warning: avoid the image search]) So, uh, just in case you'd been wondering.
There are other things I know about Dan Gray, after a night of drinking with him, which I WON'T share...but this picture was too much to resist. I actually like the guy. You should hang out with him sometime. I'll give you his private phone number if you send me a message. (again... just kidding, eh?)
Sorry buddy. You're allowed to publish any dumb photo you have of me, too.
In other embarrassing K-blog photos...Joe likes Mexican Beer.
(actually he was holding everyone's beer while they all took pictures of each other. What a nice guy. He's also free to publish any embarrassing picture he has of me...and I'm sure he has some. Of me making the Yanni face, or pretending to orgasm as I eat well-being pickled vegetables [stole that joke] or something.) Anyway, now that I've made enemies of two super-cool blog pals...
I went to Gyeongju with Girlfriendoseyo. We rented bikes and found some really lovely trees and things.
Anapji pond was one of the prettier things I've ever seen in Korea.
All around Gyeongju are spots like this, where rocks are laid out in formation: remains of former temples, palaces, tombs or other such structures, weather-worn, often catalogued, but not yet restored. If you get up close, you can still see some really nice stonework on some of these, too. Must have made impressive palaces. Maybe later they'll get restored. Maybe.
One of the biggest ancient astronomy observatories in Asia.
More of the cool trees at the park behind the tombs.
The coolest old guy I've ever seen outside of the wacky wildness of Jongmyo park, standing around outside Dong Daegu Station, where we stopped on the way to Gyeongju.
A lake on the way in to Bulguksa Temple:
These clamps held up the strings of lamps:
Eaves at Bulguksa.
This was another view of Seokguram temple. The cave is up at the top of the hill.
Back from Gyeongju: there's a photo shop at the corner of Itaewon station that always had this picture of a baby boy with its little baby dong featured prominently, as was the tradition a generation ago, when having a son was very important, so photographers intentionally took baby pictures with the little man-child's equipment fully on display. Well, somebody finally convinced them that this would not attract all the foreigners who visit Itaewon into their shop, so they fixed the problem.
With a post-it note.Too funny.
Here's another one of my superduper cute former-student Cecilia.
And when I met Kimchi Ice Cream last weekend, we went to an incredible Japanese style ramen place. Ooch, I'm STILL thinking about it. (there's my buddy Evan's nice, pointy western nose. Evan's quality.)
Broth boiled so long it was milky and rich with flavour. Lovely. A thousand ways lovely.
Behind the Seoul Art Center in Gwanghwamun:
OK. Now here's the second half of the Dan Deacon song. It's good. Listen to it. The climax/final chorus is wild, even more so with the live crowd just giving it.
Did I mention? The song's name is "Wham City" from Dan Deacon's album, "Spiderman Of The Rings"