Thursday, October 8, 2009


When I was in high school I attended running start.  Anytime I was back on my high school's campus I would walk into my history teacher's classroom and write "imperialism" on the board.  I found it amusing.

Korea has had the short end of the stick when it comes to this subject.  According to Wikipedia, they've been invaded by China, Japan, France and the US helped divide the once singular nation.  There are two textbook reactions to this type treatment.  One:  Fall inward and reject all outside forces and influences (North Korea).  Two:  Open up to outside influences and vie for a position among the world's powers (South Korea).

Of course, it's not that clean cut.  North Korea uses threats of violence to vie for power and South Korea isn't as open as it seems.  Especially when it comes to cultural emotions.  Ian asked one of his classes today where they wanted to travel and why.  A boy said that he'd like to go to Japan.  This surprised Ian because the boy had earlier said that he hated Japan and Japanese people.  So, Ian asked him why he wanted to go to Japan.  The kid replied that he wanted to go there to blow up and kill the president.

Ian didn't know what to say.  This boy had, in all seriousness, said that he wanted to be a terrorist.  That's a word that Americans throw around a lot, but I think it really hits the depth of anger that many Koreans still feel.  We wonder whether this is a common sentiment or if it's considered "backwards" and just held by some of the people here.  That's probably impossible to truly know for us since we don't quite fit into the structure of feeling here.

Ian and I have been getting up a bit earlier.  We're trying to get back on a good schedule.  Getting up earlier gives us time for all sorts of fun things.

Like grabbing sodas before work.  Yeah, I had a cider (it's a lot like Sprite with a touch of ginger).  On the red part of the can, at the top, it says "Original, American Style Taste."  I hope not.

With his new free time Ian invented this handy bus fare holder!

The bus costs W1100 (a little less than a buck).

Ian looked up airfare for tickets home around Christmas.  They were about $1300 a person.  I'm trying not to panic, yet.  I'm still hoping we can do it.  We work on the 24th, so we don't have much leeway.  We'd have to fly out on Christmas Eve and come back on January 3rd or so (some of the most trafficked days).  Ian says he'll send me home without him, but that wouldn't feel right. I still wouldn't have my whole family then.  I'm going to email Chun wha to see if there's a Korean website for cheap airfare.  I'm also going to ask her if there are language classes we could take sometime.

Anyway, tomorrow marks the beginning of Audrey's (our niece's) first birthday.  It's the 9th, so it won't be until the next day stateside.  So here's wishing little Audrey girl a happy first birthday Korea time!


  1. On the air fares, in the days when I used to go to Japan (like 6 years ago), the cheapest fares were from the Chinese (like Taiwan) airline, but I forget its name! Maybe China Air. Maybe not.

    Regarding Koreans not liking Japan, they haven't forgotten how Japan treated them in WWII. The Japanese, btw, treat Koreans like 2nd class citizens, or to be more exact, like 2nd class non-citizens, seeing as they do not allow them to get Japanese citizenship even if they have lived (legally) in Japan for generations. Japan is apparently highly bigoted against Koreans. The Japanese govt in the past has refused to apologize to Korea for the ugly things Japan did in Korea during the war, and even at least until recently has denied it, and stricken these things from their history books.

    This is all kind of ironic, because it is believed that the Japanese people originated from a prehistoric migration from Korea. Indeed, I've been told that the languages are somewhat similar.

  2. I've been told that the languages were similar, too. And that they can be easy to learn at the same time, except that the alphabet systems are pretty different. They don't sound very similar to me, but I haven't studied a whole lot.

    Yes, the Japanese are extremely bigoted toward the Koreans. Before WWI (time line according to Ian) Japan tried to assimilate all Korean people into Japanese culture (through an invasion). They disallowed the Korean language, holidays and all sorts of cultural imperatives.

    So, I do have a vague understanding of why they feel this way, it's just shocking to hear small kids have a reaction to it.

  3. Wow! Scary words out of a little kids mouth. Sounds kinda like the Norwegians and Swedes...but taken about 100 levels farther.