Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winter is here

We had snow in October, but it melted. I think this snow will stay for the winter.

Last year we had snow about the same time, Nov 27, 2004. In 2003, we had snow on Nov 14. You can find pictures here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Tano is now a UNESCO recognized event

The local signs usually say Danno, but however you spell it, UNESCO's recognition of the celebration as a part of our world heritage is big news hereabouts. All the Korean papers are carrying the news; I looked at the Times.

The grump in me needs to point out that probably fewer than one in five attendees will know about or watch the rituals honouring the mountain spirits that now join ``Chongmyo Cherye,’’ royal ancestral rites and Pansori, a traditional one-man narrative opera as UNESCO intangible treasures.

David Mason has written a coffee-table book describing the worship of San-shin that includes information about Danno. I don't know if his website specifically discusses Danno, but if you want to learn more, it would be a good place to start.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Boss' Chair

When I worked at a hagwon in Seoul, I taught a TV class in which we watched 'Friends' and discussed why certain lines were humourous (or not). We also compared Korean culture with what we saw of American culture.

By the way, Americans don't really sit on the arm of their sofa with their shoes on the seat cushions, do they? I just thought that was a TVism.

One thing we looked at was Joey and Chandler's EasyBoy chairs or Barcaloungers. I think Easyboy is a brand name and am not sure if Barcalounger is or not. Anyway, I commented on how strange it was to see two in one house. Growing up, dad always had a big fancy chair and the rest of us sat on the sofa or a smaller chair. I saw the same scenario in my friend's houses.

My wife has a Cyworld page but I am the computer nerd of the family. In my defense, I also do schoolwork on the computer. In our small apartment, we don't have room for a full sized Easyboy. I bought a smaller substitute but it didn't take long for me to lose control of the chair.

Crazy Parking

Last summer, a friend and I were at a 'Family Mart', eating lunch. A boy parked his bicycle right across the entrance and went inside, unconcerned that other customers would hav eto move his bike to enter the store. We thought, "oh, those crazy kids. Around the world, they're all the same."

A few minutes later, we were walking home and saw a car parked right across an entrance to a side-street. It was probably the boy's father, we decided.

Here are another two examples of strange parking, their only connection being that I saw them the same day.
I guess there was a car parked inside the one shown but it looks pretty strange (or, it should look strange; I'm not sure it does in Korea) in the middle of the laneway. In the corner is a bike parked in an intersection a good metre and a half, maybe two metres from the sidewalk. It wasn't locked either, which is strange but irrelevant to the story. I passed it going to E-mart and around an hour later it was still there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The best persimmon in the country!

Before I came to Korea, I had seen the word 'persimmon' in a few books (is it in the bible?) but I never heard the word pronounced. After close to seven years here, I still don't know the proper pronunciation.

The persimmon (does the plural need a final 's'?) in the picture are sweet persimmon or Dan- gam (단감) in Korean and I'm telling you that they are the best in the country. Alright, I wouldn't know how to rate persimmon if my life depended on it; these persimmon are simply from my father-in-law's farm in Jin-young. Still, without knowing my background, students have volunteered Jin-young as the location with the best persimmon.

Go out and buy some.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Still Here

I've been busy lately so I haven't posted in a while. Just want you to know you should still check in everyday to see what's new.

I've updated my links. I put in the Marmot's new (old) URL and tried to describe the blogs I link to. I also included my friend Skindleshanks on the blogroll and moved three blogs from the Gangwon category. Now there are only two blogs I am aware of in Gangwon and both are in Sokcho- is it time for a showdown ("This 'ere town ain't big enough fer the two o' us!")? I wrote up the descriptions at 5:00am after feeding Alex so if you want something different, let me know.

I was in Seoul on the weekend and saw the Cheonggye-cheon. I had heard again and again that it was downtown but I still thought it was north of Kyoungobkgung, maybe in Hong-je. No, it really is downtown, between Ulchi and Jongo. I still can't believe that the whole thing fed by pumps; the stream is beautiful but extravagant.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Another Bear Down

I still hope that bears can be reintroduced into Chirisan National Park but it's the same strength of hope as I use on my chances for winning the lottery.

A bear left the park in Jeollanam Province and fell prey to a farmer's trap. The same thing happened in August. The more recent one though, fell into a hell of a trap. Even after being rescued and taken away for care, it suddenly suffered siezures and died.

How pretentious is it to quote your own blog? Well, here is an excerpt from August before the first bear died:

I wish it were otherwise but I just can't see the wisdom in reintroducing bears to Korea. They need more room than this crowded country can really afford to give. The bears are unlikely to stay in the wilder section of the park or even in the park at all. Then we will have bears in the nearby villages. And this is without concerning ourselves with the value of bear gallbladders and such.

Good luck to the rest of those bears.

Gift giving in Korea and Canada

Although the title ends with "... Canada", I do mean Canada and the US and possibly most of Europe, although I can't describe with certainty European gift giving traditions.

My wife and I were discussing gifts again. Her birthday is coming up; she'll be 29 again. Anyway, she never gives me any hints or clues as to what I should buy her for special events. She prefers money. She is not mercenary about this, she just finds money easier. I typically want a gift; I want her to pick something out for me.

One gift she liked was when, for Valentines Day, I emptied the candies from a heart-shaped box and refilled it with rice. That was a good gift.

My wife isn't unique in prefering money. In my experience, most Koreans want money. There are NOT greedy, they just like to pick their own gifts.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Where are the eggs from?

These photos were side-by-side in the Korea Times. I haven't placed two photos together for a joke or anything.

Anybody else even briefly think that they were looking at Crane eggs?

Apparently, the eggs are in fact from chickens and are being given away as a way to encourage people to not be afraid of them.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

defeating darwinism

Another blogger (and friend) commented that I seemed to display some hostility toward Christianity. I'm a little ashamed to say he might be right. I actually don't feel hostility toward Christians in general but I do have hostility toward the anti-education and anti-science types that make this kind of book:

I don't know what the Korean title is, and I couldn't read the book itself, so I have to judge the book by it's cover. Update: Johnson's book 'Defeating Darwinism...' is well known in evolution/creation circles and reviews and critiques of the English version are easy to find.

The book is written by Philip Johnson and my understanding is that he is more interested in closing minds and shutting curiousity down than opening anything. Christians like him try to give science a bad name and end up making people like me hostile toward the religion. I can't say that Johnson lies in the book but the critique above gives an example of 'quote mining'; using elipses and selectively quoting someone to make him argue against themself.

Perhaps you have heard the expression; 'Sports create good sportsmanship'. The expression is true but sports also create bad sportsmanship. The former is to be lauded; the latter to be criticized.

The same is true for religion. Christians like Philip Johnson need to remember not to 'bear false witness' and be examplars for their religion or stop damaging the religion they claim to love and follow.

Ironically, I found the same comment describing a Alan Bonsell and the other defendants in the Kitzmiller Vs Dover case. Argento is saying that since the defendants lied, they must not be Christians so their requirement that Intelligent Design be taught isn't religiously motivated.

... school board members can use this to defend against the charge that they were motivated by religious belief in introducing intelligent design or creationism into the biology curriculum. If they were motivated by religion, how come none of them ever heard of the Ninth Commandment — you know, the one about bearing false witness?