Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Revisiting Liu Xiaobo's "Experiencing Death"

Yu Jie

A little over a year ago, I posted a blog entry openly wondering about Liu Xiaobo's choice of Christian martyrdom imagery in a poem written on an anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, "Experiencing Death," from which I excerpted the first two stanzas:
I had imagined being there beneath sunlight
with the procession of martyrs
using just the one thin bone
to uphold a true conviction
And yet, the heavenly void
will not plate the sacrificed in gold
A pack of wolves well-fed full of corpses
celebrate in the warm noon air
aflood with joy

Faraway place
I've exiled my life to
this place without sun
to flee the era of Christ's birth
I cannot face the blinding vision on the cross
From a wisp of smoke to a little heap of ash
I've drained the drink of the martyrs, sense spring's
about to break into the brocade-brilliance of myriad flowers

I borrowed these from an article in the New York Times ("Words a Cell Can't Hold," December 8, 2010), translated by Jeffrey Yang (who reads the entire poem on this website), and I asked a number of interpretive questions, culminating in these final two:
Why the use of Christian imagery? I've found nothing to link Liu directly to Christianity, so how are we to read these allusions?

Well, I may now have a bit more insight through a recent NYT article by Edward Wong, "From Virginia Suburb, a Dissident Chinese Writer Continues His Mission" (February 25, 2012), which tells of the dissident Yu Jie, who has just this year gone into exile from China and moved to the United States. From this article, I learned that Yu is a Christian and a friend of Liu:
"I said multiple times before that as long as my life was not threatened, I would not leave China," he said in the two-story house where he and his family live, which belongs to a church friend. "But after Liu Xiaobo's arrest, I was tortured by the government and almost lost my life."

Mr. Liu, one of Mr. Yu's closest friends, wrote Charter 08, a manifesto calling for gradual political reforms, and was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison, a move that contributed to Mr. Liu's being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the next year. Mr. Yu, 38, was placed under house arrest in Beijing in October 2010, five days after the Nobel committee announced Mr. Liu's award, and then, in December, was detained. He was tortured for three hours.

Yu has not been a Christian so long, only since 2003, but he's been friends with Liu since around the turn of the millennium, so they've surely discussed Yu's spiritual views, especially since they've worked on religious issues together:
The two wrote together and led the Independent Chinese PEN Center. Their relationship extended through the writing of Charter 08, when Mr. Yu discussed drafts with Mr. Liu. Mr. Yu, who converted to Christianity in 2003, said he had extensive input on the part about religious freedom.

"Christianity gives me a very strong basis for my faith," he said. "I don't think that democracy can be a faith. Only a more ultimate goal would allow me to withstand all the difficulties I've gone through."

I think that this remark by Yu offers some insight into the martyrdom lines in Liu's poem above, for both are speaking of a Christian meaning in dying for one's beliefs, though they seem to stand upon different sides of the religious divide between Christian and non-Christian.

One problem is that I'm not certain when Liu's poem was written. One website says 1990, but Jeffrey Yang tells us in remarks before his reading of the poem that it is the fourth written on the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, which would put it in 1993.

Either way, neither date would have prevented Liu from revisiting the poem and reworking parts of it later, after becoming friends with Yu, but I am merely guessing, and the question of a Christian influence still remains.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Old Peculiar . . .

I read a short story a year or two ago by Neil Gaiman titled "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" and wondered if any brew actually has such a name. A recent online search turned up one by that name at the Blue Cat Brew Pub, but I'm guessing that any brew named "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" will have been inspired by Gaiman's story. I did find an Old Peculier that undoubtedly predates the story, but not a Shoggoth's, obviously, and the spelling differs (as Kevin Kim points out in a comment). It sounds flavorful:
Distinctive banana and black cherry aroma leading to a magnificent Christmas pudding kaleidoscope of flavour. Rich, Smooth and Sweet.

But if this Old Peculier inspired Gaiman, it did so more for the name than the flavor, because here's what a Shoggoth's tastes like:
The beer had the kind of flavor which, he suspected, advertisers would describe as full-bodied, although if pressed they would have to admit that the body in question had been that of a goat.

That's from pages 151 to 152 of Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, at least in my 1998 Avon Books edition. I would have expected the Theakston's to have a similar taste, "the kind of flavor that one could describe as full-bodied, but . . . also [with] a hint, oddly enough, of something eldritch and gamey . . . something redolent of goat. Maybe satyrical?"

But I guess not . . .

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Terrance Lindall: WCIAL and Elephant Folio Update

War in Heaven
Terrance Lindall

Readers might recall that I was recently accepted as a founding member of the Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters (WCIAL), so even though I cannot attend the first meeting, I consider one of my responsibilities to be that of promoting such events, so here is Mr. Terrance Lindall's announcement:
We will have a WCIAL Dinner on the evening of the 14th of April, our FIRST OPEN MEETING of the circle. Cocktails are from 6-7 PM followed by dinner. We will have a microphone so Members can get up and say a few words and talk about their projects or make proposals to the Circle and tell us what they are doing. Also, there may be some poetry read and there will be light music also. Our own genius composer Peter Dizozza will be doing something unique, I am sure. We expect it to be, as Thomas Campbell said in his letter, ". . . a great success" . . . .

After our first meeting, we will be developing a team of young scholars to develop a curriculum with the idea of approaching the schools locally with proposals to engage the students. This will take some time. We know this part of our efforts will be the test of what we can accomplish.

Part of the WCIAL's aim is to interest high school students in classic works such as Milton's Paradise Lost. Mr. Lindall's magnum opus will perhaps be his Paradise Lost Elephant Folio, an illustration of which you see above. The Milton expert Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, who is also a collector of books -- especially books relevant to the works of Milton -- has written a commentary on the significance of Lindall's Milton illustrations:
Without a doubt, Terrance Lindall is the foremost illustrator of Paradise Lost in our age, comparable to other great illustrators through the ages, and someone who has achieved a place of high stature for all time.

Throughout almost four centuries of illustrating Milton's Paradise Lost, no one has devoted his or her life, artistic talents and skills and the keenness of the illustrator's eye more fully and few as completely as Terrance Lindall has done in bringing to life Milton's great epic. He has also devoted his brilliant mind to studying Milton, his philosophy, and his theology in order to know as fully as possible the great poet to whom he has devoted his adult life and to whose great epic he has devoted the keenness of his artistic eye in order to bring that great epic alive in new ways in a new age and for newer ages still to come.

High praise indeed, and those are just Dr. Wickenheiser's opening remarks. He proceeds to back up his remarks with evidence. As for Mr. Lindall, he tells us that:
Bob Wickenheiser and I are . . . now looking into bindings for his Paradise Lost Elephant Folio and we are communicating with the world's foremost bookbinding artist/craftsman Herb Weitz. You can see some of the luxury bindings he does here.

This particular copy of the Elephant Folio will thus be a work of art from its illustrations to its cover. More of the illustrations can be seen here.

Any readers with an interest in art and/or John Milton and who are close enough to New York City to make the trip, feel free to attend the first meeting on April 14, 2012, which will be held at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center.

Tell them the Gypsy sent you . . .

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Gypsy is a Grand God-Father . . .

Life is full of the unexpected. Out of concern for the privacy of the individuals involved, I won't mention names (and any reader who might want to guess, just please don't), but one of my blog entries has helped a daughter find her father. The process started a few weeks ago, and genetic tests confirmed the fact just the other day, so I received a couple of emails this morning, first from the father, who sent along the genetic results by attachment:
I wouldn't mind if you should want to say something . . . [to the effect] that Gypsy now has the equivalent cyberspacyian distinction of being a god-father . . . . I guess it would be okay to post the results as proof that Gypsy Scholar is now the Internet equivalent of a Grandparent. Congratulations! It's a Girl!

And not long after that email came this one from the daughter:
Just want to say thank you for passing on my . . . [query to the man who turned out to be my father]. I know that there are things you could've done differently -- the delete button would've taken care of it and a lot of people would've done that. Instead you forwarded that desperate sounding . . . [message] on to whom I now know is my dad.

It's strange to go through life not knowing. Even at the times I would put it out of my mind, inevitably someone would remind me that I didn't know by asking me about my Dad. Blank on your birth certificate? What do you mean blank? It was this ever present question mark hanging over my head. Since birth outside of the confines of marriage is soooo commonplace now you might not realize that people still want to know. People do.

But now . . . . Well, now I know. My Dad and I have some "getting to know each other" in front of us and I'm thankful for that. So I wanted to make sure that you know that I am thankful to you as well.

I look at Gypsy a lot. You have beautiful children! I don't comment very often but I do check it out.

I replied immediately to the daughter's email:
Thank you for the thoughtful email. I really didn't do very much in terms of effort, though I realize that the consequences for you were far-reaching. I'm glad that your father turned out to be . . . [the one you asked about]. When he didn't yet know for certain but had located your website and shown it to me, I took a look and told him, "You must be the father! She's too smart for the other guy to be!"

[Your father] is a wise man. He was born smart and has had a lot of experiences in his life that he's reflected on, so he's a neverending source of fascinating stories. You two will have a lot to talk about.

I grew up without my dad, too, though I knew him. He just wasn't much of a dad to me. I think you'll find a great deal of joy in getting to know . . . [your father] better. I'm sure I'll be hearing from [him] . . . on these developments. I wish you both the best.

I haven't yet replied to the father's email. There's plenty of time for that, and this post can serve as reply for now.

I'm sure all readers also wish them the best . . .


Saturday, February 25, 2012

David Lynn Jones and a Few Other Old Hillbillies Singing Recently

David Lynn Jones
Benefit Concert
Highland, Arkansas
You Tube

I haven't posted for a while on David Lynn Jones because I've been waiting for his comeback album, but one of this blog's readers who also listens to David Lynn, a Canadian man by the name of Larry Saidman, recently notified me of a benefit concert that David Lynn played in not long ago at a place just down the road from my Ozark hometown of Salem, Arkansas, namely, in Highland, Arkansas, which is also just up the hill from David Lynn's current home in the Spring River valley town of Hardy, Arkansas:
I just found two new postings of David Lynn Jones on You Tube. both from Jan 11, 2012, a "Benefit in Highland Ark". One song is "Amazing Grace" with other performers also singing. The other is a song I've never head before . . . title is probably "Every Once In A While".

That old favorite Amazing Grace is a lot fun to watch, for some of the performers take turns singing, and I liked that video better at first, but the other one grows on a fellow with the watching. Here is my transcription of the lyrics to Every Once in a While:
Every once in a while,
When reminded of you,
I could not see the sky,
I'm reminded your eyes
Are the same shade.
So I never look up,
Well, that's not exactly true,
Every once in a while,
I still do.

Every once in a while,
When my time is good,
I might be passing by,
Just happen to drive
Through our old hood.
I never go by your house,
Well, that's not exactly true,
Every once in a while,
I still do.

When the wind blows
Or the sun shows
A shadow on the ground,
When the birds sing
Or the night brings
Your old memory around,
I must be getting better,
I hardly ever think of you,
But every once in a while,
I still do.

Every once in a while,
When the moon is just right,
I promised myself
If somebody else
Is holding you tight,
That I'd never feel like a fool,
Well, that's not exactly true,
Every once in a while,
I still do.

When the wind blows
Or the sun shows
A shadow on the ground,
When the birds sing
Or the night brings
Your old memory around,
I must be getting better,
I hardly ever think of you,
But every once in a while,
I still do

Yes, every once in a while,
I still do . . .

I know some of those lines aren't right, so if some youngster with better ears than mine can listen and offer corrections, I'll be much obliged and do the same for you when my ears get younger again.

Meanwhile, I'll keep waiting for David Lynn's comeback album, which ought to arrive sometime before the parousia . . .

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Multicultural 'Deceit' in Korea?

Monument to Multiculturalism
Francesco Pirelli
Some cultures would destroy this statue . . .

I read a disturbing article in yesterday's JoongAng Daily about cases of migrant workers in Korea deceiving Korean women into marriages of convenience. This is the sort of thing one ought to expect, but according to Yim Seung-hye in "Woman recalls deceit in migrant marriage" (February 23, 2012), the women are naively taken advantage of in many 'multicultural' marriages involving a particular subgroup of migrant workers:
As the number of international marriages continues to rise, there is no shortage of stories painting multiculturalism in a positive light. But one such marriage has left a woman fighting for custody of her son in a trend of marital deception that appears to be growing.

The woman, who asked to be identified only as Oh, 38, is part of an Internet group with thousands of members who have suffered as a result of marriages with Pakistani and Bangladeshi men. The Korean women writing there have shared stories of being tricked into marriages with migrant workers from the two countries as well as verbal and physical abuse.

The most disturbing point is that this sort of deceitful marriage has happened to thousands of women. I wish some statistics had been provided, but if the reference to "an Internet group with thousands of members" is accurate, then this may be a huge problem indeed, for this internet group could be just the tip of a very large iceberg. Most of the stories that we read in the papers about so-called 'multicultural' marriages focus on Korean men marrying foreign women, and if those marriages fail to work out, blame often gets placed on the Korean husbands or the Korean in-laws, but the focus in most articles is on successful marriages and on how Koreans need to change and be more open to foreign ways. That message has its downside, as Ms. Oh's case shows:
"There are so many women who have similar stories as mine. Most of us were hesitant to marry a migrant worker, but all of the TV shows and news stories beautifying multiculturalism and the stories of multicultural families living happily in Korea comforted us," Oh said. "But now, all of us are suffering from broken marriages. I just don't want to see any more victims like myself."

My advice to Korean women considering marriage to foreigners is twofold: Get to know the man well first and also get to know the man's culture. Don't depend only on what he says. Read about his home country and the treatment of women there. Find out what his religion teaches about the treatment of women. Don't rely on sources with an interest in painting a rosy picture of other cultures. Look for the dirt that's being swept under the rug. Turn over a few stones and see what turns up. Think hard about the future with a foreigner. For instance, consider what might happen if you did marry a foreigner and had children with him. Could you be certain that on a visit to his home country, your children could not be taken from you by your in-laws? That could happen in some countries where the husband has the legal control over his children.

This advice is sound no matter what the statistics concerning cases such as that of Ms. Oh.

UPDATE: Readers in comments have expressed skepticism about the prevalence of such cases, a point on which I also had questions, but my doubts were very carefully couched, so I've now added a question mark to this blog entry's heading to indicate that I have lingering questions.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jeju Island: The Two Kids' Reports

Readers who've been with us vicariously over the past week will know that my wife, two kids, and I visited Jeju Island for five days and that I posted many photos as proof, not that I needed to prove anything . . . except for our visit to the southernmost part of South Korea, Mara Island, which does deserve documentation, as seen below:

Readers have already seen this photo, of course, but I thought I might be allowed to recycle it since my daughter wrote a short report on Mara Island:
The Southernmost Part of Korea
Our family went on trip to Jeju Island for four nights and five days. We stayed on the second floor of a pension that had a café on the first floor, and visited many places of Jeju Island by car. Our family went to the beach -- even though it was too cold to play in the water -- spent time at a couple of museums, visited a photograph gallery by a famous photographer, Kim Young-Gap, viewed beautiful nature, and ate all kinds of Jeju foods. Of course, I loved every place I went and had a good time, but I especially liked Mara Island, an island at the southernmost part of South Korea.

We took a ferryboat to Mara Island, and because I easily get seasick -- and carsick, too -- I felt horrible when I got there. I didn't know if I was going to throw up, and I couldn't enjoy the tasty black noodle seafood, Mara Island's specialty. After our family had the black noodles for lunch, we took a quick walk around the island to enjoy the view and take pictures at the southernmost part of the island. We didn't get to go to the southernmost part because the ferry would be arriving soon and we needed to walk back to the harbor. However, we went close to the spot, and took some nice pictures -- I took some pictures of my mom, too, because she's always the one who takes pictures and never is in any of them.

My dad and I noticed a Catholic church with a nice architectural design that had a Celtic-style cross, and stepped into it. There was sacred music, which made me feel as if I were in Europe -- though I have never been to Europe -- and my dad and I talked about how we liked Catholic churches more than Protestant churches because of their atmosphere. It was a nice experience. I loved Mara Island's size because we could get a view of the whole island. The natural scenery was nice, and because of the sky being so blue with a few cotton-candy-like clouds and the ocean so clear with a pure emerald color, I really liked the island. The scenery was wonderful, and I hope to go there another time. Oh, and my stomach was healed because of Maria!
So goes Sa-Rah's report. The reference to "Maria" derives from Sa-Rah's encounter with the statue of the Virgin in front of the Catholic church that we saw on Mara Island. Perhaps Sa-Rah's 'healed' stomach can serve as evidence of a miracle, prompting others to flock to the church as a pilgrimage site, possibly even effecting the renaming of the island as Maria Island!

Be that as it may, En-Uk also liked Mara Island, but more because the celebrities who appear on the television show Muhan Dojeon (무한도전) -- best translated as Endless Challenge (rather than Infinite Challenge) because the celebrities are endlessly challenged -- visited the island to eat its famous black noodles. Fortunately, they left some noodles for us. En-Uk also reported on the Jeju trip, but only mentioned Mara Island in the closing words to his rather abbreviated report:
I went to Jeju Island. I ate black pork. It was tasty. I went to the Believe It Or Not Museum. It was fun. I went to Seongsan Ilchulbong. It was not fun. I went to Cow Island. I ate peanut ice cream. I even went to a lava cave. I went to the Chocolate Museum. I ate a lot of chocolate. It was great. I had lots of fun. I went to Mara Island. I had some black noodles.
Hmmm . . . I believe I'm going to need to work with En-Uk on his writing if he is going to reach Sa-Rah's level in two years . . .

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gypsy Scholar: Linguist to Diplomats!

Rama and Lakshmana Receive Envoys
Page from a Dispersed Ramayana Series
Between 1630 and 1638
17.5 × 15.9 cm (6.9 × 6.3 in)
Brooklyn Museum

This morning, I received a somewhat humorously worded distress call from a friend in the world of international diplomacy concerning how to decipher the language of an important email from a VIP in the international organization that she works for:
As a person with a really good grasp of the English language, [you can perhaps] . . . help with this. I am having trouble understanding diplo-talk. Can you please tell me what the statement
While remaining true to our professional and ethical standards, we hope to avoid the encumbrance of idiomatic conformity in order to inform more widely and to elicit greater recognition for the importance of the . . . [international agreement]; and appreciation for the work of [our organization].

means in this e-mail? Particularly the part about "encumbrance of idiomatic conformity".

I tried google.translate, but that failed. You are my only hope.
The email sent to my friend offers some context, namely, an intention to revive the organization's magazine:
You are familiar with both the reasons and the objectives for restoring the periodical. It is a vehicle to show case our work; to bring out its essence; to make it more accessible. It affords an opportunity to provide depth to our outreach efforts. While remaining true to our professional and ethical standards, we hope to avoid the encumbrance of idiomatic conformity in order to inform more widely and to elicit greater recognition for the importance of the . . . [international agreement]; and appreciation for the work of [our organization].

As a noble knight of the linguistic realm, I could not but heed the call of a lady in distress, so I immediately replied:
Good to hear from you and even to have a chance to be of help! Like you, I understand every word, but I'm going to have to guess a bit as to the meaning. Let's look:
While remaining true to our professional and ethical standards, we hope to avoid the encumbrance of idiomatic conformity in order to inform more widely and to elicit greater recognition for the importance of the . . . [international agreement]; and appreciation for the work of [our organization].

The key term here would appear to be "idiomatic." We both know what idiom means -- a standard expression whose meaning is not reducible to its semantic elements, e.g., "to make a stab at," which means "to guess somewhat blindly." (I'm not consulting a dictionary, so my remarks are a bit rough.) But what does "idiomatic" mean in the email you've inquired about?

Assuming that the term is what the speaker actually meant to say, I'd suggest that he wants the magazine to use fresh language and thinking and avoid falling back onto fixed expressions that might imply conformity to fixed thinking, as an overuse of idioms might do. He might therefore be making a similar point as George Orwell in his essay on "Politics and the English Language," which can be found here . . . . One of Orwell's points is that the reliance on overused expressions, e.g., dead metaphors, kills original thought.

There's also the possibility (and I am checking the dictionary now) that another definition is intended, i.e., the definition found here:
4. a. A specialized vocabulary used by a group of people; jargon: legal idiom.

If so, the author of the email means for those submitting articles to the journal to avoid jargon, which would fit with the aim stated, i.e., "to inform more widely."

However, I wonder if the author actually meant not "idiomatic," but "ideological." If so, he might have meant that . . . [your organization] needs to avoid being perceived as the branch of some Western government or as an instrument of Western interests generally. If this is his meaning, then he might have chosen the word "idiomatic" over "ideological" in order to be 'diplomatic.' Or he may simply have confused the two terms.

Perhaps my musings on this conundrum will inspire some insight of your own that clarifies what the writer meant since you know the issues better than I do.

Those were my thoughts, but perhaps readers might have other suggestions . . .

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jeju Island - Day Five (Yesterday, 2/20/2012): Last Sightseeing

Our last Jeju Island day arrived yesterday, so we packed up our things and packed in as much sightseeing as possible, beginning with an early morning short trip from our pension to Bird Island (Saeseom). Here's the ship-shape walking bridge, seen looking back from the island itself:

Next appears a detail of Bird Island, upon which we didn't see many birds, probably because they were frightened off by the very, very loud music playing songs about the natural beauty of Jeju Island:

But we did see a lovely view of Mt. Halla, the volcanic center of this island volcano:

Following our Bird Island excursion, we rushed along the coast to reach the ferry to Mara Island (Marado), which you can see below in a parting photo of this southernmost territory of Korea:

Before leaving, however, Sun-Ae took some photos of Mara Island from on the island itself. Here is a scene of me, Sa-Rah, and En-Uk approaching a small Catholic chapel near the southernmost point of the southernmost territory of Korea:

Followed by a similar scene of the three of us heading uphill toward a lighthouse, away from that southernmost tip of Korea:

After returning to the mainland, we gave the kids what they wanted most . . . an ATV experience. But since Koreans emphasize safety at all times, we first had to learn the rules, as you can, too, by clicking on the image below:

I was particularly concerned about the rule concerning "character education," namely: "ATV rental ban for attempted character education." I had been hoping that the experience of driving and riding an ATV would help build character in Sa-Rah and En-Uk, but that sort of thing wasn't allowed. After this enlightening Engrish-of-the-Day experience with baffling signs, Sa-Rah and En-Uk were ready for their actual ATV adventure:

But all good things must end, and as time passed, the kids took one last chance to dance on the beach:

And as shadows began to noticeably lengthen, we took our leave of Jeju Island, as you see below from Sun-Ae's shadow . . . or would see if it weren't stubbornly refusing to lengthen:

We had a great experience and plan to visit a third time in another seventeen years . . .

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Jeju Island - Day Four (Yesterday, 2/19/2012): Much Hiking

Day four of our vacation -- also known as 'yesterday' -- required a bit more walking, even hiking, than previous days. In the image below, you see En-Uk, Sa-Rah, and me captured in a family moment by Sun-Ae as we start up the walkway toward Seongsan Ilchulbong, a tuff cone volcano, which apparently means that it is a steep-sloped volcanic cone formed in interaction with water, whatever that implies. Anyway, it wasn't as 'tuff' as us since we conquered its lofty peak, as succeeding photos will prove.

The hike up was not without its quirks, and here's one now: Grandmother Stone. According to tradition, one must bow four times to pass this natural wonder, but we didn't, yet still managed to pass! So much for the laws of nature . . .

The next photo holds proof that we conquered Mt. Seong's peak! Or maybe only its 'peek'? Take a look, there's no there there. From the heights above this crater, which we couldn't ascend because one needs an airplane for that, Seongsan looks like a soccer stadium.

Below -- and it looks really below, doesn't it? -- you see that Sun-Ae caught the three of us in another family moment as we descend Seongsan Ilchulbong.

Finally safe and soundly exercised by our hike, we hiked further down, all the way down to see the sea beside the rock cliff formed by one of Seongsan's steeper sides.

Here, you see En-Uk treading the volcanic rocks that jut into the sea, an area, incidentally, where the local seawomen pursue their livelihood of diving for seafood, holding their breath for minutes at a time as they scour the sea floor to find it.

Here's Sa-Rah on the same volcanic structure, with me and En-Uk approaching in the background.

We headed next for Woo Island, which sounds romantic until one realizes that "woo" is the Korean word for "cow"! To the Korean eye, this island looks exactly like a reclining cow, precisely as shown in the photo below. Hmmm . . .

Once safely conveyed by ferry to Cow Island, we sought out a cave just in time for the camera batteries to fail, so this photo is the final one from Sun-Ae's camera yesterday.

We did manage a few photos with cell phones, but those would need to be uploaded onto computer when we get back to Seoul . . . if we decide to use any.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jeju Island - Day Three (Yesterday, 2/18/2012): Semi-Arctic Paradise

The third day on Korea's semi-arctic paradise of Jeju Island began around seven in the morning with a wintery blast:

That was the scene from the balcony outside our door at Waedolgae Nara (외돌개 나라), which means Waedolgae Country, but the word "Waedolgae" is not clear. There's a rock in the sea nearby with the same name, and we can pretend it means "Outer-Rock-Dog" since the individual syllables can also carry these meanings in Korean.

Speaking of doorways, here's one above at the Kim Young-Gap Gallery, which houses the photographs of the late Kim Young-Gap, born the same year as I was, 1957, but already passed on, in 2005.

This shows the photographer himself, Kim Young-Gap, in a double exposure, from a time when he was still healthy. If you look carefully, you'll see my wife's reflection, for she's the photographer in our family.

Kim Young-Gap made hundreds, maybe thousands of photos depicting landscapes such as this one on Jeju Island, making the landscapes and himself well known.

My wife caught me in a pensive mood, perhaps reflecting on the progressive condition that disabled Kim Young-Gap and eventually brought about his death.

Sa-Rah and En-Uk sculpt an Ice Queen outside the gallery on a day of unsettled, wintery weather.

Finished and seen from above, the Ice Queen reigns over her icy domain of Jeju Island!

En-Uk and I await our meal in a restaurant that served neither soft drinks nor beer but excellent fish in sauce.

Afterwards, En-Uk races along a wintery beach as wind whips the snow across the scene.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jeju Island Vacation - Day Two (Yesterday, February 17, 2012)

Our second day on one of the winners of the New Seven Wonders of Nature was spent outdoors and in, visible proof that Jeju Island isn't just about the great big outdoors. First came time in a museum dedicated to Ripley's Believe It Or Not! I used to read Ripley's comic books as a kid, and several of the exhibits were identical to my childhood memories. Anyway, we first see Sun-Ae photographing some paintings on leaves along with, accidentally, her usually secretive self:

Sun-Ae's colorful outline later captures me as transformed into some sort of giant insect:

En-Uk casts a jaundiced eye upon his mother for taking the liberty of taking a photo:

But Sa-Rah, lost in the bliss of a caffeinated high, remains oblivious to the camera:

Outdoors at last, Sa-Rah and En-Uk head for the indoor shelter of a Buddhist grotto on Sanbangsan, a mountain of uplifted lava:

Below Sanbangsan lies the still-stranded ship of Hamel the Dutchman, first Westerner in Korea:

Another museum looms, the world-famous Chocolate Museum, believe it or not:

It proved to be made of stone despite the name, but much chocolate was within, to the utter despair of impoverished En-Uk:

And so ended our second day -- a snowy one, incidentally -- here on Korea's semi-tropical paradise . . .

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Friday, February 17, 2012

First Day (Yesterday) on Jeju Island

As promised if blogging should prove possible, captioned images from Jeju Island, these from Thursday the 16th of February, 2012 (click on photos for better viewing):

En-Uk's Conversion to Sister Sa-Rah's New Religion as Sea-Woman Looks On Skeptically

Sister Sa-Rah Baptizes En-Uk in the Sea

Brother En-Uk Briefly Becomes a Fisher of Men

Sa-Rah's Sermon on the Mount, but En-Uk Apostasizes!

Jeffery the Father Observes All Things from Above

Sun-Ae the Mother Reflects on All Things over Coffee

And there you have it, the first day on the isle of the New Seven Wonders of Nature that somehow beat out such competition as the Horsehead Nebula . . .

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