Thursday, May 31, 2007

so it seems

"They" have been known to call this the wireless generation and I survived for all of it so far been neither wired to a phone nor unwired. But no more.... I am riding the wirless wave where the future is friendly and and. Anyway I am so jealous of my personal space I don't know that Ill even give the number out. The only reason I got the phone was the need to have a means to recconect with the random people you meet in a city this size and without being reachable many pass you by. I have little faith that my social life will swing into high gear on the basis of my phone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pirates etc.

Pirates of the Caribbean came out here a week before its N american release. Kind of nice to know we're ahead on a few things. Anyway I liked it but that is not the point of this short story. I went with two friends on a rainy Wednesday. We arrived five minutes late and so quietly had to slide into the theatre. Our seats were were right at the front and so at the slightest break in the opening scene I quickly shuffled up the empty third row. About a third of the way into my rush to my seat I was thrown off balance as I stepped on something sizable and then groaning on the floor. I was standing on the back of a very drunk old and passed out Korean man. I leapt off with an earnest apology before my hysterical laughter caught me and I fell back in my chair crying with laughter as the guy took the seat right next to me pretending as if nothing had happened.
Despite how funny my friends and I found the situation no one else laughed maybe they didn't hear my expletives and laughter or maybe they're Korean and so once again it just didn't happen. If something is too embarrassing it doesn't exist. funny that. Perhaps it was another case of lost in translation; funny things are not funny. Who knows, I do know that the movie was apparently mostly lost in translation I was often the only person laughing. As mom would attest to thats probably not just a Korean thing but me at movies. Maybe I have a low setting on my funny-shit-o-metre

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lotus lantern festival

For the first time I feel like I have seen something that words can't come close to touching. This week Thursday is the birthday of Buddha, and over the weekend there was a lantern parade. There were many cheesy weird lanterns with kitschy Buddha babies on them, but there were some hundred thousand really beautiful paper and wood lanterns; very ornate and painted. The street was filled with thousands of people usually grouped holding the same style lanterns. The temple grounds were covered in countless strings of lanterns all in uniform patterned rows close as a ceiling and all alight.
I thought about how Buddha's impact on the world in terms of number of followers is close to Jesus' but how his birth month being warmer makes his festival much different. There is a lot of photo op pomp and circumstance to the whole affair. But some real genuine beauty and sincere adoration, (from some). It isn't quite as heavily commercialized as Christmas. Jesus got the corner on the market there, but there is a lot of vendors selling cheap shit. Temple clearing time for sure! But just to be able to wander around the grounds of a temple that is hundreds of years old, surrounded by drums and dancing, and a million lanterns is quite amazing.
It is strange how religion when broken down to its main elements has many of the same elements. rituals involving light and water as metaphors for spiritual cleansing and uplifting. large imagery of the human who set the stage for the religion. Large houses of worship, robes, music, funny hats. I guess the comparison is closer to catholicism than to protestant Christianity.
Taday is warm and sunny and I am about to go for lunch. There is a pretty little street near hear called Garosu-gil meaning tree street or green maybe, due to the Gingko trees that line it. There are some great places to eat a wide variety of foods, while doing some of the worlds finest "people watching".
Anjeong Ha ga say yeo

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Here is the invite to the LFAS Grad show if you're in langley check it out. Anyone recognize that torso? Its me painted by Nana.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Response to email on Silence

I have never before in my life realized the role that solitude and silence has always played in it. I have rarely if ever been afraid of silence and have often sought it out. Here in the eleventh largest city in the world with a culture of intense social structure and deep connectedness their is little room for solitude. The very idea is literally foreign to the culture. people never spend time alone. They have built in fail safes to prevent it. People never eat alone and if they are alone in transit their cellphones have solved the problem of solitude. People stare into the depths of their lcd phone screen as if they are luck charms to ward of the evil spirit of solitude. At all the Korean restaurants I have been at you cannot order a single serving of anything. They only come served for two. I have had to pack away more then my share on occasion. There is a guilty avoidance that surrounds me at times when I am eating alone. The Koreans around me feel sad for me that I am alone and so gravitate to fill the void and yet the language barrier keeps them away and so you feel extra alone. None of this however gets to the heart of the matter of solitude in Seoul. I crave my time alone. There are people and cars and exhaust and scooters and flashing neon signs everywhere. It literally fills you with its poison till your lungs can't clean it out and you get sick. I have had to work hard to find the tiniest scraps of solitude and I have never felt deeply fulfilled. Even on the small mountain parks in the city the sounds and smells fill you. I have had to use my Ipod as a mean to find some controllable space. It is not the deep silence that I long for. I will keep searching the city till I find it.
It occurred to me yesterday that certain cultures focus on different aspects of human longing some seek success some fine food some dress to impress. Here it seems that they strive to connect yet it is sadly strange that despite this deep search and the social structures it has made that Seoul has the highest rate of suicide of any major city.
I found the Changdukjung palace a few weeks ago it seems that the kings here may have been some of the only ones who understood the need to find solitude. They built their palaces with large spaces, quiet streams a botanical garden, a banzai house, ponds and a small forest. This is the only place so far where true solitude may be found that I have seen. Solitude is not a luxury to take for granted and it is not always possible. it may be the greatest luxury that we have in Canada.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sorry its just that there's 20million people worth of fun to be had

So this weekend was great I went out to Itaewon to check out the scene on Friday night and had a great time with Rebbecca from TO and Courtney from Buffalo they showed me all there favorite sights. Itaewon is the haven for foreigners in Seoul you feel like you enter this weird twilight zone. The influx of American Gi's makes it really suck on the street but so long as you stay out of the hip hop clubs and hooker bars its ok. Plus they get the Military police to clean them all out for their 11:00pm curfew. Sucks to be in the army. When you are seeing lots of GI's though there is an amazing multi-cultural ism to the place. Korea has harbored many African (especially Sudanese) refugees. There are great Turkish Hookah bars also.
On Saturday I went to the 1st Seoul World DJ fest. Though it took forever to find the place it was well worth it and I wasn't on my way home till about 5am with the dance party still going.
Last night I had my first Korean Gym experience. The gym was however a branch of the California Wow fitness clubs. But of course this one is Korea style. So it is as big as all Vancouver's fitness centers put together. The hot tubs and saunas were pretty sweet.
Any way I have to get to the rug rats who right now are have play time with Duskim my co teacher. I have finally gotten sick. Everyone told me it was coming and so its no surprise. The pollution and new germs just took three weeks to finally get to me. Ill live.