Archive for September, 2006

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another week done gone

September 25, 2006

Another weekend comes and goes, monday’s even already done too. Next week is a major holiday, so more days off then. A couple of new jobs to do. Shaping up to be a busy October. But that’s the future. Here’s the past…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sometimes you just can’t say ‘no’ . . . nor should you

September 21, 2006

A loooong day today. Busy in the morning doing housework, emails, a little blogging and chatting and stuff. Then off to Seoul-dae for an afternoon of reading/research. Then a colloquium on Korean Studies at the Kyujanggak. Luckily, the office generously secured for me by my old advisor at Michigan, Professor Cho, was a mere ten steps away from the happening, so I had no excuse to miss. Perhaps it would have been easier if I would have… (more…)

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Sometimes you just can’t say ‘no’ . . . nor should you

September 21, 2006

A loooong day today. Busy in the morning doing housework, emails, a little blogging and chatting and stuff. Then off to Seoul-dae for an afternoon of reading/research. Then a colloquium on Korean Studies at the Kyujanggak. Luckily, the office generously secured for me by my old advisor at Michigan, Professor Cho, was a mere ten steps away from the happening, so I had no excuse to miss. Perhaps it would have been easier if I would have… Read the rest of this entry ?

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On Suicide and Social Change

September 20, 2006

Now, for some hard news here at Vagabondage. Two interesting news stories in the English version of the Hankyoreh Shinmun (One People’s Newspaper – an ironic title for a “progressive” paper, especially considering what comes farther below).

First up, the bad news. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Past the hump already?

September 20, 2006

Woah… time is absolutely whizzin’ by. Which means I gotta work, work, work. So far, pretty good – did get some great articles and meet some great professors already. Today I went to Yonsei University and got an all-inclusive library card, courtesy of Fulbright. Way cool. In addition, they have free wireless and it works with my Mac (Seoul-dae doesn’t have either). In addition to that, it is closer to my house, just a short bus trip and walk.

Tomorrow, I’ll be finding out about an opportunity to serve as managing editor for a journal on Korean Studies, and will also go to a seminar by one of the pre-eminent scholars on the study of culture and history in the Korea’s colonial period, my topic exactly.

I have to say all this, of course, because the main topic of most of my entries is “play” and Mom has already tut-tutted once about me getting to work! I am working, I promise. But it is boring to blog about… and play is so much more photogenic!

Take for instance this super cute cat I saw yesterday as I shared a meal on the side of the Han-gang (delivered right to our spot via motor scooter!):

Steve's Korean cousin

And for riverside entertainment, a shaman training session in progress (bad quality – due to distance/darkness):

shaman on the river

I’ll tell you more about shamans in the near future, when i get a bit more time to write. For now, let’s just say, don’t believe any cultural generalizations you read about Korea if they do not quickly include a mention of the role of shamans/spirits/fortune telling. These folks are at the very heart of Korean culture, and moreover, their modus operandi of being in a constant battle for domination over those spirits is a perfect metaphor for Korean contemporary culture in general, including the realms of Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity and secularism.

Coming up this weekend: first formal Fulbright get-together, a trip to a dance club in Hongdae, and a major demonstration on Sunday. Expect pictures of 2 out of these 3, hopefully.

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the weekend

September 17, 2006

This Friday I headed down to Jogye Temple in downtown Seoul. It is the headquarters of Korean Buddhism, more or less. This is the place I got my first translating job in Korea. You can see some of the results on Koreanbuddhism.net where I did some translations of biographies of great monks (only one nun, unfortunately). Before going, I was a bit worried, cuz first of all i was a bit tired and depressed, the reality of living alone in a big city really setting in now, and second, because I would have to tell them that I wouldn’t be able to help them with work now because I would be too busy with my studies. In fact, I almost postponed. That would have been a big mistake. Read the rest of this entry ?

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the first ascent

September 13, 2006

Today was my first venture up a mountain this time around in Korea, Bukhan-san. I went with Dominica’s first cousin, Seong-yeol (who i just call “hyoung” = older brother) and two of his workers from his spaghetti restaurant, Sorrentos, who just call me, “Matty-hyoung.” I gotta say, i like the custom. it warms my heart everytime I hear them call it out.

Below are some photos from along the way…and after. You can see a whole bunch of new shots, with notes!, here.

Oh, and I came here to Korea for some reason or other… uh… oh yeah, school and research. Here’s the view from my office at the Kyujanggak at Seoul National University (Seoul Daehakkyo or Seouldae for short).