Wednesday, October 27, 2010


봄이 지나고 여름이 즉각 온다. 소년은 여름 단풍과 같다.

여름을 환송하고 가을이 제시간에 온다. 중년은 가을 단풍과 같지 않을 까?

노년은 겨울 단풍과 같네. 겨울이 작별하고 끝이 오겠지?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


There are two things you won't miss. One, things which you have not seen and two, things which you have. Conversely, there are two things you will miss. One, things which you have seen and two, things which you once possessed. If you don't see me missing anything about Korea, it's because I've learnt to let go - my attachment and possession.

I've seen the sunset at Haneul Park

I've seen the blue sea at Oedo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


'모락모락' (pronounced 'morak morak') is a '의태어' (擬態語) that describes the look of rising steam. Its closest Mandarin equivalent - '炊烟袅袅'. I can relate well to '모락모락' although I am quite bad with other '의태어'. '모락모락' has a lot more meaning, especially during cold weather, when steam is more visible. Hot food, with all its steam, during a cold night, is simply irresistable. The thin veil of slowly rising steam makes any food looks all the more delicious.

뜨거운 국물에서 김이 모락모락 나던 포장마차를 보면서 문득 배가 고파졌다 

김이 모락모락 피어오르는 음식은 더 먹음직 스러워 보인 것 같다

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


If you have many questions about Korean language which you no answer to at the moment, don't be disheartened. Here is a piece of advice - live with the questions and you will find your answers someday. The answers will come, provided you never give up. If you do give up, there is no wrong to it. Things that you forsake are usually of no importance to the heart, hence, nothing regrettable. Staying on is only pleasant to people who have love for the thing they do. If you like to find the answers to your questions, try finding your love first.

Credits to 'Soothing Mint' for introducing me the enlightened writing of Rainer Maria Rilke ( a Bohemian–Austrian poet and art critic)

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There is an insect which Koreans called '하루살이'. Translated literally, it means 'one-day life'. This insect, which holds the record as the shortest-living insect, is commonly known as Mayfly. Its existence as a sexually mature adult can be as short as 30 minutes and as long as a day, although its nymph stage (immature stage) lasts much longer, from several months to several years in freshwater. Mayfly exists for only one sole purpose which is to reproduce and one-day life is more than sufficient for it to fulfill that purpose. To human, one day may be too short to achieve anything or is it?

I knew an acquaintance who is a Korean. We were on the same bus trip and by chance, we sat beside one another. Somehow, we had a lot to talk about even though we just met. I have forgotten most of what we talked about but there was one topic I remember vividly.

There was a Korean language problem which I could not overcome. I could not pronounce 'ㅅ' correctly. My teacher pointed out during class that my 'ㅅ' always sound like 'ㅆ'. Strangely, I was able to pronounce consonants like 'ㄷ', 'ㄱ', 'ㅂ', 'ㅈ' correctly, without making them sound like their double consonant relatives. Everyone in my class had no problem pronouncing 'ㅅ' except me. I was an oddball. It was embarrassing as I was already an advanced-level student. My classmates tried to help. One said, "You should pronounce 'ㅅ' with very little force." Another said, "You should pronounce 'ㅅ' with a short tongue."  Despite their help, I still could not figure out the correct way of pronouncing.

The acquaintance I met on the bus was very interested in learning English. I helped her with some of her English expressions and in return, she wanted to teach me Korean. So I asked her to teach me the difference in 'ㅅ' and 'ㅆ' pronunciation. She turned to face me and said, "Look at my tongue." So, I observed her tongue movement carefully. When she pronounced '싸', her tongue was fully extended forward and as a result, her airway was unblocked. '싸' sounded forceful. When she pronounced '사', her tongue was pulled back, making it seemed shorter and the back of her tongue blocked her airway partially. '사' sounded weaker because of partially blocked airway. I knew from that moment,  my problem with 'ㅅ' pronunciation was solved forever.

Our ephemeral meeting lasted for only a day and we never met after that. The meeting was short but meaningful, just like the short life of Mayfly.  하루살이같은 짧은 만남이였다. 그래도 의미가 있는 소중한 만남이였다.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

창가 좌석

The 'stage' is empty the other night

'Actor' and 'actress' go on 'stage' tonight without rehearsal. They don't quite need one when they are playing themselves.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

기차 여행

Leaving on a Mugunghwa train

To get from point A to point B in Korea without a private car, the fastest means is not always the train. The inter-city express bus service is, in fact, the best means of land transportation; it is fast, convenient and economical. However, sometimes, travelling is not about getting to the destination in the shortest time. The journey itself is part of the experience. In this instance, I prefered going on a slow train like Mugunghwa which would take me through the scenic countryside.