Sunday, March 07, 2021

파란하늘

The sky has a beautiful blue hue when movement of people was restricted during lock-down. These days, the blue sky has taken on a grayish tone as human activities return. Sky is like a canvas, no subject looks nice without a beautiful canvas. The day of beautiful sky blue may return if all internal combustion vehicles are eventually replaced by electric one.

A medieval keep from a previous château in the front yard of Château de Chenonceau

Sunday, February 14, 2021

케이크인지 빵인지


If it looks like a bread but tastes like a cake, it is a bread I never knew. I thought I bought a bread but I got a brioche. Due to my error, I discovered more about it. It is a bread of French origin enriched with egg and butter. Brioche is pronounced as 'bree-yosh'. Learning and reading are good habits but a bit of mistake, from time to time, can also help us discover more of our world and ourselves in a rather unexpected and amusing way.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

아픔인지 빵인지

During one of those nights out in Jongno 3-ga, my 'playground' in Seoul, a sign with the word 'Pain' brightly lit caught my eyes. I looked in the direction of the sign and my vision was led to a cafe. I was puzzled why would a cafe brand itself as 'Pain'.

The eureka moment came many years later in France when I came across Pain au Chocolat (chocolate bread). Only then I realised, 'pain' is bread in French. The pronunciation of 'pain' in French is also quite similar to Korean '빵' (bread).
 
In the world we live in, some may only know pain as pain, but to some, pain is just bread and edible.
 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

만추가경 (晩秋佳景)


As fallen leaves pile up on the ground, autumn is also reaching its end. Autumn ends beautifully and so should everything. Our desire to hold on to things and not let them go, makes us blind to the allure of an end. Let everything go, even the last fallen leaf, and enjoy the lightness of the autumn breeze sweeping across the courtyard on a late autumn afternoon.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

천고마비 (天高馬肥)

하늘은 높고 말은 살찐다 - In autumn, the sky is high and horses fat.

천고마비 (天高馬肥) is the Korean adaptation of the Chinese idiom ‘秋高马肥’. It describes the feel-good atmosphere of autumn - beautiful high blue sky and well-fed horses. However, this idiom does not always carry a positive vibe, it was originally meant to suggest something ominous.

During the Warring States Period, the Xiongnu, a federation of nomadic tribes, would infringe the northern border every autumn to raid and plunder the southern states on horseback. The 'horse' in the idiom refers to the horses bred by the Xiongnu. When their horses became 'fat' or strong during autumn, it signified that invasion of the south was imminent. Perhaps that explains why another idiom exists: 다사지추 (多事之秋). It can be literally translated as an autumn with many happenings; it means a period in time when many problems and issues erupt. 

If autumn was peaceful, the idiom passed down would have been 천고우비 (天高牛肥) or 천고양비 (天高羊肥).

천고양비 (天高羊肥)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

억세의 계절 (芒花的季节)

Plume-like flowers of silvergrass shimmering under the sun

When the wind blew, the field of silvergrass flowers in front of me swayed like undulating waves, shimmering under the sun. That was an unmistakably autumn feel. A few clusters of flowering grass may be considered weeds but when exists in overwhelming number, it becomes a scenery of comforting warm hues.

Silvergrass field at Haneul (Sky) Park, Seoul

Sunday, September 22, 2019

불안감

Causeway Bay in November, wet and cold
Anxiety is our mental response to the uncertainties of life. In some way, it is quite similar to the fever that arises due to a viral attack. The fever does nothing to ward off the virus, neither does the fever medication. Similarly, anxiety is unhelpful in resolving any future uncertainty which does not warrant a 'fight or flight' response.

Anxiety and fever are both symptons which can be relieved. Even though sympton may goes away, its cause still remains which has to be dealt with ultimately by our mental strength or immune system. We cannot eliminate virus just like we cannot remove uncertainity from the face of this earth. What we cannot change, we have to live with it.

However, if anxiety is attributed to a man-made cause that may possibly be overcome with a glimpse chance, it is hard to convince people to live with it. Then, anxiety is living up to its real purpose in life.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

양수대교


This is Yangsoo Bridge (양수대교, 兩水大橋), a truss bridge that spans across the North Han River. This is also the same bridge that appears in Hotel del Luna as the 'Sandocheon bridge' (삼도천 다리, 三途川橋) - a bridge spirits have to cross to transit from 'this world' to 'the other world'. The bridge may seem like CGI in the drama but it is real and located at Yangpyeong.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

옛날 사람

Brick and mortar apparel boutique at Anhyeon-gu, Bujang

I do not do online shopping. Convenience, time-saving and maybe some cost-saving are not compelling reasons for me to quit going to brick and mortar store. If there is one thing online stores have taught the world, that is the price of everything but not necessarily its value. Making a special effort to purchase something makes me value it more and I am also doing a little bit for the environment by reducing packaging waste and delivery trip.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

여름의 눈사람

Snowman has a dream, he wants to experience summer; he wants to know what warmth feels like. Winter night is long and dreary; except for the cold howling wind blowing through the snow-capped field, he hears nothing. The view of the vast milky way is magnificent but his frozen heart is not beating, not a bit.

Fellow snowmen discouraged him:

"Without cold, your existence will cease."
"You will melt before you even know it."
"You will not survive, why do you even try?"

Day-dreaming is free but not dream; there is a price to pay to hold one. The night before snowman decided to leave, blizzard came and whipped the barren land. All known exit routes were shut but snowman was undeterred; he used Polaris as a guide and moved slowly away from it.

Snowman finally met summer one day. The heat of summer reached his heart and melted it; it started to beat. However, the rest of his body also began to melt away. There was no magic and fairy dust to reverse the process. Soon the ground which snowman stood on was left with a pool of water and two rocks, a small rock stacked on top a big one.

Took this picture at my old office three years ago when I completed arranging everything after the shift.