Jeju, Part 4: When Jeju Was Tamna

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March 14, 2019, Song-eup, Jeju-

Korea abounds in traditional folk villages, as do many nations who seek to preserve their traditional culture-in the face on onrushing development and prosperity.  Jeju’s premier folk village, which I have visited on three other occasions, is Song-eup, not far from Songsan, in the eastern part of the island.

By chance, when Aram, Yoonhee and I arrived here, we were introduced to the same woman who had,as a newly-wed, told Penny and me about the way of life here, some thirty-two years ago.  I recognized her, though she didn’t remember me.  A good-natured, saucy young woman had matured into a dedicated advocated for preservation, with an encyclopedic knowledge of her subject.

These poles served as a gate.  If they were on the ground, this meant the residents were home and ready to receive guests.  If one pole was mounted, call out before entering.  If two poles were mounted, the residents were at home and did not wish to be disturbed.  If three poles were up, no one was at home.

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Song-eup proper was, and is, a walled community.  Pirates from Japan were known to occasionally stage raids on towns, in the eastern and southern coastal areas of Korea.  This was enough of a problem that Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin, one of history’s greatest military commanders, led his sailors to victory over both the pirates and their imperial enablers, in the Imjin War of 1592-98.  The walls helped stem the pirate attacks, in the short term.

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This system of roof thatching was used by high and low alike, across Jeju.  The villagers on the west of the island used different material, but the system was the same.

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Stone guardians, nowadays called dolharubang, or “stone grandfathers”, graced the entrance to every village in Jeju.  They are now symbols of the island’s culture.  The one on the right is an example of  Koreans’ playful spirit.

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The black pig is one of Jeju’s primary domesticated animals-sometimes used as a watch animal, but more commonly raised as livestock.

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This house, with its foreroof, is an example of a wealthier person’s residence,as it has an up-step.

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Street art here is used mainly to depict animal figures prominent in Jeju lore- especially the dragon- here accompanied by snails.

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Here is an example of a more humble person’s residence,with no up-step.

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Roof thatch is replaced every five years.  These grubs are found, in the hundreds, thriving in the thatch.

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Usually, grinding stones in Korea were pulled by oxen.  On Jeju, horses pulled stones like this one.

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Masks were mounted as a defense against harm, in the days of shamanist Korea. Back then, Jeju was called Tamna.  Legend has Tamna established by three men, Go, Yang and Bu, who emerged from three holes-in an area, called Samseonghyol, that is still preserved in Jeju-shi.  Tamna simply means “island nation”, in Jeju’s indigenous language.  There are still a small number of indigenous Jejuans, living in the foothills of Halla-san.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After thanking the docent for her time and sharing, we spent a few minutes in an educational institute, on the outskirts of Song-eup.  Here, another docent showed us more mock-ups of early village life.  Here is a display of an outdoor kitchen.

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As we walked towards the walled, main section of the village, we spotted a fuller example of a long cottage, with an up-step.

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This house was called the “House of Two Dragons”, by its early owner.  Thus, here is a sculpture of  the double threat.

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Stone guardians can reflect a wide variety of expressions.  Most are serious; some can be mirthful.  These are definitely not in a good mood.

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Here is the West Gate, through which we entered Song-eup proper.

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Here is  a full view of a Song-eup street.

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Large Korean cabbage, a primary ingredient in much kimchi, is a key crop of Jeju. It is related to the Chinese bok choi.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Han Bong-il, a wealthy farmer of old Jeju, left this farmstead to the government, which now preserves it as an historic home.

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This is the Peddler’s Inn, located in front of the main Guest House. The former housed people wishing to sell items to or supplicate the magistrate and other officials, who themselves stayed in the Guest House.

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Here is the main Guest House.

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This is the entrance to the  old seat of government in Song-eup.

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This is Mokgwana, the actual office of the magistrate.

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Large. old hackberry trees are often top heavy,with age.  This tree needed to be shored up by a system of cables and metal stands.

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At this Confucian school, another docent guided us around the areas that are open to the public, whilst explaining that the main courtyard was off-limits, due to an earlier high volume of traffic, detracting from the serenity of the place.

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Here is a fuller view of the school and courtyard.

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We left Song-eup, in a tranquil mood. Headed westward, we stopped at a rest area, to get this view of Halla-san, rising proudly in the background.

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The day was only half over!

NEXT:  Jusangjeoli and Jeongmyon- Two Wonders of Wind and Water

Hanok Village: History as Enterprise, Part II

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March 11, 2019, Jeonju, South Korea-

As promised, I continue here with the second half of our little family’s tour of this blend of history and modern entrepreneurship.  It most closely reminds me of the Belgian city of Bruges, in that regard.

We felt the need for lunch, so we stopped at Kyodong Dok Kalbi, which offers a limited number of pibimbap dishes, along with a chopped, pressed and pre-cooked version of Kalbi (beef or pork ribs).   Their herbarium provides many of the key ingredients.

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Here, my Korean relatives observe the round of side dishes, which are essential in any true Korean meal. There are usually a few varieties of kimchi, steamed spinach, some small sardines, buckwheat noodles, and some cold pressed vegetable gelatin.  Miso (fermented soup) and a bowl of white rice accompany the meat.  We ate using chopsticks and a large spoon.

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Having eaten our fill of satisfying dok kalbi and “fixings”, we felt content as cherubim.

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So, we walked along the road that leads to a straw-roofed complex.  We came upon this irrigation stream, with various animals of the Oriental zodiac as conduits for the water.

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The fortunate woman has a husband who is willing to be her servant, at least on occasion.

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Jeonju is largely devoid of street murals, so this vertical rainbow was a sublime surprise.

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Many Korean families have at least a small garden plot.  This one is at a traditional Tea House, where we stopped for cups of medicinal herbal tea.

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It is the Tea House which sports the traditional “Jeobuk” straw roof.  The proprietress was surprised at the approach of a mixed group of Koreans and Americans, but was very gracious.

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To the east of Hanok, there lies a shanty area, climbing the hillside.  I took this photo from the Tea House grounds.  Later, we would get closer to the settlement, which lies across a divided highway.

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Here are the flowers of the cauliflower plant.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHere is a view of the Tea House’s main garden.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor those wishing to sip their tea in an indoor setting, there is a silk-covered mat, on which one sits cross-legged.  The pearl-inlay chest is a common decor in many Korean homes.

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These yellow buttercups match their vase.

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This small shrine blesses the garden plants.

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Outside this small shrine is a depiction of one of the scenes from the Ten Ox-Herding Series, an allegory of one man’s quest for spiritual enlightenment.

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Here is a small Buddhist shrine.

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As we arrived at the edge of the highway, I looked across to the shanty, and spotted Edward Scissorhands.

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We left the heights and went back down to the main street of Hanok, passing this traditional pavilion, a gathering place in Jeoson days.

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Next, along the way, was the place where King Taejo was crowned first monarch of the Jeoson Dynasty.

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The coronation courtyard is graced by this stone wheel, dating from 1392.

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These stone lions guard the entrance to a nearby guest house.

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Thus ended our four-hour visit to Jeonju Hanok Village.  There is much more to this bustling district.  Perhaps a future visit will mean an overnight stay.

Feeling the need for some rejuvenation, we went to Damyang Spa Resort, about forty minutes north of the farmstead.  There, we experienced sauna, hot and cold waters, and I underwent a thorough treatment from an exfoliation specialist, a sort of masseur, who scrubbed me, head to toe, with a rough cloth, then rubbed cleansing oil.

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Hanok Village: History as Enterprise, Part 1

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March 11, 2019, Jeonju, South Korea-

After a  brief walk around the farmstead of  my hosts, Shin Dongwhon and Park Miwha (Many Korean women keep their maiden names, even in marriage), they, the new Mr. & Mrs. Boivin and I headed for Jeonju, the capital of Jeolla Buk-do (North Jeolla Province), famous for the hot pot, known as pibimbap (rice, mixed with vegetables, chopped meat and egg, then garnished with hot pepper sauce).  It is also well-known for maintaining historical buildings, as it is the birthplace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897).  The dynasty was founded by General Yi Song-gye, who became King Taejo as a result. He and his heirs instilled a strong Confucian ethos into Korean culture.  They also built Korea’s legacy of distinct language and literature. King Taejo’s heirs included his fourth-born son, who became Sejong the Great.  King Sejong, one of the seminal figures of Korean history, was committed to universal education.  In order for the masses to become literate more easily and quickly, Sejong commissioned the development of a phonetic alphabet, Hangul, which is still commonly used today.  He also commissioned the development of movable type, about the same time as Johannes Gutenberg was developing a movable type printing press, in what is now Germany.

With all this rich history, I was surprised that the emphasis in Jeonju’s historic district was not so much on telling the tale as on showing the buildings as they were and on the selling of goods and services.  Of course, any living community has to strike a balance between legacy and functionality, as Salem, MA, San Juan Capistrano, CA, St. Augustine, FL, Heidelberg, DEU-and Gyongju- a living history city,  in eastern South Korea, have all done.

Here are some photos of the day’s festivities- first of the farmstead, then of Jeonju Hanok Village.  First,  here is the home to which I was welcomed.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The koi pond has some rather shy inhabitants.

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Building stones and ollas (for storing kimchi) are essential to any Korean farmstead.

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A newborn rabbit needed warmth and safety.  He is hidden in the shorn fur of one of his elders.

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The rooster and his ladies were in full voice, this morning.

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This is a row of pine windbreak.

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This is  a view of Mr. Shin’s field.

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There, to greet us and send us off, is “Buri” (Barley), the family porch dog.   Korean farm dogs are rarely, if ever, allowed inside the house.

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Now let’s have a look at the first set of photos  of Jeonju Hanok Village.  Below, is the Hanok Visitors’ Center.

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Yunhee and her parents, in front of commemorative stone.

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Our side of the coin.

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“It still could snow, this Spring.”  Here is a traditional Jeollabuk-do tiled roof.

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More traditional Jeollabuk-do tile-roofed houses. Many of these are Guest Houses.

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This is the Year of the Boar, in the Lunar New Year configuration.

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Traditional Chollabuk-do home, with walled courtyard and shrines.

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Here are hanbok, traditional Korean formal dress.

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Here is a more upscale version of the Chollabuk-do tiled roof.  It was probably the home of a wealthy merchant or minor official.

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A more modern variation of traditional water wheel.

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These traditional shirts are actually made of paper.  We visited a paper-making establishment and saw various products, made of durable paper.

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Yunhee is watching a traditional demon mask, made of heavy paper.

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Mrs. Park is demonstrating traditional grain milling.

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It was a little chilly for an outdoor lunch, so we admired the courtyard and moved on.

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Here are some household decorations that graced a merchant’s home, in the early 20th Century.

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Here is a hilltop pavilion, probably used as Confucian shrine.

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“Spring is on its way”, say the cherry blossoms.

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A heavy-duty community level water wheel.

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Commemorative stone, indicating road leading to Confucian shrine.

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There are a number of other photos to share, of this large historic district.  I will post these in the next installment.

 

Friends, Like These

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April 12, 2016, Prescott- I was determined to not let yesterday’s minor irritations be like rocks in my shoe.  Today started out fresh, with the promise of being a full day- work would be followed by a professional workshop, then a meeting of Slow Food Prescott, with its vegetarian dinner.

I got to work, with plenty of time to spare, and a styrofoam box of freshly made pancakes, from Cupper’s Coffee House- hoping for breakfast time.  As it happens, I did enjoy the pancakes, only in the automotive classroom, rather than with my charges in Resource Center.  Well, things went smoothly enough, the auto shop students did their own project, and the three classes focused on the academic aspects of automotives were mostly dawdlers, but hardly difficult to manage.

That is one aspect of my current position- flexibility, that will only enhance my position. Be invaluable, the voice said during my meditation, last night, and so the flow took me to a place of worth.  During the free hours, I found that my new colleagues were glad for what help I could offer them.  It has been a long year for many, and being a voice of reason makes a person welcome, in these parts, by teachers and students alike.

Afterward, a workshop was offered, on the Google calendar, by two imaginative and tech-savvy teachers, one of whom I regard almost as a daughter.  She will have a long and fabulous career as an educator.  I picked up some good points from this workshop, and can organize my overall time, in a far clearer manner, using this tool.

Slow Food’s April meeting transpired in an amazingly lovely Manzanita Village, a cooperative housing scheme, overlooking the city and some intervening valleys.  I didn’t have my camera tonight, but will be sure to go back up there and take a few photos to share, in the not too distant future.  The meal featured some fermented foods:  Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and dosa- a crepe, made from fermented lentils and brown rice, soaked for 24 hours, then blended into a batter.  It hails from south India, and was thoroughly delectable.  I was even given some batter to take home.  So guess what breakfast will be tomorrow!

This sort of feeling more connected has generally happened more in Spring, the past several years- and is what keeps me in growth mode.  Friendships like these are worth growing.