Sunday, March 20, 2011

Baa baa, sheep!

To be honest, that's what I feel like these days. That's how the media is treating the public. Like clueless sheep. I know I'm not the only one annoyed at the media in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake. I want to know why some channels decide to hype things up and blow things out of proportion while feeding off from unreliable sources. What happened to journalistic integrity?

It's not only sheep. There are also the self-appointed dumb asses who are freaking out like no tomorrow without getting a clear idea of what's going on. The interwebs, so effective in sending out valid information when needed, is also effective in spreading unwarranted paranoia and panic. (Iodine tablets selling out? Geez, people! Get a grip!)

Feeling like sheep, feeling like cussing out all the idiots who are aggrevating the situation, I'm posting these sheep photos in an effort to alleviate the mood.
This sheep series by Korean artist Kim Bumzun, displayed at the Ssamziegil gallery in 2010, is titled "Sheep sakkideul" (Sheep 새끼들), a play on a Korean curse word equivalent to the English "f#ckers".

The satirical humor, the overtly cute factor of the farkin' sheep themselves, the situations they are in; all mirror this human world we live in.

On a side note, I'm rereading Walden. It's my go-to book whenever I feel unsettled and ill at ease. I'm trying to make sense of life, which doesn't get easier to understand the older you get, no matter what the elders say.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coffee in Ilsan - Cafe Lugo

Since spring has decided to downplay its presence, I have no qualms about posting pictures with the remnants of winter blatant in the background. (With a Christmas tree to boot!)

I found this coffee shop by accident; needing a caffeine fix while shopping at the New Core outlet in Ilsan,  I just ventured into the restaurant zone and there it was.

The lighting of the coffee shop was warm and inviting, and despite it being the holiday season it was peaceful and quiet.

The interior pleased me immensely. I love dark wood tones (my bookcases in my living room are this color) and the light touches here and there lift up the atmosphere. Loved the chandeliers made of coffee bean scoopers, too!

They also had a large table which I'm sure would be welcome by students in a study group.

I ordered a basic latte. Proper cup and saucer! The crema was a bit thick for me but not overwhelmingly foamy. Not the best I had, but I think I would choose this place over a "regular" Starbucks or Coffee Bean to avoid noisy crowds.

Located on the 8th floor of New Core Outlet in Ilsan.
Metro : Madu station (Line 3) Exit #5
Walk straight from the exit and the building is on your right at the crossroads. Impossible to miss.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Haneda airport, October, 2009

I go to Tokyo almost every year. I have friends and acquaintances who live there. There are memories that lurk in various corners of the city, where my stories have been written and told.

Like most people, I have spent the past few days glued to the news of the terrible earthquake in Japan. Even after hearing news that those I know were okay, my heart sank lower and lower as news came in. I'm not watching live footage anymore because I can't take it. There are images swimming in my mind that I want to forget, even though I wasn't even really there. I cannot imagine the pain and loss and grief and all the mixed emotions that the Japanese are going through right now.

Just hoping that there will be no more injury to the country nor the people. I truly hope.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hiking in Jirisan - Dullegil #3

Korea is blessed with many beautiful mountains. Among those mountains, Jirisan is known as the mountain to conquer if you're a serious mountaineer. The mountain is an enormous organism of hills and valleys, with fantastic views from all angles.

I had a go around Jirisan last winter; not proper mountain climbing, but just a simple hike. The Jirisan Dullegils (지리산 둘레길, "paths that follow the circumference of Jirisan") are mountain trails for simple hiking, where no extra hiking gear is needed. It's great for beginners.

There are four different trails to follow. Each trail takes several hours to track, from a 4 hour trail to an 8 hour trail. You can also just walk around a portion of each trail, as there are other paths that lead out to main roads along the way. The Dullegil trails are actually paths that lead to and from the villages on the mountain unlike the other "serious" remote mountain trails of Jirisan, so it's unlikely that you'd get lost.

The trail I took was Trail #3, the one that starts from the village of Maedong (매동마을).

Start this way! A sign introduces you to the village.
Helpful map shows where you would be going.

To the left is the mineral spring, to the right you will find several village houses for lodging.

The trail is marked with red arrows on posts. I took my Mini Kuma to accompany me.


The trail starts out flat and not too hilly.
Most Korean mountains are full with pine trees. I love their scent, all seasons of the year.

And then you have wild reeds blowing in the breeze.

A reservoir pond lies in the middle of empty rice paddies.
The paddies are set up on a series of ledges being on a slope.

I didn't, no, actually I couldn't take any photos on the hilly part of the trail.
The scenery was beautiful there;
we were completely enclosed in pines with bits of sky peeking through the branches.
However, I was too busy trying to catch up with the rest of the group, huffing and puffing.
I learned that severe lack of exercise will make a simple hike like this horribly difficult.

I caught my breath when the trail flattened out again and started taking photos.
My friend took a photo of me taking a photo.

This was the one I took.

Another view of the bleak empty rice paddies and the village in the valley.
This place would be beautiful in the summer and autumn, I think.

Took a self portrait in the circle road mirror alongside a field.

The sun was setting as we headed to the main road.
This old tree was simply breathtaking, the photo doesn't do it justice.

Jirisan National Park website (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Friday, March 4, 2011

When you're too lazy to read...

... just listen. (Even if the speaker is a repetitive, apologetic, ummm-er.)

Video clips from January and February.

Related detailed blog posts at: