9.28.2004

Ch'usok Week


Buk Poru
Originally uploaded by katevsnow.
Ch'usok in Korea is the National holiday where most Koreans flee the city to spend a long weekend with their families. It's also the paid five day weekend for foreign teachers. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to get a train or bus ticket out of Seoul, so a group of friends and I took a one hour subway ride to the city of Suwon, which is really just an extension of the massive Seoul. The city houses the Hwaseong Castle Fortress, it's main attraction. This is a photo of Buk Poru, one of the many small fortresses along the wall.
At a local bar our first night there, we were forced by an ajimma (an older woman) to order some anju (snacks) with our pitcher of Hite beer. Unable to recognize any of the Korean words, Kyle pointed to the second item on the menu. Next thing we know there's a whole dried squid on a plate with mayo on the side. At the table next to us was a group of young Koreans. One of the girls could not stop staring and giggling at Justin. Tracey had the idea of offering the dried squid to them, which they accepted graciously. One young man at their table then ran out of the bar and came back five minutes later with some kimbap, Korean style sushi.
We joined tables and shared a couple pitchers. Then we all wandered up the street and spent some time at an outdoor batting cage and video arcade. Jin Young, the young man who bought us the kimbap, told us he was a pitcher for his University. I tried to ask him what he studied at the University, but he said "Baseball. Pitcher." as he showed off his bicep. I asked again what classes he took, he replied "No classes. Only Baseball. Pitcher" pointing to his bicep again.
The most entertaining thing that night was the punching/kicking video game. I watched several Koreans (and members in our group) wind up and punch this leather punching bag on a steel rod as hard as possible, most of the time grasping their fist with pain afterwards. The game of course is to try to get the highest score measured by force. There was also a soccer ball machine.
Throughout the night, the young girl told Justin over and over again he was 'so handsome!' and finally she got a picture with him on her phone.
The night ended at 5am after several hours at a nore-bong, a private karaoke room. The Korean group took their singing very seriously, as they all seemed to have amazing voices.