Monday, October 31, 2011

안성 구메 마을하고 칠장사 사원

Well, I promised more cultural excitement, and here it is - the moment you've been waiting for.  I'm a little behind on my blog posts; I'm sorry... but I've been doing all sorts of cultural things, about which you want to hear... so you'll just have to put up with a little bit of a time delay. :)  (It's not like I'm in Korea or anything...)

Last Saturday, I got the opportunity to go on a most amazing cultural trip.  It was cold and wet and sent my SID into overdrive, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially the time I spent at 칠장사 사원 (Chiljangsa Temple).  At the temple, I spent a lot of time purposefully avoiding people and just soaking in my surroundings.  There's something in me that resonates with the Buddhist lifestyle, so going there was a treat for me.  I think, one day, I'd like to spend some time learning from a Buddhist monk (if I, being a woman, would be allowed).  This day was not that day, but... maybe one day...

Okay.  Without any further ado, here are the pictures from 안성 구메 마을 (Anesong Agricultural Village):
This trip really should be subtitled "How many ways can you use bamboo," but there's no option for that on my blog, so I'm just letting you know here.  So we started off the day by making bamboo massage sticks.  This photo is just the bamboo branches we used.  Keep on the lookout, because my massage stick will probably end up as a Christmas present for someone or something... They also make great percussion instruments and weapons.

Speaking of weapons, we got to try our hands at the Korean-style of archery.  The main difference seems to be their grip on the arrow.  I shot one and only one arrow, and here it is... barely making contact with the target board.  (It's the crooked one.)

It is now Fall in Korea, and I really haven't seen a more beautiful place for it.  You all can enjoy New England all you want, but I'm all about Korean leaves (in cultural locations) now.

Several people also went loach fishing.  Basically, these things look like the lovechild of a catfish and a leech.  You climb into the spider/scorpian-looking-thing infested mudhole, place your bamboo-enforced net in the water, stomp on the mud, pull your net back out, and see what you got.  Sadly, there were no waders big enough for my high-instep.  All together now: "Oh, that's too bad."  ;)

We each tried our hands at picking persimmons with these bamboo sticks.  Personally, I think it would be much more time-effective to use your bamboo to make a ladder, but I'm not going to argue with thousands of years of tradition.  Instead, I tapped into an even older tradition: the damsel in distress.  Yes, I managed to flag down two men who were kind of enough to hook me a persimmon (and another one when I accidentally knocked down the first) and let me pull it down as if I'd done it myself.  :)

The following are from 칠장사 사원 (Chiljangsa [Buddhist] Temple), I'm not going to caption these (if you want those, you can check out my Facebook), in the hopes that on their own they can reflect the peace and wonder (keep an eye out for the healing water) that was at the temple:

 Here's the ask the audience time:  What do you want next: a traditional Korean recipe, my personal reflections, or some more from my students?


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