Friday, April 29, 2011

Shit Herr Consoleman Says .... about IR Marriage.

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:50 pm
Post subject:

canucksaram, we're not discussing about ESL here, we're referring to Korean media promoting IR-dating/marriage when there clearly is population shortage in Korea. Do you even know IR-marriage also have very high divorce rate? Also creating unnecessary mixed kids that led to social issues. The main problem is because of media brain washing young people, they automatically thinks dating/marrying foreigners is cool thing.

Unnecessary mixed kids that led to social problems? Blame the kids because they get mistreated by bigots. I am not surprised he wrote this considering the KKKunt and his band of merry morons have actually blamed rape victims for being raped. What a putz.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Shit Koreans Say ... about medicine.

"Korean medicine is too strong for foreigners."

"Be careful when you take your medicine it is stronger in Korea."

I can't tell you how many times I heard some variation of that theme when I was sick in Korea. It was alost as annoying to hear as "Korean food is too spicy for foreigners." Even people who should know better, doctors, would spout the party line about how much stronger and more effective "Korean" medicine is compared to Western pills. The funny thing is that they weren't talking about some kind of Oriental medicine they were talking about pills. In most cases the SAME pills you can get in the west with the same name. Nothing special about them at all.

What the ... ignored comments?!?!?

I was in a quandary about whether or not to post a comment in my blood money thread last week. Not because of the content per se but rather because it seems to be more of a "read my site" post than anything else.

The commenter said;

"I am afraid that much of this post is severely incorrect and misleading, and therefore deeply offensive. A more accurate picture of this so-called "blood money" -- with an actual discussion of laws and everything -- is available here."

Where it says "available here" had a link to the commenter's blog. Being curious I followed the link and read the voluminous post the blogger wrote attempting to debunk the ideas that evil ignorant expats have about "blood money". According to the blogger the way Koreans do blood money is just the same as plea bargaining in the US. He couldn't have just said that? He couldn't have commented on the parts that get his panties into such a bunch and why? He could have, but that wouldn't have pimped out his site as much as his attack and a link to his site for "the truth".

Reading his post (on his site), and staying awake through it, just had me shaking my head. Much of my post was "severely incorrect and misleading" according to him. What parts? The ones that talk about experiences people I know had with the system? The idea of a lesser sentence based on blood money being paid or even just offered? The reports from KOREAN sources that confirm what expats have said about the abuse of Blood Money? Nice way to slough off other peoples experiences, actual reports, and opinions of others because they don't fit your narrative.

Yes, people do work deals out sometimes in the US, and even here in Canada. There are people who deliberately get hurt, or fake it, to get money out of you. If/when caught THEY get in trouble with the law here for blackmail or filing fraudulent claims. In South Korea, in the case of one friend, the police KNEW the guy was doing it, apologized for him, but still insisted my friend pay blood money or be charged. How is that the same as plea bargaining again? Oh right, it isn't.

Yes, there is no obligation for the person to pay blood money. Unless you count the fact that it will be held against them when it goes to court. Look at the case of the bus driver who stopped the guy from molesting one woman and attacking another. Part of the judges reasoning for his sentence was based on the fact that the driver had NOT paid compensation to the "victim".

Or conversely, in the case of the scum that raped the South African woman, the fact he offered her blood money was taken into account when he was sentenced ... towards reducing his sentence.

The blogger ignored things like that in his post. Probably because they hurt his argument that there is nothing wrong with Blood Money and it is just misused by evil expats who want to malign Korea. Not the first time I have seen him do something like that to prove his point. I used to read his blog fairly regularly while I lived in Korea.

As I was contemplating whether or not to post his comment and give his site some free advertising "someone" sent in several comments. I guess my "delay" in posting the comment bothered someone, or a few someones. I received comments saying things like;

"Stop being ignorant and LEARN" which also contained ... a link his blog post about blood money.

I have to admit that comment did make me chuckle. Of course anyone not agreeing with everything said by him/them is ignorant. I actually did learn from his post. I learned that his writing style and way of arguing his point haven't really changed since I used to frequent his site. He is right. You are wrong. If reality doesn't completely agree with him then he will just ignore the parts that upset his argument.

Overall, to use some of his own words, I found his comment, and the other ones sent in, severely incorrect and misleading and therefore deeply offensive because they were dismissive of people's experiences and reality. Therefore, while I will use them and reply to them here, I won't include his link.

Added April 24th 2011: I guess I should thank the commenter(s). He (they?) reminded me of a pretentious asshole I got email from in the late 90's and still have a copy of.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What the ... rationalizing bullshit?!?!?!?

Someone by the name of Junk left some comments about Korea and Japan in the comment section of a post. His comments left me gobsmacked. He basically tried to rationalize and explain away some of the atrocities that Japan committed in Korea. What the fuck?!?!?

I am willing to give the guy some leeway because he said his English isn't good but he evidently missed the part where I said;

I almost didn't post this because my defense of Korea seemed so ... rabid. However, it is what I said and thought at the time. Although some of the information it was based on was faulty a lot of my reasoning stands. (I was still drinking kool-aid. Cherry flavour.)

Some of the things the guy said still make me shake my head. Here are some highlights.

May I ask you why you believe in Korean propaganda ?
I think you know how Korean lies every single day. I just can not understand why you believe in Korean propaganda.

Ummm ... yeah. Reading my blog you can see that I always believe everything Koreans, and apologists, say. People everywhere lie everyday to one degree or another.

Did the Japan try to destroy the Korean culture ? My answer is yes.

He should have stopped there. Instead he went on to talk about how the Japanese improved Korea. Regardless of the benefits Korea got from being taken over by Japan the fact is Korea WAS taken over and forced to become a colony of Japan and some nasty shit happened.

I know you do not believe use google.

No idea where that nugget came from. I use google every day.

You believe in Korean propaganda and you do not believe what Japanese said. This is not fare.

Ummm ... yeah. Ok, I can write some of this off to his poor English and not understanding that I said the stuff I had in the email was propaganda to an extent. The drinking of the kool-aid I referred to. However, the guy then goes on about how I should read what "whites" wrote about Korea before and during teh Japanese occupation. Hey, at least he agrees it WAS an occupation, which means one group exerted undo control over another.

I am not trying to rewrite history as you said to someone before. I want you to know the truth of Korean history.

The truth as he sees it.

There are many books about Korea under occupation written by whites.

Wow. What a racist prat. Junk seems to share some racist qualities with the KKKunts at Korean Sentry. Which actually isn't surprising. People like him are as rabidly insane as those at KS. Both try to twist reality to suit their narrative.

At last I want to tell you that Korean destroyed their culture by themselves.

And then he blames the victim. Damn. Next he will be saying all Korean women willingly became comfort women.

By the way , I start reading you blogs since yesterday and I love it.

The more he reads of my blog the more I am sure this view will change. As I said in the comment section people like this guy are part of the problem.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hello, Sailor!

One of the great things about teaching overseas is the chance to travel. I am a historian, and it was great to go and see things and places that I had read about and studied. Since Korea is bounded on three sides by water, there are many opportunities to travel by boat.
There are a lot of choices if you want to go to Japan. One of these is a hydrofoil that makes the trip from Busan to Fukuoka in a couple of hours. I preferred to take my time (and the hydrofoil was sold out), so I opted for the overnight ferry, the Camellia.

Busan Harbour

It was Chusok, and I had about a week off, so I was going to see Hiroshima. Travelling there would occupy two days. I would have three days to explore the city, and then a couple more to get back.

The ferry dock. The Camellia is the one in the middle, on the right.

The ship sails about six in the evening. The crossing takes about six or seven hours, and the ferry lies in the harbour at Fukuoka until the next morning, when it docks.

The ferry terminal in Fukuoka, from the deck of the Camellia.

Japanese Coast Guard vessel.

I had a basic ticket, which meant that I would sleep in an open area with most of the other people on board. The price of a cabin was prohibitive for such a short trip. You get a mat to lie on, a blanket, and a leather-covered block that's supposed to be a pillow.
There were a few other foreigners about, and I fell in with another guy making his visa run. Lucky to make the trip at Chusok, and on the ferry. I think he spent the balance of his time in Fukuoka while I was in Hiroshima, and I met him again on the return trip.
I don't remember a cafeteria as such. I think there was just a counter, where you could buy cup ramen or dried squid and kimchi. We drank a lot of beer from the vending machines. As we were headed to Japan we stuck to brands like Asahi and Kirin. Even though it was October, the weather was mild, so we spent most of our time up on the top deck, watching the moon set, and the lights of various fishing fleets that we passed through.
It was an amazing feeling to reflect that I was actually sailing across the Sea of Japan. (Even though I'd been in Korea for almost a year, I hadn't yet run across the term, "The East Sea.")
The Koreans occupied themselves with things drinking, talking, and playing games. One of the games they played was "Hwa-To," or Go-Stop, a card game that I very nearly learned how to play. I thought it might have been a way to bridge the gap between myself and my students, and I caused quite a stir when I tried to start a game in class one day. Apparently, go-stop is a betting game, and I was told parents would not be pleased to find out I was teaching their kids to gamble!
Anyway, it was fun to watch the Korean men playing the game. They really get into it. At one point, one of the ship's crew passed by, gave them the fish eye, and asked a question. It must have been about the gambling, because the players started to put the money away, all the while looking like little boys caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
I took this ferry on two different trips. The second time the weather was a little rougher, and you could feel the slow roll of the ship as it went through the swell. On one side of the ship, you were sheltered from the spray, but if you went to the other side, you were absolutely drenched. It's a good thing I had a change of clothes.
I didn't get seasick, but I could see some of the Koreans were green around the gills. There's a kind of patch they wear behind the ear that releases anti-seasickness medicine into the bloodstream.
I was on my way through Japan to Vladivostok in Russia. My thought was that I had come halfway around the world to Korea, so why not continue on in the same direction and so circumnavigate the globe?
And rather than just fly (like some mook), why not travel on the surface? Why not take the time to enjoy it? So I took the ferry to Japan, another ferry to Russia, and the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow.

The ferry that I took was called the "M. Shokolov," and it traveled from the north coast of Japan, near the small port of Takaoka. It didn't sail until two or three days after I boarded, but I didn't care. I had finished my contract in Korea, and was kind of taking my time about getting home.

The crew loaded the ship with as many cars as it could possibly carry, even taking up all the available deck space.

Japanese don't drive on the right side of the road, so these cars had steering wheels on the opposite side I was used to. Russians do drive on the right side of the road, and it was interesting to see these were the majority of vehicles in Vladivostok.
I was travelling alone, so I did have some language barriers to cross. But the crew were helpful and courteous. The food in the restaurant was good. A lot of typical Russian dishes like borscht, served by the tallest, most beautiful blonde waitresses I have ever seen.
That trip took about three days. There was nothing but the ship, the sea, and the sky. My cabin was right on the waterline, which gave me quite the view.

Another ferry from Korea departs from Pohang to the island of Ulleongdo, which is just a hop and a skip from the Dokdo, where Koreans long to see the holy sites and meet the seagulls.

The Ulleongdo ferry docked after the trip.

This ferry is a kind of hydrofoil. The trip takes about three hours, and you're stuck inside for the trip. There's not a lot of open deck space. The seating is theatre-style, but my friends and I fell in with some English-speaking Koreans who helped us pass the time.
There are a lot of islands around Korea, besides Ulleongdo and Dokdo. There's also Jeju-do, which I visited with Flint. It was a good trip, but we didn't take the ferry there. We did, however, take a day trip around and about the southern coast.

If you go to the southern port of Tongyeong, you can get on a boat for a day trip to some of the islands in the area, one of which was the headquarters of Admiral Yi Sun-shin during the time he fought back the Japanese invasion of 1595. There's a re-creation of the place that he lived, and a channel marker in the shape of his famous "turtle boat."

One of the last trips I took in Korea was to the south-western island of Hongdo, Perhaps the last landfall before you reach China.
The ferry was another fast hydrofoil, with no opportunity to go out on deck. The island is so small that four-wheeled traffic is banned, and the islanders get around on motorcycles.
You're basically stuck with the main town, which occupies a neck of land in the centre of the island. The northern and southern areas are protected nature preserves.

There is a day trip around the island offered. It was interesting to see the protected area up close, as the captain took his ship as close to the island as possible at various points.

That day was very sunny on one side of the island, while the other was wrapped in cloud.
I neglected to wear sunblock, and got very burned. The trip ends with various fishing boats gathering around with fresh fish for sale. A lot of the Koreans took great styrofoam boxes home, packed with fish on ice.
But I think if you asked Flint or what our favourite boat was, I think we'd both agree on the "Casa Bianca," which is moored in Cheongju. The main floor houses one of the best rib joints we've ever tasted. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I broke down today and got a CostCo membership. Now I don't have to count on others to go or get stuff. When you buy the membership you get a gift. Your choice of a hot dog or ice cream. I opted for the hot dog. I stand to be corrected but I think the hot dogs at CostCo in Korea were pork. These ones are all beef. Damn it was good. Especially with some add ons.

While I have been to Costco a couple of times since coming home I haven't eaten there. I swear the cafeteria has the same table/chair combo as in Korea. Something felt out of place though. something was not right or missing. Then it struck me as I was putting some jalapeno on the dog, the machine for mincing the onions wasn't there. There was pre-cut onion available but no machine to do it yourself.

It made me remember how Koreans used the machine. Most didn't use it to mince onions for their hot dog. They would mince a huge pile on a plate then cover it with relish, ketchup, mustard, whatever, and eat it like a salad. Ugh, definitely a salad I would pass on.


Recently, my mother made some comments about one of my brothers that she thought were amusing but he, and everyone else around at the time, took as insulting. After being told that what she said was offensive and hurt my brothers feelings she did something a lot of people can't seem to do. She apologised to my brother and is trying to make sure she doesn't do it again.

I am proud of her for doing that. She didn't have to be told to apologise, she knew that she was in the wrong and it was the right thing to do. She didn't go to lengths to try and explain it away, she thought it was funny but the fact no one else in the room did spoke volumes to her. If she had to be told to apologise it would have meant nothing. Kind of like if you apologise without knowing what you did wrong.

It reminded me of an ex-friend. To make a long story short, over a period of years she proved herself to be extremely unreliable, selfish, and way too bitchy at times. It became even worse in the last year or two of our friendship. She knew something was wrong so she sent an IM saying that and apologising if she did something wrong. Keep in mind she is the type of person that if you apologised without knowing what you were sorry for she would NEVER accept it and probably rip into you. One of the many problems was her double standards. So I let her know a bit of what was wrong and she actually started trying to defend the more indefensible things. Then she pointed to her previous apology not knowing what she apologised for and said "Well, I already apologised, I don't know what else I can do."

Now maybe I expected too much. I expected two things. A real apology and some sign that she would at least TRY to change and become more reliable and less bitchy/rude. I didn't expect a great epiphany just some sign that the same bullshit would lessen and/or stop. It was too much to expect from her so the friendship just died off. I could have told her that she should have apologised but then it would have been forced and meant nothing. I could have told her that she needed to change but once again it is something a person has to realize on their own or it means nothing.

Talking with mutual friends she basically made everything my fault. I "threw our friendship away". She just didn't understand that she was wrong, should REALLY apologise and try to change. Well, unfortunately, that is about all I expected out of her. Even most of the mutual friends tired of her BS and stopped bothering with her.

It is amazing how many people simply can't admit that they were wrong. Or that they might have been wrong. It reminds me of the Fonz on Happy Days saying he was wrrr wrrr wrrr .... wrrr wrrr wrrr or he was sorrrrrr sorrrrrr sorrrr. My father was one of those people. He never admitted when he was wrong and never found it in himself to apologise until he was dying.

Because of the concept of "face" I found that when dealing with many Koreans, especially bosses, they couldn't admit fault or apologise. Even if it was clearly their fault or mistake it wasn't. At the most it was a "misunderstanding". If you pushed it then you were even more in the wrong, not them. It made it hard to deal with, or trust, those people at times.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What the ... absurdity?!?!?

An interesting thread was started on Blog Gogi about some of the absurdly insane things that happen in South Korea. Just telling tales of the lesser absurd stuff that went on left friends and family think I was taking the piss out of them. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes, and in my life no where did I find more instances of it than in South Korea.

Great thread Blog Gogi!

Friday, April 8, 2011

DMZ - 3rd Time

What is the old saying? Third time is the charm. Looking back it took 3 visits to actually see all the DMZ sights.

The third trip to the DMZ saw me go with 3 co-workers. We took the USO Tour. Since you had to be at the USO office for 6Am we went up to Seoul Friday night and had a good night sleep.

On the trip in and back you were constantly aware the kind of area you were heading into. The tank traps mentioned in a previous post were still around. Add to that the defences along the river banks and roadside that increased the closer you got to the DMZ.

The USO tour didn't stop at ImjinGak. It went straight to Camp Bonifas. There we changed buses. The new one was driven by a soldier and would take us around the JSA. We did had the JSA briefing, did a little tour of the camp then zipped off to the JSA. It hadn't changed since my last visit a year or so before so there isn't much to add about it.

After the JSA we went back to Camp Bonifas and had lunch. Then we changed back to our tour bus and went to the DoraSan Observation Deck. It was the one spot none of my other tours went to. The 1st tour I was on was supposed to stop there but for some reason they weren't allowed to that day.

This time it was open and we visited. The main only?) drawing point for the place is the observation area. From the deck you can see across the DMZ into North Korea. You can see "Propaganda Village" and off in the distance part of Gaesong. There were huge binoculars you could pay to use to look out over the area, or your own binoculars if you brought them. You were not allowed to take pictures from the where the binoculars were.

There was a yellow line about 20 feet or so back where you could take pictures from. Later we were told it was because they didn't want pictures of the defences on this side of the DMZ and the angle from there didn't allow you to see them. Makes pretty good sense in a war zone.

From there we went to the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression. For some reason DoraSan Train station was skipped but since I had seen it my first trip I didn't care too much. After the tunnel is was back to Seoul.

All in all it was a good tour. I highly recommend the USO tour of the DMZ if you are thinking of going. Good price and a good tour.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shit Herr Consoleman Says ... about buffer zones.

consoleman Site Admin

Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:25 pm Post subject:

S.Korea should use Taiwan as buffer zone against to China as China is already using North Korea.

Geography definitely isn't Herr Consoleman's strong point.

North Korea is actually BETWEEN South Korea and China and can therefore BE a buffer zone. Kind of like how Poland and other Eastern European countries were a buffer zone between the U.S.S.R. and the West.

Taiwan isn't between the two countries. It is impossible for them to be a buffer zone between China and South Korea.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Would A Fucktard Do?

I was looking through my photos and my photo albums for any pictures I could use for a Mook Of The Week story, but alas, I have no more that I can use.
So I will have to describe the mookish behaviour that Flint and I experienced.
One of the things that mooks and fucktards in Korea do when they see a foreigner is to stare like a slack-jawed yokel. I can't tell you how many times I have seen some old ajussi or ajumma stop in their tracks, let their mouth hang open and stare, like they see something green, or you're a martian, or you've got a point on your head.
Even the children do this. I've even seen infants stare at me with a completely blank expression on their face. Their bodies go completely still as they stop whatever they're doing. The Koreans have a group mentality, and it seems to me to be something akin to a hive mind, like bees, or ants, or the Borg.
I always think that someone who stops and stares like this has blown a fuse, and they're communing with the group mind to retrieve any information about the strange apparition before them.
It must be so confusing for them to see a person of another colour, without black hair or eyes. You would think they'd be used to it by now, but the primitive and xenophobic bile spewed out by fucktards like Herr KKKonsoleman at KKKorean Sentry shows that they have a long way to go.
But it does have an amusing side.
I remember one time when Flint and I were dining at a galbi restaurant near his place. It had a glass front, and we could see new customers as they approached. But this one mook could not see us apparently, because it wasn't until he opened the door that he realized who and what we were. He stood there like a typical SJY, holding the door open.
Flint and I could see his wife coming along behind him at a respectful distance.
As she got to the door, her mook of a husband finally came to life. He let go of the door, shutting it in her face.
What would a fucktard do?
Amuse us greatly, for one thing.

DMZ Tour - 2nd Time

I found an old email that I had sent out to friends after the first trip I took to Panmunjeom. It was my second time in the DMZ. The first time I only went to the 3rd Tunnel and the train station. I went back to the DMZ with friends a year later and it took the 3 trips for me to see all of the DMZ "sights". When I started putting this post together it inspired me to do one about my 1st and 3rd trips as well. which meant this got put on hold until I finished the 1st and posted it.

The email consisted of some personal observations/stories plus information I copied from pamphlets and a web site.

Date: 6-May-03 12:15 AM


Ah, a long weekend.

The plan was to go to Seoul 1st thing Saturday morning, take a tour of Panmunjeom in the afternoon, spend the night, and go back to Cheongju Sunday night. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. Thanks to sleeping in late (everyone not just me) we didn't meet up until it was close to time to leave on the tour.

I had hoped that JW could come with me, but there are some strange rules. It seems that South Koreans are ONLY allowed to the area with special permission. It takes about a month or so to receive, IF the government says yes. We can register online or by phone and go on the next tour. It seems very strange to be allowed into a part of a country where Nationals are not allowed.

We arrived for the tour registration on time. I was told that my shirt was not proper for the tour because it had a round collar. Which wasn't on their website under a list of restrictions. Most people on the tour were wearing stuff that they weren't supposed to. From shorts, to T-Shirts with stuff written on it. There was a chance anyone in "prohibited" clothes would not be allowed into the Joint Security Area (JSA). It is up to the soldier who is assigned to the tour. So, we leave Seoul with me wondering if I will not be allowed into the main area I want to see.

The drive out was much like the one on my first DMZ tour. Lots of traffic leaving Seoul, little to no traffic once you were by the DMZ. Around the DMZ there are several structures across the road that they call tank traps. When an invasion happens these things are blown up and block the road, for a little while. Basically they are like small bridges you drive under. They are made of concrete and stone, and the insides are filled with explosives. Makes ya feel safe driving under them. I hadn't realized that there were several of these structures ringing Seoul. Glad I don't drive around Seoul too much. ;)

There was a lecture on the history of Korea and the DMZ on the drive through Seoul and out. It only touched on the DMZ and JSA as our briefing at Camp Bonifas would cover it in more detail. We had to stop at the entrance to the DMZ so our passports could be checked. That went smoothly, and we were on to Camp Bonifas. It would be our last stop before Panmunjeom, and the site of a briefing on the history of the area.

Panmunjeom was a small village 48 km northwest of Seoul and 10 km east of Kaesong, located in the middle of what is now the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It was the venue of the Korean War armistice talks between the U.N. Forces and the Communists that lasted from October 1951 until July 1953. The 155-mile long DMZ established in Panmunjeom in 1953 at the time of the signing of the Armistice extends from Gyodong, Ganghwado Island (in the West Sea) to Myongho-ri, Gosong (in the East Sea). After the signing of the Armistice Agreement that ended the open hostilities on July 27, 1953, Panmunjeom was designated the headquarters of the Military Armistice Commission (MAC). Four levels of meetings are conducted between the two Koreas, and it has since been the guardian of the longest truce in modern times.

There are several structures in Panmujeom. Freedom House, originally built in 1965, was rebuilt in 1998. Panmun-gak, the administrative headquarters of the North Korean Security Force within the Joint Security Area (JSA), was built in 1968. Other buildings for inter-Korean dialogue were established in the 1980. In addition to serving as the stage for the MAC, it also acts as a meeting area for the conciliation, interaction, and cooperation between the two Koreas, with the cooperation part beginning to assume more importance. Panmunjeom also provides the only road connecting the two countries.

Liaison offices for both Koreas were established in Panmunjeom with 23 hotlines for inter-Korean dialogue and also a hotline at the MAC linking both Koreas. Panmunjeom is unique in that it is under the joint management of the United Nations Command (UNC) and North Korea. However, since the 1976 axe murder incident (in which North Korean guards attacked a UNC work party and killed two American officers), the sentries have been separated and the Joint Security Area split in half.

Two villages, one on each side of the DMZ, were authorized in a subsequent agreement to the Armistice. No other inhabited areas are allowed within the DMZ. Taesong-dong ("Great Success Village"), located approximately one-half kilometer southwest of the JSA, is in the UNC portion of the DMZ. The residents of Taesong-dong are required to be either original inhabitants or direct descendants of the villagers who were residing there when the Armistice was signed in 1953. Among other perks, male villagers are exempt from military service. However, villagers must also abide by strict rules, including a nightly curfew.

Directly across from Taesong-dong is the North Korean village of Kichong-dong or "Peace Village." U.N. troops call it "Propaganda Village" because of the propaganda often blasted from loud speakers located near the village. Although North Koreans work the fields by day, they are all removed from the area before dark and only a small custodial staff actually lives in Kichong-dong.

Also located in the JSA is the "Bridge of No Return." In 1953, this bridge was used to return prisoners of war of both sides, who were allowed to make a free irreversible choice on whether to return to their place of origin. For the North Korean and Chinese prisoners of war held by the UNC, this meant choosing between living in the South or Nationalist China (Taiwan), or being repatriated to North Korea or the People's Republic of China. Thousands chose not to return to their communist homelands.

The area has also been the site of a few high publicity crossings. This includes the 1968 repatriation of the crew of the U.S.S. Pueblo (captured in international waters 11 months earlier by the North Korean Navy), several defections on both sides, and the homecoming (and immediate arrest) of several South Koreans who visited North Korea without prior permission from the South Korean government. Recently, Panmunjeom has attracted more interest as a stage for peaceful unification.

According to the briefing we got the last violent crossing occured in 1984. A Russian tourist to the Northern side decided to defect. The North Koreans pursued him into the UN Command area and a firefight ensued. 3 North Koreans and 1 South Korean were killed, and several on both sides wounded.

The creator of Hyundai Motors, and Hyundai Group had one of the highest profile peaceful initiatives. Chung Ju-Yung was actually born in North Korea, and defected when he was a teenager. Unfortunately he had to leave his parents behind and was never able to aid or contact them after that. He always believed in helping unite the two Koreas. He helped to pay to erect a new bridge to connect the old Route 1 between the Koreas. In June 1998, he became the first businessman to cross Panmunjeom to North Korea to deliver 1001 cows.

The tension was palpable in the air as we entered the JSA. It is hard to express in words, it was just different. If you believe in it, my friend JW explained it best. You can feel the intensity of energy focused between the two sides. I can testify that you certainly felt something in the air.

First we went to Freedom House. It was a tad gaudy considering the history of the area. The gilded chandeliers in the entry hall seemed very out of place. We were told not to stop walking from the bus into the building. Although we could take pictures, we were told not to stop and do it. Once inside we were given the same restrictions for our walk into the blue conference building. We were also told that if the North Koreans entered the building we were to ignore them. Do not make gestures, touch, or talk to them.

Then we hiked across the road and entered the conference hall. We could see the talks table with all its paraphenelia. Of course we were warned not to touch it either. Two South Korean soldiers entered form the rear door, and two others followed us in. We were told that we were allowed anywhere in the room, including the part that is technically in North Korea. So, on Saturday May 3rd 2003, I entered and exited North Korea, and have pictures to prove it. ;)

I have to comment on the guards here. Talk about discipline. They stand in what is called a modified Tae Kwon Do stance. It is supposed to allow them to react even quicker to an attack, and to give an even more aggressive looking stance. They hold this stance for hours at a time. They do not move, you can't even see them breathe. While we were allowed to have our pictures taken with them, we were cautioned not to move behind them as they were authorized to deal harshly with anyone who moved in behind them. They just don't take any chances. Outside two guards always expose themselves in this stance looking down either side of the conference hall, while two others maintain the stance in a partially exposed area, to make it harder to shoot them. They watch the Northern side.

This stance is, well, unnerving. They seem like statues, but you can feel that they are ready to strike. The whole time I stood beside one of the guards I was nervous. I just kept expecting him to move or do something. The stance is definitely intimidating.

No North Koreans entered. (The North Koreans we saw this time looked anorexic.)

From there we went up to the observation pagoda which gave an excellent view of the area. One of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen is in the JSA. It was the area were the firefight took place in 1984. We also had a great view of the North Korean area.

We left there to go to Observation point three. From there we could look down to the Bridge of No Return, see Propaganda village, and a couple of North Korean observation posts. We also had a good view into North Korea. As the officer was giving his briefing to us outside the OP I heard some explosions to the south, and could see black smoke pluming up. Several others saw it. When he was done his briefing I asked him about them. He hadn't heard the sounds, but said it could be land mines being exploded where they are removing them.

We reboarded the bus and begain the drive back to Camp Bonifas. Supper, a buffet, was served in the commisary, and was pretty good. We were also able to buy souvenirs before heading back to Seoul. All in all it was a very interesting tour.

Take care

DMZ Tour - Stig

Yes, I went to the DMZ the same as Flint. I went there a couple of times; once alone and once with friends. Each time I was assured that we would be going to the JSA at Panmunjom, which turned out to be a lie. I tried to organize a third trip to get to the JSA, but was unable to convince anyone to accompany me.
I don't have a lot to add to Flint's commentary.
I did go to a different tunnel, the third.

This tunnel was discovered in 1978, after a tip from a North Korean defector. It's about 1600 meters long and about 150 meters down. There was no trolley to take us down there, just a very narrow stairway that would definitely give the willies to anyone with claustrophobia. You had to watch your head, but once you get to the bottom, you're within spitting distance of the border between the two Koreas.

One of the things I noticed were a lot of red, metal triangles on fences everywhere.
Apparently they are they to warn people the area beyond has been mined. The DMZ is one of the most heavily mined areas on earth.
There is an observation post, where you can peer across the Imjin River into North Korea. I didn't see a lot of activity. and the buildings all looked as if there was no glass in the windows. None of my pictures turned out, as their was a haze in the air that fogged the landscape.
All the way up to the DMZ, you see barbed wire and guard posts along the river. At certain points there are road blocks at the side, ready to impede any Nork forces that might try to take Seoul.
Coming from Canada, it is a very different kind of atmosphere to see border guards armed with automatic weapons.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shit Herr Consoleman Says ... about pajamas.

consoleman Site Admin

Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:15 pm
Post subject: Chinese wearing pajamas

This article is saying, while Korean shop owners are happy to see many rich Chinese customers spending on their shops but worried about Chinese customers wearing pajamas and even changing their cloths at their stores. Believe it or not, I have witnessed several Chinese walking city blocks with their pajamas. I'm pretty sure they're staying at nearby hotel but they don't seem to care about others or even think wearing pajamas outside of their bedroom/hotel room is embarrassing. Is wearing pajamas outside hotel rooms/house is part of Chinese culture in mainland China?

It seems Chinese government is trying to promote wearing pajamas outside is not acceptable, this is wide spread phenomenon in China.

This post makes you wonder if Herr Consoleman has actually been to Korea. I saw Koreans out in public in pajamas during the day in my first few days in Korea .... saw it many times a year every year I was there. Especially around "hospitals". It certainly seems to be part of South Korean culture. Maybe they copied it from the Chinese?

DMZ Tour - 1st Time

The first time I went to the DMZ I went on my own in 2002. I didn't go to the JSA. My tour took me to Imjin, Dora San station, and the 3rd Tunnel.

Imjin is the name of the river that separates part of the DMZ from South Korea. Imjingak is a place where the tour buses congregate before heading into the DMZ. There are some touristy sites there as well as tourist traps. There is also a park and an amusement park.

The "Bridge of Freedom" is located there. It is a railroad bridge that crosses the Imjin into the DMZ. The bridge was last used to repatriate POW's coming back from the north.

South Koreans who visit this area, they are allowed to come here but needed special permission to enter the DMZ, will post letters, notes, and placards on the fence that blocks the entrance to the bridge.

There is a an area with a special memorial altar and bell.

North Koreans who have fled to the South come here on special occasions, like Chuseok. Since they can't see their family they come here to honour them.

It was a strange to see the area. Part of it is very sombre, even depressing at times. Another part is a tourist trap area with an amusement park.

From here we boarded the bus and headed into the DMZ to see Dora San Station. It is a very modern, fully staffed train station that is meant to be the last stop before proceeding into North Korea by train. Or conversely, the 1st stop coming into South Korea from the North.

Once again it was a strange place to be. The station was fully staffed with a heavy military presence. But NO trains ever came here and no one knew if or when they ever would. The only patrons were tourists.

We didn't spend a lot of time at the station. Then we hopped on the bus and headed off to the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression.

The 3rd tunnel is just what the name implies, the 3rd tunnel that was discovered dug from North Korea into the South. These tunnels would be used to sneak troops into the south in the event of war.

It was an interesting place. Before going down into the tunnel proper we went through a museum about the DMZ and the Korean War. The museum ended with a short film about the families that have been split apart. It really tore at your heart. Especially the scenes about family members seeing each other for the first time since the war ... and the ones who showed up but there family from the North didn't.

Then we took a little train down into the tunnel and walked to where it is now blocked off. At one time you would be able to see into the North Korean portion of the tunnel. For safety reasons they ended up walling the entrance off.

Just before the area we get back on the buses and can buy souvenirs there is a statue that is meant to represent the desire to reunite the two Koreas. A lot of people get their pictures taken as if they were one of the figures pushing towards reunification. I had to wait a while to get a picture of just the statue.

After popping into the souvenir shop it was time to board the bus for the trip back to Seoul. All in all it was an interesting trip. I regretted not getting to the JSA and decided Iw ould come back again and see it.