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Buddhist temple murals

I’ve been going back through some of my newer and not-so-new photos of Yeosu that I haven’t posted to the blog or in the Photo Gallery, so I’m going to put them up here over the course of the next several posts.

These first ones are a couple of shots of murals at the Hyangiram Temple that we visited a few weekends ago. I just love the colors and detail in all Buddhist temple murals, and I’ve posted a few before, some from Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and a few from the wat near Nai’s house. Both of the links will take you to the Photo Gallery.

The first one features ocean-blue and -green colors, while the second is done in warmer oranges and reds. Both of the murals have an ocean motif, not surprising considering the temple’s proximity to the ocean. One of the Korean tour guides that were hired for the field trip told us that most Korean Buddhist monks and nuns were forced out of the cities and into the mountains in the late 14th century with the arrival of Confucianism to the peninusula. This wikipedia article goes into more detail about the banishment.

Hyangiram_Mural1

As always, click on the image to get a larger version.

Hyangiram_Mural2

Stay tuned for more photos in the upcoming few weeks.

Bangkok–July 21

Once more in the Big Pineapple, after an easy one-hour flight from Phuket, I finish my vacation on Saturday–all too short. I’m still waiting to hear about a job, but it seems like I may wait forever. Fortunately, there are many jobs to be had in Korea and in Thailand or Laos. My options are open. Anyway, Nai and I will enjoy our last two days in Bangkok. It’s cloudy here now, as it was on Phuket, and it could rain at any moment. At least it helps to cool things down. Today is a Buddhist holiday, so we may visit one of the main temples along the river tonight to partake in whatever festivities are going on.

When I return to Korea I’ll try to write a more extended version of my vacation, along with photos. I’ll also be very busy teaching, applying for jobs, and packing. I hope there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. More in a few days.

Seoul and Pottery Tour

Yes, I’m still here. Been a while since I’ve posted. I did make it to the always expensive (for me, anyway) Seoul, and took a few photos, which I haven’t yet posted to the gallery. I’ll try to do that soon. This past Wednesday was Buddha’s Birthday, and it is a national holiday. Having the day off, I went with my taekwando instructor, several other western teachers in another one of his classes, and 17 taekwandolets (ages 5-11, about) to visit a pottery making area, Ongkinara, down by Gunwi. I was able to make . . . ummmm . . . something. Well, it’s supposed to be a candle holder, but it looks more like an old fort that got shot to pieces, with holes riddling the walls. We get our creations back in about a month, I’m told, so I’ll take a photo of IT when IT arrives. If I’m lucky, IT will be destroyed in transit. Everyone had a good time, though, and the little kids were adorable working with the clay. See the gallery for some of the photos I shot, with more to be posted soon.

I may not be posting for awhile. On Wednesday, June 9th, I have to give a speech at a teacher-training session to about 45 Andong area elementary and high school teachers. The talk has to last about 40 minutes, and it will cover, more or less, the newer methodologies in ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching. I was chosen to volunteer because of my Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics. I knew I’d be cursing that thing eventually. (LOL) But, the powers that be want a 5 page (about) manuscript of the speech by this Wednesday, so I’ll be working on it (or it’ll be working on me) and my time will be somewhat limited. I hope to get most of it finished this weekend, BUT tomorrow I am supposed to go to the taekwando academy and take my test for the blue belt, only two shy of the black one. See here for the order of the belts, except the brown comes before the blue in the academy I attend. Thus, I’ll be pretty busy this weekend. It’s raining as I post this, but it’s supposed to stop tomorrow and the weather for the rest of the weekend is supposed to be nice. Argghhh! That’s going to make it tough to concentrate on getting my speech together.

Sidenote to all the Yankee haters–the hitting is coming around. 18-5 over Baltimore today, following thrashings of 12-9 and 11-3. Watch out!

Opening Day and Buddhist Drums

Great surprise, the local Korean ESPN station is showing the NY-Tampa Bay game in Tokyo. Giambi got things going with a 2-run homerun in the first. Since I’ve seen how much weight he’s shed, my thoughts have been that he will have a monster year. I can hardly wait for this season to get going. Just wish I could watch every game between the Yanks and the Red Sox. Despite what my brother Randy thinks, this will be a season of torment for the Sox, again.

This past Saturday I had a great opportunity to catch some Korean culture. A Korean friend of mine, Beaker, so named because some say he resembles the Muppet character, though I don’t see it, invited me to join him that evening to watch and hear some Korean music. We went to the City Hall auditorium and were treated to a world-class performance by a Buddhist group called Yadan. They were awesome. If you’ve ever seen the famous Japanese drum group playing those huge drums, then you have some idea of what these men and women were like. Great performance, with a variety of large, medium, and small Korean Drums. I suppose some of them may be particular to this group or to Buddhist performers, but I have no information to that effect. If someone knows, email me and tell me. There were also a couple of guys playing pots and pans! There were five pans of various sizes attached to a metal frame that they wore. The clacking sound they produced contrasted uniquely with the deep throbbing of the drums, which boomed throughout my body when they were into their heavy beats. Truly a unique performance, which, my friend told me, symbolized the Buddhist concepts of karma, enlightenment, and Nirvana.

I didn’t bring my camera because people are usually discouraged from taking pictures at events like these. I only noticed a few flashes during the performance. However, cameras were also not allowed at the performance of the opera Aida that I saw in Seoul’s large Jamsil Stadium back in September. There, hundreds, if not thousands, of cameras were flashing throughout the performance, despite the admonitions of the ushers.