Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Vernon Mooers writes

 Busan Station Square
Children throw popcorn, chase pigeons from oriental houses, the guitar player  picks and a monk bangs out the beat like shipyard rivets, a hollow sound resonates between February trees and people pour like tear drops a steady stream down the ramps from Seoul trains and pretty girls prance beyond telephone lines, the rows bright red taxi cabs, the men in blue and yellow.  Bank tellers strut in mini-skirts in pairs, while arm-locked short-cropped school girls dream of Taji Boys and wriggle banjjagi over high school math and science teachers, a thin line divides the sojo hobos fast asleep by the fountain squat kim bap ajimas, chatter, college grads with the world by the tail and soldiers dream this sad first sunny day in spring the music plays.

    Photo of Busan Station in Busan, Busan          

1 comment:

  1. Seo Taiji and Boys was a South Korean dance/pop boy band in the 1990s that have been credited with changing the South Korean music industry and initiating the global K-Pop phenomenon. Their debut record topped the local music charts for 17 weeks. Over time the group turned toward more controversial themes, and the Korean Performance Ethics Committee nearly banned their late material as inappropriate for youth consumption; the backlash against this led to the abolishment of the system of "pre-censorship." When the group broke up, dancer Yang Hyun-suk went on to make his YG Entertainment one of the three biggest record companies in the country. while Seo Taiji went on to forge a successful solo career as "the President of culture."

    "Banjjagi" is sparkling, glittering.

    When the Mongols invaded Korea in the 1300s, they introduced arak, an alcoholic drink from the Levant, which evolved into soju (literally "burn liquor"), Korea's most popular alcoholic beverage; in 2014 the Jinro brand sold 71 million cases worldwide, making it the largest selling alcohol in the world. Alcohol content varies from about 16.7% to 45% by volume. It was traditionally made from rice, wheat, or barley, but modern producers often use potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca. The classic way of distilling soju uses the single distillation method (30–35% alcohol content) , while the modern way uses the chain distillation method to produce diluted soju (21–30%).

    Kimbap ("seaweed rice") is made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients (including fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables such as cucumbers, spinach, carrots, and pickled radishes) rolled in kim (sheets of dried laver seaweed) and served in bite-size slices. The norimaki variant of sushi was introduced during the Japanese colonial period during the first half of the 20th century, but the taste has become Koreanized with the addition of various ingredients and the substitution of sesame oil for rice vinegar.

    An ajima (ajumma) (from the Korean word Ajoomeoni; there is some indication that the word once meant "wife of a professor") is a married or middle-aged woman (who is neither a young unmarried woman [agassi] nor a grandmother [halmoni]); referring to an elder by name without a title is not socially acceptable in Korea. Though the term is respectful it has pejorative connotations as well. Many ajumma are housewives or street vendors or work in restaurants, but they have low status in the Korean job market, reflecting widespread sexism and classism, particularly the idea that a woman's worth is assessed mainly on the basis of age, looks, and docility.


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