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Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #82: Making Adverbs

Sun, 2021-01-24 03:21

We've already learned how to use adverbs (typically directly before a verb), but now let's learn how we can make some of our own adverbs using the ending ~게.

Remember that this series goes in order, and will have 100 episodes total. Watch these from the beginning if you're new, because you might miss something important if you jump in later on. There are only 17 more episodes left!

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #82: Making Adverbs appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.




Translation: Is making a safe school for LGBTQ+ students really something to criticize?

Sun, 2021-01-24 01:37

I posted earlier this week about the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights and the conservative backlash that painted the plan as radical and a force that would inculcate kindergarteners in the homosexual agenda

I wanted to translate a more progressive view of the plan, posted by the more liberal Hankyoreh. The article, titled Is making a safe school for LGBTQ+ students really something to criticize? The article talks about how the plan would actually help protect LGBTQ+ students.

Is protecting LGBTQ+ students from discrimination really something that is going to spread homosexuality? When LGBTQ+ students are still driven to suicide due to the many stereotypes and discrimination they face, is it right to criticize the push to create schools that keep kids safe? 

From a video by Ddingdong (a group that supports LGBTQ+ youth). This is an image taken from their Youtube video titled "It get's better - because we have Ddingdong"

On the 19th, a Seoul elementary school teacher who has taught for 20 years, Mr. K, filed a petition on the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education's (SMOE) website with the title "Promoting the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights and schools without hatred." Related to the activities of the "SAM: Teachers for Human Rights Education", Mr. K. stated that "During my regular monitoring of policies related to student human rights, I thought that the second draft included needed content, but seeing all of the loud complaints against it, I knew that there would also be so many more people who supported the plan so I filed the petition." Mr. K. emphasized his point, saying "Isn't this one of the first times a public education institution clarified 'protection and support for LGBTQ+ students" and that "the opposition voices cannot win - this content cannot be removed." 

The petition that Mr. K. filed has garnered more than 2,000 agreements, but in comparison the petition titled 'Against the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights which will inculcate children as young as 3 on gender ideologies and biased ideas' has had more than 30,000 agreements which far surpassed the number needed to warrant a response from the superintendent. Groups like the Seoul Education Love Parent Association stated that the plan would 'strengthen compulsory homosexual education' and held a press conference in front of the office of education on the 14th. 

On the bulletin board for citizen petitions 27 cases have been posted in the last 10 days on the second draft of the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights (2021-2023). The office of education collected responses on the second draft of the plan at the beginning of December directly at schools after drafting the three-year Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights, and discussions on the pros and cons of this plan have heated up. The office plans to hold a debate on the 26th of January (Seoul Students' Rights Day) and make a final draft of the plan by February. How will this final draft be completed? 

‘성소수자’를 말하지 못하는 교육청:An education office that can't say 'LGBTQ+'

Among the contentious points, one rises to the top: "protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ students". In this draft, among the five policy objectives, one is to preserve the rights to students' life through 'making schools without hatred and discrimination." Under this, the draft mentioned compulsory education for disabled student rights 2 times a year at all levels of schooling, the strengthening of student rights for children in multicultural families, and guaranteeing student athletes' rights among others.  Furthermore, under the title 'Protecting and Supporting LGBTQ+ students" is the inclusion of counseling support to LGBTQ+ students who face violence.  

The first established Comprehensive Plan for Student Rights (2018-2020) included content 'preventing discrimination and supporting minority students,' but it did not mention specific groups, such as disabled students or student athletes. For that reason, it was able to avoid controversy. Representatives of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education explained that "In reality, LGBTQ+ students exists at schools and when they demand help we cannot turn away. This time we are including content on supporting LGBTQ+ students; in the first plan some groups stated that this was 'AIDS-spreading education' and because of this 'the first plan ended up removing content around the protection of LGBTQ+ students due to these opposing voices, but for the second plan we are in the process of gathering opinions for how this content should be included". 

“매일같이 피해 상담 접수되는데…” We provide counseling for damage every day ... 

"At Ddingdong, we provide counseling for damage incurred at school day in and day out. Jokes such as 'you seem gay' or 'you look like a lesbian' are pervasive in the environment, cases of the threat of outing (where someone's sexuality is forcefully disclosed), bullying, and physical violence have not decreased in years . Distance learning as a result of the Corona pandemic has resulted in hearing more students saying things such as 'I don't get pestered because I don't go to school, which is fortunate.' Schools is a place where LGBTQ+ students have to endure pain day after day." 

The LGBTQ+ youth center Ddingdong issued a statement asking for support in including protection of LGBTQ+ students in the final draft. The secretary general of Ddingdong stated that describing the language of the bill as "compulsory homosexual education" rather than basic contents to "protect LGBTQ+ students from discrimination" is baseless fearmongering. The organization stated that it was saddening that these voices were not those of civil engagement but rather hate incitement.  

While the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education hesitates to include language on "protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ students," LGBTQ+ youth are in school experiencing hate speech and torment. The National Assembly's 2014 Survey on Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity found that 92% of surveyed youth between the age of 13 to 18 that identified as LGBTQ+ (a total of 200 people) were targets of homophobic language from other students. 80% of students had heard hate speech from teachers. 54% of students responded that they had experienced bullying, insults, and torment from other students. 

Parents of LGBTQ+ youth are also clamoring for LGBTQ+ protection and support to be included in the second comprehensive plan. A representative from the Heaven LGBTQ+ Parent Association stated "I hope that LGBTQ+ youth no longer die from the hatred and torment they face at their schools any longer. Please help the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to guarantee minimum rights for students. These students struggling to survive are our children." 

Teaching kindergarteners about homosexuality? Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education faces controversy over its Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights

Fri, 2021-01-22 16:21
Teaching kindergarteners about homosexuality? SMOE faces controversy

After a five year hiatus, the Kimchi Queen is back! 

Coronavirus has been hard and boring. Hubby and I live in Pittsburgh now and life just seems like work then sit around the house then work some more. Since I'm no longer traveling for work, I decided to get back to blogging! (Also brush up my Korean) I'm probably never going to get back to posting every day like I did back in 2015, but I'm going to try to post something once a week. Mostly translations! Google translate has gotten much better over the past 5 years, but I do think there is still some value in curating and translating for the blogiverse. 

For my first translation, I'm going to translate an article from the Seoul Economy Daily (서울경제신문) on a controversial plan to protect students (including LGBTQ students) by my old employer - the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.  This article leans heavily conservative, so I might also find a more liberal take on this story. 

A controversy is brewing over the 3-year Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights put forward by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE) beginning in 2021. This is because some members of  the church and parents believe it is a plan to push a leftist agenda on students as young as three years old. As the controversy spreads, including more than 20,000 people signing a petition against the plan on SMOE's homepage, SMOE clarified that the plan's purpose was to protect students' rights and provide education on human rights. 

According to the office of education, on the ministry's homepage on January 15th someone had posted a petition titled 'Against the Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights which will inculcate children as young as 3 on gender ideologies and biased ideas" and by 10:45 that morning approximately 23,400 people had signed. From the 12th of this month until the 11th of January, if more than 10,000 people had signed the ministry would have to provide a response, but this was reached within two days.

A petitioner who identified themselves as a parent wrote "I couldn't believe the contents of the planned Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights" and that "from three years old (pre-school, primary, middle, and high school) protecting the human rights of sexual minorities ... they are going beyond protecting rights to confusing the normal students." Furthermore, "This is making it possible for our democratic education to be corrupted into a biased, ideological education, especially at an age when children are highly susceptible to this type of inculcation" arguing that this plan violates the neutrality of education. 

The Comprehensive Plan for Student Human Rights is a plan established by the superintendent for schools in Seoul every three years in accordance with the Seoul Student Rights Ordinance. This plan has 20 initiatives, including protecting LGBTQIA students' rights and supplying guidelines to prevent discrimination. The fact that this includes not only polices related to LGBTQIA students in elementary, middle, and high schools, but also establishes education on sexual minorities at kindergartens has resulted in a backlash from parents and church groups. 

Recently, the Seoul Education Love Parent Association and other groups stated that "the strengthening of human rights education on sexual minorities and  dispatching investigators to investigate sexual harassment events" will "result in stigmatizing students who don't agree as they fear of being labeled as discriminatory."  Furthermore, as it relates to 'democratic citizenship education' content, 'We have to clarify what kind of citizen education we provide - whether that is as a socialist democracy or a liberal democracy." 

Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has released a press release repeating that "education on sexual minority rights is not compulsory and is implemented at the school level" and that "information on AIDS and homosexuality reflects the medical position of national medical institutions, the World Health Organization, the World Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, "It aims to  cultivate citizens of a democratic community through both training and capacity strengthening for teachers, and to develop instructional materials for democratic citizenship education, which has no relation to left-wing communist revolutionary ideologies." Regarding the contents related to LGBTQIA people, the statement added "LGBTQIA education is not suitable for kindergarten students due to their developmental stages," and that, "The content in the Comprehensive Human Rights Plan is to strengthen support for LGBTQ students."

Don’t Bet on a Biden Breakthrough with North Korea – but Trump was Never Serious about it Anyway

Fri, 2021-01-22 14:40
Don’t Bet on a Biden Breakthrough with North Korea – but ...


This is a re-post of an essay I wrote last month for The National Interest, but since Biden just became president, this seems like a good time to put it up here.

The short version is that America’s North Korea policy options are poor, so now that the adults are back in charge, US policy toward North Korea will probably snap-back to pre-Trump form. Trump tried all sorts of hijinks – threatening war, then cozying up to Kim Jong Un – but none of it was ever serious and all of it failed, because Trump was buffoonish dilettante.

And yes, the status quo with NK is bad, but the options are worse – war or appeasement, basically – so this is why the containment and deterrence of North Korea has basically been our North Korea policy for decades even though no one likes it. I figure that is what is coming back now.

The full essay follows the jump:


There has inevitably been much discussion since Joseph Biden’s election victory of how he might change American North Korea policy. Much of it turns on hopes that Biden will pursue more fruitful engagement than the erratic negotiations current US President Donald Trump in the last few years.

This should indeed be the case. Biden is obviously an establishmentarian. He has deep roots in the foreign policy community of Washington, DC. He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and played a major foreign policy role as vice-president to former President Barack Obama. And his cabinet selections to date have been seasoned Washington hands.

The contrast with Trump will be fairly obvious. Biden will be more steady on North Korea, rather than swinging dramatically from confrontation to conciliation as Trump did. Nor will Biden place as much emphasis on public relations. All the Trump sideshows – the search for a Nobel Prize, the forced bonhomie with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the outlandish language – will disappear.

Instead Biden will return to the long slog that is negotiating with North Korea. There will be no summit unless negotiations merit it, so most of the work will re-submerge into the depths of the State Department and North Korean Foreign Ministry. Perhaps some manner of deal will arise from working level-talks. But given how poorly such efforts have gone in the past, this is hardly likely.

There will be no war threats, nor rhetorical attacks on America’s South Korean ally. Instead, North Korea will likely be a mid-level issue for Biden: occasionally grabbing attention when the North does something outrageous, but otherwise the stalemated status quo of the last decade will likely reassert itself. And with so many other issues afoot – covid, tense relations with China, repairing alliances – the Biden team is likely to accept that stalemate by default.

The status quo is not ideal, but it is one all sides have slowly accustomed themselves to and can live with given the risks of change. It is essentially a stalemate. North Korea remains unbowed – still a Cold War relic, unliberalized and orwellian – and it has nuclear weapons. So long as those are not proliferated, the world resigns itself to the permanent sanction, isolation, deterrence, and containment of the North.

In other words, the Korean division remains as entrenched as ever, and although now nuclearized, it remains basically stable. The US is unwilling to risk war for denuclearization, and so long as it the North is responsible with its nuclear program, the US is accommodating itself to North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. The US will never admit this however, and the cost for North Korea is permanent exclusion from world politics. The North Korean elite, in turn, is willing to accept this banishment as it does not care if its people suffer the costs of global isolation, and it also believes, rightly, that nuclear weapons are its best deterrent against external attack.

This status quo is unhappy and dangerous: it punishes the North Korean people brutally; it dramatically raises the level of violence possible if the Korean War returns; it leaves a geopolitical flashpoint permanently unresolved with all the possibilities of misperception and inadvertent incidents that entails. But it is also stable. All sides prefer it to the costs of pursuing change:

– The US would like denuclearization, but the costs are too high: Strikes raise the possibility of war; a deal would require huge US strategic concessions, such as the withdrawal of the US from South Korea, which Washington is unwilling to make. So the US has adjusted.

– The North would like sanctions lifted and normalization, but the costs are also too high: Denuclearization is the clear price for an entry into world politics as a (somewhat) normal state. The United Nations Security Council has voted for sanctions, and even China and the dovish South Korean left support the North’s denuclearization. Given that the Pyongyang elite can push the costs of sanctions off onto the population – the people who run North Korea can still access the luxury goods of the global economy through smuggling – it too has chosen to adjust.

It is not clear what Biden can do to alter these deep-seated structures behind the grim, long-standing status quo. Trump tried all sorts of antics and gimmicks, only to drop North Korea as an irresolvable issue. His predecessor Obama tried a deal in 2012 which fell apart almost immediately. The South Korean left, now in power, has tried relentlessly for years to pull North Korea out its shell, only to regularly receive Pyongyang’s abuse.

So Biden will likely give North Korea a ‘college try’ – he will put out diplomatic feelers, consult with allies, go slow on the rhetoric – but it is unlikely he would make the huge concessions the North would demand for denuclearization. And there will be many other pressing issues. So the status quo stalemate is likely return, and that will be good enough for Biden.

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University



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Gounsa Temple – 고운사 (Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

Fri, 2021-01-22 10:49
Gounsa Temple in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

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Temple History

Gounsa Temple, which means “Solitary Cloud Temple” in English, is located in Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do. The temple is located to the west of Mt. Deungunsan, which means “Riding on the Clouds” in English. The temple was first established by the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625-702 A.D.) in 681 A.D. While the name of the temple originally meant “High Cloud Temple” in English, the meaning of Gounsa Temple changed to “Solitary Cloud Temple.” So while the temple has always been named Gounsa Temple and had the same pronunciation, the meaning of the temple’s name changed after it was visited by the great Confucian and Taoist scholar Choi Chiwon (857-? A.D.), whose pen-name was Goun, or “Solitary Cloud” in English. During Goun’s prolonged stay to help renovate the temple, he designed two unique pavilions at the temple: Gaun-ru Pavilion and Uhwa-ru Pavilion. For this reason, the meaning of the temple changed to its current meaning.

Throughout the years, Gounsa Temple has undergone numerous repairs and rebuilds like in 948 A.D., when it was rebuilt by the monk Unju-jotong. Then in 1018 A.D., it was renovated by the monk Cheonu. It also served as a base for the Righteous Army, led by the warrior monk Samyeong-daesa (1544-1610), during the Imjin War (1592-1598). Surprisingly, and unlike so many other major temples on the Korean peninsula, Gounsa Temple avoided being destroyed by the invading Japanese at this time. After the Imjin War, Gounsa Temple underwent a large-scale reconstruction project that started in 1695.

During the 19th century, Gounsa Temple suffered serious damage during two fires: one in April, 1803 and the other in February, 1835. The temple was rebuilt after these destructive fires. Another destructive fire took place, destroying a few shrine halls at Gounsa Temple, in 1975. More recently, and in 1980, the temple grounds were completely renovated. And in 2010, a new main hall was built at Gounsa Temple. Several famous contemporary monks have called Gounsa Temple home like Goam (1899-1988) and Jeongang (1898-1975)

Gounsa Temple is home to one Korean Treasure, and it also participates in the popular Temple Stay program. Gounsa Temple is also the Headquarters Temple of the 16th District of the Jogye-jong Order (the largest Buddhist Order in Korea). Gounsa Temple oversees sixty branch temples in Andong, Uiseong, Yeongju, Bonghwa, and Cheongsong.

Some of this great information can be found at David Mason’s wonderful website. Please check it out here!

Temple Layout

Gounsa Temple is located up a rather remote valley. In fact, the road that leads up to the temple grounds is eight kilometres long. When you finally do arrive at Gounsa Temple, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful bowed pillars of the distinctly designed Iljumun Gate. Beyond this gate lies the Cheonwangmun Gate, which is home to four fierce-looking statues of the Four Heavenly Kings.

Before you enter the rest of the temple grounds, you’ll first be greeted by the oldest building at the temple: the Gobul-jeon Hall. Inside this compact temple shrine hall sits a ancient faceless statue of Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). However, watch your head when you enter this temple shrine hall because the ceiling is rather low.

Beyond the Gobul-jeon Hall, and to the left, rests the most unique building at Gounsa Temple. The Gaun-ru Pavilion, which means “Floating Over the Clouds Pavilion” in English, was one of two pavilions designed by Goun (Choi Chiwon). This beautifully designed little hall, which is supported by wooden columns and foundation stones, is and was used for holding classes and studying. A tranquil stream flows past the long wooden support columns underneath the uniquely designed Gaun-ru Pavilion. The Gaun-ru Pavilion was rebuilt in 1835 after the previously mentioned devastating temple fire. And to the left of the Gaun-ru Pavilion, which was also designed by Goun, is the plain Unwa-ru Pavilion.

Backing these two pavilions, and before spanning a bridge to gain entry to the main temple courtyard, you’ll notice the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). To the left of the collection of entry pavilions at Gounsa Temple is a pathway that leads you to the left of the monks living quarters. To the right of these living quarters is an older temple courtyard. Housed inside this area is the Geukrak-jeon Hall. Adorning the exterior walls to this temple shrine hall are a set of bluish Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of ornate statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

Past the visitors centre, you’ll come out on the other side of the Geukrak-jeon Hall courtyard next to the temple’s Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion). The Jong-ru Pavilion is home to a beautiful fish and cloud gong. To the left of the Jong-ru Pavilion is the Yeonsu-jeon Hall. Uniquely, this hall enshrines the family records of the royal family. It was first built in 1774, and it looks Confucian in style.

To the far right, and still in the same temple courtyard, you’ll see the brand new Daeung-jeon Hall that was completed in 2010. The Daeung-jeon Hall is surrounded on all sides by Shimu-do (Ox-Herding Murals). As for the interior, and sitting in the centre of a triad of statues, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by a statue of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). On the far right wall is a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). And the entire interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall is adorned with beautiful Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals).

Up an embankment are a collection of temple shrine halls housed in the upper courtyard. To the far left, you’ll see a collection of three shrine halls. The first of these three is a smaller structure that houses the Stone Seated Buddha of Gounsa Temple. The statue, which is in relatively good condition, was made in the 9th century, and it’s Korean Treasure #246.

The other two shrine halls in this area are the Samseong-gak Hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The paintings housed inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall are of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) are rather plain in composition, while the statues inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld) and the black haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the main altar are rather scary.

How To Get There

From the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal, you can catch a local bus to Gounsa Temple. These buses leave at 9:10 a.m., 10:40 a.m., 1:15 p.m., and 4:40 p.m. The bus ride takes about forty minutes to get to Gounsa Temple.

Overall Rating: 8/10

The remote Gounsa Temple is beautifully situated among mountains and stunning foliage. And because of its rather remote location, it’s perfect for a tranquil visit. Adding to its location are the beautiful temple shrine halls like the Gaun-ru Pavilion and the newly built Daeung-jeon Hall. Also of interest is the 9th century statue of the Buddha and the numerous murals spread throughout the temple grounds both inside and out shrine halls.

A look through the Iljumun Gate at the Cheonwangmun Gate off in the distance. The uniquely designed Gaun-ru Pavilion. The Geukrak-jeon Hall at Gounsa Temple. A look inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall. The beautiful foliage that surrounds Gounsa Temple. The Yeonsu-jeon Hall. The newly built Daeung-jeon Hall. A look inside the expansive interior of the Daeung-jeon Hall. The Samseong-gak Hall (left) and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall (right). A look at the main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The 9th century Stone Seated Buddha of Gounsa Temple, which is Korean Treasure #246.

Photographing The Canadian Prairies and Korean Cityscapes Takes a Different Mindset

Fri, 2021-01-22 08:28

As you may know, I recently had to return home Canada due to the sudden passing of my Father, Don Teale. It was an difficult and unexpected journey home. Like most international travel these days, I was required to spend 14 days at home in quarantine. It was another difficult time because I could not see my family at all or even leave the house.

So by the time that I was finished with the quarantine and made sure that my Mother and family were ok, I needed some time to myself to just digest it all and come to terms with everything that happened. I also needed to spend some time exploring Brandon and using my photography as a way to help heal.

I mentioned this before when I lost my best friend in 2015 to a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Due to the connection that we had with photography, I found a way to heal through taking pictures. However, with the passing of my Father, this was a difficult task.

It was such a sudden shock to my system that I am not even sure that my brain full comprehended what had actually happened. For the longest time, I was still expecting Dad to just drive into the driveway and give me a hug. That never happened. So, I had to take it slow and let my brain adjust to it.

Prairie Life

As I slowing grew accustomed to being home, I needed to explore and go to the places where I had fond memories with my father. Much of those memories were driving around the city of Brandon. In the mornings, it was quiet and slow. The sun even woke up late but did so with such grandeur that I was often awestruck by the colours.

It was such a stark contrast to how I photograph the cityscapes in Korea. I almost didn’t know how to shoot such scenes. A couple of times I was so put back that I even forgot to use a tripod. I would take a few blurry shots until my brain kicked in and said “What the hell are you doing!!??” Then I would run back to the truck and get my Dad’s old tripod.

I didn’t take my usual tripod with me this time as I had mistakenly thought that I would not be in the right mindset to need it. I brought the camera as I wanted to get some more recent pictures of my family. However, my dad still kept his tripod from the 70’s out in the garage.

The biggest different was that I found that the prairies are an open canvas of sorts. It was really hard to nail down what it was that I wanted to express and even harder to photograph it. The vast openness of everything made me really think about the best way to compose a shot.

Sunrises over the Fields

I naturally gravitated to the fields as I felt for Brandon anyway, this was a defining feature. The entire city is surrounded by fields and this was something that my wife always commented on when we would come home. It was just a vast open prairie only a few minutes from my parent’s house. This is something that is very hard to find in Korea.

As I drove around out in the country, I also became aware of the wildlife. One morning, I went past the Brandon Wildlife Range. This was a shooting range that I pretty much grew up in. My Father was the president there and helped build much of the range that people see today.

At any rate, when I drove past it, I saw a huge herd of deer. After living in Korea for so long, I was put back by just how beautiful this scene was. Not to mention how fragile it was. One wrong step and all the deer would be gone in an instant. This too reminded me of the times my Dad would take us out to see where the deer were.

Culture Shock

One of the biggest differences that I noticed was just the isolation. When I photograph landscapes in Korea, you are never really isolated or away from people. Just before I left, I had a good chuckle as I was photographing the falling leaves. People saw my car and tried to figure out where I was as they assumed that if someone was there, something interesting must be there as well.

During my time back home, I was often a little freaked out because there not a lot of people around especially where I was taking photos. I subconsciously always expected someone to drive past or pop up out of nowhere. Rarely did I ever see anyone.

That also brings me to my next point which was the noise. Especially for cityscapes, Korea never sleeps. There are always people doing something anywhere at anytime. Back home, it was silent in the mornings. Maybe the odd car or truck but the silence was strange for me to hear (or not hear??) after getting used to the hum of city life in Korea.

The Return

Coming home to Korea was a bit of a challenge to say the least. The steps taken to prevent the spread of covid are no laughing matter. I even got stuck at the airport because the special “doctor’s note” that only long-term residents need ( the thousands of Koreans returning from trips abroad do not need one) did not have a date on it to prove that I got with within 48 hours of travel. Thankfully, I was able to prove that and get only way in a short amount of time.

I could only really look out the window. It was tough but what was worse was that during all this down time, I got out of the habit of exploring places around the region. When my quarantine was over, I had little interest in heading out to photograph places. I felt and still feel stuck.

After getting home, I spent another 14-days in quarantine and it was no joke. I had a tracking app put on my phone and between that and the calls from the health office, they kept close tabs on me. The sad part as a photographer was the fact that at this time, many people were out shooting the snow that had fallen over Seoul and other regions of Korea.

The bottomline here is that when photographing different areas as vastly different like the Canadian Prairies and the Korean Cityscapes, it takes a completely different mindset. One that needs a bit of time to come into fruition.

The post Photographing The Canadian Prairies and Korean Cityscapes Takes a Different Mindset appeared first on The Sajin.


Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #81: Cannot

Fri, 2021-01-22 02:12

In this lesson we'll learn another way to say "can't" or "cannot."

Remember that this course goes in order, so start from the first episode if you're new to this course. There will be a total of 100 videos once this course is completed.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #81: Cannot appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

~은/ㄴ/는 and ~다는 것 Describing Nouns | Live Class Abridged

Thu, 2021-01-21 04:20

Sunday's live Korean class was an advanced grammar lesson about the form ~다는 것, as well as several related ones.

The original lesson was over 90 minutes long, but you can watch it again in this 20 minute condensed version here.

The post ~은/ㄴ/는 and ~다는 것 Describing Nouns | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Black Day in Korea – Everything You Need to Know About This Holiday

Wed, 2021-01-20 14:41

In this article, we’re going to tell you all about Black Day in Korea.

South Korea is known for having a lot of special days on top of national holidays. One of them is known as Black Day.

In our other articles, we have introduced you to some important couples’ holidays in South Korea, including Valentine’s Day on February 14 and White Day on March 14. Today it’s time to learn of the holiday that follows them in April, called Black Day, celebrated every April 14.

What is Black Day?

Where the other romantic holidays such as Valentine’s Day and White Day revolve around couples showering each other with candies, gifts, and doing whatever activities the days are known for, Black Day is quite different. Black Day in South Korea is a holiday that is reserved for single people, unlike all the other ones.

When is Black Day?

Black Day is celebrated every April 14, one month after White Day on March 14.

How is Black Day celebrated?

On this day, April 14, it is custom to eat 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon), which are noodles in black bean sauce, if you happen to be single. The black color of the sauce goes accordingly with the day’s name and the 짜장면 dish is also seen as comfort food by many.

Some singles may go all out with this day and dress in black, from clothes to nail polish. You may even be able to find 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) eating contests on this day, there is an intriguing spike in the sales of black coffee, and some matchmaking events may be offered to single people on Black Day.

Unlike Valentine’s Day and White Day, Black Day doesn’t require people to give gifts.

How did Black Day start?

Originally this was seen as a day of sorrow, hence the name “black”. It was a day where single people could come together to mourn their singleness and drown their sorrows in comfort food. However, in modern-day South Korea, it can also be seen as a day of celebration for singles, as the emphasis on the importance of being in a relationship decreases in society. But whether you are celebrating or mourning, eating 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) on this day, perhaps with black coffee for dessert, is the quintessential way to embrace the day.

What exactly is 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon)?

At its roots, 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) is a dish made of noodles imported from China. However, today’s 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) in South Korea is incomparable to any Chinese noodle dishes. The noodles are thick and made of wheat.

On top of the noodles, or separately, is served the sauce. It is a black sweet bean sauce, mixed with soy sauce, pork, onions, and zucchini. Often it also includes seafood and cabbage, and it’s also possible to find meat-free versions. As a decoration on top, you may find cucumber and boiled eggs.

It is a popular dish also outside of Black Day, as its price is low and it’s easy to find restaurants serving 짜장면 (jjajangmyeon) close to schools and offices. Its taste is mild, and therefore easy to eat for those who don’t like salty or spicy food.

What do you think about Black Day? Let us know in the comments below?

The post Black Day in Korea – Everything You Need to Know About This Holiday appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Sammaksa Temple/Sangbulam Hermitage – 삼막사/상불암 (Anyang, Gyeonggi-do)

Wed, 2021-01-20 10:31
Sammaksa Temple in Anyang, Gyeonggi-do.

Hello, everyone!

Giuseppe back with my third temple and yet another mountaintop temple. This time, Sammaksa Temple, “Three Curtain Temple,” near the peak of Mt. Samseongsan, “Three Saint Mountain” in Anyang, Gyeonggi-do.

Temple History

Sammaksa Temple was first established in 677 A.D. during the Silla Dynasty as a small hermitage by the great monk Wonhyo-daesa. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same year that Uisang-daesa established what is now Yeonjuam Hermitage, just across the narrow valley, on Mt. Gwanaksan. The mountain is actually named after Wonhyo, Uisang, and Yeonpil, “three saints” who spent time here. It’s a well-known fact that Wonhyo-daesa and Uisang-daesa were close friends and travel companions, but I was not able to find any information at all about the monk Yeonpil, other then he was at the mountain. I don’t know if he was there with Wonhyo and Uisang or came at a later date. Other prominent monks who spent time at the temple during its history were Doseon-guksa, Seosan-daesa, and Muhak-daesa.

Temple Layout

Snaking up the mountain road, with a few dramatic glimpses of the granite peaks, you arrive at the temple, which sits high up on a granite brick terrace. A steep set of stairs brings you up between the bell pavilion and the Jijang-jeon Hall, into a tight compact courtyard. An interesting floral pattern “mural” sits in the center of the courtyard. Straight and to the immediate left upon entering the courtyard is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, Cultural Property of Gyeonggi-do #60, housing the ten Yamas (Siwang, or Ten Kings of the Underworld), including Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

Pass the office building to the right is the Cheonbul-jeon Hall. The statues inside weren’t of much interest, including the main trio, with a central Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). The only thing of note at all is that there were a thousand of them.

Up behind the Cheonbul-jeon Hall, at the edge of a large, flat granite stone, is an old three-story stone pagoda, Gyeonggi-do Tangible Cultural Property #112, erected to commemorate victory over an invading Mongol army during the early 1200’s. Kim Yunhu, priest of the temple, let an arrow fly from an impossible distance and managed to drop the Mongol general dead in his tracks. As he fell from his horse, as if by a magical arrow, his army took it as an omen and they immediately turned back. If you’re at all like me, you may find it strange that a monk would take a life and stranger still that it would be celebrated; but if you consider the evil intentions of the Mongol invaders, taking the generals life certainly averted a whole mess of death and suffering. Needless to say, they weren’t dropping by for tea and scones!

Though the small complex is worth the visit on its own, following the trail that leads further up the mountain is where things get a little more interesting. The trail, starting just beside the Cheonbul-jeon Hall, ultimately leads to the Samjon-bul. But taking a quick detour around a large traditional house leads to a Mountain Spirit Shrine, which is carved into a large granite face. There is no roof or building covering it, just open along the mountain, it has a nice appeal. Looping back down to the main trail, there is one of the most interesting carvings on another granite formation. At first, I thought it was some sort of physics symbols, but after asking around, I discovered that it was actually three symbols representing a turtle. From right to left, the first is the Chinese character for turtle, the second is the ancient Chinese Oracle bone symbol, and the third is a combination of the two. Once I knew it was a turtle, it seemed pretty obvious!

Continuing another few minutes along the well constructed path, you arrive at the Samjon-bul, but the first thing you encounter are two prominent stones protruding from the edge of the slope. They are Nam Yeo Geun Seok, Male and Female Gender Stones, as they are said to resemble male and female genitals. They have been worshiped for thousands of years as fertility stones. People come from all across the country to make offers and pray for a safe delivery, long life and health for their child, and to have a son. The male stone, other than being certainly erect, is sort of, “Okay, if you say so…”, but the female stone, on the other hand… well that one is quite convincing! They are Folklore Cultural Treasures of Gyeonggi-do #3.

Beside the fertility stones, at last, we arrive at the Samjon-bul, a granite relief carving of Chilseong (The Seven Stars). The large, central figure is Chilseong Guangyeorae-bul, accompanied by Ilgwang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Sun) on the left and Wolgwang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Moon) on the right. It was made in 1763 and is Tangible Cultural Treasure of Gyeonggi-do #94. Originally an open shrine, it is now protected by a small but elegant structure, built on stilts. There were eight people crammed in it when I first arrived, and I have no idea how they were able to do their bows as when I came back later with just two other people it still felt crammed, but cozy. Looking at their noses, you can see that they’ve been damaged, and though this is often a sign of vandalism, it is (at least was) common belief in Korea that grinding down and consuming the noses of stone statues would lead to conceiving a son.

Now, you can return to the main complex or, as it was recommended by a friend who lives nearby, you can continue up the trail, about 400 meters, and over the ridge to just below the peak where sits Sangbulam Hermitage, a small hermitage with a cave shrine at the rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall. There are great views of Anyang city down below and the surrounding mountains. I’m glad I made the effort for these reasons, but the true gem was the Samseong-gak Hall, which had stunning paintings of Sanshin (the Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). The paintings are rendered with incredible detail and artistry and have a very interesting earth tone color scheme, opposed to the usual bright, colorful paintings you typically find. Even if temple paintings don’t usually interest you, these are works of art worth seeing.

Back at Sammaksa Temple, they were serving a simple bowl of noodle soup and kimchi and it amazed me that there were no more than a dozen people all morning in the halls but I counted at least 300 people lined up for lunch!

How To Get There

First, take the Line 1 subway to Gwanak Station, one stop before Anyang if you’re Suwon bound. From exit 2, continue straight to the main road, cross, and find the bus stop for the 6-2  bus which will bring you to Gyeongin University of Education, the last stop. From there it’s about a 30-40 minute walk, at a good pace, following the paved road all the way up to the temple. There is also a hiking trail that turns off from the paved road not too far along after the parking lot. I haven’t taken it, so I can not comment further.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Sammaksa Temple itself is not overly spectacular but does offer some objects of interest as well as a long history with great monks having stayed here. The setting is beautiful and the fertility stones along with the Samjon-bul give the temple something special to see while there.

Sangbulam Hermitage, I give a 4.5/10. As far as hermitages go, it’s a good one, but it is still a hermitage. Their value is mostly beyond what you’d experience as a visitor. Most of it’s rating is for the main hall cave and the Samseong paintings. Great view, too!

The Yuk Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Inside the The Yuk Gwaneum-jeon Hall. The Sanshin relief at Sammaksa Temple. The Chilseong-gak Hall that houses the historic relief. The relief inside the compact Chilseong-gak Hall. The view over the Anyang valley. A look inside the main hall at Sangbulam Hermitage. A collection of shrine halls at Sangbulam Hermitage. A look inside the Samseong-Hall.

왜 vs 왠 vs 웬 | Korean FAQ

Tue, 2021-01-19 02:51

Ever been confused by the words 왜, 왠, and 웬?

Only two of these are correct, while one is a common typo.

The post 왜 vs 왠 vs 웬 | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #80: Hoping and Wishing

Sun, 2021-01-17 03:53

In this lesson you'll learn how to "wish" or "hope" for something to happen using verbs.

This series will have 100 episode when it's complete, so we're at 80% completion with only 20 episodes left to go. Remember to watch this series from the beginning if you're new, since you might miss something and everything is taught in order.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #80: Hoping and Wishing appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Unsusa Temple – 운수사 (Sasang-gu, Busan)

Fri, 2021-01-15 08:23
The Picturesque View at Unsusa Temple in Sasang-gu, Busan. Temple History

Unsusa Temple, which means “Cloud Water Temple” in English, is located in Sasang-gu, Busan. Specifically, Unsusa Temple is situated to the west of the peaks of Mt. Baekyangsan (641.3 m). As for the name of the temple, it’s in reference to the temple being elevated up near the clouds on Mt. Baekyangsan with a view out towards the East Sea. While the exact date of when Unsusa Temple was first built is unknown, it’s believed to have been first constructed in the early 9th century by Doui-guksa.

From its origins, Unsusa Temple grew to be quite large, far larger than it is today. Roof tiles were discovered on the grounds of Unsusa Temple reinforcing this point. Another example of the temple’s former size, and according to legend, the temple used to have a large bronze bell that could be heard in the neighbouring city of Gimhae. However, and like so many other temples on the Korean peninsula, Unsusa Temple was destroyed by the invading Japanese in 1592 during the Imjin War (1592-1598).

Like all great temples, Unsusa Temple has a couple interesting myths surrounding it. Specifically, there are two such myths. The first myth is about a hungry beggar who stopped at Unsusa Temple to eat something. But no one at the temple would let him in. The beggar was really angry, so he brought a pickaxe to the temple and started to chop away at the neighbouring Toad Rock, which acted as a guardian to Unsusa Temple. The Toad Rock was split; and since then, not many people visit the temple.

Another creation myth also surrounds Unsusa Temple and the Toad Rock. One day, the head monk at Unsusa Temple complained that there were too many people visiting the temple, which bothered him. Not long after, a young married man in a straw hat visited Unsusa Temple and asked the head monk if he could stay for a few days at the temple. But again, the head monk complained about too many people visiting Unsusa Temple. So the young married man became angry and said, “As the head monk, you should be thankful that so many people are visiting, and you should have tried to teach the Buddha’s teachings to help save these people. But you are bothered by them.” The head monk answered, “I wish people wouldn’t come.” The young man answered, in turn, “I know how to do that. When you go down along this ridge, you will see a rock that looks like a toad. You can take away the rock’s chin.” So the head monk asked his student monks to go out to the mountain ridge to do just that. Since then, rather strangely, Unsusa Temple had less and less people visiting it, so the head monk was quite happy at first that no one came. After awhile, the head monk was unhappy with this outcome, so he went looking for the young married man. However, he couldn’t find him, so the head monk asked some local people about what happened. Their answer surprised the head monk. They said that the Toad Rock is looking out towards a small, shabby hermitage in Gimhae. One day, a toad ate something at this hermitage and it pooped at Unsusa Temple. Since this happened, Unsusa became famous and flourished, while the Gimhae hermitage remained poor. However, since the chin of the Toad Rock had been cut off, the toad could no longer eat and poop, which meant that Unsusa Temple could no longer flourish.

More recently, Unsusa Temple has undergone renovations and reconstruction. Part of these efforts by the English speaking head monk of Unsusa Temple have focused on the Daeung-jeon Hall. First built in 1655, and then renovated in 1771, the Daeung-jeon Hall underwent further repairs that were completed in 2014. Now that the rotten wood has been repaired and removed from the Daeung-jeon Hall, the Daeung-jeon Hall is Korean Treasure #1896.

Temple Layout

Unsusa Temple is designed rather uniquely. Upon approaching the temple grounds, you’ll notice the newly built Daeungbo-jeon Hall on a ridge above the older part of the temple grounds. Past the temple parking lot, and up a set of stairs to your left, you’ll be able to get a better view of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. In front of this newly built shrine hall is a natural wood pavilion that is off-limits to visitors. However, this doesn’t prevent you from appreciating the view and the Nakdong River and Busan off in the distance.

Now having mounted the long flight of stone stairs, you’ll be standing squarely in front of the newly built Daeungbo-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this shrine hall are adorned with Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life Murals). As for the rather spacious interior of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall sit five statues on the main altar. In the middle sits a large statue dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on its immediate right and left by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) and Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha, and the Buddha of the Eastern Paradise). To the left of Amita-bul rests a green haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), and to the right of Yaksayeorae-bul sits a statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). All five statues are situated under five large, red canopies that are intricately designed. On the far left wall of the Daeungbo-jeon Hall is a large Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). And on the far right wall hangs a beautiful painting dedicated to Jijang-bosal just outside the gates of a fiery underworld.

Climbing down the stairs, and making your way to the lower, and much older, temple courtyard, you’ll enter to the left of the historic Daeung-jeon Hall. To the right of the Daeung-jeon Hall are the temple facilities like the visitors centre, kitchen, and monks dorms. Out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall stands a slender five-story pagoda. As for the Daeung-jeon Hall, the exterior walls are adorned with simple dancheong colours. As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). Hanging on the far left wall is a Shinjung Taenghwa (Guardian Mural). It should also be noted, other than being Korean Treasure #1896, it’s also the oldest wooden structure in Busan, which was revealed during the renovation of the temple that was completed in 2014. There was an inscription adorning the Daeung-jeon Hall that detailed the chronology of the historic shrine hall.

To the left rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the temple’s Samseong-gak Hall. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with Shinseon murals, while the interior is dimly lit. There are three murals that populate the interior of the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The first, which hangs in the centre, is a mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). It’s joined to the right by a mural dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). And to the left hangs a mural dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Interestingly, not only is Sanshin joined by a ferocious tiger, but the Mountain Spirits sits underneath cherry blossom trees in the painting.

The final shrine hall that visitors can explore at Unsusa Temple is situated to the right rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall. This shrine hall is the Yongwang-dang, which is dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). The exterior walls to this hall are simply adorned with the traditional dancheong colours, while the interior is occupied by a beautiful mural dedicated to Yongwang.

How To Get There

You can get to Unsusa Temple using the Busan subway system. You’ll need to take the subway to the Mora subway station, stop #230, on the second line. Then you’ll need to take a taxi to Unsusa Temple. The drive should only take you about ten minutes. The taxi ride should cost you around 5,000 won.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

The main highlight to Unsusa Temple is the historic Daeung-jeon Hall, which is also the oldest wooden structure in Busan. Added to this are the beautiful shaman murals in the neighbouring Samseong-gak Hall and the Yongwang-dang Hall. The Sanshin mural is especially beautiful. Joining the lower courtyard structures is the newly built Daeungbo-jeon Hall. This large hall houses five stunning statues dedicated to various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It’s also from the ridge where the Daeungbo-jeon Hall is situated that you get some amazing views of Busan and the Nakdong River. While often overshadowed by other more famous Busan temples like Seokbulsa Temple, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and Beomeosa Temple, Unsusa Temple is definitely worth a visit.

The Daeungbo-jeon Hall and wooden pavilion at Unsusa Temple. The eighth painting in the Palsang-do set. Inside the Daeungbo-jeon Hall. Some of the figurines left behind by worshipers at Unsusa Temple. The Historic Daeung-jeon Hall in the centre joined by the Yongwang-dang Hall (right) and the Samseong-gak Hall (left). The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall. The view from the Yongwang-dang Hall towards the Samseong-gak Hall. The beautiful Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak Hall. The Dragon King mural inside the Yongwang-dang Hall. The Daeung-jeon Hall re-opening ceremony at Unsusa Temple on April 26th, 2014.

Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #79: Formal Korean

Fri, 2021-01-15 01:41

We've covered a lot of various politeness levels and how to use them, and we're ready for one more useful form - Formal Speech.

Formal speech is less commonly used than the others we've learned already (such as the 요 form), but it's still important to know and is still useful in the right situations. This lesson will teach how and when to use it.

And this series will have 100 episodes when it's completed, so we're almost near the finish line. Remember to start from the beginning though if this is your first time seeing a video in this series, as you might miss something important by skipping ahead.

The post Billy Go’s Beginner Korean Course | #79: Formal Korean appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Looks like 보이다 | Live Class Abridged

Thu, 2021-01-14 03:37

This past Sunday I did a live class about the grammar forms ~아/어 보이다 and ~처럼 보이다.

The whole live stream was over an hour, but here it is condensed down to about 11 minutes.

The post Looks like 보이다 | Live Class Abridged appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Liquid Sound Podcast: Mike Laveck

Wed, 2021-01-13 22:59
Liquid Sound Podcast: Mike Laveck Your browser does not support the audio element.

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Mike Laveck is a singer/songwriter, audio engineer, and producer. He has recorded with dozens of artists, and is currently working on his fourth album of original songs. On this episode, Mike joins host Gino Brann in the studio to chat about why you should always trust Swedish strangers from the internet, lessons from water, what goes into a great recording, and lots more. They also listen to some of his tracks and finish up the episode with a live performance of one of his unreleased songs.


Songs featured (all by Mike Laveck):

• "watch them fall"

• "electric glow"

• "cool and mellow”

• "here instead (live)”


Find and follow Mike Laveck at:

• Soundcloud:

• Bandcamp:


• Created and produced by Gino Brann (@ginobrann)


• Artwork by Jeongmin Lee (@mintheelephant)

• Intro music: "Me? Oui!" by Gino Brann

• Outro music: "Forever" by Jen Sotham


Liquid Sound, in cooperation with the Liquid Arts Network, is recorded at the Liquid Arts Network Studio, Oryukdo, Busan, South Korea.


• Email:

• Website:

• Instagram:

• Facebook:

• Twitter:

• Soundcloud:

The Liquid Arts Network seeks to create a global community for artists. Showcasing everything from poetry, art, film, music and performance, Liquid Arts events are a mosaic of blossoming talent. 

Liquid Sound Podcast: Mike Ventola

Wed, 2021-01-13 22:51
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Download mp3

Mike Ventola is a singer/songwriter, prolific musician, friend of the arts, and fellow troubadour. On this episode, Mike joins host Gino Brann for a far-reaching conversation about writing quirky chord progressions, the dreamlike quality of songs, how lasers will take our jobs, your brain on music, and lots lots more. They also listen to his recent recordings and play one of his songs live in the studio.


Songs featured:

• "The Lotus Blooms" by Eulalia

• "The Sun Always Rises" by Eulalia

• "Wind Up” by Mike Ventola

• "Through and Through (live)” by Mike Ventola


Find and follow Mike Ventola at:

• YouTube:

• Apple music:

• Spotify:

• Eulalia on Amazon:


• Created and produced by Gino Brann (@ginobrann)


• Artwork by Jeongmin Lee (@mintheelephant)

• Intro music: "Me? Oui!" by Gino Brann

• Outro music: "Forever" by Jen Sotham


Liquid Sound, in cooperation with the Liquid Arts Network, is recorded at the Liquid Arts Network Studio, Oryukdo, Busan, South Korea.


• Email:

• Website:

• Instagram:

• Facebook:

• Twitter:

• Soundcloud:


Original Post

North Korea’s 2021 Nuclear Modernization Announcements

Wed, 2021-01-13 19:33
North Korea’s 2021 Nuclear Modernization Announcements

This is a re-post of an essay I just wrote for The National Interest. I discuss the recent announcement at the 8th Workers Party to Congress to significantly modernize and expand the North’s nuclear and missile arsenal.

A lot was announced, but my inclination is to agree with Ankit Panda that the development of battlefield nuclear weapons is the most important announcement. I noted this in my comments to Ankit on Twitter: “These strike me as a battlefield leveler for NK’s military which is technologically far behind. Also South Korea is really dense in just a few places/cities, and it has a few highly vulnerable critical junctures, like the highway Route 1 running through the mountains or Busan port. Battlefield nukes would be ideal for disrupting these junctures.”

The full essay follows the jump:


North Korea recently convened the Eighth Congress of its ruling Workers Party. These are, of course, highly scripted affairs, but for outsiders, they offer one of the few windows into North Korean policy-making which we have. The speeches and reports released provide at least a general sense of where the North Korean elite sees the country’s economic development and foreign relations especially.

Much of this year’s focus on has been the proposed major expansion of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Updates and improvements include longer-range missiles, hypersonic missiles, and smaller, tactical nuclear warheads to supplement the larger weapons which provide the bulk on North Korean deterrence against the US and other foreign opponents. (For fuller technical details on the modernization, try here.) The political backdrop of justification is America’s unchanging ‘hostile policy.’

Politically, this is not very surprising in its broad strokes. Relations between the US and North Korea have been very poor for a long time, of course. North Korea explicitly sought nuclear weapons to deter the United States from attacking it. Northern nuclear negotiators routinely invoked the fate of Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Moammar Kaddafi of Libya as justification: had those leaders possessed nuclear weapons, the US would not have attacked them. This logic is almost certainly correct.

The timing at the end of US President Donald Trump’s term is also likely not a coincidence. North Korea achieved the ability to strike the United States with a large nuclear weapon in late 2017. It then paused the development and elaboration of its nuclear and missile programs, likely to see what might come of Trump’s effort to engage North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un in negotiation.

This pause was strategically wise. North Korea did not give up anything. No nuclear weapons or missiles were surrendered, but it did give Trump the illusion of progress and some breathing space to make a serious offer to the North. Trump never managed to offer concessions remotely commensurate to his demands though. The Americans repeatedly insisted on terms close to total disarmament in exchange for sanctions relief. This was wildly unbalanced in America’s favor – and Kim himself made analogously unbalanced offers in the North’s favor. Further, the North Koreans likely sensed, as much of the commentariat did over time, that Trump seemed more interested in the imagery and media coverage of the meetings than in the details of a deal. In the end, the talks simply withered away.

Now comes Joseph Biden as the new American president, and he is a well-known hawk on North Korea. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and vice president under former President Barack Obama, Biden cleaved to fairly establishmentarian approaches to the North. He advocated sanctions, deeper cooperation with South Korea and Japan, and pushing China to help rein in Pyongyang. This is not terribly imaginative; it basically follows the contain-and-sanction consensus on North Korea policy which has developed over decades in Washington. Nor is it dangerous or war-threatening, like Trump’s course in 2017; Biden is no bomber. But it does mean that US-North Korea relations will likely return to confrontational status quo which has characterized them for decades.

In short, the North probably held off on further nuclear and missile rollouts and elaborations after 2017 to see if Trump was serious in his outreach. He was not, and Biden is a pretty standard North Korea hawk. So now Pyongyang will return developing a modern, multifaceted program.

The military implications are less clear. As Ankit Panda notes, the move to tactical nuclear weapons is the most concerning. North Korea’s ability to deter a US regime change assault depends primarily on its ability to deliver a large nuclear weapon to the US mainland. That requires an intercontinental ballistic missile and a warhead of at least several hundred kilotons in yield. Such a weapon would parallel those built by the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War to hold each other’s cities hostage and maintain peace through a balance of fear.

That worked during the US-Soviet stand-off, and we assume that this is the goal of North Korea too. And its developments before 2018 – larger warheads, missile of greater throw-weight – suggest that it sought this traditional deterrence relationship. This is obviously not a good development, but it is understandable. We know the logic behind such weapons procurement.

Tactical nuclear weapons are different. They have a much lower yield. Scenarios for them often include use on a battlefield or against extremely hardened underground targets. This is unnerving. For what purpose, then, would the North Koreans want such weapons? That the North Koreans provide no doctrinal statements on nuclear use or planning makes this question even more opaque:

One scenario floating for years on the most hawkish fringes of the analyst community is that North Korea actually wants nukes to bully South Korea into submission, not simply for defense. Another is that North Korea will at some point be so desperate for foreign exchange because of sanctions, that it will start proliferating its nukes and missiles for money. A third is that North Korea might actually use nuclear weapons on the battlefield in South Korea in the case of a war. North Korea’s military is large but obsolete, and South Korea has just a few, extremely dense cities and several critical infrastructure junctures in an otherwise mountainous country.

In each case, low-yield nukes fit the frightening script. This is something we will need to watch closely.

Cheoneunsa Temple – 천은사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

Tue, 2021-01-12 08:31
The Upper Courtyard at Cheoneunsa Temple in Gurye, Jeollanam-do. Temple History

Cheoneunsa Temple is located northwest of the famed Hwaeomsa Temple in Gurye, Jeollanam-do. Cheoneunsa Temple is one of the three major temples located inside Jirisan National Park grounds alongside Ssanggyesa Temple and the aforementioned Hwaeomsa Temple.

Cheoneunsa Temple, which means “Hidden Spring Temple” in English, was first founded in 828 A.D. Cheoneunsa Temple was founded by an Indian monk named Deokun. At this time, the temple was known as Gamnosa Temple. It was called Gamnosa Temple because of the spring water that people could drink from in front of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall. Purportedly, this spring water could clear your mind because it was both clean and cold like the morning dew. That’s why, in English, Gamnosa Temple means “Sweet Dew Temple.”

Throughout the years, Cheoneunsa Temple has been rebuilt numerous times. The first of these reconstructions took place in 875 A.D., when the famed monk Doseon-guksa rebuilt the temple. During the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), specifically during the reign of King Chungnyeol of Goryeo (r. 1274-1308), Cheoneunsa Temple was picked as the best temple in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. The temple was later destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-1598). The temple was later rebuilt in 1610 by Hyejeong-seonsa. In 1679, the temple was made bigger by the monk Danyu-seonsa. Once more, Cheoneunsa Temple was destroyed by fire in 1773. The temple was rebuilt in 1775 by the monk Hyeam-seonsa. It’s from this time period that the majority of temple buildings date back to like the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall, the Palsang-jeon Hall, the Iljumun Gate, and the Chilseong-gak Hall. Currently, Cheoneunsa Temple is home to some twenty buildings.

There is an interesting myth attached to Cheonunsa Temple around the time of the Imjin War. While the temple was being rebuilt after being destroyed by the invading Japanese, a serpent/dragon often appeared around the temple’s spring, blocking the spring water from flowing. To stop this from continuing, a temple monk killed the large serpent/dragon. It was at this time that the temple changed its name from Gamnosa Temple to its current name of Cheoneunsa Temple. Cheoneunsa Temple means “Hidden Springs Temple” in English. However, the temple continued to be plagued by several fires. The townspeople said that this was happening because the monk had killed the serpent/dragon who had been protecting the energy of the water. One day, the famous master calligrapher Lee Gwangsa passed by Cheoneunsa Temple and heard the story about the serpent/dragon’s death. So Lee Gwangsa wrote a plaque that said “Jirisan Cheoneunsa” on it. The writing was written to look as though water was flowing down from it. Lee Gwangsa told the temple monks that if they placed this plaque on the Iljumun Gate then fire would no longer break out at the Cheoneunsa Temple. And ever since then, strangely, not a single fire has broken out at Cheoneunsa Temple.

In total, Cheoneunsa Temple is home to five Korean Treasures. And admission to the temple is 1,800 won for adults.

Temple Layout

After arriving at the temple parking lot, you’ll make your way up a long trail that leads you past the rather slender Iljumun Gate. Hanging a left, you’ll hug the neighbouring Cheoneun Stream. This stream flows in and out of the beautiful Cheoneun Water Basin that’s located out in front of the temple grounds. On the other side of the still flowing stream, the stream will eventually lead you towards a bridge that spans the Cheoneun Stream. Located on this bridge is the quaint Suhong-ru Pavilion.

Having passed by the Suhong-ru Pavilion, you’ll next see the Cheonwangmun Gate. Inside the Cheonwangmun Gate are four modern statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. These fierce statues protect the temple from evil spirits from entering the temple grounds. Emerging on the other side of the Cheonwangmun Gate, you’ll see the Jong-ru (Bell Pavilion) to your right. Standing all alone in the open courtyard between the Cheonwangmun Gate and the Boje-ru Pavilion is a modern Seokdeung (Stone Lantern).

To the right of the Boje-ru Pavilion is a set of stairs that will gain you admittance to the main temple courtyard at Cheoneunsa Temple. Straight ahead of you is the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to the main hall are adorned with beautiful, yet simplistic, Shimu-do (Ox-Herding Murals). As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of statues centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). This main altar triad is backed by a beautiful altar mural, or “Taenghwa” in Korean. In this mural, Amita-bul is seen leading the spirits of the dead towards an easy passage towards the afterlife. Amita-bul is giving a sermon in the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. The painting stands 360 cm tall and 277 cm wide, and it was first painted in 1776. The mural is also Korean Treasure #924. Joining this altar mural inside the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall is the Buddhist Painting of Cheoneunsa Temple. In this painting, three Bodhisattvas are seen ruling over three realms. These types of paintings started to be produced in the 16th century. Interestingly in this painting, each of the names of the Bodhisattvas and figures in the painting are listed. Like the altar mural, this mural was first painted in 1776, and it’s Korean Treasure #1888.

To the right of the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Housed inside this temple shrine hall is a green-haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) on the main altar. This statue is joined by ten stoically seated wooden statues of the Siwang (The Ten Kings of the Underworld). These statues are then backed by ten intricate murals dedicated to the Siwang. Rather surprisingly, the typically illustrated exterior of the Myeongbu-jeon Hall at Cheoneunsa Temple are rather plain.

Through a pathway that’s located between the Geukrakbo-jeon Hall and the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, and up a flight of stone stairs, you’ll find yourself squarely standing in the upper courtyard at Cheoneunsa Temple. Here you’ll find four additional temple shrine halls. The first to the far right is the Eungjin-jeon Hall. Sitting on the main altar is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). Joining this main altar statue inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall are sixteen modern statues and vibrant paintings dedicated to the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha).

To the left of the Eungjin-jeon Hall is the temple’s Palsang-jeon Hall. Housed inside this shrine hall are eight murals, the Palsang-do (The Eight Scenes from the Life of the Buddha Murals), that are beautifully executed. This type of hall is a bit rare, and is typically only found at larger temples like Beopjusa Temple in Boeun, Chungcheongbuk-do and Beomeosa Temple in Geumjeong-gu, Busan.

And to the left of the Palsang-jeon Hall, second from the left, is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Housed inside this hall is an extremely ornate statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). This golden incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, with its thousand arms, is truly something to behold. And book-ending the set to the far left is the temple’s Samseong-gak Hall. Each of the three entryways has the name of the individual shaman deity that the shaman shrine hall houses inside it. The far left entry and painting inside is dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). The central entry and painting inside is dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). And the final entry to the right houses a painting dedicated to Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) inside.

Of note, and at the back of the temple grounds, there are carved Hanja characters that read “Monument of the Mountain King.” Before there were paintings or even statues dedicated to Sanshin, there were these rock shrines dedicated to the Mountain Spirit. While extremely hard to find at temples nowadays, Cheoneunsa Temple is one of these rare temples that still has this outdoor shrine dedicated to Sanshin.

How To Get There

From the Gurye Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take a bus directly to Cheoneunsa Temple. The bus that goes to the temple from this terminal leaves six times a day. There is a schedule at the bus terminal that will tell you the exact time; but roughly, they are: 8:35 a.m. / 10:00 a.m. / 12:20 p.m. / 2:10 p.m. / 4:10 p.m. / and 5:30 p.m.

And if you want to visit the neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple first, you can simply take a taxi to get to Cheoneunsa Temple (or vice versa). The ride takes about 15 minutes, and the taxi fare, depending on traffic, should cost about 8,000 won.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Often overshadowed by Ssanggyesa Temple and Hwaeomsa Temple, the two more popular temples inside Jirisan National Park, Cheoneusa Temple is both beautiful and cozy in its own right. With numerous shrine halls like the spectacular Geukrakbo-jeon Hall and the set of four shrine halls in the upper courtyard, you should make time for this lesser known temple. In addition, you can look for the Sanshin stone shrine to the rear of the temple grounds or be intimidated by the Four Heavenly Kings inside the Cheonwangmun Gate. Either way, there’s more than enough to keep you busy at the beautiful Cheoneunsa Temple in Jirisan National Park.

The Iljumun Gate at the entry of Cheoneunsa Temple. The view from the Suhong-ru Pavilion. The Cheonwangmun Gate. One of the Four Heavenly Kings, Jiguk Cheonwang, inside the Cheonwangmun Gate. The Geukrakbo-jeon Hall at Cheoneunsa Temple. Inside the historic Geukrakbo-jeon Hall. A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. The upper courtyard. Eungjin-jeon Hall (right), Palsang-jeon Hall (centre), Gwaneum-jeon Hall (left), and Samseong-gak Hall (far left). The main altar inside the Eungjin-jeon Hall. A look inside the rare Palsang-jeon Hall. And the ornate statue of the Bodhisattva of Compassion inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

Grading Stray Kids’ Korean | Felix & Bang Chan

Tue, 2021-01-12 02:29

Ever wondered how some of your favorite non-native celebrities speak Korean? Wanted to know what things they did well, and what things they could improve, from a Korean teacher's perspective?

Today I'll grade Felix and Bang Chan from the popular K-pop group "Stray Kids."

This is the fifth episode of this series. I'll keep making them for the time being, but only perhaps once a month. They do take a really long time to make (each is over a week at least), and the newest one I'm making has been well over 10 days already. But as long as people continue to really like them and make requests for them, I'll keep making them every once in a while.

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