The PGA골프스쿨 Golf School in Hondae has a small indoor practice range.
5-16 Changjeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

I was going to give it a try, but they did not have any left handed clubs
for rental. the gentleman working there told me that all Korean men are
right handed. if only KJ Choi was a lefty, I would have gotten to hit some
balls today.


via Flickr

The Reunification of Korea

The people of South Korea are carefully nurturing the idea of reunification with the North. Reunification is a common theme among the exhibits at The War Memorial of Korea. It is also a recurring topic in coffee shop discussions among Korean students. Reunification is in the air and history shows that in countries once divided by international wars, reunification prevails.


Try counting how often reunification is mentioned at The War Memorial, and you’ll lose track quickly. The Statue of Two Brothers depicts North and South Korean soldiers hugging in agony. The brothers experience forgiveness and reconciliation, key ingredients of reunification. The Clock Tower of Peace counts the minutes since the Korean War began. And the plaque under the Monument for Remembrance of the Korean War longs for reunification by leaving Korea’s sons and daughters “the hope and promise
of the unification of the nation.” Reunification has been on the minds of Koreans even before the War Memorial was built in 1994.

The desire for reunification has not diminished with time. Koreans I have spoken with are cautiously optimistic about the idea of reconciliation with the North. Some feel that the more time goes by, the harder it is reconcile. But they seem anxious to share the economic success of the South with their Northern brothers and sisters. Reunification is definitely on the minds of people today. The topic came up more than once in my few days here in Seoul.

One student I spoke with wondered how Germany handled the economic disparity of reunification. I answered that it was a huge success, and Germany is now an economic cornerstone of Europe. A bit of research shows that I may have over simplified things a bit, but 20 years later most agree that German reunification was a success.

Reunification is a matter of national pride in Vietnam. You can sense that pride with a visit to the Reunification Palace in Saigon.


Reunification has been good for Vietnam. An effort to privatize inefficient state run organizations has lead to economic success this century. Freedom of the press has prospered in Vietnam, with criticisms of those state organizations helping pave the way to open markets.

The number of the defectors from North Korea to South Korea increases every year. Recent cries for help from the leadership of North Korea signal the situation there is growing worse. The Ministry of Unification is already in place handling the problems associated with nationalizing North Korean refugees. While the Berlin Wall seemed to collapse overnight, it was really just a natural outcome that had been actualizing over time. Likewise, Korean reunification is an inevitability whose time has come.

Living Monument

One of the fun loving families here in Korea gathered for this impromptu
reenactment of the Monument of Remembrance for the Korean War.

The monument is a beautiful work of art. The figures slowly increase in
size with their proximity to the front line. The extended family does a
great job recreating this. The way the kid in orange at the end holds his
machine gun brings it all together.

via Flickr

Monument in Remembrance of the Korean War

"The tragedy of the Korean War which began early in the morning of June 25,
1950 with North Korea’s illegal invasion of the South, resulted in over 4
million casualties, 10 million dispersed family members, and US $23 Billion
in property damage across the nation.

The Republic of Korea, along with the UN forces from 21 different nations
fought at the risk of their lives in order to protect democracy and
national peace. The war lasted 3 years, 1 month and 2 days and the
Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.

In the half of century since the agreement, there has been great change on
this land. Guns have turned into ploughs, cannon smoke into factory smoke,
and gunfire into sounds of love and harmony, establishing the base for well
being and national peace.

In this spirit as we commemorate the tragedy of the war, we erect this war
monument in order to pay tribute to those sacrificed their lives and to
leave the eternal peace to our sons and daughters with the hope and promise
of the unification of the nation."

via Flickr

No need to take pictures today. I’ll be exploring my local Daeheung subway station. I plan to go to the Soom Island cafe, then visit Sogang University, both mentioned in this post.

Seoul Sub→urban


A short ways from Sinchon Rotary, Daeheung Station serves Sogang University (서강대학교)and the surrounding neighborhood.  One of Korea’s most highly-esteemed universities, Sogang is a small Jesuit college, its undergraduate student population standing at around 11,000.

Sogang’s front gate is about a ten-minute walk up Baekbeom-ro (백범로) from Exit 1.  Because I arrived there just a week before Christmas, the campus was decorated for the season, including with a Korean-style nativity scene just inside the entrance.  Statues of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, and company had been set in a thatch-roofed hut of the kind that you see in folk villages and occasionally even out in the countryside.  While livestock and an angel watched over the newborn Christ, strings of garlic, peppers, and soybean paste hung drying from the roof.  It was a unique take on the traditional scene, but one that I found rather charming.


Behind the manger…

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Crossing the International Dateline

In a few hours I will cross the International Date Line, and it will be
Monday. My Sunday today was very short, just enough time to have a bagel
with my friend in Oakland, go to San Francisco airport and make my way
through security. Monday will be short too. I will check into my officetel
in Seoul Korea, then maybe go out and have some Korean food, then it’s time
for bed.

I think I might like to live on the International Date Line. When I cross
it, I will look out the plane window and see if there are any reasonably
priced apartments available. Or maybe I’ll find an officetel.

if I ever live on the International Date Line I would move in on a
Tuesday. My first few days I would practice my Korean, and say things like
Anyoung haseo, and Kum sa mi da. Then on Saturday I would relax and check
out the neighborhood and get some Korean barbq. Late Saturday night, well
Sunday morning at around zero dark thirty, I would go to the east side of
my appartment where Saturday was just starting. Then I would relax and
spend some time catching up with my American friends. Then Sunday, grab a
bagel and watch some football. at the end of the day I would head back to
the west side of the apartment, were it would be Tuesday morning. Then I
would start my week. Some weeks may be different, but I would definitely
have a lot more Saturdays and way fewer Mondays. On some weekdays I would
head to the east side of the apartment, and buy some stocks that had gone
up tomorrow. If anything weird went down over on the west side, like
somebody did a nuclear test, I would head over east side and let President
Obama know what was comming up. He could make some calls, and I could pop
back over to the west side and check the news, then pop back east and let
him know if the calls had worked.

I’ll let you know what it was like to cross the International Date Line,
unless of course you live over there and you’ve read my next post.

via Flickr

Saint Peter and Paul Tai Chi

It’s Wednesday morning in San Francisco. Saint Peter and Paul’s Church is
at the intersection of where Chinatown meets the traditional Italian
neighborhood of North Beach. San Francisco is a morning town. Many people
get up early to work stock market hours and sync up with the East Coast.
It’s good to be back here.

via Flickr