Jeju & Korean Culture »

[11 Nov 2008 | No Comment | ]

Jeju’s mythical past still alive and well
Story and photo by Brian MillerFor many in Jeju, this island is a haunted place. It’s home to 18,000 gods, and nearly every rock, tree, mountain, pond and home is claimed by one kind of spirit or another. If you want to communicate with these spirits and gods, you can either visit one of the island’s many shrines, or contact a simbang. The ‘simbang’ (or shaman) is a man endowed with supernatural powers. He’s a conduit between gods and humans who uses his psychic …

Jeju & Korean Culture, Things to See »

[8 Nov 2008 | No Comment | ]

Pastoral present belies airfield’s dark past Story by Jim Saunders
Winding down the window of the car, we shouted across to the farmer tending her field in the late afternoon sun.
“Which way to Alddreu Airfield?” we asked.
Straightening up a little and turning to look at us: “You’re in it!” came the reply. “And, to see the hangers, you have to keep following this road straight!” she added while waving the tool in her hand a little.
We looked around slightly incredulously. Fields of crops stretched in every direction with only …

Editorial »

[25 Oct 2008 | No Comment | ]

Effective July 1, 2006, Jeju was designated by the central government as a special self-governing province. Since this time, the island has had 2 years to utilize its special status and implement its corresponding legislative mandate. Ostensibly, the purpose was to individuate Jeju as an autonomous provincial entity, but what was the impetus for this in the first place?
Jeju-do accounts for roughly 1% of the Korean population, but is, by all accounts, a geographically and culturally distinct part of the Korean peninsula. Beginning in the late 60s and early …

Jeju & Korean Culture »

[24 Oct 2008 | 5 Comments | ]

Bong Seon Hwa: A traditional Korean custom for your nails
Story by Sherrin Hibbard | Photos by Alison Crump
Recently, you may have noticed that a lot of women, and maybe some of your students, have orange coloured fingertips and nails. No, they are not nicotine stains! This is the time of year, after the rains, when women and children dye their nails with the bong seon hwa plant.
Spelled “bong seon hwa” (봉 선 화), traditionally dyed nails are considered to be very beautiful and it is said that if your nails …

Outlying Islands, Things to Do, Things to See »

[19 Oct 2008 | 3 Comments | ]

In the distance I see two weather beaten, elderly ladies bracing themselves against a tall, stone wall, lost in a squawking conversation about some mundane topic. As I get closer and louder, empty seashells crunching under foot, their heads jerk up. Suddenly I’m the topic of conversation. It’s a foreigner! I give a small wave and say “Annyeong Hayseo”. More astonishment from the ladies – the foreigner speaks Korean! This is Gapado, the last but one islet on the far southern reaches of South Korea. And this is the reaction …