Soft Tofu Lunch

Solhyang Chodang Soft Tofu Restaurant, Gangneung.
Fried Japanese anchovies in chilli paste, bean sprouts in chilli dressing, fruit and veg salad, tofu with fried gimchi and pork, white rice, soft tofu, and soy sauce for the tofu.

Busan Harbour Boat Tour

Singing and Dancing in Busan Harbour, 1995.

Shortly after arriving in Korea I made a long-weekend trip to Busan with two acquaintances. One of them had heard that it was possible to get a harbour tour by paying a bit of money to fishing boat owners that weren’t busy. We got to the harbour and, although none of us could speak any Korean, we managed to explain to the man in the photo through gestures that we wanted to have a boat ride.

He took our money and patted the air while saying one of the few Korean phrases any of us understood. “Just a minute! Just a minute!” And off he flew down the docks. After an uncomfortable number of minutes we started to wonder if we had been ripped off, but he returned with the woman above and a picnic of raw seafood, vinegar chilli paste, and a couple bottles of soju.

We got into the boat and he did a semi-circle of the harbour. Then he turned off the motor near a fleet of rusting ships and got out the picnic. I don’t like fish or alcohol, but everyone else did and the party got into full swing. I got bored and after a while I think my companions got bored as well. Meanwhile, the man and the woman seemed to be getting drunker and drunker. I got out my dictionary and looked up the word for “go”. I had no idea how to conjugate verbs at that time, so I just kept saying, “To go! To go!” like an idiot. Finally the man started up the motor and away we went. Straight towards a large ship coming into the harbour. I pointed and shouted. “To look! To look!” The guy said what I assume was, “Yeah, whatever. Like I don’t know about it.” But he sure didn’t seem to know about it.

We avoided the ship and got back to the dock in one piece and above water so everything worked out fine. The adventure was slightly terrifying at times, but it did make an interesting memory of my early days in Korea.

Tomb of King Myeongju

At long last I have edited the photos from my outing to King Myeongju’s Tomb up in the mountains. Soon I’ll print them on 4×6 paper so I have a better idea of what I might want to print on 8×10 paper later.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t know if these white stones were taken out of the ground to make room for a new path, or if they were brought to the park to be used in landscaping. Maybe I’ll find out the next time I visit.

I almost said that this is a new path and manhole, but a man wouldn’t fit down this. The building in the background is a public toilet, so there might be some connection with that. The bathroom looks great from the outside, but I wouldn’t use it. I don’t think it’s been cleaned or renovated for years. Maybe that’s next on the list of things to fix.

This building is used for ancestral rites to honour the king. Probably once a year. I thought it curious that someone used a lot of concrete to make a bridge between the hill and the back entrance instead of two smaller sets of stairs. But probably a procession goes from the building up to the tomb and this is safer and more convenient.

It’s possible that the owner of this private house might have some duties as a caretaker. A farmer living next to the Obong Confucian School had a similar role. I wish there was more light on the stele, but perhaps it’s fitting that there is light on the living home and shadow on the marker of a tomb.

Into the afterworld . . . . .

I like the harmony of the curved lines in the tomb and the hill. And the repetition of the vertical lines of the trees and the stele.

A close-up of one of the stelae around the tombs. It’s written in Classical Chinese, so I only understand a few words like the name of this province and ‘C.E.”, as in the date marker.

More tall trees and a stele in front of a tomb. I can read the Chinese on this one. It says, “The tomb of Kim Juwon, King Myeongju”. Myeongju is Kim Juwon’s royal name. He wasn’t the king of the whole nation, but more of a lord.

I don’t know who this warrior statue is meant to represent. King Myeongju’s retinue, perhaps? There are several of these warriors as well as scholars down by the ritual building. The style looks modern compared to the stone work at the tomb, but I’m no expert.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. I’d like to go back again when the weather is decent. I.e., when the wind is calm and light is nice.


Amice. Photo not related to story. But cats are always good.

I visited a local photo lab the other day to print my 2020 portfolio. I hadn’t been there for a long time and I wondered if he was still doing film. He had often grumbled that hardly anyone brought film in and maybe he should just get rid of his Fuji film developing machine.

So imagine my surprise when I walked in for the first time in a couple of years and found he had hundreds of rolls of Kodak ProImage 100 and Fujicolor C200 for sale. “Who’s buying this?” I asked. It turns out that the youth of Gangneung (including students at the two universities and the college) have discovered film and old cameras. He also has a boatload of Kodak disposable cameras for those who want to have a go at film but don’t yet want to invest in a film camera.

I like ProImage 100 film, so I’ll start buying and developing it there. He has the last film service in this province, so I should support him, what?

The last film photo lab in Gangwon Province