Year2015

용주사

Yongjoo Temple is recognized as the temple of “filial piety”. This characteristic dates back to the days of King Jeongjo. Suwon city, also, pays much homage to him. In 1790, he re-constructed Yongjoosa in honor of his late father, Prince Sado. The tale explains that the name “yong joo” (Dragon Jewel) came to King Jeongjo in a dream before a memorial ceremony to his father. Many Korean children visit the temple with their parents and they are taught about paying proper respect to their parents and ancestors. It is also a temple where guests may experience the Korean Templestay Program.

Departing the bus from Byeongjeom Station (병점역) to Yongjoosa, you’ll be presented with two directions. On the left hand side of the street, you’ll find a parking lot and large building. This is the area to sign-up and participate in the Templestay Program, where guests can experience the monastic temple culture. On the right- hand side is Yongjoosa.

The first building is the Cheonwangmun (사천왕문), or the Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings. These are some of my favorite examples of the Four Kings. All of them have wide bulbous faces and a menacing presence. Although set behind by a fence, they are about 4 feet away, magnificently detailed and easy to photograph.

사천왕문 Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings

사천왕문 Gate of the Four Heavenly Kings

Develop and Prosper

Develop and Prosper

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Drew Kelly in NK

Drew Kelly was a marketing director in North Korea. He has everyday photos of Pyongyang in his 2015 North Korea timeline.

2015 Hwaseong Cultural Festival

From October  8th to the 11th, the 52nd Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival schedule will be held. The major events will be the parade and any martial arts performance. Friday will also be a national holiday, Hangul Day, expect a large turn-out of people.

  • Opening Ceremony Fireworks, Thursday 7:30 – 9PM. This is located at the Yeonmudae, the concert stage area. It is located at the main tourist center near the archery field.
  • Jeongjo’s Royal Parade, Friday 2 – 5PM. This is will probably be the best parade for photography. Watch near Jangan Gate or Paldal Gate for the most scenic experience
  • Martial Arts Performance, Saturday 8 – 9:30PM, This is located near the main tourist center near the archery field.

Visit the main website for all the events, times, and place.

Levee Brewery – Aug15

Recently, I returned to Levee Brewery in Mangpo-dong. All of the hand crafted beer selection has changed since my last visit. (A shame because I miss their Irish Double Stout.) Their current beers – as of August – have a distinctive Summer ale-ness to them. Each one is light, crisp, colorful, and aromatic.

4 Beer Sampler

4 Beer Sampler

  • Alejandro Wheat Beer, 6000W
  • Levee Love U Ale 유자, 6000W
  • Strong Ale, 6000W
  • Fruit Bag, 7000W
  • Dark Indian Pale Ale, 8000W
  • Hybrid German Ale, 8000W

A 4 beer sampler paddle may still be purchased for the cost of 10,000W. The Alejandro Wheat stands out as my favorite. A refreshing wheat beer makes me forget about the sweaty saturation covering my body and clothes after a long day. Coming in at 4% AVB, it is the lowest alcohol. But the Fruit Bag beer is 6.8% ABV, and it’s a close runner-up.

In addition to the beer changes, Levee now only serves small pizzas and their assortment of buffet snacks. The beer battered fish and chips and chicken are no longer being served. The owners change the menu from time to time.

For the remainder of these humid Summer days, cool down with these Levee Brewery beers.

Levee Brew is located in Yongtan, Mangpo-dong. To get their by subway, take the Yellow Bundang line to Mangpo Station (망포역) and Exit 3. You should see a Starbucks on the corner and a bus stop on the right. Board the 62-1 bus to Mangpo Blooming Apartment (망포블루미아파트). Turn right, back to the New LG Plaza bulding and look for Levee Brewery in the middle. There should be a inflatable beer balloons at the entrance. For more information, check them out on Facebook.

Directions on Naver Maps

Review – A Kim Jong-Il Production

“Don’t!” she pleads. He doesn’t listen, so Maria, her eyes full of tears, shoots him. Overcome with grief, she drops the weapon and dives into the sea behind him, embracing his corpse and slowly drifting away.”

Back in May, I heard a story by This American Life about people sleeping in the same bed and having separate dreams. In this segment, struggling movie director, Shin Sang-Ok, and his actress wife, Choi Eun-Hee, whose kidnapping was archetypal villainy from a James Bond film, were living together in North Korea. Shin and Choi were brought to North Korea to film movies for Kim Jong-Il, the movie aficionado with the largest movie collection in the world.

book - kimjongilproduction

I was captivated by A Kim Jong-Il Production as a novel. I was able to finish reading it in less than a week’s time. The book is more than just another novel about North Korea and Kim Jong-Il.
Firstly, the beginning refreshes the reader on the recent history of Korea. North and South Korea were once the same country enduring the same perils of imperialist Japan in the early 21st century. After WWII, and the defeat of Japan, Korea was fractured by the ideologies of the Soviet Union and the United States. From here, the book takes a look at how both countries developed through the eyes of the kidnapped South Koreans.

Secondly, the book profile’s Kim Jong-Il’s rise to become the Dear Leader of North Korea. What’s most interesting about his story, as the title suggests, is that he becomes the “director”. Much like a film director, who has complete control over the actors, scripts, and movie scenes, Kim has puppeteered his way to gain favor from his father and become the successor of North Korea. All of this began while he was young and had full access to the inner workings of the North Korean Party.

In May 1964, Jong-Il graduated from college, and his career in the leadership ranks of the Party, the career that had always been expected of him, began. His first post was as a member of the secretarial staff of the Central Committee, under Uncle Yong-Ju, who took him under his wing and taught him everything he knew about the Party’s inner workings – how personnel was hired, promoted, and demoted; how every department worked and how it reported back to the Leader.

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