|Heo, the witch.|
While Heo (above) may be one of the few people in Korea who actually celebrates Halloween, October is definitely not lacking holidays and festivities in Korea. October is famous for having multiple festivals. Luckily, I have been able to check out several of these. Early in the month, I went to the Simcheongga festival with one of the teachers at my school. Simcheongga is a story about a girl, named Sim Cheong, who works hard to help her father overcome his blindness. After going through several obstaclest (going to the Dragon of the Sea, the emperor, etc.) Sim Cheong is able to help her father. The festival did not have a whole lot to do with the story, but there were plenty of cool performances and activities. I watched traditional drumming and dancing. Aditionally, a famous singer was at the festival who sung a famous song about the Sim Cheong story.
About a week an a half later, I had several days off from school so, I headed to Daegu and Busan. Daegu is one of the largest cities in Korea. I visited a museum about Daegu's history and learned quite a bit about the city and its rapid development. It is an important industrial area for Korea (Samsung was originally based in Daegu). Recently, it is also a leader in fashion in Korea. While in Daegu, Kyle, another ETA in Naju, and I met up with friends and explored many of Daegu's famous outdoor markets. The most famous in Yangnyongsi, which is known for herbs and medicine. Seomun Market, by far the largest in the city, was mostly filled with fabrics and clothes. This market consisted of vendors outside and underground.
Following Daegu, the Naju ETAs and I met with about 30 other ETAs in Busan for the Busan International Film Festival. BIFF is the largest film festival in Asia and it continues to grow. This year was the first year in which a good portion of the event was housed in a brand new movie theater (this building was massive). Many of the other films were screened at the Shinsegae Department Store across the street. Shinsegae is comparable to Macys in Korea. It is in just about every city in Korea. The store in Busan is the largest department store in Korea and the world. In addition to having a movie theater, the department store also has an ice-skating rink, a museum, and a massive spa/sauna.
|Shinsegae Department Store|
While I loved Busan and thought it was beautiful, I did not really see much of the city because I was busy watching movies. When I first got there, my friend, Aaron, and I went to watch several Korean short films. While the production quality was high, the actual content of the movies was not so great. The best film, Modern Family, was about a Korean family who, through a strange turn of events, end up killing their neighbors in order to protect their son (I shouldn't have bought popcorn). I also saw and old Korean film called Buy My Fist. It was a melodramatic film about a boxer who cares for the family of one of his opponents after he kills him. The movie was a bit over the top, but it was interesting to see a very old Korean film that was extremely popular when it was released.
|Busan Cinema Center|
|Aaron and Di-Hoa relaxing outside the Busan Cinema Center|
|Another view of the Busan Cinema Center|
|Panel discussion on the beach with Korean directors|
|Busan New World Orchestra|
|I am inside a presentation at the Biennale|