November, 2011

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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Mascots of Yeosu EXPO 2012

Korea, this time

My husband and I went to Korea in April this year, one month after the great earthquake in Tohoku, and it was a pilgrim to temples and graves. That travel made me feel deeply about the tradition and culture of Korea, our neighbor country.
So we went to another temple in October. The purpose of the trip this time was to visit again a sacred place, and to attend The Citizen Day of Yeosu City, and also to see our new grand daughter in Seoul for the first time. Busy three days!

Please join us, and enjoy our photos.
October 14
Songgwangsa Temple in Suncheon, Korea

We visited this temple and stayed here on the first night of this trip.
We arrived late, and there was only ten minutes left to have our simple but spiritual dinner.
After dinner, we went down to the kitchen to wash our dishes.
The kitchen was clean and everything was in order.
The rooms where we stayed. (left)
Our friend Mr. Kan SuGil guided us, and his tea ceremony students went together.
In the setting autumn sun light, the jars of Kimchee, soy sauce, soybean paste, were doing their silent Zazen. They might be Dharmas.
Evening Drum beating at 6 o'clock..
The sounds are imitating horse's running, waves, and thunder. It means that the Buddha promises to save all the living things in heaven, on earth and under water.
The services are done at 6:30 in the evening, and at 3:30 in the morning. We attended the both services.
I have many suffering friends for whom I have to pray.
After the evening service, we were invited to tea by one of the very high priests there, who was a friend of Mr. Kan. The conversation was quite meaningful for me.
October 15
Next morning, after the morning service, we had some time to see the temple round. It was beautiful and serene inch by inch.
Do you see a wooden something like a boat in front of the left building?
In old time, cooked rice was put in that boat and was given to the poor people making a line.
We were also invited to tea by another high priest.
He is the school master of this temple where young disciples learn about Buddhism.
We went to see the graves of the high priests of this temple. Those names are historical.
We were picked up at the temple at 8 o'clock in the morning of October 15, and went straight to the place where the Citizen Day's Ceremony of Yeosu City was being held. We were invited to attend this event by our old friend Mr. Kim, the Mayor of this city.
The lady next to me is Ms Park, who once was in our city as an exchange city officer.
Some other Japanese guests were there to attend the ceremony. We were invited to a wonderful lunch together.
After lunch we went to the island of the Yeosu Bay, because I wanted to see the monument of the Yeosu Eight Beautiful Sceneries, which is very similar to Karatsu Eight Beautiful Sceneries.
We were invited to dinner by Mayor Kim. Mayor made me sing a song together with him!
The dinner was a full course of abalone!
The person of the blue jacket is the Mayor. I was honored to sit in front of him.
After dinner, Mayor gave us two dolls, the mascots of the Yeosu EXPO next year. Yeoni and Suni are their names.
You must go and see the EXPO of the Sea, held in Yeosu in 2012.
Mayor did not let us go to the hotel after the dinner. He insisted that we should see the night view of his city. He explained eagerly how he is changing this industrial part of the city into a clean circumstance.
October 16
This is the grave of the late Mr. Moon. He was a best friend of my husband. We went up the mountain to this place. After some time of picking weeds around the tomb, my husband and Mrs. Moon sat and talked. I believe that Mr. Moon was listening.
This place was a sunny patch surrounded by trees, which defend the strong winds from the sea. It is three years since Mr. Moon left this world. He was a real philosopher.
Going down from the grave.
The pink jacket is me. I wear this color when I travel. I might get lost, and this color is easy to find from far.
In the afternoon of the day, we flew to Seoul.
Near our hotel, Leeum Museum of Art is.
This strange thing is the stairs circling up to the fifth floor.
Here, we were amazed to see pottery and porcelains of old Korea. Many of them are National treasures.
Monuments of the spiders are famous.
Behind, the hotel we stayed can be seen.
In the evening, Kim TaeYong, who lived with us for ten years when he was young, came to our hotel with his wife and the baby, HyoBin.
HyoBin smiled at me, Japanese Grandma.
What a beautiful baby!
The cherry blossom hair pin was my first present to the new granddaughter.
Happy and proud parents.
October 17
Dawn seen from the window of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
We paid a short visit to our friends. They came and stayed with us at Yoyokaku last year. They are such wonderful people, and since then they are our important friends.
They are Won Buddhism nuns.
Next visit is to see this Hen!
She is the heroine of Dr. Kim YongOak's essay. I really wanted to see her.
Dr. Kim says, by watching this hen, you will learn much more truth of life than listening to some big people.
Dr, Kim's studio is deep in the heart of Seoul, but you will forget that this is Seoul. Trees, chickens, dogs, and deep knowledge.

After seeing Dr. Kim, I left Seoul and came home. My husband stayed for three more days to do some business.

This time Korea was another healing to my busy life.
Thank you Korea. I will visit you again next year, to see EXPO 2012. SEA You tomorrow! is the inviting copy of this EXPO. You too must go, friends.

So now, see you next month.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

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