Rain fell hard on us.
We stood under the shelter of
Changdeokgung Palace

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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previous issues.

June, 2008

Seoul May 2008
Meeting with Miss Lee MiJa

How wonderful it was to see again Miss Lee MiJa, the greatest singer in Korea.
Miss Lee is now 67 years old, and still enjoys the biggest popularity in Korea. Next year, it will be 50 years since she started to sing on stages.

My husband Den Okochi met her 15 years ago. A Japanese writer who wanted to interview with Miss Lee asked Den to arrange a meeting with her, because Den had many friends in Korea.
It was not easy for Den to make an arrangement to meet Miss Lee, but somehow he managed it. The interview article appeared in a big magazine, and Den was proud that he helped.
Later, when Miss Lee had a performance in Osaka, Den went to see Miss Lee again. He met Miss Lee and her husband.

This time, our new friends, Mr. Choi and his wife Ms. Kim invited us to attend Miss Lee's dinner show.
On May 7, 2008, Den and I went to Seoul.
This is a photo journal of our happiest three days' stay in Seoul.
I hope you will enjoy too.

   On may 7, 2008, we arrived in Seoul, and we met our 'son' Kim DaeYoung and his wife Shin YoungHi at the hotel . DaeYoung homestayed with us for almost ten years when he studied in Japan.Then after a light snack, we visited the Palace Changdeokgung, which is inscribed on the World Heritage list.
20 minutes later, when we had seen only one-fifth of the Palace, rain and thunder came on us. We had to give up the tour.
I promised myself, I will come again.
When Japan governed Korea, the government forced a political marriage between the last crown prince of the Lee Dynasty, and the Japanese Royal family's daughter, Masako (in Korean pronunciation, Bangja)
Prince Masako lived in the Nakseonjae Area of this palace. She survived the Crown Prince, and spent her last days here until 1989, doing charities, or paying her attentions to the welfare of the poor. One of her children was poisoned by some political reason, and I have always had interest in studying her life.
The house was not open to the public now, so I must come back here at a suitable time too.
At our dinner place.
DaeYoung and YoungHi, and me between them.The dinner was Korean style, which we enjoyed very much.
Our 'daughter' Kim UnJeong brought her two sons. UnJeong homestayed with us many years ago.
She was a quite active girl, and now her boys are so too. UnJeong's husband could not join us because of his job.
Next day, May 8th, was the concert day.
Miss Lee MiJa's stage was wonderful.
No body could believe she is in her late 60's.
Audience was enthusiastic too.
May 8th is The Parents' Day, a national holiday, in Korea. Sons and daughters took their old parents to this show. Parents looked so happy.
We were happy too.
Miss Lee MiJa remembered Den. We talked a little, and promised her to see her again in Japan at her next year's concert.
Next day, on May 9, our friend Ms Kim picked us up and took us to a street where many antique shops gather.
It was quite interesting to see old furniture, paintings, and accessories.
Den bought an old folk art painting, but I could not afford jades or other precious stones. I must come back..
We visited Gyeongbokgung Palace. This is a smaller palace, but it was also very beautiful
The King and the Queen walked before me.
I had seen many Korean dramas of the old time, so their costume was familiar to me. I could tell the ranks of the followers by their clothes. It was fun.
Near the Gyeongbokgung Palace is the Blue-rooftile house, where the President of Korea lives.
From here, we took the highway to the Incheon Airport, and our too short travel came to an end.
I promised myself that I will come back to see the every detail of this beautiful and dynamic country.

Thank you for reading this article.
I hope you will visit again next month.

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

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