Is it wrong? No, It’s different.

The article was created by 11th and 12th graders at High School in Yeosu with an aim to tell our dear friends at home and abroad about EXPO 2012 YEOSU KOREA. 

News written by the group of ‘ILOVEYEOSU’ : Kim Minji, Son Jiseong, Ham Chorom, Yang Dasol, Lim Hyeyeon, Wee Suhwan. Guidance teacher : Park Yongseong

Is it wrong?

No, It’s different.

Photo by Kim Minji

There stands a totem pole called Jangseung at the entrance road to Sanggwan village. Jangseung used to indicate a boundary among regions, play a role of milepost and be the object of worship as a village’s guardian.

Do you ask me what this “strange” thing is? This is “Jangseung”. And in Yeosu, it is also called “Beoksu”. In korea, in front of village’s entry, a wooden image which looks like man stands playing a role of milepost. But while a disease was raging, we would perform a memorial service for Jangseung to heal disease. So it’s not only just a role of milepost but also a guardian to protect villages from a disease or minor demons.

By the way, Are you saying “why are you talking about Jangseung story so long?” You said it was odd when you looked at Jangseung before. Yes. When you look at this first, you could say like that. In your country it’s hard to watch. But it’s not strange, moreover, not wrong, it’s different, though. I’m a little sad when you say it’s wrong. Life is different. So that’s why they made culture is also different. Today, we talk about this matter. Let’s take a trip.

“We’ve dressed like this.”

Photo by Kim Minji

We tried dressing “Hanbok” personally! Do you think Hanbok is graceful, elegant dress but it dosen’t look good because we are wearing? Oh, my goodness!

It’s so beautiful, right? This is korea’s traditional clothes “Hanbok”. Hanbok has color’s beauty by using 5 colors: yellow, blue, white, red, and black. A harmony of straight line and a curved line shows our ancestors’ esthetic sense.

Fabrics also use differently at each season. In summer, they used cool material such as hemp cloth or ramie fabric that have good ventilation. And in winter, used silk or cotton, so it can keep warm. Hanbok’s coat is called ‘Jeogori’ and it is fasten down by tieing a breast-string.

Photo by Son Jiseong

We have “pyebaek” rite, where bride and groom greet old members of family and at that time we can see them in Hanbok.

In old days, Hanbok was ordinary dress. But nowadays it become a special clothes which usually wear in a festive day or event. When you come Yeosu to see Expo, stop by a wedding ceremony hall once. Then, you can see the bride and bridegroom who dress up Hanbok lovely.

“We’ve eaten like this.”

Photo by Ham Chorom

It’s a picture of eating with a knife and fork. If you go to restaurant selling western food, you can easily see them.

Are you familiar with this picture? That’s right! In the West, people use a knife and fork to eat with. This is because Western food consists of mainly bread and meat. This food is easy to eat with knife and fork.

Photo by Ham Chorom

This is a Korean small dining table. There are a rice bowl, a soup bowl, Kimchi dish and chopsticks. Take a good look at the chopsticks.

Because Korea’s spoon is similar to Western’s, it isn’t particularly special. But chopsticks are miraculous. So chopsticks are said to symbolize oriental food culture. But using chopsticks differs from country to country. Chinese chopsticks are long, but Japanese’s short and Korean’s medium size.

Chinese chopsticks are longer than the rests because Chinese people eating at a large table have to reach a long way to get certain food. By contrast, Japanese chopsticks should be short and pointed at the end to separate flesh from the fishbone. Korean chopsticks are in the middle size between those of Chinese and Japanese because Korean food consists of mainly vegetables and Kimchi. When in Korea, try using spoon for rice and soup and chopsticks for vegetables and Kimchi.

“We’ve lived in these places.”

Photo by Kim Minji

This is a tile-roofed house with an admirable classical elegance of lines and curves in Soho-dong Yeosu.

Well then, what kind of house did our ancestors live in? Rich people lived in a tile-roofed house. This house has tiled roofs made of soil. And tile-roofed house used a lot of black tiles. As tiles were so expensive, common peoples couldn’t afford to build tile-roofed house.

Many thatched houses gathered in a cluster are indeed sentimental. 50 years ago, most villages used to be these features, which is different now. But, thatched houses now remain only in the Folk Village.

This is the very thatched house where our grand father and mother lived. Our ancestors have lived cultivating rice from ancient time. So, they made thatched roof with rice straw, and thanks to adiabatic effect, summer is cool and winter is warm. 50 years ago, thatched house was in general, these days, it is difficult to find out, though.

Yet, the house is not completely changed to Western style . We can still see “Ondol”, as a heating system in modern apartment our ancestors invented. A heater that keeps the floor of a room warm for long cold and snowy winter is the very Ondol.

“We’ve treated disease in these ways.”

Yes. You know the way of wearing, eating and sleeping. but, how did they do when they were sick? Did you ever watch the drama ? Drama was televised containing Joseon dynasty’s skilled doctor, Heo Jun. Find it out. You can find respect for human in our traditional medical treatment. By the way, Do they get disease treated these days? Sure!

When sick we go to the hospital or oriental medicine clinic. They use herbal tea extracted from several sorts of native herbs in korea. It is strange to foreigners that herbal doctors treat patients with acupuncture.

Photo by Yang Dasol

The left is syringe and the right is acupuncture. It looks like sharp syringe, but how to use it and the efficacy of a remedy are different from each other.

Acupuncture is a thin and sensitive needle and gives proper stimuli to some part of body to circulate energy and blood in body, only to treat the disease. Strength and blood is a source of living body’s energy.

Like this, acupuncture is different from syringe which is directly injected in tissue and blood vessel. Western medical treats a painful part of the body but oriental medicine treats the whole body. So oriental medicine has a principal that overcomes disease for oneself. Acupuncture and syringe symbolize a difference of eastern and western culture.

Photo by Yang Dasol

We went to see an oriental medicine doctor to ask one thing or another of him. We didn’t know anything about oriental medicine, so we felt very shy.

How do we know about it? Surely we were taught by oriental doctor. Both eastern medical and oriental medicine do not always show strong disapproval of each other. Nowadays, even though hospitals are using long needles in order to abirritate, herbal clinics are using syringes to put some medicines in. They complement their shortcomings each other.

Once I had my ankle sprained in the school sports, and had a treatment with acupuncture at oriental medical clinic. Not sick but prick. Don’t be scared. When you visit Yeosu to have sights of the Expo, if you should sprain your ankle by chance, try being treated with acupuncture at oriental medical clinic. It’ll be surprise and good experience to you.

“Go to temple staying, and you will see all of these.”

In this way we have lived, going through our culture of our lives achieved. It is the way we have lived, wearing, eating, sleeping, and healing disease so. By the way, There is a place to experience all of these cultures together. Do you know what? It is the “Temple stay”. Shall we go to the closest temple from Yeosu, “Heungguk” temple.

Photo by Ham Chorom

It’s a house in the temple where we can experience temple stay. Look at that buddhist sitting silently. Isn’t it peaceful?

Let’s see. Could you notice “the tile-roofed” house, Korean traditional house? Long ago, it was only for noble-men called ‘Yangban’, korean ruling classes at Joseon dynasty. So feel what the yangban is. Your mind and body will get generous. And can you see the costume worn by woman? That is improved “Hanbok”, and maybe one can wear it during temple stay. This seemingly comfortable clothes have you feel peaceful sense of our culture.

Here is a picture taken in the room for temple stay, feeling neatness, adequate and dignified.

Let me show you the room. In the room, there are large tables monks use for studying and meals. Having a meal in temple is called “Gongyang” and bowls for it are called “Balu”. Gongyang and Balu will be likely to be very impressive to you, for after washing dishes using a little water, drinking that water without any waste is helpful for environment.

But the best thing you can get from doing temple stay is that you can enter into the priesthood. Getting rid of stresses itself is the way of curing mind. Temple stay originally started with a view to treatment through relaxation and meditation. So “regardless of religion, how about taking part in temple stay?”

“Is it wrong? No. It’s different.”

Photo by Son Jiseong

Here are some foreign friends who wear traditional costumes dancing in the festival. Yeosu is the place where various cultures mingled with one another would be made again only to be harmonious dance.

Foreign residents already surpassed 1.2 million in Korea. At first, we mistook the culture difference for being wrong and there were a lot of trouble between us. but now, we are making progress with coexistence and harmony.

Over 100 countries may participate in this Expo and they are going to introduce their own culture. Probably, it will be a flower garden which is made by the diverse culture from all over the world. It is not the exhibition which displays simple things, but shows our beautiful culture. That is exactly the Expo we dream.

Photo by Jang Yeongok

We sincerely pray for success of International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 as our ancestors did standing near by Jangseung.

When you meet the Beoksu on the street, take a picture and think of it inhabiting in Korean life. Smiling like us, pray for something you want.