Being cultural in Seoul – Korea house

Korea house
Originally uploaded by kdt

Somewhat by accident we saw a program of traditional song and dance. We had planned to see a popular kitchen pantomime, but our visit to the Korean national library had placed us closer to Korea house.

The program consisted of 8 parts, of which the head spinning finale was the most spectacular. The next most spectacular part was the photo session of a couple of hundred of pushy people with the beautiful stars. I’m surprised that the performers haven’t been blinded by the light digital compact camera flashes.

Be rest assured I joined the throngs to bring to you photos of the dancing troupe. Here is but one.

Visiting Libraries

Korean National Library
Originally uploaded by Helen K

Previous holiday blog readers will be wondering if we have visited any libraries yet. Well despite the lack of being able to read Japanese or Korean.. we’ve seen the inside of three.

The first was the public library in Hiroshima, then the public library in Fukuoka, and the third was the National Library of Korea.

Thankfully both public libraries were marked on the tourist map (makes you wonder doesn’t it). While going to the one in Fukuoka there was a wind storm, which made walking very difficult and we only had 10 minutes before it closed.

The Public Library in Hiroshima is in bad need of a face lift and some care. Nothing like 70’s lino to make the place look great. There were a number of men reading newspapers (doesn’t change anywhere in the world!), and mostly women selecting books from the shelves. Now compare this to the library in Fukuoka… While it was closing, it was a very impressive 3 story building. Huge entrance foyer, theatre attched, a number of self-checkout machines, public computer access and lots of wood used around the whole library. Definately a library that has had some money spent on its space.

The National Library of Korea was a little tougher to get inside have a look around than you might expect. Entry is by a smart card, one pass that has RFID. To get the card we had to complete an on-line registration form, in a registration office. This was not as easy as it sounds – given the complete lack of Korean speaking ability on our part!

The library is undergoing building works, and a number of areas used by the public have been upgraded inside (although not the walkways between the different sections). The first floor space is pretty speccy, where people use books requested from storage and computers. I didnt take many photos either – too many people and CCTV camereas. It will be great to see this place when it is finished.

Last full day in Seoul…

Today is forecast for a sunny 20 degrees, which is great as today is the last full day in Seoul. While it is sunny there is a fair bit of haze with all the pollution.

We are taking advantage of the weather, through no planning on our part, and visiting the Seoul tower via a cable car up a hill. Im hoping that there arent too many starirs involved!

Tomorrow we start our journey home…. train trip from Seoul to Busan… then ferry across to Fukuoka, then train back to Tokyo. All things being well we will have one full day of shopping and eating food.