Thursday, November 11, 2010

Learning Goseong Ogwangdae in Seoul

November 10th, 2010
Wednesday is my day off. I didn’t do anything exciting or more research related than dealing with computer stuff.

Police were everywhere before the G20 summit- the line of buses is outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel (where some of the world leaders stayed). Karjam's song is on CD 5 in this set on sale for approx. 70 USD. Would have been nice if they'd PAID the artists more than the 99 cents they probably paid to download the file from itunes.

The yellow leaves are from the gingko trees. Gingko (female trees) have nuts which are edible and medicinal so they are collected by some people, including the woman in the white cap. Some people just think they're a pain when they drop their nuts as they smell fairly bad and burst open in squishiness on the sidewalks. Since it doesn't rain in the autumn (much) the smell and mess lingers.

November 11th, 2010 Day 1 of the G20 Meeting
I avoided G20 madness inside my house all day then headed to my new class. The class, located near Seoul National University, is run by 봉천놀이마당 Bongcheon Noli Madang, a group which operates a 풍물 pungmul group, a 공성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae mask dance group and various other related things such as performing 설장구 seol janggu. They have performances (all or part of their members) fairly frequently and they have classes (different types) everyday of the week and multiple times on some days. People can become regular members (and probably pay a membership fee and less per class) or they can just do what I am doing, which is to pay for a month worth of classes. The advantage to having members is that they’ll pay even when they’re too busy to come to classes, and they’ll still show up for special events and come forward when needed, like for a performance. Of course, that is just based on my previous experience with such groups I didn’t determine any of that through discussing with them and will on future days.

The teacher, 장미이 Jang Mi’i seemed very competent. However our class today was only the very start (seemingly they started on Tuesday with a new group of people, so this was the second class) so everyone was learning very beginning motions. There were 12 people including me, and the practice space (there is also an office and a storage room, all in a basement that stinks of mildew) is too small for us all to practice without extended arms whacking each other (or in my case, being taller than the woman next to me, I kept getting unneeded brushes of my breast). The other members are, according to my estimates, one late 20s, one early 30s, two 40s and the rest 50s. And the teacher is late 30s. Because of the G20 related traffic I arrived later than I meant to and only had time for a brief introduction to their group (mostly just I got some fliers from them) and time to fill out the registration form before the start of class. We practiced three types of steps (two of which had a forwards and backwards version) and then learned a routine which goes for 12 beats, which might not sound like much but it’s pretty darn complicated. As Jang Mi’i taught us she didn’t correct us directly often, just the occasional comment or repetition of something obviously because someone was getting it wrong. There was however one pose that needed to be held perfectly and she walked around physically correction people. Except me, because I had already copied her successfully.

Then class ended and to my surprise one of the guys, 추주필 Chu Jupil had brought cake and oysters and sashimi in honor of the birthday of one of the other members. The sashimi was amazing, really high quality, and the oysters were great, too. As with most Korean baked goods, the cake was basically crap.

Cell photos: The wall decorations include a photo chart of group members and their roles, and a bunch of masks.

Party time! Sashimi and chocolate cake go well together.

The cake

I finished another video of excerpts from a mask dance, this time Tongyeong Ogwangdae, please check it out. The link is also accessible on the videos page.


WonTaek Chung said...

The mask dance performance looks great! Sadly, I haven't been to one yet.

And, I am so jealous you got to eat sashimi!!! I love Korean sashimi even though when people think of sashimi they automatically think of Japan :S Well, they are practically the same :P

CedarBough said...

I was going to write "회" but then I decided that everyone would know what I meant, and sashimi sounds so much better than the 'English' alternative- I mean who wants to eat "sliced raw fish?" Also 회's Romanization, hoi, is so confusing to anyone who doesn't already know Korean. It was the best 회 I've had in Korea in at least the last five or six times I've had it. I gather he owns a 회집

WonTaek Chung said...

Yeah, I use sashimi as well, much easier for people to understand. Wow, I always wanted a friend who owned a 회집..!

Have you been to 노랑진? Its probably not great as actual 회 from the sea-side, but they do have some what fresh goodies :P

CedarBough said...

Yes, I have. But I prefer to get 회 near the ocean, there is no real comparison! Unfortunately these days I don't have much opportunity.