Friday, January 02, 2009

Korean Folk Village

Greetings to anyone who's stumbled here via Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. By far my favorite blog - glad to know I'm not the only person who loves me some trashy romance novels, and the cover snark makes me bust a gut every time. (And I won a book this week, so bonus.)

Anyway, today I went to the Korean Folk Village. Sorry, probably not as entertaining as Penis Park, but hey, there's not much of that around here.

The Folk village wasn't too far a way - six subway stops and then a free shuttle bus to the park with a paid ticket. A frickin' plush shuttle bus, I must say, as you can see to your right. (More pictures and videos over on Flickr).

The village itself is set up just like an old village, with not an excessive amount of order to it - life-size replicas of houses with other replicas or demonstrations inside them. A good portion of the signs were in Korean, English, and Japanese though, so that was nice. Most of the rooms in the houses were blocked off, so you looked in but didn't go in. Some of them you could go in and they had people in them, such as a woman spinning thread. The thing that really surprised me though was that we had to take our shoes off to go in the replica houses! I get taking them off in houses and restaurants, but these aren't even real houses. There were also some gazebos and platforms you could climb ladders onto and they had signs that told you to take your shoes off as well. The fact that it was probably at most 30˚F all day made the shoe removal seem even more illogical.

(Yes, I am frozen. I felt like I did when I went and played in the snow the first time last year - numb yet painful all at the same time).

There were also shows. First was a Farmer's music and dance, which included drums and guys with ribbon hats. The farmers seem to have been pretty spry in the day, and the whole thing was pretty cool.

Then there was a seesaw performance, where these two girls jumped on either end of a seesaw and propelled each other a good ten feet in the air. This was followed by a tightrope guy, who seems to have been very funny as everyone kept laughing. It also means he talked a lot which made it kind of boring, but he would walk and then jump down and bounce off the rope on his butt and stand up again, kind of like you would do on a trampoline. He was also probably at least fifty, so pretty impressive.

Next were the equestrian feats. Now, as someone who has fallen off a horse every time but once she's ridden one, I found these quite impressive. They were bouncing off the ground and back onto the saddle, they were flipping upside down, they were getting off, running alongside like the horse was getting away, and hop back on.

Typically after that there would be a traditional wedding, but it is only done March through November, so no such luck. It would be interesting to see the place during March, when I'm not getting frostbite and everything isn't dead and the streams aren't frozen. It was cool, but it made life back then seem a lot more depressing than it probably normally would. There was a lot of the park that I didn't see, so I might go again when things are alive.

My next specific cultural outing probably won't come until February, when I'll be doing an overnight stay in a Buddhist Temple. I'm really excited about that one...well, minus the 3-4:30am dawn devotional chanting. Is 3am dawn anywhere? Crazy monks.


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