Monday, November 24, 2008

Chuncheon National Museum, Chuncheon, South Korea

And now for another of kimchi-icecream's massive blog posts . . .

This past Sunday afternoon Julianne and I went for a walk . . .

We decided to go check out the Chuncheon National Museum. It's about 6 blocks away from where we live, and while Julianne had already checked it out (because it's 3 blocks away from the middle school she teaches at) I hadn't gone yet (even though it's only about 5 blocks from the university).

Anyways . . . it was a nice day for a walk outside. The fall leaves are almost all gone. But they haven't totally disappeared yet.

There are two entrances to the museum. We went in the side entrance.

Unfortunately the museum in general has very little English in terms of signs and other information.

About all you can expect to see in English are the hours of operation, and a few other pieces of info.

The building looks fairly new and modern.

There's a path that begins under the main entrance and runs around the hill next to the museum.

The promenade area is very nice. There was soothing classical music playing and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the day.

We walked around the path for a while before going up to the museum.

There are different pieces that lie along the sides of the path . . . they are about the only pieces that have Korean and ENGLISH signs for tourists and English visitors who live in Korea and are visiting Chuncheon.

I'm sure that Korean history and culture buffs would love these historical objects . . . so I've included close-up shots for people who don't live in Korea and/or those who may not be able to visit Chuncheon.

I really don't have much to say about the other pieces that were in this area. The sign gives the info, and I'm more into looking at temples than I am at these kinds of artifacts.

I enjoyed being outside with Julianne in the cool autumn air and taking pictures with my camera.

More signs and stone statues . . .

Shot from the far end of the museum looking at the main entrance.

I noticed this tree. It has some kind of tomato-looking fruit in it. Julianne said she thinks she ate some at one of her schools. She said it's like an insanely sweet tomato.

The focus quality here isn't what I wanted it to be but it'll have to do.

Standing in front of the main entrance.

There is a small outdoor performance area just down from the museum entrance.

As I said before there is a nice sitting area for having a picnic or just relaxing.

The reason I took a pic of the poster units here is that I noticed an ad for some kind of Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Carribean thing--I hope that the museum isn't going to claim somehow that the first pirates in the world were Korean--lol.

It was interesting for me to see the area around my apartment from an elevated perspective so I took a pic of it.

Seeing this sign my mood dropped slightly. I thought I wouldn't be able to take pics inside . . . later I found out that the rule is 'no flash.'

Inside the main entrance.

Further inside there is a small atrium . . .

On the second floor there's a nice sitting area where you can wait for your friends and/or family if you don't feel like looking at the exhibits.

Exhibit 1 . . .

Exhibit 2 . . . at this point I still wasn't sure if I was allowed to take pics inside so I was trying to do so surreptitiously. Later I just asked the security guy and he said I could take pics, but no flash is allowed.

Even the bathroom area is nice . . .

When I saw these little booth things I thought, YAY!, perhaps these are here for tourists and have English voice narration with video of the exhibits' content . . . nope, nada.

The museum is worth visiting if you are interested in, and love, Korean cultural and historical objects. There are some pretty nice pieces--just don't expect there to be any English signs explaining what they are, who used them, and when they were used . . .

In the other exhibit,

There were mainly maps and historical texts in this room--again, no English info.

It's sad to consider how Koreans really want foreign people to learn about Korean history, culture, and language--but is it realistic to expect tourists to know enough Korean to read what would likely be high-intermediate to intermediate-advanced Korean language signs that are in the museum? Is it realistic to expect foreign English teachers and professors and other expats living in Korea to have the necessary Korean reading ability when many of us are only here for a short period of time . . . ? I don't think so . . .

Back in the atrium area I noticed a wall with a lot of pictures . . .

These are some of my favorite pics on that wall . . .

On the lower level of the atrium there's a cafeteria (I didn't look inside it to see what was there).

Main foyer . . .

I've done this before at another museum in Korea. You take traditional rice paper and lay it over a stone template with a design on it.

You then take one of the white cloth soft hammer thingys and gently dab it in the ink that is in the black rectangular-shaped box. You then dab and pad the white 'hammer' all over the surface of the rice paper lying on top of the template. There is also a brush that you can use too.

This is an example of one of the templates with what I assume is a traditional Korean design.

I then noticed to the left of the atrium that there was one more exhibit hall.

I did a quick walk through but by this point was pretty much ready to leave as I couldn't read or learn anything about the objects in the exhibits.

Inside the last exhibit on the main floor I walked by this glass wall looking out onto another exhibit area that I think you can't access from outside.

Is it a little sad that I was more excited to take pics of the cat Julianne and I saw then the historical objects? I think I might have paid more attention to the objects if I was able to read something about them--hmm, is there a theme to my blog here?

On the way back to the main entrance Julianne and I saw a children's area with some 'build it yourself' toys for the kids.

Back outside we walked down the upper level main pathway, by the outdoor mini-theater, and down to the main entrance to the museum area. Here are some of the signs with information in English.

And that was my visit to the Chuncheon National Museum . . . I think if you visit Chuncheon and have a couple of days to see different things the museum would probably be around the number 10 or 11 item of things to see and do here.

Soyang dam and Cheongpyong Temple would be my number one recommendation with Namisom Island number two.

Number 3 would be visiting the chicken dokgalbi street (look for pics about the restaurants near the end of this long post--I need to do a proper blog just about this street in Chuncheon) full of restaurants that specialize in that dish.

Number 4 would be heading to 'Creme' for dessert (with more pics near the end of the post here).

Walking home Julianne and I began noticing these posters . . .

And more posters . . .

Oh my god . . . it's Brian's nemesis, Crown J . . . he's everywhere!

Julianne wanted to buy some stuff for her hair. Walking down to where we thought she might be able to buy it we passed the animal hospital where we always say hi to Fluffy the cat, and
the little Pekingese wanna be guard dog that always looks at us and barks.

Walking home I noticed more of the 'tomato' trees we saw at the museum.

I've been wanting to do a blog about gates and doors in Korea . . . here's a little taste.

I like the orange colors here . . . orange is one of the most popular colors for a traditional-modern rooftop in Korea.

Almost home . . .

Close up shot of the leaves in the tree above . . .

We were almost home when we saw one of the common sights in Korea: the fruit truck with loudspeakers.

I got out my Flip Mino and began filming a one minute clip . . . I'd been waiting for this opportunity for a long time . . .

Walking up to our entrance we came across this,

I think these are ingredients for making kimchi . . .

This might explain the following story from a while ago . . . There is a Harmoni that lives next door in the apartment beside my bedroom. SHE IS MAKING KIMCHI almost 24/7. I swear that the rhythm of the sounds of her doing whatever it is you do when you make kimchi makes TERMINATOR look and sound sloppy. She's like a machine when it comes to the chopping and pounding sounds that I've heard through the wall.

She also is apparently using Korean War era machinery that makes a high pitched scree scree scree sound that sounds like a smoke detector. I woke up 2 weeks ago panicking and thinking there was a fire next door–at around 5am. I got dressed, went outside, climbed up five flights of stairs, knocked on her door, and what did I find? She was working away to her heart’s content making kimchi . . .

I think I need to rewrite 'The Night Before Christmas' as, “The Night Before Kimchi” . . . hmmm, I sense a story coming . . .


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