Travel diaries

Looking back at some of my travel photos, I can’t help but notice the prominence of turtles in the south of the peninsula. The symbolism of the turtle is explained briefly in the Life in Korea website as follows: While the dragon was considered the ruler of all animals, the turtle ruled over the insects. […]

{ 0 comments }

Mun Ik-jeom: dutiful son and smuggler of cotton seeds

by Philip Gowman 18 July 2014
Thumbnail image for Mun Ik-jeom: dutiful son and smuggler of cotton seeds

Mun Ik jeom (문익점, 文益漸) was a rare individual who was honoured by the kings of two royal dynasties, first by King U of Goryeo and second by the great Joseon King Sejong. The honour received from Sejong was posthumous, and was in recognition of what started, in modern day terms, as industrial espionage. And […]

Read the full article →

A quick thank you to the many who once again made my Korea trip so special

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2013
Thumbnail image for A quick thank you to the many who once again made my Korea trip so special

While this year’s trip to Korea is still fresh in my mind, here are a few thank-yous to the many people who made the trip special. Write-ups will follow over the coming weeks, not necessarily in chronological order. Thanks… To former LKL contributor Shin Eunjung and Tim Anderson for the splendid Gwangyang Bulgogi in, er, […]

Read the full article →

MMLG16: Suncheon Garden Expo — The Lugworm’s Trail

by Philip Gowman 10 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG16: Suncheon Garden Expo — The Lugworm’s Trail

Suncheon-si, Tuesday 10 September, 10am. Like many areas of the Suncheon Garden Expo, Hwang Ji-hae’s garden, which was the main reason for my coming to Suncheon in the first place, also limits its reliance on floral colour. Looked at from above, or viewed from the source of the water (top left of above image) which […]

Read the full article →

MMLG15: Swirls and spirals in the Suncheon Lake Garden

by Philip Gowman 10 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG15: Swirls and spirals in the Suncheon Lake Garden

Suncheon-si, Tuesday 10 September, 8am. After the rich variety of the hanjeongsik food the previous evening, the buffet breakfast at the hotel offered comfort for a lazy western palette. I could have had some Korean food – miso soup, noodles, rice, the normal offering – but instead I went for toast, omelette, frankfurter, and tomato […]

Read the full article →

MMLG14: Gwangyang and the journey into Jeollanamdo

by Philip Gowman 9 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG14: Gwangyang and the journey into Jeollanamdo

Sancheong-eup, Sancheong-gun, Monday 9 September, 11:30am. We have an appointment in Jeollanam-do. We are to meet former LKL contributor Shin Eunjeong and her husband Tim Anderson for lunch in Gwangyang, a coastal town known for its huge steelworks. It is also known for its Gwangyang bulgogi, a variant of the dish where the meat is […]

Read the full article →

MMLG13: The Sancheong Oriental Medicinal Herb Institute

by Philip Gowman 9 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG13: The Sancheong Oriental Medicinal Herb Institute

Sanchong-eup, Sancheong-gun, Monday 9 September, 10am. At the Institute, the chief researcher Dr Kim Yun-geun shows me round the various laboratories. It’s one of those scenarios where the guide has only a few words of English, the subject is extremely specialist and so Kyung-sook, who I discover later has been press-ganged into delivering the presentation […]

Read the full article →

MMLG12: The recreation forest, and getting to know the Expo

by Philip Gowman 9 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG12: The recreation forest, and getting to know the Expo

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Monday 9 September, 6am. Apart from the need to plan my future visit to the Expo, I also seem to be an unofficial English language consultant for the Sancheong Oriental Medicinal Herb Institute, so I need to find out more about what they do if I’m to redraft their publicity materials. And […]

Read the full article →

MMLG11: Mother Mago, the Goddess of Jirisan

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG11: Mother Mago, the Goddess of Jirisan

Jungsan-ri, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 10:30am. It is pleasant to sit down in a comfortable seat in the cool environment of an air-conditioned car. After the hot, humid exertions on the mountain I am happy just to sit in the passenger seat not wanting any particular destination. But just outside Jungsan-ri we turn into a narrow […]

Read the full article →

MMLG10: Breakfast at Beopgyesa

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG10: Breakfast at Beopgyesa

Beopgyesa Temple, Jirisan, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 8:30am. Breakfast is again in the kitchen, and as usual (because I’m a foreigner unused to sitting on the floor) I’m allowed to sit with my back to the wall. I’m encouraged to stretch my legs out straight, and pummel my thighs and massage my knees, which are already […]

Read the full article →

MMLG9: Sunrise on Cheonwangbong

by Philip Gowman 8 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG9: Sunrise on Cheonwangbong

Beopgyesa Temple, Jirisan, Sancheong-gun, Sunday 8 September, 4am. It’s still pitch black. In parts, the sky is thick with cloud, but one or two stars manage to find a break to peek through. We set off up the trail, I with my head torch, and Mr Yoon using the flashlight from his mobile phone (he has […]

Read the full article →

MMLG8: Prayers to the Sanshin

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG8: Prayers to the Sanshin

Danseong-myeon, Sancheong-gun, Saturday 7 September, 4pm. After last year’s abortive attempt to get to the top of the highest mountain on mainland South Korea, I was determined to give it another go at a time of year when there was guaranteed not to be any ice on the path. As an added bonus, what would […]

Read the full article →

MMLG7: Min Young-ki’s new directions

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG7: Min Young-ki’s new directions

Danseong-myeon, Sancheong-gun, Saturday 7 September, 2pm. We’d had dinner with him the day before last, but this afternoon it was time to pay a more formal visit to Min Young-ki and to see his latest work. When I had visited the previous year, he had been preparing for an exhibition of his famous tea bowls […]

Read the full article →

MMLG6: An editing project is born

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG6: An editing project is born

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Saturday 7 September, 7am.  We must have done some good work on the Blue Label the previous evening, because I wake up very groggy. The forecast for later that day is for clear skies – good news for my Jirisan hike – but for now there is little but grey. In an […]

Read the full article →

MMLG5: The official duties

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG5: The official duties

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 2pm. After lunch, I realise that I now have to perform my ambassadorial duties. My sense of gloom is at odds with the enthusiastic spiel that I have to present to the camera. We proceed to the Donguibogam Museum where we meet up with a few people in an […]

Read the full article →

MMLG4: Honouring the spirits, feeling the gi

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG4: Honouring the spirits, feeling the gi

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 9am. In the daylight, I am beginning to get my bearings. The Sancheong World Traditional Medicine Expo is set in a 109 hectare (269 acre) site dominated by the dramatic peaks of Pilbongsan (pencil-peak mountain) and Wangsan (the King’s mountain). The natural slopes of these mountains establish the geography […]

Read the full article →

MMLG3: Preparing for the Expo

by Philip Gowman 6 September 2013
Thumbnail image for MMLG3: Preparing for the Expo

Donguibogam Village, Sancheong-gun, Friday 6 September, 7am. Four hundred years ago, a ground-breaking medical encyclopaedia was published. The Donguibogam, literally the Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine, was compiled and edited by Heo Jun, a Korean royal doctor, with the support of a team of medical scholars and academics. The work had been commissioned by […]

Read the full article →