Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Visit to Sujongsa

When my sister and mother visited Korea for ten days in January, we visited a lot of great places. Sujongsa was perhaps my favorite destination. I found it on CNN Go's list of 33 Beautiful Temples. The temple is quite accessible from Seoul; we took the KTX to Ungilsan station and followed the signs to Sujongsa (수종사).
The road to the temple was quite simple. In fact, you could take a care up. But we hiked of course. 

The temple had many of the trappings of Buddhist temples in Korea. Same color scheme, same design, but the atmosphere at Sujongsa is unique. Overlooking Gyeonggi-do and the Bukhan River, it was hard not to feel reverent once we reached our destination.

The view (much better in real life)

Sujongsa's tea ceremony was something unique that I've never experienced in Korea. We entered a warm room where we were explained the steps for properly preparing green tea. This included warming up the brewing pot initially, seeping the tea leaves for about a minute, pouring the brewed tea in our pre-warmed cups, and then repeating the process. We used the same tea leaves for three rounds of tea. Secondary brews only seeped the tea leaves for thirty seconds. The tea's flavor was minimal, but the entire experience quite memorable. Especially since I was sharing it with my family.
I'm creeping in the background

Interior of the tea room

View from the tea room
 On our hike back down, we stumbled upon some tombs. So much history in this country.

I'm quite pleased with this trip to Sujongsa. Maybe I should try to visit all of the recommended temples on CNN Go before I leave Korea....

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ROK's Air Force Does Les Mis

Les Mis was pretty popular in Korea. So popular that the Air Force decided to make a parody. There are some great voices (which is unsurprising, since there is conscription in Korea so everyone must be in the army for 20 months. Even music majors). They released the video with English subtitles. Pretty enjoyable.

In crazier news, a Korean American shot his neighbors over dog shit. No joke.