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Miso: Korean Traditional Music

July 13, 2008

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Martina’s Vice-Principal gave us free tickets to see some traditional Korean music, in hopes that we could better appreciate Korean Culture. It was to be played at Chongdong Theater in Seoul, which is roughly the equivalent of the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto, only smaller. We went with Martina’s co-teacher and her friend, another co-teacher, after spending two hours getting our cell-phones and the internet set up. We’re not joking. It took that long. The co-teachers translated everything for us, but in a very Lost-In-Translation kind of way; the man at the store would talk for a few minutes, the co-teachers would nod and hmm their part, and then translate everything for us in under 10 seconds. “He says that this phone is expensive” – for example, would be all the translation we’d get after seeing the man wave his hands at times, laugh at times, shake his finger, and so on. I’m sure we missed out on a lot of what he was saying, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is this: we have two cell phones and a one-year contract. The cellphones cost us $40 each (though in Canada they go for $325), we pay $12 a month, each, and every minute costs us 10 cents. Text messages cost us 2 cents. Here are our phones!

Korean Cell Phones

Once we got our cellphones and internet set up we hopped on the subway and went to Seoul. We got off at Seoul City Hall Station, which is right beside Chongdong Theater – where our musical was going to be played. We weren’t really looking forward to seeing this, because we saw a bit of Korean traditional music performed at our weeklong conference. It was alright, but nothing really interesting. This, however, was lightyears ahead of what we saw at the conference. It was far more intense and much better executed. We left the theater with out mouths hanging open – we were floored. We bought the DVD of the performance we loved it so much. After the show all of the performers ran outside and performed again, an encore of sorts, only this time with everyone around them. After that they let us take pictures with them.

Altogether it was an awesome experience. Martina profusely thanked her Vice-Principal the next day, even though he could barely speak English. Martina waved her hands around and got her point across nonetheless. Make sure to check it out while you still can. And, heck, even if you miss it, it’s a great part of the city to get lost in and just wander about.

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