Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Images of Jeju

Some images from the production of Shadows of Jeju.

Shadows of Jeju

After more than three years, I'm finally getting to the final stages in my documentary about Jeju island.

You can find out all about it in my Indiegogo campaign:


An island of shamans, sea-women and shrines, Jeju is a volcanic paradise rich with beauty, culture and history. From sea to mountaintop, we look at the many different aspects that make up its mystical and charming landscape while considering what the future holds for the island of Jeju and its people. This documentary takes us through a journey of what it is that defines this landscape and attracts people to it and how it is changing in the 21st century.

If you're interested, the teaser trailer is now available through my youtube account at:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

We have a special surprise coming this New Year's Eve as those in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia will have the pleasure of seeing a partial eclipse of a Blue Moon.

Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (on average about every 2.7154 years[1]), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon." Different definitions place the "extra" moon at different times.

Hat tip to Neatorama. What's even more interesting is that this blue moon will change to red at the peak of the eclipse.

Since it is a partial eclipse, the moon will just brush past the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, never becoming totally immersed. It will, however, be deep enough into the shadow that shading and reddish color should be visible.

The penumbral eclipse will last just over four hours, starting around 2:15 am on January 1st here in South Korea, and will end around 6:30 am.

The umbral eeclipse, when it will turn partially red, will only last an hour from 3:50 am to 4:50 am on January 1st. Here are the numbers from the NASA eclipse website:

Penumbral = 4h11m03s 17:17 UT - 21:28 UT
Umbral = 0h59m58s 18:52 UT - 19:52 UT

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Korea wishes you a merry Christmas

Spent the day playing Christmas games with the kids; they loved it. Santa hats, mittens and stockings were an integral part in the relay races I had setup.

A few kids were even singing along with the Christmas carol CD I was playing.

Here are a few kids showing their "Christmas spirit" on camera:

Not my kids, but most kids here seem to know a few Christmas carols which carry the same melody whether in Korean or English.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A little bit of snow

Friday we got quite the snow-scare here; at least from a Korean perspective. It started snowing hard early in the day and by late afternoon people were starting to get seriously worried about driving conditions.

We even got out of school a few minutes early, but by that time I think the damage had been done. Here's what it looked like outside Emart Friday evening:

When there is this much snow, most driver's won't even risk the drive unless they have chains on their tires. Cabs will travel on the side of the road going about 25 km/h and still feel like it's too fast.

Normally, by the next morning the snow is gone, however this time around we had a bit of a christmassy day with flurries coming down.

Sometimes it's something to smile about, especially when you see driver's overreacting, but there are still a lot of accidents for those traveling across the island.

Yesterday my co-worker Brian informed me that he had an accident on his way home to Jeju-si on Friday; the result was almost two million won worth of damage done to his car.

He didn't hit anybody, and he's alright besides a few aches and nerves, but it's still something to be taken seriously here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's not all sunshine and rainbows

So it's been really cold the last few days and as a result it's beginning to snow. I've been walking to work for about the last two weeks because it has just been too cold to even get on my scooter even with winter gloves, a winter coat and a face/neck warmer.

On the upside, we may have a white Christmas here in Jeju. Many people are already on vacation or will be soon, especially those working for EPIK.

Everyone gets Christmas and New Years off, and some, like me, have been awarded consecutive four-day weekends. My holiday plans revolve around attempting to make some eggnog and putting together a deliciously home-cooked Christmas dinner with friends.

It's going to be a nice break, but there will be moments of grief as some people are nearing their last days here on the island. Just yesterday my long-time co-teacher Brian informed me that he will be moving to Seoul in the New Year.

He's been a good friend and has taken care of any work related problems that I've had with extreme efficiency. He's not the most outgoing person, but he is a wise teacher with more than 10 years of experience. I don't know what I'll do without him.

With his departure, I now move into the position of being the veteran teacher at my hagwon. I'm certainly not the oldest teacher nor do I have the most experience, but I have been with my school longer than any of the remaining teachers.

It'll be interesting to see how things unfold over the next few weeks. Saying goodbye isn't something I want to get used to, but I know that it's part of being a teacher and a guest in a foreign land. Nothing lasts forever.

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." ~Robert Southey

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The golden isle of Chagwido 차귀도

My friend Muggs leaves Jeju for the Philippines at the end of December and will be returning to the U.S. after his vacation there. These are his last couple of weeks here and he's trying to make the most of his time left.

In an effort to continue our island-hopping adventures, we chose a more remote location this time around: the isle of Chagwido.

Located off the Western shore of Jeju, near Gosan, Chagwido is an unpopulated island that has several trails to explore, which take no more than two hours to complete them all.

We first chartered a boat out of Gosan port for 10,000 won each (where all the fishing boats are). Be careful not to get confused with the submarine tour office, which is on the opposite side of the harbour and costs 45,000 per person.

We set out on the boat, thinking that we should have brought some drinks along.

There were plenty of people fishing off the rocks near the island, which is a very popular recreation for locals and visitors alike.

The captain dropped us off on a cemented walkway leading up to the shore of Chagwido. The path leading up onto the island is a little steep and muddy, so you have to watch your footing. Boots are recommended.

Once you traverse your way up, you emerge onto a large grassy plain. There are several paths, all leading off into different directions.

We decide to head towards the peak on the isle to get a better aerial view of the place.

The sun breaks through the clouds and shines down upon us, transforming the isle into a golden sea of reeds and grass.

It's looks simply astonishing. It mesmerises you with its movement as it rolls along with the wind.

I'm drawn to explore more, and I break off from the group towards a small forest.

Silent and calm, the forest provides a nice shelter from the wind and an interesting trail to venture.

After taking a few shots with my video camera, I head back towards the shore. Other members of our group start to trickle back as well, getting ready to board the boat once again.

I decide that it is an opportune time to leave behind a sign of our adventure. Naomi and I construct a familiar Canadian sight, an inukshuk.

With our journey completed, we all get back on the boat to Jeju.

As short and brief as it was, I really enjoyed it. It's the moments like those that offer you the time to reflect, to really appreciate everything around you and the people you're with.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

새 섬 Saesom at Sunset

The last couple of weekends, extending back before I left for home, I've been adventuring out to offshore islets with a few friends as part of an island-hopping adventure series. One of the closest and most accessible is the island of Saesom, located near the Seogwipo harbour.

Recently, construction of a bridge to the island has been completed and people can now crossover and walk around on the island. They've been building this bridge for as long as I can remember, to finally see it completed and be able to explore the island is a treat.

When Brian and I got there it was incredibly windy, like it is most places on and around Jeju. From the bridge you can get an impressive view of the island and harbour around it.

The newly constructed trail is equally impressive. With several resting areas with benches, a boardwalk, gravel paths, and night-lighting placed all around the trail in a creative fashion.

The trail goes all around the outside of the island and is about a kilometre and a half in length. From the backside of the island you can see Munseom clearer and closer than anywhere else on land.

With Halla in the background, the bridge in the foreground, and the sun setting on the horizon, you couldn't ask for a better scene.

Brian and I stayed around to watch the sun go down before heading off for a drink and a rest at Rosemarine's, a popular drinking spot on the waterfront.

The trail is open until 10:00 pm, so even after dark you can go for a stroll. With the bridge and trail all lit up, it looks like it might be an even more enjoyable time to check it out.

It doesn't cost anything to explore Saesom, and if you're out that way I'd recommend checking out the nearby Cheonjiyeon falls or Oedolgae.