Thursday, September 12, 2019

Learning about Korea (North and South)

During the month of August our family learned about Korea. We started with North Korea for a few days and watched a NK-made documentary that was full of glowing falsehoods. We called my husband "Dear Leader," and once I sent a child to feather-dust photos of her daddy hanging on the walls of our home. Yes, we were mocking the Kim rulers of North Korea a bit. They richly deserve it, for they are obese and self-indulgent while they make their people suffer hunger and deprivation of basic human rights in the name of a stupid "juche" ("self-reliance") struggle that has become merely a codeword for the Kims' efforts to keep a stranglehold on political power. My oldest daughter and I listened to the audiobook of Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West about Shin Dong-hyuk (, who was born into a North Korean prison camp and managed to escape; it was a well-told account of an awful childhood and youth. North Korea's government is clearly guilty of many crimes against humanity.

We happily moved on to learning about South Korea. We delighted in our freedom and that of the South Koreans. We went to a Korean independence day celebration where we saw Korean-Americans perform traditional dances in beautiful costumes. We went to Korean supermarkets, as well as to a Korean restaurant for a great lunch (jap-chae, bulgogi, and bibimbop were the favorite dishes). We read some children's books about Korean people. We ate with metal chopsticks. I bought dried anchovies and seaweed and used them to make broths. I made crockpot versions of bulgogi repeatedly due to family demand for them. We did try to get the children to eat a lot of cabbage kimchi and rice, but the kimchi was too spicy for them. We listened to Psy sing "Gangnam Style" and the K-Pop girl band "Twice." We learned about plastic surgery in Korea. One of our very favorite things we did was watch a Korean miniseries called Chicago Typewriter ( together. I highly recommend it; it can be viewed (with English subtitles, fortunately) at Here's a teaser video of it; it's partly a "period drama," and the 1930s scenes are beautiful: