Tuesday, June 13, 2006


My second trip to Japan this year, and sixth overall (although four of them have been for three days or less). I did get to revisit Osaka Castle, but due to timing I wasn't able to make it to Kyoto. I was also there for the Japan-Australia World Cup game, which Australia pulled out in the last few minutes. There were some pretty fervent rooters, but I didn't see the crowds like they had in Korea.

Here are some pics of the castle.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Goodbye Pohang, Hello Incheon

Well, it's my last full weekend in Pohang. I'm moving again. This time up to Incheon (which is a east of Seoul, and home to the international airport). Hopefully I'll be able to finish up a full year there. I visited the school a couple of weeks ago, and it looks pretty good. I'll be teaching kindergartners in the morning, and middle schoolers in the afternoon. The curriculum includes teaching math, science, and social studies in addition to English. So at least there will be some variety to my routine. My apartment is a nice two-bedroom place, with an oven (which are rare in Korea). It's a bit far from the school, but just a 20 minute walk to the subway and stadium complex, where Incheon's baseball and soccer team play. It does look like riding a bike would be doable. The sidewalks had bike lanes and not too many crossing streets.

In the meantime, I took another jaunt around Pohang. Headed down to the beach and towards downtown. For some reason, the Koreans don't have an affinity to the water. Along the river, they have a nice park area with bike and walking paths, exercise equipment, volleyball courts, soccer fields, and even a rollerblading track. But this only lasts for a couple of kilometers and POSCO faces you from across the river, belching out smoke and blocking the view. Once you hit the mouth of the river, there is a beach. The beach is not very stellar, lots of crushed oyster shells, and seaweed infested waters. But it's still the beach. But along the back of the beach, there are all these dilapidated buildings. Many look like they were at one time seafood restaurants. A few appear to have contained holding tanks for the day's catch. But most are closed and out of business. As valuable as land is here, you'd think someone would actually put these places to use. But you'd think wrong.

Going further along, there are fields, where people are growing crops. Again, I wouldn't think that it's the most effective use of ocean front property. But again, I don't understand the Koreans. Past the fields, there is more industry - dry docks, fuel tanks, and a couple of piers for ferry boats and the Coast Guard. Beyond this are the fishing boat docks. Rows and rows of fishing boats. That's as far as I made it, but that seems to be the gist of Pohang's coast. So pretty much no seaside parks (aside from a few beaches), no sail boats, no ocean front views to desire. They could really learn a thing or two from Chicago. Oh well, I'm leaving next week anyways. Maybe Incheon will show more appreciation for the water.

If you look closely, you'll notice light bulbs hanging from most all of the boats. They catch squid at night, and the lights are used to draw them to the surface.