Sunday, May 4, 2014

조계사 (Jogyesa Temple) and the Story of King Sejong

Wooohooo look at me studying Korean

Anywho, like I said, I've been doing a lot this weekend. Buddha's Birthday is on Tuesday, so the lanterns are in full swing for the Lotus Lantern Festival. So, I decided to check out one of Seoul's more famous temples, 조계사,  aka Jogyesa Temple, located near Insadong. Without further ado, or much explanation, here's a photo dump of the beautiful temple and lanterns. They're kind of mixed together because I was using both my camera and iphone.

The entrance

ugh it was so pretty it hurt

The temple was SO BEAUTIFUL with all of the lanterns. It made me tear up a little bit. Cheesy, I know, but I've been so lucky to have the opportunities to travel like I have. I've seen pictures of the lanterns in guidebooks and online, but being there, standing under them, it was INCREDIBLE.

I meandered around the area after that. This is a historic area, so I was close to the Bukhan Hanok Village, which I stopped by:

My mom would LOVE these doors

hanoks are the traditional korean houses

This area is also close to Gyeongbokgung (the first palace I visited aaaaaaages ago) as well as Gwanghwamun square, which is where the King Sejong statue is. Inside the statue, there is an entrance to this HUGE museum about the Joseon Dynasty, notable about King Sejong and the brave Admiral Yi Sun Shin/Lee Sun Shin, both of whom are featured in statue form in the plaza. It was very cool to see.

there was/is going to be a shrine here? maybe?


Gyeongbokgung in the distance

Admiral Lee

his awesome turtle ship

he was a writer

He was a genius 

Recap: Admiral Lee is famous for being a brilliant naval hero, who defeated the Japanese numerous times in varying degrees of implausibility. He won a battle with like 33 ships against hundreds or thousands. He was shot in the midst of a big battle, but told those close to him not to tell anyone that he was dying, lest they lose morale. The battle was subsequently won by the Koreans, and Admiral Yi/Lee is honored for his bravery, devotion to Korea and it's people, and general awesomeness.

Also, there were a bunch of cat pictures here. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. But hey, I'm not one to complain about cat pictures.

Old school korean instruments

you play the spikes on its back?

And some artillery

This could fire 100 arrows at once, and was
super extra lethal when they added gunpowder
pouches to the mix

King Sejong is most notable for his dedication to the people (he was a pioneer for maternity leave for mothers!) and his desire to make a language everyone could use. He thought that Chinese characters were inappropriate for the Korean language, and wanted to create something that even the peasants could learn to read. Hence, Hangul was born:

old school Korean was a mix of Chinese and
Hangul while it was transitioning 

Sejong translating chinese into the new
korean system

Sejong actually was met with a lot of resistance from the noblemen who didn't want the peasant scum to learn how to read (because knowledge is power, my friends). But Sejong insisted, and he worked long and hard to develop it. Hangul is touted as the most scientific language in the world, because Sejong made it that way. He wanted it to be easy to learn, so anyone and everyone could do it. In fact, learning how to read hangul takes only a short time. Perfecting it and actually being able to make words, now THAT, my dear readers, is the tricky part. But, here are the basics:

The concept is that all letters are made of
the three main forces of the world. Heaven,
Earth and Humanity

Consonant sounds are based on the way your
mouth moves when you make the sound.
the red letters aren't used anymore

Someday I'll post a guide reading some basic korean, maybe. haha.

Sejong and his counselors working hard

the entrance (of which I took a picture when
I exited. Cause I'm a rebel?)

PS EVERYONE, I do know where the embassy is
in case you were worried

Admiral Lee

the plaza

This is still one of my favorite places in Seoul.

SO that's Saturday for you! I did lots of walking, since everything is relatively close, and lots of learning! That Sejong is a pretty cool guy. He's also on the 10,000 won bill, which is the most commonly used bill in Korea, probably....

It's late here, so I will blog about my Sunday adventures tomorrow or so. I hope you enjoyed looking and learning with me!

I just posted Kpop on my last blog like half an hour ago, so I'll change it up a bit. I started a new drama, and I like this song, but I can't find the official version yet because the OST hasn't been released. The drama is called Gap-Dongi or Gap-Dong, and it's about a criminal called Gap Dong, who, 20 years ago, committed a string of pretty brutal murders and was never caught. One detective's father was accused of being the killer, and another was on the case but never cracked it. Now, years later and with bad blood between them, the two must work together when it appears that Gap Dong has returned. It's excellent so far, and features one of my favorite Kpop idols, MBLAQ's Lee Joon, who does a scarily good job playing a young psychopath who is obsessed with Gap Dong. I WANT MORE EPISODES.

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