This is the post excerpt.
Hey everybody, and that means Everybody, regardless of race, creed, sex, age, food preference, pet preference, language preference or ability and even preferred living habitat, be that subterranean, arboreal, fixed dwelling, or like myself (ourselves, when accounting for the fact that my wife and I live together) vagabond!
Well, I’ve resurfaced! I don’t even really remember what or when I wrote last but I can say for a certainty that a lot of it has appeared on Facebook, which I find seems to be magnet for my attention, and easy to add a photo or two to than WordPress.
Anyway, after sharing a bathroom with not only my wife but seven army officers at our last AirBnb and after walking out the back door of our tiny apartment in the middle of Seoul with a Frenchman (boyfriend of our current 30 year-old Korean host, a delightful and easy going young lady) to climb a 5,000 foot mountain in the middle of Seoul, I now find myself enrolled in two different Korean classes. In one I’m the object of constant attention as the only Caucasian and the only male. Most of the others are Vietnamese immigrants married to Korean husbands whose language they don’t speak. In the other class I am again frequently the object of attention as the only non-Japanese and the only male in the class. Fun! I learn more in the “Vietnamese” class, as none of us can communicate unless in Korean. In the other, I have fun talking about old memories from Japan with a bunch of nice ladies. In both, the teaching is excellent and entirely in Korean. Thus, I’m having a blast.
Yesterday I did something rather unusual. I went to a very large museum dedicated entirely to the history of the development of the Korean writing system. This is the only writing system known of in the world where a complete written history of the invention (from scratch–not a modification of some previously existing writing system) of the writing system is known to exist. This system is essentially comprised of only about thirty simple straight lines, circles, two stroke angles and a square, each diagrammatically representing how the mouth is shaped to form that particular part of a syllable. With a few exceptions or minor adjustments each is consistent in pronunciation and these syllabic particles can be memorized in a few hours’ practice.
This system of writing was devised, even though the Korean language was already being written using Chinese characters, so that it would be accessible to all of the kingdom, not just to the elite scholars and ruling class who had the resources to attend lessons and learned the existing, complicated way of writing. All of this was according to the wishes and the dictates of the widely respected and deeply beloved King Sejon in the 14th century. Indeed, under his direction even a printing press was invented and put into use, long predating the Guttenburg press of Western renown. This, again, was developed because of his apparent love and caring for his people, and his desire to ensure that all of his people would have access to the written word.