Sunday, April 24, 2011


Here's an English shijo poem I wrote over the weekend:

Teahouse in Nampodong, B-boy group outside raging tunes
Young to old, we take our photos, turn to traditional ways
Work, shopping, tired to the teahouse, we are all tourists here.

I wrote it last Saturday. I went to a Nampo teahouse to mark my midterm exams and outside, infront of the Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop, they had a b-boy group (Korean for a group of boy dancers) and several famous singers. I think it was a promotion for the BeanPole Clothing brand as that store was right across from the doughnut shop.

 Heres another I wrote a few hours earlier:

What we write or tell the young ones can only last for so long
Through our lives we work and play, slaves to a moments sensation
Take lovely pictures while ye may; we are all tourists here.

The Korean for the English shijo is as follows:

잚을 이들에게 말하거나 쓴것을 그 한게가 있다
우리는 인생을 통해 일하고 즐깁니다 한 순가의 욕망의 노예가
아름다운 사진을 가능한 찍어보세요 우리는 모두 관광객 입니다.

Translation above by Sung-Yirahn 성이란. Typing by myself so any typos are mine --MWT.
먹을수있는한 김밥을 드새요, 우리는 모두 관광객 입니다.
(Eat kimbap while ye may, we are all tourists here).

A decent substitute for the last line in the English could be:
Eat delicious hamburgers while ye may; we are all tourists here.
(먹을수있는한 맛있는 함버거드새요, 우리는 모두 관광객 입니다).
That last line with hamburgers makes me laugh, especially as I love Thomas Grill in Daeyeon/Kyungsung.

Living in Busan for 8 years I have had alot of time to reflect on what it means to be a long time resident here, versus my being a foreigner, always learning but never to become a true native Korean (caucasian face and race aside). I began to reflect on what it means then, to be a tourist. I realized that I am forever to be a kind of tourist here. But in essence, aren't we all tourists...

I had that final line buzzing in my head for the past 3 months now: Take your pictures while ye may, we are all tourists here. A modern day Carpe Diem kind of thing. In the 2nd poem I changed it to "lovely" to match a common traditional shijo form of 15,15,14 syllables.
Welcome, tourists all, to my blog. MWT.

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