Life continues to be rather hectic ‘round these parts. Just yesterday I finished a huge project that I’ve been working on for a while. I do plan on writing about it, but not today, as I have to head over to my building for interviews with prospective students in about an hour. This will occupy the rest of my weekend and most of Monday as well, and then I will be spending the rest of the week grading entrance exams in addition to my usual teaching load. November tends to be a very busy time around here. There was a time when November was novel-writing season, but it’s been years since I’ve done that, and I can’t imagine getting back to it any time soon.
I did want to post something quick, though, to tide you over until what will most likely be a longish journal entry on that mysterious project I mentioned above. This past Thursday, Hyunjin and I went out to Cheonggyecheon to see the Seoul Lantern Festival. We had heard that there were tens of thousand of lanterns, and when we arrived there seemed to be as many people. Still, I had my tripod with me and, despite the crowds and the cold, I managed to take a number of photos. They probably deserve an Imagery gallery of their own, but for now I’ll just post a few of the photos I took. I do plan on putting up a full gallery sometime soon, though. It’s been ages since I’ve done anything in the Imagery section, and I have a backlog of several years worth of photos now. The idea of plodding through that entire backlog is rather intimidating, so I’ve decided that I am just going to have to start with some new photos and then dip into the backlog on occasion to fill in some of the highlights of the past few years.
For now, though, here are three photos from the Seoul Lantern Festival.
Here we are near the start of Cheonggyecheon, before the frigid winds took their toll.
This is much farther downstream, but I just had to at least have this photo in here. If you know anything about classical Korean literature, you’ll recognize this as a scene from Song of the Sea Palace. Here, the rabbit rides on the tortoise’s back as they head down into the sea to the palace of the Dragon King. There the dying Dragon King will demand the rabbit’s liver as medicine, but the rabbit will employ a clever ruse to save his skin (he claims that he left his liver on land, as the tortoise hadn’t told him the purpose of their journey). This story has a special place in my heart—it was the subject of my MA thesis and prompted me to continue my exploration of Korean trickster figures.
While many of the lanterns were lavish creations like the ones in the first two photos above, there were also many smaller lanterns along the way. These in particular looked lovely above the flowing water and reminded me a little of lotus flowers.
That’s all for now, but there is more to come.