Sangumburi and beyond

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These photos were taken from the rim of the crater of Sangumburi. I tried to take some pictures into the crater but it’s difficult to capture an image that shows how deep it is, i.e. 130m from the rim to the bottom. It’s unique on Jeju in the way it was formed: it’s said to be a ‘maar’ crater, formed as a result of an explosion when hot lava comes into contact with ground water, rather than as a result of lava flow to the surface.

Sangumburi is on the east side of Mt Halla. There are so many oreum on this side of the island, even more than in the west. Whether you look southwards (in the top photo) or northwards (in the bottom photo) the skyline is crowded with them. Had it been a clear day, the photos would have been spectacular. Or is that the fisherman’s boast – the one that got away?

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Korea’s southernmost point

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This is Korea’s southernmost point, just a few miles from Global Education City. From the southern tip of Jeju, you can look along the coast to see the cliffs of Songaksan (yes, it’s another volcano); if you look southwards, you can see the Korean islands of Gapado and, further away, Marado.

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But is it Marado really the southernmost point of Korea? According to The Guardian newspaper, South Korea also claims the Senkaku islands, even further south. Those are the islands around which China has just declared a “East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone”, raising the tension between China and Japan. As it says on the BBC website, China’s defence ministry have said that aircraft entering the zone must obey its rules or face “emergency defensive measures”.

The zone really isn’t far from Jeju – you may even be able to see into it from Jeju, beyond the islands in the photo.

Mt Halla in the snow

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This is Mt Halla last Thursday, a completely clear day, with signs of snow near the summit. It must be about 20 miles away. I took it from the roof of school – that’s not a bad view to have.

In the foreground are some different oreum. I don’t know the name of any of them but it’s a typical Jeju landscape. You can get a sense of how it might have been when Halla was an active volcano, with lava breaking through to the surface at different places around the main peak.

Harvest

HarvestWe saw plenty of evidence of crops being harvested at the weekend. Agriculture looks to be pretty labour-intensive and small scale – fields are small, surrounded by walls made of black volcanic rock. It’s often women doing the work – crouched down, large hats protecting them from the sun – reinforcing the myth (if that’s what it is) that Jeju men are lazy and the women do the work.

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Some crops, like cabbages, are familiar and some less so. That’s kohlrabi (what a great name!) in the photo below; I knew the name but don’t remember having seen it growing before. Sweet potatoes (which is what the truck’s carrying) are common enough, as are normal potatoes. We also passed a field of big radish like Japanese daikon.

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Jeju Mandarin Marathon

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It was the Jeju Mandarin Marathon this morning, with races of four different lengths. I did the 10k and finished in a respectable position and a reasonable time. Even better, I haven’t had to lie on the settee this afternoon feeling weedy.

The race started outside the Seogwipo World Cup stadium, in the background in the picture above. Jeju may be remote, but it did host three games from the 2002 competition. Brazil were here in the first game, beating China 4-0 in a group match. It’s now the home of Jeju United, who lost 2-1 to Daegu this afternoon.

As the name of the race suggests, it’s all about mandarins. They’re quite a sight at this time of year, on trees and packed into crates on the back of trucks. Even the crates are coloured orange. So, the goodies I got from the race were the usual T-shirt, medal and snacks and the not so usual carton of milk and 5 kg carton of mandarins.

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Autumn on Olle trail 10

We walked on Olle trail 10 this morning, starting in the middle and heading westwards. There’s lots to see, including sites that are important reminders of the Japanese occupation and Jeju’s violent post-war history. That’s getting ahead of myself and I’ll write something about both of those things in due course.

For now, I just want to post some photos of the Jeju autumn. It’s the middle of November and, although the temperatures have dropped steadily, it was mild and sunny today.

Thanks to Diana for the hint about creating a gallery of photos.

Gotjawal Forest

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This is the Gotjawal Forest, characteristic of Jeju in general and south-west Jeju in particular – Global Education City is surrounded by it. The forest floor is covered with dark, broken, volcanic rock; the soil drains easily and the trees are typically shrubby and short.

I often run on paths through the forest, although I can only do so at weekends at this time of year. I regularly see deer and I’ve come across a herd of horses on several occasions. They’re wild as far as I know, but pretty docile.

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Fish festival

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Our nearest town is the port of Museulpo, and I’ve posted pictures of the fishing fleet before. It’s an ordinary, working, not-so-smart kind of place. I feel I should take some photos of the town before the changes that the growing Global Education City will inevitably bring.

Anyway, it’s just held a four-day fish festival. The fish theme included the chance, for the cost of 15,000 Korean Won, to put on waders, get into a big pool of water, and try to catch the fish released into the pool using just your gloved hands. The crowd enjoyed the spectacle and the guy in the top photo enjoyed posing for some photos.

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There was also a children’s version in an adjacent pool in which they used fishing nets – passing local traditions on to the next generation, perhaps.

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Naturally, there were plenty of opportunities to eat sea food. Some of it looked good, but some was mainly of interest through the lens of a camera.

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I certainly wasn’t going to try these shellfish, roasting on hot coals and bubbling away as they cooked…

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…or these ones. It looked as if you bought them by the can-full. I don’t know how you ate them – I guess you scooped them out the shells somehow.

And when you’ve had enough seafood, there were always the cooked grubs (or whatever they are), slowly simmering over a gas ring. You can buy these in the supermarket, in tins. In the supermarket in Museulpo, they’re on the shelf next to the tins of Spam.

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Pepero day

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A colleague came to my desk today and gave me two packets of sweets, home made sticks of pastry dipped in chocolate and covered with little bits of nuts. “It’s Pepero day”, she told me.

November 11th, “11/11” – those ones resemble sticks, so it’s become popular in recent years to give gifts of Pepero, produced by the company Lotte and very similar to Pocky sticks in Japan.

There’s a ‘no eating’ rule in the library, so I’ve brought home the gifts I was given. Well, I did eat some, which were delicious, but not when the students were watching.