Tuesday, December 28, 2010

House of Sharing

House of Sharing  (My 2nd day in Seoul)  

Halmonis hands      /         My hand n_n 

Updated 12/14/11
Before my trip Jo-Anna was really nice to plan something for us to do on the weekend we will be spending
together, one day she sent me an email asking me if I wanted to go to the "House of Sharing", I had no idea what this was but I was whiling to try anything new while in Seoul so I said yes, she put us on the list to go on the tour on Sunday, and I'm really glad we had the chance to go, let me tell you a lil bit about this "House of Sharing"

The House of Sharing is a museum and home to former "Comfort Women", this women were survivors of sexual slavery when the Japanese military occupied Korea during the Asia-Pacific War (1932-1945).
Some of the former Sex Slaves and their history

Before and during World War II, estimated 100,000 to 200,000 women were tricked or forced to serve as
sexual slaves for months or years by the Japanese military. More than 80 percent of women were believed

The first “comfort station” was established in Shanghai in 1932 and Korean women from the Korean mining community in Japan were victimized.

Former "Comfort Women" are women who were forcibly recruited into sexual slavery during WWII by the
Japanese military. The majority of "Comfort Women" were Korean, due to Korea's status as a Japanese colony at the time. The House of Sharing is a residence in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do where 8 former "Comfort Women" live.

Representation of the Wednesday Protest
Wednesday Protest

The Korean Council started a "Weekly Wednesday Demonstration" in front of the Japanese Embassy located
in Jongno, Seoul at noon on January 8, 1992.

Painting made by one of the Halmoni
The first official admittance of the Japanese government’s responsibility upon the Comfort Women issue
was in April 1998 when the court Simonoseki ruled that the Japanese government should compensate three
former Korean comfort women, most of there Korean Comfort Women would not acept this compensation given by the Japanese Goverment because it was money gathered from private institutuons, and the demand was that the Japanese Goverment HAD to pay for this.

I have to say that before Jo-Anna sent me that email I didn't know anything about this situation, and after reading the Halmonies (Grandmas) testimonials I was touched, this women are not only really strong but brave, they survived but they also continue fighting for recognition and compensation from the  Japansese goverment.

So, sunday morning we woke up early to go to Gangbyeon (subway) Station (Line 2, exit 1), where we were supposed to meet the rest  of the group, once we were all there we cross the street to take a Buss (a 40min ride) then take off and take a Taxi... it was a long way to Gyeonggi-do province but it was totally worth it.

Once in there we all go to a room to watch a documentary and where the guides (Volunteers of the House
My blurry but yummy lunch
of Sharing who by the way are awesome!) gave us a small introduction about the "comfort Women" after this each one of us had to  introduce itself, we were about 40 but it was really interesting to meet people from so many places. After the introduction we took a lunch break, I had spicy pork/Tuna Kimbap and grape flavored water,  when we finished our lunch it was time to head to the Museum, this tour will start with to sculptures at the entrance/exit of the museum.

"That which we were forced to do must be recorded in history"
The first you will see is a picture of Halmoni Hak-Soon Kim where it says "That which we were forced to do must be recorded in history"

Kim Hak Soon, a former Comfort Woman, who testified in public for the first time in Korea that she was
forced to serve Japanese solders sexually. She was born in Manchuria and sold by her stepfather to a
Japanese military in 1941 when she was sixteen (Consider that Korean age is 1 or 2 years older than "universal" age)

According to an interview, this is the story of how her stepfather trade her, the life as a Comfort Women and how she ran away.

My father passed away when I was young. I was maltreated because people believed my father died due to
my bad luck. When my mother got married again, I was adopted at the age of 14. My stepfather sent me
a gisaeng school, female entertainer school, to learn music and dancing. He took me to Manchuria with
another stepdaughter to do business using us. We thought we would become a gisaeng when he treaded us.
But we were sold as Comfort Women to a Japanese platoon located in Northern China. I never knew that
I would become a plaything for Japanese solders.

I followed wherever Japanese solders went because I was so young. I didn’t have discretion even to  remember the name of troops or the commander. We were taken to an empty Chinese house located in front
of the troops and I saw three other Korean girls. At least I was relived to see them. I didn’t know their Korean names but they were called by their Japanese name, Miyako, Sadako, Sijiae. Five Korean girls became Comfort Women there and the oldest one was 22. Others were 17, 18, 18 years old and I was
sixteen. So I was the youngest.

I can’t put my life there in words. I tried not to think of my life there because it wasn’t a human being’s life. It was like a public toilet for the Japanese solders. I get frightened even now. When solders dashed to me…. I bit my lips. I ran away but got caught.

One night I ran away with a Korean man’s help when he came by the troops for his business. Every girl
got crazy to get his help on that day. They must have thought they could run away with his help. He
had a wife in Korea and did business to sell silver coins. I followed him and survived in China.  After the 1945 Liberation of Korea, I came to Seoul.

Just like Kim Hak Soon story there are plenty more, there are still many women that had never told anyone
they were Sex slaves when the Japanese occupied Korea so many stories will remain untold.

After the tour trought the museum we went to meet the Halmoni, the volunteers brought a piece of fabricm,
paint brushes and some paint so we all could paint something for them, they were there in the same room
with us, I wanted to talk to them for 1st I don't speak Korean and 2nd What was I supposed to say? "Fighting!"?, no ofense, but I just couldn't find words that expressed how I felt being aroung them, you just feel  like you wanna hug them and take care of them o_o , anyway, when we finish painting it was time to go,
the cabs had arrived and we had a long way back to Seoul.

For more information visit:  http://www.houseofsharing.org 
For Sharing House information in Korean visit:  www.nanum.org
Entrance Fee: 5,000 KRW
If you wanna go on of of this tours you can go here 

Here are some pics I took while being there....

Painting the halmonis make as therapy

Gifts presented by visitors

More Presents (Many of the visitors are Japanese)

Military Money and a Condom (that they had to wash before and after receiving a man)

All the dots represent a location of a "comfort station"

-Gisela V.

Painting made for the Halmonis

Ps. If you wanna see all the pics theres a folder on my Facebook, just have to add me :) 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Back and with TONS of things to say........

Today I was reading this blog from the 1st to the last post I've shared with all of you, it feels so weird that it changed to so much and it's even MORE weird (exciting) to read all those things I've posted about Korea and now say "I've done that... I've been there...." [Insert happy tear here] lol 

A trip to remember....
Blurry picture I know... it was a 24 hours flight! 
Looks sunny but it was COLD!!!

  So... I love it when people come and ask me "What's with Korea?, why you like it so much?, why did you wanna go there?, Is it a War Zone?" well.... I know it's not Paris, Brazil or some place like that, but if you only Google it and just look at the pictures, you'll see there's so much to learn, it's such a "new" country with a GREAT history, and even if you don't find it as COOL as I do...well..that's cool, you don't have to go, noone will force you ;) lol.....  actually Mexico and Korea are very alike in alot of things, specially THE PEOPLE, us Mexicans are consider to be really warm and very nice (or is it that we just wanna please them??) with foreigners, well Koreans are just like Mexicans, they take things like taking care of others one step higher, seriously, I had an AWESOME time in Korea and I hope to be able to show you how great this country/culture is trough this blog.....
Limusine Bus O_o

I'm actually very lucky because I got to experience both the Local/normal Live and the Tourist side of Seoul.

So, here's how everything started....

I got to Seoul and it was WEIRD, being alone in a country where you don't speak the language and you are not sure how everything will work out is SCARY, or at least it should be, right?.. well indeed it was weird/different, but in a GOOD way, I felt at home (pft I don't even know why), so I go ahead buy a ticket for my bus and I'm finally on my way to SEOUL!!.. I was so excited!, I took a bus to go to Sinseol-Dong bus station (Bus 6002), the ticket was only 10,000 KRW, wich I think it's a pretty decentprice if you consider it's a 1 1/2 hour ride....The day was SUNNY but COLD and when I say it was COLD I mean Effin' COLD! I was freezing!, I was wearing a 2 Jackets, scarf, hat, globes and still I was  freezing...O_o, Sooo, I was the last one to get off the Bus, the driver was super nice and helped me with my laugage.
I was supposed to meet Jo-anna there, she agreed to host me for the weekend, so I got to Sinseol-Dong station and called her, less than 10 mins later we finally met, I've been following her blog for a few months, and kinda felt like I already knew her (Do you know that feeling??...) we start walking to her house and I got to see the Cheonggyecheon river (Wich I was dying to see!!), so we get to her house, I took a quick shower and we go Off to her Korean Class near the Women University, we take the Subway and I got my T-money card (yay!!) the card is 3,000 KRW, this card is pretty good because it can be used to pay for the Subway, Buses, Taxis and some payphones accept this card, the subway ride is 900 KRW and I have to say.... I <3 the Korean Subway, this one is quite the opposit to Mexican Subway, it's really clean, well organized and most of the times you will find someone that can help you, either at the Information booth or someone nice enough to ask if you need help when they see your "scared/I'm lost face" lol... so you can expect a SUBWAY POST soon....  anyway, we took the subway from Sin-dang to Hanyang Univ. station and from them we had to walk just a couple of blocks and we get to the building, since I'm to shy to get into begginers class on my own I decided to go with Jo-anna to her Level 4 class, this was a class only in Korean so I was a bit (A LOT!) lost... after the class we went down and I met Jo's boyfriend and they introduced me to a few other teachers (Sorry I can't remember the names... shame on me), we go out to dinner... MY 1st REAL Korean food... I wasn't feeling very good (It was probably the Jetlag...) but I forced myself to get better, I took an aspirin for my headache and something for my nauseas... and then I was ready!, we had Bulgogi, marinated beef, rice, vegetables, Kimchi, Soju and Beer (Cass), I also tried the SoMack or Poktangju (??) wich is Soju and Beer mixed together... it's good, that way you
불고기 Bulgogi

don't feel the strong flavor of Soju going down trough your Throat O_o but I've heard that this is not a "good" If you know what I mean...lol, dinner was only 6,000 KRW each, a pretty good price, huh? I had LOTS of fun with Jo, Jo's bf and 2 other girls, Jo's bf is really funny and he can say a few words in Spanish....his favorite one?,,, PERRO ... Don't know why lol, after dinner the other girls went home and the rest of us (Jo, Jo's bf and me) went to a small bar to have Makgeoli 막걸리 (or Korean rice wine), there are different kinds so Jo and her bf, each asked for their fav one, I tried them and then I choose mine.. I picked Chop Sal Makkoli, 
Yummy Makgeolli
the name comes from the Kind of rice (CHOP) and SAL is RICE = Chop Sal Makkoli we also had a Kimchi Pancake (or Kimchijeon), is like a crepe, but thicker 
Makgeolli Bar
and made with Kimchi juice  all this for 4,000 KRW each :O , so I had a great dinner and drinks for 10,000 KRW!! After the bar we went to a ministore to buy food to take to the Sharing House on sunday, then we took a bus to go near Euljiro4ga station (I think?..lol I was tired and don't really remember) we went to pick of Jo's bf car and then went back to Jo's house, I was exhausted so I went to bed because sunday we had to get up early for that Sharing House trip,,but that my friends..is going to be another post because those Halmonies (Grandma's) deserve it...

-Gisela V.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick update!!

If you didn't know already..... I'm going to Seoul
So I won't be posting for a few days, but I'm sure I'll have LOTS of things to post when I be back n_n

Don't miss me too much!


-Gisela V.

Hallan nueva especie de dinosaurio en Corea del Sur

El koreaceratops era relativamente pequeño en comparación con sus familiares geológicos, medía aproximadamente 1.80 metros de largo y pesaba entre 27 y 45 kilogramos.

Un grupo de científicos revelaron que descubrieron un nuevo dinosaurio astado -que habría sido herbívoro y familiar de los famosos triceratops- en Corea del Sur, donde este tipo de hallazgos es inusual.

Los restos fósiles del dinosaurio, hasta ahora desconocido, fueron hallados en un bloque de roca a lo largo de la cuenca de Tando Basin, en Corea del Sur, en 2008, y bautizado como koreaceratops, indicaron paleontólogos de Corea del Sur, Estados Unidos y Japón.

Según la investigación, publicada en la revista Naturwissenchaften: The Science of Nature, el dinosaurio era de aproximadamente 1.80 metros de largo y pesaba entre 27 y 45 kilogramos, relativamente pequeño en comparación con sus familiares geológicos: los triceratops.

El koreaceratops tenía una cara parecida a la del loro, con un pico en parte frontal de sus mandíbulas, lo que indica que era herbívoro; bípedo, con garras en las patas traseras y gran capacidad para desplazarse.

Además, su cola tenía forma de abanico formado por largas espinas neurales, lo cual sugiere que también pudo haber sido un buen nadador y que habría pasado parte de su tiempo cazando animales acuáticos para alimentarse.

El género identificado vivió aproximadamente hace 103 millones de años durante el periodo Cretácico tardío.

Se trata de uno de los primeros dinosaurios conocidos en Corea del Sur, afirmó Michael J. Ryan, curador y jefe de Paleontología de Vertebrados en el Museo de Historia Natural de Cleveland, y quien es coautor de la investigación.

"Es un gran hallazgo", dijo Ryan, ya que el hallazgo de fósiles de dinosaurios no es común en esta región, aunque sí son frecuentes evidencias de huevos de dinosaurios y huellas.

-Gisela V.