The Ruthless Squad Leader In Shorts

http://blog.livedoor.jp/yasgreen/archives/166198.html
This is when I was in the Northern part of North Korea.

We were going to drink with the guys from the collective farms on the riverside.
The squad leader who was in charge of the guys there was a man who’s age was about 28. He was a real nice guy, but I didn’t like him that much.
He was the type of guys who always wore shorts even in the cold, and that was one of the reasons I knew I wouldn’t get along with him.

He was HIGH al the time and I thought he was on drugs or something. He never stopped talking and he would always sing North Korean folksongs on the other side of the river. All the other workers told him to shut up and threw stones at him, but all he does was smile.

On that day, I was with another group from Japan and it was my birthday. They all asked me if I was ready to jump into the river. They were going to throw me into the river for my birthday present. What a present.

So we all started to drink, but I was cautious because I knew someone was going to throw me in the river.
No one came to me, so I was relieved.

But suddenly, someone was behind me holding my neck.
It was the squad leader.

He started to pull me to the river.
The river’s water looked real cold. There was some ice floating and it was too much for a joke.

I cried to him, “Please don’t…..”
But all he would say is   “Come on!! Jump in!!”
The ruthless squad leader than threw me in the ice cold water.
I became unconscious.
Some people say the squad leader came into save me, some people say he just stood there laughing.
I’m not sure what really happened.

When I regained my consciousness, I remember him smiling asking me if I was okay.

I will never forget about him.

011

 

This is the squad leader. He was the type of guy who keeps his fiancés picture in his wallet.

Going Abroad With The North Korean Passport Part II

http://blog.livedoor.jp/yasgreen/archives/2522658.html

Hey there!

 

I’m here today to talk about what happened after I got my North Korean Passport. With this, the world now recognizes me as a citizen from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

 

I decided to go on a trip using this passport.

On the way, I had to use Korean Airlines and I had to stop in Seoul for transit.

Why on earth would I do that with this passport?

It’s just because the tickets were cheaper this way.

 

I was feeling uneasy about my passport but I had no problems checking in.

When I entered the boarding gate, there was an announcement calling my name.

I knew it was about my passport, and so I went to the service counter.

 

My guess was wrong. It was just a notice about my seat’s TV set having problems. While the airline staff was apologizing about the circumstances, I felt the urge to do some mischief. I decided to show my North Korean passport.

 

Suddenly, the staff began to talk in Korean and seemed very terrified.

“Is …is….is…..it okay….?”

The staff was almost crying.

 

I would understand why.

Way back, there was such an incident as the “ Bombing of Korean Air Flight 858” .

 

If I was a terrorist, I wouldn’t be showing my North Korean passport to everybody…

So I guess the staff was real confused, trying to understand what was happening.

 

By the way, all the CAs from Korean Airline were sexy.

 

After two hours of flying, I arrived at Incheon airport.

I went through the transit gate, and I was predicting that I would be stopped by the staff.

 

Instead, this was what happened.

Staff : “Passport please…..uhh…..W….WOW!!!!? Is this real? You’re from the North?”

Me: “That’s’ right!” I answered with a smile.

 

He didn’t stop me and instead, he replied

“I was bored to death you know! It was my first time seeing the passport from the North! Thanks a lot!!”

We shook hands and that was all that happened.

 

*For your notice again, this was something that happened quite a while ago.

I have no idea what would happen if you try now. I think there are only a few people who posses the North passport in Japan.

This was my meal on the plane.

画像 001

By the way, I had a hard time going in and out of the country I was heading to. They treated me like I was a terrorist.

My tour guide there told me , “I’ve been doing a tour guide for ten years, but it’s my first time to see such passport.”

 

Going Abroad With The North Korean Passport Part I

http://blog.livedoor.jp/yasgreen/archives/2500202.html

 

Hi, I haven’t been writing recently.

I had a hard time deciding what I could write here.

 

So, do you recognize this?

This is the passport from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

People may be surprised to know that there is such thing….but of course there is! It’s a real country!

nk pass

 

Just for facts, it’s even possible for Japanese to get this passport.

Well…to make things clear, I would say, “There are Japanese people who have these passports.”

BUT! Only under certain circumstances, like being married to a Korean in Japan. You would have a hard time visiting your parents in law in North Korea if you only had a Japanese passport.

But there is also a fact that not many of the Koreans in Japan have this passport.

The association who would issue this passport in Japan would obviously be the General Association of Korean Residents, and I remember that it took about 10 days for the passport to be issues.

I waited for about a week or so, and received a package from the association.

I was excited to see my new brand new passport….

 

BUT!!

 

There was a big surprise waiting for me.

 

Can you see the red circle on the top right?

My passport was issued as a “Male”.

 

nk pass naka

 

Maybe my picture wasn’t that great, and my voice might have been a little low for a female….

But I still can’t understand why such a mistake could happen.

I would like to note here that the North Korean passport is expired for me and that I don’t posses one right now.

Here is a pic comparing the passports from the North and the South.

both  pass

It’s not possible to use or posses both passports at once. There may be a way but it would lead to big trouble. Don’t try!!

Mr. Kim

This story is a sequel to the “Tour guide” episodes.

Mr. Kim was a legendary tour guide among the people who have visited North Korea.
His first impression wasn’t quite bad.
When I first met him, I asked him which school he graduated from.
He laughed and said, “I’ve only graduated high school.”
Later, I found out that he had graduated from Kim Il-sung University’s elite course, and that he looked down on people who didn’t go to universities.

When we got to know each other well, he started to act very rude.

– He came late for breakfast, but he told us to change seats just because he was elder.
– When I bought some bread and water at a store, he told me to hand over the water, and he drank about half of the bottle and gave it back.
– He constantly says “Since I’m an elite…..”
– He starts asking for cigarettes in trade for guides.

….and so on.

That’s why we started to really hate Mr. Kim, but I also liked to make fun of this guy.
When he showed up, I ran into his way. I also asked stupid questions just to confuse and annoy him.
When there was a big storm in North Korea, I told him the next day,
“Mr.K…K…….Kim!!! The Tower of Juche Idea has collapsed!!”
Mr. Kim was very surprised and he ran to the window checking for the tower and that was very hilarious to me.

juche

(Tower of Juche Idea)

He always seemed pretty angry at those times always saying “not funny…”.
One day, I crossed the line.

In someplace, I found a lump of mud and poop mixed together, which seemed pretty much like a fine piece of artwork to me. I knew I had to deliver this to Mr. Kim, so I ran to him with the lump in my hand.

Mr. Kim obviously wasn’t pleased with my present, and he swore to me in Korean,

“You xxxxxxxx. I won’t let you go this time!!!”.

He was mad with me for a few days and I was very scared. After a while, he began to talk to me again.
For a while I was really worried.

I seem to have a habit of running into specific people, and end up getting into a lot of trouble as you see.
But I guess that’s the way I live! Haha

A few years after, I saw Mr. Kim on a newspaper and he was introduced as “ a model guide”. Either he reformed, or I guess his father was a man with power or what so ever.

I wonder how he is doing right now.

 

 

002

Oh…he reconciled with me later so don’t worry.

He even took a picture with me.
Considering his circumstances, I can’t show you what he looks like.
I’m very sorry…Mr. Kim.

original text

Tour Guides From North Korea

A tour guide is definitely needed if you are visiting North Korea.

It’s said that they are watching us very carefully, but they are in fact really friendly if you get to know them better.

Let me introduce some of the guides I have met.

 

Mr. Lee (False name/ man on the left)

010

I was moved by his hospitality and he was very kind.

He did everything for us but I put him in trouble just once.

 

When we were climbing a mountain, there was a beautiful river.

It was restricted to swim in it.

But I just had to do it.

I might not have a chance to visit North Korea again in my life, so we decided to swim.

A man in my team jumped in the river and started to swim.

 

The custodian ran up to Mr. Lee and shouted like hell.

Mr. Lee told the custodian that the man was just “taking a bath” and that he wasn’t swimming.

 

Later, Mr. Lee came back with a smile, and so I guess there were no problems.

 

By the way, Mr. Lee was a guy who kept his style of wearing leather shoes with a clutch bag, even when climbing a real steep mountain.

 

Ms. Chong (false name/ women on the right)

chonsan

She was a real great guide and she made all impossible things possible.

She’s probably the best of all guides I have met.

 

She could take us to restricted areas, and she would let us do what we wanted to.

 

She was so warm-hearted, she peeled an apple for me when I was sick in bed.

chonsan2

She was different from a practical North Korean lady, and she would probably win if she fought with Hilary Clintion.

 

She was also real open-minded and she would let us take pictures of her making funny faces.

 

The day after tomorrow, she would ask if she could check our cameras. We thought we might have taken a picture of something restricted….

But a few minutes later, she returned the camera to us saying that there were no problems.

 

Later, I checked my camera to see Ms. Chong’s funny pictures……but all of those photos were deleted…

My god.

 

Well, that was Ms. Tei. She always complained about how here husband doesn’t do his chores. I guess women at work carry the same problems all around the world.

 

Since she was a guide, she couldn’t go back home often, and so her daughter was always upset with her. One day, she texted her,  “I hate you mom”.Ms. Chong was real upset about this and that was the first time I recognized her as just a mother of a daughter.

 

Ms. Chong was promoted later so she’s not a guide anymore.

 

All of the guides were real nice people.

BUT

There was one legendary guide….and I will talk about him soon.

“Let it go” and “Oh Youth”

Hi!

Have you seen the Disney movie “Frozen”?

I’m not interested in Disney movies, and I realized that I haven’t seen an animated movie in 20years….

But after watching it for five minutes…I was crying like hell!!
I’m a grownup by I saw it on English with subtitles, in Japanese, and even on 3D.
I really love it.
Some people say Disney plagiarized from “Saint Seiya” but I think that’s unreasonable.

It’s said, that the movie great because it’s not the typical “Happy-ending” type of story…..but I think it’s because the movie is about unconditional love, and that is why it’s the best animated movie in history!
The theme song “Let it go” is also great.

It’s a song about Elsa (the Queen) singing about how she couldn’t keep a secret….and how being herself is great…
I think the sense of freedom from this song has, is why a lot of the grownups love it.

There is a North Korean movie just like “Let it Go”.

I was surprised to find it on YouTube…
Some North Korean freaks have commented “Give it to us in ENGLISH!!”

(Oh,I found English sub ver. just nowLOL

 

Let me tell you about the story.

It’s about a family in North Korea.
There is a son who studies history (a 30 year old virgin), 5 younger sisters who are all athletes, and their parents.

The first scene you would laugh is probably when the daughter who lifts weights comes home and carries her father…

The father is a sports journalist and that’s why he looks after the daughters.
The mother doesn’t like her daughters being an athlete so she is always grumpy about it.
The son also doesn’t like his sisters being athletes so they are always in a fight.
But I guess the mother has more power in this family, and the father is always timid in front of his wife.

The tough-looking mom uses her daughters to find a bride for her son.
The daughters show the mom a portrait of some girl….but since they are all athletes, their mom does not approve any of them at all.
There’s a scene where one daughter shows a picture of a real macho and ugly girl just for laughs and it’s pretty funny.
The mom shouts “We need a girl who could just carry a rice maker!!”

On the other side, the son isn’t interested in girls at all, and so he speaks to his sisters that he will not date any girls until he graduates.

But one day…the son does date a girl…and the girl was actually a Tae Kwon Do fighter of the national team. The son doesn’t know about this and he just keeps talking about history on their date.

There is a scene where they are riding a roller coaster in a theme park, but he keeps talking about history. Just like a classic comedy movie.
It’s interesting how “nerds” are all the same around the world.

The son keeps showing a sense of discrimination for girls doing sports…and the girl becomes real worried.

People watching the movie would all want the girl to beat up the annoying “nerd”.

The father and the sisters became impatient about their relationship so they decided to set up a “classic” prank for them. They hired punks to bully the two, and so that the girl would use her Tae Kwon Do skills in front of him to impress him.

The plan went well and the punks beat up the son….. They threw him into the pond and tried to kidnap the girl.
Just when everything seemed hopeless, the girl knocks out all the punks.

Son: “What the…..who are you?”
Girl: “I’m a Tae Kwon Do fighter…”
Wooo…. It does sound pretty stupid.

The plan went well, and the two began to get along with each other.
One day, the son goes to the world match the girl is participating….But the mother discovers that her son is dating an athlete and so she decides to go to the match to stop him from dating with her.

There’s a scene where a person with a blond wig (probably a roll as a foreigner) who comes up to the mother to ask if he could sit next to her, but his wig isn’t put on properly and it looks real funny…I couldn’t stop laughing about this. Did he have to appear in this scene?

When the match begins, the mother begins to cheer for the girl.

And then again, there was a scene I couldn’t miss.
The referee was a man, not wearing a wig this time, but had his hair spray painted in yellow. It’s worse than how Hollywood movies stereotype Asians.

In the end, the girl wins the match, and the mother has changed her mind. She speaks “I was wrong…there is nothing wrong with girls doing sports…you’re part of the family now!!”

The theme of this movie was against the discrimination of girls participating in athletics. Isn’t it like “Let it go”?
I think it also shows the truth about discrimination and prejudice, which is that “It is not REAL at all, and that it doesn’t come from formative experience.”

The boy had distorted views about girls playing sports because…

– he was brainwashed by his mom
– he didn’t like his sisters
– he doesn’t have any friends or people around him that plays sports
– he himself is weak

In this movie, you can see how prejudice and discrimination is born from bias information and experiences….and how these feelings amplify when it connects to an inferiority complex. You can also see how all of this is broken down and I think the movie did a good job of showing it.

As you can see, you can’t underestimate movies from North Korea.
Some are too clichéd and too forceful in a bad way but they are all constructed pretty well….especially the comedy movies.

By the way, I wonder what the children would think if they see “Frozen”.
I would want to try some day….but I’ll be punished harshly so I’ll keep it just to my imagination.

Hair Style #25

Hi there!

I didn’t want to post an article consecutively but there was one news I really wanted to share.
People might think I’m not doing my job, if I post three articles in one month….

Here is the news.

It’s about North Korea demanding all boy students to have the same hair style as Kim Jong-Un.

I pay attention to BBC but 99% of the news about North Korea is fake…

BUT!
The news, “North Korea limits hair styles, 18 styles for women, and 10 styles for men.” This may be true.

Because there are hair catalogs in barbers like below.

DSCF0963
(photo from 2010)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
(photo from 2013)

Not much change in three years.
I think the good-looking guys all look bad from the stupid hair styles.

In barbers in North Korea, you have to choose your new hair style from the pictures like above, and you can customize your cut afterwards.

Talking about hair styles….I want to talk about one thing that happened when I visited North Korea last time.
I have talked about this one particular lady on my blog before. Her name is Ms.Chong and she’s a real great tour guide.

risan

She has her hair on the top permed and has long hair around her neck.
I have been to North Korea a lot of times but I’ve never seen anyone with the same hair style as her. (If there is, please tell me)

She also wears gold eye shadows and has thick cheek colors….
She looks like a “punk” girl from the 70’s or 80’s.

She speaks “I have a round face so I want some volume on the top part of my hair, and to keep the balance, I grow my hair long around my neck. I have this hair style since I was a teenager.”

A Korean guy who lives in Japan told her “People with such hair styles ride motorcycles and are real good at fighting…”
But she just laughed elegantly and didn’t care much about it.

I decided to go to a hair salon to report about hair styles in North Korea.
I wanted to know which number was popular and what type of hair cut people wanted.

During the report I was interested in one of the hair catalogs for women.

DSCF0967
(Photo taken in 2010)

 

 

Number 25….

Hey, I’ve seen this hair before….

risan2

It was her!!

 

It was surprising not only to know that she herself was on the catalog, but also to know that her hair style could be chosen by anyone.

I asked the hairdresser if #25 was popular.
She answered “Not at all” even before I was finished asking her the question.

Ms.Chong’s picture was said to be a composite…but I have no idea why it should be there.
On the other hand, Ms.Tei looked satisfied event though I was laughing out loud when I saw the catalog.

Over all, I think North Korea should do something about their hair style.
I see some people dying their hair from about 12 to 13 years ago, but I haven’t seen any recently.

There are sometimes guys that do look like Korean stars like him,

Oh….and the hair style #25 disappeared from the catalog in 2013.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ms.Chong had a promotion and had a better job, but her hair style was exactly the same.
So I guess hair styles aren’t restricted that much.
Even if hair style #25 is out of the catalog, and if the government starts restricting hair styles, I want Ms.Chong to keep her style!!