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

“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!!

A Bashō Maniac From North Korea

Who’s visiting my blog via searching for “grapes ass gun shot” lol!!

I would like to talk about an author.

I had a chance to learn the language in North Korea for three months.
Three best-selling authors taught me then, and it was a real spectacular experience for me!!

Some people may know, but the language in the North is a little different from the South.
The difference is just in the accents….but the point is, I don’t like the language in the South.
It irritates me when I hear the language from Korea dramas.
The language from the South lacks intensity.

It might be similar as

British English : North Korean
American English : South Korean

People who make fun of British English in the U.S. and the people who make fun of the accents in Pyongyang are pretty much the same.
Let’s go back to the story.

There was one author who really loved Matsuo Bashō.
008
This is him.

I forgot his name, but he was totally obsessed with Bashō.

“There’s no such writer who gives a fine description about nature other than Bashō in Japan! An ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water. That is so wonderful!!”

The author always talked about Bashō’s poems.

I felt a little jealous about Bashō and so I lied to him,
“Bashō isn’t that great in Japan these days. There’s a genius called Ryuhei Ueshima (a comedian in Japan) and he is way better.”
The author wasn’t interested at all and ignored me.
Why Ueshima? I don’t know. It just came up to my mind.

I changed my target to another author.
I told him the same thing.
“Maybe Bashō was pretty good, but nowadays Ryuhei Ueshima is more famous for his works.”

He believed me.

I told him,
“He screams YAHH as a sign of his creation. Will you please do it with me?”

The author and I together : “YAHHH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

003

He was a good guy.

P.S
I wasn’t making fun of this guy at all.
He probably knew I was joking and took a picture with me.
What I wanted to show was that, there are people who know and study about Japanese culture a lot, and that there are playful people like him!
Thank you.

 original text

False articles using pics from North Korea are going way too far!

HI!

Today I want to talk about all the news made up about North Korea.

Here’s a good example.
North Korea confirms it has landed a man on the Sun

The words behind the news caster shows something about medicines and it has nothing to do with missiles. People who read Hangul would obviously know that this is a fake.
I couldn’t find such news on the website of the Korean Central News Agency. (Please tell me if you can!)

Well, since North Korea is an expert in using Photoshop, I guess it’s inevitable for people to use pictures from North Korea like a copyright-free material.
I think this is too much… and think it’s unfair, that making up news is okay just because it’s North Korea.

I also tweeted earlier about the impression of North Korea = Coal Mines.

I think it’s funny too, but to tell the truth, that story may be a little too old.
I asked a friend in North Korea and he said,
“That was back in the old days. Mines are all run by machines and we don’t need any people to work.”
I haven’t had a chance to visit the mines, so I’m not that sure if that’s the single truth.
Maybe the “concentration camps” are more talked about, but I can’t comment on this…

Let’s go back to talking about “mines”.
North Korea participated in the World Cup in 2010. They made a head start against Brazil and fought well, but lost to Portugal by 0-7. There was a news that all players and the manager were sent to coal mines because they had lost pretty badly. (I think this was told by a British news source)

The manager, Kim Jong Fun, did not go to work in a coal mine, but instead,he was promoted to vice minister for the Ministry of Physical Education. I wanted to interview him so that he could make a joke about this news saying “I’m Kim from the coal mine!! “ but my request was turned down.
His rank became pretty high and so it wasn’t easy just to even meet him.

Hmm…
I think North Korea’s soccer strategy is unique. They have a slogan like “We won’t score, and we won’t let you score neither”, and they play by making big walls.
I know it’s not that great, but that persistent play style should be a tradition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
(an elite soccer school in North korea. You get expelled if you fail.)

That’s all for today!

original text

 

What North Koreans think about us in Japan

There was some news about government-to- government talks between Japan and North Korea lately.

Some veteran journalists say that this is for giving pressure to South Korea. When we see things moving going on in the outside (such as Megumi Yokota’s parents meeting their grand daughter in Mongol , and the disposal of  a property from the General Association of Korean Residents), it means that there are a lot of negotiations being held in the inside, and I think that is better than nothing happening.

 

That’s what is happening in North Korea right now,

but today, I would like to talk about,

“What North Koreans think about Japan and the Japanese people.”

I hope my experiences can be used as reference.

 

As you may know, the language of North Korea uses unique expressions to criticize enemies.

The style is really inimitable and the phrase “pitiless” has permeated throughout Japan.

The Japanese government and politicians have been damned many times and it is obvious that North Korea has an impression as an anti-Japanese nation, disregarding the abduction issues.

 

From a linguistic point of view, I think things are a little different.

I major in comparative linguistics and the language of North Korea. I have written and received awards writing essays in Korean so I must say I know the language quite well.

I couldn’t plagiarize since no one has written about it and so I envy Ms. Obokata…haha…

 

Language is a reflection of cultural background and morphosis, and so words and sentences differ according to languages, even if they had the same kind of meanings.

In North Korean stylistics, it’s very important to create a strong expression to express one’s feelings, and I have had a lot of training in classes back then.

(I think there are some mistakes in the tone for translation of news about politics between Japan and South Korea. That’s maybe some of the reasons why the two countries are sometimes misunderstanding each other.)

 

I maybe exaggerating but all of that is just “Hello to the people of the Japanese government!”

 

I remember a man from the Japanese government saying, “I hate the words on the Rodong Sinmun. It always irritates me!”

I told him about this and he accepted it with a bad grace.

 

Let’s go back to the story,

I was speaking to a man in Pyongyang and he spoke these words…

“So, how are the Japanese fools?”

You might think that’s anti-Japanese…but that maybe jumping to conclusions.

 

I thought, maybe I should talk about Japan in a bad way, and they would feel good. I started to talk about how the Japanese politicians were stupid, and about the increasing taxes, and how people aren’t getting married, and so on….explaining all the negatives things about Japan. (sorry to the people of Japan)

 

I probably talked about it for ten minutes.

What I heard back from them was surprising.

 

North Koreans : “What were you talking about again?”

 

Everyone there was watching TV, and no one had interest in what I was speaking.

 

Me : “Well, what I was saying was that in Japan…..”

North Korean : “Oh…”

 

He was the one who asked me about Japan but he wasn’t listening at all.

 

I saw what was going on.

 

“They had no interest in Japan (or they didn’t really understand anything about Japan)”

 

I’ve never seen any anti-Japanese feelings from these people. They love sushi, they eat Japanese pork cutlets and there are Bashō freaks as I have written before.

Probably the phrase “Japanese fools” was just a term without any meaning and so they had no intensions of criticism, and not everybody uses these words there.

 

I was exhausted but I decided to talk about South Korea.

 

Things changed.

The people turned the volume from the TV down, and all asked me “What did you say about South Korea?”

They all asked me about politics and the detail of life in South Korea in a fierce look.It was obvious that they had strong feelings and rivalry towards the South.They all understood that the economy was way better in the South, but some of the people didn’t want to admire it.They had some kind of a feeling, that they were the people who were supporting their country, and they had a strong pride about it.

They also seemed to hate China and the U.S. Even though the government is Pro-Chinese.

They had no interest in Japan itself, but there was a different strong “image of Japan” inside them.

A North Korean man speaks,

“I hate Chinese products. I don’t want to use South Korean products( probably the possibility of punishment), and so I love Japanese products.”

DSCF0949

This is a North Korean TV program. Each local most excellent student competes for intellect.The champion can enter the entrance into a school of higher grade school in Pyongyang. But the winner was a student of Pyongyang

orijinal text