Today was absolutely wonderful in Seoul. The skies were blue (and clear!) and the weather was warm with a slight breeze. So I took advantage of it by doing some exercise in the morning. I walked over to Boramae Park and walked around the 600 meter track a few times and then did some stretches. After all of this I decided to sit on one of the benches that surround a huge pond in the middle of the park. I scrolled through my play list on the ipod and found some classical music that I thought would compliment the nice mood I was in. As the song started I heard a distant tapping sound and someone chanting. I tried to ignore it and listen to my song but the sound was insistant. I reluctanly paused the ipod and pulled out my earbuds. I suddenly realized it was the sound of a buddhist monk chanting and hitting a wooden fish.  (I just found out is prevalent in Mahayana Buddhism which is practiced mainly by Buddhist disciples in East Asia.) The incantation was melodious yet very beautiful and the sound of the wooden fish was clear and resonant. (There is a small Buddhist temple in Boramae park hidden by the trees near the south entrance. )As I listened to the chanting I almost couldn’t see the high-rise apartments that surround the park. I just saw the trees and I began to wonder what Korea was like when all you could hear were the chantings of the nearby Buddhist temple maybe periodically interrupted by travelers. I thought it must have been very peaceful in a sense, even though Korea was a country that had seen very little peace in its history. I was almost completely lost in these thoughts when I saw a young Korean man wearing a pair of jeans where the crotch zipper was a bright yellow. I was initially shocked at the effect it created. Then I began to think about how I had other errands to run (like going to Costco). I was quite sad to be taken away from these somewhat romantic notions. They are sometimes hard to come by.

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