Black Day, Chinatown, and a Legendary Beast revisited.

Last Saturday was Black Day here in Korea. Black Day is an informal holiday where single people go out and eat 자장면, a noodle dish that has a black bean based sauce on it. It is a dish that every Korean tells me comes from China (and you get it at Chinese restaurants here), but then points out later that it is not actually a Chinese dish at all and that you can’t order it in China. It is like a philly roll – an item inspired by Japanese sushi, but not something you’d ever see in Japan.

In Korea, men get gifts on Valentines Day (February 14), women get gifts on White Day (March 14), and single people observe the misery of their situation on Black Day (April 14). In the US, all of this occurs at exactly the same time on February 14, only instead of eating 자장면, single people drink heavily, eat chocolate and cry. But it is basically the same kind of traditions.

So Friday the 13th arrived and I realized the next day was Black Day. I had intended on going to Chinatown the weekend before, but I ran out of time. To me, this meant it was destiny. I would go to Chinatown and eat 자장면 on Black Day. Of course, this miserable holiday would be much more fun with friends along, so I brought a friend of mine who is a girl and is also single. We ate 자장면 and wandered around Chinatown, went to a park. For more information and pictures, please continue after the break.

We ended up going to a fairly expensive restaurant due to our rather arbitrary selection criteria (I didn’t care where we ate and didn’t want to have to choose, and she wanted to eat at the tallest restaurant we could find). We looked at the set menu, but it was insanely priced and rather insistent that it was for couples, so we ended up getting some food a la carte, which made it more reasonable. We ate pretty well, and then walked around Chinatown. While there, I discovered many of the things I knew about China are useless here because all the historical people I know have different names. Me and Seung ji discovered that we both knew the stories from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but all the characters have different names in Korea than I was used to. And Lu Bu, the guy I thought was one of the most famous characters in the story, is actually pretty unknown here.

There is a park near Chinatown that has a pretty impressive statue of Douglas MacArthur. There was also a small park thing full of animals, like rabbits, chickens, peacocks and a variety of other birds. There were a lot of older people in the part who were either very drunk or well on their way to getting drunk. I was stopped at one point by a Korean guy who told me about a charity run type thing on Sunday that was sponsored by a group that does programs to help foreigners like me learn Korean. I already had plans for Sunday, so I said I couldn’t go, but this does open up a possibility for me to take classes with them some time.

After we were tired of walking around the park, Seung ji wanted to see the Used Book Street in Dong-Incheon. It just so happens that I had been there before, since that was actually very close to where me and Hyeon Kyu went the week before. So we hopped on a train and I lead the way to the bookstores. She was looking for something particular, which none of the stores seemed to have, but I helped her pick out two books for her to try to read in English from their relatively paltry selection. And she bought me an Arsene Lupin book that was in Korean for me to attempt to read. Originally, I thought the book was “La Comtesse de Cagliostro” but it has Sherlock Holmes in it, meaning it must be “Arsene Lupin Contre Sherlock Holmes” or perhaps “L’Aiguille creuse”.  I think I’ll figure it out as I try to read it, which will take me quite a while. I also found a Harry Potter book in French that I’m going to read to try to keep my French sharp.

While near the bookstores, we had a second go at trying to find the art streets. We also encountered the Legendary Beast again. As a small aside, I met a Ukrainian girl who lives in Dong Incheon and she looked at my pictures. She didn’t recognize anything I had taken a picture of in Dong Incheon, except for this one mysterious animal. The only thing she recognized was this one strange dog. It truly is a beast of legend.

I also showed Seung Ji the robot outside of Space Beam. The inside of Space Beam is now completely different, and it is now an art gallery for university students. This one area in Dong Incheon is pretty strange and interesting. There’s a lot of neat stuff in Incheon, which is nice because it means I don’t have to travel all the way to Seoul every weekend.


~ by James on April 20, 2012.

One Response to “Black Day, Chinatown, and a Legendary Beast revisited.”

  1. You should bring that dog back to the states and breed it.

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