Thursday, May 6, 2010

Allan goes to Korea

It's been very quiet around 3-3-1 Shonan Takatori lately. Allan left for Korea on April 24th, TAD - Temporary Duty. I kept busy teaching, went to Tokyo, and ran around Yokosuka, but as it turned out I had too much time on my hands.

Since Allan was on temporary duty, it was mostly work, little play. He was scheduled for eleven days, which is pretty much the time it took to do the work. He came back with alot of Industrial Hygiene photos, none of which will appear in my blog. You're welcome.

His flight into Pusan arrived several hours late and his bags were the last to come out. But as planned, two men from the base picked him up and they went to a local bar (Duffy's) for a couple brews. There was a six-piece band and three patrons, including Allan. Having gotten a late start, they closed the place down.
His first five days were at Chinhae. These photos were taken from the highest point. You can reach it by stairs (365 of them) or by gondola. First is a view of the town, then some animal topiary, and the gondola. A memorial is built on this hill. It's called Chinhae Tower and has two levels dedicated to the history of what was a fishing village. Then five levels for observation, but no photos can be taken of the naval base.

After work the first day, he played basketball with some of the guys from base. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah, he was sore, and he aggravated a muscle he'd injured surfing, but I know he had fun doing it.

Back at the bottom of the hill, he toured the town, with plenty of restuarants and a local farmers' market. The market had lots of live things for sale, including fish which Allan couldn't identify. Unusual, since he has a degree in Marine Biology.

He likes Korean food, so he had no trouble finding something interesting to eat, even kimchi, which he's always refused to eat, saying it's too spicy. Then he discovered that he also likes Korean beer, no surprize there.

He needed a Korean national escort to view the Turtle Ship, a replica of a 17th century vessel, 34.2 meters long, 10.3 meters wide, 16 oars and 14 cannons, constructed of wood and an iron clad shell, hence the name.

I don't even want to know how hard it was to row that thing across a bay.

There was a spot inside the ship where a fire pot connects to this dragon. Smoke from the pot would billow from the dragon's mouth. The cannons were tiny, when compared to contemporary vessels. The cannonballs used were 3" in diameter.

Fierce looking masthead, tiny balls. I'm just saying...

These last two photos are from inside the Turtle Ship.

After Chinhae, he went north to Pohang. There's a helicopter squadron stationed and they must have needed some Industrial Hygiene or Safety work.

BTW... if you want to see these photos better, just click on one and you will get a larger version.

Not much free time in Pohang either. The only sites he saw were restaurants. He's happy to eat in Asian restuarants. I try to give him food for lunch, but he prefers to eat at the sushi-go-round or in one of the restuarants just outside the gates of the base.

And as there hasn't been a quick lesson for a while, here's one now...

QUICK LESSON: Golden Week. In Japan, there are four national holidays between April 29th and May 5, so most employers give their workers the week off.

April 29th is Hirohito's birthday. Most Japanese that I've talked to don't know the name of the current emperor (Akihito), much less his father, but they still celebrate his birthday.

May 3rd is Constitution Day, the 4th is Greenery Day (Japanese Earth Day), then the 5th is called Children's Day, but it's really a day to celebrate sons and pray for their futures. The traditional decoration is a samurai doll. There is a Girls' Day in March, but it's not a national holiday. Don't get me started.

So, since 4 of the 9 national holidays fall in a seven day period, it's a sort of spring break.

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