I was watching channel 17 this morning, since I had it on last night watching some movie from the 60’s, and noticed a link to http://ehistory.korea.kr.
Featured on that site was this film footage of the Danoje festival I will be attending next week. It’s located in Gangneung, which is very close to where I was born in Wonju, yet closer to the sea.
I wonder if I’ll feel the same there as when I went to the Highland Games in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Walking around there with my Scottish last name, feeling affection for the culture of my last name, knowing more than the average Joe on the street about Scottish culture, yet always cognizant of the sheer ridiculousness of feeling in any way, shape, or form connected to being Scottish. This is how ludicrous it is to be an Asian adoptee of a western family.
There is this strange nostalgia for dying cultures that clings to me; a longing to have one of my own that I can keep alive. It is a false nostalgia: they aren’t my traditions, they aren’t my memories, even though they should be. I have been sentenced to being a cultural tourist. Yet I want to save them anyway. Because to be empty is to know the value of being full. And the priviledged who take these things for granted, even though I envy them, I still don’t want anyone to ever feel that kind of loss.
Seven Star jokes that soon I will be an expert on Korean culture and then I will have to teach them. It’s a funny joke, because he is a history teacher. But what’s not funny is most Koreans I ask about their culture don’t know much about it. Maybe this is one aspect of what Tobias Hubinette means when he talks of adoptees comforting an orphaned nation. There really is so much we can do for each other, Korea and I.
And here’s something for you:
I’ve told you guys I want the unofficial Korean national anthem, Arirang, played on bagpipes at my funeral. So I found this video for you so you can show the bagpipe player how it sounds!
I think it’s funny and sad and funny and I think it will be perfect and I will be smiling in my grave.