Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hanji (Korean Papercrafting) Class

On Thursday, I finished my final big project in hanji class.  It was truly bittersweet because there are still so many things I want to make but I just don't have the time to complete them.  You can see where the black hanji pieces I cut out before had been placed to mimic hardware.
Here it is finished.  I love it.  While I was applying the final coats of varnish, a couple of young Korean girls came into the shop to look around.  One of them came over to me and starting speaking to me in English quite to my surprise.  She was surprised to see me doing hanji and she asked me if I liked it.

We talked a little more as her friend looked around.  She then said to me, "Everyone knows Samsung in the U.S."  I told her that it wasn't true as far as I knew.  I told her that in the U.S. there are many choices like Panasonic and Sony. She told me she had been told this in school. She then held out her Samsung Smartphone and said, "Samsung smartphone is number one in the U.S."  I looked at her puzzled and said that I thought Apple IPhone was selling better.  She got such a sad look on her face and her eyes actually started to tear.  I quickly added that I had not been in the U.S. in a long time and maybe what she said was true.

That brought a smile to her face and then she told me, "Everyone in the U.S. knows Korea."  I told her that it is mainly North Korea that we hear about in the news because of the tensions between the two countries.  She said, "But everyone in the U.S. knows about Korea and the 2002 World Cup."  I told her that professional soccer wasn't that popular in the U.S. in comparision to football and baseball.  When I mentioned baseball she eagerly named a Korean that is playing on a U.S. baseball team.  I had never heard of him and again I clearly upset her.  I quickly told her that I didn't keep track of baseball.

Her friend had bought a few things and she left saying goodbye to me.  I felt and still do like a heel.  I was really caught off guard by her comments.  Thank goodness I didn't tell her that until I moved to Korea in 2007, I thought Samsung was a Japanese company.  I'm also glad that I didn't tell her that until I moved to Korea that I didn't know Korea had even hosted the World Cup. 

I don't know where she got her information but it seemed very important to her that South Korea is known in the U.S.  I don't disagree and infact that is what I am trying to do through my blog and learning of Korean crafts.  But I know that North Korea gets a lot more press than South Korea right now and that's not going to change anytime soon.  But I do want people in the U.S. to know there are two Koreas and believe me, I have received emails from people concerned about me living in North Korea.  I have corresponded with many from the U.S. that think there is only one Korea and that is North.  I just hope I didn't burst her bubble.  It was humbling to see someone so proud of their country.

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