KSR Lunch in Seoul (Spring 2009)

A Korean Society of Raccoons' Gathering was held on April 25, 2009 from 12 noon at the Bistro Seoul Morac in the Kwanghwa-mun Jong-No district. The place was chosen since it served traditional Korean dishes and had just been renovated. Given that Imanishi-san and the other RaccoonKai members have virtually conquered all the famous stores, I was think-ing of looking for something that was more out of the trodden path, but still there were some who had already found the place. I will again try my best to find a new place for autumn.

This time there were six of us in the get-together: Atsumi Foundation Managing Di-rectress Junko Imanishi, Lee Nae-Chan (KSR Chairman, 96 Raccoon), Lee Hyang-Chul (97 Raccoon), Hong Kyung-Jin (99 Raccoon), Han Kyoung-Ja (KSR Secretariat), and Lee Eun-Gyong (07 Raccoon).

After lunch, we planned to have tea in a nearby cafe in the sculpture garden of a museum, but unfortunately, the temperature had dropped due to the rains, so we had to give up the terrace seats and instead went to a fashionable cafe right across the street. This museum is the Song-Gok Museum where the famous ex-university professor, who was arrested the other day for forging her curriculum vitae, worked as curator. I had always wanted to the museum cafe, which serves bottomless coffee in fashionable cups, but this was to be some other day. The place is serene so it could be a sort of dating place in the city.

The RaccoonKai was held a week before the re-elections for the parliamentary members. It was about when the news broke out about the investigation of President Ro Mu-Hyun's suspected bribery. (Former President Ro passed away while the author was editing this report. Our deepest condolences.) Why is it that such things occur every time the President changes. There has been a series of mass suicides. In Korea, family suicides are often referred to as "companion suicide", but the use of "companion" has a positive image and therefore not recommended. Politics is a problem, but unwanted globally high suicide rates are also a problem. With the birthday of Buddha coming, lantern decorations could be seen here and there. On that day, at the Insadong, there were large paper lanterns in the shape of elephants and dragons, and processions of believers. Incidentally, in Korea, the birthdays of Buddha and Jesus Christ are holidays. Even though it was a Confucians State during the Chosen Period, a lot of people would not know about ancestor worship events or dates held in the honor of Confucius or related festivals. Well, one may say that Confucius is not a religion though.

This time there was talk of a change in the Korea KSR Chair. I thought it was a life-time system, but Nam Ki-Jeon (96 Raccoon) takes over from Lee Nae-Chan who has for so many years worked as Chairman. Lee-san will be going to the US for his sabbat-ical. With all sincerity, we are grateful for his hard work. Please do not forget us. To the new Chairman Nam, we place ourselves in your good hands.

The next one is planned to be held to line up with the interview schedule for the At-sumi Foundation scholarship recipient screening (Korea selection framework). Hope to write to you again this fall.

(By Han Kyoung-Ja, trans. by M. Maquito)