Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sam-il, 90 Years Later

The last time I put in a day of work at school was Fri., Jan 23, and even that was a half-day, since it was 'camp'. Doing the math, I see I have had five weeks of vacation time. I think I made good use of it, at least in terms of travel and sightseeing, though you can judge for yourself by viewing my posts starting at 'Well-Being Hair Salon'. Enjoy.

OTOH, I didn't complete the Great American Novel--hell, I didn't even begin it; I didn't make much headway in studying My First 100 Words in Korean; I spent far too little time working on lesson plans ('course, I always tell myself I will, but I never do); I didn't lose fifty pounds, either.

Sunday, I'm meeting Steve W, back from italy, at Gecko's Terrace for a cosmopolitan brunch and a last farewell to Winter Break (join us if you like, I'll be arriving between 1:00 and 1:30). I gotta clean the bathroom first, though.

Sunday is also March 1st, which in Korean is 'Sam-il' 삼일, literally 3 - 1. There is a main road called Samilro, Andy teaches at Samil High School, etc. This is because March 1st is an important date in modern Korean history--but apparently not so important anyone gets a day off, even though it's rather like July 4th is to Americans--the origins of a homegrown Korean revolution against Japanese colonial rule that began at the turn of the last century.

March 1, 1919, a group of "patriotic ancestors" as they are described at Seodaemun Prison gathered at a teahouse near Tapgol Park to ratify their declaration of independence, sparking protests over the next few months during which thousands of Koreans were killed and tens of thousands detained by brutal Japanese occupation forces.

Y'know, all things considered, it's very difficult to view Japanese behavior in the twentieth century without outright disgust. They were bastards right up there with Hitler's SS, to a man. And the fact that they still can't bring themselves to properly admit it, and offer meaningful apologies to those they've wronged, is disgraceful. Japan has more vile shit to fess up to than the United States, even!

Anyway, Sam-il marks a kind of beginning for Korean democracy, the forced transition away from monarchy that ultimately led to the freedom movement of the late 1980s which resulted in the end of the (more or less) benign military dictatorships that ruled after the Japanese were expulsed at the end of WWII.

And finally, Sam-il represents the last day of vacation before I start back to the daily grind.


Mr. B said...

You know, I'm trying to give Japan a fighting chance. Maybe Korea is just bitter... Maybe I'm just getting a biased opinion... Maybe it's not that bad...

I can't help it, Japan still seems scummy to me. Their entire history gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Don't worry, when the zombies come, Japan is toast...

Tuttle said...

Well, we kicked Japan's ass in 1945 and removed them from the Korean peninsula, but they still benefitted from their evil by being the primary launch site for UN and US war materiel during the Korean War a few years later.

They are also possibly the most misogynistic race on the planet. Bleh.