Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busan's Book Alley

I have a theory. My computer is not only sentient, but sadistic and is messing with me all the time. Every time I open it up, it’s changed somehow. Though I have done nothing to instigate this change, Microsoft now automatically displays new documents at 120% instead of 100%. My homepage has changed from Google to some unidentifiable and utterly useless search engine. Also the keys on my keyboard are taking turns not working, forcing me to hit them extra hard if I want to use that letter. Sometimes I completely rewrite emails, status updates, and blog post in order to avoid certain letters. This week it’s my s key and let me tell you, it’s hard to write a sentence without an s.

All that to say, although I’ve embraced technology, I still view it as a necessary evil. I tolerate my kindle because it is light and currently holding 46 books I couldn’t read in Korea without it. Skype is cool—free video calls across the globe still seem like something out of a sci-fi novel—and I love being able to look up the geography, history, and so on of Crimea[1] without going to the library after said area comes up in dinner conversation.

But I’m dumber than a brick when it comes to utilizing anything on a computer beyond basic functions. You may have noticed, all three of you who occasionally comment on blog posts, that I never write you back. I really want to! I just...can’t figure out how yet. Someday!

I don’t trust this new-fangled technology stuff and bother. I much prefer face-to-face conversations with friends, encyclopedia’s in the library, and—relatedly—real books. So a day after I became enamored with the Korean jjimjilbang, I found a new favorite part of Korea: Nampo’s Book Alley.

Mini Busan Geography lesson for clarification:

I live on Yeongdo, which is an island (do, pronounced “doe” as in “doe a dear” means “island”), from which I have to take a bus to the mainland of Korean, where the rest of Busan resides. The neighborhood closest to my island is Nampo (pronounced sort of like “nompo” and spelled 남포). Every area of Busan that is not Nampo requires a bus and a subway and at least 45 minutes, so whenever anything is in Nampo, we give a little cheer for convenience.


Books, books, books were everywhere! It doesn’t matter that most of them were in Korean or that all the shop owners looked at me like I was some kind of white alien. Books! There will be many a trip back to said book alley, particularly when I have a better camera and a little more money on hand.

I’m not going to rapture about books because so many other writers have already done it so much better. The final word is Maya Angelou’s:

 I love the book and the look of words
The weight of ideas that popped into my mind
I love the tracks
Of new thinking in my mind.

[1]  It’s an autonomous parliamentary republic within Ukraine (pop. 2 mil) which seems to have been conquered by everybody and their pet turtle. 

No comments:

Post a Comment