Monday, August 18, 2008

Okpo GVC Park

The mouth of Okpo's harbor with barges

In trying to escape from watching Hiyori Lee's U-Go-Girl for about the 50th time, as well as witnessing the poor showing of the USA baseball team against Cuba in the Olympics, I decided to take a hike from Okpo 2-dong to the beach. I had visions of sunning on white sand beaches running through my head, or at the very least, stumbling down a pebble beach into the deep blue water.

A Common Occurrence - Tugboats moving a rig out to sea

Unfortunately, I live on what I thought was a very small island (Okpo definitely is a small place). I mean, come on, I already know all of the blocks in Okpo where all of the (somewhat non-seedy) western bars and foreign clubs are. I know where the jimjilbang is, which noraebangs have western music - I mean, what kind of karaoke establishment doesn't pride itself in at least 2 or 3 Pet Shop Boys selections?

"Of course, you can walk to the beach," I thought to myself. "Why pay 3 bucks for a taxi when you can walk on such a beautiful Liberation Day?"

Hm, it really would've helped to have actually known how to have gotten from Okpo to Deokpo Beach or Gujora Beach. Looking at a map would've perhaps helped....

View Larger Map

So, I started walking. I had a vague idea that if I walked up the steep hill, the beach would be around the corner. Unfortunately, after about 3 kilometers of walking down a highway, the beach just wasn't in the cards.

Although, walking up that hill did provide me with some pretty spectacular views, which hopefully can be seen in these photos. On a clear day, Okpo can perhaps be one of the most beautiful natural places in the world. Except, of course, for the DSME shipyard, which while marring the otherwise beautiful nature of the island, does have a certain bizarre industrial beauty to it.

The temple of Admiral Yi Sun-sin

I ended up going to Okpo Great Victory Commemorative Park, which is about 3 miles down the road from Okpo. The park memorializes the first defeat of the Japanese at the Battle of Okpo on June 15, 1592. The Japanese, under Totoyami Hideyoshi, had invaded Korea on May 23, 1592, laying siege and buring Busan, capturing Seoul, and largely running roughshod over Korea. While largely successful on land, they were defeated time and time again by Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his fleet of Panokseons and Turtle Ships (one of the first ironclad ships in the world).

I think that this will give a better idea as to why Japan invaded:

The plaque in the middle reads:
Japanese culture before Im-jin Japanese Invasion,
inferior to that of Korea, had been desirous of
Korean culture.
Japan organized six special forces to plunder Korea
of its cultural properties.
Japan captured many Korean capanters, workmen,
and took away many Korea treasures and
A majority of Korean cultural properties which are
in Japan today, were taken away during this period.
Japan has developed in cultural respect since Im-jin
Japanese Invasion.

It's a Liberation Day miracle!


SeungLee said...

I am sorry if you expected a beautiful beach. It looks different from when I was in there. The Industrialization to get easy and to use up more lay waste our nature and soul. However, if you drive away from that area a few minutes, still some parts of Korea are beautiful. I will guide you to wonderful places by my car in this winter.
Regarding the history between Korea and Japan, that explanation is true, but all histories are in some sort of tragic irony.

SeungLee said...

For reference, Korean panel wasn’t 100% translated into English. It should be read as
"--- Japan captured many Korean artisans like carpenters, fabric workmen, ceramic workmen, and etc. and ---"
The panel is rather surficial. One of interesting facts is that Japan captured tens of thousand Korean people including Confucian scholars and printing casting workmen. Can you imagine the life of Japan before Im-jin? However, in the result, Im-jin was the lost war to Korea because Japan achieved their purpose culturally and politically with this war.
Let’s talk some day. I like to listen and exchange your idea like before.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I went to that Memorial Park when I visited in undergrad. I also went to OedoI have some relatives living around there on my mom's side. Hope every is going well. Can't wait for more pictures.

Down and Out in.... said...

Everything is great in Korea. I went to a really nice beach called Gujora this weekend (I will upload some pics later on tonight). I am planning a trip to go to Osaka during the Chusook holiday.
Min Gee, I don't know where Oedol is. Is it a village close to Oedo Island? That's just off the coast of Geoje, but no idea if it's someplace else.

Anonymous said...

This is an example of what happens when one does not proofread written sentences. I meant to say that I have family around there, and that I went to the memorial park and then to Oedo Island. Sorry about the confusion. When you have time, definitely visit Oedo Island, it is kind of touristy, but it has great views. I think a k-drama was filmed there.