Sunday is usually a pretty lazy day- but not always. Sunday I tried to find one measly little book, that was not to be found. I started in Itaewon, and from there I went to Kyobo. I was looking for a book for a new reading circle that started here in Seoul. I’ve never been before, and the book is not something I would normally read; so I thought I’d give it a try. Weeellllllll, that didn’t turn out. No one had the stupid book. It is The Fighter by Norman Mailer. I decided to order it. I think expanding my reading will probably do me a bit of good– get out of the intellectual rut so to speak.
So I was kind of tired, and I thought seriously of canceling on my friend, however I didn’t. We met in Hongdae to go to a cinema cafe. I like art films. And I like the art crowd. The movie was “Departures” a Japanese film about a failed cellist who goes to the country and becomes a “encoffiner” someone who makes people ready to go into their coffin. It was incredibly beautiful and very sad. I believe that several scenes will haunt me for a long time. One in particular, the main character finds his childhood cello, and is playing it while swans are flying, and that is when I started crying. Another scene that was particularly well done, his wife finds out about his new job, a job he did not tell her about, and she begs him to quit. She says she came from Tokyo cheerfully, supported him, didn’t complain and all she asks is that he find a different job, even if it pays less. He says nothing, but you can see his desire to both give her what she wants and his new found purpose in his job. He reaches out to her and she calls him filthy (apparently there is a taboo about his job)– I thought they were both in the wrong, neither could give without losing themselves. It was wrenching. Actually, I cried through most of the movie.
It was a bit embarrassing to be honest. Then I thought as I was on the subway home– why am I embarrassed when some thing beautiful touches me? Isn’t that what art is supposed to be about. I think part of the problem is the appalling number of cheap tear-jerker sentimental movies that are not beautiful, don’t say anything but still manipulate our emotions. But… in the end, I’m glad that beauty still touches me, and that I still have sympathy even for those who are far away, or who only exist in the imagination of another.
And the imagination is what brings me to the review of my week. This week I had to come to the uncomfortable and somewhat humbling conclusion that I am not only not tech savvy, I am a full on tech-tard. Yeah, I did just make that word up. But it fits so perfectly. So the computers in the classrooms are not all set up. This is ok, I started teaching before computers in every classroom so this doesn’t bother me. And I do understand the new rule that forbids internet in the classroom. The students often get into a bit o’trouble on the web. The problem is … although I know how to save things on the Powerpoint and on the flash drive, I still don’t know how to put half of it together. I have “capture” for some video, but not all, I know there are programs that are super-duper cool, but I don’t know how to use them. Sigh. How do you untech-tard yourself?
Well, in celebration of the creativity of man, and woman– I present to you