Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"AS YOU KNOW, IN MY CASE . . . " I happened across a Donga Ilbo editorial that begins like this:
In Korea, we have the most beautifully tinted autumn leaves in the world. The leaves turn to the most brilliant colors during weather in which the temperature does not fall below zero and in which the temperature difference between the day and night is at its largest. The Korean autumn is like this. Just around the time that we see all those beautifully tinted and shaded colors in the mountains, the northwest wind blows in from the Chinese continent and makes the matching sky clearer and higher.
One could, of course, quibble with this. Sure, Korean autumn leaves are nice, but "the most beautifully tinted autumn leaves in the world"? Folks in Vermont and who knows where else might beg to differ. My general reaction, though, is one of nostalgia. I can't count how many times in 1980's knocking Province I encountered an earnest young Korean student who wanted to practice their Enlgish. Almost invariably they began with a discourse on Korea, one that came straight out of their middle school introductory English textbook.
I would like to introduce my country to you.

As you know, in our case, Korea has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter.

Korea also has the most scientific alphabet in the world
And on and on it would go. South Korea is far more cosmopolitan and jaded now. Almost no one approaches me in Seoul to practice their English. I'm glad to see that love of that most beautiful of the four distinct seasons still remains.

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