Posts By: Joop

Sunday morning run with Suna

Ran a 15 km round from Culemborg to Everdingen, with Suna following on her new bike. A great start of the Sunday. Even though it’s generally quite dark this time of year, today it was bright and very nice outside. i’ve left dailymile for runkeeper.

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Hendrick Hamel

20131124-231839.jpgAlmost every Korean has heard about Hamel, have you heard about him? He was the first westerner to write about Korea, back in 17th Century. In 1653, he arrived at Jeju island (link follows to my holiday at jeju) along with his crewmates. He was a bookkeeper for the Dutch East India Company. They were actually on their way to Japan. The men were captured by the Koreans and were forbidden to leave the country. After 13 years they managed to escape to Japan and bring back his writings to the Netherlands.

Every history book in Korea mentions his name. The first public recognition of Hamel in the Netherlands occurred early in the 20th century, when a local street was named after him. They also made a statue for him. As we passed by Gorinchem yesterday, a visit to his statue and a picture were obligatory. His journal is published as a book under his name.

Korean class

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Spent my Saturday learning Korean, I haven’t done anything else since 2011. As you all know my goal is to have conversations with my mother in law.

Recently I have been starting to watch some Korean television as classes have become a routine. Make some homework at home and practice speaking with your fellow students in class does seem to help little by little. When that Korean song ‘Gangnam style’ was popular I noticed a lot of new students trying to pickup the language, although that effect seem to have worn off. Recently the teachers allowed me to pass to advanced class, I’m trying to keep up by studying during my Sundays. Last Saturday we were only with three people.

Korean style accuracy

signI took the picture above while walking around the Daejeon subway system. To me, this is typical Korean style accuracy. I mean, what would the harm be if they just wrote ’30 meters’?

2 days and one night in Geojedo

20131023-110755.jpgIt was my first time camping in Korea. I saw some super de luxe tents and learned that Koreans take their camping very seriously. Could camping have been popularized by some camping-themed TV program in Korea? Besides camping I also visited the Oedo island by boat.

Camping in Geojedo – Together with friends of my parents in law, we stayed at the fabulous beach side autocamping in Geojedo, a 400 km drive from Seoul. it was fun putting up our camp, with tents food and a common area to sit. But it took some time and was a lot of work. When everything was done we proudly sat down and ate our lunch a bit tired but very happy. After lunch I took a walk around the camaping and was surprised how Koreans camp. So what’s different? Well, I saw a tent with a TV projector – guess no singalongs there. And many hats. For some reason, the hats featured flashlights. Because? I guess they wanted to check up on their barbeques in the dark. Anyway, the guests didn’t go camping because it was cheap. They bought professional gears and we’re fully packed, even if it was for just one night.

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Quite different to the ‘as long as there is fire, singalongs and some shuteye’ camping experiences in France and Sweden. Which, also has it’s charm. There is a popular tv program in Korea called ‘2 days 1 night’ (1박 2일) and it made camping hugely popular in Korea. In the past year, another television show called ‘dad where are you going’ 아빠! 어디가? also features a new lifestyle: children camping with dads and preparing food together. You can see this replicated at the autocamping.

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We made a big hike over the pebble-stone beach. Later we climbed the hill and got an amazing view over the cliffs. In the evening we prepared a big barbecue with the three families. There was samyuksal, beers and boardgames. And Korean tales ofcourse.

Oedo – A recommendation. We almost missed it. Actually, we packed up after a nice holiday and started to drive back. Suddenly we noticed a tour operator which featured ferries to the ‘Oedo islands’. My mother in law immediately recalled that they were beautiful and we just had to visit them, so we did. We bought some tickets for about 20 dollars each and waited for our ferry to arrive. Actually, during this waiting time, we enjoyed some beers on the dock while watching the boats, very relaxing! The ferry first takes you to a ‘cracked island’ which is split in half. It’s quite a sight. Our tour operator boat even went inside the crack, which was a bit scary. He then took off to the Oedo island (외도). We were told we had about 1,5 hours to explore, which seemed like an awful lot to me. Until I turned a corner and saw the majestic garden. Palm trees, nice seatings, roman pilars and beautiful views on the distant island scenery. I cracked open a drink and enjoyed the view for a while. Then we took a walk through the garden and enjoyed the scene’s and flowers. Before we knew it, we had to get back to the boat and to the land to go back. Certainly a great night and two days!

Anniversary in Jeonju

20131018-170906.jpgWe are in Korea. Spent our wedding anniversary in the old town of Jeonju, South Korea. Just look at the picture above, straight from the movies isn’t it? We stayed the night at that very house, in fact the oldest house of the town called Hakindang.

Hakindang is a graceful upper class home from the Joseon-era converted to a guest house in Jeonju, built in 1905, has an interesting history and is one of the oldest in the village.

Hakindang is where Baek Nak Jung, a well-known devoted son, once lived. King Gojong granted him a government position out of admiration for his filial piety.

Hakindang is a Korean-style house typical of the construction techniques from the
late Joseon period. The building is also a typical example of court construction style introduced into the upper class housing after the Joseon Dynasty collapsed.

from wikimapia.

As I was listening to the China History podcast, I started to get curious about Korean history too. Spending the night at Hakindang, we really enjoyed the local customs and historic culture. For breakfast we had the following:
20131018-172439.jpgThe whole town with it’s hanok roofs (those pointy asian style roofs) was actually very romantic. No wonder the last royal blood from Korea, (would be prince) Lee suk decided to move here. Even the coffeeshops which had a terrace with this nice weather, have hanok roofs:
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During the day we visited the kyonggijun garden, which was visited by the first king of the Chosun kingdom. A lot of Korean treasures have been destroyed during the occupation but the kyonggijun had safeguarded a lot, including the transcripts of the king’s activities. For dinner we had dokkalbi and we drank moju, both of which were a new experience for me. Then we went back to our house, Hakindang. While the day was warm, the nights get cold here in the Korean fall. The paper walls got me worried for a minute but the room was actually quite warm. We slept traditional style on the heated floor.

20131018-172950.jpgIt’s becoming a tradition to visit a town during anniversary, although this experience was very different from the luxury we enjoyed at that joyful day at sheshan in the P.R.C but certainly a romantic and special experience.

Sanoma Performance Based Academy

20131006-204218.jpgJoined a two month programme here at Sanoma, the so called ‘Performance Based Academy’. An inspirational event marked the kick-off last Friday, in the FOX theatre. There were speakers from outside the company as well; Tom Coronel – a race car driver and entrepreneur talked a bit how he made his e-commerce business into a success. He sells Plasma televisions and washing-machine’s online. Two takeaways from his presentation:

* Make use of all social media –  produce product reviews and publish those on Youtube. This generates a lot of extra traffic to your site. When a product goes out of stock, be sure to go back add links to your latest  video’s.
* Be different, Social media deal – Do not just show a plain share button. A better idea is to offer a discount to your customers when they share their purchase to their friends. You can make that part of the checkout process. A fun and unique feature!

The day closed with a nice dinner and a party. I’m looking forward to the rest of the programme!

Paleo nostalgia: minimalist running

vibram five fingers, running in CulemborgI bought minimalist running shoes. Throughout human history, running barefoot was the natural way to run. Athletes ran barefoot until the 1970s. But then something interesting happened. The conventional running shoe was invented, heel cushioning, stiff sole and arch support would increase performance and reduce pressure on your feet. A claim that is unsupported depending on which source you ask. In 2009, Barefoot running was on the rise. Largely due to the Vibram Five Finger shoes, which offer protection but no real support, and you are supposed to run almost exactly like you would when you run barefoot. My friend Marc bought some Vibram five fingers and enjoyed them. I had just bought new expensive conventional running shoes. I decided to wait. I ran several half marathons on those conventional shoes, without injury. Until last month, they were up for replacement so I could decide again. This time I bought Vibram Five finger shoes. I was told to start slow on my five fingers, so I did. The first week after purchase I didn’t run. I just walked around the house with them one hour a day. The week after, I made a small run (3km). But at home I discovered I had a lot of blisters. I left them alone until the next weekend and ran 6 km with them. No problems. Today I ran 8km and enjoyed the run.

Image from buildlean

Besides running I have been wearing them during table-tennis as well. With both, the shoes felt very light and I felt flexible. When running, with conventional shoes and a vehicle is approaching towards me, it would be troublesome to jump on the sidewalk and continue running but with my minimalist shoes, I feel I have better balance. Putting the minimalist shoe beside the conventional shoe, the size and weight difference is staggering. I’m still getting used to my new minimalist shoes and running without socks but the vibram five finger shoes seem like a really good purchase.