Guinsa, South Korea: Accidentally the Only White Guy Among 8,000 Koreans in an Extremely Holy Temple in the Middle of Nowhere

A VERY PARTICULAR DARKNESS envelops Guinsa at night. Arriving after sunset, I was met by the few dozen parked cars surrounded by something smaller than a village—a smattering of homes and restaurants, maybe 30 in all, mostly closed up by 8 p.m. The temple complex itself lies one kilometer uphill, wedged within a valley surrounded by mountains on the eastern border of North Chungcheong, the … Continue reading Guinsa, South Korea: Accidentally the Only White Guy Among 8,000 Koreans in an Extremely Holy Temple in the Middle of Nowhere

Chenjiapu Valley, China: A Refreshing Take on the Great Wall

ACCORDING TO GOOGLE MAPS, Chen Yang’s farm is situated in the middle of a patch of complete, unblemished grayness. There is no Street View. Driving directions on his website are an exhausting 368 words long: Jingzang Expressway to Badaling, a tunnel to exit 62, keep right after a U-turn 200 meters after a toll booth at a fork in the road. It’s safe to say … Continue reading Chenjiapu Valley, China: A Refreshing Take on the Great Wall

Notes on Visiting a Korean Acupuncture Clinic

NECESSARY PRETEXT: I am a nervous laugher. I laugh uncontrollably in bad situations. I’ve laughed at funerals, giggled at being dumped, chuckled at the doctor’s and chortled at the dentist’s. So it should come as no surprise that, after my first half-marathon resulted in a strikingly painful bout of runner’s knee, my first visit to a Korean acupuncture clinic was a seemingly delightful experience, as I … Continue reading Notes on Visiting a Korean Acupuncture Clinic