I discovered 청주 (Cheongju, South Korea) on 11 July 2009 thanks to my local colleague 남규 (Namkyoo), who wished to show me the house of 김 기창 (KIM Ki-Chang) aka 운보 (Unbo), a Korean painter notably known for drawing 세종대왕 (Sejong the Great) on ₩10.000 banknotes. A grey sky accompanied heat and humidity, a usual mark of the rainy season in South Korea.
After eating my best sushis in the country so far, 남규 (Namkyoo) drove me, his wife and daughter to 운보의 집 (Unbo's house). I appreciated the garden, compact but not overloaded, designed with talent and well maintained. I contemplated landscapes weaving nature with man-made artefacts and lotuses floating over miniature ponds carved in rock statues. I was surprised by the presence of numerous bonsais, which I solely associated to Japan, before admiring the artist's paintings at the gallery, enjoying his simple but deep colorful style. A few minutes away, we stopped the car near a long wall painted with scenes of the four seasons then again to face impressive sculptures made of junk, including an easily-recognizable version of the manga robot マジンガーＺ (Mazinger Z). Finally, we visited 청주 고인쇄박물관 (Cheongju early printing museum), which exhibited ancient artefacts and documents and exposed history using automata.
This day in good company was exciting and stimulating, and I only regret that my Korean language abilities were insufficient to chat with my colleague's young daughter.