2005
TITLE: MIDSUMMER IN PUSAN
PDF
SHORT STORY

Besides Japan and China, the average reader may be hardly conscious of Korea. There are few historical ties for the British, the Korean War seems to be the only one, and if we don't count the modern era no cultural ties at all. But no country of fifty million people can be lacking in interest or lacking in character and Korea - let's focus on South Korea where this short story is set - has plenty of both. There is a generation of young people running every facet of the country who were the first generation to go to university, their parents rural, farming folk. There is a freshness and energy in the arts and in popular entertainment there which has meant that, lately, movies and dances from Korea have arrived on the shores of Europe. In Japan and China, Korean soap operas are followed with an eagerness which is not inspired by local productions. So, if the reader can put aside the unfamiliarity of the names and the places, the setting for this story is not as irrelvant as it once might have been. And anyway, people are people the world over, they think, they feel, they act - almost always as human beings - even the Koreans, most of the time.

The story is set in and around the city of Pusan in the south. Pusan is opposite the straits which divide Korea from Japan and is therefore, geographically, like a Dover to France's Calais. There are beaches in Pusan and that invites a comparison with Barcelona in Spain. Amoung the beaches Hyundae is the one with the prime waterfront and this beach is where much of this story takes place.

Thanks to: Kim, Kyung-Ae