Everyday beauty, countries and people
In Tokyo, I always enjoy visiting the “Muji Found” stores. These stores display handcrafted objects of everyday use from around the world.
I borrowed this book by an early 1900s author who encouraged people to look for beauty in everyday objects — perhaps he was the inspiration for Muji Found.
One essay is addressed to the Korean people; the author was unhappy with Japanese annexation of Korea. It is said this essay made many denounce the author as a Korea apologist and a traitor.
Talking about Korea, Whenever I read a book about Pyongyang, I miss the cold noodles (Raengmyon, 랭면), more so in July/August, you need this dish to beat the heat.
Luckily in Singapore, I am near the mini Korean neighbourhood where a small hidden away restaurant serves this.
I will recommend See You Again in Pyongyang by Travis Jeppesen. The author gives a glimpse of everyday Pyongyang. The book is also serves as a quick history refresher on North Korea.
There is an encounter with a North Korean soldier that the author describes. He got into a casual conversation with a border guard on the North-South border. Halfway, the soldier asked the author about his home country. The author replied that he is from America, expecting the soldier to break off the conversation. The unperturbed soldier sensing the author’s discomfort reassures him “Countries are countries, people are people”.