Today’s itinerary consisted of going to the U.S Consulate and then Pusan National University. The U.S Consulate visit was almost a last minute addition because we were originally going to go to SECO MIBOGEAR but they cancelled. So the U.S Consulate it is! Originally we went to somewhere other than the consulate because we had the wrong address, so we had to get back on the bus and then go to the actual consulate. Apparently this is one of the smallest consulates that America has in another country. There was only one American working there. All the rest were Korean. This probably has to do with South Korea being the second most homogeneous country in the world right after North Korea. Anyways, I was very surprised at the size of the consulate’s area. There was a main room probably the size of my current hotel room, then three other rooms. One for the diplomats office, the other being the conference room, and the third being another office. We learned quite a bit about Japanese and Korean relations here as well. Apparently the colonial Japanese used Korean women as sex slaves back in their war time to please the soldiers. Tensions between Korea and Japan ever since then have been fairly high. For example, there was a naval boat show in South Korea in which many nations attended. It is Japanese law to raise the Japanese flag whenever a boat is in port, but the people of South Korea would have viewed that as a sign of war. So the Japanese simply didn’t come. I had asked the U.S diplomat what would be necessary for the tensions to lower and he said that a specific apology from the Japanese would be absolutely necessary for the Korean people to possibly forgive the Japanese.
We then went to Pusan National University. During the presentations, we had learned a little more about North Korea and how they are very smart in the actions that they do. They (the government officials) know everything that happens outside of North Korea. They also keep everything from their citizens so that they’ll be able to make sure that their citizens don’t know that there is any better system of government than the one that they currently have. They also have spies planted in China that pretend they were escapees so that way any North Koreans that do escape would be led to them and then put in jail. Their large army is attributed to making sure that the government has control and to make sure that the citizens feel safe from other countries since the government always tells the citizens that other countries are out to get North Korea. However, their army still uses outdated weaponry. One may ask then, why are they building nuclear weaponry? Because it is more cost efficient than replacing all the guns in the military, and the government needs to save as much money as possible due to their low GDP.
After Pusan, my instructor had bought some friends and I live octopus. Contrary to how it sounds, it was actually quite good. Though the octopus itself tastes like nothing, it’s the oil that one puts on the octopus that gives it it’s taste. After this I had gone back to the mall I went to yesterday and bought a pair of shoes. I think that this is my first pair of white shoes I’ve ever owned, and I’m very excited that I now have a souvenir for myself.