Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia. October, 2017.
“Meant to ward off evil spirits, modern komainu statues are almost identical, but one has the mouth open, the other closed. This is a very common characteristic in religious statue pairs at both temples and shrines. This pattern is however Buddhist in origin and has a symbolic meaning. The open mouth is pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, which is pronounced “a”, while the closed one is uttering the last letter, which is pronounced “um”, to represent the beginning and the end of all things. Together they form the sound Aum, a syllable sacred in several religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.” Wikipedia article.
we arrive in jeju, korea’s largest island.
we drive towards manjanggul.
i buy 6 books at the what the book bookstore including scary stories to tell in the dark with the original stephen gammell illustration.
i walk down itaewon-ro in the heart of the american military presence in korea.
turns out they’re having a little protest outside the walls of the yongsan garrison.
the war memorial of korea.
fighting monks retaking pyongyang castle from the japanese.
as the clock strikes midnight, a breakdance fight breaks out.
sunday we take the mugunghwa out of seoul. 5 hours later night falls and we’re back in busan.