Going off the last entry, this week totally ended with a festive bang.
On Friday I decided I’d been too antisocial and decided to accompany my roommate into Goesan for a party. That was an experience I won’t soon forget; with all the energy packed into that tiny, one-room bar, I could have lived the entire night vicariously from blocks away. Much of it was not my scene (grinding, moshing, musical taste in general), but I think it was good to experience, especially in the company of the people I went with: the self-proclaimed “water only” table. I definitely ended up having fun with the mellow crowd. 🙂
Yesterday, though, was epic, and this is why: ARCHERY.
In the afternoon a large group of us walked through Goesan to an archery school on the opposite side of town. It didn’t look like much: two low buildings, a long, covered porch from which to shoot, and a large field spotted with targets at various distances. I thought it was charmingly typical and quaint, until I realized the two professional archers next to us were there training for the Olympics.
Coolness rating: +1000.
Because there were so many ETA’s there to learn, we had to split into three groups. My group shot first, quickly alerting me to the gaps in my (Amtgard-provided) prior knowledge of the sport. I remembered the stance, remembered to keep my elbow up and my drawing hand under my chin; but I had to get used to pulling the string right across the middle of my nose and chin, as well as focusing through the sight with my right eye. In fact, I’d never used a sight before, and moreover I’m extremely left-eye dominant. By the end of my turn, my glasses were disposed of and I was squinting through one eye, half blind. For the entire last set, I couldn’t even see where my arrows were landing in the target.
Fortunately, these were just physical hinderances. After my turn was over, I was able to coach to other ETA’s so that they were able to improve more than I had. In fact, by dinner time my name had actually gone around to the orientation coordinators as an “expert archer!” (I’m still correcting people on that…)
We then got to watch a shooting demonstration with traditional Korean bows, which was really cool. These bows bent a lot further back than the normal recurve, and there didn’t appear to be an actual nock for the arrow — it looked like the archers were just shooting off their index fingers.
Oh, and they were shooting targets 145 meters away. Or, simply put…
On the way home some of us stopped in town and got Korean-style pizzas with potato, bacon, onion, and corn. This was honestly more satisfying than anything else I’d eaten here. Though small, it was filling and tasted like a wonderful mix of the U.S. and Japan — probably because Koreans love corn on pizza just as much as the Japanese.
Coincidently, the ETA in this picture, I discovered, is also a YA fantasy novelist. Hence the entire walk home consisted of genre discussion and exchanging our own works. In fact, thanks to her presence last night I was able to work on Ciphers for the first time since arriving here. There are also several poets and a short story writer among the ETA’s, so a writers circle is looking like a possibility. 🙂