The conference at SNU ended up being a great experience for a wide array of reasons. The papers and sessions were all interesting, to start with. It is a rarity that a conference has as much coherence as this one did, but because it was tightly knit in terms of theme and the core presenters and participants were involved in a sustained way throughout the conference, the whole thing worked very well. I learned a lot. There were professors from the US, Canada, China, Japan, and Korea, and the topics and papers were almost all extremely well done. I was especially happy to hear strong criticism by the commentators. It is always better when people are extremely critical.

The organizers treated us well too, supplying very good meals and nice accommodations. I couldn't have picked better menus myself for the lunches--sushi one day and grilled eel the next.

I went out one night with for my first taste of "budae jigae" which is also called "army soup." It is a Korean favorite, a legacy of the Korean War. People used to steal as much as possible from US Army bases and make a stew out of it--spam, hotdogs, and about anything else would all go in the soup. Nowadays it is a beloved comfort food and restaurants serve it all over the place. They are crowded too. It is cooked in a big pot at your table. It tastes pretty much what you might think a spicy spam/hot dog/tofu/green onion and other ingredient stew tastes like...

That explains why people give the big gift boxes of Spam for Chuseok.

Seoul National University's campus is on, and surrounded by, some beautiful mountains. With the leaves changing it was beautiful to be there. The University is evidently quite prosperous and it is very large.

One museum on the campus had a large display of historic Buddhas and another had the historic Royal libraries including rare books and maps many centuries old held by the Kyuanggak Institute. We got tours of the museums and that was another bonus of the whole conference.

We were put up in some newly built faculty housing, which ended up being large and nicely constructed apartments.

The restaurant for the faculty house features a breakfast menu on which the second item is "A droth to chase a hangover."


dvs said…
I have often heard it said that D. Roth is the perfect hangover antidote. I just didn't realize this news had spread to Korea.

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