November, in Korea at least is when the trees de-robe themselves in the annual changing of the leaves ceremony which sees so many people, both Korean and expatriate, head for the hills to "oooh" and "aaah" at all the lovely colours. Elsewhere, in the western world, November the first is the first day of winter in Ireland and is the start of the 'dark half of the year' in Wales. Samhain, the festival held at the end of the harvest season in Gaelic and Brythonic cultures has similarities with Mexico's El Día de los Muertos or All Souls' Day, which scarily enough falls on the same day. If you aren't spooked enough by that, this day is also world vegan day, aaaarrrgh.
In keeping with the theme of death, the second of November will be the 35th anniversary of the tragedy of the Time Go-Go Club in Seoul when 38 people died as it burnt to the ground. Six of the victims died as they jumped to their deaths from the seventh floor because a club official barred the doors after the fire started.
'Remember, remember, the 5th of November' or so they saying goes in the United Kingdom (and some parts of the Commonwealth.) No, not because of the gunpowder plot where a group of English Catholics, who were upset for one reason or another with King James I of England and VI of Scotland, plotted to kill the king and most of the Protestant aristocracy by blowing up the Houses of Parliament during the State Opening on 5 November 1605, but because Korean pop sensation BoA was born on the is day in 1986.
Recent arrivals to Korea have the 11th day of the 11th month to look forward to when they might be lucky enough to receive a box of chocolate covered biscuit sticks. Of course it is Pepero day and what better way to celebrate the German signing of the Armistice of World War One than to chow down on some Japanese snacks on a day created out of the greed of a multinational corporation. Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. Poppies or Pepero? Why not both!
Seeing as most readers of this blog, well at least one of them, is or has been some kind of intrepid traveller I should probably mention all the hundreds of thousands of people, from all over the world who made the long, arduous and sometimes fatal journey to the land of opportunity to seek out their own personal American Dream. The first thing many of these travellers and adventurers (of a fashion) would see would be Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's depiction of 'Liberty Enlightening the World,' before disembarking to Ellis Island to be processed. 55 years ago on the 12th, Ellis Island closed its doors after 62 years of renaming immigrants because their strange foreign accents were hard to understand. On a more upbeat note, on this very day in 1984 Park Sandara was born in Busan. The 2NE1 star not only has an interesting 4 syllable name, 박산다라, after Korean general Kim Yushin, whose childhood name was "Sandara (산다라)," but is also fluent in English and Filipino and has, according to her wikipedia page, "developed Englog and Taglish capabilities," whatever the hell they are.
It's National novel writing month, An Chang-ho, a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States was born on the 9th in 1878 and The Workers Party of South Korea was founded on November 23, 1946 and was led by Pak Hon-yong.
Other interesting things that either happened or will happen I don't have time to work into a story like narrative but have painstakingly copied and pasted from various websites include;
10/11/60 Bookshops all over England have sold out of Penguin's first run of the controversial novel Lady Chatterley's Lover - a total of 200,000 copies - on the first day of publication. DH Lawrence's sexually explicit novel was published in Italy in 1928 and in Paris the following year. It has been banned in the UK - until now.
The 15th is America recycles day and on the 16th, some 84 years apart British fascist Oswald Mosley and all round good guy Rob McGovern were born, the later in 1980. If you happen to be reading this on the 16th of November, it will be Rob's birthday so send him something nice. This day is also the international day of tolerance, which for people who know the aforementioned Rob McGovern might find this incredibly amusing.