This weeks research was a little different from others... We did search the forests and rice fields for frogs (we caught quite a few this week, which I believe has to do something with the fact that it was raining) on Thursday evening, but the rest of the week was spent preparing for a presentation that we were to give on Monday. In order to prepare for the presentation I wrote a proposal on the calling tactics of Hyla japonica. The proposal consisted of a research question, background information on the frogs' calling, hypotheses, methods, unfinished results, and possible future research. After I wrote the proposal I met with one of the research students, Heejin, to create a powerpoint that we were to present on Monday. The presentation was given to fellow research students and professors, including my own professor Dr. Lim who paid a visit to Ewha University. The experience went very well. It was made known that this wasn't our final product, but was to help us prepare for our final presentation that we will give before we leave Korea. Also, this helped us coordinate all of the data that we've gathered while researching here in order to prepare us for our work over the fall. Overall the experience was fun and it was nice to see professor Lim again. (Below I attached the link to my proposal. However, be aware that it is unfinished).
Over the weekend Fritz and I, Kyle stayed back because he was sick, traveled to Boryeong to check out the famous mud festival in Korea. The festival has been around for 17 years now and apparently is one of the largest festivals in Korea. The duration of the festival is two weeks and it contains different festivities throughout the week. There are concerts, a blocked off area where the mud is, lots of food, and a beach right next to it. We woke up early on Saturday and took a bus to Boryeong. We arrived around noon and were instantly greeted by the craziness of the festival. This was definitely the place to be if you wanted to meet other foreigners. Many of the people are in the army, but there are lots of foreigners from everywhere, which was kind of nice considering the fact that we haven't really met any people that can speak english as their first language. Even though it's called a mud festival, most of the people were actually outside of the mud park (either on the beach, by the concert stage, or just mingling with others). In fact, I never made it into the mud park, which cost $10, and instead stuck around the perimeter. I think it was just as fun, and we could also paint mud on ourselves because they had stations full of mud that were on the outside of the fence. Anyways, throughout the day we talked with some foreigners and experienced the music and festivities amongst the sea of people. On Sunday we got a little sun and went into the ocean. One thing that I thought was pretty cool was that when arriving at the beach around 11:30 am we could see about 500 yards of beach. Next thing you know, 15 minutes later, the beach was gone... the tide had made it all the way to the sidewalk. I thought this was pretty cool, but not as cool as being interviewed. After making our way towards some food I found myself being video taped for an interview. One of the Korean employees working for the festival asked me if I could tell the camera about my experience at the mud festival. I don't think I did the best (since I was caught off guard), but I might make an advertisement, which would be kind of cool. Who knows?! Also, before we left we listened to some Kpop (Korean pop music) on the beach to experience a little more of the festival before we made our way to Paju. The weekend concluded of taking a train, which I had not experienced yet, and sitting on the steps of the entrance because the only seats available were standing. I knew I wouldn't make it 3 hours standing, so I decided to sit on the ground/steps. Either way, I made it back safely just in time for the presentation that we gave early Monday morning (what I described above).
As for the culture, I would like to comment on the Korean music, Kpop, a little more. Kpop has become very popular since the 1990's and continues to grow in popularity. While at the mud festival I witnessed many people getting into the music, including myself (even though I can't understand the words). The instrumentals were very catchy and the dancing wasn't bad. Personally, I think that I could get used to some of the songs because of how catchy the tunes are. One thing I have noticed is that the Kpop usually consists of a group about 6 people or more, and every person has their own style. For example, one group member will have pink hair, the other yellow, another blue, and one will be 'bad' one with tattoos all over the body. I think they do this to attract all audiences, however I am not sure on this. These Kpop stars are also all over the subways, busses, and streets trying to get their faces out there. Its becoming popular and I'm fairly new to it, but it could be something that I get hooked on later...probably just the girl Kpop stars though.