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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Deep Dive 潜水

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

2023 年 4 月 14 日

I have a new friend. 新しい友達がいます......She has always been very nervous and shy, but today she came down off the wall and made her debút in my garden......

...showing off her tasteful colour scheme of grey and yellow to its best advantage.....灰色と黄色 👍🏻

So there. ぞうですね........


Last year one of the more feminist leaning members of my book group suggested reading this book : The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See. I sort of inwardly groaned when I heard this, preparing myself for another session of man-bashing. However, once I got the book I found myself on an utterly fascinating journey through a very special piece of Korean culture, all depicted against its tumultuous 20thc history : Japanese colonialism, World War II, the Korean War and on into the era of mobile phones and the internet. How little I knew of historical events in this part of the world!少しだけ歴史を知っている!

The narrative all takes place on Jeju, a large island off the coast of South Korea. had never heard of it, even less the culture so vividly depicted in this book - the extraordinary phenomena of all-women diving communities. It was all so strange to me that I have to use someone else's words.....

"....known as the "Korean mermaids"or the "Amazons of Asia", these sea women, or haenyeo, have been diving into the icy waters of the Korean Strait and overturning traditional gender roles since as far back as the 17th century.

When the men of Jeju, South Korea's largest island, went off to war or out to sea to fish, diving for conch, octopus and abalone became the women's domain. And it has remained that way. In the early 1960s, 21% of the women living on Jeju were professional divers, and their annual haul made up 60% of the island's fisheries' entire revenue. In Jeju, it was the men who entered a marriage with a dowry...."

So it was all the more the more interesting then, when hiking this weekend, that my hiking partner had literally just returned from Jeju the day before. 今週末、私のハイキングパートナーは文字通り、前日に済州から帰ってきたばかりだった。S. Korea is in the same time zone as Japan, so she was 8 hours "ahead", and had just survived a 13 hours plus flight from Seoul. So talking about sea food and Korean life brought this book all back to me....Here we see women preparing the fresh mollusc Abalone.......ここでは、新鮮な軟体動物のアワビを準備している女性たちの姿が見られます......

Later to appear on the table......すぐに食べられる

...along with octopus pancakes.....たこ焼き

Photos: Phe

I'm not a great seafood fan, but I know that if it is properly cooked, and maybe accompanied by a little Sake or Souchou it can be really rather yummy....😋.


Well, now to our actual hiking : through the woods and cliffs of the charming Nahe valley.......We walked through a spring landscape......小さな春を見つけた

with burgeoning fresh green everywhere.......しんりょく

I nearly stepped on a baby seemed to flick its tongue at me...annoyed..!

ちさいまむし (蝮)

...the stubborn rock has forced the river Nahe to create a picturesque route, ideal for swans.....険しい崖...フランクフルトの西60キロの美しい渓谷's a selfie with my "Jeju correspondent"....

..and a precipitous view down to the river....

Down in the town it was good to see that the Salinenwerk had been reactivated for the new season

You really can inhale salty air, like at the seaside....本当に海辺のように塩辛い空気を吸うことができます..The local water is dripped down through tighly packed blackthorn branches,

which draw off the lime and other deposits, making the water extremely salty.....しおみず塩水

Here are some more impressions.....(There is more than 1 kilometer of these vast structures, which form a sort of "Inhalation Park"......)

In the town an old pumping machine has been preserved, driven by this water wheel....(the Kurhaus can be seen in the background) 古い水車

It was Easter Monday, so it was a relief to find a café open.......(no hike is complete without a little refreshment afterwards)......😋......散歩の後のアイスクリームは最高です


Talking of preserving old structures, I chanced upon this old Stollen (water reservoir 用水池 ) back in Langen the other day. It used to feed the households in the northern part of the town until the 1950's......

No shortage of "burgeoning" green here either......a cherry tree....櫻


and beech......ブナの木


And the woods themselves.......


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p.s do you think cats eat abalone?

I rather think they do.......猫はアワビを食べると思いますか。 そうだと思います.....😸




not of the week : Reach for the Sky. Langen.

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