Monday, October 13, 2008

"Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo"

I just wanted to recycle last year's Washington Post headline about this year's 2008 Han River High Wire World Championship, the annual tightrope-walking event. The festivities were held again this year (hat tip to Robert Neff in the Marmot's Hole, who also wrote the OhMyNews story; his contributions on the late Chosŏn era and the colonial period are informative gems). 

The Han in the headline, of course, is the 514-km-long Han River that lazily winds its way through the capital. Throughout most of Seoul, including where these people are crossing, I believe the river is more than a kilometer wide. Having grown up near the ocean, the remarkably wide Han River is one of the things about Seoul I enjoy the most. 

Mr Neff informs readers that the purpose of the event was to "help globalize the Korean tradition of chul•t'a•gi [줄타기, jultagi in NAKL], pictured above in a photo from around 1914, taken at the Seoul Mining Company. If one goes to the Korean Folk Village [min•sok•ch'on, 민속촌/韓國民俗村] in Yong•in [용인시/龍仁市], you can see some very deftly performed acrobatics on the tightrope. The emphasis is more on bouncing tricks than on walking across the tightrope. When I can get to it, I'll include my own pictures from Minsokchon. 

[above: Asleidy Coromoto of Venezuela, doing something I have neither the guts nor the skill to pull off. And I'm not just talking about the red outfit.]

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