Korean soap operas and the Silk Road

Back from a night at the U of M’s Institute for Advanced Studies.  The occasion was a lecture on Chang’an, the capital of the Tang empire and site of the present day city of Xi’an.  The lecture, as well as a pipa concert on Sunday at 3 PM at Kaufman, celebrates the 25th anniversary of a relationship between Minnesota and Shaanxi province as sister states.

A supper preceded the event, paid for by somebody, and had a variety of Chinese dishes, whether indigenous to Shaanxi or not, I do not know.  Over supper I met a Korean woman, a Catholic, who is a professor of history at the Catholic University of Seoul.  She’s here on a one year research fellowship to study Asian history.  Why Minnesota?  We have a good Asian history contigent here at the U.  Her name was Seon-Hye.  Next to me was a graduate student in history, a Chinese woman, who has as her dissertation project women’s writing in China from the 18thC on.  Seems women wrote poems to celebrate their locality.  Beside her was Yoshimi, a Japanese graduate student.  We got to talking about Korean soap operas.  Yoshimi said they were very popular in Japan, so much so that Japanese young women take tours to Korea to see sites where their favorite soap operas happen.   The Chinese woman, whose name I didn’t learn, agreed, saying the Korean dramas were very popular in China, too.  

Huang, a young Mandarin man, is a student of the Qin dynasty.

The lecture that followed supper was on Chang’an and its cosmopolitan nature, demonstrated through art and a mini-history of the silk road.  The lecturer was Kathy Ryor, a professor from Carleton College. 

Also picked up a pair of new sunglasses today.  Snazzy and gray/blue in tint.  Gives the world a slight wintry cast.

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