Tag: 북한

A Family’s History

I was told this. My grandfather was born when the shadow of colonial occupation still cast upon the peninsula. He came from somewhat respectable stock, one that afforded him the means to pursue education. Education gave him the ambition to leave his home for Seoul, where he would find an opportunity in the logistics business. That ambition […]

Market Forces

If you look carefully enough in the alleyways of North Korean cities, you’ll find individual vendors and even, perhaps, the bigger jangmadangs (black markets). It is here where people exchange a variety of goods, from rice and roasted sweet potatoes to cosmetics and South Korean movies to heating fuel. This is not something the regime will admit openly, […]

American Movies

A tap on my shoulder woke me up. I rubbed my eyes and looked out the window, only to find the same monotonous stretch of mountains that had first lulled me to sleep. We were still on the potholed-ridden roads of the Pyongyang-Wonsan highway. “Why’d you wake me up?” I said to Park, the young North […]

“You Shouldn’t Throw it Away”

I needed to throw out the Chinese chewing gum that had kept me preoccupied during our drive through Pyongyang. After only seven minutes, it had lost its flavor, and was at this point giving my jaw an unnecessary workout. Back home in the States, I would not have given any thought to just spit it out where […]