Whenever you went into the countryside on Jeju you’d come across chogajip or houses with hay roofs.
These days they are not so easy to see.
The wind of modern culture has blown through even the middle mountain villages and because of this the hay roof houses have disappeared.
There’s not much we can do about it either.
We should not think ill of those who leave traditional life behind and embrace the conveniences of modern culture.
Yet the future will be reflected by our present state and our present state is a reflection of the past.
To know our own state in the future we have to know how things have flowed from past to present.
That is history.
Therefore I visited the Jeju Folk Village Museum to see the face of Jeju’s past.
The Jeju Folk Village Museum opened on February 2, 1987, which was quite some time ago.
Since then Jeju’s traditional houses continued to disappear so the people who were concerned with this issue decided to start moving those houses.
Their new home in Pyoseon stretches over ground encompassing 157,000 square meters or about 47,000 pyeong using the Korean measurement system.
How were the houses moved?
It is kind of like disassembling and assembling a toy part-by-part. Though this is not as easy as it sounds.
Experts from around the world came together to draw out blue prints as the houses were disassembled. Then a lot of effort was needed to put them back together some 25 years in the making.
The village is now administered by the Korea Airport Service.
In total there are 87 traditional houses with an extra 8 others.
You can see from this photograph that the detail within a house is delicate. It looks like someone lived here only a few days ago with the touch of people here and there.
Well there is also another reason for that.
The village is a place various dramas and films are made. The houses are perfect for expressing what old life was like for sets.
There are 13 set places built for dramas including Dae Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) featuring Lee Yeong-ae. Then
Lee Da-hae starred in Chuno (The Slave Hunters).
Next is Lee Min-yeon from Geosang Gim Mandeok (Merchant Kim Man-deok).
Tamna the Island with Lee Mi-yeon finds a set among that all.
Don’t worry there are signs to show you exactly where each one was filmed.
Also the KBS show Bomulseom (Treasure Island) is here every week too.
So the houses do have the marks of people with dusty cloths, bowls, blankets, and shoes. The detail looks really real and you can even see the places people cooked in large pots leaving fire marks on the floor.
Outside in the yards there are various traditional games to play including a giant janggi board (Korean style chess). One family stopped by to play, but as I was alone I only took a photograph.
I also saw one group playing tuho in which you throw sticks into ornamental pots. Whenever someone got a stick in a loud cheer erupted. I think a tiny amount of betting may have been involved.
After looking around for an hour you’ll find the restaurants. As I was there on a cold day not many customers were milling about.
They are not administered by the Korea Airport Service. Instead the owners bid for a spot. Rent has to be paid too.
However, the woodcraft workers do not pay rent. They make things from wood which you can order, but of course it costs a little bit of money.
In total it took me two hours to explore the Jeju Folk Village Museum. If you go quickly one hour will suffice, but I really hope you take your time.
Sometimes the sun shone through while I sat out on a wooden decking. I felt very happy and was in the mood to recite poetry.
That was my trip to the Jeju Folk Village Museum.
Address: Seogwipo-si, Pyoseon-myeon, Pyoseon-ri, 40-1
Opening Hours: From 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (season dependent)
Admission: Adults 8,000 won | Teenagers 5,500 won | Children 4,000 won
Web Site: http://eng.jejufolk.com/html/index.aspx
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