The building above is Uhe-gak, a little shrine of sorts at Ojukon, near Kangnung (Gangneung). Inside
are replicas of Yi Yul Guk's book and inkstone. |
So who is this Yul Guk? That's the pen name of Yi I, one of Korea's great statesmen. Pick up a Korean 5000 Won note and you'll see his picture. Yul Guk (or Yulgok, depending on who's Romanizing) was a Neo-Confucian scholar of the Choson Dynasty (or Joseon, in the new Romanization), which lasted from 1392 to 1910. He was born in Kangnung and lived at Ojukon.
His mother, Shin Saimdang, was also a great scholar, artist, and poet. You can see her picture on the new 50000 Won note that Korea finally introduced in June of 2009 (for years the largest bill available was a 10000 Won note, which made for fat wallets and a literal pain in the tail).
That's Margaret's friend Christina climbing the stairs. Christina taught at Best Language Institute when Margaret first started there, but left not long after to get married. She was one of Margaret's first Korean friends. A decade later (hard to believe it's been that long), they still stay in touch by email. We always visit Christina when we're in Korea.