I rarely get any snail mail these days, apart from the unsolicited kind, so it's always a bit thrilling to get a package or a letter. It's even more thrilling when the package or letter arrives from overseas. I recently opened my mail box to find a padded envelope from Korea.
It came by seamail, which is interesting in itself. Canada Post now only sends letters and parcels by airmail. Seamail is no doubt the cheapest option for the sender. In this case, the sender was the Korea branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, known as the RASKB for short, which is a venerable and worthy but rather cash-strapped organization. As a life member, I get a free copy of the annual Transactions mailed to me. Paid up holders of yearly memberships also get one. Sure enough, inside the padded envelope was the 2017 edition of the Transactions.
It's always a pleasure to turn the volume over and look at the list of a dozen or more articles, most of them by RASKB members. The volumes have been getting thicker and thicker under the stewardship of the current RASKB president, An Son Jae (AKA Brother Anthony of Taizé).
The articles run the gamut of Korean topics, as you can see from the photo above. The article by Victoria Kim, about a train journey between the DPRK and Russia, is particularly interesting because it contains a lot of photos of contemporary North Korea.
The RASKB, founded in 1900, is the oldest organization in the world dedicated to the study of all things Korean. In addition to a copy of the Transactions, members also get free entry to the twice-monthly lectures that happen in Seoul through most of the year, a discount on books and excursions, free access to the (non-lending) library, and an invitation to the annual garden party, which is held in alternate years at the American or British ambassador's residence. If you'd like to get more information about the RASKB, all the contact details are visible in the picture at the top of this article.
I haven't posted much lately, in fact not at all for more than two months, because I've been busy with my graduate studies. If you follow the Lotus & Persimmon facebook page, you'll see that I've been more active there, and more active still on Instagram. If you're not following Lotus & Persimmon on facebook or Instagram, please do!