Thursday, December 6, 2012

Small two serving tea set by Jeong Mijin

A couple months ago I attended a tea and ceramic fair at BEXCO in Busan. I never had the plan to attend this event but came across it while attending a biomechanics seminar held at the expo center. I sampled a few teas and kept my eye on teaware as I have hoped to find some Korean made teas and teaware for a while now. I came across a stand which had several small (possible for two cup servings) tea sets which had quite earthy feels to them. Interestingly, compared to other artists, this display was primarily of the smaller size. I asked the artist (Jeong Mijin) if she mostly drank tea alone. She confirmed and smiled. Several weeks after attending I decided to purchase a set from her as she explained most small tea sets she made were 50,000 won. For me, to get my hands on a handmade set that provides tea drinking for that price is great. I asked for photos of tea sets of that price and made my choice accordingly. My choice was the set below. Only seeing this by photo gave a sense of anticipation as I don't remember handling this at the tea fair. Once I received the package I was quite delighted. It appears the box which it came with was hand crafted. Te box is of light wood (not sure the type) and presented with a paint brush image of the Korean peninsula. It appears to only include the southern "half" but to the upper (northern) region provides a branch of blooming flowers. I have interest in inter-Korean relations so my thoughts on this may be skewed. I would appreciate a tea talk time with Ms Jeong to hear her feelings on the image that is painted on the box.
The tea set is quite light in the hand. The handle fits great upon grasping and pours cleanly. There is a clear sense of strength that the set provides which to me is a surprise for how light it feels. The cups have a glossy finish and textured outer surface ( i like this feel against my lips when drinking). After four days of use it appears some dark spotted stains have surfaced. My only thought is that it could be tea oils, however a previous gaiwan that I purchased at a tea shop in Busan presented the same stains but after rinsing with hot water have never surfaced again. A bulk of the stains colonized at the bottom surface around the artist's name print. Thinking of leaving the stains, however sometimes they can create a mess if watered spills on the set from pouring.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

korean made gaiwan

a few months ago i took a stroll around an area called nampodong (남포동). i stepped into a small teaware shop to see if i might find a gift for my assistant. luckily i found a well priced korean made gaiwan (개완). so well priced, decided to buy two, one for him and one for myself.

once the winter break came i went back up north to seoul, where i live, and since then haven't used my new gaiwan. i just returned to busan for the spring semester and am REALLY enjoying the use of this set. the thing i like most about it, at this point, is how light and comfortable the cup feels in the hand. because it takes on a more "korean" design, it automatically appears to maybe carry a bit more weight. this is not the case as it provides a similar feel to the chinese made gaiwan.

from what i get from this mark is the chinese word of "bi/비" : 건줄:비 as in "compare". i'm going off an internet search for this word so it could be incorrect...

the cup has already developed some tea oil stains

i have another gaiwan (chinese made) that was purchased back in september of 2011 which, to me, doesn't take on as much practicality as this korean made piece. as the korean piece is a nice feel in the hand, it incorporates a smart "streamer" at the lip with grooves to allow the tea to flow effortlessly into the cup. with that, the lid fits almost flush, but because of the grooved lip, the tea still pours well. my chinese made gaiwan, on the other hand, incorporates the grooves at the lid and are much more spaced apart (giving to more leave departure at the pour). also maybe due to my elementary pouring technique, the chinese gaiwan is not yet as comfortable to pour as i tend to spill tea more generously. i also wonder if it is because i have more of a korean tea drinking culture in me which prefers a bit more cleaner dispensing of tea.

i believe the script is simply the company which made the cup

Thursday, February 16, 2012

traditional korean potter: park bosung 박보성

two weeks ago my mom and step-dad came to korea for a two week visit. i wanted them both to experience korea's traditional culture. they are both interested in art and hand-crafts such as pottery and carpentry.

about a year ago i was at the seoul arts center (예술의전당) at an outdoor pottery art show and met park bosung (박보성). mr. park had a display of some beautiful traditional designed tea pots and other tea-ware. i took one of his cards and looked forward for the chance to schedule a visit to this workshop down near daegu.

about a week before my parents' arrival i gave a call to mr. park asking him if a visit to this countryside traditional korean home and gallery would be okay. he was more than welcome and provided us a few days where we could choose to come and view his work.

when we arrived to his house (in seongjungun 성준군) we were greeted by his wife who showed us to their property. on their property was a large traditional korean designed building (한옥 hanok) where he displays his work and enjoys tea with his visitors. he says the best time to visit is the spring and summer when the weather is more welcoming and tea can be enjoyed for several more steepings, rather than in sub freezing temperatures in an un-heated building.

our first exploring session was at his hand-made firing cave. this is where he fires all of his work and does so in a "step-up" progression in a way that allows for careful control of temperature.

our second stop was the gallery where we enjoyed some tea in pots that he had made. it was quite cold and due to an old hip injury i wasn't able to sit on the floor for very long.

our third session of exploration was in his self-made work-shop. the work-shop too was designed by a traditional korean home carpenter and the bricks were made and laid by mr. park and his wife over about a two month period. once in his workshop we warmed up almost instantly and were graced with his craftsmanship. in about 15 minutes he prepared the clay and fashioned one large container (maybe for storage of rice or an arrangement of flowers) and two large bowls. he was also kind enough to let me make a few bowls, one of which may serve well for a disposal bowl for tea-ends.

park bosung, traditional korean potter who specializes in teaware

here is the bowl that i made with a bit of help from mr. park

here is the master intensely at work

his products, for my pocket, are quite spendy but i'd say well worth it. i hope one day to make a few purchases of his hand-made tea pots.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A comparison of concussion assessment and management protocols used by medical personnel at elite taekwondo tournaments in the Republic of Korea and t

 My undergrad thesis project finally comes to a close. Here is part of my project published in the Archives of Budo. My co-author is Rod A. Harter. The full article is available here:

A comparison of concussion assessment and management protocols used by medical personnel at elite taekwondo tournaments in the Republic of Korea and the United States
Gabriel P Fife 1, Rod A Harter 2
1 - Dong-A University, Department of Physical Education, Busan, Republic of Korea
2 - Texas State University, Department of Health and Human Performance, San Marcos, USA

Background and Study Aim: Little is known about the assessment and management protocols used by taekwondo tournament medical personnel to evaluate concussions. The purpose of this study was to compare the methods used by medical personnel in the Republic of Korea and the United States to assess and manage concussions sustained at elite taekwondo tournaments.
Material and Methods: Between 2006 and 2008, pencil-and-paper questionnaires were administered to 18 medical personnel providing sports medicine services at three national-level taekwondo tournaments in South Korea, and at one national-level taekwondo tournament in the United States.
Results: Four of 11 South Korean medical personnel (36%) held registered nursing (RN) credentials, four were physical therapists (36%), and three (27%) were emergency medical technicians (EMTs). In comparison, 2 of 7 American medical personnel were physicians (29%), two were certified athletic trainers (29%), two were EMTs (29%), and one was a physical therapist (14%). Of the South Korean medical personnel, 55% had less than 1 year experience serving as medical providers at taekwondo tournaments. In contrast, 71% of the American medical practitioners had greater than or equal to 5 years of experience serving as medical personnel at taekwondo tournaments, with the majority reporting greater than 10 years of experience at national level taekwondo tournaments. Both groups reported using symptoms checklists and clinical examination as their principal methods of concussion assessment.
Conclusions: We recommend that taekwondo national governing bodies only assign medical personnel who have extensive direct experience with the sport of taekwondo to provide medical services at national-level tournaments.

Friday, December 30, 2011

개인 다기: One-person tea set

here is my one-person / personal tea set. it bares the striking resemblance to my 청옥 cheonok designed three cup tea set. the name at the bottom of this one is different and does not appear to say "청옥", so i'll have to do some dictionary searching to figure this one out

Friday, December 23, 2011

청옥 다기 Cheongmok Tea Set

for my birthday i was given a gift certificate to a large department store and took the opportunity to purchase a tea set. usually at department stores EVERYTHING is way over-priced and not worth the money. With a 100,000 won gift certificate i wasn't about to waste it on overly priced clothes, so i thought i'd purchase a tea set that i'd actually get some use out of.

the set i picked up has the same design as a individual tea cup strainer set that i acquired through my mother-in-law. the single person cup set i have is designed with a grey floral imprint (wording?) and is NOT glazed, keeping the more stone-ish look and feel to the cups. this not being glazed allows the tea oils to stain the cup quite easily and from what i have been told, can even sink in the flavors of the teas into the cup (my tongue is not so fine to notice yet).

the underside of the lid showing the clay exposed (not glazed)

today's purchase shows the same floral design. i am not sure if it is actually made by the same person or if it was made by a student of the person who makes this floral design.

here is the pot's underside and the character imprint of the apparent artist

and the top view of the pot

a look inside

i was told by the store assistant that it is designed by an artist named 청옥선생님 (mr./teacher (assuming) Cheongok). i have seen this same design at a number of other department stores and can't be sure if it is a quality piece or not. it's quite a pleasing set to look at and is comfortable in the hand and pours well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

bamboo puerh : 죽통차

first fragrance from the bamboo shoot is not so strong as before. the original fragrance was quite strong with a more charcoal smell.

upon first rinsing, the fragrance is immediate and gives a slight chocolate scent, but is quite lucid.

the first real draw is followed by by the chocolate scent but infused with a hint of citrus-like representation. the initial taste is light and i am a bit surprised as this was quite the strong drink before. anticipating more character upon the second draw.

second steeping does not produce the smokey taste...

third comes along and awakes the smokey taste, it's a nice reminder of the earlier taste i experienced about 2 months ago...

i'll enjoy this one myself now as it has been quite some time since drinking this tea...