Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Category: Korea 20th Anniversary (page 1 of 2)

Picture of the day: Korean War Redux?

You’re going to see a lot of this photo plastered on blogs and in the media today.

At approximately 2:34 pm KST, just as I was about to start teaching my Honors English Writing Class North Korea fired artillery into the border island of Yeonpyeong-do.

The nation, and the rest of the world waits to see what happens next.

Picture of the day: Pukhan-san

One of the things that I enjoyed most about living in Seoul, at least in Yonhui-dong was how close I was to Mt. Pukhan. The entrance to the park was just a few subway stops away and from there, depending on how much you wanted to hike or climb, it was about a one-hour hike up the trails to have a view like this.

Blue skies, cooler temps and a new semester


Sun is shinin’ in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped rainin’ ev’rybody’s in a play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day hey,hey

Well, the sun was shining for awhile this morning and it did feel a little cooler, at least not as sticky and hot as it was yesterday and yes, the fall semester is underway.

Pretty light schedule—one comp class, conversation class, and a special class for professors. Oh yeah, and six hours in the writing center.

Got promoted to Senior Teacher. No money, but fewer hours. All I have to do is observe new teachers and evaluate them.

Another flash fiction piece published. Keeping track at home? That’s six in the past two months.

I miss Aon and the boys a lot. Enough said.

Picture of the Day: Section of tree cut down during Operation Paul Bunyan — August 1976

It may not look like much, but this section of a poplar tree was cut down during Operation Paul Bunyan in August 1976 in response to the August 18, 1976 Panmunjom Ax Murder Incident.

I was stationed at Lowry AFB in August 1976 attending technical school. Twenty-five years, I was covering the anniversary for the Korea Times.

Picture of the Day: Yoko Ono in Seoul, June 2003

Back in 2003 when I was writing for the Korea Times, I had the chance to cover a press conference for Yoko Ono’s first visit and exhibition in South Korea. Later I wrote the following article.

After she had answered some reporter’s questions she took the press pool on a tour of the exhibition and some of the installation pieces–like the one of the Plexiglass maze and the chess tables.

Picture of the Day: The Bridge of No Return

In December 2000, while writing a news story “Christmas in the JSA” I got which amounted to a VIP tour of the JSA (Joint Security Area) and the chance to take this photo of the Bridge of No Return.

It was across this bridge in 1953 that POWS were repatriated at the end of the Korean War. In December 1968, the crew of the USS Pueblo were also repatriated across this same bridge.

This photo exudes a Cold War feeling.

Poem published in The Camel Saloon

Had another one poem published in The Camel Saloon today.

This poem is one of my favorites. I’ve played around with it in a couple of variations. Originally, it was part of an essay on coming to Korea and I thought I would see if I could take that essay and write a poem.

Of course, this year marks my 20th year in Korea so this poem has a bit of nostalgia attached.

You know, I remember that day if it were yesterday.

Happy Birthday Buddha

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it”

Today, Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated in Korea as a national holiday. These are some photos from Sanggyesa Temple near Mt. Chiri that I took a few years ago.

The day I was mistaken for a member of Metallica

“Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol

I’ve had a couple minutes of those 15 minutes of fame, like the day in Seoul back in 1998 when I was mistaken for a member of Metallica.

It was right after Metallica had played in Seoul in March 1998 and I had stopped in a stationary store in Shinchon near Yonsei University. Maybe it was my long hair, Ray Ban sunglasses and Metallica T-shirt that confused the female clerk thinking that I was one of the members because she came up to me—after she had watched me for a few minutes and got up the nerve to approach me—and asked me for an autograph.

She pointed at my T-shirt and thrust a sheet of paper and a “sign pen” at me.


In Konglish (Korean-English) “sign” either means “signature” or “autograph.” “Give me your sign” or “I met a talent (Konglish for celebrity) and I got her ‘sign.’”

Either she was just a little slow that morning or she really believed that a member of the band had stayed in Korea to come to a stationary store (when the band was in Seoul they had gone to Dongdaemun Market, which was in the news). I kind of figured as much—her confusing me with one of the band members—and feeling a bit quirky, played along. Or maybe, she was just playing along with me. Either way, she got my autograph that day:

Thanks for your support. Peace and Love, Jeffrey


I went back to that same shop a few months later after I had cut my locks and had pretty much forgotten about the “Metallica” incident until I saw the same girl working behind the counter. She looked at me with a “do I know you from somewhere” expression, but the short hair must have thrown her.

I wonder what she did with my autograph?

It’s still a very Cold War in Korea

What might have seemed like a scene out of a cold war thriller, two North Korean spies who posed as defectors were arrested in Seoul for plotting to assassinate the highest-ranking North Korean official to defect to the South, Hwang Jang-yop.

According to an AP story via Yahoo, the two North Korean army majors were prepared to “slit the betrayer’s throat.”

I remember when Hwang, who was one of the architects of Juche, the North Korean philosophy of self-reliance, defected to the South in 1997. Just another one of the intense and historical events I have witnessed in the 20 years I have been in Korea.

Now Hwang is under 24-hour police protection and the two defectors, who came to South Korea via Thailand, violated South Korea’s National Security Law that carries a maximum sentence of death if convicted.

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