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actress, Lee Young Ae, had
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Asian Eyes' Korea - Hyeonsater House
Day 3, Nov/19/12, 3 pm: Next stop was a Choga (thatched-roof house) of Hyeonsater, a Jeju traditional vllage house. Looking over the black stone fences, the oval-shaped yellow-brownish thatched-roof house comes into sight. At a quick glance, it seems no different from those of the mainland with roof coverings made of rice stalks forming the upside down v-shape. However, the Jeju people spread thatch on the roof instead of making them into coverings and fasten the roof with thatch ropes much like a net. In that way, Jeju traditional thatched-roof houses have a distinctly beautiful oval shape like the oreums (lava hills) that dot the island. The streamlined roof was designed to withstand the strong winds, which Jeju is famous for.
The outer walls of the traditional thatched-roof house were called chukdam where natural stones are gathered and carefully piled up to build walls. Clay paste mixed with barley stalks is added to the stone walls to chink the small openings between the stones. In this way, the walls can become even stronger and function as windshields. This natural house breathes like a living organism, offering a cool place in the summer and a warm space in the winter. The walls of barley stalks and stones create a rather unpolished but friendly impression with its unique texture that is distinctive from the walls of other regions in Korea. The black stone fences surrounding the house are open to the ollae. Around the house, there is a shemak where cows are raised, a field attached to a house where vegetables are grown, a pigpen outhouse (tongshi) where pigs are raised, a small back garden for the family (andusi) and a neulgup where thatch is stocked. Inside the wall, many essential and functional places are well utilized, reflecting the busy and dynamic life of the Jeju people. From the outside, however, the house and outbuildings hint at a calm and relaxed atmosphere. In harmony with nature, the Jeju thatched-roof house and the walls surrounding it are one of the best symbols of Jeju and the sight of them make Jeju Islanders living away from their hometown feel nostalgic.
The lady host was very gracious in explaining to us about the Choga, 3 poles gate and its meaning, black pork, water collection method, the way of life in Jeju-do before she starts to market Jeju honey and refreshing tonic. Everyone in our group bought jars and boxes of the honey to take home. Here are some of the pictures I took at the traditional thatched roof house:
Our lady host explaining Jeju-do lack of door's gate. Surprisingly she spoke good Mandarin, which we learnt later that they took special language course in Mandarin due to large influx of Chinese tourists into Korea with the onset of Fukushima nuclear issue after the big tsunami
incident in Japan in 2011.
Our host lady took down the poles to usher us into her hut.
No pole in place means "Owner is at home and you are welcome".