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Friday, November 18, 2011

Ginko Biloba

The past two weeks have been filled with work, kumdo practice and sleep. We've been going to practice almost everyday and I'm starting to notice improvements. I actually got to smack someone in the head a few times the other day! We have a progress test next Monday which will allow us to move up a rank, granted that we pass. Next week we'll be training extra hard.

Last weekend Deborah and I also went to a little Kumdo match that was near our apartment. Our school was participating so we decided to go support them. It was cute to watch the little kids fighting. They would run at each other, smack each other in the head/block, keep running, turn around, and repeat. It was really cute. We also were able to watch some of the adults fight in real matches which taught us a lot about scoring. When we left our school won two matches and lost two matches. I guess that's not too bad...

On Sunday we went exploring. We ended up back at Seoul City Hall. From City Hall we ventured off to Bongwonsa temple. We were looking for the shamanistic mountain in the same area, but we didend up at this really neat temple instead. In the village we came across a bunch of old people picking up disgusting smelling fruit off the ground while a young guy was poking at the tree with a giant stick. This fruit smelled like all the wrong places of a humans. I've heard others compare the smell to fresh dog shit and it is very hard to disagree with them. We stayed and watched the fruit poking and when the young guys arms became tired, I volunteered to give it a wack. 

Turns out I was pretty good. It was really fun and it was extra funny because a lot of the fruit was falling on to the old peoples' heads (eventually I starting aiming for their heads). After their bags were full Deborah and I headed up to the temple and then along a forest trail. The temple was very beautiful of course, and on the way up to the temple is a neat little village. Turns out this is one of the main temples of the Taego Order of Korean Buddhism. This order is a Seon (Zen) sect of Buddhism, but it is a little unique in Korea because the monks are allowed to marry. 

Swinging on some random gym equipment 

We had a nice walk through the woods. We found some fun gym type equipment and decided to play on it. After about 30 minutes we ended up at Yonsei University which is where Deborah went to school a few summers ago. She showed me around a little bit and we even found some more old people picking up some smelly fruit. They told us it was Ginko fruit and that it was good for you so I decided to harvest some. We had to carry it a long way back to our apartment and it only  became more and more smelly as they day progressed. When we got back to our apartment I began to prepare the nuts for tomorrows meal. About halfway through the tedious process we decided to look up what to do with these nuts and how to prepare them.

Turns out that while they are very good for your blood and for your brain, but they can be very poisonous. You can only eat about 10 a day or you may become very sick or have seizures…I didn't really like the sound of that and it scared me a little bit especially considering I was going to eat them like peanuts. It also turns out that the seeds contain the same chemical that causes rashes in poison ivy. As many of you know, I am very allergic to poison ivy. So now I was really afraid now that I realized these seeds could kill you and that they can cause a horrible rash. I was even more worried considering I ate a few raw ones (which you should never do) and that I had the smells and juice all over my hands for the past few hours. I quickly jumped in the shower and washed everything about 20 times. After that I stared at my dangerous bounty and debated whether I should keep it, or pitch it. After more research on how nasty of a rash it can cause, I decided to pitch it.  

My smelly little balls of Ginko

I must have washed very well because I never developed a rash. None of the old people were wearing gloves, so I'm still a little skeptical as to how much rash causing poison are in these things. I wish I would have kept some of the seeds because they are really good for you in small doses. If you eat about 30 or so a day you may have problems, but if you eat only a few a day you should notice an increase in your memory and health. A lot of people take Ginko Biloba in pill form which is generally made from the Ginko leaves and which contains a lot less of the good stuff. You can buy the seeds in any Asian market, but I hear they are never as good as the fresh ones. Maybe I'll give it a second go now that I know a little bit about these smelly fruit sacks. 

Thanks for reading and as always, 
Yip yipyip

Statue from Bongwonsa. Coincidentally this is exactly the face I made when
I found out that my smelly fruit could give me rashes. 

1 comment:

  1. that sure is a scary face..glad nothing happened. It's not nice to hit old people in the head!

    miss you!!