I traveled to Jamsil late today, and here are some photos taken from my outing. It was bitterly cold - good thing I had bought my leggings yesterday.
I am reading a poem, one of many posted at subway platforms. This one reminds that both love and rage are really no more than words, and will not last. It's easier said than done, however, given the 2MB government's actions.
This poem was placed by an association of Buddhist employees of Korail. Most poems are placed by religious groups - Buddhist and Christian. While Korail and SMRT source their poems from Buddhists, Catholics, and Protestants alike, Seoul Metro takes exclusively Protestant poems.
My ride on Korail's Bundang Line was my first moment of taking in South Korea from a Chinese perspective. There are currently 20 stations on Bundang Line, and aside from Hanti (한티) Station, which is second-to-the-last stop before the northern terminus and has a purely Korean name, all stations have names that can be written in Chinese characters. And reading the station names in Chinese can be pretty revealing about the placenames. Some names (at least the ones I can read and understand) are as follows, from north to south:
- Seolleung (宣陵), where indeed some royal tombs are located. This is the current north end of the line, with connection to Line 2. An extension north is being built to Wangsimni across the Han River, where there will be connections to Lines 2 and 5 plus the Jungang Line; completion of this extension will make my life much easier.
- Guryong (九龍), "Nine Dragons," which continues to remind me of Hong Kong's Kowloon.
- Daemosan (大母山), "Great Mother Mountain," is named after a nearby mountain to the south. For now, it's part of Seoul's green belt and well forested, but the Republican colonial city government wants to develop it with luxury condos. Residents near the mountain are up in arms and determined to stop the development, which will destroy the area's natural beauty and air quality.
- Suseo (水西), "West of the Water," is located just west of the Tancheon stream that flows from Seongnam to Jamsil before joining the Han River. It is a transfer point to Line 3, which currently terminates there. The original 1994 Bundang Line had its northern terminus here as well.
- Bokjeong (福井), "Lucky Well," is named after a water well of that name that used to serve the neighborhood. This is the main transfer point to Line 8, and sits right on the boundary between Seoul and Seongnam.
- Taepyeong (太平), "Great Peace." Always a nice name.
- Yatap (野塔), "Field Pagoda," referring to a stone pagoda that apparently once stood here. The station walls indeed have pagoda motifs.
- Imae (二梅), which refers to two trees of a certain species having previously stood here. This station now serves the Seongnam Arts Center. While the station lies on the original 1994 section of the line, it didn't open for another ten years.
- Jeongja (亭子), a generic term for a pavilion. Some passengers like to make vulgar remarks about the name, as the Korean word for sperm is a homonym of Jeongja. The New Bundang Line, a reliever line to handle the additional developments of Seongnam, will intersect this existing line at this station.
- Migeum (美金), "Beautiful Gold."
- Ori (梧里), a village named after a species of tree found there. This is also another name that passengers make fun of, as it is a homonym to the Korean word for duck. The original southern terminus of the line was at Ori.
- Jukjeon (竹田), "Bamboo Field." The character 竹 reminds me of Takeshima (竹島), which is currently administered by South Korea as Dokdo (獨島), "Lonely Island," but as the current colonial authorities would rather please the far right of foreign nations (including Japan and the US) rather than serve South Korea's own interests, I no longer recognize the name Dokdo nor its South Korean jurisdiction.
- Bojeong (寶亭), "Treasure Pavilion." This is the current southern terminus of the line, and it sits near the city of Yong-in as well as Expressway 50. The line is being extended farther south to Suwon (Line 1), with a light rail connection to Everland.
When the subway system first came to Jamsil in 1980, "Jamsil" was indeed the correct romanization, using the incredibly awkward Ministry of Education system. Then in 1984, the system was abolished, in favor of McCune-Reischauer, which dictated Chamshil, and that was the spelling used during the 1988 Olympics, which were indeed mostly hosted by the neighborhood. As a result, Chamshil remains a familiar spelling for many foreigners. Since 2000, the Revised Romanization system, which is a compromise between the Ministry of Education and the McCune-Reischauer systems, once again dictates Jamsil.