Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reverend Moon

When I went to South Korea in December I mainly stayed with friends. But one night due to a snowboarding trip I didn't take part in I needed to find someplace to stay. Through the internet I found a family that was willing to host me.

I met the "dad" of the family with his car at a subway stop in Seoul. He was a friendly geeky kind of guy who also worked at a school so we had something in common. We talked as he drove and we stopped at a grocery store to get food. It was my first time in a big Korean grocery and I was transfixed by all the minor differences (when I later went into a massive department store I was even more blown away - there were women by the entrance who did nothing but bow to everyone as they came in - all day). The "dad" shopped and at some point his wife met us at the store.

Her English was better than his. She was from Japan. "Hmm," I thought. "That's strange. I thought Koreans generally hate the Japanese."

We got to their apartment and they had two kids, a boy and a girl. The boy sat at the dinner table with us. The girl remained in her room for most of the time, too shy to meet me.

The family and I talked for a while, watched TV - mainly just talked.

At one point as everyone got ready for bed, the "mom" said to me, privately, "Have you heard of Reverend Moon?"

I had.

"No," I said. "Who's that?"

"It's our religion," she said. "It's how we met."

"What do you mean?"

"Reverend Moon is the leader of our church. I'm not trying to make you join us. I just thought you might wonder how a Japanese woman and Korean man met. Reverend Moon arranged our marriage."

"Arranged your..."

"We didn't meet until our wedding day," she said.

The "dad" returned at this point and she went away to do dishes or something.

I prepared a bed to sleep in their living room. "Good night," I said.

"Good night," said the "dad".

They were up a while taking care of things. At some point the lights went out. Finally I could sleep.

In the darkness, I saw a form move through the living room. It was the "dad".

He lay down on the couch near my bed in the living room and seemed to go to sleep.

Umm, well, I thought, it's his house, he can sleep wherever he wants. And apparently he did.

I woke up in the middle of the night and he was no longer on the couch. I saw him walking around the house, then go into his daughter's room. The door to her room was open the whole time so I'm not suggesting anything illicit, just that he slept in there.

When I woke up in the morning I saw him come out of the master bedroom he shared with his wife. Apparently he had migrated to that room later in the night.

I didn't ask any questions. I ate breakfast with them and then he dropped me at a subway station and I went to meet my friends. That was the last I saw of them.

Here's an informative video about Reverend Moon if I've sparked your interest and you want to join this great religion.

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