To Japan. Arriving by boat from Busan; returning by plane from Tokyo. Two weeks. No fixed itinerary. Japan Rail Pass in hand, which means unlimited train travel.. This will be my first time in Japan. More later.
I've met many more Chinese in the past ten months than I have in the rest of my life combined.
I met them studying Korean at a university in South Korea, one of the most prestigious in the country, at which a certain labor dispute occurred between the cleaning staff and the university administration beginning in December 2014. As far as I know, it is still unresolved as the new academic year approaches (beginning March 2nd, 2015).
During the January to February semester, I brought up the subject of these ongoing protests from time to time, either with our Korean teacher or other students.
One such time was around mid-February. I was with a Singaporean and a Chinese, both of whom have the initials Q.X. The one from China (Korean name's initials: ㅊ우ㅅ) was born in 1990 and majored in physics in China. She is planning to study in South Korea for a Master's degree. As we were walking along, for some reason I said something like, "The janitors' protests are still going on". The girl from China said, wistfully, "I wish people in China could protest like that". (She said this in English to us. Using English was a sign that she was trying to make a serious point. Unimportant talk can be in Korean.) As she said this, my mind immediately jumped to images of 1989 Beijing. I decided to cautiously break the taboo.
One government position within the Debaltseve Pocket in the ongoing Ukraine Civil War produced at least sixty prisoners as the pocket collapsed this week. This group was soon paraded before Russian cameras, and a rebel commander gave a speech. This footage was run by Russian TV.
Some interviews were also done with POWs which I found interesting and have transcribed here. Some pro-Ukrainians have commented that parading POWs on film violates the Geneva Convention, but here it is:
Transcripts in English of the rebel commander's speech and POW interviews are here:
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