When I first stepped off the bus that Saturday afternoon last August, I found myself in a small little Korean town, one that I could see from end to end. Nothing too complicated, no big surprises. The biggest noises were from protestors’ loudspeakers outside the nuclear power plant… but they haven’t showed themselves in months.
My point being, not a whole lot goes on in this area. The biggest event is the Hupo Crab Festival, which was cancelled this year due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. My town is even less of a hotspot, if that’s possible. Buses go through to visit Deokgu Hot Springs, but who stops in Bugu?
Needless to say, when I woke up Saturday morning and overheard a man on a microphone outside my window, I was a little confused, to say the least.
All the commotion turned out to be a yut (윷) tournament. My boss happened to be participating and filled me in a little. The game is played between two people tossing four sticks across a “net” and seeing whether they land round side or flat side up. Depending on the combination up or down, a score between one to five is determined, which moves the player’s position across the cloth until someone completes all the courses. It gets a little complicated when you come into contact with another player’s position, but needless to say, it’s a very traditional Korean game.