My Own North Korea Experience

The Movie “The Interview” reminded me of my own trip to North Korea several years ago.

The day we went to the DMZ ( I wore a T-shirt with Garfield on it. We had a tour inside one of the conference rooms on the border, and then our translator started asking me about my T-shirt. He pointed to Garfield and asked me what is that, and I told him the cat on my T-shirt named Garfield, from a comic book, he hates Monday and loves lasagna and donuts. Then he asked if Garfield is Chinese, I said, no he’s American but the comics were translated into Chinese a long time ago, I grew up with them, and in short, I love Garfield. He then asked if other Chinese kids also like Garfield, I said I can’t speak for every Chinese kid, but my friends also love Garfield. In the end, he told me he was so surprised that China had became so “Americanized”, where even the children had started reading negatively influential American comics (like Garfield hates Monday and loves food, that’s not good for a society). And I was really sad because now I knew kids grew up in NK didn’t even know about Garfield, they are missing so much fun in their childhood :(

Some of the pictures I took in North Korea:


4 days and 3 nights in the life in North Korea

North Korea is like China in the 1960s. While visiting in the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, pointing at a map, an interpreter told us that Mao Anying, son of then President of China Mao Zedong, was died there, he said grievously. I shouldn’t feel happy about people lost their family, but I am relieved to see that because Mao Anying  died, that he did not became another Kim Jong-il, that China didn’t become another North Korea.

Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang

Ryugyong Hotel on February 2011

I saw this on Wikipedia, and was surprised by how it looks in the photo compared with what I saw several months ago. This hotel’s construction has been halted for decades; even though it has dominated the skyline of Pyongyang, the actual information about it is hard to obtain, and North Korean tour guides would stop you from taking photos of this building.  But I managed to take some covertly, and here it is, this is how Ryugyong Hotel looked on July 2010. The one from Wikipedia is more likely to be a mock-up.