Of course one of the main “tourist attractions” of South Korea is the tour of the DMZ or border area demilitarised zone. But just make sure you get the right tour when you book! I was looking forward to checking out the room you see on TV programmes, with the soldiers facing each other and the border line running down the middle. But the actual tour we got was a bit different and just involved one of the tunnels that the North dug to try and attack the South, a snazzy video/museum tour and a look at North Korea from a mountain top. Mind you I say “just”, but it was really, really interesting. Going down the tunnels was amazing, certainly not quite DisneyLand. You wouldn’t want to be one of the soldiers marching through here, but it just shows the seriousness of the situation on the peninsula. Actually getting to look over at a North Korean city was also amazing, similar to being in Prague just after it was freed, you really fell like you are watching history happen. The attitude of the South Korean people to the North also seems very different from that seen on the international stage. They say they know there won’t be another war as it would just wipe out everything their parents generation worked to achieve in the South. Many of them just wish President Bush would just leave things alone. They have also just built a brand new train station just near the border, waiting for the chance to connect up with the North, and then on to Beijing, Moscow, Paris and even London. The whole attitude thing is really impressive here and for me it really strikes a big difference to that in Japan. Until quite recently South Korea was a poor country and that generation had to work really hard to make it the 3rd biggest economy in Asia. The youth seem to understand that, really appreciate what has been done for them and want to study and work the best they can. Some people may say this leads the parents to put too much pressure on kids, but contrasting the situation with Japan we have whole generations who don’t appreciate the price of their freedom or wealth. The thing with Korea is that the reunification gives them a goal, something to work for and hence they do, I guess that’s what Japan needs, a vision and a goal to work towards!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...