It's springtime in Seoul. And Spring offers respite from the dry cold of Korean Winter. The dry, cold, gray, dirty winters in this city can be downright depressing. The wind and rain of early spring bring budding trees and bulbs, thawing feral cats. I get to ride my bike to school, hike on the weekends, play soccer.
My favorite part of spring is the rain. I love walking to work on drizzling mornings sans umbrella in my raincoat. It become a routine--my rainy morning routine.This city is filthy. The rain cleans, smells good, refreshes the skin. Or, so I thought.
I was scolded this morning by my colleagues for walking without an umbrella. On any rainy morning in Korea, you'll get a scolding for not carrying and using an umbrella. Scolding is consistent in Korea, with or without the rain--a scold for everything, a nag for anything. It's the national pastime. Today's scold was unique because this year's spring rain is unique. It's "Japanese Rain," which I take to mean: it's more toxic than usual because of the post-tsunami nuclear reactor tragedy, so watch out because if that rain touches your skin it will make you sick.
I have been scolded at least twenty-four times in three years for walking in the rain without an umbrella. Now, I've been scolded at least twice about "Japanese Rain".
I like all kinds of rain.
(cross-posting on dagseoul.)