Many South Koreans marked “Black Day” on Friday, but it had nothing to do with concerns that North Korea may conduct a weapons test, or that the United States, the South’s main ally, may launch a pre-emptive strike to stop it.
It had nothing to do with Good Friday or Black Friday either.
“Black Day” in South Korea is a day for singles, marked by eating “jajangmyeon”, a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of black beans. It’s celebrated by singles as a response to “White Day”, an Asian Valentine’s Day which falls a month earlier, on March 14.
If you lived under a rock for the past few days (I envy you to a degree if you did) North Korea tensions are potentially at the highest level in my lifetime.. even more so, the tension around the world seems to be duplicative of what happened during the Cuban Missile in the Kennedy era…
But this story about South Korea’s reaction is what interested me more, at least culturally, than the threat of nuclear end times..
You may recall that during the run-up to war in the Gulf in 1991, Kuwait was partying hard in the metro districts and eating fancy foods in the restaurants.. War broke out yet there was a peculiar distance so many had, even though they were close by. While I cannot say a comparison is appropriate between the Koreas and Kuwait, it certainly is fascinating to realize that the North’s Southern neighbors are living their single life the same way as they would have despite the Navy destroyers and special OPS threatening to doom the cheese-loving North Korean leader.
More from REUTERS:
As tensions grew to a fever pitch elsewhere over the likelihood of North Korea conducting a nuclear or long-range missile test, possibly this weekend, there was little sign of concern in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, which lies within range of the North’s artillery.
“Outside South Korea, some people are worried, but we don’t feel like that in our daily lives,” said Choi Na-young, an office worker in central Seoul.
“All I can do is just try my best and work hard,” said Choi, as she queued for noodles with colleagues. “So no matter what the outside world thinks, I came here to enjoy Black Day”.
“Black Day” was trending on Twitter and was the leading news item on the Naver web portal in South Korea, which has one of the world’s highest percentage of Internet users as a percentage of population.
The nonchalance about the possibility of conflict with the North has grown in recent years in the South, which remains technically in a state of war with its neighbor. The 1950-53 war between the two ended in an armistice, and no peace treaty was signed.
And the rest is history.
Or will be…
Enjoy black day while you can. The darkness of war may threaten the land.