Ocean Fishing at Inchon

An Old Story

Early before the day becomes hot, Mr. Lee has his car parked before the apartment in the Kangnam Ku section of Seoul. Two friends are loading the trunk with fishing gear of all sorts, along with hampers of cooked rice still steaming in a hot pot along with many small side dish containers. In a red ice box bottles of paper-wrapped makgeolli and little bottles of soju have been carefully packed. Two men settle down in the front seats, with more gear and the small man in back. They are waving to family upstairs through the windows , and after a few corners have been turned they are out on the straight road to Inchon. As the car disappears down the road, they are laughing and telling stories and jokes, all sorts of things which office men enjoy on a relaxing Sunday outing to the shore.

Much later, as the sun starts going down, they are appearing again on the highway driving back toward Seoul. Mr Lee turns into the town and stops at the fish market where he is well known for picking up a few slices of fresh fish on Sunday to take home for dinner. He says to make the slices small to look like rod fishing from the ocean and wrap them in the daily newspaper to look ordinary. He slips the package into the ice cooler in the car with the empty bottles.

"Not a word to my wife, of course." And the friends nod assent vigorously with a wink. Later that evening:

---- That fish was delicious, you had good catch at Inchon I see. Were there a lot of fishermen there, and did they all catch something?

" \Of course they did, if not why would people go all the way down there from Seoul on a hot day if there weren't a lot of good fishing along the beach. Lovely weather too and we all had a great time."

Later in the following week, Mrs. Lee goes down to the fish market where she was well known, and is talking quietly with the fish man who knows her husband well. After complimenting him on the fresh fish which they bring in every day, she asks him if he could do something for her without saying anything.

"The problem is we are getting very tired of having the same fish each time the men go down to Inchon to fish. The tuna slices are very fresh and delicious, but if you could give him something else every once in a while, that would suit the family very well. My husband enjoys fishing so much that I don't want to spoil the holiday for him and his friends. Tuna is great but we would like a little change in our Sunday evening dinner every once in a while. Any ordinary fish good, just what they catch at Inchon."

The next Sunday Mr Lee complimented his wife on the way she had spiced the fish for dinner.

" Yes, he said, we caught some very fine fish this afternoon. I do think this tastes even better than usual. It was a fine day and the fish were just waiting to be caught."



Jung Soon Kim
[a.k.a. Mrs. William Harris]
www.middlebury.edu/~harris