My Korean Jazz Family, Pusan, South Korea

It all started when I stepped off the main street. I had just moved into Pusan to start my new life as English teacher for Dong Dae Shing Dong Boy’s Middle School. Between classes I’d escape from the teacher’s room and go off exploring. I saw an interesting looking door on one of the side streets with a Jazz sign above. It piqued my curiosity. I had walked by it several times, and then one day I tried the door; it opened. The interior was dark and cool. After standing in the small room in silence for a while, I raised my voice to announce my presence. The walls absorbed them like a heavy blanket. The atmosphere was comfortable: a blend of the familiar and unfamiliar. I sat down in the dark and lit a candle. I helped myself to some cigarettes on one of the tables and smoked in silence until it time to go. The next afternoon the same thing happened, only this time after a few minutes I encountered Dong Bum, and ordered some coffee. He looked a little surprised, but made me some instant coffee. Slowly we communicated and I learned that this was his bar, and he lived upstairs. He ran the bar by night and slept by day, and they never locked the door because there was no need; a Jazz family came and went. He invited me to come in the evening. That night I met Lee Jae Yong and my Korea Journey began. He was/is an actor and teacher, a mad man and a silent Buddha, and it is to him that I bow as a teacher and cultural interpreter. The nights I spent in Jazz Bar I became acquainted with my Korean Jazz Family. That unlocked door was my gate way into Korea. And the Faces I met became the faces of my new brothers and sisters: my teachers.