When we arrive, we aren’t allowed to get on the boat right away, first we all stood in a group and the cameramen filmed us talking, just shooting the breeze, about the blah weather, and the fact that we likely wouldn’t even be able to set foot on Dok-do because the waves would likely be too choppy surrounding the island. After a few close-ups we were let onboard and the crew led the way to our cabins. Each room had 3 bunk beds and our names were on the doors, boys on the left and girls on the right. After claiming our spots and mingling in the hallway while a few were interviewed on camera (What do you think about Dok-do island? Do you think you will have a good visit to Dok-do? Do you feel Dok-do is an important issue?) we were called on deck for the funniest part of the trip…little did I know it was to be one of the last times we’d smile on board this ship. They gave us name tags with the now famous motto: Dok-do is Korean territory, and a picture of our flag so we could all see what country we were from, and then we were rounded up in front of the giant Dok-do banner (it travels) and instructed to wave our flags and say, in Korean, that Dok-do is Korean territory. Are you picking up on the theme? They were going to air this footage on t.v and we were all reasonably sure that we would be forever banned from entering the country of Japan after this little display went public.
The "Dokdo Inquiry" (독도탐방) was cancelled last month, but the teachers went this month from the 7th to 9th. One of them did a little write-up on Dave's; an excerpt:
The trip to Dokdo was kind of dissapointing. A 90 minute boat ride and we only had 20 minutes of photo time. In addition to that we were confined to the port area and couldn't go on Dokdo itself.
We had an awesome tour of Ulleungdo and did a lot of hiking. I endulged in Pumpkin Makeoli and a wide variety of Pumpkin Candies. The food was really good and the Dae-a resort where we stayed was just awesome. Ocean view and the rooms were pretty good too (bathrooms need to be cvleaned better).
The people on the trip were very cool and we all made great friendships with the organizers. It was sponsered by CBS Daegu and EPIK Gyeongbuk.
On a side note I feel that I should mention that many of us did question the lecturers about how Korea acts towards Dokdo and how it basically presents itslef. They took our criticisms and answered our questions to the best they could. One of the speakers presented us with a booklet about the debate and was terribly biased. He argued that Japan's aspiration for Dokdo is to reconquer the Korean Peninsula. He didn't answer my question when I asked for empirical evidence.
So overall I think it was a great trip and the stuff they presented to us was not as bad as i thought.
One of the drawbacks, besides being used as propaganda, is that the teachers have to write a 5-page, 11-point, single-spaced essay on it. Because I can think of nothing happening on the Korean peninsula that would be of more interest to the international community. *cough*