Since our first meeting, Suhee and I have spent many days and evenings at a coffee shop called Isim in the Yeonnam-dong (neighborhood) of Seoul. The “coffee master” as we refer to him, is a deeply philosophical man, and besides serving up coffee with a strong character to it, he has always offered us guidance along the way.
After a few cups of hand-dripped coffee, we always look forward to the nights where we can take in a beer or some makkoli (korean rice wine) with him after closing time. Despite the language barrier, our conversations can become deep, sometimes dark trudges through societal mishaps, but the muddy boots always come off as we leap up through the darkness, towards the clouds and above them, all for a laugh and a look at the sun.
How wonderful it is to see the sun in a cup of makkoli with the Isim coffee master. Such is the ‘drinking communication’ in Korean and Japanese culture.
One particular visit to Isim last month was likely the coldest day I’ve had the beard-freezing opportunity to experience at -17C. Yet we left that night to catch our buses with warm coffee in our tummies, and a nice gift of 42,000 (about $38 usd) which had come from an impromtu used ‘book sale’ in the corner of the coffee shop.
We were surprised at his gesture, as he has already given us much in coffee and advice over this year, but we’re also very happy with what is essentially the first Korean ‘monetary donation’ towards The Final Straw film.
This is the beginning. From here it’s up through the clouds…