The Shabbat Hike that Wasn’t and a Cup of Coffee with Mr. Cho

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Mr. Cho with a Cup of Coffee


My original thoughts on my encounter with Mr. Cho were pecked out on my iphone to my brother after walking back to the hotel.   This happened 2 weeks ago while in the Korean countryside.

Sometimes Father has other plans for us.  We have to be open to receive those plans, because when we give over to Father’s plan then the fuller our lives will be.

Father truly works wonders for us.  I couldn’t spend my usual Shabbat cooking for my family but I was to find out that Father has other plans for me this hot shabbat day.

I decided i needed to be out in the nature that surrounded myself at the JIMFF and see what I could in this lovely land.  I Went for a walk in late morning near the hotel.  At first I walked over to where the outdoor venue was setup to discover that there was noting open and no one was around at this early hour.

Before I reached the site I noticed an official brown sign in Korean and English that said ruins 600 meters.  I thought to myself 600 meters, to see some ancient Korean ruins sounded like a pretty good idea for a Shabbat hike. Let me see were the road would take me.

The paved road quickly gave way to gravel.  I Passed tow older Korean hikers coming on down from the trail and greeted them with a Anyahaseiyo (Hello).  I should have known but the trekkers were decked out in boots, backs, and walking sticks.

I then Came to a home and was greeted by an older gentle Korean man.  He warned me in good English that the trail was rough ahead.  Thinking to myself It can’t be that Bad.  I have hiked in the Rocky Mountains.  I decided to keep walking and see what there was to be seen.

I probably didn’t get more that 200 meter or so up the path till it became a watery bog.  It was not a hike that I was going to be able to make in my low top Sauconys.

I knew that the right thing to do was to head back down the path feeling defeated by not being properly prepared for my journey.

I told the man I would have needed a good pair of hiking boots and that my tennis shoes just weren’t going to be able to take me where I wanted to go.

He then offered me some coffee.  I instinctively knew I shouldn’t refuse.  He next offered me a seat on a low bench in the shade.  The bench had a cardboard box of grapes, a good had for the sun a pack of smokes and a lighter.

As we sip on the hot sweet coffee he began to tell about his life.  His name was Cho and he ran a wedding hall business in Jecheon and he was only visiting these friends for a quick weekend getaway.  He was 71 years old but explained that Koreans count the first year in the womb so actually he was still 69.

He has 5 children all of whom had graduated from US universities.  They were top class schools: UCLA USC, NYU, and Brown.  Most of his children still live in the US and he goes and visits them when he can.

He knows that he needs to give back to his community; therefore, he feeds the needy every Wednesday.  He also, helps young people get scholarships for high school.  I didn’t know but in Korea junior high school is payed for by the state but high school is payed by the parents.

He is truly doing works for Father.  It was a meeting that did not happen by accident.  I had to learn from a wet pair of sneakers that meeting Mr. Cho had been arranged by the Most High on a hot and humid Shabbat hike.

The last thing that Mr. Cho taught me before I left was the buddhist word in Korean, inyoen, which Minju later told me meant everything is connected.  Which I thought was completely fitting our non-random Shabbat reasoning session.


Camping with a Fan

Mr. Cho's Hat and Smokes

The Hike That Wasn't

Jecheon International Music and Film Festival, Korea: Celluloid, Souls, and Lots of Hot Peppers

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Jecheon International Music and Film Festival Poster with Drying Green Onions
This has been a difficult blog post to write.  Not that the subject matter is hard, it is more that the experience in Jecheon was one of the moments that put my life, and my work into perspective.

There will be other posts and images from my short time spent in Korea, but this entry will focus on those people that I came in contact with and helped me to see more deeply into myself and to the artistic work of others.

Our little film KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx opened the door for me to visit Korea and reason with other souls from across the planet.  I was treated with respect for being a humanistic artist. I sometimes loose touch with from time to time, but the great people and the organizers of the festival helped it all to come into sharp focus.

Each of the foreign guests were assigned a bilingual (or even trilingual) volunteer to help them with interacting with those that could not speak Korean, and with any matter related to the festival and beyond.  My fabulous host was, Minju.

My Most Amazing Volunteer and Me


I might as well say this now, and I am sure I can speak for the others at the festival that the core of 12 interpreter/volunteers took our foreign guests communal experience at the festival.  The drivers, hosts, guides, and all hustled to make their guests feel at home.

I arrived and Minju met me at Inchon Airport and we set off for the three-hour drive to Jecheon.  The first night I decided to check out the Boogie Nights outdoor event, this is where I met some of the other directors later that night.  They quickly became known as the three brothers, Guillermo from Uruguay, Rodrigo from Argentina, and Matti from Finland.

Minju and David took me to the outdoor film and concert event and ordered up some of the food stall treats before entering the venue.  In proper Korean culture David scooped the fresh sweet Makori rice beer for me, and I retuned the favor.

David Serving a Cup of Fresh Makori

It wasn’t until the next morning that I would begin to feel my family grow with the addition of these filmmakers.

Director Rodrigo Vila, with Volunteer Eunbin and a Korean Portrait

Alena, who is the subject of the film Appasionata, approached me at breakfast.  I was a bit surprised that she knew who I was and wanted to talk a bit about Japan.  I felt a connection with her almost immediately and knew that I had to see the documentary that was directed by Christian Lambart.


Next, Guillermo, arrived at the table with a bombilla, a gourd, and a bag of mate herb.  In his joyous nature he went on to instruct me on the proper brewing techniques to make a gourd of mate tea.  Rodrigo, jokingly told everyone at the table that it was Guillermo’s personal stash of marijuana.  Which we all replied with a round of laughter.

Guillermo in front of his Poster for, Solo


I discovered that both Appasionata and Guillermo’s Solo were screening that day, and once arriving at the MegaBox Theater, Minju, booked tickets for me.  Our film screened with the shorts followed by a question and answer session with a professional interpreter.

The City of Jecheon, Korea


Appasionata was so moving.  Alena’s gift is opening her heart to the world.  She could be playing a piece of Bach or talking with her parents, she spoke truth from her heart.  I was so moved at one moment in the movie.  The scene hit so close to my home in Japan that it pierced my heart, and the tears streamed down my face.

This film was followed by the drama Solo.  A moving look at one man’s struggle to reconnect with the musician within himself that he let grow cold so many years ago.  I was surprised that such a thought provoking film could come from the young man that was keeping us all laughing at breakfast.

I related to the film because it is a struggle for me to keep in touch with my inner artist.  I never would have seen either film or met the directors if it wasn’t for the JIMFF.

Matti, Christian and Rodrigo after the Screenings



Christian Kicking back at the after Hours Party by the Lake


Alena and I went to the evening screening of the silent film The Kid Brother starting Harold Lloyd and accompanied by the amazing Philip Carla.  It was a great cathartic release to laugh communally with Alena and the rest of the outdoor audience. Carla’s live scoring took the event to the highest level of art and entertainment.

Philip Carli Conversing with Us

After the film, Alena, Philip, Matin I and sipped on some beer and talked into the night drifting between wine, music, Fukushima, and gardening.  It felt wonderful to be surrounded by culture and just to be able to reason.

Martin In Conversation



Elena Deep in Thoughtful Conversation

I was speaking with Hana about the incredible time I was having and told her that it was hard to believe that the directors were in competition for a prize.  She responded saying that she had never seen the foreign guests become so friendly and hanging out together s

Guillermo Opening a Bottle of Makori for Elena

In addition to the wonderful international directors the Korean staff were fantastic.  They made all of our time in Jecheon so special.  The translators, the helpers, drivers, were superstars in their own right.  I cannot thank them all from the bottom of my heart!

I could go on, but all things must come to a conclusion.  The festival has reignited my artistic passion.  I even began to shoot some video while wandering around the countryside.  Being surrounded by such beautiful souls reached far beyond time space and the bounds of culture.  I feel that my family was with all the wonderful people I encountered.

tof Krysztof Enjoying the MakoriEnjoying the Makori

I thought I had given up on art changing the world nestled between the hills and the lake I rediscovered art’s power for change even if it is only one soul at a time.


Special shout outs to JIMFF staff:


Hana, for dealing with a multitude of technical projection issues for my crew.

Yoonsun, for my many emails back and forth, and for organizing our helpers.

Jinsu, for finding our doc at the SXSW Festival, and leading me to Korea.

Phoebe, for sharing with me her collection of shaved ice pictures.

Kim, for being the man!

Hailie, for meeting a DVC girl in Jecheon.

Eunbin, being a great host!

Sohee, providing a great dinner with all the filmmakers

Heejung, welcoming me with open arms and heart.

David, for being a great guy, and serving the good Makori wine.

Minju, she made my time not only in Jecheon, but also in Seoul so extra special.  I feel like I have adopted her as my niece.  Thank you so much for all that you did for me in your country!

I wish all the staff the best of luck in the future.  I apologize if I left anyone out.  You all are rockstars!


The filmmakers:

Rodrigo Villa,, director Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America

My Argentinian brother!

Guillermo Rocamora, director, Solo

For teaching me how to make proper mate, and his moving film Solo.

Matti Kinnunen, director, . Miss Blue Jeans

My other brother from Finland, hope to see you in Tokyo soon.

Christian Labhart, , director Appassionata

For creating a film that moved my heart and touched my soul.

Martin Le Gall, director Pop Redemption

for the lovely late night conversation and beers!

Krzystof Gierat, Juror and director of the Krakow Film Festival 


The pianists:

Alena Cherny,

One very special woman.  Thank you for sharing your life and the makori.

I hope very much that we can create art together.

Philip Carli,

For bringing back part of my youth and for some stimulating reasoning.


As usual this is more of a beginning than an end.  There is always more 2 come.

My Shabbat Morning Hike

The Last Sunset over Lake

Soulful Souls in Jecheon South Korea

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Soulful Flowing Sunset over Lake Cheongpyeong, Jecheon Province, Korea


I was fortunate to represent our short film KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx at the 9th annual Jecheon International Film and Music Festival nestled in the South Korean countryside.

The hospitality I received from the staff and volunteers at the festival was overwhelming.  I was anle to delve into film, art and beyond with all the soulful filmmakers that made the journey from all over the globe to this lakeside hotel.

There are so many pictures to edit, and pages of notes to go though before I can clearly transmit my thoughts on how meaningful attending the festival was to my life as first a human being and second as an artist.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on the festival and images from Korea.  For now take a deep breathe and soak in the soulful first sunset I witnessed over the Lake Cheongpyeong, Jecheon Province, Korea.

Under the Tracks and Beyond in Asakusabashi

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Two Potted Aloe Plants with Bicycle, Asakusabashi


I have been a bit confused over what kind of components are needed to be able to plug in my electronics on my trip to South Korea this week for the Jeccheon Film and Music Festival.  Our short film KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx was invited and will make it’s international debut there.

Been all over the internet, and finally just decided to revisited Akihabara to make sure I have what I need to keep my cameras clicking in Korea.  After running around checking the web, and talking with some staff I discovered that both my iPhone and my Ricoh battery charger can handle the 220 voltage and all that I needed are plug adapters.

I was deciding where to head next, I often make a right and head towards Ueno, but today I went straight following the the train tracks that lead me to Asakusabashi.  An interesting part of Tokyo filled with bead shops, leather, and shoe makers.  It is a neighborhood I have never explored so in the summer blazing heat I treaded around the neighborhood.

Shops and little eateries filled the arches under the tracks.  I just kept on walking and walking.  Eventually I walked all the way back over to the Tozai line at Monzenakacho station.

A good day to sweat and click.

Noren (Curtain), VIne, Terracotta Pot, Asakusabashi

Small Factory Front with Koi Fishtank, Asakusabashi

Where Okinawa Dwells: The Great Mash Up

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Home with Coral Wall, Okinawa


Okinawa’s land was enchanting.  The skies melded into the seas.  The seas rose up into the blueness of the skies and the land touched them both.

There appeared to me to be a few ways that the people have built homes on the island.  One is the traditional home surrounded by a stone wall often of coral with the main home covered with red Terracotta tiles.  Even when building with modern materials the old ways influence the newer buildings.

Then there are the ultra solid concrete buildings.  They remind me of how homes are built in the florida keys, and on Jamaica.  They are solid and must be able to stand up to the constant pounding my Typhoons.

The third are hybrid buildings from Japan, Okinawa, and the hard style.  I am no expert on the building techniques of this island.  They are only my casual observations as a man with a camera.

I was transported in time as I wandered around some small villages that incorporated the great mash up of building techniques.  I loved the way the walls allowed for privacy as the red tiled roofs jutted above.   The walls of course also help to cut down on some the strong winds.

There is no escaping the seas from the home.  The homes need to be ready for any storms that frequent the island.

A simpler life.  A slower pace.  A place to lay our heads and let the breeze wash over us in the heat of the noonday sun.


Farmer's Shed with Banana Trees, Okinawa

Farmer's Shed, Okinawa

Lime Green and White Hall Shop, Okinawa

Yomitan Pre-fab Housing (circa 1970), Okinawa

The Island of Okinawa: Fusion of Land, Sea, and Sky

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Manzamou Cliffs, Okinawa_



I was honored by my wife with a semi-surprise birthday trip down to Okinawa Island.  It was only for one night, but we moved all over the island catching the sights and soaking in the sweat breaking heat.

The island is amazing.  It is a mix of what I love about Miami, Jamaica and Hawaii.  Its skies are endless stretching from horizon to horizon like south Florida.  There are hills and jungles like Hawaii.  The modern Okinawan buildings are like those found in Jamaica and the Florida Keys.

There is a harmony the way the sky, land and sea all interact.  Anywhere you go the land meets the sky.  The sea is never far away.  I was often speechless when gazing out into Okinawa’s sea.

The last time I was in Okinawa I barely had the chance to see the sights.  This time we drove all over the island that I have a better concept of what is Okinawa.

I took so many pictures I was having a had time trying to select which images to publish.  This first series is on the land sea and sky. I have a deep rooted connection to the sea. I have always lived near a body of water. Looking out onto the water has always soothed my spirt. I let the waves drift me off to another place.

I felt completely at home in Okinawa. It reminded me of my past, I thought about my future, but most importantly I was able to live in the present.

More pictures soon come.

Mibaru Beach with Boats, Okinawa

Secret Shell Beach, Okinawa

Sesoko Beachh with Whisps

Sugar Cane Field, Okinawa

Reaching the Clouds, Okinawa

Clear Side of Nago, Okinawa

Coral Rock, Cloudy Clouds, Hamahiga (浜比嘉) Okinawa

Double Cloud Line Sunset, Okinawa

Copyright 2007© m2c LucidCommunication - Jacob Schere