Friday, August 22, 2014


My lowest weight yet in my current downward trend: 122.3 kilograms, or 269.7 pounds (for reference: 1 kg = approx. 2.205 lbs.). This puts me, at long last, in the 260s, although it's doubtful I'll remain there if I eat a celebratory meal. I have yet to scale Namsan again, but very soon I'll be doing just that at the end of each work day, and at that point I expect my weight to drop through the 260s and into the 250s. In the meantime, I'm maintaining a daily average, this month, of over 11,000 steps. As I noted earlier, Seoul encourages one to walk, so that's what I do: I walk everywhere.

And I've made some local discoveries, too. There's a market near my neighborhood: Joongbu Shijang (shijang = market). It's a fascinating, vaulted, cathedral-like space filled with metal scaffolding. Walking through it at night, when it's dark and nearly empty, is a delightfully creepy experience: I can imagine ninjas poised in the upper reaches of the scaffolding, silently tracking my movements and waiting for the opportune moment to leap quietly to the ground, encircling me with swords drawn. After Joongbu Shijang, just across the street, is another market: Bangsan Shijang. Whereas Joongbu specializes in fried fish, Bangsan seems to be more about printing, packaging, and box-making. My buddy Tom says he goes there about once a month ("To buy tampons for the wife?" I joked) to get a raft of printed products. If you keep on walking out the ass-end of Bangsan Shijang, you find yourself at Lee Myeong-bak's stream, the Cheonggyae-cheon, and staring across the flowing water at Gwangjang Shijang—the market by Jongno 5-ga. Essentially, then, you realize that the Jongno district is walking distance from where you live. I've walked all the way from my neighborhood near Dongguk University to the Lotte Hotel in the Myeongdong district, which is a good way to understand how close together many of the major sights in Seoul are. In theory, I could walk all the way from Namsan to the Lotte Hotel. It'd be a hell of a long walk, but it's doable.

So despite the moaning and groaning of the previous blog post, there are advantages to being where I am now. I'm in a grungy blue-collar sector, but it's a brief stroll to the white-collar part of town, and well worth the exercise. And as I relearned the other night, walking is a good way to get the guts churning: I had started my walk to Jongno with the intention of reaching the Burger King that sits at the edge of Jongno 2-ga and 3-ga and chowing down on a huge meal, but my intestines declared otherwise: by the time I had gotten close to the Cheonggyae-cheon, I was feeling the need to take a ferocious dump. I decided to tough it out and walk all the way to the Lotte Hotel, where a download could proceed dans le luxe. That added another 1.5 miles to my walk, but as I mentally calculated the rising graph of my ass-pressure, I decided I could make the trek without exploding messily on the street. Sure enough, I did make it, but only just. I had barely sat down upon the porcelain throne in the Lotte Hotel's lobby-level restroom when a rhinoceros-sized devil leaped out of my ass and plunged straight into the toilet bowl. The walk back to my new home was, as you can imagine, much more comfortable. And I ended up eating no dinner at all.

Ah, yes: another reason for the weight loss may very well be the reintroduction of Metamucil into my diet. Tom came through for me: he had a huge plastic can of Metamucil, entirely unused, that he wanted to fob off to someone else. So he gave it to me, and I'm pretty sure that that miraculous psyllium fiber has been crucial in leaving my intestines cleaner and emptier than they've been in over a year. Sometimes, when I weigh myself and see I'm a pound or two over where I want to be, I think it's because there's a heavy lump of foulness in my colon that's throwing the results off. With Metamucil, there's no more dead weight. Instead, I experience what Christian theologians call kenosis, or self-emptying.

So on that level, things seem to be coming together. I'm walking as much as I'd walked while in Daegu; I've got Metamucil; I'm living within range of some hilly terrain, and I'm slowly but surely mapping out my surroundings. Meanwhile, the weight keeps dropping, although I'd still say there's no visible change. Maybe by the time I reach my Sookmyung-era weight of 255 pounds, I'll see some thinning in the face. Time will tell.



Charles said...

Bangsan Market is also the big market for baking-related items in Seoul. That's where I used to go to get all my "special" flour (like rye flour, for example) when I lived out at HUFS. It's also where I got all the pans and trays I use for my mini-oven.

Kevin Kim said...

I did indeed see stores with baking-related items in them.