Mr Jeong is thinking business thoughts, perhaps he’ll start the goat farm he has long planned. He is sitting in an old pine tree, some seven meters off the ground.
A can-do-man, Jeong, aka ‘papa’, used to run his own taekwondo club and has a 5th degree black belt. Each belt has a symbolic meaning that compares to the growth of a pine tree. Papa’s hometown Gang neung is referred to as the ‘city of pines’ and his suggested location for our shoot was therefore fittingly a grove of pines, just down the hill from the 700 Village where he lives.
Papa’s initial plan was to set up a health center and to make medicine out of herbs, but people kept visiting and visiting and visiting, and in the end the logical move was to open a guest house! His wife joined him in the enterprise and they opened the 700 village in 2002. He now tends to horses, ponies, dogs and sledging, farmland, two trouts, stargazing tours, mountain bikes, hiking tours and countless Korean pancakes.
According to his story, he met his wife through eating too many instant noodles while working as a city official in Seoul in the late 70’s. Jeong’s relatives worried his ascetic diet would be to his detriment and eventually introduced him to ‘mama’.
The already perfect day was topped off with a banquet of beef rib hot pot cooked and a midnight open car stargazing ride and howling at the moon at midnight. See the short behind the scenes video at the end of this post.