Visiting Chungnam National University

2017.04.06.

I visited Junggon Kim at Chungnam National University (CNU) located in Daejeon Metropolitan City of South Korea. He is a PhD candidate, studying systematics of Miridae (Hemiptera). We’ve been knowing each other for about or over 10 years now. Couple of years back, he requested me to collect some nearctic Miridae samples, and I gladly accepted to collect and provide him. As I’m visiting South Korea this time, I decided to personally bring the collections to him and meet with at his lab. As the place I’m staying is quite far away from CNU, I had to take an intercity bus (similar to Greyhound of the U.S., that goes across the cities and states), taking about 3 hours of total trip to get there. Although it is not that distanced as 3 hours in the U.S., it takes quite a time to get to the end from the other end in South Korea.

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10,000 KRW is about 10.00 USD. It took me about one hour to reach Seongnam Intercity Bus Station (Seongnam, Gyeonggi) from my place, and from that bus station, it took another two hours to get to the Daejeon Metropolitan City.

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Finally, after three hours, on 6PM, I arrived at the CNU at Daejeon Metropolitan City of South Korea. This was my first visit to Daejeon, as I’ve never been far out from Seoul, the capitol city of South Korea in my childhood. I took a wrong bus and dropped off at the main entrance of CNU, took me a long walk to get to the place we decided to meet. I walked about a mile, and then Junggon decided to come pick me up with his car as it takes too much time to get there by just walking. I realized where I was picked up is only about a half of the route to reach the building, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

We went straight to dinner with a surprise guest, Hangyeol Ji, a MS Student studying Tingidae. I’ve been knowing him as he is the administrator of one of the top web beetle forums, 곤충사육필살기(gon-choong-saa-yook-feel-sal-gii, meaning a super technique of insect rearing) housing over five thousand members, at the time.

AND two undergraduate students, Jaedong Kim (micro-Lepidoptera) and Jihoon Kim (Scarabaeidae) joined our dinner table. Two are very knowledgeable students working toward getting entomology degrees. As they happened to be students of CNU, I decided to ask them to come over. Despite the great time I’m having with them, the very last bust departing back to Seongnam is on 9PM. So we had to hurry back to the CNU lab and observe the collection room and everything.

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Their collection room was quite messy as they were keep updating things. Junggon showed me around and explained that the lab is now preserving collections in fluid for, mostly, DNA sequencing. Also the current dried collections are from old adviser/head professor. Therefore, no one is having enough time to sort the specimens. Still, there were A LOT of dried collections.

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It was interesting as there were lots of public display collections as well as bunch of mixed up butterflies, beetles, and other things. Some are labeled properly while some aren’t. Junggon said some portion of dried collections are donated from a students who previously took entomology courses, so some of them may not be properly preserved.

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From the left to right: Jihoon Kim (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), Jaedong Kim (micro-Lepidoptera), Junsuk Kim (author), Hangyeol Ji (Hemiptera: Tingidae), Junggon Kim (Hemiptera: Miridae).

As the time closed by to 9PM, I REALLY had to hurry and leave the CNU. Thankfully, Junggon Kim gave me a quick ride to the intercity bus station so I wasn’t late, and I returned to home at around 12AM. Although it was very short trip to CNU, I enjoyed my time with good people there.

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