Visiting Chungnam National University

2017.04.06.

I visited Junggon Kim, a PhD candidate at Chungnam National University (CNU) located in Daejeon Metropolitan City of South Korea, 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 send them to 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.

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10,000 won in Korea is about $10 in the USD. It took about two hours just for the intercity bus, and about an hour from my place to the intercity bus station at Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

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Finally, after three hours, I arrived at the CNU at Daejeon Metropolitan City of South Korea. This is my very first visit to this city, honestly, and didn’t really realize this city is very urban-like. I never really been to elsewhere from Seoul in my childhood, so I don’t know much about other places. With a wrong bus after arriving to Daejeon Metropolitan City, I dropped off at the main entrance of CNU, I had to walk like 0.7 miles, and as it took some time to get to the building we decided to meet, Junggon came to pick me up with his car. The building that we were suppose to meet was the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which is located far back in the campus, takes about a mile to get there from the front entrance.

As I found out the very last intercity bus which would take me back to my place departs at 9PM, and I arrived there at CNU on 6PM, we really had to be quick about everything. I met Junggon Kim (PhD candidate) and Hangyeol Ji (MS student, Tingidae). Ji is a current manager of online web community, 곤충사육필살기 (gon-choong-saa-yook-feel-sal-gii, meaning super technique to rear insects), housing over five thousand members. The community page has lots of adult-members compares to other communities so this page is very well sorted, with lots of well-mannered members, which is why I’m also a member there.

Right after I met these two, we went to have a dinner together. Then two current undergraduate students named Jaedong Kim (microlepidoptera) and Jihoon Kim (Scarabaeidae) came over to the restaurant. I’ve been knowing these two from other web communities, and they are very knowledgeable students working toward getting entomology degrees. As they happened to be there in CNU, I decided to meet them as well.

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Their collection room was quite messy as they were keep updating things. Junggon showed me around and explained why the place is quite messy and drawers are not sorted very well. He says Their new collections are separately sorted and maintained as fluid collections for the DNA extraction. All the dried specimens here are from old time with past advisers/professors. 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 and some are not, but still mixed up altogether. Kim says everyone is busy as well as professors so no one really go back to the collection room to sort things to here and there. Lots of specimens were donated from the students took entomology lectures and labs, so some of them were in bad conditions as well.

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

As the time closed by to 9PM, I 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 12PM. Although it was very short trip to CNU, I enjoyed my time with good people there.