I had an insight the other day.
I have compared life in rural Jeollanam Province to Kentucky. Or some other rural and reputedly under-developed part of the US, since, in fact, Kentucky doesn't really meet the archetype, anymore, as well as Mississippi, or, more suprisingly, Nebraska (which I read somewhere now is the part of the US with the highest incidence of rural poverty).
But I took advantage of the Kentucky archetype, which has become a part of the American dialect in that it's possible to use the suffix -tucky to indicate a place wracked by the social problems of rural poverty. Many people refer to parts of Southern California's "Inland Empire" as Fontucky, for example – a portmanteau of the city name of Fontana with that suffix, -tucky. And I once heard my own birth county referred to as Humtucky (combining Humboldt and -tucky) – as well as the quite common phrase Kentucky-by-the-Sea.
So I coined the term Hantucky to refer to Yeonggwang County, combining the prefix "Han-" which simply means "Korean," in Korean, with that -tucky suffix. I was pleased. I like coining terms.
The other day, I was walking along the broad, clean, tree-lined boulevard in Ilsan. I passed an automated bicycle-rental post, where a woman was using her credit card to check out a bike. Two very polite bicycle-mounted policemen rang their bells and rode past. A man with long hair in a pony-tail and a rainbow-colored umbrella walked past, talking into his iPhone. And there was the Russian immigrant woman I overheard speaking Korean with her blue-eyed daughter, that I saw last week. And the two Turkish or Middle Eastern dudes in suits rushing toward the subway. There're organic-only food stores, and posters in front of schools talking about environmental issues. I even saw a Volvo.
Prosperous. Liberal. High-density yet leafy-green and littered with parks. Even slightly multi-ethnic (well, that's a stretch, but all things being relative, in Korea).
So I had a sudden insight. If Yeonggwang County is Hantucky, then Ilsan might just well be Hanneapolis (<- Minneapolis).
Plus, it has a lake, and it's kind of flat.