il original

Così, viaggiando nel tempo, nei giorni, conosci milioni di anime. Ci parli, sorridi, le guardi, di tanto in tanto ti fermi, ricambi gli sguardi. Poi però riprendi il tuo cammino. D'improvviso ne incontri una che stravolge il senso del tuo percorso per sempre, mobilita inevitabilmente le vecchie prospettive territoriali e oserei dire anche l'origine del tuo cielo, la direzione dei tuoi occhi. Dopodiché nulla sarà più maledettamente uguale. Mai più. E nel preciso istante in cui te ne accorgerai capirai perché da tutto il resto sei sempre andato via.
—  Massimo Bisotti

Imagine waking up every day to the sound of this delightful music.

Every morning, the residents of Pyongyang, North Korea are treated to this, the eerie theme song of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea blasted over loudspeakers to rouse them from the illusion they might have a normal day. Just about every Western visitor reports the experience as being intensely creepy. “Bizarre, sci-fi dystopia” is a common phrasing. “What the unabridged fuck?” is another. But even the North Koreans can be weird about it; one Australian tourist asked his guides about it, only to get the response: “What music?”

There is an explanation of sorts. For the song at least, not the endless years of insanity. The tune is apparently called “Where Are You, Dear General?” and was reportedly written by Kim Jong-il.

It was originally written for a Revolutionary Opera, a style which you should not be at all surprised to learn North Korea is quite fond of, and if you’re wondering, yes it does sound less creepy when sung and not being blasted across the city while being played on a goddamned theremin.

7 Everyday Experiences Other Countries Do Waaay Differently

  • Wi Hwa: only fine, dignified men can become part of Hwarang
  • [battle cries in the background as hwarangs are fighting for life & death with twigs because swords would get them punished]
  • Wi Hwa [sipping tea]: the future of Silla