Posts tagged “mass games

Chinese National Day Tour

Chinese National Day Tour – September 30th – October 8th

My plans have changed; instead of a Rason trip I’m now being sent in to guide the finale of the Arirang Mass Games for Young Pioneer Tour’s Chinese National Day Tour.

DSC07860

Still time to arrange a visa to see the final Arirang Mass Games: €1195 – 7 days in DPRK, Train/Flight In, Train Out (Flight out +€120) Dandong option €795

Pyongyang – Kaesong – Sariwon – Nampo


Pyongyang Smiles

During preparations for my first trip to the DPRK I watched all of the online documentaries I could find, from dreary hit pieces on the DPRK Government to over sensationalized video travel guides, and common to them all was the depiction of a sad, colorless, and lifeless North Korea.  But by coming to the DPRK myself I experienced something different; I found Pyongyang to be a clean, bright, colorful, and orderly city, with a people that smile, laugh, and despite the language barrier, interact with foreigners with a shy curiosity.

Sharing my pictures of the DPRK and its people is what this blog is all about. I’m trying to present a different perspective compared to the impressions put out there by the main stream media.  I don’t deny that there are human rights violations, but there’s already plenty of material out there to explore on those issues. Instead I wish to pass on what I observed during my travels in the DPRK: that despite the hardships and pressures the North Korean people endure (whatever they may be), they remain a very human people, and just like us they love life and share the simple hopes and dreams common to all humanity.

The people of Pyongyang smile – below are pictures taken during the festivities and celebrations for 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung - all photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

During the week of celebrations for the 100th birthday of ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung, mass parades and celebratory gatherings were quite common.  These events were not normally open to foreigners, but often we got caught stuck in traffic jams as tens of thousands of people clogged the roads on their way home.  During these times our guides were gracious enough to let us interact with the people, here young boys wave and smile on their walk home.

Pyongyang Street Scene

Young girls laugh and smile while walking home from school.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

Boys from a brigade of Young Pioneers enjoy an ice cream snack at a local park.

Pyongyang Roller Blading

Young girls smile while taking a break from an afternoon of rollerblading.

USS Pueblo Guide

Sharing a laugh with our guide on the USS Pueblo.

Pyongyang Subway

A cheerful Pyongyang Metro ticket attendant.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations

A festive spirit pervades the crowds at a mass gathering in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square.


Last Chance to see the Arirang Mass Games?

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

2011 Arirang Mass Games – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

From my contacts at Koryo Tours:  Word from our sources in Pyongyang is that the Arirang Mass Games of 2012 will be the last – so we suggest you sign up now to ensure that you can see this remarkable event while it is still running.

While mass games have been performed since the 1940s in the DPRK the Arirang show is the largest and most impressive they have ever produced.  Born in 2002, since 2007 it has been an annual event, but 2012 will be Arirang’s 10th anniversary, and it seems the powers that be have decided to close the curtain.  As for the reason, our Korean partners suggest that the narrative needs to change with the times.  Combining dance, gymnastics, propaganda, politics, music, and even unicycling, this spectacular performance chronicles the struggles of the Korean people suffering under Japanese occupation, moving into the independent era and building a modern country – basically the period linked to the first 100 years since the birth of North Korea’s Eternal President Kim Il Sung.

However, since 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the republic (Sept 9th) as well as the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War (July 27th), organizers are reportedly planning a whole new performance for next year.

So if you haven’t seen Arirang yet, or if you want to see it one last time, this is your chance.  Don’t miss out on the biggest performance in the world – an event that makes any Olympic opening ceremony look like a school play!  Staged at the massive May Day stadium in Pyongyang, Arirang is running from August 1st to September 9th, 2012, but as with the last few years we do expect an extension, perhaps as far as the middle of October (usually it finally ends around Oct 17th).

Don’t miss the Arirang Mass Games!  Tell us a little about yourself, and I will hook you up with a great DPRK travel deal for visiting!


Visit North Korea!

Pyongyang 100th Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations
100 Year Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations in Pyongyang, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

Tell me a little about yourself and I will hook you up with a great DPRK travel deal for visiting!  Please leave a quick comment here (so I will know to check my email) and email me privately at joseph@youngpioneertours.com with the following info:

Full name, how you learned about this blog, what your country of residence is, when you are interested in visiting the DPRK, and what you are interested in seeing.

As of Oct. 2012 I’m pleased to announce I can offer 5% off to people I refer for our scheduled trips to both the DPRK and Iran – so get in touch!


Mass Gymnastics Post #2

North Korean girls perform mass gymnastics at the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Mass Games

Mass Games

Mass Games

Mass Games

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Mass Games

Mass Games


Beauty and Grace at the Arirang Mass Games

It’s not all about high kicking sexy military girls and mass flip card human mosaics at the North Korean Arirang Mass Games; experience the more delicate side of the games with the following set of photos showcasing the beauty and grace of North Korean women in their traditional Korean chosŏn-ot dresses.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea


Dancing Maidens at the Arirang Mass Games

Young North Korean maidens dancing in an orchard……

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

and then the nightmare begins!


Nightmarishly Strange Mass Games

Dancing chickens, cows, sheep, and even a giant pig – a nightmarishly weird boasting of agriculture and animal husbandry power and success during the North Korean Arirang Mass Games.

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea


North Korean Mass Human Mosaics

I introduced the mass human mosaics of the North Korean Arirang Mass Games in my last post.   Just adding a few more photos of these incredible mass flip book images.

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

“Great Leader” Kim Il-sung

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Mass Flip Card Mosaic Guns
Get your guns!

Arirang Mass Games - Mass Flip Card

Arirang Mass Games - Mass Flip Card

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Proof that North Korea is a fun place!

Arirang Mass Games - Mass Flip Card

All pictures above are from the Aug. 27th 2011 Arirang Mass Games at the Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.


Young Gymnasts of the Arirang Mass Games

Its been a very long day at work, I had to deal with a crew member showing symptoms of a heart attack – a long day indeed!  My ship was in port, he got checked out by a doctor, and we are back to sea and sailing east along the coast of South Africa.  All of this has nothing to do with North Korea, but if you would like to learn more about our current science expedition please check out our current underway science outreach project.

Like I said, its been a long day, I’m simply going to leave these pics of young North Korean gymnasts performing at Arirang Mass Games, DPRK, North Korea.

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea

Arirang Mass Games - North Korea


Arirang Mass Games

Arirang Mass Games North Korea

100,000 person synchronized Arirang Mass Games performance at the Rŭngrado May First Stadium, Pyongyang, DPRK, North Korea.

All over the capital, the Arirang adverts (« Grand mass gymnastic and artistic performance », « Welcome to Pyongyang » and so on) warn the profane…Between August and October, takes place one of the biggest and most impressive performances in the world. The tone is set : even the Beijing Olympics ceremony can’t compete with the mass games organized by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The show is held several times a week and welcomes tourists from all over the World, including the US, in one of the most isolated and despised country on earth. The well-called « mass games » are designed to emphasize group dynamics rather than individual performances as the supreme emblem of communism. Prepared by hundred of thousands performers all along the year, after their classes for the youngest of them, they are entirely dedicated to the NK’s leader Kim Jong Il and his deceased father Kim Il Sung, considered as the « Eternal president » and « sun of the 21st century »……...Read more at Eric Lafforgue’s Flickr