The Yellow Dust Radioactive Monsoon

釜山 Summer

In Korea—

Dark rainclouds shroud the peaks of the great green mountains and skyscrapers: a warm wind blows from the sultry tropics to the south: the monsoon has begun. In the coming months you’ll be drenched in sweat before you even make it to the subway, and when you get to work the rainwater splashed up from fetid, rippling puddles will soak your ankles, and gleam on your skin in the faint gray light glowing through the clouds.

A vague danger exists, too—of invisible radiation pulsing from the wounded nuclear reactors in not-so-distant Japan, and particles of yellow dust torn up from the Gobi Desert and mixed together with the legendary pollution of China, only to be blown across the Yellow Sea and locked in the bulb of each raindrop striking your cheeks: and if you cup the rain in your hands, and let it melt or dry away, you’ll be left with drops of the most poisonous and exotic sand you could ever ask for. Geiger counters are too expensive, no one seems to sweat as much as you do, but everywhere you go you hear the same phrase—덥다! doepda! it’s hot!

After a rainstorm it will seem as if the entire city has been sprinkled with this dust, and little piles and pyramids will accumulate in the corners of windows and at the edges of your eyes and even in the palm-sized steel bowls of sticky white rice you find at every single restaurant, gathering wherever the wind fails to snatch them up and blow them out to sea again.

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