Yes, it is still here. Yes, we are still here. Despite North Korean claims that it had conducted an underground nuclear test yesterday morning, life in Seoul was fairly calm by Korean standards. The air was a bit more agitated than usual with news of the test and with new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in town for a visit with Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. I spent the afternoon touring the Insadong area of Seoul with my mom. (During our tour yesterday, we spotted Abe’s wife Akie strolling through the shopping area). The air was truly still–no public panics, no riots, no protests, virtually nothing happened. If the news is indeed true, it seemed almost anticlimactic, but that’s fine with me. We are still here, and that’s good. If we weren’t, that would probably be bad. For those in the U.S. wondering whether this will lead to the unthinkable, rest assured that at this moment, life seems to be focused on business as usual in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.
Few really know what truly happened yesterday in North Korea. Some experts even speculate that the "test" was a ruse by the North Koreans to convince the world they had detonated an atomic device, when they really had not. Right now, speculation about what happened is running rampant, and the Powers That Be are huddling behind closed doors around the world, trying to decide how to respond to North Korea’s claims, sorting through the evidence to discern the truth. No matter what, I hope that North Korea’s claims that whatever happened was fully contained are in fact true, because I don’t want anyone–particularly my family–exposed to any radiation drifting down from the North.