(Top 101) #62. The Jewel Box In My Mind – Sunflower

I cannot go though I want to go
I cannot see though I want to see
In this eternity

I am approaching the point in my novel where the main character–a young Korean-American–comes to Korea for the first time since he was a little boy. (Autobiographical much? Well, just a tad.) So it’s timely that the next song on our Top 101 Countdown is the second of the three Korean songs on the list: “The Jewel Box In My Mind” by the Korean folk rock group Sunflower (hae-bah-rah-gi).

The song was released in 1986, two years after my family had immigrated to California, and I had already done a good job of shedding my Korean skin and throwing myself head first into all things American: pizza, 80’s New Wave music, Narnia books, and what-else-have-you… Actually, I think 1986 was also the year my father moved us to Canada, to a tiny but beautiful and rustic town in Ontario by the name of Bobcaygeon, which would later be immortalized in a Tragically Hip song. Bobcaygeon was wonderful in its own way, although the only significant differences between my American and Canadian lives were that a) I could spell color with a “u” if I wanted to, b) people sure loved hockey, a sport I’m not even sure I had even heard of up till then, c) I had to study French for the first time, and d) there were no other minorities to be seen in my class, aside from Eddie, who was Native American, and Madame Jackson, who was our black French teacher (the lack of diversity actually worked to my advantage as it forced me to adapt quickly, and it was in Canada that my English truly became fluent).

Anyhow, so I had no idea about this song until about two years ago, when I told my mother that I would make a Mix CD for her and asked her for a list of her favorite songs. This was the one song on that list that struck home with me. For me, it’s all about the guitar work here; the chords dig inside you until it feels like it’s your heartstrings that are being played.

62. The Jewel Box In My Mind – Sunflower

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