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Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art, and puzzle solving. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly accessible places (like parks) and distribute clues to finding the box in printed catalogs, on one of several web sites, or by word of mouth. Individual letterboxes contain a notebook and a rubber stamp, preferably hand carved or custom made. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp in their personal notebook, and leave an impression of their personal signature stamp on the letterbox's 'visitors' book' or 'logbook' — as proof of having found the box and letting other letterboxers know who has visited. Many letterboxers keep careful track of their 'find count'.
The origin of letterboxing can be traced to Dartmoor, Devon, England in 1854. William Crossing in his Guide to Dartmoor states that a well known Dartmoor guide (James Perrott) placed a bottle for visiting cards at Cranmere Pool on the northern moor in 1854. From this hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail (sometimes addressed to themselves, sometimes a friend or relative)—hence the name 'letterboxing'. The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and post them. In 1938 a plaque and letterbox in Crossing's memory were placed at Duck's Pool on southern Dartmoor.
The first Dartmoor letterboxes were so remote and well-hidden that only the most determined walkers would find them, allowing weeks to pass before the letter made its way home. Until the 1970s there were no more than a dozen such sites around the moor, usually in the most inaccessible locations. Increasingly, however, letterboxes have been located in relatively accessible sites and today there are thousands of letterboxes, many within easy walking distance of the road. As a result, the tradition of leaving a letter or postcard in the box has been forgotten.
Membership of the '100 Club' is open to anyone who has found at least 100 letterboxes on Dartmoor. Clues to the locations of letterboxes are published by the '100 Club' in an annual catalogue. Some letterboxes however remain 'word of mouth' and the clues to their location can only be obtained from the person who placed the box. Some clues may also be found in other letterboxes or on the Internet, but this is more commonly for letterboxes in places other than Dartmoor, where no '100 Club' or catalogue exist.
Letterboxing has become a popular sport, with thousands of walkers gathering for 'box-hunts' and while in some areas of Dartmoor it is particularly popular amongst children, some of the more difficult to find boxes and tougher terrain are better suited to more experienced adults.
Letterboxes can be found in other areas of the United Kingdom including the North York Moors and have spread all over the world. The Scottish artist Alec Finlay has placed letterboxes with rubber stamp circle poems at locations around the world, including Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Interest in letterboxing in the U.S. is generally considered to have started with a feature article in the Smithsonian magazine in April 1998. Much of the terminology below is associated with letterboxing in the US and would be unfamiliar to UK letterboxers. The growing popularity of the somewhat similar activity of geocaching during the 2000s has increased interest in letterboxing as well.Clues to American letterboxes are commonly published on several different websites.
Letterboxers organize events, usually called meets or gatherings. The first letterbox meet was held on Dartmoor, and they are now held twice yearly on 'clock change days' (in March and October). Gatherings in the US are usually at parks or places with enough space for a large group of letterboxers to meet up and do exchanges (exchanging of personal stamps and/or personal travelers), as well as talk and discuss box ideas. Gatherings in the US usually have a special, one-day 'Event stamp.' At some gatherings, boxes are created or donated to be planted nearby specifically for the gathering attendees to find.
The first gathering in North America was held in November, 1999, at The Inn at Long Trail in Killington, Vermont.
There are now many different kinds of letterboxes, each with some specific distinction. While purists recognize only those letterboxes planted in the wild, many new variations exist. The kinds include:
In the US, letterboxes have developed new forms:
A letterboxer's find count or PFX count is organized as follows:
Some boxers list individual types of boxes in their PFX counts (e.g.:
P12 F76 X45 E4 HH21 V4 would mean 12 plants, 76 finds, 45 exchanges, four events or event stamps, 21 hitchhikers, and four virtuals). Some include virtuals, hitchhikers, and other non-traditional boxes in a single find count, while some exclude them. Many letterboxers do not bother to keep count at all.
The 'PFX count' is not a term associated with Dartmoor Letterboxing.
Questing is a game played across a community or geographic place. Originally coined in the USA, it is similar to the concept of letterboxing where clues lead to sealed boxes to be found in a type of treasure hunt.
Questing originated with the placing of a treasure box at Cranmere Pool in Dartmoor, England, by James Perrott in 1854. Over time, the hobby spread, and there are now more than 5,000 treasures to be found in and around Dartmoor.
Vital Communities, a non-profit organization in White River Junction, Vermont established the Valley Quest program as a sense-of-place education program in 1995. Valley quests map and share the Upper Valley region's special places. Created by school groups, scout groups, historical societies and others, there are now over 200 quests across Vermont and New Hampshire. Questing has spread to other communities, too. There is a South Shore Quests program in Hingham, Massachusetts along with programs in Keene, New Hampshire and on Martha's Vineyard.
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A hanok (Korean: 한옥, 韓屋) is a traditional Korean house. Hanoks were first designed and built in the 14th century during the Joseon Dynasty.
Korean architecture considers the positioning of the house in relation to its surroundings, with thought given to the land and seasons. The interior of the house is also planned accordingly. This principle is called baesanimsu (Hangul: 배산임수; Hanja: 背山臨水), meaning that the ideal house is built with a mountain in the back and a river in the front. Hanok shapes differ by region. In the cold northern regions of Korea, hanoks are built in a square with a courtyard in the middle in order to retain heat better. In the south, hanoks are more open and L-shaped.
A hanok is a Korean house which was developed in Korean Peninsula and Manchuria.
Paleolithic people in the Korean Peninsula stayed in caves or made temporary houses. In the Neolithic era, the temporary house developed into a dugout hut. They dug into the ground with a small shovel and built a small house which used rafters and columns. Wood was used for the rafters and columns, and straw was used for roof. In the Bronze Age, there were several columns in the house, so the area of the house was extended relative to early houses. Iron AgeHanok had Ondol (Hangul: 온돌, Hanja: 溫堗), and also used Giwa (Hangul: 기와), a kind of roofing tile which was made with fired clay. By using Giwa roof tiles, hanok developed a specific shape.
The Enlightenment saw many foreigners visit the hermit kingdom. For this reason, Protestantism was spread, but it wasn't common. Anglicanism and Catholicism were the more common branches of the Christian faith in Korea at that time. Early churches utilized the hanok style. This church is located in Ganghwa County, Jincheon County, Cheongju.
After the devastation of the Korean War there was a need for cheap, suitable housing for people displaced by the war. During the period immediately after the war several hanoks of historical value were demolished. In the larger cities of South Korea, only small clusters of hanoks remain. However the value of hanoks has been discussed in the early twentieth century, with many comparing them favourably to the more common but less eco-friendly apartments found across South Korea. Today, some train stations are influenced by traditional hanok design. (Jeonju station for example)
In Kaesong, the traditional hanoks originally there remain and play a role as a tourist attraction. Giwajips surround the hanoks.
In northeast China as well, hanoks can be found, and Koreans have been living for over 100 years in hanoks built for themselves. Also, since 2010, people have been working on a project focused on making a hanok village in Heilongjiang, China.
The term Hanok appeared for the first time in a paper about houses on April 23, 1907. In that paper, Hanok was used in reference to the specific area along Jeong-dong road from Donuimun to Baejae school. At that time, instead of using Hanok, terms like 'Jooga' (meaning living houses) and 'Jaetaek' (meaning a variety of houses) were more widely used. The word 'Hanok' was only used in special circumstances when the latest house was built somewhere.
During the era of Korea under Japanese rule, the ruler used terms such as 'Jooga' or 'Joseon House' when they were talking about house improvement. There is a record of hanoks; however, the specific term ‘hanok’ hasn't been used prevalently.
The specific word ‘hanok’ appeared in the Samsung Korean big dictionary in 1975, where it was defined as an antonym of 'western house' and as a term meaning Joseon house (Korean-style house). After the 1970s, with urban development, many apartments and terraced houses were built in South Korea, and many Hanoks were demolished everywhere. From that time on, a hanok was only called a ‘’Korean traditional house.’’ 
In a broad sense, ‘hanok’ refers to a house with thatching or to a Neowa-jib (a shingle-roofed house) or a Giwa-jib (tile-roofed house), although the general meaning of ‘hanok’ refers to only a Giwa-jib (tile-roofed house) in Korea.
The environment-friendly aspects of traditional Korean houses range from the structure's inner layout to the building materials which were used. Another unique feature of traditional houses is their special design for cooling the interior in summer and heating the interior in winter.
Since Korea has hot summers and cold winters, the 'Ondol (Gudeul),' a floor-based heating system, and 'Daecheong,' a cool wooden-floor style hall were devised long ago to help Koreans survive the frigid winters and to block sunlight during summer. These primitive types of heating and air-conditioning were so effective that they are still in use in many homes today. The posts, or 'Daedulbo' are not inserted into the ground, but are fitted into the cornerstones to keep Hanok safe from earthquakes.
The raw materials used in Hanok, such as soil, timber, and rock, are all natural and recyclable and do not cause pollution. Hanok's have their own tiled roofs (Giwa; Hangul: 기와), wooden beams and stone-block construction. Cheoma is the edge of Hanok's curvy roofs. The lengths of the Cheoma can be adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that enters the house. Hanji (Korean traditional paper, Hangul: 한지) is lubricated with bean oil making it waterproof and polished. Windows and doors made with Hanji are beautiful and breathable.
The shapes of Hanok differ regionally. Due to the warmer weather in the southern region, Koreans built Hanok in a straight line, like the number 1. In order to allow good wind circulation, there are open wooden floored living area and many windows. The shape of the most popular Hanok in the central region is like letter 'L' or Korean letter 'ㄱ', an architectural mixture of the shapes in the northern and the southern regions. Hanoks in the cold northern region, are box-shaped like Korean letter 'ㅁ' so that it would be able to block the wind flow in building Hanoks. They do not have an open wooden floored area but the rooms are all joined together.
The structure of Hanok is also classified according to social class. Typically the houses of yangban (upper class), Jungin (middle class) and urban commoners with giwa (tiled roof) emphasized not only the function of the house, but also possessed great aesthetic value. On the other hand, the houses of the provincial commoners (as well as some impoverished yangban) with choga (a roof plaited by rice straw) were built in a more strictly functional manner.
Many hanoks have been preserved, such as:
Gahoe-dong and Gye-dong in Jongno-gu, Seoul, are home to many hanoks, that have been remodeled into cafes, restaurants and teahouses.
Seongjosin, Samshinhalmi (one who gives birth to women), Kitchen God etc. believed by people that there are different kinds of gods related to the house of each enrollment. This belief is shared with the religion of the Ainu.
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