Lifestyle & Belief

Dear Kim Jong Il

Dear Leader,

Hi. My name is Emily Lodish and I am the Asia editor at GlobalPost. I don't know if you've heard of us, but we're a relatively new international news outlet based in Boston, Mass.

Boston's great. Our offices are on the harbor (that's Boston Harbor), and I get to look at boats all day out my window. The weather has turned in the last couple weeks, and fall is officially here.

Do you get fall in North Korea? I realize that I don't know the answer to that question, which seems like such a simple question.

You know, there really is a lot I don't know about your Hermit Kingdom, Mr. Kim.

Actually, you make it pretty hard to do my job. (Not that that should be first on your list of things to do, but I was hoping all the same — that's actually why I'm writing — that I might be able to convince you to jump in there from time to time. Just to clear a few things up.)

I mean, it's just so hard to know. Over the summer (that's the season here that comes before fall), there was a news item that got a lot of traction on the web about a few documented cases of cannibalism in North Korea.

Did you hear about that? Is it true? It was very hard for us to verify the reports, and I'd love to hear it from the horse's mouth.

Then, just today, there was a news report about nine North Korean defectors arriving in Japan.

In the pictures they looked small, and some of them were wearing matching track suits. Did you know them? Did they tell you why they left?

The news reports said they were found three weeks ago drifting in a wooden boat off the western coast of Japan. That's totally crazy.

Anyway. I don't expect you to write back right away or anything. For now, I just wanted to say hello and give you a little snapshot of what I'm up to.

I'll write again soon, Mr. Kim. In the meantime, take care.