CISK note: this piece is inspired by and a direct response to a Joongang Daily piece published on May 14, 2013. Go read that first, otherwise most of this may not make much sense.
Imagine living a few doors down from a major supermarket or department store. You expect your apartment to cost a bit more, maybe, but think of the convenience of walking to the store instead of trudge across town. You may also expect there to be more traffic in the early morning or late night, owing to the legions of folks coming to get their shopping done. It may not be completely ideal, but then most people try More >
Author’s note: Coming to Korea posts are written with the newer expats in mind. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, please share in the comments!
EDIT 9 May 2013 to add some more information.
As I’ve been making the transition to Thailand and the next chapter in life, some of the more basic questions began to crop up: where are some good neighborhoods to live? Which foods are worth trying? Where are the best places to get a drink? Sure, some of this can be done through the internet, but the best source of information remains the person on the street that knows the area. If More >
CISK note: a version of this piece is published in the May issue of Busan Haps.
Spending two days in Seoul is a bit like spending a half-hour inside a three-story museum – you’ll enjoy it, but you’ll quickly realize how little time that really is. Lonely Planet’s own guide to the city of over ten million requires 208 pages to cover thoroughly, so understand coming in that ‘seeing it all’ isn’t an option. With that said, two days will fly by with a mixture of old and new.
10am: History being controversial shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially in a country that has so much of it to More >
Having recently re-visited the Bank Museum in downtown Seoul, I was happy to see it hadn’t changed before making my way to Myeongdong and otherwise enjoying the area.
It was a couple weeks later when I was walking through that same pedestrian overpass and realized that Woori Bank had their own museum to take in. It’s in the building’s basement, and went unnoticed for far too long. To be fair, of course, being in the basement and having little in the way of outside advertisement means it’s bound to feel a little… lonely…
Entering the museum is simple enough, but curious – you’ll be directed More >
Author’s note: ‘Revisited’ posts are intended to be a fresh look at a place I’ve visited before. In many cases, it will have been years between visits, and offers a chance to see a place with a fresh set of eyes (and more than likely, a much better camera than I had before!). While they won’t replace the old post, directions and information for visitors will always be included.
Revisiting places means paying attention to what’s new, what’s different, or what’s been made more unusual. The opening is similar enough, telling the history of the Bank of Korea – and how the country couldn’t have More >
If you read blogs about South Korea, you may have come across Seoul Sub>urban, a blog that visits the immediate vicinity of a random subway station in Seoul to see what’s around. After a fairly recent post about Yongdu station, a couple of the destinations looked interesting enough to visit myself.
The gridded tower you see above, by the way, is essentially a spiral – inside is just enough room to hide from traffic – and despite the grid is private from all but the most observant bystanders.
A look from the inside of the aforementioned tower.
OK, so the main show here is the Cheonggyecheon More >
The rule according to one band was simple: “Everytime we mess up, you guys drink.” Later on, admissions along the lines of “we haven’t practiced this one in years” or “we only tried this twice before” or something like that.
I didn’t have the chance to ask lots of names or details here, thanks in part to arriving late (if I got a name wrong please message and I’ll correct it!). I did hear, however, that this particular show was put together at the last minute, thanks to a drummer being back in town.
Now that the end of the world has come and gone, the same two things in the world are certain: death and taxes. The first won’t be happening for many decades from now, but the latter is a reality we all have to live with. We decided to check out the Tax Museum to learn a few things about how things are done here in Korea.
It’s from the very beginning that it’s clear someone’s been drinking the kool-aid. Perhaps taxes have generated the money necessary to build the country, but the propaganda gets better.
As with most museums, they start with the traditional exhibits – an abacus, old ID’s, More >
Life here in Seoul comes with a few benefits: easier access to Western food, plenty of stuff to see, and more music and performances than you can handle. Three evenings in a row held a performance each, and to be clear there were plenty more out there to attend.
Anyway, Thursday night – Barberettes – All That Jazz in Itaewon:
Classic barbershop tunes, mixed in with some Korean originals:
It’s always fun when a guest singer joins the stage:
A soulful baritone.
Shooting at All That Jazz means you can’t use a flash, and the seated crowd means either arriving early to get a choice seat More >
If you like exploring Seoul’s lesser-known corners, this one’s for you. The place goes by a few different names: Seoul Confucian Shrine, Munmyo Confucian Shrine, Seonggyungwan National Confucian Academy, and even Sungkyunkwan University’s Confucian Shrine. Whatever name you give it, it’s a historical site (#143), and was first founded in 1398 – the infancy of the Joseon Dynasty. Honoring Confucius and his disciples The shrine holds a twice-annual ceremony to this day, and holds the ancestral tablets for them all in Daesongjeon (the main hall). Like virtually every older building throughout More >