I have found Seoul--at least thus far--surprisingly like America in some of the worst of ways, such as ugly utilitarian architecture, a love of pop culture and exuberant consumerism, celebrity fascination, hip youth, and a focus on personal beauty (i.e. signs on the subway for cosmetic surgery). Luckily, there are also bits of a fascinating East that manage to peek through here and there in the form of ubiquitous old-fashioned food stalls, zipping motor bikes strapped down with mysterious goods, the occasional evocatively tiled roof, and a certain difficult-to-put-your-finger-on something.
Most of all, what I have seen thus far reminds me of a much less dystopic version of Blade Runner (though the fact that its been raining since I arrived might have something to do with that...)
Here is a bit of what I have seen so far, with explanatory captions; please click on image to see larger versions:
|This is the map for the writers residency space I am staying in. Called Seoul Art Space Yeonhui, |
it is a lovely natural oasis in the heart of a very urban and forgettable district of mini-marts,
car repair shops, and cheap restaurants.
|One of the Kimchi displays at the amazing Lotte Mart.|
|Lotte Mart had happy employees manning every booth. People here are very friendly, |
even with my complete lack of Korean.
|A kit for a loved on on the upcoming Korean Thanksgiving Day.|
|Meat is very popular here!|
|On the subway...|
|A rainy day in a more idyllic version Blade Runner.|
|A subway scene.|
|An advertisement for cosmetic surgery on the subway. |
Can't tell if the look they are going for is Western or Anime....
Click on this image to see what I mean.
|Gas mask dispenser in the subway.|