Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival 2007 II

It is not too much to say that I went to this music festival for the Chemical Brothers. They were the highlight of Day 1 and filled the night with heart-beating rhythm and fantastic images on the screen. Actually I don't take much to electronic music but these brothers are the exception.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival 2007 I

I'm back from three-day two-night rock festival. It was the first time for me to see that kind of big music feast and it was truly fantastic. But, it was also the first time ever that all my energy ran out. I, nicknamed Energizer by my friends, always had to leave clubs and parties spots with active energy left due to external factors: club's closing time and friends tired.:)

This is the first photo from Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival 2007. The band on the stage is 'Gov't Mule' from the US. After their performance in Incheon, this veteran band flew right away to Fuji Rock Festival in Japan the same day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jongno Tower

Like every city in the world, Seoul also has some landmark buildings and Jongno Tower is one of the most striking ones in the north side of Korea. Designed by the architect, Rafael Vinoly, this building has a hollow space from 23rd to 30th floor. The letters set on the front side is '삼성증권(Samsung Securities)' that shows the owner of the building.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


There are several spots one must visit in Seoul and Insadong is one of them, where are lots of antique shops so people can buy some Korean traditional souvenirs and gifts. Also, this is the place where you hear the various languages from the tourists, mainly Japanese, Chinese and English. I do not recommend spending too much money here because of the shops' fixed prices and relatively expensive food due to 'Insadong premium.' Instead, you can go for Namdaemun market where you can enjoy price negotiations with store owners by saying "Kakajuseyo," meaning 'Please cut down the price', in rough Korean and with a cute look.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Former Seoul City Mayor, Myeongbak Lee had his last professional career as general manager at a construction company and accordingly had a tendency to see Seoul as a site of public works. With this aim, one of his achievements is having restored Cheonggyecheon which flows through the north of Seoul. His work is still controversial in terms of the cost and the effect on the environment, but the public's views are relatively favourable considering having a relaxing nature space in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


What I think takes to become a great company is how much it gives something valuable back to the community. Ssamzie that started its business of leather bags and shoes has contributed to cultural variety in the main stream art in Korea i.e. by supporting indie music bands and young artists. Ssamziegil, located in Insadong, is full of unique shops and sometimes decorates itself with various art figures.

* I'll be going to Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival for three days and two nights, where The Chemical Brothers, Damien Rice, Muse, Fantastic Plastic Machine and other dozens of bands, singers and DJs will perform. During my absence, my brother will keep posting. I will come back on Monday with photos from the gigs and also get back to lovely comments I haven't replied to yet. Have a fantabulous weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

McDonald's in Wonderland

Will you guess how I got this snap?

The hint is at the bottom.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Street Names

Currently I'm reading a book written by an ethologist and he says "the geographical features is animals' favourite indicator for a direction." Beyond this, human beings have developed the naming system and accordingly street names enable you to find a place to go even in a town you haven't been to before.

FIFA World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan led every street in each city that held football matches to have its own name with efforts of local governments, but unfortunately the attempt haven't come to fruition. That was mainly because of lack of publicity thus unfamiliarity. Last year the government proclaimed the regulation on addresses of street names and the Seoul Metropolitan is due to confirm the new address system. Then all the streets on the map will have their own names and buildings new numbers.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Take Off Your Shoes at Restaurants

When being treated food at some restaurants in Korea, what puts non-Korean, mostly Westerners, in a difficult situation would be taking off their shoes to get to the table. The life style in Korea has been Westernised in many ways, but there are still lots of traditional forms we maintain, for instance, preference for sitting style.

These are pairs of shoes at a restaurant where I stopped for lunch. Which one do you think is mine?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Drying Laundry

The sky in Seoul is full of skyscrapers, but between them, there are some unexpected spots like this. Well, it is not truly 'unexpected' though because, after all, Seoul is a place where people live.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Place

Like any other metropolitan cities in the world, Seoul also has enormously various kinds of restaurants from all over the planet but the general trend is Western food. The Place, relatively opened and located in Gwanghwamun, aims at having its customers feel like being in a Western-style brasserie. However, it is too crowded and takes too long to get a table, up to half an hour, without being given a waiting seat.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Manchester United in Seoul

As part of Asia Tour 2007, Manchester United had a match with Seoul FC this evening. As expected, Man U gained a big victory, 4-0 scored by Ronaldo, Eagles, Rooney and Evra. There were several moments of exclamation regarding their way to control a ball and pass it to each other. The photo is of Korean supporters for Man Utd, making the card section, MUFC.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


This is Namdaemun(the original name is Sungnyemun), which was the main gate of the castle surrounding Seoul and built in the late 14th century thus the oldest wooden architecture existing in Seoul. At present, as one of Seoul's landmarks, the name is famous for the old market in the area, which is said there are everything you want. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to visit this market to enjoy the real lives of ordinary folks.

When I was about to take a picture of this giant gate, a man carrying a trolley entered in an angle. It looks like I cut his feature from another photo and pasted him onto this one, which is, to me, the best part of this photo. This guy standing in the middle of the road with modern cars passing by him is in a similar position with Namdaemun being surrounded by the much taller modern buildings.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

General Sunshin LEE

Every country has a national hero nearly all the people admire with no doubt. To us, General Sunshin Lee (1545~1598), is one of the country's favourite great men and women and, during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in the 16th century, achieved an incredible record of all wins and no defeat at wars on the sea.

These national heroes normally enjoy the enthusiastic support by the future generation, but if they ever knew they were used to consolidate some dictators' power as a part of the obscurant policy, I don't think they are quite happy with this. A statue of General Lee, standing at Gwanghwamun crossroads with a very stern looking, seems to contain a disturbing ghost of Junghee Park, dictatorial former President in 1970s.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Toothpicks are one of typical things you can find in Korean restaurants. The restaurants used to offer wooden toothpicks, but since it was criticised as eco-unfriendly, they have been replaced by ones made of starch. It isn't a pleasant scene in which people pick food between their teeth standing in front of the mirror at the gate of a restaurant, but also it is a sight I have become to adore in Korea because it seems quite human to me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

FTA Destinations

The second round of KR-EU FTA negotiations started today in Brussels and I found this ad board about KR-US FTA on the underground. Metro has been a conventional window to publicise the Korean government's affairs so you can still find a small sticker encouraging the public to report a suspect espionage, and for other forms, there are tax payment, using public transport etc. I'm normally uncomfortable with these, and this recent ad on KR-US FTA didn't make me dream of colourful destinations of KR-US FTA.

Each number and colour on circles refers to five metro lines in Seoul indeed, but this time the destinations to which we are led are not specific locations but expected results from the Agreement. Let us see in details: Line no. 1 'USA: the market of 1,700 billion USD (the world's largest)'; Line no. 2 'Export: 2.3 billion USD increase (average yearly in the next 10 years)'; Line no. 3 'Agriculture: 2.03 trillion KRW support (for five years since '05)'; Line no. 4 'Foreign Invest: maximum additional 3.2 billion USD (average yearly in the next 10 years)'; Line no. 5 'Public Welfare: 2 trillion KRW increase (expected in 2018).

Since I haven't thoroughly researched the recent and current FTA negotiations, it's a little early to comment my own opinion. Looking at this poster, however, I became rather negative about all the results the government is promising. I don't think we are so ignorant to be manipulated by large numbers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bus Info System

On the left top of this photo, you can see the small electric board written, "Bus Information System." This brilliant equipment shows the bus numbers, and times and bus stops remained until the buses arrive. This is the bus stop at Sadang metro station and I hope this board is installed in every bus station.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Underground Branding

As for the cities having underground, except Seoul, I have visited Paris, Berlin, Munich and London. And I've recently found there are a couple of different things between our capital city and the rest, which is that the underground stations in Korea call a subway entering, its destination and a safety warning both in Korean and English. In addition, until I last went to those European cities, I hadn't seen the underground branding like the one on the photo. This ad is about Visit Year Kyeongbuk 2007, located in the southeast of Korea, where there are lots of cultural heritage of Silla, one of the ancient countries on the peninsula, from 57 BC to AD 935.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Language and Fun

As I've already mentioned several times, in Korea English is not just a foreign language to learn how to speak but a purpose itself to use to achieve a higher social status. So it's so easy to find yourself surrounded by flood of ads of English schools (for private institutes, we call them 'hakwon'). But, as you can see in the photo, this ad in a metro station is exceptional and that's because it is in Itaewon, foreign district, where there are many types of entertainment particularity for foreigners due to its location next to the US military base but now tries to blend with the local community.

Anyway, besides the ad copy, I couldn't help laughing at the picture as this shows some way we learn English: Sitting alone at a desk on the corner of a silent library, and blank paper and a pen. But, how can you learn speaking a language under these circumstances unless you are writing something? Right before heading to this station, I was at Irish Chamber of Commerce's meeting and one of the topics we talked about was Korean people's insufficient English proficiency compared to a huge investment in English education. And it turned out the main reason is lack of exposure to English-speaking environment. We should go beyond English classes and enjoying learning itself. However, I'm aware there are some barriers against realising this. Oh, I always have too many things to say when it comes to English.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nest in the City

Human beings have developed cities for themselves and animals of other species have not been carefully considered much in the path. To me, the nest on the tall tree looks desperate.

Place: in front of Jongno Tower

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sky, Cloud, Steel, Glass

Quite natural and quite artificial.
But, after all, they all look harmonious.

This is the building of Meritz Fire & Marine Insurance in Yeoksam-dong, Seoul.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Cool Summer Breeze

Exceptionally, we've had a cool summer breeze all day and now it's even cooler. If the summer just goes like this, I will definitely be able to survive the summer but I know it won't happen.

I snapped this view from my office on the 13th floor.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Have you heard about Bibimbop, one of the most popular Korean food? This one on the pic is unconventional type though. I ordered bibimbop with soybean soup sauce and seafood. Compared to wide spread of Japanese and Chinese food to other countries, the reason for less popularity of Korean food is in large part due to its less influence on and penetration into the other cultures, but also because of less simplicity of cooking and storing. Once getting over these obstacles, I'm quite positive Korean food will be as huge a success as other Asian neighbourhood's.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kyobo Book Centre

Always being crowded during weekend, Kyobo Book Centre now has more customers because of college students' summer vacation. During the next two months, when primary and secondary schools have a summer break, you will hardly have a chance to move in the store freely. It's a pity that a book store becomes a place that makes you tired, not a restful place.

교보문고는 주말에는 늘 붐비는데 대학생들 방학이 시작되어 더 복잡해졌다. 초등학교와 중고등학교 방학 기간이 다음 두 달 동안에는 서점 안에서 자유롭게 움직이는 것조차 어렵게 될 것이다. 서점이 편안하게 쉴 수 있는 장소가 아닌, 피곤하게 만드는 장소가 되는 것이 애석하다.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Think Green! at a Pink Store.

Just looking at this photo, the shop doesn't seem to be in Seoul, rather somewhere in English-speaking countries. Though 'ssamzie' is a Korean word meaning 'pouch', for a typographic purpose I guess, they wrote it in English in parallel with 'market.'

분홍색 가게에서 초록색 생각을 하라.

이 사진만 보면 서울에 있는 가게 같지가 않다. 영어를 쓰는 어느 나라께쯤 있는 가게 같다. '쌈지'는 순우리말이지만, 타이포그래피의 관점에서, 'market'과 어울리게 하려고 영어로 쓴 건가 보다.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Coffee's Heart

It was the first time ever for me to drink espresso (macchiato), and it took almost 2.5 hrs until I fell asleep that night. Since then, when I need to awaken myself from sleep, I go for espresso.

에스프레소(마끼아또)를 마신 건 이것이 처음이었는데, 그 날 밤 잠들기 전까지 거의 2시간 반이 걸렸다. 그 이후로 잠에서 깨어나야 할 때는 에스프레소를 찾는다.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mr. Pizza

I went to this pizza restaurant, Mr. Pizza, for lunch and found one thing interesting on the mini ad board. I didn't know Mr. Pizza aims at being made for women. (Please see the smaller letters above Mr. Pizza logo) Then, should there be Ms Pizza for men? :)

점심 먹으러 미스터 피자에 갔다가 작은 광고판에서 재미있는 것을 발견했다. 미스터 피자가 여자들을 위해 만들어진 건 줄 몰랐다. (미스터 피자 로고 위의 작은 글자들을 보라.) 그렇다면, 남자들을 위한 미스 피자도 있어야 하는 건가?^-^

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Underground Lottery Kiosk

This is a lottery kiosk at City Hall Station, underground line no. 1 and 2.
Will you be tempted to bet on these dizzying letters?

지하철 1, 2호선 시청역에 있는 복권판매소다.
이 어지러운 글자들에 운을 걸어보고 싶은가?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mao Zedong

In the book I'm currently reading, "우리가 몰랐던 동아시아(meaning 'East Asia We Haven't Known', written by Noja Park, 2007), there is a chapter comparing Mao Zedong/ Ho Chi Minh and Kim Ilseong. They have one thing in common: founding fathers of modern East Asian countries. However, the author seeks for a reason why it is not easy to find a biography about Kim Ilseong comparing to easy access to biographies about other two leaders.

Apart from the two Koreas' relations, the writer questions why even mainstream scholars in Western countries are neutral and/or favourable to other two leaders but hostile to Kim Ilseong. In brief, he says they have different growth backgrounds and policy lines: higher education vs military service and political leader vs military leader. Therefore, Kim Ilseong's ideology is based on his specific experience unlike others' on their philosophical reasoning, and the phase of North Korea, Kim Ilseong the Patriarch in DPRK the Family Country, has led to a barrier of favourable reactions by Western society, where Individualism prevails, he concludes.

The poster is about Park Sang Hee's sculpture exhibition, "Hello, 마오쩌뚱(Mao Zedong)!"

Monday, July 02, 2007

Chaotic Signs

What I hope to be changed in Seoul and its satellite towns are chaotic signs on the outer walls of buildings. Among these many shops in this building, I don't feel like entering any store. In addition, there are three different languages: Korean, Chinese and English
The photo was shot near Beomgye Station in Anyang, one of Seoul's satellite cities.

서울 및 위성 도시의 풍경 중 바뀌었으면 하는 것 중 하나는
건물의 외벽의 어지러운 간판들이다.
이 많은 점포 중 그 어느 한 곳도 가고 싶은 마음이 생기지 않는다.
게다가 한국어, 중국어, 영어의 3개 국어로 되어 있다.
사진은 서울의 위성 도시 중 하나인 안양 범계역 부근에서 촬영하였다.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

1st July Theme Day: The Color Red

This the first theme day I participate. When I found this month's theme, two things came across my mind and this is one of them. This is kimchi, Korea's best known food. Last year I was involved in a full process of making kimchi (I just helped my mom and grandma;)) and realised how amazing kimchi is. I will write about kimchi in my personal blog someday.

You are very welcome to discover red in other cities.
Shanghai, China - Mumbai, India - New York City (NY), USA - Manila, Philippines - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Hamburg, Germany - Stayton (OR), USA - Los Angeles (CA), USA - Hyde, UK - Oslo, Norway - Brookville (OH), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Stavanger, Norway - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Joplin (MO), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Selma (AL), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Chandler (AZ), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Seattle (WA), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Arradon, France - Evry, France - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Boston (MA), USA - Grenoble, France - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Hilo (HI), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - La Antigua, Guatemala - Brisbane (QLD), Australia - Singapore, Singapore - Tel Aviv, Israel - Hong Kong, China - Sequim (WA), USA - Paderborn, Germany - Saarbrücken, Germany - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Tenerife, Spain - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Sydney, Australia - Naples (FL), USA - Cologne (NRW), Germany - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Mainz, Germany - Toruń, Poland - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Singapore, Singapore - North Bay (ON), Canada - Jakarta, Indonesia - Montréal (QC), Canada - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Baziège, France - San Diego (CA), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - New York (NY), USA - Kajang (Selangor), Malaysia - Sharon (CT), USA - Newcastle (NSW), Australia - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Nottingham, UK - Villigen, Switzerland - Chicago (IL), USA - Torquay, UK - Brussels, Belgium - San Diego (CA), USA - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Paris, France - Seoul, Korea - Manila, Philippines - Milano, Italy - Austin (TX), USA - Chennai, India - Madrid, Spain - Seoul, South Korea - Wailea (HI), USA - Toronto (ON), Canada - Ajaccio, France - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Zurich, Switzerland - Sydney, Australia - Budapest, Hungary - Moscow, Russia - Auckland, New Zealand - Torino, Italy