Small details of Korea, Part 1


These are pictures of the past six months that haven’t fit into any coherent narrative, so I’m blogging them individually.

One of the clothing stalls at Dongdaemun clothing market

It has been an incredibly cold winter. From the Seoul Mosque shop.


Seoul has gone mad for love locks, and not only couples:

Firstly. i wish that I would score all A’s for O[level]’s, and get into a desired course of mine in poly/JC. also hope that I would be cheerful and optimistic as always, including my family. Secondly, I hope that I would be able to immigrate to other countries, Korea? Lastly, I sincerely wish that I will stay true to myself. :)



Adoption was, until recently, a taboo subject in Korea. Not knowing your parents was such a shameful thing that if families were discovered to have adopted a child, they’d have to move to a new neighbourhood. It’s refreshing that the government is trying to change things.

A last-minute campaign stop in Hongdae for Kim Soon-Ja, the candidate of the New Progressive Party in last December’s elections. Despite her excellent demands – eliminate temp labour and reduce the work-week to 35 hours/week – she polled in the mid-30,000s, due to the regrettable and continuing splits on the left.

From an underground market in Namdaemun. Crammed among the liquor and housewares was one store with items even the most ardent Europhile would be taken aback by. This over-large paperweight? Mantle decoration? Door stop? features mini-elephants, an 18th century carriage and, close up, what looks to be an American slave elephant-jockey. Truly some inspired pastiche.



My favourite photo of this collection. My girlfriend took it at a funeral in the countryside. Mourners are walking to the burial, early morning in the middle of a two-day ceremony. They’re wearing plastic raincoats, but the colours and context make them look like mystics en route to a group rite.

I don’t know if this is an original but it’s so cool nonetheless. In Korea, you don’t find a local store selling an item: you go to the area of the city where that item’s retailers decide to cluster. So this was in the ‘musical instrument’ mall downtown.


A hair-salon. I think The Man might be put off by the friendly blue.

Quite reasonable demands for state benefits to the disabled. Disabled advocates sit in Gwanghamun station at an apparently permanent display on the poverty and, sometimes, death that they face due to lack of support. I’m sure their acronym sounds better in Korean.

The most beautiful espresso machine in the world, at dessert-central Caffe Themselves.

This is the site of an unremarkable pair of towers going up in Hyochang Park. The artist has also realized they’re unremarkable, because she’s change the scale so they tower over the city. In reality they’re 30 storeys, no taller than anything else nearby.


Did I mention the development is called Richensia, and it’s next to Richland? I’ve always been sceptical of the power of naming, but some people aren’t.

From a Korean map of the world, in incredibly detailed English. They were doing so well until…

10 storeys up in Sinsegae luxury department store. The original Bank of Korea is on the bottom left, built by the Japanese.


From an Itaewon shop selling next-level tacky statuary. However, I did like the country singer victim of necrotizing fasciitis – flesh-eating bacteria hasn’t stopped the music.

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