Today I am here to share with you a few things about a waygook perspective on weird shit in Korea. Excuse my french, but you can’t get much weirder than this place. So if the world does decide to collapse next week the day before my tropical Christmas vacation, what better place to be than Korea.
I know that I often resort back to ‘work weirdness’ when writing this blog, probably because, I am here, at work, ‘deskwarming.’ I always think of about 5-20 things per night after work however that I could write a blog, or even a book about, and just ask why Korea, or my trademark phrase ‘ohhh koreaaaa…’
It took about 4 months to accept the fact that I will never understand Koreans. This culture is beyond me and I think coming to terms with it is the best thing I could do in my two year stay here. Only being 10 months in however, each day, I discover something new; sometimes exciting, sometimes disturbing, but for the most part intriguing.
I love Korea. I love the weirdness. I’ve always called myself weird, so I think I fit in just right…. Okay I lied, I don’t fit it, and never will. I’d have to be about 80 pounds and shorter than 5’5, wear six 6 shoe, and have black hair and black eyes. I’d probably be wearing florescent sneakers with leggings attached to a skirt, some oversized sweater, some trendy jacket and lots of B.B. cream with lots of whitening enhancements.
One realization that I had after going to Japan for 5 days was that, Japan is different. I know I was ignorant and having never been, just assumed that they were quite similar. I was wrong! If you took Seoul and Osaka landscape and subtracted all the people, maybe the buildings look alike. They’re some crazy Asian language blinking and flashing everywhere, store fronts selling majority women’s clothes and accessories and tons of restaurants and bars, everywhere, open all the time. It was nice to see a change of scenery, different crazy Asian language everywhere and people speaking differently, but most of all the people were different. Koreans all look alike. They do! They all shop at the same stores and wear the same clothes, to a T. There is a few neighborhoods that go ‘off the beaten path’ and dare to be different, and maybe I am unaware, but for the most part, these are university parts of Seoul.
Sinsa, is a main shopping district. For the majority, they are fancy boutiques, Forever 21 mixed in there somehow, and random expensive shoppes everywhere. This is a big target for where Japanese people come to shop. It is all the rage these days, to look like a K-pop star, and for starters, dress like them and change your hairstyle. You’re pretty much there.
Hongdae, a university district and very popular among artists and anyone starting to find themselves, or daring to be different. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to go there and see these people and eclectic vibe or something of the sort.
There are tons of up and coming neighborhoods in Seoul, but these two are that I have experienced to be different and quite refereshing.
Gangdong, is quite a nook of Seoul. It is the far East side ‘south of the river.’ Most areas in Seoul are referred to if you are north or south of the river. Not quite sure the meaning of these labels, but I know it means something. Gangnam is south of the river and just a hop skip and a jump or an hour bus ride or a 40 minute subway away. In general, I live about 40 minutes by subway to pretty much everywhere. I cannot complain, but in March I will live even closer to everything!
Gangdong is a typical Seoul outskirt neighborhood. It is very close to Cheonho dong, which is more hustle and bustle than Gangdong. Which I referred to earlier about most people dressing and looking alike, is what I see on a daily basis. I usually have to escape my area most nights of the week, if I stay in more than 2 nights during the week I feel a slight form of cabin fever creeping up on me. It is nice to feel comfortable in my surroundings, but I also like to explore new places.
The past 2 weeks have been unbearably. cold.