Thursday, March 5, 2009

Korea: Some Pictures

Korea 2009095

Last time I was at Incheon I thought it was the loveliest airport I had ever seen (although Pittsburgh has a Calder over the escalator.) I figured it had aged some in the last 7 years but, no, it is still the nicest airport I have been in. I think Honolulu is a close second even though I began not liking it.

Korea 2009096

It was Natsuki's 1st time out of Japan. We didn't go together but we met up in the airport. Probably my favorite part of the trip, if not of the year so far, was passing through immigration. You might be thinking that that is quite odd. Let me explain. As you get to immigration there are a few lines labeled, "外国人ーForeigners." Next there are lines labeled "韓国人ーKoreans." You may see where this is going, especially if you live in Japan. There was a certain amount of Japanese people who saw the "Foreigners" line and kept walking. They gazed at the signs for "Koreans" and kept walking, only to realize there were no other options. Got you motherfuckers!! I wish they would put in bleachers so that any non-Japanese who has lived in Japan can sit and wait for that moment. Truly breathtaking. You can see the gears sparking.

Korea 2009097

This is Soju. This is not a wine cooler. Drink it, but with great caution. This is yogurt flavored.

Korea 2009100

For some reason we got it in our heads that we wanted pizza. This restaurant was caked in pizza advertisements. Everything, even the stairs said "pizza." The menus said "fall into pizza." Want to guess what wasn't on the menu? Yes. Pizza.

Korea 2009022

These F'ing bikes are everywhere. They deliver everything. At night it was lots of dry cleaning. They obey few traffic laws or conventions. They have these big metal rods that look like they are from Thunderdome. The driver pulls one out and uses it to prop up the bike like a big kickstand.

Korea 2009023

This is Korea. If you go to Seoul, you will see this. Every alleyway, and there are millions of them, looked just like some place I remembered, but probably wasn't.

Korea 2009024

This is Cheonggyecheon, which runs through the city. It used to be concreted over but is now as you see it. Seoul seems, to some degree, to be conscious of its appearance and planning. I, of course, dig that. (although I acknowledge the controversy surrounding this project.)

Korea 2009028

One thing that really strikes you going from Japan to Korea is the difference in color schemes. Korean temples and gates are generally more colorful then their Japanese counterparts, although they don't have Japan's impacting vermilion. Of course, a lot of Japanese temples used to have more of the Pure Land feel.

Korea 2009032

I don't know, I guess this is some Korean actor or something. By the way, this is in Insadong which I highly recommend. If I had more time and could wander there slowly, I would. It also had insanely cheap, quality wood-block prints that I didn't buy. We ate at a Juk (Korean porridge) restaurant that was really good.

Korea 2009034

This is the Starbuck's in Insadong which, abiding with the planning laws, has its name written in Hangul

Korea 2009035

There are lots of kooky art markets in Insadong.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.