Archive for April, 2010

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Non-Sketch Side of Itaewon

April 23, 2010

Don’t get me wrong: Itaewon is still the home for drunken bar fights and prostitutes in red-lit windows, but on a nice spring day, even Hooker Hill seems kinda pretty, no?

As I’ve said previously, the foreigner district of Itaewon is kind of an odd anomaly, a crossroad between the glamorous and the decrepit, a little schizophrenic place, with a mosque on top of a hill, flanked by brothels, bourgeois cafes, gay bars and tiny-person wide residential alleyways. I do like living here, it is pretty interesting place, and on a nice spring day, it’s a lovely place for a stroll.

Near the mosque is a street called Goblin Market Street (Christina Rosetti fans, heeeeeey), which has a few halal restaurants and markets. Apparently the Russian restaurant up there is pretty good,  and a friend and I went to Salam Restaurant yesterday (will elaborate on that later).

Also– did you know behind the main street of Itaewon (behind the alley market, take a left) there is a high-end fashion boutique street? Yeah, weird, huh? And if you continue on that road, there is an antique street, which seems like some college girl-with-a-tumblr’s rococo wet dream.

And while I was there, I smelt a familiar whiff in the air, of a lost childhood when me and my brother used to squeeze through the bars at the end of our street as a shortcut to Mexican pizzas…

I’ll tell you, I’m not too much of a drinker, but I do intend to be drunk when this opens.

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Sweet (and/or) Savory Stomachaches.

April 21, 2010

Apologies for the lack of updates, I have been distracted. But I’ve been doing lots of drawing/cartooning lately. Life has been fairly routine, though I did receive a package in the mail from my mom. Usually when people ask what I want from the States, I am a bit dumbfounded– the things I really miss are un-sendable (fruits, tamales– etc) and everything else I can get here (albeit for a steeper price, when we are talking about cheese). Ah, but this time around, I thought of something I haven’t had for awhile: girl scout cookies! Samoas and thin mints, resulting in basically the best breakfast ever:

Speaking of the reverse– things I can get in Korea but can’t get in the States, can anyone confirm for me that Coldstone doesn’t sell earl grey ice cream (with the mixed strawberries and the pie crust and the honey?)… I wonder why not. Though I’m a big sucker for tea infused anything.

Also I went to Dongdaemun last week to the Russian part of town, and ate this delicious multi-thinly layered lightly frosted magic cake with crunch crumbs on top:

FIND ME THIS FOR MY BIRTHDAY CAKE. (which is in a couple of weeks– I have been feeling quite old lately).

Also, my friend and I visited the Original Pancake Story in Hannam-dong, after I had seen that they sold the “why is this not huge in Korea?” combination of chicken and waffles. I suppose the waffle as a starch, not a desert topping has not gotten big here, but oh good it is, with the syrup and the chicken on top. Mind you, this is roast– not fried chicken, which probably took some of the unhealthiness off, but it was quite delicious. I only wish that the combination was not called Uncle Tom’s (the Roscoe’s is the better, alternate, though copywright infringing name)… because you know, it’s kinda awk.

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The Remembrance of Things (Geekily) Past

April 15, 2010

What’s wrong with this picture?

Alright… so, I have a confession to make. Um. During greater part of my early teenage years, I was– uh, well, obsessed with all things anime related. An… otaku, if you wanna use the correct terminology. I don’t really like to talk about it, because talking about it would inevitably lead to some embarrassing details about my adolescent development. So… when I found out through a friend that the largest comics convention in Korea happens every month, Seoul Comic Book Festival in Yangjae, well, I had to go. For old old times sake, and uh, to reconcile with my past… to perhaps look for some Fushigi Yuugi UFO catcher dolls.

It’s a relatively small gathering compared to other anime cons, like Anime Expo (not that I have gone three times during the ages 13-16), a lot of stickers, independent comics (sometimes the gay porn versions of some current favorites), and posters. The median age of the attendants were about 15. I felt very old. I didn’t know what was happening in the world anymore, but I’m okay with that. My favorite part was seeing all the cosplayers hang out, eating tteokbokki, chatting with their friends, hauling giant foam swords around. It was a good way to spend a Sunday morning.

I should note that I also went to a independent magazine festival @ Platoon a couple weeks ago, which specialized in independent zines and art publications. I do regret not getting this book from the illustrator Yeji Yun, but got these cool kinda Galaxy Express 999-esque postcards from another artist:

Her website is here.

Hmmm…. other things of note: Last weekend I came down with some rather nasty food poisoning, and while trying to quell the maestrom in my stomach, I watched the entirety of the k-drama Boys Before Flowers, which I had watched previously when it was an anime called Hana Yori Dango. Verdict: I was very cynical about its gender politics, but I’m not gonna say it didn’t make me cry like 80 times. Also, I now understand the appeal of that one guy who is the face of Dunkin Donuts in Korea. Lee Min Ho. Kinda hot.

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Excess of Excess

April 8, 2010

I have been bad lately. Well, in the monetary sense, at least. This month I have been more spendthrifty than usual. Granted, most of it is being put to good use; books and art supplies, I’ve started taking an art class, I’ve paid all my bills on time– and then there are the vain, non-utilitarian purchases, because it is spring and that always makes me wanna buy new clothes and basically just change everything. Winter sucked, time for a rebirth! A very expensive, foolish rebirth.

I got a perm. Yeah, I know– “what? you got an ajumma perm?” It doesn’t look that bad, because my hair has gotten fairly long. I am not going to post pictures. But here’s what it looks like kinda:

I totes look like Naru from Sailormoon. Only, you know, with dark hair, and uh, eyes that don’t take up 3/4s of my face.

Also, last week was a rather infamous trip to the Express Bus Terminal Underground, or 고속터미널역. I mean, I have gone to underground markets before– Bupyeong is a rather large one, with rows and rows of almost identical wares, of dresses, and cardigans. But you know, it’s kind of been awhile, and I’m rather convinced, if this one isn’t bigger, it is certainly more bustling and all together more clausterphobic. I have summed up the experience in seven stages:

1. Confusion – You get there, and it’s like– is that it? Granted there is a few shops when you get out of the subway, including a couple vintage shops. One of them, Suni’s, was closed at the time, and the other specialized in ajumma wear, but if you dug, there was some great finds. Also, there was an area to buy some plants and flowers, a welcome reprieve from an often dark subway corridor.

2. Overwhelment (oh that’s not a word?– Awe just doesn’t cut it) – You go up some stairs, turn a corner, and it’s like, “DAMN that’s a lot of store!”

3. Exhaustion – Just looking at all the stuff, poking through some clothing racks is extremely taxing.

4. Re-energization – Though a smoothie might cure that.

5. Embulience – Joy! “Everything here is so cheap! And cute! And those shoes are yellow and bright! That skirt has cats on it! Those buttons are adorable! I need some pants! With elastic waists.”

6. Shame – “Holy shit, I spent 50,000 won in 15 minutes– and I still had to scrounge my change to buy those shoes.” A friend who I was with (name excluded due to embarrassment) said, “I feel like I’ve participated in capitalism in a bad way. Like I’ve just been in a casino.”

7. Acceptance – “Well I guess I came out with some good loot.” See below:

That being said, I don’t think I’m going clothes shopping any time soon. Now, if I could just curb my prisma marker addiction…