I love Korea. Really, I do. I’m not a Korea is the solution to all problems guy but I’ve had a fantastic time here.
I hate writing about Korea because, compared to other thoughts pages, I have nothing insightful nor novel to say about it. But whatever. Two things stick out as being different from the last time I was here 9 years ago. One is it’s a lot cleaner than I remember. I don’t know if it’s my memory or if subsequent travels adjusted my threshold, but yeah, it just seems a lot cleaner everywhere, less trash, less smell, less all that stuff.
Second thing is, people are generally way more fashionable than before. It’s amazing to me. Last time, the overall fashion sense was comical to me. This coming from a man whose wardrobe to this day still consists in large part of job fair T-shirts and who likes to wear all his socks mid calf. It was that bad. But last time I spent 2/3 of my time here at KAIST, which is like Korea’s Cal Tech. Not exactly a hotbed of style. But still, I dunno, seems much better, like most of the younger people are clearly more hip than me from hairstyle down to shoes, which is reassuring.
I think I talked about this a long time ago, but the first time I came here I remember being startled and jealous at how my cousin spoke comfortably and deeply with his grandmother. I had just taken it for granted that people our age couldn’t really communicate with generations prior, since that was the experience of me and most of my friends, so I was taken aback. And I’m still surprised and jealous when I see Jieun’s cousins talking with their elders comfortably and fluently. It would be like a dream of mine to walk into a room with my parents and their friends and be able to joke with them instead of leaving the room with the other “kids” so they can talk in Korean. I dunno.
We went to this great place tonight, I dunno what to call it, but it’s like a cafe that also has Internet access, comics and magazines to read, board games to play, and a movie playing (tonight, Return of the King, which I still have yet to see). It’s like a cafe with tons of entertainment options. You sit down, buy something, and you can go surf the web or watch the movie or read or have them bring a game menu. Tons of games, including Bohnanza, Settlers, Acquire, Carcassonne. They bring whatever you want and the waiter explains how to play it. Is this not a great idea? Someone open up a place like this on Castro.
Based on something I think Dave wrote a long time ago, we had some kimbap and it was the best I’ve ever had, with random cool things in it like tuna, sesame leaves, and cheese. Good stuff. Wussed out on getting flavored milk, partly influenced by a rather unfortunate incident involving “cheesecake.”
I dunno, this is all boring, right? I dunno how I can make interesting experiences sound tedious. But whatever, I’m gonna write about it anyway so sucks for you.