FIVE THINGS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY LOVE & HATE ABOUT LIFE IN SOUTH KOREA

OH, KOREA! Land of Miracles, Land of Mountains, Land of Superficiality and Antiquated Women’s Rights and Dirt-Cheap Liquor and and and… Where a proud, moving story of democratic triumph in the face of repeated military coups exists snugly south of the creepiest totalitarian regime in the world; where drivers constantly run red lights but I’d never trust another country’s motorist to pass within 3cm of my person; where software development is at a world-class high and yet every website is designed for Internet Explorer. South Korea is where they use spoons for rice and chopsticks for chicken wings, and where the two most valuable qualities in a man are respect and politeness, until, inevitably, your boss demands that you join him in drinking dangerously cheap alcohol and singing the Korean equivalent of Bon Jovi together until you stumble into a taxi at 2 A.M. like drunken teenagers.

… there is no distinction between “stylish” and “hipster”. One Saturday night, I saw a man walk casually into a bar wearing a picture frame around his shoulder, as a prom queen might wear a sash; that is to say, as an accessory.

My latest piece for UK-based TravelMag; in truth just a melange of observations I’ve collected in my six short months here. Here’s to the next six [at least?]!

THE FIVE MOST UNDERRATED DISTRICTS IN BUSAN

SEOMYEON IS the new Nampo, Kyungsung is the new PNU, Haeundae is where white people live, yadda yadda. If Busan is starting to feel a bit stale (i.e., you’re sick of hearing “Want to go to Seomyeon?” / “Sure, meet at The Spot?” or “Fuck it, let’s just go to Thursday Party”), you should know that there is, in fact, a world beyond Blue Monkey and the Wolfhound. It is with this in mind that I have scoured the city, literally walking from Seomyeon to Sasang (it took two and a half hours, but—but—journalism!), riding across the “Who Actually Uses This Thing?” Blue Line to deliver what I consider, in no meaningful order, the five most underrated districts in Busan.

“The market maze is divided into specific retail areas: the Jewelry Wholesale Market, for example, or the Beomil Tool Market, which is really just three blocks of men hoarding mountains of seemingly obsolete power tools who will furiously overcharge you for a screwdriver if presented with the opportunity.”

Put up a few days ago on Busan Awesome as part of my post-vacation efforts to get out of my house. This is coupled with the above post, “Notes on My First 10k”.