The first idea we had after checking into the hotel in Seoul, Korea, was to look for Gangnam style entertainment or Kpop. I’m not a true fan, so I wouldn’t know the difference between the two. Other than flicking back and forth between Kpop stations and PBS every now and then, I don’t really follow Korean trends. Upon realizing that we were headed to an unfamiliar territory for the first time, we discussed what we could do in Korea for five days that would be different from other parts of the world.
We brainstormed over what is quintessentially Korean. We decided to dispense with the usual museums, historic sites, and cultural events for the time being. We concurred that Korean entertainment should be our primary endeavor, especially since today was our only Saturday night in Seoul. So KPOP here we come!!
Under advice from the hotel manager, we headed over to Hongik University. It’s the hub of the twenty-something crowd. Streets were strewn with throngs of kids intently watching lip syncing street dancers. It was a very orderly and satisfied crowd.
Here’s a pretty good real-time clip of some KPop performers:
And a future Kpop performer:
Since this is our first exposure to Korea and Koreans, we are looking for the differences between the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures. So far we are very impressed by the civility, safety, and straightforwardness of the Korean people. There were no electric bikes or scooters along the pathways to stress your pedestrian skills, so it was calmer. We were able to get around by subway to most of our destinations, far and wide.
In the morning we headed to the fish market. We indulged in picking our own fresh, live crab, clams, abalone, and scallops for lunch. The market is extensive, with several floors for wholesale and retail sales as well as a line of independent restaurants that cook the food you choose. I couldn’t help but think about Anthony Bourdain’s love of fish markets and street food from places like this all over the world, and how he made them respectable.
A few specialties shown above included stingrays and sea urchins.
At the end of the day we headed over to the Dongdaemon area for dinner. I’m not sure just yet what is the soul of Seoul, but a soothing cafe with live music is everywhere and definitely part of the soul of Seoul that doesn’t exist in San Francisco.