Saturday, June 2, 2018

Curious Canvassing

Next Wednesday is Korean Memorial Day (6/6), and the Wednesday after that is local election day. Both of these are national holidays, and while of course Memorial Day is a holiday in the US, I think Election Day should be, too. Instead of so much fighting over early voting, absentee ballots, etc, just have the day off and everyone (well, everyone who is legally eligible) can exercise the franchise.

My apartment overlooks a significant intersection in the Gang-seo district of Seoul, 등촌 삼거리, and the next two weeks are going to be a headache for the likes of me. For whatever reason, the electioneering tradition in Seoul (and elsewhere in Korea, I'm guessing) requires megaphone-style canvassing at such locations. Though I live on the twelfth floor, the sound carries ...

After work today, I came home, fired up the computer for some light ent. on the YouTubes, and then the yammering started. Rather than be annoyed, I thought of you, the lovely visitors to my little Patch of Seoul, and decided this might make a good post to share with you the joys and jollities of living in Korea. I have previously remarked on Korean electioneering, in 2010 and in 2014.

Anyway, I grabbed my iPhone and ran downstairs to snap a pic or three, shown in order below. The odd thing about this might escape the viewer on her initial perusal of the photos/video. After all, all the surrogates/electioneers/cheerleaders are all in blue. And they are all #1 (candidates are numbered here, so you don't need to remember a name, just a number). If you look carefully, there are actually three different candidates vying for the attention of potential voters at the Deungchon three-way intersection!

And video (turn the sound up all the way for some idea of the actual effect):

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Korean Drinksie

After a long hiatus, I met up with The Stumbler at our old haunt in Gangseo-gu cheong, at Saemaul Shikdang (New Village Restaurant), for an overdue dinner of grilled pork and soju, Korean-style.

We usually meet well in advance of dinner time for, let's just call it "cocktails", a few drinksie at a chicken hof or, ideally, at a convenience store with a couple of tables outside--lower overhead on the beer prices.

To wit, the latest addition to the constellation of Korean beers is the Filite "Fresh", in the blue can. The particular establishment at which I awaited his arrival happened to have some, so I gave it a shot while waiting. Here's the can; it doesn't have a lot to recommend it, other than the price, 1,600 W, which is the same as the green one. And frankly, the "clean barley flavor" of the original suits me much better.

While waiting (the weather started to turn, affecting traffic), I had a second one. It didn't really change my opinion, but I didn't mind it as much. At this point, it's coming up on half-seven and I'm getting peckish, so I stroll toward our dinner spot. I barely have time to explain to the wait-staff that my friend is late and order some drinksie when a team (okay, a pair) of promoters come into the restaurant. They are promoting Cham-i-sul ("real dew") soju, whereas I had just ordered, as usual, Cheoeum-cheoreom ("like the first time").

The fact that one member of the team was a pretty girl in no way convinced me to change my order. Nope, I just hadn't had my picture taken in a while, that's all.

As an additional inducement, the young woman is holding a giant cut-out soju bottle, which you can see below is a kind of alcohol advent calendar. Pick a window and win a prize.

Truth is, I've played this game a dozen times, at least, from Guro Digital to Cheolsan to Hongdae and back again, but I keep playing on the off-chance I'll win a small island in the Caribbean, or at least a Hyundai Sonata. I picked IU 아이유, a hot Korean actress, but had to settle for a large packet of mul-tissue (moist towelettes) and some skin cream.

Grrr. Next time, soju advent calendar, next time!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Seoul Subway Signage

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, then at least two people asked me this week-end if I was ever going to resurrect this blog, so here it is. I have written numerous times in the past about elements of the subway, here is a partial list:
Yangcheon gu cheong station:
Yeouinaru station:
That time they changed the left-right on the escalators:
And two posts about when they opened Line 9: and

As the title suggests, this post is about signs you find on the subway. First up, the very helpful maps of station, local area and system:

Here's a moderately helpful sign pointing out safely and comfort features of the subway:

And here's one showing good manners and proper behavior on the subway:

...but it doesn't include my two favorite images of the series (in the first one, the Hangeul says: "Out!"):

Here are a few advertisements you might see today, the last one for the "Goblin Night Market" a glorified flea market or car boot sale, as the Brits might say:

You see a few of these around (including at Yangcheon gu cheong station, as pictured in that post):

And finally, Seoul Best Toilet, awarded in 2001 to the World Cup Stadium station. Well done!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Seonyudo Park

About once a month, the teachers in my office, the 교과실, are allowed to leave campus in the afternoon for a "team-building" experience. I recently posted about our trip to an art museum--a couple of times last year we went to see a movie. Anyway, yesterday, we went to Seonyudo Park. Some things that end with -do in Korean are islands, and that is the case here. But don't get it confused with the one in Gunsan 군산 , on the west coast. This Seonyudo 선유도 is a small island in the middle of the Han River, north of Yeouido; it was once the site of a water purification plant, but today the entire island is a park.

Walking across the pedestrian overpass to the island has some good vistas of the city,

...but I liked this shot with the leafy frame.

As I've noted, it's springtime, and there were lots of blooms (azalea, peach and lilac, not sure about the next one offhand):

The last one above is a Japanese red maple--it's always like that.

The park has numerous features, including an aquatic garden, a couple of greenhouses, and this:

And of course, walking paths. Here are my co-workers ahead of me on one of them.

Finally, a pic of me in the greenhouse.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Signs of Spring

1) Blossoms - if you've come to the Seoul Patch with any regularity, you have seen hundreds of flower photos. You're about to see a few more, these from my school, and the hillside directly across the street.

2) Baseball - went to a preseason game a little while ago in Incheon with an old buddy and a pair of diminutive tagalongs. On the promenade from the station to the stadium (or vice versa) there is a series of engineered photo-ops. I think this is the best one.

3) Soccer - though FC Seoul is off to a really terrible start (they finally won a game last week against Pohang, on their seventh try!) going to soccer games here is easy and fun!

4) Student elections - many schools seem to elect a new student government every semester, and while they enjoin their friends to cheer for them at the school gate in the days leading up to the poll, they put a lot of effort into a poster which identifies their main platform planks:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

2018 Yeouido Flower Festival

Despite the impoverished levels of attention the Seoul Patch receives from Tuttle these days, it would be more than remiss of me to skip the annual Yeouido cherry blossom festival post. The festival officially opened on Saturday, but the weekend weather was less than ideal, so I finally got there yesterday after school. There were plenty of people but nothing like what you would have seen on, say, Saturday at 2 PM. The cherry blossoms don't really care how many people are looking at them, they bloom anyway.

The cherry trees run around the north end of Yeouido Island, immediately adjacent to the Korean Legislature facilities. This time, the gates were open, so I wandered through the park area and got a couple of shots of statuary:

That last one is just titled 대한국인 Korean Person.

Before I come to the final, obligatory shot of myself on the sidewalk with the cherries and the city blossoming behind me, I want to point out to anyone that's new around here that they can see lots of pictures of each previous festival since 2009: just click on the cherry blossom festival link in the tag cloud on the right side.

In fact, that might be a good idea, because a) this was a quick visit, and b) I came directly from work so I did not bring my Nikon. All these pics came from my iPhone.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

겸재정선 미술관 Gyeom Jae Jeong Seon Art Museum

The folks in my office (the ones who couldn't find an excuse to get out of it, anyway) went on a "team building" activity yesterday afternoon to this art museum in the Magok area, near Yangcheon Hanggyo station on Line 9. I think we're supposed to do this once every couple of months--we get to leave school early, and if we finish by quitting time I'm fine with it. And in this case I'm glad I went.

I had never heard of the artist 정선 Jeong Seon, nor of this whole business of attaching a nickname to the front of them--his is Gyeom Jae 겸재 but no one was able tell me the meaning, though Wiki says it's "humble study". He is a pretty important figure, his dates are 1676 to 1759, and he is considered the master of Korean "true-view" painting. Here's a blurb (and just about the only English in the place):
Its importance can be found in the following aspects: First, Jeong Seon was the protagonist of true-view painting which became an important genre of landscape painting in Korea. Second, Jeong Seon was an advocate of the beauty of Korea. Third, Jeong Seon was the painter who brought true-view painting to perfection. Fourth, Jeong Seon's true-view painting style had an immense influence on many painters of following generations who may even be considered as belonging to School of Jeong Seon.

Much Korean art of the Joseon time was strongly influenced by Chinese styles, but Jeong Seon is reputed to have departed from tradition, and actually go outside with his easel and brushes to observe nature, and record it.

The museum picks up on this idea, and has a display of replicas of some of his works paired with the actual scene they are based on:

Jeong Seon also became a government dignitary, holding the office of hyollyeong of Yangcheon (west stream) and going around the area painting landscapes. This is the region that is modern day Gangseo-gu where I live currently, and the ground floor of the museum has a diorama of the area and some history of Gangseo.

The ground floor also houses temporary exhibits by Korean artists. One show, by Lee Jeong-hyeon 이정현, features landscapes that betray the workmen's tools that go into creating them:

Another series, by Lee Ye-ji 이예지, seemingly features bodies vaguely writhing around in who-knows-what:

And here's one more gallery: