The great thing about climbing mountains is:
mountains inside the city limits of Korea are crowded sometimes (especially in October), but mountain culture, as Matt will tell you, is one of the best sides of all Korea's culture. The same old lady who will hit a young lady with her purse as a way of saying "Hey. You stand up and give me your subway seat, because I'm older and louder than you." will, on the mountain, invite you to sit with her and share a glass of makkeoli (a mountaintop drink). It's lovely.
This picture's on Dobong Mountain.
Mountains are great. They're so beautiful -- if you're gonna do an hour of cardio exercise, may as well have a panoramic valley view at the end of it, I say.
this is mat perched on a rock on near Sapye mountain. We did a 2.5 hour hike on Sunday, a 3.5 hour hike on Tuesday, and a 4.5 hour hike on Wednesday, and at the end of the third one, I felt better than I had at the beginning of the first one (other than a single sore spot on my feet.) I got new hiking shoes (North Face: good brand) last week, and despite being new, they treated my feet so well that after over 9 hours of cumulative hiking, my feet are still happy.
Plus, hiking is good for my bum knee.
Hiking at night is dangerous if it's too dark, or if you're careless.
But this is the payoff.
Quite a payoff, I say.
Those are all apartment buildings. Matt and I calculated that each apartment building probably houses 1500-2500 people. Wrap your mind around how many people live in view of this camera shot.
This is an ad for one of those water-jet toilet seats. Also, it's just. . . odd.
That's all I have to say about that.
There's huge pressure on Korean pop stars and models to have plastic surgery.
Look at this before video.
I saw this picture in an ad poster and had to ask my girlfriend "Who's that?" I was shocked and appalled that this picture below is the same person as the one in the video above.
Sad, isn't it?
Some of my students say that they can't even tell the difference between one star and the next by the time they all reach their late twenties, because surgery has homogenized them all into the same, cookie-cutter mold.
This car made me smile. What happens when you cross a low-rider truck, a mini-car, and a lunchbox?
During Chuseok Vacation (the most important holiday of the Korean year -- like Christmas in the west), between 70 and 85% of Korea's urban population hits the road and drives out to their hometowns to clean and tidy their ancestral tombs and party down with their extended family. This picture was taken Friday afternoon at the beginning of the vacation.
Then, at the end of the long weekend (or the three day holiday), it's as crowded as this, but because the population is all coming BACK into Seoul, rather than fanning out in every direction, the traffic is like this, bumper to bumper, starting about 70km. outside of Seoul, and all the way in. My friend travelled to her hometown this Chuseok vacation, and spent 14 HOURS in the car on the way back home.
(Think about how much pollution goes into the air while all those cars idle.)
Something's gotta be done about this.
This was the drumline I mentioned in a previous post.
Climbing mountains was great, but then you have to come back into the city.
Every morning walking to work, my eyes are assaulted by business cards and flyers tossed around the previous night by various promoters for numerous restaurants.
It angers me every day.
But then, other times, Seoul can be just bloomin' beautiful.
(If you like music recommendations, take these ones to the bank.)
(Iron and Wine: The Stranger's Dog)
(Jens Lekman: Night Falls Over Kortedala)
if you want something a little more avant guard, despite the fact it's already had lots of press in indie music circles,
(Broken Social Scene: You Forgot it in People)
(Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew: Spirit If)
These two are atmospheric, excellent, the musical equivalent (to me) of driving fast in the rockies, or climbing a rock face and turning around to see an entire valley.
One more thing: