30 August 2014


New Generation of Ska Fest Part 2

I probably took more photos of the last three bands than all the earlier bands put together. Probably the main reason for this was that it was getting too dark for street photography.

After all the roofs I hit or tried to hit, I finally found the best one, which was on top of a single-storey booth thing right next to the stage. It gave me a perfect vantage point onto the stage so I could capture the last moments of Goyang's life.

30 August 2014


New Generation of Ska Fest Part 1

It's taken me quite a while to get through the ska fest photos, mainly due to work, Chuseok, and my family visiting. This gallery has Rudy Guns, Pegurians, No.1 Korean, Ska Wakers, Burning Hepburn, maybe some of Reska (I didn't intend to snub them here or in DoIndie), Beach Valley, Autocratics, and Lazybone. It looks like there is way, way more to go through for the last three bands.

29 August 2014


Cheondogyo and Confucianism

I showed up at work to find that our office was being renovated, so I wandered around and got into way more trouble than I could have expected. I went to a conference on the Donghak Movement and similar anti-imperial peasant movements, where I saw the leader of Cheondogyo give a welcoming speech. Then I went down to the old campus where I saw the bimonthly jesa ceremony being performed. I bumped into delegates from the Asia Conference of Religions for Peace, an interfaith organisation that actually works closely with the UN. Absolutely no relation to the World Alliance of Religions Peace Festival (either WARP Festival or WAR Peace Festival, depending on how hard Shinchonji is trying to appear UN-approved). Through them I met Seo Junkie, the president of the Sungkyunkwan Confucian Institute. Anyway, quite a productive morning.

Speaking of SKKU, I'll be leading an RASKB tour of the university including the old grounds on September 28. The original plan was to attend the major Confucian ceremony normally held on Confucius' birthday, but at the last minute they decided to hold it earlier in the month and not inform that many people. But there's a chance we'll witness a smaller jesa ceremony to Confucius. Like my Yongsan tour, all are welcome but this is not a free trip, and all the money will go to the oldest Korean studies organisation which is perpetually broke. You can read more about it here.

28 August 2014


SKKU International Orientation

There were two separate orientations for foreign students, the first conducted in Korean for degree-seeking students, and the second the next day for exchange students. Well, there was also a third at the Suwon campus for students down there, but I didn't make it to that. The exchange students got the most exciting orientation, which included a campus tour, a meal, and drinks afterward.

27 August 2014


Hoeshik in Jongno

I met up with members of the KOCIS Korea Blog for dakgalbi. After, it was too late to catch the bus so I had to walk home. Most of these pictures are from that.

25 August 2014


SKKU Graduation

One of the many ceremonies performed at the old Sungkyunkwan grounds is done twice a year during graduation. The university president leads a ceremony at Daeseongjeon in which he reports to the spirit of Confucius about the graduating class. This time around I was prepared for the graduation and knew I wanted to attend this ceremony.

I don't post all of my SKKU pictures on this site. More of what I do can be seen at the SKKU International Facebook page.

24 August 2014


Wandering Around Jongno

I figured I had to do something, so I went out and wandered around the neighbourhood. I headed over to check out the abandoned highrise behind Deoksugung, but it's still swarming with all sorts of people.

23 August 2014


Chungmuro Punk Part 2

Here's the rest of the Jarip show. This venue is also a photo studio, so it's very useful for trying out a number of tricks with a camera. Chungmuro will never replace Hongdae as the mecca of live music, not even the same way Mullae seemed to promise to, but it's a fun environment for shows and it's walking distance from home.

23 August 2014


Chungmuro Punk Part 1

Some weekends I just need a break from Hongdae. It doesn't mean I stop drinking or listening to loud music. Fortunately Jarip HQ in Chungmuro has great shows from time to time. This one was organised by Yongjun of Banran and it was a lot of fun. It was also one of Matt's final shows with Mixed Blood, and they played a great set as always. Matt's moving away, and Cliff will follow him next year. End of an era. This gallery only has Yuppie Killer and Mixed Blood.

22 August 2014


SKKU

Graduation for the spring semester grew near. I got a few fortunate pictures around campus in advance. Also, free alcohol from work. But it comes in a nice bottle and it's from Andong, so not sleazy at all.

19 August 2014


Return

If you stay in Korea the medium term, you get used to people leaving. If you stay long term, you get used to people who left returning.

16 August 2014


Taking Care of Business

The day after the Business show, I organised an afterparty show. The main idea was to give everyone a chance to meet the Business, and for them to see more Korean bands. The show ended up going exceptionally well, and I made sure all bands walked away paid and the Business stumbled away not having paid for a single drink. Unfortunately since I was working I didn't get much chance to take pictures.

15 August 2014


Business Korea Tour 2014

Well this was the big event. It was a pretty good show, but judging by Redboi's reaction, it could've been bigger. The Business may not have seen the Korean punk scene at its greatest, but they saw the best we could do these days.

14 August 2014


Business Associates

Well we survived the weekend. The tour is complete and the afterparty went down without any problems. I have a lot of pictures to get through, but for now here are some pictures from when I took the Business associates downtown for a walk around, then we went back to Hongdae for a blessing from Jesus and God and some beer.

13 August 2014


Business seminar

Apparently after I left them last night, the Business guys wandered around and found their way to a great affordable bar. Vent, across the street from where Roots Time used to be, sells Cass for 3000 won a glass, and Alley Kat for 5000 won. They also pretty well let you play whatever you want. I cleared the room by requesting "Drinking and Driving," and when I discovered that the owners wanted to play the whole album, I had to explain to them that bands really don't like listening to their own music.

We were joined by Janghyup from Resolute, then Jongo who brought along Attacking Forces CDs for the band, and Jeff, Trash, and Mizno as well. Plus we ran into some Germans who were probably pretty surprised to find themselves in Korea drinking with the Business. Good times and way too much alcohol.

12 August 2014


Business meeting

Yes, the Business is in Seoul. Redboi picked them up from the airport and I met them for dinner at This is Chicken. We walked around Hongdae and I discovered that the idea of drinking in the playground, or outside anywhere really, doesn't really appeal to the band members. Anyway, there should be more news to come over the next few days.

Also, Broke in Korea 18 is out. If the online PDF isn't good enough for you, and if you want to try the crossword without damaging your screen, you can pick up a copy at the Business show or the afterparty which has the greatest poster I've ever made.

10 August 2014


Sunset

On Sunday I was going to visit one of these, but was stopped by the rain. Then around sunset, the rain started to let up and the clouds let in the sunlight. It turned the sky a very bizarre orangish colour, and I took a few pictures from my windows.

7 August 2014


Sinchon

Following the previous incident which involved outwitting a security guard, I returned to Sinchon and hit a number of other rooftops. And there was a subway tunnel involved at one point as well.

5 August 2014


zengravy

I stopped by Mix & Malt where Joshua was having a birthday. There's only one picture to share, and it's of Morgan drinking gravy out of a gravy boat with a straw, along with one of Korea's main food bloggers.

2 August 2014


Sunset

Saturday had the nicest sunset anyone can remember seeing in Korea, combined with a rainbow, and most of my Facebook friends had pictures of it.

When it was happening, we were 30-something floors up on a roof overlooking Sewoon Arcade. We only wanted to stay a few minutes, but the sky was so nice we just couldn't leave. Oh yeah, and that rainbow? Double rainbow.

2 August 2014


Yaksu Overpass

Following the closure of Ahyeon Overpass, the city was quick to also get rid of Yaksu Overpass. This one was removed in a much different manner, possibly due to improved construction techniques.

Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to walk on it, but we did visit an interesting roof nearby for a view of it.

2 August 2014


Hongje

I met up with Mathieu, a French urban explorer currently on a trip around the world, and another guy whose name he wasn't comfortable sharing, and we hit up the abandoned neighbourhood near Hongje. This one is almost completely demolished, and what's left is in very rough shape. Also, this picture somehow makes them look like giants.

28 July 2014


Magok

Located in southwestern Seoul, the Magok District is an environmentally-friendly knowledge industry cluster where cutting-edge convergence indusries coexist with organizations specializing in international business. It is a future-oriented town that will connect Seoul to the rest of the world.

Or something. There's been a huge brownfield zone sitting here for as long as I can remember (which means about 2007). There has been talk about all sorts of redevelopments, often focused on industry, and while there is more growth, it still seems to be around the edges without a concrete plan for the whole area. All 3.6 million square meters of it, or 0.6 percent of Seoul's total area. Stephane at Seoul Village has much more to say on this area in an article from January 2013.

27 July 2014


Sinchon

After saying bye to Elaine and Inah, I managed to meet up with Chelsea in Sinchon. We hit a couple roofs, but things got a bit tense when the security guard for the McDonald's building came looking for us. He must've seen us on the CCTV and known that all the businesses in the building were closed, so he came up to the roof to look around, then returned to his post to wait by the elevator for us to come down. Instead, we took the stairs, which involved slipping through some metal bars right under his nose. It was a narrow escape that we somehow managed to pull off.

27 July 2014


Rooftopping with Elaine

I met up with Elaine, a Hong Kong urban explorer on vacation in Seoul for a few days. Unfortunately we didn't have time for her to meet the other Hong Kong urban explorer visiting right now, but we did manage to spend a couple hours hitting roofs in Dongdaemun.

26 July 2014


Seochon

Brandon invited us to his area for a look around. Seochon is a few years behind Bukchon in gentrifying, but it seems to be appealing less to tourists and more to a younger crowd. The land price has rapidly and greatly increased, which means a lot of the residents are no longer able to afford their own homes. In one section up on the hill, there is a high vacancy rate, and I was told by one resident that there are 40 abandoned homes here. Apparently a lot of foreigners are buying land in this area. There still are many residents, so it's really not the same as visiting an abandoned neighbourhood. No redevelopment plans are known, so it should be interesting to see what happens with this area over the next few years.

24 July 2014


Smeg

I don't know what this means, just that it's used as an expletive on Red Dwarf and that it sounds almost like a culture that only uncircumcised men are able to grow.

19 July 2014


Abandoned Neighbourhood

I revisited the abandoned neighbourhood with a few friends.

First, there was Colin Marshall, an urbanist who was in the country to learn everything he could about urbanism here. He'd already gone on my Yongsan tour and I didn't want him to leave without seeing an abandoned neighbourhood, and this one is the most happening these days. Colin is back in the US now and has published a series for The Guardian on urban Korea, but there's more to come and he's hoping to return in the future.

Also, there was Chelsea, who met up with Ivan and Kanghee when they visited her in Hong Kong. It seems like there are HK urban explorers everywhere these days.

Plus, we invited along a couple of contributors to a newly formed magazine about youth counterculture in Korea. They'd interviewed me for their upcoming first issue on punk in Korea, and I pitched to them doing something about urban exploring. The translator seemed very interested so she invited the editor along and we had an interesting walk around. Their editor knows a lot about the modern history of a lot of the furniture we came across, which added a very interesting dimension to the trip.

12 July 2014


DoIndie FWD Show

Lately I've been doing a lot of writing for DoIndie. I figure it's the best platform out there for promoting Korea's music scene, especially now when there are so many major events coming up. I've been working my way through a series on the bands playing at the New Generation of Ska Festival. Now that the fundraising is successfully concluded, it's a little less urgent. Here's a list of the articles I've done for them so far:
  • Patients English Korean
  • Team New Generation of Ska English Korean
  • Skasucks English Korean
  • Pegurians English Korean
  • Rudy Guns English Korean
  • No.1 Korean English Korean

    Anyway, DoIndie had a show at Club Ta which ended up turning into Rose's birthday. I stopped by but really didn't have the energy that night.

  • 11 July 2014


    Roots Time Closing

    Seemingly out of nowhere, Roots Time closed.

    10 July 2014


    Rooftops

    I've been extremely busy all month due to work, thanks to the International Summer Semester. We have more international students come for this three-week course than we do for the rest of the year all together. On the bright side, one of the students inquired to me about rooftopping, which just so happens to be something I know a bit about. We only managed to hit one roof, but it's one of the best.

    10 July 2014


    Deoksugung Pungnyu

    Jocelyn Clark advertised on Facebook that she was performing at Deoksugung as part of their Thursday night Pungnyu program. This is a basically free concert series (you pay entrance to the palace which is 1000 KRW. I'd previously attended two years earlier with my parents and I figured this was a good opportunity to go back.

    It was a lot more popular this time, and there was pretty well no room to sit. We stayed for Jocelyn's set and heard her surprisingly amazing singing voice, as well as one more act, then it was time to head off.

    9 July 2014 2014


    Night

    At work, someone gave me three boxen of blueberries. They were very small of course, but depending on market value this could be worth anywhere between 15-30 000 KRW. And then I left them out on my desk, in an un-air-conditioned office.

    So, I hiked up over the hill at night back to the university to rescue the blueberries. This was my first time doing this walk in this direction, and it was strenuous. But at least the path was well lit.

    8 July 2014


    Wasted Land

    Why can't I ever just have a normal walk? All I wanted to do was investigate a brownfield zone in central Seoul, and suddenly I'm scouting out an abandoned highrise. Never mind the fact that there's been an abandoned highrise just sitting there in a prominent area in downtown for at least four years now.

    Anyway, this is a bit of footwork for an upcoming article I'm going to be doing.

    Update: Nikola at Kojects has scooped me on the Sogong "golden plot" pictured above.

    6 July 2014


    Sunday walk

    I went for a stroll around the neighbourhood, which led me to discover an interesting religion I'd never really known about before, and also have a rough encounter with a security guard. You know, just an average Sunday walk.

    5 July 2014


    Billy Carter Comeback Show

    Billy Carter apparently broke up a couple months ago, and before that could sink in, they decided to come back, this time with an actual drummer. Their music has changed, and some of their older songs no longer work because the drums obscure all their subtlety, but they have new material that works just fine. Also, they released an EP in their old style at this show, which is something I wish they'd been doing frequently over the last few years.

    5 July 2014


    AA Show

    I went to AA for a show with way too many bands for the small practice space. Unfortunately I was only able to see the first four bands before leaving, but if that was when they were just getting started, things must've gotten way crazier later.

    This show was a fundraiser for Shim "Black Commie" Jihoon, who apparently has suffered a bit of legal trouble due to his political activism. Oh well, as long as he isn't paying off public nudity charges or anything. They also released a compilation album that I'm looking forward to listening to.

    And yes, I have exactly one picture of Jihoon's junk. It didn't make it into this gallery in case he ever wants to run for political office.

    1 July 2014


    Hanok "Restoration"

    This is something I've been watching closely since April. Currently the roof tiling is almost done, and then all that will be left to do is interior work that I won't be observing. So, here is a rundown of the progress so far.

    Hanok restoration requires two steps:
    1: Demolish existing Hanok
    2: Build an entirely different one in its place.

    I've also put the pictures together in an animated gif so you can see the new one replace the old one.

    22 June 2014


    Yongsan

    Still getting ready for the RASKB walking tour of Yongsan on June 28. This time, I went back and did a thorough walk around the railyard, following roughly the path I've been planning. It all took around two hours. Of course I made a few other pitstops that won't be on the tour, so it might actually go a bit faster. But probably not.

    The deadline for signing up is Wednesday I think. The more walking around I've done, the more confident I am this is going to be very interesting.

    21 June 2014


    Team New Generation of Ska Fundraiser

    Team New Generation of Ska (English) is working on putting on a free ska festival in Sinchon at the end of August. They're raising funds to keep the price at 0 despite the fact they're bringing in three bands from overseas. To that end, they put on a fundraiser at Thunderhorse on the weekend.

    I've also been working on an article series about the participating bands, and we just published one on Skasucks (English).

    I met up with Redboi and his wife after their return to Korea, as well as Walter and his daughter who also recently arrived back in Korea (Walter's daughter said this was her first day). She wore very big impractical high-heel shoes, so Walter sent her out barefoot into the street with some money telling her to go find new shoes. Somehow she did and even found her way back to us.

    The show went well, though I have no idea how much money they raised. If you haven't yet, there's not much time left to donate.

    16 June 2014


    From Mannam to IPYG: another Shinchonji cult front

    Remember a couple years ago when I attended the world's largest cult event? Here's an update on what everyone's favourite* Korean cult has been up to since then. Long story short: they created a bunch of new cult front groups, then suddenly pulled the plug on all of them. But they'll be back.

    *Hear me out. Their attempts at deception are hilariously easy to see through, and they're not quite as notoriously destructive as WMSCOG or JMS I'd say.

    15 June 2014


    Yongsan Electronics Market

    I returned to Yongsan, this time with a tripod and a respirator. Having the first makes a world of difference in photography, and having the latter makes breathing feel a little safer, even if you're not breathing as fast as you'd like sometimes. This time, the demolition has progressed respectably. I think they might have to slow down here as they take down the escalators. But I know nothing about demolition, and the hollow area might help them move faster.

    I'm preparing for my RASKB walking tour of Yongsan on June 28, and this demolition has forced me to change my plans. Originally we were going to walk through the market, but now that's pretty well impossible. I doubt the building will even be standing by the 28th. I'm committed to keeping this walk trespassing-free, so it's suitable for anyone who can stand all the walking. It's 20,000 won for RASKB members and 25,000 won for non-members. Also, we have a Facebook event page, but that doesn't mean you don't still have to register through the RASKB.

    14 June 2014


    Durchfall

    I don't think there are many other people who would go to both a garden party and a Durchfall concert on the same day. Well, Durchfall will only be around for two shows anyway, before their drummer Chris leaves the country. This is Ken's second limited-time project, so I made sure to attend.

    14 June 2014


    RASKB Garden Party

    Every year, the RASKB has a garden party at either the American or British Ambassador's residence. This year it was at the British Ambassador's residence, which is on the grounds of their embassy. Basically, we drink a lot, listen to some live music, and socialise. Other than lecture afterparties, this is really the only strictly social event the RASKB hosts each year.

    13 June 2014


    Inside Bicheondang

    The doors of Bicheondang open fairly often, and the interior is much nicer than most of the other sealed buildings in the old Sungkyunkwan campus. A program is run for kindergartens to bring the kids over for the day and have them try a lot of different traditional events, including wearing Hanbok and participating in a tea ceremony. I just hope they aren't giving those kids caffeine.

    10 June 2014


    Protest

    After work, I headed over to Somerset for the RASKB lecture on Korean stamps, which turned out to be more fascinating than it sounds, as I predicted. Only I missed half of it due to the extremely heavy traffic.

    Turns out this was the anniversary of the June Democratic Uprising. I ran into some Korean punks I knew in front of Insadong and they filled me in. They had hoped to march on Cheong Wa Dae, but that never works out for protest movements. This date also has a much older significance to Korea, being the anniversary of the June 10 Movement of 1926 when they protested against the Japanese occupation.

    During question period at the lecture, we heard a great deal of noise outside as the main body of the protesters marched by.

    8 June 2014


    Yongsan Redevelopment

    I'm in the process of preparing for an RASKB walking tour of Yongsan, but every time I go to the area to scout it out, I end up finding something new and bizarre. Now, the main building most of us know as Yongsan Electronics Market is being torn down. This building actually used to be one of Seoul's main bus terminals, but apparently that role changed with the opening of Nambu. The building was quickly turned into an electronics market as vendors moved here from Sewoon Arcade. I have no idea where they are now.

    I really need to return here with a tripod before it's too late. It looks like demolition will be pretty quick.

    7 June 2014


    Kitsches CD Release

    Here are some pictures from the Kitsches CD release. I showed up a bit late due to the gay pride parade. Fortunately I didn't miss Mixedfits, which made an unadvertised appearance. The Dead Gakkahs also played another great set, and the Kitsches ended the night with a strong performance. I really enjoy shows in Badabie and I like the lighting and weird wood paneled stage. Much more fun for photography than Spot.

    7 June 2014


    Gay Pride Parade

    On June 7, a bunch of moral degenerates filled Yonsei-ro. Of course I'm talking about the crazy Christians protesting the Gay Pride Parade.

    I was reminded this was happening when a number of my friends began posting about the crazy Christians trying to blockade the event. I went down there and didn't see that many Christians, but I did visit a couple decent rooftops.

    6 June 2014


    Dunburgers

    I forget who suggested that name, but hopefully it won't stick around. A while back, I was eating at a Korean galmaegi restaurant, and due to the sauce they used I thought it tasted sort of like a burger. I wondered what it would be like to substitute all the ingredients in a Korean barbecue meal with the ingredients of a hamburger. It still looks fairly Korean if you can get over the bright colours of the condiments; don't be surprised if you think this closely resembles tteokgalbi.

    There has been some discussion among some of my friends that this is basically an Atkins burger, but that overlooks the eating method. There have been mini-burgers done before in this style, but even that example treats the burgers as more of a salad topping rather than a lettuce-based delivery system. Still, that site has a few useful suggestions that would improve my own recipe.

    5 June 2014


    Underground

    The subway holds a lot of secrets. Probably the best ones are around this station, which both has a secret platform I'm still unable to get to and a tunnel under construction.

    4 June 2014


    Election Day and Geeks Music Video Shoot

    We had Wednesday off for the elections, and I was registered to vote.

    Also, the Geeks were shooting a music video at Yogiga. I stopped by to make sure there was a guy holding a beer can in the background at some point in the video.

    Speaking of music videos, last month I went to the recording of a music video for ...Whatever That Means, which is now completed.

    1 June 2014


    Hangover Day

    Just a few pictures from early in the week. No relation to that new song.

    31 May 2014


    Pegurians at Ruailrock

    Quicker than I expected, the Pegurians started playing shows. This is the first time I can remember that a reggae band was started exclusively by members of the Korean punk scene. They're part of the New Generation of Ska Festival happening in August, which I wrote about for DoIndie here (and Korean here).

    I would never have expected a band like this to start in Korea. But sure enough, here it is, and it's amazing.

    This was Leon's last weekend in Korea, so we made sure he had a good time. Also, when we first met at This is Chicken, I was surprised to run into the wedding afterparty for Boram of Samchung. I wish I'd had a chance to go along for that. The GMC guys always seem to have the most fun at weddings, or at least that's the impression I always had.

    29 May 2014


    SKKU Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon

    I paid a visit to the Suwon campus of SKKU. I used to live right next to it way back in 2009, and of course my first year in Korea wasn't so far away either. The Suwon campus has a much more relaxed atmosphere than the Seoul campus, and I'm not sure whether it's just the differing attitudes of engineers/scientists vs business/arts students, or the more comfortable campus, or something else. Anyway, I was in no danger whatsoever in this picture.
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  • Please remember that these photos are all copyrighted to me. If you want to use them in any way, there's a 90 per cent chance I'll give you my permission, and be able to give you a copy with a higher DPI.
    Copyright Daehanmindecline 2013