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.

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


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


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


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


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


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.

26 May 2014


I have visited almost all of the roofs at the SKKU Seoul campus. They range from nice gardens to fairly utilitarian, but I haven't failed at one yet. Apparently someone jumped off the 600-Anniversary Building a long time ago and the door is supposed to be locked. Didn't stop me though.

24 May 2014

Soondoongi Extreme Show

It's nice not going to Hongdae. Jarip operates a venue in Chungmuro in a basement photo studio. It's a pretty decent place, and it's walking distance from my home. Of course, I had to go through some major political turmoil to get there, but still walking distance. I showed up a bit late and missed half the bands, including Jordan River, the band with Sohn Yisang, who's currently facing a bit of trouble with the police for taking pictures. Not as bad as using Twitter, but still dangerous. Or something.

We did see Scumraid, as well as Gongguri and Sagal, and one or two other bands as well. It was a surprisingly fun show.

23 May 2014

Oi Resolute Digital Single Release

Oi Resolute (or just Resolute now?) released some music via a digital single. I haven't heard it yet, but it seems to be available through a K-pop site. Really not sure what the deal is with that, but I'm planning to interview them soon and this should make for an interesting question.

20 May 2014

Around Home

Just a few pictures from around Jongno.

20 May 2014

The Return of Korean Punk & Hardcore

The Korean music scene has been a bit quiet lately, at least domestically, so we reactivated the weekly concert listings. I will try to get everything out on Wednesday. If you want updates on live music events, hit "like" on the page and show your support.

Also in Korean punk news, I wrote about my first full show in Korea for the gummint. Be sure to click, share, and comment; if I get enough activity I'll do a sequel on the Skunk era of Korean punk.

18 May 2014


I went out for a walk around Bukchon on Sunday. Finally I ended up taking a closer look at a construction project just up the hill from me. It used to be an ambassadorial residence, but currently it's just a carved-out hillside.

I recently read an article about Hwanil Middle School, placed uphill from a major urban renewal project. It looks like everyone's freaking out that they may have weakened the foundations by excavating the hillside. Well, this is a pretty common thing. The school isn't even the scariest example I've seen of that. This example in Bukchon is much smaller, thankfully. Likely all the adjacent buildings have deep enough foundations that they don't have to worry. Still, it would be weird to live next to that.

17 May 2014


I brought everyone downtown to go to a certain restaurant, but just before we got there we walked in on a rally/candlelight vigil for the Sewol sinking. Shortly after we arrived, they began marching, and we were separated from each other. The two visitors wanted to stay and watch the protest, but I chose to get out of the way. On the way home, I ran into a smaller group of the protest that had wandered off and gotten cornered by the cops in front of Hyundai E&C Headquarters. Getting into my neighbourhood was a bit daunting, but I made it and took the opportunity to watch the protest from a convenient rooftop. When I got home, I lived close enough that I could still hear the protesters down the street.

17 May 2014

Totoro's Neighbourhood

I returned to Totoro's Neighbourhood for a more extended look around, with the cartoony cat-rabbit as my guide. This guy really took on a life of his own, and his cheery expression really imbued the pictures with something different.

We also met up with Jackson, who's been doing a similar thing for a while now too and is one of the most active urban explorers in Korea. And later, my friend Soulkee came along with two couchsurfers he was hosting who had exploring experience in Detroit.

16 May 2014


Just some pictures from over the weekend. I stopped by a birthday party in the neighbourhood, and otherwise had a pretty quiet weekend. Well, except for being woken up early Saturday morning by continued work on the Hanok "restoration" project. Once the whole thing is complete, I'll gather all my pictures together so you can get a better look at how it all is happening. Shouldn't take too long.

15 May 2014


Remembering that they seem to hold a ceremony every 15 days, I wandered down into the old campus to get a look at the ceremony that was going on. I guess it was either a different ceremony or I arrived at the wrong time, when everyone was sitting in Myeongnyundang listening to a lecture.

12 May 2014

Redevelopment of Dongdaemun: the making of Dong Cult Park

With the recent opening of Dong Cult Park, which now seems to be called DDP, that weird building has become the most-photographed building in Seoul, judging by my Facebook newsfeed. I find it kind of annoying, having watched the redevelopment project closely over the years.

This article was made a lot easier thanks to Matt at Popular Gusts, whose reporting matched up almost perfectly to how I remembered this unfolding. Other than that, a lot of the online newspaper sources have disappeared. Also, Nikola at Kojects has a closer look at the newly opened building, something I don't really care to work on myself, as well as some of his own criticism of the project.

11 May 2014

Totoro's Neighbourhood

On the way home from the countryside, I was getting a ride from a coworker. We went by this abandoned neighbourhood that had an admittedly seedy line of storefronts along the street, and he told me it was good that this area was being demolished. I remembered this area from when I lived nearby years ago, and knew there was more to it than that. I came back the day after and had a look around on my own, making a new friend along the way.

10 May 2014

...Whatever That Means CD Release

I really didn't plan to go to this, due to a "workshop" by the university where we went out to the countryside and stayed up all night. However, when I got back to Seoul I had a long afternoon nap and basically felt awake enough to go out.

7 May 2014

Life in Bukchon

A few more pictures from around home. Most of these look at the ongoing Hanok "restoration" project across the street from me. There will be fast developments on this very soon.

6 May 2014

Buddha's Birthday (with Sauron)

I met up with Sandra and Rudolf for a walk around Jongno and a visit to Jogyesa. I also wanted to show Rudi the Eye of Sauron, seeing as how he's here to lecture about the mythological influences of Lord of the Rings.

6 May 2014

Catnip Party

I wanted to give the cats some more attention, so I busted out the catnip for them.

5 May 2014

OB's Cabin

After the music video, I went back with Tyler for a look at some of the other buildings in Insadong. Then we went back to OB's Cabin, the bar with a lot of character that's right next door. During last year's fire, it just barely escaped the flames. Anyway, it's a fun place, even if the average age is over 50.

5 May 2014

...Whatever That Means Music Video Shoot

Well ...Whatever That Means finally released their latest album, and they're working on a video for the song "68, 22." The song is about their home in Korea, and the number refers to the distance from where they stayed in Pennsylvania to Hongdae Playground, something Jeff looked up while he was feeling Koreasick. They invited everyone to their home for the video, and there were about two dozen of us.

4 May 2014

Under the Eye of Sauron

Over the course of only one week, I was able to convince Leon's two sons that the original Eye of Sauron exists in downtown Seoul, and I brought an expert on the Lord of the Rings to see it. I had no idea this thing would be such an imposing presence on my long weekend.

3 May 2014


On Saturday I didn't really have anything to do, so I wandered around. I headed over to Jogyesa hoping to find a convenient rooftop to view the temple from, but I ended up getting sucked into more of an adventure. And let's be honest, this is the worst slogan in the history of failures.

2 May 2014

Stephen Epstein

Stephen Epstein was back in Korea and he had a preview of his latest documentary, Us and Them, a sequel to his 1999 Our Nation. I wrote an article about this back in 2013. Anyway, I can't say much more about the documentary now, other than the fact that it should be released sometime in the foreseeable future.

1 May 2014

Jogyesa with the Bakkers

Leon is back in Korea for his second tour of duty, and this time he invited his wife and two sons to visit him. I showed them around Jogyesa while the lanterns were all on, and we walked around downtown a bit. Leon's sons are pretty much exactly what I would've predicted: somewhat smartass, very keen, and very respectful toward their father.

I also took a few more pictures for an article about Buddha's Birthday.

30 April 2014

The Return of Sandra

After last year's departure which turned out to be permanent, Sandra drifted away from Korea. She returned briefly as the personal assistant of Rudolf Simek, a professor from the University of Bonn who specialises in Germanic history and mythology. He was visiting Seoul University to teach a seminar related to the mythological roots of the Lord of the Rings series, and I managed to steal them away to organise a similar event at SKKU.

29 April 2014


Just a few more pictures around campus. We've been busy lately with visitors from foreign universities.

27 April 2014

From SKKU to Bukchon

One of my coworkers told me about a path from the top of SKKU's campus down into Bukchon, so I took a lazy Sunday to figure it out. The path fairly quickly connects with a school campus, and once you come out the front gate, you're right by my home. I might have to rethink taking the bus home every day, as this route may require less climbing.

26 April 2014


At the start of the month, a friend passed away unexpectedly. I admittedly wasn't too close to Lex, having only seen him maybe five times, four of which were within the last year. However, I always saw a lot of myself in him -- a Canadian long-term expat in Korea, with an interest in punk music, who has gone urban exploring, who drives a motorcycle, who works as a professional editor. In fact, he was responsible for getting me one of my bigger freelancing jobs last year. So, his death still hit me close to home.

A fundraiser was put together to help support his wife and children (Kara and Kal-el, because why not?), and I was asked to book the music acts. With a great deal of input from Doug Vatour, we booked GT Arpe, an odd one-man act that I'm pretty sure I saw at Yogiga years ago, and Slow Dress, an associated band whose singer I had recently run into by chance. Their drummer backed out, but Lauren had a second two-person act that was ready to play.

Over the entire day we ended up raising a ton of money, and for those who missed out, there is still a donation page set up.

26 April 2014


This year's Buddha's Birthday lantern parade was extremely subdued due to the recent ferry sinking. Kind of a strange time to turn away from religion; it makes me wonder if, had this happened in December, they would have done the same to Christmas rather than embraced it extra hard.

This year's parade did without the percussion music that would normally come with it. Instead, it created a unique atmosphere where you could hear the humming of the monks and the ringing of their wooden bells. There was also an increase in white lanterns, which serve as a memorial to the hundreds whod ied. This parade was far less attended than usual, but I'm glad it still went on instead.

24 April 2014


A picture I took recently of some Hanok "preservation" is looking like it's something worth watching. I looked through my old pictures and found what it previously looked like. This method of preservation involves total destruction followed by building something completely new and "better" in its place. Apparently the government doesn't believe this still happens.

21 April 2014

Jeff's Birthday

When it was Trash's birthday, I was invited but didn't get the details and ended up accidentally crashing the party. This time, Trash invited me on the afternoon of Jeff's birthday party. We met up for food and then went back to their place to drink more. We saw one episode of the Simpsons, and we all cheered when it showed Mizno's spirit animal, Milhouse. Also, Jesse and Ken did a lot of cuddling. Jeff sure seems to like getting Lego for Christmas. All I could give him was the latest edition of Broke 17, with higher-quality images for their anniversary collage and information about the free outdoor ska festival that needs donations.

20 April 2014


We ended my weekend tour with a trip to an abandoned amusement park guarded by four dogs. Four very unintimidating dogs, who enjoy beef jerky and one of whom gives five. I ended up leaving there with so many fives, I might get banned from UER. I also took some videos of the dogs playing with me on my phone that have ended up on my Facebook page.

20 April 2014

Snow Castle

Yes, Korea has its own indoor ski hill. The only problem: it's now abandoned. Apparently it opened around 2008, stayed open for less than half a year, and then closed and a bunch of people went to jail.

I read a review of it that mentions how it would be cold inside through the summer, and water was constantly dropping from the high ceiling. Here are some pictures of what this looked like.

Now, it's guarded by a group of very terrifying looking Korean guys in some pretty serious tattoos. No, not the same kind of tattooed people you'd see at Jeff's birthday party. A lot more study of this unusual place is needed.

19 April 2014

Craig and Choey

For my trip, I reunited with a number of friends I haven't seen for years. I met up with Will again, who I last saw around 2010 in Daejeon at a music festival. And I met up with Craig and his longtime girlfriend Choey, who recently moved back from Canada and have a job outside of Seoul.

Choey told me a very bizarre story about the time that Craig ate her taco. Apparently they went to Taco Bell, and he was very drunk and said he wasn't going to eat anything. She got a taco and went to the washroom, and when she came back Craig had eaten her taco. The evidence was all over her face. It's really something to hear her tell this story and watch Craig's awkward embarrassment.

19 April 2014


For a good while I've been watching this amusement park from a distance, well online anyway. Recently I had someone check in on it and we discovered that it was totally closed and there was no security whatsoever. I've been trying for the past few weeks to make time to get away, and finally I got around to it. It's not far from the coast, and the real estate here should be worth quite a lot. They've taken away all the smaller rides, leaving only the stuff that isn't portable. I'm curious how long this will remain standing.

18 April 2014

Lanterns in Bukchon

With Buddha's Birthday just around the corner, lanterns are going up all over the city. Not surprisingly, Bukchon is a good place for seeing them.

17 April 2014

Sungkyunkwan University

Just a few pictures from campus.

14 April 2014

Roof Reshoot

It was a clearer day, so I revisited one roof during lunch and tried out another. Turns out it's still not perfectly clear, and I'm thinking I might need to wait until fall to get the right kind of air quality.

13 April 2014

Downtown and Jogyesa

I went downtown to wander around and ended up on this roof I had considered visiting a while back. I'd decided not to back then because I ended up getting security's help to check on a homeless guy who'd collapsed outside and didn't want to go ahead and cause trouble. Turns out the roof is common access.

From up there, I could see the lanterns on at Jogyesa, so as the sky was getting dark I headed over there for a few more pictures.

13 April 2014

SKKU Roofs

After giving a PPT presentation last week with a fairly impressive photo of the university seen from somewhere high up, I headed back on the weekend to see if I could taint shot that image so I could just use my own. Of course the sky wasn't clear enough and I'll probably have to try this a few more times. I also found another roof that I think offers a slightly better view, compressing everything horizontally.

12 April 2014


I went to Hongdae to print the second edition of Broke 17. There were virtually no shows this weekend, so I mostly dropped them off at Zion Boat and Roots Time. This edition corrects some photo credit/caption errors I made in Tyler's story about Yogiga, adds his name to the list of contributors, deletes a number of unreadable characters, and adds some information about the initiative to create a free outdoor ska festival this summer.

While I waited for the zines to print I hit one rooftop and met Tyler, then wandered around Hongdae for a while. Why was it so crowded this weekend? There were way too many restaurants where the line was unmanageably long, yet still people continue to line up and wait forever. What's wrong with you? There are tons of empty restaurants in Hongdae.

12 April 2014


A few pictures from the weekend at home, showing some of the neighbourhood as well as the usual cat pictures.

8 April 2014


Just some random pictures from around campus.

6 April 2014


Another trip to Gyonam, this time with more daylight. While I was in one building, I heard people outside, and when I came out I was relieved to see they were also photographers.

5 April 2014

Verv Visits

Yes, I know that Verv is a fictional character, but that didn't stop him from visiting my apartment.

5 April 2014

The Third Window

I cleared off a bunch of stuff on the counter and opened the window. The cats previously didn't show much interest in this window, but I guess now that they've gotten used to the other two, a third is like adding another TV channel. This one is also the only one where you can see people in the street.

3 April 2014

Moving to Jongno

I had a lot of trouble with the procedure to register my address in Jongno. I'm pretty sure when I moved to Seodaemun, the district office was easily able to update my address. This time, it required more documents and a lot more confusion. They ended up sending me to immigration, but thanks to now living in Jongno, I can just go to the downtown immigration office in the Seoul Global Center. Waiting in line there took all morning and a bit more. I made the most of it by making several forays around downtown while waiting for my number to come up, and actually got some things accomplished.

2 April 2014

Spring Blossoms at SKKU

Spring blossoms came to SKKU and I made sure to have my camera out to document it all.

1 April 2014

Baseball Game

For work, we went to a baseball game. I'd heard that the audience at baseball games is a lot more fun than soccer games, but it didn't seem so much like it. They had all the chants for the main players, but the props rarely were more elaborate than those red balloon things. No giant flags or banners like at soccer games. Also, baseball is hard for me to watch. You have to really keep your eyes on it or you lose all concentration.

30 March 2014


Gyonam is looking more and more desolate, with the remaining buildings seeming more isolated as demolition increases. Probably what's remaining now will be there a while. There's also an embassy there that recently closed. However, its flag is still flying and there was one light that kept coming on behind the gate, so no way was I going to attempt getting in.

30 March 2014


I had a slow day on Sunday, eventually getting outside and wandering around the neighbourhood a bit, before Soulkee sent me a message asking where I was. I'd forgotten I had other plans to go back to Gyonam that day. There was still just enough daylight left to make it a worthwhile trip. I dropped what I was doing (rooftops in Bukchon) and headed out.

29 March 2014

Heimlich County Gun Club Last Show

I decided to catch Paul and Yumi's last show at Thunderhorse. Paul is leaving behind Heimlich County Gun Club, and Yumi is leaving Chanter's Alley, who can probably replace her, and the Pinheads, who sound like they won't continue playing unfortunately.

It was a fun show, and without the free cocktail hour we all stayed out much much later. I still can't find my hat.

April Fool's Day 2014

The Great Verv Hoax

This year for April Fool's Day, I'm not going to fool you with some story about going to North Korea or anything. No, instead I'm going to unveil one of my longest-running pranks, something that's taken years of work and many accomplices in on the secret.

Verv is a long, long-running April Fool's Day hoax. I invented Verv as a fictional character about nine years ago, and everyone who claims to have met him is either self-delusional or in on it themselves. Here's how I did it.

27 March 2014

The Camel's Way with Kim Miru

Miru is back in Korea for another photo exhibition. This one was about where she's been living the past two years: in the desert, in numerous countries around the world. Currently she's set up in Jordan I think not far from Petra. I invited some of my friends and we showed up at various times, some of us seeing more of the live music than others. The older people came early, and then later there were a lot more younger people.

26 March 2014


More pictures of the university. I went out on an overcast day to get better pictures of some of the architecture, and I ended up witnessing the setup for a ritual, which included opening the doors to Daeseongjeon. There was also a larger ceremony a few days later.

23 March 2014


A few pictures around home. I went out on Sunday looking for rooftops, and discovered the failure rate around Bukchon is surprisingly high. The few rooftops I could get onto were clearly not meant for people to walk around.

22 March 2014

Heimlich County Gun Club

Here are all the pictures from HCGC's set. You can hear some of their music here.

22 March 2014

Heimlich County Gun Club Album Release

For Paul's second last show in Korea, he had a CD release in Spot. I was busy working on the next issue of Broke to come out next week, and collected signatures from people saying goodbye to Paul and Yumi, as well as a few saying they looked forward to seeing him in the US, and one wishing him a great summer.

17 March 2014

SKKU and KU Campus Tours

For the APAIE conference, campus tours were organised. On Monday, one leg of the tour consisted of SKKU and nearby Korea University. They managed to get permission to open the gates of Sinsammun, which traditionally wouldn't even open for the king. I made sure to point that out to the guests. Afterwards, I joined in for the KU tour as well, to see how they do it and also to help them finish all the food they'd prepared for over 200 guests, who turned out to be almost half that.

15 March 2014

Dr Ring Ding and Kingston Rudieska

This turned out to be one of the best shows I've seen. Kingston Rudieska backing Dr Ring Ding was in fine form.

It was my first time meeting Nica, a Filipina-American who had moved to Korea to teach English. It turned out she was TDSTSE for her school (too dark-skinned to speak English) so she left the country the following week.

10 March 2014

Around My Neighbourhood

A few pictures of my area, mostly after dark.

8 March 2014

Spot Second Saturday

We left Zion Boat to stop by Spot, where we saw some of the usual bands as well as one or two new ones.

8 March 2014

Dr Ring Ding at Zion Boat

Last summer, Dr Ring Ding stopped by Zion Boat for his farewell party from Korea. This trip, he arrived in time for their one-year anniversary, so he stopped by and added a bit of his own music.

He'll be playing with Kingston Rudieska this Saturday.

6 March 2014


I recently bought bird seed in hope that I could lure more birds to our window. No luck yet, but I probably need a better way to offer the seeds for birds.

5 March 2014


Just a few pictures around campus. The weather cleared up and also got significantly colder again.

4 March 2014

Kids on the Move

The Malaysian band Kids on the Move came to Korea recently for a tour across the country. I missed their Saturday show at the Open Your Eyes Festival because of the funk show, but I also knew there was a practice hall show on Tuesday I could see instead. So I went there and stayed out until about 1am. It was a pretty fun show, with ...Whatever That Means trying to stretch out their set by placing a few older songs and a few newer ones, and then there was Goyang melting into the floor during Skasucks' set while they were playing "Skinhead Moonstomp," and then there was Malaysian hardcore. Here are the pictures, and I hope Goyang doesn't kill me (I'm pretty sure those are short-shorts, not a miniskirt though).

2 March 2014


More pictures from my new apartment and a couple from my old one. What are these cats getting up to?

1 March 2014

Funkafric Bluestar

It's been a while since Lim Ji-hoon had another concert in the very small Blue Star, and I suspect that may have been to kill the momentum and keep the audience at a more manageable size. It seems to have worked. Plus, there was a pretty big fight during the show, which saw a whole bunch of people shoving each other and grabbing each other. The band didn't miss a beat. I'd skipped the Open Your Eyes Festival in Hongdae that night, which sounds like it was far less violent than this funk show.

1 March 2014

Walking through Gyonam-dong

I met up with a few friends for a walk through a nearly extinct neighbourhood. Both Jessica and Trevor are leaving Korea, so this was my farewell to Jessica, and possibly my farewell to Trevor. But the world's not that big a place, and over time people have a tendency of running into each other again.

27 February 2014

New SKKU Students

The new semester of international students arrived on campus, and after a number of activities they had a pretty impressive buffet. Once they were mostly done, the rest of us had a chance at all this food.

25 February 2014


One picture from a lecture afterparty, one from a meeting at the RASKB office. I took this picture, while Robert Koehler took this one.

25 February 2014

The 10 Dos and 20 Don'ts of Urban Exploration in Korea

I've spent a couple months too long putting this article together about some of the lessons I've learned firsthand while crawling around abandonments, tunnels, and roofs in Korea. Most of it is applicable to the rest of the world, although as one person pointed out, ugly striped blanketing is more likely a sign of fumigation in other countries. It's long, but it's extensive, and in it I link an even longer document solely about draining. A lot of my friends appear in the photos, although usually in an obscured manner, and I also had Paul and Jacco's help in editing this beast.

25 February 2014

Graduation Day

On Tuesday when I got to the upper gate of the university, there were elderly vendors selling flower bouquets. Strange, but whatever. Down in the campus, there were more vendors, as well as food tents set up. It turns out it was graduation day, and soon campus was flooded with recent graduates and their families. Everything went quiet shortly after lunch, so I'm glad I went out and got these pictures when I did.

24 February 2014

Jrinking with Jru

I considered the possibility that I would buy Jru's motorbike from him. I showed up to have a closer look, and it turns out it was a much more full-on motorcycle than I was expecting, complete with clutch and gears. So no, that's out. But we drank a fair amount.

22 February 2014


A few months ago, I went to a TBS eFM party where we ended up at this bar around the corner from Anguk Station. While looking for a good place to go with Tyler after moving, I remembered this place nearby and brought him there.

It's run by Choi Eunjin, a fantastic singer who will play you her music if you ask (and everyone coming there seems to). Her music is hard to describe, and hearing her describe it, it's clear she thinks so too. Her voice is very classically Korean, but the backing music is very unusual and pairs very well with her. I might describe it as trot music as played by gypsies, and she frequently cites gisaeng culture as something that informs her music. You can hear a sample here. And here's a sample of her own version of Arirang here which I don't think I've ever heard elsewhere. This one was recorded in her own bar; that microphone standing there isn't just for show.

Anyway, Tyler left early, I made friends with some Korean guys there, and we stayed late and ordered chicken. I bought a CD from her and was surprised to see it was released on Beatball of all places.

22 February 2014

Moving In

The worst thing about living on the fifth floor is moving in. My new place is on the top floor, basically an extra unit built on top of a four-storey building. Bukchon is a very comfortable place to live, provided you can tolerate the steady stream of tourists in the daytime. I'm high up enough I never hear them. The cats really enjoy the place and have their share of windows to sit at.

22 February 2014

Moving Out

Moving out is always a stressful process. I've lived in the same place for over four years, and was long overdue for a move. Fortunately my new apartment had some furniture, so I could leave behind some of my old stuff including the bed and the couch. We managed to fit everything into a very small moving truck.

21 February 2014

Africa Sound Party

One of the student interns at my office mentioned she was going to see an African music show in Hongdae. Lately, the news was getting around about an African art museum run by a major politician that was treating its African employees pretty well almost as slaves. Their plight made national headlines, and then they were booked to do two sets at a fundraiser in their honour shortly before leaving country.

I was moving the next day but I knew I couldn't miss this performance. I showed up in time for the second set, and it was fantastic. I really wish more of my friends could have seen them.

21 February 2014

SKKU Back Gate

This is the route I take from home to the university. I take a bus up the mountain slope that swings down into the back gate of SKKU. It's high up in the hill and pretty scenic, but these days the pollution makes it hard to see much. Also, I don't go the same way to go home, because that's a pretty major hike. I continue walking downhill to catch a bus on the main streets.

16 February 2014


I'm getting ready to move, so I've needed to get a lot of boxen to pack my stuff into. I ended up raiding Emart and Saruga, which both have free boxen for anyone to take. I took them home and put them together, and instantly the cats declared this a new box-based neighbourhood, running in and choosing their own boxen. Then a bit of a territory war developed, and Millie exiled Buster, who came back and decided to smash the cardboard settlement. Quite an interesting conflict plays out in these pictures.

Also, you can see how messy my apartment is prior to moving out, including some conspicuous cat barf that appeard in a place I can no longer reach due to boxen in the way.

15 February 2014

Shake Shop Volume 12

It seems like it's become a monthly thing to have a show that features a lot of the usual Hongdae bands, but they're accompanied by bellydancers. They seem to be doing quite well, and have brought together a lot of surprising bands to perform a soundtrack for the bellydancing troupe Navah. The show is presented by Korea Gig Guide, as KGG editor Shawn is married to Eshe, the main organiser pictured here. This show featured Asian Chairshot, Galaxy Express, and Kingston Rudieska. I was coming from the Yuppie Killer show, so I missed Asian Chairshot and caught most of Galaxy Express and all of Kingston Rudieska.

15 February 2014

Party Like Shit: Yuppie Killer CD Release

Yuppie Killer had a CD to release, so they booked a practice hall and invited a lot of good hardcore bands to play there. Unfortunately I was also planning to go to the Shake Shop show around the corner, so I was only there long enough to shoot Mixed Blood, Animal Anthem, and Something Fierce. It seemed like a fun show and I printed off 30 more issues of the latest Broke which all disappeared pretty quickly. Then I had to disappear. More pictures from that later, including when I met up with the Yuppie Killer afterparty afterwards.

11 February 2014

Sungkyunkwan Door Scandal

Walking back from lunch, I identified a major safety flaw with the big glass doors at SKKU's international building. Turns out the handles are installed only in the glass. Also turns out a slight force exerted over one of the fixtures can turn the glass into a giant tessellated web of smashed glass. Fortunately it stayed together, but the noise it made post-smash was pretty nail-biting. It finally got fixed over the weekend as of Monday, February 17.

10 February 2014

Ahyeon Overpass

Somehow I missed this post on Gusts of Popular Feeling about Ahyeon Overpass, Korea's first overpass, which closed on Saturday, February 8 with a sort of festival on the doomed overpass.

I missed out, or maybe it's better to say it was my turn to go next. Tyler and I stopped by for a visit at dusk and managed to get some interesting views from the overpass, possibly the last to ever be taken.

8 February 2014

Steel Face Records Compilation Release

I headed to Club Ta to see the Steel Face Records compilation release. It was a good mix of old and young bands, and Galaxy Express was dropped conspicuously into the middle of the lineup. It was a pretty decent show, and I met Leon, a Dutch skinhead who's staying in Korea for a couple months working for a Korean engineering company briefly. I haven't yet listened to the compilation but I'm looking forward to it.

4 February 2014

Sungkyunkwan University

Recently I've been slower than ever at updating this site, mainly because I wasn't eager to revisit the unpleasantness of February 1, but also because I haven't had time or opportunity to work photo-editing into my daily schedule due to my new job.

Speaking of which, here's a walk around Sungkyunkwan University, including the old campus which is mainly an on-the-spot replica of the original campus dating back to 1398. Also, I hit a couple rooftops in the newer part of campus, but things get less interesting the higher up the mountain you go.

1 February 2014

Seollal at Thunderhorse

It was Lunar New Year's and I was a bit sick but I decided it would be a total waste if I didn't make it out. The show was at Thunderhorse, which I'd previously visited on their opening night. However, I heard that the previous week Jesse almost got in a fight there. That's right, Jesse, almost getting in a fight. Jesse wasn't there that night, but the guy that got in his face was. Things were mostly calm until I got Jeff to show off his new Jesse tattoo. Then things once again reverted to sane, once that guy left. I didn't mean to cause trouble for the venue and they reacted appropriately to what was happening, though I could've used more guilting in all honesty.

25 January 2014

Abandoned Oil Reserve

A few months ago, a friend found some information on an abandoned oil reserve not too far from my home. After a few months nobody had gone to check it out, so finally I made the trip. This gallery is actually from two trips. The first time, I climbed a mountain and saw the tankers from above, then went down into one but I was a bit too on edge to take good pictures. The second time, I came back with Jessica during the Lunar New Year weekend for a second look. We visited two of the three smaller tankers out of five.

It's interesting to see the plans for this area. Probably too ambitious to happen any time soon.

21 January 2014

Hwaseong Fortress

We took a break from abandonments to spend a day in Suwon, where we walked around Hwaseong Fortress and had Suwon galbi.

18 January 2014


Barely a week had passed since Javin left, and I was again visited by a Chinese-Canadian urban explorer. Jessica is from Montreal and happens to have no contact with any of the Toronto community I've gotten to know from all the way over here. We met up and spent a few days going around to rooftops, abandonments, and tunnels.

12 January 2014

Vivisick in Korea

I almost forgot to put these up.

After running around all weekend with Javin, we headed to a hardcore show at Spot. I don't think Javin was planning on coming along, but he decided at the last minute to join us, bought some earplugs, and made it all the way to the end. I made sure to explain to him that when Pyha was shouting "Go back to China!" he wasn't talking to him.

I also brought along the latest issue of Broke in Korea so this served as kind of the unofficial release. If you didn't get one, you might be out of luck, and if you did, congratulations: you have a collector's item.

11 January 2014

Javin 2014

Last year I met Javin, a pretty good urban explorer from Toronto who's probably best known for his time lapses and for appearing in the photos of other Toronto explorers. He's back again, taking on another winter camp job to help fund his travels.

Last year was a gruelling two days in which we pulled off the trifecta of rooftop, abandonment, and tunnel, and this year I didn't want him to think I was getting soft. This year's gauntlet was a little more focused on abandonments, and we had a good time in the quickly disappearing Gyonam-dong, soon to be known as Dongnimmun New Town. To make things even more confusing, we headed over to Dongdaemun for food after, going from one side of traditional Seoul to the other.

9 January 2014

Abandoned Factory

Embarking on a business meeting in a part of town I wasn't too familiar with, I was keeping an eye open for an abandoned factory Tyler had mentioned. Turns out it was right in front of the subway exit I took. Anyway, I went to the meeting, hit a couple roofs, and looked around the factory. It's mostly empty inside.

31 December 2013

New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve I planned to get the zine printed, but the shop was closed. I met up with Verv and Zeinab and John Middlemis of Chanter's Alley and we went to Zion Boat for food, then Roots Time for midnight, where we ran into Tyler and a ton of Indonesians. Never have there been so many Muslims in Roots Time before.

Also, as it's the end of the year, I'm unlocking all the 2013 archives. I don't know why I do it this way, but it's fun torturing visitors to my site.


  • DHMD 2013
  • DHMD 2012
  • DHMD 2011
  • 2008 Chris Murray Combo
  • 2007 Slackers


  • DHMD Facebook Page
  • follow me on Twitter
  • Broke in Korea zine PDFs
  • Wikipedia Project
  • Radio
  • follow me on YouTube
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  • Korean Punk and Hardcore Facebook Group
  • Korea Gig Guide
  • UER
  • Korea Blog
  • Asia Pundits
  • Jungang Hansik


  • Abandoned Korea
  • Via Korea
  • Jackson Hung Photography
  • Tsotography (HK)
  • Timeless Dimension (HK)
  • Kojects
  • DoIndie
  • Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
  • Yangbantal


  • E-mail
    Jon underscore Dunbar at Hotmail

  • 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