Hongdae Fire
A story set in the mid-2000s Korean punk scene

Available on Amazon, Google, Book Depository, Bookshop, Bookmate (ebook), Aladin, at the physical store Kenektid, and various other smaller websites

Rapscallion's Den
Short stories about a fictional punk house in Edmonton

Only available through direct purchase so far

View this post for price and ordering information


Read more about this on Unite Asia

1 April 2021

Cats On Keyboards

I created Cats On Keyboards last year, placing all the random letters my cats press into my computers onto the print page. It was a fun experiment, and seeing the state of the zine market in Korea, I think something like this will actually be easy to sell. So I set an unreasonably high price and announced its existence on April Fool's Day.

This is a real publication, although I decided against registering it for an ISBN to avoid pissing off the National Library. It is probably only going to be available for direct purchase in person, maybe through mail domestically if people are nice.

I am also releasing a small photo book for Yangbantal, following the format of Ryan's The Bulldozed Future and Bill's Photon Wave Function (which I don't know how to instruct people to get a copy). More details coming soon.

1 April 2021

Copy Salon

The print shop where I'd been doing all of my printing for Broke, closed up and moved to a different location. The old place was tiny and cramped but had its charms, and the new place is just a more suitable space in every way, with room for heavy print machines, places to sit, and lots of space all used.

31 March 2021

Spring Flowers

Now that the actual butt goats are out, I went back to this abandoned area to have another look at the flowers there. I had previously been wondering if some of the flowers I'd seen were cherry blossoms, but seeing what phase they're in now led me to conclude they're pear blossoms. Anyway, there were still magnolias out, which I'd missed last time.

29 March 2021

Huh Kyoung-young Campaign

It's officially byelection campaign season, and the campaign trucks are out here and there. Huh Kyoung-young is running for mayor, and has been actually pretty active in campaigning, with his campaigners being active all over the place.

When he ran for president in 2007, I joked that he made the most sense as a candidate. Nowadays, people are looking more seriously at his campaign pledge of a universal basic income, and I bet even Park Geun-hye is wishing she hadn't turned down his marriage proposal.

I'm fighting the temptation to vote for him, just to say I had. There are better fringe candidates, and I think my vote would be better used put toward the person most likely to beat Oh Se-hoon. Oh will probably win, which will probably be a very good thing for urban exploration in Korea.

27 March 2021


After interviewing Ryan Goessl about Camarata, I took one picture of Coetzer in his terrifying Chucky shirt.

24 March 2021

Streetcar 363

Hahn Dae-soo posted a picture on Facebook of himself posing with a streetcar in 1969, not too long after Seoul scrapped its streetcars. I could see the number 363 on the vehicle, and that was enough for me to track down some information on it. Unfortunately all websites mentioning it seemed to be from a couple years ago, and since the museum it was parked at had just undergone reconstruction, I was worried it might no longer be there. So I stopped by after work, confirming that the streetcar still exists.

24 March 2021

Longboat Smoker

I went by Longboat Smoker to drop off copies of my article, only to discover I'd taken the wrong day.

As I was leaving, I took a couple pictures of the owner leaning on his own bike. If I'd taken the time, it would have looked pretty good. But not as good as the photographer we sent to photograph him. Matt is himself a photojournalist, so I didn't want to risk letting him down.

23 March 2021

Gwanghwamun Stream

People got excited by this article about a stream uncovered during the renovation of Gwanghwamun Plaza (more pictures here). I find it kind of funny when one of these takes off, because it's mandatory to do this kind of archaeological excavation for any development in Jongno.

Anyway, after a few attempts seen below, I managed to find the site photographed in the pictures. It's in the corner sort of between the government building and Gwanghwamun itself. By the time I got there, a tarp had already been laid down to cover it.

22 March 2021

Baekundong Stream

There actually had been a stream recreated through Gwanghwamun, two of them that ran on both sides of the plaza, but they weren't particularly well promoted and people didn't really pay attention, except probably when they stepped in one and got a shoe wet.

In this preview image to the right you can see one of these stream recreations chopped up for removal. While people were excited about the recovery of one stream, another one over top was being removed unceremoniously.

20 March 2021

Planet Gwanghwamun

I wandered around behind the fences at Gwanghwamun Plaza, but on the way out I noticed something as weird. The fences in the area have art showing illustrations of how the project will look after completion, and as I've seen before they put in a lot of weird figures to populate the conceptual landscapes. It's worth a closer look.

19 March 2021


Coetzer stopped by my work so he could test out his film cameras on the roof.

17 March 2021

Gwanghwamun Anarchaeology

This was my first view of the development happening in Gwanghwamun. It made me want to go get my bullwhip and start doing some anarchaeology.

13 March 2021

Iron Hill

I made it down to southwestern Seoul, where there was a pretty large abandoned neighbourhood, built in a crescent around a recently demolished neighbourhood. It was a pretty large area, although the homes had been left pretty clean which suggests a fairly amicable process.

13 March 2021

Airport Market

There's an old market building over by the airport. It's mostly closed but there are still enough people around that it isn't quite abandoned.

13 March 2021

Eco Gas Station

I passed by an abandoned gas station, which I believe was built next to a wastewater treatment plant to rely on natural gases generated by waste. Looks like it's already closed down.

13 March 2021

Butt Goats

I believe I saw cherry blossoms, but am not totally sure. I saw three types of spring flowers, all of them right here at the edge of this abandoned neighbourhood, nowhere else. It is still about two weeks too early compared to last year, which itself was oddly early.

13 March 2021

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I saw some information about an abandoned neighbourhood not far from home, so I added it to my to-do list for the day. In all I visited three abandoned areas I'd never been to before in one day.

12 March 2021


Millie was hiding under a chair. She's been acting different lately, not jumping up and rushing for the food dish when she thinks I owe her, and sitting around in different places.

11 March 2021

Sprout Village

After the moon villages article came out, I was thinking about the area where Bamgol Village used to be. I remembered there having been sort of a moon village on another hillside nearby, underneath the Slumping School I visited back in 2018. That school building was demolished, and the rest of the old buildings have been wiped out and moonscaped. I jumped the fence and got a closer look at the abstract landscape.

27 February 2021

Kenektid X Book Fair

I stopped by this place in Hapjeong where Kenektid was having its book fair. It was pretty big, two floors of tables filled with independent publishers. Among them was J.S. Han of Rebel Society who chose to avoid having his face shown.

26 February 2021


Looks like one of the Korean knockoff brands of Spam decided to get in on the Hallyu of processed meat. Technically the taegeuk after the K serves as the hyphen, so it qualifies for the K-Iceberg. I just wish I had a better understanding of what Lospam is supposed to mean.

25 February 2021

Gaemi Village

I stopped by Gaemi Village while getting ready for this article. Just a quick visit while the sun was setting.

21 February 2021

Abandoned Neighbourhood

After photographing this neighbourhood on Lunar New Year, I went back on a Sunday for another look around. Ryan had been by recently and uncovered the smashed wreckage of a shamanic shrine, so I went back to have a look myself and also get into an abandoned church nearby.

21 February 2021

Around Town

I also walked over to Namyeong Station, where I recalled seeing a building with its windows knocked out next to the tracks. I found it, and it turns out the ground floor was still in use.

Something else useful I found, over by the scooter shop: two pharmacies open on Sunday. Not that I needed them. They are right by the bottom of the funicular on those old Japanese stairs located sort of between Huam-dong and HBC.

Third, I'm going to try to take more pictures of the various titan figures around the city, introducing the Female Cloud Titan in this one. I've already photographed a few of them, including the Cop Titan, the Bowling Titan, the Golden Balloon Titan, the Dissected Titan and the Warhammer Titan. There are a lot more, so we'll see how many I can get.

21 February 2021

Around the Neighbourhood

I had to drop my scooter off at the shop for 90 minutes, so I decided to do some walking in the neighbourhood. I headed straight for an abandoned old building said to be a hospital. Previously I was a little cautious not knowing if the thing might be watched as the signs say, and I didn't want to drive around there on my scooter. So being on foot worked out. It's old inside, and stripped likely for renovation.

14 February 2021

Under Seoul Station

I had noticed some excavation work going on where the bus stops are in front of Seoul Station. Fearing some cyberpunk photographers may have fallen in and were taking shelter until the next rainstorm, I hopped a fence and had a quick look inside. Not much to see, and no idea what it's for.

14 February 2021

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I previously went here in September and from a pretty good roof I couldn't see any sign of abandonment. Now less than half a year later, the area is half demolished. I took pictures from the exact same roof as last time which should make for some suitable comparisons. Otherwise, a quick drive around seemed to indicate no easy ways in.

12 February 2021


For Lunar New Year, I drove out to see a couple of friends living in a corner of Seongnam. The route I took brought me through Uiwang, to a small corner where I used to work back in 2009. It's a weird area, characterised mostly by a big overpass running through the area, with a lot of the buildings oriented around that. It was convenient when it was raining.

Not far from there was some affordable housing, probably largely for university students going to the art school nearby, and of course it was sitting abandoned. The whole street grid is pretty basic, making it seem a little less interesting than other abandoned neighbourhoods. I mostly stayed on my scooter and took a helmet cam video, in which at the end I ran into a couple of stray cats.

11 February 2021

Japanese Hostess

At my third abandoned neighbourhood of the day, I returned to visit my university professor friend plus the other one who actually lived right outside the demolition zone who didn't make it last time. This time, my goal was to meet up with this Japanese resident and follow her around to take pictures. It was sufficiently amusing.

11 February 2021

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I hurried over to another neighbourhood in northeastern Seoul that was a little far from the nearest subway station and kind of uphill. It was a quick visit and I mostly got photos from one tall roof in the middle that gave a good view. This place could be photogenic. I wish I had a drone to fly over it.

11 February 2021

Abandoned Cat Cafe

After previously stumbling across an abandoned cat cafe but not being able to go inside (see this page far down), I returned and made it inside. It was torn up pretty bad, but at least it wasn't cat-messy if you know what I mean. They also left food out for any stray cats, hopefully not any cats that went missing when this place closed.

This place was simple, but worth seeing. Fortunately I didn't see anything that stood out as unethical regarding animal management.

7 February 2021

Torture Park

The park they've been building at the former site of TBS eFM, as well as a KCIA facility where suspects were tortured in the 1970s, is nearly complete and may be having limited openings, so naturally I visited late at night to get a close look. I've yet to see the torture room and figure out how authentic it is, but I was able to see it during demolition so I should have a good idea. It already looks like some of the materials up on the surface may be actual authentic relics from before demolition. Torture room, good motif for a city park.

7 February 2021


A couple of my friends are professors at Hansung University, which is immediately uphill of Samseon-dong, a major redevelopment zone (where we'd been visiting the Great Japan Hanok). Sometimes either of my friends posts a picture showing the construction fences. So I suggested we meet up and walk through the area so they could see it up close, and I could learn more about how life was in the area. Only one of them ended up making it, but she shared some interesting stories.

7 February 2021

Seun Sangga Plaza Reconstruction

I was on the way to meet a friend, but I had to stop and have a look as I passed Seun Sangga.

It seems they're trying to extend the third-floor walkway of Seun Sangga so you'll be able to walk a kilometer along the whole length of the complex. That will be difficult because the ugly redecorated second-southernmost building had its removed. We'll see how it goes.

6 February 2021


I went to Hongdae and drove around visiting a few spots. There had been a show at FF that night but I stayed away from it. Most notably I stopped by the playground and the former DGBD, then got food at Bob's Barbie.

This came after Dark Side of Seoul's podcast released an episode with me talking a bit about Hongdae history.

2 February 2021


I searched online for new pizza places I haven't tried, and found this place in a quiet corner of Shinheung Market. This isn't a food blog but the pizza I've tried from here has been pretty good. They have a very good view and when it's warmer their roof should be popular.

28 January 2021


I woke up to snow again. It was coming down pretty hard and the garden was covered in snow. Then I opened the door to see how deep it was, and got a bit disappointed.

27 January 2021

Abandoned Neighbourhood

Hahn Vad posted a new music video where he humps an excavator in a neighbourhood being cleared for redevelopment. I guessed it was Imun-dong which I've been visiting a fair amount over the last couple years, but it turns out to be another one right next door.

27 January 2021

Cul De Sac Ville

I went up to see Lee Jooyoung's latest art exhibit, this time on a neighbourhood I've gotten to know over the last year. She is set up inside a house that has been abandoned for 10 years before being bought up by a government agency for artists to use. It's worth seeing if you can find it.

20 January 2021

Yongsan Disasater Anniversary

I went past the Yongsan Disaster site on the off chance something might be happening there. It seems all memorial services have been moved to the countryside. One thing that seemed worth noting though, the fire hose attachments located prominently along the front of the new building, pointing right where the Yongsan Disaster site was. The actual building where everybody died was on that patch of lawn between the sidewalk in the bottom of the frame and the motorcycle.

17 January 2021


I've been driving past this K-Iceberg entry for a couple months. Not sure when K-Mas season ends.

Worth noting that there's a Cheong Wa Dae petition asking for an end to this lunacy.

16 January 2021

Yulgok Tunnel

Someone posted about the Yulgok Tunnel project online, asking if it was completed yet. There seemed to be a lot of misconceptions about the thing, and people didn't seem to understand the amount of time it's taken. I started visiting in 2014 when the landscape was being churned up and traffic was being disrupted. The tunnel seems to have been completed early last year, with traffic restored which really cleared up congestion well. But there is still a lot of landscaping to do up top so Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Shrine can be connected to each other.

13 January 2021

Yongsan's Fire Flower

In preparation for an article for the 12th anniversary of the Yongsan Disaster, I revisited the flower statue at site of the fire. It looks sort of like a tulip, but also a flame, which is kind of a problem. I was able to get to a plaque which identified it as the "Fire Flower."

12 January 2021


It snowed heavily, starting just a couple minutes after I arrived at work. Social media was overwhelmed with snow pictures, and then a few days later it all melted. I changed mentions of "heavy snow" in the paper to "heavy snowfall." It's not heavy snow if you can see the ground.

10 January 2021

Disappearing Live Music Venues

After this article was published, I gave it a heavy revision and then went to visit the three venues I knew best: V-Hall, MUV Hall, and DGBD. V-Hall is gutted, MUV Hall is just not accessible at all anymore, and DGBD is a completely different place.

I don't mind the loss of the former two, as they were corporate venues run by companies (Hanatour and Yes24, I think). Maybe it's good that these corporations are providing infrastructure for live music, but they are entirely replaceable, and no owner lost their livelihood over this, since the corporations are probably just restructuring (although Hanatour can't be doing well these days). There isn't that much demand for medium-sized venues anyway, so it's a good thing if there's less competition for Rolling Hall, the only venue of a comparable size that's owned by an individual.

9 January 2021


On a very cold day, I drove past Gwanghwamun. There were a few things I wanted to photograph, but even taking my glove off for a few seconds froze my hands surprisingly bad. I went back another day when it was around -2, and even that was hard somehow.

There were two main things that caught my eye: renovations to the square as part of the latest Gwanghwamun renovation plan, and a number of mannequin construction workers around. I met one of them recently and it only increased my interest in these things.

2 January 2021

Harim Chicken

While driving over Haebangchon, I noticed the Harim Chicken truck at the five-way intersection. Curious to know more about this industry, including how the trucks are run and how locations are scheduled, since they don't seem to bump into each other.

2 January 2021


After seeing pictures of some very run-down homes in Jungnim-dong, I went out to have a look. It's easy to walk around but not easy to see inside anywhere due to the cramped quarters and likelihood of remaining residents.


Phone Photos 1

For this year I've once again gone through the photos on my smartphone. I've started relying on it much more, and there are way more photos than previous years.

In the first gallery, we can see 2020 before the pandemic took hold, plus my own unrelated hospitalisation and the recovery after, with lots of cat photos.

I'm surprised there aren't a lot of food photos, because I remember enjoying food more than usual after I got out of the hospital. But I guess most of it was delivery, and that doesn't make for very good pictures.

You can see signs of the pandemic, although I had my own problems to deal with so it didn't affect my life very much yet.

Phone Photos 2

The second gallery starts in the spring, and you can see I'm getting more active. I returned to work and started exploring again, plus had my zine exhibited in an art gallery.

There are a lot of photos of that area of Insadong that was demolished, as I took the best pictures on my phone and only went back later to reshoot on my camera when the lighting wasn't as good.

You can see a lot of pictures from Buster's birthday, where we went outside on an adventure and Buster got to see the city wall up close.

Also there are a lot more food-related images.

Phone Photos 3

The third gallery covers summer going into fall. More interesting things were happening and it seemed like life might return to normal. It didn't but we had a few good moments.

There are a lot of photos at the start of this gallery from a survey I did for a friend overseas related to gadgets.

This was also the period where we had record amounts of rainfall which led to serious flooding.

Phone Photos 4

The last gallery focuses especially on the cats, especially Buster who suffered a hematoma in his ear and needed two surgeries. He really suffered, especially with wearing bandages and a lampshade, but as he healed quickly I started to get a little jealous.

The cats also spent a lot more time at the computer, and we made a zine together called "Cats on Keyboards" so they're expecting to become famous writers. This was also while I was getting Broke Publishng up and running, and I figure my chances are about as good as the cats'.

25 December 2020


For K-mas, I went to a bookstore. It was closed, so I came back the day after. The store itself has an impressive collection, very different from Kenektid with more of a focus on art, and its prices are higher.

20 December 2020

Broke Santa

Santa started delivering copies of Broke Publishng's books, but due to a lack of chimneys he didn't have much luck.

18 December 2020


I revisited a roof with an elaborate Santa plan, but when I saw the roof's slope again I decided against it. Good view of the base though.

14 December 2020


While trying to find out more about bookstores, I visited Pulmujil, a social science bookstore next to Sungkyunkwan University. It's mostly textbooks, but it's sort of impressive to see.

7 December 2020


The extensive roadwork continues, shifting to the other side of the street now.

6 December 2020


After seeing Clown Core, the duo linked a few entries ago featuring two masked clowns known only as Left Clown and Right Clown, I've been calling my cats Left Cat and Right Cat. They always seem to be in that order

5 December 2020

Ho Lee Chow

Ho Lee Chow in Itaewon closed, but sometimes I consider it worth it to go all the way to the Yeouido location. There's a generous discount on takeout orders, something like 20 percent.

5 December 2020

Abandoned Office Building

Not far from the RAS Korea office, there's this office building which closed recently. It must have been more recent than November 7 during the book sale, because quite a lot of urban explorers would have passed right by this building to get there.

2 December 2020


I went back to check if this place is still open. Not only was it still there, but when I went close to the door I could hear someone working on the other side, possibly Hitler himself.

30 November 2020

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I went back to this abandoned neighbourhood, where demolition has begun. There are a lot of historic hanoks around here, most notably the one Ryan has called the "Great Japan Hanok." I spent less time down among the low-level architecture and more time trying to get up high to photograph the area and the demolition.

30 November 2020


More driving around downtown, although this time it was more objective-based. Although I didn't meet any of my objectives, at least in pictures.

29 November 2020

American Thanksgiving

There was the usual Thanksgiving this year, although with a reduced crowd. We watched videos of very drunk Americans ignoring the pandemic. We left YouTube running and went away for a few minutes, and when I came back I found a video of clowns playing weird music, and one pulled out his dick to play a keyboard with it. It was one of those Thanksgivings.

As well as ihwaju chocolates, I also brought Korean carrots which actually were a really good addition to the usual Thanksgiving foods, at least according to this crowd. And I also brought canned cranberry, only to show up and discover they already had it, thanks to me having brought one last year that went unused.

27 November 2020


After coming back from the bar, I experimented a bit more with some of the settings on my camera to see what would happen if I took pictures of the cats in low lighting. Turned out pretty good.

26 November 2020

Reggae Bar LO-OK

We went to LO-OK, the new reggae bar of Smiley, way out near Eungam Loop. It's nice, with comfortable seating, good food, and a big ground-level window. The location is a bit remote though.

26 November 2020

Ihwaju Chocolate

I ended up with a lot of ihwaju, and it's not an easy thing to give out to people, especially when everyone's trying to stay clean. So I learned how to make chocolate and put ihwaju inside. I ended up bringing them to Jeff and Trash's Thanksgiving dinner where they ended up pretty popular, at least with a few people.

24 November 2020

Christmas in Namdaemun

I stopped in Namdaemun where I go to one store for a few items. I also have some more images of the heavy roadwork in front of my office.

17 November 2020

The Streets

Just a few pictures around Seoul from running various random errands.

15 November 2020

Raccoon Dog's Home

I went back to the apartment where I'd encountered the raccoon dog. None of the animals I found this time. were animate.

15 November 2020

Millie's 15th Birthday

Millie had a pretty good 15th birthday. There was playing with toys and catnip.

14 November 2020


I took a bunch of pictures of the sunset using different white balance settings and then chose my three favourite.

  • DHMD 2020
  • DHMD 2019
  • DHMD 2018
  • DHMD 2017
  • DHMD 2016
  • DHMD 2015
  • DHMD 2014
  • DHMD 2013
  • DHMD 2012
  • DHMD 2011
  • 2008 Chris Murray Combo
  • 2007 Slackers
  • 1996 DHMD Jr.


  • Broke Publishng
  • Broke in Korea zine PDFs
  • Wikipedia Project
  • The K-Iceberg
  • K-Liminal Spaces
  • Radio

  • DHMD Facebook Page
  • Korean Punk and Hardcore Facebook Group
  • follow me on Twitter
  • follow me on YouTube
  • follow me on Instagram
  • follow me on Flickr
  • Yes, I'm on IMDb
  • The 10 Dos and 20 Don'ts of Urban Exploration in Korea
  • Quiz: K-Pop Idol Group Or Chemical Corporation?
  • Me on The Hard Times


  • Urbex Korea: The Movie
  • Legacy and Future of RASKB
  • Notebook on Cities and Culture
  • Academic Stuff


  • r/Korean Punk and Hardcore
  • Korean Punk and Hardcore
  • UER
  • Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
  • Free Michael Spavor
  • Unite Asia
  • Yongsan Legacy
  • Colonial Korea
  • Lost Plastic Army Man
  • Urbexpat in Gwangju
  • Long Distance Runner
  • Cul de Sac Ville
  • Kojects
  • Yangbantal


  • E-mail
    Jon underscore Dunbar at Hotmail

  • 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 2021