6 August 2020


Escape Room

I found my way into something I never thought I'd see before: an escape room. It was probably easier to escape being out of business, but there were still obstacles to get over, plus fear of the actual unknown. There's video here

6 August 2020


Hospital Backrooms

I had a long day of hospital appointments, so I figured I might as well figure out some things that were bugging me about the hospital. The first was the route I was taken to the operating room, which went through so many weird back corridors I couldn't come close to figuring out the way. Another was the mystery of where the atrium in the middle of the hospital lobby leads. Turns out, it goes nowhere. If you fall in they just leave your body down there.

Some of the pictures made it into this K-Backrooms video.

4 August 2020


I.Atlantis.U

I went back to the river the day after to check the water level. It was dropping but still abnormally high. It was much easier to move around and people were returning to the riverside park. Fishing seemed popular.

3 August 2020


I.Atlantis.U

On the first day of serious flooding, I drove to the river for a look at the flood waters, same as I had done in 2011. I haven't seen the water level get so high since then.

1 August 2020


Yongsan Abandonments

As I was driving home, I rounded a corner and passed by a cluster of medium-rise buildings that were being curtained off for demolition.

1 August 2020


Black Hawk Village

A small part of Yongsan Garrison has been returned to Korea. Technically the land changed hands several years ago, but the land ministry was leasing the land to the USFK, or something like that. Black Hawk Village, also known as Loring Village, held 16 housing structures in a plot of land 12 acres large. There was an opening ceremony in July with several political VIPs in attendance, but its opening to the public on 1 August was much more low-key, probably partly due to the rain and the pandemic.

30 July 2020


Hongje Stream

I came across an article about Hongje Stream's reopening as an underground park. I scouted it out five years ago, but never really gave it much attention because it looked messy inside and probably didn't stretch very far. It's now been turned into a space that's particularly interesting for urban explorers, while also nice enough to lure in normal people. I hope it sees increased renovation over the years, especially focusing on water quality. I also think this would be an ideal site for what I've been saying for years about the Host Tunnel: bring sunlight into it using technologies like what's seen at the Jonggak underground solar garden.

27 July 2020


Adnan Kebab

I stopped by the kebab shop just before we were about to publish an article on it. Once again I arrived as he was praying, so I went inside the building to look around and find the prayer room, as well as the roof of course.

25 July 2020


Meetup

We had another meetup, and this time there were definitely too many people. It's kind of a good problem to have, because prior to this I didn't think there were that many people left who would go exploring. But on the other hand, we were too conspicuous. We visited a historic monastery and an active market, but also an abandoned neighbourhood.

We took some precautions and spread out quite naturally, but still there were locals who didn't like that we were there. There was also a tense moment after when people started telling dead baby jokes (the sickest ones I've ever heard) and ended up pissing off some of the other people there. Anyway, it's shown the risks of growing too fast and not taking enough care while doing so. In order for urban exploration to be taken seriously here and even catch on, it has to be inclusive and willing to learn from mistakes.

24 July 2020


Seun Sangga

At Donuimun Museum Village, I saw a panorama on display showing most of the entirety of Seun Sangga. I went downtown to see if I could get a similar shot. There are now too many big buildings adjacent to it to make this easy to do, at least from the east.

An early attempt, I tried getting to a roof of one building which involved walking through Fairtrade Korea's office. It was unsuccessful and I think I gave them a scare. Too bad, because they could have a very nice rooftop relaxation area if they were able to get permission.

I might try scouting roofs on the west side, but I'm pessimistic about being able to get the image I want from anywhere.

24 July 2020


Donuimun Museum Village

I was stopping by the hospital to buy more gauze, and after that I went to Saruga and then visited Donuimun Museum Village on the way home. It was partly reopened, and visitors had to provide a QR code to receive a sticker granting access to the buildings, just like at the hospital.

I was mostly there to hit a roof, but I also visited more of the buildings I'd never seen before. One was the house of Esther/Ester Pak, the first Korean female nurse/doctor. I might have to look into the correct spelling of her name, and if it is accurate to call her the first nurse when she clearly had an MD.

On display was a bunch of era-appropriate equipment, including gauze that looked no different from modern stuff. I charmingly told the woman on duty there, "What a coincidence, I was just at Severance buying gauze."

I've been revisiting some sites after a friend shared a video with me about liminal spaces. After going through my pictures from the last 10 years I've started collaborating with a musician on K-liminal space videos.

22 July 2020


Noryangjin Protest Event

Art Liberation Front has been promoting an event for the last few weeks relating to the Noryangjin protest, taking place at what seems to be a repurposed sauna in Ahyeon-dong. There've been various performances throughout the week, and I finally decided to end up at one. I only saw four acts but it was good seeing more people once again, including old friends as well as Noryangjin protesters.

22 July 2020


Downtown

I wanted to stop by a few sites, including the underground solar garden of Jonggak Station, for a project I'll reveal sometime soon.

20 July 2020


K-Quarantine

I've been meaning to show off my quarantine stickers. Have I already shared this image? Possibly before Monday and Tuesday were changed.

19 July 2020


Inwangsan Shaman Sites

David A Mason posted about mountain spirit bas reliefs recently rediscovered on a rock face on Inwangsan. They had been uncovered in January with the demilitarisation of part of the mountain, after a civil defence site was closed and returned to the public. He put out a request for more photos and location info, and I was able to oblige.

I visited once before my Sunday work shift, and returned after at night to try to bring out the details a bit better without daylight getting in the way.

17 July 2020


Reseters Digital Single Release

The Reseters were finally getting around to the release show for their digital single, so I wrote a quick article about that and two other reggae releases. I was working the late shift that night but I showed up at Club SHARP after, just in time to catch two songs.

I parked my scooter out front in a hurry and hurried in. Just as they were starting their last song, someone jumped on stage to ask that the owner of a yellow scooter move it. So I very visibly had to walk past everyone to go outside just as they started playing "Johnny Too Bad" (here's an older version). Thanks, but I already have a theme song.

17 July 2020


Abandoned House on Inwangsan

As part of my preliminary scouting for David Mason's mountain gods, I came across an abandoned house.

14 July 2020


Yongsan Disaster Unintentional Memorial

I went back to reshoot the tulip flame installation next to the Yongsan Disaster site, as the previous pictures were taken in the early morning when the lighting wasn't so good.

12 July 2020


Underground River

I had seen construction fencing on the surface, so thought there might be work going on in the underground river beneath, sort of like we've seen at the Bone Tunnel. But whatever was going on, it seemed to be all on the surface.

12 July 2020


Pimatgol

I did a bit of research and going through my archives recently, for an article about Pimatgol's and Insadong's slow disappearance.

12 July 2020


Seoul Plaza Memorial

There is a public memorial to the mayor set up in Seoul Plaza. People enter on one side and go on a long walk all the way around the lawn, staying separate all the way. Also there are small protests nearby.

12 July 2020


Yongsan Disaster Site

If we were playing Family Feud, and they surveyed 100 people on what they thought this installation looked like, I think the second-biggest answer would be fire.

Kind of tasteless, considering it's only a few meters from the former site of Namildang, the Yongsan Disaster building.

12 July 2020


Four Buddhas

The site I visited recently where there were four Buddhas has now been flattened. There were other buildings left, and I saw more cats this time.

12 July 2020


Noryangjin

Ever since I attended a protest at Noryangjin Station that was raided by hired goons in February, the remaining protesters have held on. The main development that happened was the complete demolition of the old market building, which was very close to their fortified location on an overpass leading to the building. The overpass is now basically a dead end. It's unclear what will happen with this issue in the future.

12 July 2020


Sunrise

As I was driving around, I saw sunlight coming up in the north. Of course, from Yeouido looking across the river, you're actually looking northeast because of the curve of the river, but I usually don't think of the city that way.

12 July 2020


Tunnel

I found a big hole in the ground and thought it might lead to a subway tunnel. But I'm pretty certain now they're just putting in another underground mall.

10 July 2020


Mayorless City

This journey started from one hospital and ended up at another halfway across the city. On my way between them I drove through Bukchon and went up to Waryong Park.

The news of what happened with the mayor came on suddenly, and with the announcement his body was recovered has been getting worse. There's no way to express my thoughts on what happened without writing a long rant, and it's already almost 2am. In short, the mayor did something wrong and very hypocritical, and in response he committed an irreversible action that compounded his mistreatment. And the media has been magnifying it all, splashing his body across the front pages of every newspaper. I remember Roh Moo-hyun's suicide in 2009 and I'm expecting this to end up as ugly if not worse, considering Park was in office at the time, he is accused of a worse and more hypocritical crime, and the effect his suicide will have on his victim, as well as all the usual societal and political fallout. The situation is still developing, and will be until the byelection scheduled for next year, so I'm not ready to put any more conclusions into words.

9 July 2020


Seoul Grand Hyatt

The Hilton has been having fun with room lights during all the vacancies, arranging patterns including a happy face, a heart, and messages. But when I looked over at the Hyatt, it looked like the lights were on in some sort of deliberate, systematic way. Probably they do have that many guests, and I'm curious if they are spacing out guests so there's one per floor, and few of them have to worry about someone being in the room above them. If so, it's a nice idea that the guests would probably never realise. Also, Stephen Biegun is probably one of them, as he's here to tell everybody America isn't done being the World Police.

8 July 2020


Namdaemun Restaurants

A friend posted on Facebook recently about a kebab shop he visited in Namdaemun. This is a perfect location to me because it's close to my work, and means I don't have to go over the hill to get kebabs.

It turns out Adnan is the name of the owner, and he's Iraqi. He said he's been in business here since 2008, which is long before I ever encountered any kind of food like this in Korea.

I showed up while he was praying and only took a few shots from far back so I wouldn't disturb him, but I am planning to return soon with a professional photographer.

3 July 2020


KSale Display on Sungnyemun

When I ran out to the convenience store, I noticed Sungnyemun was all lit up with butterflies. I went up to the roof to take pictures, during pretty well the perfect blue hour.

After I got back to my computer, I blew up some of the pictures to figure out what the signs said. It was KSale. K-Sale is on the K-Iceberg, mostly thanks to a 2015 event. The current event doesn't quite qualify because the URL is "Ksale" lacking a hyphen; thank KOCIS that it is hyphenated here.

28 June 2020


Four Buddhas

Lately Ryan has been doing a lot of amazing work, while I've had to slow down. He visited one abandoned neighbourhood in southern Seoul, and in one older part he found four Buddha statues. I went a couple weeks later and they were still there.

The area is in a weird little plot of land, very steep uneven terrain surrounded by highrises. It's quite something to look at.

27 June 2020


Zine Market

I went by Crazy Multiply's latest zine market. It involved signup a couple weeks in advance, and zines were for sale. I wasn't there as a participant, as my zine isn't officially ready and wasn't by the time of their deadline. Also, it's free so why would I sell it somewhere? The venue, YouKillBong, was basically a house on top of an office building in one of the old parts of Euljiro. It was quite a surreal location.

I bought tons of zines, but I'm not prepared to list them all out. Most are artists' work and more visual, while I'm a writer and my zine is for reading but not much to look at. We get along well.

27 June 2020


Donuimun Museum Village

I ran to Donuimun Museum Village to get a couple photos of the area, but it was all closed down due to the pandemic. Almost no one was there, even though it was a pleasant summer day.

26 June 2020


Copy Salon

I went to Copy Salon to get some stuff printed. It's run by one of the guys from Chain Reaction so it's easy to get stuff printed with him.

26 June 2020


Yeonhee-dong

I had time to kill so I went to Yeonhee-dong and investigated a cleared spot on the hillside a couple years ago. It looks like they tried to build a road here, but gave up partway through and it's been like this ever since. They should turn it into a skatepark or something.

21 June 2020


Solar Eclipse on Summer Solstice

It does seem to be a pretty big coincidence there's a solar eclipse on the summer solstice.

I had no equipment for viewing it, so I went up to the roof to see if I could detect the weakened sunlight. Kind of.

16 June 2020


All Sunsets Matter

The night after that epic sunset, I found myself wondering why everyone was so obsessed over it, when there was also presumably a sunset this night behind the grey sky.

We should simultaneously admire all sunsets, and if you catch yourself particularly fascinated by an exceptionally nice one, remind yourself that All Sunsets Matter.

15 June 2020


Epic Sunset

This evening, half of my Facebook friends in Korea posted their own pictures of the sunset, which was spectacular.

14 June 2020


US Embassy Banners

The US Embassy has had the rainbow banner up for this month. And then on June 13, they added a "Black Lives Matter" banner. I drove by to get a picture showing this. Then on Monday the inevitable happened, and they got orders from the State Department to replace it. At least they didn't put up a Confederate flag in its place.

13 June 2020


Itaewon

Itaewon has been killed by the second wave of COVID-19. Of the businesses that are open, they're never crowded. I've been going to the area for takeout in order to support them.

13 June 2020


Abandoned Neighbourhood

I got a tip about this area several years ago, but when I visited all I saw was a fairly robust area with a lively traditional market. Of course, wait a few years and things change.

One of my coworkers wrote about how Sarang Jeil Church in the area was suffering and her description sounded similar to what I witnessed at Noryangjin: "On Friday morning, Seoul City sent hundreds of workers and police."

However, I don't think this will become the next flashpoint, another "2nd Yongsan," because it's a very conservative church known for criticising the city government and federal government.

I made a video of a drive through the area. Won't be long now before I can retire from my job.

10 June 2020


City Halls

I stopped by City Hall today during my lunch break and took a few pictures focusing mainly on the construction materials of the old building and the walkway connecting it to the new one.

6 June 2020


Solidarity March

When I heard Ji-hoon, frontman of Huqueymsaw and former member of a number of other bands, was organising a Black Lives Matter event, I was apprehensive, for all the usual reasons. I knew I'd end up going, but I couldn't ignore the merits of some of the accusations against it.

On top of that, he was getting deluged by anti-BLM people, and he essentially went viral, something I don't think he was prepared for.

3 June 2020


Honeysuckles

This year I noticed for the first time that my garden was overrun with these yellow banana-looking flowers. Not sure why I never noticed other years, maybe just because they come so much later than the others. But they were everywhere, even on Buster.

31 May 2020


The "Great Japan" Hanok

Our final stop was at the "Great Japan" Hanok, which has roof tiles featuring the Japanese flag and "Great Japan" in Hanja. Ryan discovered it while looking around a neighbourhood that's supposed to be demolished soon.

We met up with Jooyoung Lee, an artist who had studied the area for a few years, and her husband. I originally met her in 2010, back when the Okin Apartment complex was still standing.

There was some concern that we couldn't get them into the property because it involved scaling a metal gate, but we found out, completely by fluke, the gate wasn't as secured as it looked. This is after half our group had jumped over.


Downhill from a Tomb

Our second visit was to the area with the Buddhist temple that used to have a lot of statues and shrines inside, but now all that has been removed.

After that we jumped a wall and walked through a demolition area, and it was a fairly fast visit.

I found a mulberry tree and was able to pick and enjoy exactly one berry. That reminds me I should check my other berry site next to the US base.


What can I show you all my mind!
It seems all the urban renewal sites we know are disappearing fast right now. I'm not sure I'll get another chance to visit these areas before they're all knocked down.

To welcome JiHoon back to Korea, I arranged for a meetup after he was finished his quarantine period. It ended up being a good day, and we saw a lot and did a lot of walking, not to mention learned a lot from JiHoon.

There probably aren't a lot of UE meetups happening this year, but we were able to safely pull it off. Or at least we'll known by late next week if I've doomed Korea's urban exploration community.

30 May 2020


Itaewon Villla

I returned to the villa in Itaewon, thinking I might try to get in again. This time, the parking level was crowded with vehicles, I think from a construction site nearby. I took a couple more pictures showing the situation of the place, and then left quickly.

29 May 2020


Scouting Around

I revisited a few sites to see how they were holding up. Demolition has been moving fast.

28 May 2020


Abandoned Villa

While on a food run in Itaewon I saw a high up curtain hiding something. Going around it, I found an abandoned villa. Demolition seems to be stalled. It's closed up tight so I doubt I'll see the inside in time.

17 May 2020


Buster's Tent

Just one picture of Buster camping again.

6 May 2020


Buster Goes Camping

Buster knows how to open the screen in the window, so if I'm not careful, he'll dig his claws in and nudge it open, crying while he does it. I ignored him this time, and when he stopped all the noise I discovered the screen open and him gone. I looked out the window to see him relaxing in his tent in the garden.

3 May 2020


Pimatgol Demolition

Another corner of Insadong has been lost. I got an alert that demolition was happening while I was in the hospital in January, but I wasn't able to visit until recently. I had just led a group on my RASKB tour of the area last October, and at this rate it'll all be highrises. I'm expecting to have more opportunities for anarchaeology in the coming months though.

3 May 2020


Early Stages of Abandonment

I'd been meaning to visit this area with a lot of historic architecture, hearing tips it is being prepared for redevelopment. Mostly it is still too early to go, as there are still residents.

Also, I made friends with a bee I think was injured.

25 April 2020


Cats' Adventures

The apartment was being cleaned so I let the cats out. Millie struggled to put on shoes, but Buster was happy to go outside into the garden. He likes his tents.

24 April 2020


Abandoned Area

I visited an abandoned Buddhist temple after a friend tipped me off. I was working on a project so I didn't get many shareable pictures.

Buddha's Birthday was approaching, but it was unclear what would happen on that day, which was part of a long weekend along with May Day and Children's Day. Turns out we'd get another wave of infections.

19 April 2020


Crazy Multiply Zine Exhibition

I was invited to contribute my zine to an exhibition held by Crazy Multiply, located at a very small room in an old building in Euljiro area. There are a number of local and overseas zines on display, and visitors are urged to put on rubber gloves to look at them.

It's on until April 26.

18 April 2020


Abandoned Neighbourhood

I decided to go out for a quick drive and see an abandoned neighbourhood that some friends had visited the week before. I wasn't there that long but still somehow took a ton of photos.

It was right when a lot of spring flowers were in bloom so I tried to target that.

I also found a lot of examples of half-basement apartments, which is a type of housing that got a lot of attention following "Parasite."

13 April 2020


Shoe Cat

Millie tried wearing shoes again. Well, shoe.

9 April 2020


Demolition

...And it's gone.

7 April 2020


Just One Building

While driving home I noticed this one building just off the road. It's a pretty steep plot of land, so the house is built into the landscape with separate entrances for lower and upper floors.

5 April 2020


Abandoned Neighbourhood

I went out to revisit an abandoned neighbourhood near Konkuk University, but on my way there I discovered another abandoned neighbourhood. SO I stopped and looked around that one. After, I went on to my original destination, which was all but gone.

4 April 2020


Buster Goes Camping

The cats have been spending more time at the window lately, so I opened it up and Buster jumped out into the garden. All the furniture that had been on the roof before had been thrown into the garden last year when the roof was redone. Buster noticed his old circus tent was here, although it is just scraps now. We have another tent that looks a little more durable, so I set it up for him and he liked it.

24 March 2020


Severance Hospital

I stopped by the hospital for a couple tests and took one photo of all the tents in front of the emergency room entrance

16 March 2020


Toilet Paper Shopping

On the way home I stopped by a couple supermarkets and photographed the amount of toilet paper they had in stock.

16 March 2020


Another Abandoned Area

After leaving the day before, we came across another abandoned neighbourhood, so I went back for another look.

15 March 2020


Return to New Shaggy's Village

I wanted to get out, so I figured it was safe to go to an abandoned neighbourhood where I hopefully wouldn't run into other people that much.

8 March 2020


Cats

I discovered that Millie's sphere is being penetrated by rainbows in the early morning and at sunset, when the light shines in, bounces off a mirror, and reflects back on her.

21 February 2020


Noryangjin Water Fight

I found out about a forced eviction of the Noryangjin protest camp, so I showed up at 3am to see for myself. I've heard of this happening before at other sites but had never had the chance to witness it in person. It was deeply disturbing and played out sort of like some kind of contact sport, in which one side was using property damage and the other side was fighting back with water.

There might be an article out soon that enunciates my thoughts on the whole situation.

11 January 2020


Nels and Sohhee

My friends visited after moving away almost five years ago. We caught up and went for food, and then I disappeared off the face of the Earth for three weeks.

9 January 2020


RASKB Dinner

We had a dinner to celebrate the end of the year or the start of the year or something. I credit the wooden benches here with putting added pressure on my insides which led to my hospitalisation, although it was getting to the point where it was inevitable and anything would have done it.

6 January 2020


Millie's Slippers

Millie has been sitting on one spot on the floor, and when I left my slippers there, she would just lie on top of them. Sometimes it looked like she was trying to wear them.

These are the same slippers I bought in Pyongyang and wore all the way on the voyage home.

5 January 2020


Shopping Trip

On the way home, I wanted to go shopping for a new jacket in Dongmyo. I ended up getting two.

5 January 2020


Other Building

I passed this commercial building on the way home, and gave it a quick visit. I got inside but didn't bother taking any pictures. When I drove by in mid-March, it was totally demolished.

5 January 2020


New Shaggy's Village

Here's a fairly extensive abandoned neighbourhood you can expect to see more pictures of in the months to come.

4 January 2020


Yulgok Tunnel

I've been watching for more than five years as this section of Yulgongno between Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo has been relocated underground. It's been a slow process, but the tunnel is finally fully formed and traffic is running smoothly through here, now that the road's been widened. It's still interesting to walk around on top.

4 January 2020


Millie and Buster

Buster is lazy and Millie wants food.

2 January 2020


Sights around the Hospital

It has been an unpleasant year for me with very slow and very few updates, due to much time spent in the hospital. Before I went in for 21 days, I took a couple pictures on visits to the hospital.

1 January 2020


New Year on Naksan

I showed up at Morgan's place for his first New Year's party in two years. He wasn't expecting many people, but somehow a ton of people showed up. I knew four people there.

We climbed Naksan past the place where I carried the Olympic torch, and saw fireworks. Still tame compared to when we used to light our own fireworks.

2019


Smartphone Camera

I'm going to cap off this year with pictures taken on my smartphone throughout the year. I consider my DSLR to be my serious camera, and anything taken on my smartphone is disposable. But quite a lot of interesting things popped up on it this year that I didn't take with the DSLR.
ARCHIVES

  • 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.

    MY STUFF

  • 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

    ABOUT ME

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

    LINKS

  • r/Korean Punk and Hardcore
  • Korean Punk and Hardcore
  • UER
  • Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
  • Yongsan Legacy
  • Colonial Korea
  • Lost Plastic Army Man
  • Urbexpat in Gwangju
  • Long Distance Runner
  • Kojects
  • Yangbantal

    CONTACT

  • 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 2014