31 December 2011

New Year's Eve

Well it was quite a challenge managing 14 bands in one night, especially when the show didn't start until after 9:30. My original hope was that most of the bands would be playing short sets, but many of the bands with shorter sets took extra long setting up.

The original plan was to have Chanter's Alley on stage at midnight, and they had their bagpipes ready for Auld Lang Syne, but we were a little over half an hour behind schedule. Scumraid came on stage at 11:30 and managed to stretch it out until midnight, and it looked like they intended to keep playing through without doing a countdown. I had to jump on stage and do the countdown despite the fact that no one in the room had any kind of clock that counted seconds. We celebrated 2012 about seven seconds too early.

Anyway, we had 98 paying guests, which is definitely a record for me. Oh yeah, also I released the Best of Broke in Korea. I still have several copies left, as I really wasn't thinking about handing them out for most of the night.

31 December 2011

End of Times Punk Show

The world is apparently ending in 2012, so we're celebrating the final New Year's Eve party of humanity with 15 bands. Fortunately about half of them play ten-minute sets, so we should be able to finish at a sane enough time. This should keep Spot open until the first subway of the morning.

I'm also planning to release a new issue of Broke in Korea, this one being a "best of" issue featuring all the epoch-making content of previous issues. I skip on the band interviews, crosswords, and Verv material and compile the news and events of the day.

Note: Pariah and Find the Spot need to be removed from this list, and Attacking Forces needs to be added.

25 December 2011

Abandoned Guitar Factory

For the holiday I revisited the abandoned guitar factory, which this time I found completely deserted. It gave me a chance to have a closer look at the strike camp, and I spent most of the time taking pictures of the various signage rather than actually going inside.

It appears they had a Christmas party inside. I really would like to meet them and talk with them sometime.

Christmas 2011


For Christmas Eve I just met up with friends and drank a bit, then they all left on the last subway. For Christmas Day we went out for Iranian food, the perfect Christmas meal.

19 December 2011

KOCIS 40th Anniversary

December 19 was a big day for the Korean government. Not only did the announcement of Kim Jong-il's death send most of the government into emergency mode, but it was also Lee Myung-bak's birthday (and I'm told wedding anniversary), and the big night of KOCIS' 40th anniversary. Despite the government putting a halt on all celebrations and gatherings in light of the major news, KOCIS pressed ahead with its already-planned event, minus the attendance of pretty well all the foreign press, who had bigger fish to fry.

We were treated to a Hanbok fashion show, a K-pop performance by F(x) (who reminded me of New Kids on the Block way more than I could've anticipated), and some pretty decent food and wine. It was a politically poorly timed spectacle, and what it lacked in tact it made up for in extravagance.

F(x), who Phil unironically loves, played two songs, or at least danced along with them and pretended to sing with them from what I could tell. The audio track they were performing to had a built-in cheering audience, which definitely wasn't coming from the people in our room, which included elderly Ministry workers and dignitaries from the EU.

The food was great. There were goody bags for everyone in attendance, but since we're KOCIS office drones we didn't get them. In unintentional retaliation, since I couldn't come to the counter to get my goody bag, I also couldn't return my translator, which I later found still in my breast pocket when I met up with Phil and Ryan. I also discovered, unfortunately, it doesn't work without a woman hiding behind a one-way mirror nearby.

18 December 2011


For years I've been keeping a virtual eye on Gaya Land, an amusement park in Gimhae that seems to be nearing the end of its life. I got a recent report from someone living nearby that it's now officially abandoned. With a bit of doubt, but the promise that all the equipment remained, I made a stopover there with Paul. The place was closed and starting to get pretty overgrown. The rides were still in okay shape, better than I've seen at some active parks. However, there were workers around who were maintaining the site. One of them told us that the park might open in March, with emphasis on might, and that we shouldn't take pictures. Whether it shuts down or reopens, it will be a neat place to visit in the near future.

17 December 2011


I went down to Daejeon for the Picture Our Face fundraiser show. It was divided into two halves, but I'm unable to stay up all night anymore, so I just stuck around for the first half.

16 December 2011


Dongyoung invited me out to a work party for KIPI, my old employers. One of the many social clubs they had was a band, and they organised a performance. It started kind of slow, seeming more like a talent show, but then after some of the members covered Guckkasten, they really started stepping up the talent. I didn't get many pictures, because it was basically a private party, and I was more interested in the unlimited free beer.

11 December 2011

Marine Land

Paul and I caught a bus out to Wolgot New Town, a dreary place so close to the main area of Korea, yet so disconnected from it. The bus took us through at least six cities, went in a big loop as if passing us through a dimensional portal, and dropped us off on Wolgot, the most miserable chunk of reclaimed land this side of Songdo. It was completed in the '90s, leading me to conclude that this is what Songdo will eventually look like. Though, most of the people we encountered here were quite pleasant.

True fact: if you die in Wolgot, your soul will be lost and will not pass on to the afterlife.

10 December 2011

Lunar Eclipse

Jim called me around 6:30 to inform me of the Lunar Eclipse and ask if I knew any place to view it from. I had no clue. Later on in the night, Ana called to report that our favourite roof was locked up. That gave me the inspiration to visit one of my other favourite roofs, where we got a fortunate break in the clouds, just enough to see the eclipse. Of course, my camera is totally incapable of photographing the Moon.

10 December 2011

Lazy Weekend

I didn't do much, just wandered out and checked in on a lot of places without much change.

4 December 2011

13 Steps

After No Turning Back, we stopped by DGBD for the Rubber Soul event, just long enough to see 13 Steps. The place was virtually deserted, but I'm told later it was stuffed.

3 December 2011

Townhall Winter Fest

This show marked the return of two foreign bands that have played in Korea before: As We Let Go (Japan) and No Turning Back (Netherlands). As We Let Go played a long time ago, but I'm pretty certain No Turning Back was here within the last two years at most.

What's more, the show was in Club Crack, which really is a pleasant place for photography.

3 December 2011


I came back on Saturday for a daytime look at the three buildings I'd previously spotted in Insadong. They were active with workers and looked pretty gutted. I guess they'll probably go down pretty soon.

29 November 2011

Car-Free Zone

While working on this article, I stopped by Insadong and Samcheong-dong when the rain let up in order to take some pictures to go with the article. I also stumbled into a fairly large complex adjacent to the main street with three buildings that were being trashed out.

26 November 2011


If you can't read Korean, that sign means we won first place in the Korea Food Foundation's Hansik Food Tour. That means I'll finally start scrolling all the news about that downward. You can still see a full archive on this page which will remain online.

26 November 2011

Korea/Japan Oi Punk Fest

I showed up a bit late for the Oi Fest, just in time to see Captain Bootbois, Rollings, Nachopupa, and Tabloid Play. I also published an article on the festival for work.

20 October 2011

Jungang Hansik Food Tour

That concludes the photo coverage of the tour, but you can expect more content from me, as well as the other guys, in several places all over the Internet.

  • Article in Spanish
  • Article in Arabic
  • Article in Japanese
  • Article in Chinese

    Along with my article I did for work, I also created the Jungang Hansik Flickr page, and we're planning the Andong Soju Taste Challenge, which will probably be on October 29 somewhere near Club Spot for the Halloween show.

    In the meantime, I have a lot of backlogs to go through, band pictures, some cat stuff, and the Broke in Korea #13 release show.

    One more article on the Korea blog.

  • 20 November 2011


    Last time we climbed a mountain, I was so hot I ended up carrying my jackets around. This time I decided to dress light despite the freezing weather. It was pretty painfully cold on Sunday, and the only thing that made me feel any better was checking the weather forecast of my hometown, which was at least 20 degrees colder.

    Anyway, scratch another one off the list. Almost at the halfway point, and I'm not sure I'll be able to make any more trips this year.

    19 November 2011

    Daejeon Fail

    We went down to Daejeon to locate a potentially abandoned amusement park outside the city. Turns out it was shut down, and then all the rides were removed and it was turned into some kind of an art colony. On the bright side, we saw an interesting abandoned ship restaurant.

    Next, we headed back to Daejeon, where Paul took us on a tour of the abandoned Expo grounds. Well, the grounds aren't abandoned, just most of the buildings on it. We went into the giant Sand Crawler-looking thing, which was pitch black. Mental note: next time I'm in Daejeon, bring flashlights.

    Paul decided to check out the basement, but I guess he never experienced the phenomenon of flooded basements. The water is so still, it's invisible unless you shine your flashlight and go down carefully. Here's a classic example of this from the first time I encountered it. In low lighting, the water is remarkably hard to see. I had a close call that time, and I'm always especially careful now.

    Anyway, Paul took a bath.

    13 November 2011


    My friend Brendan came to me asking if I knew anyone who needed a job. Naturally, the first person I thought of was Dori. I put them in touch and let the chemistry do the work. Brendan used to own Maloney's Pub, but he's out of it now, and he started a new place up the street called Maloney's Pub and Grill. The menu is almost exactly the same, although he's got more beers on tap, including San Miguel and Alley Kat.

    13 November 2011

    104 Hill

    Will the secrets of 104 Hill be revealed? Not in this entry, but I've done it before.

    12 November 2011

    Practice Room Show

    Before the Spot show, I stopped by Jam Practice Room to see Scumraid and Dokkaebi Assault. Between bands I leaned on the lightswitch, plunging us all into darkness. I turned a different light on that helped me get much better pictures of Scumraid.

    12 November 2011

    Driving Around Seoul

    Here are some pictures taken on the road. Saturday had insanely bad traffic.

    12 November 2011

    ...Whatever That Means Final Show

    Jeff and Trash are moving to the US, I think for just a year. They're taking their band on tour up the west coast, and then that'll be it.

    I went to their final show and managed to get some decent pictures before my flight instinct kicked in and I went home.

    12 November 2011

    Follow the White Rabbit

    I heard rumours that there was an abandoned theme park in Seoul. I was highly doubtful, but I had nothing to do so I decided to check it out anyway. Sure enough, it is fully staffed, and opens for specially booked events. The people there had no problem with me being there and taking pictures, so I helped myself. You can see their website here.

    6 November 2011

    Namyangju KOFIC Studio

    I'm doing an article this week for the Korea blog about this film studio, so I made a quick stop by to get a few more pictures.

    5 November 2011


    The weather forecast called for rain all weekend, but as you can see the weather was perfect on Saturday for climbing a mountain. The original plan was to visit Bukhansan, but my work called me in so we ended up doing a smaller climb at Inwangsan, which is walking distance from my office.

    2 November 2011

    Billy Carter

    We went to Club Ta for the (almost) weekly free Billy Carter show. I paid more attention to video than photos, managing to get this recording.

    Then we went to Hair Flower (former location of Drug and Skunk) and stayed out all night.

    2 November 2011

    Rooftopping in Sinchon

    Joel and I went to Sinchon to visit some rooftops. After some previous difficulty with the (very nice) security guard, he went up alone, leaving me to try another rooftop.

    30 October 2011

    UE Trifecta with Joel

    I met Joel off UER while he had a week in Seoul, and we went to the abandoned red-light district, the Host tunnel, and some rooftops in Dongdaemoon.

    29 October 2011

    Spot Halloween Show

    The Halloween show turned out pretty good. My costume was simple enough--I basically swapped wardrobes with Sunwoon, and the whole night everyone was saying I was in a Sunwoon costume and vice versa. Not exactly our intent, but it's somewhat accurate.

    29 October 2011

    Danginri Theatre

    I didn't take many pictures here, but got a few good videos of 99Anger I might have to upload on Youtube later.

    29 October 2011

    Shopping at Ehwa Womans University

    I showed Phil a bit around the market at Ehwa Womans University and we found plenty of good clothes. Some of it ended up in my Halloween costume.

    23 October 2011

    Park Show

    This show was supposed to be in Hongdae Playground, but some Catholic group set up instead, and we got moved over to a more remote part of the parking lot street. There were tiny bugs everywhere that made the experience unpleasant. At least the bands were good.

    22 October 2011

    All Around Seoul

    I rode around Seoul, visiting the abandoned neighbourhood I'd been looking for, as well as Dapsimni to check on the statue, and one place that's apparently slated for future eviction.

    22 October 2011


    While searching around for a particular abandoned neighbourhood I encountered a few months ago, I got a bit lost and ended up at a completely different abandoned neighbourhood. This one's considerably poorer, and the eviction was much more rushed.

    19 October 2011

    Convenience Store Delicacies

    If you go to a 7/11, you can find instant meals of Andong Jjimdak and Chuncheon Dakgalbi. Do they hold up to the originals? Not even a little bit, but it beats getting a convenience store hot dog.

    19 October 2011


    I stopped by Myeongdong to see how the area around Jungang Cinema is doing. A lot of stuff is gone, but there are still many active businesses that seem like they're ready for a fight. Judging by the violence at Cafe Mari, that's likely what they'll get.

    15 October 2011

    Broke in Korea 13 Release

    This was bad timing for a show. Still, everyone who came seemed to have fun, and the bands all did an exceptionally good job despite the circumstances. Thanks to everyone who helped with the doors: Dori, Jani, Cliff, and Seoyoung.

    The latest issue of the zine is available for download here.

    13 October 2011

    Midnight Smokin' Drive

    On Thursday I went to see Midnight Smokin' Drive play a cheap show in Freebird. A lot of my friends ended up coming along too. They are certainly one of the best new bands of the year.

    13 October 2011


    The leader of my team invited me for a bibimbap lunch. I figured we'd just go to a restaurant, but I got a bit of a surprise instead.

    Also, you can see pictures of the archaeological dig next to my office. Apparently before anything is built in Hyoja-dong, they need to conduct an archaeological dig to see what artefacts are underneath. Looking at the last photo, it seems they've uncovered some stuff.

    11 October 2011


    Maximum Capacity: eight people or two hipsters.

    10 October 2011


    Millie and Buster were relieved to have me back. So relieved, they spontaneously evolved to bipedal life forms.

    9 October 2011

    Andong Jjimdak

    The climax of the trip was Andong jjimdak, which we had all been looking forward to. Except Angie, who said she hated it, but once she gave it a try in Andong, her mind was changed. In all honesty, the difference between it here and Seoul was much less stark than it was with Chuncheon dakgalbi, but it was great to see the craft that went into producing it here. It was great to meet the people who have dedicated their lives to perfecting it, rather than just get a bunch of prepackaged sauces (that likely partly come from somewhere on this street) dumped into a bowl of chicken, vegetables, and noodles.

    Be sure to check out Phil's review.

    9 October 2011

    Wolryeong Park

    After the funerary food, we got to enjoy the afternoon in Wolryeong Park, where Angie attempted to teach us Hwatu, and a ton of old Koreans gathered around to offer advice and gape at foreigners playing the game. Across the river was a folk village, so I had a bit of a walk around there too.

    9 October 2011

    Funerary Food

    One of the biggest surprises of the trip was at Kkachi Gumeong Jib, which translates to Magpie Hole House. It was shark, the most feared creature of the sea, and it was right there on our plate. It actually tasted kind of like pork.

    The whole meal was part of a traditional funerary serving, but fortunately we weren't there to perform a funeral service (I suggested Steve Jobs but Dori wasn't having any of it).

    You can also read a more in-depth review of the restaurant, with history and a recipe as well, here.

    9 October 2011

    Jongjae Jongtaek

    Our second night, we stayed in a traditional house called Jongjae Jongtaek. It was built in the 19th century if I remember correctly, and shows many examples of Confucianist ideals, one being that men and women never slept together in the same building.

    The owner also had an apple orchard, so he took us on a walk through there as well.

    8 October 2011

    Andong Mackerel Restaurant

    For supper we went out for Andong mackerel. Since Andong is so far inland, they were unable to get fresh fish to eat, at least until they discovered salting. During the Joseon Dynasty, Andong's aristocrats would treat their guests to salted mackerel, which was quite a novelty to eat in Korea's interior.

    8 October 2011

    Andong Old Market

    This is the market where Andong Jjimdak was created. The whole street is filled with jjimdak restaurants, as well as several other random things such as clothing shops. It's definitely a nice market, and all the aromas were compelling.

    8 October 2011

    Andong Soju Museum

    Our first stop in Andong was the Andong Soju Museum. The museum itself has exhibition rooms dedicated to traditional foods, but Andong Soju was the main attraction. We learned about how a traditional distillery works, actually quite similar to desalination. We also saw information on Queen Elizabeth's visit to Andong in 1999. However, two things we didn't get to do were see inside the actual distillery (closed for the weekend) and meet Cho Ok-hwa, the master distiller who has been designated an Intangible Cultural Asset of Gyeongbuk. Curtis hopes to go back another time to meet her.

    We each got an expensive bottle of Andong Soju as a gift, but our plan was to buy a lot more to take back home and give to friends/bosses. The gift shop was closed, so we went to the Maskdance Festival to visit the tent I remembered from the previous week.

    8 October 2011

    Hanu Plaza

    After the festival, we went to a restaurant to try Hanu itself. They taught us how to cut expensive flower sirloin, then we got to try it in several varieties, including raw. One serving would cost about 100 000 won in Seoul, we were told, but here it was half that.

    8 October 2011

    Hanu Festival

    We stopped by the Hanu Festival in Hoengseong-gun, a region known for its high-quality cattle. It ended up being probably the most fun part of the entire trip.

    7 October 2011

    The pension

    I didn't really know what to expect from lodging during the trip; it's not necessarily on camera, so maybe KBS2 will stick us in a motel room where we all sleep on the floor. Turns out, for our first night we stayed in a very nice pension out in the countryside near Chuncheon. Each room had its own girl's name, such as Dori's Pamela, Curtis' Misty, or Verv's Wendy. We were provided with our own rooms as well, allowing us all to get a good sleep.

    7 October 2011

    Chuncheon Dakgalbi

    Our first stop on the tour was Chuncheon Jungang Dakgalbi, a dakgalbi restaurant in Chuncheon's Dakgalbi Street. This is where the dish was invented, in the '60s.

    While the obvious focus of the food tour is on traditional Korean foods, I also wanted to cover some of Korea's dishes with lower class origins. This is one of Curtis' favourite foods, and it's a genuinely good meal, provided you can handle your spices.

    You can read more about the restaurant here.

    Or you can read Curtis' article.

    7-9 October 2011

    Central Korea Hansik Tour

    What fool would put me, Verv, and Dori on TV? The good people at KBS2 and Hansik, apparently.

    This weekend, we're going to eat our way through Gangwondo into darkest Gyungbook, armed with as much media equipment as we can carry to record our journey and give updates from the road, as well as a TV crew who will be filming it all for a documentary. We're going to Chuncheon for dakgalbi, Hoengseong-gun for the Hanu Festival, Andong for jjimdak, Andong Soju, and funerary food, and last to Daegu for galbijjim.

    This is a competition, and we're up against four other teams covering different regions of the country. You'll be seeing lots of updates, some through here but over the weekend probably mostly on Facebook, so be sure to join that page.

    Curtis has a good introduction to what we're doing.

    5 October 2011

    Dori's Birthday

    Dori's birthday was on Wednesday; he turned 16. I showed up to give him subway money so he could collect a camera to take on our food tour.

    3 October 2011

    Occupy Gangnam

    We went to Gangnam and ended up trying jjimdak, one of the main foods we'll be sampling next week on our tour.

    3 October 2011


    I went down to Yongin to get a closer look at an abandoned factory Tyler had discovered online. As it turns out, Leah lives right across the street from it. We met up and I showed her around her own neighbourhood.

    I got there on a scooter, and the trip took me through Gwangmyeong, Siheung, Anyang, Uiwang, Suwon, Yongin, Seongnam, and possibly Gwacheon.

    2 October 2011

    Puppet Maskdance

    Millie was excited about being in a maskdance, but she wasn't happy with her role: the horse.

    I went to an abandoned building for a backdrop and took a ton of puppet photos to make animated gifs.

    Warning: this page is NSFKK (Not Safe For Kati Kovacs). If you are Kati Kovacs, do not click here. If you are not her but she's within sight, I leave it up to you whether you want to trigger her crippling marionette phobia.

    1 October 2011

    Andong International Maskdance Festival

    I've been waiting about a year for this. You can read more about it here.

    I took a day trip to Andong to scout out the city a bit prior to our food tour next week which will take us through there. We won't be going back to the Maskdance Festival, which doesn't have much in the way of food, so I wanted to have a visit where I could focus on the festival itself.

    Unfortunately I didn't make it to Hahoe Village, a folk village that's still inhabited. That's where they have the best Maskdance performances apparently.

    By the way, yes, maskdance is now officially a compound word.

    1 October 2011

    Abandoned Andong

    Andong is a beautiful town out in darkest Gyungbook, and it's known for its traditional buildings. Less known for the abandoned factories in its vicinity, but anyway. <> As soon as the train pulled into Andong, I saw an abandoned house on the hillside. It was a traditional style, I think what they call gotaek. There are lots of similar houses around there that are in much better shape.

    I also ran into two boys who came to investigate the buildings too. I ended up tagging along with them, and one of them took me to the Maskdance Festival after.

    30 September 2011

    Welcome to the Underground

    What the what? This government-run weblog has an article about underground music in Korea. It's a list of all the big shows coming in October. Looks like the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Something Else must have hired someone who knows something about...oh wait, that's me.

    I spent way too much time working on this, mostly listening to YouTube videos. I found a few bands I hadn't heard before, in particular Guckkasten, who I'm now addicted to.

    25 September 2011


    Time for a lazy Sunday spent with GioCat Cat Cafe cats. It's surreal being surrounded by so many cats, but nothing beats the affection Millie and Buster showed me when I got home. Buster spent quite a lot of time sniffing my pants and wondering where I'd been.

    24 September 2011

    FC Seoul vs Daejeon

    Seoul mercilessly slaughtered Daejeon, but the true highlight of the game was when my friends got on the Jumbotron. I had just been sitting next to them until about five minutes before I managed to snap this.

    24 September 2011

    Hansik Food Tour

    A while back, Dori and I encountered a woman who was looking for foreigners who might be interested in an all-expenses-paid tour of Korea to sample traditional foods and promote them for cash prizes. We didn't see what was wrong with that, so we put together a team.

    Apparently the plan is to visit Andong in the second week of October, with a stop in Chuncheon on the way back. If you think a TV show where Verv professes his love for Islam and proceeds to get black-out drunk on Andong Soju sounds like good watching, tune in. More details to come next month.

    More info here. If you surf through the English page you might find an English translation.

    18 September 2011

    Craning with Phil

    Phil and I met up to talk about North Korea, but somehow this ended with us on top of a crane.

    17 September 2011

    Darge in Badabie

    I had a wedding early evening, so I rushed to Badabie still in my suit so I wouldn't miss Scumraid. Of course I didn't, and this was a pretty fun show. No offence to Spot, but the pictures from tonight turned out way better. You can't beat Badabie's lighting, or their more accessible stage. I kept my flash off most of the night and got quite a few alright pictures of all bands.

    16 September 2011

    Darge at Spot

    On Friday night, Darge came from Japan (or Brazil?) to play the first of their two shows. I was really impressed seeing a touring band play here for only 10 000 won, considering even most domestic bands charge more than that these days.

    11 September 2011

    Red-Light District

    There were other adventurers waiting at the Cheonggyecheon waterfall, and rather than have them leave disappointed, we decided to pay a visit to the red-light district in Yongsan. Abandonment is progressing quickly there, leading to a lot more buildings being blanketed up, allowing us the opportunity to slip through and look around unseen.

    11 September 2011

    Draining 9/11

    There was a bit of confusion about the starting time for day 2. Apparently I may have agreed while drunk that we could move the start time to 1pm, but by the next morning I still thought of it as 11am. Only two others joined me.

    We went up to the starting point, and sure enough the security shack was closed for the long weekend. It was a bit challenging getting down to the entrance, but not unpleasant. The tunnel itself was claustrophobic compared to Seoul's other drains, not even large enough for a single double-decker bus to drive in.

    The drain descended down the mountain slope, offering us a variety of tunnel types, from reinforced concrete pipe to corregated metal pipe, to double reinforced concrete box. The RCB continued on and on, with no end in sight. Eventually we turned back.

    Using some of the signage we found, I know that we made it into the tunnel known as White Cloud Village Stream, which is interesting because our route is significantly different from the one shown through the link. Follow through on the link, and you'll see conceptual art of how it's going to look; they even used non-white people this time. Basically, it'll be a long, thin canal running down from Bugak Mountain through Sejong-ro, terminating at Cheonggyecheon.

    Our hope was that we would make it all the way through and emerge from under the waterfall at Cheonggyecheon, but our backs couldn't take it. In order to make it, you'd need to be either a midget or have some sort of transportation to rely on.

    10 September 2011

    Rooftop Meetup

    I organised a meetup for the first day of the Chuseok long weekend. The plan was to drink somewhere up high but safe, and plan what else we wanted to do that weekend. We ended up going boot shopping in preparation for the next day's activities.

    9 September 2011

    Craning with Andrew

    I met up with Andrew, who was visiting from Hong Kong, to show him around a bit. We did a lot of walking, then we checked out some of the higher points of Sinchon area.


    Huge Cloud

    It rained this morning, and then by lunch the cloud was moving away. I rode home to grab my camera so I could take these.

    4 September 2011

    MR27 Reunion

    Burke is back in town, I think just to visit in-laws, and he managed to scrape together the time for a reunion with his band, MR27 (AKA Command 27, Assignment 27).

    There were two opening acts I'd never heard of, Billy Carter and The Essence, but both of them impressed me quite a lot. Billy Carter turned out to be a female acoustic duo who play rockabilly-inspired songs, and The Essence were a good example of what a power-pop band should be.

    2 September 2011

    Sick of It All in Korea

    Sick of It All is probably the largest hardcore band to come to Korea. I managed to pitch an article about them to my employers, resulting in this (note: it'll disappear in about a week).

    2 September 2011

    Sangsang Madang, top to bottom

    When I pitched the Sick of It All article to my coworkers, they were in particular curious about covering the building itself. Not a bad idea, thought I, and I set about visiting every floor of the building. These pictures aren't entirely in order, but they're roughly in the right order, with all the SOIA pictures saved for a separate gallery.

    2 September 2011

    Tongin Market

    For no particular reason, my coworkers all left the office a half-hour early and went on a stroll through Tongin Market, a nearby traditional market. The market seemed to be just one long corridor with a couple turns, and it specialised in ddeok-bok-gi. It's covered by a canopy which I understand is a relatively recent addition to many of Korea's older markets to help make them seem more modern.

    1 September 2011

    New Job

    I started work at a new job with the government. Here are some pictures from around the office.

    28 August 2011


    On Sunday I was feeling kind of lazy, so I only revisited one abandoned neighbourhood. I only ever got off my scooter to go up to a familiar rooftop, where I found an interesting pulley machine on the rooftop that I would not trust my life to.

    27 August 2011

    Josh Roy in Cheonan

    Brian Hough invited me down to Cheonan to DJ for a show at Club Dolce. I was a little too busy DJing for most of the time, but I was sure to get a few pictures of all the performers.

    21 August 2011

    Hongdae at Night

    Drinking in Hongdae until sunrise.

    20 August 2011

    Kingston Rudieska at Seoul Station

    Seoul Station has finished renovations and reopened. Now it's more of a cultural center: the main part has an art gallery, and this one little outbuilding has been converted into a live hall. They'll have lots of good bands playing there over the next few months, but the first show had Kingston Rudieska.

    18 August 2011

    Rux's Last Show

    Don't worry, they'll be back, but for now, Jonghee's off for a working stint in Australia. He'll be at a tattoo shop, likely getting some experiences with the needle.

    They had a farewell show in Sangsang Madang on a Thursday night, and of course the place was packed.

    13 August 2011

    Danginri Theatre

    Sun, the former owner of Club Spot, has moved outside the main Hongdae area to a two-room cafe next to Danginri Power Plant. His new place is called Dangiinri Theatre, and he's using the back room for shows. Of course it's a residential area, so the bands that play there tend to do acoustic sets.

    This show we saw Flat Out and 99Anger doing acoustic versions of their songs. By acoustic of course I mean acoustic guitars still plugged into amps, with backing by drums and electric bass, but it was quiet enough to not wake the neighbours.

    12 August 2011

    Cafe Mari

    Cafe Mari is in that part of Myeongdong that's being taken down, right next to Joongang Cinema which has been closed for quite some time. Things have been getting pretty bad there, and it's been getting a lot of media attention.

    The hired goons were sent in last week, and they arrived when a few of my friends were there. I talked with Jang Pyha of Bamseom Pirates, who said his band equipment was destroyed, but it's all been repaired.

    10 August 2011

    Flood Damage

    I took my scooter down to the head office in Samseong-dong, and on the way I whipped out the camera a few times. In Bangbae I saw some of the cleanup process, where the flash flood hit worst. It poured through the neighbourhood, taking out a few second-storey windows and even brick walls.

    6 August 2011

    Tremors Last Show with Gavin

    I found myself at the top of Hooker Hill last Saturday, where a bunch of bands were playing a show in Stompers. We saw Seoul City Suicides, the Tremors, I finally saw Chanter's Alley, and Black Leather Lagoon. Some odd sights to be sure.

    August 5 2011

    Eulwangri Beach

    It's my summer vacation, and I wanted to do something that normal people would do on a summer vacation. I revisited Eulwangri Beach, a beach that my friend Jim took me to two years ago. It's on the same island as Incheon Airport, and it's surprisingly nice. The tide was out, so there was a long, empty plain of sand and mud we had to cross to get to the water. As the tide came in, we had to constantly retreat further up toward the main beach.

    Please don't watch KBS for the next few days, because you might see me give a drunken interview on there, with Sandra possibly pretending to be my wife.

    4 August 2011

    Rock N Roll Sweatshop

    Several months ago, I visited an abandoned guitar factory. We were kind of surprised that people were on the property, so I just jumped through a window, ran through the main floor, and got out quickly.

    Since it's my summer vacation, I went back for a second pass. The interior is still mostly empty, but there were some interesting sights to be seen.

    2 August 2011

    Gwangju and Hapjeong

    Tyler and I went to Gwangju in search of an abandoned polo club, only to get turned back by the presence of workers at the gate (and sudden rain). We returned to Seoul, not willing to let the day be a total failure.

    1 August 2011

    104-Meter Hill

    I invited Sandra for a climb up 104-Meter Hill, the small mountain behind my apartment with the anti-aircraft base at the top. It's the one that's visible west of Hongdae, with the billboards at the top to cover up the armaments.

    31 July 2011

    Stretching Journey

    I was very happy to hear that Stretching Journey were having a reunion show. The lead singer came back to visit from the US for a short time. They'll have at least one more show before he leaves again.

    Here's a video from later in the set after most of the masks had come off.

    The bassist wearing all yellow is Vad Hahn, the guy responsible for Amature Amplifier and Yamagata Tweakster. Here he is playing an Amature Amplifier song as Dooriban is demolished in the background.

    27 July 2011

    Atlantis Sparkling

    If you live in Korea, you probably know that the entire country is sinking beneath the waves. Just when we thought the rainy season was over, it started up again, and this time it was personal. It started yesterday afternoon when the rain started pounding down, and it's been relentless ever since (with a few gaps of calm here and there).

    This morning on the way to work, I was assaulted by lightning and thunder striking immediately overhead at Seoul Station, probably the loudest I've ever heard. As the train crossed the Han River, I saw the water level rising up to swallow Olympic Expressway. Yet cars were still driving on it, edging toward the inland lanes to keep from getting pulled in.

    As soon as work was over, I put on my most hardcore wetwear, grabbed a plastic bag for the camera, and headed out. First I visited a couple storm drain entrances to see how they were bearing under the onslaught. Then I crossed a bridge and visited the park on Yeouido, where things got a bit wet.

    25 July 2011


    I had Monday off, so I took my scooter out on a drive around Gangseo-gu, which as the name attempts to suggest is west of the river, more accurately western Seoul, near Kimpo Airport.

    As well as a couple of other side stops, I visited Magok Region, an immense open field with only a small amount of development along the sides, largely abandoned. There was one old wooden factory of some sort, as well as a residential area and some infrastructure facilities.

    24 July 2011

    Korean Skinheads and German Cannibals

    After the Christfuck show, we ended up as always at Roots Time. I was surprised to see Joe's face, but it was just on his wife Ran's smartphone. But...it was video chat! Also, it sounds like he's coming back for a visit next month.

    On the sad side of the coin, Stephanie and Eileen are leaving soon. If I remember correctly, this was their final weekend. I knew there was only one going-away present they truly wanted: human flesh.

    23 July 2011

    Christfuck EP Release

    Only in Korea can a band release a 16-song album and call it an EP. Then again, the runtime is under eleven minutes.

    This whole show started around 7:30pm and ended only a little after 9. Pretty quick.

    20 July 2011


    I had an unexpected day off on Wednesday, so I hopped on my scooter to revisit a few old locations, as well as discover a new one. I checked in on Dapsimni, Wangsimni, Geumho, and Oksu. A lot has changed, and I missed out on two opportunities that would've been interesting.

    17 July 2011


    I wanted to splurge on some Chinese food, so I went to Ho Lee Chow for some Shanghai noodles. Ho Lee Chow remains the only place in Korea I know of that makes Shanghai noodles, the distant cousin of jjajangmyun.

    Anyway, something amusing I discovered was that some of the street maps in the area are helplessly out of date. Burger King has long since moved from the corner of the main intersection. Also, I'm pretty sure Yugoslavia isn't a country anymore, and wouldn't have an embassy here.

    17 July 2011

    North Ahyeon

    The other day, I took the Gyeongui Line from my home to Seoul Station. On the way, I saw many abandoned buildings overlooking the tracks. I managed to figure out it was North Ahyeon, where abandonment has spread out further.

    It wasn't raining on Sunday, so I headed out there to have a look around. Most of the homes are empty, so I decided to focus more on getting up high and getting a good overview.

    17 July 2011

    Buster's Bath

    I mopped the floor, but I was a little concerned with how much of the water Buster was intentionally mopping up with his paws. He even sat down in it, smearing his tummy in the dissolved cleaning products. So, I filled up a basin with water and dumped him in. He was not happy.

    15 July 2011

    This is what I do at work

    Friday is my busy day at work. I start the morning with a one-hour English class in Digital Media City, near my home. From there, I rush to Seoul Station to catch a train down to a training facility for a major car company I won't name for web-crawling purposes. There, I get picked up at the station and driven half an hour out into the middle of nowhere, where I teach two lunch-hour classes. From there, I have a bit more spare time until my next class, so I usually stop in Suwon for Mick Jones Pizza, which is exceptionally good New York style pizza. Next, I go one town over to one of the other research facilities, where I catch a shuttle bus that takes me way out into the middle of nowhere, where I visit a high-tech research facility. Security is high there, which means no cameras of course. So, nothing in this gallery violates my nondisclosure contract; I made sure of that. Anyway, after a three-hour class there, I catch a bus back to Suwon, finally arriving home in Seoul around 11pm.

    9 July 2011

    ...Whatever That Means CD Release

    I finally got through all the pictures from the show. Unfortunately I don't have any of Plastic Heart, Seoul City Suicides, and Things We Say. The rest are all there, including a shot of some cannibals, one of whom tried to eat me.

    9 July 2011


    We had a few hours to kill, so I took Vanessa on a trip around the area, stopping by the abandoned neighbourhood in Hapjeong.

    2 July 2011

    Drinking Late at Night

    I headed over to FF where there was a metal/hardcore show. There were only two bands left so I didn't bother going in, but I did go drinking with everyone after, and got a few pictures.

    2 July 2011

    Rooftop View of Gajwa

    On the way home, this rooftop looked like it was in a good position, so I gave it a try. Turns out the building was just recently completed, and now is just open for anyone to waltz in.

    2 July 2011

    Hapjeong Part 2

    I went back to Hapjeong after grabbing a towel (essential in this weather). I had a chance to see most of the area. I also ran into some Korean guys filming an ad for solid rubber bike tires, which can ride over broken glass without danger.

    2 July 2011

    Rooftop in Yeonhui

    I paid a visit to this perfectly situated rooftop in Yeonhui. I first discovered it while waiting for Sandra outside the gates of Yonsei. It was good enough I wanted to come back with my camera.

    2 July 2011


    I've found yet another abandoned neighbourhood, this one close to Hapjeong Station. It seems to be an expansion on an already active project. Back when I visited the previous one, I'm pretty sure I saw plans to demolish this area as well.

    27 June 2011

    Seongsan Hall

    Late Sunday night, we suddenly got the urge to visit this large abandoned building next to my home. I'd gone in a few days earlier with no camera and no company, so it was only a short trip. The building has been almost entirely cleaned out, leaving an empty carcass. Still, I'd always wanted to see inside, even when it was active.

    On the way out, Sandra shined the light into a guard shack, only to discover that there was a guard inside, formerly sleeping.

    24 June 2011

    Buster and Millie

    Just some recent pictures of the cats doing cat things.

    23 June 2011

    Yonsei Library

    I heard that the library at Yonsei was being renovated, so we loaded up on the alcohol and went up to the top floor for some rainy night drinking.

    19 June 2011

    Baby Crane

    On Sunday, I didn't do much, just slept in and climbed a baby crane.

    18 June 2011

    Broke in Korea #12 Release Show

    And that is Laura, my new favourite person to photograph at shows. Sorry, Dori, even your new haircut can't save you now.

    Anyway, booking this show was a bit of a major fiasco. First I had trouble finding bands to play. Then, the week of the show, the venue decided they didn't want to have a punk show. I searched around, and through Jeff and Trash's help I was able to get it moved to a late show at Spot. Jeff volunteered to work the bar and Trash worked the door, at least until I press-ganged them into playing a ...Whatver That Means set at the end of the night.

    We also had some issues with booking the Swindlers. I invited the lead singer originally in Korean, and he agreed. When the time and venue changed, I messaged him in English, and he never wrote back. I wrote them off, until Aaron called me around 7 to say they were at the original venue. They were forgiving anyway, and had no problems playing the Spot show.

    Anyway, you can download the new issue in PDF form here.

    12 June 2011

    Returning Home

    Just a few more from the previous weekend, on the ride back from Okpo Land.

    12 June 2011

    Geoje Island

    On Sunday, we took a bus ride around one part of Geoje, and ended up at an abandoned school. The bus system out there is frustratingly infrequent.

    11 June 2011

    Return to Okpo Land

    Since Cory's leaving soon, we didn't have much time left to visit Okpo Land. We finally made the trip, just the two of us, which proved to be much easier to handle. Thanks to the new bridge between Busan and Geoje, it was much easier.

    The park's in worse shape, mainly due to vandalism, arson, and graffiti. Otherwise, it's still a sight to behold.

    8 June 2011

    Millie and Buster's Pet

    I managed to capture another bug, this one apparently the same species as the last. I paid less attention to trying to feed this one, and it lived at least three weeks. Then I took pity on it and dropped it off outside between the grass and the garbage. It had earned its freedom.

    More recently, I managed to capture a baby camel cricket. The cats love watching this guy bounce around; he's much more excitable than the last two bugs.

    5 June 2011

    Nonstop Body

    Nonstop Body's back, and they had their first show in three years at Dooriban. More to come, definitely.

    Speaking of Dooriban, I got the sad news that it will be closing next month, but also the good news that it's because they reached an amicable settlement with the government. Soon, Dooriban will be reopening in a new location not too far from where it is now. Some of the people of Dooriban have opened a new venue, also in a former squat, so the energy that began there will not die.

    4 June 2011

    Roots Time and Spot

    I stopped by Hongdae late Saturday night to see friends.

    4 June 2011

    Bible Expo Picnic

    Cory and I decided to have a picnic way down in Songdo in the ruined Bible Expo. It was a lovely time, mostly thanks to Cory's cooking and some Old-Testament nudity.

    3 June 2011

    Riding across Northeastern Seoul

    I went out to meet Stephen Epstein for a quick interview for the next issue of Broke. On the way back, I made a few detours to look in on some old familiar sights, and found a few new surprises along the way.

    29 May 2011


    I got a tip online about another abandoned neighbourhood, so I headed out to see it for myself. It's mostly in good shape still, with a lot of windows and doors intact, so there wasn't a huge amount to see.

    28 May 2011


    On the way home, we stopped by Yongsan. The highlight was finding a colony of cats, including a mother nursing her two babies. The red-light district is looking more worn down than before, but there were still a few girls working here and there. Then, on our way to another abandonment across the street, we found our way inside an entirely new abandonment.

    28 May 2011

    Abandoned Guitar Factory

    A while back, Tyler found information about a couple abandoned guitar factories. He figured out the location of one, but the other we couldn't find. Then Will found it riding around randomly on his motorcycle.

    We went by for a closer look, only to discover there's a tent set up out back with a guy in it, possibly a former worker keeping vigil. Anyway, that just meant I jumped the fence and had a quick look to see what was inside. Not much, but with the promise of more to come.

    27 May 2011


    I wanted to find Cubawang, a new reggae bar somewhere in Hongdae. It's nice because it's a pretty open place, and you can sit outside. They also have a decent deal on cream beer. As well, lots and lots of Che.

    22 May 2011

    Farewell to Sean

    We met up at Dong Cult Park exit 12 for Sean's last night in Korea. We had Russian food and drank. Then I managed to make Verv vomit solely through the power of my mind. Or another organ, can't quite remember clearly.

    21 May 2011

    Rage Expo Part 2

    Christfuck really stole the show in a bigger way than anyone could've predicted.

    Not to say Sheback wasn't excellent with Jani subbing in for Cliff. And of course Find the Spot as always, though they played to a significantly reduced crowd (what did I say about being last on a bill?).

    This was the day that wacko in the US predicted the Rapture. I guess we were all supposed to die and go to Heaven or something. Anyway, if you're wondering why we're all still here, you can thank Christfuck for that one. But be forewarned: we're going to need another Christfuck show on October 21, the official new day of the Rapture. That's a Friday night. Someone make it happen, or suffer the horrible fate of going up to join God at his side in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    21 May 2011

    Rage Expo at Dooriban (part 1)

    I really love the new stage and lighting at Dooriban. One red light, and one green light; it gives the sensation that everyone is made of rotting meat.

    I came to this show to see Christfuck, who were listed on the bottom on the poster, so I figured they'd be first. Turns out they were second-to-last, so I decided to just stay to the end. I admit a couple bands' names escaped me. They're obviously Vicious Bomb Juice and Warpath, but I don't know who's who.

    20 May 2011


    Joe's back for vacation to visit his wife Ran and son Delroy, so I met up with the parents on Friday to visit This is Chicken, a new chicken hof in Hongdae run by Kim Jiwoong.

    After that, we ended up at a lot of places.

    16 May 2011

    Driving Across Seoul

    I brought my camera along on my regular commute, then I went out of my way to stop by a few more sites along the way.

    There's still one building standing at Okin Apartments, as well as a compelling looking tunnel that starts on the property. I had a quick stop in the Bundang train line, which looks like it must be nearing completion; they've already got the tracks laid and electrified.

    14 May 2011

    Trip to Daegu

    We got on the train for a day trip to Daegu. Sean had trouble waking up in time for 1:20pm, but he was able to make it. We got to Daegu where we met Verv and Nikolai, who were already pretty drunk. By the time they played, they were extremely drunk. After that, we decided we needed to get out of there quickly. So, four hours down, four hours there, four hours back. At least the train back wasn't crowded, which judging by this picture is a good thing.

    13 May 2011

    Cargo Terminal

    I discovered this building not so long ago right next to the headquarters of a major corporation I do some part-time work for. It used to be a cargo terminal for shipping goods all across the country. From what I can tell, it wasn't closed amicably. Not the most exciting of subjects, but once I got deeper in I found some interesting stuff, such as the snowmen and the basement. The whole place seemed considerably more low-tech than usual; it was like being back in the early '90s maybe.

    12 May 2011

    This is Chicken

    I'd been hearing about this place for a while now, but I finally got a chance to go there. Turns out it is named after the skinhead movie This is England, and it's run by everyone's favourite Korean skinhead, Jiwoong. He should've named it "I don't speak Chicken."

    8 May 2011

    Roots Time

    I stopped by Roots Time on the way home for a quick drink, and got more than I bargained for. So did Shinji I suspect.

    8 May 2011

    Lantern Festival/Exploring with Sandra

    I met up with Sandra and showed her around some interesting places in our neighbourhood. Then we went to the Lantern Festival where she was looking forward to buying paper lanterns. We also painted our own Hahoe masks, so watch out, Yangbantal.

    7 May 2011

    Buckley's Barbecue

    It seems like everyone was out of town for the World DJ Festival, so there wasn't much going on this weekend. I ended up going to a barbecue and finally meeting Buckley, the Moses' cat. She's a small creature, only a couple years old, but I'm certain she could fit perfectly inside Millie's tummy.

    7 May 2011


    We had our second millipede on Saturday morning. Millie spotted it in the veranda but Buster never saw it. I doused it with ant spray, followed by kerosene, then I caught it in a dustpan and dumped it out the window. It's dead now and its corpse is still down there.

    I originally went with the headline "Feline Centipede," but my dad mentioned "Milliepede" which was an original runner-up, so I'll use this one on here.

    2 May 2011


    I took my scooter down to Incheon today. The main purpose was to check on the abandoned factory district, which is showing increased signs of life, and then I went over to the abandoned university, which looks pretty well the same. And of course along the way I saw a lot more stuff as well.

    30 April 2011

    Dooriban New Town Culture Party

    I went to the Dooriban show but didn't really feel like getting many pictures. It was raining outside, and the conditions inside weren't much better. Upstairs was crowded and humid, and the basement was damp and constantly flooding, so volunteers had to keep bailing it out. Anyway, here are a few of the pictures I got.

    27 April 2011

    Random Historic Seoul Subway Station

    This old subway station is being renovated, so I decided to slip in and have a closer look. Turns out, they have security.

    24 April 2011

    Recently-Closed Hospital

    I took a trip back to the hospital on the weekend. I take back what I said earlier, about there being nothing left inside. There are a few things, but it takes a lot of searching. I still have much ground left to cover.

    19 April 2011

    From Seoul to Uiwang

    For a part-time job, I have to go down to Uiwang every Monday through Thursday. On the first clear day, I took my scooter, starting in Gangnam and passing through Gwacheon and Anyang, following a familiar route that I used to take to work.

    16 April 2011

    Townhall Show in Badabie Part 2

    I managed to get the rest of the pictures up. Find the Spot, Geeks, and Hellking's All-Stars.

    16 April 2011

    Townhall Show in Badabie Part 1

    In this gallery we have the three bands with non-Korean lead singers: Brothers of the Hole, Chadburger, and Shellback, along with Sink to Rise. More to come soon.

    16 April 2011


    Tyler is gone, but I'm still catching up on all the places he'd discovered through poking around online maps. This infrastructure-related thing was in southern Seoul, and I was surprised to find it just sitting there empty.

    16 April 2011

    Newly Abandoned Hospital

    I got a tip on Facebook of an abandoned hospital in central Seoul. Not getting my hopes up too high, I rode down there, to find a fairly large hospital left vacant, with no security whatsoever. The interior has been mostly cleaned out, but there are still a few interesting sights. I'm hoping to find the morgue next time I go.

    Black Day 2011

    Brothers of the Hole practice

    I followed along with the boys to a practice. Verv was feeling sick, so he decided not to sing. He still wanted to listen to the music, and he started practicing his stage presence. No actual singing, just Verv dancing.

    Black Day 2011

    New Hongdae Playground

    Recently a big crater appeared in the playground, and the slide went missing. Now, it's been replaced by something much larger. This will hold way more drunk people at night.

    10 April 2011

    Millie's Haircut

    In the winter, Millie tends to grow clumps of matted hair in the small of her ba...ck that resemble dreadlocks. This year was a big tangle of several. I finally decided to cut them all out. She was appreciative at first, holding still so I could get them, but by the end she was getting pretty angry. She probably feels a bit of a chill there right now.

    9 April 2011


    I met up with Tyler at the end of his return visit to Korea, so we could do some exploring. Tyler is a bit obsessed with Daum's version of Street View, and he's used it to explore all across the country from the safety of wherever he uses a computer. You can see some of the insane stuff he's found out in the sticks, like an abandoned tungsten/molybdenum mine, and some pretty old apartments.

    We were going to take a short train trip out of town on Saturday to visit some abandoned factories, but his time here was limited, and I was feeling lazy. Instead, I suggested we check out some stuff I'd seen downtown on my new busroute. I pass by three things: an old, uninteresting-looking building all curtained up, the old Joongang Cinema and surrounding area where I saw a very interesting protest last week, and part of Myungdong Catholic Cathedral which seems to be getting a renovation. All our first stops were total fails, but then we found a good way into the sort of uninteresting-looking building and found some interesting rooms.


    Next, we doubled on my scooter and visited a few other spots outlying downtown. I'd seen all of them before, so there aren't as many pictures, but they're all sites I enjoy revisiting. We started at the gisaeng house, then went up to an abandoned hilltop apartment which Tyler had originally directed me to. After that we visited a couple other nearby sites, both discovered by Tyler, but which he hadn't had the time to get into: the kindergarten and the old, old house with the collapsed roof.

    6 April 2011

    Hooker Card Flag

    I stopped by Maloney's Pub, where the current artwork is this masterpiece: an American flag made out of those cards with numbers you can call for home-delivery hookers. Amusing idea, and he pulled it off well, even if some of Brendan's customers get offended.

    3 April 2011


    On Sunday, I went out to meet Will for lunch, and we wandered around Hapjeong taking pictures. The most bizarre sight was this dog with eyebrows. This is something that somebody did to the dog, right? I don't think I've ever seen a dog with eyebrows before.

    And then later that day, Youngsoon posted a picture of his dog.

    Am I going mad?

    3 April 2011

    Millie and Buster's New Pet

    The other day I saw my first bug of the season. It was desperately trying to escape a mauling by Millie and Buster, so I opened up an empty water bottle and let it inside. It's been there ever since, giving the cats hours of entertainment.

    To keep it alive I've tried feeding it, placing such food items inside as dried cat food (wet and dry), spit from Verv's dribble cup, and leftover Taco Bell. It seems to be doing alright, and we've watched it eating. Still, not sure how long bugs live, and whether this is a torture worse than death.

    31 March 2011


    Last time I visited this area, demolition was well underway. It's spread even further now, coming right up to the front of the temple that holds this giant statue. Time seems to be running out for this giant area, although I think it'll still be around for several months. I'm sure the temple and the churches will stay open until the night before they're demolished.

    31 March 2011


    I spotted this area a few months ago when I was on an intercity bus with kts, but since it's in such a distant part of the city I wasn't able to stop by until now. It's a relatively small area, about half demolished, with a big love motel right in kind of the middle. I kind of suspect the remaining buildings will be standing for a while longer, and eventually the motel will close. Not sure when I'll be getting back here.

    30 March 2011

    Baby Cranes

    Something I've been seeing a lot of these days are baby cranes, which are cranes that are built with the cab oddly close to the ground. There's something kind of cute about them, like a slow child.

    2 April 2011

    Dooriban Show

    Against all odds, we survived the Dooriban show. Although over 100 people had RSVPed to the event (not counting the maybes), there was never much more than that in the place at any one time. So the building did not collapse, and I did not accidentally crush Korea's anarchist, punk, and hardcore movements with one fell swoop.

    Instead, we had a pretty damn good time, with great performances from eight of Korea's underground bands that don't get many chances to play together. There were five hardcore bands who all had extremely short sets, two punk bands, and Skasucks, who were the climax of the night. Banran played their final show before Yongjoon leaves for the US to work, and this was Brothers of the Hole's first reunion show. The 100 Blossom Club played last, and a lot of people had left, but I could feel the floor shaking the most while they played. Basically, it was a great night and a lot of people got to enjoy and make use of a very unique space.

    April Fools' Day 2011


    It was a three-hour ferry ride out to Yeonpyungdo, but I decided to brave the trip alone earlier this week on a day off. There are still lots of people living there, so ferries run regularly. The military presence was very low-key, but there were lots of police on the island. I brought along a bottle of Daedonggang, which may have been in poor taste, and a cop yelled at me for drinking it on a park bench. I only had a couple hours there before I had to catch the last ferry home, but it was probably all I needed in order to see the damage caused by North Korean shelling.

    27 March 2011

    German night - NoOpinion

    After seeing the French band on Friday, I decided it was only fair I went to see the German band too on Saturday. Both had played both nights, and both received glowing reviews for their Friday shows. I got to Spot just in time to see NoOpinion, and they did put on a very fun show.

    26 March 2011

    French night - Upfall

    What an odd weekend that we get two different European bands touring Korea. Upfall was here representing France, and I stopped by the Friday show at Queen Practice Room to see them, along with some of the other bands playing at Dooriban next Saturday.

    It was a good show, though for Upfall nobody really seemed to know what to do so we all just sat there quietly as they pounded the hell out of their instruments.

    Next: NoOpinion from Germany's turn

    25 March 2011

    Cranes and Hotels

    I had a bit of time to kill on Friday so I rode around downtown a while. I had a look at some of the construction cranes used there, from dinky little six-storey ones to massive skyscraper ones. Not that I went on any of them of course.

    I also had a look at some amusing love motels, and stopped by a few old familiar places that required status updates.

    23 March 2011


    Hopefully you already know about my Dooriban show on Saturday. I say hopefully, because way too many people have already RSVPed.

    Anyway, I decided to get more pictures of the area to make a poster for the show. I ended up having a closer look at the hanok in the lot, Arirang. And you know, I still haven't made a poster yet.

    It'll be a big show, with eight bands playing punk, ska, hardcore, and metal with keyboards. It'll be a ton of bands that have never played in Dooriban before, as well as one or two that have.

    23 March 2011


    There's an old building on the corner of Donggyo-dong that's being demolished. I used to walk by it at lunch all the time, and it's always been pretty well lifeless. Never really bothered looking closer, and now it's pretty well too late.

    I went by the other day to watch demolition, and I got some interesting pictures of objects silhouetted on the other side of the blankets.

    22 March 2011


    I took a train out to Paju and back. It was a straight shot from DMC along the Gyungui line, and I saw quite a lot of strange sights along the way. Most weren't photographed. Then I came back to Seoul and had a closer look at something I'd seen from the train.

    17 March 2011


    Some pictures of cats being lazy, and experiments in 3D.

    15 March 2011

    FC Seoul beats China

    We went to a Tuesday game to see FC Seoul take on Hangzhou Greentown from the Chinese Super League. After an embarrassing home game defeat to Suwon Bluewings and a tie against Daegu thanks only to Daegu scoring on themselves, Seoul finally started kicking ass this season, winning 3-0 against these communists.

    Did it have something to do with Verv shouting Chinese curses at opposing players when they were within earshot? Probably not.

    14 March 2011

    Rooftop Porn

    I went out for a scooter ride around Yongsan, and found a huge part of the city I hadn't previously known about (or had forgotten). Just a bit west of Hannam is a valley which hasn't been hit by much redevelopment. I got to a good rooftop and took a bunch of pictures.

    13 March 2011

    Broken Bottle Fight

    Fact: Korean garbage bags are unusable.

    Emart began offering grocery bags that can be reused as garbage bags. So what did they do? They replaced their good shopping bags with basically crappy garbage bag material ones.

    At the checkout, I began packing one, and it ripped when I packed a wine bottle. I showed the cashier and she gave me another one. Then I got on my scooter and rode home.

    As soon as I picked up the bag, the bottom ripped and the wine bottle fell out and shattered on the floor of the parking garage. I went upstairs, inspected the bag, and decided that I wasn't going to put up with this. Not only is money stretched thin, but these garbage bags tarnish the good name of garbage bags. I wanted them to have a record somewhere that some guy lodged a complaint caused by weak bags.

    So I went back to Emart carrying the jagged top of the broken bottle. I pulled it out and waved it in the customer service woman's face, and got my 6700 won back. Yeah, I like cheap wine.

    13 March 2011

    Abandoned Farmers' Village

    Months ago, I got a text from Verv reporting abandoned buildings near a train station on the outskirts of Seoul. I finally headed out to have a look, and it was considerably larger than I was expecting. Still tons of people around, despite the high amount of abandoned buildings. Lots of gardens, lots of guard dogs.

    12 March 2011

    Bastard Blues tour

    I stopped by Badabie on Saturday night for a couple bands on the Bastard Blues tour. I only managed to get Shellback and Things We Say.

    11 March 2011


    Recently my cats have reversed roles. Millie spends all day yowling to be let out, and Buster sits next to me and does cute things. Oh wait, he's being loud right now.

    8 March 2011

    Roots Time reopens

    All is right with the unverse again: Shinji and Okin are back from their month-long vacation, and Roots Time has reopened. Thus concludes the worst month of my life since the time before there was a Roots Time. But the less that is said about that time, the better.

    6 March 2011

    FC Seoul takes a dive

    Seriously, that's the only explanation for FC Seoul's humiliating 2-0 loss. Suwon's first goal came after a Seoul forward tripped over his own feet while in the Bluewings' half. Then near the end, on a corner kick, the kicker made a short pass to another teammate who promptly tapped it out.

    Anyway, these soccer pictures might seem a bit repetitive, but it's the best time to get face pictures with lots of emotion in them. Of course 70% of those faces belong to Verv.

    23 February 2011

    Craig and the Three-Legged Man

    Craig and I met up to go to the abandoned red-light district, only to find all the good stuff demolished. We wandered around until finding a good enough entry point to a cluster of office buildings. The first one wasn't much on the inside, aside from the fact there's a full billiards table in the basement, and the second building had a bunch of restaurants with all the original furniture. It bears revisiting, as I'll probably be going back occasionally to check the progress of the remaining red-light district.

    17 February 2011

    UEing with Millie

    [02:04:09] [Me] aww, I just took my cat UERin' for the first time
    [02:05:09] [Me] sxzd34343434343434343434343434
    [02:05:23] [Blober] and first time in chat apparently
    [02:05:42] [Me] mjnb dfcccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc
    [02:05:52] [Me] P))OOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooo7778u8i8i8i8i8i8i8i8i
    [02:06:00] [Me] yes

    12 February 2011

    Follow the Drunken Verv

    Yeah, Verv got incredibly drunk on Saturday. He started drinking at noon, and I called him around 9pm to meet us in Hongdae. By the time he made it, he was slurring his speech and unable to walk in a straight line. But don't worry, he was still in control enough to inflict terror on Hongdae.

    Also featuring a video of Verv's rampage through Hongdae, provided by Jack.

    11 February 2011

    Purge Movement First Show

    There was a rumour North Korea was going to attack, so we all wore gas masks.

    Anyway, this was a pretty good show, with several bands I was looking forward to seeing again. High up on the list was 13 Steps, who I haven't seen in forever. The Geeks put a pretty energetic set in. Spiky Brats defied their own name by appearing with normal hair. The only other band I photographed was the Swindlers, mostly thanks to this guitarist who kept the gas mask on for the whole set. I missed the first two bands, and Psycho Rockets didn't make it.

    Then that was pretty well it for me for shows for that weekend.

    8 February 2011

    Bye to kts

    We headed up to Uijeongbu to meet Cory and her coworkers for kts' last night in Korea. We found a decent enough all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant, only something like 11 000 won each.

    We drank and drank, until it was too late to get back to Seoul. I slept on the floor, where I did my best to keep everyone awake with my snoring.

    8 February 2011

    The Statue

    We had an afternoon to kill, so I took kts to see the statue, which resides in the largest current abandoned neighbourhood that is not mostly demolished.

    Demolition has picked up a bit, but they still have a lot left to doze. The temple should still be open and standing for much longer.

    8 February 2011

    Seodaemoon Prison

    I'd never been to Seodaemoon Prison before, so I brought kts by so we could check it out. Much to our annoyance, there was some sort of film crew at work, and they sealed off a lot of the rooms so they could record. Much to our tittilation, there were plenty of female cadets around as well.

    7 February 2011

    Abandoned Mental Hospital

    We wanted to get out of the city for a day, so I took kts into Gyunggido to visit the "haunted" mental hospital. Last year, the ghost-hunters warned us not to take our cameras, because the ghosts would interfere with them so they wouldn't work. Guess how that worked out.

    While we were in there, we had close encounters with one, possibly two ghost-hunter groups. They kept their distance from us, possibly believing that Korea now has English-speaking ghosts.

    Here's a ghost-hunter video I just found. At the end they freak out due to a door slamming. I've been there, and the winds blowing through the building have a tendency to open and shut doors. My first time inside, it sent Seoyoung running all the way back to the bus stop. These Koreans seem pretty brave.

    Perhaps more epic, these guys bring what appears to be an exorcist there.

    6 February 2011


    I'm not an easy person to take shopping. Not because I'm cheap or take too long to decide, but because of my tendency to get onto rooftops. Anyway, it was a good opportunity to show kts the city at altitude.

    To top the day off, we ended up at Morene Market, which is mostly demolished now.

    5 February 2011


    Finally, for the first time ever, I made it to the DMZ. Well, first time from the South side. The USO tour was pretty cool, but the KPA tour had the edge. Well, aside from all the extremely loud Chinese tourists when we came from the North. There were way fewer security restrictions from the North side, most importantly in where we could photograph and where we could bring tripods. On the South tour we got to see the Third Tunnel; on the North tour we got to see the axe.

    Most importantly, when we went on the USO tour, we were completely socked in. The Dorasan observatory was totally pointless. Anyway, still worth going, and I made sure to stock up on North Korean soju while I was up there.

    4 February 2011

    Yongsan War Museum

    What better way to remember the horrors of war, than to go to a memorial and treat it like a playground? Well, I guess you could wear a plastic flower for one week a year. But anyway, APCs and mortars make way better playground equipment than boring old slides and seesaws.

    2 February 2011

    Hangin' with The Host

    I brought a group of people over to the river so we could hunt for The Host. We did the walk from the river to the first surface point.

    Accompanying us were Justin and Matt. Afterward, Matt dug up some old maps that show a former stream that follows the exact same route we took; I won't put it up here in case he's saving it for an update on his own site.

    2 February 2011

    Seoul Sex Tour

    We got a visit from kts of UER fame. He stayed over at Cory's place, and I showed them around Seoul and the vicinity.

    Our first full day, we started off in Insadong, where we watched Cory go nuts buying things, then we headed over to the abandoned gisaeng house nearby. It's basically just an empty skeleton now, but it's still very interesting.

    After that, we headed down to Yongsan to see a more modern version, the abandoned red-light district.

    You can see some of kts' photos from his trip on Flickr.


  • DHMD 2011


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  • Please remember that these photos are all copyrighted to me. If you want to use them in any way, there's a 90 per cent chance I'll give you my permission, and be able to give you a copy with a higher DPI.
    Copyright Daehanmindecline 2004

    Photos taken by
    Nikon CoolPix 950
    digital camera.