31 December 2017

New Year's Eve

I had to work New Year's Eve until second deadline, which came early because everyone wanted to get out of there. After, I met up with the Chinese and Taebaek tourists and we followed Morgan and Bomi and other guests up Naksan.

It was a very weird coincidence, as earlier just that day I got some news about something interesting happening in that exact area you'll hear about on this site in a couple weeks. Spoilers, there's going to be fire.

Anyway, our usual New Year's Eve fireworks fun was ruined by the sudden increased CCTV and a disembodied voice telling us to stop doing what we were doing, from climbing on the wall to lighting fireworks. Possibly next year we'll be forced to consider going somewhere else.

30 December 2017

Mullae Metal Show

Apparently earlier this year, Michael was travelling through Japan, and so was Jericho at the same time. So they met up and he took her to a Japanese metal-visual kei show. It's kind of his scene, so he wanted to show it off while she was here. I was interested to go along too so I also headed to GBN, a venue I have frequented, about as much as anywhere considering how often I go to shows anymore.

It was strange being there and being a complete stranger to all the bands (except Huqueymsaw). People generally saw me as the strange punk version of Michael who'd strayed over into a different room than he'd usually be in. It's probably the closest I can get to experiencing what it's like to be new in the Korean punk scene these days.

People on this side are generally the same as the punk-hardcore side, though probably a little less spontaneous. I've always been interested in knowing more about the metal scene, and my interview with HarryBigButton a few days later was maybe slightly related.

29 December 2017

Gongdeok Jokbal Market

Jericho told me there was one particular Korean food she'd had in LA Koreatown which she was curious to find. After hearing her describe it a bit I immediately knew she meant bossam, one of my favourite Korean foods. There's no shortage of restaurants around serving it, and despite how it generally looks, it's considered a low-class food in Korea. When figuring out where to go to get it, first I suggested a newly opened restaurant near my work. Then I thought better and suggested we try the pigs' feet market near Gongdeok Station. Pig feet restaurants generally also serve bossam.

Fortunately, it turns out Chinese people also have a concept that the more run-down the restaurant, the better the food. The market itself is quite a sight to behold, anyway.

25 December 2017

Abandoned Army Base

I brought back a few friends to see the abandoned base, figuring there was safety in numbers. This time there were no wild boars sighted, but we saw at least one deer running away from us through the brush.

There have been a few changes since last visit, as it appears OCN has been filming a TV show here, and for no discernible reason someone's been putting up fences along the main road to discourage vehicles approaching some of the buildings. Also, we almost got locked inside.

25 December 2017

Santa Returns

It's been a busy year for Santa, who only had time for a brief appearance in the tunnel on December 23. We caught up with him while he was waiting for a ride and had a chance for some Chinese tourists, who normally wouldn't be visited by Santa, to sit on his lap.

24 December 2017


I was asked where we could see Christmas lights in Seoul. It's not quite like the West, but the best thing I could come up with was Cheonggyecheon, which was crowded for some festival. We were able to avoid the crowd and get pictures, and then after we headed to Ikseon-dong for food and drinks.

23 December 2017

Santa Wars: The Last Host

I liked the latest Star Wars movie, except for that one scene where the hero escapes and runs down the stairwell, only to get to the ground level and discover an impassable door, so he retraces his steps a few levels and finds himself in a totally closed luxury department store with no way out. Oh wait, that happened to me in real life after I saw the movie at Lotte Cinema Avenuel in Myeongdong.

Anyway, the porgs die. Leia dies. Chewie dies. Ben Solo dies. Everyone who ever existed dies. Especially those born a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I mean what, did Poe Dameron make it to 1 million years old? Were you expecting to wander into the Sarlacc pit in Yongsan? It may feel like it sometimes, but that thing is a life form that is long since dead. No need for teasers.

Except if you click on this gallery showing our Christmas adventure. I was less drunk when I wrote it and I know I said a bunch of spoilery things about Star Wars.

17 December 2017


Just a few pictures taken while driving around whenever.

I found a new worst restaurant name in The Commode, a place where they probably didn't read more than one dictionary definition of their name. Unless this is a Mr. Show-inspired restaurant where Rudy will await your foundation. By the way, if you've never seen it, watch that whole episode.

Anyway, take that, Chicken Toilet and Mi-cook Sikdang.

16 December 2017


I'm not proud of the foreign areas of Seoul, despite personally liking a number of the business owners there, but sometimes I jump on my scooter and drive around the mountain to HBC or Gyeongnidan to try out some food or drink all night.

This was one of those times, when I was hungry and felt more like driving than cooking. So I went out looking for food to try. Surprising opportunity: Bonnie's Pizza had no line. I walked in, and the unusually un-harried staff was quite nice. I ordered a pizza that would take 20 minutes to make, and the only thing to do in the area at the time was smash roofs.

Fun fact, the preview image here, behind that door on the right side on the main floor, that's where both my cats were born.

So I'd heard Bonnie's was good pizza but not spectacular, and I can honestly confirm that. There is no shortage of pizza places in the area and I've been trying to figure more of them out. 8Piece Pizza recommended by Alecia is excellent, and I've become quite fond of Gino's on the hill between this area and modern-day Itaewon. I still have more favourite pizza places around Seoul Station and in Bukchon but see less point in promoting them.

15 December 2017

Grey Sky

Why is anyone out on a rooftop at this time of year? I was scouting for Santa Claus, obviously. I scouted out a few places where I figured I might see him later and planned to come back closer to His holiday. Turns out it would later be too cold that day and we would see fuck all.

10 December 2017

Broke Tattoo at SHARP Ink

Alex was psyched to get a Broke in Korea tattoo before leaving. Badass Bomi wasn't available until sort of late the next day, which wouldn't have worked out for Alex's schedule. So with Bomi's permission, we gave Trash a try over at SHARP Ink.

Bomi has been my go-to tattooist for all things Broke in Korea, especially considering she designed one of the logos. But after she gave Jeff his Broke tattoo which was really just his own tattoo with "broke" way down in the corner to justify taking my donation, I started offering "Jeff Sucks" tattoos. And when Trash, his wife, became a tattoo artist, it became too perfect for her to give people "Jeff Sucks" tattoos, the first which she gave to one of the guys from Burn Burn Burn during their tour here in September.

In the future, I'll have to rethink my free tattoo policy. So far there have been three Broke tattoos: Jeff's half-assed Frylo tattoo, Ryan's Bomi-designed art cover one, and now my son's old school, Paul-designed one. All three have brought me joy, and I probably will keep offering it, as well as the Jeff Sucks one, which was more glee than joy. But I think Jeff Sucks will have to be a Trash-only thing, and will probably start incorporating ads in future Brokes that way.

Broke tattoos are all in good fun but getting a Jeff Sucks tattoo isn't for everyone. Fair warning: he may get a retaliatory tattoo.

I have still never gotten a tattoo in my life, but I have claimed a significant portion of people's skin for my own devices. And that is sort of more fun than printing zines on paper.

9 December 2017

Farewell Kyle

When friends leave, they leave all together. Last time, it was Paul, Ryan, and Margarita, plus Redboi a little earlier. This time, it was Alex and Kyle.

Kyle has lived in Daegu and didn't move up to Seoul at any point, but we met online I think after I found his Tumblr page. He became the Daegu correspondent for Broke in Korea before we met in person, and even had a self-published novel. Plus his band was pretty good.

He's a guy I wish I lived in the same city with and had more time to collaborate on stuff together. Oh well, there's still the future.

Same night as Alex's farewell, Kyle had his final show with his band Food for Worms.

9 December 2017

Farewell Alex

All of a sudden, it became time to say farewell to Alex, my son. Yes, when I was 14, I cavorted with an older woman, and she moved away to California before I could find out I bore her a son. Alex was born, and decades later he joined the US military so he could come to Korea and track his old man down. We had a little over a year of father-son bonding time.

Or the other version, earlier this year in February, he met up with me while I was trying to get my record player fixed in Seun Sangga. We were sitting in the shop and one elderly man there was making friendly conversation. He looked at the two of us, and then asked me: "Is he your son?"

There honestly was more similiarity before he switched to contact lenses.

Our first time meeting was last Lunar New Year during a meetup, when he came out and we explored Yeomni-dong together. Fittingly, he suggested we go back there. So much of it has been demolished but that just showed how much our lives had changed in the time we'd known each other.

There's a chance my son will be redeployed to Korea. My liver hopes not, but my heart hopes otherwise.

8 December 2017


Just a couple pictures of Buster and a couple of the sunset.

7 December 2017

Going Home

These pictures come from two nights of walking home through downtown after RASKB events. People seem enamored these days with "cyberpunk" pictures of downtown Seoul, taken in a variety of settings from machine districts to bus lanes, always with heavy filters and often after rain when everything shines.

I find the focus a little overused now, though the subject matter is always important.

6 December 2017

Yongsan Real Estate

I met up with a real estate agent who works with foreigners to talk about the Yongsan area, especially what's happening with it due to the Yongsan Relocation Plan and Hannam New Town.

It actually ended up as a pretty good article with plenty of information everyone should know. Especially these days, everyone seems to be abandoning all hope for the Itaewon area, so this was my way of cutting through the bullshit.

Not to mention gathering information on what's sure to be the next big abandoned neighbourhood.

5 December 2017

Lunch Break

For lunch I went through Myeongdong to the Popeye's Chicken. I noticed an odd message on the back of their delivery bikes.

3 December 2017


The next morning afternoon, I came back and had a look at Magpie Hongdae, seeing how smashed up it was. Then I also had the idea to head to Itaewon to see how Seoul Pub was looking. Seedy as always.

2 December 2017

Magpie Hongdae Closing

While everyone was getting upset about Seoul Pub closing in Itaewon, I was getting upset about Magpie Hongdae closing. Say what you will about Itaewon gentrification, but Hongdae gentrification still hits me closer to home.

I used to go to this place back when Tyler worked here, and since he was too busy working on weekends to go exploring, Magpie Hongdae became a common place to end up at after a day of exploring. This is all before he relocated to Jeju to work at the Magpie there.

I was at the closing party of Bar Exit in the same place, and kind of didn't give a shit to see that place go. But Magpie saddens me. At least they commemorated the occasion by smashing the hell out of the place with a sledgehammer.

2 December 2017

Abandoned USFK Base

This isn't my first abandoned USFK site, and looking at how things are going it won't be the last. I heard about this through a friend doing research on the topic, and after weeks of having it somewhere on a very large to-do list, I discovered there was a bus going directly from my office all the way up the Western Corridor to a stop right in front of the whole area.

What started as a pretty unremarkable, even lazy despite being strenuous, walk became tense after I spotted a wild boar in the bush and it spotted me. I'm not used to wildlife running toward me when seeing me. This was my first boar encounter and it was unnerving, as these are probably the most dangerous wildlife Korea can throw at you, but I armed myself and made a lot of noise to scare it off. Apparently the reason it approached me is because boars have poor eyesight and it wanted to squint at me.

And then an even more dangerous mammal came into view, travelling by dump truck. While I hid in the brush (nowhere near the boar) I heard the sound of liquids being dumped out all over the ground.

You might know when a USFK base gets returned to Korea, there is often controversy over contamination. I'm sure there's some basis for this, but also to Korean civilians any little stain left behind is an affront. I have heard one report when the base closed, some of the oil tanks hadn't been fully emptied. And also, there appears to have been Agent Orange stored here at some point. So now, I strongly suspect there are Koreans taking advantage of this, dumping out chemicals on former bases like Camp Howze thinking it's the perfect crime, and the US will just end up getting blamed.

I shared this whole story, along with more precise details, in a private group for ex-USFK personnel who have been stationed here, and they seemed to love my pictures despite feeling some negative emotions about seeing the base and the ville in this condition.

1 December 2017


While I was waiting for Thai takeout, I decided to look for a roof. This was along a street right next to Yongsan Garrison, so I was curious what I could see. I got up to a roof, and below me I saw a whole bunch of soldiers standing in formation in front of their commanders, just meters from me. I decided against taking pictures, and instead pointed my camera in the opposite direction to capture that ridge in the distance.

27 November 2017

Mangwon Navy Park

I've been visiting this spot for the last few months, but there've always been people around and I never really had a chance to do anything particularly fun here. But now that it's open to the public, anyone has that chance.

I showed up on the opening weekend and it was still decently crowded. It looks like people enjoy it quite a lot. We'll see how it looks in the future.

25 November 2017

Jay's Birthday

Jay who I met during Chuseok wanted to offer a special event for her 40th birthday, so she organised a tour of Buam-dong and Seochon.

Unfortunately it was a rainy day and the tour couldn't fully go along as planned. Later on, it dried up and we had a night out in Seochon.

There are plans for Jay to become an RASKB walking tour leader, which will be announced in a few months for her first event sometime in the spring.

24 November 2017

American Thanksgiving

For me as a Canadian, our Thanksgiving technically took place at the very end of this year's Chuseok long weekend, the second time in my time here both holidays lined up. But Americans take Thanksgiving a lot more seriously than we do, and Jeff and Trash once again had a party with traditional foods, as well as other stuff brought along, and we all watched football and I pissed everyone off by dropping a fake spoiler about Daredevil.

23 November 2017

Anarchaeological Site

Here's a look at the ruins with more people looking around them. After this, they seem to have removed a lot of the ruins.

19 November 2017


Just a couple pictures of my cats in their favourite places to be lazy.

18 November 2017

Bad Encounter

One of the reasons I've always been cagey about sharing the locations I go to: you never really can predict what will happen. One person can go to an abandoned neighbourhood and see all sorts of delightful sights, then the next person goes there and has a bad fall, or scares local evictees, or has an ugly encounter with workers. Earlier this day, I went back to one abandoned neighbourhood where workers saw me setting up a tripod in an odd spot, and they just let me finish what I was doing before moving on (one even ran across a rubble field wearing sandals, just to warn me, in safety shoes, to be careful). So every area is a different story, and every visit is different.

The latter happened to me at this one area, discovered only a few weeks earlier. Long story short, I drove through with a helmet cam, following the same route I had last time. There were no particular warning signs and I saw signs of remaining residents all throughout my drive. I didn't do anything crazy, and never even got off my bike and went inside any buildings. As I was driving out, a security guard physically stopped me and detained me until the police arrived.

A lot of people I explore with are secretive about their identities, but I don't really care. At this point, if I caught serious trouble for exploring after over 10 years (more like over 12), I'd be sort of honoured. I have a solid work visa and a job now that can justify me visiting these areas, and I really dislike any kind of discord when doing this hobby, but if it means talking to the cops (something that has happened way too many times recently), I'll play along and see where it goes. If I have friends with me, I'll step in between them and the cops and take full responsibility. I go into this weird zone where I'm basically urban exploring the law.

Of course the cops this time let me go, only after like four police cars showed up, and all of them came around to being quite kind to me, only telling me I should've cleared it with the district office beforehand. But, like, seriously, what is the window on that? At what time does an eviction zone go from fair game to forbidden, like what exact minute, with what exact structural changes? Their detaining me clearly had no legal basis, especially keeping in mind this was my third visit there in a week.

At the end of the day it isn't about what's legal and what's illegal, and this time in particular I was caught with my hands significantly less red than other times -- it's just about what others don't want us to see and remember. And being caught up in this mess can be very stressful for all involved.

Urban explorers around the world enforce a code of ethics primarily out of respect for the next one to explore the same area. In Korea where that's less of a likelihood, I usually say it's important to behave ethically in these areas out of respect for the people who used to be there and who could still be there, watching from a smashed out window or about to run into you around the next corner. But also it's in our best interest not to have bad encounters with guards and cops at sites like this, or this hobby will become known to them and they'll crack down on it.

Fun fact: right after I graduated from university, the only company that would hire me was a security company. I patrolled an inner-city condo construction site for a few months in a bad part of town (for Canada). Once I ran into a couple kids playing around on the dirt mounds, and as soon as they saw me seeing them they silently walked swiftly out of there, a method I performed when I was their age and still do now. I even called after them that they could be there if they wanted. Another time I witnessed a bunch of teenagers smash a window and had to call the cops. After that I was more or less promoted, working in the company's control room where I supervised security guards across the country, including at some well-known urbex sites around Toronto. There may have been one night at Don Valley Brickworks around 2003 where urban explorers could have gotten in because I was dealing with the security guard leaving her post because she had a pregnancy emergency.

This time in Seoul the cops let me go and the guard who stopped me quickly sulked out of there. I hoped to shake his hand before he departed and tell him I respected him for doing his job and that I used to be in exactly the same situation as him. Hell, maybe in a few years he'll be working as a journalist, maybe in a foreign country, and one day he'll find himself getting pushed around by some kid in a uniform.

When people go to an abandoned neighbourhood in Korea, they sometimes feel a sense of freedom, that the trappings of society don't reach here and they can do whatever they want. There is a certain amount of personal liberty available in these places, and it's only bounded by when you ram up against the liberties of another person. It is important when going to areas like this to be hyper-aware of other people and how your presence could disturb them.

16 November 2017

Anarchaeological Expedition

From the washroom window at my work, I could see what looked like anarchaeological ruins far below. They demolished some buildings there a few years ago I remember driving by from time to time. Now that the buildings are removed and they seem ready to build on the land, the herald of the anarchaeologist -- the archaeologist -- is moving in to do a survey of the area.

During lunch, I passed by for a closer look, easily done from a bench up next to a construction fence, only for my lenscap to fall down a crack between the concrete bench I was on and the construction fence. It was down far enough I couldn't reach, but could just barely fit my toe down, kicking my lenscap around. I went back after the first edition deadline and leapt the fence, reached through the crack underneath, and retrieved my lenscap. Then I went back later at night for more pictures up close. The ruins seem modern, likely from early last century. Hard to tell if this will be considered worthy of any kind of memorial.

15 November 2017


I was double-booked this night, both agreeing to reunite with Margarita who was back for a visit and planning to celebrate Millie's 12th birthday. We did the first with Kat in attendance and the second with Buster in attendance. I showered Margarita and Kat with catnip and they writhed around on the floor swatting at each other, then I took Millie and Buster out for barbecue. Or the other way around, can't remember.

12 November 2017

More Exploring

Recently I made contact with an urban explorer living down in Daegu, which is actually the first time this has happened. I've always considered Daegu a dry area unless you consider those mass graves in abandoned mine tunnels, but a few months earlier I found myself unable to help two friends visiting at different times.

Then out of nowhere pops Emily who knows her way around not just Daegu but also Gyeongbuk and Gangwon. We meet up and visit several sites across Seoul. She reveals she's into metal, and I tell her "You're going to fit right in."

11 November 2017

Machines Album Release

Ali is the sort of guy I feel like I talk about a lot. I have mentioned him in one article before and another just in passing, not to mention getting him to write for the paper and various other mentions in Seoul Magazine and Broke. So anyway, this is the latest Ali news, the release of Machines' album which can be heard here.

11 November 2017

Northwestern Seoul

As I was heading home, I randomly came across another abandoned area. Sometimes this happens, and it happened to me once already earlier this month, so usually I just take a quick look, gauge the dimensions, see if there's anything outstandingly interesting, then add it to my to-do list and plan to come back another day. I did a quick ride through, going up some pretty hairy roads and coming out on the other side, where I found a very large tract of land already cleared. Plus, higher up the hill was a still active Buddhist temple.

11 November 2017

Underground River

This is just one of those many locations I've been meaning to look closer at, more for the purpose of cataloguing than anything. There are plenty of tunnels in Seoul, and usually we do the Host tunnel where a light is (almost always) guaranteed at the end of the tunnel. But I think I found the upper opening for this one high up on a mountain, and I'm contemplating a trip down the whole course maybe for Lunar New Year.

11 November 2017

Western Seoul

This is one of those things I saw on Instagram, and went to have a look. I actually was looking for a completely different area, but ran across this one instead and suspect it was the one I should have been looking for in the first place. This is a medium-sized abandoned area in a working-class part of town standing in the shadow of a massive project. The area apparently used to be a major transit point back before the Koreas were divided, but now, even the massive development is kind of weak.

4 November 2017

Samia and RaeMe at Leo's

So Samia performed while she was back here, stuffing Leo's full of people. It was quite a night. Days earlier at her Yongsan Legacy talk, she invited anyone to show up and play music. Patrick, who is becoming a fixture of Yongsan Legacy, asked if he could show up with his accordion, even though he can't play very well. Samia humoured him and said sure. So he showed up with his accordion. It was fun but without the proper amplification it could never really be heard over the music, even with Samia holding her mic up to it.

4 November 2017

Rough Neighbourhoods

As I started heading home, I saw this graffiti on a construction fence. It was interesting in that it seemed to mimic hired goon style, with poorly drawn skulls. It's a pretty small plot of land so I doubt any hired goons were ever involved in the process.

So then I also came across an "Isis" bar right around the corner, and then as I was heading home I stumbled across a warehouse district that reminded me of Mullae, though more garages than machine shops.

4 November 2017


I passed through 588, everyone's favourite red-light district, to find there was still quite a lot remaining, and now for the first time I was seeing opportunities to slip through the cracks and see the area up close. I got into a whorehouse and saw a lot of Hanoks up close.

4 November 2017

Abandoned Inn

Jacco informed me about this major hotel in his neighbourhood that was closing and about to be converted into something else. I showed up this one day to find the back gate open and no sign of anyone inside, not even cars parked there. It seemed too good to be true so I backed out, after getting to the lobby to see the electricity still on.

On a second visit I saw workers trashing out the place.

Probably a missed opportunity, although I question what I would have seen that would be so different from a regular hotel when no one is around. Could be fun for a few adventures, but I only have enough time for so many adventures each day.

3 November 2017

On the Road

Here are three pictures taken on three very different roads. Well, the last one pictured here is more of a sidewalk, despite the scooter that has pulled up to a street food stand for some drive-thru.

2 November 2017

Dairy Queen Comes to Korea

Pretty big news, Dairy Queen is in Korea now. There was a lot of fanfare but not much of a line, and I don't know if that is considered a failure or just normal. They don't have Smarties Blizzards so it won't fulfill any major cravings. The burgers are better than I remembered, if I even ever had one before. Beats Burger King by a lot.

31 October 2017

Choose Your Own Excavator Vigilante Adventure

In honour of the one-year anniversary of Excavator Vigilante's first rampage, here is the official Broke in Korea Choose Your Own Excavator Vigilante Adventure. Just read along and follow the link below.

"I committed a capital offence and deserve to die!" wails Choi Soon-sil on the TV in your office as she enters the prosecutors' office in Seoul.

This is fucking disgusting, you think, as you gaze upon the face of evil who was responsible for all the misfortune that has befallen your country and its people. The blacklist against artists, the corporate corruption, the power of the rich over poor, religious immorality, all the fault of this one contemptible woman.

You survey the interior of the construction crate you've converted into your office. You're a modest business owner, renting out construction equipment. Many of the vehicles on your lot could be used as weapons and turned against the powers that be. Now is the time for extreme action. Or maybe violence is never the answer. What's it gonna be?

I'll trust the legislative and judiciary system to serve justice.

I'll help Choi Soon-sil to die.

30 October 2017

Samia at Yongsan Legacy

Samia was back in Korea for a visit, partly to see her old high school one more time before it closes. Recalling she actually wrote a young adult novel set on Yongsan Garrison, I recommended she talk for Yongsan Legacy. And then I interviewed her on it.

Her actual talk was fascinating, despite being considerably different from all previous YSL talks. She read a passage from her book describing the on-post setting, then basically had a conversation with the room about her recollections of living there. Interesting things discussed were the places she liked to hide out as a kid, her time with the drama program before it was cut (due to a fure requiring other military resources to coopt her space), her first encounter with Jacco on some sort of TV music show, and her voice acting career which started when she was a high school student. Korea has some strict requirements for voice actors and she became adept at this, bringing it with her to New York.

Apparently the librarian from Seoul American High School was there and he remembered her from then, remarking he was surprised by her as he remembered her being quiet, not a flamboyant New York musical performer. And as one guy revealed, the falcon mascot of Seoul American High School was remade to be blue, thus being a blue falcon, which seems wildly inappropriate.

29 October 2017

JiHoon in Seongbuk-dong

For JiHoon's second time leading an RASKB walk, I showed up late due to being stretched too thin this weekend. I missed the part of the walk around Hyehwamun but met up just as they entered Seongbuk. It was informative as always, but compared to his previous Buam-dong tour, I feel like I gained less of an understanding of the nature of the neighbourhood. It also felt like we left a lot more ground uncovered due to its larger size.

28 October 2017

Halloween at DGBD

I showed up at DGBD, seemingly the first time I'd been there in years. I hoped to get pictures of Halloween costumes, and although I got some good ones, I don't feel like I got any really good representative pictures like I have in previous years.

Also, it seems like this year so many costumes incorporated wound paint, or possibly bloody mouth paint. I mean why would a banana have a set of bloody teeth? It's additional attention to detail that doesn't add that much considering the extra effort and discomfort, especially when everybody's a zombie something.

Dead Buttons showed up dressed as the Trailer Park Boys, and at that point I realised I missed out on the perfect costume by not going as Jim Lahey, with this being the perfect year to give tribute to John Dunsworth, easily the best actor on Trailer Park Boys. I could've gotten my hands on a black wig and taken my shirt off, and then told the Dead Buttons to frig off.

28 October 2017

Sindo Jaeil Church

Back in 2010-2013, while driving around northwestern Seoul as Eunpyeong New Town was in earlier stages, I stumbled across this little stone church. It was sealed tight at the time and still is now. On my two previous visits, it seemed apparent urban renewal was encroaching. On my last visit in 2013, they destroyed a bunch more buildings downhill from the church. So only when doing some housekeeping on my database did I realise this church still stands.

The congregation itself has relocated to a new building, leaving this old building behind unattended, on the slope of a hill surrounded by fields and construction.

28 October 2017

Eunpyeong New Town

Driving through Eunpyeong New Town is always a headache, as its road network is laid out in one great big Gordian knot, preventing you from ever knowing which direction you're facing or where you have to go.

This time, I drove past Gijachon, a former hillside village where journalists had lived, to find the only thing still standing was a big church, which probably was rebuilt. But the rest of it, they demolished all the buildings, removed the rubble, covered up the barren hillside with tarps, and then did nothing at all.

Maybe now, because I actually work for a newspaper, I see something more intentionally disrespectful in this.

After that very brief detour, I got lost and ended up at Eunpyeong Hanok Village, which is still under construction but taking shape. Some buildings are open, including one CU in a two-storey neo-Hanok. The scenery is nice and the mountain backdrop is spectacular, but I have a feeling once this neighbourhood is fully functional it won't be a super-welcoming place for people like me.

27 October 2017

Outsmarting Millie

Take that, you dang cat! After a bit of geometry, I figured out the exact area I needed to fence off to prevent Millie from walking the ledge over to my neighbour's roof.

To get the supplies, I went to Bangsan Market and walked around, noting how every type of product was grouped very tightly and you could only find more of the same thing everywhere. I saw many materials that looked like they could work but wouldn't be ideal and would be more expensive than what I actually needed. What's worse, I saw trucks driving around with all sorts of netting in back which would have been ideal. Eventually I jumped on my scooter, drove off, crossed Cheonggyecheon, and randomly came across the exact place I needed. It's almost like it was punishing me for walking around a market. Then I knew I needed zipties, which I found a couple doors down with virtually no trouble.

Setting up the net was pretty easy. I'm pretty sure Millie can't get on the ledge to cross over. If she were a leaper, she could jump across from right to left. But she knows she isn't capable. If she were, I could just make the net more of a square and it would stop her.

26 October 2017

RASKB Cuisine Club

For the latest RASKB Cuisine Club, we got to go to this Hanok near Ikseon-dong which was owned by Choi Ha-kyung's daughter. They served high-quality food and also presented an interesting assortment of traditional Korean drinks stretching back to the Koryo Dynasty.

24 October 2017

Business and Culture Club

JiHoon led us around Wongudan, an altar that was built for unknown reason and was only ever used to celebrate the dawn of the Daehan Empire in 1397. It was a classic JiHoon tour, where he recited events seemingly from first-hand memory, shared images, and reviewed officially placed signs, rejecting them and telling us not to read them.

We also had a quick look at the Golden Plot of Sogong-dong, which JiHoon told me is relevant to his studies as an early music-recording company was based in one of the buildings here. The buildings are old and run-down, and demolition is inevitable now.

21 October 2017

Rough Cuts at Thunderhorse

Alex really wanted to hang out with his dad, meaning me. So I showed up at Thunderhorse in time to see Rough Cuts. He showed up completely blitzed out of his mind, claiming he'd been liquored up by some ajeosshis. We went inside and I helped him sit at a stool where he promptly passed out for the entirety of their set. My burden was eased when another friend showed up and helped me take care of him. After a few hours he was deemed sober enough to take a taxi to my place to crash on my couch.

21 October 2017

Sleepy Kat

The plan was to meet up at 4:30 and hit some roofs, but Kat being Kat, she was way too late. By the time we got to the roofs, she was just waking up.

20 October 2017


A few weeks earlier, I saw this mural going up on the side of a building near my home. It's quite impressive, so I pulled over this day to take this picture. But the parking attendant, seen in orange in the picture, wouldn't let me park up close for 30 seconds to take the picture. So I angrily drove about five meters away, took this picture, then drove off past him, yelling "Finished!" in Korean as I passed him.

19 October 2017

Roof Cats

I have discovered Millie has been walking over a narrow ledge to get into my neighbour's roof. From where she is pictured in this image, she goes between the bars and heads left, rounding that sharp corner and jumping through the bars into my neighbour's roof. There have been a few cases where I came out to get her and bring her in, but I couldn't find her. One time, I nearly panicked looking for her before she popped back in. I hadn't seen her return but could infer where she'd come from. Suddenly it made sense from one or two previous times.

Just a couple days after I first started looking into this problem, in the entry above with the pictures of my disappointment of a son passed out, after we returned to my home, we were hanging out on my roof sometime late at night, when all of a sudden Millie started crying from my neighbour's roof. I went and got some supplies to go catch a cat, climbing up on top of my own apartment and climbing down into my neighbour's property. When Millie just wandered back on her own, no problem.

At that point, I realised I couldn't let her outside without close supervision. I'm not extremely worried about her on the ledge, but if she disturbs my neighbour, that could cause serious trouble for us.

17 October 2017


Ross King from UBC lectured on James Scarth Gale, one of the early Canadian missionaries to Korea and one of the founding members of the RASKB. In fact, he gave the first paper presentation at the RASKB in October 1900, titled "The Influence of China Upon Korea." He apparently took a harder stance on some things, claiming "Chinese characters" (or Hanmun) were the authentic language of Korean literature and the Hangeul characters were "mongrel Korean." He clearly cared deeply about Korea and its literature, and Dr King had some interesting comments to me about how the Canadian was there representing a middle power, not an imperial power, and thus carried a different perspective from his American and British compatriots.

16 October 2017

Yongsan Legacy

For this Yongsan Legacy event, we met at the lobby of Yongsan-gu Office, where a photo gallery had been opened on parts of history related to Yongsan area. I saw quite a lot of interesting information related directly to some of the holes I crawl into.

Afterwards, I briefly talked to Bridget, whose name has been appearing in articles about US military redeployments.

14 October 2017

Father and Son

My son wanted to meet up for some bonding time, which basically means he wants to drink in HBC/Gyeongnidan and have a convenient place to crash after. We sampled a sour beer bar I'd heard about and both fell in love with it, then we went to Maloney's which was a little more modern with a proper washroom. I used to come there and let Brendan's daughter Zoe borrow my camera, but this time I let my son Alex borrow my camera and take pictures.

14 October 2017


I found this area a short while earlier. It looked long-abandoned, but on closer examination it was just in bad shape. Due to the amount of spider webs everywhere, getting around was difficult and I wasn't able to see much or get inside anything. Oh well, I found a Christmas tree.

I had been expecting this place would be abandoned for a long time, but it could get knocked down whenever.

14 October 2017

Temple Mountain

As of 17 November when I write this, the temple pictured here is totally knocked down. I was expecting to have more time with it, but such is life.

13 October 2017

Former USO

Finally after having it on to-do lists for a while, I went back to the former USO headquarters in my neighbourhood. The building which was used by the USO is still there in what seems like a similar form, although the inside is modern and clean and totally abandoned. The grounds are overgrown and would need a decent amount of work. I didn't get in as it is sealed tight, but the view from the roof is interesting. There are more things to examine in this general area.

12 October 2017


I threw down on the catnip and watched my cats get high. Buster is more of a catnip fiend, and Millie seems to only partake until she feels like she's had too much, then sulks away guiltily to sober up. In the one picture I got you can see a tear in her eye. Not really sure what it means when a cat cries, but she does it often when she gets catnip or cat food, so either it is of supreme gratitude or pleasure overload.

5 October 2017

Chuseok Day 4: Gangnam

This day started in southwestern Seoul, before we moved to Bamgol Village where we got an update on how things are doing there.

Apparently the other evictees gave up, leaving this one place the final holdout. We wandered in hoping to look around this surrealist landscape, but ended up meeting a granddaughter of the last resident, which led to us going up to the house to say hi. That ended up being very interesting.

After that, we went to Gangnam where Kelly and Matt Parker introduced us to their son Peter. Yes, you read that right. Or no you didn't, if you didn't see the Spider-man reference. They arranged for a barbecue party on the roof of their amazing home which was attended by a decent crowd of explorers and other people.

4 October 2017

Chuseok Day 3: The Host Tunnel and the Bone Tunnel

The big plan for this long weekend was to hit the Host Tunnel and then probe the Bone Tunnel to find out where it could go under Yongsan Garrison. We all met as usual at the nearest station and walked over, then went up the tunnel and entered the Bone Tunnel, but the path going under USFK property was barred by fast-flowing water. With more equipment we could go farther.

Also, something I think is more remarkable than we all let on, we let a legally blind guy come with us. That in itself is something I haven't heard being done anywhere else before, but he proved himself adept at moving around underground and it all worked out.

3 October 2017

Chuseok Day 2: Roofs

On the second meetup day, only three of us showed up: me, Ali, and Conor, who's somewhat newer but has been doing some pretty intense stuff he's shared on social media. We did a familiar roof all together then Conor and I tried a new roof, which turned out to be pretty intense all things considered.

2 October 2017

Chuseok Day 1: Arlo Maverick

We had a supposedly ten-day long weekend, although my long weekend had started a day early on Thursday and would end a couple days early on Saturday.

But anyway every Chuseok I try to have a meetup so we can meet more good explorers, or entertain foreigners unwittingly stuck here during the long holiday.

This time, I thought to invite Arlo Maverick and his entourage, hoping to send some Edmontonians back home with tales of what they'd seen. It was good for me to reconnect and rediscover my own personal connections with the place I'm from.

1 October 2017

Zandari Day 3

The last day of Zandari had some big acts I caught, though some of my favourites were the ones who didn't get much attention. Green Flame Boys are probably one of the country's most interesting punk bands, and the Twistettes were cool, as was it good to see Iman's League again. The Bohemian Betyars I suspect stole the show for the whole weekend though, judging by the response they got.

30 September 2017

Seoul Fireworks Festival

I took a break from Zandari to rush over to the riverside, where the Seoul Fireworks Festival was happening. Last year was a notable year, when Paul and I hid up here for the fireworks, and we met Kat for the first time, during which I took this picture suspecting it would become significant later on.

This year Kat wanted to meet up again but Zandari screwed me up. In the end, she went up to one roof and I hit a couple others, and I ended up seeing her in one of my shots. I spent no more than 20 minutes viewing the fireworks before going home, but next year I hope to hang out with her up on one of these roofs again.

30 September 2017

Zandari Day 2

For the second day of Zandari, I actually had less I wanted to do than the other days. I was interested in seeing Say Sue Me in person finally, but otherwise I felt like a wreck and wanted to get out of there. The only other act I saw was Barberettes in Sangsang Madang, which I didn't think was the right venue to see them. But oh well, little did I know this wouldn't be my last time seeing them.

29 September2017

Zandari Days 0 and 1

The first day of Zandari, a Thursday, I headed there straight after work. There was an event with a few bands playing. Right after the first band started, I got a call from work that I'd have to come back to finish the night shift. I was already a couple free beers in so I loaded up on a few more and headed back.

Next night, Friday, went better. Soul Train didn't have much of a showing unfortunately, which is the bane of playing Zandari. Vadou Game had a decent crowd but honestly not as much as they deserved, as they were one of the best acts I saw throughout Zandari.

In my research for this year's Zandari article, it was pointed out to me one act was coming from my hometown. That was a pretty impressive proposition to me, and when I dug into it, I found that the lead guy, whose stage name is Arlo Maverick, has been a fellow CJSR DJ and an evangelist of Edmonton music, as well as a fellow alumnus of Jasper Place. I even had seen him perform when I was a student there and we may have talked since then.

So I was running back and forth between Arlo at Gogos2 and ...Whatever That Means in FF next door, where at one point they were to play with Eshe's bellydancing. I managed to time it perfectly, seeing Eshe get up there and then running back in time to grab Arlo and everyone so I could show off to fellow Edmontonians what Seoul is like, something I haven't had enough opportunities to do yet.

28 September 2017

Confucius' Birthday

Somehow I woke up early enough to catch some of this year's second Seokjeon Daeje. This time around, it seemed more crowded than normal, and I only ever saw one other foreigner there.

27 September 2017

Chuseok Gift

I got horse meat from work. Or at least that's what the packaging hints. They were too cheap to shell out for actual Spam, so we ended up with the Dongwon knockoff brand Richam. My palate is not sophisticated enough (or is it too sophisticated?) to tell the difference though, and I've already used up some of it in making homemade budae jjigae.

25 September 2017

Underwood Memorial Hall

I returned to see the old Underwood home in daylight, one day while killing time at the hospital. Even though my previous visit was only four days earlier, a new sign was up announcing plans to fix it up. Still they have a long way to go.

Anyway, I had a good look at the rock that freaked me out on the previous late-night visit. No idea what it's supposed to be, but its shape is definitely intentional.

23 September 2017

More Adventures with Nevin

I wound up back in GBN where more bands from other Asian countries were playing. I saw Die Chiwawa Die which played earlier before I could arrive, and they were not disappointing.

23 September 2017

Abandoned Temple

After seeing a few hints on social media, I went out to this area which has previously been home to a few abandoned neighbourhoods I've explored. This time by the process of elimination I was more or less able to guess where this area was. I drove up and visited the topmost area, and on my way downhill I realised the whole area was quite sizeable.

22 September 2017

Struggle Session

I only just managed to hear about Nevin returning to Korea with another one of his bands for a few shows. It was on a Friday night that I worked the second edition shift, and as soon as the paper was put to bed I leapt on my scooter and raced southward to Mullae to see Nevin play. Turns out I'm pretty good at that because I saw about half their set.

Prior to my arrival, I'm told during Seoul Dolmangchi's set, the bassist hurled his instrument into the crowd, striking Liam, bassist of Pseudo which had played earlier, on the head and giving him a great big head wound. This resulted in stitches and hugs and then it appears everyone was okay. I only even bring it up because it gave me some interesting photos and I can only imagine what I missed out on.

21 September 2017

Underwood Memorial Hall

I can't even remember right now, but somehow I heard the old Underwood Memorial Hall on the campus of Yonsei University was sitting abandoned after a fire last year. My understanding is the building itself hadn't been fully restored to its prewar condition anyway, but the fire made it worse and Yonsei, the actual owner, failed to do anything with it after.

I drove by late at night, like abnormally late around 2am, and was surprised to see students still wandering around despite the front gate being basically closed. I set up my tripod and took a few pictures, but the thought of looking closer didn't occur to me, mainly due to a freaky shape behind me.

19 September 2017

RASKB Business and Culture Club

The Seoul city government has been adamant about reclaiming the land surrounding the outer wall around Deoksu Palace. Sounds totally good and like a great anti-colonialist idea, until you actually look at the various shapes Deoksu Palace has taken over the years. Originally King Gojong moved into that palace to be close to the foreign US, UK, and Russian Legations, hoping their proximity would deter further Japanese-led, Korean collaborator-carried-out rape-arson-assassinations. If he hadn't, I would probably lack any semblance of society. Never did one of these legations take territory from the palace, but somehow the modern narrative is they sprung up around the perimeter of this ancient palace and fenced it in. Which is stupid.

17 September 2017

Burn Burn Burn at Channel1969

Burn Burn Burn had four shows in Korea, and I missed the middle two: one on Friday in FF due to hangover and another in Busan on Saturday due to Busan. Their final show on Sunday in Channel1969 was quite interesting, giving me a chance to see how Yeonnam-dong has been dragged into the Hongdae gentrification epidemic. Yeonnam-dong today seems sort of like Hongdae seven years ago, before all the big business moved in but after the turning point had been reached in terms of activity level.

And just so nobody thinks this anti-gentrification rant turned into a negative review of a punk band, which is sort of the opposite of what I'm getting at, the show was wildly fun and I was very impressed with how Channel1969 is laid out and managed.

17 September 2017

Behind the Bowling Titan

Mark Russell posted on Facebook about seeing a section of buildings in Seoul cordoned off, and something about it caught my eye. Not sure if it was familiar because I'd been there before, as I have passed by it many times but never into the places where these views were captured, or if Seoul is just that generic, but the mixture of old modern buildings surrounded by towering highrises indicated to me I shouldn't miss out on whatever was happening here. I've missed out on quite a lot of downtown areas being torn down, and each one bothers me, so I'd rather have seen this than not.

The actual area itself was a nightmarishly tight space, not just between the fencing and the buildings, but also within the buildings themselves. It gives a good look at how Seoul has expanded, not just outward but also just to accommodate larger people.

16 September 2017

RASKB Buam-dong Walk

For Jihoon's debut as an official RASKB walking tour guide, we had some insane number of people for him. As I've told him and a few others before, when you get an unmanageable amount of people on an RASKB tour, all you can do is try to hold it together and know you're contributing a great deal of money to the world's oldest Korean studies organisation. The money isn't that much of a great deal, admittedly, but we can't go punishing our guides for offering the most attractive tours, can we?

Jihoon is a firehose of knowledge and I predict in 20 years he'll be running the RASKB, unless he can shoot higher. He has a remarkable awareness not just of the historic points in an area, but also the former historic points as well as the parts that used to be historic and then had that aspect sucked out of them over the centuries, decades, or years. If you go on one of his tours, expect to do a lot of walking, but also learn a lot of stuff you hadn't known, even in parts of the city you thought you knew.

14 September 2017

WDI Roof

I wrote about Burn Burn Burn a Seattle punk band that came to Korea after years of correspondence with Korean bands and a few times welcoming Korean bands to their city.

The guys in the band were fun, but their drinking was on par with a black hole. This was the first show in their tour, on Jeff and Trash's roof, and it was all acoustic and ended up being a good chance to meet with the band members.

After noting they were viciously icing each other, I was recruited to hatch a revenge plan. My icing idea was to holler "Goodbye cruel world!" and leap over the edge of the roof, and then ice whoever first looked down on the platform where I was safely sitting. Unfortunately that ended up being the band's non-drinking member, so the beer went to Ash who didn't know about icing and told me she nearly had a heart attack. She didn't really understand why but she took a knee and chugged it.

10 September 2017

Across the Street

One picture of what's going on across the street from my work. Demolition is proceeding and holy fuck is that a dude standing up there?

9 September 2017

Full Garage Album Release

You'll probably notice the first picture of Club SHARP, or at least a beauty shop with a # for a name, located only a couple blocks from actual SHARP.

Full Garage finally had their split EP release, and Pseudo were the openers. It was a good time, and oddly an elderly man from a nearby apartment came into the place to see what it was about. Apparently he was one of the ones who'd made noise complaints against the place, but apparently has since moved away. I made sure to get him drunk and make him feel welcome.

9 September 2017


I went out to scout some locations for the upcoming Chuseok long weekend, which would be 10 days long. For me, it started a day early and ended two days early, so only nine for me. But as usual, we had a meetup planned, and I needed to scout some locations to see what was doable. As I put the list together, I realised it was large and I had more to do than even a 10-day break would permit.

8 September 2017

Pseudo at Thunderhorse

The Toronto band Pseudo was coming to Korea for an East Asian tour, which would also take them to Japan for a few days tucked between now and Zandari. I interviewed them for a Times article, in which I established they were coming here with Ken and we should have very high hopes for them.

Their first show, at Thunderhorse, which I raced to after work, did not disappoint.

7 September 2017

Navy Park

When God closes a garrison he opens a navy park. This park under construction in Mangwon is probably open to the public now. I made a few visits hoping to get in deeper but each time had to pull out due to old people.

5 September 2017

Hannam Village

Driving back to work from COEX, I noticed demolition underway at Hannam Village. They'd parked several excavators on top of the four buildings, which were chewing their way down at a robust speed. I noticed them dumping rubble over the side, in a manner more flagrant than usual I thought.

Next available opportunity, I jumped the gate (or was about to but found a stupidly easier way in) and showed myself around. After a few years of being closed and turned over to civilian Seoul (LH specifically), there was nobody here at night guarding the place. I obeyed my rule about not entering a building under demolition and spent most of this visit outside, barring two smaller structures on the premises.

This is practice for when more of USAG Yongsan closes.

4 September 2017


This gallery has pictures from the Cop Titan where the UIA WAC is underway, and also pictures from COEX where the students I led on a tour set up an exhibition on their analysis of several architectural points around the city, including Seun Sangga, Changshin-dong, Mullae, the river, and a Lotte Castle complex. I think there's one more I'm forgetting, and my forgetfulness doesn't mean it was the worst.

4 September 2017

Across the Street

Argh, more demolition.

2 September 2017


Yes, their name is Chinese, but they're a Japanese band that's basically making percussion-heavy performances into something way more brutal. Octopoulpe brought them to Korea and their show was amazing. Then we all went out after for super-late-night Korean barbecue.

1 September 2017

Bye Jason

Years ago, way back in maybe 2010, I went to a Yogiga event after visiting an abandoned amusement park with Jim. It was the first time I came in contact with Tyler, and possibly my first time being abducted by aliens, afterward. It was a "Spin the Bottle" event where someone would spin the bottle, and whoever it landed on, the two of them would pick up musical instruments from anywhere in the room and jam together. There was a guy there named Jason who was offering his own homebrewed beer. When my turn came, I used a couple of his ribbed beer bottles and played them like guiro, or maybe like a Korean eo. It was the best tribute I could make for a guy who would spend the next seven years killing my liver.

Jason opened a small shop in a stark concrete space in Gyeongnidan selling beer-brewing equipment. He would share his own beer with people there, for money, but they had to stop by 11. Stopping by 11 rarely happened. Later, he turned it into a brewpub, took over a nearby basement, opened a Hongdae location, opened a Jeju location. By this time, not by himself, but as far as I know he was the original founder of Magpie.

Anyway, he recently moved away, abdicating his throne as one of the people responsible for improving Korea's beer culture, and I showed up to get a few final free beers off him and reminisce about how we met.

1 September 2017

Jarasum Makgeolli Festival

The Jarasum Makgeolli Festival in Jaraseom (that dual spelling gave the Times editors a headache) happened at the start of September. I was invited by a former coworker running PR for the festival, and she seemed surprised by how enthusiastic I was for a traditional Korean alcohol festival. Little did she know I'd just finished an article on Korean alcohol, one in which I was instructed to snub makgeolli because apparently Korean brewers don't consider it a real beverage. Applying the benefit of the doubt, this probably means makgeolli is just a filtration method of takju which is a very real thing every brewer generates, but knowing the government this is probably because all takju is lower-class.

Anyway, the festival was a good time and I published a second article (which I had hoped would have been more picture-heavy). I went there on Friday on the advice of some participants, who said supplies would run low later and lines would grow, but those people themselves didn't show their faces this day.

One additional funny thing, a very low-profile K-pop girl group performed on the Friday I was there. I first spotted them when I saw them giving very deep bows to festival people, then they did this very obviously carefully choreographed power walk over to the stage. I can best describe that walk as single file, walking with purpose taking deep strides while not going too fast. You can see it in some K-pop videos and it's clear someone's teaching it to all the drones.

31 August 2017

Across the Street

Just a few pictures on my trip to get lunch one day. Yes, my route takes me past a large demolition site.

After having mentioned Seoullo Terrace before, this one is in the first two floors of Hotel Manu. Seoul Pizza is decent New York-style slices, and next to it is Rocket Chicken which is amazing. Also in this mini-food court is a wall with a huge amount of beer taps. Upstairs is a cafe. No more going over the hill to HBC for food for me.

29 August 2017

Former USO

I learned through Yongsan Legacy that the former USO headquarters was in my neighbourhood. I knew there were some blank spaces in the general area, and sure enough, where I was thinking turned out to be where it had been.

Going off that picture, the front entrance has been removed and is now shuttered off, but some of the buildings back there remain. As soon as I have some daylight and a chance to jump a wall, I'll give it a try. From what I've seen, the main HQ building, which the USO had previously rented, is still in pretty decent shape. Might be alarms.

26 August 2017

Oil Tank Culture Park

If you are very familiar with the archives of this site, you might know about Oil Tank Culture Park, which I previously referred to as Mopo based off a typo on architecture sites.

Unfortunately the final design wasn't quite as ambitious as proposed, as that would've included a ferris wheel as well as climbing facilities and a very cool opera hall. I'm also not sure how popular this place will be, or what will happen here. They left one tank more or less untouched (despite blasting away the rock layer covering most of it), at least.

After having suffered through an "Is Seoul Brutalist?" fad, I was impressed to see the building materials of this site, which are largely but not entirely recycled from the original on-site materials. There is concrete and there are metal walls, and everything has this quality of having sprung from the Earth.

In case you encounter an atlas of brutalism in the near future, in which I should have two entries, both Kim Swoo-geun brick churches that are too expressive for brutalism, this site is my apology to you.

25 August 2017

Coyote Saloon

One of the advantages of living and working next to Seoullo 7017 is the increased number of good foreign restaurants. It's like a mini-HBC but without all the foreigners.

A few weeks ago I revisited one of my old favourite places from when I lived in Yeonhee-dong, a pizza place that offers California-style pizzas called Coyote Saloon. The owner at that point told me they were closing soon but would reopen near Seoullo, which certainly caught my interest. They moved into the second floor of Seoullo Terrace, an office building I've been eyeing for a while now as they've undergone some strange-looking renovations the past few months. So here they are, reopened with an expanded beer menu, and I'm glad to have a familiar restaurant within range of work and home.

Some of these pictures were taken on my Note 7, which I used so I could immediately upload them online.

22 August 2017

UIA Summer Session

I was asked to lead a walking tour for the UIA Summer School, a student-oriented section of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Seoul World Architects Congress. I split duties with Jihoon. We were asked to start on Naksan, so he headed west through Daehangno toward downtown, and I went south along the wall into Dongdaemun Market and then west along Cheonggyecheon.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest 7: Skasucks and Suicide Machines

I don't know how Jinsuk did it, but after performing once earlier in the day, not to mention basically masterminding this whole thing, he got on stage a second time to front Skasucks. A herculean effort for what as best as I can tell was a perfectly executed free street festival.

By the time Suicide Machines came onstage, my memory formation was not doing so well, but yes: I watched Suicide Machines from the ledge of a roof.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest 6: Last Roof

I wanted to go up to that roof again before Skasucks started, to get photos of the sky in blue hour. It was nice.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest 5: South Carnival

South Carnival has been a highlight of these festivals for me. Their sound is more general Latin-Caribbean than ska, and they always bring an interesting rhythm to the proceedings. Plus, the lighting was perfect as they were performing.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest: a roof

I found out a roof very near the festival was wide open. I should've tried some of the lower buildings closer to the stage. But it was open enough I invited a few friends up covertly, primarily so they could bring me beer.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest 3: Coquettish, Ska Wakers

Coquettish were more of a punk band, and their lead singer was a very skinny Japanese guy who was fun to photograph.

Ska Wakers from Busan were a little more ska-ish, and I probably took too many pictures of their sax player.

It was also good lighting so I got lots of pictures of people in the street.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest Part 2: a roof

I slipped away to hit a nearby roof. There's a rooftop garden and you can just climb up a little higher to get to a very good ledge. And from there, since I was alone, I tried to climb a little higher, but eventually got seen by people on the roof. A guy came out to get me, but seemed totally unconcerned about any security problems and just wanted to make sure things were cool. I got out of there and went down to the festival.

It was my first time getting to the side of the roof looking toward the rotary and the river, which proved to be an interesting perspective. Worth it.

19 August 2017

NGOSKA Fest - Rulerz, Rollings, Burning Hepburn

There's something great about taking pictures of a street festival in Sinchon, with punks violently moshing (seriously, ska is the most dangerous live genre in Korea) with a backdrop of all these commercial chain businesses. No offence to Hollys Coffee, but here's a guy flying past your windows.

I showed up late, having missed Lazybone. I photographed Rulerz, but discovered my camera battery was on death's door. So I rushed back home, grabbed my recharger and returned, only to find I'd missed Rudy Guns, who I really wanted to see. I should've stayed and seen a couple songs of theirs, but I hoped I could return to see the end of their set, because ends of sets are always more exciting.

This is at least my third time seeing Rollings in Korea. They're a fun, dependable Japanese ska band and their sets are always fun.

Burning Hepburn seemed like the high point of the whole day, judging by the crowd reaction.

18 August 2017

The Room of Death

After seeing an article posted about the "room of death," a former KCIA torture room, I realised exactly where this was: the former location of TBS eFM.

I went there immediately, around midnight. Climbing over the gate was easy enough, but I didn't have the equipment for night photography. I came back the next evening after the workers left but before dark, to find the front gate wasn't properly closed and I could squeeze through without much effort.

The Jeju thing was a gift from Tyler who wanted me to take pictures with it in various Seoul locales; the room of death seemed like a perfect choice.

After that, I stopped by Kyobo Bookstore where I confirmed a bizarre edition of Mein Kampf had been taken from shelves and replaced by a book that did not praise Hilter[sic].

I spent most of this day reviewing a book about Trump, so to round off the tour of atrocities, I also visited Paradis Island to see if the Eldians had defeated the cop titan yet.

12 August 2017

Seoullo 7017

After a meal with friends, I stopped in Seoul Square to use the washroom. My friends waited outside, knowing I can be slow. But anyway, I was fast, and as I was coming out I noticed the security gate was opened so a new business could move in, coincidentaly on the top floor. I went up for a look around and tried a couple roof doors. The workers here and there never got a good look at me and didn't seem disturbed by my presence.

I found an open door and went up to the corner ledge where I could see Seoullo spread out below me. I hate fisheye lenses but one could have really come in handy here. As well as a proper tripod.

11 August 2017

Under the Cop Titan

I returned to Donuimun Museum Village and looked around one alley I had neglected on previous visits (but remember from back when it was an abandoned area). This area is developing fast and will probably be fully open by the end of the month.

10 August 2017

NST and the Soul Sauce Album Release

NST and the Soul Sauce had a CD release on a Thursday night in Sangsu-dong, which was different. The venue was nice enough and seems to have more and more events like this, though the crowd despite being appreciative really didn't get close to the band, instead mostly watching from a safe distance, with many people staying seated. It was otherwise an interesting show, especially as I didn't have to wake up the next morning for work.

9 August 2017

Across the Street

Commercial alleys dying due to development
Jung-gu Office wake up!!

There isn't much left of the area across the street from my office, and I'm told some of the alleys on my side of the street are next.

8 August 2017

Seoullo 7017

I had to meet someone in Malli-dong after work, so naturally I took Seoullo. That evening was a particularly intense sunset, and with the blue lights of Seoullo beneath, it created a pretty dramatic effect. Pictures from this sunset taken at other locations, such as along the river, popped up all over social media.

I found the best place to drink in Malli-dong, which is uphill from the previous place I went with Margarita, Daniel, and Coco. Then after a long night, I walked home across Seoullo, deserted except for a few workers at one end.

7 August 2017

Yongsan Legacy

I went to Camp Kim for a Yongsan Legacy talk on the Korea Service Corps, a civilian combat support formation started during the Korean War. They were especially deployed to carry supplies and munitions up hills to military units. One friend claims they were capable of disassembling an entire jeep, carrying it in pieces over rough terrain such as a mountain, and reassembling it on the other side.

The KSC is still active, and we heard from Jungyoon Schorr who is its SPO, whatever that is.

After her, Korea Times columnist Nam Sang-so took the podium to tell his own childhood war story of basically being conscripted to help North Korean soldiers, then later South Korean soldiers. He helped carry large shells up to the top of a hill, where he found an injured war correspondent. The correspondent wanted him to deliver a report, and his duty in doing this freed him up from doing more of this highly dangerous operation.

The picture was used in this article.

6 August 2017

Korea Photo Review magazine issue 1

My friend Joseph decided to start a magazine dedicated to photography, so I came out to support him along with a few other friends.

Here's a Korea Times article about the project and here's where you can get a copy of the magazine for yourself.

5 August 2017

Wirye New Town

Just south of that last area, I found plenty of construction fences. I knew there was something to see down here, but wasn't really sure what, just that it could be military and I had no idea of its current status. So I found a wide open gate and drove on in. There were workers here and there, and plenty of construction equipment, meaning stuff is being done here even if I came on an off day. I ended up finding a second open gate where I could enter and did some off-roading on my scooter before seeing a fast-moving black car headed in my general direction; it turned out they weren't heading for me but it was enough to scare me off.

This whole area is reminiscent of what Magok Wasteland was like several years ago, except that place was allowed to fester and large bodies of water developed there, whereas this area is just carefully curated lumps of earth that seem to have been moved here temporarily in advance of the next stage of some massive urban project I don't have the heart to look up.

5 August 2017

The "Other" Ant Village

I set out to drive to a remote part of the city I'd never seen. The drive down there, I worried about the weather. Then as I neared my destination, there was a light sunshower. I crossed under an overpass, and suddenly everything was bright and lucid, like I'd just woken up from an urban nightmare.

My destination was an old area with the nickname "Ant Village," but not the one I previously knew in Hongjae. This one is a slum built on flat land, and judging by the carefully arranged street grid and the presence of sewage infrastructure, I think it's more likely it was a planned neighbourhood that fell into disrepair, rather than an actual moon village. Presently it is largely abandoned, with only a few people still active in the area. Likely its end will come after enough residents leave on their own, rather than being forced or bought out. The end can't be too far. You know a neighbourhood is in rough shape when the nicest building you can find in the whole area is a public washroom.

2 August 2017

Cop Titan at Night

Due to high activity, it seemed the only time to revisit Museum Village was late at night. A wise strategy, as the cop titan subsists off solar energy and is inactive at night (but this also makes his wanton destruction of human lives all the more cruel).

1 August 2017


Following a Yongsan Legacy talk and a news article, I drove around a bit and scouted some more former USFK properties. Specifically, I remembered driving by the front gate of the 8th Army Religious Retreat just days earlier and noting it, so I decided to go back, see what was behind the gate, and try to get on top of the building next door. The gate was locked but unmanned, and the apartment roof was locked but I'm a wizard. I decided it was safer to take my chances with the roof than with an unfamiliar military property, anyway.

Once I got to the roof, I noted not just that the whole base was laid out below me, but how phenomenal the view looking toward the river was. It was about an hour to the blue hour but I wasn't going to go anywhere and miss the opportunity, so I stayed put and occupied myself while I waited for the magic time, which means I took quite a lot of pictures.

31 July 2017

Return to the Cop Titan

The immediate day after my previous visit, I returned to the cop titan to reshoot stuff with my DSLR. Unfortunately as this was not a Sunday, there were more workers during the daylight and my access was far more limited. I was additionally impeded by ongoing work, such as concrete pouring and bricklaying. If you see footprints in the cement in front of the vinyl cafe you know who to blame.

Anyway, despite my limited access, I noted the progress of construction and got to a decent roof to view the whole area. Then I drove up the hill to have a look at the utopian community of Donuimun New Town, which while having a more appealing shape, still has some of the dullest colours a human being could imagine.

30 July 2017

Under the Cop Titan

One of the few times I left my camera behind, I went out for my supper break and passed by the cop titan, to discover the neighbourhood next to him that was abandoned and fenced up is now becoming exposed to the public. Armed only with my Note 7, I jumped the front fence and wandered through.

This area is going to be called Donuimun Museum Village, and it's supposed to be a recreation of an early modern neighbourhood, probably in connection with the nearby Seoul Museum of History. It's an interesting but puzzling endeavour, one that should be interesting to investigate farther.

30 July 2017

Water Gun Festival

When they aren't building giant slides here, they're turning Sinchon's car-free Yonsei-ro into a battle royale of water guns. After an interview with Professor John Frankl on traditional Korean alcohol, we walked back along this route to get to his office/my scooter.

We didn't partake, but the weather was right for it.

29 July 2017

Bye Margarita

Margarita had one final night in Korea on a Saturday, and it worked out that we met around Seoul Station and walked across Seoullo to find a place to drink on the Malli-dong side. On the way I ran into Coco and Daniel of Yongsan Legacy, and I invited them along.

We went to a place where you can easily sit out front, I think called something like Bottleneck. Later I would find out there is at least one better bar in the area with a significantly better beer selection, as well as food.

29 July 2017

Cat Business

Just a bunch of pictures of Buster. I don't actually know why I mostly take pictures of Buster these days, as he is no sillier than his older niece.

27 July 2017

Hooker Hill

One of my friends posted some grim pictures of Hooker Hill, showing some of the establishments clearly closed. I went for a look, and found one cluster of businesses all shut down. They're next to another lot where a bunch of them were closed down and a fancy hotel was built in their place. There are still several places open so you can't just wander around here.

17 July 2017

Driving South

I had wanted to scout out some apartment complexes undergoing remodeling down south. Around Gangnam, one complex seemed to not be changing, but right next door there was a tall fence around a different complex. I found a way around the fence and spotted a worker getting in a car which then raced in my direction. I took cover underneath the balcony of an apartment as the car came over, stopped short of coming within eyesight of me, did whatever, and backed out of there. After that, without having gotten inside any buildings, I just said fuck it and retreated.

Then, scraped up and covered in dirt, I drove south, looking for another apartment complex, only to find it a crater. But right around there, I caught out of the corner of my eye a construction fence, and I found not one but two apartment complexes that are being remodeled. One is totally fenced off and only workers are going through, and the other is not so much, and when I tried to drive in, I was immediately turned around by concerned citizens. It is probably too late to go back now.

15 July 2017


We went to Hongdae, or more accurately Danginri, where it looks like the power plant is finally being shut down. Apparently the plan is to convert it to just a thermal source, and then once additional facilities are built, the whole thing will become a park. At that point, Hongdae gentrification will push this community into the river.

15 July 2017

Amusement Park Part 2

A couple days later, I arranged to return to the amusement park with some friends. It was raining, but there was no rescheduling, as this was my farewell with three good friends: Paul, Ryan, and Margarita.

13 July 2017

Nude Viking Adventure

Shortly before I returned to Korea, I picked up on a tip of an abandoned amusement park within the capital region. It has actually been years since the last time I came across an abandoned amusement park, the last one likely being Yongma Land, so a fresh one was welcomed. This one is divided in two parts in corners around a sports field. While I was here this night, people were doing sports things in the sports field. As it got dark, the field lights turned on which really brightened the area, making it even more photogenic than during the daylight.

11 July 2017

Returning Home

I got home to find my cats were very happy to see me again, and didn't seem traumatised at all from my absence. One of the drains on my roof had clogged up, giving me a rooftop swimming pool, which Millie seems to enjoy.

9 July 2017

Last Day

My last day in Edmonton, we did a number of various things, including visiting my Korean War veteran friend Jean-Pierre. This time I got to meet his wife May, who is taking good care of her husband.

7 July 2017

River Valley

One night, I decided to actually go down to the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton is sort of inverse of Seoul, where if you want to return to nature you have to walk downhill, leaving the hard part for the end. I went out around 9 and came back around 11 when it was getting dark.

7 July 2017


I visited my sister and her cat, now known just as Miss Kitty.

7 July 2017


I reconnected with a professor at my old university whose expertise was religious cults. Turns out he was very interested to hear about my experiences with Korean cults, and he even knew they were having trouble with Korean cults in Edmonton. Anyway, if you want to know more about what I said, tough.

5 July 2017

Rocky Mountains

We spent a couple days to drive out west to see the Rocky Mountains up close, stay in a motel in Rocky Mountain House, and drive back in the morning.

While we were on the road, Jebus asked my sister to send "the odd picture" but she wasn't sure if he meant just send odd pictures, so we decided to play it safe and send odd pictures.

4 July 2017


Just more cat pictures.

3 July 2017

West Edmonton Mall

I knew I had to take a more serious look at the mall this time, as it's been appearing in my dreams and getting more distorted as my memories get more distant. This is still North America's largest shopping mall, but somehow Lotte World Mall has surpassed it, presumably with the opening of Lotte World Tower.

Also, from what I observed of construction sites in Edmonton, of which there seem to be many right now, they tend to ignore securing the whole site and just secure the base of the cranes, which is bizarre and ridiculous.

3 July 2017


A huge impetus for me returning to Edmonton is the chance to reconnect with CJSR. There is community radio in Korea, I guess, but nothing on the scale of CJSR, which covers the entire city area and is also online. In my time, our schedule was pretty thorough, with maybe an hour of flipping on the BBC World News from 6am to 7am, but these days it seems like the station shuts down at midnight.

Last time I passed through, I got permission to do an unscheduled late-night show and I went to town.

This time, I approached the hosts of The History of Punk, explaining I was the one guy who had both a CJSR connection and a historical understanding of Korean punk. Anyway, I met up with Brittany and we did radio stuff. I was almost 10 minutes late due to not understanding their schedule, as I thought it started an hour later, which means anyone following my directions online to listen live would have missed it. Fortunately they posted the show here. We had about four misfires where we played the wrong song, but that just means I embarrassed Suck Stuff and Skasucks, played a Dead Gakkahs song I can't name, and almost played Green Flame Boys twice.

2 July 2017

Whyte Ave

I didn't get the chance to reconnect with as many old friends as I had hoped to, and I didn't see a lot of people. I crossed a few off my list this night: Chris on the left who I've always seen at shows usually recording audio for seemingly compulsive reasons (but want to know more!), and Aaron AKA Jebus, on the right, who I discovered had just started dating my sister.

Later we also passed Megan on the street, who visited me in Korea in 2006, and I went with James, an old university friend, to the basement of Black Dog where I walked in on a bunch of skinheads spinning reggae vinyl. It seems like Edmonton has more skinhead-run reggae/ska/soul DJ operations than actual skinheads these days.

I actually came to know the event was happening thanks to Jonny, saxophonist of Mad Bomber Society, and quickly thinking I gifted him a solo CD of Kingston Rudieska saxophonist Song Nock-won, which I acquired over an Uzbek dinner as payment for letting me hold his sax.

Speaking of Mad Bomber Society, here's one of their best songs set to a slideshow of which I provided some pictures. Gah, probably all the low-res shots. And the ones of Rich hucking bottles at me. One or two of them, he actually hit me.

2 July 2017


Last visit in Edmonton, I helped my parents choose a new cat. Over the next four years, he would be terrorised by his adoptive cat relatives, and his personality became sadly very defencive. Though he initially reminded me of Buster, he did not grow up to be like Buster, who found himself getting bigger than his older sister and took pleasure in physically overwhelming her. Still, I think he and Buster would have been best of friends.

I was warned Gus doesn't like strangers, and he did hiss at me many times, but I was able to break through his defences many times, partly through eye motions and keeping my hands away from him. He's still a gentle cat and unlike Buster would never scratch you, even if he hisses at you and wants you to get away. And his coat of fur is long, thick, and luxurious. Someday maybe 15 years from now he'll make my parents a very nice rug.

1 July 2017

Canada Day Fireworks

Around 10pm, we headed out to Callingwood Park for the Canada Day fireworks. The main fireworks were downtown, but knowing the logistical nightmare that would be without knowing any good roofs or me having my scooter, we opted for the smaller event.

Except the Callingwood Park they meant wasn't Callingwood Park but an obscure school hidden behind a highrise complex. Which strikes me as pretty shitty.

Turns out the official reason is it was moved from a Muslim-organised festival to a Jewish-run schoolyard. Typical Canada.

It was disappointing but not heartbreaking, although having missed out on this 150th anniversary event, which I happened to be there for in my first time back to Edmonton in four years, I kind of felt deprogrammed after and weirded out by the excess of maple leaf flags everywhere for the holiday.

1 July 2017

Urban Explorers

Last visit in 2013, I met up with two local urban explorers in my hometown. I technically had urban explored in Edmonton since I was young, as I frequently visited condo construction sites around my childhood neighbourhood as well as one smashed-up farmhouse on the edge of town, plus getting into a government building undergoing renovations during a return trip in 2008, but I only got into urban exploring after moving to Korea.

From what I knew about urban exploring in my hometown, I think I probably couldn't cut it if I had never left the city. These guys face a lot of security threats, as the authorities seem especially interested in catching them, and exploration sites are few and far between.

So the Alberta guys I met impressed the hell out of me. We filled two cars with urban explorers and drove around Edmonton scouting places. I think I was the only one there foolhardy enough to have business cards and an action figure of myself, but I think my "geographic immunity" has made me useful to them at times, as I can provide a safe local point of contact and suss out newcomers. The fact I'm a UER moderator and a freak magnet helps.

I edited these on my dad's computer so that's why some of the control fill didn't work.

30 June 2017

Trade and Commerce: The History of New York Edmonton

Back when I was in university, I was always suspicious of the local telecom company Telus, which had its sights set on our souls on campus. They put up some public art around 1999, which did not age well. Picture airplane-vs-Twin-Towers not aged well. Well, just look left, or click the link.

I'd been fixing to come back to Edmonton, verify this thing's existence, and see what I could do about it. Turns out, that amounts to the same thing I did in 2002, just with more swears.

30 June 2017


So I'm back in Edmonton, four years after my previous visit. Before that, it had been four years since my earlier visit, so I was expecting to feel a bit more reverse culture shock than 2013. But maybe since my previous thoughts were so thoroughly catalogued, I was expecting them and I never felt particularly out of place.

Also, in exchange for the pottery I brought, my mom knitted me a blanket with a familiar pattern to any regular visitors to this site. The colours are a little more vivid than I usually observe them in nature but I likely rarely see fresh construction blankets and this one will likely fade over time.

29 June 2017

So long Korea

So apparently some of my pictures were used in a documentary about 747s. On an unrelated note, I flew in one. More next time.

29 June 2017


The cats knew something was up when their table moved from the kitchen to the hallway. But they can't say no to food.

24 June 2017

Two Stupid Sights

First, more Koreans marching waving the American flag. Second, more idiocy about how users are the problem with escalators.

23 June 2017

Action Figure

I went to Dongdaemun Design Plaza a few weeks ago, where I stepped into a machine that scanned me and created a miniature version. I was planning to give my mom some Korean pottery as a gift, and this technically counted.

23 June 2017

Sun Plaza

Driving around the south side of the city, I came across this odd building, which at first I thought was a church, but then turned out to be a supermarket, wedding hall, and so much more. I had to stop by just to admire its shape.

23 June 2017

Bamgol Village

A quick stop by Bamgol Village, where it seems all the work that can be done without removing the last remaining holdouts has been completed. So that one nail house is now surrounded by a sea of blue.

21 June 2017

Hongdae Playground

I've been soliciting people to tell me their memories of Hongdae Playground, which has recently been transformed...into a wider open space, with more fortifications to keep us from climbing on top of that award-winning washroom.

21 June 2017

Tidal Wave

Something that's come out in a number of my photos, especially taken this day, was the use of blue tarps to cover up the bare land after buildings are demolished. It creates a weird effect that looks like water within the urban landscape. Anyway, I basically confirmed a number of urban renewal sites are demolished, and that project up on 104 Hill in Yeonhee seems to be slowly developing, but into what?

20 June 2017

RASKB Business and Culture Club on Seoullo 7017

Now that Seoullo 7017 was open, I figured our B&C club should visit. The problem was, I didn't really want to lead it. Instead, I threw Colin on it.

19 June 2017

Seun Sangga Remodeling

I stopped by Seun Sangga for a better look at the remodeling happening here. So far it doesn't seem like they're building over anyone who was already there, only remodeling areas that had been cleared out over the past couple years. The bridges over Cheonggyecheon are weird, and it probably heralds more powerful forces taking hold, but beyond this I don't know what the problem is, and I don't think it compromises the original architect's vision.

17 June 2017

Green Flame Boys CD Release

I stopped by Club SHARP, where Green Flame Boys were having their CD release. While I was there, I saw about five cop cars respond to the show, ushering everyone back inside. It was almost as if Green Flame Boys orchestrated it to get us all inside to see their set.

17 June 2017

Black Stones

The night after I got my new camera, we went to Hongdae to see the Black Stones, a new band made by one of the two remaining Sanullim brothers. The other also showed up for a brief acoustic set as an intermission from the main act. It seems like they really don't want to perform together anymore. Anyway, they had Kim Wan-sun instead.

17 June 2017

New Camera

So I got a new camera, a Nikon D-something. So far it seems pretty good, although it's taking a while to get used to certain buttons being in different positions.

15 June 2017

Malli-dong Missing You with Yamagata Tweakster

I managed to find out about a Yamagata Tweakster show on top of Seoullo 7017, and found him right at the starting point. The show took us from the eastern side over to the west and down to the plaza underneath, including one point where people were dancing in a major intersection during the walk signal.

Later I interviewed Han Vad about Seoullo, finding out he actually lives in Malli-dong. I hope that interview sees the light of day soon.

11 June 2017


I went out for a drive around the west side of the city and saw some interesting sights, then bought a lot of very cheap beef.

10 June 2017

RASKB Garden Party 2017

I'm quite disappointed I didn't have a real camera for the Garden Party this year, especially as I ended up reliving this year's April Fool's Day joke for real: the US ambassador's residence was unoccupied, and I had a quick chance to duck inside and have a 30-second walk around.

7 June 2017

More Phone Pictures

Still forced to use my Galaxy S4 phone as my primary camera. Meanwhile, I'm surrounded by almost 100 DSLRs. These pictures are from over a few days in early June.

28 May 2017

Camera Phone

My camera developed some battery problems, and when I tried to fix them it turned out the problem was deeper than I thought. Rather than spend more money trying to fix the problem I gave up on the camera, but I couldn't stay away from taking pictures for long and I reached for my phone camera, which isn't great quality as part of my elderly S4. But, hell, I saw what I needed to. The time since, I reshot a lot of the sights I saw during this time. I was also busy travelling. Before I can update this site further, I have a lot more editing to do.

This site hits a sort of renewal time whenever I'm between cameras, as well as whenever I visit my hometown, and since both have happened, it will take a couple weeks to pick up all the pieces and post updates of the many adventures I've been having in the meantime.

Also, my scooter developed some critical problems, seconds after taking the preview image here. Almost two months later, the thing is still running, somehow.

24 May 2017


Jung Yong-taek, the director of Party 51, posted a story on Facebook about an eviction happening near Gongdeok Station, claimed to be the first eviction of the Moon Jae-in administration. I have my doubts considering this process is always happening. Also, this urban renewal project has been ongoing for some time; I even wrote an opinion piece mentioning the numerous Hanoks demolished here early this year. I returned to see what was going on. One of the larger buildings on the edge of the area was being evicted; I think I even went inside this one once to see if I could get to the roof, which I couldn't. There were a few big buildings still there. The large book-related one is now at least half-demolished.

Apparently there was a protest earlier in the day but it's all over now.

Gongdeok incidentally is the locale of the first abandoned neighbourhood I ever explored. I think it's where the Brownstones are now, uphill from Emart. The area has faced heavy redevelopment over the past 12 years.

21 May 2017

Reggae at Seoul Music Week

I don't really pay attention to Seoul Music Week, but someone made a helpful guide to all the reggae and ska bands playing this year, mostly at outdoor venues around Sejong Center. I worked that day, but I showed up early to see a song by Oriental Showcus at the start, and arrived after 10:30 in time to see NST and the Soul Sauce end the night.

20 May 2017

Seoullo 7017

After walking around Yongsan, we headed north to see Seoullo 7017 on its first day. This was my first time being legally up there since Christmas Day 2015. It looks pretty different now.

I wrote an opinion piece standing up for the project a little, comparing it favourably to the two main previous mayoral vanity projects which required violent evictions to make happen. Having seen it open now, it has been intensely popular, attracting a quarter of a million visitors on its first weekend, which makes it hard to form an opinion. After its second weekend open, someone committed suicide there, which was always inevitable.

The nicest thing about the overpass that I wasn't anticipating was the number of facilities down on the ground on the western end, places that look like they'll be used for performances that I was totally unaware were being prepared while prowling around over there. The most unfortunate thing is a lot of the materials on the bridge seem insecure and unsafe. I examined a ladder on the side of the overpass and a volunteer ran over to warn me away and that it was dangerous. There are little slits in the surface of the road that they seem to have tried to fill with sort of a long block, so people won't step in it. But that thing they put in is unstable. A lot of the concrete surfaces seem tacky rather than smooth, and their condition will be something to watch.

For now, we just need time to wait and see how the people incorporate it into their lives.

20 May 2017

Yongsan Legacy

I recently interviewed Daniel Oh of Yongsan Legacy, a project to gather the personal history of people on Yongsan Garrison and how it has affected the surrounding area over the decades. All this is being done in anticipation of the base's nearly total closure later this year.

After the interview, we met up at Samgakji to wander around some of the alleys nearby, seeing some old homes built right up against the base wall and eventually wandering over to the former site of the Japanese POW camp for allied prisoners. They've built a new building on its spot with the slogan "more than you see."

16 May 2017

RASKB Business and Culture Club

We had a Business and Culture Club meeting with Jihoon showing us around familiar parts of the city between Boshingak and the Somerset. Somehow Jihoon knows every part of downtown. At one point I was standing on a rock and asked about it, and he knew its dramatic history. I remarked I could point at any dip in the curb and he would have a story behind it. I've been pretty intensely visiting the city for ten years and I still have no idea how he does it.

14 May 2017

Namsan Park

We didn't have anything in particular to do on a Sunday, so we climbed up to the park on the slope of Namsan for a look around.

11 May 2017


After running an errand in northern Seoul, I took a quick pass through Cheongnyangni 588 to see how things were coming along. There are still active businesses and plenty of people passing through, but it seems very inactive now.

10 May 2017


A few weeks ago, I was in Jacob's before an RASKB lecture and I met some middle-aged women who seemed to be taking great interest in the workings of the restaurant and our satisfaction there. One introduced the other as the prospective buyer of Jacob's. We had been wondering for months what was happening, as there was a for rent sign in the window. She told me the former owner had cancer and was in the hospital. Now, Jacob's is boarded up and undergoing renovation. I'm hoping no surprises are covered on the left side of that banner, but maybe it'll be open May 20?

10 May 2017

Across the Street

More buildings across the street from work are being demolished, so I stopped by for a quick survey while I was in a rush.

7 May 2017


The morning after the festival, we wandered around Haemi waiting for the bus to Seoul. It turns out Haemi is well-known for its old fortress, though the interior was mostly empty space. It was a pretty major historic place, particularly as this is where they used to bring Catholics for execution.

6 May 2017


Kim Jong-un lured me out into the middle of nowhere in Chungcheongnamdo, where there was a concert held at an old house owned by the father of singer Song In-hyo. I met a couple of good dogs and I spoke to a guy who claimed to be the Lion King. Quite a lot of people showed up, young and old, and there was a lot to drink.

3 May 2017

Commuting to Work

It turns out, close to where I park my scooter is this plaque. This is apparently where Joseon's diplomatic missions to Japan started out, over a period of 400 years. Pretty exciting place to leave your garbage.

2 May 2017


I got a surprise visit from a guy I know through UER from years ago. We walked around downtown Seoul one night and he ended up going to Hongdae where he stayed until after 3am, then we somehow were able to meet the next day for a lunch of fried chicken and beer.

30 April 2017

Nail House

I invited a reporter to join me on a visit to Bamgol Village, with the intent on knocking on doors and talking to whoever was left. People were happy to talk to us but not on the record.

29 April 2017


This year we went back to the same restaurant for the Buddha's Birthday Lantern Parade. Too many people ended up coming, and we were pretty crowded. The bar treated us a little differently, expecting us to buy expensive bottles rather than individual drinks. Though what we actually spent was, as usual, formidable.

The parade went well again this year, starting at a late enough time and running quite a while past nine.

29 April 2017


Millie and Buster have been having lots of adventures with Kim Jong-un.

28 April 2017

Sinwol 6

I also came here in 2015, upon realising I'd been to abandoned places in every city district except Yangcheon-gu. At the time this area had vacancies moreso than evictions, and it was clear what direction it was headed. Now it's been mostly demolished, with a fair number of buildings still standing. It is still heavily visited by people passing through.

28 April 2017

Sinjeong Market

My last visit here was almost two years ago, when I observed the neighbourhood being pretty active. Evictions have started and been pretty thorough, unless you count the one lively market street running right through the middle. It is the path people living uphill and on the other side of the hill take walking to and from the nearest subway station, ensuring it still gets a lot of foot traffic.

23 April 2017

Around Home

The buildings across the street from my office are pretty well all gone now, and an old house across the street from my home is also changing. Workers came in through the front and began removing materials from inside. One night on my way home I found a gate that wasn't locked in any meaningful way and wandered in.

23 April 2017

Bamgol Village

I returned to see the state of Bamgol Village. There are five occupied buildings at this point: a supermarket at the area entrance, two mid-size brick buildings, one old church, and a sole house right in the middle of all the destruction.

21 April 2017

In the Garden with Buster

Last year sometime, I found these shelves at the curb outside my home. I took them upstairs but they were both too filthy to be inside. They were okay out on the roof, but one of them rotted to the point where probably it would collapse under a cat's weight. I decided to repurpose it as a shelter to put bird seed, but this idea proved to be shortlived. Anyway, Buster took great interest in it and helped me throughout the process.

16 April 2017


As I made my way home back to Kim Jong-un, I took a few pictures in downtown Seoul showing some mildly interesting developments.

16 April 2017

Moon Village

I powered through and made it across northern Seoul to my destination, a moon village tucked away on the edge of the city. This place has some abandoned structures throughout but is otherwise relatively active compared to other moon villages.

16 April 2017

Wedding Hall

Riding onward, I passed by what appeared to be an abandoned wedding hall with a high fence around it. I stopped and ran the perimeter, finding an easy way in after a close encounter in a populated neighbouring apartment complex. The interior was mostly empty minus chairs, but there was enough to see to have meant my time was not wasted.

16 April 2017

Flagrant Story

I found these apartments on Instagram due to an image showing a street address, so coming to visit them I discovered they were pretty well where I expected. They were interesting enough but repetitive, and it wasn't until after when looking at the pictures I noticed they seemed to be made entirely of bricks, which seems a little strange.

15 April 2017


I haven't been back to Baedari in years. I believe I drove past it a few years ago on my way to Wolmido or Songdo, but since 2009 I haven't spent much time here; life became immediately tougher after I had a photo exhibition here in 2009.

These days, Space Beam is celebrating its tenth year in this space, while facing pressures to pack up and leave. Likewise, a few days after I visited, the park area nearby was damaged by hired goons apparently sent by a local government.

Although it was refreshing to revisit Space Beam, our main reason for visiting was the Sudoguksan Moon Village Museum, which was more an oddity than anything as it was primarily meant to communicate to young kids the conditions their grandparents endured.

13 April 2017

RASKB Culinary Club

After months if not years of planning, the RASKB Cuisine Club finally met for the first time. We went to Jeondaegamdaek, a makgeolli house in Seochon along the market street. It's a beautiful place with a nondescript entrance leading through the former car hole into a hanok madang out back. It's a place that hits you with its layout then finishes the job with an impressive menu of food and alcohol.

Anyway, people who want to participate should join the group. It is unspecified yet if this is for RASKB members only, but the fact we all pay our bill equally at the end of the night should leave room for everyone.

8 April 2017

Butt Goats

A trip that started with me going down south to look for some abandoned apartments quickly turned into a hunt for butt goats. I discovered many of the apartments down here were rife with butt goats, and tourists -- many of them on the way to the river and likely also unsuspecting they would see such a sight -- stopped by for pictures. On my way home, I stopped by what turned out to be one of the dokkaebi markets.

7 April 2017

Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Across the street from my office was an old neighbourhood of mostly commercial buildings. It was mainly restaurants but there were a few other businesses, including a "phone room" and a "kiss cafe." My goal was to get inside the kiss cafe, and while I never was able to before the building was brought down, I saw a lot of the rest of the building, including one floor above the kissing room that had a lot of sleazy beds.

4 April 2017

Opera at Severance Hospital

I went to Severance for a regular check-in with one of my specialists, and while I waited for a prescription to be filled I was entertained by an opera performance that happened right in the atrium of the hospital. I don't recall anything like this back when I was using Canadian healthcare.

1 April 2017


Unlike the last two entries, this actually was photographed on April 1. Not everything that happens that day is fake, although these days, what is real anyway?

April Fool's Day 2017

The Abandoned US Embassy

The US Embassy building was first constructed in 1962, based on a design by famous architect Kim Swoo-geun. Back then it was one of Seoul's most modern and tallest buildings. But soon after, the Americans outgrew the building, and have been trying to plan to move out since 1980.

When Trump took office in January, he fired all US ambassadors abroad. Ambassador Mark Lippert was sent home after a very eventful time here. Since then, the US Embassy has been empty.

The cops had their hands full with a large-scale protest, so I took the opportunity to attempt entry.

April Fool's Day 2017

Infiltrating Cheong Wa Dae

Now that the president has been removed from power and put in jail, we have over a month to go until the election to find her replacement. In the meantime, what's happening at Cheong Wa Dae? Repairs, renovations, and not a lot more, really.

I wandered in and had a look around while the compound was empty.

29 March 2017

Club Steel Face

At the previous show at DDP, the crowd was mostly fashion people who passively watched bands play on a big stage. Seeing the same bands play in a tiny Hongdae club was way better.

29 March 2017

Abandoned Cafe

Not far from where I live, this cafe recently closed. I'd stopped there once before when I was wandering around looking for an open cafe that had fruit juice, and this did the job for me right when I needed it.

Now that it's empty, it's really mainly interesting just for the view out back.

27 March 2017

Seoul Fashion Week

The night before, a poster went online about this show, featuring the Japanese bands Hat Trickers and Erections, both which I've seen before I think once each. It turns out, the show was organised by Bajowoo as part of Seoul Fashion Week. Bajowoo was a regular at Skunk years ago, but moved to Japan and became kind of a big deal. He probably had to return to see his dentist.

26 March 2017

Abandoned Seodaemun

I went back to CCTV Town, as there was a third abandoned neighbourhood across the street from that one. This one was fenced off with metal construction fences, making it harder to get in. The only proper entrance was across from a repair shop that is only closed on Sundays.

25 March 2017

Farewell Yellow Building

I stopped by the Yellow Building, only to find the thing half-demolished. It was one of the most interesting buildings around, so this is pretty sad for a lot of us.

25 March 2017


The last time I was here was back in September, but I didn't share more than one picture because the police came at me and started questioning me. I'd given it a wide berth until suddenly remembering it and wondering what was going on there.

24 March 2017

The Circus is Back

I came outside, only to discover a new circus lion in the tent. In this picture she roared and charged me. She didn't care about the tent last year so this is an interesting change in her behaviour, and maybe their sibling relationship.

21 March 2017

RASKB Business and Culture Club

I led the monthly event for the Business and Culture Club, in which we simply went up to the roof and had a look around at the locations of note in the area. I was mainly talking about ongoing and recent urban redevelopment, but we also had Jihoon, a Korean history major who knows the major historic sites visible from the same place. We ended up with basically two different stories to tell about the same areas.

18 March 2017

From Gangseo to Gangnam

I went down to the southeast to look in on an abandoned apartment complex, but high worker traffic meant this was not going to happen.

17 March 2017

Abandoned Progress

I drove around to a few sites to see how demolition was progressing. It was.

15 March 2017

Across the Street

Across the street from my work, demolition started on another block. I got through the fence but it was too late to see that one building. More to come in the future. My ultimate goal is to get into an abandoned kissing room.

12 March 2017

Abandoned Pirate Ship

Whenever you're down in Honam, you can't avoid the pirate ship. It was originally a wedding hall shaped like a ship, but whenever Kanghee is on board, it's a pirate ship.

12 March 2017

Abandoned Neighbourhood

In the morning we all met up and went to an abandoned neighbourhood where they're knocking down a variety of buildings, from public apartments to traditional houses and a few things that are somewhere in between. It was different in style from Seoul, although the demolition was pretty much the same.

11 March 2017

Toy Store

Anjee had spotted this abandoned building but wasn't into climbing fences. It was only about six feet high so I jumped over and found out what was inside. The answer: not that much.

11 March 2017

Palbok Art Factory

We went to Jeonju for an art exhibition held in an abandoned factory.

It was run by Anjee, who I've known for years but only ever met one time before, when we went to an abandoned neighbourhood in Seoul.

The exhibition was a lot of fun and there was free alcohol. Kanghee's car was filled with toy guns so we ran around the factory shooting at each other.

10 March 2017

South of the River

I went on a quick ride south of the river, tracing my previous journey down there somewhat. Previously, I went looking for an abandoned neighbourhood two of my friends had visited, and the one I found turned out to be a different one. So I returned and found that, yes, there is one more abandoned neighbourhood here, not far from the one I was in. I also stopped by the new Noryangjin Fisheries Market building, which is not just a concrete shell like the old one, but has floor materials that are slippery and wall and ceiling materials I imagine could be vulnerable to the extra moisture. I was looking for an ATM so didn't explore further.

10 March 2017

Impeachment Day

I came into work on Friday morning despite not being scheduled for that day. I just wanted to be in a newsroom when the impeachment ruling was announced. Contrary to what I feared, the justices ruled unanimously in favour of impeachment. After that, I headed to Gwanghwamun to see how things were going there. It was relatively peaceful though I was there early in the afternoon. I skipped the Park Sa Mo counterprotest where three people died, including one or two who died of natural causes.

A lot has been accomlished and a lot more needs to be done to fix society. But on the bright side, now a lot of prominent figures who were actively seeking to harm the public have been stripped of power.

8 March 2017

Bamgol Village on TBS eFM

Colin recruited me to join him and Kurt Achin on the TBS eFM radio show Koreascape for a walk around an abandoned neighbourhood. I was uncertain about doing this, but then demolition at Bamgol Village happened so fast, I decided this was the ideal place to go.

We went there on a Wednesday afternoon for which I took an extra-long lunch break. We walked all the way up to the top, which Kurt did despite being on crutches after I think a skiing accident. Then we walked down through the area.

I came across three stray cats: Snowy, Wheezy, and Skinny. Paul had earlier visited Wheezy and remarked on how friendly he was and how great his meow was. Unfortunately, by the time I visited, he was having severe respiratory problems. Fortunately I had enough cat food for everyone.

You can read Colin's blurb and hear the show on Colin's site. In case that's gone, you can find a download link on my radio page.

5 March 2017

Under the Cop Titan

A quick stop by the Cop Titan, where the abandoned neighbourhood that is there has been surrounded by a tall fence. Also, oddly, it looks like the buildings are not being so much demolished but deconstructed for possible renovation. Whatever is happening here doesn't seem to be the usual destruction and appearance of something totally new. I need to keep watching this place.

4 March 2017

Seoul Station Overpass

After we ate, we climbed one of the new access staircases to Seoul Station Overpass, where construction has advanced to the point where they are now planting trees up there. It still has a lot of work to go, but with two months before its opening, I expect this to happen fast.

4 March 2017


We met up with the gang and went up on my work's roof, followed by dakgalbi.

4 March 2017

Margarita's Old Home

Margarita used to live in one of the abandoned neighbourhoods we visit a lot, but hadn't been back to see what it was like now. We made a quick detour there and saw that, yes, it is within the redevelopment zone and seems more recently cleared out than other parts of the neighbourhood. Just when I thought this area might start to lose its interest, I discover a whole other section I'd never seen before. At this rate it will soon swallow the whole city.

4 March 2017

Bamgol Village

I wet to Bamgol Village again and met Jeong Myung-sik, a carpenter with a lot of knowledge about traditional Korean architecture. We had a look at some of the nice examples of architecture down on ground level, then ascended up through the moon village.

1 March 2017

Sungkyunkwan Seokjeon Daeje

I co-led an RASKB tour to Sungkyunkwan for the first of this year's two Seokjeon Daeje ceremonies to Confucius. They inexplicably decided to start it at 11am instead of 10, but there were no other surprises. Unless you count the charyeju we were served for free afterwards.

1 March 2017

Ministry of Unification

What if they tore down the Ministry of Unification and nobody noticed?

27 February 2017

RASKB Council Meeting

After an RASKB meeting, Tom, Jenn, and I stayed out after midnight, encountering an anime character and a full choir that sang in the street.

25 February 2017


After years of shopping at Saruga in Yeonhee-dong, I was curious to see if the Yeongdeungpo one was as good, and which one was the original. The Yeongdeungpo one incorporates more of a market area, with a very nicely rendered market street with food stands. So I'm guessing this one is the old one.

25 February 2017

Southwestern Seoul

Two friends had stopped by an abandoned neighbourhood in southwestern Seoul, where they were basically chased away by a worker who demanded they hand over their memory cards. I went in search of it, finding what I thought was the right area. But it turns this is a completely different abandoned neighbourhood, just east of the one they visited. I also stopped by two more abandoned neighbourhoods in the area, one newly abandoned and the other mostly gone.

25 February 2017

Noryangjin Fisheries Market

The new fisheries market building is complete, but the marketers are mostly refusing to move out of the old one. I stopped by to see what was going on. The old building is basically abandoned with all places with doors closed down, but the open market area is still quite active.

25 February 2017

Demolition Begins in Bamgol Village

I stopped by this old moon village, where I discovered the abandonment rate was extremely high and machines were starting to take down the houses at the top of the hill. I knew this would bear repeat visits very soon.

25 February 2017

Heukseok New Town

I stopped by Heukseok New Town, expecting it to be totally demolished. I was right. Someday, yuppie families here will have a very good view of the river here.

25 February 2017

Millie and Buster

Millie and Buster declare Catifest Destiny all around my apartment.

23 February 2017


The Russians were in Korea to do a high amount of exploring in the freezing cold. We met up on my roof and went to Dongdaemun for Uzbek food and more roofs.

21 February 2017

Bank of Korea Museum

I went with the RASKB Business and Culture Club to the Bank of Korea Museum, where they had a miniature of a good portion of downtown Seoul. I got into the position where my office building would be built and got a familiar picture.

19 February 2017

Grey Day

It was a depressing grey day, and I needed to check some locations for an upcoming project. I checked in on a far-gone abandoned neighbourhood that is now a brown slope, and I wandered into a newly opened highrise apartment complex that was as grey as the sky.

18 February 2017

You Partied Like Shit

As Tim and Ian are leaving, Yuppie Killer had one final show at GBN. I got some especially good pictures of KJP47, which is basically Tel taking his anger out on a very badly damaged two-stringed bass guitar, as opposed to his other previous bands where he'd turn his aggression on the audience. My pictures of Yuppie Killer were out of focus and smeared with colour, which sort of depicts how I experienced the show at the time.

18 February 2017

Abandoned Waterworks

We visited an abandoned waterworks facility I hadn't been to in a couple years. It's been sitting here in this state, clearly out of use since at least 2011 when I first visited. This time, barbwire had been put up around my entry point, but it hadn't been exactly set up competently and we were able to outsmart it. Inside the grounds, I found an unattended security shack with live CCTV footage beaming into it. Presuming we were on camera, I decided it was best to act normal and avoid approaching certain buildings. After a good amount of time there, we left without any problems.

17 February 2017

My Son

I stopped by Sewoon Arcade to get my record player fixed, bringing Alex along for the ride. While sitting in the shop, one of the odd men there asked if Alex was my son. I would have been 13 or 14 when he was born, so this was biologically feasible for sure. I spent the rest of the weekend referring to him as such.

11 February 2017

Abandoned Neighbourhood

We had two goals this weekend: get into the yellow building again, and track down an abandoned piano for Kat to play.

I confirmed that our way into the yellow building was a little too sketchy for my taste: it involves getting on top of an abandoned apartment building where there's a definitely not abandoned rooftop house, as confirmed by a pipe emitting steam. Still, three of us made it in and out without disturbing anyone. However, treading across actively inhabited property is not my idea of recreation. As for the piano, it was badly out of tune which made Kat playing it sound even eerier.

7 February 2017

YH Chang Heavy Industries

Long ago, probably in my first or second year here, I was introduced to YH Chang Heavy Industries, a bizarre website of black-and-white text presentations set mostly to very good jazz music. It turned out the artists were having an exhibit at Art Sonje Center, and although I didn't have the time to attempt to interview or even meet them, I visited the exhibit and wrote up an article about it. Plus got to the roof.

4 February 2017

The Rulerz CD Release

Korea's latest ska band, the Rulerz, brings something new to the country that had previously been sorely missing. It's a 2tone ska band that takes the best points of both Skasucks and the Pegurians and magnifies them. Admittedly their shows aren't quite to the high level of energy of Skasucks shows, but their four-song demo CD is destined to be a rare collectors' item.

For their release show, they booked Kingston Rudieska, a gutsy move and a hard act to follow. Kingston Rudieska, who I didn't photograph at all, sounded great on SHARP's sound system, proving the organisers there know what they're doing. It was still, as I said, a tough act to follow, but I look forward to seeing the Rulerz again.

3 February 2017

Neil Ta Returns

Neil Ta came back to Korea, following up his previous visit in 2015. This time he made it even more clear he was fucking done with rooftopping, although we did hit a few roofs together anyway. We also went for Chinese food, and bringing along an actual Chinese person made the experience much more comprehensible; just like anywhere else, bringing a Chinese person to a Chinese restaurant definitely results in a better experience.

29 January 2017

Seollal Day 3: Snow Day

There was a major snowfall this day, and our first idea to visit the abandoned Godeok apartment complex revealed that all the buildings had been destroyed, leaving behind a large empty lot. I tried to find the site where the mannequins, used in the earthquake drill, had been, and eventually we started noticing pieces of plastic body parts on the ground.

After, we visited Guryong Village, a place that causes some apprehension as it is still an inhabited neighbourhood.

28 January 2017

Seollal Day 2: Underground and 42 Storeys Up

We hit the same tunnel, but didn't bring fireworks this time. Philip K provided some live music for us though. After, we ate at the street food tent village mini-mall, then the night took us into an active construction site which we climbed 42 storeys up to the roof.

27 January 2017

Seollal Part 4: Hongdae

Off to Hongdae, for Philip K's song release and Nice Legs' farewell show. Plus, pro wrestling at Freebird!

27 January 2017

Seollal Part 3: Yellow Building

We crawled into this abandoned building, which turned out to belong to some sort of seniors' center and had facilities for children. It was quite something. But there was a guy living or working in another building on site, so we made a daring escape out a window.

27 January 2017

Seollal Part 2: Badasses and Cats

We stopped by Badass Bomi's to wish her a happy new year. Then we went out to another abandoned neighbourhood and met a bunch of stray cats, who I had cat food for.

27 January 2017

Seollal Part 1: Cat Sex

We wandered into one isolated corner of an abandoned neighbourhood, where we found a neat cafe and a very deep basement with religious stuff left behind. My theory is it was for a cult or one of the more vampirey churches that go door to door.

26 January 2017

A Few Pictures

Just a few random pictures, including of Millie who has decided the best place at home is on my pillow.

21 January 2017


Shortly after I arrived, my battery died, just as I was taking pictures of Paul in the snow. This heavy snowstorm kicked up and the night sky became so white it looked like daytime.

21 January 2017

More GBN

Here is the last bunch of bands, which most notably includes Bamseom Pirates.

21 January 2017

Strobe at GBN

For one act, "Dr. Pang," some of the guys got on stage and sang as the strobelight went off. This I guess was a tribute for Pyeong-an/Pang, who is moving to Australia. I took a lot of pictures of this and greatly enjoyed the effect, so here is a whole gallery of them.

21 January 2017

GBN 20 Bands Show

Here is the first bunch of bands from GBN's show. Octopoulpe started the show off again, and there were a few joke acts that were thrown together to buffer the lineup. In the end, I had a lot of trouble identifying many of the bands.

21 January 2017

Grey Dawn

On my way to the subway station, I passed through a fairly large counter-protest of Korea's elderly out to stand by their impeached president. Since Trump was newly inaugurated there were many US flags here, as well as signs decrying the media and artists as leftists. I also am pretty sure I caught one banner going by that spoke about the artist blacklist positively.

So anyway, this is what a pro-US demonstration in Korea looks like.

21 January 2017


I managed to open the window so Buster could sit next to Millie and watch the snow together. It worked well, for about a minute at least.

20 January 2017


The plan was to go to Sinchon to meet another Vietnamese photographer she'd contacted. We had some time to kill though, so first I took her to a roof I hadn't visited in over a year.

20 January 2017


I had the day off and Kat was on winter break, so we decided it would be a good chance to return to the abandoned neighbourhood and see everything under a blanket of snow. Kat also got to make her first snow angel and did some disturbing things with icicles.

20 January 2017


My scooter was blocked in at the parking garage, so while I waited for the driver to return and move his car, I retraced my steps from last night.

20 January 2017


It was snowing so I went out around 4:30am and took a bunch of pictures. First I just planned to stay on my roof, but then I had the idea to return to that old apartment complex nearby.

19 January 2017

Yongsan Disaster Anniversary

The city government released a report on the Yongsan Disaster and set up a display in City Hall's lobby about it.

I also went by the original site, which has changed somewhat since I wrote this. Almost immediately after that was published, a fence started going up around the area. It sat empty for a long time, and seemed pretty inactive last November. They've moved some heavy machinery in now, and the project seems to have a name, but it looks more like they've been covering up the ground rather than excavating.

According to the company:

Hyosung obtained the 647.9 billion won construction order of the urban environment arrangement program for district 4 near the Yongsan International Building, in December of 2015, and is obtaining a series of orders in 2016, too. Hyosung's construction sector accomplished 813.6 billion won order record as of May and is anticipated to easily accomplish the 2016 goal of obtaining 1 trillion 600 billion won order record.
Still no idea why they've taken so long to get started.

14 January 2017

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I took a different turn and wound up in a completely different part of this neighbourhood I'd never seen before, despite having visited numerous times. I also ran into my old friend Totoro, who last I saw living in Singeumho in a building about to be torn down. I guess he moved out and got some new roommates.

At one point I wanted to avoid some older dudes staking out the base of a building I was in, so I slipped through some windows and over a few roofs to find a creative way to get out of there.

13 January 2017


Buster has been extra needy lately, probably because I haven't been letting him outside as much these days. Sometimes he goes to the regular door to be let out into the stairwell, where everything is cold hard surfaces he can slide around on.

I did that this week, without my camera on me, and he found an apartment where the door had been wedged open. Worried that someone was about to scream, I knocked on the door but no one answered. The apartment was pitch dark and when I opened it, all I could see was Buster's eyes glowing at me. He seemed pretty proud of his find, a totally empty apartment with no heating, no furniture, and no lights. We looked around a bit until Millie came searching for us, in a bad mood.

This morning (the 16th), I walked by the door and heard a dog barking on the other side. Buster's not going to like that.

8 January 2017

Return to Songdo

Javin is back, and we decided it was time for him to finally see Songdo. He brought his drone there and we met up with a local friend. Two roofs I had previously visited now seem inaccessible, as security features on the roof doors have been improved.

7 January 2017

No Safety No Tomorrow

I had a long book to read, and I wanted to look in on a couple remote abandoned places that I wasn't sure would pan out (or be particularly interesting). The first I had previously identified as an old Korean military installation, though it seems more industrial in nature. It was a bunch of empty buildings without much to attract anyone there. Then I went to an abandoned villa I hadn't seen in years, only to find it in the same state with (at least) one resident remaining after all these years.

5 January 2017

Excavator Attack!

On my way to the hospital, I saw this excavator at the hospital entrance. Is Choi Soon-sil being treated here?

3 January 2017

Brother Anthony's Birthday

It was not only Brother Anthony's birthday, but also poet Jeong Ho-seung's as well. So we met up for alcohol and cake.

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