Smartphone Camera

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

29 December 2019

Seth Mountain CD Release

I met Seth back during the most recent HBC Fest, and then only recently I saw I had failed to accept his friend request. So I did, and immediately saw his post about Jung Tae-chun's performance. Then he invited me to his album release, which I had just enough time to cover for an article that turned out especially well. Also weirdly the day after we ran the article about him, the city desk chose to run a wire photo that showed an unidentified foreigner at the comfort women protest. Also it was his birthday that week. A lot of weird coincidences lined up for that.

28 December 2019

Day Off

Saturday has been my only day off for the past few weeks. This Saturday, I stayed home and did nothing with the cats.

25 December 2019

Santa's Last Stop

The sky was just overcast that I decided to risk a trip back to this roof at the last possible time before Christmas was over. I more or less got what I wanted.

22 December 2019

Jung Tae-chun Homeless Memorial Concert

Seth Mountain posted on Facebook that he was waiting to see Korean folk singer Jung Tae-chun perform at a homeless memorial in front of Seoul Station. I was stuck at work and had some time for a break, so I headed over. Yes, I got to see one of Korea's most important folk singers perform for free right where you usually find homeless people loitering.

22 December 2019


Buster has a new box that's way too big for him.

21 December 2019

Monkey Pee Quartet at Club SHARP

One of the bands I interviewed for Broke was Monkey Pee Quartet from Gwangju. I also did the interview so I could publish an article in next month's Gwangju News. They didn't have particularly publishable photos, but it turned out they were playing in Seoul before the magazine's deadline, so I was able to stop by and photograph them.

21 December 2019

Santa's Secret Underground Army

We had our usual Christmas voyage through Seoul's largest remaining underground river. This ritual started 10 years ago in 2009 and we've done it most years since. This year, we discovered they're doing a lot of work with the Bone Tunnel, and it appears the bones have mostly been removed. It looks quite different, especially with the power on and lights strung up everywhere.

18 December 2019

Jonggak Station Solar Garden

A small corner of Jonggak Station has been converted into an underground garden. The light is natural, piped underground by a number of reflectors. A pretty neat novelty, but get used to it because maybe we'll all be living in places like this in a few years.

16 December 2019


I was working on an article about where to go in Seoul to find a festive mood if you don't have family or religion, and right after I submitted it mentioning there were some decorations at Cheonggyecheon I drove by, seeing there were actually a lot of decorations.

15 December 2019


I had plans to do another Santa rooftop shoot, but the day I went was too sunny and the scene was compromised by strong shadows. Instead I got an impressive view of Yongsan Railyard, where they've demolished everything except the shell of one more building. Apparently Korail is taking control and might do something with the area, but no signs of that yet.

14 December 2019

Broke in Korea 26

I ended up making another zine in time for Christmas. It's been over a year, and this time there was a lot of stuff to write about since I hadn't done anything for a while. All interviews are based on new material, although in the course of doing this I also got material for the WDI 10-year anniversary show where the zine was released, and the Gwangju News Monkey Pee Quartet article.

14 December 2019

Grand Mart

I went to Sinchon to get some printing done, and while I was waiting for my job to finish I decided I should go buy some cat food. But when I got to the grocery store, I found it had been totally removed except for a few signs on the walls.

29 November 2019

American Thanksgiving

The Moseses had their annual Thanksgiving feast, and I showed up late after a rough day at work.

28 November 2019

Buster Goes Exploring

Buster was very sad when the roof was repaired and he could no longer explore on the other side. So I loaded him into a carrier, climbed a ladder, and came down on the other side. He got to wander through the other apartment, which is still empty but looking finished now. It was fun for him, but not as much as before, probably because all the tools are gone and the place even has working lighting now.

23 November 2019

Rebellion Ink Opening

Trash has started her own business, and had a party with free food and acoustic music.

16 November 2019

Maloney's Station

Morgan said he was reopening Maloney's Station for one more night, and bartending himself. I stopped by to see how it would go. Not bad apparently.

16 November 2019

Jonathan Hunt

Following up on earlier coverage, I finally got around to seeing Jonathan Hunt perform. Also, Phillies Basement is completely changed, with the bar and the stage swapping locations.

16 November 2019

Millie's 14th Birthday

Millie turned 14 on November 15, and unlike previous years I seem to have actually given her something she wants to use. Someone had left a couple cat trees in the lobby of my building saying they were free for whoever wanted them. Millie likes this one.

9 November 2019

Cut Lon in Seendosi

This Vietnamese band was coming to Seoul, and they sounded like a lot of fun so I was able to interview them. It was a pretty fun show, and because Seendosi has the ceiling it has, I shook the dust off my speedlight, which worked perfectly here.

9 November 2019

Abandoned Hanoks

I went up north to visit a small alley containing some abandoned Hanoks. I found Coetzer inside.

After, we drove quickly through the red-light district of the area. Yes, there is still a substantial red-light district in Seoul, despite how you hear how 588 was the last.

7 November 2019

Yarnbombing in Huam-dong

I noticed there were these yarn sleeves placed around some trees along one stretch in my neighbourhood. Not sure who did it or why, or if it was officially approved or not. Gonna guess the simplest explanation, that a local school did it for the local government for some tree reason I don't know about, and there's nothing subversive involved at all.

They since weathered one rain and still look the same.

2 November 2019

RASKB Open House

I only took one picture of this as we were leaving.

The RASKB had its second open house this year, and you can read more here.

I showed up late and brought Slurpees.

30 October 2019


I was getting ready to go out to edit photos, and Millie made one last-ditch effort to get me to feed her. It didn't work.

26 October 2019

Duncan Reid and the Big Heads at Strange Fruit

I managed to see much more of the second show on the tour. I caught Russ Mainwaring, who revived his band the Stingrays with help from members of the Patients.

I used a technique in most of these pictures to soften the light from the flash by holding a beer near it. So for almost every photo I'm raising a glass. I thought these pictures worked out pretty good, especially compared to yesterday when I had to deal with Steel Face's harsh spotlights, so that's why there are so many. Sometimes I can't choose, and I've learned it can be better to let the band see a huge amount, because you don't always know what they want -- although there are probably a few I took that they don't want.

25 October 2019

Duncan Reid and the Big Heads at Club Steel Face

This was my weekend for working the city edition shift, so I got off work at 10:30 and rushed over to Hongdae to catch the end of the Duncan Reid and the Big Heads show at Steel Face.

Coming into this tour, I'm actually more familiar with the songs of Duncan's side project the Yobs, rather than the Boys. In the late 1970s they recorded an incredibly filthy album of Christmas songs, and I still listen to it every year because it's good to have some good Christmas carols.

Shortly before I came to Korea, the punk bands here recorded two albums of Christmas carols with a similar take. I own one of the albums physically and managed to find the other online. It always made me curious whether they were inspired by the Yobs. Here's an example, which just made me realise I know someone who was involved in recording these and I could ask him! Hopefully I'll get more answers soon.

24 October 2019

Duncan Reid in Huam Market

I was surprised when Duncan Reid told me his hotel was located near Sookdae Station, walking distance from my home. I suggested we meet up for food before he resumes playing shows the next day. As we were walking to a restaurant, I was even more surprised they were interested in seeing live jazz. It turned out they wanted a break from hearing power pop live. So we went to Sound Dog where we caught a few songs by the jazz band playing there.

24 October 2019


Buster's face is squished on the couch. I missed his paw being extended up under his chin a few seconds earlier.

20 October 2019

Dog Meat Restaurant

I heard one of my coworkers remark that there are no dog meat restaurants left in the downtown core, or some unbelieveable claim like that. Just using Korean online maps I was able to find a handful. The nearest one is just across the street from our office, although it's been closed for a while as it went through renovations. I thought this meant the end of the dog meat restaurant, but they have yet to remove the sign.

19 October 2019

Seth Mountain at HBC Fest

There are a number of performers who regularly play HBC Fest who I've been meaning to find out more about. High on the list is Jonathan Hunt who I interviewed for an article about the festival this time. But due to an RASKB tour I led through Pimatgol I couldn't make it in time to see him. I ended up stopping by Republic to see Seth Mountain, and only him this time.

18 October 2019

Downtown Errands

It was my biweekly Friday off, and I used it to meet up with former Peace Corps volunteers for an interview. As of the time of this posting, nothing has been published yet.

12 October 2019

Meeting The Host

An explorer was about to leave the country and Coetzer wanted him to see The Host Tunnel before he left. They came over to my place the night before and provided way too much liquor purchased on base. We were all kind of a mess the next day.

On the way to the halfway pipe, we found a massive mural of The Host itself, probably about 50 meters long. Why it was made here, and not at the halfway pipe itself where there's more of a clearing, it would be easier to view, and it's just more comfortable, is beyond me. Did they only go 700 meters in, and not find out what comes just a little farther?

10 October 2019

Rooftopping with Buster

The day after I took Buster exploring, he wanted to go out again. This time the roof door was locked so we had to climb through an unlocked window. After that, Buster was still up for adventure so we climbed the ladder onto the roof of our apartment.

9 October 2019

Exploring with Buster

After the workers left for the day, I went onto the roof to check on the renovation progress in the other apartment unit. Buster came with me and couldn't get enough of exploring over there.

8 October 2019

Roof Repair

One morning I looked outside and the roof was green. I see this colour on roofs all the time, and would have liked it. Later they would replace it with a nice dull grey.

6 October 2019

What the Book Closes

I checked in on the bookstore again, confirming that this time a handwritten sign claimed it was closed.

I never did hear back from owners of the store about the closure.

5 October 2019


According to an article, they were going to recreate a boat bridge, a way of crossing the Han River in old times. It basically involved floating a bridge on top of pontoons across the river. It would have been interesting to see.

I showed up and saw nothing like it around. Meanwhile, people were arriving so they could get places to sit for the Seoul Fireworks Festival later that evening, which I skipped.

4 October 2019

Roof Repair

A few days into the roof repair, it looks about how it appeared when I first moved in. As far as I knew, there was nothing left to do. Fortunately they went ahead and did a much more thorough job after these pictures were taken.

Meanwhile, renovation work started next door in the vacant apartment.

28 September 2019

What the Book Closes

There were reports online that What the Book was closed, so I went by for a look. According to signs out front, they were "teporarily" closed, although I had a pretty strong feeling they wouldn't be reopening. Closing the website while all this was happening made it pretty obvious.

25 September 2019

Neighbour's Apartment

I was told the building manager wanted to begin repairs on the roof outside my apartment, and to do so he requested access through my unit. I tried explaining my neighbour's unit was vacant, and it would be easier to go through there, which would spare my cats a lot of stress. But they said the other unit's owner didn't want to cooperate, saying the roof repair was on our side, as if going through that unit would inconvenience them at all.

I went home during lunch to take a bunch of photos documenting the state of the other apartment. Buster followed me over, and it gave him an appetite for more exploring.

At the time I considered putting my cats in the neighbouring unit during the day while workers trudged through my apartment, or even outright squatting in the other unit. In the end, on the morning they were supposed to start, I left the neighbour's door ajar, so the workers came upstairs, saw the open door into the empty apartment with the roof access visible, and naturally went that way.

22 September 2019

RASKB Gyeongui Line Tour

Robert Fouser led a tour along the length of Gyeongui Line Forest Park, and I came along for most of it. Coincidentally these ramblings were published earlier that week.

20 September 2019

National Assembly

Welcome to the National Assembly. Here is a female anthropomorphic National Assembly to greet you.

I went back to the National Assembly, and this time I walked in. There was no security to go through at the gate, but at the important buildings they had their own security. I was directed to a line for metal detectors inside one building, but I asked to use the washroom and they let me past without getting scanned. The main building had guards that didn't let me get close.

It was worth a walk around to see what it's like.

15 September 2019


This seems like a good opportunity to mention I created a directory for the K-Iceberg where you can see all 28 (and counting) versions of the K-Iceberg. It's getting tougher to manage so I'll probably make some sort of text list soon, and try to document the source of as many of the entries as possible.

15 September 2019


And then I thought I might as well go even farther, and ended up at Wolmido. The Wolmi Galaxy Rail has been replaced with the Wolmi Sea Train, and while I was there I saw multiple trains running on the elevated tracks. The line would open next month, after almost a decade of sitting abandoned over one of the few remaining sea resort areas.

15 September 2019

Incheon Chinatown

I made it this far, so I thought why not go a little farther and visit Chinatown? It was just at blue hour and the buildings looked especially nice, or at leasat the gentrified lit-up part. I was also pretty amused to find a Pyongyang dog meat restaurant right inside one of the gates. Judging by online maps it's been there a long time.

15 September 2019


I've been working on putting together a tour for the RASKB of this area, which I might do next spring.

The problem is it's pretty far out, so doing trips for research can be quite time-consuming. I got pretty sick of that back in 2009.

15 September 2019

Ugak-ro Culture Village

This area is supposedly up for urban renewal, although nothing has happened yet. It's a hillside with a lot of old buildings where an attempt was made to create a cultural village. At the top of the hill is a big modern-era structure.

15 September 2019

Incheon National University Jemulpo Campus

Incheon University easily makes my top three list of sites I've explored (only Seoul Hotel was definitely better, and I'm undecided what would be third). Ages ago the campus was relocating to Songdo and it left behind a lot of attractive buildings. Some were destroyed, and others appear to just be left there, underused. They were all locked up tight when I visited, and not in a state of abandonment, just closure.

15 September 2019

Abandoned Neighbourhood

Continuing on my way, I came across an abandoned neighbourhood. I did a quick drive through to see what it was like. Medium size, nothing too remarkable.

15 September 2019

Bucheon and Bupyeong

It's always difficult finding the route to Incheon, as the most obvious ways are expressways that don't allow scooters. I know one very good route, but it's easier to find going back than going out. My route this time took me through Bucheon and Bupyeong, where I wanted to check in on a few sites.

Most notable was Camp Market, a closed USFK base that is slowly going through the return process. There are the usual worries about soil contamination, and the site is still receiving some activity, I think local civilian contractors working on distribution for the US military. Camp Market has quite a history if you go back far enough, and it used to be the place where soldiers arriving in Korea first stayed and waited to be sorted out and deployed to their assignments. It also reputedly had one of the best villes, although no traces of this remain.

I didn't enter the base, and it seems like it wouldn't be that rewarding while would still carry a fair amount of risk. Probably will be a better idea some time in the future.

15 September 2019

North Korean Bar

Someone had the brilliant idea to make a North Korean-themed bar in Hongdae, right across the alley from where Burger B used to be and in the same alley where Magpie used to be. Its exterior was coated with North Korean design themes, including a woman wearing joseonot, some parodies of North Korean propaganda posters, and the North Korean flag plus portraits of the first two Kims.

I know the mood is better these days, but with the addition of the last two this place seemed entirely inappropriate. Apparently sometime shortly before I arrived the offending items were covered up and later removed, but we'll all have known they had been there.

It sounds like the police suggested they take the offending items down, and I'm glad they did. We can't forget there are former North Koreans living among us and we can't predict how they would feel about stuff like this. Also it does offer too tempting a target for anti-communist reprisals, putting the whole area in danger.

I don't believe they will have access to any North Korean products such as beer or other alcohols, so I doubt I'll ever give this place a try.

14 September 2019

Isaac's Birthday

Isaac was having a small birthday gathering, and I needed a day off from exploring, so I went to meet up.

13 September 2019

NTOK Renovation

After hearing a tip that the National Theater was under renovation, I went for a look to see how feasible it was. Unless you just walk in the active side and then go off-limits, it doesn't look very feasible to me. I suspect the guy who gave me the tip got there before they put up more fences, as he seemed to have the run of the whole place.

13 September 2019

Sewoon Sangga

I made a quick stop at Sewoon Sangga because it was one of the venues of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. It turns out, it is only used for specially scheduled events, and the place was deserted.

13 September 2019

Cleaning Up

I returned to one abandoned neighbourhood I've been half-heartedly watching for several months. This time I got into an area with more traditional architecture, and it was such a mess I decided to clean up.

There's another explorer in North America who has a collection of self-portraits of him cleaning up various abandoned sites, and I had to help moderate something he was dealing with recently. His pictures are high quality, but I didn't have a tripod so I did what I could with the tools at hand.

13 September 2019

Trump World Seoul

I've developed the habit of scouring the main navigation apps for any entries containing names that might be newsworthy. The two that have been most fruitful -- not to say they are all that alike (even though both are/were demagogues who used nationalist/racial tensions to divide and conquer) -- have been Trump and Hitler.

I put together a list of sites to visit, which included three dubious Trump properties and one Hitler-branded interior design company. However I'm certain the Hitler business was not at the address listed on the website, as I scoured all over every possible retail space there, and it didn't seem to have officetels higher up. The website has no floor number, but phone numbers are posted.

On the bright side, I was able to find three buildings that bear the name Trump, one being Trump World which certainly must violate a trademark, and another older one branded with Hyosung which could possibly be legit. There are more, all across the city and the country.

13 September 2019

Gangnam Tunnel

One of my goals during the holiday was to check in on some subway construction projects. I scouted all along the length of two tunnel construction projects, one of which was beneath Gangnam, and only found two entry points. The construction is highly visible on the surface above, but down below it is just excavation, with no actual tunnel formed yet. I did manage to make a helmet cam video of my descent and return to the surface. It is still painful for me to watch.

13 September 2019

Car Fire

I was driving along when I saw smoke in the distance, so I headed that way. Turns out it was the way I needed to go anyway. There was a huge car fire up on the Naebu Expressway, and it was serious enough that it made the news.

The fire department did a pretty good job of putting it out quickly, and nobody was harmed.

12 September 2019

"Life Is a Dream We'll Wake Up & Scream" Screening

On the first day of the Chuseok long weekend, there was an English screening for a documentary by Joe Je-hwan with a very long name in English. I'd written about it earlier in the year, but still hadn't seen it.

Unlike other documentaries I've seen, this one followed the bands around while letting them control the narrative. He followed them for quite some time, even going overseas with a few of them. By the end, the bands are all straining to make their visions come true, and the documentary ultimately showed their efforts as futile. Kind of a different attitude than I'm used to in the punk scene, where people don't realistically see fame as a possibility.

8 September 2019

Uijeongbu Anarchaeology

I was on my way to a birthday party when I saw the fence around this site in Gwanghwamun was getting weaker. They had installed a viewing window in one part, but no glass. I couldn't get in that way, but after a quick look around I found an even easier way.

This site used to be home to Uijeongbu, a government office whose purpose I don't fully understand. More recently it was a park, but that was removed some time a few years ago.

8 September 2019

Abandoned Tax Office

I scouted out an abandoned tax office that a friend had visited several years ago. About all I determined was it was still there, and it was about as fascinating as a tax office could be.

8 September 2019

National Assembly

I thought to stop by the National Assembly to see what it was like. On this visit I learned enough that I didn't know a thing about visiting, so I just got a look at the front gates. I contacted a tour office for the National Assembly later, and determined it was safe enough for me to just wander around inside.

8 September 2019

Typhoon Damage

Despite posting a joke on Facebook about how minimal the damage was, my own apartment was hit. A temporary fence on the roof was blown down, and I had to go out in the wind to pin it down so it wouldn't blow away and cause more damage or harm. We now have extra roof access though. Nobody is living next to me right now so the cats can spend as much time as they want over there.

7 September 2019

Typhoon Lingling

It was our first serious typhoon in a long while. We didn't get a huge amount of rain, but the wind was powerful.

I went out to take Buster for a dental appointment, and I spent some time at a PC room editing photos. There was always the sense that a gust of wind could launch some deadly projectile at you.

1 September 2019


Robert Fouser was back, and he did his first of two RASKB tours, setting out in Seochon. There was a very large group, and I didn't stick around because I had to go to work.

25 August 2019

In Seoul

I stopped at a couple more sites on my way home, though it was not optimal time to visit for either of them. One was the last remaining building in a hillside demolition area, and the other was a hillside village with a lot of abandoned places but still a lot of residents.

25 August 2019


I had visited this area back in 2010 and then once more shortly after that when it was in the middle of demolition. It had been almost ten years, so I figured something would have been done with the area. Nope, turns out they just demolished the buildings and left it empty. It has now become a site for urban gardening.

25 August 2019

Streamside Bunkers

Heading back inside Seoul, I finally decided to have a closer look at this series of bunkers along the southern side of a stream. I'd seen these before while driving past but never stopped to look closer. Turns out I wasn't missing much.

I had initially thought this was the site when I first heard about the Peace Culture Bunker.

25 August 2019

Gimhae Kim Graveyard

My destination was Ogeum Sangchon Park, which I'd heard was in a strange state of incompleteness. But now it's mostly finished and somewhat enjoyed by a few people. Further down the valley I saw a picturesque graveyard, so I went in for a look, discovering it was a graveyard for the Gimhae Kim clan.

25 August 2019

Northwest of Seoul

I headed out for the edgelands of Seoul, where heavy apartment construction is ongoing in Goyang City territory. Some of the roads that used to be here are gone, and I had to go over dirt roads for construction vehicles for part of the trip.

24 August 2019

Insoo's Motel

I sometimes take pictures of places if they have my friends' name. I've seen a Hilton Motel, a Trump Motel, even a Warkerhill Motel, but Insoo from Crying Nut has his own love motel.

24 August 2019

PWS Phoenix Fest

Here's the actual Phoenix Fest event. Aside from the Stable guys causing trouble, there was also a match with the UK's Simon Miller, and Zeda Zhang who used to be in the WWE also stopped by.

19 August 2019

Kyle Visits

Kyle was back in Korea to visit and get married. We hung out and went to Gophchang Jeongol.

17 August 2019

Southern Seoul

I went south to visit a few sites around Gangnam and Seocho. My main target was Gaepo Apartments, which used to be easy to visit but now the remaining buildings are being fenced off. I also checked in on a few other locations I hadn't seen in a while, and made some new discoveries along the way.

15 August 2019

PWS Press Conference

PWS had a press conference ahead of its one-year anniversary event. There was a lot of drama going on, which was good for our article.

10 August 2019

Seendosi Hardcore Show

GBN had flooded, so a hardcore show got moved last minute to Seendosi in downtown Seoul. I had never seen a punk show here before so I went along, although I didn't see much of it.

10 August 2019

Baeksa Village

The previous entry when I got rained out, I was on my way to Baeksa Village. I went back a week later, and while I didn't get any pictures I did take two videos, one here and the other here.

4 August 2019


I was driving northeast when a heavy rain came. I managed to take shelter and was stuck for an hour. I had visited this location in 2016, and now that all the buildings were knocked down and new highrises were built, I found they had kept some of the old concrete stairways up in the mountain slope.

3 August 2019

Demolished Neighbourhood

I had noted this place around a year ago when people were starting to move out. I returned to find it all gone.

3 August 2019

Ant Village

I returned to the Ant Village, a moon village that has been given "Future Seoul Heritage" status, whatever that means. It looks like there have been some upgrades, particularly of roof materials. Since my first visit about 10 years ago, the domestic tourism interest in the area has all but disappeared.

2 August 2019


My cats act like they don't get along, but when it comes to basic needs such as food and the litter box they are surprisingly cooperative.

28 July 2019

Driving Home

I drove past Hyehwamun which is undergoing renovation, and passed by the Yulgok Tunnel, which has been under construction for at least five years and looks like it finally has an end date in sight.

28 July 2019


Coco invited me to meet up with her and Lee, an adoptee trying to trace some of her early history. She didn't remember any of it, having been adopted out as a baby, but we were able to wander around some places she knows she was kept for a while, and I learned a bit more about what used to be in the area.

27 July 2019

Kitty Cat Alley

It seems like cat rescue is becoming closely tied with abandoned neighbourhoods. If you look at some of the relevant hashtags on Instagram, they're overwhelmed with people tracking down stray cats, sometimes for TnR programs. There's been more news released about what to do with these cats, focusing on abandoned neighbourhoods.

This one alley had more cats than I've seen in one place in an abandoned neighbourhood. Some had their ears clipped showing they'd been fixed, but there were still plenty of kittens.

26 July 2019

Tsushimamire Return

The trade war with Japan had been getting worse all month, and with all the consumer boycotts I started to wonder if that could affect the scene. I looked into it for an article, and it turns out the answer is no, no problem at all.

Korea and Japan should replace all their politicians with local punks, and then maybe the two countries could be run properly.

22 July 2019


I was curious to return to Ahyeon, now that all buildings have been cleared out. The whole area will be dug out soon, and then more apartments will come in. And that will totally serve the demand for affordable housing in the vicinity of the universities nearby. Except it won't obviously.

14 July 2019


It was a hot day and I decided to drive around south of the river. My goal was the Gaepo-dong area, but after I located an abandoned neighbourhood on the way there, I ran out of energy and returned home.

12 July 2019

Dongducheon Foreign Language High School

I went up to Dongducheon with a small group of RASKB people to give a first-of-its-kind lecture in which three of us spoke for 30 minutes each to an incredibly appreciative Korean high school audience.

More about this here.

After, I went up to the ville to look around and try some of the "local" food. I ended up at a restaurant, and after a few minutes, I heard someone talking about how he'd heard a guy speaking about Michael Spavor, which I'd talked about during my lecture. I looked over and some of the teachers from the school were in the same restaurant as me.

9 July 2019

Seosomun Martyrs Park

Seosomun Park has finally reopened, and now it is a Catholic site that totally ignores any other events that may have happened here, or non-Catholics who may have been martyred here. Also, Choe Chong-dae desperately needs a new headshot.

The park is pretty Instagram-friendly, but also the scale of it and the modernness of the place seem mismatched with what it is. There's something very Pink Floyd's "The Wall" about it that doesn't fit well with mass executions of Catholics centuries ago.

6 July 2019

JiHoon's Wedding

If you've read Transactions in the last couple years, you might have noticed multiple writers crediting Suk JiHoon. He went overseas to study Korea closer at some university in the US, but came back to Korea during summer vacation, during which time he got married.

4 July 2019

July 4 Fireworks

This was billed as possibly the last Fourth of July fireworks at Yongsan Garrison ever, although it was said not too seriously as the relocation plan is not set to conclude that fast. However, as of a few months later, it's a little unclear, as things are getting worse.

Also, the fireworks started 20 minutes earlier than reported, which was kind of a fuck-you to anyone in the area who lived somewhere with a vantage point of the fireworks.

30 June 2019

Pro Wrestling Society

Almost a year ago from this event, I wrote about Pro Wrestling Society which was bringing independent pro wrestling back to Korea. I wrote one more time before ever seeing them in person. The event itself was no disappointment.

I spent most of the time standing in a corner where I could get a good view of the ring and take photos without worrying about getting in the way. I was standing right in front of the washroom door, so sometimes people came over and thought I was lined up. Once, a guy came over and one of the actual refs warned him not to go inside because the washroom was occupied. I remarked "The washroom has its own referee." Then someone else came over, opened the door, and walked in -- the washroom had been unoccupied. "Bad call, ref!" I shouted.

30 June 2019

Driving South

I decided to drive all the way down to Pyeongtaek to see a PWS match. I made many stops along the way, reminiscing about my time around Suwon and visiting several interesting sites along the way. However, I underestimated the time it takes to drive between Suwon and Pyeongtaek, which took around an hour.

22 June 2019

Empty Military Site

South of Itaewon, there's a former military site that is fairly far through the process of return to Korea. I think they're prepping it for highrise construction.

18 June 2019

Business and Culture Club Visit to Korea Territorial Development Museum

I hadn't heard of this museum before, but it made for an interesting visit. It introduces the urbanisation of Korea from a government perspective, but was surprisingly honest about some of the horrific failures over the modern era.

16 June 2019

It's a Fest 4

On the second day of the festival, I was lower on energy, especially after Coetzer woke me up around 7am offering a beer. I ended up finishing a book on punk while watching the bands perform. Reading at punk shows is a thing now.

15 June 2019

It's a Fest 3

As night fell, the acts became bigger. Sino Hearts were great, and Iman's League put on a great set as usual. Galaxy Express was the last band of the night, playing as the sun went down. I enjoyed it all from the comfort of Jeff's chair, which he didn't kick me out of.

15 June 2019

It's a Fest 2

At one point during the festival, I wandered out to the water, only to see the tide had gone out. What was supposed to be a short walk took probably an hour, as the tide went really far out.

I later released an article about Hanagae itself as a tourist destination.

15 June 2019

It's a Fest 1

Finally, It's a Fest has arrived.

I went all the way out to Muuido on public transport, and arrived about 20 minutes before the first band. It was easier than I expected, although more time spent waiting for the bus than I would have liked.

14 June 2019


Buster poses in front of art inspired by him.

10 June 2019

SoundDog Jazz

One photo from SoundDog Jazz in Huam Market.

8 June 2019

Coetzer and Marcelle's Wedding Party

My parents were here while Coetzer and Marcelle had their wedding party at Vineworks, which ended up being a lot of wine drinking on a rooftop.

7 June 2019


I drove around downtown and found what looked like another section of the Euljiro area being demolished.

6 June 2019

Return to Enemy House

Demolition started on the Enemy House, so I returned a couple more times. A lot of interesting items were destroyed with this house.

5 June 2019

Burning Sun

The real nature of K-pop was revealed a few months ago in a far-reaching scandal that connected rape drugs, prostitutes, and revenge porn with some of the most important figures in the K-pop industry.

It all started, basically, at Burning Sun, a nightclub in Gangnam. Last November, a guy who went to the club saw a girl he thought had been drugged, and he tried helping but nighclub security assaulted him. Police were called, and they took the side of the nightclub.

After this came to light in the news a few months later, it was revealed that women were systematically drugged there, and VIPs were able to rape them. There was also talk of drug trade and actual prostitution (with willing, conscious participants). One of the co-owners of the club was also a member of the K-pop boy band Big Bang.

The owners tried to remove evidence, and police shut the club down as part of their investigation. So I figured I'd pop by and see how it looks now. The club was locked up, but it was still interesting to see the front entrance.

4 June 2019


On our second day on Jeju we went to the Osulloc Tea Plantation, Sanbangsan, and a Jeju Massacre grave site, before returning to Jeju City and meeting up with a couple of my friends there.

3 June 2019


We went to Jeju finally, only a couple months after I went there with my sister. The weather was nicer, and we visited some familiar sites but without Tyler's help we took different routes around the island which was interesting.

2 June 2019

Gwang-hee in Gwanghee-dong

My parents met my friend Gwang-hee on a previous visit, either in 2012 or 2009. She helped us get a hotel, and met up with them a few times on future visits. She let them use her English name, but this time after having spent a year in Australia recently, she wanted them to know her Korean name. Which happened to be the same as the neighbourhood we met in. Not that that helped.

1 June 2019

RASKB Garden Party

My parents scheduled their visit around this year's Garden Party. Last year I think we had the highest attendance ever, but this year went well too, as we had milder weather than I can remember. It was unfortunately on the same day as the Seoul Queer Culture Festival, and once again there were a lot of angry protesters across the street from them.

I was completely surprised by the ambassador, who was gracious with a mild personality. He let us stay longer than Garden Parties usually run, and was a good sport the whole way through. I mentioned how the SQCF was happening at the same time, and he emphasised to me how much he supports that, even at one point running inside to print off an article on that topic (this one). It was our fault he missed this year's event.

31 May 2019

Enemy House

A year earlier or even before, one of my friends who lives near me in Huam-dong told me about this abandoned house near his home. It was Japanese-style, and he used to see the elderly resident sometimes, but she disappeared a few years ago. I had a look, but there were two gates and I figured the only way in would be to set up a ladder on the retaining wall.

Then he started giving me updates that workers were coming by and preparing for demolition. On this morning, he walked in and asked permission, and they had no problem with him being there. When I showed up, they were gone, but they'd done enough work on the gates that I was able to climb in using construction bars.

It was quickly apparent how beautiful this house was, as well as how many interesting objects and documents had been left behind. Doing more research into this house has been one of the things keeping me too busy to update this site, and you'll learn a lot more about it sometime in a few months.

25 May 2019

HBC Fest

My parents were staying in Haebangchon, and I happened to notice it was the same time as HBC Fest. So my dad signed up to do a set. They had him play early in Workshop, which was a little too loud for him. After, we wandered around and saw several of the other acts.

21 May 2019

Donuimun Museum Village

I led an RASKB visit to Donuimun Museum Village, which devolved into us socialising with the various artists who had been given residence in the area.

18 May 2019


While visiting Namdaemun, we went up on Seoullo 7017 which gave us a good view of a far-right protest. Yep, their princess is still in jail.

17 May 2019

Undisclosed Location

We went to a place where you can see Manchocheon aboveground. We also stuck around for an American-style buffet and bar.

17 May 2019


We went to Insadong for shopping and random wandering. This encounter with the Simpsons reminded me of when they visited Korea in the actual show a few months earlier.

16 May 2019

Parents Visit

My parents arrived for a month-long visit, and on our first night we went out for dakgalbi followed by live jazz in Huam Market.

12 May 2019

Wasteupso Pop-Up

I stopped by a pop-up shop offered by Wasteupso, a zero-waste grocery shop working on establishing itself, for an article.

5 May 2019

More Gwangju

After we left the mansion, we went to a nearby abandoned neighbourhood. It's the same place they brought me last time, but a lot has been demolished and Isaiah's found a lot more since then too. We had a look at a few places that still had some abandoned art. After that, I got back to the train station and went back up to Seoul.

5 May 2019

Choi Buja Jib

Our main goal in Gwangju was to visit Rich Man Choi's house, a phenomenal two-storey hanok, and meet its owner. I haven't written about it yet but Isaiah's article is out.

5 May 2019


I returned to Gwangju for another adventure with friends down there. I showed up the night before and discovered that, unlike previous visits, there were barely any hotels or motels with rooms available. I had a few drinks, then found a place late at night. Next day I woke up and accidentally found a couple abandoned buildings on my way to meeting everyone.

3 May 2019


After the abandoned neighbourhood, I stopped by a site I remembered from my first year in Korea. I used to teach an English class to two adult women in this thatch-roofed house. It's still there, preserved among a much more modern cityscape, even moreso than I remembered from before. No sign of people though.

3 May 2019

Abandoned Suwon

Our goal was to visit this abandoned neighbourhood and record some of this video there. What we ended up seeing was a lot crazier than I had expected. It was a Saturday and there were still a lot of workers there who on some level wouldn't want us there, and as our contact became closer we were eventually escorted out.

3 May 2019

Reaching Suwon

I finally got to Suwon, but ended up taking a detour through the northern part where I used to live. A lot of it is how I remember it, but now I find my perspective on Korean urbanism has changed greatly. Although the land here is mostly flat, I found there was a great contrast between upper ground which was mostly highrise complexes, and lower ground which included a great deal of wastelands. I also got a surprise when I saw the murals in a tunnel near my former home, creating a surprising link with my early life in Korea with much more recent developments.

3 May 2019

Trip to Suwon

I had to drive down to Suwon to meet a friend. On the way, I was hoping to scout a few locations I hadn't seen in years. I found a few of them long gone, but on the way I also found a couple new sites I hadn't known about before.

1 May 2019

Seoul Hall of Urbanism and Architecture

I stopped by this new museum space in front of Deoksugung one morning before work. There's not that much to say about it yet, and I found it a bit sparse despite all the room inside. Quite a lot was dedicated to other cities I don't know much about.

28 April 2019

RASKB Tour of Changshin-dong

I joined Robert Fouser on his RASKB tour of Changshin-dong area. There were some opportunities for some of us to do some trespassing on the side.

27 April 2019

Driving Around Yongsan

I had a number of sites I wanted to visit and check up on. By "around Yongsan," I mean within and outside, as this took me as far as south of the river. I got a good look at some places I'd been thinking about for a while, and some updates on places I'd been meaning to watch more closely.

21 April 2019

More Namsan

I've been doing some research on the course of the stream where we go every Christmas, and part of that research took me up onto Namsan to look around some springs and streambeds, as well as miscellaneous other more blatantly manmade facilities.

This was for my article in the RASKB journal Transactions, which will be released at the Garden Party on June 1 this year.

21 April 2019

Pumping Station

I jumped up on a roof in Munbae-dong, a weird little dong shaped like a ginkgo leaf that seems to be heavily defined by the stream as well as train tracks. All there is here basically is a small shanty town and a pumping station.

21 April 2019

Dangerous Signs

This small intersection seemed dangerous. Looking at the picture included here, you can see a traffic light is hidden between a police station sign and the extra stimulus of a flashing coloured sign, which is between the road and the traffic lights. I submitted a report to a government website and they answered, though I don't expect any changes. I'll just continue to be hyperaware whenever I drive on this street, and try not to think about other potential accidents.

20 April 2019


Up on Namsan, I walked around a park that has a natural-looking fountain filled with water. Presumably this water all runs downhill and ends up in the tunnel.

20 April 2019

Other Stuff

While I wasn't scouting the stream, I also visited a fake police station and a couple more redevelopment zones.

20 April 2019

Yeomcheon Bridge

I went up on top of my work building to get an overhead view of Yeomcheon Bridge, which used to at one point cross over a stream.

19 April 2019

More Manchocheon

I took the day to drive around and visit as many sites along the stream as possible, including finding one tunnel entrance up on a mountain that seems to lead into the exact same system.

19 April 2019

Dice Latte and Dope Records

Between visiting stream sites and urban renewal zones, I stopped by Dice Latte in Hoegi area to write an article, and Dope Records' store in Gongdeok area to buy CDs from a store as if it were 10 years ago.

18 April 2019

Sites Along Manchocheon

It was night but I headed out to look around at some sites relevant to the stream. Most of these I'd have to return to in the daytime, but at the time I just didn't feel like waiting.

16 April 2019

RASKB Business and Culture Club

Jun Shin led a lunchtime walk from King Gojong's 40th anniversary shrine, over to Gyeonghee Palace. Next one will be by me, to Donuimun Museum Village.

13 April 2019

Cat Barf

I came home to discover someone had left cat barf on my laptop. I questioned these two witnesses but neither admitted to seeing who did it.

13 April 2019

Matt's RASKB Tour to Gaehwasan

Matt led a tour of the area in Gangseo-gu where he used to live. I joined partway through, but still got my money's worth as the tour went a couple hours longer than intended. Most of the pictures are from one particularly interesting temple site, Mitasa.

2 April 2019

Bye Cats

Buster has really taken an interest in my sister. He still spends a lot of time on the couch, even a month after she's left. Sometimes I think he wants to be my sister.

1 April 2019


We went to visit my friend Jenn who lives in a Hanok in Seochon. We brought our own makgeolli and played with her cats.

30 March 2019

Bottling Makgeolli

It took a while but the makgeolli stopped fermenting and we were finally able to bottle it. This basically involves straining it, and pantyhose work well for that. So anyone who visits, that's why I have those.

29 March 2019

Korea Furniture Museum

We went to the furniture museum in Seongbuk-dong. The tour was efficient and thorough and better than I thought it would be. We didn't get to see the building with all the kitchen stuff which would have been good.

26 March 2019

Leaving Jeju

A few pictures from the flight back to Seoul.

26 March 2019

Jeju Gimnyeong Maze Park

We went to the maze in Gimnyeong, founded by Fred Dustin. It was crawling with cats. We got through the maze after a couple of tries and made good time, then struggled to get past all the cats to leave.

26 March 2019


We revisited the village where Jin A-young had lived, and admired the cacti.

25 March 2019


We stayed in Hyeopjae, where you can find Josie's Bottle Shop, as well as some lesser-known lava tubes.

25 March 2019

The 10,000-Year-Old Village

We made a detour to Jagunae, same as we did last time four years earlier. There were a number of other photographers there who looked serious about photographing the squids. I also saw a protest tent and some interesting historical claims that predate the Dangun nation-creation myth.

25 March 2019

Japanese Airfield

We went to one corner of the island that used to be a Japanese airfield. Unlike last year, this time we went closer to the various hangars that used to hold Japanese airplanes. The planes may have been launched for warfare against China, but World War II never reached here. The Korean War inflicted heavy casualties here though, as there's a war-era site related to the Jeju Massacre nearby.

25 March 2019

Junk Shop

We stopped by this house in a random village where a lot of old antiques were sold. I bought some records and we treated everything else like a museum. Apparently this guy sells this stuff to movie productions.

25 March 2019


We went to the beach, and even though it was too cold to go in the water, my sister did anyway.

25 March 2019


Right outside the abandoned circus there are several horses in pens. They seemed pretty calm and weren't disturbed by us. Some were friendlier than others.

25 March 2019

Abandoned Circus

We revisited the circus, which seemed to be in pretty well the same condition as my previous visit in 2015.

25 March 2019

Renting a Car

We rented a car for a very fair price. Near the end of the trip I put a huge scratch in the right side while passing through a narrow alley with a big bush on the right side that hid a container of some kind, but they didn't charge us extra for it at all.

24 March 2019

Jeju Magpie Brewery

We went to the Magpie Brewery, which is in a small village on the outskirts of Jeju City. This is where Tyler works now, as the taphouse in Tap-dong has moved locations and gotten a new rebranding.

24 March 2019

Shaman Site

Tyler brought us to a shaman site where all sorts of rituals are performed for a spirit in a tree. Unfortunately my sister didn't want to be sacrificed so we left.

24 March 2019

Arario Gallery

We went to the Arario Gallery in Tap-dong, which had some interesting artwork. The whole place used to be a movie theater or something, and they transformed the spaces into art displays. Some of the art is pretty remarkable, and its incorporation into the rooms was well-done. They also provided headsets that would auto-play messages when you got close to certain points throughout the place.

16 March 2019

Kimchikan Museum

We went to the kimchi museum in Insadong, where they had a simple program where you can make your own kimchi without much guidance. It got the job done but was a bit kiddish, as it started out with colouring our containers. The museum has a few things worth seeing, but would be a lot better with a knowledgeable guide.

15 March 2019

Making Makgeolli

We signed up for makgeolli courses with Julia from The Sool Company. The class was held in Susubori Academy same as before, although now it seems Julia is an outside contractor. I roped Coetzer into joining and he told us a bit about how he knows how to make a South African moonshine.

12 March 2019

RASKB Business and Culture Club

I led a tour for the B&C Club to Gongpyeong Historic Sites Museum, which is an odd museum featuring former archaeological ruins dug up during excavation of the building. This used to be a site where I visited abandoned buildings several years ago, and I returned a couple times later to look at the archaeological ruins. It seemed an ideal place for me to lead a bunch of RASKB people to look at how they gamified archaeological preservation.

12 March 2019


A couple things arrived in boxes, and I let the cats have them.

11 March 2019

Seokjeon Daeje at Sungkyunkwan

I got up early on Monday to visit SKKU, where the usual mass ceremonial sacrifice to Confucius et al was taking place.

10 March 2019

Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

We went to Suwon, my Korean hometown, for a visit to Hwaseong Fortress, followed by galbi and a luxury train ride back to Seoul aboard the West Gold.

9 March 2019

NST & the Soul Sauce CD Release

NST & the Soul Sauce released their second full-length album, and for this one they added a lot of their pansori and traditional music, courtesy of Kim Yul-hee. The album contains a few dubs, as well as some influences beyond reggae and Jamaican music.

They gave me a pretty weird interview that everyone said was weird even for them, but the quotes were still interesting.

8 March 2019

International Women's Day

I didn't think I should be the one writing about International Women's Day, and none of my coworkers could, so I asked my sister to contribute an article.

We ended up going to Gwanghwamun for a festival for the event, and followed along with the parade toward Insadong. There were some interesting people attending, including some politicians and some of the girls who started the #SchoolMeToo movement.

8 March 2019

David Mason SIWA Tour

David Mason was leading a tour of the Modern History Museum for Seoul International Women's Association, which was good timing for us to join.

3 March 2019

Seun Sangga

We stopped by the roof garden of Seun Sangga, where I took only one picture of a model surrounded by a ton of photographers.

2 March 2019

Comagens at Jebi Dabang

I brought my sister to Hongdae where we went to a small concert at Jebi Dabang, although it was very crowded.

2 March 2019

HBC Roof

My sister came to Korea to visit for pretty well the month of March. That kept me busy which is why I haven't updated the site in quite some time. More is coming soon.

23 February 2019

...Whatever That Means 10-Year-Anniversary

...Whatever That Means were celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band (and Jeff and Trash's 10th anniversary). They had a concert at SHARP and have been announcing plans for "It's a Fest!", an island punk festival held in June. Now that their crowdfunding campaign went way over what they needed, it should be pretty easy for them to pull it off.

23 February 2019

Cyberpunk Seoul

I came up with an idea to write a satire article about how "cyberpunk" photographers were decrying the urban renewal at Euljiro, because it will reduce the number of locations where they can go and take oversaturated images. I decided to stop by myself and make some of my own cyberpunk images. I don't really care for the technique at all, didn't wait for blue hour, didn't care that it hadn't rained, and just increased the colour saturation. Here's an attempt to put the article together.

Amateur photographers decry loss of Euljiro, Seoul's most 'cyberpunk' neighborhood

'Euljiro redevelopment will hurt cyberpunk photography too,' whines cyberpunk photographer

Seoul's sky is clouding over, and cyberpunk photographer Andy Deckard starts packing his camera gear.

"Cyberpunk photography relies on three equal elements: rain-drenched street, dirty old alleys, and photo manipulation filters, lots of photo manipulation filters," he says. "If it rains tonight, there alleys of downtown will be crowded with so many cyberpunk photographers I won't be able to get a shot."

But the cloud cover turned out to be only air pollution.

For cyberpunk photographers like Deckard, the world is shrinking, as they see an increasing amount of cyberpunk photographers. And now, with the disappearance of Euljiro, the number of sites they can go is shrinking.

A group of cyberpunk photographers in Seoul planned to have a protest walk through Euljiro last Saturday at dusk, but only three showed up due to lack of rain.

While they were assembled in front wondering what to do, an urban exploring photographer muscled past them. "Move aside, chump," he said. "This is our time now."

"Oh well, at least we'll always have Myeongdong," Deckard said.

"And the bus stops in front of Seoul Station," his friend, Voxel Quartz, helpfully added.

They shared plans to find the next big photo fad to migrate to, ultimately settling on the new "Spiderverse" filter.

23 February 2019

North Korea

I've covered the last two speech contests by TNKR students. This one's the latest.

16 February 2019


I was trying to make an image for something that involved a long exposure in a dark environment. It's easier to do in the Host tunnel, but not so good up here.

16 February 2019

Abandoned Neighbourhood

A friend tipped me off about an abandoned neighbourhood, so I went for a look. Later that night I realised this was the 100th abandoned neighbourhood in Korea I've visited.

5 February 2019

End of Exploring

After we got back to Seoul, we got food and then we hit up a store that had some interesting candy. They had Army Man candies that were amusingly shaped and tasted good, and also a Pez Dispenser that looked like Millie. She was less than thrilled when I showed her.

I'm done with the two big events for this year so far, and I have less to go over for the month of February. We'll see when I update next.

5 February 2019

Abandoned Military Base

After seeing an announcement that an abandoned barracks building on a closed base I'm familiar with was due for renovation to be turned into a hostel for returning adoptees, I decided I had to revisit. The front gate has been replaced withs something more solid but still flawed, and there were more signs of film production here. We found signs everywhere for a supposed abandoned mental hospital.

4 February 2019


I stopped by Space Beam, now renamed Incheon Culture Brewery. Nobody was there but the front door was unlocked, and someone else let themselves in so I followed also. Back in June 2009 I had a photo exhibition here, releasing a booklet and putting on a punk show.

4 February 2019

Abandoned Incheon

On this day I headed out alone to visit an abandoned neighbourhood in Incheon. On getting there, I discovered it was mostly abandoned. I also found it was also a place I was familiar with, after a previous visit to Sudoguksan Moon Village Museum in 2017.

3 February 2019

Farewell Yongsan Pochachon...Again

After the tunnel, we went to the usual place, Yongsan Pochachon, only to find it closed and cleared out. After we got food at a perfectly good galmaegi place right next door, we returned for a closer look. it was sad to see this place chased away from yet another location, and the end of one ritualistic part of our tunnel visits.

One of the people with us wrote a eulogy for the basement food tent village.

3 February 2019


It was raining but not heavily, so we decided to chance it going into the Host Tunnel. It turned out okay, but we spent the whole time on alert just in case a floodgate opened up. I don't think I can judge how safe or dangerous it is, until I see how dangerous it can get. My prior frame of reference is either bone dry, or several meters flooded during a natural disaster. If a floodgate opened and water gushed in, I think we could've gotten to safety, but can't say for certain.

We developed a new activity for the tunnel, a type of art contest. Just don't view this if you're at work.

2 February 2019


We ended up at Sinchon, where we hit a roof, then went for Indian food and ended up having beer at Beer O'Clock. Day 1 was a success.

2 February 2019

Abandoned Neighbourhood

After Euljiro, we went to an abandoned neighbourhood where an evictee in his 30s had committed suicide, which turned this place into a flashpoint as well. We walked by a bunch of goonish looking kids in their 20s, and one of them raced after us on his scooter to warn us away. He didn't want us walking through and taking pictures, and a couple times he (and I) had to yell at my companions to put their cameras away.

I gave him the offer, we would not go inside anywhere or take pictures, and would stick to the roadways and exit out the other side. He allowed it. Fortunately there was still quite a lot to see, without entering any buildings.

2 February 2019


My plan for the first day of the Lunar New Year long weekend was to visit Euljiro, while everyone was gone for the holidays. It worked out differently than I expected as workers were still there, protesters were still there, and restaurants were still open.

One of the people with us was a Korea Times reporter who had been covering the area. She ran into a protester she'd interviewed, and he brought us on a tour through the area, visiting several machine shops we otherwise wouldn't have seen. It was a surprising way to start the holiday, and a unique experience normally inaccessible.

It's been said Euljiro has all the parts necessary to build a nuclear submarine, except possibly the nuclear materials, and even then I'm not too sure about that. I've also seen a Korean article that parts built here have been placed in orbit, with one of the recent Korean satellites up there.

27 January 2019


Just a nice simple picture taken while crossing the street one day before sunset.

26 January 2019

RASKB Open House

The RASKB office held an open house, inviting anyone to come by and look through the bookstore.

A number of RASKB council members were there, and that meant everyone coming through the office was deluged with a great deal of stories about Korea's history told from first-hand perspectives, dating back through the last 50+ years.

It went well, but we also realise we can't hold these every weekend and expect to have the same success. So the next opportunity might not be until the Garden Party.

25 January 2019

Stray Cats

I got invited to go somewhere with a lot of stray cats. My friend there is looking after three female cats, with plans to trap them, spay them, and then she doesn't know what next. I joined her to have a look and see more of the strays in the area.

The problem is being handled, but there is a lot of red tape to cut through and I'm not confident they can keep up with the increase of strays. I told the people who are using this land that in order to be good neighbours, they have to deal with this problem and not leave a mess for whoever takes possession of this land next.

20 January 2019

Yongsan Disaster 10th Anniversary

It has been 10 years since the police decided to launch a daring rooftop raid on an otherwise unremarkable rooftop evictee protest stronghold. Looking back on it, anyone can see how clearly insane it was to attempt to stuff a construction crate full of anti-terrorist riot police and use a crane to lift it to the roof. Somehow, back then, the conservatives controlled discourse, and when this broke down and people died it was somehow the victims who were at fault. The actual dude who ordered the operation was later appointed to head a public airports corporation and was later elected to an Assembly seat representing a conservative part of the country. Can someone remind me again what conservatism actually is about? Is it just about killing people?

The main remembrance ceremony was held at a burial site for martyrs outside the city, but when I visited there were a few other photographers wandering around trying to figure out what exactly to photograph. I was tempted to approach them and show them exactly where everything happened. Also, isn't it kind of weird to see all these public safety posters by the fire department at this site?

13 January 2019

Finally Home

I got home after three days of travel, to find Coetzer had kept his promise to feed my cats. They were hungry when I arrived, which is pretty normal. Buster insisted on eating separate from Millie, and had his food while hiding under the bed.

13 January 2019

Cultist's Market

Downhill of the abandoned hillside was a still active market. Somewhere within its bowels is a house belonging to a guy my friends called "the Charles Manson of Korea," based on his face tattoos, or at least face art.

We will hopefully get more information about this guy soon.

13 January 2019

Abandoned Hillside

Uphill from the abandoned houses was a whole hillside of abandoned small-scale homes. They tried showing me around, but we got separated after I tumbled through a door into an entirely new corner of the neighbourhood and didn't see any point to backtracking.

13 January 2019

Old Houses

They took me to an area not too far away, where we visited a couple of old Hanoks. They'd given nicknames to them, something like "The Artist's House" and "The Printer's House," but complained stuff had been removed. Both were still quite interesting.

I had to put my shoulder into opening the front door of one, and when it came time to leave we realised we couldn't shut it like we had found it. So I wedged stuff against the inside of the door, then jumped out over the madang wall.

13 January 2019

Red Cross Hospital

Our first stop for the day was the abandoned hospital. The way in was easier than I previously thought, possibly because it's commonly used by squatters living inside.

The interior is interesting, and still in decent shape. with quite a story to tell.

13 January 2019

Waking Up

I engaged in some more Love Motel Tourism, waking up in the morning and heading to the roof to see the view. I chose this motel based on its closeness to the abandoned hospital, and sure enough parts of the property were visible from the roof. I had attempted to stay in the ritzy-looking Bentley Hotel, but it cost double what a love motel should cost, despite the obvious theft of intellectual property.

12 January 2019

Red Cross Hospital

We visited an abandoned hospital which Isaiah had written about recently.

We didn't go inside, but saw two interesting signs out front, one which thanks prostitutes for donating blood during the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, and another later one which cautions people that HIV can be contracted from prostitutes.

12 January 2019

Ryan's GIC Talk

The main reason for visiting was to see Ryan's talk on urban exploration, which I believe can be viewed in full here. p<> I spoke up twice, once when Ryan asked me if visiting the Pyramids of Giza counts as urban exploration and I contradicted him by saying no, and again at the end when I said trespassing itself as we do it is not a crime, or at least does not break criminal law.

12 January 2019


We were wandering down the street before Ryan's talk, and saw the entrance to the abandoned colatec. So we went in for a quick visit. I was at this place a year earlier, and my camera battery died right after we finished here. It's basically become a parking garage, with no awareness given whatsoever to protecting the venue itself. It is all there for anyone who wanders in.

12 January 2019

Jeonil Building

After reading at work that the Jeonil Building would undergo renovations starting in February, not to mention seeing the photos by my colleague, I inquired about visiting the site myself. The timing was perfect, and thanks to Dr. Shin at Gwangju International Center, we got permission to enter on the last day possible.

We got to enter in a group of urban explorers with some media credentials, and my reaction to seeing the scene surprised me. I only felt hot anger, something I've never experienced while exploring before, not even in connection to the Yongsan Disaster.

In 1980, people in Gwangju didn't like that Chun Doo-hwan had taken control of the country in a violent military coup following the assassination of Park Chung-hee. They took to the streets, and the military moved in to suppress them. What exactly happened in the chaos remains unclear, with the exact number of dead unknown, as journalists became entangled in the events. Apparently at a few points, helicopters were dispatched with machine guns, and at one point one fired on Jeonil Building, in an attempt to suppress the journalists inside who were observing the uprising.

People have been claiming for almost 40 years to have witnessed a helicopter firing on the building, and they've been told they are lying or are communist agents for saying so, and that it didn't really happen. Meanwhile, the bulletholes were all right there, for anyone who wanted to go and look. Finally a couple years ago, now that Moon Jae-in is president, an investigation went and said, yes, there are bulletholes here. Until recently, we had to report on this incident with words like "allegedly"; when I pitched an article about this visit, I was told to give both sides.

What's the other side right now? The government tried to scare journalists into not doing their job, and for decades Korea has struggled with a war on truth. All this to protect a newly minted dictator who'd taken control of the country by force. The other side is bullshit.

11 January 2019

Butterfly Island and Oh Mae

I joined a Facebook group for expats in Yeosu and learned my best chance of having craft beer in the city was at Butterfly Island, a brewpub a stone's throw away from where I stayed in Yeocheon in 1996.

The two places are run by a Canadian husband and Korean wife. He handles Oh Mae, a small brewpub in an inconvenient location and unpredictable hours that houses the brewing equipment, and she runs Butterfly Island, more of a restaurant atmosphere in the middle of a sleazy-looking district near the harbour.

I arrived at Butterfly Island right as it opened, and tried each of their beers while talking with the woman who runs it. Then her husband showed up. He he claims to be the second-longest-term expat in Yeosu, so he was surprised to meet another foreigner who had older memories of the place. He offered to bring me to Oh Mae where he had some more experimental beers I could try. One was a mustard stout with gat-kimchi flavouring. He poured it out, and as soon as I tasted the foam I was surprised by the kimchi flavour. If you've ever had kimchi chocolate, you can have an open mind to how good this was.

Craft beer hasn't totally caught on in Yeosu yet, and this place reminded me of early Magpie back when its Gyeongnidan location was a beer brewing equipment store just starting to experiment with being a bar. It's probably inevitable it will catch on in Yeosu, in which case I hope these two are given their due recognition. If it isn't them who get all the attention, it will likely be their students/customers.

I'm waiting to publish an article about this place, which is one reason this site hasn't been updated in a while so I could include a link, but they want to wait for the right time for the article to come out. So we'll just go ahead here.

11 January 2019

Expo Grounds

After the aquarium I wandered around more as it got dark, and entered one of the hotels there. I got up to the roof, where they had a heated swimming pool. I had my bathing suit with me, and was tempted to change and jump in, which they totally would have let me do. But they didn't have showers, and I was already quite sweaty from walking around with a large bag, so I decided to spare them.

My camera malfunctioned and I started to suspect my whole trip had just ended photographically, but I popped off the lens and put it back on and it seemed to work again.

11 January 2019

Yeosu Aquarium

I saw the aquarium back in 2012, and it is just as exciting now as it was back then, just with much smaller crowds. This one seems to be run by Hanwha, same as the 63 Building one.

Hanwha: We know gang violence, and aquariums.

11 January 2019

Yeosu Expo

I had my first actual proper three-day weekend in weeks, so I headed down to Yeosu. My main goal was to visit the former Expo grounds, which I had previously visited in 1996, 2009 during heavy urban renewal, and twice in 2012 before and during the Expo.

In consideration of the previous Expo in Daejeon, I wanted to see how this one was holding up post-Expo. What I came away with was more positive than Daejeon, but still wasteful, albeit as construction continues in the area. Most interesting was Darakhyu, a "capsule" hotel that was built in the former USA Pavilion. Darakhyu is under Walkerhill's brand and is basically a modular design that can be built up in any large space, such as an airport terminal, and then disassembled and moved somewhere else.

The article I ended up writing turned out a little more touristy than I had initially thought.

10 January 2019

Gongpyeong Historic Sites Museum

I've written about these glass floor installations across Seoul, specifically Jongno along the former Pimatgol, but this is the largest I've seen yet. It's also the most interesting, though it's more interesting for a look at the processes in modern architectural preservation rather than having any historic value. Also, there are VR devices that allow you to walk through a Hanok.

I'm going here with the RASKB Business and Culture Club on Tuesday, March 12, during lunch.

10 January 2019

Hotel Academy House

Jacco alerted me to this place, telling me it was originally built by West Germans and it had played a major role in Korea's democratic activism. Research currently underway.

There's a mean-looking guard dog up on one of the roofs, and I brought dog treats to throw at it until it stopped barking.

Someone left water running, and the same building was turned into an ice rink on the ground floor.

5 January 2019

Abandoned Neighbourhood

I saw a picture of roughly the same view on Instagram and was wondering where it could be taken with Namsan in the background. Driving around looking for it I realised how little I know about my own surroundings.

I encountered one stray cat here, and it looks like someone was leaving out food, possibly to catch it. I left a note giving directions to where I saw the cat and its description, just in case it was an owner looking for a lost pet.


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