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


Roof

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


Saruga

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


Russians

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


Thunderhorse

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


Cats

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


Sinchon

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


Abandoned

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


Snow

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


Snow

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

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.

31 December 2016


New Year

I wasn't recovered from my cold yet, but I set off around 11 to meet up with friends and set off fireworks on Naksan. The protest downtown was huge and the police presence seemed larger than usual.

31 December 2016


Hongdae Redevelopment

This fence went up and they started excavating in the middle of the street in Hongdae. Years ago Roots Time said there were plans to excavate the street out front and build an underground shopping plaza, but at this point I'm not convinced this is what this is. We'll see.

31 December 2016


Counter-Protest

While I was at work on Saturday, I heard a racket outside. Turned out it was the counter-protest, defending the president. They were older than the normal protesters and they had a lot of flags. I drove down to confirm, and they had signs about "JTBC-gate" and the tablet they say isn't Choi's, plus they called out the lugenpresse in other languages.

29 December 2016


Cats and Snow

It snowed and the cats had to go out and spoil it with their tracks.

24 December 2016


Santa Claus Conquers the Host

The night before, I knew if I came out I'd get very sick. But the kids were counting on Santa to deliver them gifts, in this case meaning gifts of alcohol and explosives to fight off The Host. What, how do you celebrate Christmas?

I think there were 13 of us, though not all at one time, and we only lost one to the murky waters of the deep.

19 December 2016


Santa Strikes Back

December means it's time to whip out the Santa suit again.

17 December 2016


Protest

I stopped by the protest, this time hoping to see more of something I'm working on an article on. And they didn't even use any of these pictures.

17 December 2016


Abandoned

One of my friends convinced her anthropology student to write about urban exploration, so I ended up showing her around some abandoned places. We got kicked out of Sky Apartments, where demolition had at this point knocked down the smallest of the three buildings, then we went over to another more standard abandoned neighbourhood I hadn't seen since spring, which hasn't changed much at all.

12 December 2016


Jogyesa's Christmas Tree

A couple pictures taken while driving around preparing for Christmas. Yes, the country's top Buddhist temple has a Christmas tree.

10 December 2016


SHARP Second Saturdays: Double-Jiwon Birthday

I had no idea Angie was also a Jiwon. Anyway, after a day of exploring we ended up at Club SHARP for Second Saturdays.

10 December 2016


Abandoned Neighbourhood

Guess who found God? You'll never believe where he was hiding.

10 December 2016


Protest

On the way to meet people, we stopped by Gwanghwamun for a quick roof visit, and Kat recorded this video of a chorus singing something that could certainly be heard back there in Cheong Wa Dae.

9 December 2016


Yeouido

I missed the impeachment vote which happened around 3, but by then the protest on Yeouido had turned into a celebration. First I stumbled across the counter-protest, which didn't seem happy and was full of older people.

Then by the time I got to the real event, I got to meet Mayor Park Won-soon and I saw one of the tractors brought in by the farmer activist group, which one of them then fired up and they all posed for group pictures.

9 December 2016


Gwanghwamun

I stopped by Gwanghwamun, which was particularly quiet this day. When I arrived there was a nongak group performing in front of the Admiral Yi statue, which now has a bust of the president in front of it, showing her tied up to the various corporations that have been extorted. It was an interesting piece of art that only half a year ago would have gotten the artist blacklisted and banned from various types of support.

9 December 2016


Sky Apartment

I missed a farewell event to Sky Apartments, in which people were invited to see this old apartment building and interview former residents.

Unfortunate, but I came back on my own later. The buildings are quite beautiful in the way that aged buildings are, with 1969 being ancient by Seoul's standards. The rooms had thick but flimsy floors and seemed especially cramped. Quite a few of them had a lot of objects left behind, with one or two looking like almost nothing had been taken. Demolition is supposed to start this week.

9 December 2016


Bunker

I've driven by this bunker a few times on the side of the road, but figured I'd stop and have a closer look, just for the sake of completion.

8 December 2016


Overpass

It's been a while since my last visit to the overpass. They've since completed the new deck and are starting to work on landscaping, putting in giant planters for the trees or whatever will be here. The opening date is spring and it very well could be on time.

4 December 2016


Filming

I've been helping tvN film a TV show about urban exploration in Korea. Fingers crossed they do a good job. You probably won't see my face in it though, unless I step around the wrong corner at some moment.

3 December 2016


Pegurians and Friends

It was the Pegurians' last show and they had an interesting lineup. We all drank way too much and had a good night, from what I can remember.

3 December 2016


Protest

For this protest, I decided to see how close I could get to Cheong Wa Dae, seeing how the courts ruled protesters could get within 100 meters. The answer was pretty damn close. Then after I got out here, the main paraders started moving, and people packed in behind me, turning my escape into quite a struggle.
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