20 December 2014

Around the Neighbourhood

Just a few pictures from around the neighbourhood. I heard someone had sighted Santa up on the rooftops, so I went up for a look myself.

19 December 2014


I've been working on getting my driver's licence, a long, convoluted process. This is where it is done. I passed the written exam with no trouble, scoring 77 (out of what?). I failed the first course test, which was held on the course seen here, because of a lack of understanding the exam protocols. I passed it on my second try and failed my first road test, mainly because I don't shift into neutral when I'm stopped at a red light (because it's bad on the transmission, bad for fuel efficiency, increases your reaction time, plus introduces the possibility you'll forget to shift back to drive).

15 December 2014

Party 51 Party

After the release of the documentary, the four main bands (Ha Heon-jin, Danpyunsun, Bamseom Pirates, and Yamagata Tweakster) put together a show at a small cafe in Hongdae near the former location of Dooriban. And for some reason it was on a Monday. Still, there were quite a lot of people there.

I decided to stop by the new Dooriban for supper first, and when I walked in wearing my construction worker's jacket, Ahn Jongnyeo looked alarmed. Probably not the best place to wear that jacket.

15 December 2014


It snowed again, so I went out during the worst of it to get more pictures.

13 December 2014

Kingston Rudieska CD Release

Kingston Rudieska released a double album at a show on Saaturday. It was held in MUV Hall, which I previously had been to for another reggae show. That time it was not a very nice place, and I saw staff mistreating JoshRoy's manager during his set, but this time around I didn't see anything going wrong. The show was overall very good, with Kingston Rudieska doing two sets with a ton of guest musicians stretching back to the early days of the band.

13 December 2014


Scaffolding went up over the wall of Changdeokgung so that workers could cut down branches. And so that I could practice trespassing on royal property.

12 December 2014

Woodstock Show

On Wednesday night after I'd already gathered up and promoted the weekend's shows, I got another invite for a show at Woodstock in Itaewon. This one was put on by Amy from S-Gerat, and one of the bands was Sato Yukie and Tyler Brown, so I decided to give it a try. I'd been having trouble getting in touch with Amy about doing an article for the zine, so I tried meeting up with her in person. As you can see in the pictures, it was a pretty weird show with plastic bags and gold glitter and a lukewarm audience drinking in a scummy dive bar.

11 December 2014

Party 51 Opening

If you ever went to Duriban around 2010/11, you should probably watch this documentary to see if you're in it. Every time I went there, I could see Jung Yong-taek running around with his video camera recording everything. Turns out, he finally did something with all that footage. Party 51 is a passionate film with a strong narrative arc from start to finish. Even if you disagree with the politics, you will probably never see a better film about Korean underground music.

For now, I'm saving my thoughts for the next issue of Broke, which should be released around Christmas. But go see this movie. Information about screenings all across Korea is here. Unfortunately there are no English subtitles yet, but there eventually will be. I saw it twice -- once on a computer screen with subtitles, and once in the theater in Korean only -- and it should be everyone's priority to see it on the big screen, which brings you right into Duriban up close with the Jarip guys.

9 December 2014


The strays in the area around my work have been getting a bit more desperate and a bit more bold, sitting outside this side door looking for any heat source or students willing to pity them with food. I took a few pictures in order to get closer to them. My tongsis came in very useful, allowing me to get real closeup video of them without being scratched. Well, these are with my DSLR.

7 December 2014

Santa Claus Conquers the Koreans

Santa was a bit too late to this neighbourhood to give presents to all the little boys and girls.

6 December 2014

Don't They Know it's Christmas?

Santa stopped in at AA Studios where there were two shows in one night. Unfortunately a good new venue was too large to fit in his sack, so we must wait and hope.

6 December 2014

Santa Claus Conquers the Koreans

Santa returns again this year, scouting out Korea due to the logistics of all the rooftops.

3 December 2014

First Snow

As I remarked a couple days earlier, snow is a lot like tornados. If it doesnt actually touch down on the ground it isnt really happening. It finally touched down on December 3. When I opened my window in the morning for Millie to take her perch, we were greeted with a thin blanket of snow over all the roofs.

I rushed to work and spent the morning wandering around campus taking snow pictures.

1 December 2014

Hamilton Hotel

I was surprised to see that the Hamilton is closed for extensive remodeling. Considering the Seokyo Hotel is currently being torn down, we're losing a lot of old hotels from a similar era all at once. It's kind of a major landmark of Itaewon. But then again, do you expect anyone to care when nothing was said about Yongsan Electronics Market being demolished or a sizeable corner of Insadong getting destroyed?

30 November 2014

Ska 4 Ensemble

After the penthouse party, I went to All That Jazz in Itaewon to see Ska 4 Ensemble, a new group that seems to be a side project for the jazzier members of Kingston Rudieska. Despite the name, it seems like they're more of a quintet, with frequent sixth and seventh collaborators. They did two sets, the second one with Danish reggae singer Philip Knudsen. I might still upload a couple videos from that performance if they are good enough quality.

30 November 2014

Penthouse Party

Dear Penthouse,
I never thought this would happen to me, but I
was invited to a get-together at a riverfront penthouse that a friend was housesitting at. It had a good view overlooking the river and a giant white dog. I spent a lot of time out on the ledge until my pants were soaked from the earlier rain. Anyway, this is what I saw up there.

29 November 2014

Totoro's Neighbourhood

I went back again to reshoot some things in Totoro's Neighbourhood, mainly Totoro himself. We also were surprised by a very large cat and found some wheatpastings that weren't there the week before.

28 November 2014 2014

American Thanksgiving

Jeff and Trash hosted an American Thanksgiving feast at their place. It was somewhat of a potluck, but using military connections we also had turkey, ham, gravy, and pumpkin pie. I made traditional Canadian Kraft Dinner, brought some backup pumpkin mix, and decided to include their cats by bringing some catnip. From now on whenever I'm invited to any kind of potluck at a place with cats, I'm bringing catnip, because it's unlikely anyone else will think of that. Unless they're reading this site.

Anyway, this American holiday was attended only by about four Americans. There were even more Canadians and we had three Europeans as well, not to mention Koreans. The original Thanksgiving was a coming together of white immigrants and Native hosts, and shortly after the immigrants mostly wiped out the locals. Read into that whatever you like.

23 November 2014

Catnip Party

Just a couple pictures of Millie and Buster on the nip.

22 November 2014

Totoro's Neighbourhood

We went hunting for roofwhales in Totoro's Neighbourhood. Well, there's one. There was a lot of other crazy stuff around there as well. It's impossible to see every part of this area. I doubt I'm even getting close. This time I wandered up a completely different street and saw a totally different side of the area.

21 November 2014

Redevelopment around Bukchon

Recently I was kind of surprised by the sudden shrouding of the old mokyoktang on my street. When I moved in, Tyler recognised it from articles online about its old preserved heritage. I've otherwise heard it's old and not so comfortable inside. Anyway, the blankets have gone up and the sign has been taken down. Will it be demolished or gutted and turned into art spaces like its neighbours? We'll see.

16 November 2014

Millie's Birthday Party

I missed Millie's birthday by one day, and she's been quite cranky with me. I brought out the catnip so she could forget about her problems with drugs.

16 November 2014


I met up with Paul and we scouted around a few places and hit a good roof in Hongdae. Also, it appears they're tearing down the Seogyo Hotel, which kind of surprises me.

15 November 2014

Billy Carter at Jogwang

We showed up late, just in time to catch the last of Gonguri and see Billy Carter.

15 November 2014

Abandoned Neighbourhood

Just another trip to a familiar abandoned neighbourhood. Demolition is progressing faster than I expected.

14 November 2014

RASKB Concert

In one week, I went to four RASKB events: I ran into a walking tour led by Peter Bartholomew on Sunday, then I attended a lecture on Tuesday, an excursion planning committee meeting on Wednesday, and this concert on Friday. Also on Saturday I ran into Brother Anthony at a bar after an RASKB colloquium. Is the RASKB turning into a secret society that's stalking me?

10 November 2014

SKKU Uphill

In case you aren't getting sick of pictures of the university, here are a bunch more. These show further up the hill, as well as a visit from Charlotte and a lot of Indonesians.

9 November 2014

RASKB Tour at Unhyeonggung

On an unscheduled walk, I ran into an RASKB walking tour. They were just about to finish, so I was allowed to tag along for a bit. It happened that the last stop was Unhyeonggung, the detached palace just south of where I live. I've looked down on it from roofs and I got a closer look at the renovations to the European-style building there, but it was my first time walking through the older buildings. It turns out Peter Bartholomew was intimately familiar with them and had visited while they were still inhabited.

8 November 2014

Iron Lung at Jogwang Photo Studio

I managed to avoid Hongdae this weekend and still make it to two shows. After the Funkafric show in Insadong, I went back to Jogwang Studio in Chungmuro for a big hardcore show headlined by the American band Iron Lung. It was a pretty intense show and I met quite a lot of people I should've met before.

8 November 2014

Cat Tail

What is Buster up to this time?

7 November 2014

Funkafric Bluestar

Every so often, Lim Ji-hoon of Funkafric Boostdah organises a show at Blue Star, the makgeolli Hanok next to Insadong. I think if they do them too often, there will be too many people. Last one was on Samil and there was a big bar-clearing brawl. This time they played three full sets, mixing in funk, jazz, and reggae/ska, with no unplanned interruptions. The only reason I might say the last show was better was because it was a force of nature seeing they keep on playing without missing the beat while the brawl raged on next to them. Otherwise, this was a fantastic show.

6 November 2014

Seoul Above and Below

I met up with Jessica and hit a few places around Seoul. One of those places was Tyler, and we brought him with us to more places. One thing I especially wanted to figure out was where this video was recorded. Sure enough, it was on a roof I've visited a few times.

3 November 2014

Fall at SKKU

More pictures of leaves on campus. Too lazy to pare down the pictures from this and the previous gallery.

30 October 2014

Halloween at SKKU

Here's a pretty large gallery of pictures from all over campus, ending with a costume party in the old campus. The original plan was to get a bunch of students together and film a Thriller-style video. I didn't have time to stick around for that, but I got lots of pictures of the students interacting with young children on a field trip and the ton of photojournalists who showed up.

26 October 2014

Cousin Visits

I got news that my cousin Elaine was coming to Korea for a few days. Her last time being in Korea was 1996 when she was around 12. Things have changed a bit. I met up with her on Sunday to show her around downtown, and I brought along Nels and his girlfriend Sohhee as well.

25 October 2014

Crying Nut at Club Spot

I took a lot of pictures that night, so here are the ones from Crying Nut's venue-closing set.

25 October 2014

Still Alive: The Death of Club Spot

Well Club Spot is closing down now, and the last show was a Halloween show. Well, there was a hip-hop show the next day, but who cares? I didn't have the chance to photograph all the bands, basically only getting Burning Hepburn, the Geeks, ...Whatever That Means, Skasucks, Pinheads, and one more. Ken was busy with a camera with a ridiculously bright flash setup the whole night, but who's going to take pictures of the Pinheads? That's why I was there.

25 October 2014


My friend Nels recently moved to Korea for a few months. The last time I saw him was 2007 when he visited me in Korea on the way back from a stay in Australia. He's pretty much exactly like I remember him from as far back as I can look.

19 October 2014

Hacking the City Festival

There was another big street festival in Sinchon with some hardcore bands, and I was interested to learn more about the organisers, so I showed up. Turns out I was the only one there not hungover, by the looks of it (well, Shawn and Eshe's daughter probably was sober). I hit some roofs with Paul and found one very good one.

Also, here's a recent article I did introducing 11 young bands. I didn't want to have too many bands so a lot regrettably didn't make the list. I actually had thought Green Flame Boys were on the list until I counted later. I also didn't include Scumraid because I didn't think they had formed in the 2010s. Oh well, in my next Seoul Magazine column, I call them Seoul's loudest band.

18 October 2014


I was told we would have a mandatory hiking day in Gapyeong with all the administrative workers at the university. I decided to spend the night before in Gapyeong to see what it's like at night. All things considered, I would've much preferred to spend the time in Seoul, but oh well, the air was clear and the hike was painless. Other than the huge blister on my right achilles heel caused by the shoes I was gifted by the university.

13 October 2014


Just a few pictures from around work and on my hike home.

12 October 2014


After the event ended, we went up on one of the roofs I'd visited earlier to sit and watch the bridge open, plus take in the second most impressive sunset I've seen this year.

12 October 2014


At around 3, with one hour left before the event ends, we went up and crossed the overpass. It was quite an interesting event, with tons of people walking across as well as several activities set up on the bridge.

12 October 2014

Seoul Station 284

I met up with Charlotte, Jacco, Jaeeun, and Matt at Seoul Station 284. They're having some sort of exhibit in there involving destroyed and found items.

12 October 2014


The overpass next to Seoul Station was shut down temporarily on Sunday for a few hours, allowing pedestrians to walk over and see what it's like up close.

I woke up on Sunday morning to find three separate invites to go. I decided to show up early and hit a few roofs first so I could get a better view of the overpass. These pictures come from three roofs, though one is just the top level of the parking lot for Lotte Mart.

11 October 2014


I spent the weekend hiking up out SKKU's back gate and seeing where the road takes me in the other direction. My dad previously found his way up here, but I took a different road leading down into Seongbuk-dong, a quiet old neighbourhood going through a similar development as it gets quietly discovered by young Koreans who open trendy businesses. I'd previously been driven by here and really wanted to come back to photograph that wall.

8 October 2014

Lunar Eclipse

To celebrate Hangeul Day, the Earth decided to get all up in the Moon's face and have a total lunar eclipse. Not that my camera is particularly useful for shooting that. But it was right out my bedroom window, where Millie and I could comfortably watch it.

7 October 2014


The campus has been a lot louder lately, due to the high number of kids visiting during the day. They're not the younger kindergarteners in Hanbok -- there's an increase in loud grade school kids now.

Anyway, I went looking for somewhere quiet, and I decided to jump a small fence into a little gap buffering the neighbourhood from the back of Changdeokgung. Apparently Sungkyunkwan students have climbed the wall into the palace for centuries, though I have yet to replicate their success.

5 October 2014

Abandoned Stuff

I mentioned recently how there are several brownfield zones in Seoul, one of which is said to house 388,000 cubic meters of industrial waste. Sounds like a fun weekend!

4 October 2014

Fireworks Festival

After last year's fireworks festival proved to be a good way to meet up with some of the other urban explorers of Seoul, I ended up going only with Jessica, the only one able to wake up in time for sunset. This time, we found one really nice roof next to the water, but about an hour before the performance started, everyone was kicked off the roof by residents. I tried another roof nearby, and we got lucky.

3 October 2014

Abandoned Neighbourhood

Walking home one day, I passed by a protester in a traditional costume protesting in front of Hyundai E&C. I first wrote him off as crazy, but some of the words on his sign stuck with me. I came back, talked with him, and got his picture.

He was protesting a redevelopment project in an old area I used to live near. That area in particular inspired a rough saying I have -- if you like a part of Seoul, I give it five years before it's redeveloped. This area was one of the more picturesque parts of the area back when I was living there, and it actually has taken about five years from my moving for it to go. It's still early in the process and it's hard to see from a distance what's going on.

30 September 2014

SKKU Festival

We had a three-day festival at the Seoul campus. The first night, the headliners were Kingston Rudieska, a band I'd always thought would be a good choice to play a campus festival, though this happened without my meddling at all. They also brought along Walter formerly of Stingers ATX and Brian formerly of Aggrolites, the latter who was in Korea to record an album for Kingston Rudieska.

The second night was a hip-hop show, and I showed up with my tripod to get some pictures of the festivities. I was much more interested in the festival than the acts. There was also an opera performance in front of Myeongnyundang, which may have been the first of its kind. The third night was going to feature a K-pop idol group, but the weather wasn't so good so I skipped it.

27 September 2014


Take a wild guess which city I visited with my parents. We initially planned to go to Jeju but were talked out of it due to not having enough time. So I looked at the train map, and decided I'd never gone to Mokpo at the end of the line. So that was where we went.

Mokpo presents itself as a sleepy seaside town with a strong fishing industry. Our first night there, we stayed in a tourist hotel overlooking the sea next to a fish market. We walked around and visited an old neighbourhood that's seen better days. Then, next day we moved to Hadang, a newer urban area "New Town" that actually has a symmetrical layout. It's also the venue for the Mokpo Dancing Sea Fountain, which has shows at 20:00, 20:40, and sometimes 21:20.

Our motel there was cheaper, had more comfortable beds, and a nice roof. The view from my window overlooked the fountain.


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    Copyright Daehanmindecline 2013