Saturday, December 19, 2009

Episode 41: In Which DFM Get's Dong-shimed, And Sees A Man Climbing A Building

On Thursday I thought I'd try to get a few last pictures in with the children before I have to say good-bye. While technically my last day is this upcoming Tuesday, I wasn't sure if there'd be time to take any pictures after today, since there is apparently a singing "festival" planned (everything's a festival at this school). So, without further ado, let's see how some of the Korean Cop regulars are doing, and also some new faces.

(MandDFM once told me that he's never seen kids look more happy to be at school than the kids at this one. I'm inclined to agree.)

(Poor Denny has his "V" the wrong way. I hope he hasn't unwittingly given me a rude gesture.)

(Daisy: always in good spirits.)

(Here's Yu-jeong and Ji-hee, from Monday. Thanks to the new reflective strips on the PE uniforms, if there's ever a car driving around inside the school these two will be okay.)

(A new student, Yu-jin - pronounced Eugene. Sweet girl, but she may want to change that name if she comes to Canada.)

(Min-seo, on the left, and Ji-hee again.)

(I used to wonder why the teachers were constantly tucking all the kids' shirts in... now I know. Thomas, how are you ever going to be able to work 12 hours a day for a top Korean company looking like that? Solid "V" though. You should go teach Denny how it's done.)

(So-yoon: A wolf in sheep's clothing if I ever saw one. She looks sweet enough, but if you turn your back for a second she'll try to "dong-shim" you with her head! She also once pulled my ear so hard she tore it open.)

(As dangerous to my personal safety as she may be, So-yoon sure is a great drawer, and she's super smart. Take a closer look at this picture - by clicking on it - and consider that she's only five years old. The princess is even winking!)

(Speaking of smart five year olds, here's Se-eun showing off her colouring. While it may not seem like much, she managed to write "kick" all by herself. I've known five year olds in Canada who can't write their own names.)

(Balance Boy is looking a little blurry, but happy as ever - I turned the flash off, so the image stabilizer on my camera had to work overtime under the dim fluorescent lights.)

(Seo-hyeun and Deborah working on a birthday card for Sticker Girl. Deborah isn't a made up "English name." Her parents were following a recent trend of legally giving their Korean child an English name to give her an "advantage." Supposedly top Korean companies will be more likely to hire her when she's older now, because they will think she can speak English more fluently than another applicant with a Korean name.)

(You thought I'd forgotten about Louis, hadn't you? Nope, he's still just as fond of getting his picture taken as ever, whether I'm trying to take a picture of him or not. Here he popped his head in front of my camera just as I was about to take a picture of the other children singing.)

(Time to say good bye. While I'm still anxiously awaiting my destiny to reveal itself, at least I don't have to wait for my mom any more like Se-eun.)

* * * * *

After school, Elise and I went to Myeong-dong. Myeung-dong is billed as a tourist point of interest, but I never had much interest to visit there before now. I wish I had. On this day Elise had to buy some shoes there, but I decided to tag along because I wanted to find a special t-shirt.

When I first planned to come to Seoul, I expected a modern city full of bright lights and shiny looking apartment buildings (something like what I imagine Tokyo to be). However, as I've mentioned periodically in the past, Seoul is just a collection of grey buildings built in the '60s (the decade where architecture goes to die). Myeong-dong is the small pocket of "modern Seoul" I thought I'd be surrounded by before I came here.

Myeong-dong is essentially a large shopping district. It has some of the most expensive rent prices in the world, and so essentially the only stores you see here are popular brand name stores.

One of advantage of only having expensive name brand stores here is interesting architecture. The most impressive store I found (although I'm sure others existed) was the Adidas Store. At night, this black store, with windows that look white from the interior lighting, stands out rather impressively. On the front of the store is a giant video screen about 10 metres tall that runs Adidas ads.

While I didn't get a picture of the Adidas Store, I ran across quite a site that I did manage to capture. Below, you can see The North Face store.

(Seems harmless enough until you see that, woah, there's a giant man climbing on the side of the building!)

(Take an even closer look and you'll that he's actually part of a fairly clever advertisement.)

As I mentioned earlier though, I didn't just come here to look at buildings. I really came to find a BANC store. I wrote in another post that I found one of these elusive stores in Hongdae, but when I went there last week to meet Scarlett it had closed. The search is over now though, as Elise finally helped me find a location still open.

(Look at the tiny sign, dwarfed by the sign for the store above it. Even when you find the store they want to try and hide it from you, which is probably why the stores are going out of business.)

BANC is a Korean clothing brand that caught my notice some time ago when I saw Seong-mok's friend Woojin wearing a t-shirt with an interesting looking Lego man type character on the front (Seong-mok, as I've recently been informed, is the actual name of the man I've been calling Seong-bok all this time). This is BANC's trademark, and they refer to him as a "block man." Typically the character will be a funny, original design, like a hipster character or a basketball player, but my favourite shirts are those that feature more famous block-men designs.

(Plagarism in Korea is rampant, so I wouldn't be surprised if BANC had not purchased the rights to the images of these characters.)

In case your wondering, yes I did buy two, usually overpriced shirts, but there was a large sale on and I ended up essentially getting both of them for less than the price of one normal shirt. DFM scores again.


  1. Pffft.

    Everyone knows the 70s were the decade of architectural failure.

  2. Yes, how could I have made such a blunder? My whole article has lost credibility now, possibly even the entire blog.