Nicole and myself were able to get over to South Korea last month to check out Seoul Fashion Week. I was there for a total of three weeks while Nicole joined me for just one. Needless to say, the trip was an all-around blast. Seoul Fashion Week produced some great things and it was interesting to see what is going on over there. It was Nicole's first time to visit the country and I had a lot of fun dragging her around.
Somehow the trip ended with very few fashion-related photos being taken, but we definitely covered everything else!
During the Japanese occupation the city was largely made up of Japanese settlers and a lot of old colonial-era architecture remains throughout the city in varying states.
Dongguk Temple in Gunsan was founded by Japanese Buddhist monks in 1913. It is now one of very few colonial-era Buddhist temples still standing and the only one still actually operating as a Buddhist temple.
Back up in Seoul, it was time for the monthly experimental music/art event Bulgasari. Started in 2003 by a South Korea-based Japanese musician, Sato Yukie, Bulgasari is held on the last Sunday of every month at a great art gallery in the Hapjeong neighborhood called Yogiga. It features an always rotating international cast of musicians, dancers, and artists who come and go through the city. Above is a butoh performance by Korean dancer Ramoo Hong.
Yogiga owner Han Joo Lee and Bulgasari founder Sato Yukie.
Nicole arrived the following day and our mission was to get her away from the business district and up north to Insadong, a popular historic neighborhood, for dinner.
The surface of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, built where Dongdaemun Stadium used to be.
Haetae, a fire-eating dog who protects against disaster, made from recycled bottles. Around Dongdaemun History & Culture Park.
An Uzbek feast in the Central Asian pocket of the Dongdaemun area.
Exploring the junk shops around Jungang Market in the Sindang neighborhood.
What a coat.
In front of the main Seoul Fashion Week event center
Bibimbap in the peaceful Samcheong neighborhood.
At Gomdabang coffee shop in the Hongdae area.
For Nicole's last night we went to the cavernous bar Obeg in the Hongdae area to see a benefit concert for Japan. Performing were a number of Japanese and Korean musicians, including Sato Yukie and reggae band Windy City.
One of the Japanese musicians playing outside during the post-show dinner.
After the post-show dinner we were off to the office of KoPAS (Korean Performance Art Spirit), one of the great performance art collectives in Korea, for a party celebrating leaving their current office for a new space.
Sato Yukie performing at KoPAS office with percussive assistance from Korean female folk trio Tamyo.
Then Nicole was back to her hotel and the next day to Seattle.
The sprawling city from my favorite view spot.
Towards the end of my trip I spent two nights in Taebaek City, a city once famous for its coal mining industry. The area is well known for its extreme winters and, despite the warming temperatures, there were still patches of ice and snow all over.
Seonjiguk for breakfast.
Cheoram City, east of Taebaek City. Despite the city itself fading, a coal mine continues to operate.
A scenic view southwest of Taebaek City.
Taebaek Coal Museum
Soon after this I was back to Seoul and then home to America.