I have been flying to South Korea for 13 years, and yet I wrote only two blog posts about it: one about the racoon cafe in Busan and one about cherry time. To me, this place is something very casual, very homelike, very laid back, – somewhere I always come on holidays and have undivided attention of my parents and a cat (cat’s attention I never get, but that’s life). My packing to South Korea is two pairs of shorts, a swimming suit, three T-shirts, flip flops and gifts to Mus and Dad. (On my way back, I fill the suitcase with Korean cosmetics.) Recently I am not even taking my Canon with me, unless Mom and I are making a sweet detour somewhere else, like we did to Bali, and travelling light with my street camera, Fuji X-T2.
So today I want to show this country like I see and love it: no postcard views of the temples (which are gorgeous, by the way), no ultimate Instagram material of the cherry blossom.
South Korea is a country that changes every year, and changes A LOT. Every year new skyscrapers grow from nowhere, each time aiming for new heights and more glass, every year there is a new shopping moll. And now, more and more often, a new park opens in the middle of a city or even on its outskirts. Parents (Dad, actually) always push me out of the house, reasoning that I did not fly through half the globe to sit at home, chase the cat and watch movies (even though many time I flew across half the globe for less important reasons). So every weekend is a discovery time. This time we went to visit an ecological park in the middle of nowhere, between the cities, huge and full of sun flowers.
And, of course, in our family it means PHOTOS.
Not only in our family: Koreans are obsessed with taking photos, selfies especially. It is the country of social media, all kinds of screens in all possible places, fiber networks which are often unencrypted and high-end photography toys (from normally disliked Japan).
No street photography in Korea can do without small Korean dogs.
If you have ever wondered where my passion for photography is coming from.
So two very Korean things you have already seen are selfies and small dogs. What else is fundamental to Korean life? Shopping! Shopping is more than a recreation here, it is a hobby and a lifestyle. Shops know that, create it, foster it and cater to the crowds flocking in. Kids are somewhat sacred in Korea, and of course they have their own place in the paradise.
Back to the topic of small dogs. Small dogs in Korea have their own shops, with toys, accessories and divine pieces of clothing. And you taking their pictures makes the owner very, very proud. He would even engage with the dog to make sure it is looking in the right direction.
“Mom’s touch”: a cute example of Korean advertising thought. Many ads here are like that, straightforward and appealing to the fundamentals.
And, sure, HelloKitty! In general, many road sings in Korea (and many printed signs, for this matter) are made is a form of cartoon animals in bright colours.
Cat cafe in Busan: not only racoons are here to play with when taking coffee.
A vending machine with white bunnies! In case you forgot yours today.
Busan is a (relatively) old Korean city. As cars Korean cars get bigger and bigger, the cities’ street stay the same. Sometimes passing along the street can become a challenging, let alone parking! A solution (and a small business) is something like a tower with rotating floors inside. You leave the car at the bottom for a relatively small fees (competition between the parking towers is high) and get it at the bottom when you come back. No suffering induced by self-parking like in the German duplex parking!
That’s my first post about day-to-day like in South Korea, typical things I see there. Did you like it? Coming next: Korean food markets and road side cafes.