Friday, 18 July 2008

Like Japan? Yep, a bit. But no.

I'm currently listening to TMS, eating Marmite on toast. Only when I look outside and notice that it's dark and there are Koreans everywhere do I realise I'm actually not in England. I had kimbap for dinner too. You don't get that in East Anglia, no.

Kimbap. It's sushi, but it's not. If you've been keeping up to date with the Asia-Pacific region news in the last week or so - and if not why not? - you will know that Korea-Japan international relations are, and have been since the bloody bastards occupied us, shit. So elements of Japanese culture, despite being prevalent here, are kind of disguised... Koreafied. Kimbap for one, and also the aforementioned Noraebang. Singing Room: it's Karaoke, but it's private. Even I've been known to belt out several tunes a night, safe in the knowledge that my hideous ululations will be heard by nobody but the few people I know, and who I know are as drunk as me. They're open 24 hours too. Ever get the normally unquenchable urge to sing Eleanor Rigby in a small dark room into an echoy microphone, and then get percentage score for your efforts, at 5am in the morning? Come to Korea.

There's a Noraebang in the basement of our school building, so obviously whatever time of the day I walk past the stairwell I can hear the offensively loud K-pop that is played to entice people in. What's disturbing is that since I arrived on the 30th of June - that's getting on for three weeks ago - the same song has been played, on a loop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or at least whenever I've been past. It poses several questions about the psychological state of the people that work there... Does the Clockwork Orange's Ludovico Technique not spring to mind? If you heard the song you'd agree: it's pretty horrific. If you heard the song more than ten times, you'd be dashing your brains out on the steps. A ten hour shift, six days a week? Hmm.

I was going to post some pictures today - I went to Dongdaemun market this morning - but my camera didn't work. I guess the battery is empty. I hope that's the problem. So apologies for the blocks of faceless text. I'm going places this weekend, so will provide photography. If I can't fix it, I will draw what I see.


Chi-Hé said...

hehe, I like the way you've been here 3 weeks and you're already referring to Korea as 'us' :)

Michael said...

Too right. you know I said after a week of being here it felt like a month? well it now feels like I've been here forever. but in a generally good way!