So today I finally managed to arrive on time for something! Day 10 in South Korea was a rather uneventful morning at Hanyang, an afternoon spent in Lotte Deparment Store, and an evening talking in Starbucks at Myeongdong. :)
This is a picture that I took of myself that day. I didn't intend to get my fascinating shower/sink contraption in the picture, too, but I'm glad I can share that with my readers in the United States who have probably never seen these. It's basically an open shower connected to the sink (you pull a knob to switch from the sink to the shower). I found it slightly frustrating because: 1. you cannot keep toilet paper in the bathroom 2. you must keep your clothes outside or in a cabinet in the bathroom and 3. if you left the shower head hanging up like it is in the picture, it would spray under a crack in the door and into the entrance way of our dorm, where we would then slip on the water because of our bare feet. Other than that, I really liked this contraption and found it incredibly convenient!
I remember making quite the effort to not be late. I wanted to take my time to walk to the subway (not run) and arrive within ten-minutes of the time I was supposed to be there. I remember repeatedly checking the time on the subway as if watching the clock could make the train go faster and thinking it felt too hot in the train because there were so many people. I was nervous from that point until I returned to Hanyang that evening.
I arrived and let out a sigh of relief when I discovered it was exactly 3 o'clock and Chris wasn't waiting on me. I walked over to a place where I felt I could be easily spottedand waited, looking around and getting aquainted with my surroundings. I had been noticing a theme in Lotte stores at that time-they had display mannaquins wearing bathing suits and Santa Claus Hats, swimming in a pool that had snowflakes falling into it. Here in the entrance, a big sign read 'Summer Christmas' and I realized this comical scene was very similar to our 'Christmas in July' theme here in the United States.
I took pictures because I found this so interesting.
See how interesting? This one has big bubbles in it...
During this time, Chris called me to find out where I was. I was to wait right there, so yay, no chance of getting lost in the giant Lotte Deparment Store! :)
And I think these mannaquins were wearing Santa hats...oh, but look! I didn't get a better picture of my Summer Christmas Friends because someone I recognize has just entered the frame.
The appearance of this handsome guy I met Sunday marked the beginning of my adventure at Lotte Deparment Store. After we exchanged some small talk, he found a map and we decided to go to the S.M. Store because I wanted to find a K-pop CD for one of my friends, and where else would a K-pop fan like me first think of going to in a store that huge?
These were soft balls wedged into spaces in the wall outside the SM store. People could make pictures out of these colored balls. It was really interesting so I took a picture. ^^
He helped me pick out the best album for my friend and then after looking at some of the other artists there, we decided to try and find a used CD store or some kind of thrift music store, because I am cheap and don't care to buy my SHINee albums in shiny packaging. =P We never found the music store, but instead we went to a bookstore. Shelves of manga and manhwa were there! I also found the SHINee album I had tried to buy on Ebay about a year ago without success. I bought it for $13.00 when I would have had to pay $20 online, plus a $6 shipping fee. I was very happy. :)
I had to take pictures of all the titles in Korean. It was a blast from the past to be in a store that had comic books again-it had been a year since I had visited a bookstore that sells manga.
We began talking about which ones we had read.I was surprised he knew titles like Kimi Ni Todoke and D.Gray-man, mangas/animes that most of my friends had never heard of. He introduced me to a series called 'Bakuman' that I had heard of before but never found interest in. The men that created it are the same ones who made Death Note, and I haven't watched a thriller anime in years. I assumed this manga would be the same. I was wrong; it's actually about an artist and a writer who decide to make their own manga-an autobiography of the authors in a way. In the words of a Wikipedia article-
The plot begins when Moritaka Mashiro, a junior high student, forgets his notebook in class. His classmate, Akito Takagi, notes Mashiro's drawings in it and asks him to become a artist to his stories. Mashiro declines, citing his late uncle, a , who . Takagi incites Mashiro to meet with Miho Azuki, Mashiro's crush, and tells her the two plan to become manga artists. In response, Azuki reveals her plans to be a . Mashiro proposes to her that they should both marry when Azuki becomes a voice actress for the adaptation of their manga. The two then start creating their manga, under the pen name Muto Ashirogi, in hopes of getting serialized in Weekly Sh nen Jump.
He explained it in quite a bit of detail to me, making me want to buy it as soon as possible to know more about the intriguing cast of characters. Of course, I was taken off guard when it hit me that I could not buy the titles there since they were all printed in Korean!
One thing that surprised me is that in Korea, they shrink wrap all of the manga volumes, meaning you can't open them until you buy them. I think the reason they do this is because you can read comic books at comic book renting shops, so there's really no need for you to be browsing through the books, I guess.
By that time the movie was about to show and so we left for the theatre.
And then there was the theatre!
I'm sure my friends might be curious about Snowpiercer by now. It's supposed to come out in the U.S. this winter, but everything is undecided yet.
So until then, here is a trailer for all of you to get a taste of this film.
When we entered the theatre, the tickets had our seat numbers on them. This is very different from my small town theatre. Even more fascinating to me was that after the movie started, I discovered that the seats vibrated with the sound effects of the train on the tracks and the guns being shot. The only uncomfortable thing about this was that it made the movie more vivid-and I'll admit, it was intense and violent even for my taste. This is coming from the girl who watches an autopsy on God's Quiz while eating supper. Yep. At a certain stabbing scene I even had to ask him to tell me when the scene would be over because I just couldn't take watching a knife go through someone's palm.
He told me that his brother and father had seen it before him and told him it was good. I told him my brother and father would probably like the communist regime refrences. Then we unanimously agreed it was exhausting and didn't mention it again. XD Those who like thrillers and war films would like it, so I keep telling my brother he needs to go see it when it comes to theatres here.
We ate at a Japanese restaurant he said he frequented while in Korea. I loved the atmosphere of the inside of the restaurant. The food was delicious, however, I accidentally ate a takoyaki ball that hadn't cooled down yet. I burnt my mouth so badly I thought I would cry. Looking back I laugh every time I think about it because two days afterwards I could eat incredibly spicy food and not notice because every spicy-receptor taste bud on my tongue was burnt off. XD I was also able to try all of the food he ordered because we shared the dishes amongst us. He thought it was weird for an American to be so willing to eat after other people.
Takoyaki is made with wheat flour,filled with squid, onions, tempura scraps, and picked ginger, and is covered with takoyaki sauce, mayonaise, and bonito flakes. Yummy, but also VERY HOT! Hahahahaha
We went to Starbucks after dinner. It was the first time I've ever ordered something in Starbucks-I got a lavender tea latte. I haven't heard of tea lattes in Starbucks here in the U.S., and even if we have them, I wonder if we have lavender? Anyway, the tea was very good and the conversation was even better! We talked about our families and music interests (which are remarkably similar). I felt thankful then. I had hoped the day would end quickly earlier that morning, but now I wished I had a few more days to just go places and spend time like this.
I was rather curious about Korean theatres when I first agreed to go see the movie, but afterwards I didn't care that much about it anymore. It was a lot like theatres here in the United States (minus the vibrating! talk about interractive!). No, instead, I think it was a great cultural experience on a more personal level. I got to meet a new Korean friend.
I look back on it and I realize I'm so thankful Chris stopped me to say hello that Sunday. It was wonderful, slowly getting to know an almost complete stranger. It was also heartbreaking, because two days later, the magic was going to come to an end for me, and I was going to board a plane and leave South Korea.