Somehow, I managed to fit in another trip in what is turning out to be a summer unlike any other. Every time I’ve said, well this is my last trip or time in my life where I’ll have this opportunity to travel, I manage to go on yet another one. This time, I was with my good friend Claire, and we spent a week exploring Seoul. I’m so thankful that she convinced me to come and expertly, lovingly, and intentionally showed me around her beloved city. Since coming back home, I’ve described Seoul and South Korea as plenty of things, as New York but better, New York on steroids, and an amusement park of a city. It was my first time venturing to Asia and as expected, it blew my mind in more ways than one.
The following are some reflections from my observations from the past week:
The cuteness factor
“French” cafes that are actually just Korean
Spoons, tongs, chopsticks, and scissors are always set on the table or hidden in a table drawer
The skincare empire. How there is actually a skincare store at every corner.
Complete, integrative, and truly innovative marketing
Concept and flagship stores
The strategic use of English
The ice cream that is more ice than cream
Handing off and receiving items with two hands
Characters (kakoa and line) everywhere and how they came in every kind of product you could hope for. Towels, contact cases, and mug toppers
The dense humidity (and how it was the hottest summer ever…)
The 2018 Winter Olympics igloo stations that are situated on the river on 90+ degree days
chung-ui = loyalty
Not a lot of trashcans but overall clean streets, plus more specific recycling bins
Couple culture and completely matching outfits
Hand fans in different animal shapes
Cafe / green tea culture
Chicken and beer places
Beer + soju
Department stores closed on Mondays
Adorable packaging and branding that made me want to buy more
No “mom and pop shops” just very commercialized chains
How Seoul is truly commercialization and capitalism to the max
The 2 year draft for men
The song that played when the train arrives and leaves. The general cleanliness, safety, and efficiency of the trains. The labelled exits! So you can meet your friends at an exit versus just guessing where to exit from.
The color coordinated buses with the round and well-thought out routes.
The riverside campsites with delivery service.
The best food ever period. The side dishes and variation in kimchi.
The 100 floor mall that was overwhelming in more ways than one. How carefully it was designed with it’s skincare, cafe, restaurant walks. The different parts of the mall that were themed seasonally.
Animal cafes–sheep and meerkats and arctic foxes!
McDonalds and Burger King motorcycle delivery services
How American brands strategically rebrand so they can be more expensive/high-end
The quick turnover of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores..