Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chapter Four: In Which Things Get (Stereotypically) Asian

In this chapter, I introduce you to some things that are humorously and stereotypically Asian. I hope to be lighthearted and inoffensive. We start with: Hello Kitty. Of course, Korea cannot compete with Japan in the Hello Kitty department, but they have their fair share. Above is exhibit A: the Sanrio store. I know, I know, "We have one in New York!" But downtown Daegu is no Times Square. It's small, with lots of food and shops where people might actually buy things. All of my students seem to have one school supply that is Hello Kitty, boys and girls.

Exhibit B: The Hello Kitty Moped. Now, I recall that in Noho there was somebody with Hello Kitty stickers on their moped too. But is it just me, or is Hello Kitty actually the brand of this moped? The sticker is in the right place and I saw no other names on it.

Just another shot of downtown. I hope to do a whole downtown themed post, but Nicole and Arthur seem to get embarassed when I take photographs around them. The problem with this blog is that I always look like such a tourist with my camera out; I tell myself it's for journalistic purposes.

Your typical subway station, or so it appears. Maybe a bit extra clean, but not altogether abnormal for a subway station.

Until you realize that it's a subway station mall! Shops everywhere! It's nice because there's no street noise and no city smell. Did I mention Daegu has open sewers? You try to ignore it, but a lot of times the streets just smell like a cesspool. Above you will see what I refer to as a "cellphone cafe." The shops here are very strange. There are counters, but also tables. It appears that you pick your cellphone and they come serve it to you. I'm sure this isn't actually what happens, but it still looks funny. Again, there is an entire street above ground with a good 50 or so cellphone cafes. Another day!

More subway mall.

A genuine Asian photobooth place! I want to go in so badly, but it's not a thing you can do by yourself, really. I'm not sure I could convince any of the other teachers to humor me. You can barely see, but there are wigs for you to wear in the photo booths.

And a gaming place! This card gaming place was next door to the video gaming place. I don't think it needs further description or explanation.

And boy howdy do I love me some plastic framed glasses. But not as much as Koreans. They have the best, most fashionable glasses I have ever seen. More than Lens Crafters could ever dream of! There are about 7 glasses shops in a row, all with amazing choices.

And the typical strange use of the English language. Moon country. Country on the moon? Country of moons? Who knows, but would you guess that they sell kitschy painted garden things like your grandpa would make?

Can start dream. Do it. Start your dreams. Another thing I hope to create a whole post of, amazing English t-shirts.

Last but not least on the list of stereotypically Asian things: cute characters! I have no idea what this ad is for, but I want some, how about you?

That's right, folks, this guy is the mascot of the Sea Explorers of Korea. It appears to be a Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts kind of thing. Except, with a cute cartoon mascot.

Please comment or e-mail me and tell me what you want to know! I plan on posting Wednesdays and Saturdays (or at least once a week). This gives me a surprising number of posts before I leave. I want everyone to feel like they're on this journey with me. What do you wonder about? What do you want to see?


  1. Haha, that guy in the subway picture is looking at the camera like "ahhh!".

    Also, I want to see me any weird food you come across. Because I apparently have an obsession with food.

  2. I don't get Hello Kitty at all. Much like how I don't understand the notion of the chia pet.

    the subway mall, between the shops and the pristine-ness of it just reminded me of airport terminals with duty free shopping, lots of lights and everything being really really clean. Like, lick-the-floor clean