Tag Archives: Seoul

차 : cha : tea : Tee

Thinking about Korean tea lately. Remembering all the time I spent in the teahouses in Insadong – a favorite neighborhood in Seoul – on the weekends, lounging over a cup of tea and the Korean alphabet. My three favorites were quince, jujube, and plum tea. Always served in a beautiful, earthy cup with a small wooden spoon.

Although I traveled around much of the country, I never made it to famous green tea fields. However, I did learn how to perform a Korean tea ceremony, an elaborate ritual with specific equipment and certain gestures and moments for each part of the performance. The ritual of drinking tea was always best when served with delicate rice cakes, pictured below.

(image above via, image below via, last image via)

Perhaps It Was a Late Summer 아마 늦은 여름이었을거야

Perhaps It Was a Late Summer (아마 늦은 여름이었을거야) is a zine of photography from Seoul made by Satu Palander. View on blurb (via thank you, ok).

Memories of Seoul

All this talk of South Korea lately had me sifting through my photo archive today. A colleague headed there over the weekend and, having lived in Seoul for a year, I was called on to give my advice on all that is Korean. Rusty as my knowledge is, I was also proud that I could remember how to navigate from Gyeongbokgung palace to Jogyesa temple, where to find green tea ice cream, how to say basic phrases, and why sundubu jjigae is the best.

Above: A small alleyway in Insadong. Below: Colorful lanterns in celebration of Buddha’s birthday; rocking in Hongdae; dining on curious cuisine on the islands; a rock star and a monk; and looking over Oido.

A World Cup weekend

The World Cup is off to a great start and South Korea has probably been my favorite so far. In 2006 I was watching in Seoul and couldn’t believe the enthusiasm of the Korean fans, crowded onto the streets to watch the matches and celebrate together. They were probably quite happy about the great start yesterday, visualized above by The Guardian’s Twitter replay, which shows the reactions on Twitter for each game (via Ardy)

I celebrated the kick off to the 2010 tournament in Amsterdam at the Tropenmuseum, along with the opening of the exhibition Africa Scores!

Germany plays today and I will be cheering along. Unfortunately Biergarten Die Heimat, which hosted fantastic screenings for the 2008 European Cup, is no longer open. Two nice alternatives are Biergarten De Goede Hoop and Trouw. Viel Glück Deutschland!

Viva la Kunst


As I prepare to head to Berlin on Wednesday, I thought I would resurrect one of my great life mysteries. While I was living in Seoul, I spent a lot of time in Hongdae, an artsy neighborhood in the north with some of the best graffiti in the city. I spotted the above work one day, thought it was interesting, and snapped a photo.

Two years later, while in Berlin, I saw the exact same work in Kreuzberg. I did a double take then and there. When I returned to Amsterdam, I tried to find out who was behind the graffiti, but without luck. Deciding, a few more years later, to make one more attempt, I came across this Gridskipper article today discussing the street art in Berlin. Last on the list of prominent Berlin graffiti artists was SP38 and an almost identical image. Mystery solved!

He’s apparently French born, living in Berlin, and has apparently been in Seoul at least once. Although his website is down, you can see more of his work on Flickr. See you in a few days Berlin!

Missing Artist


Every Saturday in Seoul, when I was living there at least, there was an artist’s market in Hongdae where the students from Hongik University would drag their latest creations to the street corners and put them up for sale. In this creative hub, I came across Keiichil who had an extensive collection of sketches and drawings featuring a sole angel shrouded in a black veil. Doing my part to support the apprehensive Korean art scene, I frequented Keiichil’s collection over the period of a few months and sent black angel-etched journals and prints, along with other finds, to friends in other parts of the world. A few years later, as I realize his email is unsurprisingly outdated, I wonder if this emerging Korean artist still exploring the angel motif on the streets of Hongdae?


Books in Insadong

books ad infinitum

A few years ago, while living in Seoul, I spent many Sunday afternoons in Insadong, an artsy Korean neighborhood filled with teahouses, art boutiques, a green tea ice cream shop, and several book shops. This one was my favorite, filled to the brim with books stacked in every free space. Today, a rainy Sunday in Amsterdam, I’d like to be in Insadong and stroll the streets. I’d get a cup of plum tea then go to this book shop and run my fingers over the books to disturb the inevitable layer of fine dust.