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Notebook on Cities and Culture’s Korea Tour: Humans of Seoul with Keith Kim

keith kimNotebook on Cities and Culture‘s Korea Tour is brought to you by Daniel Murphy, David Hayes, and The Polar Intertia Journal, an outlet for artists and researchers documenting the urban condition.

‘In Seoul’s Hongdae district, Colin talks with Keith Kim, creator of the travel and culture site Seoulistic. They discuss how Birkenstocks became the dominant Korean trend in the summer of 2014; what a gyopo is, and what it means to live in Korea as one; his ability to present himself as both a Korean and a foreigner; the Korean expectations to which he can least adhere; how little the old and the young understand one another in Korea; how the tattoo and smoking situation has changed in society since he first arrived; what he found when he first visited Korea during the celebratory time of the 2002 World Cup; the difficulty of finding a coffee shop in Apgujeong not attached to a plastic surgery clinic; why Koreans assume certain personality traits correlate with certain facial features; why you can do “Humans of New York”, but you couldn’t do “Humans of Seoul”; the advantages of “not counting” in Korean society; the power of “Korean stink eye”; why he chose to live in Japan as well; the old people who freely touch foreigners on the train; what most clashes with his American side, especially in the realm of dating; what makes more sense in Korean society than in American; the varying attitudes toward parental wisdom in Korea and America; how a foreigner can know Seoul better than a Korean; what foreigners tend to do wrong in Korea; the difference between American and Korean suburbs; why he wants a back yard; the death of “the American dream,” and why his Korean-born Americanized dad wants to return to Korea from his own; his desire to live in Thailand; the single idea of beauty that has taken hold in Korea, and why the population may, ultimately, just want to look the same; his coterie of “international people” in Seoul, and how much they usually like the city; the Korean demand for opinions; how to avoid becoming a bitter expat in Seoul; why he folds his clothes like a Japanese housewife; and whether he’d base himself in New York, Seoul or Tokyo if he had to choose right now.

Download the interview here as an MP3 or on iTunes.

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