It's amazing how removed I've been from all the recent political activity in Seoul.
Not a single person (MC and my parents excluded) in the US has asked me about the beef issue, nor the protests, which leads to the assumption that most Americans (or to more accurately put it, my friends, haha) aren't very aware of, or don't care about the issue. But it's exploded into quite an ordeal over here.
If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, you can get a quick rundown from the NYT here: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/06/10/world/0610-KOREA_index.html
After a night of eating and shopping around Myeongdong (명동), I made my way back to the subway station and ran into this:
It was the first time I'd seen one of these demonstrations in person.
I'll stay away from any political commentary (you can read about it from more informed sources elsewhere) and move onto what we had for dinner. This, I'm good at. Eating, that is.
Jjim dak (찜닭) is a marinated chicken dish with veggies and noodles in a spicy broth... emphasis on the (unassuming) spicy! I was actually hoping to find "the kong gooksoo place" that my family and I ate at last September, but gave up, only to later realize it was but 2 doors down from the chicken place!
Ironic. This happened a second time, when we were searching for "the really tall soft serve ice cream cones." We gave up, settled on gelato from Gustimo, and realized... of course, 2 doors down... I guess the moral of the story is... patience... determination? Or perhaps, "Learn where you're going."
On a separate note, I took a mini trip to Ichon-dong (이촌동) today, after having heard of a "Little Tokyo" in Seoul. My mission was to find teriyaki seasoned nori from one of the Japanese supermarkets. Unfortunately it was nowhere to be found, and you can pretty much find the same Japanese products in the import section from Lotte Dept. Store in Myeongdong. "Little Tokyo" was a little disappointing in the sense that, it didn't seem particularly Japanese to me - though I'm still not sure if I missed something? Perhaps a hidden street? I did, however, notice quite a few cute cafes and bakeries that I'd love to revisit one day. Ichondong (Subway Line 4, Exit 3 or 3-1) itself was quiet, residential (filled with apartments overlooking the Han River), and had a unique charm to it - for some reason, it personally reminded me of morning strolls in the Richmond (SF).
Strangely, I did run into a shop that sold CHEETOS PUFFS (excitement!) but refrained from purchase, mostly because I didn't feel like carrying it around the city all day. I was also impressed to find a GNC Store and small organic market on the street. But look what else I found!
Oh, Boston... I miss you. Sometimes. : )