Sunday, June 26, 2011

HomePlus virtual stores in Seoul subway : from your smartphone to Cannes festival screens

Cheil Worldwide won the Media Grand Prix at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival of Creativity for its amazing HomePlus campaign in Seoul subway, three years after claiming a bronze award for an outdoor advertising campaign "Plus to your life - HomePlus" with the same customer (Samsung Tesco).

Pushing to new levels the now decade-old barcode mobile advertising concept, "Homeplus Subway Virtual Store" transforms a subway station into a replica of supermarket where commuters can register and order online with their smartphones. This is not only spectacular and smart, but efficient : the number of subscribers and the turnover skyrocketed, helping the retailer overtake Emart as the national leader in online sales :



Of course, you don't want to miss your subway and you won't fill your virtual cart through this sometimes tedious process, but you can just load the first items and quietly finish shopping on the way home.

Expect more of these. I already can see Amazon setting up his own virtual libraries near rival brick and mortar shops...

Seoul Village 2011 - initially published on mot-bile ("HomePlus subway virtual store - 2011 Cannes Lions")
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

SWW @ Hapjeong Chapter 1 Page A

Seoul Writers have been looking for a new lair to hold their week-end* workshops ever since Hello Beans closed on Itaewon street (a shoe shop replaced our proto literary landmark).

After hopping across Haebangchon area, we've made a quantum leap to Hapjeong and landed on Page A's** welcoming thick wood tables. On this picture, fellow Authors Anonymous working on the prompt of the day, "monsoon story" :



A timely theme : rainy season has just started in Korea, and typhoon Meari is rocking the ROK all over this week-end. Crazily enough, I decided to ride my bike and the tempest to join the party. I made it right before the maximum downpour, only half soaked but as always, happy to meet and share with more gifted colleagues.

Seoul Writers :
seoulwriters.com

Seoul Village 2011
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* the 'every second sunday' dogma doesn't quite fit anymore : specific poetry workshops have been successfully initiated, and fiction workshops are now often organized on Saturdays
** Page A (413-19 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seoul-upon-Han and Yeongguk-dong

Brittons will always excel in at least two areas : humor and gardening. The other evening, during a charming Garden Party at the British Embassy in Jeong-dong, I was admiring the flower beds facing the late XIXth Century residence of the Ambassador, when I noticed two almost identical signs at the feet of a young tree.

On the left one : "this tree was planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999". On the right one : "this tree was replanted by Hong X-X, head gardener, 1986-2011". What could pass for lese majeste (a Korean commoner correcting a Queen's mistake !) is actually a very smart way of honoring the host country and Embassy staff.

Another smart citizen of the United Kingdom was Mr William George Aston, the British Consul-General who purchased in 1884 for a song but with his own money the land where the Embassy would be erected. And with less secular British powers headquartered next door (Bishop John Corfe bought the land six years later for the Anglican church), the whole neighborhood could be named Yeongguk-dong (영국동).

Technically part of Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, this lovely and peaceful spot can be reached from Taepyeongno, through a short street facing the Western side of City Hall, between Deoksugung and Seoul City Council.

The area comprises a rather few but remarkable buildings. If the Ambassador's Residence is hidden by the concrete bulk of the Embassy's main building (there had to be an architectural faux pas somewhere), the Bishop's residence exposes to the public its unique facade : three sections blending British and Korean architectures, surrounding a massive tree and facing the Seoul Anglican Cathedral, a striking display of romanesque style. As a transition between the Bishop's residence and Deoksugung walls, a large hanok, formerly part of the palace, hosts the Anglican church offices. Note that the Cathedral adds, beyond its definitely Mediterranean touch, yet another fusion element to the mix with the almost Byzantine mosaic illuminating its altar.



Few foreign communities contributed so positively to Seoul's skyline : I'd give an A to the Russian Legation (
more than ever an undisputed cultural and historical asset), a D- to the US Embassy (they can't do much worse when they move to Yongsan), and a C+ to the Ambassade de France (where Korean architect Kim Chung-up erected an ambitious yet indigestible Corbusieresque hanok-bunker).

Of course, the longest lasting footprints are the ones Seoul is leaving on us.

But even there, Brits had a head start : the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch (RASKB) has been promoting Korean culture since 1900.

Seoul Village 2011
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Picture : the Cathedral, inaugurated in 1926 by Reverend Mark Napier Trollope (his tomb lies in the middle of the crypt)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seoul-Incheon canal

Since his reelection (see "OH Se-hoon V2.0"), the Mayor of Seoul has been constantly struggling with an opposition-dominated city council*.

The mother of all battles ? School meals : the DP voted to make them free for all elementary school students regardless of familial revenues, but OH wanted a fairer welfare system redistributing more to the poor. Note that in France, political parties opposing free meals for all are generally left leaning, but Korea is obviously a different story. Anyway, to undo the change, the Mayor collected 800,000 signatures from Seoul citizens, well over the 400,000 or so needed. Still, he's now ready to jeopardize his political future in a referendum on the issue.

But officially, OH Se-hoon is less interested in the road to Cheong Wa Dae than in the Seoul-Incheon canal, a new battlefield for which he is even willing to end his boycott of city council meetings.

Officially called Gyeongin Canal, the project connects Incheon with Gimpo, but OH wants boats to continue all the way to Yeouido, where he plans to build a port (bridges also have to be renovated in the process). In his words : the government already set the table, Seoul just has to put its own dishes to enjoy the meal.

What's on the menu ? Among other delicacies, cruise ships loaded with Chinese tourists. Increasingly hopping from hub to hub across the whole region (Incheon, Busan, Fukuoka...), they don't pay hotel rooms, but can be taxed for each night... Freight also represents a big business, and road traffic between the Port of Incheon and the Capital could be considerably reduced.

Incheon (then Jemulpo) was chosen for good reasons : it's the perfect landing spot, and not just for McArthur. If you take a map, the Han river reaches the Yellow Sea near Ganghwa island following a trickier path and furthermore, it is now the frontier with North Korea (these days, you never know who's shooting whom in this area).

You've probably already seen the Gyeongin Canal on the way from or to Incheon Airport : that's the huge construction site parallel to the highway (North). The project was stalled for years but has been revived about two years ago, when the Four Great Rivers project gained momentum. And like with the whole Sa Dae Gang project, the environmental debate is far from over.

But even if this project happens to fold, you can always ride a boat for just KRW 4,000 per hour in the recently inaugurated Seoul Marina. Or join Mangwon Hangang Park by ferry with your bike for just KRW 1,000.

Hey, Hangang Renaissance is not just hype after all.

Seoul Village 2011
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* not always for the worse - I'm glad some of his pet projects were axed : see "
The fastuous and the furious : trimming down Seoul city's most embarrassing projects"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

K-popping bubbles

Pop, that's the sound of a bubble when it bursts. Not your usual, big fat speculative bubble, no : rather the cute, ephemeral, soap edifice of a kid.

But K-pop is not much of a child's play : here, no room for innocence, chance, or unexpected wind twists. In this overformatted industry, creativity only exists in the way products are marketed, with a focus on viral and addictive gimmicks.

In a certain way, K-pop mirrors Korean society in this early IIIrd millenium, but not in its most sustainable aspects : visual and auditive over-stimulations including immediate reward systems, a dystopia founded on extreme competition and superhuman training leading to the negation of nature and systematic plastic surgery, mushrooming virtual communities offering the security of belonging without any ideology-related stress...

Yet, nothing new under the sun. As far as music is concerned, of course, but also regarding the business model : you simply have to adapt classic boy / girl bands recipes, and to progressively inject some of Hollywood majors' tricks to lead a young and docile audience along the slowest and most controled maturation process. SM Entertainment & co plan to alter their product mixes step by step, so that consumers don't churn as they grow older. Longer lasting K-pop groups have already developped embryos of proto-intellectual alibis, illusions of brainwaves because you don't want to believe your favorite singer is "a mental midget with the IQ of a fencepost"*.

Does it sell ? You betcha : as soon as the first contagion signs showed in Europe, K-pop marketers rushed to Paris with their whole Barnum.

Not exactly the kind of cultural bridge I dreamt between Asia's and Europe's heralds of cultural diversity... But I'm getting used to it : a couple of years ago, I was crucified by Uzbek or Japanese Bae Yong-joon fans because I deplored the way 'dramas' were promoted overseas, or the vacuity of Yonsamania (sorry but Korea shouldn't be summed up in that Hallyuwoodian caricature of Michael Jackson).

Hopefully, theses fads won't last. And at least, something positive can even grow from them : the most daring fans will reach deeper into Korean culture, its language, and its fantastic cuisine**.

Seoul Village 2011 - see also "
La bulle K-pop" on blogules in French
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* in the musical universe, Tom Waits is probably the ultimate anti-K-pop element : an ugly fella with a rough voice and crafting incredible songs by himself (this line belongs to "The piano has been drinking (not me)", best served in the album "
Bounced Checks").
** another cultural domain where the Korean government has been promoting exports
a not always subtle way...

Seoul Global Business Support Center online

Seoul Global Center's arm for Foreign entrepreneurs, the Seoul Global Business Support Center just opened a new ning site and twitter account.

Reminder : SGBSC provides any foreigner who seeks to open a business in Seoul with extensive services free of charge, which include integrated business and living consulting and support and business education seminars. Also : in-house incubation offices to selected small and medium foreign businesses.

To join the community :
on ning :
seoulglobalbusinesssupportcenter.ning.com
on Twitter :
@sgbsc



Visit Seoul Global Business Support Center



And don't forget the
2011 Seoul Global Business Networking Event !

(ADDENDUM 20110614) I just created a Business-Friendly Seoul Think Tank on SGBSC to share suggestions and discussions about how to boost Seoul's attractiveness. Join, chime in, and speak up your mind !

Seoul Village 2011
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Korea Inc. united for mobile payments

Ten years ago, SK Telecom would carpet bomb Korea with 400,000 terminals ("dongles") to boost its Moneta mobile payment service. Yesterday, Korea Inc. announced 300,000 NFC-enabled Point Of Sales by the end of 2011 to put the country ahead of the pack in this very very strategic sector.

The difference ? This is not a solo act anymore. SKT alone couldn't succeed in setting the new standard in mobile payments at home and pushing the concept overseas, but this time, the whole value chain and ecosystem is following. And if it works, each player will claim a nice slice of a much bigger pie.

Under the regulator's umbrella (KCC, the herald of "NFC-based Mobile Smart Life Services"), over thirty Korean CEOs met at the Seoul Press Center to sign this decisive MOU in Near Field Communications, and if you throw in the members of the recently formed Grand NFC Korea Alliance, you've got the closest thing to a mobile payment dream team :

- all 3 Mobile Network Operators : Korea Telecom, SK Telecom, U+ (LG Telecom)
- the biggest card players around : Visa, MasterCard, Shinan Card, Kookmin Card (KB), Lotte Card, Hyundai Card, T-Money, MNO partners (Hana) SK Card and BC Card (KT)...
- key authorities and associations : KCC, ETRI, TTA, KISA (Korea Internet & Security Agency), MOIBA (Mobile Internet Business Association), RAPA (Korea Radio Promotion Association)...
- top manufacturers : Samsung, LG, Pantech...
- top enablers: UbiVelox, KEBT, MtekVision, 3ALogics Inc, KICC...
- top payment enablers / billing service providers : KSNet Inc, Mobilians, Galaxia, Danal Corp., KCP...



The only players missing on the picture are the endusers.

And as we saw before, pedagogy will be key in a country where hacking happens to be a national pastime (if you include North Korea in the package), where few people protect their handsets with a PIN code, and where distrust in smartphone security keeps spreading like wildfire.

Of course, "Near Field" meaning 10 cm and below, close encounters of the third thief will require more intimacy than via Bluetooth. Besides, many Koreans are already used to contactless micropayments thanks to T-Money (ie Seoul public transportations and taxis, thousands of convenience stores and vending machines...). Furthermore, NFC trials have been under way for quite a while : for instance KT's "Mobile Stamp" couponing system, SKT's Mobile Commerce Zone or Q Store pilots, or cross border trials between SKT's T-Cash and Japan's KDDI and SoftBank...

This MOU aims at multiplying testbeds and giving momentum to the technology, the bulk of the infrastructure being planned for Q4 2011. So where will NFC-based payments be available ? GS group plans to implement them in its convenience stores (GS25) and gas stations (GS Kaltex). Major retailers (Lotte Mart, Emart...) are joining the party. Seoul and Gyeonggi-do buses and subways, as well as many taxis will be converted. A major shopping area for tourists (particularly from Japan), Myeongdong has been identified as a strategic hotspot to feed the buzz.

Needless to say, the number of NFC-enabled handsets is another essential element in the equation. The alliance targets an ambitious 5 M units by the end of the year, leveraging on existing devices (Samsung Galaxy S II and Sky Vega Racer opened the way), and the Google-Apple war : since Android Gingerbread OS supports NFC, Cupertino had to consider it for iPhone 5.

And oh. This non-event : Samsung is expected to surpass soon Nokia as the world's top handset manufacturer.


Seoul Village 2011 - initially published on mot-bile (see all posts related to wireless in Korea).
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* sorry, not yet in English : "국내 통신사·금융(카드)사 CEO 최초로 한자리에 모여 NFC 서비스 활성화를 위한 MOU 체결"

3 subway lines projects revived ?

Private developers keep lobbying in favor of three subway projects that could be delivered by 2017.

POSCO Engineering & Construction wants to revive the old project of backbone between the capital's Northern and Southern centers : this 11.47 km line between Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3) and Gangnam Station (Line 2) would pass by Gwanghwamun Station (Line 5), City Hall (Lines 1 and 2), Sinhannam Station, Nonhyeon Station (Line 7), and Sinbanpo Station (Line 9). The line would not connect with Line 6 even if, judging by the map, I would pass not far from Hangangjin Station. I guess they plan to dig much deeper under Namsan : the Sinhannam Station is down the valley, closer to Hannam Bridge and Hannam New Town. It doesn't look connected with Hannam Station (Jungang Line).

We've already mentioned* the second project. Led by Doosan Construction, it would link Yongsan with Gangnam (7.49 km), and ultimately the new Bundang Line (Sinbundang line, 18.5 km : Gangnam, Yangjae, Poi, Cheonggye, Pangyo, Jeongja). The stations would be Yongsan (Lines 1 and 4), Ichon / National Museum, Dongbingo, Sinsa (Line 3), Nonhyeon (Line 7), Sinnonhyeon (line 9), and Gangnam. But should the other project fly, a connection could be made at Sinhannam, and the connection at Sinsa could be dropped.

The third project ? Posco's Plan B would combine the Gangnam-Sinhannam section of the first project with a Gwanghwamun - Yongsan line (8 stations overall).

All projects have in common a relatively low number of new stations. The idea is more to connect major existing hubs. A Gyeongbokgung-Gangnam-Bundang axis would probably become Seoul's biggest vertical backbone, saving time but also sucking traffic from other lines, which are not operated by the same companies : Korail manages lines 1 to 4, Seoul Metro lines 5 to 8, Veolia Transport line 9. Neeless to say, promoters of the Sinbundang line, Bundang, Pangyo, or Hannam landowners, not to mention Samsung, headquartered at Gangnam Station, would love to prolong it towards the other side of Han river and the city center, mirroring the Bundang Line prolongation from Seollung towards Seongdong-gu, further to the East.

I hope these projects are not in the balance with actual priorities : all the Seoul neighborhoods that remain out of the grid. But should this Gyeongbokgung-Gangnam be built, I'd rather go for a fourth project :
- The Gyeongbokgung-Gwanghwamun-City hall axis is very relevant and actually follows the country's most defining line : Sejongdaero. Furthermore, downtown's grid lacks a vertical line West of Line 3 (which also connects lines 1 to 5 within 3 consecutive stations : Jongno-3-ga, Uljiro-3-ga, Chungmuro). So I'd keep this vital section.
- From City Hall, I would not try to reach Yongsan Station. I know the Yongsan IBD project needs to be better interfaced with the rest of the city, but if a new subway line were to cross the river, it'd better fill some gaps in the network rather than double existing lines.
- A new vertical line South of Namsan between Lines 3 and 4 makes perfect sense. But if you want to reach Gangnam, connections must be made with all the lines you cross on the way : Jungang Line (at Hannam / Sinhannam), Line 3 (at Sinsa), and Line 6.
- Preferably, new stations should be added in the process. But promoters are selling shorter connections between Gangnam and Downtown, and each stop adds an average 2 mn (not to mention significant increases in CAPEX and OPEX). My minimum scenario (straight line) : City Hall/Hangangjin/Hannam. My maximum scenario (curve) : City Hall / Huam-dong / Noksapyeong / Yongsan Park (now Yongsan Army Base, which is bound to move after 2017) / Dongbingo-dong or Bogwang-dong / Hannam.

Seoul Village 2011
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* see "
Yongsan-Gangnam-Bundang subway completed in 2017"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fete de la Musique Seoul

A major success in France for 30 years, the Fete de la Musique has been exported to many countries over the past few years (as World Music Day).

Seoul will experience its 4th edition on Saturday the 18th, 2011 in its "quartier francais", Seorae Village (around Seorae-ro in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu).



The program (contact :
Seorae Global Village Center, Tel +82.2.2155.8949) :
13:30-15:00 : performances, residents party... (in Montmartre Park)
14:30-15:00 : musical parade (Lycee Francais de Seoul, Gingko Park, Montmartre Park), military fanfare...
15:20-15:50 : Baekseok Arts University shows
15:50-17:30 : French songs contest featuring 10 teams of students (Montmartre Park)
17:30-18:00 : young Lycee Francais de Seoul students' perform Samulnori, Halliangmoo, and Choonghyangi wa Leedoryong
18:00-18:20 : gala kick off
18:20-20:00 : Korean performers (Crying Nut, Jo Ha-ni, Lim Hyeong-soon, Yu Yeol, Maya)
20:00-21:30 : French performers (Zaza Fournier)
21:30-21:35 : Fireworks

Seoul Village 2011
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---
UPDATE 20110614 : event poster

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ha Ha (Seoul)

"Ha Ha" ? Funny name for a restaurant, but I guess pigs don't share the joke since this place specialized in Shandong cuisine serves, among other delicacies, their ears, brains, and guts (all in the same sauce and cucumber mix). Also on the menu : great hwang and tong mandus (황만두 and 통만두), light galettes (총유병), a mix of buchu and gaebul (부추 개불 볶음)...

For non-initiates : buchu means garlic chives, and if you've been to a fish market you've probably noticed gaebul (pink spoon worm) swarming in water buckets.

With its no frills decor, Ha Ha remains one of the last typical small Chinese restaurants, and one of the more numerous two storey houses in this section of Donggyo-ro lined with platanus trees. With the right weather and mood, it almost looks like a lost part of old Shanghai or Paris XIIIe Chinatown, and I hope they won't let high rise buildings ruin the magic.

If eating spoon worms or pig brains is your idea of magic, that is.

HA HA / 하하/ 哈哈
Yeonnam-dong 229-12 (Donggyo-ro), Mapo-gu, Seoul, ROK
Tel +822.337.0211

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Seoul International Book Fair

Organized by the Korean Publishers Association, the 17th Seoul International Book Fair will start next week at the COEX, featuring over 570 companies from 23 countries, and sub-exhibitions on the Tripitaka Koreana (for its 1000th anniversary*), Korean writers of 100 years ago, pop-up books, e-books (e-Square)...

Korean literature suffers from a destructive educational system that makes reading a luxury for young minds, which explains the success or more 'operational' genres. But the country enjoys a strong tradition in poetry, and some talents are claiming international recognition (see Shin Kyung-sook's "
Please Look After Mom").


And who knows ? Korea could even become a destination for foreign authors : after a recent lecture at
Seoul Art Space Yeonhui, 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature JMG Le Clezio Reasons seriously considers staying in that writers residence for a future project.

SIBF - 2011 Seoul International Book Fair
When: June 15-19, 2011 (first day only for pros)
Where: COEX, 159 Samseong-dong, Seoul, KOR 135-731 (Hall A and B)
More details:
sibf.or.kr

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* see "
Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon" and last year's "International Archival Culture Exhibition"

---
20110610 UPDATE

Also : UN/LIMITED EDITION VOL.3, a fair devoted to independent publishing, is organised at PLATOON KUNSTHALLE (Nonhyeon-dong 97-22, Gangnam-gu), Friday, June 17 at 1:00pm - June 18 at 11:00pm). And "this year, the program will dig deeper into the creative network surrounding this culture including films, talks and music."
unlimited-edition.org

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Charles Sutbul Gimbap (Seoul)

A gimbap on wood charcoal and a cartoon dog as a mascot to tease the passer-by, food with character to turn him into a loyal customer if he manages to survive, that's the concept.

"Sutbul Gimbap", the fabled charcoal gimbap, costs 4,000 a roll but it's a very big and very very tasty one. Not as big as the anchovy/walnut rice ball, though (KRW 2,500 - an interesting way of revisiting a classic snack with a classic banchan).

But what literally killed me was the "cheese bul ddeokbokki", one of the meanest I've ever tasted... and I survived many times
Woojeong Nakji, a.k.a. The Octopus From Hell. Luckily enough, I just had to stretch the arm to reach the water fountain, which was as steamy as I by the end of the dish.

Charles Sutbul Gimbap / 찰스 숯불 김밥
201-6 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, ROK
Tel: +82.2.334.1692

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Good Morning Hanoi (Seoul)

Yeonhui-dong has always been a fantastic spot for Korean and Japanese food lovers but beyond that, culinar diversity used to be limited to pizza toppings.

That's changing, and very quickly. "Change" doesn't necessarily means "for the better" : Yeonhui-dong Haejangguk, an institution, is folding. And when I learned that a Pho restaurant would replace a Japanese restaurant not far from Saruga, I expected one of the usual franchises to open shop, with a 75:25 chance of failure.

But Good Morning Hanoi is not your usual franchise : it woke up the area with a rather baroque decor (more 'Good Night Las Vegas' ?), and more significantly with a strong statement on our palates. Not only delicious but freshly and delicately crafted, with sometimes a touch of originality, like that fusion Tom Yam Lau with a soupcon of cloves. Even the fried rice and nems (spring rolls) can be praised. It didn't take long for GMH to join the crowd of Yeonhui restaurants with long waiting lines.

More pressure on the shoulders of future newcomers : every other building is under renovation in this section of Yeonhuimat-gil (now Yeonhuimat-ro), between Saruga (itself
in its crysalid state) and Donggyo-ro.

Good Morning Hanoi / 하노이의 아침 (restaurant - Yeonhui branch)
Yeonhuimat-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, ROK
Tel +82.2.323.5320
other branches : Yeouido, Seorae Village, Sinchon, Inchon...

Seoul Village 2011
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Friday, June 3, 2011

International Restaurant Street, Itaewon-ro 27-ga-gil, or Hong Seok-cheon-dae-ro?

It started over one year ago with a small 'villa', in backstage Itaewon. Then a second one got bulldozed, and finally the master plan emerged : an Westwards extension of Itaewon International Restaurant Street, one block away back then.

Now the junction has been completed, the pavement and sidewalk polished, and all houses gutted to make room for more eateries.

The extension radically transforms the perspective : the food alley behind Hamilton Hotel used to stop abruptly at the 'Joinau corner', but Le SaintEx and La Plancha are now almost at the center of a much wider and open street, and the small path leading to Itaewon main street (where Ecume restaurant completes the French cluster) has already evolved, with clothes shops somewhere between the Itaewon of yore and the trendier boutiques you can find at the Eastern end of Itaewon-ro, the Northern Garosugil.

Technically and following Korea's address system reform*, International Restaurant Street should be now known as Itaewon-ro 27-ga-gil. I highlighted this "IRS"
line on Seoul Village map, but I'm adding this snapshot from Daum Map : a satellite view taken before the destruction indicating the Saint Ex (or rather "르생덱스") and My China (마이차이나) restaurant at the former end of the street :



Note that "My China", "My Thai", and "My Chelsea", all located in this short stretch, belong to the same person : blacklisted as an actor following his coming out in 2002, Hong Seok-cheon proved he was bound to succeed anyway, prolonging his first statement in Itaewon ("Our Place", now "My Ex") with series of successes as a restaurateur. And it takes more than being a celeb' to succeed here : Jackie Chan's place in this food alley folded simply because the food wasn't up to it.

Twenty years ago, and even until quite recently, the dominant local flavor was Indo-Pakistanese, but all continents are now represented and IRS symbolizes culinar diversity in Seoul.

At the top of the Montmartrian path overlooking the new crossroads, Zelen perfectly illustrates this diversity : here's a Bulgarian restaurant filled with a 'bibim' of Korean and foreign patrons... some achievement for a community boasting fewer than 50 expats.

Seoul Village 2011
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* see "
The Great Korean Revolution : addresses with house numbers and street names", followed by "New address system in Korea : 2 more years".

Business Start Up School - Seoul Global Center

There is still time for future expat entrepreneurs in Seoul to register for Business Start Up School's June session.

It's free, it starts on June 20th, a few days after SGBSC - KBC
Seoul Global Business Networking Event (June 17), and ends on July 1st.

The program has been beefed up (among instructors: KOTRA, Seoul Development Institute, Small and Medium Business - Administration, SBA Business Support Center, Korea Development Institute...) and as we saw earlier, alumnis can apply for official credit guaranteees from Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Contact: Eva(Youngju) Seo
Phone: +82.2-2075-4139
Fax: +82.2-723-3206
Email: letsgoeva@sba.seoul.kr
Seoul Global Center : global.seoul.go.kr.

Seoul Village 20111
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books, movies, music