ask Jihee about
museums • café • viewpoints • music venues • book shop • architecture • neighborhood tours
What do you do and why do you do it?
I am an all-time pleasure seeker after any visually and audibly good stuff. I am passionate about going to exhibitions and gigs, which motivates myself in every way. To financially support this pleasure-seeking activity, I work for an art magazine (for the time being, I suppose). Although I enjoy this job, from deep down my heart, I feel like there might be somewhere else to explore. I am not likely to make a radical career shift as quite convinced creative industries are where to find myself in the end, however, still open to other options anyway. My ultimate goal is to contribute to making the world culturally more diverse and abundant.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Dance music! Deep house or disco. I generally *shake it off* while dancing to the beat (but obvioulsy not to Taylor's). Crying out loud while listening to some melancholic and soothing pieces sometimes helps, but it only happens when the heartbreaking one deserves such a solemn rite. I've just overcome one crisis and played Yaeji and Anderson.Paak on repeat for this time.
What are the best TV shows of all time?
It's hard to pick one since there are many criteria to make a good show. I'd name House of Cards as it is my first series I couldn't help watching for hours at one sitting. I really like something realistic and meticulously plotted yet unpredictable. A few episodes of HoC just went far above and beyond my expectation and blew my mind. I feel sorry for what has happened recently regarding the main actor, but strongly support the staff's decision to have him opt out. He isn't my favourite character anyway. Now I am eagerly waiting to see Clare rule the house.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Thrift shops at first. I can always get a deal if diligent enough. I am trying not to buy goods from SPA brands for some ethical reasons. If I need to buy something new and fitting well, would rather go for a designer clothing (not necessarily highend designers') that concerns what I concern and wear it as long as possible.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
Fancy bars and clubs in Cheongdam/Apgujeong area. It's just too stressful for me to be around with, even look at those super nicely dressed up people. Can it be jealousy? Hmm, maybe, maybe not.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Cycling along the Han river. First of all and most of all, I can't ride a cycle. Surprised? There are still some people around me who can't do either hehe. I have tried few times, but not quite made it. Maybe I am unwittingly postponing it till I find someone very patient and sweet to teach me how. Regardless, this is my new year's resolution. If I ever get to cycle well enough, Han river!
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Seoul that you particularly like?
There is a cafe/bar/studio called "Hotel Soosunhwa (daffodil in Korean)" somewhere in Euljiro off the main road, which I often take my comrades when we are on a Pyeongyang Naengmyun raid. I like the inexplicable ambience. Beton brut, vintage furniture and lightings, and music they are playing make me feel chilled here. And what is really appealing to me is people. It's always fun to observe people at other tables, imagining how they end up this hidden bar in that somewhat distant neighbourhood. Well, I can't say it's unknown place, but obviously it requires some efforts to get there. That sort of camaraderie might be what I appreciate here.
What restaurant in Seoul looks crap, but the food’s amazing?
Pretty much every old restaurants in a market area. The older, the better. Like the Kalgooksu place in Jongno spotted on my map or the infamous chicken place in Yangjae market. I sincerely hope they live long and prosper in this kingdom of corporate business culture and keep up the diversity.
Where can you get the best cocktail in Seoul? Which one do you like?
I am not an expert nor a drink-lover who can tell which is good. I only can say the whiskey based cocktail I had at the Robin's Square in Hongdae was a cornerstone in my short alcoholic history. I had never enjoyed that 'woody and spicey' scent of whiskey, but that particular one made my eyes wide-open to what a proper whiskey could offer. Still I prefer a clean and relatively soft, gin based cocktail though, that experience was remarkable enough to give me some other options.
Where would you take your partner in Seoul if you wanted to really pamper them?
I would take him to paolodemaria and let him indulged in the dessert trolley. We would try every. single. dessert on a trolley. If he were not keen on sweets, we'd directly head to Han river and make a toss at sunset, quoting "Here's looking at you, kid". Then he would have to bear my unstoppable serenade. Well, that's pampering indeed!
What’s the one place you think is overrated in Seoul?
Gangnam definitely. It's not even clear to which area in town this Gangnam exactly refers. Gangnam literally means anywhere down below the river. I feel really bad when I see tourists wandering around the Gangnam-dae-ro in the morning, looking confused but still striving to find something special. I am not saying there is nothing to do/see/enjoy there. But, honestly, I am dying to know what it is that makes Gangnam so different, so appealing.
What’s the one place you think is underrated in Seoul?
It's not necessarily underrated, but I think the old market area in Jongno-Euljiro has more to offer than it appears. Wonder if tourists may find it fun, but I enjoy wandering around those chaotic alleys in this area, searching for nothing. There are numerous shops selling everything from stainless steel to vinyl, and thus drawing all kinds of person. The Sewoon plaza has been transformed into a nest for young creators, accomodating design studios and tech-labs which provide a lot of workshops. Its rooftop view is stunning. It is where the past and present of Seoul meet, which results truly dynamic scene.
What are the Seoul spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
Appreciating sunset over the bridge in a subway for a few minutes when passing from Hapjeong to Dangsan on line 2, or Ichon to Dongjak on line 4. I can't get tired of it.