Korea will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s the first country I ever felt truly “lost” in. When I first visited Japan during my study abroad trip, I already had a basic grasp on the language and had the ability to ask for help and directions if needed. Other Asian countries I’ve been to like Hong Kong and Thailand attract a great amount of foreign business and tourism, so there’s always some English guidance even if you don’t speak the native tongue. Korea also attracts a number of foreigners, but it’s not really a place known for its beaches or resorts so outside of Seoul (and even within the city) there is limited English support.
Korean people are very educated and usually have a basic understanding of the English language, but those who do not go on to higher education usually don’t have much of a reason to study it (much like Japanese people). Knowing absolutely no Hangul before coming to Korea made me experience an initial language barrier for the first time in my life, so I had to learn to think quickly on my feet and also always have my translation app at hand. It was a bit frustrating at first and I regret not taking more time to learn basic Hangul, but not comprehending any of the language also made my trip a fun challenge while learning about a new culture. I am very fortunate that people here were extremely kind to me. An example: When I was too jetlagged to figure out how to get back the deposit on my subway card, a kind Korean man helped me work the machine so I could receive my change. After he suggested we exchange contact information in case I needed help. I sensed now ill will from his actions so I did so. I am happy that I can feel safe at all times in this country.
Getting back to the story, I have visited Korea a total of three times: Once during the new year of 2018 visiting Seoul and Busan, again during 2018 for Golden Week exploring Jeju Island, and once again in 2019 for eye surgery (I will talk more about my operation next year).
In this article I would like to talk about one of my favorite
glitches in the human paradigm fashion/avant-garde galleries: Adererror. I stumbled upon this place while hunting for aesthetic things near Hongik University, and boy was I in paradise! From cassette tapes to “Dad fresh markets”–this place had it all!
Dad fresh market!
Dad fresh market?! you ask, wondering if they are selling actual paternal figures at this display. Fear not, because “Dad” actually stands for Day After Day which is popular designer soap brand sold on the first floor of this store. I am sure the English-speaking visitors get a kick out of this when they first see it (I sure did).
Here are more fantastic sights of the latest 2019 display:
The neon blue “THE BLUEST BLUE” sign immediately made me think of in the blue shirt. I opened a closet to find 3 TVs flickering with images of owls. One room was filled with a broken popcorn machine. Another room was completely upside down. Was that an iPhone glued to the bathroom door? And who put the plant in the bathtub!? All these sights made the Dad fresh market seem like a normality.
The 2018 display also raised some questions:
FLOWRS. IN. URINALS. SOAPINTOILET. Using tissue boxes as wallpaper? Plants climbing ladders. Mattresses chilling with speakers. More neon signs and pressed pink rocks. What is the true meaning of “Day After Day” anyway? Add all of these questions with my inability to comprehend Hangul, and you have complete sensory overload. The best part was that I was enjoying every second of this. Being in a foreign country without having any idea how to speak the language, and stumbling upon a place as unique as this–it was like a fantasy come true.
Clothing aside (which I was almost too memorized to look at, but I did do some browsing), Adererror is a masterpiece. And to think this was just the beginning of my wild adventures in Korea. TO BE CONTINUED…