Tag Archives: tokyo

Modern and Drab Seoul

I recently completed my goal to visit the triumvirate of northeast Asian Mega-cities: Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul.

Seoul lights in Gangnam.

Seoul lights in Gangnam.

All of these cities are massive. But they are also unique.

Beijing, where I live, is gritty and brutish.

Tokyo is dazzling and unique.

Seoul is…

Seoul is modern.

I knew that it was technologically advanced, but I didn’t expect so many free internet access points and for everything to be so clean. That’s a big plus, especially when you are coming from China’s tight internet restrictions and less than ideal sanitation.

It’s geography is also quite nice. It’s hilly and that gives it some character. Maybe I’m partial because Beijing is so flat.

And while Seoul is ideal for tech and cleanliness, it is also a bit bland. In terms of architecture, at least. The buildings are all pretty similar and leave something to be desired.

(I would also comment on their music/movie scene, but I feel it’s too early for that. They might have something unique there, but it still needs time. I will give them the benefit of the doubt- even though Gangnam Style is a little… OK moving on.)

On the whole, I think it’s not quite a bad place at all. Safe, clean, and technologically advanced. In terms of style it’s no NYC or Tokyo, but that’s OK. I suppose that may be a title not everyone actually wants. 

It’s nice to finally visit all three cities. It took four years and I feel like I now have a really strong breadth of this area. 

Funny that even though I have noticed many unique characteristics, I have found that these three places actually have far more similarities than differences. The food, family values, and culture of face all seem ubiquitous.

While I feel like this trip definitely closes a chapter in my traveling career, I also look forward to visiting these places again someday. Each has a very youthful vibe and it’s almost like you can taste the change in the air.

I like that. I like when people push the status quo.

 

Ghost in the Shell- Review

This past weekend I watched the remake of Ghost in the Shell with my girlfriend. IMDB gave it a rating of 6.8 out of 10. Fair enough, but I would probably give it at least a point higher, maybe even two.

(Full disclosure- I have been an anime fan since forever. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Gundam Wing, etc.. So, I am partial to stories being told in this format.)

Why did I like it?

Well, visually it was phenomenal. You can really see how far Hollywood has come these days with movies like GITS. It’s setting was portrayed very tastefully. (But caution- I am not sure it would be as cool in your living room. Definitely recommend going to see it.)

Acting wise, it was pretty good. The lead, Scarlet Johansson, did a good job of playing a stoic, if not slightly psychotic Major. None of the supporting roles stole the show, but they certainly didn’t hinder it either.

Story wise it worked. Good sci-fi themes of technology, evolution, A.I., etc. The growth of Major was strong enough to carry the viewers interest, although it wasn’t the coolest part. As I have said, that was it’s setting.

The villain, Kuze, was very evil and I loved it.

If you like action, sci-fi, or anime, definitely check it out. If you are reading this and you saw it, what did you think? Unfortunately there appears to be some hate going around the internet about this movie. I think it deserves a least over a 7 on the IMDB.