Seoul notes

It is remarkable how well everything works here, even relative to expectations.  The economic ascendancy of South Korea has been more rapid than that of Japan, and for a larger group of people than Hong Kong or Singapore.  The initial level of education was much lower than in Japan.  The Korean social miracle is no less impressive than the Korean economic miracle.

By the way, can you explain the South and North in a single unified theory of culture and regimes?

French-Korean bakeries are extremely common here.

The Samsung Museum is of higher quality than the National Museum, including for patrimony pieces not just Warhol and Koons.

My hotel toilet is complicated and I am afraid to press the one button which simply says “Enema.”

I saw the two main Korean presidential candidates “debate,” both of them using communitarian redistributionist rhetoric with a rather flat delivery, preceded by and followed by a bow.  Toward the end one of them endorsed the work of Malcolm Gladwell, in front of Gladwell.

I am pleased to have spent one minute inside North Korea, with Alex, guarded by five South Korean martial arts experts and one U.S. soldier.

The question I hear most often is what I think of Gangnam style and the video.  The second is whether I am a Christian.

There are so many coffee shops here.  But why?

South Koreans have now dominated the game of Go for about fifteen years.

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