Exploring South Korea: Technology and Culture in The Land of Contrasts | Cat Cafes, Kpop and Robots

Exploring South Korea: Technology and Culture in The Land of Contrasts | Cat Cafes, Kpop and Robots

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South Korea is the country of the future, where robots are watching you. This is a snitch robot! It's a country where illegal immigrants live comfortably. I could buy a car after a month of working here. It's a land of K-pop, lovely coffee shops... - It's my third coffee today! -... And cute cartoon characters.

We just bought this awesome dinosaur! It's also that country that shares the border with the scary neighbour. That scary neighbour is called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But it's better known as North Korea. Nobody divided Korea into North and South before 1945. But during World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese. In 1945, it was liberated from both sides at once.

USSR troops entered from the North and the US Army from the South. When the war was over, the Soviet Union and America simply divided Korea into 2. The northern half started building communism and the southern half chose capitalism. The countries coexisted like that for 5 years until North Korea's leader, Kim Il-sung, persuaded Stalin to support the invasion of South Korea. Once the Soviet General Secretary gave the green light, the Korean War began.

It lasted 3 years and has led nowhere. After 3 years of killing, the parties signed a peace treaty that divided the Korean peninsula in half. Along the same 38th parallel that the USSR and the USA used in 1945. Since then, there has been a demilitarised zone around the border. I've visited it with Sergey, who moved to Korea from Russia 2 years ago. So we're going to go to North Korea, and it's all dark there.

North Korea is just across the river here. You see these towers too?! Wow! All in barbed wire. We arrived at the banks of the Han River. This is actually where the demilitarised zone that separates the 2 Koreas starts. But interestingly it looks different for them. So the South Koreans have mostly these forests and beautiful nature.

There are even some farmers. The South Koreans are even trying to keep all these farmers here. Here we see the checkpoints, the soldiers, the barbed wire, the fence... This whole part right here is a fence. You see just how very serious this is.

What's interesting is that, beyond the fence it's still South Korean territory. And you can see these green fields there. This is where the farmers are. North Koreans put on a show in their demilitarised zone.

There's a rumor that they built exemplary villages, with well-maintained cottages there. But the South Koreans say " No, we don't believe you anyway, because all these peasants are just actors, whose job is to show how great life is in North Korea. We know it's not real." One of the main attractions here is the Freedom Bridge. It's what we came to see here. And there's also a steam train here that used to run between the two Koreas. This train is a symbol of the tragic story of the separation of the two Koreas.

It's like a monument here. It was found in some bushes after a bombing raid, abandoned at some station. It was just left there like that. - Sergey, have you been here before? - No - See, we can do paid guided tours! - It's definnitely an interesting idea! This is a railway bridge, which is now destroyed but it used to be right in front of the river. You can see the remaining supports of this bridge here.

It's important to note thta there are warning signs everywhere that say that you can't point the camera sideways because there are soldiers there. They have this beautiful animation in the transparent floor where the rail tracks are. There are red arrows in front of the supports. These are bullet marks. These bullet marks show just how horrible the Korean War was. And there's this animation here showing that the bridge will someday function again and trains will run between the two Koreas and everything will be fine. But it's not certain.

There used to be a railway station here and trains ran between Gaeseong, that is now in North Korea and Seoul. There are some souvenirs here. By the way, it's interesting that they sell South Korean, US, and even Chinese flags here. There's nothing to do with North Korea. No flag, no symbols, nothing.

Although it would seem that this is the place to sell souvnirs like this. It's interesting how their tourist mail works here. There are two mailboxes. One of them's blue. And it says here that this letter will be publicly displayed at some exhibition. So you can visit this memorial complex share your impressions, write them in a letter iandand it may be displayed to the public.

And here's a not-so-ordinary red mailbox. It's a postpone mailbox. You are invited to share your memories and your letter will be sent in a year from now. There are monuments for the unification. Wow, look, there's a North Korean flag and it is written that Pyongyang is just 153 kilometres away and Russia is 6,581 kilometres away. What do they mean by Russia? I'm not too sure.

Probably Moscow, because Vladivostok is 726 kilometres away. And then, of course, the Koreans set up an amusement park with all the touristy things in. There's DMZ Now, which is listed as one of the 100 of the must-sees in South Korea Now we're gonna try to get further into the demilitarised zone, but something tells me we're not going to be welcome there. There's a checkpoint but we'll try to persuade the guys to let us through. We're going to North Korea! So what does it all look like? There's a checkpoint with some military men at it.

Anyway, of course, there was no miracle, they wouldn't let us pass because it turns out the military was there. It's actually a military checkpoint. They've asked if we're in the army, not too sure why, but most likely they thought that we're American soldiers returning to our base after a few days off.

By anyway, we said no. And the guys from the Korean military police told us to turn around and leave. Tourists are not welcome there, as you need a special permit to enter.

So at least for today, we're staying away from North Korea. The only option is to swim across the river but it's far too cold for that. And I also forgot my swimming shorts. So, unfortunately, we didn't manage to pass the border separating South Korean paradise from the North Korean hell. Let's leave North Korea alone and go to Seoul. I'm in Seoul, the capital and the largest city in South Korea.

Seoul has an area of 605 square kilometres. That's four times less than Moscow. But in terms of population, Seoul is not far behind the Russian capital.

About 10 million people live in Seoul, and there are 12 million in Moscow. The first settlement where modern-day Seoul is appeared over 2,000 years ago and was called Siberia. It was the capital of one of the three feudal states which then united into a single country.

Since then, Korea's capital city has changed several names. It only became officially known as Seoul after the end of World War II. Look at how interestingly the navigation is done here. There's a block put in the tiles with metal plates that have street names written on and pavement stones around them.

It's especially handy that the titles are duplicated in English because some cafes don't bother to translate into English and it's not exactly clear what they can offer. Parking on the pavement. Why not? - This is my daughter, Lena and what's this in her hand? Oh, it's a bag of rubbish.

Why doesn't she throw it away? Because there aren't any rubbish bins around here anymore. This reminds me of Japan. In Japan, too, it is not customary to have any bins anywhere, and it is considered that you have to take care of your own rubbish, recycle it somewhere. Finding a rubbish bin in Seoul is like winning the lottery...

And it looks like we won! We got the lucky ticket! We found a bin! Oh, what a beauty! I wonder if this can be recycled or not? I guess it is. Take a look at how Koreans take care of pedestrians. It's an umbrella for when it's very hot and you're waiting for the green light, you could stand in the shade.

That's very convenient. You just stand under an umbrella and wait for the traffic lights to turn green. It's time to experience the Seoul underground. The guy said that we can buy the ticket over here. I bought myself a card! Oh, you need one too. So, it's "children"...

12 years old... wait, they don't have kids' tickets here. The teenagers' tickets are sold out too! They're the ones for 13-18 years olds. What's the matter with this machine?! Well, let's top up my card. You can't go down like a Superman.

It's also not allowed to throw the bag down, or throw your pram. You also can't fall upside down. Here are pictures for those who didn't understand the drawings. Someone fell out of a wheelchair, someone dropped a trolley, you should not climb with your feet up when you are drunk. It says in Korean how many minutes until the train arrives. The interesting thing is that you can even see the journey of your train.

What else is interesting? At each station there is a set of gas masks, torches and other rescue equipment in case of fire. There's even water. By the way, your hair is the colour of this station. It must have been the metro's birthday here. Here's everyone happily congratulating the train. Oh, did someone win the lottery? What are these joyful sounds? This is the music that greets our train.

It's for pregnant women. The place is specifically signposted as a maternity car park. By the way, what's interesting is that in the Korean underground, everyone is numbered, I mean numbered station, numbered carriages and doors, that is the stop of the fifth carriage. First door, where there will be seats for disabled people and passengers with children, and this is, respectively, the fifth The carriage And the second door, there'll be maternity seats.

Everything is duplicated 100 times everywhere on purpose. No one thinks about it being beautiful in any way. Lots of inscriptions, stickers. There's a lot of information visual noise and rubbish. Just like in Japan.

When you first get here, of course, it's not unfamiliar. Well, obviously, the design code hasn't even been here. Different signs everywhere, different fonts. It's confusing. It's just a mess everywhere.

All of this is complemented by more amazing fences in quotes. If you didn't think you had enough of any visual noise, then the Koreans will once again decorate the road, write here I don't know everything they think about order and visual cleanliness. All in all, it won't be boring.

You know who's here? It doesn't matter who's walking down the road. Why did you get so dizzy? You're so simple. Where am I? I don't understand anything. Koreans certainly love bans, especially writing more about each of their bans.

This is where you can't smoke in this little square. I see, fine 100,000 you can't saw trees, you can't, I guess, you can't walk drunk and breathe, you can't peddle, you can't shit. If you're a dog, you can't build fires, you can't litter, you can't park on the lawn, you can't come on the trolley. I don't know, you can't, you can't, that you can't park on the lawn cars, motorbikes, at the same time you can't cultivate beds, you can't pick flowers, you can't torture animals and gnomes, you can't torture gnomes and you can't walk a dog. It's a little square like this.

Wow, what an amazing, just- a gorgeous blooming flyover even put up a whole banner. Dogs must be on a lead. A scooter is also prohibited. Dog on a leash. It's all by the book. By the way, especially for those who say it's very clean, if a little bit.

to get away from some of the main streets, it's not gonna be so clean. Extraordinarily cute action. Friends, we're watching, take a look, dudes and weed, while others stand behind a screen to keep the weed from flying at people and cars. It's the same thing over there. I mean, in order to paint the grass, you need three people, two of whom will hold the screen glass. It's city hall. It's where decisions are made to make sure that everyone

put up identical signs and allow parking on the pavement. I for one was sure the Koreans were disciplined, but no. Busy crossroads, all busy crossroads.

Not a single one thinks with their head. There you go. The bus can't get through. Fool. How can you do that? I knew there must be a sign banning the pigeons! "No to the pigeons!" How is it that you can sell stuff, but pigeons aren't allowed here? They have "I love Korea" t-shirts here. Here they sell scissors in case you need to cut something. And here, my friends, is a very important sign, which prohibits pigeons.

Well, it seems to be so. Possibly they prohibit feeding the pigeons, but the image simply shows a pigeion. It probably says "Let's stop the pigeons". - A pigeon comes, sees the sign... - He sees it and leaves, of course.

Here you can see ack-scratching tools. But of course, no pigeons as they are banned. Here it says "do not feed the pigeons". There is a sign here saying that they cannot be fed. And here, it just shows a pigeon. Well, I don't know, maybe they just made a double sign

for those who don't understand what it says here on the wood one. Or it might actually say "Stop the pigeons". They have a great hat.

Wow, it's amazing! I can't believe it! Great! People who wear such a hat are instantly happy. Lena, how long has it been since we've seen any bans? Look, nothing is forbidden here. We're near the metro and there is a Starbucks on every corner. I wonder how many Starbucks they have here. We will now spend a minute exploring modern art. There is a lot of it here in Korea There are a large number of contemporary art museums, and one of them is called Leeum.

This is where a beauty begins. I will give you a piece of advice if you are planning to visit this museum. Don't forget to check working hours. Because now, for example, I came to the museum, and is open until 6 PM. At 6 PM everyone was out. So now let's explore the shops. The shops are still open.

For example, look at this spectacular entrance. Wow! This is something extraordinary. And it's free apparently. Then they must sell something here.

Ah, they sell some scented items here. Face creams and that sort of stuff. Here we have something incredibly fashionable.

A special library. A slope where you can see the beautiful Seoul. Advertising in the city is actually a problem for many cities I know.

It is not for nothing that we demand the adoption of a design code and restrict the amount of advertising, the size of the posters, and all these bright colours, because the architecture is often not visible behind all of this But when it comes to Asian cities, here, on the contrary, we enjoy all these neon signs, the huge number of banners, we say "wow, that's nice", and the viewer will ask, "Ilya, why do you have double standards?" I don't. Why do we restrict billboards in Russia and European cities? Because they spoil the architecture, hide the architecture and distract from it. There is no architecture as such here. If we imagine that all of these buildings are stripped of adverts and banners, they will simply be concrete boxes. Often, most of these houses do not assume that one enjoys the form of the buildings.

That people enjoy the facades. There are no facades here. Here these advertising posters, shop windows, signs are part of the architecture. One example is Times Square in New York.

Which is actually a square made up of advertising. That is, there are billboards with advertisements instead of facades. There are shop windows and advertisements, some information, and that's all part of the architecture.

In Asian cities we see a lack of architecture that we are used toб when we enjoy the elegance of the facades and so on. But all these advertising posters in essence become part of the architecture we enjoy in Asia. Friends, I need to express my disappointment by Korean urbanism.

How do they set up the traffic lights? Sometimes you wait 3 minutes for the traffic lights here. Or even for 5 minutes. Just like in the worst cities in Russia. To cross a complicated traffic light with all its downhill and side streets it can take 5-10 minutes. It is simply unbearable.

Who is in charge of setting the traffic lights up in Korea? Fire this good-for-nothing employee, feed him to the crocodiles, and put someone in place who actually knows something about traffic. Moreover, it seems that Koreans like multiplying the population of flying rats Look how many pigeons there are. And here's a man that feeds them.

I hope you all know, that you shouldn't do that. Lena says that pigeons are nicer in Moscow. What is it? It is rubbish. What a dump we have here by the side of the road. "Please do not litter. It stinks."

This banner says. This looks like the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin walking with Tom Sawyer. And this is what a children's toilet looks like in Korea. It's called a "family toilet".

there is a washbasin for the child, a urinal, a small toilet, one for adults, which is also suitable for the disabled. And the funniest thing is that it has a seat, for while one is doing one's business they can leave their child to child here. And this is the baby changing room where nappies can be changed. Here you can change the nappies weigh them, there's also some water, a tool for heating milk or other infant food, a parking space for prams, and, of course, several breastfeeding rooms. This is what the public toilets look like, you can find them in shopping centres, airports, railway stations. They are always clean and comfortable.

In this respect, the Koreans and Japanese are doing very well. Friends, here's the "Incredible things invented by Koreans" section. Next to me is this thing that resembles electric car charger. But you actually need it to do... this! You need it so your children get a move on! In reality it is actually a machine with a strong current of air coming out if it. It's like a cold dryer. A tumble dryer of some sort.

So you press the button and this thing helps you to fix your hairstyle or remove dirt from your shoes. It's now the section "Surprising things among us". Now I look like a clown. Well, I looked like a clown before as well, but now.... it is much more obvious. Everything seems to be wonderful in Seoul, but the local population is not very happy. This is reflected by the high number of suicides.

According to the World Health Organisation, Korea ranks 12th in the world in the number of suicides per 1,000 people. By the way, Russia is in the 11th place. In terms of suicide among women, Korea ranks 4th in the world.

That's why, they built this fence on the bridge. So that no one can climb over it, and thus commit suicide. South Korea has a big problem with that. People work a lot, suffer from emotional exhaustion, other mental health problems, and sometimes they solve them in a radical way. So that people cannot climb over this fence, they installed these wavy, rotating cylinders.

You can't hold on to anything here, look, it's all made so that you can't step on the fence, And if you still try to climb over the fence, you'll fall back down because of this rotating thing. Obviously that won't stop people, for those who really want to do it, but it will complicate this process as much as possible. If the person wants to jump over any part of this bridge they look in this mirror and think, "I'm so cool, why do I do this to myself?" And then there's telephone on this bridge.

According to the heart logo, it is a helpline. So people can call it if they need help. There are mirrors for one to see their reflection and here's the sculpture showing support to a person who's going through a difficult time. This one seems to be an office worker, dressed in a suit, and everything seems to be going wrong for them.

They'er not getting their salary, their children do not listen to them, their wife does not cook for them, and humiliates them and the boss, who doesn't pay their salary, pulls his cheek, and supports them by saying: "Boy, hold on, it will be all right". So it is a sculpture that shows support. Koreans try to help people not only with these anti-suicide bridges. For example, they have a centre for migrants where they will help them with any problems. In Seoul, near the city hall, there is an amazing place called Seoul Global Center.

Even if you are a tourist and need some help about Korea, you can come here, go up to the fifth floor, and they will help you. Let's go and find out how this works. - So this is run by the Seoul City Hall, everything is completely free. In addition to routine consultations, I make special ones too. So if someone finds themselves in a very complicated situation.

We also have lawyers, and people an book a consultation with them in advance. We also have other staff who can help with labour issues. In addition, they advise on real estate, taxes... -Is that also free? -Yes, it is also free. But you have to book in advance.

So, is it possible to receive legal help here for free? - I wouldn't really call it help but rather a counselling session, but yes. - Where do you throw your rubbish if there are no bins on the street? - Yes, we don't have them everywhere, but if you look, they've installed a lot more of them now. There are quite a few in the metro or you can also throw it away in one of the nearest cafes. In Korea, we try to recycle as much rubbish as possible. You'll see this downstairs.

-Oh, so you recycle by putting it in these separate containers, right? So there are recycling bins for usual rubbish, paper cups, plastic, paper, packaging and bottles. -Yes. -And everyone follows the rules? - Yes, even when we throw rubbish away at home we also have similar but smaller bins. And we sort the rubbish between them. Korean language classes are held here. If there are some communities of foreigners, for example, and they need to hold a meeting or event, they can come to us and we can rent them a space.

- So, let's say, the Russian community, says that they need a space to prepare for a protest... -Yes. -...against the mayor of Seoul. - No, not in this case, of course. The meetings shouldn't be of any political or religious background.

- Well, it's just great here. Very interesting, indeed. So I don't get lost in Seoul, I got myself a tour guide. It's a YouTube blogger Kostya Pak.

- Show us how this works, Kostya. - Now it's the rainy season, so you have these things everywhere. It's an umbrella drier, so that the water doesn't drip from the umbrella in the metro.

- It's the rainy season! - Yes, I'm not a big fan of it. We are now in a very interesting place It is the Itaewon district. I would say it is the most diverse district in Seoul, and maybe in whole of Korea.

What is it best known for? That there used to be the main US military base here. And now it is simply a touristy and very international district. There are many contrasts that coexist in some way. For example, there is the first and the main mosque in Seoul.

And about 20 metres away from it is Seoul's main LGBTQIA+ district. It says that you can't leave your rubbish here haha. - "Do not leave rubbish." - Well, to be honest, normally you can leave this type of trash here, because these bags are quite expensive. They are commercial bags so cafes and restaurants like this can leave rubbish here. - But the blue ones are just ordinary bing bags.

- Yes, they are, yes. -And it says, "don't leave the rubbish." - Well, yeah, I don't know why they did this. It says that the fine is 1,000 won here. Here in Korea they don't follow the laws as much.

- In other words, rules exist to break them. - Yes, but if you violate them and you get caught, it can have a major impact on your life. - People are quite tolerant here, aren't they? -Well, homophobia is strong here.

At the same time people don't express it violently. But you can have problems, for example, you can be rejected by your family. - On the one hand there are the LGBTQIA+ flags hanging off the buildings, but on the other, there's Arabian Travel, Muslim store, buffets, restaurants, and so on, because there is a mosque nerby. For example, here is an Uzbek halal restaurant - Lazzat. - This is the most popular street with gay clubs in Seoul. - Right in front of the mosque.

- Yes, it is. There are Muslims here, Africans there, LGBTQIA+ members over there, American soldiers and so on and so forth. As it has historically been the case that this is an international neighbourhood and you can find all the things that are unusual for Korea here.

There is a transgender bar over there. Do you see it? - Yes! - You see, this is an example of how people with different beliefs can live together in peace. This is a store, where Korean women sell juices and yoghurts. There they have carrot juice, yoghurt in their fridge, all for $5. It is supposedly very good for your health.

Here's also an ice cream trolley like the ones they have in the USA. - Yes, but these are high-tech ice cream trolleys. Everything looks nice and bright, there are these sensor screens everywhere. And you drive on it. The ice cream sale begins. There it goes. It even has a roof. Spectacular.

It looks amazing! - Why is it so dirty? You tell me, as a Korean. -Yes, yes. -Explain to me, Kostya, why's it so dirty? - Seoul is a very dirty city. Really, I'll put it this way.

People throw cigarette butts in the street. It's not that every Korean is a perfectionist. But here the cleaning system works very well here. Yu will no longer see these bags here tomorrow. At 5-6 a.m. tomorrow, the women will come out on similar trolleys, but this time they will take care of shampooing the whole floor and it will be very clean.

But now it is dirty, yes. Some people dump their rubbish here. - Is this the mosque you've talked about? - Yes, and it has a very interesting history. Dictator Park Chung-hee sought to re-establish relations with Middle Eastern countries.

That's why he allocated the land to the Muslim community here. And, if I am not mistaken, it was Saudi Arabia that sponsored the construction of the first mosque here in Seoul. There aren't many in Korea, less than 10 I think. But this one is considered to be the main one. There is no city centre as such here, as in Moscow. There are different districts and their centres here.

I consider there to be 4 main ones, for example. There's a banking centre, a TV centre, and office one and a business centre. I, for example, live in Gangnam. The one in Gangnam Style. I don't even know which centre it is. It must be a business centre, and it also has numerous plastic surgery clinics. Every second building there is a clinic.

They consider it to be just an ordinary cosmetic treatment. It's an everyday thing for them. This is what the passage to the US base looks like. It says here that the territory is patrolled by dogs.

- A lot of money was spent to withdraw troops from here. Billions of dollars. Simply to create a new base for them. Of course, there are no US tanks here, anti-aircraft guns and so on. A friend of mine did his military service here, in the US army, and he told me that everything, even the plugs are all American type. They have their own Walmart or some other US shop with super low prices.

But you have to pay in US dollars, of course. They have their own bowling, restaurants, hamburger places and so on. - A huge US military base is located in the centre of Seoul. Or, as it now turns out, there was one, because it is now relocating. And the US military in general who have been here for quite some time, had a great impact even on how the city was formed, because many districts around the US base were formed according to the needs of US soldiers.

And what were these needs like? They weren't always... decent, let's say it this way. Itaewon was formerly, until 11 September 2001, as strange as it may seem, known for sleazy bars and brothels. If I remember correctly, after 9/11 they tightened the rules for the US military. They were forbidden to go out often and many bars and brothels that used to work there were shut down.

And that's when Itaewon became this multicultural, party district. Its character has changed. - The US military lived in houses like these. Here is the entrance, the intercom. Nobody lives here now, do they? - No, nobody lives here now. It's like a public area, park. - But the interesting thing is that the Americans did not want to have a drainage system. Now there is a puddle here.

Evil tongues will say that it is a Russian district and not the American one. Because it is typical for Russia, but not for the US. Look, I have to go around all this mud because the Americans failed to make the drainage. Generally here in this garrison, which is called the Yongsan-gu, the American were deployed after 1945.

And for 40 years before that, Japanese troops were here. And before that, Chinese troops. Because at one period Korea was occupied by the Chinese Qing empire. Sovereignty is new to us. Does it look like the US? Maybe not.

- Well, the fire hydrant is American. - Yes, it is actually! - Look, it says here "open", everything's written in English. And this is poison, it says here "the rat trap." - I can't believe it! - Poison! Do not touch Here are the American plugs, yes. You were right, the use the American plugs here.

- Overall it seems quite welcoming. I think if it were put up for rent now, it would be an elite district for Koreans. - What's the attitude of ordinary Koreans towards US soldiers, who are in Seoul? - We would have to look at the polls, but in general there is a very good attitude towards the Americans. I, from my point of view, see it as a guarantor of security for the country. People must have started to invest more in it, thanks to the fact that there is a strong ally which guarantees a certain security, stability.

The security of investments. I can't say I've heard anything particularly good about them. I heard something a bit bad, that they liked to drink and party, have their own culture. They caused a lot of fights. I don't want to create a stereotype, but I've heard a lot of times these stories that soldiers really like to fight here. South Koreans are not very aggressive and it is very rare for them to fight.

- The base is huge. I mean, we're just in this area, here. And it's that huge, with lots and lots of buildings and everything. Here you can register to pay with your hand. What is it? I've not seen this before! So you just pay with your fist. - So this is a shop without salesmen. The way all of these shops work is that there are a lot of sensors and surveillance cameras, that record that one took some item and you are automatically charged after leaving the shop.

This shop is like any other ordinary store, however. There are no sensors, no cameras, it's all about trust. This is only possible in South Korea, because they realised why spend money on sensors, cameras, or some ingenious security systems when you can base everything on trust. Say, take it, guys, and then pay honestly. They even have alcohol, look. Wow! Wow, they have wine.

So one can... Ah, no, see I wasn't entirely right. It says here that everything you are doing is being recorded. - I, and my wife too, have never been asked our age when we bought alcohol.

- Yes, see, so a child can buy acoholl here. -I'm not sure it's legal. -We have a child. We can check if it workst! We have a child. Lena can buy a bottle of wine. - What if we break a law? - Kostya is afraid, because we will leave, and he still has to live here. So you scan a few codes and this funny bear sells you food.

The whole system is based on trust. Generally from the point of view of interface it all looks very complicated. There are a lot of advertisements, gadgets, here are some straws, what are they even here for? There are also some sticks here. Put that in here, take that out of there.

- I'll be honest, it's quite difficult. It is not intuitive at all. - The interface is a disgrace. In addition, the Koreans are trying to force people to take the stairs instead of the escalators.

It is worth noting that there are not many escalators in the metro, so, anyway you'll have to walk up the stairs. But despite this, the authorities seek to actively encourage people to walk up the stairs. For example, there's this musical staircase. Come down, show us how it works. There are staircases that calculate calories, they have some motivational counters, and other activities to keep you walking and healthy. Explain to me what's the hype around these photo booths? - I don't know, they are actually very popular in Japan. They've been trending in Korea for the past 5-6 years. People come here, choose hats, masks, glasses and stuff

and take photos as a souvenir. - So it's like real-life Instagram? - Yes, it's fun and it's great fun to have these photos. I myself have about 30-40 sets like this. - Spectacular photos! This is what the Korean homeless sleeping on overpasses look like.

This one built a whole house, they have a suitcase next to it, and nobody steals it. That is, they also have social problems, homeless people, live like this at overpasses. Oh, look, there's another house. Lena says not to peek into other people's houses without asking.

- Of course! Why are the buses different colours? Tell me about it. - The blue and green ones circulate within the city. Greens circulate within the administrative district. The Blues can go outside the administrative district but within the city. There are also the red ones, which are a little different.

They travel to other cities, but still close to Seoul. - Korea has a highly developed civil society. People here go out and protests if they don't like the government's actions. And even the president can be imprisoned for corruption. Being a president of South Korean does not guarantee immunity. Over the past 30 years

five heads of republic were accused of bribery and abuse of power. At the same time 3 Korean presidents were imprisoned for corruption. The son of one of the presidents was imprisoned, and the other couldn't withstand the social pressure. and committed suicide. The most high-profile case was that of Korea's first female president.

Leader of the Conservative Party, daughter of the dictator who governed South Korea from the early 1960s to the late 1970s Park Geun-hye, became president after the 2012 elections. During her government, there were rumours that She surrounded herself with shamanic and sectarian advisors. to whom he revealed national secrets.

In 2016 the parliament declared Park Geun-hye a no-confidence motion by accusing her of corruption and abuse of power. An investigation began, during which it became known that Park Geun-hye together with her friend, the follower of the mystical cult, Choi Soon-sil, extorted money from corporate bosses. For example, the vice president of Samsung Electronics, to win the support of the head of state, spent more than $6 million on equestrian equipment and training for Choi Soon-sil's daughter. In the end, four other people joined the president and faced charges: Her secretary, a shaman friend, the head of the Lotte Group consortium and the vice president of Samsung Eletronics.

Choi Soon-sil was sentenced to 20 years in prison for corruption. Along with a fine of more than 16 million dollars. Park Geun-hye herself was sentenced to 24 years in prison and a fine of 17.5 million dollars.

In December 2021 the authorities pardoned the former president due to her deteriorating health. Surprisingly, Korea also has shanty towns. But some countries would dream of their cities resembling Korean shanty towns. We toured outskirts of Seoul with another YouTube blogger, Maria who has lived in Korea for 20 years. Well, it all looks pretty nice here.

You said there are Korean shanty towns here. - Yes, we are going there now. We'll go in a little deeper and we will see the Korean shanty towns. The real shanty towns.

Here they sell land, not flats, but a house with land. All the rubbish is left out here. Today's quite clean actually. There is usually a lot more rubbish. The truck passes by and picks it all up. See, there are bars on the windows? -What for? -So that no one breaks in. -Can people actually break in here? -Of course, yes.

-So, a burglar can get in through the window? - About 10-15 years ago the girls were telling me that while they were bathing someone look in and scare them. Or some perverts may look in to watch. - Well, I didn't expect that.

- They're planning on building huge flats here. A huge city and prices will be so high that it would be cheaper to travel into space. There is an abandoned house there, and there is a dump.

There is a lot of rubbish there. - Well, it doesn't look that bad... It looks like a normal residential area. There are some decorative lions here, A chain... All very fashionable. -Yes. There are even abandoned houses and flats where nobody lives anymore. In other words, the state, the building companies are buying them up bit by bit, all of those abandoned houses, and little by little they will build it up once they have the access.

They see how they cover the roofs with canvas so that they don't leak? Our roof was also covered, but it still leaks. No one lives here. - Yes, so there's now a landfill under the window. Will someone clean it up at some point? It can't stay like this, no? - I doubt it. I was here a month ago and it was the same. -Are you a Korean citizen? -No. I have temporary residence. - Ah, a residency permit.

- Yes, but I have rights, because temporary residence is a stepping stone to citizenship. I just can't vote or borrow money from the bank. - Well, doesn't your husband pay you alimony? - No, he doesn't pay anything, nor does he come to see his daughter, I have already handed over all the papers to the administration of the house and I was approved for a loan of 85 million won, which they handed over with the deposit for the flat. - Wait, they gave you 85 million? - Yes, I pay 145,000 won for this, Well, for using this loan. - What can you spend this 85 million on? - Only in the flat. They are kept by the owners of the house. I will have to return them when my daughter turns 18.

- What does this advert say? - It also says "no littering". And if someone dumps rubbish here, they will have to pay the fine. - Do people ignore these posters? - Yes, some do as you can see. It obviously didn't appear here out of nowhere. - Of course, it is obvious, but they probably don't get the fines.

- But look, there's a picture of someone littering. They've taken a photo of that person. - Yeah, but you can't identify Anyone from this photo. - As far as I am aware, paper waste is collected here.

Because it has been here for a long time. They must not have had time to pick them up, so it all got wet. - But nobody picks it up, that is, it must have been here for a long time. Someone is locked out because of it. What does it say here? - No parking.

This is not a parking place. - No, it is a wonderful district. - Authentic. -Yes. The main disadvantage of all these shantytowns in Korea is that the descents here are very steep.

Lena, show them how you're climbing up. The slope is about 30 degrees. Phew. Up and down, up and down. Thank goodness there is no snow here. They say that sometimes there is. You can see that someone who is not very sociable lives here.

The door is full of fines and receipts. Near every no littering sign There's litter. And they could've littered here, in this corner, because there's no sign there, So, supposedly you can litter there.

But people specifically chose the place where there's a no litter sign so that the fine up to 1 million won can be issued to them. Here is another abandoned house. Everything is dirty, people just dump all their waste here. It stinks. There's some door here. Someone hit the air conditioner with the car. Stuff you see here is something that no one will ever clean up.

These are the old quarters of Seoul. They won't be here for long. Soon it will all be demolished. And now we go to a big food market, the street food market, It smells good already! You can buy a belt here! It smells like there'll be A lot of tasty stuff here! For example, crabs, soups, people are already eating. It all looks very appetising. Well, we are finally in the world of Korean abundance. There is noodle, some guts, There is bologna made from some guts.

We decide it's not time for rice, so out of the whole variety of Korean street food we opted for the dumplings. It's actually quite nice here. Everything is clean and tidy.

This is what a portion looks like. Here there are about five, here 7, There are some fried ones too. It all costs approximately 6,000-7,000 won per portion. They turned out to be good. Although they're not Like the Russian ones, but they taste good. Everything is getting fried here, The food is getting chopped, cooked and steamed.

Here you can see the food itself. Here is some watermelon. Bananas and watermelon.

Two please. Of course, counting the number of different cafes, restaurants and market stalls Korea is about ten times richer than any European city. Koreans like animals, especially petting them in cafés.

For example, here there is a cafeteria with raccoons, sheep, meerkats, cats, dogs, there are lots and lots of animals. For example, down here there is a café with sheep. But for me it is difficult to combine a meal with petting sheep. A directional pointer to a coffee shop with cats.

Kitty, kitty, kitty The cat café turned out to be a real hidden door. The café with the cats turned out to look like a house of some crazy cat fancier, who brought in dozens of cats from the street with varying degrees of wear and tear, and now lives together with them. I wouldn't call it a cafe, because it doesn't smell like one. It smells like a huge cat toilet.

Lena, what does it smell like? - It smells of cats. - It smells a lot like cats. The entrance fee is 9,000. These cats scream. There are more people coming in now. For this price you can pet the cats, play with them, usually nobody cares what you're doing with the cats, no one is watching them. The girl who runs the cafeteria is indifferent. She collects the money at the entrance and that's it.

People come to play with the cats, But most of the carts are sleeping. They have their little beds here. They also sleep on the tables. In addition, they have a whole house of cats, from which they sometimes emerge. They also have places to sleep next to the wall. Now we saw the cat café, and I get a little bit sad in places like that, because I don't think cats are happy there.

It resembles an unusual environment for cats. They are not loved there. Everything is a bit dirty there. Very strange people come in. It's OK if the person is nice, but surely not all people are treating them well.

I don't think it's very ethical to run places like this. Do you think the cats are happy there? -No. - I don't think they are too.

Here's another cafe. Here they are torturing the raccoons and meerkats. The meerkat cafe is closed. Here you can see what it looks like. The meerkats are in a small room. They stand on one's shoulders, they have these collars. There are some foxes. Well, I'm not a expert of kangaroos, foxes and meerkats,

but if you are, write in the comments how humane this treatment is to them. How humane it is to lock them in a space and let in the people who cuddle, hug and feed them. Do the animals like it? And how comfortable it is for them? I prefer normal cafes where no one tortures animals.

And there are a lot of them in Seoul. They grew a lot of vegetation. There are two floors. You need to order here. and you can sit inside and there are also these tables, all full of vegetation. There are flowers and pots everywhere.

Seoul has a huge number of extraordinary cafés, restaurants, many are stylish, cosy and not so expensive. Like this one, for example. The interior is generally made of very affordable materials.

They've used some storage trays, flower pots, veneer, all not very expensive, but very cosy. This is a street terrace. There are tables everywhere you look.

There are not many people now, because It's 11 o'clock, people are working, and in the afternoon there will be many more people. I can't believe what I see! We're going to the Hello Kitty fan club. - We were not going there! - Yes, we were! - There's a dog with poop on its head...

And he is happy. It should be a symbol that there is no need to be sad. You can buy something from a vending machine. Some toys. There is a photo area here. You can take a photo as a souvenir.

All these people are in a queue there. All these people could be in a Kia and Hyundai factory, Or LG, making air conditioners. But they are queuing up to have their photo taken with stuffed toys. On the other hand, we could also be in a factory, for example in Moskvich, making cars but we are walking around Seoul and see these amazing places that Koreans invented here.

By the way, the good thing about the Korean cafes is that they have examples of food in front of the entrance. Let's take a look at another spectacular café. There are some tables here, plants growing. We continue walking and see another cafe with some chairs. And there's another trendy place downstairs, Also a cafe or something. And there's another one here too.

And here is Leonid Brezhnev's kiss with Erich Honecker, as it is on the Berlin Wall. And it says dankeschon, Berlin. So, it's a Berlin cafe. Do you know who Brezhnev is? - Yes, it is someone from the Soviet Union. -Someone from the Soviet Union. And Honecker? - Honecker is someone from Germany. - Yes, someone from Germany, and they're kissing, you see.

- And Khrushchev is the president, right? - He was the general secretary, then it was Brezhnev. Khrushchev came after Stalin. When Stalin died, it was Khrushchev, then they kicked Khrushchev out, and then came Brezhnev. And Brezhnev kisses Honecker. That's on the Berlin Wall. It is one of the most famous graffiti.

Why do we only talk about food? It is time to discuss spiritual food. For example, historical heritage. Seoul was generally badly destroyed during the Korean War. That time when the north was battling the south. But some heritage did remain in the South Korean capital.

Seoul is not just about skyscrapers, There is also a historic village here. But its history is not as ancient as it might seem, because all this beauty was erected in 1998. In other words, the village is not even 30 years old. It is very young. But it's historical, it's called Namsangol.

Well, the Koreans built a modern replica, so there are authentic houses, with authentic interiors, as well as typical things, so one can come and get acquainted with the culture and customs of the Koreans. This is something very cool, It's a pity they didn't Explain what it is in English. It seems to be sweet. It's probably a room where they sell sweets. Another house. This is the kitchen, here are some utensils.

The oven. Yes, the heritage of Korea's past is not very impressive. But what a future it has. They must have grown tired of waiting for the wonders of Korean technologies.

Let's take a look at them. An advertising tool passes through this shopping centre And takes pictures of everyone. What is it going to do? It wants to drive around me.

And if I of this way? It still goes around me. Smart. Ah, it looks out for the covid-infected. It takes everyone's temperature. Here I am, I have 36.2.

So this is the robot with a thermal camera That goes around looking for sick people. I wonder what will happen if It does find someone sick. Imagine, if it throws a net over you and takes you straight to the police? Everybody thinks, yeah buddy, You're a nice robot, let's play with you. And it turns out that it's a snitch robot.

It identifies all faces and take everyone's temperature. A short review of Korean post office. This is what a mail department looks like here we see a lot of banners, directional pointers, arrows, navigation, everything is repeated many times. There are some pens, they are all different in colour and design, so that no one gets bored and no one relaxes. In other words, there is visual chaos here. The interesting thing is that there are even glasses here There are green chairs. There are metal chairs.

There are leather sofas. There are grey chairs. Gold pots. If you don't like these chairs, there are red chairs that swivel. For all tastes, there is something for everyone. The real miracles of the future must await us in the city of Songdo.

It was built in the early 2000s and was originally intended to be the city of the future. To create it, companies took advantage of new tech, aimed at making people's lives simpler. Each street here is equipped with sensors that monitor energy use and transport flows.

And the waste from the flat is sent to the factory through a pneumatic tube where it is processed and recycled in one go. Incidentally, all flats are equipped with sensors, so that the homeowner can access all amenities via an app. They also say it has plenty of green areas, public spaces and cycle paths. That all sounds very nice, but in reality no ones seems to have needed Songdo. In the 17 years, only 180,000 people arrived here.

Although its creators expected to see 250,000 people. Songdo also did not become a business megacity or the centre of education. It was not possible to attract entrepreneurs here even with tax benefits. Media likens Songdo to a dying ghost town where humans are rarely found. Let's see what's wrong with this city of the future and why no one is moving there. As it is a very modern city, or at least as they planned, There are a lots of e-scooters here. But it's practically impossible to see people with scooters in Korea

because you need to obtain a driver's licence to use one. This district does actually looks deserted. I don't know if it is dying and degrading But it all looks rather sad. You can see this by these paths, They are full of weeds soon the forest will grow over the pavement.

Here are the famous pneumatic rubbish tubes. These receiving stations where the rubbish bags can be thrown, but you need a key to get something in there. It exclusively works for the local population. They bring everything here, and there's a special Network of waste pipes where your rubbish bag flies to a special distribution station. There are some other tanks, They're called Smart Line, everything has touchpads, You put tap your card here and a portal... or something opens. My card doesn't work. Open up! Open up! I want to throw rubbish away! Someone simply left their waste near this miracle.

and this thing here screams with the ultrasound when the car leaves of the car park to make people go crazy! It's amazing, but few know that this layer can be peeled off. And it will be beautiful then. What is that? It's a sad bag of rubbish lying in a puddle. When a real estate developer or a politician tries to sell you the idea of a city of the future, most likely, they are not being honest.

Yes, it is very nice if they want to sell A house at a price 20 to 30 percent higher than usual, attract people here and say, we will have a city of the future. Normally in a city of the future there are various robots, screens and other high-tech things, which do not really influence anything. But in Songdo they went further. They invented an underground rubbish pipe, innovative by local standards. You can see this quite often in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. They even did it in Russia, during the 1980 Olympic Games.

They were doing experiments with these underground rubbish tubes, but it doesn't matter. But in Korea it is not common, it is one of their specialities, the underground rubbish tube. It has a lot of sensors, which turn on traffic lights and street lights, all the elements of the smart city, which don't surprise anyone anymore, were introduced here in the early 2000s.

It doesn't look like the city of the future at all. Well, something obviously went wrong. I expected there to be a robot directing the traffic, but there is an ordinary man with a cane. I was about to say that cars let pedestrians pass here, but no.

Someone was driving and didn't give way to me. In Korea, it is generally not common to allow pedestrians to pass. if you are at a junction, they will let you pass, And if there is no traffic light, well, good for you if you can cross, and if not, well, tough luck. But then again, you will be able to see how Korean medicine works.

A rare phenomenon, a cyclist! He even has an umbrella. Nobody respects the cyclist, he had to suffer from shameless pedestrians who avenge the humiliations of drivers. The important elements of virtually any Korean shopping centre of course, are the vending machines. Pay attention to the markings, some are cool and some are hot. Luggage lockers are super convenient, they are everywhere. There are ATMs obviously.

But they also have a special parking for dogs. Here you can leash your dog and serve food or water. There is a tap here.

Wow, show us how it works! It is a bag for the dog poop. It is quite extraordinary. Ah, you must sweep it.

I mean, these things are used as a shovel. This is how it is supposed to be done and then you wrap it up like this. So it is all biodegradable, Very good for the planet. And you can throw it in here. Where have you seen such spectacular dog parking in a shopping centre? Nowhere.

We are in the city centre. It is the main commercial street. All the shops are here. The pedestrian street, restaurants... It is the very centre. You can't imagine anything more central. There are some half-inhabited offices And back here the wasteland begins.

That is, journalists who wrote that this city is dying out, they were right. There are so many weeds here! The variety of weeds is just like the Russian one. There are only a few concrete blocks missing, otherwise it wold be the typical outskirts of St. Petersburg.

There's already rubbish being dumped here. So that's the wasteland, they haven't built anything here. This all looks very, very sad. Same as the Parnas district of St. Petersburg. The only advantage of this whole district is that here they have made normal vegetation. They planted a huge number of trees along the side of all the streets Which is, of course, very nice.

But right here the whole housing estate Is full of weeds. Nobody uses these pavements. In addition to robots, illegal immigrants and Russian districts in Korea there are a few resorts. For example, Busan, Korea's second largest city. Busan's main asset is its location. The city is located on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

Due to its location the port of Busan has become the largest port in Korea. And in 2001 it was the third largest container port in the world. Many people learned that this city exists from the horror film Train to Busan which grossed more than $96 million worldwide. Although all the action took place on the rail tracks, so viewers never saw Busan itself. But that's OK, I'm going to show it to you now. Two and a half hours on the train, and we are in Busan.

It is the second largest city in South Korea. It's southern, there's sea, port, For now we are welcomed by people with banners who want something but I don't understand Korean. There's a bus stop, There are bus lanes, just like in Seoul. Buses are old, not very comfortable.

They could have made more impressive buses. But that's OK. It's very convenient that the bus number Is written in large letters right on the vehicle.

Buses stop like this in these queues. So you can simply not notice when your bus comes. Bus number 26 brought us Somewhere, to our bus stop. What does the bus stop look like? There is a little space. Here is a table with wireless phone chargers Oh, wow, it actually works! It charges the phone. As in many places in Korea, little thought is given to the design of the environment.

there is total chaos in the architecture, signage and banners as in many other elements of the urban area. Here are some strange tree stumps, There are some flower pots, Fences, and, of course, everything is full of adverts. Posters, banners. Thank goodness I don't understand Korean, so for me it's just like a pretty ornament. Songdo Beach, one of the most amazing beaches in the world and one of the most famous beaches in Busan. Look at this beauty. Again, from a visual and urban environment design pperspective it's all very sad.

Like what even is this? But I am happy with the cleanliness. There are no cheap bars, as we are used to, they are all further away. The sand is wonderful, There are some sculptures there. And there's even a container which is actually a shower. From a design point of view, None of these things go together.

Here are these benches with something weird in the middle, looks like the tools for squeezing laundry in the washing machine. Here is a swing for the garden, only a few garden dwarfs are missing. This navigation, another navigation, everyone does what he or she wants without thinking of a common style.

Another kind of beach navigation, This one looks fun. Here are some sculptures, mock-ups, Next to which you can take some pictures. What

2024-04-19 19:07

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