Soundtrack: FKJ - Skyline
Sunday starts a little bit slowly, like they sometimes do. I am about to meet up with a Korean friend, Jangmin ”Jangster” Choi who runs an UG magazine VISLA. They write about the hip stuff going on in the city.
Jangmin wants to show me his hoods at Hannam Ogeri. We decide to meet up at Hannam station since I have just managed to use up all of the internet on my prepaid line the night before. Life lessions: when having a 2G internet on your prepaid line it is Not A Good Idea to watch YouTube videos and listen to Spotify while commuting. Do that when you have the luxury of wi-fi.
I arrive a little early and decide to get a cup of coffee from a small café right next to the station. As I enter the door all the adorable older Korean ladies and gentlemen look at me like I just landed from space. They politely hide their curiosity and go on with their coffee and discussions with friends. Apparently this is not the most touristic area of the city.
At the beginning of our tour I get to visit Visla HQ and Jangmin gives me the newest issue. The office is like the magazine – urban and underground. I start browsing the relatively large paper and wish I could read Korean. The articles present urban lifestyle in Seoul and interesting groups and people. Luckily some of it is in English. And the impressive A2 size photos make me feel overjoyed. You see, I am the kind of person who can stare at impressive and intriguing pictures for hours.
The Hannam Ogri area is an interesting combination of a cozy neighborhood and hip boutiques. Many of them are run by Jangmin's friends. One of the houses have small concept stores on several floors and downstairs we find a devoted coffee shop. I keep repeating words ”hip” and ”cool” – for a reason. We visit probably the coolest record store I’ve ever seen and a ”book park” with an endless wall of sharply organized books. Everywhere people are casually hanging around. The atmosphere is relaxed and energetic at the same time.
The name VISLA comes from Visual Slave. I’ve probably always had that in me and this city definitely brings it out in me.