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You all have seen photos of Japanese barbies, fashionistas, shops and whatever that is of  Harajuku.  And yes they are real and true and you can’t imagine Tokyo without them.



IMG_5497Now I have found the real one.

IMG_5494Kimono Flea across from the Harajuku Gap.


IMG_5487You know what Obi is, right?  A Beautiful and very long rectangular textile that functions as a belt and also stylizes the volume and the line of entire Kimono in maximum. I think Obi is the most important part of the Kimono. Like a good coat can define your look,  good obi completes the entire look. Did you read the Memoir of the Keisha yet? Such a beautiful book.


An entrance to one Sweet shop.


Harajuku Girls!

IMG_5498Harajuku Subway Station. I always like to take subways of the city if there is one. It’s the best way to see the city. At least once. If you don’t, you are missing it out.

IMG_0928Creative street vendor’s one of kind pieces.  I think they are quite great. Love the back detail.


IMG_0907Cool shoes.

Blade Runner would be the good movie to reference Tokyo.  All different kinds of sound spilling out from the moving bill boards and swarming people on the street. Crazy intersections and more people. Tokyo is a melting pot of it’s own strong individuality of each. Reserved yet Dare. Quite but Alive.


A view from Cerulean Hotel, Shibuya.

IMG_5439Men in Tokyo are some characters. Sporting permed long hairs and distinctive outfits or anything that works!


IMG_5505Yes the pony tail, hoop earings, big purse. It’s common to see straight men handling  all of these fashion in Tokyo.



IMG_0255_2At the entrance of Shibuya park. The Mod men!


IMG_0247Gap employees at Shibuya store wearing all Gap.

Intercontinental Hotel in Kowloon, HK is always a stop by for at least for one evening. Truffle oiled fries, mini Berger plate, seared tuna salad and couple of drinks.  But real charm of the Intercontinental is their enormous water front glass view window of the lounge. It’s spectacular!




You can reach to the main HK island from Kowloon side by $2.00 Ferry, which is a good local fun thing to do, or by a car. Tropical breeze and stormy spilling lights. HK is a another Manhattan, the city never sleeps…!

IMG_5376Corso Como in Seoul. It’s a beautiful shop.


IMG_5359Pagoda detailed fence of Residence of Current president and Buk-Ak mountain looking it down.


A coffee shop on the other side of the Buk-Ak mountain, forgot the name of it. Great coffee!


Smart and simple details with small wood blocks, same coffee shop.

IMG_0147_2Typical breakfast.

IMG_01436 different floavors of Kimbap( like maki roll)

IMG_0174_2Koreans love ‘ Sooung-Nyuong”, hot water poured and simmered bit to the little left over rice still inside the pot.  It has this wonderful flavor of nutty and soothing taste. People drink the warm rice flavored water. It almost tastes like Barley Tea.

IMG_0180I believe this is a building of Amore Pacific, a high end cosmetic brand. Soho in NY also has a fancy boutique of the brand.


One of the cafes on Garosu gil ( means tree lined street), a trendy area with small boutiques and many restaurants. Somewhat like Nolita of NY.


IMG_0126_2More Garosu gil

There are almost 50 Universities in Seoul and hilly little streets around every University is pretty much well stocked up with cheap and trendy restaurants, street food, bars, shops, karaokes, small theaters and everything else you can imagine.  There are a few university towns that are absolutely popular and those would be the town around Hong-ik ( traditionally known for their fine art department) and Ewha Woman’s ( well known for sassy, smart and trendy girls of the University).  Yoonhee and I made a quick stop at the town of Hong-ik.

IMG_5366The school entrance.







So, Samchung dong’s real charm is Coexistence of old and new. Modern day living in traditional space. All these business owners show how you do it.


One of many big and small cafes… 2 leveled with multiple entrances and completed with a wooden enclosed deck. I heard this one opened around a year ago and is very popular. By the way, in Seoul, valet parking is a very common thing.






IMG_5301This little box like standing alone building is a Dry Cleaner. Love the sign!

IMG_5344A cute coffee shop. They also carry small line of Vitra product in the cafe. A very common concept in Seoul and similar to ones in Stockholm, Sweden.  A space that has it all: clothing, books, coffee, cut hair… You name it!

IMG_5315This coffee shop was covered with many small pieces of whatever paper. Funny place.


This is straight out from my childhood! Sticky rice power dough with sweet syrup inside then fried on a hot griddle. We call it Ho-ttuck. Crispy and Sweet. Delicious!!!!!!!!! And the fun factor is that this is out of Rice shop. Very Korean!

IMG_5318People are lined up to get into a place of this traditional Korean sticky rice cake dish, “Ttuck bokki”: thick strings of rice cake are cut off into pieces and cooked and stir fried on a pan with spicy chili paste, sugar, crushed garlic, soy sauce, veggies and fish cakes. You have to taste it to know what it is like!

IMG_5297This beautiful rustic modern house is a Korean BBQ house, Danpung namu.  Doesn’t this house look like one from the Dwell magazine?


Surrounding rock and metal cased fence. Cool, ha?



IMG_5323Mid Century Modern and Antique shop.


IMG_5293This one was the most non Korean one I saw in Samchung dong.


I don’t  know “Why” I never made an effort to see more of Seoul whenever I was on a business trip. Sometimes, Seoul would be sandwiched with other cities to be visited, but from now on, I have to really make some time to see my home city better.

Samchung Dong is a area where old fashioned traditional Korean homes, Han-Ok, with humble and beautiful pagoda roofs are still protected and standing firmly very closely located to Cheongwadae (the Office of the president of Korea). I hear the development of this town has been strictly banned until very recent days. It is also the heart of old Seoul. You’ll find people who proudly say their grand father’s father was also born in this town. Coming from the metropolitan area, you might think the time in this area stopped in the 70s yet the old isn’t just what Samchung dong stands for…! ( wait to see the part 2!)



There are ton of tiny traditional tea houses, cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops and street food vendors wrapped around hilly residential homes and off the beaten path small streets. It’s adorned by both the young and the old. Definitely charming. Definitely bohemian.




IMG_5332One of formal presidents, Yoon Posun’s residence is also located in Samchung dong. It’s beautiful…






At one restaurant, Nok-Won, in Jam-sil, Seoul where my cousin lives… 2 different kind of simmered pork (one was done in more Chinese way with chinese herbs, the other one was done in simple Korean way, maybe there was garlic and some ginger in the broth to simmer the meat), cabbage kimchi, chive kimchi, steamed deep-sea seaweed, raw garlic slices, green peppers.  So what you need to do is that take a lettuce leaf, place couple of whatever is on the plate in your preferred mix, put some spiced miso paste, wrap it all up. Now, they are ready to be eaten up!


So in Korea, you will see such thing called ” Jung-Sik” on the menu, which means kind of combo set. So many restaurants will have Jung -Sik in their way.  I believe we ordered Jung-sik in this restaurant, which included the big plate, the first photo, the veggie Buns as above and noodle in rich beef bone broth.


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