02 March 2008

field trips #9-10: sinchon

a closer look at the place i call home.

i live in the densely-populated sinchon (신촌) neighborhood. its name means "new village," yet this part of northwestern seoul is one of the city's oldest. i chose to live here after enrolling at sogang's korean language program. the thousands of students who attend sogang and sinchon's other two colleges - yonsei and ewha woman's (sic) university - create a youthful exuberance that fuels the neighborhood's many shops, restaurants, cinemas and bars.

i've always had mixed feelings about living here. it's noisy, polluted, and devoid of park space or historic architecture. furthermore, the sidewalks are usually teeming with groups of 14 to 20-year-olds who are both terribly self-conscious and oblivious to the old people like me who are stuck walking behind them. that aside, sinchon has its perks, like a convenient location, cheap and tasty food, and an environment ripe for keeping tabs on korea's fad-happy youth culture.

since i spend more time here than anywhere else, over the next couple of weeks, sinchon will be the focus of two field trips for your reading pleasure. and, speaking of pleasure, part #1 will take a look at my hood's many "love motels".

stay tuned...

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