Funnily enough, when we hear “Japan” we quite often think of geisha, samurai and blooming cherry trees.
If we hear “Tokyo”, however, the first thought will be for the megalopolis, Harajuku, Shinjuku and the high tech gadgets that will be the new hype in the West about 2 years after being born in the East.
Well, the same approach goes for Korea.
The country in itself is steeped in its rich history, and the way of life in the countryside has not changed that much.
Seoul is not Korea.
Seoul is ever changing, ultra modern and never quiet.
But even that futuristic side is based on the past.
How so ? Because of Confucius.
You might be thinking: “Right, this time she lost it.”
It’s the Confucianism that has been, and still is, the base of the Korean society. It shapes the moral system, the way of life, social relations and even the legal system.
What does it have to do with the futuristic Seoul ?
How long do you think you could leave an HD TV set in the Parisian or NYC subway ?
I meant, a working HD TV set.
Yes, that’s what I thought.
In Seoul, not only do you have HD TV everywhere, but now the city is putting even more technology in the subway stations.
Enters the Giant Ipad.
This brand new device is a public phone, an interactive tactile map, internet connection, TV and probably a few other things that my lack of Korean didn’t allow me to understand.
It’s actually almost too much if you don’t know the language, but scrolling over Seoul with one swipe on a huge screen is… pretty cool.
Another nice thing with the subway is the T-money card.
T-money is used to pay the fare in the bus, subway, some taxi, museums, buy stuff at the Mart and to use the phone function of the Giant Ipad.
But this is Asia.
They won’t give you a dull, boring, horrendous card with the-worst-picture-of-you-ever.
Instead, they’ll sell you the cutest mobile phone decoration.
Mine is a Hello Kitty.
Of course, if you want to get the dull original card, feel free to do so !
But cuteness is not only in accessories.
Why can’t your fridge be cute as well ?
Ok, Seung Gi does add to the cuteness, but still !
You can’t turn on the most basic Korean device without being greeted by a nice little jingle.
The air conditioning, but also the dishwasher, the washing machine and I expect the dryer to be the same.
Too bad we didn’t get to use an oven or a coffee maker, would love to hear what they would sing.
A last peak into what technology is like in Korea:
I’m pretty sure Confucius would disapprove.