Welcome! I'll post my thoughts, observations, pictures, videos, and other stuff here for your reading enjoyment.
Enjoy! - DJ EJ
Published February 2, 2018 - scroll to end of article for picture gallery
DJ EJ is in South Korea!
Greetings friends, happy to report I made it to chilly South Korea safely and
soundly. We've had a few days to get our accommodations set up and check out
the hockey venue, and finally I have a few minutes to jot down some thoughts.
Our flight was good. Very long - 15 hours - but at least it was nonstop. I had a
window seat and got some work done before the bank of outlets on our row
shorted out or something so we lost power. So, I played Tetris on the video
monitor in front of me and am proud to say I made the leaderboard in only a few games. Picture proof is below for all the non-believers out there. We arrived at Incheon Airport to a cold and snowy night. After a long delay waiting for our bags to arrive, our driver drove us the three hours to our accommodations in Gangneung, where we will call home for the next 26 days.
It's been a fun, neat few days learning our way around town and attempting to learn some of the cultural differences. For example, I realize how reliant I am on power (to charge my cell phone, plug in my music laptops/DJ controller, etc). I didn't make it out to purchase an adapter before I left, so I've been borrowing adapters from some of my colleagues out here - very thankful for them!
Another adjustment is taking shoes off when heading into public areas...but there are nuances to this too! We went to a restaurant a couple days ago and we took our shoes off to go into our dining area, but when we stepped off the raised platform I grabbed my shoes and headed into another part of the restaurant to put the shoes on (away from the dozens of other people who were putting their shoes on) and people looked at me like I had just assaulted someone! Not a big deal by any means, just interesting cultural differences that I am still learning.
What else? This country is very clean, not a lot of trash or clutter in the streets. But there's an interesting mix of brand new (like still being built) buildings among older homes and rice fields all intertwined among each other throughout the city where we are. There are also SO MANY awesome lighting features! So many LEDs...I love it! I'm big-time into lights and lighting, so this is like my own Xanadu here with all the amazing lights here. There's a big push to promote the Olympics here in PyeongChang and Gangneung - where we are staying and the hockey venue is located. Cannot drive more than a block without seeing some Olympic-themed stuff lining the streets.
Our accommodations are pretty cool. They are new (built in 2017) but very traditional-themed rooms. We don't have any beds or chairs or desks, which I assume follows the traditional path as well. We do have one small mattress pad and a few thick down blankets which definitely keep me warm at night, along with the heated floors. It did take me about 20 minutes to figure out the shower, but eventually I did and it's worked out well so far.
One crazy thing that happened since I arrived: I had to fully reset my computer because it was having major issues working well - ie, it wouldn't start up. No biggie, I guess. :/ It led to a very frustrating day trying to get it to work correctly, but eventually I got it fixed and (knock on wood) we should be good to go. Thank goodness I made the decision to pack a backup laptop to use for the games.
A couple other interesting observations:
+ We are very close to the beach which means lots of cold weather. We did drive by the beach briefly and I bet it is awesome during the summers. I did notice a weird part where there was barbed wire and guard towers, but the barbed wire didn't extend into the water at all...it was just "there." Not sure what that was supposed to be, but the beach was still gorgeous nonetheless.
+ Lots of military aircraft flying around, enough that it would be alarming to me back in the States. But then I remember we are technically in a war zone. Kinda crazy to have this looming over one of the biggest events in the world coming up. That said, I do feel safe...especially since North and South Korea are unifying across a few teams during the Olympic Games - which is historic and very cool!
+ I love the mix of traditional architecture combined with brand new technological advances and the lighting. Should be a very cool international display for all the world to see.
+ We walked around our accommodations for a bit and it was an interesting mix of museums and coffee shops (literally like a dozen coffee shops within a few blocks). Strangely, only one of the dozens was actually open at 11am on a Wednesday.
+ The people here are very nice! We've met so many cool people including our assigned volunteers and assistants, and I've been lucky to meet and work with some of South Korea's most popular DJs. Really looking forward to working with them more and rocking these hockey games!