To get to some all-night shopping area in Dongdaemun we used the subway, which is slightly different from what we’re used to in Japan. Everything looks more modern, more sophisticated and quite futuristic, the few pictures I took don’t really do it justice. The seats on the subway didn’t have any seat cushions though, they’re just hard metal seats. This is because in 2003 more than 125 people were killed, when the old highly flammable seat covers were ignited by a disturbed man with a bottle of paint thinner and lighter.
Dongdaemun Market is South-Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district with 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops and 50,000 manufacturers. It opened in 1905 and used to operate from 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m, now it’s open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., with some stores open 24 hours a day. Jungyoon joined us for our midnight shopping event, which started with eating things from sticks (that’s a hotdog on a stick, covered in fries covered in ketchup, Jungwon is feeding Yasu):
The first mall we entered was filled with aggressive sales people, narrow walkways between the messy stalls, poor lighting, exposed plumbing, and cheap and ugly knock-offs. Which really did not put me in the mood to browse, so we left quickly and entered the Doosan Tower next, which looked more like a real mall and was much more comfortable. They say that you can buy anything you can think of in Dongdaemun, not just shoes and bags but also things like plumbing supplies and exotic silks. Yasu took a break from all the shopping at a coffee shop and I went shopping with the twins. And found that some of the stores in this tower even sold American food and toiletry items… Yes, even cinnamon flavored!
I couldn’t believe my luck when I found some cinnamon toothpaste, it wasn’t Crest (the one in the picture is one of my leftovers) but Colgate, but it’s a million times better than toothpaste that doesn’t taste like cinnamon! I could only discover two tubes, which I both bought, of course! If they had had 20 tubes, I would have bought them all too. And finding the cinnamon tic tacs made me happy too, as it’s a nice substitute for cinnamon ice breakers, which are not available here.