A Tale of 3 Bookstores in Seoul: Part Two
South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Seorin-dong, 33
Traveling to Seoul, South Korea was an amazing experience. The people are polite and courteous. The various places that I traveled in South Korea, including Seoul, were pristine. ‘Clean streets’ does not begin to describe how well the locals take care of their area. I’d finished a water bottle while exploring, and had to carry it until I found a public Men’s room, where I found a garbage can. One of my hosts explained to me best by sharing what was said to him by a friend: “Why should anyone else be responsible for your trash? That is your responsibility.”
The downtown area in Seoul was no exception to cleanliness. The half block walk along a busy street held so much to gawk at. The tall buildings are like any other downtown area, but for an American, seeing familiar company logos with Korean signs was something to soak in.
The entrance to YPBooks looks like a subway booth, or Dr. Who’s Tartarus (phone booth). Down a flight of stairs brings you into the book space. Like the other bookstore, Bandi Luni’s, it too has connections to the subway, and the main merchandise is books. Also like the other store, you can buy much more. What intrigued me most here was their food court were sitdown restaurants. I arrived just before the lunch hour, which my body clock would have placed as just after dinner (+13 hours in Seoul). This being my first full day in the area, I decided to have lunch as I worked to get my body clock on local time. Much of the fare was Asian–no surprise–and they were high quality. McDonalds was available on the street, but when in Rome (or Seoul)….
Local food is always my choice when traveling. Why go somewhere that you can find at home? But my one concession came at this bookstore. Starbucks. Had to settle for a Frappuccino 😉 because Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is not an item sold in Seoul. Still it was a nice experience, even if I could not pay via my app. The WiFi was free!
The books are laid out on tables and shelves in perfectly organized rows. There are two levels to this store, where both are underground. Many of the books found in the United States are sold, although you’ll have to know Korean to read them. There is a small section of books printed in English to choose from, and could make a special gift. At the time of my visit, those books were on the top most floor. My preference was to find a beloved book that’s translated into Korean, which I’d already done at the final bookstore of this series. The one that you can expect to spend much of the day.