Hi, Exit 8!

On Starting

Simply, my dream is to own and run my own studio and brand in Seoul someday. I’ve been making things all my life. It wasn’t until college that I first learned about freelancing, shipping, and entrepreneurship. 

By starting my own studio, I’m working towards a specific direction and voice that I’m always crafting and developing. No secrets: I’m literally starting this in the corner of my parent’s garage, have a lot to learn, and still live in California. Starting has always been difficult for me… but I’ve started. And that says a lot about what this means to me, no?

P.S. It’ll be the official house for Memoirs in Seoul


[Culture] Hello Hyukoh

There's always a specific album or artist that I tend to become obsessed with for a season. This summer, the rising band Hyuk Oh has caught my eye... or should I say ears. I first came across the song Comes and Goes (와리가리) while skimming online. The guitar intro immediately caught my attention. The mellow repetitive rhythm made me stay, waiting for the melody. Within several seconds in, I was met with a silky and unmistakable voice that danced along with the guitar. The rest of the song was a groovy party. 

01 / COMES AND GOES (와리가리)

"‘Comes and Goes’ shows the relationship between the band members and how they've been since childhood up until now. They used to live abroad when they were little and now live in Seoul. The song shows how people feel when people they've just gotten to know, leave them.

다들 그렇게들 떠나나요
이미 저 너머 멀리에 가있네
여기에는 아무도 안 올 테니
그냥 집으로 돌아갈래

Does everyone leave like that
Even though they're already so far away
Since no one will come back here
I just wanna go back home


02 / WING WING (위잉위잉)

Wing Wing is a hilariously sad song. Reflective of the weird restlessness and angst that I also feel as someone in my early 20's, the lyrics talk about how busy everyone else in the world seems while the protagonist feels displaced and an outcast. Wing Wing is an onamonapia, the sound of a fly or mosquito buzzing around. The familiar zone of feigned disinterest is where our singer chooses to linger as he rejects the busy world. 

위잉위잉 하루살이도
처량한 나를 비웃듯이 멀리 날아가죠
비잉비잉 돌아가는
세상도 나를 비웃듯이 계속 꿈틀대죠

Winggg-Winggg, Even the fly
Seems to laugh at miserable me, flying far away 
Spinning Spinning, The world turns
Even the world seems to laugh, twitching away 



The Panda Bear is known to be one of the laziest and most unmotivated animals. Lead singer Oh-Hyuk is said to have written this song in 30 minutes after being unable to fall asleep one mellow night. Using the idea of an unmotivated panda as his motif, the song explores the everyday phenomenon of people pretending that they're not lonely. After listening to his other songs, I noticed that this one in particular didn't focus too much on his vocals but more about the atmospheric feel of it all. I think this runs true with the theme of a lazily sung song. 

I'm the type of person without any greed
So don't do me any favors that I didn't ask for 
Even if love might come looking for me again
I probably won't recognize it

난 욕심이없는 사람이야
그러니까 내게 호읠 베풀지마
언젠가 사랑이 찾아온대도
난 아마 알아채지도 못할꺼야



In my search to learn more about the band, I came across this interview gem. I love and obsess over individual behind-the-scene type features. So this was right up my alley. You can see how laidback and chill the boys are. 

Making It Happen

I sat across from him and pretended that I hadn't heard him the first time. I looked up and asked with my best innocent face, "What did you say?" Without taking his eyes off of his book, my dad cleared his throat and asked in a slightly annoyed tone, "I said... What're you planning to do after we return from our summer trip?" I flinched and knew that I couldn't avoid the conversation this time. I stared at the screen in front of me that showed the university's website. Should I do it now? Yes. Let's do it. No other way around it. 

Mustering up a bit of courage, I sat up straight and brightly said, "What do you think about me going back to Korea for a master's program?" Immediately, he furrowed his brow in concern, "What? What about law school?" And without a moment's hesitation, I began to lay out all the reasons why I thought going back to Seoul was a great idea. Before he could ask questions, I addressed every single one of his possible concerns about tuition, timeliness, purpose, and more. At the end of my impromptu presentation, I held my breath as I waited for his answer. He looked up at me and then spoke two words in response: "I suppose." 

I suppose. I suppose. I suppose! 

This was a good sign. He was actually considering it! After several more silent seconds, he slowly said, "Okay... But you need to really work and make it happen. Stand by your words." Done deal. I did my best to hide my enthusiasm and excitement to the surprising positive conclusion to our conversation. 

Whenever I need to figure out whether or not I want something badly, I ask myself the following: If this dream and goal were to really happen. In reality. Right in front of you. Would you still take it? And if applicable, do you want it more than it scares you? When the answer to this question is still yes, then I take it. Then I know that it's something that I really want and that I may be ready for. 

I've been wanting to go back to Seoul ever since returning back home from studying abroad. It's more than just wanderlust or wanting to feel like an international student again. There's a long list of tangible real goals that I want to tackle when I'm back in Korea. Cooking up a dream and turning it into bite sized tangible goals is easy. The hard part is consistently taking action to make each step happen. I'm doing all I can to keep my eye on the prize and keeping my heart at the center of all of this. I'm excited to see where life takes me and what successes and failures are waiting to pop up. Bring it on!

Keep your eye on the prize, your heart in the effort, and your passion burning steadily... Make it happen.
— Ralph Marston

Welcome to Memoirs in Seoul

Perfect or not, the new blog is now live and open online. There’s still a lot that needs to be posted to have the dates catch up to the present day… but nevertheless, I unlocked the site anyway and opened it as promised. 

A Time of Transition: Overview

I would be lying if I told you that I was always completely confident and sure about running a blog intimately looking at Korea, Seoul, traveling in general, and of course, myself. A little bit of fear and uncertainty is always there when I ask myself, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Interestingly though… no matter how busy and detached I thought I was from my memories of studying abroad and the desire of going back, I always found myself going back to my journal entries and travel archive. As time went by, I understood that expanding and doing something special with Memoirs in Seoul was real and important to me. 

Jessica Hische (famous letterer, illustrator, and type designer) is often quoted for saying,

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

Travel writing and blogging, specifically about Korean culture, is the work that I always do when I’m procrastinating in my regular day to day life. With this new project, I’m taking the small leap to see whether or not this will indeed be something that I will be doing for the rest of my life. 

Sometimes I find myself dreaming about seemingly outlandish goals - let’s start a magazine, let’s start a creative collective, let’s open a studio, or let’s publish a book! I’m easily excited, attracted to new things, and am always bursting with ideas about the next cool thing to spend my time on… but it all falls through because I haven’t built a strong foundation for all these wild goals and projects. On the web, I still think that the foundation of all great content is blogging. I think it always has been and always will be in some form or another because humans are natural storytellers. Storytelling is the main essence of any little thing that I’ve experimented with and posted online. 

Recently, I visited my narrative journalism professors and mentors in their offices.  With the end of college around the corner, I cautiously shared with them my dreams and projections of the years ahead. One of those dreams that I shared with them was that I wanted to write and create content specifically about Korea and build a life long body of work around it. They told me: 

“Be bold. Go for it. Never give up. Don’t make excuses. Write me often. Keep in touch. Let’s see what you do with that important dream.” 

I’m still an amateur, clumsily wading through editing and writing like a new born baby. Often distracted, I’m always wanting to do a thousand things at once. 

But as long as I can remember the words of my mentors and the purpose of it all, I will continue to forge ahead… because anything is possible. 

Thanks for staying with me and this little blog for so long. It means a lot to me. Thank you for all the warm words of encouragement. And now I invite you to come join me on the next step of the blog’s journey by signing up to the blog’s community - www.memoirsinseoul.com/subscribe

There’s great things up ahead. Let’s share the joy together.