Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tom and Tom's Cafe, August 17

Below: a pic from about six days ago, taken while sitting at the Tom and Tom's Coffee located about 150 meters from where I now live. I Kakao'ed the image to my brother David, who remarked, "Wow—a decent-sized cola!" David is the "whitest" of the three brothers, and the most jaundiced about Korea and Korean culture. His experience in Korea left him, I think, with something of a bad taste in his mouth and little desire to return to the peninsula (David, feel free to correct me, but that's the impression I have).*

You probably get the impression that I eat nothing but Western food. That would not be correct. I suppose I take more pictures of Western food, but I eat plenty of local fare. Today, for example, I ate at Seorae, the galmaegisal-jip in Jongno 2-ga, with Tom. Seorae got Sean's seal of approval; I had taken him and Jeff there. Sean noted how Atkins-friendly the Seorae meal was: plenty of animal protein and leafy greens, very little in the way of carbs.

It just goes to show that a blog, however personal and confessional it might seem, inevitably distorts reality.

*David writes with displeasure that I'm being "presumptuous," and that he greatly enjoyed his trips to Korea. "Why wouldn't I like Korea?" he challenges. I told him I'd make a correction to preserve what I hope is the truth-telling nature of this blog, but I'm not totally convinced that David's attitude toward Korea is entirely positive. Would he want to live here? Would he long tolerate, without complaint, the way Korean society moves? Without even living in the society, he's complained before about cheaply made Korean products, about the rushed "It's OK, it's OK" mentality that leads to sloppy workmanship, etc. So—doubtful on both counts.

Let me put that in perspective, though: I don't really give a damn what his attitude toward Korea is. He's not going to hell if he doesn't like it enough to want to live here, or if he sees flaws in Korean society that I also see (and also complain about—yes, I have many of the same complaints). I'm not a blind admirer of this country, and David can love or hate or be indifferent toward Korea as much as he wants to. I don't observe his attitude with even a hint of disapproval. He's free to think and feel whatever he wants. And if he's truly sincere about not having anything against Korea, despite his complaints, then that's fine, too.

He's still the "whitest" of the three brothers, though.


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