One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the fascinating verticality of Seoul's urban culture.

Life happens at more than groundlevel here, and not just living space either. All over the city there are several floors of bars, restaurants, cafes, stores, and other venues, which means that in terms of commercial space the city is quite a bit larger than it seems at first (if you are thinking of American zoning practices).

It takes some getting used to, looking up and thinking of going to a restuarant several floors up that you can't see into. Often there are several different restaurants on each levels, which means dozens of places in single buildings.

I think that I have not been sufficiently considering these upper (and lower) levels. That is why, for example, I never would have found that basement kayagum seller. See what I have been missing?

Here is an example from my neighborhood: six stories of different bars in a single building.




My wife has been making a point of exploring the multiple levels, and has found buildings near our house that have sushis restuarants, coffee cafes, bars, and other Korean sitdown style restuarants in single buildings.

I know what you are thinking: you never have to leave.

The cafe on the top floor (a coffee and bagel place), she has visited has an unusual payment policy: pay whatever you want. Quite a policy, fits right in with the anarchist coffeeshops you can find in the US in various places (though my favorite one in Richmond, VA has closed), but kind a surprise here. Coffee shops are ubiquitous here, but cheap they are not. The pay if you choose concept is one worth supporting.

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