Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comic book Convenience Store

Okay, so this is the third installment of Korean Nerd Culture Watch, and this particular segment has to do with the picture posted at the head of this blog. Look at it again, very very carefully. See something off? Is that Dried Squid hanging there, and are those foodstuff in front of the VHS tapes?

The answer: YES (and the VHS tapes thing is a whole different commentary that I may or may not get into later).

That's right, this particular comic book corner market is actually a convenience store just across the street from the University of Ulsan dormitories. Apparently (and this is purely gleened for a basic understanding of the Korean language) the place lends them out to people, like a library, who have payed a 10,000won deposit (which is $10 in the States) to make sure that they can cover any books that get taken and never returned. But basically, you can borrow to your hearts content and read them for up to a week (or two I was a little fuzzy on that) before they start charging you late fees, but almost no one accrues a late fee. Now this is friggin' awesome, because you can borrow your favorite comics and then return them once you are done.

I find this is great for the college peoples, because that means they don't have a ton of comics cluttering their shelves and stuff, because that can get annoying. I mean, I like to own my comics and not borrow them (usually) but as any nomadic or semi-nomadic comic enthusiast can tell you, sometimes it's just annoying to lug all those books around. Especially when you realize that once you've read through them, you don't read through a lot of them again, especially if the story starts to blow in the end (and I reference GTO and Saint Seiya....that's right, hate me if you will, but come on, it really did start to blow and you know it).

So, who's skeptical about this being a full on convenience store? Well, here's another picture to prove it:

Any Questions?

Anyway, apparently this isn't that common in Korea, but common enough that my roommate knew all about it. Right friggin' on. I feel like the luckiest bastard in Nerd Evolution history, mostly because I live so close to the store that it's nothing, and secondly, if you look carefully you might see some of the more popular comics on the shelves, like Bleach, Deathnote and One-piece.

MWAHAHA. I give this store a BIG FAT A+ for innovation. And their prices are good along with some very happy workers who definitely love Americans.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Starcraft TV

Back when I was in Middle School, Starcraft had just came out and I was trying my best to get a copy of it, but I was failing miserably. It seemed like the game to get and everyone was in love with it, but then, a few years later, when I was finally able to start playing the game, I found out that only the really nerdy people played it anymore...and that's because it required lots of thought. I wonder if it would have been different if we had a channel on TV that talked us through strategies, then maybe it wouldn't be as nerdy...

..but then what would talk about here in our blog?

So, as part of my second installment of NERD CULTURE WATCH in Korea, I thought it very pertinent to bring up Starcraft TV. In Korea, there is like 4 channels dedicated to gaming, and I don't mean like America's G4, but more like 100% of the programming is games. Not commentary on games, not game conventions, but people playing the games and voice overs explaining what they are doing. One of these channels runs Starcraft 24 hours a day. Nothing but starcraft all the time. It's strange, but watching it can be fascinating when you have nothing else to do for a couple of hours.

Here's a glimpse of Starcraft TV.

Basically, if you want to touch up on the newest strategies--or you just want to watch a buttload of terrans get zerg rushed--then turn your Korean TV dials to MBC GAME and you've got yourself 24 starcraft fest.

If you don't want starcraft, try the other gaming channels, they've got WoW, Lineage, Go, and other games on there too. Personally, I'll just keep watching the starcraft channel, mostly because that's a lot more interesting than watching someone play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight. I mean, sure I can play an MMORPG for 16 hours straight, but watching someone else do it when I could just go ahead and do it myself, well, that's just pushing the envelope.

I give the Starcraft channel a B, because sometimes their explainations are a little junkie. But it's a great idea and just goes to show you how much Korea is in with the Nerd Crowd.