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:
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.