There are many interesting things about Korea that most people don’t get a chance to see. As a society, they really value aesthetics. I noticed this in the interior of buildings, mainly restaurants. My friends and business associates in Korea are always so kind and find the best restaurants to take me. It is always very challenging for them because I am a vegetarian and Korea is well known for their beef. They found a great restaurant for me named Sanchon that had its own unique story. Sanchon was created by a monk. At this restaurant, they serve typical temple cuisine that is all vegetarian and utilize vegetables and plants from the temple’s nearby surroundings. I love this concept. It was an amazing experience to sit on the floor and eat dinner under beautiful lotus shaped lanterns. If I could have fit them in my suitcase I would have taken a few.
Nearby this restaurant is a great shopping area that is devoted to creative individuals and artists. It was incredible to see individual artist with their own storefronts selling their unique creations from food, art, jewelry, clothing, and home decor. Everything about this building was creative. The floors were built on a gradual incline so you could reach the top of the building by just walking forward and never past the same store in this direction. It was so refreshing to see this in contrast to the big department stores and chains we see in the US. I love countries that supports creative artists and entrepreneurs. I hope in the near future we will see more places like this in the US.
While I was in Korea I found beautiful sheets and bedding. This fabric inspired our new Bella top. It is incredibly silky and is the perfect softness to have against your skin. I also love that it has a slight sheen to it. The mismatched buttons designed to go on this top were inspired by the beautiful artwork created by one of the artists in Korea. I chose to mismatch the buttons because it represents the uniqueness of an artist along with the imperfection of art. I think when this is done right it can be beautiful. Sometimes when something is too perfect it doesn’t come across as authentic.
Another lesser know fact is that Korea has a high percentage of plastic surgeries. Plastic surgeries are common and acceptable there. I discovered this when I would look through Korean fashion magazines and see that a third of the magazine was devoted to plastic surgery advertisement. I have to admit that many of the women there are beautiful and have incredibly milky skin. Their preference there is for lighter whiter skin. Tanning is not popular in Japan, Korea, or China. Whiter skin is considered more attractive and many of the cosmetics sold in Asia contain a whitener.
Shopping is always good here. Korea has these great outdoor markets that open at 12:00 PM when the regular stores are closed. You can almost have a 24-hour shopping experience if you choose to. The other incredible thing is that you will see lots of couples in department store together. Often times it is a way they spend time together on the weekend. It is also unbearably crowded on the weekends because of this. Just another reason to love Korea. Any country that would promote shopping together as an activity is my kind of country.
Check our blog for more highlights from Kathy’s Far Eastern trip soon.