an eccentric preoccupation with what is not beautiful

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I’d prefer to be fascinated and surprised, rather than lulled and tranquilized.

And, very often, pretty things are not real, you know.     

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It’s been a couple of years now since I took a short trip to Kyushu, the part of Japan that is the closest to Korea, but 4 days and 5 nights we spent there I snapped several hundred photos and most of them look quite nice. Part of it was that it was a new place, and my eye was fresh to every bit of it, and that’s not true here in Korea.

I’m not going to show you any of those pictures today,

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Generally speaking, though, Japan looks quite nice. Japanese people work hard every day to make it look nice. There’s a lot of social pressure over there not to let others form a poor opinion of you so the very least one is expected to do is keep appearances up. To a certain extent, this happens in other parts of Asia as well, but it’s sort of one of the defining things about Japanese culture.

So, things there are pleasing to the eye. Pretty much everywhere you look.

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 Korea, on the other hand … let’s just say you will need to look around for beautiful places and nice things, and you may also need to get lucky. Yes, you can visit Insadong in Seoul, Pulguk Temple down in Cholla, or snap a shot of the sunset over the Han River, or the skyline at Busan. You can take pictures of those things, and a lot of people do.

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Dare I say it, though? Cliché idea or not, there is more than one kind of beauty. There is randomness and clutter, and sometimes surfaces that could really use a wipe-down. Darkness, punctuated by sudden bright lights. Noises, unexpected and from indiscernible sources.

And sometimes something goes so far over to ugly that it pokes out on the other side of pretty.

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I find I’m not very interested in taking pretty pictures, though I don’t mind if other people do, and I’ll probably enjoy looking at them, and will do them sometimes, though it is not what I most interested in.

They are too calming, and I guess I prefer to be disturbed. Say what you like, ugly things are real, they are true.

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