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Sensory Overload, Great!

The second week of my trip to Korea is finishing up, and I have been literally "soaking" things up through hot weather, fervent shopping, commuting around, and new tastes. I have been getting to know my additional extended family, and to experience firsthand what all of the luxuries this country has to offer. Still, I am finding some time to involve my life with music regularly through morning practice and tying cultural experiences with it.

Like I had mentioned in my previous blog, shopping had been a predominant activity during my trip here. I had been saving funds away for quite some time for what was to become the most sensory overload shopping of my life in a week's time. The experience certainly has lived up to its hype, with finding a majority of performance-friendly outfits for myself. My wife and I have travelled to famous shopping areas of Seoul (Myong-dong, Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, Lotte Market to name a few) in search of high quality Korean domestic goods both designer and unbranded at fantastic prices. I have never been to such packed locations with tourists and locals alike really dressing to impress while looking for a bargain and vendors yelling to get my attention showing me the latest shipment of Korean goods. Generally there are 2 kinds of major outlets that are common in this country: day/night markets where unbranded goods are sold at wholesale prices (The stores are stacked right next to eachother in open air stalls or small rooms,) and indoor/outdoor Malls similar to the Unites States with brands from all over the world mainly stocking goods made in Korea. I admit that this near daily shop search binge has certainly educated me in haggling, comparing, and being patient about finding "gems," both aesthetically and price-wise.

Today, I visited "Leeum," the Samsung family company's Museum of Art, featuring their private collection of amazing Korean traditional art of historical interest, modern and contemporary art, and futuristic experimental art. The inspiring architecture of the building definitely enhanced the experience of the artwork exhibited. The property was connected by a large entrance hub with two exhibition buildings, one for Korean traditional art and one for modern art. Some traditional art highlights included Goryeo Dynasty 1000 year-old metal statues and Joseon Dynasty 500 year-old pottery. Modern art highlights were Nam June Paik's TV mixed media exhibit and Louise Bourgeois's Solid Stone Eye Benches & two Giant five meter-tall bronze spiders. Perhaps the most unique experience of the museum was at the beginning and end of the visit. The single car entry elevator was certainly as cool as it gets when going down and back up from lower level parking!

In comparing the various types of art, fashion styles, and cultures, it is a wonder how one can make fair comparisons of each thing. While we can appreciate the talent, genius or craziness of the artist or designs, ultimately I believe visual objects are made to evoke emotion. An example of this are scribbles on canvas or elementary stick-figure style painting, which for me had brought back memories of my childhood. Although a famous artist had created the art, there were two choices I could make: Dismiss it as unsophisticated art, or allow it to evoke a memory or emotion. I allowed it to evoke a memory or emotion. The same goes with Music. More often nowadays seldom do I become sick and tired of simple folk songs or elementary pieces that I teach or perform for others. I am finding enjoyment in the evoking of memories or emotions that allow me to revisit or share with others how I've experienced life.