Dongdaemun Comic Cafe 'Kong Toon' 2017
Over the weekend I had to do a few chores downtown in Seoul, and also meet a few friends for dinner. I had to go to Dongdaemun to pick up a second hand phone for my dad, and at the same time I got my hands on some Russian pastries. Apparently, the area where I went to pick up my phone seems to have a community of Russian's and a few other people from around that region.
After buying the phone I was supposed to head over to another location to pick up some art supplies, and then suddenly the sky decided to drop it's pants and piss all hell on earth because it was pouring like a waterfall. My plans were flushed down the gutter along with the rain water and I had nothing to do until dinner time. (It was around mid-afternoon)
I had the option of walking aimlessly around department stores, playing computer games in a cyber cafe or going into a comic book cafe. The department store option did not sit right because my feet were extremely wet, so hours of walking was not on the top my priority list. Playing computer games and reading comic books were also not on my interest list but I had very little options. Usually comic book cafes would be the last option because I rarely go to these places. Cybercafe's alike were not places that I visited often, but back in my middle school years I would often occasionally spend time with friends around these venues.
I was standing outside one of these cybercafe's and realized that there weren't many games that were in my interest list. It may have been because I was brought up as a console gamer, but I had a resume of a few computer games that I have played over my lifetime. It's just that there was nothing that I really wanted to play, and nowadays many computer games are online so someone like me who doesn't play a lot of computer games are just going to be cannon fodder, and online gamers hate people like me. The last thing that I wanted was a thirteen year old telling me that I sucked at gaming and I should go hide in a hole.
(Even just 2~3 years ago we used to have something called Playstation cafes where you can play the playstation, but that was kind of a one and done trend...Pity.)
So I eventually found myself in a comic book cafe, and the moment I stepped inside I was very surprised at the level of design and maintenance that these so called comic book cafes had to offer. The last time I went to one of these comic book cafes were almost a decade ago, before I had settled down here in Korea. All you had were bookshelves with comics, aged sofas, and cigarette smoke densely fogging up the room, setting up an atmosphere suited for a bar more than a library. But this, this was something else. It was a cafe filled with a fair amount of books, but they had board games, puzzles and wifi, and they had some what of a catering service where you could order food and drinks.
Basically, when you walk into this cafe, you have to take off your shoes and put them into a cupboard located somewhere below in one of these unorganized photos. You can lock up your stinky shoes and hand over your keys to the counter where you can pick a course from the menu. They have a variety of customized menus where you can just stay for as long as you could for a set price, where each hour is accounted for, or you could choose a course where a time is set and you can stay for as long as that time limit. (I chose a 3 hour stay which included a free drink, and it cost about 8~9 USD) Of course I can imagine most of the people that come here try and grab one of these private booths, where you can stretch out and relax, and basically nap if you wanted to. I grabbed an issue of "Full Metal Alchemist," which I have yet to finish from almost 12 years ago, and surprisingly I was immediately invested in the comic. I was laying down in my somewhat private, but slightly compact space, with my head resting on the cushion, catching up on the comic (manga) that I had been procrastinating on......
Oops. I dozed off for an hour. Its fine, cause I still had 2 more hours remaining! Joy!
The manager was kind enough to offer me another drink, because when I first entered this establishment I had asked him for permission if I could take some photos for my blog. He kindly gave me a free drink mentioning that it was a new drink they were promoting. It was a bright pink drink...Just my style...I kindly accepted it, and I kindly ingested it, but I kindly disregarded it because anything too loaded with dairy, sugar and melon(!?!?) is too much for my taste buds. Plus it was pink. Anything that is pink, I tend not to eat, even candy. (How can anything with the color pink, taste like honeydew melon???)
(I should be careful next time about name dropping the word 'blog' because I don't want to pressure anyone for special treatment)
Once my time was up, I got up, organized my space a bit and head to the counter. (The payment is made after your time is up.) The busy workers grabbed their sticky rollers and adeptly cleaned the space that I had been host to, and that was pretty much it. I was heading out to meet my friends and I honestly felt well rested and relaxed. I'm not the type of person that likes to stay idle for long hours, but this was something different. I truly recommend this kind of cafe because the options are varied, and I can see why so many couples visit these places, at least on the day when I was visiting, it was infested with couples.
I only wish these places had English comics as well... Maybe one day in Itaewon?