A few months ago I came across this crazy English gem, but hadn't seen them up close and personal until yesterday. You can find them at Condomania in Hongdae. I love BRACK people!
Actually I do. Seeing a "person of color" in Korea is somewhat of a novelty. It's like if you see two black people in a day, you're like in Itaewon, or having a super lucky day.
On a similar note, apparently getting a tan or having dark skin, is not attractive to many Koreans. For example, a Korean co-worker of mine recently noted that I must have been in the sun and my skin looks darker. I of course took this as a compliment, stating "Yeah, I love being tan. I wanna be black this summer!" She replied, in a very direct and very Korean manner, that she thinks it looks awful and foreigners look better in the winter. This stuff cracks me up.
Women do all sorts of things to prevent themselves from getting dark. First, there are all kinds of creams and crazy other facial products here to lighten the color of your skin. I saw commercials for SK-II's Whitening Source for months thinking that they were saying that the product was called "whitening sauce." Anyway, these go beyond being a form of sunblock to protect you from the sun, they do things like eliminate melatonin and now much more. Another remedy for being too dark seems to be to just get foundation that's a couple shades lighter. And then there's the the trusty parasol to keep the bad sun away. Direct sunlight is not a major issue round these parts. Most days in Seoul are somewhat overcast due to pollution (this is the only place I've lived where you can not only look directly at the sun in the middle of the day but also see the air you breathe). However, on the rare sunny day you'll see women walking around with sun umbrellas. On campus I've seen female students walking along with their little book suitcases raised above their head, or even just using their hand, to shield themselves.
I, on the other hand, am laying out, soaking it up. Yeah, yeah... I know it's supposed to be terrible, and I'm gonna wrinkle up before I'm 35. BUT I moisturize, use face cream with sunscreen... whatever, it feels good. On a day like today, I say leave the umbrella at home, go out, and let the sun kiss every inch of your body. GET BRACK and love it!
Those are actually fluffy white clouds with a blue sky behind them. IN SEOUL. Can you believe it?