For more than seven years now, I've hosted and produced long-form interview podcasts. On Notebook on Cities and Culture, which I began a little over three years ago, I've taken the concept worldwide, traveling not just all over Los Angeles, where I live, but to cities like Portland, Vancouver, London, Mexico City, Osaka, Copenhagen, and Toronto. In each of them, I've interviewed all the cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene I could find.
Last summer, I decided to put together a season of Notebook on Cities and Culture focusing on just one country: South Korea, which at the moment strikes me as the most fascinating place going in Asia. So I packed up my trusty Zoom H4n recorder, headed across the Pacific, and spent six weeks talking with all sorts of people — Koreans, foreigners, Korean foreigners, and so on — about the work they do and the Korean cities they do it in.
(I also, while there, seized the chance to write a series of essays for the Guardian on Korean urbanism, featuring cities like Seoul, Songdo, Changwon, and Busan.)
The resulting series, which I call Notebook on Cities and Culture's Korea Tour, began airing in November. Episodes so far available include:
- Hyunwoo Sun, founder of the Talk to Me in Korean language-learning podcast empire
- Bernie Cho, president of DFSB Kollective, a creative agency that provides digital media, marketing, and distribution services to Korean pop music artists
- Laurence Pritchard, writer, teacher, enthusiast of Korean literature, and "English gentleman"
- Mark Russell, author of the books Pop Goes Korea, K-Pop Now!, andYoung-hee and the Pullocho
- Mipa Lee, proprietor of Itaewon's vegan (!) bake shop and café PLANT and author of the blog Alien's Day Out
- Marc Raymond, film scholar, teacher at Kangwoon University, and author of Hollywood's New Yorker: The Making of Martin Scorsese
- Adrien Lee, French-Korean host of Arirang TV's Showbiz Korea and Arirang radio's Catch the Wave
- Michael Breen, author of The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies
- Stephen Revere, CEO of 10 Media, co-founder and managing editor of 10 Magazine, author of two Survival Korean books, and for three years the teacher on Arirang television's Let's Speak Korean
- Open Books acquiring editor Gregory Limpens
- Charlie Usher, author of the blog Seoul Sub→urban and the book 찰리와 리즈의 서울 지하철 여행기 (Charlie and Liz's Seoul Subway Travelogue)
- Danny Crichton, researcher and writer on regional innovation hubs and a contributing writer for TechCrunch
- Darcy Paquet, critic of Korean film, founder of koreanfilm.org and the Wildflower Film Awards, author of New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves, teacher, and occasional actor
- Stephane Mot, "conceptor," writer of fiction, nonfiction, "nonsense," and author of the blog Seoul Village as well as the collection Dragedies
- Jon Dunbar, urban explorer, editor of long-running Korean punk zine Broke in Korea, and author of Daehanmindecline
- Nikola Medimorec, co-author of Kojects, an English-language blog on transport, urban planning, and development projects around Korea
- Chance Dorland, host of TBS eFM's "Chance Encounters" segment and the podcasts Chance and Dan Do Korea
- Keith Kim, creator of the travel and culture site Seoulistic
- Steve Miller, creator of the Asia News Weekly podcast and the vlogger formerly known as QiRanger
- Charles Montgomery, editor of the site KTlit.com and global ambassador of Korean literature in translation
- Alex Jensen, host of weekday news show This Morning on TBS eFM
- Daniel Gray, creator of the site Seoul Eats, proprietor of craft beer restaurants Brew 3.14π and Brew 3.15π
- Barry Welsh, host of the Seoul Book & Culture Club and Seoul Film Society
- Writer Krys Lee, author of the acclaimed short story collection Drifting House
- Literary translator Bruce Fulton
- North Korea analyst B.R. Myers, author of A Reader's Manifesto and The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters
- James Turnbull, author of The Grand Narrative, a blog on Korean feminism, sexuality, and popular culture.
The Korea Tour will continue into March, with a new interview available every three days. Guests still to come include Busan-based Argentine film critic Sofia Ferrero Carrega, Korea: The Impossible Country author Daniel Tudor, architect Minsuk Cho, and Modern Korea: All that Matters author Andrew Salmon. You can download episodes directly from the show's site or subscribe on iTunes. 들어 주셔서 감사합니다, 여러분!