Minimalism – enjoying the simple life

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

I got inspired from some articles I read about Japanese minimalism, and living in a pretty nice but small apartment with the basic stuff and keeping material things to a minimum.

I know, I’ve spent ALOT of money this year, with 36% of my spending according to Mint going to shopping. And thats yeah… pretty unnecessary. I have too much stuff. I’m looking to move to a smaller apartment next week and sell a bunch of my things. As Black Friday / Cyber Monday / Christmas AKA Consumerism season approaches I find myself resisting this as much as I can.

Korea kind of inspired me too, as I see nice happy couples walking around all the time, or relaxing in the park with just a $300 laptop and $10 headphones with their significant other, being happy, enjoying their time, the guy probably doesn’t make that much money and lives with his parents (as is usual in Korea) and the girl is probably not that materialistic (Korean girls have never asked me about my salary or how much I make or where I graduate from or carry designer handbags or anything).

Its just proof that happiness comes from the small things in life, you don’t need a mansion or an oceanview apartment of $10k worth of tech or furniture to be happy. You only need the basic essentials.

This is why I prefer Korea over China or USA. Those countries are so focused on making money and consumerism – to the detriment of everything else. Case in point – the “singles/couples day” in China is essentially just a day to go shopping. Whereas in Korea, singles or couples spend their time together, which is exactly what that day is supposed to be for.

Moving to a smaller place is also better. My current place is both too expensive and gives me too much room to have things… I like the restrictions of a smaller place. You have to decide what things are important to keep so that the place looks clean and neat and doesn’t get as messy. In a way it forces me to be more minimalist.

my current apartment
my current apartment

So as you can see my current place is not that big either, but it could be even smaller than that, I think. I don’t like big places (they are good for house parties tho!) generally because I feel like I have to use up all the space somehow. I have to use up the space efficiently. In Korea, almost everyone lives in a small condo or apartment so I’m all good here. Anyways I have to look for a new place, and sell some of my stuff… and hopefully have a much cleaner, neater place to live in.

Work, gaming, Paris attacks

Well, I haven’t seen sunlight in about 2 weeks. Seriously, I may be becoming a vampire now.
I’ve been working pretty hard lately, fixing bugs late into the night. Just a few days ago, I worked 14 hours and fixed 13 bugs in one day. I’ve learned alot about using AngularJS, and specifically dealing with promises and promise handlers, using the Angular $q library (which is different than Kriskowals Q library), not using the $q at appropiate times, and dealing with error and success handlers in the service vs controller layers. This is kind of saddening because we are transitioning to using the Facebook React framework instead and its completely different. I admit it looks pretty daunting and about half of it is because ECMA6 is just so different than ECMA5, it has a bunch of new functional notations which I am not used to at all.

That aside, I’ve been playing Fallout 4 and Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void with the little free time that I do get, and I love those games. Seriously, I bought the collectors editions for both. That’s only something I do with games I really like. I have the collectors editions for SC2: Heart of the Swarm, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, Blazblue Chronophantasma, Persona 4 Dancing all night… and thats pretty much it. I did unboxing videos on youtube for all of these, and will do for F4 and SC2 LOV as well next time I get back to San Francisco. Oh, and Hearthstone (now with the League of Explorers expansion), which I always play in short bursts. Oh, and Star Wars: Battlefront and Assassins Creed Syndicate aren’t bad either, though I play them slightly less than SC2 and F4. Is this a blockbuster gaming holiday season or what?

I have been in Korea for almost a year now, which is crazy. I never thought it would pass by this fast. I will put my thoughts on this year overall in my end of year review, but for now I have to look for a new place, cause the current place I’m living now is too expensive. I also had thoughts about moving back to California, or someplace else given that I could work from anywhere, but the pros-cons of the situation came down to this: Korea has cheaper cost of living, better nightlife, considerably more beautiful women, and fast convenience for everything. The cons is that I don’t speak the native language well, its hard to make friends/lasting relationships here, and my working schedule is nocturnal here. The pros of the US/Canada is that I have the convenience of speaking English having more accessible healthcare, my friends there are more free and have more time to meet, and California weather is definitely better (but not Canada’s). Though, in the end my primary concern is making friends and relationships, and thats pretty hard anywhere as I found out, and not that much easier in California/Canada either as I experienced last year. I might be lonely in Korea, but I was also lonely in California last year. So… continue for one year more in Korea and then I will re-evaluate the situation again next year.

And the other thing that went on recently is the Paris terrorist attacks, which is all over the news and Facebook. I commented on this in Facebook, and being the type of person that doesn’t always post positive opinions on everything, I said:

Guys, while the attack on Paris is surely terrible, these kind of terrorist attacks happen all the time in the middle east, pakistan, and just a few months ago in Tunisia. In fact there was one that happened right before Paris at Beirut! I don’t think those ever get as much coverage as attacks on Western countries. Listen, I know people losing their lives is awful, but I don’t believe that anyone losing their life in Paris is *more* awful than someone losing their life somewhere else.

Everyone’s death is equally awful. It was the same when the Boston marathon bombings happened, and a Chinese earthquake happened around the same time which killed 10,000 Chinese. Which one got more coverage? Oh right, the 3 people that died in America. We should strive to get equal news coverage of these events, not just the events that happened in the “more important countries”. I don’t think thats fair.

Right now, people around the world are ‪#‎prayingforParis‬ and changing their Facebook pics if something like this happened in China or India do you think people around the world would ‪#‎prayforChina‬ and change their profile pics to communist red? I don’t think so.

And I stand by that statement. Its ridiculous that people are all changing their profile pics to french colors. What does that do? It doesn’t bring back anyone who died, and it serves no purpose other than the fact that ok, you read the news and you feel for the people who lost their loved ones. Ok, well that just means you didn’t care about all the other times people lost their loved ones in other terrorist attacks that happened in the world. Cause you didn’t change your profile pics those times. But this time is special right? Cause it happened in an “important country”, like USA, UK, France, Germany, etc this just validates my belief that people care way more about media events in Western countries than other countries in the world. Everyone deserves equal coverage.

Eastern Europe Trip 2015

Just got back from Eastern Europe. A well needed 2 weeks of break from the constant busy life of Seoul. I chose eastern europe because it was not as well-travelled as western europe and indeed quite underrated. There’s many very beautiful cities, many cities torn by previous warfare and a lot of history. In addition there’s lots of friendly people, MUCH cheaper than Western Europe (hot dog was only 50 cents in Prague), and much safer than you would think.

I chose the following places (alone): Prague, Czech Republic – Vienna, Austria – Budapest, Hungary – Split, Croatia – Mostar, Bosnia – Belgrade, Serbia – Istanbul, Turkey. 7 countries in 2 weeks. I had to take 6 flights, one train and 2 buses. Quite hectic and lots of walking. IT wasn’t as bad as I thought though. Most of my pictures were taken with a selfie stick and a gorilla tripod. And people there speak decent enough English to get by. Here’s some pictures:

Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria
Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade, Serbia
Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary
Prague, Czech Rep
Prague, Czech Rep
Split, Croatia
Split, Croatia
Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Mostar, Bosnia
Mostar, Bosnia

If I had to rank my experience I would rank it:
1. Split, Croatia 스플리트 (weather, scenery, history, good food, everything u could want in a tourist destination)
2. Prague, Czech Rep 프라하 (a little bit over Budapest because it’s easier to walk, but great city)
3. Budapest, Hungary 부다페스트 (party capital of Central Europe I think. Good times are to be had)
4. Istanbul, Turkey 이스탄불 (a great city to live in, but overwhelming for a traveler. Other parts of Turkey may be better for tourists)
5. Belgrade, Serbia 벨그라드 (the most friendly place I’ve been in, but not as many sights to see as other places)
6. Mostar, Bosnia 모스타르 (one great landmark, and not much else)
7. Vienna, Austria 빈 (thoroughly disappointing, too modern and expensive)

I also wanted to travel to more places but didn’t have time. Other Eastern Europe places I had to cut out – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Krakow, Poland – St Petersburg, Russia – Riga, Latvia – Kiev, Ukraine – Sarajevo, Bosnia – Slovenia – Bratislava, Slovakia – Sofia, Bulgaria – Bucharest, Romania. Montenegro. Oh well, maybe next time.

Next places on my travel list:
1. Tokyo, Japan
2. Taipei, Taiwan
3. Shanghai, China (again)
4. Tunis, Tunisia
5. Baku, Azerbajian
6. Bangkok, Thailand
7. Singapore
8. Venice, Italy
9. St Petersburg, Russia
10. Alexandria, Egypt

And yeah… thats my Europe trip. Will compile a youtube vid of it shortly. As for other things well, back in Seoul means continue to try to meet people / do well at work / make a gf so the same old priorities.