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[Well-curated] Playful animated characters, street dance fest

June 7, 2024 - 09:01 By Lee Jung-youn By Lee Si-jin By Hwang Dong-hee
Customers look at vintage items at the Kohukku Market, Tuesday. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Even in bustling Hongdae in Mapo-gu, Seoul, you can feel a peaceful rural sensibility if you find the right place. Follow narrow and winding alleys and you will find just such a mood at a tiny shop named Kohukku Market.

Named "Kohukku," which means "happiness" in Japanese, the store sells character antiques and vintage items related to Japanese animation from the '80s and' 90s.

This tiny, one-room shop is filled with a variety of items from dolls, key rings, vintage stationery and props of classic Japanese animation characters such as My Melody, Hello Kitty and Pompompurin. Relatively more practical everyday life items such as curtains, piggy banks, cutlery and electronic fans are in stock as well as small ornaments.

Vintage stationery and ornaments are on display at Kohukku Market in Hongdae, Seoul. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)
Vintage stationery and other items are on display. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Small ornaments and products are also displayed inside drawers and boxes placed everywhere, so customers may open them one by one to find things that suit their taste. However, visitors should take caution not to damage fragile vintage items while looking around, as many products are over 30 years old, with some being rare and hard to find nowadays.

Vintage lovers can also check what items are in stock on the store's Instagram account and website.

Kohukku Market is open daily from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., every day of the week.

Visitors look around character-themed merchandise at Play In The Box in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Play In The Box

If you are early for an appointment at Coex, a large underground mall in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, or have extra time to spare before a movie at the Megabox Coex, head over to Play In The Box to entertain yourself with capsule vending machines, action figure collections and other fun merchandise.

Play In The Box is a go-to spot for “kidults” who are interested in cute characters, colorful plastic bricks and other toys, which many may regard as children's toys.

Beyond the displays of animated characters, the store mesmerizes even ordinary visitors with colorful everyday goods such as disposable cameras, soju glasses, mugs, kitchen tools and rugs.

You will be surprised to see the diverse lifestyle items that Play In The Box has to offer, ranging from cushions, mirrors and humidifiers to cleaning cloths for glasses and laptop bags.

Disney toys and figurines are displayed at Play In The Box. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
A customer looks at colorful capsule vending machines at Play In The Box in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Fans of Shinnosuke Nohara -- the popular animated character from “Crayon Shin-chan” -- may feel torn between buying an alarm or wall clock featuring the character.

For those who are not interested in such products, but wish to capture a moment with friends or family in Coex, head to Play In The Box’s unique washing machine-themed instant self-photo studio.

The studio will add a different sort of charm to your “Life Four Cuts” and you can get the photos printed on the spot in less than five minutes.

2023 Street Dance Festival at Nodeul Island (Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture)

Street dance festival at Nodeul Island

Nodeul Island will transform into a hub of street culture as the B. Dance Seoul festival takes place on Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Visitors can look forward to a dynamic mix of breaking, locking, waacking, hip-hop and street dance battles, with a variety of interactive hands-on programs.

A highlight of the festival is the International Breaking Crew Battle on Friday at 5 p.m. with European crews like The Ruggeds from the Netherlands and Legiteam Obstruxion from France going head to head with six top local teams that have advanced through preliminary auditions. World-renowned B-boy Lil G and B-girl Ayu will participate as judges.

Saturday’s lineup includes a freestyle dance contest with a DJ, as well as a freestyle battle, heating up the stage.

Hip-hop fans can enjoy an evening with rapper Wonstein on Friday and BewhY on Saturday.

Throughout the festival, activities will be take place across Nodeul Island, including street and break dance classes, a skateboard zone, graffiti, instant self-tattooing, random K-pop play dance contests and street fashion brand pop-ups.

Visit the official website or Instagram account for a detailed timetable.