YK’s 365 Release: Day 58

In Korea, many businesses come to you. Whereas in the States you see mostly ice cream trucks driving around with the infinite loop tune, in Korea it’s more than ice cream.

It was commonplace to hear someone yelling “Laundry! Dry cleaning! Laundry! Dry cleaning!” And just like kids run into the middle of the street to catch the ice cream truck here, in Korea, housewives would run out to find the laundry man, to give them their dry cleaning.

My father had a man come by the house every week with a bag filled with VHS tapes so that he could choose. It was better than Netflix. It was like a mini video rental store in your house.

During extremely bad traffic jams, there would inevitably be the man with the tool that could suck out car dents.

It was a land of entrepreneurship and creating your own niche.

Even the stores were tight and worn, and when you walked into them you would be covered in authentic must and piles of history. Everything was born from one or two individuals setting up shop. One of my favorite shops was the stationary store, where they sold notebooks, paper, pens, sketch books, supplies. The walls were lined by piles of notebooks and navigating around the store was a ballet in delicacy because there was just enough space to walk through the monuments of paper. I could spend hours in there, leafing through beautiful stationary.

What is simply a piece of blank letter paper in the States becomes one of the most intricate and elaborate design feats in Asia. The attention to detail is undeniably more advanced and great care is taken to visually please at every entry.

Stationary. Used to write letters. I used to write a profuse number of letters to people all over the world, before email. I would scour the stationary store for beautiful paper. And so, to this day, I have a small collection of stationary that is innovative now even though it was printed over 15 years ago in Asia. So on Day 58 of my 365 Release, I am giving away something beautiful and simple, yet ahead of its time and simultaneously intricate in its wonderful detail.

May we always remember that everything, even a piece of paper, can be breathtaking. And may we always remember that everything, even we, can find the most fitting of niches.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

One response to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 58”

  1. […] Day 58 (11/4/10): Asian stationary [uniqueness] […]

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