Sunday, November 18, 2012

Adventures in Korea: DVD bang action

It seems like a good time to get back to the other side of this blog: writing about daily life and experiencing Korean culture...

Rochelle and I went to a DVD bang near Konkuk University. We'd just finished attending my colleague's wedding and it'd come time to figure out what to do next. Rochelle remembered something I'd mentioned on one of our first dates: going to a DVD bang to see a movie. This seemed a capital idea, for we hadn't been to one yet and they're a big part of Korean youth culture. Besides, we love our movies and have been accumulating a list of things to see together.

Bang is pronounced "baang," as in "baa" with the added "ng" sound, so it's not pronounced like the sound a gun makes. As noted before, "bang" is Korean for "room with a specific purpose." I wrote about the noraebangs here and here and DVD bangs are similar: you get a private room to watch a movie in instead of a room to sing songs in. It's basically a video store with mini-movie theaters in it: we walked in, browsed the shelves, found our movie, and away we went. Our room had a giant half bed/half chaise lounge kind of sofa in it that was, as Rochelle put it,"very comfortable," and  it had a big projection screen. Once the lights went out, we had our private theater for watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

This informative page has detailed information about the experience. As I said,  like the PC bangs and noraebangs, the DVD bangs represent big aspects of Korean youth culture because they're meeting places for friends or dating venues for couples. As Kimchi Soul blog writes, you have a private room in which you can watch a film of your choice, and a space in which to enjoy it in whichever way you choose- uninterrupted and unquestioned. 

Kimchi Soul has it right here. Young people mostly live at home with their parents and it follows that young couples have few options for meeting in private. For those of us from the States, just imagine that it's like being in high school and your parents won't let you bring your girlfriend over to watch a movie while they're away. With all in mind, we had a great time. After a year and three months in-country, we were well aware of what DVD bangs represented for young couples, but we went there to actually watch a film because neither of us own big-screen TVs.

To me, DVD rooms combine the best aspects of movie theaters and home theaters. Moreover, that sofa sure felt good to lounge on too. We had such a good time that we went back in for another movie. This time we picked Gran Torino. These two excellent films coupled with checking out a new aspect of Korean culture equaled one excellent afternoon/evening.

If you're in Korea and haven't gone to a DVD room, check it out.


As I mentioned, we found our DVD bang not far from Konkuk University station on line 2. If you go out of exit 2 and immediately turn left, you'll find yourself in a typical college neighborhood of cafes, noraebangs, and DVD bangs. We paid 15,000 (7,500 each) for one movie and 12 or 13,000 for the second one because the lady gave us a discount.

You can find them all over Seoul, but the college areas would be best places to look. I don't know too much about prices.

*Truth be told, I haven't written too much about this stuff because not many new things have happened lately. Maybe that's what happens after living here for a time: once-new and interesting things become normal. I won't say "boring" because I'm rarely, if ever bored here.

**This applies more to couples than anything because noraebangs are hugely popular among groups of Koreans and ex-pats; many of my teachers dinners have featured a noraebang session.

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