Sunday, April 3, 2016

The School of Life, in Seoul

I just noticed this, but if you're in Korea and you're a fan of Alain de Botton then you're in luck. He's opened a Seoul branch of The School of Life, which features workshops and classes on better living, mental wellbeing, a cafe, and of course School of Life merchandise and books.

Here's his announcement video on the opening of the Seoul branch. You can skip it if you want, there's not much Korea-specific content to the interview.

They've set up a website for the Seoul branch that includes a lot of Korean-language content and more details on the classes and workshops they offer. You can even add them as a KakaoTalk Plus friend. Now that is localized marketing, right there. Take a look at their cafe too where you can buy that artsy intellectual gold miss you've had your eye on a nice S.o.L. notebook for her to be seen writing in.

Over on Time Out Seoul there's an interview with Alain in which he talks a little about Korea:

Korea is a society that has many of the problems (and pleasures) of the modern world where people are extremely busy, life is crowded and expensive, there is never enough time and there is a tension between tradition and the hyper modern, between loyalty to family and to oneself. Koreans are extremely well-educated and curious and it seemed natural to open a branch here. We are so happy to have found a home in Seoul. [Time Out Seoul]

If you're still here you're probably just looking for the location of the branch. It's right by the Yongsan District Office in Itaewon:

47-4 Noksapyeong-daero 32-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

서울특별시 용산구 녹사평대로32길 47-4 

지도 크게 보기
2016.4.2 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NAVER Corp.

And finally, if you're interested, the School of Life Youtube channel also featured a Seoul hairdresser in one episode of their "A Working Day" series on various jobs:

I've read a couple of his books. They're pretty light and pleasant reads. He does a pretty good job explaining some big ideas that I never paid attention or never learned in school but somehow a lot of Koreans know about. It's weird when your Korean coworkers know more about Plato and all that Ancient Greek stuff than you do. Anyway I wouldn't call his books life changing or anything. After a while I feel like once you've heard or read one of his spiels, you've heard or read them all. But hey who am I to judge. My idea of the height of human intellectualism is making fun of his name. de Botton. He he. de Bottom. Heh...

UPDATE 9 April 2016:
The Korea Times has done an article on the opening:
"It's not your typical school, but rather one for those who need a ‘jjimjilbang' for the soul," said Sohn, referring to the sauna house Koreans go to de-tox, relax and de-stress, as well as to talk with friends.
[Korea Times | Renowned School of Life comes to Seoul]

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