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Travelers Tune

By Shoutaro Takahashi

Searching for Korean Beauties is a No Brain-er

2006
ISSUE
4

As always, we visit with musicians and ask them what places do they recommend traveling to in their home country. This month, enjoy the unique stylings of Korea’s top punk band, No Brain.

No Brain caused quite a stir at their performance at a Fuji Rock Festival a few years ago but, sitting down with their lead singer, Lee Songwoo, I was surprised by his Japanese-language ability. Perhaps the group’s relationship with many Japanese bands was the reason, or more likely it’s the influence of his current girlfriend who is Japanese (a flight attendant, no less).

I was amazed at his ability to communicate in the vernacular of the “young generation” here in Japan. Here’s how Songwoo describes his favorite places in Korea (in Japanese) in his own words.

“The city with the most beautiful women is definitely Daegu. If you’re talking about women, it’s got to be Daegu. They’ve also got warmer hearts—unlike women from Seoul. That’s reason alone to go, as there’s not a lot of interesting places to see.
“Folks in Daegu are really excitable and our live shows there are always off the charts. Also, Daegu has great “Makchang” which is a local dish they cook, made from pork and beef innards. It’s a cheap dish and great for those who don’t like food too spicy.”   

I’m willing to take the word of someone who’s toured Korea and has a knock-out girlfriend. Besides, most musicians tend to have a soft spot for the ladies. Head to Daegu, and you might find your own che zu (girlfriend). Songwoo continued.

“Next, I’d definitely recommend Jejudo, a beautiful and relaxing place, much like Okinawa! It’s the perfect place for couples, but I happened to have a couple of fights with an ex-girlfriend there so…

Anyway, there’s natural beauty, various places to go on dates, and some famous dramas are shot there. Dipping your feet in the ocean is great, but maybe not in the middle of winter! The scenery in Jejudo will make you forget all your troubles!”

For all the beauty of this spot famed for honeymooners, it’s hard for me to imagine a bare-foot punk rocker strolling along the ocean with his date. Perhaps that in itself shows just how charming it is.

SOUNDING OFF
Lee Songwoo’s favorite picks from around the world and the latest No Brain offering.

No Brain
“Stand Up Again!” (T Entertainment)
A melodious Hangul rock album showing off the high-level of today’s Korean punk rock scene. Distinct Bluehearts influence. The Japan release date is set for 2006.

The Bluehearts
“The Bluehearts” (Tri-M)
The Japanese legends sound surprisingly similar to No Brain. Such a favorite of Songwoo, the mention of their name still gets him excited.   

Sick of It All
“Built to Last” (Elektra)
Even though some may say they’re old and out of it, they’re still the most energized hard-core band out there. Driving drum lines, guitar licks that knock you out—and that voice. What more do you need?!?   

Bob Marley & The Wailers
“Legend” (Island)
Bob Marley’s gentle voice just seems to fix the pains of the modern man. This must-have album covers many of the greatest hits of the reggae legend.