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Chicago vs Seoul

Chicago vs Seoul,

the race of technology in modern day society


When you’re in a foreign country for the first time, you instant reaction is to compare everything to your hometown. Everyone does it, whether they realize it or not, it’s something they do unconsciously. So in this photo essay, I took note of the surprising aspects of stores Seoul and Chicago both have in common.



I was honestly somewhat surprised to see a Jamba Juice in Seoul. There was a point where Jamba Juice started getting really popular in Chicago, but then it fizzed out and disappeared, so I was surprised to see how well Jamba Juice was doing in Seoul. Aside from that, the Jamba Juices in Seoul are much nicer than those back in the States. The Jamba Juice offered more than just smoothies, including things like bagels, sandwiches, snacks, water bottles and umbrellas.



It was also surprising to see how innovative and organized restaurants in Korea were. At just about every restaurant or store that sells some sort of food or drink, you will receive a little buzzer  that will alert you once your order is ready. I think it was more surprising to me that America hasn’t implemented such a system. For a country that has so many different food chains and restaurants, it’s rather confusing as to why they haven’t decided to use this kind of system as it avoids confusion and prevents people from stealing someone else’s orders.



Next stop, Starbucks. Starbucks is huge in America, especially in Chicago. Just around my school, there are around 5 Starbucks within a 3 block radius. I was surprised to see the emphasis on teas rather than coffee. I know for a fact that many people in Seoul drink lots of coffee, but I was surprised to see that Starbucks wasn’t their main source for coffee whereas in America, if you said you were going to get coffee, you were most likely going to drop into a nearby Starbucks.



Fast food is practically what America’s known for at this point. You’ll be able to find a McDonald’s or Burger King just about anywhere in America, Chicago is no exception. Finding fast food chains in Seoul wasn’t surprising, but I was more so surprised at the lack of human interaction at the counter. Most people just order from one of those terminals as shown in the photo.



I was pleasantly surprised to see a large wall of these capsule machines in Seoul. Back in Chicago, I would find a small collection of these styled capsule machines in the Korean supermarket up in the northside of Chicago. I just never made the connection between these capsule machines and Korea, so I was really surprised to see a huge wall of just these machines.



Throughout my time here, I noticed an extreme abundance of vending machines spread out throughout the city. While the sheer number of them was surprising in itself, the large variety of foods offered by vending machines was even more surprising. In Chicago, despite it being a very industrial city, there aren’t very many vending machines. You might find one in a train station, but that’s about it, and it’s even rarer to find a vending machine that doesn’t sell soda, which is why when I saw this ramen vending machine at the university dorm, I was surprised.

Overall, there were many things I was surprised by throughout my first visit to Seoul and I honestly think that America could take some notes because it'll really help improve how things are run in American society.