At a place called Ttrak of Bloo, the blaring noises of k-pop are echoing down the street. Covered with limited edition CD cases and posters of muscular men with heavy make-up and weird hairdos, you push your way through to the back of the store, dodging teenage girls left and right, yelping at the sight of yet another young boy that looks more feminine than the average ahjumma. You pass the owner, an older man sitting behind a tiny desk, and when everything inside of you screams “you’re entering an employee only area!”, push onward a little bit more.
Squeeze your body through the tiniest stairway you can imagine, and the k-pop noises soon leave you behind, replaced with an almost eerie silence. The musky smell of old paper and records welcome you on the second floor, where half the room is covered in older LPs. Jazz, 80s pop, world music and some other almost meaningless sounding genres fill up the walls with potential wallet-drainers. For a mere 15.000 a record, or up to ~30.000 for a double LP, you quickly have a stack of 10 records you absolutely must have.
With no price tags on most any record, you work your way through the stairway down to ask the owner —who now magically worked his way through the front desk, as if he knew you’d be coming at that very moment— how much these records cost. He looks at them diligently, one by one, and gives you a price on the spot. Meet him on a good day and you walk out with a double LP record for just 20.000 Won.
There is a third floor, too. Filled with classical music. I did not dare browse that section just yet, apparently most all records there are collectibles. Then again, most every record sort of is these days.