when it comes to being the subjects of photojournalism, there are a few kinds of koreans.

the kind who wave frantically in protest if a camera is even pointed in their general direction (numerous),

the kind who get up and walk away from a pleasantly framed environmental portrait after you ask to take their picture because, i assume, they think all you want a picture of is their wares (also numerous),

the kind who’ll stay in the frame but keep their faces turned away from you the entire time (moderate in number),

those who’ll stay in the frame and strike a cheesy pose (few and puzzling)

and finally, the lovely ajummas who’ll just stay put and let you take their photo (few and deeply appreciated).

today, i woke up early and took the train to jagalchi fish market to watch a few fish auctions and take some photos. mostly, i just got told not to take photos. sometimes outright screamed at not to take photos. and that happened when i was only snapping these dried squid tentacles!

saw some interesting stuff, like this ship bringing in crate after yellow crate full of squid.

these guys were waiting for it.

and then, no less than three funky korean fishermen told me not to take any more pictures, so this is all you get to see of the ship:

after that was a silent auction for them. it was much nicer than auctions in the united states. it sounded like singing. i tried to watch, but i got elbowed out by the same guys who forbade me from taking any photographs. literally, physically forced out of the circle of people standing around. i don’t mean any of this as a complaint. i still get to see all the things i’m seeing, after all, and enjoy the experience of being where i am. it’s just a really strange divergence from my experience taking photos stateside. i’m trying to get my head around why the Average Jin is so camera-shy.

there were so many kinds of fish and seaweed i’d never seen before all around jagalchi.

monkfish are my favorite i think. when they’re dead, they look like slimy puppets. this one still had the bait in its mouth.

there was also more than one escaped octopus trying to creep away from his tank.

finally, it seemed like high time to try some of the fish, so i ordered the jeong shin (set menu) from a place that cooked their fish outside on this contraption and got such a feast, i couldn’t have finished it if there had been two of me.

2 thoughts on “jagalchi fish market

  1. No sure if you’ll still see my comment but just to try my luck as I really would like to experience the auction at Jagalchi fish market…May I know what time you went and around which part of the fish market you went to to witness the auction?

  2. Hi Grace,

    It’s been a long time since the day I took these photos! I don’t remember a lot of details about the day. Here’s what I can recall. I was walking around the area near the Jagalchi metro stop. Along the water was a big, open-air market, where lots of vendors were selling fish. There is a photo of it above — the one where the lady is sitting beside a small fire. I walked through the market and out the other side, to where some boats were pulling up to the dock. That’s where I saw the fish auction. As I recall, it was pretty early in the morning, definitely before 10 AM.

    I hope that information helps!

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