I'm not sure how to start talking about this other than to say that it's an enormous disappointment. Now, don't get me wrong, there is SO much luxury in Busan it's ludicrous. Louis Vuitton, Bottega Venetta, Gucci, Prada, Ferregamo, Chanel, Armani, Miu Miu, Tiffany, Dior, (Dior Homme has it's own separate store), Jimmy Choo...and not only are all these in one place there are multiples of them all over the city. There are two Louis Vuittons within a 5 minute walk of one another. For those of you who know me you're probably thinking "...why is that a bad thing?" Along with the abundance of extravagance there is a plethora of counterfeit to go right with it. In Japan this wasn't the case. If a Japanese person was carrying a fake Gucci anything they would be like, shamed or something. Japan is full of luxury and you know that 99.9% of the time it's hands down authentic. I'm not saying Korea is China or even Canal Street in New York City in regards to fakes being sold but it is nearly everywhere I look. I can't walk out the front door of my building without seeing ten Louis Vuittons in all shapes and sizes and half of them aren't real. Without sounding a bit snobbish, I can, in most cases, tell you at first glance whether a Louis is authentic or not. Call it a gift. And a lot of them I see are definitely on the not side. I liked going into secondhand shops in Japan (see Louis Vuitton posts from the past) and knowing that what I was buying was authentic without question. Here, I'm much more wary about things like that and I hate it. One spends $800 on a bag because of the quality and because it will last forever and I think that's something to take pride in, not that you got a knockoff for $50 that's going to fall apart next year. Snooty rant over.
As far as normal shopping goes, it's also a colossal disappointment. Again, there is shopping everywhere I look but everything is so dreadfully expensive. In Japan (comparing again) my absolute favorite store was/is Zara. If you've never heard of it, google it or something, it's absolutely fabulous. On the hierarchy of this type of store it would be something along the lines of Charlotte Russe-Forever 21-H&M-Zara, though with Zara and H&M being incredibly close though Zara might be slightly more expensive. I love all those stores with Zara being my absolute favorite because of what they offer in terms of clothes but Forever 21 is my favorite because of what they offer but the prices are great. Not as great of quality, but being 25 and poor means I need a cute $12 top once in a while. I swear I was at Zara every single weekend in Japan. (Everything changes out once a week I think.) Skirts ran from about $10-$30, basic tops could be as low as $12-$20 while super nice tops were about $30-$40. Jeans and pants run about $40-$50 and dresses, especially summer ones were as low as $25 but could run up to $60 or $70. (there were more expensive things but this was the price range I usually picked from) All I could think about before heading back overe here was that I couldn't wait to get back to Zara to do some shopping, especially since 75% of my clothes are STILL in Japan waiting for me to come get them. I walk into Zara, a huge grin on my face ready to do some damage and I look at the price tag of one of the more basic shirts: W49,000. That's roughly $40. Okay...moving on. Next price tag for a regular old sweater: W69,000. ($65ish) What is going on!??! I start getting a bit frantic running about the place pulling out price tags all over and I don't think I saw one less than W29,000 ($25 or so) and that was for a freaking t-shirt which I certainly don't need right now. I nearly started to cry. Okay...well...maybe we can try Uniqlo (another good store, nothing fancy, a cheaper, lesser variety type of Gap maybe?) It was always super cheap in Japan (I got a good bit of stuff there and never spent over $20 for anything I don't think) so we hunted down the Uniqlo here. I go in hoping to find some deals and again...W39,000 for a sweater? W49,000 for a thicker sweater? I could get that for like $20 in Japan! :::facepalm::: So here I am, sweaterless and with no hopes in sight of doing any major shopping. I'm hoping that with warmer weather and less material for clothing will bring cheaper prices but I'm not so sure. And these stores are considered like, the lesser expensive type shops for clothing. Department stores or other types of shops forget about it, the prices are doubled there. They've also not ever heard of a proper sale. Usually in Zara (at all times, actually) there is a wall full of sale items (Uniqlo too, though you have to dig for the good stuff in bins it seems) but not here. Not a stitch of a sale item. Today we went to the World's Largest Department Store (it has an ice rink and driving range!) called Shinsegae in Centum City and I think 6 of the stores were advertising for these HUGE sales but when we went to the Gap there were giant red banners in all the windows that said "SALE 30%!!" 30%?? Well if 30% is what Koreans consider an awesome sale then I have no hope whatsoever here.
I'm still on my Christmas vacation from school and we've been off exploring. The food court in the Shinsegae had some amazing Tonkatsu Ramen (fav) so I was happy about that. If I ever find some good deals on clothes I'll write about it, but don't hold your breath.