The stinking streets and subways of Seoul

Look, it’s been a long time since I got off the 4 Line at Samgachi Station – a dozen years, in fact – but I remember it being rather clean and pleasant. The train itself was, too. Well, I guess I was wrong. I now have it on good authority saw on the internet that Seoul is “well known to the world as heavily polluted.”

Yep, that’s what you’ll find in North Korean geography textbooks.

According to The Chosun Ilbo:

North Korean geography textbooks, the main source of information for students there about South Korea, distort or disparage South Korea’s economic development by way of exalting the North Korean system, an academic here says.

And it doesn’t stop there. The books accuse South Korea of producing goods at the behest of the United States and Japan. This is a big problem up north, because “[r]elying on others for raw materials and fuel is like leaving your economic fate in their hands.” This stands in stark contrast to the North Korean “Juche” philosophy, which preaches self-reliance.

So, if you head to the “den of reactionaries,” brace yourself for a real stench. But, if you’re planning to go to the place the rest of us know as Seoul, you’ll probably be fine.

[photo by Koshyk via Flickr]