Have you ever wondered how is living in the good Korea? – The irish skateboarder and photographer John Finucane made the South Korea dream and I tought that would be a good idea to ask him some questions about this place.

Garrett Daly / BS Smith

Hi John! How are you mate? Tell us something about you! Where you come from?

Hey, Im good. Im from Galway, Ireland. I’m 32 , getting old. I’ve been living in Seoul for the past 6 years. I teach English in a university. I’ve been taking photos for around 2/3 years. I used to film. I made a video in Korea called “Simcity Seoul”. I named it that as the buildings here reminded me of that game. I hurt my back in the process of making that video,I couldn’t skate for 2/3 years. During that time I found out that I enjoyed taking photos a lot more, my good friend Ikbal Namani showed me whats up.

How an irish dude ends up on the other side of the world? Do you know how to speak in Korean? Its hard to communicate with the people there?

Basically , I was living in my hometown, the recession hit so it was tough to get work in my degree. My buddy Nathan told me about teaching English in Korea and how sick it is for skating. So I decided to go for it. I said I would only stay for 6 months , its been 6 years.
I definitely don’t speak enough Korean. It’s very broken and very basic. I can get around with it but it’s something I hope to work on after my studies.

Im a curious guy. How the city of Seoul looks like?

Seoul is a huge city. Around 10 million in the city and another 10 million on the outskirts so it’s extremely busy. It’s very modern and convenient. Very safe, no scumbags that fuck with people. No drugs so no junkies. I like it , rush hour sucks though.

Fishermen at Seoul

Let’s talk about skateboarding. How is the skateboarding scene? Are the lads motivated?

Skating in Korea is kinda small. Reminds me of Ireland, everybody seems to know everyone. It is quite a proactive scene though , they put on a lot of events. There are some rippers out here like Cho Kwang-Hoon, Dae Geun Ahn, Jason Choi, Daniel Hochman, Asher Stringer, Ju-Won and many more… Check out for whats going on in the Korean scene. And check put the little blog my crew has on instagram @lurkorea . Shout out to Rob, Daniel, Asher, Wonseok, Mike, Ikbal, Josh & Nathan. The spots here are incredible, it kind of reminds of Barcelona but untouched. So many amazing virgin spots.

Daniel Hochman / Kickflip
스케이트를 타지 마라. (stop skating here)

What is the weirdest thing that happened to you in Seoul? Are you afraid of North Korea?

Weirdest thing that’s happened to me, thats hard… I guess hitting my head bombing a hill at 6am after a crazy night, that was pretty nuts. Nah, I’m not afraid of North Korea. Where I work is 30km from North Korea haha. Basically no really pays attention to the North Korean news over here, I know i don’t.

If you could choose one between Ireland or Seoul where you would live forever?

That’s a very hard one to choose. Seoul feels like home now. I’ve been here for over 6 years. I get reverse culture shock when I go home haha… Both have good and bad points. I would would pick Seoul but with all my friends, family and the craic. The rain in Ireland sucks!

Oleg Kondratenko / BS Smith

Very important question: Where is the best beer for you in the city? I’ve heard that the pubs in Seoul are extremely strange…

The beer isn’t the best here. They have 3/4 main brands but they basically all taste the same. It’s pretty cheap though. Around 2 euro for a big bottle. You can drink 24/7 also. They also have Soju which cost around 2 euro for a around 300ml bottle. Its rice vodka, it’ll get you pretty drunk quickly. Yeah, they have dating bars etc… I’ve never really went to one. I usually drink at the spot after the session nowadays…

Cool man, that has been all! Thanks for show us whats going on out there!


Daytime in South Korea

Text and photography by John Finucane
Interview by Rafael Álvarez