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Seoul Shock – A Celebrity Encounter

Seoul Shocker is staff writer Danielle Davidson’s firsthand experience with living abroad in Seoul, South Korea.

I took my receipt from the cashier and moved out of the way to let the next customer order. Turning my head I spotted a stack of cardboard boxes. Aha! I will stand there out of the way, I thought.

Whipping out my phone, I weighed in on a group conversation while waiting for my coffee. Some friends of mine were at the front of the large line, ordering a slice of cake and I scrolled through my recent messages, leaning against the box.

From the edge of the crowd I began to hear a change of pace and some Japanese women started cooing like they’d seen a puppy lift a kitten out of a gutter. I ignored it and kept reading.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure pass in front of me, dressed in a black trench coat and black hat. What is he wearing? He’s walking kind of fast. He must really want that coffee, I thought.

The women hadn’t calmed down yet though, so I looked up at them. Their gaze was going past me, toward where the young man was at the counter.

Why are they wide-eyed and breathless? Strange. I started turning my head to see what they were looking at, and the man with the black hat passed in front of me again, but quicker this time.

My friend standing across the room next to the cash register gave me a look and said, “That’s him! That’s him,” as discreetly as she could. Another friend stood with mouth wide open as if she’d seen the cashier die, come back to life and continue to take orders.

“What? Who?” I said, maybe a bit too loud. “Yesung, it’s Yesung, the singer who owns the café!” I turned back just in time to see his shoulders disappear through the door frame, and the Japanese women continued their cooing.

My first thought, ‘they’re noisy.’ My second thought, ‘Darn, I didn’t even get to see his face.’ I’d missed a prominent Asian celebrity and he was inches away from me, not to mention I stood directly in his path and he had to walk around me to get to the counter.

A good number of Korean celebrities have family owned businesses they helped open, and fans will sometimes stop by to see if they can spot their favorite celebrity or in my case, to simply have a coffee.