Saturday, September 26, 2009

How the world turns - H Mart

I was lucky enough to live in Eastern Europe (Budapest) for three years back in the early 90's. It was an amazing time to be there. Among the many unforgettable time/location specific experiences I had, I distinctly remember a few days where the quality of life in Budapest was noticeably enhanced (from an ex-pat's perspective), most often related to the opening of a new 'western' store or restaurant: the first Austrian and then US grocers; Pizza Hut; Ikea; some ex-pat bagel place, etc... For better or worse, with each new opening, life became more convenient, quality improved (sort of) and you felt more at home.

Well, I experienced a similar feeling this morning through the eyes of my wife (a Seoul native) and, I'd guess, a big portion of the Boston-metro Korean/Asian population with the opening of H-Mart, a Korean grocery chain that just opened their 31st US store in Burlington, MA. After walking the 1/4 mile from the satellite parking lot (it was total mayhem), we walked in and immediately felt like we had been transported to Seoul. The smells, tastes, products and people were all there.

Sure, there are plenty of small ethnic markets in Boston, but this was, from top to bottom, a sophisticated Korean grocer. The efficiency, the technology and, thankfully, the food court that you find only in Seoul was all there. Check out the Globe's story.

Anyway, I couldn't help but reflect on how much the world has changed and/or stayed the same.

Monday, September 21, 2009

International Minimalism?

Interesting article in the NY Times regarding emerging thrifty culture in Japan...not quite living with less, but certainly less luxury.

Monday, September 07, 2009

More on treatment pattern variation

This is a great chart that tells a the treatment pattern variation story.