According to what I heard from several people from Seattle, this city is quite different than I used to expect. When I thought of Seattle, the image of the city was cloudy, dark, downtown, developed, high crime, and so on. But Seattle residents object to this thought.

They say Seattle is very green and eco-friendly. There are many tree huggers, too, although this term has a slightly negative denotation. They recycle, they love organic foods, and they hate big corporations. Really, the downtown is pretty clean and well organized. Although the frequent cloudy weather makes the color of the city dark, the crime rate is actually pretty low. The city is adjacent to the sea and has lakes and mountains. And the weather is nice in summer.

We can’t find Wal-Mart in Seattle, because people are aware that Wal-Mart has several ethical issues and is a very large corporation. They love the Whole-Foods market. This market is pretty expensive, but sells organic foods. Safeway is also popular as a retailer. I asked about Costco, because Costco is a big corporation originated from Seattle. David said Costco is different from Wal-Mart in that Costco is not a retailer.

Starbucks is omnipresent in Seattle. I asked David what Seattle residents think of Starbucks. (BTW, he doesn’t drink coffee.) It seemed that people don’t hate Starbucks because of the company’s huge scale. But, they don’t think people who go to Starbucks are cool, either. Actually, there are many local and individual coffee shops in Seattle, and many people love to go there. I thought about Korean culture concerning Starbucks. I personally like Starbucks because of their unique interior design. Also, I had good impression of Starbucks when I was in OK. Regardless, it is interesting to think that Starbucks fans in Korea struggle to collect Starbucks merchandise whereas many of the residents of Starbucks’ hometown love local coffee shops better.

Transportation is good. Compared to New York City, the traffic is not heavy and people keep signals well. In downtown, buses and trains(Linko) move underground, which reduces traffic jam considerably. It also has good public transportation. The public transportation covers the whole city. Besides, it is free to move in downtown and to transfer within 3 hours.

A lot of companies we know started from Seattle, among which are Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, Boeing, Amazon, to name a few. This city is definitely attractive. Nature-friendliness, good church life, nice neighbors… A big concern is the weather. Yeo-wool said many UW students from other countries suffer from depression. Several brothers asked me if UW is also in the options for my Ph.D. Before I went to Seattle, I did some search for professors in CS, UW, but I didn’t find interesting people. But, who knows? As long as there are attractive research groups in Seattle, this city is in my mind.


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