One of the things which really annoyed me when I first got to Korea was the lack of numbering on the buildings. But the same is true of Japan as well. My first year, I had booked a hotel room in Fukuoka Japan. The hotel was allegedly located at Hakata Ekimae-ku 1-3-5 which I never found. After a couple of hours of looking, I came across the Comfort Inn at Hakata Ekimae-ku 2-1-1 and asked if they had a room. And wonder of wonders, they did. I called the other hotel from the Comfort Inn to tell them that I wouldn’t be coming, mostly because I could never find the place.
I had a very difficult time trying to find the Catholic parish. My school was located at 1251-1 Chipyeong-dong. The Catholic parish was located at 1110-3 Chipyeong Dong. I thought that this meant it was close to the school. It was, but on a side street and not immediately visible. Now, the Korean government is renaming the streets (most of them didn’t even have names) and attaching house numbers to them. I have never received mail addressed to my new address. I receive everything addressed with the old one. Basically, the building numbering system, which was imported from Japan, does not reflect where a given building actually is. It only reflects the lot number on which it is built. It would sort of be like addressing our mail to Lot 92 of the Apache Vista Ranchitos. (I used to work for a title company. That is my favourite subdivision name.) Or even worse, to “Beginning at the rusty water pipe of the Southwest Corner of Lot 36, Township 14 South, Range 33 of the Salt River Base and Meridian.”
The Gangnam district of Seoul has really tried to embrace this scheme. The markers are large and the numbers are easily readable and are written in Korean, Chinese characters, and English. I wonder, though, how much mail they receive actually written to the new addresses, though.