Mr Lee’s pet store at the five day market, Jeju, South Korea
Living alone in a foreign country can be, for lack of a better word, lonely. Many people look for different ways to fill the void of being alone in an unfamiliar location. Some even resort to caring for a cat or a dog only to abandon it after their year is up. If you’re like me, and you care enough about a pet to not give it a severe separation anxiety disorder after loving it and leaving it behind, you may want to consider another kind of pet that won’t have any hard feelings after you ditch it. Fish may just be the perfect pet for you. They are pleasant to look at, easy to care for, and could care less if you give them away when you are finished in Korea. Enter Mr. Changsoo Lee—another one of the Lees you need to know.
A hard worker
Meet Mr. Changsoo Lee, owner and operator of Sungsil Tropical Fish Store. His shop is located at the Jeju City Five-Day Market. Mr. Lee works with his nephew, Kim Kwangil, and they can be found tending to fish and fish lovers from 9 am to 8 pm on any days that end in a 2 or a 7. His shop is stocked with fish, critters, and supplies, and he is always eager to be of assistance though you might find that his shop is usually quite busy. However, his interest in speaking English and interacting with foreigners makes him another unique Lee who is able and ready to meet your needs.
Mr. Lee is a family man. He is married and has one son. In his spare time, he enjoys playing baseball and soccer, and he maintains a high interest in making time for his family. This is part of the reason he got into the family fish business about four years ago. He enjoys his work because of the flexibility it provides for his personal life. While selling fish is one source of income, Changsoo is also a taxi driver. At both jobs, he is able to work his schedule around his family life.
What’s on sale
If you make it down to the market to see Changsoo, you will find a colourful display of fish, including mollies, cichlids, betas, and tetras, as well as an interesting variety of smaller pets like turtles, crayfish, gerbils, and porcupines. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, it isn’t a problem. Mr. Lee will special order any kind of fish and can have it ready for pickup within ten days. He also travels to Busan six times a month to pick up new fish and supplies. At any given time, you will find his shop stocked with tanks of all sizes, filters, food, and accessories for your underwater heaven. You can find tanks for as little as 5000 won for a goldfish-sized bowl to 150,000 won for a 90cm tank. Accessories start at a buck and go up, and fish are as little at 2000 won apiece. Mr. Lee can also provide you with the chemicals you need to maintain water purity in addition to rocks, plants, bubblers, and lights to customize the look and feel of your aquarium.
Changsoo sells starter tanks for beginners. For 75,000 won, you can get a 45cm tank with a light, a filter, rocks, and chemicals. His most popular fish are goldfish and colored tetras which are perfect for novice to seasoned fish hobbyists. Mr. Lee and his nephew will also answer any questions you may have about caring for your pets.
Finding Mr Lee
To find Mr. Lee at the market, head in the main entrance and pass the first few vendors. Take a right and walk past about another six vendors. Mr. Lee’s shop will be the second fish stand on the left just across from the cactus and plant stand. For more information, you can contact him at 010-8664-8668.
View Larger Map
More images (click to view album)