Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun Facts About Korean Customs, Part 1

I've learned several things about the culture that don't really fit into any category, but they're fun to know. 

When walking down the street, or on a bus or train, it doesn't matter if you bump into someone. Brushing shoulders, hips, elbows, or what have you isn't even noticed by Koreans. You just keep walking, no apology necessary. If someone is in your way, "excuse me" isn't a requirement, you just walk at them until they move; I don't even know the word for "sorry" or "pardon". Koreans just don't expect it. If you do, however, smash into an older person really hard, a formal apology (just one word that I don't know) is all that's needed. 

There are crosswalks diagonally across intersections. This means that all traffic stops at a four way intersection and the pedestrians can cross through the middle. It's pretty sweet. But you have to watch out, because cars still fly around corners without regard for pedestrians. I've noticed that if I'm not sure a car is going to stop for a stop sign, just holding up my hand as a signal to stop will give me the right of way -- sometimes. 

I've only really been in Gimpo but the smell of gasoline, sometimes sulfur or sewage, seems to be pretty common. It comes and goes, but down by the river it stuck around at a manageable level. 

The cake here apparently tastes like rice cakes, completely dry and flavorless. Alyssa and I went to Baskin Robins with a couple of her friends (the ice cream was great), Wynne and Paul, and the cakes were super cute, seriously amazing. And I really regret forgetting my camera at the apartment last night. But Wynne said she had one for her birthday and it was awful. So they're nice to look at, but not good on the inside -- whew, what an analogy for so many things. Cake and bread here have to be bought with caution. I was told that any bread that looks familiar is horrible. I should only buy bread that looks foreign because it's probably more traditionally Korean and better tasting because of it. So I went to Paris Baguette and got some awesome veggie breads, a caramel macchiato and also a garlic and cheese baguette for home. 

Well, it was very fun gathering these fun facts! I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to comment if you've had a different experience with these situations and/or can add some Korean fun facts. 

1 comment:

  1. the fact that they feel it is normal to bump into you makes sense and is helpful to know that here in the States, they don't mean it like it feels :)


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