In honor of the announcement of a sequel to 10 Things I Hate About You(I think this movie is a bad idea), I decided it was only fitting to release a 10 Things I Hate About Living in South Korea.
Before I begin, let me clarify that this is a joke. I don’t hate living in South Korea. This is not my 95 Thesis of why someone should not come live, teach or visit Korea. It’s just a few things that mildly annoy me. I do not have a strong history of verbal tact, so there is the potential this is a bad idea since I’ve designed a blog around the fact that I live in South Korea. Let me assure my Korean readers that this will be followed by a 13 things I love about South Korea. However, if someone wrote a “10 things I hate about foreigners living in South Korea”, I would gladly post it. Remember, this is all in good fun and my commentary does not reflect my complete understanding of what I describe below. I could make a list like this for any place I have lived, especially Jacksonville, Florida.
10. It’s easier to find Waldo than to find a garbage can.
I’m hip, I’m green, I even drink a coke zero because I’m passing up on diabetes to develop cancer when I’m older. I get off of the subway and I’m ready to dispose of my 500 ml bottle but there is a small problem. Where the hell is a garbage can? I leave the subway station, walk for blocks and I can’t find any garbage cans on the streets or in any public quarters. I see you(Koreans) eating your Pepero sticks, Diget Cookies, and finger sized yogurt drink/snacks on the subway. Are you Houdini? Do you stick this crap in your pockets? How do you magically dispose of everything?
9. My trash cost more than my couch.
OOooh! Someone is moving so they are throwing away a nice leather couch because it is easier to buy a new one than move an old one to their new place. I’ll take it. I love two things in life; winning and free stuff!
Let me just throw away my old couch.
“Rob, why is security chasing us? What, they want me to pay 20,000 won to throw it away when I removed an equally heavy couch from the garbage in the first place. That’s preposterous! Quick! Run! We’ll show them! We’ll find somewhere to put this couch for free. Screw the system! How far is that guy going to follow us down the street!?? Obviously, not far enough. This spot looks perfect.”
1 Year later…
8. Hello Kitty Doggy.
Yes, we all know that you(Koreans) eat dog. However, I’m ok with this and I would still like to eat dog before I leave. This is a specific dog raised with the intent of eating, just like how we raise specific cows and pigs with the intent to eat them in America. If Americans need to be educated on this they simply need to watch the Whale Wars episode of South Park.
Nevertheless, my beef(or dog meat(걔 고기) if you will) with you is not about the dog you eat, but about the dogs you keep as pets. These dogs drink your coffee with you at Tom и Toms, you dress them in tutus and pink sweaters, you paint their doggy nails and you color their hair. As one straight guy might say to another, “that’s gay.” Furthermore, on three different occasions I have now witnessed doggies dressed with Hello Kitty sweaters. Do you understand there is not a more degrading thing you can do to a dog? In English, we have the word “emasculating”. It literally means to deprive a man of his identity of being a man. In other words, it is something that makes him less of a man. There is no word for what you to do dogs until now… Depoochifying(verb). You have robbed dogs of their identities and made them less dog. You are a nation of depoochifiers(noun) and your depoochified(adjective) dogs have suffered because of your obsession with cuteness.
7. Noodle Suckers.
You’ve told me I’ve been too loud. You’ve told to use my “Korean Manners because this is Korea.” Yet, when it comes to sucking noodles or ramen you seem to think there is a black hole attached to your face. Seriously, you are not sucking a cobra into your mouth. You do not need to summon a vacuum like force to ensure the flimsy noodle meets its demise(Slurping actually shows approval for the food but it’s still funny to watch.)
6. Crossing the Street.
I know. . . the traffic signal says we can’t cross. However, you passed calculus six by eighth grade. If there are no cars coming, you can safely cross. Think of it as sticking it to Japan every time you do.
5. Dress to Impress.
In the west, girls dress up to go to a fancy club on Friday night. They make sure they’ve got that sleek black dress, perfected hair, and those sexy high heels that make them taller than me and also make me officially ineligible to date. Well, that’s the type of preparation it takes in Korea for a woman to drop by the supermarket and pick up some Tofu. That’s right, Koreans dress up to do everything. There is no “throwing on a sweater” to run an errand. What if your future husband sees you but he’s not misled by all the makeup and time you spend making yourself not look like yourself? Rarely will you see a Korean on the subway without a perfectly matched outfit with proper layering, properly color coordinated themes and accessories. This is annoying to me because I’m particularly gifted at looking like crap most of the time.
Koreans’ obsession with dressing their best extends to outdoor activities as well. There is no t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes standard. If they go hiking, they are bringing the backpacks, hiking sticks, and two hundred dollars of North Face gear and equipment to reach that 30 minute summit. Granted, that gear usually includes a few bottles of Soju;) However, can we say overkill? I get stares when I run outside in 60 degree weather because I’m not covered from head to toe. Imagine the disdain when I(from Florida) wore flip-flops to cross the street(A 10 second trip) while it was snowing outside…
You do know that shuffling is kind of a joke, right? LMFAO made a catchy song, but shuffling is not a lifestyle. It’s not like the surfing or bboy lifestyle. “Everyday I’m Shuffling” is a fun thing to say, but we are not literally shuffling every day. Sometimes it’s more productive to go out at night and talk and dance with people instead of increasing your shuffle steps with the boys in a corner. For Koreans who don’t shuffle, dancing involves more than just jumping up and down. There are beats you try to match and other body movements available to utilize in your repertoire. If you are a girl and I try to dance with you, you do not need to shout “no hotel” and run away. I’m just trying to dance with you, not rape you. Also, a faster beat or added noise to a song does not make it better; it just makes it faster and usually more annoying.
This is the delightful treat of boiled silk worm pupae(it actually has a very touching history). It’s often being sold outside near places with lots of people(where you want to be). It’s particularly putrid if you are pushing yourself running outside. You might be feeling a little nauseous from overexertion and the aroma of the pupae, boiling and steaming in the sun, will immediately trigger those symptoms to manifest.
You are the old ladies of Korea. You are to be respected, revered, honored and cherished. You age at half the rate of all other women on Earth and you get to sit in the envied reserved section on the subway which is always empty. SO WHY ARE YOU SO PISSED OFF!!?? You have pushed me down the stairs (out of a bus) because you were in a rush. You always skip me in line. You cut me off when I’m walking. While I’m purchasing groceries and handing the cashier money, you throw your groceries on top of my arms and expect me to be nice about it! Plus, you spit a lot and often near my feet. It’s not just me, I see you do these things to everyone.
I do not think America is a better or greater country than Korea, but I do think American grandmas are superior. They make us ice cream and lemonade. They tell us stories of old to inspire us. They ask us to tell them about our future plans so we are encouraged to dream. We love old ladies in America. But my dear ajummas… You wait for me to look the other way so you can stick your foot out and trip me. If we’re in a line for mandu, you would take out one of my kneecaps to get the space ahead of me. I just don’t understand. I want to like you, but you make it incredibly difficult to do so.
1. Couple’s Outfits
Girls, if you can get your men to do this you either wear the pants in the relationship or you should be very concerned when he says he’s having a “boy’s night out.”