While South Korea is not all rainbows and sunshine(thanks in part to the Yellow Dust from China),there are times when a foreigner enjoys his time here. He finishes a long day of teaching, enjoys a hearty helping of Korean Barbecue, looks up at the night sky illuminated by neon flashing lights, turns down an offer for a sex massage, goes home and watches the Avengers for free online, and thinks. . ."this is the life."
This is the follow up to the extremely popular 10 Things I Hate about South Korea article. So, without further adieu,
13. Cars drive on sidewalks – Somehow people don’t like this. I think life is much more exciting when a car can also hit you on the sidewalk. No longer are sidewalks sanctuaries of safety. You need to make it inside the building before you stop looking both ways to cross the street. Think of Korea as your secret bonus level of Frogger.
12. Seoul Subway -It’s clean, fast, and convenient. It’s really that impressive. The only thing this guy and I have in common, besides an obvious lack of interest from women or a social life, is that we both love the Seoul Subway System.
11. Korean Rest Stops- Like everything in Korea, when they decide to do something they do it big. Rest stops on road trips are massive and often have hundreds of visitors at a time. The food options are limitless as there are several food stands and restaurants serving traditional korean food, dumplings, space ice cream(dip n dots), wieners, and roasted nuts. Additionally, there are places playing music that are selling cd’s and along with all sorts of touristy stuff. You would think a Korean rest stop is a mini-mall. If you’re lucky, you might actually catch a mythical Peruvian flute band as can be seen on South Park.
10. No Tipping– You do not tip bartenders or waiters in South Korea. This means a 3 dollar(3000 won) beer is really only 3 dollars. No longer must you debate how polite you are or fight with people over the proper amount of a tip(Fyi, it’s 20 percent) for the bill. In other words, you save a lot of money. I’m sure the bartenders and waiters here are compensated…no, they’re probably screwed. However, it’s rude to even try to tip in most cases so do not do it and don’t feel guilty about not doing it.
This is a great read on tipping practices and concept of free refills in Asian countries
9. The Use of English Signs. Despite the huge sums of money Koreans spend on making sure their children understand grammatical rules better than the rest of us in the Western world, they still don’t seem to teach the things that really matter(like speaking). A word of advice to Korea business owners, before you invest so much money into an expensive sign, consult a native English speaker for a small sum of money. Although, if you fix these problems life here is less entertaining for me.
8. Reserved seating in Theaters. – This one isn’t funny, it’s just smart. When you watch a movie at a theater in Korea, you actually choose your seat when you purchase your ticket. No more worrying about finding a seat and if you purchase a ticket in advance, your seat is reserved even if you are running late.
7. Free Furniture- I have moved over 6 leather couches for myself and friends that we found in the garbage. Korean trash can be a lucrative gold mine with patience.
6. Waffles, ice Cream, weiners, and fried chicken- Koreans take the best of American Cuisine and multiply it exponentially. The density of places that offer donuts, waffles, ice cream, weiners, and fried chicken is unimaginable.
5. Three Coffee Shops on Every Corner- You know that saying, “there’s one on every corner.” Well in Korea, there are about four on every corner… often right on top of each other. I think this is awesome. The free wi-fi is worth it’s weight in gold as a foreigner and if you are addicted to coffee and tea like I am; all I can say is welcome to heaven.
4. BLack Out Korea– Before you laugh at these pictures. Please understand that within a generation South Korea has established itself as one of the best economies in the world. One generation ago, they were ranked with the likes of Uganda. Currently, they have one of the 10 largest economies in the world. This did not happen by accident, this generation and these people work their(excuse my language) asses off. First of all, hats off and congratulations to Korea. Unfortunately, when you work this hard and under this much pressure you need a serious release valve. Thus, when Koreans drink they do not hold anything back which leads to this website. It is very common to pass people seriously intoxicated who walk in very peculiar lines or look dead on the sidewalk. It’s also really, really funny.
3. Community- While the foreigners run to Itaewon, Hongdae and Gangnam; most Koreans just chill in their neighborhoods outside sitting on furniture with friends and a few bottles of Soju. I wish I had a few more friends who knew how to chill like Koreans do.
3b. Noraebong. This is Korea’s version of Karaoke. You rent out a private room with your friends and have a karaoke party. You might Noraebong with 3 or 4 people or go Roman style and stick 30-40 people in a room while on vacationing on Jeju Island. I miss my horde of fans at the Karaoke bars back home but there is something intimate about only noraebonging with your friends that I find surpasses the drunken shenanigans of American style karaoke.
3c. Cell phone use acceptable during all social situation– I love the sight of an endearing Korean couple sharing a romantic dinner together while staring at their cell phones the entire evening. It is perfectly acceptable to check facebook, twitter, and chat on your phone in front of your date or friends who care enough to see you in person. No need to be sneaky about it here, it’s perfectly acceptable to do it out in the open. With this etiquette how many painful conversations could I had avoided back home.
2. Korean Girls. Even though I’m not a big fan of Korean woman and vice versa, I can’t deny that Koreans are the most beautiful people in the world. They are all thin, tall, well dressed, and work very hard to maintain their appearance. I’ve theorized that since they all have dark hair and dark eyes, they’ve become extremely sensitive to minor imperfections like wrinkles freckles, etc. Due to their high standards, they are obsessed with beauty, youth and plastic surgery. This obsession makes an ugly girl in Korean standards appear quite attractive by western standards. Korean people also age extremely slow so it’s not impossible to mistake a 35 year old for a high school student.
Nonetheless, despite how hard I try to ignore it. . .the women here are just beautiful. I can’t even go downstairs to have coffee and work on my blog without having my eyes ripped away from screen because some korean bombshell is in the room. Thus, against my best efforts Korean women are number two on my list.
1. Food. What’s better than women? Food! Korean food is the best thing in the world. Apart from my daily helpings of kimchi, I love g(k)imbap rolls, bibimbap, chamchi dishes, all of my jiggaes, kimchi pancakes, sunbudu, street food, seafood, all of the unlimited side dishes, korean barbeque, soups, and….everything. I can’t even put it into words. You don’t have bad days in Korea as long as you at least one Korean meal. It magically makes everything else that much better.