There are countless differences between South Korea and the rest of the world. Even the casual traveler bouncing around Asia will notice how everyday culture differs. In many ways Korean culture is somewhere in between that of Japan and China, but in so many more ways it is unique to itself. Here are some of the more interesting and unique differences I have noticed.
1. KOREANS AGE DIFFERENTLY
Babies that are born in Korea today enter the world as 1 year old, as opposed to much of the rest of the world, where they would be 1 day old. Additionally, that baby will gain a year to its age on the lunar new year (usually in late January or early February), instead of their birthday. So, a baby born in December would actually be 2 years old within just a few months. Somewhat confusing, I know, but a general rule of thumb is to just add a year to your own age, and that is your Korean Age.
2. SIDE DISHES FOREVER
When you are at a restaurant and you’d like some service, you don’t sit and awkwardly wait for some eye contact with the wait staff, you simply call out “yeogiyo!” which translates to “here, please!” Better still, more and more restaurants are installing call buttons on their tables.
4. I DON’T BLESS YOU
6. POSSIBLY THE REASON FOR #5
Porn is outlawed in Korea.
9. OPENING AN UMBRELLA INSIDE
10. CLEAVAGE? NEVER! LEGS? NO BIG DEAL
It is pretty risqué for a woman to show some cleavage. But never will you see such a display of legs than in South Korea. Everyday of the year and everywhere, short shorts are being worn. In the dead of winter accompanied by thick stockings, or mountain climbing accompanied by high heels, it’s simply the norm.
Everywhere in the world is different, even different cities within the same state can be drastically different. What are some eccentricities of where you live or places that you have been?
Be sure to check out more on Korean culture from the other Kimchi-ite posts here!
[Photo Credit: Jonathan Kramer]