One great part of Korea is all the hilarious and random things there are to find and learn about.Many things get lost in translation and don't quite make sense. Instead of telling you the typical information about Korea (like how South Korea is the size of Kentucky) I'll share more fun information!
This shirt it one of my favorites. You find these types of shirts all over Korea. Some don't make much sense at all.
Korea also has many things that seem so strange from what we are used for. A good example is how when a baby is born they are automatically one year old, and on their first birthday they turn 2! Everyone is one year older on New Years, not on their actualy birth day.
February 14- Valentines Day is celebrated in Korea. Women give gifts to men, traditionally.
March 14- White Day is one month after Valentines Day and men are supposed to give gifts to their women in their lives.
April 14- Black Day. Singles eat jjajangmyun, which is a black bean paste noodle. They get together with other singles and celebrate!
There is a special day in October to celebrate hangul, the Korean alphabet. Apparently there is a big debate in Korea over if this should be a national holiay with no work, or just a recognized day. Below is a picture of hangul. I have a book to learn,but haven't gotten too far yet. I've heard it is actually fairly easy to learn once you take the time to do it.
It is really rare to see police driving around in Korea and they will not pull cars over for infractions. There is so much traffic and hussle and bustle that pulling cars over on the side of the road would just be too much back up. Instead, there are driving cameras EVERYWHERE and you recieve tickets in the mail. We got our first ticket a few weeks ago for 900 won, which is a little less than 90cents!!!
Also, traffic is so crazy here that people will not pull to the side of the road for ambulances, but they will for a tow truck!!!
Education in Korea is nothing short of INTENSE! During students high school years and sometimes even during their junior high years, students go to school from 8 am until past midnight. This is because after their normal schooling, they attend special academies ( like where I work) to try to boost their academic performance. They all prepare to take a very rigorous college exntrance exam which pretty much will solidify their future. In Korea, if you enter a prestigious university, you will have a good chance of landing a good job. A child entering a good University is not only economic security for the individual but it also reflects on the child's parents reputation.
Korea has a high school graduation rate of 97%, this is the highest recorded in developed countries. Also something interesting is that corporal punishment is allowed in 80% of schools in Korea!!
In Korea, respect is a part of culture. If someone is even a little bit older than you, you need to respect the person. This makes it a hassle in school when someone who is in the same grade level yet older demands respect!! Definitely respect must be shown to elders. I find myself bowing to people all the time, and I know it will be a hard habit to break once we are back in the states!
If you could summarize Korean night life, it would be two words: drinking and singing. In every street corner, you will see a drinking bar and a norebang. A norebang is a place comprised of private rooms where a group of people can get together to sing karaoke. In these little rooms, you can sing along to your favorite title as well as order some food and alcohol. It is not like karaoke in the states where you sing in front of many people. You just sing with your friends in a small room! Below is a picture of a norebang.
I read that 33% of the Korean population are Christian. The Christian movement became stronger in South Korea from 1905 through 1945 when Japan occupied the country and persecuted Christians. Today, Korea sends more missionaries than any other country other than the United States. Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest in Korea, had 780,000 members in 2003.Crazy, huh?!
Well, that is about all that I can think of today. I will be thinking of more and hope you enjoyed learing some silly and random things about life in Korea! :)