If you’re new to South Korea, you’ll notice the hundreds of specialty shops that dot the city streets that offer more goods and gifts you could ever hope to buy for yourself. A great way to take advantage of these amazing shops and indulge in their wares is to immerse yourself in the rich tradition of gift-giving.
Many Asian cultures value modesty and graciousness as staples of their culture, and South Korea is no different. This translates into the gift-giving culture as a wonderful way to express gratitude towards others who have shown their kindness. If you are new to the culture, here are a few tips to help your gift-giving in South Korea go smoothly.
When I first moved to Korea, I spent every minute of my free time getting lost in the neighborhoods of Seoul. Wandering the unknown became a hobby and through it, I was able to learn a lot about my new home and discover many a hidden gem, whether it be a cafe, an interesting sculpture or a peaceful green space to sit and rest for a while.
As time went on and I grew accustomed to my new city, the neighborhoods lost a bit of their magic and I became slightly jaded. Over the past few weeks, however, I began to miss those afternoons spent in solitude and discovery and decided to get back to exploring the streets of the city. The historic district of Seochon-dong was first on my list. I had no expectations, which is probably why I was so delighted to have stumbled upon Dae-oh Book Store 33 Cafe.
Well? Good question.
Before I came to Korea, I'd been considering both Japan and Korea as possible destinations. Thanks to a dumb mistake on my JET application (postmarked by and received by are VERY different, kids), Japan fell out of the running pretty early. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of reasons why Korea felt like a good choice.
After "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Do you have a boyfriend?", "Why not?" and "Do you know Dokdo?", one of the most common and weirdly challenging to answer questions I get in Korea is "Why did you come to Korea?" Why Korea, and not some other country? Why would you fly halfway across the world, leave everything familiar, and take a job here?
Maybe it's just me but the weather has been especially pleasant here in Korea for this time of year. The rainy season is starting a bit later than usual and the temperatures, particularly in the mornings and evenings, have been enjoyable. Hope I'm not jinxing anything here.
A couple friends and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and planned a weekend camping trip to Muuido, a small island located near Incheon International Airport. The peninsula's western coast often catches a lot of flak for its less than impressive beaches and lackluster views. As we soon learned, however, Muuido is just as enjoyable as the country's better known coastal destinations and is the perfect place to waste away a lazy summer weekend.
The penis. As unattractive as it may be, it has remained to be an important symbol of strength, fertility and power in cultures all the world over since the beginning of time. From ancient Pompeii to Egyptian hieroglyphics to the costumes of modern day tribesmen of New Guinea, phallic imagery has been used unabashedly. Unsurprisingly, the penis has played just as an important role in Korean culture.
featuring American rapper Snoop Dogg (er... Lion) on his oft-visited YouTube channel. Responses to the video have been mixed. Some believe the song is just as catchy as his "Gangnam Style," a viral hit that has received over 2 billion views to date. Still others have complained, slamming the video for its incessant product placement and Snoop Dogg's ever-growing tendency to sell out. Either way, "Hangover" is entertaining and paints a rather accurate portrait of Korea's intense drinking culture and famous nightlife (sans all the twerking in gold booty shorts). For those less accustomed to Korean ways, read on to better understand what exactly the duo are doing in the five minute video.
Earlier this week, international sensation Psy debuted his latest release,