Confucius

Salad Bar Confucianism

When a lot of foreigners first step off the boat here in Korea, they probably think two things—

1) What’s that smell?, and
2) What’s up with these people? They’re so nice / strange / rude / different!

Many will stay for a few days, a few months, possibly even a year, and may never get around to answering either of these questions. The answer to the first probably has to do with an overloaded sewage system trying and failing to deal with fifty million people eating fifty million pounds of fermented cabbage and soybeans every day; the answer to the second (relating to the reason why so many people eat so much fermented food) is still too elusive for me, and I’ve lived here for three years.


Korean Restaurants And The Analects Versus Plato’s Republic

When I first arrived in the Daehan Mingook I didn’t know what to eat here because Koreans rarely do anything alone—and how could you, even if you wanted to? This country is the same size of Ohio, except with roughly five times as many people as Ohio, a capital that contains about twenty million of those people, and nine other cities with at least a million inhabitants each, and usually more. Population density is ten times the global average at 487 people per square kilometer, which means that it is almost impossible to be alone if you leave your bathroom.


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