Every country has their own dos and don’ts, and while living in Korea I’ve noticed some things that you can only get away with here. Though there are many more things that could have been included, here are 10 things that you can do in Korea, but not in England.
It is only possible to shop from branded retailers in England (unless you attend a special market place), so price is fixed. Anything outside of retail stores in Korea can be bartered down to a lower price. Haggling takes many forms; charm, persuasion, anger, pity or even insisting on free samples. You can know a lot about someone from the way they shop.
Complimenting Specific Physical Features
Comments on physical appearance are often very vague and general in England, for example, “You look nice” or “I like your hair”. In Korea, the comments are much more honed to certain features. Someone may live their whole life in England without a single compliment on their face, but in Korea they could be envied for their small face size, high nose bridge, slim jaw line, etc. You are more aware of your appearance in Korea because of these comments.
Super Food Delivery
In England, only pizza chains or some niche restaurants offer delivery. However, Korean food delivery is high quality, fast, cheap, flexible and there is a huge variety of options to choose from. Not only do the restaurants deliver, but delivery services are also available to bring you what you ordered, for instance you can even get your Starbucks coffee brought to your office! Nearly all restaurants allow meals to be packaged (포장), so you can even eat a restaurant meal in the comfort of your own home!
Men Wearing Makeup
Although makeup is still directed towards females, Korean men do not receive as much stigma as British men. It is still taboo in England for men to apply makeup themselves. Male makeup tarnishes the fragile construct of masculinity and would most likely lead to implications about their sexuality. In Korea, self-grooming for men is more liberal. While they do not wear a full face of makeup, men can use skin makeup, eyebrow pencils and eyeliner if they want.
In the West, asking someone’s age is considered rude, especially to a woman. Age is mostly unimportant in everyday interaction. In Korea, age is inquired almost immediately for the purpose of etiquette. Age is a very important and a defining factor of one’s identity in Korea.
Free Wi-Fi is only available at certain establishments in England, but in Korea free and fast internet connection is available everywhere. Even without Wi-Fi, data is cheap and the quality is exceptional. You can stream TV at HD live on your phone on public transport, and even browse websites at the park.
Experience Each Distinct Season
Weather in England does not differ drastically. On an average day, the weather is a little chilly and damp. A typical British summer is a month of sunshine and cool air. Winter is cold and snow doesn’t set for long (if it does even snow in the first place). In contrast, Koreans must adjust their lifestyle around the season. The summer is horrendously hot and humid, the winter is bitterly freezing, Spring is an explosion of flowers and dust, and Autumn is cool and dry.
Play Loud Drinking Games
Drinking games only occur at events or private parties in England. It is uncommon to play games out in public at pubs, bars and clubs. Koreans love drinking games. People of all ages, chanting and shouting numbers and words is a distinct drinking atmosphere in Korea.
‘Aegyo’ does not exist in England, so using baby-talk or singing child-like songs will get you into a mental asylum. In Korea, using your voice and mannerisms to appear bubbly and cute is charming and attractive. Everyday aegyo is peppered into daily conversations, so it is not very obvious at times, but sometimes it can be considered a performance.
Not Leave A Tip
At restaurants in England, you are required to leave a 10-15% tip. In Korea the customer pays for the food and will most likely get free dishes with it too. You never pay extra money for the service or for the side-dishes.
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