Skip to content

How I can tell I am in Korea and not Japan.

How I can tell I am in Korea and not Japan. published on


– Suddenly I can’t understand what the heck anyone’s saying. I can’t read any of the menus on this computer, either. (There’s wi-fi, but I’m in the computer lounge because I can’t find a plug for my computer. The computer lounge smells mysteriously of Pantene.)

– Female service personnel are not all wearing makeup, and are not constantly smiling in a way that probably hurts. The men smile less, too.

– There are female tarmac workers and security guards. And one of the security guards snapped at me. I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but her intent was clear. (Her intent was “don’t stand there while you put your stuff back in your bag, I want my nice clean table back.”)

– When Japanese women facetiously hit a guy who’s flirting with them, they usually back off and miss at the last second with a sort of gesture that sends them off at an angle, making it look like they made themselves dizzy with the gesture. I saw a Korean woman actually whap a guy earlier. This startled me.

– I don’t know if this is a Korean cultural thing or a coincidence, but I’ve seen two women sharing food/drinks. Like, two straws in the same smoothie. Is this usual?

– The guys act pretty much the same except louder, I think. I’ve noticed a bunch of younger guys affecting this slow, too-deep voice (what’s the opposite of a falsetto?) – Kimiho-san does that, I thought it was just a thing of his. Apparently not. I keep hearing this and looking around to see if it’s him.

– Seriously, it is totally weird how I can’t understand what anyone’s saying. The intonation is too much like Japanese! It would be easier if I was in China or Taiwan…

I need to get off this computer now. There’s a K-drama playing on a TV over there where some guy keeps randomly breaking into perfect midwestern-accented English, I’m gonna go see if I can figure out what’s up with that.