Sep 28 2008

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

Tag: japan,korea,personal — 3:49 pm


– 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.

Sep 20 2008


Tag: korea,personal — 4:16 am

Is a six-hour layover enough to leave the Incheon airport and do anything in Seoul? Or will much of that time be taken up with customs and stuff? Apparently Americans don’t need to mess with visas, but it seems like I might end up standing in lines anyway… (I’ve never had a layover outside the US before.)