Saturday, May 28, 2011

5.28.11 The Dichotomies.

A few dichotomous observations about our new home...

Korea has aggressive environmental policies and a plan to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2020, but you are hard-pressed to find a public trashcan on a city street.

The children spend incredibly long hours at school, yet they are some of the happiest and most secure kids I've ever met. 

You can buy the latest cellphones on just about every block, but it is impossibe to find shoes larger than size 9 without making a trip to a special store.

Shih Tzus and Maltese are all the rage here, but much of the population reacts to our friendly and outgoing 10 pound Jack Russell as though she was the hound of the Baskervilles.

Korean women generally do not show cleavage or bare shoulders but they routinely wear 4 inch heels and skirts so short they should be classified as belts.

You can watch topless softcore porn on tv, but they censor cigarette smoking in movies and TV shows.

They espouse strict moral codes regarding premarital sex, but the shopping district of our city has about a dozen lingerie shops that stock some seriously racy stuff.

You can pick out your prostitute through the storefront windows where they are on display every night, but they censor porn on the internet (and it can be hard to find condoms).

Black clothing, black nail polish, black hair, black patterned stockings, fiercely strappy/bondage-ish shoes and boots, skull and skeleton jewelry and accesories, heavy eye make-up, and pale-as-death skin are all major parts of Korean fashion, but the idea of a Goth subculture is all but unknown. 


  1. Wow, how interesting! I think my crazy Jack might not go over well if your friendly lady is scorned. Also, about the TV porn and cigs...boobs can't kill you, so it makes sense.

  2. It's strange - people here seem to simultaneously love and fear dogs. There are numerous reality TV shows about animals (almost all dogs), there are several lines of popular puppy-shaped stuffed toys that our female students love, and everyone under 30 who sees Friday says "oh cute-ah!"

    If, however, Friday actually takes a step toward anyone they freak out. They are afraid to pet her, even when I'm holding her and controlling her snout with my hand. I'm not talking about just little kids - we've met college boys who were unable to muster up the courage to even come near her, much less pet her.

    On the flip side, we do ocassionally meet someone who knows how to interact with a dog and they are generally charmed by her, but these people are much more rare here than in the U.S.

  3. I read in a recent BBC story that Korean schoolchildren are among the best-behaved pupils in the world, also. (The US actually ranks in the middle, not near the bottom O_O)

  4. For the most part, the kids we work with are sweet. They are tired by the time they come to us, and a small few can be really bitchy because of it, but they are generally well behaved. :)

  5. I just got a great Korean skirt with skulls on it.