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Understanding Everyday Life in Korea  Brief Answers to 80 FAQs on Korea
Jimoondang

Understanding Everyday Life in Korea Brief Answers to 80 FAQs on Korea

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ISBN: 9788962971712

 

This is an easy-to-read introductory book for foreigners to pursue their curiosity on Korea. This book tries to explain Korean culture by answering 80 questions on various subjects, including the characteristics of Korean customs, rituals and traditional ceremonies, manners, interpersonal relations and behavior, language and values, religion and folklore, food culture, housing culture, entertainment, pop culture, etc. The author gives an anthropological and historical explanation to these questions collected from international college students as well as from the internet.

 

Yeong Hoon Kim

Professor of Department of Korean Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies and the Director of the Research Institute of Korean Culture at Ewha Womans University. He is a cultural anthropologist. He received his degrees from Yonsei University (B.A.), Indiana University (M.A.) and University of Southern California (Ph.D.).

 

Contents

Preface V
I. Greeting Manners 1
1. How do Koreans greet strangers for the first time? 3
2. Why is it rude to call older people by their names? 4
3. Why do Koreans ask personal questions to people they hardly know or meet for the first time? 7
4. When people meet their acquaintance by chance, why do they usually ask “where are you going?” 9
II. Social Relationship 11
5. What is jeong that Koreans often talk about? 13
6. Why is the meaning of “yes” and “no” unclear in Korea? 15
7. Why do Koreans share their glass with each other while drinking? 17
8. Why do Koreans call their spouses ‘our’ husband or ‘our’ wife? 19
9. What is sogae-ting? 21
10. Why do Korean female students hold hands or link arms with each other when walking together? 23
11. Why don’t Koreans knock on the door? 24
12. Why do Koreans prepare an enormous amount of food and tell their guests to eat more? 26
III. Koreans 29
13. Why do Koreans seem quiet and reticent? 31
14. Why are Korean people so reluctant to wait in line? 33
15. Why do Korean women care so much about their appearance? 35
16. Why do Korean women wear strong and vivid colors? 37
17. Why do Korean women smoke in the toilet? 39
18. Who is ajumma? 41
19. Why do Korean men like to be called oppa? 42
20. Don’t Korean men need to serve the military when the two Koreas unify? 44
21. What age does one become a grandfather or a grandmother? 46
22. Why do Koreans seem to prefer squatting over sitting even outside their homes? 49
23. Why do Koreans fight for the bill in restaurants? 50
24. Why do Koreans feel uncomfortable eating out alone? 52
25. Why do Koreans rarely apologize when they bump into each other on the street? 53
IV. Study & Work 55
26. Why do high school seniors have dinner at their schools? 57
27. Why are Korean parents so obsessed with their child’s education? 59
28. Why do companies allow workers to come late on the day when the College Scholastic Ability Test is being held in high schools? 61
29. Koreans work without taking any breaks. Why do Koreans live such a hectic life? 64
30. Why do Koreans like using seals more than signatures in legal documents? 66
V. Transportation 69
31. Why do people sitting in a bus or on the subway hold bags for those without seats? 71
32. Why do people yield their seats to elders on a bus or train? 72
33. Why are Korean bus drivers so aggressive? Why don’t they follow the traffic rules? 73
34. Why are there so many black cars in Korea? 75
VI. Entertainment 79
35. Why do Koreans enjoy going to a noraebang after drinking? 81
36. Why do Korean films become so popular? 83
37. Why are Korean soap operas mostly about family issues? 85
38. Why do Koreans like to go to a jjimjilbang just to lie on the floor? 86
VII. Korean Food & Dining 89
39. Why do Koreans mix rice? 91
40. Why do people say that Koreans cannot live without kimchi? 93
41. Why do Koreans say they feel “siwonhada” (cool) when eating hot pepper broths? 95
42. Why do Koreans use spoons and chopsticks made out of metal? 97
43. Why are udon and japchae served in Chinese restaurants? Why are pickled radish and onions served along with these dishes? 99
44. Why do Koreans use toilet paper on the dining table? 101
45. Why do Koreans cut beef with scissors? 103
46. Why do Koreans put cherry tomatoes in desserts like cakes and ice flakes? 104
47. Why do Koreans hide dog soup in restaurants but state that dog soups are healthy? 105
VIII. Rituals & Cultural Heritage 109
48. Why do Korean parents get so involved in choosing their children’s marital partners? 111
49. When Koreans get married they sell ham, but what exactly is it? 113
50. Why is a Korean wedding ceremony so short? 115
51. Why do Koreans change from a Western-style wedding dress into a traditional Korean dress during their wedding ceremonies? 116
52. Why do Korean brides and grooms wear Western clothes and take wedding pictures in a royal palace? 118
53. When Koreans marry they say they will serve the noodle for the guests, but in fact, it is hard to find noodles in the wedding. Why does this happen? 121
54. Why do Koreans put food, alcohol and even cigarettes on their ancestors’ tombs and why do they perform a big bow, called jeol, in front of the tomb? 122
55. What is special about Korean funeral culture? 124
56. What is ondol? 127
57. Why is Hangeul highly praised around the world? 129
58. What is samullori? 130
IX. Beliefs & Values 133
59. Why is the Chinese zodiac important to Koreans? 135
60. Why do Koreans prefer to marry a man who is four years older than a woman? 138
61. Why are Koreans reluctant to write their names in red? 140
62. Why is Korea’s city nightscape full of red crosses? 142
63. Why are Korean temples so colorful? 145
64. Why do Koreans like magpies and dislike crows? 147
65. Why are Koreans interested in other’s blood types? 148
66. Why is the 4th floor written as “F” in Korean buildings? 150
67. Why are there so many apartments in Korea? 151
68. Why does the oldest person usually pay for everyone at a restaurant? 153
X. Traditions & Customs 155
69. What’s the meaning of Seollal? 157
70. What does Chuseok mean to Koreans? 159
71. Why do Koreans become one year old as soon as they are born? 161
72. Why do Koreans have seaweed soup on their birthday? 163
73. Why are most Korean names composed of three syllables? 165
74. Why doesn’t a Korean wife take the surname of her husband after marriage? 168
XI. Korean Identity 171
75. What is the origin of ‘Korea’ as a country name? 173
76. Is Korea an ethnically homogenous country? 174
77. What does Baekdusan Mountain mean to Koreans? 176
78. What is jokbo? 178
79. Why do Koreans hesitate to adopt children? 179
80. What is han? 181


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