Now I've got almost an entire day (just a few small errands) during which to do...whatever, before I get on the place tomorrow.
I've been reading up on some Korean customs and culture, and there's a few things that bother me, but that also make me curious to see how they function in practice. "Kibun" for one, which doesn't translate directly but can be described as "pride, face, mood, or state of mind." As an example of this, the site says a person may lie to your face, even when you know they're lying, in order to preserve your Kibun. External appearances are much more important than the values represented by them, such as honesty. It also says a student might bow to you on meeting you or entering your class, but may also answer the phone during class, talk out of turn, and plagiarize work.
The drinking culture also shocks and excites me. As near as I can tell, the information I have is current, so some highlights are:
-Many business relations don't trust each other until they get very drunk together
-Drinking is often done as quick as possible to get real drunk, real fast
-If your glass is ever empty, it will be filled, so you have to leave alcohol in your glass if you want to stop
-Refusing can be impolite (but is becoming more acceptable)
Sounds dangerous. I'd love to teach some Korean friends "Double Jeopardy" and turn it into an international phenomenon!
I fully expect to embarass myself culturally a few (dozen) times, but hopefully I'll be forgiven for being an ignorant westerner.
Very exciting times.
Also, if you can find the picture associated with the title of this blog on fatpita.net or anywhere else, send it to me! It's a monkey relaxing, saying the title to somebody off camera. It's hilarious.