since I am stuck in Japan with my friend’s Japanese laptop (my laptop can’t connect to the internet and there’s no adapter yet T_T), I will first choose topics to write about which doesn’t require much pictures and editing.
SO, living in Seoul for about 3 years now, of course I’ve noticed more and more and from my mistakes, I learned even better.
this was my list of DO NOTs for when I first came here:
1. wear shorts which are quite short (esp when it ain’t summer), you’d find people talking about you around =S.
2. take your own sweet time in taking pictures. always do it fast. taking more than a few shots and the ajumma’s (aunties) will start to grumble.
3. you hold your chopsticks with your right hand. but you also hold your spoon with your right hand. get what I mean?
4. share food in commercialised places like Itaewon, Insadong etc. (means order a set for every person) they might probably slam your food onto the table and spoil your mood.
5. order one person’s BBQ meat because the usual minimum is TWO person.
6. pour your own drink if you’re not alone.
7. drink facing somebody elder. always turn to the side.
8. take photographs of artsy stuff which are for sale. do it secretly =X.
9. laugh at a Korean’s English. they are pretty sensitive on that. always respect them as they are trying very hard.
and I can say that it is still pretty much THE general etiquette. the ones that I’ve noticed after living here is that..
– it would be nice to say jal meok-eos-seum-ni-da after eating. it shows respect. and jal-meok-gess-seum-ni-da before eating.
– when dining in a small place, it would be nice to greet the vendors with a smile and saying annyeonghaseyo!
– say su-go-ha-se-yo upon leaving the shop/cab to show manners.
– praise their country. never diss it. they are extreme nationalists. even if they say they hate Korea.
– you shouldn’t refuse an alcoholic offer from someone older. it will piss them off. even if you say no, 2 times is the maximum of saying no. and then you gotta prepare yourself to drink!
– in most places, YOU HAVE TO THROW YOUR TOILET PAPER INTO THE DUSTBIN!! Korea’s sewage system is really bad. since they suddenly bloomed, they didn’t have enough time to fix it I guess so don’t throw them into the bowl!
– ALWAYS offer the elderly/pregnant/woman with a baby your seat. in the train or bus or any waiting areas.
– put on deodorant if you smell. because Koreans just DO NOT smell. something about their Kimchis probably. in Korea, you should act and wear in a way that you do not OFFEND other people. they are very warm people and they’d care about others a lot. even when they do not need to.
– you can show as much legs as you want, but always cover your cleavage.
– always buy SOMETHING when visiting a friend. and maybe muffins or cakes if you were going to meet up with their parents (even not at home)
– when pouring alcoholic drinks to an older person, make sure the bottle does not touch their up. lift it up slightly.
– it is not rude to dig into other’s soup/food. it’s culture.
– you do not ask an opposite sex out for a friendly outing, they might think otherwise.
– the older person gets the bill/the guy gets the bill and the girl pays for coffee/something cheaper.
– try to show that you are thankful to them by a small gift or note/message
– shaking hands are getting more and more common by bowing when you greet is culture.
– wear stockings (except during summer). they would feel you freezing if you don’t. well I don’t really care =S.
– NEVER eat/drink before the elder does.
– entering the bathing area in a sauna with clothes or lingerie. it’s not hygienic to do so.
common mistakes by foreigners :
x asking for prices for each and everything when not interested to buy (Koreans may get very pissed.)
x treating employees/vendors like you own them. they are not your slave.
x eating with both hands. ONLY use one hand.
x putting cutleries in the bowl. put it on the table. if you are afraid that the table’s dirty then layer a layer of tissue underneath.
x eating with your hands unless you are supposed to. try to see how the Koreans next to you eat.
x accepting cards with one hand. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS accept them/give them with 2 hands.
x speaking LOUDLY in a slow manner. just speak in simple english. they are not deaf. nor dumb.
x if you pull a face, of course they would pull a face too.
x wear like a kpop star. people don’t dress like that on the streets you know =/.
x dress very sloppily. the no.1 Malaysian mistake. don’t be angry if they don’t like you. looking good is courtesy.
x not sitting on the toilet bowl when pee-ing *for girls*. especially people from China since they assume that sitting is dirty. but all Koreans sit. put a layer of tissue or something if you’re afraid of germs. but SIT!
the similarities and differences of Korea and Japan? basically, they are pretty similar in terms of certain superstitions and etiquettes like not sleeping with the fan on (a silly thing called.. fan death. they believe sleeping in an enclosed area with the fan on can kill you. hence all fans have timers) and taking off their shoes at home. but there are differences in courtesy. as much as I love Japan, I noticed that Japanese people do not know how to offer their seat to an older person. they are quite inconsiderate judging by how much they are as a country with supreme manners. on the other hand, staffs in Japan would always welcome you with a smile whereas only half of Korean employees actually make you feel good about shopping in their store. you may even see the differences in foreign (normally Chinese from China) part timers in these two countries. half of them in Korea lazy and have no manners. but most of them have very good manners in Japan. Japan’s very strict on customer service I guess. it’s a good thing. and sigh, looking at Malaysia’s customer service… *shakes head*
everything on this post is based on personal experience and they might differ from person to person =). there are
crazy sensitive readers who would make a big fuss about things that they find not true and INSISTs I change my title to “something something in my opinion”. so I am just clarifying it for them before they start dissing me haha.