Thursday, December 22, 2011

Questions and Answers Part 1

Most of the following questions are from Aunt Diana, but there are some from other sources.  We'll start with Aunt Diana's though:
From your initial video introduction to your apartment it appears that property owners use their land to grow food.  Is this common?  What would be a normal Korean daily menu?
No, most don't use their land to grow crops.  Typically a house takes up an entire lot.  The empty lots are the ones that become gardens.  I'm not sure if they're owned by someone living in a house next door or what, but I typically see only the same people working in them.  There are also little gardens in the oddest places, like on a hill in a park.  My guess is that the food grown there is for the many people selling fruits and veggies on the street corners or in the market downtown.

A normal Korean menu is quite various.   Typically a breakfast consists of rice, some fruit, and the typical traditional sidedishes (various kimchis and other little things, like pickled radish).  Lunch is usually something hot with rice and kimchi.  Dinner usually includes rice and kimchi also.  If lunch or dinner include noodles the rice is left out, but there is almost always kimchi.
In a city, such as where you live, it seems to me that it is common for places to be open late, as it is in the State.  Is this true for the country side of Korea?  If you have to get up at the crack of dawn to care for livestock I think that the "normal" lifestyle would be quite different. 
Yes, places are usually open until 10pm (name-brand stores and some restaurants), 11pm (grocery stores and some restaurants), 12am (coffee shops and restaurants), 6am or whenever they have no more customers (bars, clubs, noraebangs, restaurants), and never closing (pc rooms, dvd rooms, some coffee shops, Mcdonalds).

I know there are others, but that's all I can think of right now.

I have no idea about the countryside since I don't live there.  I'm pretty sure they have much different hours from people in the cities though.
I also have questions about the schooling system.
I'll talk about the schooling system here at a later date, when I understand it better...
Stay warm.  I always found layering the best.  My solution to cold weather was to wear tights, then long johns or leggings, then pants, and if it was to be terrifically cold or I was to be outside for a long time, then a pair of sweat pants on top of all of that.  Talk about feeling like a Michelin tire man or Pillsbury dough -boy!
You don't wear sweatpants in Korea unless you're out jogging, at the gym, or running from your apartment to the nearby convenience store late at night to grab something.  Even the most sloppily dressed people here are typically very well put together and even fashionable by American standards.

I tend to wear quite a few layers of stockings or leggings, or even both.  I think at one point I had three layers on when I was in Daejeon and as long as I was moving it was more than warm enough.  Plus, my legs still looked good.  (Yes, I'm becoming a slightly vain person and refusing to leave my apartment unless I look my best, this is helped along by the fact that I know people stare at me wherever I go)
Why do you, and other bloggers, say "Korealand" instead of Korea?  What do the Koreans call their country? E.g., Germans call their country Deutschland, Austirans live in Oesterreich, etc.
Hangul (한글) is the Korean alphabet.  Hangukeo (한국어) is the Korean language. Hangook (한국) is Korea.

Though, technically, South Korea is the Republic of Korea.

I think we call it Korealand to show our affection for the country.  Like a pet name of sorts.  Granted, I'm also calling America the US of A.  Just my way of showing affection for these two countries while giving my blog a little bit of personality.  I didn't really think about it, I just started doing it.
Some answers to food questions, please?  You mention various foods that you are eating, and I have no clue what they are and you do not describe them.  Maybe everyone in Korea knows what it is, but this ignorant American is clueless.  Please, describe.
Last post I mentioned:

  • Porridge - I sure hope all of you know what that is.  If not, it's like oatmeal, but thinner and with more hearty and less sweet tastes.  I like the pumpkin one, though the mushroom one is good too.
  • Sandwich - Two slices of bread with yummy things inbetween.
  • Gimbap (김밥) - is pictured in this blog entry.  It's the stuff wrapped in seaweed.
  • Ramyun (라 면) - that's the Korean way of pronouncing ramen. 
  • Ramyun at a Japanese restaurant with Korean sidedishes.
    Cup Ramyun from a FamilyMart.
The rest of the foods mentioned (whole wheat pasta, eggs, capers, tuna, lemon juice, etc) are all found in the United States quite easily.

Oh, kimchi (김치), if you don't know, is pickled and spiced vegetables (usually cabbage).  Similar to German saurkraut, just with a lot more variety and spices.  It's such a diverse and interesting food item that it deserves a post of it's own one day.
Have you started learning much Korean?  How is that coming along?  I suspect it might be hard for westerners as they make different sounds and have different grammar.
My Korean is going slow, though I now know about as much now as I know of German (and that was after four years...yeah, I was a bad student).   The sounds are difficult, but in terms of grammar I'm doing okay.  Probably because the system is SOV (subject-object-verb), like German.  So I'm already familiar with the basic setup.  It does take some getting used to the fact that there are no articles.  I feel like I'm talking like a baby when I say a sentence, even if it is correct.  I'm glad I don't have to learn articles, but it feels weird not to have them.

And there ends all of Aunt Diana's questions.

Here's one from Uncle Bert:
Date, huh?
Yes, a date.  And I quite enjoyed it.

From Aunt Susie:
Got any plans for Christmas day?   
I have plans for Christmas eve, as for Christmas day I have no plans at the moment, but things have a way of just happening here, so we'll see.  I do know at midnight I'll be Skyping Apple Jack's house and watching them open the presents I sent.

From Kay-Kay:
Family up in Michigan are reading your blog.  They all want to know about your date.  Is he Caucasian or Korean?  Anything else?
 He's Korean.  He speaks amazing English and he's been to the US of A and other countries on business.

And that's all for this question and answer session, though I have the feeling I'll be doing more of these and that's why this is labeled 'Part 1'.

I may have another post up before Christmas, but I may not.  If not y'all have a Merry Christmas!  Don't eat too much!  Or shop too much!

Love you!


  1. Fashionable by American standards, or just by Florida standards ? ;-)

    - Elisabeth

  2. I'm enjoying your posts. Glad to hear things doing so well over there. And thanks for being the instigator of me starting one of my own.

    - Jerry

  3. from the looks of it, idk if i'd like yalls korean ramen. it's too authentic, lol...i like my americanized 20¢ maruchan chicken ramen!

    glad to hear that all is going well :) i have a kakao SN now, fyi. text me soon! love ya!