16.10.2006 27 °C
These are some of the things I don't like about Korea:
1. Children dressing up and performing as adults on TV, particularly dancing provocatively on game shows. I saw this on the bus home from Seoul last week and it really shocked me.
2. Women who have little yappy dogs in their handbags. This is quite a trend here. They also dye their dogs ears and tails different colours and even dress them up. Yuck!
3. Skinny Korean women - us English girls struggle here when trying to buy underwear, swimming costumes and other stuff because we can't fit into them. Most stuff only goes up to a 10 or 12 maximum.
4. Kimchi! Pickled cabbage. I do not understand how anyone can make this the staple of their diet. And it comes with every meal here.
5. Seafood still in the tank outside the restaurants. I hate seafood anyway, but I really don't like seeing it still swimming around in a tank outside the restaurant. And i was really freaked out by a meal I had the other day, when as I side dish we were brought a load of baby crabs that you are supposed to eat whole! I was told a story by one of the other teachers when I first arrived about seafood in korea. When she arrived, she was taken for a meal by our bosses and they ordered octopus. However, even after it is cooked, an octupus apparently still moves around for a while. When it was brought to the table it was moving around so much in the pan that the teacher was instructed to hold the lid down to stop it coming out of the pan! If that had been me i would have a) fainted and b) booked myself on the next flight home
6. Pansori - a kind of traditional korean opera. I saw some when I was at the Sori-Womad festival and, although it was interesting, it was so removed from anything i have ever heard before that I found it very difficult to enjoy.
7. The lack of health and safety just about anywhere. Now I do agree that we have gone a bit over the top with health and safety in the UK. But Korea is quite the opposite. You can frequently see workmen working on the roads, with barely a cone in sight. You take your life in your hands everytime you cross a road because a green light for pedestrians doesn't always mean drivers will stop. I have already met two people who have been hit by cars since I have been here. Which leads me on to...
8. Taxi rides - I travel pretty much everywhere by taxi because it is ridiculously cheap. However, taxi rides can be a bit hairy - depending on the sort of driver you get. Most of them speed. A lot of them don't have seatbelts. Most of the taxi drivers themselves aren't bad drivers necessarily, but other drivers can be. I would certainly never want to drive in this country.
9. Korean work ethic - in this country it seems to be perfectly acceptable to pretty much work yourself to death. And they get their kids in training for this life from a very young age. For example, EG and our sister school teach kids as young as 7, who are already attending normal school, and then our private school afterwards. By the time they are 12, many kids are attending more than one private school a night and are preparing to take entrance exams to get into specialist high schools. By 14, they are staying for lessons until midnight and coming in for practice tests on saturdays. Can you imagine english kids doing that?
10. Spitting in the streets. It is considered impolite to blow your nose in Korea. Instead you are meant to spit it into the streets. It is one of the least pleasant things I have seen and heard since i got here.