Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kwestions About Korea~

There is not one car in this picture of a color other than black, white, or silver!

These are serious questions! I mean, if someone were considering research questions about Korea, they would be interesting places to start some research. Most of them are about modern culture.

1) Monotone Cars
Why are cars overwhelmingly white, black, silver, and a dark silver-blue?
Why? Also, considering the population size and that other countries have much smaller cars, why are the sizes so close to opulent U.S. sizes?

2) Children Sent Abroad
Many Koreans send their children abroad to go to school, full time. To the U.S.,
Phillipines, Canada, and a whole variety of English speaking nations. This is
especially prevalent in the current generation. I want to know what kind of effect that this has on the population now, and think it should be studied in the future since I don't know if the effects can be seen yet, but I'm not sure it is good for preserving traditional culture..

3) That Apartment Lyfe
Why do people, even in small cities and country town, largely live in HUGE apartment buildings averaging about 18 stories and at least 2 apartments per story?

4) Cell Phone Glued to the Head
People are so often on their cell phones. Even on the buses and trains. This is not unusual in my home country of the U.S. (although the frequency Koreans are involved with their phones seems much higher, not even factoring in the time spent on the phone in the bus), but I know in Japan it is considered a faux-pas to speak on the phone in the train, subway, or bus. Those who do speak in hushed tones and cover their mouths, speaking quietly.
I used to think my students were rude when they answered calls in the middle of our meetings, or came to our meetings speaking loudly on the telphone. This is par-for-the-course in Korea, and seems acceptable, although a youth should probably not do this behavior in front of an elder.

5) Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
How did Korea get so Christian compared to Japan? What is the historical reason that Christianity has such a stronghold in Korea compared to Japan?

My husband has suggested that it fits the business model of making connections (fellowship) And then this leads me to more questions about Japan- if Japanese people are not having fellowship at church or through religion, where does it occur? Max also argues the Korean war, but this confuses me considering that Japan was so strongly occupied by the US following WW2. And then he argues that there is the matter that Korea was so poor and undeveloped at the time of WW2 (Japan had been developing since Perry's arrival and it reopened to the world.)

This is also not to discount that there is still a strong force of Buddhism. In fact, a famous person on a television drama from a foreign country came to Korea to study the Buddhism. Around most temples, monks can be seen. I don't know why my brain found that fact to be related... but... anyway...

6) Koreans and Koncentration, Kwantity or Kwality?
Things are concentrated. Apartment Buildings? Concentrated in some areas. Restaurants? They have their own concentrated area. People also really seem to like huge quantities... if you go to a store there should be MIND BLOWING amounts of options. I was just looking for a small bead shop, and when I finally get to a place that sells Beads today... it has to be a whole Bazaar size! The sock vendors are not on every block (although there are SOME small shops) but cluster together all in the same spot! To every-place a thing, and to every thing a specific place.

7) Time is money! Ppari Ppari! Quick quick!
Everything is so darn rushed! Getting on the bus- the bus jerks into motion throwing you down the aisle to your seat. Getting off feels like your tumbling down the stairs and onto the crusty streets. Where, oh where, did this sense of urgency come from? Cars rush through intersections (seemingly threatening the pedestrians, but this is just the viewpoint of a pedestrian), people rush through the subway. Maybe it's just because there is so much concentration from point A to Point B.

8) US Textbooks at a Fraction of the Cost
See my blog about Textbook Price Discrepancies.
Books are just slightly rearranged, made of the same materials, binding, thickness of hardcover- look-alikes. But they cost less than half of what American texts costs. I want to know why they are so cheap in Korea, and why there is such price gouging of US students. Is it that the books are of less demand? That Koreans are Unwilling to Pay so much? That they are produced in Korea or China, and are simply cheaper based on that? So many questions.

I can't think of anything else right now. So ponder away and feel free to send me answers, theories, rants, and raves! I'm waiting! These are just my observations, and are not authoritative answers about Korea. However, with some research and some sources with authority, they could be.

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