But, while I've read through comments, this type of posting is depressing to foreigners who find it hard to understand the superficiality of Koreans (although in our country it's all relative), so I've decided to write this post on the happy things you can see from Koreans.
Now this is only from a man's perspective and at being 37, I'm very much out of touch with what goes on with trends and so an so forth, but I'm going to list out the things that I think are the best things about being Korean and being in Korea.
Of course there are all the really bad things about Korea, and you can see other posts that go into detail about this and Koreans are not better people than most other, in fact, we're probably, initially one of the racist and prejudice people out there (until we get to know people, so I guess that just makes us ignorant in general), but there are some good things I'd like share with you personally. ^^
1. We're All Gay! Bathing culture and hand holding.
Well, it appears to be so, because Korean's are very comfortable hanging out with the same sex, meaning that guys hold hands, hug each other, sleep in the same bed, etc. In many respects, Koreans are always children at heart and we like to simply be comfortable with each other when we are with close friends.
When we are kids, our dad's and grand dads usually take us to the bath houses, where there are steam rooms and pools of hot and cold water. It is where everyone is completely naked (men and women are separate) and we scrub each other backs and basically sleep in the saunas and relax there for an hour or so every other week or so.
So when you go to a sauna/bath house in Korea you'll have to go in naked, but don't worry, no one cares cause it's like the bath house is where we have the right to be naked and just be men. lol. I'm sure this isn't making any sense at all.
But from a young age, there isn't any anxiety about being naked in front of other men or sexuality issues, man is man, so what.
When we go there, we can also get our entire bodies scrubbed down by other men who's job it is to scrub naked men's bodies. And vice versa for the women.
Many times during university, I'd go with my friends, after getting drunk and we'd sleep in the sauna's or during my corporate life, we'd sneak over in the afternoon for a quick 2 hour break.
Korean guys love to have sleep overs with the guys, where we get drunk, eat tones of Korean crappy take out food and then pass out on each other watching a movie or cramming into a couple of beds with 3 guys to one.
Thing is, in Korea, there is clear divide between guys and girl friends. The only time guys hang out with other girls is because it is a dating or flirting or courting situation. Otherwise Koreans tend to think, what the hell is the point having the opposite gender as a friend? Pretty useless cause when Korean men and women get together, it's all about the sparks baby. Koreans, we understand, I am a boy, you are a girl, we are not the same. And there is a certain freedom in that!
2. We love to drink together: Till puke do us part!
In Korea, it is very common to see people of all ages completely wasted all over the entire country at around 10pm to 2 am in the morning every single day! Why? Cause we love to drink together (or we force each other to drink together)! So from hot sexy girls, to middle aged business men, to retired folks, we start drinking from dinner time (around 6:30/7:00pm) and we don't stop until we can't drink any more, or we hit the time limit (depends if you're working the next day or not), or we've hit our 3rd drinking spot or so and people are sneaking away.
In Korea we have very few mental health institutions or such practices because we use these drinking sessions to do group friend counseling together. It is at these times where we yell at our friends to 'man the fuck up!' or 'you're such an idiot, obviously she is cheating on you!' and where we cry with each other or laugh to break the stress from work, or just drink until we can't think anymore about certain problems that just need time to heal. Also, by drinking to the point of no return together, we all share in the joys and pains of each other and then support one another to make it safely to the bus or taxi and get home.
In Korea, you never ever drink alone, anyone who does, you better watch to see if they jump off a bridge after because they might. If a friend is depressed or sad or having a rough time, you always make time to go and drink with them to help them get perspective.
Korean don't know the meaning of 'don't mix your alcohol'. We have such brilliant inventions as the 'poktangju' (the bomb- whiskey and beer -why it is our invention is because we drinkem all night long) and the 'somek' (soju and beer) and the 'I'll drink whatever is put in front of me'.
And when someone says, cheers, you all cheers, and one someone says, 'one shot' you all down it and while some may call Koreans alcoholics, we say, this is mental group therapy!
3. MT Members Training: Everyone is part of a group!
Koreans love to be part of groups and associations, so once you join up in a company or university or group, you're bound to go to one of these MT getaways. Usually they are at a local ski resort or a country side motel (pension). Where you'll get to flirt and show off in front of the other new comers and of course girls, where you'll learn the guiding principles of the company/university, where you will drink like nuts, and where you'll play games and talk throughout the night, like it is huge 2 day sleep over!
You'll get a designation, that you are the 43rd group and those people in your year will forever be your 'dong-gi'! and now for the rest of your life, you will have a special bond with those people! Thus, is the power of the group association in Korea.
If you are an older member of the group or company, it is your chance to pass on your knowledge as well as get a head start on any new chicks in the first year! hehe.
The entire MT get away is part of your group's history, so from this point on, at least once a year, you're 'dong-gi' will likely plan a separate company or private get away to go for a night out to a pension or resort to have some outdoor bbq or whatever. And as the group matures, you'll end up bringing your wives or children! So no matter what you do in Korea, you'll eventually be part of a group which will always have some memories to make! As well as drink like nuts with!
4. Food Food Food Everywhere: Korean food is yummy!
Korean food is pretty simple to make on the whole. But you need to know the 'taste' and the thing is Koreans tend to all think the same way, so no matter where you are in Korea, you'll always find something tasty!!!
In Korea eating out is pretty common as a social thing and you can always find a place to suit your budget with you and friends. Unless you are poor students usually one person pays or a couple and then you take turns paying for the whole thing. And if you split the bill, you just split it equally unless you just drank a bit and likely they'll say, you don't need to pay at all.
And when it is someone's birthday party in Korea, they pay for everything! Whoot, but of course you bring gifts!
But if you are meat eater like me and like to eat over live coals of fire, then Korea will be meat heaven to you!
Eating good quality foreign food in Korea is generally very very difficult, but hell, you're in Korea, why the hell are you eating foreign food anyway!
5. Friends will actually die for you. We are brothers!!
Koreans wear their hearts on their sleeves. When we swear that we are your true friends, we will go to hell and back for you until we get married and our wives break our vows of friendship for the greater good of the immediate family. But between men, at times, Koreans will tend to be discriminatory first, of course we can all be friendly and such, but if it something unfamiliar to us, we can be very hesitant or opposing, but once the bonds of friendships are made, they are set until wife does them apart.
There are good and bad Koreans of course, but our population is basically segregated into the good and the bad, there is no in between, so we are very extreme that way. But one thing that is very common is our older brother and younger brother relationships. And a lot get said about this, but what goes beyond that is when we are the same age and we are 'Chingu' ie friends. There is a lot of freedom in not being an older or younger brother role, but to simple be open as friends.
It is very hard to explain these bonds that form but basically on a mass society scale, deep levels of friendships are commonly formed whereby there is no second thought to sacrificing yourself for one another in financial or physical or in war. While there are many stories I can provide, but truly, if your Korean friends says, 'I will stand here with you' or 'I will avenge you'. They really really mean it. If there are 10 guys and only 2 of you guys, we won't run. We'll fight together, we never leave a man behind.
6. Finally: Everyone understands each other! Especially when it is time to party!
Koreans have many problems, but understanding each other isn't one of them. There is very rarely a misunderstanding in communication. Basically, if there is a misunderstanding, it was on purpose and the person is looking to cause trouble (so just knock em out first! keke). We don't argue for the sake of trying to be right, if we argue, then every knows we are just arguing cause we're pissed off and we both just want to say our piece.
The problem with Koreans is that we all think virtually the same way and so we all also think that we should be the leaders as well! haha, so while people think that Koreans are good at cooperating and we're collective people, they are absolutely wrong! We just like hanging out with each other ^^ it just looks like we cooperate well because we all think the same way, so even though it looks like we are moving in the same direction, we're arguing every step of the way who should be leading, cause again, we all want to be leading!
But one great thing about it all is that when Koreans have fun, we're all having fun! No one is self conscious or looking around when it is time to have fun, we just do it and sing and dance and drink together. We all know, when it is time to have fun and party, it is time to party! This is why Koreans tend not to get along with young North American Koreans cause they are all trying too look too cool for school while the Koreans just wanna have fun and just dance! We don't care, lets just have fun!
So if you're in Korea and you're gonna go out, just go with the flow, just smile and be free and enjoy yourself. This is Korea, there are a lot of bad things about us, but fundamentally we are a good natured people who really have our roots in our folk culture, so just enjoying life is what we all yearn and hope for!
Now of course there are many similarities in other cultures, but this all comes together as one thing in Korea and as a man visiting Korea, I think you'll come away with some life long friendships and people who will be sincere and genuine, perhaps to a fault. But not to end on a dark note, for every good Korean, there is a bad one who really is a low as it gets, but you know it as soon as you meet them cause they will be rude or very ignorant or want to cause trouble. But don't let it get to you, cause there are many beautiful good girls out there, as many as the bad ones, but the are all great to look at! Whoot!