Sunday, August 31, 2008

Random Lessons that the Korean Learned during His Vacation that No One Should Ever Take Seriously

- Spanish people are really freakin' racist. Seriously.
- Customer service is a lost art in Austria.
- Hungary is shockingly similar to Korea.
- Never buy anything at train stations in Europe, except train tickets. Especially things that do not have their price listed, and when you are in a hurry to get some change.
- The beauty of Budapest is incredibly underrated.
- Prague remains the Korean's favorite city in Europe.
- Europeans really need to stop with the staring.
- The Korean's next vacation destination will be Japan, just to make sure he doesn't have to deal with the fucking "gonichiwa"s.

Vacation was great. It is good to be back to the land of the free.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. Welcome back! You do realize traveling to Japan will get MORE konichiwas lobbed your way than traveling in any other country, right?

    But at least there they'll be expected.

    My best friend also liked Prague best. It's right next to Amsterdam (where my father was born) and Florence (Michaelangelo's David) on my list.

  2. I was in Verona, Italy a few weeks ago. After waiting at the trains station for a taxi for more than 30 minutes, I decided to ask for directions so I can walk to the hotel instead. I am ethnic Chinese speaking American English (been here more than 20 years). I asked an Italian lady for directions in English, and guess what I got back? "Sorry, I don't speak Japanese!"

    You can fill in the blanks with my responses #@$%^&*(!!!!

  3. Welcome back. Glad you had a good vacation. ^^

  4. :D :D :D
    As a Korean resident of Holland, I count it as a coup for that week, if white guys don't harrass me on the street going "ni hao ni hao" and making kung fu motions to my face.

    Even children point and go "Chinee! Chinee!"

    My Chinese Canadian friends don't want to visit anymore --so we meet up in DC or Vancouver.

    A few white people I've mentioned this to say, "but it's your language. I don't see why you should be offended."

    Mongolia looks so attractive for vacay right now.

  5. Sometimes I forget that Asians traveling in Europe put up with some of the same crap that I have dealt with (as a white person) traveling in Asia- the screamed, giggling "hellos" (and not in a very nice way) from across the street, calling out the foreigner, refusing to speak Korean (this never happened to me in Japan, but once in China) but persisting in speaking English, or running away while saying "I don't speak English," when I am speaking Korean (and I have studied Korean for several years, so don't speak like a total freak).

    Korea is changing, though. I get weird comments and attitudes less and less in the three years I've been coming here.

  6. Welcome back,

    No, seriously. ;-)

  7. Yes, reminds me of the many times I got The Treatment for being so very different from the native population.

    It's somehow comforting to have it confirmed that people can be jerks worldwide, in almost the same fashion, without regard to ethnicity.

    And welcome back.

  8. I have no doubt about the majority of your statements, sir, especially the one about train stations. I would like to further advise against sleeping in them, if continuing to own your belongings is of any import to you. In any case, I think it is worth asking: How is Hungary similar to Korea? (Is it the delicious beer? The attractive mix of Stalinist architecture?)

  9. "Hungary is shockingly similar to Korea"

    So... do you believe in the super altaic theory?

    They say Finland is surprisingly similar to Japan, same reason.

  10. In regard to Christopher's comment, "How is Hungary similar to Korea? (Is it the delicious beer? The attractive mix of Stalinist architecture?)"

    Having been to lived in South Korea, I can say with confidence that it is definitely not the beer. Korea does many things well, but beer is not one of them (soju, however, is a different story). Anyone who has tried Hite, OB, or Cass can will probably agree with me. Although, I have tried Hite straight from the brewery and it was the only time I considered Korean beer to be good.

    As far as the "attractive mix of Stalinist architecture" is concerned, you must be referring to North Korea.

  11. Ha! Yeah. No joke the beer in SK leaves something to be desired. Although Hite Max doesn't make me weep for the state of affairs here quite like Cass Red does. On an uncritical note, they all do the job, regardless. 맛있는대 is probably just a bit of an overstatement, the job of any good marketer.

  12. About train stations in Europe: True story, happened to one of my best friends -- He, along with his travel partner, slept on the steps on a train station in Venice, lying down on top of his backpack while wearing it, clutching the straps. Next morning, he was still clutching the straps... but only the straps. The backpack was cut, and gone.

    About beer in Korea: Only thing redeeming about it is that it is cold. Btw, Czech beer is fantastic.

    About Hungary and Korea: The Korean doesn't really believe in super-altaic theory because it sounds a bit hokey, but the cultural similarities are there. A few examples: bathrooms without shower curtain, but with tiled floor and a drain; affinity for spicy food and hot soup (Hungarians even have something similar to gochujang, and Hungarian goulash tastes exactly like yookgaejang with potatoes); affinity for steaming hot bath, etc.

  13. Not to mention how both Hungarians and Koreans go on foreign friends' nerves by lamenting on how unjustly history has treated them and how little the world appreciates them...

  14. Oh, and it's true about the trains, you need to be extra careful. My brother's Korean friends also had their stuff stolen while sleeping on the night train, heading for Budapest.

  15. lao,

    That phenomenon of "wronged by history" happens pretty much everywhere in the world except North America and Western Europe, but yes, indeed they are similar in that respect.

    Also similar is the outgrowth of "wronged by history" - the claims to have invented everything important in the world. For example, did you know that Hungary invented democracy for the first time in continental Europe? The Korean had no clue.

  16. Hi...i accidentaly found ur blog but i don't regret it:) i enjoyed every minute reading it!UR GREAT! keep up the good work.korea hwaiting!! :))

  17. I'm a Hungarian girl,with a Korean boyfriend,so I wanted to ask that special question first!^^it's funny anyway
    keep running your blog!I like it much!

  18. Could you explain why do you think that Spaniards are racists? I don't have that impression, but it is true that many people here aren't interested in foreign cultures. But, for me, that's ignorance, not racism. Anyway. Thank you for the blog. I'm leaving Spain next week to go to work in Seoul for 15 months and your posts are really helpful.

  19. whitard,

    First, take a look at the post below about Spanish basketball team.

    The Korean experience was this: He had a long layover at Dusseldorf, which was perfect timing to watch the U.S.-Spain basketball final. He scouted a TV at the airport, but soon he was surrounded by about 10 Spaniards also watching the game.

    From the start of the game the spectators didn't leave any doubt about their racist attitudes. They were saying things like "I see black guys wear black and white guys wear white"; "How is it fair that America gets to trot out a bunch of black guys bred specially for sports?", etc. They were also talking about the Korean, saying "Why is that Chinese guy rooting for America?"

    Of course, they probably didn't know the Korean speaks Spanish. Towards the end of the game, at a bad play for U.S., the Korean yelled "!madre chingada!" That shut the crowd up a little.

  20. I believe you. Spanish people become crazy when it comes to sport. I can't understand it. Every time we lose against the US in basketball newspapers say that it was the fault of the refree, even when they beat our ass

    I always support Spain but the behaviour of some compatriots make me feel ashamed of my country.

    I'd like to say that your experience is not representative of most of Spaniards, but I would be lying.


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