As is probably painfully obvious to my readers, I haven't really been posting for the last month or so. My writing energies have been focused elsewhere: I'm cranking out a novel, so all the words stored up in my head are going towards that novel for the moment. But let's see if I can't post a little more regularly from here on out.
For your pleasure, here's a quick game. We'll play: Guess which thing about Korea is a blatant lie. Put your answers in the comments.
1) While Western cultures have Valentines day, Korea goes one step better-it has a Valentines day on the 14th of every single month. The 14th of February is Red Valentine's day, where women give candy to the men they like. The 14th of March is White Valentine's Day, where it's the guy's turn to stimulate the greeting card industry. The 14th of April is called Black Valentine's Day, where singles eat a black Chinese noodle called Jaja Myun which mirrors the blackness of their hearts. There are other color-coded Valentines for the other months, but nobody really remembers what the rest of them are.
2) In Korean restaurants you will often be served a dish of hot peppers. You are meant to take these hot peppers and then dip them into hot pepper sauce.
3) There are no less than two Korean TV channels devoted to the 1998 video-game Starcraft.
4) A popular after-work activity is going to a Noraebang, or singing room, where you and your workmates can go get drunk and sing karaoke. Often, these singing rooms will come with an added feature: you can rent companion women! Whether these women are actively prostitutes or not is an open question, but men will pay them to sit with them and drown them in compliments.
5) Around half of South Korean women get plastic surgery, usually to make their appearance more 'western'. The subways are festooned with signs reading "Big eyes, lovely breasts" which pretty much sums up the South Korean aesthetic ideal.
I'll post the answer in a week.