Travel story

South Korea – The Saga Continues

We planned on going to a night club in Suwon, but on the way a Korean guy tried to get us to go to a “club” he was working for. We said what the hell and sat down at a table there after negotiating the price. The first odd thing i noticed about this place was a tiny dance floor, and many tables inside this large room. Men in suits walked around with small flash lights, shining it at customer’s tables. The suits working there would take a girl and sit her down at a table of guys where she had to talk to them. It was like a hostess club where girls were payed to talk to guys. At first we just talked to them, but whenever i asked about this being their job and what they really thought about it, they pretended they didn’t understand. We had made a mistake, this wasn’t a normal club. We especially didn’t like being around girls that were payed to interact with us. We didn’t need the help. So when they sat the next pair down with us, we just stood up and left.

We also went to Lotte World. A theme park that’s a clone of Disneyland. The logo is even the same with Disneyland’s Cinderella’s castle surrounded by an incomplete circle. And they even sold round ears like Mickey Mouse that you could wear on your head, even though Lotte World’s mascot was clearly not a mouse and has pointed ears.

but the rides were fun. And barely any time waiting in lines as it was a monday. I heard that on weekends it might take a 4 hour wait to get on a ride. Interesting difference.

afterwards we did some shopping in Namdaemoon and Dongdaemoon. Spotted a lot of cheap, fake brands like Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Calvin Klien, and saw some nice belts, bags, wallets and stuff like that. Fakes are classified in terms of quality from S class, which is the highest quality and indistinguishable from the real thing to B class which is great quality but not perfect, and C class which is not as good, and there are probably a D and F class which are poor quality and easily identifiable as fakes.

It seemed like a lot of things in Korea were fake. A restaurant next to my hotel was called DisneCake, and even wrote the name in the same font as Disney. There was a Chicken Hut, with the same logo and colors as Pizza Hut. A lot of popular Korean songs that koreans think are originally from Korea, are actually covers of songs from Japan. And before I went to Korea this time, I assumed it was just a stereotype that most Korean girls alter their face with plastic surgery, but I actually met a few girls who have and plan on doing it. So i guess it happens more often than I thought.

It was in interesting observation because I had always felt like Japanese people I interact with are usually more superficial, and thus fake. And by that I don’t mean their entire identity is focused on meaningless superficial experience, but i mean during at least initial interactions with people in Japan, conversations will be so superficial that we can’t really get to know each other. People in Japan disclose information about themselves very slowly, and they usually don’t disclose as much as people from other countries, especially “western” ones. So because of my cultural perspective I am very sensitive to excessively superficial interactions when I prefer to really get to know someone. So I also feel a level of social fakeness when interacting in Japan, at least from my cultural perspective. Though many Japanese would be used to this and reserve their “honne”, their inner thoughts and true feelings for close friends behind a veneer of polite, excessive respect known as “tatemae.” But I felt more socially at ease in Korea, the standards of tatemae were not as high as in Japan, and i could talk to anybody about anything it seemed. and a lot of people in Korea seemed genuinely friendly, and genuinely sad to see me leave even though our interaction was very short.