Korea is a geographic territory in Asia, located on the Korean Peninsula and adjacent islands, united by a common historical heritage. Once it was a single state, but since 1948 it has been divided into two - North and South Korea. The combined population of both countries is 70 million.
The countries of the East traditionally remain a mystery and exotic for the Slavs. But is it true? The constant youthfulness of Korean men and women has become legend, but how natural is it? Therefore, the time has come to reveal some myths about this country, most of which belong to the more open southern part, or the Republic of Korea.
Korean carrots and salads are really Korean dishes. This opinion is a myth. Many Russians eat Korean carrots, which have become a traditional snack on most holidays. The vegetable is cut into long strips, then vinegar and spices are added to it. The fact that the Koreans themselves sell the dishes of this series makes one believe in the authenticity of the myth. In fact, the salad was invented by Korean immigrants who once settled in Russia long ago. In Korea itself, no one knows about such a snack. In this country, it is customary to eat boiled or raw carrots.
In Korea, it is customary to eat dog meat dishes. Although this statement is true, it is only partially. The fact is that dog meat soup is considered the rarest delicacy in the country, therefore its price is much higher than the cost of other soups and dishes. Tourists wishing to taste this exotic dish will have to run a lot and ask the locals, since not every restaurant has such a soup on the menu. Even having found such a restaurant, you may not determine on your own which dish on the list is made of dogs. So, dog soup may well be called "soup for health", usually one serving alone costs about $ 20. It is interesting that such a craving for eating "healing" soups refers more to the older generation, while young people are even somewhat ashamed of being fed such food in childhood. So this myth turned out to be true, only there is a possibility that over time it will nevertheless turn into a story that happened a long time ago.
Koreans are a musical people. It is true, almost everyone in the country can and loves to sing. Naturally, as elsewhere, there are those who are alien to this entertainment, however, comparing with other countries of the world, we can confidently say that Korea is one of the most singing countries. In this state, no one is surprised by a person walking down the street and singing at the same time in an undertone, or even at the top of his lungs. This can only happen because of the presence of a good mood, while others are not surprised by this at all, since they themselves have probably been in a similar situation. If you are at a holiday, you can safely ask a Korean friend who is there to perform a song there. He will not be shy for a minute, amazed by the ease with which he agrees to sing.
The most beautiful Korean women live in Seoul. This statement is only partially true. The fact is that the concepts of beauty on the planet generally differ, but in Korea itself there is an opinion that the most beautiful women live in the capital. This view is facilitated by the fact that it is in Seoul that the largest number of wealthy people live, who take care of themselves and their wives. That is why many girls go to the capital in order to successfully get married, for this they try to look as beautiful as possible, not hesitating to use the services of a cosmetic surgeon. So, in almost any center of cosmetic surgery, a girl can have a fold in her upper eyelid, the operation is inexpensive and costs about $ 190. The fact is that such a Caucasian distinctive feature is unusually beautiful for Asians. So it turns out that such services are in demand on the market, and the number of such medical centers in Seoul alone exceeds a hundred. Yes, men do not hesitate to resort to such a procedure. Many people do not even hesitate to lie under a scalpel to visually enlarge the eyes - in Korea, a small face with large and pronounced eyes is considered beautiful. Not surprisingly, almost every girl has several pairs of false eyelashes that make her eyes look even more open. So if the most beautiful Korean women do not live in Seoul, then the residents of the capital take care of their appearance with much more zeal.
Koreans love bathing. In fact, it is difficult to explain why the people who live near the seas and the ocean neglect the opportunity to swim and, in general, are wary of water. In good and sunny weather, the beaches of Korea are really packed with people, but people do not swim in the water, but only splash near the coast. The natural density of vacationers in the water is so great that it is difficult to reach out and not hook someone. But those who want to sail farther from the shore, it is likely that they will have to face special employees on the boats who will return the swimmer to the general company splashing in shallow water.
The traditional festive appetizer of Koreans is the delicious and spicy heh meat. The dish "heh" is cooked by Koreans with pleasure on ordinary days, and not only on holidays. But the food is not made from meat at all, but from raw fish fillets. The meat "heh" is unknown in Korea itself; it was also invented by Korean emigrants living in Russia.
Koreans try to get married after 30 years. But this statement is mostly true. There is a custom in the country, according to which, before the wedding, the groom must first save up funds to purchase an apartment, and only then choose a spouse. And the wedding itself is paid for by the young man. It is not customary to neglect the takai tradition, which is why young people spend some time collecting the required amount. It is necessary to add up the years spent on training, while it is worth considering that Koreans often drop out halfway through, moving to another university, years of service in the army (almost every young man goes there). As a result, it turns out that men usually do not marry before the age of 30.
Koreans are centenarians. Not at all, today the average life expectancy in the country for women is 75 years, and for men - 67. In Seoul, these figures are slightly higher, largely due to the developed medicine. Interestingly, back in the 60s, the difference between the average life expectancy between men and women was only a year. However, the abundance of stress at work and bad habits (and almost all men smoke in the country) led to such a gap.
Koreans are only looking for high-paying jobs. Unlike Western countries, in Korea the concepts of "high-paying job" and "prestigious job" are not always synonymous. First of all, the Koreans are interested in stability, they do not like to "jump" from place to place. In Korea, the profession of a professor or a civil servant is considered more prestigious than a businessman. The centuries-old traditions of Confucianism were the reason for this. As a result, more parents prefer to see their child as a peasant than those who seek to raise a businessman.
More boys are born in the country than girls. This is also due to the Confucian traditions. The fact is that only sons and descendants in the male line can make sacrifices in front of the memorial tablets of their ancestors. In Korea, this approach to family planning has become a real problem. It was reinforced by the fact that the country is not as strong in its social security system as other developed countries. As a result, it is children who look after the elderly. Most women are housewives, seeing this state of affairs, parents try to do everything so that they have a son. So, in 1990, the number of boys born exceeded girls by 16%, and in Daegu, known for its patriarchal views, by all 36%. And popular beliefs about, for example, that a woman born in the year of the tiger will be a bad wife and mistress played a role. In such a year, few people want to give birth to a girl, and later, not everyone will want to get involved with her by marriage. As a result, since 1994, doctors have been forbidden to find out their gender, otherwise they face fines. As a result, the disparity decreased to 9% in 2000, which is already close to the 5% norm. However, such failures in the childbearing system cannot pass without a trace. Today, there are 123 grooms per 100 brides in the country, and this threatens with social upheaval, an increase in prostitution, sexual crimes, and homosexuality.
Korean is derived from Chinese. The question of the origin of the Korean language is very complex. One thing is clear - he is not a descendant of Chinese. In modern linguistics, the ancient languages of the Korean Peninsula, as well as Korean and Japanese, are combined into the Puyeo language group. There are many dialects and adverbs, but Koreans more or less understand each other. Today in the Korean language there are quite a lot of loanwords from Chinese as well as English. So only Japanese can be considered a "relative" of the country's language.
Koreans are an unreading nation. This opinion is based on the fact that we actually know little about the writers there. Meanwhile, this is just the fruit of the prohibitions that existed in the USSR on communication with a country with a hostile system. In Korea itself, reading is a fairly popular activity. Most of the book lovers belong to students and young people in general; educational literature is the leader in circulation. On the second place is the art, and the third - the children's. At the same time, about 5 million religious books are published annually. The total circulation of books from 1980 to 1996 has grown 3 times! By Western standards, books are quite cheap - so a 300-page good quality paperback book will cost $ 5-7.
Koreans are extremely superstitious. Along with Buddhism and Confucianism, shamanism was the third most important religion in the country. That is why shamans in the country enjoy a certain popularity even now. On the whole, Koreans are not superstitious. The fact is that the inhabitants are sufficiently educated, and does not contribute to belief in the supernatural and widespread Christianity. Also, a fairly high standard of living in the country also does not give people the need to turn to shamans for solving their problems. Today, small entrepreneurs and parents of applicants looking for good luck in business and studies, respectively, turn to them more often. There are a lot of fortunetellers in Korea, this craft is ancient and respected in the East in general. In the country, no one is surprised by fortune tellers with books in crowded places. There are self-instruction manuals, fortune-telling machines and even fortune-telling mobile shops. So the myth cannot be completely refuted.
The main religion of Korea is Buddhism, there are almost no Christians there. The spread of Christianity in the country began with the appearance there in 1784 of Lee Seung Hoon, who adopted the new faith and was a member of a circle of Confucians who studied Western views. The history of Christianity in Korea is quite atypical, because it entered the country not with the help of missionaries, but with the help of literature. Missionary activity began at the end of the 19th century, when the ports of the state were opened to foreigners. For almost a century and a half, until 1945, Christianity in the country was either directly persecuted or discouraged. In the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, Christianity becomes the dominant religion both among the urban intelligentsia and among the population at large. If in 1962 there were only 5.3% of Christians in Korea, then in 1991 there were already 23.6%. It should be borne in mind that 46% of the population is generally atheists, and Buddhists in the country are about 27%. Most Christians, by the way, are Protestants. The country is unique in that it is one of the few Asian countries where Christianity plays such an important role.
In Korea, buildings of the past are treated with care. In fact, it is quite difficult to find traces of bygone times, especially in large cities. In Seoul, for example, the list of architectural landmarks is limited to a few royal palaces. The reasons for this attitude to antiquity are as follows. The overwhelming majority of buildings built in Korea before 1945 were built with Japanese money, and Japanese architects were also in Japanese style. It is not surprising that nationalistic emotions led to the imminent destruction of such buildings - symbols of colonialism. In Korea, moreover, traditionally houses are short-lived, even today they are built of bricks and concrete, serve for 2-3 decades and are mercilessly demolished. As a result, every neighborhood in Seoul changes beyond recognition every 15-20. Today in the capital, there are practically no buildings of half a century and a century ago.
Oriental medicine is predominantly developed in Korea. Interestingly, in Korean healthcare, Western medicine and traditional Eastern medicine coexist. They exist in parallel and practically do not intersect. Oriental medicine has traditionally been developed on the peninsula, based on age-old folk traditions. It is based on the use of natural medicines. At the very end of the 19th century, Western medicine began to penetrate into Korea along with missionaries. This was facilitated by the cure in 1884 after the assassination attempt of the royal adviser Ming, precisely by the forces of European medicine, while the local healers only threw up their hands. By 1910, there were about 30 missionary hospitals in the country. At the same time, Korea became a Japanese colony. The new authorities reacted very favorably to the Western traditions of treatment, while Eastern medicine was persecuted, it was considered quackery. The change of Japanese influence to American influence in 1945, on the one hand, confirmed the growth of interest in Western medicine, and on the other, since 1951, traditional medicine was also rehabilitated. Today there are almost 6 times less oriental physicians than certified doctors. However, Korea also has a highly developed system of pharmacists, who are essentially medical consultants, dispensing most of the drugs without a prescription. Such a system developed in the middle of the 20th century, when there were not enough doctors at all. Today medicine in the country is paid, but there are no polyclinics we are used to at all.
In Korea, most women are housewives. It is interesting that 30 years ago in the country it was hard to imagine at all that a married woman would work. Even if a woman worked before marriage, immediately after the engagement she either quit her job or was fired forcibly. However, 15-20 years ago, the situation began to change, the reason for this is young Korean women with higher education who strive for their own income, their own lives and their own money. That is, it was higher education that entailed such massive changes in consciousness. However, the desire of young Korean women to find a job is faced with the fact that they are simply not accepted in many places for work, giving preference to men. Korean managers have developed a stereotype that a woman is, by definition, a bad worker.And although today women in the country largely work in secondary positions, or even not in their specialty, it can be confidently assumed that a turning point has occurred in society and the current generation of housewives - the last, in a couple of decades, an unemployed woman in the country will be as rare as and in Europe or America.
Korea and Japan are friend countries. In general, two neighboring countries are rarely very friendly - there are too many claims, at least territorial ones. In this case, Korea and Japan were always related by the fact that one and a half millennia ago, the countries, having found themselves under the cultural influence of China, were able to preserve their national characteristics and not become part of the Celestial Empire. For a long time, there were not only cultural ties between the countries (take at least the kinship of languages), but also trade. Many Koreans lived in Japan and vice versa. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, Japan, overcoming the resistance of Russia, was able to turn Korea into its colony for 35 years. This resulted in the forced Japaneseization in all spheres of life. As a result, having freed itself from the dominion of its island neighbor, a great resentment towards him was hidden in Korea. So, until 1998, the rental of Japanese films in the country was generally prohibited, and it was also forbidden to listen to Japanese music. Even American films with Japanese actors struggled to make it onto the screen. Only quite recently there has been a positive shift in relations between the two countries, and a department of the Japanese language appeared at Seoul University, many restrictions on the spread of Japanese culture in Korea have been lifted.
It's hard to find bread in Korea. It seems surprising to us, but the Koreans themselves are calm about such a phenomenon as the absence of black bread in their country. This is not surprising, because until the sixties, Koreans did not eat bread at all. Now in stores you can already buy white bread prepared according to American recipes. There is no black rye bread in Korea. It was occasionally baked by foreign bakers. Mostly for foreigners, however, it was quite expensive, from $ 8. So this product did not find popularity.
Koreans love tea. It seems that being close to China, where tea is the number one drink, implies a love for tea in Korea, but this is not the case. In modern Korea, the main and most popular drink is coffee, although people willingly drink herbal infusions, juices, but not tea. While green tea lovers can still be found, there are no black tea fans in the country at all. It is not surprising that the selection of tea in stores is also small.
In Korea, dairy products are unpopular. Interestingly enough, milk became popular in the country only after the war. It was then, with the help of the Americans, that the technology of making dairy products appeared. Today yoghurts are very popular in Korea, while the usual sour cream and cottage cheese are not present at all. Like other peoples of the Far East, Koreans eat bean curd, but it tastes nothing like the one we are used to. Yes, and raw things are bad. In the store you can find only processed cheese, which is not very tasty, besides.
In Korea, they eat with chopsticks, as elsewhere in the Far East. Indeed, chopsticks are the main food tool in the country. Only here the sticks in Korea are different from others, in all countries they are different. So, Chinese sticks are thicker and longer than Korean ones - up to 15-20 cm. Japanese sticks are also wooden, but they are mostly disposable. A purely Korean feature is the fact that the sticks there are made of metal, which is not accepted anywhere else. Brass was first used for this, then stainless steel and silver. Another amazing feature of Korea is the fact that spoons are often used there, they even eat rice! Naturally, this tool is known both in China and Japan, but it is used much less often there. Soup, which is very popular in the country, is also eaten with spoons in Korea. Despite the close association with chopstick food, the European fork and knife are gradually penetrating the country.
Koreans work hard. It is really customary in this country to work hard and in good faith. After all, Korea is deprived of natural resources, so its strength is in industry. For the last quarter of a century, the average length of a working week in the country has been 50 hours. At the same time, no one is surprised by the presence of the so-called "five and a half week", when the day off is only Sunday, and Saturday is a shortened working day. Leave for employees is from 3 to 10 working days a year. The schedule of Korean institutions is being built accordingly. Most private shops and businesses do not have a clear opening hours, and grocery stores are open from 6-7 am to 11 pm.
Koreans are ill-mannered people. This opinion was born due to the difference in the mentality of different cultures. So, it is quite natural for Koreans to ask a woman when meeting her about her age, marital status and place of residence. For us, such an approach will be a manifestation of ambiguous hints. Also Koreans quite calmly talk about toilets, in our culture this topic is considered "taboo" by default. In Korea, a young man may well discuss the topic of his diarrhea on a date with his passion. On the peninsula, it is customary not to close your mouth while eating, while Europeans will be outraged by the calm chomping of a Korean neighbor. But Koreans are much cleaner, for them it is an unbearable sight to blow their nose into a scarf. The people of Korea themselves use disposable wipes.