Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Top 5 things so far

1. Amazing customer service. I needed to get a new pair of pants hemmed. So my mom's friend called the tailor to come to her house, take the measurements, take the pants to his shop, do the work and bring it back the same day all for 6 bucks! No tips. Just 6 bucks. We didn't even have to leave the house! I could get used to this.

2. Politeness is everything. I went shopping a few days ago at a fancy department store. The sales people were extremely nice and polite, almost servilely complaisant. We got there late and when it was time to close, they put on this goodbye song on the speakers (kind of like "So long, farewell" from "The Sound of Music."). At first, I didn't register that it was telling us to leave. Then I noticed that all the sales people were lined up in straight lines and were chanting "Thank you for coming. Goodbye" along with the song playing in the speakers and bowed in 90 degrees. I felt a little uncomfortable but it was interesting.

3. Respect and consideration for the elderly. Before I left America, I went to a DMV office to take care of something. I was sitting in the 4th row when an old lady with a walker came looking for a seat. She asked this lady if there were seats for the handicapped but they were all taken. Only to the left of her was a boy maybe 16, 17 sitting comfortably in his chair just listening to her obvious plight. I was too far behind to do anything so I just stared really hard at the back of his head as if my will could physically kick him out of his seat. If stares could produce laser beams, they would have burned through the back of his head, through his skull and popped his eyeballs out of their sockets! In Korea, he would have been shot. Respect and consideration for the elderly is deeply rooted in the consciousness of the Korean people.

4. High-rise apartments. It's the only way to house 49 million people in a country that's the size of Southern California.

5. Advanced technology. People watch t.v. on their cellphones in the subway trains and on the bus.You can also buy stuff in the vending machine with your cellphone. Most of the apartments are equipped with an intercom system with a screen so you know who is ringing the bell from inside the house.


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