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How to Spend Free Time in Korea

June 13, 2013


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Ok super generic title here, and – we realize – this isn’t necessarily true of what everyone does. One part of the video we cut out was when Martina asked her students – back when she was teaching – what they did on their free time, a lot of them would just say “sleep” or “watch dramas.” It’s not like, the moment a holiday or weekend starts, everyone packs into the parks. Though, it’s so crowded that it feels that way.

You know, that’s one thing that still surprises us about Korea: how crowded it can get. A few weeks ago, the first Saturday in which the temperature broke 20 degrees, the two of us decided to go to Samchungdong for a date-day. Turns out that EVERY OTHER COUPLE IN KOREA DID THE SAME THING. Though, I’m sure this isn’t true. Tons of people stayed home or did something different. It didn’t feel that way to us, though, because there were so many couples walking around, holding hands, that it felt like the crowds that leave concert halls after the show’s over. It’s overwhelming. Then again, when we go back to Toronto, we look around and ask ourselves where did all the people go. Feels like a ghost-town to us now, though I’m sure that it’s not. In comparison to Korea’s really high population density, it feels that way.

Another thing we didn’t really talk about in this video: I think the urban sprawl that we’re used to in North America really prevents people from doing a lot on their weekends. Where we grew up, you couldn’t really walk anywhere. You have to drive, since everything’s so spread out. In Korea, though, we can easily walk to a park, a movie theatre, a few coffee shops, a bunch of restaurants, a hospital, and a shopping mall, all within 20 minutes of walking. Things are so condensed here, which makes it easier for people to do things. While, if you’ve gotta drive for an hour to get somewhere, you might not be as motivated. No? Thoughts?

Back to free time in Korea: there is something else that we forgot to mention: Pensions! Though, our experience of pensions is really limited, since we’ve only been a couple of times A LONG TIME AGO, we do know about them:

Pensions, from our experiences, are kind of like cottages that you rent for the weekend. They’re far away from the city. They’re not really like those log-cabins by the lake and whatnot. The pensions we went to were old schools that aren’t schools anymore. Hell, you know, I just thought of something brilliant: the Eatyourkimchi crew should all go to a Pension and make a movie out of it. That’d be awesome! Though, one thing I do remember about pensions that sucks: sleeping on the floor. You have a mat on which to sleep on the ground, but those aren’t comfortable for us, aka, first world problems. Ok: just emailed Soo Zee about this. Gonna get something planned for one of these weekends. We should also go to Busan. Hell. Lots of things we should do.

Ok I realize the point of the last paragraph was to talk about pensions, but we didn’t talk about them. We just remembered them vaguely from a couple of years ago, so now we decided to go to one. We’ll be able to tell you a lot more about them once our video on them is done. YAY! We’re super stoked for this. Or it could be the 3AM crazies kicking in now, in which we think every idea is a great idea, and maybe this is a lot lamer than I’m making it out to be.

IF there’s anything we missed out on in this post and video, let us know. I’m sure we’re missing a bunch, and as soon as someone suggests it, we’ll be like “OH HELL HOW DID WE FORGET?!” It’s really the public park tent culture that surprises us the most. So many tents! Are you used to seeing that where you’re from?



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