Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Today is the last day of the year. With this posting I have met my goal of blogging more than I did last year. I do realize that I have cheated and that I have two entries today (on a blog called "What I Learned Today") ... but hey, it is my blog and to quote Cartman ... " I do what I want."

We have had a young person from Korea living with us since September and since then I have learned a lot about Korea. Before he moved in, what I knew about Korea came from the TV show M*A*S*H or from the Stephen Colbert song, "Singing in Korean". Sad, I know. So I have learned a lot just from talking with him and having a heighten sense of all things Korean. Every time the word Korea is said on NPR, my ears perk up.

For one, in Korea, the day you are born you are considered 1 year old. So I am actually 44 in Seoul but still 43 here. You get younger when you leave Korea and older when to go there.

Koreans don't really have middle names but generational names. Each family keeps a book for their family. You merge the middle name on the end of your first name, so if your first name is Chin and your generation name is Su then your name is Chinsu. All your siblings have the same generational name so if Chinsu has a brother named Dae, his full name would be Daesu.

Seoul is the largest city in South Korea, but Pusan (aka Busan) is the next largest. It is about the size of Chicago but with a warm climate on the southern tip of the country. Pusan was unscathed by the Korea War due to how far it was from the northern border.

Pusan's baseball team is called the Lotte Giants. The Korean Baseball Leagues has 8 teams. They have the name of a corporation and then the team name. Lotte is a huge conglomerate a lot like General Electric. Hundai, Samsung and LG all have teams as well. Their league has only existed since 1982 but is very popular and probably will grow. The champion of their league will face the Japanese, Taiwan and Chinese teams in the Asia World Series.

I get the impression that Koreans love American culture and products especially our beef. Their current president, Lee Myung-bak, lost favour with the voting public when he banned American beef due to fear of Mad Cow disease. His approval rating is lower than Bush's at 17% the last I heard. Coming to the US on vacation is not very practical due to the distance so Australia is a good substitute. Japan and Hong Kong are also popular, but China is not.

I have learned a lot by having a bright young person from another culture in my home. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning something new. Happy New Year.

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