Spent a couple days in Tokyo for some meetings and did get a little free time and included some pictures. I was very interested in how the Koreans would interact with the Japanese as they are very competitive with them. But it was all positive and no negative comments – except for the Koreans remarking that Tokyo was not as modern as Seoul. One thing different was the bowing, Koreans bow is more like a head nod and it is done once. In Japan, it is the full bow and you don’t know when to stop…I felt like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack with Mr. Wang.
Back in Seoul I started to get into more of the daily routine and had my first cultural faux pas – I just finished working out and was listening to “She sells sanctuary” with the headphones and walked into the locker room and this guy started screaming at me…I said I couldn’t hear because of headphone so I took the headphones off and he continued to scream at me in Korean, so that didn’t help much. Another person calmly pointed to my shoes…I did not remove them prior to entering the locker room. I still don’t understand the no shoes in some places tradition. I when to get a haircut and went to a place that looked liked a salon. They gave me a book to pick out a style, all were pictures of Asian people with boy band haircuts. I picked one that I figured I could work with…they took me to hair washing area the lady asked which hair dye I wanted (two choices of black) and I said none (I had picked a picture with someone with black hair) and I had a long hair washing time and then the stylist blow dried my hair and asked how I liked it – it was boy band quality since my hair is long pushed forward over my eyes. I said I need a cut with hand gestures and she said they didn’t do that…they just styled. I found another place down the street which did a cut. My apartment has a lot of electronic stuff and fortunately I have a powerpoint that translates the buttons to English for most. The washing machine is a condensing washer which means you don’t have a dryer…the promise is that you put in dirty clothes and out come dry clean clothes. But having lived through this before I knew reality was it comes out damp and in little winkled balls that you have to hang all over your apartment and this time was no different. Below is a picture of another electronic control panel – you’ll have to guess what it controls.