This may be one of those things I’ll just never get.  Maybe after a few more months here I might, but for now it just boggles my mind.  It doesn’t matter if you are walking on the streets or in a hallway, hiking up or down a hill.  If someone is directly walking towards you from the opposite direction, they will not budge.  Meaning, if it is not me the one who finally moves, we would actually have a head on collision.  Its like playing sidewalk chicken.  Only stupider.  Or is it more stupid? 

Anyway, in America, we have a standard glance at each other and move.  Seeing that we are heading in the same course,  both of us will immediately start to vere towards the right (at the same time, of course!).  We do it as soon as we realize that should we stay the same course, we would collide with one another.  Over here I’m not sure if such standard exists.  I was walking on the sidewalk and I saw this man heading for me.  In fact, he saw me too.  I tried to slightly vere right and he do not budge.  He didn’t even show the slightest bit of consideration.  Then I try the left and still not one ounce of  respect. It is as if he looked at me and consciously thought to himself:  he has to budge first otherwise i’m not budging!  Is it an age thing?  Do younger people have to move first?  Is it a pride issue?  Everyone thinks they are better than everyone else? Or is it just a ME issue?  I look funny to them so they take one look at me and laugh saying, “Watch me run over this foreigner!”    

Its funny here:  We drive cars on the right hand side of the road, but in the subway stations, there are signs saying to walk on the left hand side of the path.  On the sidewalks, its every man for themselves. 

13 thoughts on “

  1. yeah i feel you…even in the subway..people don’t wait for the passengers to come out..they come in first…they don’t say excuse me either…its just how korea is what can we do?i say next time you pretend that your not looking a collide and say sorry and laugh later=)

  2. Every country is different… I remember thinking how odd it was to be in Paris and have everyone make eye contact… freaked me out.  Or how I took a trip to Tokyo for a weekend from Seoul and everyone there was all “sumimasen” with the slightest body contact.  Meanwhile back in Seoul, ahjoomahs trying to run me down in the streets… it’s great!  Oh, and Oswald Chambers… awesome.

  3. Maybe coz we all race after the time… always in hurry… always!!!
    What of all things in the world is the longest and the shortest, the swiftest and the slowest, the most neglected and the regretted without which nothing can be done.

  4. In the beginning, I’d blush and look away.  But like everywhere, you learn to become a local.  Haha.  I love your entries… Wish I were in Korea right now.

  5. i notice the walking thing when i was there.  it’s stupid and typical american i am…i even said excuse me when i bumped into them…but they just kept walking like nothing happen.  weird!

  6. It bugs the freaking hell outta me that Koreans will not read Korean and will not walk on the “preassigned” side. But then I realize, that I am(was) in Korea and that Koreans will be Koreans.
    But you know what. That whole thing about back in America people are more polite and people are this and that. Well that’s just something we expected but doesn’t always work. I used to totally compare Koreans and Americans, but it just doesn’t work.
    For example, when we landed in Philly yesterday, a bunch of people, namely all white old Caucasian people started unloading their overhead carry-on baggage while we were still on the runway, with all the stewies telling them to sit their fat butts down and put the bags back. But of course they wouldn’t budge. It was there that it dawned on me Koreans aren’t the only inconsiderate annoying people in the world.
    Still run those a-holes over. Drop the old shoulder and make ’em pay.

  7. I’ve been told that you know ALL the Koreans in SoCal, so are you gonna hook up your dongsang with some sogaeting?

  8. i’ve gotten bumped into so many times in korea… but after awhile you get used to it… and just keep on walking like its normal…. no one seems to care… or bother to say “excuse me”  koreans  are so rude! 

  9. hey rob, i’m coming to korea!!!! july 23rd thru 8/7 2 weeks…how is it? is there anything fun to do there? its been 5 yrs since i been there, lets party when i get there, show me whats fun to do there! -eug    …. no hustler for me lately, just vegas, won 2 g’s playing black jack!!!

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