Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Drinking in Korea

Hey guys, here's a link to a pretty fantastic 20 minute video that explains the drinking culture quite well: You should just have to click on it for it to take you to the website, then hit  play!

On the side of a cup from the convenience store--
I have no idea what it says, but I do know that she is drinking on the toilet.

Speaking of toilets, one of my absolute favorite bathroom doors.

I love signs like this.
I get the idea of what they are trying to say,
but it's just a tad bit off.
Cat's Bar: Where to leave your memories.
Everything in this video is so true! Koreans work and study so hard during the week, it's no wonder that they feel the need to let loose a little bit. And there is no exception to that rule for the English teachers that are here from a bunch of different countries. It also doesn't hurt that there are no open container laws, and it is permissible (and not unusual) for people to drink everywhere.

Alcohol is sold 24 hours at convenience stores, and it is so common for people to walk in, buy a bottle of soju, and drink it in the store that the clerk often has an open sleeve of paper cups to drink from. Bars  close very late, and there is not a set time that they must close. So if the bar that you happen to be at decides to close at 3 am, there is also another bar close by that is still open that you could go to. For me, I've tried to restrict drinking to only weekends because dealing with the crazy children while hungover is one of the worst ideas in the world.

A pretty famous bar called Tunnel Night.
I guess girls come here, a waitress asks if she's up for sitting by
a guy who will buy her drinks. If she says yes, she finds an interested guy,
then leads the girl over and she keeps him company for the night
(not necessarily in a dirty way!).
This is Agwa.
Agwa is the only Coca leaf liquor in the world.
Coca leaf is the raw material that cocaine is manufactured from.
Don't worry, it takes complex chemical processes to actually manufacture
cocaine, so this booze does not have the same effect that the drug does.

Lady soju, also known as waymisu.
Quite tasty, it has a much better flavor than regular soju.
A bottle of soju and makgeolli, also known as makkoli (respectively).
 is made by fermenting boiled rice,
wheat and water. It is a cloudy white drink
that has a bit of a chalky texture.
I didn't care for it at first, but it's growing on me.

They have Jaeger bombs here too!
I'm sure my friend Casey, who absolutely LOVES Jaeger,
will appreciate this!
Many bars here are self-serving. They have large coolers of different beers, soda, and full bottles of booze. Patrons just go up to the coolers and grab what they want. There are bottle openers on the table, and chilled glasses in the cooler to use as well. If you want any shots or bombs though, you have to get it from the people who are working there. Once you are finished drinking, you just bring all of your empty bottles to the cashier and pay for them then. It's a pretty nice system, nice and efficient. The only drawback is if you are with a large group and someone leaves early, if they leave any bottles behind their friends must pay for them.

Koreans also believe that if you eat while you are drinking, you are much less likely to get a hangover. Many times the workers there bring us large bowls of popcorn without us even having to ask! Many bars also have some small appetizers available for people to order, and there are tons of restaurants that are open very late specifically to cater to drunk people.

I've also heard that there are several stages to a good night of drinking. The first stage is drinks with dinner. This usually includes shots of soju and shared bottles of beer. The next stage is drinking at a bar, or at a few bars if you feel like skipping around. The third stage is the norebang, or karaoke. This stage can be quite fun, especially if you are with a good group of people and you are a little bit tipsy. The next stage is drunk food, which usually happens when the sun is rising! Koreans are quite adept at drinking, and a large part of their culture hinges upon drinking with friends and colleagues.

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