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Monday, January 31

Well, the Food Was Good...

Not sure about the meetings so far, as they all happened 90% in Korean, as reported earlier, but the food was fabulous. I'm a tea drinker, but this rice tea they have (smells and tastes like dried rice cakes) and Gingseng tea (smells and tastes like, well, radishes, but is supposed to be real good for you) is great stuff. Pushed the enveloppe, anyway ;) Lunch was rice with just a few beans in it, served in a pipping hot iron bowl, and once you've scraped the rice out, you loosen the rice stuck at the bottom with some Gingseng tea, and that makes a sort of rice soup. The rest of the meal was little dishes of tofu, salad, soy spourts, fish in various sauces, served cold, with a soup like a Japanese miso soup served on the side. D-licious. Diner was a Japanese-Korean fusion, basically japanese tastes on the same rice/soup combinations, but those Gingseng influences do interesting things to the Nipponese Cuisine. As we were eating, my hosts offered, with many giggles, to explain what the name of my hotel meant. When I indicated interest, they asked me it I was SURE I wanted to know. I assured them I was certain I did, and after more giggling, and some prodding amongst themselves, one was courageous enough to tell me that it was named after a dynasty of South Korea. I'm sure that bombed just as badly with you as it did with me. I tried to pry more from them, but that seemed to satisfy them as a punchline. So I told them the Italian Sega story. (In Italian, 'fare una sega' means to, ahem, masturbate, and so Italians are unable to watch the boot sequence of a Sega game where Sonic the Hedgehog runs onscreen and gives the thumbs up, saying in a falsetto chirp 'SEEEEEga!', without dissolving in hyena-like wails of laughter). I'm happy to say I got a laugh with that one. They proceeded to tell me another one about a major industry player, where the punchline was the real, and totally unfunny truth about the name... but with the same giggles and elbow digging. I'm at a loss to explain this scene, and in the end, I just gave up and thanked them for dinner. While they RETURNED to the office to work some more (so much more efficient without the 10% english thrown in), I went on the shopping spree illustrated below. I'm happy to report that I've bought the 12 postcards, ten of which already have a destination, and sad to note that the iPod Shuffle has NOT been released in Korea, as confirmed in the Apple Store in the shopping mall. Boohoo. Life is so unfair. Location : Hotel Shilla, Seoul, South Korea. Chortling over : Fuggin It Up. Remember, we have two slots left open in the Korean Postcard Giveaway, this could be your last chance to sign up and join the club!

4 Insights :

Blogger wendy intuited...

OK that Sega thing is hilarious!!

There must be a whole culteral/historical background to the Korean jokes they just couldn't convey. Now I'm interested though, I want to know Shilla is funny.

1/31/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

I'm not even sure there WAS a joke there.

The giggling could have been due to something else, like embarrassement. My fly was closed, but perhaps I had a big booger hanging off my nose hair, or perhaps I was making too big a thing of what they were about to tell me, and the misunderstanding just escalated?

That's the problem with cultural disconnects, they usually go quite deep.

1/31/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger james intuited...

MON DIEU MATHIEU!!! This post had me rolling around laughing. That Sega story is one of the funniest ones i've heard in awhile. The Japanese also have some strange jokes and t.v. shows.

What are the t.v. shows like in S.Korea??

1/31/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Hey, James, my main man!

You rhyming, now? lol

The TV shows remind me of Thailand... inane game shows and they speak in a singsong like the Thai, which is funny cuz my colleagues don't speak like that at all. They sound more like Japanese Samurai, all guttural and macho. I'll do a post on what THEY sound like after more research, there are a couple funny stories there too.

I think Japanese TV has quite a few shows like that, too. ;)

Come to think of it, I guess so do we ...

1/31/2005 10:42:00 PM  

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