Friday, May 4, 2007


I know statistics usually aren't interesting, but I read these in The Korea Herald (the English language newspaper that our school gets) yesterday and they struck me as being somewhat relevant and giving a little bit of insight into the Korean way of life.
  • Teenagers between the age of 15 and 19 send more than 60 text messages every day
  • The national average is 16.9 text messages every day
  • 20.7% of male high school students smoke
  • Rice accounts for 35% of the calorie intake of the typical male worker, pork products account for 5%, and soju (Korean alcohol) accounts for just over 2%
  • The typical female worker has a similar diet but drinks less soju and more instant coffee

Now while these statisitics are rather general and stereotypical, a hint of truth does resonate within them. Almost all of my older students have cell phones and all of my younger students are eagerly awaiting the day that the parents will buy them a cell phone. A high percentage of Koreans do smoke. Men smoke all the time in public, there are always cigarette butts lying in the stairway of my apartment building. Women don't smoke as much in public, but that doesn't stop them from smoking in bathrooms and socially accepted places such as clubs and bars. Like most other Asian countries, rice is the staple food in Korea, followed closely by ramen noodles. Soju is cheap and everywhere. Drinking is a big part of Korean culture, my students sometimes joke that I'm drinking soju out of my water bottle during class.

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