Bringing the learning home (Australian Learning & Teaching Council)


Last night I stumbled onto something I hadn’t come across in Korea before. Private Karoke rooms where you order food and alcohol over the phone thats brought to your room. Cheap good service as well. Cost my party of 4  80 dollars for 4 hours of karoke, 2 main courses followed by 6 side dishes, and bottles and bottles of soju(vodka) and beer. This leads to my post. Going out in Korea for anyone young or old means drinking soju. Its very rare to see a table without the shotglasses and empty bottles or the cheering of “chan” or “geombae” or “one shot”.

(A common sight  each one of these bottles is about 7 standard drinks)

But when you hang out with young people they like to drink somaek. Somaek is when you get a middie of beer (maekju) and pour in a shot of soju and mix it with a chopstick to make sure the soju doesnt stay at the top. Then you play drinking games where you have to have your somaek in a full or half shot. Drinking in korea starts off by a “one shot”, then repeated full or half shots of soju after. After the first or second bottle of soju has been consumed someone will decide that somaek is a good idea and a jug of beer is ordered.

Drinking in korea leads to two options. One you have to get home at midnight/2 am as you have class/work the next. Usually you will stay at the one bar and maybe go to a karoke afterwards before stumbling home. Many businessmen are passed out on the streets because of this. The second option is going to one bar for dinner and drinks. Followed by another bar for snacks and drinks. Followed by karoke or another bar for drinks and snacks. Then a club. Somaek is something I wont be drinking when I return home. That is if my liver survives this deadly cocktail.

Being too drunk in Korea is not a problem. You friends will politely forget about what happened. As it could be them next.

Soju! Chann!!! Im off to get a hangover.


3 responses

  1. jangothard


    Great photo and I loved the advert. So different from the ‘drink responsibly’ campaign in Australia, esp. with its emphasis on younger drinkers! Have you seen anything like that at all in Korea? is there any focus, perhaps, on not drinking and driving? very different! I wonder – do they still advertise cigarettes in Korea?

    I am thinking why we in Australia – which in some ways would be characterised as adopting more of a focus on individual freedom than Asian countries (though not as much as in the USA perhaps), advocates social responsibility in this area, whereas Korea, which I think of as permeated with Confucian values, in this instance seems surprisingly pro-individual choice at the expense perhaps of social harmony. Driven by corporate interests perhaps? What do you think? clearly my ideas dont reflect the reality you are experiencing!

    October 31, 2010 at 3:29 am

  2. tonialeannegray

    The video clip was hysterical. Different sense of humour and definitely a quirky ad (watch out Gruen Transfer) … is this the norm in Korea .. whacko ads?

    November 4, 2010 at 10:15 am

  3. Kristian

    The photo isn’t mine. My camera has broken again so theirs been a lack of photos for the last month.

    Its a bit awkward watching movies over here as the ads before the movies play are usually about funny things that foreigners do. Then the presenter at the end is a Korean guy or girl who is totally normal while presenting the product.

    In regards to the drink responsibly campaign they have one but its primarily focused on drink driving. But as no many people drive when they go drinking it hasn’t had much of an effect on peoples drinking habits.

    A lot of the drinking is done socially. They encourage each other to drink more and more. Its quite common to see people having a quick power nap while their friends keep on drinking. Its more social to drink then to not. when I have eaten dinner with my friends parents for example, the dad forced me to drink more as he was older than me.

    November 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm

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