So I want to make a thread detailing my experience here in Korea. My military thread will be for the more military centered stuff so I can keep it separate. This thread will be for my experiences here, observations, and cultural learning as I stay here. Prior to coming to Korea, I did some studying on it for U.S history. Also my Dad watched M*A*S*H constantly, which is one of the few things really about the Korean War. (The show lasted longer than the war itself if you count it never was officially over till a few years ago). Or there is the movie Pork Chop Hill with Gregory Peck too. But overall, my experience was mostly limited to interaction with a boss I had when I worked with my brother during a summer of high school as the boss was Korean. Interesting how things have pointed to Korea in my life and now I'm here. Well, first thing is the Cherry Blossom trees here. At first they were all white. Some light pinks, but all was white at first. there was a certain road just with these trees in a row. It reminded me of the White Way of Delight from Anne of Green Gables. I can't tell you how beautiful it all was. Although now they've all turned purple or orange. So I don't know if that's a feature of these trees or what? I've used the train a lot since being here as you can use the train system to get any where basically. The safety ads they play on the screen are kinda funny despite not knowing the language. I can get the gist of what they're meaning though. Using animals, people, but they personify a train car. Not kidding, its like their mascot. I have a friend I made here who is actually from Korea. They moved to the States almost ten years ago, and their first duty station is here, lol. So she's can be like a tour guide to us. Now something different off the bat I noticed. You know those big dumpsters you have in the back of stores to throw trash away? Well I'm not saying its like that everywhere, didn't seem that way in Seoul, but there isn't any here really. Like all the trash will be in a pile on the sidewalk. There is trash cans, but still. What I observed is that they come by, literally sweep the trash into a pile with brooms, and use a trash truck that has a crane arm like in prize grabber machines to pick the stuff up. I don't know if its like that everywhere, but it is different to see. Okay, now the first few cultural differences I've noticed. The money. The currency is called Won. it fluctuates so no set rule of how much that is in USD. usually less than $1 for one of theirs you could say. But they have figures of their history on the bills, and the coins. I asked about the stork on 500 coin. I was corrected that its a crane, not a stork. And how Cranes are seen as bringing in newness, like a baby being delivered traditionally by a crane. I wonder if that's where we got the idea of storks doing that? Coffee. You think America likes coffee? I've seen so many coffee places here, and its not just Starbucks. They could have stores right next to each other serving coffee. So for you coffee drinkers you would be happy having plenty of options. Arcade games. Now I know for a fact the biggest game here in Korea is Starcraft. Gaming cafes will be completely devoted to it. But there are small spaces where they just have arcade games all over the place. The dance games, like those dance dance revolution or whatever, are very popular. My friend likes doing those the most. Yes, I've seen Tekken and Tetris, but a guitar hero game, drum version, and even a piano version. And the guy doing the piano was going hard on it, like it was going super fast and he was perfect throughout the song. I can't even play the Mario theme... So I've been to Seoul once. I got to see some of the area. They had this history spot, not sure what it is in the city, an event was there. But they had a huge arch, and paper lanterns. Interesting stuff, but my Korean friend didn't come with us on that trip so I knew nothing of the history of it all yet. Well biggest impression is the Coex Mall. And I mean big. It's the largest underground mall in the world. It's going to take a full day to go through it. there was so many shops and stuff...definitely have to go again to just explore the mall itself. They had this wall in a major walkway, just LED screens to play advertisements on it. But we went there to see the Aquarium in it. Yes, its big enough to have its own. Sharks, penguins, otters (I love otters, but they stink. Seriously), manatees, bunch of fish I've never seen from the area. Stuff you won't see in the Aquarium back home for sure. They even had Prairie Dogs...not sure how that deals with an aquarium but okay. But it was really nice to see everything. They even had an area of like a house, but it was set up with fish tanks...like, the sink was a place for fish, the fridge had fish in it, you lay on a bed, and above you was fish swimming. That part made me like "huh?" but that's about it. I did get a souvenir. A penguin puppet. Considering I just wrote a script about penguins, and its a puppet that I could use for stuff later, I figured why not. I named it Pasey. He'll be my mascot and tour guide for you while I'm here. Now, something different. I know fast food places try out new recipes before they do it in the States, so tell me if this is a thing already. But at a KFC in the mall, I got this chicken skin and fry meal. You know the fried chicken skin on the chicken? It was just fried pieces of that. Like pork rinds I guess, but chicken. Also today I found new at the store Gluten Free Oreos...I bought it to try. it tastes just like a regular Oreo. But yeah, is that out in the states? So thank you for joining me on this journey here. Pasey and I shall update when there is more to report.