Monthly Archives: November 2013

009 Personal Space And Awareness Of One’s Surroundings – Challenges Part II


Jessy K. Piskai When in Korea... podcast This is part II of my series about challenges (although a very entertaining one) and it has to do with the concept of personal space here in Korea. Episode 009 is tightly connected to a blogpost that I released a couple of days ago. You can check it out here:

I also drew this comic about my experience with a Korean guy’s NON-awareness of his surroundings and show the way a proper German reacts to it 😉

Posing happily in the rain at a popular Korean sight. A Korean guy approaches with a giant (!) umbrella…

Korean's awareness of their surrounding www.tastyoldcabbage.comKorean's awareness of their surrounding www.tastyoldcabbage.comKorean's awareness of their surrounding



















Sometimes it seems to us “foreigners” as if Koreans are not aware of what happens around them, which might sometimes be very much the truth. However, it just  feels like they don’t bother with curtesy in the street too much given that they life in a small country of roughly 50 million people..

happy dodging umbrellas in the rain everyone! 🙂

The Koreans’ concept of personal space – why getting run over or bumped into is guaranteed in Korea

www.tastyoldcabbage.comWhen Koreans cut you off in line (especially by ajeemas, the older Korean ladies), hit you with their umbrella or don’t hold the door open for you then DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

They do it to each other too.

Also, let’s pretend you have a problem with the ticket machine in the train station and you try to figure it out with the help of a train station guard. Be prepared to have all eyes on you. Koreans are not shy when it comes to staring. In this case (which happened to me) they will come up close, almost resting their chin on my shoulder, to listen and witeness the situation. At first I thought they would wanna help but… nope.. they just wanted to know what’s going on.

On a rainy day – watch out for those dangerous umbrellas.

Sometimes people here lack the awareness of space and would not pay attention to the others in the street. That’s exactly when I usually get hit by an umbrella 😉

Their concept of personal space and awareness of their surroundings are different from ours. This is because they live in a CRAZILY CROWDED country: states that “South Korea is known for its population density which is more than 10 times the global average.”
—– More than 10 times the global average (!!!) ——–

it’s not you – it’s just ‘the Korean way’

It happens to me here all the time that some Koreans bump into me, step on my foot, close the door in my face, hijack the seat on the crowded train that I already made an attempt to take over or cut the line at Daiso (famous Korean dollar store) pretending I wasn’t already putting my goods down for the casher to process… (that is when I am tempted to give them my best German stink eye)

Unbelievable things like that WILL happen to you and you WILL get frustrated, however, always keep in mind it’s not you, it’s just ‘the Korean way’.

You are one out of 49,158,901 in a country that is slightly larger than the U.S. state Indiana.

Good luck everyone with not getting the door slammed in your face 😉

008 Staying Connected Over Long Distances – Apps And Creative Ways To Stay In Touch With Family And Friends Back Home


Jessy K. Piskai When in Korea... podcast How do you stay in touch from so far away? Here are some suggestions about which Apps can help you to text and call for your family and friends back home for free or very cheap.
I also brought my great friend Dani on the show to talk to me about Red Stamp an App she recently discovered that has helped her to personalize postcards and send ten of them home at the same time from her phone.

We also talk about how blogging can help you to update everyone at home and how to deal with those friends and family members who always expect you to be the one who reaches out.

When in Korea...episode 008

When in Korea... episode 008 www.tastyoldcabbage.comEnjoy today’s episode and don’t forget to stay connected and tune in next time!


007 Interview – Teaching And Living in Korea, International Health Care Center, Love Motels, Food, Busan, Safety, Travel


Jessy K. Piskai When in Korea... podcast In this episode of the WiK podcast I get to talk to my friends and ESL teachers in Korea, Sadie and Nora, about teaching and living in Korea, medical care, love motels, food, Busan, safety and travel.

Side note: Sadie mentioned that most Korean apartments don’t have ovens. While that is true the newer apartment complexes have ovens and most Americans manage to find a place to live that has an oven in the kitchen (although it might be a smaller one lol). TIP: So when you are out hunting for apartments look out for those with a dishwasher and an oven.









Here are the resources we talked about in today’s episode:

US embassy in Seoul:

This site is a great way of linking up with people and finding others with the same interests getting together in Korea: I have been a member now for almost a year and love that Nora and Sadie pointed this resource out. This site connects many people world wide.

Link to the International Health Care Center/ Severance Hospital:

KTX Train online:

Spa Land Busan:

Sights mentioned:

Haedong Yungkungsa Temple by the sea in Busan

Tasty foods mentioned in the interview:

Dolsot Bibimbap www.tastyoldcabbage.comBibimbap (in this case Dolsot Bibimbap = Bibimbap in a hot stone bowl) rice served with vegetables, sometimes meat and a fried egg on top



Yaki Mandu (fried dumplings filled with pork, vegetables and glass noodles) homemade www.tastyoldcabbage.comMandu (dumplings): there are fried mandu (yaki mandu) and steamed mandu (jjin mandu) and they also come with different fillings like kimchi or pork or just vegetables and glass noodles.





Donkasu Korean version of German Schnitzel






Becoming an English teacher being a military spouse here in Korea. Employment regulations:





Hope you enjoy every little bit of info in this episode. Take care!



also in this episode: Sound attribution: by user Halleck