Monday, February 3, 2014

Lunar New Year 2014: Korean Style Noraebang

새해 복 많이 받으세요! 

Happy New Year!
Welcome the year of the Green Horse! This year 설날 (Seolnal) or Lunar New Year landed on Friday January 31st, 2014. Each member of Getting Past the White Tiger celebrated the holiday in their own way and this will be the start of our mini-series on our different adventures. 

This year I decided to take it easy and stay home for the holiday. Thursday was spent at a Korean hair salon and Friday was getting much needed relaxation and alone time. So although I was a day late, I celebrated on Saturday with one of my best Korean friend's Jin-woo (진우).

For lunch it was off to 진우's parents house for some traditional 설날 food! I will have a problem leaving this country because the food is so freaking good. I mean look at this! These were left overs made by 진우's mom and I could barely dent the amount of food put in front of me. At the bottom right of the picture we have 떡국 (Tteokguk) or Rice Cake Soup. Koreans believe by eating this on new years we are able to gain another year in age. (Now how Koreans determine age is a weird thing to be talked about in a separate post) 

After lunch I was uncomfortably full and tired. I required a nap to be able to handle the day's main event, Korean style Noraebang! Now we at GPTWT love noraebang and I could not for the life of me figure out what was going to be different but as it turns out, I had a crazy new experience. 

Let's Begin!


 So I want to start off with group dynamics. The singing began and there were nine men all childhood friends, all in their 30's, 4 of them single, and...me. Well damn.

So with Korean masculinity and how romantic men tend to be, I received more serenades in that perhaps two hour time than in my entire life. Which, taking into account I have a musician boyfriend, is a lot. Being in your 30s and single in Korea is a rough time, everyone expects you to be married and having children and the pressure on men from their families is the worst. Noraebang is a good way to relieve some of this tension and I'm sure flirting with a younger woman didn't hurt. 

So one of the main differences between American masculinity and Korean masculinity is the touching. Before "Bromance" was introduced to the West most American men were unable to show affection without being called "Gay." That has made American men much more reserved about physical affection than most. Korean men don't really have this problem with hugging and platonic cuddling being much more common. We were all drunk (especially the guy in the middle) and they were all good friends. The comfort they had with each other was tangible and very fun to watch. 

Overall I had a wonderful time with my Korean friends but I'm a grandma and had to leave the party early (around midnight) as they continued into the night. 

Happy 설날 Everyone! 

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