My Asian Perspective

Warning – this post is not about digital audio, although hopefully it will provide some concepts that are useful.

100_0139I’ve just returned from a two week trip to Asia – specifically to Korea, with quick stops in Hong Kong and Tokyo. If you have never traveled to Asia, I strongly urge you to make plans to do it. Talk about broadening your life experience. Before I left I was already blown away by people’s lack of understanding of Asian culture. My physician, for example, when I mentioned that we were going to Korea, asked me if I had all the shots I needed. As though I was traveling to a third world nation. Korea is about as far from third world as it gets. So here are a few random personal observations from my travels:

Public restrooms in this country are disgusting, public restrooms in other countries (Korea, for example) are very clean. I think that says something about our culture.

Foreign airlines are much much nicer. If you ever have the chance, fly Cathay Pacific. The service in the economy section was excellent. Same with Japan Airlines. American Airlines, which we flew from Tokyo to JFK, was shabby by comparison – poor service, worn looking planes, weaker offerings of food and entertainment.

You can get by in many places with just English, but try to speak a few words in their language, it goes a long way. Lots of Koreans smiled when I thanked them in their language.

100_0124

Kyobi Bookstore, Seoul

Unfortunately, thanks to western influence, Asians smoke a lot. There’s pretty much no such thing as a non-smoking floor in a hotel, and they smoke freely in restaurants as well.

They make great coffee in Asia. At least in Hong Kong and Korea. If you want it black, order Americano; with milk, order a latte. They don’t put cream out for do it yourselfers.

Department stores in Korea are beautiful. And expensive. Bargains are to be had in the outdoor markets, which are plentiful.

ALL the cars have GPS in the dashboards. And little sponge squares on the doors so they don’t smack the car next to them in parking lots. How thoughtful.

Lots of people asked me if it was safe to travel to South Korea because of recent news about missile testing by North Korea. But in South Korea, they’ve been living with hostile North Korean behavior for so long, this is nothing new. They take it seriously and then go about their business.

Korean baseball games are even more fun than MLB! They sing songs and do the wave, but they also play great games with fans between innings. Teams are named for corporate sponsors – we saw the LG Twins play against the Doosan Bears.

100_0142Thanks to our support of Korea during the Korean War, Koreans love the United States. They have many war memorials to honor our fallen heroes, as well as those from other Allied countries. That makes Korea a great place to start your Asian journey.

There are 49 million people living in South Korea. The country is about the same size as Kentucky. There are 10 million people living in Seoul, which is more than are living in New York City. The city of Seoul is vibrant and cosmopolitan and safe. The subways are immaculate.

Want to broaden your perspective and life experience? Travel abroad to an Asian country. Witness the fact that it is NOT all about what is happening here in the United States. Then come  home and spread the word…

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