Girls Generation, kimchi and Kim Yuna – famous exports of Korea that are all equally awesome in their own right (seriously, if you haven’t tried kimchi and you like spicy, then go get some). While America has grown to appreciate these Korean wonders, there are some equally fascinating items I’ve found during my past two years teaching here in South Korea which haven’t seem to caught on yet back home. I would like them to and after reading this, I hope you, dear reader, will understand why.
1. Multi-Rooms (Multi-bang in Korean)
As an English teacher in Korea, I always ask my students, “What did you do this weekend?” Answer, 99% of the time: “I played computer games.” Yet, here, playing computer games doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of a PC alone for hours. Instead, at a multi-room you get to try a plethora of digital goodies including the internet, board-games, karaoke, movie-watching and video games while actually physically interacting with your friends in person and not yelling into a headset. And I know tht these days in America, every family member’s got their own TV and computer in their rooms. Well, at least the ones that can afford it. But for teens looking for an under-21 bar or for recent graduates living with their parents after college, these multi-rooms are the perfect getaway. For about $6 a person for 2 hours, you can get free snacks with no Mom yelling at you afterwards to clean your mess. They do it for you!
2. Board game cafes
After countless hours at work staring at a computer, sometimes I just want a place that’s devoid of all electronics. A few years ago, that might’ve been your regular, round-every corner Starbucks. But go into any café, close your eyes, drown out the hipster music and soon all you’ll hear is the multitude of mouse clicks and fingers rapidly tapping away at a keyboard. I’m even doing it this instant! If there are people who genuinely sit down to enjoy a cup of soy, non-fat expensiveness, they will not be able to resist the texts and calls that’ll inevitably take up most of their time spent in the coffee shop. In contract, the purpose of board game cafes is to play board games, with maybe a free coffee or tea on the side. You go in with a group of friends and each of you pays per hour to relive your childhood with a game of Clue followed by some Uno. For me, it’s a nice alternative to bar nights, especially since they allow smoking inside bars here. Alternatively, these places can act as a good meet-up for game enthusiasts. Just show up, turn your phone off and play against like-minded gamers. Some nights, the pure joy of getting the highest score in Scrabble sounds better than “winning” a hangover after a successful game of beer pong.
3. Dog, Cat and even Bunny Cafes!
I’ve heard that there are, in fact, some dog cafes available in America, but if they are, they are few and far between. I’m not talking about cafes that allow you to bring your pets, but rather cafes with permanent critters residing. These places would be the perfect solution to two problems – the overabundance of pets needing adoption and the desire for people who want pets but can’t raise them where they live. Many, but not all, of the animals are rescued from shelters. These pets then live in the cafe and spend their days being lathered with affection by customers when they’re not busy sleeping or eating. For that reason, dog cafes tend to be more interactive because the owners will let you buy treats to feed the rambunctious pooches who will become loyal to anyone who rips open a bag of chewy, fake bacon snacks. For the more relaxing approach, I prefer cat cafes, especially when you get a purring kitty by your side while you read a book. As for bunny cafes, I haven’t personally visited one but I imagine you’ll be saying, “Oh, how adorable!” just as often. Except, they probably poop more freely and frequently. Anyway, it’s also perfect for a first date option since it automatically gives you something to talk about besides the standard, “Where are you from, what do you do?” stuff. Just make sure your date’s not allergic.
You can read more from Stephanie Santana on her blog.
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