Chinese Business Meeting Etiquette Guide

When attending business meeting in China, there are cultural customs that needs to be taken into account. Language isn’t an issue anymore, as nowadays most sales staff as well as business owners speak decent English. Yet, there’s still some cultural differences that needs to be bridged. Follow this guide to prepare yourself perfectly for a Chinese business meeting!

Arrive early

This is a do that is quite normal everywhere but do try to arrive more early before a meeting. Chinese are very punctual in a business setting. So by coming earlier you make a good image for yourself.

Business Cards Exchange

When meeting your host, you’ll see the ritual of exchanging business cards will follow. It’s important to use both your hands when giving and receiving business cards!

A few more tips:

  • Do not write on the received business card, that’s considered rude.
  • Have your business card translated in the local language. While your host likely can read English, having a translated side of your business card, shows that you’re well prepared and professional.

Do not write in red

Writing in red is a big no no in Chinese meetings. Read this article for more information:

Communicate Your Dinner Preferences

If you go for a dinner and you don’t like some of Chinese food please let your host knows ahead of time. You may feel this is rude, but if you don’t and you don’t eat it will be considered an insult and lose “Face” of your host. This is a big thing in China and definitely make you lose that business opportunity. My tip: be brave and try. That will make you look very good.

Sometimes a good host will ask you proactively what you like. In such case, don’t shy away, and simply tell him/her your preferences.

At last, using chopsticks will impress your host, but if you really can’t, it’s perfectly ok to ask for forks, spoons and knives.

Leverage on Chinese stereotypes

Many Chinese have great trust in Western products and services, and rate their quality often higher than their Chinese counterparts. From a B2B perspective, Western suppliers of products and services should demonstrate their focus on safety, reliability, user friendliness and comfort.

Chinese business partners are then more likely to view collaboration as a way to create added value.

Do not open a gift directly when receiving

When you receive a gift from your host never open it in front of them! This could embarrass your host and also is not common. Only when your host keep insist to open it you can do it. In other cultures this is quite normal.

Get used to lengthy meetings

When you are at a meeting with a group of Chinese people, you may experience it to be very lengthy. That’s normal in China. The Chinese love to discuss everything and even take small breaks in between. During the meeting there may even be frequent periods of silence. The reason for such long meetings is that meetings are often attended by more people relative to the West. In Western countries, people want to limit the amount of attendants and meet effectively and fast.

In China, the meetings could get extremely lengthy, with the speaker giving those long pauses during the speech. You may feel uncomfortable as a Westerner, but it would be a bad idea to interrupt them. Try to be patient and understandable during such meetings.

Tea Etiquette

Sometimes meetings are held around a traditional Chinese tea table. Impress your host by learning about these tea ceremony etiquette.

11 Chinese Dog Idioms (Chengyu) That Will Surpise You

For a deep understanding of Chinese culture, one should look into idioms that are used daily life. As more Chinese are having dogs at pets, these common dog expressions in China are more frequently used. However, dogs in idioms do not always have a positive meaning, often describing bad guys and enemies in politics. Yet, some of them are really funny and positive!

A dog trying to catch mice

狗拿耗子 (gǒu ná hào zǐ): What would a cat say if a dog is trying to catch its mice? This dog idiom is often used in situations ‘when one minds other people’s business’.  In other words it means ‘please, mind your own business’.

When a man becomes immortal, his chickens and dogs become immortal too

一人得道,鸡犬升天 (yī rén dé dào, jī quǎn shēng tiān): Meaning When a person becomes powerful, those who connect with this person rise to power as well. This Chinese dog saying is used to describe those who cling to power and get what they want.

The story behind this idiom is quite funny. Legend has it that Liu An, the king of Huainan in the Han dynasty, rarely did anything serious. The only thing he did all day was to seek recipes for making immortal pills. He sent people to look for the alchemists in the woods and finally got the recipe for the elixir. He shut himself up in the room and tried and tried. Finally, ten refined pills came out of the furnace! He swallowed five of them in one go and floated and slowly ascended to the sky. The rest of the pills was eaten by his dogs and chickens. He was overjoyed about the success, and suddenly heard a bunch of chicken sounds and the barking of the dogs. Turned out his chickens and dogs also gained immortality and ascended to heaven with him!

To use dog tails when there are no more mink tails

狗尾续貂 (gǒu wěi xù diāo): Odd image, isn’t it? In old times, mink tails were used as a decorative accessory on the hats for the guards in the imperial court. One lord got carried away and appointed excessive amount of guards, which caused the shortage of mink tails. Dog tails got used instead in the end. Usually it means making an unworthy continuation of a great work with inferior quality.

Having foxes and dogs as friends.

狐朋狗友 (hú péng gǒu yǒu): Meaning having bad friends who do nothing serious.

To draw a tiger that ends up looking like a dog

画虎类犬 (huà hǔ lèi quǎn): Trying to draw a tiger but the drawing ended up looking like a dog. This common dog expression means trying to imitate someone or something and failing to do so, or being overly ambitious.

No elephant’s tusk comes out of a dog’s mouth

狗嘴里吐不出象牙 (gǒu zuǐ lǐ tǔ bù chū xiàng yá): It means a filthy mouth cannot deliver decent language.

A dog borrows the power of its owner

狗仗人势 (gǒu zhàng rén shì): Meaning being a bully under the protection of a powerful person.

A dog will leap over a wall in desperation

狗急跳墙 (gǒu jí tiào qiáng): Meaning a cornered bad guy will do something desperate.

Chickens and dogs are not left in peace

鸡犬不宁 (jī quǎn bù níng): Describing having disturbances that drive people crazy.

To steal chickens and dogs

偷鸡摸狗 (tōu jī mō gǒu): Describing stealing or doing something dishonest.

Nice music, beautiful women, good dogs and fine horses

声色犬马 (shēng sè quǎn mǎ): Meaning indulging oneself in extravagance and pleasure.

Saranghae, Couple Outfits & Oppa; Etiquette in Korean Dating Culture

Whether you are a study abroad student, an ESL teacher or just someone visiting the wonderful Land of Morning Calm, love can certainly come knocking on your door! 

What’s It Like Dating a Korean?

But don’t let some cultural and linguistic barriers stop you from finding your one and only! Korean dating culture is certainly unique, and some may be wondering, “what’s it like dating a Korean“? Well, like Korean food, Koreans can certainly be hot, spicy and certainly make you want more! But there are some things of note when courting a Korean woman or man.

What to Say to a Korean Girl?

When it comes to dating in Korea, the phrase “subtlety” will come up rather often! Korea still observes many traditional dating rules of etiquette. When it comes to what to say to a Korean girl, being less direct is a good way to not scare her off! 

While this is by no means universal for all Koreans, being a little bit less direct and even going through an intermediary can go a long way, with guys, too! A common general way young Koreans will begin to meet and start dating follows some common rules and methods. 

Going Through Intermediary

For example, if two people like each other, they will try to meet up in small groups first. Often times they may ask through an intermediary to set up a meeting and gauge the other person’s feelings towards them. Over time the number of people they will meet up within these group hangouts will diminish until it is only the two individuals who like each other meeting up directly. These initial group meetings are all casual and non-romantic, so don’t confuse it for some kind of other group meetings

How to Know if a Korean Girl Likes You?

If one is pondering how to know if a Korean girl likes you or a Korean guy likes you some signs are certainly them contacting you first! Which brings up the next key point.

korean dating etiquette

How to Text a Korean Girl?

Almost everyone in Korea uses the messaging app “Kakaotalk”. If you download this app, you are already in the right direction. Koreans like to use cute emoticons, even men, so the more of these Korean guys or girls send to you, the better sign it is. 

If you like a Korean person but they don’t reply back or respond to you, give them time. Some Korean women may want to see if you are willing to wait for them, so proceed as normal for maybe a few days. 

If a young Korean guy or girl does not respond to your messages or to you in-person after a week or so that is okay. Moving on and trying to find someone else is perfectly fine! 

Which is another key item to address when it comes to dating and trying to date Korean women in particular. If a Korean woman really does not seem interested, please respect her choice to not speak with you or contact any longer and move on. The same applies to young Korean men, but usually more so for women who culturally are taught to be more passive and receptive. 

Many young people, in particular, are more averse to conflict and saving face in Korean culture is still common practice. Thus, if a young Korean does not want to see you or wants to break up, they may stop contacting you completely, and in some cases change their contact ID. While any rejection hurts, do not keep trying to pursue them. And certainly do not pressure young Koreans to drink alcohol or go places or do things that they may seem uncomfortable with doing, saying or taking part in. Allow them the same respect you would like with a possible romantic partner. 

how to know if a korean girl likes you

Suitable Dating Venues

But assuming that a young Korean woman or man is interested in you, and you in them, a great and safe first date is to the coffee shop or cafe. Now, let’s assume your first date went well! And this young Korean man or woman would like to meet again, try to take things slow even though emotionally and title-wise your partner may want them to go a bit fast! 

For example, follow your Korean partner’s lead when it comes to the physicality of any sort. Do not be forceful or insistent with them with physical attention. PDA is not a common practice in Korea, so if your partner does not want to kiss in public respect their choice, they are just being socially conscious. 

They may, however, want to take lots and lots and lots of couple photos! Couple outfits and gifts are common ways Koreans show their partners affection. They also like to count and number everything. From your first date to your tenth, your Korean partner may keep track of these things. They may also want to commemorate seemingly random dates too. 

Discussing Marriage?

For example, a two month anniversary is a thing. Don’t be frightened or threatened by your partner if they discuss marriage and children early on, too. Korean culture follows the general assumption that dating couples will eventually get married. If you feel uncomfortable or unready for such discussions be direct but kind and firm if you want to choose to end the relationship with your Korean partner. 

For some, marriage talks after a few months can come off as too abrupt and diving in too deep, do what is comfortable for you as well. 

But on a lighter side of things, a Korean man or woman will love any cute gift, text, picture or post from their partner. Korean partners are easy to please if their respective partner is a little playful, very trustworthy and makes them feel safe.

Cute Things to Say or Text in Korean

Some helpful phrases are saranghae/사랑해, which is the informal form of the word saranghaeyo/사랑해요 meaning, “I love you”. While this phrase carries very heavyweight in Western relationships, it is more cute and playful in Korean. Make sure to use it only after your partner has told you that they agree to be in an exclusive relationship with you. Certainly don’t start off a conversation with it! 

Some other helpful phrases are oppa/오빠 which literally means “older brother” but is used to refer to males older than a woman. Meanwhile, for males, Nuna/누나 means “older sister” and is used to refer to women older than them. Using these phrases will make your Korean partner smile even if they are younger than you! 

dating in korea

What about LGBTQ+?

For individuals who are LGBTQ+, these phrases may be reversed, follow your Korean partner’s lead as to the proper etiquette in LGBTQ+ relationships. Korea is only starting to become more conscious and welcome to LGBTQ+ people and relationships, so be patient with Korean culture and your partner’s choices. 


Some Korean partners get very jealous very easily, and so they may be unhappy with you spending time with people of the opposite sex, so keep this in mind. Meeting a friend one-on-one for lunch, though platonic, may thoroughly upset your Korean partner.

Social Status

Another somewhat unpleasant reality that may come up when dating Koreans is the social competition factor. In some parts of Korea, particularly Seoul and Busan, but certainly regardless of region, some Koreans may only be interested in exclusive or serious relationships with people of high wealth or class brackets. 

If you notice your Korean partner asks or talks a little bit too much about wealth or status, or asks what kind of car you drive, perhaps opt to see other people instead. Then again, if you happen to drive a car up to that individual’s standards, or just so happen to be in a high wealth and education bracket then go right ahead and follow all the other advice and tips we’ve listed! 

Korean Parents and Dating

Our next topic of interest would certainly be Korean parents and dating. Just like the rest of our advice here, being subtle, taking things slow and following lots of your partner’s lead will go a long way. 

Learning Korean and Korean culture are big ways to earn your partner’s parents’ trust and respect. Only use formal Korean if you know some phrases. While saying anyang/안녕 or “hi” is cute for your partner, instead, say anneyanghaseyo/안녕하세요 which is “hello” to his or her parents. 

Your partner may be a little reluctant to introduce you. This is not because you have done anything wrong, but some Korean parents may not be happy to know their son or daughter is dating a foreigner. As mentioned before many times, Korea is still a considerably traditional country, but certainly, one that changes day-to-day. 

This also changes if you demonstrate you know some Korean phrases and show them proper respect. Bring a gift when you first meet your partner’s parents, even if your partner insists not to, which they probably will. 

Dating Etiquette

As mentioned before Korea still observes a mostly traditional dating culture. This includes things like; 

  • The man makes the first move i.e. will ask a woman out first. 
  • The man will also pick out the venue. 
  • The man will pay on the date. 
  • The man will buy gifts and take the initiative in pursuing the woman and proposing becoming exclusive, etc.
  • When ordering food, WAIT until both of you have your meals and are ready. Do not start eating ahead.
  • Also in regards to food, some Korean partners may want to feed you or have you feed them to be cute, so be ready for that!

Love, Korean style

Now assuming you and your Korean partner, either a Korean girl or a Korean guy have fallen deeply in love. Well, the next move would be marriage! But we will save that exciting and momentous occasion for next time. But for now, some key takeaways include, being patient, taking things slow, and certainly learning Korean language, customs, and culture in a wider sense.


Chinese Cat Idioms (Chengyu)

The Chinese frequently use idioms in daily communication. Understanding these idioms can highly enhance your understanding of Chinese culture. And for Chinese language learners they’re pretty essential to advance language skills too!

In China (and perhaps also in the world), cats are the most popular pets right after dogs. In fact, China’s cat population around 90 million! With so many cat lovers, there is an increasing use of the following cat idioms (also called ‘chengyu’). We’ll discuss 4 of them below:

The cat and mouse are sleeping together

猫鼠同眠 (māo shǔ tóng mián)

Meaning: to neglect of one’s duty, covering up the subordinate’s evil deeds, or doing bad things together.

The cat cries when the mouse dies.

猫哭老鼠 (māo kū lǎo shǔ)

This idiom means to pretend to be sad and compassionate.

Get a cat and lose a cow

争猫丢牛(zhēng māo diū niú)

Meaning seeking small gains but causing big losses.

To draw a tiger, while looking at a cat.

照猫画虎 (zhào māo huà hǔ)

The meaning of this idiom is ‘to imitate’ or ‘be sloppy in performing tasks’. The origin of this idiom is related to a late Ming Dynasty story. There was a very famous painter in Penglai City. He particularly likes the stories of the “Liang Mountain heroes” and decided to work on a series painting related to the legend.

He painted all the heroes expect the last one called ‘Wu Song’. He felt that Wu Song was inseparable from tigers, but he was not familiar with tigers, so he saved him for the end.

Just before he passed away, he called his apprentice in front of him and said, “I’ve not completed my work. You have to finish the painting after I die. You must go to the other side of the mountain to find the tiger, watch carefully and then paint the final painting.”

The apprentice obeyed the master’s instructions. He hiked to the mountain with dry food and a self-defense knife to look for tigers. However, he couldn’t find it after many days, and was discouraged.

When he met a monk on his journey he explained his troubles. After listening,, Monk Xiao smiled and said, “How difficult is it? Can you just find a cat? They look the same.” The apprentice said, “cat is too small.”

The young monk said, “Isn’t it better to draw a bigger one? Besides, the cat is still the master of the tiger! You can draw the tiger as a cat.”

The apprentice was convinced and went home to find a big yellow cat, and then painted a tiger. He finally completed the Wu Song and Tiger painting and added it to the collection of 108 Liang Mountain heroes.

After a literati read it, he wrote an inscription on the edge of Wu Song’s Tiger Fighting: Masterpieces of famous paintings, heroes of 108, and only the painting of Wu Song mistakenly used a yellow cat as a tiger.

From then on, the story of the cat and the tiger spread, and became a proverb, specifically describing those who do not perform their tasks responsibility and without adhering to high standards.

We hope you enjoyed learning these interesting idioms on kittens! If you’re interested in learning about cats in Chinese literature please read: Cats in Chinese Literature on

Thailand Travel Guide Better Vlogs & Selfies

Thailand is a South East Asian Country and the travel hub for the Asians. This place is famous for its beaches, jungles, temples, royal palaces and figured Buddha’s. Thailand is really cheap for its accommodation, food, and travel.

Accommodation: Northern areas of Thailand are much cheaper than the southern and Bangkok. You will get cheap guesthouses as cheap as $3-$8 per night. After increasing your budget by $12 you might get a bungalow by the beach side. At the South of Thailand you can still get decent prices around 20-30$ but it can also go up to hundreds of dollars for luxury. The choice is up to you.

Food: Food actually I would recommend you to eat from the food stalls, it’s much cheaper than the restaurants. It will cost you ($0.5 – $4) by food stalls and ($5-$10) in cafes and restaurants.  Food stalls serve authentic food, at least way more authentic than many restaurants in touristic areas. Warning though: Authentic often also means more SPICY, so make sure you let them know to make it less spicy if you prefer. And at last, one more advantage is that you can eat there day and night! 

Travel: As a travel guide I would say you must travel through the local buses. Believe me, only if you will live like the locals you will enjoy the fullest. You will get local people to talk to, know more about them, their lifestyle, make new friends who have also come for traveling and share your trip experience. Traveling through the islands by bus would cost you ($1-$5). Please note that the prices may vary.

There is always to talk more about Thailand but the major things you must not miss are what you see down here.

Must do things in Thailand:

Visit Elephant Nature Park and play with elephants:

Elephant Nature Park is in the northern areas of Thailand in Chiang Mai province. This place is a rescue center for elephants, dogs, cats, buffalos and many others. You should go there learn about elephants thriving and get close to them and play with them. Elephants are never threatened or beaten but they welcome tourists and volunteers to help them rescue the elephant and know more about them. I must say an elephant is a really cool animal to play and love with.

Songkran ( The local water fight festival):

The wildest festival of Thailand is said to be the Songkran Festival. In Bangkok, this festival is celebrated in the northern area of Chiang Mai for almost a week in the month of April. You will find the children, youngsters and elders all enjoying it together. The country turns into a war zone for a week. You will find children with the biggest water guns and who come in range becomes the target.

Hangout in Pai:

Pai is a town in Mae Hong Son which is 2.5 hours bus ride away from the Chiang Mai. Personally, I would say this place is really beautiful and you should never miss the waterfall. Grab the food from the street and eat it at the waterfall. Enjoy sitting on a piece of rock rather than sitting on a chair making yourself comfortable. Traveling is all about breaking your comfort zone. Check this video to get a feel of the vibe:

Island Hopping:

Island hopping is the best part of Thailand and my favorite. If you are really an adventurous person you should never skip this. Island hopping means traveling from one island to another. Travel all the island with the local bus so that you don’t miss anything.

White Temple in Chiang Rai:

Yes, we know you may be bored of temples as there are just so many in Thailand and the rest of Asia. But I promise, this one is truly unique.

“Wat Rong Khun” is known as “THE WHITE TEMPLE” which is located outside the town of Chiang Rai. Local and Foreigners both admire the beauty and it has the most visitors out of any other. Its construction was started in 1997 and will continue till 2070. Checkout this video:

Emerald pool, Krabi

Me in Emerald Pool

Originated from the lowland forest of Khao Nor Juji, supposedly Thailand’s last piece of lush forest, this hot spring is a must-see destination. Prepare to be impressed by spectrums of turquoise stream that shifts in different light and time of the day. To experience the most intense emerald colour, visiting at dawn or early in the morning is highly recommended. Here’s a video of my friends at the Emerald pool, as you can see a great place to vlog or take selfies!

I would personally recommend to live as a local and not to travel within a luxury lifestyle. The simplest things will please you the most giving you a deep breath for the peace of mind. If you have visited Thailand I would recommend sharing your experience in comments below to guide others for a better traveling experience.

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An Introduction to Korean Shamanism Modernity, Manshin and Mudang

Shamanism in Korea has a long and deep history and connection to the peninsula even today in the modern era. It’s spiritual tradition that is deeply ingrained in society, unique, and rich with colorful and fascinating rituals, costumes and beliefs. While the term shamanism “shingyo(신교/shindo(신도)” does not necessarily refer to a rigid, set of beliefs or organized religion in the Western sense, Korean Shamanism does maintain a level of common rituals, rites and practices. Some of these rituals may differ from shaman to shaman or for different clients or for different situations but they have some similar themes in most cases. Shamanism is practiced in both North and South Korea with different traditions based on regions.

What is Korean shamanism?

Shamanism was the first religion of the Korean people and goes back to prehistoric times. It is important when discussing Korean shamanism to remember that despite the fact the practices themselves are prehistoric, the religion is by no means “primitive” as it is perfectly complementary to modern living with people from all strata of society and of all levels of education and socioeconomic status seeking out shamans. The shamans themselves may hold multiple degrees from institutes of higher learning and even be highly active on social media.

Shamans throughout Korean history have almost always been female and are known as “mudang” while male shamans are “baksu”. In some areas of Seoul and the northern regions of Korea shamans may be known as “manshin”.  When new religions such as Confucianism came into vogue in Korean society, the role of shamans and of women in general went into decline, but today shamans have regained a relatively high status and position, many shamans receive government support in order to keep alive important intangible cultural heritage. 

In Korean shamanism, a shaman will act as a guide and medium for clients upon special request and payment. Special rituals shamans conduct for a number of purposes are known as gut rituals. Gut rituals are meant to contact the gods or deceased ancestors for a whole wide range of purposes. During a gut a shaman will become possessed by the spirit of a deity or an ancestor. Some gut rituals are small, while other rituals will be very colorful and elaborate, with the shaman wearing a costume akin to the clothing a god or ancestor would wear. Ritual implements like tridents and in particular, knives are used as symbols of authority and power. One of the most riveting parts of a ritual is when the shaman will sharpen their knives and then dance and stomp on top of the blades barefoot. The shaman is not harmed by this action. Musical instruments, songs, chanting and dance are all important parts of a gut ritual and are believed to help summon a deity and allow the shaman to pass into an ecstatic trance state. Shamans in training act as assistants during these very dramatic, energetic and theatrical rituals and a shaman may change their costume several times. Costumes are generally very colorful and resemble stylized sets of Korean hanbok with different headgear and implements according to what deity is being summoned. 

In Korea, one can become a shaman in one of two ways depending on which side of the Han river they are on. In the southern regions of Korea one could become a shaman through heredity. While in most of the peninsula and in particular North Korea and overseas Korean communities in China, one can become a shaman through initiation. One discovers they are ready to start their journey of becoming a shaman when they receive “shinbyeong” which means “spirit sickness” and is a state of intense physical and psychological illness which can only be ameliorated when the individual accepts their deity and enters into the role of shaman. Mountains are of particular spiritual importance in Korean culture in general and shamanism in particular. In fact, the mountain deity and legendary founder of Korea’s first kingdom, Gojoseon, is a major deity in Korean shamanism to this day. 

The history (thus far) of shamanism & its relationship to other faiths

As the first religious system of the Korean people, predating Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism’s presences on the peninsula, Korean shamanism has influenced and even in many cases become intertwined with these later faiths. Initially, shamans were patronized by kings and rulers and shamanic temples did once exist. With the introduction of Buddhism, however, many of these shamanic shrines became Buddhist temples. In fact, many current Buddhist temples found on mountainsides were just converted from shamanic shrines and temples. Buddhism and shamanism mostly have had a complimentary relationship, with Korean Buddhism preserving both Taoism and shamanism in its beliefs, art and practices. Almost all Korean Buddhist temples still have a special shamanic shrine dedicated to the deity “Sanshin”, the mountain god. Shamans may even go to Buddhist temples to bow, chant and perform rites, especially for the spirits of the deceased as Buddhist temples also preserve the cremated ashes of deceased individuals. Many of the deities found in Korean Buddhism and shamanism are the same deities such as the spirits of the Seven Stars, Sanshin and other Bodhisattvas and Devas of Indian origin. 

During the Joseon dynasty (1300-1800) Confucianism and then Neo-Confucianism were the state religious philosophies. During this time shamanism initially began to be seen as primitive and regressive and began to be persecuted more heavily. Modernization and the influence of Christianity, in particular Protestant missionaries at the end of the 1800’s led to an even wider persecution of shamans and destruction of shamanic shrines, temples, totems and other sacred sites. During the Japanese occupation period, the military government tried one of two methods to suppress shamanism, either by trying to incorporate Korean shamanism into State Shinto or to eradicate shamanism and replace it with State Shinto altogether. Shamanism survived this travail as well only to be subjected to the tumult of the Korean War. 

The Communist North put to death shamans and their families with the intention of eliminating shamanism among other religions. In South Korea, the strong influence of evangelical Christians saw a widespread destruction of shamanic practices and anti-superstition policies that destroyed both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Today, while some more radical movements within Korean evangelical Christian circles take drastic measures like burning down shamanic shrines and lobbying the government to “modernize” the country by trying to outlaw shamanism, Korean shamanism has been experiencing a kind of renaissance. Some places are rebuilding ancestral shrines and temples and taking part in shamanic rites and rituals that were lost almost centuries ago. Many new religious movements, evangelical Christian ones included, borrow or are steeped within shamanic thinking, shamanic practices and shamanic rituals. This can usually be seen in the charismatic and otherworldly role some new religious movement leaders and even pastors conduct themselves with among their followers.

How to visit a shaman

Today, many shamans are very public with their role as mudang. To visit a shaman is rather easy, and in Seoul there is a massive number of active shamans. Often times, shamanic shrines or temples resemble standard apartments with the exception that some colorful banners, depictions of deities and the use of a Buddhist swastika or Korean Yin and Yang symbol will be displayed. 

When one visits a venue like this one can ask the shaman to read or predict their fortune and future, ask the shaman to heal some ailment or problem in their life or to consult their ancestors or gods in regards to other matters. In some cases major companies and businesses will hire a shaman to perform a ritual to purify an area before opening or if an accident has occurred and they would like the area and its spirits to be appeased. In cases where a major company holds a shamanic rite, most workers will participate by bowing and placing money on an alter or in the mouth of a severed pigs head or on piles of meat that will be used as offerings to the gods. Individuals who identify as Christian usually also take part for cultural and social reasons but may choose to not bow or may choose not to place any money, instead participating as respectfully as everyone else but as much as they feel comfortable in doing so. In the case of rituals where a severed pig’s head is traditionally used, some may opt to have a bakery prepare a special “pig’s head” made from bread instead.

Spirits in the age of Wi-Fi

This has only been a short introduction of Korean shamanism. There are volumes one could report back on in regards to one or multiple aspects of shamanism in Korea. Some of the takeaways and extra caveats are;

  • Shamanism is viewed as both compatible with modern society as well as “primitive” by modern Koreans depending on the perspectives of whom one chooses to ask. Though a large number of Koreans will still consult shamans no matter their stance.
  • To be a shaman one is either born into a lineage or is initiated, both will receive a prophetic illness.
  • It is the oldest religion of the Korean people and is mostly compatible with other religions due to it being non-dogmatic, non-proselytizing and not having a real official hierarchy or power structure.
  • Shamanism isn’t going anywhere! In fact it is experiencing a new era of recognition and popularity.
  • If you’d like to visit a Korean shaman, bring cash, an open mind and lots of questions! You don’t have to travel up a mountain there are plenty of shamans right in Seoul!

Hopefully this introduction has sparked an interest in a broader reading of this fascinating subject. Please feel free to seek out more information on Korean shamanism and don’t be afraid to have a dialogue with a shaman if you ever do meet one! Many shamans are regarded as being incredibly friendly and kind, though they may become a bit scary if they are possessed by the spirit of an angry deity! So be respectful and be prepared for a one-of-a-kind experience.


  • Eng, Karen Frances. “In 21st-Century Korea, Shamanism Is Not Only Thriving – but Evolving.” Medium, TED Fellows, 8 Mar. 2018,
  • “Korean Shamanism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Dec. 2019,

4 General Indonesian Etiquette for Travelers

Never get confused again! We offer only tips that work in most places in Indonesia.

From eastern to western ground zeroes of Indonesia, there lies archipelago of more than 17.000 islands with a massive assimilation that differs from place to place. They have six constitutionalized religions with hundreds more of local animism-dynamism wisdoms that represent their conservative ethinicity. So in terms of cultural, customs and etiquettes, there are huge differences that comprehensively pretty difficult to get our heads around. So we wrap for you 4 general Indonesia etiquette for travelers that work in most places. Just remember, it might only suit you enough for days or a few weeks of casual visit on the country, and obviously don’t want to be bothered with the complexity of the locals. If you want to enjoy the rich history and cultures, live somehow nomadicly blogger-like, or want to engage deeply with the natives, that’s a whole another story which needs to be very specific and pretty time consuming.

So for you casual visitors of Indonesia, you can follow this 4 general Indonesian etiquette for travelers:

1.Always do almost everything with the right hand (or at least prioritize it)

Indonesian always wipe with their left hand after their business in the toilet. That’s basically their top of mind considering the usage of left hand. So you must use the right hand for any activity, including shake hands, pointing objects, taking and giving, paying, etc. Especially if the activities are involving other people. You still may work or lift things with the left hand, they’ll give you some slacks if they’re not involved.

Except for eating, while considered as a private activity and even if you’re using spoon or fork without actually touching the food, most of them will find it at the least displeasing. Try to imagine what you wrap and comes to mouth, that’s how they preserve.

2.Acceptable Handshakes

Handshakes has its own categories based on “class” and gender. Not every handshakes is your everyday casual handshake with one hand shaking the other’s one hand. This can be applied only if you have a business meeting or as a casual handshake for coevals.

If you meet an older or respectable person, you should offers two hands simultaneously and remember to bend slightly. And don’t offer a handshake to women, except they offer it first. Instead, offer your no-touch handshake with a closed clap gesture.

3.Learn Basic Bahasa Indonesia

You don’t want yourself stuck in pantomime interactions with the natives which not english-able. Especially if you’re going to some villages or remote objects, yet even then some urbanized people still can’t even understand basic english. Hire a guide can come in handy if you have a little budget to spare and not planning on solo traveling.

4.Always Smile!

It’s obvious, smiling is a universal language for hospitality. Especially when you stare at someone first, they’ll consider your stare as a challenge when not neutralized by a smile.

Remember these 4 general Indonesia etiquette for travelers and you’ll enjoy your stay much more!

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Jeonju Hanok Village: Korea’s Past, Present and Future All in One!

Go back in time at Jeonju Hanok village located in Jeonju found in South Korea’s North Jeolla Province! And what is so special about Jeonju? Located in Korea’s west side Jeonju is a unique city among the ultra-modern, ultra-fast and ultra-tech of many other metropolitan hubs on the peninsula. From the spiritual center of Korea’s grand Joseon dynasty period, to the home of many “hanok” style buildings that go back hundreds of years, Jeonju is a historic site that is alive and well.

The history

Once the capital of the Later Baekjae kingdom during Korea’s medieval period, Jeonju was seen as a type of spiritual heartland during the later Joseon dynasty (1392-1898). This is because Joseon’s ruling clan, the Yi clan, originally came from Jeonju. Korea’s illustrious Joseon era is immortalized in Jeonju today through the architecture, tea houses and of course, the wearing of Korean hanbok! Today Jeonju is one of the top three tourist destinations in all of Korea and is even a designated Slow City in recognition for the slower, more traditional pace of life the city’s people enjoy.

jeonju hanok houses street

Hanok and other fantastic buildings

To begin, hanok refers to “Korean houses” generally of the Joseon style. These houses are distinct due to their striking, slanted roofs and frames built from wood. In Jeonju one can enjoy the interior of a hanok in some of the many restaurants or traditional style teahouses in the village. At hanok restaurants, traditional food can be enjoyed, such as bibimbap, which is prepared in a unique way in the Jeonju area compared to other parts of Korea. 

hanok house roof

Some other buildings include…

  • Pungnam Gate: Once the provincial governor’s capital building during the Joseon dynasty and was also one of four additional gates, all of which have been destroyed. Luckily, Pungnam has remained and has been restored to its original glory.
  • Jeondong Cathedral: Some visitors to Korea are surprised by the high number of Christians who live in the country. Christianity has a long history in Korea, going back to the Joseon era, too (with possibly some Nestorian Christians coming along with the Mongols during their invasions of Korea). The Jeondong Cathedral was built in 1914, and bears a unique and colorful exterior much different than many contemporary churches in Korea, being a mix of Byzantine and Romanesque design similar to a cathedral one may find in Central or Eastern Europe. The church was built on the site where the first Catholic martyr in Korea, Yun Ji Chung died, and he is commemorated at the Cathedral today.
  • Omokdae: Once the site of a grandiose banquet hosted by the founder of the Joseon dynasty, Lee Seonggae, Omokdae is a great place to take in the view of the village and some of the natural scenery of the area.
  • Hyanggyo: During the Joseon era, Confucianism and later, Neo-Confucianism, became the state religious-philosophies and modes of state craft. And the Hyanggyo found in Jeonju is a great example of the Confucian temples and state operated schools that once were found in Korea during Joseon.
  • Gyeonggijeon: Come and pay your respects to the founder of the Joseon dynasty at the Gyeonggijeon hall. A portrait of the noble ruler is enshrined here and open to guests coming in to pay homage to the ruler’s legacy, right in his home town!
hanok house courtyard

Hanbok and Hanok

And besides the great attractions, Jeonju is also famous for its hanbok rentals! You can travel back to another time here at Jeonju and enjoy tons of food, drinks, games, souvenirs and handicraft stalls, too! The best times of year to visit Jeonju and rent some lovely hanbok are in Autumn, when the Korean mountains and their multitudinous trees unveil a Monet-esque pastiche of vibrant colors. Another perfect time to visit is in the Spring, when the cherry blossoms, apricots, crabapples and other flowering plants are in full display.

Living History

While South Korea prides itself on its modernity, fast-paced and hi-tech society that does not mean history and tradition are forgotten! On the contrary, places like Jeonju are rather more testimony to the fact that for Koreans and foreign visitors alike, the past and the present are both alive and worthy of our attention. So while you visit Jeonju village, wearing period clothing from the 1500’s and viewing buildings that have been standing for over 500 years, don’t forget to take a photo or two on your latest Samsung model smart phone! Or to upload your pictures of the ancient heritage on your favorite modern social media site using the readily available modern Wi-Fi prevalent all over Korea! In these small ways, the past, present and future are in harmony. Have fun when you visit Jeonju, and make sure to try the grilled squid on a stick! It’s delectable.


  • “Jeonju Hanok Village.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2019,
  • “Weather 01-04-2020.” Jeonju Hanok Village [Slow City] (전주한옥마을 [슬로시티]) | Official Korea Tourism Organization,

Yogiyo! & Other Ordering Apps: How to Order Things Online in Korea!

Ordering with no fear

One of the great things about living in Korea is the ease, speed and convenience of things around you. The transportation is quick, efficient and simple to navigate. Learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet is said to take about 2 hours to learn if one sits and studies it diligently. So even down to core cultural traits like language, there is an emphasis on ease. And that extends to ordering things here in Korea, whether it be clothes, electronics or most importantly, FOOD. But for many, mostly expats, English teachers and study abroad students, ordering food can be anything but convenient, easy and simple. It can be downright scary! But have no fear, here is your way to enjoy the convenience of getting that fried chicken from the restaurant halfway downtown to your apartment door faster than you can say ppali ppali (빨리 빨리/quickly, quickly)!

A Handy Glossary 

Now, it is important to note that some of these apps are all in Korean, so knowing some Korean and reading Hangul will be very helpful. But for those who aren’t proficient in these areas, have no fear, once you create an account, put in your address and email you will be set to order just fine. Here are some important terms in Korean and what they mean so that you can order seamlessly. For foreigners and expats in Korea, to find your Korean address, look on the back of your Alien Registration Card (ARC) card. Your address will be listed on there. It will all be in Hangul however. And while it is certainly more than fine to ask a Korean friend, coworker, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc for help on any of this, the purpose of this guide is to hopefully assist you in being a bit more independent with your ordering. Because there will be some days you may not have that buddy or partner who is fluent in Korean by your side to help you out.


  • Korean/한국어/English/영어
  • 메뉴/Menu
  • 주문하기/Order
  • 결제하기/Payment
  • 카드결제/Pay by card
  • 만나서 카드결제/Pay with card on delivery
  • 만나서 현금결제/Pay with cash on delivery
  • 배달/delivery
  • 체류지/Address
  • 구/District
  • 동/Neighborhood
  • 아파트/Apartment
  • 호/Room number   

Also note that addresses as shown on your ARC will be in the order of province, district, neighborhood, apartment building and room number!

The Korean Apps!

The next thing to take a look at would be what apps that are out there. Korea has a wide variety of apps and more being developed every day. Here are a few choice apps for ordering that are popular with both Koreans and foreigners alike. Feel free to try more than one to zero in on which one is perfect for you.


This app is all in Korean but it is a great and multifaceted delivery service app to use. Yogiyo also offers one of the widest selections of restaurants to order from and is one of the most popular delivery apps amongst Koreans. What’s cool about Yogiyo is you can use it almost anywhere. Seoul is a great city, but there’s more to the peninsula than Seoul, and for many first time English teachers in particular, you may not be living in Seoul but a province outside of Seoul!


This app is sort of the opposite of that last statement! By which I mean, it is a Seoul-centric app. The other benefits of Shuttle includes the fact that the website, app and all the staff at Shuttle can speak English. The downside to Shuttle is that it is, as mentioned above, available mainly only in Seoul, though locations have opened in Pyeongtaek and Busan as well! Shuttle offers a great deal of international food like Indian food and Halal food to choose from.

Baedal Minjok

While Baedal Minjok is another great app because of the wide array of things on offer to order, it is only available as an app. This is in contrast to some of the other names on here which can also be accessed on the computer, too. It is a bit more streamlined than Yogiyo, though but it is the payment method includes requiring a facebook of Naver login ID that can trip some users up and be a bit more confusing than Yogiyo. 

Baedal Tong

Another delivery app, albeit one that is available only in Korean. The benefit of the Korean apps includes a wider area to choose from and a wider array of restaurants, too. Like Yogiyo and Baedal Minjok, this app may take some time to figure out if your Korean skills are still more in the beginner area.

Uber Eats

Similar to the Uber taxi service (which will be hard to find in Korea) Uber Eats features drivers picking up your orders and dropping them at your house. Sounds convenient, right? The benefits of Uber Eats includes some of the filter options available for things like vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. One can also order from café chains too for those days you would love an iced Americano from Holly’s or Tom & Tom’s but would love to stay nice and comfy in your apartment even more.

Order and eat, drink and be merry!

Language barriers can be a tough one to circumvent at times, but that is no reason you can’t enjoy Korea’s convenient, fast and efficient delivery options and get to savor some delicious, hot, spicy, vivacious and marvelously delectable Korean food too! And perhaps the quest to order food will also encourage you to learn the Korean language, too. Ones experience really changes for the better and truly comes alive when your Korean skills and understanding increases. Really! And for those who have only just begun to learn Hangeul, once you put in the time, the effort, the possibly wrong translations and the prayers to every deity imaginable that your order went through and then it does! You will feel one of the greatest feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment, and the fried chicken or jjajangmyeon you just ordered hot and ready to eat will be the perfect reward for your intrepid endeavors. So, don’t feel as though pizza is out of reach while you live in Korea. Let one of these apps make your stay much more pleasurable!


  • Dewey, Laura, and Loraine Scott. “Ordering Takeout in Seoul.” Teach English in Korea – Korvia Consulting, 19 Apr. 2018,
  • “Food Delivery In Seoul: How To Order Delivery In Korea.” Be Marie Korea, 4 Dec. 2019,
  • Kim, Albert. “Top 5 Korean Delivery Apps and How To Use Them: 10 Magazine.” 10 Magazine Korea, 26 Sept. 2019,

Avoid Eating Everything off the Plate in China

It’s obvious that you don’t want to waste food. When eating with your own family or best friends, it’s of course ok to finish all the food. However, in a more formal setting you’ve got to leave some on the plates. Here’s why:

When having a meal, try to avoid eating everything off the plates in the middle of the table. By leaving some food it shows you are full. If you finish all the food it is considered impolite and means you are still hungry! The host will feel embarrassed and order more food (even if everyone is actually full).

Finishing the food on your plate is however fine, as long as you don’t clean the plate where the dishes are being serve on. Leave a bit on the plate to show some modesty.

Also on a day like Chinese New Year leaving a bit behind means you have an extra spiritual food reserve through out the year.

Exchange & Examine a Business Card

In Asia, exchanging business cards is a true ritual. There’s a few important customs that you need to keep in mind for successful meeting.

  1. Always make sure to receive the business card with both hands. In some countries, it’s rude to accept a card with a single hand or even worse with your right hand. Right hands are perceived to be used only during toilet visits. Thus, use both your hands to make sure you don’t upset someone and make a good first impression that you’ve done your homework.
  2. Offer your own business card in exchange. If your has one side translated on the local language, then make sure that side faces up.
  3. After you receive a business card of your Chinese host try to examine it closely to get a good image.  Make sure to remember the name and position/role of the person.
  4. After you looked at it well, place it on the table in front of you and keep it there until after the meeting. Don’t put it away directly.

Tip: Have your business card translated in the local language. This show that you really care and that you’re professionally prepared.

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Hanbok; Korean Folk Clothing

Germany has lederhosen, Japan has the kimono, Connecticut has Polo shirts and Korea has hanbok(한복). But what exactly is hanbok and most importantly, how can you get your hands on some of these wonderful articles of clothing and wear some for yourself?

The origins

The true beginning of these wonderfully designed and fabulously colorful sets of clothing are said to go back to the Joseon era (1392-1897), which is what modern hanbok is usually a reflection of, but the precedents for hanbok go back much further in Korean history, over one thousand years ago.

During the Joseon era though, hanbok and clothing of this style were worn every day. The different colors, symbols, designs and levels of intricacy of ones clothing reflected profession and social status. The general design of hanbok and the special rules, shapes, fabric, materials, colors, patterns, symbols and accessories all tell a story and all have symbolic and spiritual significance.

These rules and significance are mostly drawn from Confucianism and later Neo-Confucianism, which were both the official state religious philosophies and forms of government during Korea’s Joseon period. Symbolism from Taoism, Buddhism and Korean shamanism also play a role in hanbok’s unique, beautiful, lavish and exotic appearance. 

Hanbok: When To Wear?

Today, hanbok has made a big comeback thanks in part to Hanryu/Hallryu(한류) or “Korean Wave”. Hanbok inspired modern fashion pieces as well as traditional style hanbok are relatively common-place throughout Korea and other parts of the world today.

Baby Birthdays, Weddings

Hanbok is typically worn during holidays like Chuseok and Seolnal, during a baby’s Dol, which celebrates a baby’s first birthday, or a couple’s wedding, in which friends and family may wear hanbok and the bride and groom will wear a set of hanbok designed in the style of a Joseon king and queen as well as slightly more casual hanbok during the wedding reception.


Black and white hanbok may also be worn during funerals. Hanbok is known to be bright, vibrant, vivacious and expressive and so black hanbok in particular is almost only ever worn for funerals, while white hanbok was the tradition color worn by most social classes during the Joseon era.

Tea Ceremonies, Cultural Events

In addition to these events or gatherings, people can be found wearing hanbok at Korean tea ceremonies and other cultural events, around Gyeongbokgung palace and at many of the hanok villages like in Jeonju. Near the latter sites, hanbok rental shops are common place and one can have the fun experience of wearing hanbok of various styles, patterns and designs. One can dress like a king or queen, like a scholar-official, a royal guard or even a gisaeng, a type of female entertainer of the Joseon era. 

How to wear hanbok

As mentioned above there is different hanbok for different events and there are particular ways to wear each article of clothing found in each different set of hanbok. So let’s take a look at a few different outfit sets and how the items are all worn in an ensemble.

Men’s hanbok

For men’s typical hanbok the outfit will usually consist of a wide sleeved shirt called a jeogori , a vest or jokki and baji or baggy pants as well as special slipper-like shoes. A traditional round, black horsehair hat known as a gat may also be included as well as a large, wide overcoat known as a durumagi. For those renting hanbok these additional items may cost a bit extra. To wear men’s hanbok properly, the baji, or pants should go on first. There may be some strings to tie around the waste along with a Velcro strap and a zipper to fasten the top of the pants. The ankles will also have short, thick adjustable strings to fasten the openings around your ankles. Next, one can put on the top shirt. This may also have fabric pegs to fasten the neckline. After this, the vest is put on. This one may be a bit tricky because the tassels that form the bow on the front should be tied a special way, while a pin or fastener can close the vest up. The vest is meant to be a bit shorter and tighter, while the pants and shirt and baggy and long. As for the gat, it will be tied and fastened on the head with special tassels, too. And the durumagi is also to be pinned off to one side and fastened with a belt. 

Women’s hanbok

women hanbok

Women’s hanbok includes a large, wide, flowing skirt known as a chima. Another garment is the wide sleeved jeogori shirt and then a short vest as an overcoat. Some style of hanbok may include an intricate woven wig or a wide brimmed circular hat that is fastened with ribbons and strings. A hairpin and other ornaments that have spiritual and symbolic significance may also be included and are different based on the occasion, ones age, ones marital status and ones social status. A long pair of white socks and slightly curved and sometimes heeled shoes may also be included with women’s hanbok.

To wear this hanbok properly, first, put on the long white socks, next put on the chima skirt, this will usually be attached to a thin sleeveless top garment. This is not a complete outfit though without a jeogori over the thin top garment. Fasten and zipper the back of the chima and then put on the top long sleeved jeogori. Like the men’s shirt, this one will be able to be fastened and strapped to one side in order to keep it closed. Next, the vest is put on over the long sleeved shirt. And its fabric tassels can be tied into ribbons and fastened accordingly. Traditionally, a women will wear their hair braided and bound in a certain style, again depending on age, rank and marital status. Usually young and unmarried girls and women will wear their hair in a single braid in the back. Married women can have their hair bound or in an up do similar to the Joseon era styles. Both men and women can wear a magoja, which is a type of jacket worn over the jeogori and the vest.

Children’s hanbok

The hanbok for children is of course similar to that worn by adults with a few distinctions. Children may wear what is called a ggatchi durumagi, which is a long and colorful overcoat fastened in the front with a ribbon. These coats are very splendid and have colorful sleeves decorated with alternating color patterns. In addition to this little overcoat, a cloth head wrap known as a bokgeon may also be worn. This cap is usually black and has a peaked top and fabric that extends down the back. Girls may wear a gulle, which can be black or very colorful and wraps around the head and ears. 

Wedding hanbok

Wedding hanbok resembles the clothing worn by the king and queen during the Joseon era. Colors can vary but the traditional colors are blue for the groom and red for the bride. The blue represents the dragon and the red, the phoenix. The dragon and phoenix represent the harmonious pairing of the male principle, represented by the aerial and amphibious Eastern dragon and the fiery and airy feminine principle that the Eastern Phoenix conveys. This is a more animated expression of the concept of yin and yang which is a philosophical tradition that extends throughout Korean society and even into the design of hanbok, too. This type of hanbok is often worn during a couple’s p’yebaek or during a whole wedding ceremony depending on how traditional the service is! 

For more information about Korean weddings, please visit the below page:

The Groom’s hanbok

This hanbok includes a large overcoat that is worn over another outfit, most likely standard hanbok. This overcoat is adorned with a vestigial belt around the waste that is hard and more ornamental than functional. A headdress similar to the one Korean kings would wear is also worn atop the head and a pair of black boots that reach to the knees may also be worn.

The Bride’s hanbok

The bride’s hanbok is truly exquisite. Her hair may be braided in a particular way and she will wear many hairpieces, like one long hairpin in the back just below her ears that holds flowing tapestry-like fabric adorned with intricate designs. She may also wear a large black headdress atop the head that is rounded and black and covered with gems and special pins. Over the bride’s standard hanbok or other clothing she will wear a red, flowing gown with large, wide sleeves that are lavishly ornate. The bride will also usually have two small red blush marks taped or painted on her cheeks. Another key feature is the large white fabric sheet that may be plain white or embellished with designs or Classical Chinese characters. This sheet is used to catch jujubes and chestnuts during the p’yebaek. 

Traditional electrifies the modern

Come and discover the amazing and rich cultural tradition of hanbok! Whether you are exploring the palaces of Seoul or enjoying the cherry blossoms in Jeonju, or even celebrating Korean Lunar New Year, wearing hanbok is the perfect way to immerse oneself in Korean culture. Thousands of years in the making have crafted and weaved life into hanbok. A life which is as rich and illustrious today as it was during the height of the Joseon dynasty!


  • “Hanbok.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Dec. 2019,
  • Ladner, Mimsie. “Hanbok: An Introduction to South Korea’s National Dress.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 25 Jan. 2017,
  • “Weather 12-18-2019.” Visitkorea,