Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

Korean Culture miniclass: the 목욕탕

Since I just came back from the manliest place in all of Korea, I thought I’d write you guys up a short piece to explain what’s up with it. Hopefully, I’ll be writing more of these short items covering small cultural things every now and then.

“So, what is a 목욕탕 (mokjoktang)” you might be wondering.
Well…imagine your bathroom.
Now imagine it’s 20 times as big, instead of one tub there’s three giant ones, instead of one shower there’s dozens and instead of just you using it, it’s dozens of naked Korean dudes. That’s basically a 목욕탕.
Now imagine 3+ stories built around this idea and you’ve got yourself a 찜질방 (jimjilbang).

t22

[Okay so usually it doesn’t look as clean as this but this is the general idea]

목욕탕s are the manliest place there is.
Basically you just go there, get rid of all those pesky clothes and do whatever the fuck you want.
You can sit around in a (always uncomfortably hot, because forcing your body to deal with it is MANLY AS HELL) bath, take a one hour shower, go for a little swim in an ice cold bath (because forcing your body to deal with it is MANLY AS HELL), scratch your butt while laying on the divider between two baths (yes, some dude was doing this today) while watching baseball, read a plasticized newspaper while soaking in some green tea water or go out of the bathing area, sit your naked ass down on a sofa and watch some terrible drama on KBS and no one even gives a shit.

t23

[Ask your bro to scrub you down, or pay a dude that could be your grandpa to do it for you; why not!?]

Obviously it’s a bit of a weird experience for foreigners since:
1. We generally don’t have public baths in our countries
2. The public baths here are full of naked Koreans
3. Most of those naked Koreans are either way skinnier than you, or uncomfortably fat
4. All of them are staring at you because you’re white
5. And sometimes they’re not even trying to hide that they’re staring at what’s between your legs
Because yeah, what you heard about Korean men is true (Sorry ladies, I know you secretly wished your G Dragon and Hyun Bin would be loaded down there but…fat chance) and that leads to some hilarious…shall we say…cultural exchanges?
Unfortunately I can’t see shit without my glasses so I’ve probably missed dozens of instances of these things, but there has been this one time when an old guy walked by me super slowly while I was showering and even though I wasn’t wearing my glasses I could still see his head slowly turning as he walked by, keeping his eyes firmly rooted on my private parts.
Another time a young dude seriously walked up to me outside of the bathing room as I was drying off, stared at my junk for a while, extended a thumb and said ‘Very Good!’ before walking away casually.
Uh…yeah..

However, apart from those curiosities a visit to the 목욕탕 is incredibly relaxing and comfortable. You pay 5,000 won (about 4 euros) and you can stay as long as you want. In the case of a 찜질방 you pay a little bit more and you can literally stay as long as you want, even sleeping there, using the larger sauna rooms, rec rooms, exercise rooms and even gaming and karaoke rooms. Of course you’ll be sleeping on the floor using an actual block of wood as a pillow but beggars can’t be choosers, can they?

[To Koreans, this looks like a perfectly valid way to spend the night]

[To Koreans, this looks like a perfectly valid way to spend the night]

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This entry was posted on 2 July 2015 by in Korea and tagged , , , , , , .

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Forgotten Tomes

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From #temples to #churches.

#church #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #religion #Christian #Christianity #cross #Korean #spooky #spoopy #filter #woods #교회 #무서워 #서울 #기독교 I had a great time working with #SBS on their new program #내방안내서 in the beautiful #Mihwangsa #temple. I'm sure that @zazimusic has made @haemin_sunim proud with their song based on his book, #멈추면비로소보이는것들.
며칠동안 #미황사 에서 시간을 보내는 게 큰 인상을 주었고 만난 사람들 너무 친절하게 챙겨서 감사하는 말 밖에 못 한다.
다들 #수고했어.

#Korea #SouthKorea #tv #filming #television #tvshow #Koreantv #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #절 #불교 #텔레비전 #쇼 #촬영 #버라이어티 #발송 I came back to #Seoul yesterday. Waking up to the sound of cars passing under my window and people shouting instead of the sound of the waves rolling over the beach and bugs chirping, I realized again that a part of me hates this city, no matter how much I love it. Now I understand why #혜민스님 makes the trip back to #미황사 so often even though he lives in Seoul as well.

For people living in a big city like this, it's important to #slowdown and not get caught and lose yourself in the flow of things. Life in the #countryside and in a #temple is so different, so much more #empty, but so much more fulfilling.

#Korea #SouthKorea #Mihwangsa #color #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #tranquility #traditional #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #108배 #전통 #역사 #생각 #자성 #내이야기 #미황사 에서 사흘밖에 안 보냈는데, 그래도 #생각 을 많이 바뀌었다. #성찰 하면서 내 한국 생활도 생각하고 한국 사람들의 #촌 을 생각하면서 왜 한국이랑 사랑에 빠졌는지 다시 깨달았어요. 한국에서 사는 것이 선물이니까.. 잘 살아야지.

#절라도 #절라남도 #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #혜민스님 #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #tranquility #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #혜민스님 의 #미황사 에서 #멈추면비로소보이는것들 많다. #절 의 #평화 를 느끼고 마음을 비우면서 깊은 생각도 하고 한국 생활을 #감사 하는 생각도 많고.. 한국이 역시 #아름다운 나라입니다. 
Another gorgeous #sunset at #Mihwangsa #temple.
I am so thankful to #SBS and 혜민스님 for letting us stay here.
Just like the title of his book, there are many things you can only see when you #slow down. Staying at the temple and talking with the staff has taught me once again that Korea is an amazing country, and I couldn't be happier to be here. 
#nofilter #Korea #SouthKorea #island #traditional #tranquility #nature #wood #meditation Everything is more beautiful in #Jeollanamdo, even a #sunset.

#nature #Korea #SouthKorea #sea #island #절라도 #절라남도 #바다 #섬 #자연 #일몰
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