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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The culture of FEET in Korea


You rarely see a Korean woman without a fantastic pair of shoes- shined, formal and... suggestive of clean feet?

Feet are considered dirty in Korea- the dirtiest part of the body, in fact. Resting your feet on the couch, or close to someones head, is incredibly rude.

So, like the cleaning of the ears, massaging a loved one's feet is a selfless act. Children may be asked to massage their Mother, Father or Grandparents' feet. If a Korean girlfriend digs her thumbs into her man's soles, that's some serious loving.

One time I had Min over, and was stomping around in high heel boots. He suggested I take them off. Apparently it seemed as strange as the time I offered Chung a small tumbler of Soju from a bottle I picked up at the grocery store, seduced by the price alone: $1. Soju is to be consumed with a meal only- and shoes are to be removed at the door. Silly Canadian girl.

Nearly all Korean apartments have heated floors, so it makes sense to enjoy the warmth. Also, traditional restaurants, where you sit cross-legged on a pillow, provide a mat or a shelf on which to leave your footwear.

My question is this: If feet are so dirty, why remove shoes in the home? My guess is that Koreans see feet as dirty, but shoes as contaminated. You want your guests to feel at home, so you put up with the atrocities attached to their ankles.

12 comments:

Ernest said...

my feet smells "quesito"... haha ha

i just kidding...

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kimberly said...

Nowadays is very important to know about different culture specially because many people travel from differents country. When we have some knowledge about the cultures we can understand better the people and we can understand ourselve in a simple way, and is easy to forget any taboo that impide the enjoyment of our life.
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Leire said...

"My guess is that Koreans see feet as dirty, but shoes as contaminated. You want your guests to feel at home, so you put up with the atrocities attached to their ankles"

Its not that at all! Why would you want to stomp around a clean house with your dirty shoes that have been walking on the streets? Just saying :)

Viagra Online said...

This is amazing because women in Japan care about how their feet looks like, and that's perfect because I have an special fetish for the women's feet, it get so crazy.

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