All posts by Mack Demien

Beauty’s Cultural Standards

Every culture has different standards for aesthetics. Some difference are small and others grow larger the more you notice them. For instance the ideal of beauty for women in South Korea makes itself more and more apparent as one strolls down the streets and especially as one sits in from of the TV. On America the ideal of beauty held for women focuses on sexy. What body shape, muscle tone, facial structure, and hair styles can make a women sexy are the most desirable. However, I've noticed a difference in South Korea. Th is difference distinguishes itself the most through television where nearly every actress looks and acts cutsy. Sitting in front of the TV with my new friends I learned to identify marks of plastic surgery from eyes cut abnormally wide to skin bleached far too pale. Each deliberate change to the actresses' appearances further underlined the beauty ideal I'd begun to notice in South Korea. While we aim for sexy, they aim for cute innocence.

Korean Meals

There is some feature I've begun to notice as constant in meals dubbed 'korean' and I'm not thinking of the excessive side dishes. From the traditional cultural meals outside historical villiges to the renown Korean Barneques to the Japanese-Korean fusion entree served in a packed city, the main dish sits on a small furnace like tool that continues to cook it even as people pick it apart and consume it. It's varied from small, table-top stoves to  hot cylindric iron which is replaced after 20 minutes because it has begun to cool. Every meal I've had in South Korea that relates itself to Korean culture has had a tool like this to continue cooking the main dish. The only time I've ever seen such a thing in America is for fondue and Fajitas.

A Lutheran’s Reservations

As we worshipped in Pohang today with Methodist Koreans, my culture shock did not come as an American in Korea but as a Missouri -Synod Lutheran propelled out of her quiet little church. To give you some context, the church I was raised in and still love dearly is and has always been very reserved. This is a quality I've only really noticed since coming to Calvin. For example, even after children's shows we never clap. We just sit patiently in silence for the next part of worship to begin. At first, I was very comfortable and content during today's worship. The formality and hymnal music tone was very familiar as was the standing and congregation recitation of what I only assume was scripture or liturgies. Despite the language barrier and my utter lack of knowledge concerning what was happening around me, I felt at home. Continue reading A Lutheran’s Reservations