Advanced Korean Slang: 등산할 때 불륜 | Extramarital Affairs on the Mountainside in Korea

Recently I found out about what really is going on with all those middle-aged Koreans in their stylish hiking outfits and every-weekend trips to hike mountains in Seoul. Hop on the subway early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday and you’re bound to see the flocks of 아줌마들 and 아저씨들 moving en masse to the foothills where the hiking trails begin.

But apparently all is not as it seems, as my language partner informed me – “불륜이 (affair, adultery, unfaithfulness) 많아.” Whilst hiking in the densely forested mountains, alongside a man from a hiking club who has aged but still has the signs of the handsome features of his youth, an ahjumma might think of her husband on the couch at home, drinking, and she starts thinking some more…and perhaps this is how these affairs begin.

To be honest, I’d rather not think too deeply about it. I will leave it to you to imagine (or not) as you desire. Instead, consider doing this next time you go hiking in Korea and see if you get the same reaction:


“Bro, shall I teach you how to distinguish cheating couples?” “???” “HONEY! WHO IS THAT PERSON?” *couples swiftly separate, sweating nervously*

If you’re interested in reading up on suggestions of how to tell if someone’s cheating while  climbing mountains, you can check out this Korean blog post.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

지금 재생중:

A song fitting of this topic, though I’m not a fan of people who cheat…

Confucius Lives Next Door





While you may tell yourself that you’re only interested in South Korea, Confucius Lives Next Door by T. R. Reid is my number one book for learning about Asian (not just South Korean) culture. Maybe there’s a better book out there that I haven’t read yet, but this book really takes the cake. Or the kimchi.


Kimchi. Yum.

Kimchi. Yum. Awful attempt at making an image of kimchi spell the word kimchi. Not yum. My apologies…


Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West is primarily written about the author’s experience with the culture in Japan; however, as the author spent time living in places throughout Asia, including South Korea, I find this relatively inconsequential, because there’s a lot to be learned about Asian culture in general from this book. The book is a goldmine of information about the reasons why Asian culture is the way it is -and how America can benefit from it.

So who’s the incredibly wise guy whose social, economic, and cultural influence is still going strong throughout China, Japan, South Korea, etc.?


Confucius - The Greatest Thinker and Educator

This guy. Confucius – The Greatest Thinker and Educator


T. R. Reid knows quite a lot about Confucius, yet the book doesn’t talk about Confucius’ life. The book details Reid’s experience and afterthoughts on moving with his family to Asia. It explains how Confucianism is pervasive to Asian culture and how it has helped create not only the incredible “Economic Miracle” of rapidly modernizing and prospering Asian countries but also the lesser known but equally important “Social Miracle.” It even explores comparisons between Asia and the United States, and, though the book is more than a decade old, it remains useful to the reader seeking cultural understanding.

Pick up a copy of Confucius Lives Next Door and start understanding why family is so important in South Korea, why honorifics, formal language, bowing, deferral to elders, and general social stability are a common element to much of Asia. Yeah, yeah, Confucius is part of the reason. But the other reasons are discussed in the pages of T.R. Reid’s book. Read it. You won’t regret it.

And if you’re afraid it’ll be boring, Reid’s humorous yet cuttingly informative writing style will keep you interested to the very end.


Read some goodreads opinions.

Read another person’s review of T.R. Reid’s book (it’s not just me!).

Find out more about T.R. Reid on the man’s own site.

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