Counting in Korea seems confusing to me. Koreans have their first birthday on the day they are born, so their age is 1 or 2 years older than we are. They say that they start counting the day they are conceived. How do they know what day they are conceived on? And why is the Korean child's gestation time 52 weeks instead of 40 weeks like in America? I checked and the Japanese and Chinese do not use this method, so this seems to be a Korean thing.
Went to a cash machine to get money out. I want to take out 100,000 won (about $80). Go through the process - select cash withdrawl, swipe card, enter my PIN, and then it gets to where I choose the amount. Has numbers listed in various increments up to 70. I figure these are in thousands, so my option appears to be 70,000 won max. Not as much as I wanted, but 70,000 will do. Hit that and wait a long time as the machine clunks and creaks. Then the receipt pops out and the door opens and in front of me is this huge wad of bills. Turns out the 70 meant seventy 10,000 won bills. Way more than I wanted. Kind of like a cash machine in the states not asking you how much money you want, but how many $20 bills to give you.
Americans base our numbers around ,000 increments. Thousand, million, billion, trillion, etc. - each has 3 zeros more than the last. Koreans don't seem to do this. For example, when I watch an English language TV show with Korean subtitles, I will hear they say 6 million, but see printed in the subtitles '60' and then some Korean character which must mean 100,000.
Koreans (and most Asians at that) count with their hands different than we do. Americans start with a closed fist and point out a finger at a time to count, with the pointer finger first and their thumb last. So a 2 would be pointer finger and middle finger stretched out (the British way of saying 'piss off'). Koreans start with an open hand and pull in a finger to count, starting with their thumb. So a 2 for them is the middle, ring, and pinkie outstretched, and the others curled in (kind of like the OK sign). I asked one of my coworkers to count to 2 with her hand and I did the same with mine and took a picture of this (the Koreans already must think I am nuts, so my request probably didn't surprise them)…
The Korean method does allow them to count to 20 with their hands. 1 through 5 is as I described. 6 through 10 can either be the other hand in the same manner, or the same hand in the reverse (6 is the pinkie outstretched, 7 would be pinkie and ring finger, etc.). An American would have to pull their shoes off to get past 10 (or more likely just give up).
There may not be too many updates in December. Have a 5 day vacation coming up and will be back in California for the Holidays, not leaving me much time in Asia to be experiencing things.Previous Post - Back to Menu - Next Post