Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DJ's and Korean Weddings

I feel like I'm getting a bit lazy and slightly behind with my posts, which is almost a good thing, cause it means that I'm busy.

Last weekend we kicked off our Friday night with a DJ Shadown show in Hongdae. There were likely well over a thousand people packed into a tiny warehouse for the show. He went on at 1am and we arrived with plenty of time to spare. It was probably the most foreigners I've seen in a while (aside from the Adventure Korea tour I guess...). Anyway, aside from the jerks who thought that Shadow was performing "just for them" in the front, you know the type, think that they can push through the crowd back and forth during the show to refresh their beers - not cool. Aside from them, the show was great and by the end of it, we were exhausted. We got out of there around 3:30am and headed home.

Saturday I spent shopping because I had a Sunday Korean wedding to attend. This was probably the strangest wedding I've ever been to. It wasn't entirely Korean and it wasn't entirely western. Very confusing.

First of all, when I arrived the bride was in this room alone with a photographer waiting for guests to arrive to have their photo taken with her. She looked like a tiny Korean doll...well, she is a TINY Korean girl. I was directed to this room and had my photo taken with her. John wasn't with me, as he was at his ball hockey game, and the bride seemed genuinely disappointed that she wasn't able to meet him. This girl, Hee Joon, was a coworker of mine from my days at Plus Academy who tracked me down via an old student of mine. After the photo shoot, we sat down at the back of the wedding hall -- not a church, but a giant room fully equipped with a light stage and a huge bubble machine.
First the groom walks down the aisle, alone but to music and the bubble machine and lights go nuts. Then the bride and her father walk down the aisle...same thing, music, bubbles, and lights. Then the bride and groom bow to each other, and the justice of the peace (I'm assuming this is what he was) says some words. The bride and groom bow at their parents and then someone starts playing a traditional sounding plucky instrument while everyone just watches. Then, the bride and groom head back down the aisle because it's finished and...KAPOW...some sort of explosive streamers fly out of the air and champagne bottles are uncorked for the family.
Meanwhile, during the service all of the guests are just chatting away as if nothing special is going on, there is never a silence during the ceremony. Halfway through the ceremony, most of the guests have run upstairs to the 17th floor where there is a buffet lunch. Koreans constantly complain that they are so 'busy' and they can't possibly stay to attend the entire wedding, so they come, sign the guestbook, drop off some cash, eat and run. We, however, waited until the ceremony seemed to be over until we headed upstairs for some food.

The food was relatively 'normal' and entirely edible, nothing alive or strangely customary. So we sat down in a massive room, ate and then found out that there was a second ceremony happening while everyone was eating. The bride had changed into traditional Korean clothing, Hanbok, and bowed to her parents while they threw chestnuts and dates at them (which indicate how many girls and boys the couple will produce). We missed this part due to our lack of Korean language skills and the fact that there were no announcements about this part....or any part.

Anyway, after 2 hours...yes, just 2 hours the ceremony and reception were finished and we left.

It was by far the strangest, most rushed wedding that I've ever been to and probably not one that I'd attend just doesn't seem worthwhile and definitely not 'traditional' or a 'cultural experience' that is valuable. However it was interesting nevertheless.


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