This book goes into great depth in understanding the similarities, differences, and explanations behind Korean and North American culture, and what happens when they meet. In this chapter the author, Park, takes every contrasting aspect that makes these to cultures different and analyzes the reasoning behind each norm; whether it be social, historical, or for some other reason. Park describes his personal interactions in the North American context, and through his experience the readers (including myself) can relate from similar experiences and / or learn to think of working cultural influences when interacting with all people.
Throughout this entire chapter (two) Park brings up many cultural differences that may cause disagreements, confusion, and problems.
The first section deals with the bond between language and culture. Park says that the line between culture and linguistics is hard to draw or differentiate (240). This resonates with my whole “culture soul”, because a person can only think and communicate the ideas that his language allows him to.
This goes hand in hand. Park quotes Edward T Hall, who said, “Communication is culture, culture is communication”. I personally find this fascinating as I have learned this to be true from education and personal experience. Language is culture sensitive.
I was very glad to see that the author designated a whole section to drinking manners. This sometimes gets over looked in conservative Christian communities, and can cause cultural problems, as Park recollected. It is very important to understand that some cultures have very strong drinking manners and that they are expected to be followed.
A violation of the norms can lead to dishonor and misunderstandings. This section resonated with me, as I have experienced a few cultures where drinking manners are an important social element, especially when forging to relationships. Park mentions a few points that are can be applied cross culturally when one finds themselves in this scenario. A few of them are, who pays?, can I say no?, What to say when I want to leave or stop?, What is considered rude?, etc. These are a few things that someone might want to know when entering a drinking situation cross culturally.
Another section was dedicated to manners and gestures. This is the strictly non-verbal section of the chapter. Park discusses difficulties with common hand gestures, nodding, and whether or not it is acceptable to show emotion. In my experience, misunderstandings of gestures often lead to a quick learning experience after a moment of embarrassment. It is good to know the rude and disgraceful gestures of a culture in order to avoid them, just as it is good to know the curse words of a particular language. Some gestures may be opposite to what we are used to. No matter the case it is good for both parties to be aware of the normal gestures of they’re cross cultural encounter.
Another important section Park concentrates on, and rightfully so, would be the attitude towards age. Throughout the chapter Park had been hinting at it, as it effects multiple aspects of a culture. Including speech and manners which were covered earlier in the chapter. Age is what determines respect in Korea. It is essential to understand the role that age has in the culture we plan on interacting with. In this chapter Park covers all the cultural bases in at least one way or another, and as readers we can learn about our own culture as well as the Korean culture. The lessons which are taught in this chapter, and the terms that are explained can be applied to any two cultures if done appropriately.