Standing in line, respecting personal space and talking with an “inside voice” are all tough things to do in Asia. Getting a seat on the subway is like winning the lottery in Seoul. I’d constantly marvel at how girls could fit enough air to carry on conversations loud enough to fill up entire coffee shops. And going up an escalator was enough to drive me bonkers.
Sometimes you just need to see some ninjas fight, a romance unfold, a masked madman murdering mating teens or some good fart jokes. So you go to the movies. Luckily, your movie-watching options vary widely in Korea.
Since copyright laws are different there, you can still find bootleg DVDs and such, but that’s becoming less and less popular since most people just download what they want.
Korean teen couples don’t have a lot of chances to, ahem, get time to themselves. They don’t have cars, fields or friends’ apartments where they can make out. Most people live with their parents until they’re married. So if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend need some privacy, you go to a “DVD room.”
Imagine a private room — just a couch and a TV. Maybe there’s a coffee table with flowers for decoration. Students or whoever will rent a DVD, go to the room and watch the movie. Maybe they watch “Titanic”; maybe they find something steamier to do. I’ve never seen one because white people aren’t allowed inside them.
However, the best is the basic movie theater.
At first, I felt terrified to do one of my favorite activities in Korea. I can’t stand it when people talk during movies unless it’s a movie we: 1. have all seen 1,000 times or 2. don’t care about.
Generally, Koreans are on their phones much more than the average American, so I worried I’d be listening to digital balloons popping, farms growing and Angry Birds flying. Or just people blabbing and texting. Koreans also eat louder than Americans — some say it’s a sign of respect to the cook.
I remember sitting in my seat waiting for my first movie to start in Korea. Even though I felt so excited to see “Toy Story 3” or whatever I was watching, I dreaded the beginning of the show.
Then the lights dimmed, the curtains came together and the show started. There was no texting, toe tapping, asking their neighbor if they think the monster is going to get the good guy or any other distractions. It was a wonderful experience.
Now back in America, I need to deal with people posting Instagram selfies, getting into fistfights and talking like there’s no tomorrow. But maybe someday I’ll earn enough money to buy my own movie theater.