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Archive for the ‘Things That You Wear’ Category


If you’ve ever been to Korea (or pretty much any country in the Far East), you have seen folks of all ages and walks of life wearing surgical masks. Here is a guide for expatriates in Korea who would like to join in the fun but are unsure of when it is appropriate to do so.     

Surgical masks may be worn under the following conditions:     

  • If you have a cold or the flu;
  • If you are trying to avoid catching a cold or the flu;
  • If the weather is cold;
  • If a wind storm is blowing sand from the Gobi Desert all over the place;
  • If the air pollution is bad; or
  • If it is a Tuesday.

Basically, it is acceptable to wear a surgical mask pretty much any day of the year. There is, however, no rule that says it must cover your mouth. In fact, it is not unusual to see some young fellow walking around with his mask covering only his chin. Whether this is an expression of youthful rebellion or simply some jaunty new style, I cannot say for certain.     

Coming or going? Doesn't matter. Either is perfectly fine.

Coming or going? Doesn't matter. Either is perfectly fine.

 

Want to wear one while using the public exercise equipment? Go for it!

Want to wear one while using the public exercise equipment? Go for it!

 

Want to wear one that offers absolutely no protection against infection? Why not? Ritual is an important part of life.

Want to wear one that offers absolutely no protection against infection? Why not? Ritual is an important part of life.

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An ajuma works a pair of toe socks at the Gu In Jung Sa Temple's sungmoo on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

An ajuma works a pair of toe socks at the Gu In Jung Sa Temple’s sungmoo on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

 

While I was at Gu In Jung Sa Temple watching the sungmoo on Sunday (please see Buddhism With Korean Characteristics below), I noticed an older woman wearing toe socks. I’ve always thought these gloves for the feet were just a novelty item, but apparently they’re not over here. 

I figured that perhaps toe socks were something that ajumas wear, but KJ’s older sister, Kyung-mi, set me straight. She informed me that they are most commonly worn by people suffering from athlete’s foot so that the toes can be kept separated. In fact, she said, her husband has a few pairs and I could have one – an unopened and not previously worn pair, I would like to make clear. 

I’m always up for a new experience, so I said sure. Off she went to fetch them, and I wore them that afternoon when Kyung-mi, her husband, KJ and I took the kids out to Ulsan. Well, I am quite pleasantly surprised to report that they are the most god damn comfortable things I’ve ever worn on my feet. 

Sure they look kind of funny, but your feet stay cool and you don’t even feel like you’re wearing socks. They are fantastic. 

A place for every toe + Every toe in its place = AWESOME!

A place for every toe + Every toe in its place = AWESOME!

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