Thursday, January 11, 2018

Age Is Just A (Complicated) Number

I've lived in South Korea for almost a decade now and I'll admit, I still don't understand how Korean age-accounting works (i.e., "East Asia Age Reckoning.")  Basically, Koreans count their Lunar New Year as a birthday and depending on your actual birthday, you can be either one or two years older than you would be in, say, America.  It's weird.  And it might be changing:
"While China, where the tradition originated, Japan and even North Korea officially did away with the traditional system in an effort to embrace the modern age system, South Korea stuck with it and essentially became the only Asian country where the old age calculating system is still practiced and culturally prevails even to date.
People from different cultures who first encounter the so-called Korean age often express interest in its novelty, prompting several YouTubers and K-pop-focused websites to give extensive coverage to the unique age system, under which one can experience an age gap of up to two years in some cases.
However, South Koreans, particularly younger generations, are experiencing difficulties switching back and forth between the western age system and Korean Age, and they have taken the issue to the internet where discussions are being had over the pros and cons of the traditional age system."
It's a rare occasion when North Korea is more "Western" regarding a cultural issue than South Korea is.

Also, I'm sure I'm not the only foreigner here who always uses his "Western" age.  Because, vanity.

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