Monday, December 14, 2009

The Korean Squat.

Don't lie. You do it sometimes when no one's around.

For the uninitiated, you are in for a treat. The Korean Squat (also referred to as the Kimchi Squat) is a great way to relieve tired legs whilst waiting for public transportation, using a large brown bowl, or just chatting with friends when chairs are MIA.

It's not terribly hard to see this on a daily basis. For that matter, there's no shortage of people posting photos of the peculiar act, either. Case in point: Here, here, here, and here. Even celebrities do it. Proof:
KC101 blog korean squat kimchi
What I like is that the Korean Squat is not only applicable to Koreans - apparently many different people of Asian decent can do it with ease. White people everywhere are jealous. I can do it but like other foreigners, I can only do it for a fraction of the time that Koreans do it. The pressure on the lower half of my body is excruciating after a few minutes. However, after I've been standing for a long time I find myself squatting for only a brief time to regain some strength in my feet when chairs and benches are absent. You're welcome legs.

But, it's not that I look down upon it with condescension or marvel at it with wonder, it's simply that the squat is one the little things about Korea that make it special to me. I would venture to guess that most Koreans do not think of the squat as special or even uniquely Korean.

If someone in America squatted at an intersection waiting for the light to change, people would either ask if the person is alright or pass him or her off as a crazy person. Either way it would deserve some attention.
Furthermore, I would guess that without a foreigner gawking with a camera, they wouldn't think twice about doing it in the first place. Let alone, a foreigner such as myself writing a blog post about something that most would likely consider just a normal part of their lives; no more interesting than the zipper neckties or instant freeze dried coffee so readily available.

So now it's just up to the masses to decide to do it or not - social awkwardness be damned. Now that you have been exposed, I pose the question: Are you a squatter?