Korean Drinking Essay, Research Paper
Korean traditional liquor is usually made of various kinds of flowers, herbs, grains and fruits. The recipe differs from one region and family to another. Handed down from one generation to the next, Korean liquor has many uses, from meals to memorial services and is also used in receiving important quests. Some traditional liquors have outstanding cultural significance and have been officially designed as cultural properties by the Korean government.
Korea’s traditional liquor and cakes exhibit a unique elegance and sincerity. They also represent a Korean host family’s heartfelt welcome and dedication to its guests, as well as the joy and conviviality they share when getting together. On such happy occasions, traditional Korean cakes and liquor bring family an friends closer, while providing a delicious tastes experience unequaled anywhere else on earth.
soju, a distilled liquor
You will particularly enjoy tasting traditional Korean liquors such as Ch’ongju (strained rice wine), Insamju(ginseng liquor) and Makkolli(unstrained rice wine). Each province has its own special liquors. Munbaeju in Seoul, Igangju in Chollabuk-do Province, Andong Soju in Andong, Kyongju Popchu in Kyongsangbuk-do Province, Changgunju in Chonju, Chollabuk-do Province and Paegilju in Kongju, Ch’ungch’ongnam-do Province are famous. You should also learn Korean drinking etiquette. When somebody offers to fill your glass, hold it up with your right hand and place your left hand lightly under it.
From ancient times, Korea has practiced churye, a specific set of manners and customs around drinking. Even in the present day, there are many customs that are still observed at drinking parties. For example, one pours liquor for other persons only, never for oneself, and when drinking with a senior, a Korean will receive the liquor only when it is offered and will drink with the head turned aside, not facing the other person.
The most popular Korean liquors are makkolli (unrefined rice wine), ch’ongju (refined rice wine) and soju(liquor made from potatoes). Makkolli, the oldest liquor in Korea, is made by steaming non-glutinous and glutinous rice together, then drying it, mixing it with malted wheat and water and letting the mixture ferment. This fermented mixture is a milky white and is consumed in that form.
Ch’ongju is made in the same way, however only the clear liquid that separates out of the makkolli is used. Ch’ongju is also called yakju.
Korean soju, made from fermented potatoes, is gaining great popularity in the world market, particularly in Japan, and is currently being exported to over 70 countries.
Some very old traditional folk liquors have been designated Major Intangible Cultural Assets and the individuals who possess the skills of manufacturing these wines are Human Cultural Assets. Korean national liquors include Seoul Munbaeju, made from wheat, millet and Indian millet; Myonch’on Tugyonju(azalea liquor) from Tangjin, Chungchongnam-do province; and Popju(sticky rice liquor) from Kyodong, Kyongju. Each Province has its own special liquors:
Do not leave chopsticks inserted directly into the rice, as this is a ceremonial act performed in memorial services for the dead.
Koreans always wait for the oldest person present to begin eating before they begin and do not leave the table until the oldest person has finished.
liquor for other persons only, never for oneself, and when drinking with a senior, a Korean will receive the liquor only when it is offered and will drink with the head turned aside, not facing the other person.
To the Koreans, drinking plays a very improtant role in everyday life.
For example, in many cases, in order to close a tough deal, a businessperson and his associates would discuss business problems over a drink. This is equally the same one someone who wants expand their friendship with another person. People think that drinking is a very good way to discuss tough subjucts.
They even believe that liquor makes a person more honest.
Group drinking, especially among work friends is common. This represents one particular aspect of Korean human relations. Korean usually think of their co-workers as family.
What this means is that to Koreans, work and family are treated as the same.
This is why we often see co-workers drinking together.
This is a good way for them to relieve their stress in a pleasant environment. Light drinking is thought to promote friendly-relations among friends.
There are unique Korean drinking customs. I will make a few points.
If you are drinking with someone with a higher social status or age, the younger person serves or pours a drink with two hands. And also receives the drink with two hands. This is a sign of respect.
It is improtant to note that you should fill the glass on just one pour, and it should be about 4/5 filled.
If someone wants to share or have a drink with you, it is a sign that the person wants to get closer to you. Sometimes it is considered rude to decline such an offer.
When you drink with persons older than you, you should be careful with pouring liquor. Of course, you may not make other’s glass overflow(liquor is expensive!), but more significant is to use two hands for an older one. It is a token of admiration, and is applied to every case in Korea. For instance, you should submit your paper to your teacher using two hands.
There is another aspect you must know. You have to make sure that other’s glass is empty before you fill it. It is rude to fill a glass before it’s empty. And, if vacant, fill it as soon as possible not to be hurt(?), because pouring liquor into his/her own glass is considered bad and unlucky.
Koreans have some different drinking manners from other countries. When young people drink with those who are older than them, for example, they should drop to their knees and receive a drink to show respect for older people. On the other hand, when they drink with friends or classmates, they can make a friend very easily even though they are meeting for the first time. However, we often don’t think about negative consequences which can arise from drinking.
First, drinking can cause physical problems. When freshmen enter a university, senior students usually hold a drinking party to celebrate and congratulate their entrance. Although some of the freshmen refuse to drink, senior students try to force to drink heavily at the party, and then that causes problems.
About seven months ago, I heard through the mass media that one freshman died at such an entrance party. He was a freshman at Yonsei University. He entered the university with good grades. After the orientation party was over, senior students held another party at a motel. At that time, he was drunk already. The next morning, one of his freshman classmates found him dead. Until he was found by that freshman at 5 o’clock, senior students didn’t know what they had caused the night before. Finally, his airway was clogged by some food while he was throwing up without consciousness. That’s what killed him. What is the real purpose of these parties? Nobody, especilly senior students, cna answer easily.
Second, drinking can interrupt your university life. College students should spend their school life on studying or broadening their view on society–that must be the most important part of our college life–but many students forget that fact. Sometimes, when you are drinking, you can black out and make some mistakes without consciousness like fighting or committing a crime. That may lead you to lose your relations with classmates. Without close friends’ help, you can’t live university life well. In addition, that makes students become indifferent to studying. During vacations, when they receive their class grades, they may be surprised, but then it will be too late.
Certainly, Korean drinking manners have a positive side. At a drinking party, we can share our feeling and anxieties, which we can’t talk about easily in ordinary life, without reluctance. So, we can learn how to get along with people and how to make freinds. However, we shouldn’t forget the fact that drinking can also cause a lot of negative consequences. At this time, I dare to say to all university students, don’t spend too much time drinking and don’t force someone to drink with the biased opinion that everybody should drink a lot. It is tiem to throw away our biased opinions about drinking. Please, put yourself in other people’s shoes when you are at a drinking party. At best, drinking can be a temporary way to escape from daily stress. Don’t forget that you are so young. You have a lot of things to do in your university life. You can broaden your way of thinking by studying your major and having deep discussion with other students, which will help you to prepare for your future life and to make it better.