Monday, November 28, 2011

Korean musings

A bitty sort of day given that Liz+girls and I had different flights home (long story), museums all closed and the weather still grey, but pleasantly spent wandering streets on the south side of the Han River and sitting in cafes reading a guidebook. Here are a dozen mildly interesting facts about Seoul & Korea:

- Seoul is very big - 10m or 20m people depending on how you define it
- South Korea is about the size of Hungary and is smaller than North Korea
- 30% of Koreans are Christian - more than any other religion (next is Buddhism at 23%)
- The Seoul underground system, which didn't open until 1974, has 328 stations
- Although a peninsula, it might as well be an island (everything comes in or goes out by air or sea because of its 'interesting' northern neighbour)
- South Korea has the world's fastest internet speeds
- It also builds the most ships in the world
- Apparently there are plans to deploy English-teaching robot assistants to compensate for the shortage of teachers
- I think Seoul is one of only nine world cities that have hosted both the OIympics and a World Cup Finals match
- The Korean (Hangul) written language is an alphabet of 24 consonants & vowels, but instead of being written sequentially like the letters of the Roman alphabet, they're grouped into blocks
- Korean films are on the up, thanks in part to a screen quota requiring cinemas to show Korean films at least 73 days a year. Pusan Film Festival is without too much argument the best in Asia.

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