Social Lubrication

Last night Adrian and I had the opportunity to partake in a social event with his school.  Today marks the last day of school before summer holidays. So last night, all the teachers in Adrian’s school celebrated.

Social gatherings that involve food and drinking are very common place in Korea.  An evening out with co-workers often follows a very predictable pattern.  It is usually starts off with some dinner, which is often some type of grilled meat, washed down with soju, Korea’s national vodka-like drink, followed by beer and whiskey.  “Keep drinking until you are severely drunk” would probably sum up a Korean’s motto at these events.  One’s competence is often judged by the amount of alcohol they can consume.

It may seem like I am painting a very negative picture of the whole event, but it is actually a lot of fun.  Even more so when you are not drinking as much as they are; it turns into a very entertaining production that is very amusing to watch.

The reason for these drunken escapades is to bond a group together.  The alcohol acts as a “social lubrication” to brake down barriers and bring a working team closer together.  Although, at times, it can get a little out of hand, it is quite an effective tool to get the know people a little better and see a totally different side of them.

As if they weren’t intoxicated enough after dinner, the night does not stop there. The events begin at one restaurant and carry on to another bar and then continue on to a third location, which is usually Norae-Bong (Korean Karaoke). Oh my is all I can say.  I have never seen so many empty bottles of liquor in my life. Ha!

Here are some shots of the dinner.  I refrained from taking any drunken photos of the teachers out of respect and tried to only focus on the food.

This particular restaurant was a BBQ duck restaurant.  I was quite happy just munching on some grilled veggies.

The BBQ on our table.  Grill your own meat!

Green onion salad with a spicy red dressing.

The fresh lettuce leaves are used as a wrapper.  The meat is grilled, then dipped into a miso-type sauce and then wrapped in a big leaf, which is all shoved into your mouth in one big bite.

My little lettuce “wrapper” filled with some onion salad and grilled onion.  No vampires came near me last night! That’s forsure.

All washed down with some Korean beer.

I took this shot after everyone had exited the tables.  Those long pipes are like vacuums that suck up the smoke from all the BBQs.   All those bottles everywhere are empty.  It was at this time that we moved onto another bar for some singing and more beer drinking.

A good night had by all.  I am not too sure what condition most of those teachers will be in today, but at least it is the last day of school!

Happy Friday,

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