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Re: Korean politeness levels (& farewells)

From:laokou <laokou@...>
Date:Sunday, September 30, 2001, 23:56
From: "Yoon Ha Lee"

> As a random note, it's also Very Good Korean Etiquette to accompany your > guest to the door of your home and say goodbye--if you live in one of > those godawful apartment complexes (I live in one now, alas; and they're > very common in Seoul) this may mean the door of your particular apt., or > even going down with them in the elevator and walking them to the entrance > of the building. On the few occasions my folks had (Korean) guests over > my sister and I would generally get Roundly Chastised for failing to do > this without prompting.
I still see guests (Chinese or otherwise) all the way to their car (or vehicle of choice), a habit I picked up in the mainland and have maintained ever since. Even when I lived in a sixth floor apartment (sans elevator) in Nanchang, you escorted 'em *all* the way down, made sure they were safely on their bikes and gave 'em a "man4zou3" as they drove off (literally "go slowly" but akin to "take care" or "drive safely" [a futile request in China ;) ]). It's just a nice custom. BTW, I also picked up the delightful custom of giving people an ice-cold face towel in the summer or a warm-but-not-scalding towel in winter when they drop by for a visit. Americans aren't used to other Americans doing this for them, but I remember how *good* those felt on your face after coming in from the outside, so Western guests of mine'll just have to cope and get into it :) Kou