It was Dave’s bday early February and his girlfriend Jinju threw him a surprise birthday party. He did not see it coming at all! The funny part is that he had called me earlier to see what I was doing. Totally lied telling him I was out of town. Ha, felt kinda bad.
Now a thing about birthdays in Korea. East Asian age reckoning is a concept and practice that originated in China and is used in East Asian cultures. Several East Asian cultures, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolia, Taiwanese and Vietnamese, share this traditional way of counting a person’s age, in which a person’s age is counted starting from conception, rather than from physical birth. Each passing of a New Year, rather than the birthday, adds one year to the person’s age; this results in people being between 1 and 2 years older in Asian reckoning than in the Western version. Today this system is commonly used in Koreans’ daily lives, with the exception of the legal system and newspapers. So you can imagine how confusing it is when people ask me my age and I have to give them two separate numbers. One for my Korean age, and the second for my “American” age. Koreans generally refer to their age in units called sal (살), using Korean numerals in ordinal form. So, a person is one sal during the first calendar year of life, and ten sal during the tenth calendar year .
Happy Birthday in Korean is pronounced “Saengil chukha hamnida”, and spelled as the Hangul above shows you. It was a great party, but the best surprise was what we got: mustache stickers. Now this wasn’t actually on purpose. Dave had returned from his visit to the States and gave them to us as gifts. Interestingly enough, from what I’ve heard, in Korea usually the birthday person takes friends out for their own birthday, treating them to drinks and such. Thankfully that’s not the case in America, cause personally I like to get pampered for my bday 😉
Another highlight of the night was the variety of new drinking games I learned. Here are two:
Baskin Robbins 31
Everyone sits in a circle. Going around the circle, each person can say up to three numbers in order. For example, the first person can just say 1 OR 1, 2 OR 1, 2, 3. The next person can also say up to three numbers and so on until number 31 is reached. The objective of this game is to not be the one that says 31. The person that ends up with 31 has to drink. This game involves a little bit of thinking and math skills (but most of the time luck). Plus you can add a theme to it as seen in the video.
Count to a certain number like 30, without people saying a number simultaneously. Works even better if people close their eyes or count in a foreign language!