Saturday, December 2, 2006

The bang

The bang (방), or room, is one of the crucial components of life in Korea. Because of Korea's high population density, apartments are usually too small to entertain your friends in. Especially when you still live with your parents at the age of 25. Thus, they have developed the bang. Say you want to hang out with your friends and play computer games. You go to the PC bang. If you want to hang out with your friends and sing songs, you go to the norae bang, or singing room. At the norae bang, you can rent your own private room and sing songs all night long. Both of these are more ubiquitous than grass here in the ROK.

Further more, there is the DVD bang, where you can rent a room and watch movies with your friends. Another bang of note is the jjimjil bang, which is the Korean hot bath and sauna house. This is where you'd go for a nice hot bath (very few apartments have baths) and, of course, the sauna. A final bang, which I've recently discovered, is the nori bang. Not to be confused with the norae bang, the nori bang is the children's playroom. This is where you can take your children, and for a few bucks, they can play inside. Perfect for the young mothers who worry about their kids playing in the street.

As you can see, the apartment is pretty much just a place to sleep. All other social activities take place outside of the home. And the bang is a crucial component to that social activity.

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