People ask me what I love about living in Korea. One of the things I’m always amazed by is the technology which makes living here feel more efficient, easy and pretty darned cool.
Here are 7 cool state-of-the-art things that Korea’s got…
1. T-money and rechargeable transportation cards
In big cities, much of Korea’s transportation system runs on rechargeable smart cards and smart devices, which take the place of cash. You can reload money onto your card by placing it down on the card reader; but the technology is powerful and highly sensitive. Rather than search for a card at the bottom of a bag, I’ve seen frazzled ladies in a rush slap their entire purse on the sensor and have it still read
How it works: Touch chips are embedded inside and are readable by card-reading machines. These cards are used primarily for transportation – buses and metros- but in Seoul, which runs under the T-money system, you can use them in some taxis and convenience stores, as well. Supposedly, this touch chip technology are in watches, portable memory sticks, rings, and bands, even cellphones.
Way to go, Korea! Rechargeable devices are more economical and eco-friendly!
2. Bank checkbooks that get written and balanced at the ATM
Gone are the days when you had to manually keep record of your bankbook and spending. This is by far one my of favorite conveniences. In Korea, just insert your bankbook into the ATM machine and not only can you use it to withdraw money from the ATM, but it will update your bankbook with your banking transactions. In fact, when your bankbook page is full, the machine will even flip to the next page to continue updating it for you. Seriously, this saves me a lot of handwriting!
3. Satellite TV and CCTV.
I mentioned this in my last post, but I’ll mention it again…
In Korea, it’s easier to ask– What doesn’t have satellite TV? Taxis, express buses, restaurants, my cellphone and my dentist’s office all have them.
CCTV surveillance is also just as ubiquitous as TVs, so much so, I thought I’d mention it again. While literally everything in the public gets surveillance (even the highways), the culture doesn’t pervert its use (at least not as far as we know). Big Brother system helps to effectively reduce crime around the nation. Thus, Korea is one of the safest countries as far as crime and violence goes!
4. Controlled toilets
Korea bounces between its porcelain hole in the ground and it’s western bowl and when winter chilling your bum (there’s no heating in public places), both are highly unpleasant. Every once in a while however, in hotels or the limelight of Seoul chic, I’d find a heated toilet with bedee and uh, air drying action. It’s got remote buttons to control heating, bedee and a small handful of tricks that I’ve not used.
5. Electronic vacancy signs in bathrooms.
Photo is taken in Busan’s train station.
Is the bathroom stall occupied or vacant? The electronic sign will light up to let you know. While this isn’t widespread across Korea, you’ll occasionally find them in alongside highways at popular rest stop hubs, in bathrooms where there are many stalls.
The Korean wave is heating up and finding global fans with speed. When I see Korean pop videos it blows my mind! K-pop is the look, style and flash-n-sparkle that inspires Korean youth, these days. Fun, sexy, innocent, bold and futuristic, K-pop will seduce you with high-beam costumes, high-octane power dance moves and lavish glitz! Just click ‘Play’, dial the volume up a notch and prepare to be dazzled!
From 2PM‘s video “Hands Up”
From Wondergirls‘ video “Nobody”
7. Korea’s got Mc Donalds 24 hour delivery
Hokey entry, I know. But when I first saw this I literally freaked. I was raised with Ronald and the golden arches. Still, even to this day, I don’t know of McD’s in the U.S or in Asia that is 24 hour and has delivery service! If Korea’s got it, Dang! That’s pretty state-of-the-art to me!