When a lot of foreigners first step off the boat here in Korea, they probably think two things—
1) What’s that smell?, and
2) What’s up with these people? They’re so nice / strange / rude / different!
Many will stay for a few days, a few months, possibly even a year, and may never get around to answering either of these questions. The answer to the first probably has to do with an overloaded sewage system trying and failing to deal with fifty million people eating fifty million pounds of fermented cabbage and soybeans every day; the answer to the second (relating to the reason why so many people eat so much fermented food) is still too elusive for me, and I’ve lived here for three years.