Yogi-yo buttons. The days of beckoning a waiter to your table are over. Press a button and wait for the waiter to come. What a genius idea! Are you listening Britain??
Heated toilet seats. Now Winter is in full effect, the joy of placing your bottom onto a warm seat cannot be stated loudly enough. I am not yet a fan of the water jets up the bum but you never know. I never sit on public toilets...but at school the heated seat is too tempting! I have never tried the special features though - "water jet", "bidet", and what I think is a blow dryer...
Water please. In Korea we are always provided free water at all restaurants. When you drink as much water as I do, constantly asking waiters for water is frustrating. Not in Korea though, it's always provided. Plus, there are no dirty looks if that is all you drink with your meal. Unless they have alcohol, Koreans tend to only drink water with meals and thus not paying for extra drinks is fine. CHEAPSKATES WIN!
Subway cards that work everywhere. They basically have an oyster card system that is national, with few exceptions. That means you can use your card everywhere, which is perfect for travelling - unfortunately you can only recharge it in the city you bought it in so it's best to recharge it before a weekend away. Also you can use these cards to purchase food, drink and books from vending machines in the subway station. It's one step away from finger-print purchasing and embedded chips in your arm...ok maybe a bit more than one step.
Wet rooms. I love my shower room, where I can just wet everything. You can shower on the toilet, while shaving, ANYTIME. Just be careful not to soak the toilet roll!
Shoes off please. Everyone takes off their shoes upon entering a house, restaurant (with heated floor seating) or nice inside area - it keeps things clean. I like it a lot! I now get a strong guilty feeling if I ever have to dash into my house to grab something, and don't take them off. Korea, you have taught me well. So beware, friends back home - we will be enforcing this rule in our own homes, with true Confucian diligence.
No rip-off prices in tourist areas. Buying a bottle of water or a packet of crisps in the UK can sometimes cost you three or four times the price in places such as stadiums, tourist spots or train stations. In Korea, there is no such thing as a mark up. Everything stays cheap and is, at most, 10% more in these places - but this is rare.
High Speed Internet. Anyone that knows me will know how much I will miss this. I get 6 mb/s download speed for music and TV shows. These are speeds I can only dream about in the UK. Maybe in 10 years, we'll catch up! I heard yesterday they are aiming to be at 1 gb/s very soon...are you sure you want to leave Dave?
Being called handsome. In England, I got called handsome maybe once a year (usually by an old relative, combined with cheek-pinching) but in Korea, it's a daily occurrence. This does mean I will be bringing home my an even bigger ego though. It's definitely been interesting, getting compliments here. I agree that they are more frequent than at home but they are also of a different nature. For example, my "big nose" and "small face" have been praised, along with my eyelashes. These are much harder to deal with than the compliments I am used to, as I can't put it down to my hairdresser or make-up brand. "Thanks, I grew them myself" doesn't have the level of modesty I would like.
So thank you Korea, you have certainly given us much food for thought and taught us many things that will enrich our lives when we return to the UK.
But every story has two sides...so stay tuned.