Every now and then Mark and I run across things that seem kind of crazy, but we try to brush things off as cultural differences.
But today's incident was by far the most insane we've experienced yet.
Mark joined this crappy little gym by our apartment in an effort to save some cash. Normally gyms in Seoul cost about $75-100 per month, but this one was $30/month. So I'm sure you can guess the condition of this place...
Anyway, the other MAJOR downside to this gym is that there is no A/C. Right now Seoul's temps are in the 80s and super-humid - actually I have no idea how Mark can stand it.
Today, as Mark was running on the treadmill and (understandably) sweating profusely, the owner came over and yelled at him for sweating. I'm not talking a short warning, it was a long lecture yelled at him in Korean. While everyone in the gym stopped and stared. And he proceeded to point to sweat on the ground and to tried to wipe it up.
Mark ended up feeling so awkward about the whole thing that he quit his workout early and just came home. Totally one of those times that I can't learn Korean fast enough. I was so fired up, I just wanted to go straight to that "gym" and explain the concept of a working out to this idiot. You own a GYM, buddy. You should expect some sweat along the way. Grrr...
Guess he was wanting Mark to work out Korean style, which is basically lift one weight, take a 10 minute rest on the machinery (reading the paper at this point is optional), switch to another machine and lift something once, rest, and then walk on a treadmill more slowly than a normal person would walk down the street. Oh and if you're feeling exceptionally ambitious there's the vibrating machine that basically just shakes your body to "loosen the fat." I'm not kidding. This is probably the most popular machine at the gym.
So if you ever go to a Korean gym, now you know the proper way to work out. Oh, and make sure to keep your sweating to a minimum, lest you get scolded by an ajosshi.