Thursday, April 28th, 2011
By Guest Author Lee Barken, CPA, LEED-AP
Blink twice in Seoul, South Korea, and you might think you’re in any big city in the United States. Cars whiz by, tall buildings sprawl out in familiar, dense, urban patterns, and of course, there’s the occasional Starbucks dotting the landscape. My visit to this country came at the invitation of the SWEET Renewable Energy and Cleantech Conference. Given that this was to be my first trip to Korea, I accepted the speaking invitation with the eagerness and anticipation of a young wizard on his first train ride to Hogwarts. Frankly, I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited to be on board. What I discovered was striking. Korea is a country with vast differences and abundant similarities to western culture. “How is that possible?” you might be wondering. Let me explain.
After spending a week in Korea, one might make the observation that westerners are in familiar territory. This is a place where the people are friendly, the cars drive on the same side of the road, and one can survive on English alone. In short, it feels safe and navigable. (OK, so all the measurements are in metric units, but you get the point.) However, once you start engaging strangers in conversation and (more…)