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Learning Korea: Korean Gyms vis-a-vis Fitness First, my Philippine Gym

SOUTH KOREA | Sunday, 10 January 2010 | Views [3151]

The gym that the family I married into goes to is ten minutes away from my house. As soon as we left my house, my brother-in-law asked me which pair of shoes I planned to wear to the gym. When I answered him by pointing at my answer, he said, "don't wear that now. Wear another pair of shoes, because you can't wear those shoes inside the gym if you use them now."

It's the same logic, I guess, with how Koreans do not enter their homes with the shoes they just wore outside the house. Koreans use a different pair of slippers when they're inside the house, use a different pair of shoes when they're outside, and also wear a different pair whenever they go to the house toilet. It's different from how we do it in my country, the Philippines. I tried to complain, saying, "then why are you wearing sneakers now? What will you be wearing later?"

My brother-in-law, whom I call "Ajubanim," (a more respectful way of calling your elder brother), laughed at my question, answering, "because they don't care about it. But you're new, so they might pay a bit more attention to you and reprimand you or something."

The gym that I went to back in the Philippines, Fitness First, is quite different from the gym that I'm attending now. The one that I'm attending now lacks color and vibrancy, both on the inside and on the outside. This being Korea, I expected something better than one of Philippines' finest gyms, Fitness First. Instead, I was welcomed by a place that was just your average gym---a building with exercise equipment inside. I'm not complaining, but I am quite surprised.

I entered the ladies' Locker Room and my eyelids just flew up at the sight of naked women walking inside the huge room. For those who have tried using the gym in the Philippines, women usually still have their underwear on whenever they're in the locker room to change. It was the opposite in that case, and it surprised me greatly and... I wouldn't be surprised if I was the only person who changed in the cubicle.

I left the locker room and headed to the weightlifting area with Ajubanim. We started doing some weights and, later on, I missed some of the equipment that Fitness First has. I'm not good at describing equipment, so I won't. But this new gym is definitely no match for our our Fitness First. Sometimes, there's just no place better than home.

Tags: gym

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