When I visited South Korea for the first time there are a lot of things I sought for an explanation, here it is:
1) Why you have to use your both hands while accepting something?
2) Why do Koreans always asking for the age?
3) Why you cannot pour your own drinks?
4) Why is it bad to place chopsticks on the top of the bowl?
5) Why number 4 is being avoided?
6) Why you cannot write in red ink?
7) Why do Koreans always like shouting to each other?
8) Why some Koreans are usually using their middle fingers?
9) Why is it bad to give a "tip" in a restaurant?
10) Why you cannot give liquor to a woman, as a gift?
The explanation to almost all your questions comes from the high importance that respect for elders in Korean society has. In English it would best be described as "filial piety." It is the reason that you should address people properly based on their age or experience relative to you own. It's where the suffix to names like -ssi and -nim, and terms like Seonbae come from. Elders should be served or poured a drink first by a lesser, but elders are expected to pay for a meal. etc.
1. you should use both hands to respect the giver, that you are showing gratitude and appreciation. Using one hand would seem flippant. Think of it has just the same as saying "thank you" when being handed something.
2. again, especially if you are foreign Koreans may not be able to guess you age and would not know if you were older or young than themselves.
3. again, respect the younger person should pour first, and if you have an empty glass it is expected that it is to be refill, so if you don't want to drink more, just nurse your drink. Leaving an empty glass and refusing a refill would be saying, "I don't want to drink with you, I want to leave."
4. you should never stick chopsticks straight up and down in a bowl, this is a symbolic funeral image that is common throughout eastern asia.
6. superstition, to write it red would to wish death or thoughts of death upon the person especially if you were to write their name in red.
7. Culturally I'm not sure, I think it's just relative to other cultures you may be used to.
8. don't know
9. tips are not expected, and if you do leave a tip it might be seen as a hand out, as if you are saying "It looks like you could use a few extra dollars" or that you feel sorry for them. prices are fixed to be what is expected for what services you receive.
10. that would be very forward, like asking them out on a date.
hope that helps
Thank you for your explanation with details :) Wow for even Korean lol ummmm.. regarding 8, I guess Korean people don't really take seriously about "middle finger" as much as people from western culture do. It's more like a joke among friends. And these days some restaurants or bars do take tips :) That won't be a problem.
Thank you for that!!
That's great answers! It will be big helped
wow! very helpful answer! thanks Jon Tomass! I am shocked at #10 hahaha
Interesting questions, and I love reading the answers. Learned something new today about Koreans. Thank you! :)