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It's getting uncommon to see people use cash these days, let alone coins, as
most prefer the hassle-free option of paying with plastic.

To Keep with the trend Korea is planning to go coinless. Starting next year, after
buying something, instead of receiving change, it will be possible to put that
money on a prepaid transportation card.

The Bank of Korea plans to gradually expand the service to be available in

supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers, and also allow change to be
deposited into bank accounts.

Already, there's been a rapid shift in the way people pay for things. Cash
transactions accounted for 36 percent of all transactions last year, while credit
card payments made up the rest.

Market analysts view that Korea is still in the early stages of becoming a coinless
society compared to European countries, but it has enough infrastructure for the


1. Kindly give a few more details about this trend in Korea.

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of coinless system?
3. Which do you enjoy more: earning or spending money?
4. What does ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ mean? Do you agree?
5. Which type of payment do you prefer when buying any merchandise:
cash, debit, or credit card?
6. Imagine you have won a million dollars. Who will you tell? What will you do
with the money?
Survey Shows Koreans Hope for Healthy Life

Koreans are living longer these days, but as for their years of good health, they
want more of them, a survey shows.

Health product brand Pharmanex surveyed 1,000 people and found that Koreans
would like to be physically and mentally healthy until the age of 80.5, compared
to their average healthy lifespan of 73.2 years according to the World Health

The survey also asked how much money they would be willing to pay to extend
their healthy lifespan by one year, and most cited W25 million (US$1=W1,172).


1. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase
‘healthy life’?
2. How is your health? Do you do anything to stay healthy?
3. Do you worry about your mental health? Physical health?
4. What are the health risks associated with your lifestyle and environment?
5. How is the health care in your country? Do you ever think about health
care when you are old?
6. Is health care in your country fair to everyone?
7. According to this article, life spans are getting longer. How long do you
expect your generationwill live on average?
More Older Couples Choose to Live Together

The Japanese have a word for it -- "sotsukon" or graduation from marriage. It

means that couples who still love each other "live together apart" once their
children are out of the house and their career is coming to a close to pursue their
own dreams.
The trend is now spreading to Korea, where many older couples in an aging
society feel they are not completely done with new adventures.

The concept dates back to a book published in Japan in 2004 -- "Recommending

the Graduation from Marriage" by Yumiko Sugiyama -- and became especially
popular among working women who also had to raise their children.

A 35-year-old office worker who married seven years ago said, "I feel a sense of
liberation when I think about being able to wrap up my hectic lifestyle someday."
Another woman who works at a hospital said, "I think I can consider this lifestyle
because I can support myself and I’m not afraid of living alone."

One matchmaking service in Korea conducted a survey on the subject and found
that 63 percent of women and 54 percent of men liked the idea. In Japan too,
women are keener on the idea than men.

The concept also fits in with a growing trend among young people to do things
alone, including eating and drinking.

But in fact the concept of graduating from marriage is not new for Koreans. Many
older couples prefer to sleep in separate rooms or live apart due to work or other
circumstances and get together only for family gatherings.
But in sotsukon marriages the partners still love each other, while many older
couples here merely stay married out of convenience and are on the verge of
divorce. If they live apart, it is because divorce entails tremendous economic and
psychological costs.

Marriage counselor Kang Hak-joong said, "Couples can depend on each other in
their twilight years, and if they learn to maintain a relationship where they don’t
impinge on each other's territory, they can live happily without graduating from


1. Do you know many happily married couples? How do they stay happy?
2. How important is marriage in your culture? Can people easily choose not
to marry? Where does social pressure to marry come from?
3. Going back to the article, do you agree that married couples should live
apart? Why or why not?
4. There is an expression in English: “ behind every great man, there’s a
great woman”. What does this mean to you and do you agree?
5. Do you think husbands and wives have fixed responsibilities according to
gender? Give some examples
6. Is your idea of marriage different now compared to when you were a
7. What would the world be like if there was no marriage?
More People Complain of Neck Pain as
Smartphone Dependence Rises

An increasing number of people are suffering from neck pain due to excessive
use of smartphones.

According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service on

Wednesday, the number of patients who visited hospitals to treat neck pain
soared by 16.6 percent from 2.27 million in 2011 to 2.65 million in 2015. Looking
at cases of cervical herniated discs alone, the figure increased from 650,000 in
2009, when smartphones became popular, to 900,000 at present as the devices
have become a daily necessity.

The increase is particularly conspicuous among young people in their teens to

30s. Teenage neck patients grew 21.6 percent between 2011 and 2015. During
the same period, the number of patients increased 19.7 percent among the 20-
somethings, and 19 percent among those in their 30s.

Do Jae-won, head of the Korean Spinal Neurosurgery Society, said the actual
number of patients would be higher as young people tend not to see doctors
despite feeling pain in the neck area.
Smartphones and other smart devices are believed to be the main cause.
Bending the neck for a prolonged period of time extends the ligament supporting
the neck, and this can cause a herniated disc.

Some 31.6 percent of teens, 24.2 percent of those in their 20s, and 14.5 percent
of 30-somethings have been found to be overly dependent on smartphones.
These age groups account for 62 percent of patients who suffer from forward
head posture.

Suh Dong-won, an orthopedist, warns against using smartphones while walking

as it increases the chance of having a cervical slipped disc as well as an
accident. Doctors advise sitting upright when using a smartphone with the eye
level at no more than 15 degrees and stretching the neck frequently.


1. How much time do you spend on on your smartphone?

2. How do you feel if you forget your mobile phone and leave it somewhere?
3. Do you also feel any health related issues while using your smartphone? If so,
what are they? How long has it been occurring?
4. Do you read e-books? What are their advantages and disadvantages when
compared with paper books?
5. Are you an early adopter? Do you like having cutting edge technology? Are
disadvantages to buying the latest product?
there any disdvatages
6. Do you think technology like smartphone is considered a health hazard? In
what ways?
7. Do you consider yourself as technology dependent? Why or why not?
More Young Korean Men Learn to Cook
More and more young men are taking cooking classes as a hobby as traditional
gender roles erode even in conservative Korea.

CJ Cheiljedang began offering cooking classes specifically tailored for men last
year. A class consists of 18 men, and four to five times more people apply every
time. The majority are single men in their 20s and 30s.

This year, men accounted for more than 30 percent of people taking cooking
classes at CJ.
More and more young men are taking cooking classes as a hobby as traditional gender roles

erode even in conservative Korea.

CJ Cheiljedang began offering cooking classes specifically tailored for men last year. A class
consists of 18 men, and four to five times more people apply every time. The majority are
single men in their 20s and 30s.

This year, men accounted for more than 30 percent of people taking cooking classes at CJ.

Men watch a demonstration in a cooking class.

One of the most popular programs is one-on-one cooking classes for men. "Men sign up for
the classes because they think they need to learn basic culinary skills," said chef Roh Min-
jung, who runs a cooking studio in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province.

But their aims are limited. Jung Dong-soo, who also offers cooking lessons for men, said, "I
make sure that the students learn how to cook one or two dishes very well rather than a wide

Married men often learn to cook as a means of getting closer to their family. "Dads often
have a tough time talking to their family. We throw a party on the last day of the lessons and
many wives shed tears as they eat food prepared by their husbands," Jung said.

1. How often do you cook?

2. What dish or food are you best at cooking?
3. Who do you think is the better cook, men or women?
4. Would you consider attending cooking classes?
Is it important for men to know how to cook?
5. Are cooking shows popular in your country? Do you watch any cooking
6. If you had your own personal chef, what meal would you ask for most?
7. What are some of the advantages of cooking your meals at home? How about
the disadvantages?