I was talking to someone last week. He is busy preparing for a year living in Seoul, South Korea. He told me he is learning Korean. I asked him to write some and he did. I think he wrote hello but I couldn't verify it. Anyway, what he did tell me was something that shocked me and that is, the fact that in Korea it is frowned upon to eat alone. In fact some places might not even allow it. I did some digging around the internet and it is true. Apparently the Korean word for family is they who eat together. I'm not sure if that is true. Can someone confirm that for me? What it did remind of however is why I get such surly service when I go to this one particular Korean restaurant for lunch after working out. I thought that maybe they didn't like a white guy turning up towards the end of lunch service or they thought that my bag stunk too much because of gym clothes in it. No, it was the fact that I was eating alone, well at least I hope so. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. It also taught me the fact that I shouldn't go to Shin Okubo in Tokyo by myself. I kid you not I was thinking about doing it recently.
Why am I talking about eating alone today?
Well, I eat alone sometimes. Does it bother me? Sometimes it does but sometimes I just like to sit there and think about things while enjoying my food.
We have grown up learning that eating together is a social thing. Do you remember in primary school or elementary school the boy or girl who was eating alone in the corner? I bet you made fun of him or her. Don't lie, I'm sure you did. The thing is that he or she was probably enjoying the peace and quiet of the corner without listening to your inane conversation about where in the world the Smurfs lived or what make were your football boots that you got for your birthday the week before. They were probably introverts while the ambiverts and extroverts were trying to fit in and socialise with everyone they were being true to themselves by recharging at lunchtime by eating alone but we thought that they were being anti-social. The only ones being anti-social were us for making fun of them.
If you want to eat alone, eat alone. There is surely no law in any country that says that you have to eat in a group. If the restaurant you go to says that you can't come in just tell them that they obviously don't want your money and it take it somewhere else. They don't deserve your presence and your money. That is what I have done with the Korean restaurant that I mentioned above. Although I love their spicy pork dish, I find that the surly service is a big turn off and it doesn't make it a very enjoyable experience which is at the end of the day is why we go to restaurants to eat, for the experience and if you are not going to get a very good experience at one place you take yourself and your money to another place where you will get a nice experience and hopefully some good food.
Don't be frightened about eating alone. As some people say, if you can't enjoy your own company whose company can you enjoy?