Finally, a field trip to some place other than the sixth floor of the school. This past Friday we took the Kindergarten students to the Gwangju World Photonics Expo, and apparently so did every other Kindergarten in the Jeolla province. See photos from the photonics expo on my first trip as an earlier post. Field trip is the wrong word for this actually. It was more like an on location photo shoot. We hustled from one garden to another all morning snapping goofy poses of the kids; I must have heard ‘1… 2… 3… kimchi’ a thousand times. A number of high schools were there as well, and I was surprised to see that all the boys had the same crew cut. “Why do all those boys have the same haircut?” I asked a Korean Teacher. It seems to me that schools would make the boys shave their heads in preparation for service in the military (Korean men are required to serve 2 years in the military before or immediately after college). But as usual when it comes to matters of cultural understanding, I was wrong. “The school worries they will be too focused on style and not on studies, so they must keep short hair” she replied. Seriously? Of course I didn’t believe her, so I asked another Korean Teacher and got a different answer. “Oh yes, the haircuts. Here in Gwangju they do it because its a kind of style, and everyone wants to fit in. If you go to Seoul, it’s not the same.” What I gather then, is that all the bad haircuts have something to do with style.

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