Fi rst impressions are important, to some extent. From meeting someone new, to trying a new recipe, it can be the deciding element in whe...

First Impressions. Part 1

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Unknown 0 Comments

First impressions are important, to some extent. From meeting someone new, to trying a new recipe, it can be the deciding element in whether or not we're going to repeat the experience. And while it is important to take your time in forming a general opinion about something, first impressions leave a mark regardless of the end decision. 

I am a person who takes first impression to another level. It might sound weird, but when meeting a person my first impression is highly influenced not only by looks but the scent. That goes for everything else too. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a sniffer! I remember seasons, foods, people and places by scents, majorly. No matter how delicious is the food, if my first sniff was disappointing (or worse, sickening) I will avoid the food (unless I'm congested...)

I remember my first impression of Japan - stuffy and unpleasant. This is by no means my oppinion on the country, God no!! Japan is one of my favorite places in the world! However, the first step I took was out of a plane into Japanese summer...and it was hot, stuffy and rather smelly! Our plane was not connected to a sleeve, since we were very, very late on the schedule, so we had to do the whole stairs-bus-terminal hoopla. Boy was that a mistake for my nose! The air was non-existent (it was incredibly humid, I could almost touch the air) and the smell of airplane fuel, concrete and fumes was hovering around. Those few meters were excruciatingly unpleasant for my sniffer nature, and I rejoiced once we reached the terminal and I caught a whiff of...Air Conditioning :) 

Anyway, my later experiences were much more pleasant and changed my attitude towards the Japanese summer, but the first impression is still there, and every time I land in Japan, for the briefest second, I hold my breath when taking the first step out in fresh air.

That particular experience influenced my general mood towards my trip to South Korea. Although I flew out in February, when I stepped out of the terminal, I squinted, taking a deep breath. Oh, Joy! My first impression of Korea turned to be much better than that of Japan. Aside from the faint smell of fuel in the air, as the result of bus parking right in front of me, the air was crisp, with the slightest hint of salty wind, coming from the sea. It brought a smile to my face, and confidence that my trip is going to be a good one. That is just how important scent is to me!

Now, when I actually reached Seoul, I had another chance to form a new impression on Sinchon, the area i was staying at. And it was..disappointing. As winter was coming to an end, the crisp air was already diluted with signs of upcoming spring. However, as it still was rather chilly, the air of Sinchon was drenched with the smells of outdoor street-food stalls. I must mention that one of the most popular winter street foods is μ˜€λŽ… (Odeng), which is a broth with various ingredients, mainly fish cakes, eggs and tofu pouches, and has a very distinct scent. Oh my, did I dislike that smell! I never thought I could have such aversion to something purely because of the smell...yet, that scent is what reminds me of my first few days in Korea. And I still can't pass a stall serving Odeng without gagging.

Odeng variation, taken from Wikipedia
I know it seems that this post is negative, but that is not my intention at all. I just really want to convey the depth of my first impressions before I move onto part 2. There I want to talk about the foods, drinks and general images of Korea that left lasting first impressions.

So, time for part 2! Ciao for now!