Thus, opportunities for awkwardness have certainly abounded (tonight she thought we threw our forks in the trash) but one bullet we dodged was with the house bidet toilet. I thought not going to Japan would relieve us from having to deal with overly complicated robot toilets with hundreds of buttons and descriptions in indecipherable script, but apparently not. Julian spent about ten minutes trying in vain to find the button for 'flush', only to, embarrassingly, have me come over at the end of it and find the flush knob exactly where it is on Western toilets – it wasn't a button at all. I still feel pretty lucky that it ended like that and not with us having to explain in pantomime to an old lady that we couldn't manage to flush our own toilet.
I demonstrated today that I have magical culinary honing powers! Reading my guidebook, I decided I wanted to try soondae – a blood sausage with noodles stuffed into pig intestine. When I was actually in the city, however, I couldn't manage to hold the characters in my head long enough to look for them on a restaurant sign, so eventually I just gave up in exasperation and hunger and chose the ramshackliest looking restaurant possible in an out of the way corner with no customers just because the old ladies inside were friendly and smiling and the plastic chairs reminded me of warungs in Indonesia. Then, I couldn't read the menu, and the ladies spoke no English, and we didn't know what we were going to do, but just at the right time, a customer came in and asked us in heavily accented English if he could help us. When we asked him what the restaurant served, he said something that initially sounded like 'folk balls dish' but turned out to be 'pork blood dish' – soondae! And it was delicious. It came in a big bowl of soup with pork ears and fat and tendon and green onions and regular onions and a side plate of salty shrimp that I spooned into my broth until the waitress shook her head at me and said what I'm sure meant 'stop!'. I was just trying to rescue Julian, who was trying to subtly not eat meat as the waitress vigorously gestured for him to add shrimp to his soup full of pork slices. Needless to say, this rescue mission failed. Being a vegetarian in Korea has been a futile endeavor for him.