As I am contemplating FOSS4G 2015 (save the date! Seoul, South Korea | SEPTEMBER 14TH – 19TH, 2015) I contemplate what it means to be functionally illiterate for the first time in 30 years.
You see, when, if you are an American born, English and Spanish (kinda) speaking guy and you get dropped into East Asia, there is no alphabet for you to rely on for even the slightest clue about street signs and restaurant names, and everything else.
Now, to be fair, my experience in Seoul this year was not too bad — many signs are written both in English and Korean. But, as I encourage the FOSS4G world to descend upon Korea (especially prompting the Europeans and Americans to go out of their comfort zone a little), I highly encourage a little study of Hangul, the phonetic alphabet of Korea.
Hangul is pretty easy to learn, it’s phonetic (unlike if you try to read Japanese or Chinese), and it will serve you well to study it even a little bit, so you can recognize patterns.
So, learn some hangul, save the date, and I hope to see you there.