인조인간

Translation: Robot (more cyborg than R2D2).

One unheralded but certainly apparent added bonus to teaching in a foreign country is using their textbooks. While there’s tons of blogs about the cultural differences between here and there, very few ever talk about anything larger in scale than “Oh my God, they call oranges ‘orangji’ (오란지) in Korea!” I’m not throwing shade, because I’m sure I’ve done it too my next Learning Korean post will be centered around Konglish.

But the books, oh God, the textbooks. They’re such a breath of fresh air. I often find myself having to look up the daily topics after a class so that I can give the students visual references the next day. Sometimes it’s a forest that stretches for miles and yet is all one colossal tree (each tree leading back to one main root).

Today’s after class study session concerned robotic suits. The book mentioned that there’s three countries in the forefront of bridging the cybernetic gap: the US, Japan, and naturally, Korea. So I hit Google Images and started looking. What I found wasn’t much of a surprise.

JAPAN

JapanRobotSuit

Here are the results for Japan. As you can see, pretty utilitarian. Suits to help people walk, lift heavy things, and (given that it’s Japan) even a $20,000 robot suit for your child. Dressed in a school girl outfit, because of course she’s dressed that way.

Korea

KoreaRobotSuit

Korea’s results are even more utilitarian. Frankly half of the examples deal with dock workers wearing suits so that they can work faster and stronger. Also, safety workers get in on the robotic action, and Cinderella and Ripley (Aliens) show up because: Korea. Living here, I’m not surprised by these results either.

The United States

USRobotSuit

Frankly, I can’t say I’m surprised by the US’ results, just disappointed. Since, as you can see, nearly all the results concern military applications. You hear the US is a blood-thirsty nation a lot, and I don’t believe there’s anyone in the US who doesn’t agree with that statement to some extent, but it’s still a bit jarring to see front and center.

One nation wants to build, one nation wants to cross-pollinate its fetishes, and one nation wants to crush, kill, and destroy.

But wait, you say, there’s clearly some kind of paramilitary suit on Japan’s page!

Unknown

Nope, that’s a suit of robotically controlled power armor so that nuclear technicians can wear heavier lead suits when working on reactors. It looks military grade, but in function it’s all humanity.

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