Korean in South Korea
Greetings and Partings
Greetings are very formal. One should use honorifics with all elders. The younger person initiates the greeting and the younger person bows. Generally there is no touching. The younger person would not initiate a handshake, but should be prepared to follow through should the older person offer a hand. It would be considered polite for the younger person to inquire about the family. The same patterns hold true for partings.
The closeness of the relationship between the guest and host determines appropriate behavior that will govern the occasion. In general, the guest should arrive punctually at the arranged time and should bring a small gift for the host. In all homes and at some restaurants, one always removes one's shoes before entering. Homes have a "shoe area" near the entrance where one should deposit shoes.
In a formal situation, the guest does nothing. S/he would be served first and invited to eat first (as opposed to the oldest person at the table being the person to begin eating which is traditional); in a situation such as this, the guest should accept the invitation to begin eating. The guest will be offered more food; it is equally polite to accept or decline. Everyone remains at the table until the last person has finished.
In a less formal situation, the oldest person eats first. If it is a business dinner, the boss will begin eating first. If the guest has known the host for a long time, it is appropriate for the guest to help clear the table.