7 Weirdest and Craziest Things in South Korea
Every civilization has its own peculiar customs. If you teach English in South Korea, you'll quickly learn that the country has its fair share of unique characteristics.
Things like the high cost of fruit and its acceptance as a present, the apparent fear of tattoos, the trend toward couples dressing alike, and the extraordinary nature of a trip to the doctor all come to mind.
You'll adapt to them and even come to like them, but here are some of the more out-there ones to consider before you go.
|Weird things in Korea|
1. BANGS GALORE: Jimjilbangs. PC Bangs and Noraebangs
In Korea, a room is called a "bang."
Of all the first-time experiences I had in Korea, using a jimjilbang (washroom) definitely knocked my socks off. Jimjilbangs are sizable, gender-specific bathhouses where one can have a shower, a bath, get a facial, relax in the sauna, and even spend the night in a big room. They are available all the time and cost about $12 for one entry. Be prepared to be gawked at if you appear naked as a foreigner, but you must at least once.
Noraebang, which is pronounced "Noh-ree-bung" (singing room), is a luxurious space where you can order drinks and appetizers and belt out a large list of timeless singalongs, most of which are from the 1980s. Since they stay open into the early hours of the morning, you can sing there until your voice gives out.
PC Bang: Korea ranks highly among the top competitors in international video game competitions. In a nation with the fastest internet in the world, where individuals can play games in a huge roomful of computers and even place food orders as they play, people who are borderline obsessive with gaming can devote time to their hobby at PC bangs.
2. Chimaek: Chicken and Beer
In South Korea, chicken and beer go together perfectly; whether you want it hot or mild, the beverage is a great complement.
You might be surprised to learn that fried chicken is a significant component of the Korean menu given the variety of traditional meals that are solely Korean. Fried chicken is prepared differently in Korea; always paired with beer. Combining "chicken" and "maekju" (the term for beer), the word "chimaek" is created. There are several establishments that specialize in this delicious delicacy called chimaek restaurants, and they are constantly on the move delivering food to ravenous customers in parks or at baseball games.
3. A boozy affair
Any Korean barbeque must have soju, which can be purchased from practically any neighborhood convenience store.
Let's not mince words: Koreans enjoy their beverages. After my time in college, I assumed I'd take a break from drinking, but boy was I mistaken! Beer, soju, and makgeolli are staples of social (and occasionally professional) interactions.
It is OK to drink in public on a regular basis and with vigor. The convenience stores, which are spaced roughly every 500 meters, sell alcohol for $1 to $2 per bottle. Starting a night out by drinking at a park or by the convenience shop is advised. WARNING: Western booze is very expensive; stick to the regional poison.
4. Plastic Surgery
I was given a teaching contract that stated unequivocally that having plastic surgery did not entitle me to a day off. My mother and I laughed heartily at the improbable notion that I would require any nipping and tucking in Korea and were perplexed as to why it was necessary to include that in the contract.
However, once I arrived, I discovered that plastic surgery is a highly common practice in Korea. In a nation where looks are valued practically beyond all other qualities, save perhaps for intelligence, almost everyone has had a little something done, and it is thought to be a good thing to do everything you can to improve your appearance.
5. Brushing your teeth
Koreans wash their teeth after every meal because they value oral health so highly.
This brushing takes place outside of your personal space. When they go to work, a business meeting, or even just out to lunch with friends, people bring their toothbrushes with them. One of the strange Korean customs that I don't completely grasp is this one.
Public restrooms in places like universities, malls, and subway stations are always crowded with people waiting in line to brush their teeth.
It's absolutely acceptable to brush your teeth at your desk while working at your desk at work while you have toothpaste in your mouth.
6. Animal Cafes
Korea has a unique cafe culture that I have never encountered. There are cafes with charming flower decor, Hello Kitty decor, figurine decor, and even cafes with "poo" themes. Whatever it is, Korea has it.
The animal-themed cafés, in particular, are some of the fun, eccentric cafes that also exist.
Among these cafes is the well-known Meerkat Cafe in Seoul. In addition to meerkats, this cafe also features a baby wallaby, an arctic fox, and an African genet. In addition, there is a well-known sheep cafe in Seoul where you can take pictures with the sheep while enjoying your latte!
Given that these cafes rely heavily on tourism, it is obvious that they only view these creatures as potential sources of income. I am not aware of the circumstances around how they were able to introduce wallabies and arctic foxes into Korea. Perhaps anything is legal. However, I still believe that these animals should live in the nature rather than being confined to teeny cafes in Seoul's downtown.
7. Sizes of clothes and shoes
Considering relocating to Korea? If you are anything larger than a size medium, make sure to stock up on clothing and footwear! Because of the torntackies, as I mentioned in my earlier statement about beauty, there aren't many plus-sized Koreans.
The majority of foreign companies, including H&M, Forever 21, and others, will carry larger sizes, but you shouldn't anticipate having much of a selection to choose from.
Your struggle will go on if you're hunting for shoes! Gary has been seeking all across the country for a pair of hiking boots and sneakers, but no one can be found with a UK size 11! The largest size we could find for males is a UK 9, and for women it's a UK 6!
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