Korea is the 4th country I have lived in now and as with Thailand there are some things you see and hear that are utterly strange/weird and hilarious and Korea is no exception. We have been here now for two months and I still encounter some things that are just weird and very unique to Korea!
1. Rock, Paper, Scissors.
I am actually starting to have dreams where this is just said over and over and over. The children are OBSESSED with it. Before class they play it, in class they play it and if they need to choose someone for something they play it! I seriously hear “Rock, paper scissors!!!!!!” about 100 times a day. The games get really intense, and after a few rounds it becomes just “scissors!!” a quick fire version of the game. Drives me insane!!! Although sometimes I am convinced to play along but I never knew such a simple game could be so amusing!!
Soju is an alcoholic drink here in Korea. It tastes like cheap vodka and costs nothing to buy. People will often sit outside the 7/11, CU Mart and drink Soju with their friends and when they drink BOY to they drink!!! We had a man come to our door at 10pm to water his plants that were on our balcony and as soon as we opened the door the smell of Soju was intense!! The man was making no sense and we had to call our school and get them to talk to him but he was so drunk no one had a clue what he was on!
3. Matching couple outfits
This is one of my personal favourites! I saw it in Japan as well but when we go out I love to look out for the couples. Sometimes they will wear just the same colour. However sometimes they will wear the same t-shirt and trousers or the one I saw last night was the guy in a bright orange and white striped polo with his Mrs in a matching polo but in dress form!! Personally it’s not for me and you will not be seeing Andy and I in matching t-shirts any time soon!!
Yes, I really do mean poo!! The children here are obsessed with it almost as much as Rock, Paper, Scissors! There are constant jokes about it in class and if anyone goes to the bathroom the kids will ask them “Did you poo?” when they get back into class. The whole thing is so so strange!!! In my reading class last week I was doing a fact file on Vietnam and it came to the currency which is the “Dong” this cracked the kids up like never before and it was explained to me that Dong is actually Korean for poo… WELL 4 classes later even as the kids got older they were all still in hysterics over it!! (At least they will always know the currency of Vietnam!!!)
Kimchi, love it or hate it you WILL get it with almost every meal! It is fermented spicy cabbage that is unbelievably sour! Personally I hate it on its own (apparently you grow to love it) but I just can’t get my head around it! I do however like Kimchi Jigae- Kimchi soup with pork which is actually really nice! Koreans love to ask you if you like kimchi and LOVE you if you say yes!
6. English t-shirts
This is one I have only just noticed, however loads of Koreans wear t-shirts which English writing on them. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was normal sayings however they clearly don’t understand what they are wearing half the time! Some of the t-shirts are not even spelt right… or don’t even make sense!! It’s funny when you see an older lady wear a t-shirt about farting or being sexy!
7. Fan death
Now this is hilarious!! Fan death is basically death by fan! (Yes you heard right!) Many Koreans believe that if you have a fan on with the windows and doors closed you will die because the fan will suck out the oxygen in the room. There have been reports in the paper about people who have died via fan death even though it’s not scientifically proven… crazy!
8. Take Away Dinners
This is another aspect I LOVE!!! We all have had a take away when we are feeling too lazy to cook and love it because you do not need to wash dishes after…. well Korea takes this to a new level! When you order take out it gets delivered to your door in proper plates with cutlery and steaming hot! Once you have finished you put the plates outside your door for the delivery man to pick up when he comes back in an hour or so! It’s like room service but not expensive!
To go from my favourite thing to my most hated!! Spitting is the norm here, you will see (mostly men, well I have never seen women do it) men really hock it up and spit on the ground anywhere even in front of you! It makes me feel quite nauseous!
I’m sure there are more we are yet to come across still!! One of the best parts about living in a new country is learning all their customs and things that we deem strange and weird but to them is normal. Would be interesting to see what they think if they came to Scotland!!