In 2010, the capital of South Korea, 10 million Seoul, received the honorary title of the capital with the best design.
This city, whose age is confidently approaching two and a half thousand years, is very beautiful and every year attracts crowds of tourists from all over the world.
The Koreans themselves are amazing people who managed to preserve many unique traditions, despite the onslaught of globalization that erases any national differences. Many of these traditions and characteristics may seem very specific to European tourists coming to the country.
Ten weird things in South Korea that surprise you
1. Toilet humor is viral in South Korea
Jokes, funny and not so, about the toilet in South Korea can be found at every turn. The process of defecation itself is considered so amusing that an entire open-air park is dedicated to it with all kinds of highly realistic sculptures and installations. In pastry shops, you can often see cookies and other sweets decorated in the form of poop, and souvenir shops cover this topic in every detail. None of the locals are outraged or shocked by this. Nobody gets sick of such jokes. Everyone is having fun.
2. A friendly hug
Europe has long been entirely indifferent to kissing, hugging, and other violent manifestations of affection in public places if representatives of different genders do this. If a man does the same to a man or a woman to a woman, they will be perceived as nothing more than a homosexual couple. South Korea has its logic in this regard.
The caresses of young people of the opposite sex in public places are considered the height of indecency. Still, friends of the same sex can walk holding hands, sit on each other’s lap, tenderly touch each other’s hair – and this will not be considered a manifestation of disrespect for society or a sign of non-traditional sexual orientation.
3. Plastic surgery is overwhelming South Korea
South Korea is known as one of the leaders in the number of plastic surgeries per capita. There are so many good plastic surgeons here that even foreigners see them, combining exciting tourism with a change in their appearance. In addition, prices in Korea for such services are much lower than in Europe and the United States, so the business is only gaining momentum every year.
One of the most common operations in South Korea is eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). Both girls and boys, almost without hesitation, risk their health and go under the surgeon’s knife only to acquire a “European” eye shape.
4. Motels for lovemaking
It is considered unacceptable for young people from decent families in this country to show any display of affection in public places. Parental control in families is also stringent. It can’t be helped – it’s a tribute to centuries-old traditions. But the Koreans have devised a clever way of combining outwardly puritanical rules with modern libertinism (or, as the retrogrades call it, “promiscuity and the fall of manners”). Young couples go to make out not on the benches of the nearest park, as they do in Europe, but in mini-motels, of which there are many in South Korea.
5. K-Pop music
K-Pop is commonly referred to as Korean pop music. It has quite a few specific features and enjoys excellent success not only in South Korea itself but also in other Asian countries. The performers gather thousands of audiences at concerts, and fans often experience real tantrums, even fainting.
Groups working in this musical genre usually consist of several boys and girls between 16 and 24. K-Pop music compositions combine rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and electropop features, and lyrics are often played in English rather than Korean. There are so many fans of this music that it is already considered a full-fledged international youth subculture.
Ajumma is the name for the elderly ladies in South Korea. One of the specific features of Korean culture is the highly respectful attitude of the younger members of society toward the older ones. And the ladies of old age acquire a surprisingly high status and can do anything they want. The Ajumma take great advantage of this.
They call “pushing through” in crowded public transportation because everyone has to give way, so there’s no reason to be ceremonious. They consider it their duty to make loud remarks about the behavior of everyone in the younger age group, and if the young people have the nerve not to listen to what they say, the Ajumma might even spit at them. And no one dares to object or be outraged.
7. Alcohol abuse
In South Korea, this evil has genuinely cyclopean proportions – the country chronically ranks first to consume strong drinks. In the evening, after the end of the working day, the streets of the cities are crammed with citizens who can hardly stand on their feet. They behave drunk, however, exceptionally peacefully and decently, and brawls occur exceptionally rarely.
Some bring themselves to this state, resting after strenuous work, while for others, late feasts with irrepressible libations, surprisingly, are a kind of continuation of the working day. According to Korean “corporate culture,” if a boss invites his subordinates for a drink after work, it is impossible to refuse. So the recruits first have to drink through force and then out of their irrepressible desire.
8. Identical outfits are a Korean youth trend
If the meeting of several fashionistas in absolutely identical outfits in Europe is perceived as a fiasco, then in South Korea, it is a popular trend. Young people deliberately try to dress up like twins. In this way, they show everyone else that they are good friends. The boutique owners are well aware of this fashionable hobby and do their best to help their customers buy the same clothes.
9. The incredible speed of food delivery
Delivery of various food in all developed countries works very well, but in South Korea, it is brought to a virtuoso level. The customer barely has time to put down the phone when the courier who delivered the food is already ringing at the door. You also don’t have to worry about the return of dishes to the restaurant – after the end of the meal, they put it out the door. A little later, the courier will drop by and pick up the dirty dishes without any questions.
10. Ultra-short skirts
Mini-skirts today, it would seem impossible to surprise anyone, but residents of South Korea still managed to do it. Many young women have skirts so short that when fashionable women walk down the stairs, they have to cover up with their purses or newspapers not to disturb passers-by.
The Korean girls, however, are entirely relaxed about such outfits. But if a girl decides to wear even a very modest cleavage, she cannot avoid disapproving glances and offensive remarks. If she is not lucky enough to bump into an Ajumma, she will be scolded and spat on her.