The Korean bug hit our shores the past few years and it's not uncommon to see family and friends loyally following K-pop culture and watching K-serials on TV.
If you're wondering why people are crazy about Korea, here are 10 things that might get you more curious:
1. Food and taxis are CHEAP!It’s the little things that really made Korea for visitors. Cheap, spicy goodness and transportation that didn’t break the bank are two of those things. Korea prides itself in its spice and man oh man do they get it right. For a mere 5,000 won (roughly 5 USD), you are able to enjoy a giant plate of chicken gaiba with several side dishes and for 10,000 won (10 USD) you can find endless meat buffets.
Need a lift after wolfing down 10lbs of meat? Korean taxis are here to save the day! While in most parts of the world people hesitate at the steep rate of a taxi across town, fear not in this country! Taxis happen to be extremely cheap in Korea. So cheap that you are able to go to pretty much any part of Jeju City for around 5 dollars, and any part of the island for no more than 30 dollars.
2. Kimchi is served with everything
Ever try kimchi before? Well if you come to Korea, be prepared to get your dose of this spicy, national dish daily. Unlimited kimchi is served at pretty much any restaurant you go in the country and if you like it, dining in Korea will be a mouthwatering experience for you. So what is this famous dish that Koreans can’t get enough of? Kimchi is a combination of vegetables and spices that have been fermented underground for months at a time. The best way I can describe it is that it’s sort of like a spicy, red salad. Anyways, have some courage to try it and you be the judge yourself!
3. Wifi is everywhere
Honestly, if you’re living in a bigger city in Korea, you won't even see the need to get a data plan on a smartphone. Free wifi in Korea is everywhere! Restaurants, convenience stores, and even some taxis have wifi service in them. This is what it needs to be like everywhere!
4. Masses of identical apartments
Upon gazing at the skyline of an apartment block in Busan, you will that all of the buildings look identical. Apparently Koreans don’t really care much for architecture and would rather mass build housing complexes with the same exact design for each one. I’m sure there are at least a few drunk residents who have walked into the wrong building and found themselves in somebody else’s shower. That would make for quite a story.
5. They obey traffic laws no matter what!
Pedestrians will listen to the walk and do not walk signs no matter what. There could be a road with only tumble weeds blowing across and they still wouldn’t jaywalk.On one hand it guarantees their safety just in case an invisible car runs them over but on the other hand if there’s not a single car on the road, I’m not wasting my time standing there.
6. North and South Korea are still at war
While some may already know about this one, many still don’t realize that the Korean war has never officially ended. After a 3 year long bloody war between North and South Korea during the 1950s, a ceasefire was signed and has been upheld since then. Technically though it could end at any time and it’s not as though the two countries are on good terms with each other.
7. Koreans never use red ink
Similar to their problem with the number four (yes, the Chinese have the same superstition about the Number 4 being bad luck), Koreans are also very superstitious when it comes to writing things in red. Red is the color symbolizing death in Korea and if you write a persons name in red, it means that you either want them to die or you think they will die soon. Therefore if you find yourself signing that card to little Min-jun’s 10th birthday party with a red pen, you may not get the happy reaction from him that you were expecting..
8. Plastic surgery is common and socially praised
While plastic surgery is a pretty common trend in this day and age, the western culture usually doesn’t deem it a very positive thing to do under normal circumstances. The ones that do end up getting their nose jobs don’t tend to brag about it to their coworkers or friends. It is quite the contrary in South Korea however. Koreans deem plastic surgery as a very understandable thing. Feeling the pressures of wanting that “Caucasian look” that many of them seek, Korean women will often go through multiple surgeries to attain bigger eyes, a higher nose, and a slimmer chin. After these surgeries, many of them will be praised by coworkers, family, and friends on their new appearance. Add that to the fact that the surgeries are relatively cheap and you get one of the largest markets for plastic surgery in the world.
9. Fan deathNever trust a fan. I mean look at them…and their fan blades…obviously they’re up to no good! Or at least that’s the consensus in Korea. Of the 20, this fact may be the most intriguing to me. Bear with me on this one since it’s not pretty.
It is believed by many South Koreans that leaving your fan on overnight causes death. Yes, you heard me right, death! A commonly believed urban legend, more than 20 cases of “fan death” have been reported by the Korean Consumer Safety Board in the last couple of years warning people not to leave their fans on overnight. So how exactly do these evil entities get the job done? Well, there’s more than one explanation when the bodies are found the next morning with the fan suspiciously at the scene of the crime:
1. The fan sucks all of the air out of the room creating a vacuum similar to the effects of what it would feel like in space.
2. The fan uses up all of the oxygen in the room leaving only the carbon dioxide for you to breath in.
3. The blades chop up all of the oxygen particles in the room leaving you with no oxygen.
4. If left in an enclosed space for a long period of time, the fan is said to lower the rooms air temperature until inducing hypothermia on its victim.
It is then up to the mastermind detectives to figure out which method the fan chose for its victim in each instance. We may need to get Sherlock Holmes on the case for this one.
10. Korea and Japan are rivalsThroughout the world many countries have friendly rivalries. Australia and New Zealand, the USA and Canada, and England and Scotland just to name a few. Stemming back more than a hundred years though you get Korea and Japan who have not been on good terms since will before the 1900s.
Japan has always had a bad habit of trying to invade the Korean Peninsula and in 1910 they finally succeeded. What followed was something that Koreans have a hard time forgiving. Japan forced the people of Korea to learn their language and practice Shintoism. Then during World War Two, the Japan military forced around 200,000 Korean women to become prostitutes in brothels across China.
Korea still claims to this day that Japan hasn’t formally apologized for these acts and continue to holds that grudge against them. On top of that Korea and Japan have been fighting over the contested islands of Dokdo (Korean) or Takeshima (Japanese) for some time, each of them claiming that the islands have been under their control since the sixteenth century. Statistics even showed in a Korean poll on which country they disliked the most that 44 percent chose Japan with North Korea coming in second at 11 percent. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo could get quite interesting!
Interesting facts above found on http://strawhatbackpacker.com/
If you're a fan of Korean culture or curious to learn more, head down to the Korean Fair 2016 held at Hartamas Shopping Centre which started yesterday and will end on October 1st (Saturday).
The Korean Fair which takes place all around the mall is meant to share the culture, connect and experience with visitors and shoppers of Hartamas Shopping Centre.
At the Main Concourse, there will be daily activities chosen to be showcased during the 5-day fair which include Tuho (Korean traditional throwing sticks game), Kimchi demonstration and Samyang eating competition. There are lots of Korean products to be won!