Saturday, October 18, 2014

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Korea

For this edition of it's-the-18th-of-the-month-which-means-we've-been-living-here-for-fourteen-months post, I'm going to share some random things I didn't know about Korea before living here.

-The mayor of Seoul recently affirmed same-sex marriage and commented that he hoped Korea would be the first Asian country to do so.

-In some women's restrooms, you can find the Etiquette Bell. It's a button you push that masks the sound of whatever you're doing in the bathroom.

-There's a big (1 ton) rubber ducky floating in a lake in Seoul.

-Sometimes/often when Korean women appear at an event (or especially on TV) wearing a skirt, they will put a blanket over their knees to be modest.

-Love motels are a thing in Korea. You can pay by the hour if you want to meet up with your secret-lover for a quick visit. Most foreigners just know they are cheap and convenient at may $40 USD per night. But these places are super secretive and have special places to park so that you don't have to be seen going in.

-Korea is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy cigarettes, thus, a lot of people smoke. It costs about $2.30 USD for a pack in Korea, compared to $14.40 USD in Norway.

-Twenty percent of Korean males reportedly wear some kind of make-up.

-In Korean restaurants, there are little buttons on the table used to summon your server. They don't talk to you. They don't ask if you need anything. They don't hover. They just come when you call. It's kind of nice. Oh, and there's no tipping in Korea!

-Korean school kids are the least happy, but they get the best grades.

-Bizarrely, there have been Americans who have defected to North Korea. I just...I don't...I...

-It is customary for the eldest son to invite his parents to live with him and his new bride. Can you imagine?

-South Korean activists often send balloons filled with leaflets over to North Korea.

-Mark Zuckerberg paid us a visit recently. Watch out Apple...

-Lily from Modern Family is Korean!

-Male South Korean soccer players can earn military service (2 years) exemption if they win gold in the Asian Games.

-Arirang News is where I get a lot of my information over here. It's pretty cool. They have a TV channel, online streaming, and radio. Check it out to learn more.