Korea: My Random Favorite Quirks (part 1)

Merriam – Webster Definition
             quirk: an unusual habit or way of behaving. OR a groove separating a bead or other molding from adjoining members.
 (I am thinking not the second one)

My Definition
             quirk: habits or ways of behaving that appear strange only because one was not exposed to them while growing up. quirky is really just another word for different.
Every country has it’s unique qualities and idiosyncrasies, and Korea is no exception. Here are some of my favorite random Korean quirks that make living here an interesting and enjoyable experience.

Face and Foot Masks

I always buy these masks when they are on sale for 10+10.

Volcanic face mask from Jejudo, that I brought back with me when I went to MN for winter vacation.

Lost in Translation:  Funny English fails  

While hiking in Seoraksan National Park, I saw this epic sweater. An elementary aged girl is wearing a shirt that says, “I need a prince in the streets and a beast in the sheets.”
Restaurant patrons can enjoy their meal, and get a good laugh out of this “explanation” of the food choices.

The sign on my office door. Yes, the sign for the English Office.

The Legitimate Use of Parasols

I have a theory about the use of parasols in Korea. Click here for the sordid details.

Cutesy cafes

Hello Kitty Cafe in Seoul

My Coworker: The Fount of Wisdom

It’s great when you have awesome coworkers!
Good friends at the Ulsan Whale Festival.

Korean family: my home away from home

Korean BBQ

Grill master!

Free Cosmetic Samples

I didn’t purchase any of these…..
Or these! They were free gifts that were added to my bag. I love free things! Although, I do give all the skin whitening stuff to my Korean co teacher.

Umbrella Racks are Everywhere

Quite wonderful, unless you have an umbrella thief.

Cheap Eye Wear

It can be quite interesting trying to get an eye exam and purchase glasses if all communication occurs with gestures and grunts.
I bought a brand new pair of glasses for around $30 (USD)

Ubiquitous Hello Kitty

I would never wear this back in the U.S., but in Korea it’s completely acceptable. My friends and I had to pull out all the stops for our Epic Birthday Bash in Busan.

Everyone (including adults) Regularly Sit on the Floor

I competed in a volleyball tournament with the other teachers at my school. I believe I was one of two foreigners in the whole competition. 

A room of fully grown adults, (teachers, principals) all sitting on the the floor like good little children during the opening ceremony.

Wearing Korean Socks at Work

I am going to need to stock up on these socks to bring back to the U.S. with me. (The amazing socks continue)

Yellow Dust From China

It’s a real thing. This dust originates in the northern deserts of China and Mongolia. Strong winds whisk the dust (along with pollutants) all the way to the Korean Peninsula. I know it’s bad for you, but I still think it is pretty awesome that it’s yellow.

Awesome Office Supplies

The most amazing file folder on the face of the earth!

Couples Walk Around Wearing Matching Outfits  (for real)

I have worked out a rating system, to judge the amount of commitment put into the matching process. (click here for a full explanation).

Restaurant Tables Sometimes Have Utensil Drawers


Photo Booths

“I have no idea how to do this, it’s all in Korean”, I thought to myself.

This is what countryside teachers do on Girls Day Downtown!
This one is Japanese style where the machine photo shops your eyes bigger. 

Awesome Backpacks

Spam is sold in Gift Sets….

Ummm……….so funny, but no thank you.

My Random Korean Favorites (part 2) is in the making, stay tuned!

Did you enjoy reading this post? Leave a comment with your thoughts, opinions, questions, or general thoughts about Korea and any quirks you love that I missed. 

I would love to hear from you!

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6 thoughts on “Korea: My Random Favorite Quirks (part 1)

  1. That girl's shirt made me do a triple take. Dear Lord, that's hilarious! Haha

    I sure do love samgyeopsal (and other types of BBQ). When I left Korea back in 2012, that was one of the biggest things I missed. I know I'll miss it again when I leave!

    I've grown to like those spam/cooking oil/toothpaste gift sets. I never need to buy those things now! So much more convenient than some tacky gift I'll never use. I wonder how my friends back home will react when I buy them canola oil for their birthday…

  2. What a comprehensive list of all the mostly fun quirks in Korea!! Love it.
    I can't believe that girl's shirt….omg. lol

    And that sign on your office door!!! So ridiculous!! Did you at least tell them about it? O.o

    The photo booths are really one of my favorite things to do here 😛 The first time I was so stressed out decorating the pictures because I had no idea what I was doing and the time was ticking!! I ended up with very few stickers !!

  3. Yes, we pointed out the sign and it was changed to the correct spelling. The funny thing is, that maybe 4 months later they changed it again and the sign is now completely in Korean.

    I know! Our first attempt at the booth failed, and we had to keep calling the girl over to help us. It was so much fun though.

  4. Head on out to the “Mitting Room” and learn some English! What an awesome sign to see every single day. One of my favorites was at my school during Student Union Elections and the Banner of one Candidate that said “I'm possible.”

    English fail t-shirts are always the best. When you were at Seoraksan, did you see any ladies hiking with high heels/other perfect gear for hiking? That one always throws me off.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this awesomely extensive list.

  5. Yes!! I couldn't believe some of the outfits I saw while hiking. Towards the end of the hike (nearer the bottom) I saw some women that looked like they were dressed up for a wedding or evening gala. I mean, if you are capable of hiking in high heels then I say more power to you! I would trip, fall, and break something important.

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