As I go about my daily routine in Seoul, I don’t always pay attention to these small things, but nonetheless I thought it was worth doing a post on utterly random things I’ve come to notice or realize while I’ve been living in Korea.

  1. Staircases wind counter-clockwise
  2. The number 4 is usually substituted with an F in elevators, since the number 4 symbolizes death in Korean
  3. Nivea completely dominates the market for deodorants for both men and women – seriously, I dare you to find another deodorant brand in shops like Olive Young or Watsons
  4. Seeing people in the hallway or a food court on their way to the restroom with a toothbrush in their mouth is a normal everyday occurrance
  5. Trashbags are insanely expensive
  6. So is coffee. I often pay more for coffee than I do for lunch or dinner
  7. The selfie function on my phone camera actually makes for a great mirror while I’m on the subway
  8. Owning a selfie stick doesn’t make you geeky, it makes you cool
  9. People talk about food a lot (as I’m writing this, I just sent a text with the words 밥 먹었어? Did you eat?)
  10. Finding a trash can in the street can sometimes be extremely difficult. Yet no one seems to litter
  11. November 11, also referred to as Pepero Day, (a day where people present their significant others with the crispy chocolately Peperos) is getting significantly more marketing attention than Korean thanksgiving, Chuseok
  12. Anything can be made cute if you just put a sticker with a teddy bear on it
  13. The prices for a bottle of soju (alc. 20%) and a bottle of water when bought in a convenience store are surprisingly similar
  14. Buying salty popcorn in a movie theater is difficult
  15. Caramel flavored Pringles is a real thing

I’m sure there’s a lot to add to this list. But I’ll leave that to you, my dear readers. What small and big random things have you noticed in Korea. Please share!



  1. Many people, but especially students generally have the same haircut and/or hairstyle. So. Many. Bowl cuts. Also, students spend quite a large amount of time online and on facebook. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a 좋탐 on my students’ FaceBook feeds, I’d at least have a $100. Students here are also a lot more touchy. That skin ship. Also, for some reason everyone knows Chicago pizza, but may not actually know Chicago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely agree with you about the trash cans! Noticed the same thing in Sri Lanka… how is it that there are no bins and no litter either?
    I had a couple of fun observations…
    1. Finding a loaf of bread in a 7/11 is almost impossible. There will be every other kind of bread, but a loaf- never.
    2. Owning a colourful hiking jacket is a thing.
    3. If you don’t like hailing a taxi, or booking a taxi by calling…you’re in luck. Every taxi driver seems to be using the Kakao Taxi app.


  3. 2 things

    1. Sarah Z – as an answer to your trash can question:
    It is actually a very conscious decision made by the government that they would starve every city from trash cans. As far as i understand it is because of their trash recycle system (which i am sure there are a lot of different opinions on) , which is also the reason why trash bags are extremely expensive. Here in Korea they sort their trash vigorously to avoid food waste, but some people who initially thought it too tedious to sort their trash, they just put their trash in the public trash cans to avoid bills and what not (yes, you get bills for not sorting correctly). Hence no trash cans. They actually have a similar system in Taipei, Taiwan, which I presume is where the Korean government got the idea from.

    2. Oh I have quite a few to add to your list Sofie

    1. It is apparently not considered rude to prepare spitting and relieving snot with loud noises in public (especially if you are an ajossi – or ajumma for that matter, hehe )
    2. The old people are more rude (and apparently in a bigger hurry) than the young people. I expected it to be opposite…
    3. A frickled skin is considered bad skin (even in the summer!) In Denmark we consider this healthy, as it means you have been outside 😛
    4. Koreans believe that spicy food is the perfect solution to resolve any bad emotional or physical state. Also it is perfect for every season as well. “It’s cold cold outside – i want something spicy to heat me up”, “Oh my god it’s so hot. Let’s go have something spicy to cool us down”
    5. “It’s either a square backpack or no backpack!”

    And there are hundreds more where they came from…

    Conclusion: Living in Korea is interesting


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