A year ago, I wrote my first random things post, and since I notice small Korean quirks every week, I figured it was time for the second installment.

  1. The big cosmetic chains’ ‘once in a lifetime sales’ actually happen twice per month. No need to hurry.
  2. Double-sided tape to be placed onto eyelids in an effort to make eyes look more Western are sold at every convenience store.
  3. Sky blue is a preferred color for roof tiles.
  4. Wearing socks with sandals will not make you a social outcast.
  5. Koreans may be the people on earth who owns the most advanced hiking gear even if they only ever use it for walks in their local park.
  6. Kpop lyrics are frequently used in advertising.
  7. Telling someone that you’re vegetarian is almost the equivalent to telling someone you’re from Mars.
  8. Ordering a pizza will always grant you a free side of pickled cucumbers (and, quite often, honey).
  9. As far as pizza topping is concerned, the ‘anything goes’ rule seems to apply. I dare you to top (haha, pun intended) the Gorgonzola, Apple, Cinnamon combo. (Spotted in the food court at IFC mall in Yeouido – go see for yourself.)
  10. Warnings against ‘upskirting’, the illegal act of photographing under women’s skirts on escalators are placed in most public restrooms.
  11. Officetel = apartment building, eye shopping = window shopping, Burberry = any type of trenchcoat, handphone=cell phone, grand open = grand opening, PPT = powerpoint, service = free gift, and skinship = physical contact, are all common Konglish words.
  12. Koreans are weirdly proud of their pharmaceutical industry. “Korean medicine is very strong, you’ll soon be well again” is a commonly heard sentence if you’re feeling under the weather.
  13. There are fortune tellers in every street, and many Koreans still rely on them when faced with big life decisions. A popular version is saju – a Korean type horoscope.
  14. There are ‘cramming motels’ called 고시원 in all university areas, where students can rent cheap study rooms around test periods, so they don’t have to waste time commuting back and forth from home.
  15. Seeing a grown man with a doll or teddy bear attached to his backpack or briefcase is considered normal.
  16. Korean men seem to use eyebrow coloring products just as much as women. And berry flavored tinted lip balm.
  17. Cheese can be added to anything in Korea. I have yet to try their cheese coffee.
  18. Christmas starts early, and in some cases never ends. My local Coffine Gurunaru coffee shop has had a huge Christmas wreath with ornaments hanging next to their front door all year. Now they may just leave it there.
  19. There are signs on the sidewalk by every large intersection reminding you to look up from your phone when you cross the street.
  20. Proofreading signs in English seems a waste of time. In the ladies room on my floor at uni, there is a special room called ‘nuysury’ – I assume they mean ‘nursery’.

Have you noticed other peculiar things about Korea? Please share! I’d love to hear about your experiences.



  1. My goodness the English proofreading, is it really that difficult to get someone to proofread?? I cringe whenever I see poorly written English especially in my Yonsei books, sometimes it’s so bad I don’t even understand what it’s trying to say, which makes it hard to understand the Korean grammar :s

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Noticed that Koreans can be very clingy. There was this episode in “3 Meals a Day” where Lee Jong Suk came as a guest and he was all over Yoon Kyun Sang while on the show. It was the most adorable bromance ever! Haha


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