Learning about and understanding a different culture is always interesting and sometimes we come across habits only unique to the culture. Check out the six most common habits of Koreans! Do you find any of them quirky or interesting?
Koreans brush their teeth 3 times a day.
From a young age, Koreans are taught to brush their teeth at least three times a day. They were advised to brush their teeth after every meal for 3 minutes. You'll be surprised to see how many Koreans actually have a toothbrush and toothpaste set at work. That's why you can find so many portable toothbrush sets in Korea!
Many Koreans feel uncomfortable if they don't brush their teeth on time. Also, authentic Korean cuisine uses a lot of spices, such as garlic and ginger, so Koreans recognize brushing their teeth as a basic etiquette.
Do Koreans usually go for several rounds of drinking?
Yes, this is true. When Korean friends gather, they usually go for several rounds of drinking.
If the first round was eating dinner at a restaurant, the next round is usually hanging out at a cafe or a bar. The third round is either going to a noraebang (karaoke) or to another bar. Koreans hit up several places in one night and stay out all night long. I was surprised when my foreign friend asked me, "Is having rounds of drinking a thing for Koreans?"
Multiple rounds don't always happen, but going up to the second round is quite common when hanging out with friends.
Some of you may think the second round is all about drinking but if your friends do not drink (or can't drink), you can go to a cafe or karaoke. Koreans do not like bidding a farewell after eating only one meal with their friends.
Koreans are experts at recycling.
This is also true. Although as Koreans, we are not aware of just how good we are. According to the OECD report, South Korea was ranked second for recycling. Koreans are extremely adept at sorting trash into three major recycling categories: the general trash, food waste, and recyclable items (such as plastic bags, glass bottles, aluminum cans, etc).
Many Korean schools, apartments, residential complexes, subway stations have multiple recycling bins. At my residence, I can only throw away a specific type of trash on a particular day of the week. For instance, I can dispose of food waste only on Mondays, paper trash on Wednesdays, general trash on Thursdays and glass and plastic bottles on Fridays. Koreans sort their trash to keep the neighbourhood hygienic while reducing pollution.
Do Koreans wear slippers with their socks on?
Koreans have this weird trait where they wear sandals or slippers with socks on. I didn't realize this habit was so shocking to my foreign friends.
From my understanding, there are three origins to this strange Korean trait. First is because of the smell of feet. Some people have rather stinky feet so if they don't wear socks with their slippers or sandals, others will suffer. Second is some people find it uncomfortable to wear slippers or sandals without socks. Koreans love these three striped slippers (super cheap and comfortable), but occasionally you can scratch your skin so I always wear socks.
And lastly, wearing socks with sandals was once loved by mid-aged Korean men. However, it has now turned into a super hip fashion for Korean youngsters. For these three reasons, Koreans go with this unusual combination of socks and slippers.
Do Koreans love talking to themselves?
Source: TVN ▲ Korean celebrity Seo Jang-Hoon always talks to himself
Koreans also talk to themselves a lot. Many Koreans talk to themselves in different situations.
Koreans usually talk to themselves when they watch a drama. They try to encourage the protagonist by saying "OMG, what's wrong with HIM?" or "Yes! Kiss the girl!" At work, they talk to themselves when they need to remind themselves of the upcoming deadline or task. "Let's do that after finishing this," or "shoot! I am doomed..." When they eat a nice dinner, they express their satisfaction by saying, "Wow, this is GOOD!" or "I want that too..."
I never paid attention to it before, but most of the Creatrip employees also talk to themselves while working.
Do Koreans drink cold beverages even in winter?
Koreans drink cold beverages even in winter.
Countless Koreans drink iced coffee even when the temperature drops below zero degrees in Celcius. I also love to drink iced cafe latte in winter.
According to Starbucks Korea, the sales of iced americano in Korea in the first quarter of 2017 was 37% of the entire sales volume. This means, About 37 people ordered Iced Americano out of the 100 customers.
Source: TVN ▲ A clip of Korean drama showing people drinking iced drinks in the middle of the winter.
You might wonder why Koreans love to drink cold drinks in winter. Many office workers order take-out coffee after eating lunch. Instead of getting dessert, they prefer to drink a cold cup of coffee. Some say Koreans release their stress by drinking cold drinks. I cannot pinpoint the reason why, but it is indeed true that Koreans eat more iced drinks than hot drinks.
What did you guys think of the list? Are there any habits that you don't find unusual? Please be mindful that the above post was written based on my personal observations as a Korean and that it does not represent the whole population. If you are curious about other Korean habits, please leave a comment below!
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