10 Things You’ll Only Find in Korea

From soju to noraebangs to K-Pop blaring out on the streets, Korea is a fascinating country that’s always bustling with activity. Thousands of tourists visit every single year and expats settling down in Korea are on the rise.

There are a lot of interesting customs, trends, products and facilities that may seem so normal to Koreans but are fascinating and new to those from abroad. Thus, we present you with ‘the top 10 things you’ll only find in Korea’!

1. Coin Noraebangs

If you love belting out songs, you must visit a noraebang (‘norae’ meaning song and ‘bang’ meaning room) at least once. People go there to sing while drunk (and almost blast other people’s eardrums thinking they can reach that high note), after a break-up (queue a whole round of depressing love songs) or simply to practice their singing!

Waiting to try this cute Coin Noraebang~ 💱🎤😄 #coinnoraebang #kondae #seoul #korea

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They’re all over the country on most street corners. Typical noraebangs usually accommodate over 4 people and cost at least 10,000 to 15,000 KRW per hour.

Coin noraebangs, however, are different in that you pay according to the number of songs you sing rather than on an hourly basis. The booths are also smaller, kind of resembling a telephone box.

There will be a microphone or two, a remote control to select songs, and a coin slot to pay for the number of songs you want to sing. Prices normally start at 500 KRW for one or two songs).

Coin noraebangs are recommended for those of you who want to belt out some songs alone in a place other than your shower with a microphone that isn’t a hairbrush. These are absolutely ideal for that!

Read more about the unique Korean room culture from our previous blog post here!

2. Dating Slang

If you’re looking to meet your potential future girl or boyfriend, not to worry as there are many ways that you can! Blind dating and ‘meetings’ (and no, we don’t mean the kind you have at the office on a Monday morning) are quite common here. Here are some of the terms explained.

So-Gae-Ting‘: A one-on-one blind date where two strangers are set up by a mutual friend. Sometimes the mutual friend will have shown the participants pictures of each other along with information about their school or job.

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“So….what’s your favorite color?”

Meeting‘: Group hangouts where one mutual friend or even a few invite their friends to hang out together. They are usually very popular amongst university students as a way of meeting lots of new people. Since it is a large group, there is a lot less pressure. Drinking games are also played to make things more comfortable and fun.

*Never have any high hopes for these. I’ve been on five so far but haven’t been able to meet anyone even close to what I would consider ‘boyfriend material'(sighs). Just focus on having fun!

Hap-Seok‘: Hap-Seok usually happens when a boy or girl finds someone of interest in a bar (since alcohol can make someone more comfortable and confident). They will then go up to them and ask if they want to Hap-Seok (join seats). It’s essentially like a meeting but very spontaneous! marriage.pngMat-Seon‘ or ‘Seon‘: These are the most serious of all Korean dates, as they are a blind date arranged by parents or relatives with the potential of producing a marriage.

3. Couple Culture

I’m quite content with being single and enjoy the freedom, but sometimes I do get lonely and wish I had someone by my side- especially here. Why? Because couples are everywhere, and boy they sure like to make it clear to the whole world that they’re dating. 커플티.png

Korean couples will wear matching outfits, accessories, rings, shoes….even underwear! Pretty much anything that shows that they’re dating. Don’t get me wrong- I think it looks cute most of the time. But there’s always those couples that go overboard or have matching things that just make you think ‘why.’ The worst was when I saw a couple with matching crocs. CROCS. I don’t care what anyone says. Crocs are hideous and need to be banned from this earth.

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Banish them!

There’s also a bunch of holidays that are specifically for couples, some of which include:

White Day (March 14): Known as the ‘second Valentine’s day’, boys give gifts to the girls in return for the ones they received on Valentine’s Day. Yes, Valentine’s Day here is when the girls give gifts to the boys!

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Rose/Yellow Day (May 14): Couples dress in yellow and exchange roses. 12521270083_4fdd9590c5_k.jpgKiss Day (June 14): Confess your feelings to your crush and a new relationship may blossom. Lipstick brands and breath mints will also have various promotions.

Even Christmas is more of a couple’s night than a time spent with the whole family. You’ll most likely find me drinking the night away with my girlfriends that night. betweenAnd if you want to document your whole relationship, install an app called ‘between’ which allows you to share photos, messages, and generally chronicle the whole course of your relationship.

4. Drink till you (almost) die

It should come as no surprise to some of you that South Korea boasts the top alcohol consumption level on the planet.4520853196_ce78fd8fcd_bSoju. That green glass bottle filled with a devilish substance that’s caused some of my worst hangovers, cringe-worthy text messages, and other bad decisions is the main alcohol of choice in Korea. It’s under 2 dollars at convenience stores and comes in flavors such as grapefruit, peach, apple, and more! You can also mix it with everything from orange juice to energy drinks to beer. %ea%b3%bc%ec%9d%bc%ec%86%8c%ec%a3%bc_%ec%a7%84%ec%97%b4Drinking is a way of bonding with your friends, co-workers or family. For this reason, ‘hweshiks (company dinners)’ are very common. Hierarchy is very prevalent in the workplace, and respecting higher-ups is a huge deal. Drinking gives you the chance to open up and strengthen your relationship with them in a casual environment.신세대2.jpgYou’ll find people drinking at parks or playgrounds since drinking in public is legal. Additionally, no one is fazed when they see someone passed out on the street or subway either since it’s such a common sight.

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Hangover soup that will warm up your stomach

If you need some hangover relief, head to the convenience store where you’ll find the shelves lined with hangover relief drinks (check out our top 5 here) ! There’s also soups to get nutrients back into your alcohol-filled system. If you love to drink, Korea will be like heaven for you. Bottom’s up, folks.

5. Same Sex Touching

Normally in many other parts of the world, two people of the same sex holding hands or linking arms would make people assume they are a gay couple. In Korea however, while public displays of affection are generally frowned upon, people won’t blink an eye even if you sit on your friend’s lap or walk down the street holding their hand.

You’ll see lots of music videos or shows where celebrities of the same sex have their arms around each other cuddling or have their arms around their friend’s waist. It’s totally normal here and also probably the reason why so many international fans freak out and ‘ship’ members of their favorite idol group with each other.

6. “What’s your Korean age?”

In Korea, your age has nothing to do with your birthday. Instead, you calculate your age by the year you’re born, so it doesn’t matter whether your birthday has passed or not.

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So how old am I?

The easiest way to calculate it is to subtract the current year from the year you were born and add one. So if you were born in 1992, then your age is 2016 – 1992 + 1 = 25. The reason why you add one is because you’re already considered to be a year old once you’re born.

This system is fine when you’re young, but gets more and more depressing as you age. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of those in their late twenties approaching thirty crying as they say “I’m technically still in my twenties!”

7. Offensive Comments

“Why do you have so many pimples on your face?””You’ve gained so much weight!” These are some common comments you may hear from people, whether it be friends, relatives or co-workers.

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Me at every family gathering: “Here we go again….”

Of course, there are people who say these things on purpose to offend you, but a lot of times in Korea, they’re simply said out of concern or even love (though I beg to differ). The best thing to do is just laugh it off and not let it get to you.

My technique now is to just do the same thing back. Two can play the game. When one of my aunts recently told me I was getting fat and should get some exercise, I feigned concern and told her she had gotten more wrinkles and should probably get some botox. Needless to say, she shut up right away.

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Her-0 : Me-1  *flips hair*

*Tread gently if the opposition is a superior at work or someone you don’t want to have a rocky relationship with. I’m not responsible for any fights that occur!

8. Korean Beauty Products

It’s no secret that Korea is the pioneer in the world of skincare and beauty. Even Western brands are beginning to release products that have formulations and finishes similar to Korean products.

BB creams, lip tints, cushion foundations…. it all started in Korea. Recently, however, the products have become more, erm, interesting. But hey, no matter how strange and unusual they may be, the important thing is that they work! mizon-starfish-cream

I previously mentioned some briefly in this post, and I’ve since discovered many more bizarre products. One of them includes this ‘Starfish All-in-One Cream’ with 70% starfish extract that promises to improve skin elasticity, moisturize, prevent wrinkles, and whiten the skin. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had great regenerating results as starfish  can regrow lost arms and even entire new limbs!

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Ugh, even looking at that snail is grossing me out

The site even has placenta, bee and snake venom, and snail mucus cream. Not the usual products you would find on a skincare website. But hey, if it makes me look younger and gives me amazing skin, I’ll gladly try it.

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I’d probably eat these since I love anything with salmon

I also found this cream that literally looks like the salmon eggs you find in sushi restaurants. Apparently, the enzymes help to regulate moisture and enhance your skin’s color, texture, and overall condition. The site recommends using 2 to 3 eggs at a time.

9. Fortune-Telling

Fortune-telling stalls and cafes can be seen all over Korea.  There are tents lining the streets and portable vans with little tables and chairs inside.

Find out what life has in store for you through a variety of different methods. For example, ‘kwan-sang’ is where the psychic analyzes little details about your face such as the shape of your nose or how far apart your eyes are to determine your personality. Then they will use this information to figure out the rest of your life.

‘Saju’ is another popular form of fortune-telling. It means the four pillars of destiny, as the readings are based on the day, month, year, and time of your birth. The fortune-teller will consult a book of celestial significance to tell you about your character and how it can affect your future.

#사주 #관상 #봄 어디서 보든 나는 #예술 쪽 할 팔자고 #손재주 가 좋아서 #글 을 쓰던 #악보 를 쓰던 뭘 만들던 #손 으로 하는 #일 을 하게 된다고 얘기한다. 정말 사람마다 제 팔자가 있나봐 신기해신기해! 게다가 어디서든 #인정 받고 #돈 은 절로 따라온다는데 정말 그렇게만 된다면 정말정말 좋겠네요😃 물론 나두 #노력 해야게찌만ㅎㅎ ° ° ° #안성 #바우덕이 #축제 #바우덕이축제 #10월 #행사 #사주팔자 참, #시집 은 늦게 가라고ㅎㅎ… #용띠 랑 #뱀띠 만나면 안되구 말띠랑 범띠 만나면 좋대요 #말띠 #범띠 #남자 분들 어디 계세요!!! 쌍수들고 환영합니당!!!!! #림스타그램 #소통 #선팔 #맞팔 #맞팔은선팔후댓글

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Many mothers also consult fortune-tellers about their children before important events. These include things like the college entrance exam to find out whether or not their child can get into a top university or job interviews at a conglomerate company to predict the chances of getting hired.

Some do go a little too overboard and literally rely solely on these fortune-tellers to predict their whole life for them.

10. Love Motels

Sound seedy and sketchy? As the name suggests, love motels can be rented hourly and are for couples who want somewhere private to..erm…’do the deed.’ Since most youths live with their parents even in their twenties or thirties, they’re the ideal place to go for some uninterrupted time together.의정부모텔_추천_003.pngHowever, they’re not just for couples anymore. A lot of tourists on a budget or business people who need a place to crash for the night use them as they’re actually really nice and clean!%ec%9d%98%ec%a0%95%eb%b6%80%eb%aa%a8%ed%85%94_%ec%b6%94%ec%b2%9c_008Most will have a queen-sized bed, big screen tv, bathroom, and mini fridge. Some even have computers, jacuzzis, karaoke machines, and video games! Many will even be themed. Take the Spain room for example, which is decked out with Spanish football memorabilia such as Barcelona football uniforms and boots.1697526331_330ff6c561_b.jpgThe best part is that if you look around almost every bus terminal or train station you will find some, so you have lots of options! 160429_명_창원모텔_갤러리9_(3).jpg*Since it is a ‘love motel’, the bathroom may just be separated by a curtain or glass door that’s practically transparent (shown above) so take note if you’re going with someone you’re not too comfortable with (ie. that co-worker you’re not too close with yet).

Which ones do you agree with? Do you have any more to add to the list? Let us know!

If you want to check out more fun posts like this one as well as more fun things to do in Korea, don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop! button_main 2

Photo Credits

Naver Blog@body4282
Naver Cafe J.metis
Naver Blog@mallnmall 
“No crocs under any circumstances” By Yusuf C 
Naver Blog@jcs203 
“she loves me, she loves me not” By Robert Couse-Baker
Between
“Soju time!” By Graham Hills
“Fruit soju” By Beatlehoon
Naver Blog@jcs203
Naver Blog@53477
“Stanley hudson eye roll” By Giphy
manentail
Mizon Creative Beauty Lab
RoseRoseShop
Naver Blog@happynchic
Naver Blog@dukjokim
“Korean Motel” By James Nash

3 Interesting Facts about Korean Thanksgiving – Chuseok

bank-leaves-81571_1920.jpgIt’s that time of year again, “the season with clear skies and stout horses.” Nothing depicts fall in Korea more accurately than this old saying.

During the fall, the weather is at its prime with the perfect combination of sunshine and cool breeze. Additionally, the harvested crops are so plentiful that even livestock get to enrich themselves, so what’s not to like about this peaceful season?

Besides the beautiful scenery on the street and the smell of pumpkin spice and roasted chestnuts, there’s another reason why we anticipate fall…it’s the time of Korean Thanksgiving, also known as “Chuseok“!full-moon-415501_640

1. Chuseok, Happy Korean Thanksgiving Day!

Chuseok is a harvest festival that the whole nation celebrates together. Many scholars claim that it originates from the shamanistic worship ritual of giving thanks to the harvest moon and ancestors. Farmers would show their gratitude and pay homage to their ancestors by presenting them with their new harvest, believing they would spend the coming winter with warmth and plenty of food and have a rich harvest for the coming year. They would then share their food with friends, family, and neighbors.

Nowadays, it’s a time when people take a break from their busy lives to head home and spend time with their family and friends. As a result, airports, trains, and roads are packed as people return to their hometowns. There’s even an expression for such phenomenon, the “mass migration of Chuseok“. So if you plan to travel anywhere during Chuseok holiday, make sure you book your tickets way ahead of time or you’ll be headed absolutely nowhere.

About Charye

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Charye (차례)

Charye” is an ancestor memorial ritual that has been carried out for thousands of years in Korea. On the morning of Chuseok, family members gather in their homes to hold a memorial service for their ancestors, usually up to around four generations above (Chuseok would probably be over if they tried to pay their respects to every single one). During the ceremony, food, fruits, and beverages are offered to them. Each dish has a designated spot on the table and there are set processes such as lighting candles before alcohol is poured into three different cups and bowing twice afterward.

On the morning of Chuseok, family members gather in their homes to hold a memorial service for their ancestors, usually up to around four generations above (Chuseok would probably be over if they tried to pay their respects to every single one).

During the ceremony, food, fruits, and beverages are offered to them. Each dish has a designated spot on the table and there are set processes such as lighting candles before alcohol is poured into three different cups and bowing twice afterward. 64817_10200676393373275_1371045326_nAfter the ceremony, everyone sits together to enjoy the delicious food they prepared and used for the ceremony as they reunite and bond with their family members.

2. It’s Not a Festival Without Food!

No food, no party. That’s the universal rule.

Chuseok is no exception. Preparing the delicacies is a lengthy process that involves many hands due to the quantity and variety of foods to be made. The food is meant to serve the ancestors. Therefore, Koreans believe that the more effort you put into making it, the more respect you are paying for them.

Songpyeon: The Delicious Chuseok Delicacy 

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Songpyeon (송편)

When it comes to Chuseok specialties, it would be blasphemous to leave “Songpyeon” off the table.

This crescent moon shaped rice cake is made with rice from the first harvest of the year, filled with beneficial ingredients such as powdered sesame, red beans, brown sugar, and chestnuts. The finishing touch is a fragrant pine scent, achieved by layering the cake with pine needles.

Though Songpyeon used to be made solely by women, nowadays the whole family participates. And ladies, take note! There’s a belief that a person who makes Songpyeon in the prettiest shape will meet a great spouse and have a beautiful baby, so make it count! 83Besides Songpyeon, various other foods and fruits are served during the festival. Seasoned vegetables, pork, beef, and fish are common and the remaining choices vary by region.

For instance, in the northern part of Gyeongsang province, dried shark meat called Dombaegi and octopus are served because their main harvest is seafood.

It’s quite interesting to see the variety of foods in different regions, so do give them a try if you have the chance!

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Dombaegi (돔배기), dried shark meat

3. Eat, Pray and … Play!

So you’ve filled your stomach with delicious food and spent hours chatting with your family members. Now, it’s time to relax… NOT! The real fun now begins.

There are many fun traditional activities that await you, so get up and prepare to have fun!

About Ganggangsulae Dance

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Ganggangsulae dance (강강술래)

This nearly impossible-to-pronounce dance is traditionally done by women to pray for a bountiful harvest.

They come together under the brightest full moon, forming a circle as they hold each other’s hands. As the lead singer starts singing, the rest sing the refrain “Ganggangsulae” as they rotate clockwise. The dance gets faster and faster as the tempo speeds up and can last until dawn.

No one knows the exact origin, but many people claim the dance dates back to the 16th century when the Japanese attacked Korea. Naval commander Yi Sun-shin ordered the women to circle the mountains in military uniform to scare the enemy off, in an effort to deceive them into thinking the Korean military was greater in number than it actually was.

If you’ve never seen the dance, it’s quite interesting and exciting. Better yet, why not join in!

About Ssireum

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Ssireum (씨름), Korean wrestling

Ssireum” is a traditional sport in Korea, composed of two opponents who wrestle while holding each other’s belts, called ‘Satba (샅바)’.

To win, the player must bring his opponent down to the sandy ground. Unlike Japanese Sumo wrestling, pushing the player out of the circle does not signify victory.

The biggest contest is held during the festival, its popularity scale comparable to American football on Thanksgiving as many families enjoy watching the games on TV.

Traditionally, the champion of the contest receives a bull and rice as the victory prize along with earning the title of being “the world’s strongest man”. He’s definitely not someone you want to mess with.  iulleung_236666_1[332793]Can you imagine what an honor it would be for a man to be called the world’s strongest and to bring home a bull in one hand and a bag of rice in the other?

About Bull Fighting

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Bullfighting (소싸움)

There is no written record of its origin, but bullfighting has been done traditionally over many centuries. However, Korean bullfights don’t involve much blood or killing at all.

Instead of humans fighting bulls like in Spain, it’s literally just two bulls fighting each other. So if you’re an animal lover, don’t worry as you won’t be seeing anything gruesome. As a matter of fact, the bulls are treated with lots of love and affection. The trainers take care of them in a respectable way, feeding them gourmet meals after training.

The show isn’t all about competition. Rather, it’s to show how well their livestock have been raised. In a contest, these thick-necked bulls butt heads until one eventually gives in. A dual can last a few minutes or even hours.

Cheungdo is the city well known for its annual bullfight festival, with its own exclusive stadium that holds various events related to bullfighting. The event draws thousands of tourists every year. If you’re interested in this unique traditional and exciting event, you should try a visit to Cheungdo this Chuseok. dancingIf you’re stuck with nothing to do during Chuseok because your family is abroad, don’t stay at home moping. Head outside as there are still many things to do! 

Cultural sites like museums and palaces will be open, hosting a variety of holiday events. Try the National Folk Museum of Korea to participate in traditional folk games and try your hand at making Songpyeon or the National Museum of Korea to enjoy percussion performances.

Palaces like Deoksugung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung and Gyeongbokgung will also hold traditional music and dance performances. In addition, amusement parks such as Lotte World, Seoul Land and Everland will also be open, hosting various special performances.

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, we hope you spend the best time during Chuseok holiday! And don’t forget to stop by Trazy.com to stay updated on the latest events and fun things to do in South Korea. button_main

5 Things About Korea Foreigners Find Fascinating

Korea is a fast paced, fun city with lots of places to visit and things to experience. It’s also got a unique culture, customs, and ideologies that are the norm to us who’ve lived here for years, but not to those visiting. Here is a list of things that foreign tourists find to be fascinating, unusual and maybe even shocking in Korea. Let us know if there are any you agree with!

1. Lightning Speed Wifi

Unless you’re stranded at the top of a mountain with literally nothing and no one around you, chances are that you’ll probably be able to access wifi almost anywhere here. Not too surprising as we’re the proud owners of the world’s fastest average internet connection speed. 55% of you love how fast the wifi is and find it handy when looking up information about a tourist spot. Also, if you have absolutely no sense of direction at all, then you’ll be in good hands as you can look up where your destination is anytime.

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A 21’st century smartphone user’s favorite sign

Though wifi is almost everywhere, some places like subways require you to pay to access it, so if you want to be able to have it wherever you go, a portable wifi device aka a wifi egg is your best bet. With this bad boy, you can travel all over Korea and use the internet whenever and wherever you want!

2. The Cutting Edge Subway System

The subway system in Korea is an absolute gem as it’s reasonably priced, quick and efficient. Exploring the city will be a piece of cake! You seriously won’t be needing a car here.

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It looks like a terrifying maze, but it’s actually quite easy to master.

The subway fare is very inexpensive and transfers are also super convenient, with signs in English all over the station that make navigating a breeze. Oh, and there’s an app with a map of the subway system, complete with timetables showing times for the first and last train – all in English. How awesome is that?

3. Cutting Food Not With Knives, But Scissors?

Many of you apparently don’t use scissors to cut your food back home. But it’s a heck of a lot easier than using a knife, that’s for sure. The convenience and time effectiveness of cutting food with scissors, especially with thick and coarse meat or kimchi is incomparable to using a knife. And who wants to be waiting around for a thick piece of meat to be cut into pieces with a knife, especially when they’re starving! It’s just so much more efficient. Speaking of meat, check out all these delicious places to satisfy your taste buds. And be sure to cut them with scissors!

4. A Foot Mask? Snail Cream? Yes, They Do Exist

Korea’s the mecca of skincare and beauty- there’s no denying that. There are tourists in Myeongdong dragging heavy suitcases that they fill with skincare and makeup products on the daily. And who could blame them? They’re inexpensive and though some of them look and sound ridiculous, Korea’s definitely ahead of the curve and thrives in the creative department when it comes to coming out with new products that have endless claims promising to make us look gorgeous. And you know what? A lot of them actually do work- just look at all the people on the streets who have gorgeous, translucent skin!

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Yes, this is actually a thing here…

The shelves are lined with cute hand lotions shaped like apples and chocolates, eyebrow stains that stay on all week, creams with snail slime that claim to make you look 10 years younger, masks not only for your face but also your lips… the list is endless. It’s quirky and gimmicky, and it sells. Check out our ultimate guide to Korean cosmetics here.

5. The World’s Most Dangerous Border. Dun dun dun…..

Sounds terrifying, right? It’s actually not that bad at all, as long as you follow the (very strict) instructions from your guides. A lot of you love the DMZ Tour and are fascinated by it since it gives you a glimpse of our (not so) friendly neighbor, North Korea. Prepare to be fascinated as you take a tour of this area barricaded with barbed wire fences and guard posts.

If you want the closest view possible of the North, the exclusive JSA tour is your best bet, since you can witness North and Korean forces standing face to face, experiencing the full-fledged tension between the two firsthand.

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They’re staring into your soul. Hide while you still can.

Your head could be on the chopping block and you could be whisked off to a prison camp in a heartbeat, so make sure you abide by the dress code, photography restrictions and behavioral rules. For example, you can’t wear rip jeans because apparently, the North Koreans used it as a form of propaganda to show that Westerners can’t afford new jeans!

For more fun and informative posts like this one, be sure to check out Trazy.com!button_main 2

5 Korean Menu Translation Fails That Are Just Hilarious!

For foreign travelers to Korea, reading Korean restaurant menus is one of the hardest things to do. Even though most of the Korean restaurant menus do have English names, some of them are translated word-to-word, not word-to-meaning, which ends up being translated in a disaster.

Here are some of the Korean restaurant menus that are translated “seriously wrong” that will crack you up!

1. Gomtang

13709242614_30113a042b_b.jpgIf you think there’s a real bear meat in this soup, then you’re absolutely wrong! The soup, “Gom-tang”,  is one of the most mistranslated names that creates a chaos among foreigners.

It is a Korean soup that is made with various beef parts such as ribs and bones. The name is supposed to be translated as ‘Beef Bone Soup’ not ‘Bear Soup’. While ‘Tang’ means soup in Korea, the very confusion comes from the word ‘Gom’ in its name, which literally means ‘bear’ in Korean. However! Gom refers to boiling a soup for a long time.

2. Yukhoe

meat-597951_1920Okay, this one’s a total nonsense. A Korean local dish called “Yukhoe” is mistranslated into ‘Six Times’ when it really should have been ‘Beef Tartare’. How crazy is that?!

Well, because ‘yuk’ and ‘hoe’ are homonyms and they have two meanings at the same time, the automatic translator just literally gave Yukhoe a weird English name, ‘Six Times’.

3. Gamjatang

food-836806_1920You better read this before you go to “Gamjatang” restaurants in Korea because it’s another Korean menu that is often misunderstood!

The word “Gamja (potato)” from “Gamja-tang” often confuses foreigners because it makes you think of a yellow-colored potato soup when it is actaully a red-colored pork back-bone stew with potatoes.

4. Dakttongjip

This one is hilarious and for this part, no other description is needed. “Dak-ttongjip”, which is a stir-fried chicken gizzard, is mistranslated as ‘Chicken Asshole House’.

5. Dongtaejjigae

[coolpix]  동네 동태집 15.08.18_4A “Dynamic stew”?! Somebody’s got to fix those automated translators seriously. “Dongtae-jjigae (Pollack Stew)” is ridiculously translated as a Dynamic Stew because the word “Dongtae” has two meanings, ‘dynamic’ and ‘pollack’. Guess the translator took only ‘dynamic’ into consideration during the process.

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2016 Jongmyodaeje: Korea’s Royal Ancestral Ritual That Travelers Shouldn’t Miss on May 1st

About Jongmyo Shrine

Located on the east of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine of the Joseon Dynasty that is designated by UNESCO as world cultural assets in 1995. It is a historic site where a royal ancestral ritual to honor the past kings and queens was held during the Joseon Dynasty. Comprised of  Jeongjeon (Main Hall), Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace) and Gongsindang (Hall of Meritorious Subjects), Jongmyo is where royal spirit tablets are enshrined today.3694379764_f95a7df222_zIf you visit Jongmyo shrine, you will see a building that has a long, horizontal roof line and a wide frontal facade. Look how beautiful and elegant it is!
8207692815_bc722bb9f5_zThe original structure was built by King Taejo in 1395, however, was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in 1592. So what you will be seeing is the new shrine that was built in 1608.
16535837709_52a0d05a66_bPreviously, Jongmyo only referred to Jeongjeon, but in 1421, after the death of King Jeongjong, additional space was needed for royal ancestral tablets and so Yeongyeonjeon was built to accommodate them. Today, Jongmyo refers to both Jeongjeon and Yeongyeonjeon. Click here for directions.
8207690959_d9c5a7239d_z

About Jongmyodaeje (Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite)

16534390528_bbe3cd86ef_bJongmyodaeje (종묘대제)‘, or Royal Ancestral Memorial Rite, is a traditional Korean ritual that is held every year on the first Sunday of May, to honor the past kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty.
16720883172_05ec0d4b0e_bTravelers and tourists shouldn’t miss this ceremony because it is the only ceremony in the world that is preserved almost in their original forms. It will be a golden opportunity for you to witness the traditional ritual that has been carried out more than 500 years since 1464. Mark May 1st on your calendar right now! 😉21532094330_466b852892_zEach procedure of Jongmyo Daejae, also known as ‘Jaerye’, is accompanied by ‘Jaeryeak’, a ritual music performance played with traditional instruments, and Ilmu, the Royal Ritual Dance performed by 64 female dancers. Jaerye is conducted in the order of greeting, serving, and bidding farewell to the spirits. For more information on the procedures, click here.15615977526_f66f0d7389_zThe most well-known part of the ceremony is the ‘eogahaengnyeol (어가행렬)’, which is a royal parade that proceeds across the heart of Seoul, from Gyeongbokgung Palace to Jongmyo Shrine. There will be plenty of spectators, which means you will have to get to the parade route early if you want to see this fabulous parade!16534538260_d76be8a44c_b

Performance Times

  1. Yeongnyeongjeon Jehyang Rituals: 10:00-12:00
  2. Eoga Haengnyeol (Royal Parade): 11:00-12:00
  3. Jeongjeon, Gongsindang Jehyang Rituals: 14:00-16:30

Additional Events

Eogahaengnyeol (Royal Procession), Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Peace), Jeongjeon (Main Hall), Gongsindang (Hall of Meritorious Subjects)

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Photo Credits
Jongmyo Jerye(종묘 제례) via photopin (license)
Jongmyo Shrine via photopin (license)
Jongmyo via photopin (license)
Jongmyo Shrine via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_16 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_24 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_23 via photopin (license)
Chilgungje_20141027_04 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Concert_20150926_13 via photopin (license)
Jongmyo_Shrine_Sanmangjeon_20 via photopin (license)

How Korean Valentine’s Day is Different From Other Countries

han-river-749662_1920“Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

calendar-268592_1920Many of you probably know that February 14th is Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated in many countries around the world, including South Korea. But did you know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated a little bit differently in South Korea? 😉handmade-chocolates-654321_1280Unlike the widespread custom where both men and women give cards, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner, in South Korea it’s a day when only women give ‘chocolates’ to men. On the other hand, men give non-chocolate candies to women on March 14th, referred to as ‘White Day’.cake-pops-684163_1920On Valentine’s Day, Korean women either buy a gift like a box of chocolates or make their own special chocolates for their significant one. Two days are left until Valentine’s Day and now is the perfect time to start planning what you want to buy for your loved one or start buying the recipes for hand-made chocolates! 😉

For those of you who are all thumbs, we’ve put together an ultimate selection of cafes that both serves and sells packages of chocolates as well as other kinds of dessert stores in Seoul where you can buy a special gift for your Valentine! And for those of you who want to make your own special chocolates, scroll down more to check out where to buy the recipes!

1. Cacao Boom

Cacao Boom is a specialty store for hand-dipped Belgian chocolates. Many visitors come and look for the smooth, deep flavor of the hot chocolate at this cafe. It also offers packages of chocolates for sale that you can buy as a present! For details and directions, click here.

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2. Atelier Decoa Balim

Atelier Decoa Balim is a dessert specialty store where you can taste original chocolates that you cannot experience in large chain coffee shops. Here, you can enjoy hot choco, royal hot choco, espresso hot choco, sangria, and daily desserts. For details and directions, click here.

3. Chocolatyum

Chocolatyum, located in Hongdae, is a petite bakery that offers freshly baked desserts and pastries. The whipped-cream cake with strawberries is very popular here. Unfortunately, the place only offers a take-out, but you wouldn’t be too sad once you taste them! For details and directions, click here.

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For those of you who want to make your own special chocolates for your love, here’s a list of places where you can buy the recipes!

1. Bread Garden (Hongdae)

This is one of the franchise retailer stores for home baking ingredients and utensils. Not only recipes, Bread Garden offers simple methods for home-baking, and even baking classes! For details and directions, click here.

2. Lovely Choco

pastries-756601_1920Lovely Choco is both a cafe and a specialty store for baking ingredients and utensils, where you can find a wide variety of delicious home-baked cakes. They even sell an easy, simple set of ingredients and utensils for baking without using an oven! For details and directions, click here.love-421594_1920

3. Bakery Street in Bangsan Market

Bangsan Market is famous for its Bakery Street, where you can find all kinds of baking utensils, materials, ingredients, and packages. During the Valentine’s week and Korea’s special day, people from all over the city visit this street, so you better hurry up! For details and directions, click here.

To see more cafes and stores you can buy gifts and recipes for Valentine’s Day in Seoul, click here.
Continue reading How Korean Valentine’s Day is Different From Other Countries