Those of you who read my “About Me” page know that I’m from this tiny and commonly unknown country called Luxembourg and Seoul, the Asian metropolis I’m living in at the moment, couldn’t be any more different from my home country. It goes without saying that culture shocks were unavoidable. In this post, I accumulated some random everyday life situations that surprised me.
I’m starting off with THE hotspot in Seoul. I know, some of you may think that I’ve gone crazy, but in fact, the corner seat in the subway is so popular that people are even willing to fight for it. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but it’s true that whenever there’s a free corner seat you might even spot some people running in order to sit there. It actually took me a few days to take this photo until I finally had the occasion to do so. So, if someone’s sitting next to you and all of a sudden changes his seat, don’t worry, it’s simply because of the corner seat craze.
Next up is something that isn’t limited to Seoul but you would never be able to find this in Luxembourg: the astonishing opening hours of Seoul’s shops & cafés. Most places are open until at least 9:30pm if not until 11pm. If that’s not long enough for you, you should head on over to Dongdaemun for a nighttime shopping experience. In Dongdaemun, the big shopping malls are open until 5am. Yup, you’ve heard that right: 5am! Or, if you’re not into shopping, why not watch a movie at your local cinema at 2am? In Korea, cinemas actually use terms like 26 or 27 o’clock, which I find a little strange since they technically don’t exist. And then there’s the “24 hours open” places like some convenience stores and a few café chain outlets such as the “A twosome place” café on the picture above. Here, you can drink your early-morning coffee at 5:30am while enjoying the sunrise.
Lastly, I wanted to mention a situation I’ve encountered numerous times now. Koreans are very polite people, but this doesn’t mean that they consider polite what we think of as polite. I guess one of the best examples to illustrate this is holding a door open for a Korean person. Koreans aren’t used to people holding the door open for them and whenever I do that, I get strange looks and some people will actually use another door, leaving me standing there like an idiot. Also, when someone sneezes, Koreans simply ignore it. They don’t say things like “Bless you!”. Since I’ve lived here for a few months now, I’ve got used to it, but it still seems odd to me.
So, when you come to Korea, be prepared for the culture shocks!
I hope you liked this post and till next time,