Anyone who has ever been to another country can tell you about the weird and wonderful things they have experienced there. Even going to Canada and experiencing all the flannel can be a life long achievement. Yet, it seems that whenever we think of weird things, Asia always comes to the front of the line. We think of the Chinese, and after we dismiss the wonderful thoughts of Panda Express, we think of all the weird things they eat. Deep fried grasshoppers, sure. When you think of Japan, most people think of sushi, anime, and.....well this is a PG-13 blog. Needless to say the weird things of a culture tend to stick out and we stereotype based upon those things.
Now, this blog is not just going to be about the weird food products that I've experienced while I'm here. I've already written about that. This blog is going to be just about the funky, funny, and somewhat ridiculous products that can be found here. Some of these will be food based, others will be clothing based, and a few might just be human based. Either way these are some of the funniest products, sings, or things that I have experienced in my time here in Korea. Be they epic, bad, horrid, or just funky, this is the best of the best.
1. Cup O Cake. Yes, you heard me right, Cup O Cake. As in Cup O Noodles. I cannot tell you how many times I walked past these cups and didn't pay them any attention. Why would I, they were in the middle of flour and baking supplies. I didn't have an oven at the time and honestly just never really paid much attention. Well, one day, these things caught my eye. At first I was generally dismissive about what they were. After a second glance though I realized that they were trying to be cake in a cup. All you do is add and Egg and some Water. Then after 1 minute and 30 seconds in the microwave you have a piping hot cake. As you can guess these things taste about as good as Cup of Noodles.
3. Pet Storage. This sign is just awesome. Located inside of the few Costco's scattered throughout this wonderful country, this sign is perched above the storage lockers. It took me a second to read the sign, and then to truly process its meaning. These lockers, which are meant to store backpacks and such apparently just aren't meant for animals. I guess the more important question, is who brings an animal to Costco? We're not in LA.
4. Animal Hoods. I know I've written about these things before, but with the return of winter, they have returned. I swear these things get more ridiculous the more I see them. I can understand children wearing them, but adults, come on. Although it does turn any person no matter how gruff and scary into a more childish figure.
5. Horrible English Shirts. I cannot think of the amount of times that I have walked around my school looking at my students shirts. Sometimes you are rewarded with an absolute gold mine of comedic quality. From shirts that have swear words on them, to shirts that make no sense in English whatsoever. Perhaps the greatest shirt I've ever seen, and unfortunately do not have a picture of states the following (rough paraphrase but the meaning is identical): "Lets pretend were rabbits and do what rabbits do all day." Now this shirt had a really adorable picture of a bunny on it, and in no way was trying to be lewd. However, the context of what they wrote was obscene. I've never been able to get the 5th grade girl that wears this shirt to let me take a picture of it. I promise you, that when I do get it, you'll see it.
6. Funky drinks. Now, I've known some funky drinks in my day, but sometimes this country takes the cake. Well, honestly it takes the cake. I have had the following things here, and I wish that I was joking. Try grape juice from a can, with grapes in it. How, about other fruit juices with juice pieces in them. These aren't even like Orangina or sodas, these are just juice. Hey, you ever had Aloe Juice with pieces of aloe snot in it? I have. What about warm milk based hot chocolate in a can that comes out of a vending machine. Yeah, warm hot chocolate out of a can, from a vending machine. I haven't even gotten onto the health tonics that they sell. YEEEESH! Stay away from these things, well, the ginseng ones that have a lot of sugar in them aren't that bad. However, the pure ginseng juice actually gave me food poisoning.
7. Kimchi Fridge. Yeah, I know it makes sense, but these people sell Kimchi refrigerators. These are not small fridges either. These are the size of your average garage freezer. Yeah, that's a lot of Kimchi.
8. Korean commercials. Ugh. I could rant and rave about these things for a while. In fact I'm only going to give you the tip of the ice berg. Some of these commercials feature Diacon Raddish being credit carded by a ghost. Yeah, that's still on air. How about commercials that just blatantly use sex to sell, yup we got um . In fact here is a taste of what I'm talking about.
Or how about just blatantly racist.
9. One of the last things that I will probably never forget about this country, besides the music which is just horrid, is the serious man on man action. Oye, I understand that it's cultural, but can't they respect my culture and keep their hands off of me. I'm honestly thinking about getting a shirt that says no touching on it. I cannot tell you the amount of times that I've felt like I was being violated by a friendly Korean man. Limp handshakes I can handle. Trying to hold my hand, Ok, I can deal. Stroking my arm, leg, or facial hair, that's starting to creep me out. Leaving your lingering hand on my inner thigh, ok dude, no offense, I'm nowhere near drunk enough, and you're not my type. You have a penis. Not what I'm looking for when I'm out at the bar. I wish I could say that it was just a drunk gay guy hoping a foreigner would be down for some action, but most of the times these guys have girlfriends or wives, and they're there with them. No, I do not want to hold hands with you. No, I do not want to touch you. No I don't want to go to the bathroom with you and compare. I wish I was joking about this, but this is a game that my 6th grade boys play. One will be peeing in a urinal, the others will then all run up behind him and hug each other. They then start swaying and gyrating and well, you get the picture......This is totaly ok, and in no way wrong.