South Korean Model Goes under the Knife to Look Like Supermodel Miranda Kerr

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It seems like the Koreans are always in the news for their outrageous plastic surgeries. The latest to get on board is young South Korean model Hong Yuh Reum, who completely changed her face to resemble her idol – supermodel Miranda Kerr.

Reum was recently featured on a Korean TV show called Alien Virus, which features all sorts of unusual guests. She admitted that Kerr was her only inspiration for going under the knife. “It really struck me when I first saw her in a magazine,” said Reum. “She has a baby face but she’s very sexy. I knew I wanted to be like her!”

Hong-Yuh-Reum

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Korea’s Most Popular Fermented Fish Dish Smells Like a Public Toilet

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Fermented foods aren’t exactly famous for their alluring smell and flavor, but South Korea’s popular ‘hongeo’ has just got to be the worst of the lot. It’s definitely classified as one of the grossest foods in the world, even for ‘foodie daredevils’ who like trying out weird dishes.

What makes hongeo so bad? Well, for starters, it’s made from a fish called skate, which just like sharks, has no bladder or kidneys. Its digestive waste simply oozes out of its skin in the form of uric acid. That’s why sharks and skates need to be eaten fresh. But the Koreans seem to enjoy defying the norm in this case.

What they do is leave dozens of fresh skates (a cartilage-rich fish that resembles a stingray) stacked up in a walk-in refrigerator. Then they wait, sometimes as long as a month, for the fish to acquire a distinct ‘aroma’, reminiscent of a public urinal. When the smell reaches its worst, the skates are ready to be taken out, sliced up and served raw.

Hongeo-stinky-food

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In South Korea People Check into Prison to Reduce Stress

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Prison would probably be the last place I’d think of checking into to relieve stress, but that’s exactly what hundreds of South Koreans are doing these days.‘Prison Inside Me’ is a stress-reduction center with a penal theme, located on the outskirts of Hongcheon, about 58 miles northeast of Seoul.

Prison Inside Me is the brainchild of 47-year-old Kwon Yong-seok, who was previously a lawyer. “I didn’t know how to stop working back then,” he said. “I felt like I was being swept away against my will, and it seemed I couldn’t control my own life.” That’s when he decided to spend time behind bars. He asked his old acquaintance – a prison governor – if he could spend a week locked up in jail. Although he said it was for ‘therapeutic reasons’, his bizarre request was rejected.

So Kwon decided to take matters into his own hands, and began to make plans for his  prison-like spiritual center. It was ready in June last year, after a year of construction that cost about 2 billion won ($19 million). Kwon managed to cover the cost through loans and donations from friends and relatives. The facility, he said, was not built for profit.

Prison-Inside-Me

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Mies Container Restaurant – South Korea’s Hooters for Women

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‘Mies Container’ is a strange name for a restaurant. But its theme is unique and refreshing – factory-style décor and extremely good-looking male waitstaff. The restaurant, located in Gangnam District – one of Seoul’s most hip locations – has been dubbed ‘Hooters for Women’. In a city where people are not exactly known for their patience, Koreans are actually waiting in endless lines outside Mies Container – that’s how popular it has become. And about nine out of ten customers are always women!

The atmosphere inside Mies pretty much screams one word – Macho. The open loft structure is constructed like a factory, with the slogan ‘Wipe and Tighten and Oil!’ written on the wall in Korean. They even have numbered construction helmets to identify orders. All the waiters are young and hot (and male), and overly friendly towards customers, especially women.

One waiter was overheard telling a customer: ‘You have excellent taste in picking from the menu.’ Handsome men who are attentive and appreciative? No wonder this place is a hit with the ladies. And the customers aren’t exactly bashful while returning the compliments. There’s a wall right next to the cashier filled with little notes like: ‘Dear hot waiter, please marry me!’ – that’s just one of the decent ones.

Mies-Container-restaurant

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In South Korea People Pay to Watch Live Broadcasts of Other People Gorging on Food

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I’m not sure why, but some of the strangest trends seem to emerge from South Korea. The latest one is dinner porn – people watching other people stuffing themselves with food. The Korean term for it is ‘mok-bang’, which roughly translates as ‘dinner broadcast’.

The dinner porn stars of South Korea film themselves eating copious amounts of food. They also provide moaning noises and a running commentary of their meals. The entire event is live-streamed and the protagonists end up making serious money.

Mok-bang isn’t about people eating a plate or two of food. We’re talking about humongous portions here. Like this one ‘broadcast jockey’ who calls herself The Diva. Consultant by day and food-porn star by night, this beautiful glutton wolfs down two medium pizzas, or 30 fried eggs and a box of crab legs, or five packets of instant noodles in one go. One night, she ate 12 beef patties, 12 fried eggs, three servings of spicy pork kimchi soup and a salad.

dinner-broadcast

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South Koreans Use Bedroom Tents to Keep Warm This Winter

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Indoor tents are all the rage in South Korea this winter. Apparently they keep you really warm and save electricity as well. In fact, some tent-users say their heating bill has been reduced by half. While the temperature in rooms gets as low as 19 degrees Celsius, the 40,000 won (US$37) tents are quite cozy at 23 degrees.

Given their multiple benefits, these tents are flying off shelves in South Korea. One tent maker claims to have sold 4 million in just a couple of weeks. Thousands of tents are on back order, and manufacturers are rushing to make more. We don’t know who came up with the ingenious idea, but it looks like almost everyone has caught on.

This winter has been pretty harsh for the South Koreans; they are facing power blackouts and surging energy costs with six of 23 nuclear reactors being shut down. People have been looking for cheaper heating methods that save electricity, and the tent is apparently working wonders for them. Families are sleeping in tents setup within their homes to keep themselves warm. Some of them have placed tents on top of beds for extra warmth.

indoor-tents

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South Korean Twin Sisters Look Unrecognizable after Amazing Plastic Surgery

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Plastic surgery is so common now, it shouldn’t shock us anymore. But you can’t help being amazed at certain transformations. Like these South Korean twins’ almost unbelievable change.

We don’t know their names. All we know is that they were participants on the popular South Korean TV show – Let’s Beauty. The show focuses on people who say they feel held back by their appearance, helping them look better and feel more confident.

Snapshots of the twins’ transformation are all over the internet. Honestly, I think they looked pretty good before the surgery. But they look breathtakingly beautiful now. The photographs show a surgeon analyzing the twins’ appearance and going over the procedure. There’s a sneak preview of the dramatic difference in the making. And the final pictures show a detailed view of the completely reconstructed faces.

cosmetic-surgery

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Gender Test Demanded for South-Korean Women’s Soccer Player Who Scored 19 Goals in 22 Games

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Here’s something that doesn’t happen every day: the coaches of five of South Korea’s seven women soccer league teams have threatened to boycott the national competition if Seoul City Amazons striker Park Eun-Seon does not have a gender test. The 26-year-old was named best forward this season, with 19 goals in 22 matches.

At 1.80 meters tall and weighing 74 kilograms, park Eun-Seon really does have a physique worthy of her team’s name, and could probably even secure a place in a men’s soccer team, which is exactly why several coaches of rival squads are threatening to boycott South-Korea’s women’s soccer league if she isn’t required to take a gender test. But according to Seoul City Amazons officials, Park’s manly physique isn’t reason enough to humiliate the player by forcing her to pass yet another gender test. They claim the whole thing is part of a “conspiracy” because she has shown such remarkable form this last season, after a long career slump. Seoul Sports Council general secretary Kim Joon-Soo seems to agree. ”We have no intention of accepting the gender verification test just to stop the boycott,” he said. ”This is a serious violation of human rights that she’s suffering for a second time. The question regarding Park’s gender identity shall never be raised again. The city of Seoul will take all necessary measures to protect our player’s human rights.”

Park-Eun-Seon

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A Cruise on Dry Land – Korea’s Unique Cruise Ship Hotel

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Ever wished you could experience a luxury cruise without the motion sickness? Step aboard the Sun Cruise Hotel, A Korean tourist attraction designed and built to emulate cruising  for the sea sick.Seen from afar, the Sun Cruise Hotel looks like a ship washed up on top of a cliff by a giant wave, but the colossal structure was actually built there in 2002 for tourists who didn’t have the funds or time to go on a real cruise. But its bizarre location is pretty much the only thing that sets it apart from other cruise ships. The 65-metre-long, 45-meter-high and 30,000-ton-heavy land vessel features 211 rooms, both condominium and hotel style, a Western and a Korean restaurant, revolving sky lounge, a night club, a karaoke, a sea water pool, volleyball court, fitness club and even a netted golf range. To make its visitors really feel like they’re on a cruise, bird calls and the sound of waves crashing against the deck are played over loudspeakers strategically installed around the ship. Believe it or not, the Sun Cruise Hotel is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Korea.

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Kids Toughen Up at Brutal South Korean Winter Boot Camp

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When the South Korean Army announces its biannual boot camp for civilians above the age of 13, there are lots of people who are more than happy to attend. Held at the command base in western Seoul, the 4 to 14 day camp offers basic military training to anyone able to pay the entry fee of 40,000 won (that’s about $36). Teenage boys and young women are seen attending the camp, sometimes along with their families. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, given that military culture is quite deeply ingrained in South Korea, a country ruled by army-backed regimes till the mid 1980s.

Apart from the ones run by the army, there are privately-run boot camps as well, which have become quite popular in recent times. People from various walks of life, ranging from school kids to nostalgic war veterans, company employees to families on vacation attend this kind of events. The army says the boot camp is an opportunity to test your limits, enhance your physical ability and learn to adopt the strong spirit of ‘making the impossible, possible.’ Major Lee Joo-Ho, a boot camp spokesperson says: “Boys obviously make up the biggest part because they have the mandatory service coming up.” What he’s referring to is the two years of mandatory conscription that all able-bodied South Korean men have to attend, in order to  train themselves in case of an attack from North Korea. “But more young women are showing an interest, since they were allowed to join a college-based officer commissioning program last year.”

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South Korea’s Toilet Theme Park

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We’ve seen our share of bizarre theme parks here on OC. Ranging from Hello Kitty to Atomic Reactors, we thought we’d seen it all. Until we heard of this extremely strange and slightly disturbing theme park in South Korea, based on the last place in the world you’d want to be stuck in – the toilet.

The Restroom Cultural Park,  in the city of Suwon, South Korea, is a massive complex dedicated to the humble toilet. The main exhibition hall itself is shaped like a large toilet bowl and the pathway leading up to it is adorned with bronze figures of humans in mid-squat. The facility was opened to public earlier this year and is the only one of its kind in the world. Other indoor exhibits include WC signs from around the world and toilet-themed art. What’s even more interesting than the toilet theme park is the story of its origin. Apparently, the place was initially home to the former Mayor of Suwon, Sim Jae-duck. He died in 2009, but that has not stopped the South Koreans from still regarding him as their very own ‘Mr. Toilet’. This was partly due to the fact that he ran a successful campaign in the 1980s to dramatically improve South Korea’s old toilet system, and also because Mr. Sim was born in his grandmother’s loo. So inspired was he by his place of birth that he built his own house in the shape of a toilet. He, in turn, is said to be the main inspiration behind the theme park.

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Optical Illusions at South Korea’s Awesome Trick Eye Museums

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Planting a kiss on Mona Lisa’s cheek, riding the legendary Pegasus and even getting peed on by a baby, it’s all possible at one of South Korea’s Trick Eye Museums.

I’ve never been to Korea, but apparently people there, like the Japanese, love to take photos of themselves with cool stuff, so it’s no wonder they’ve created a bunch of tourist attractions where people can immortalize themselves doing the craziest things. They’re called “trick eye museums” and feature various well-executed trompe l’oeil (French for “deceive the eye) artworks that either look like they’re coming out of the frame, or that you’re stepping in. If you manage to get a shot from the right angle, you can get some really cool photos of yourself interacting with the paintings. Judging by the photos I’ve found, these places are lots of fun.

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The Dog Cafe – South Korea’s Answer to Japan’s Popular Cat Cafes

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There’s a place in South Korea where you can relax by bonding with about twenty dogs of different breeds and sizes, all vying for human attention. It’s called the Dog Cafe and it’s awesome!

If you haven’t yet heard about Japan’s famous cat cafes, they’re venues where stressed businessmen go to relax by surrounding themselves with dozens of purring felines. Cats are very popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, but the concept has been adopted by other Asian countries and recently, even Austria. But animal lovers in the South Korean city of Busan decided to take a different approach and opened a dog cafe, where visitors can surround themselves with furry canines who love human attention. According to Jürgen and Mike, from for91Days.com, Busan is a busy place, with tiny apartments where owning a dog can be considered a luxury, so a place like the Dog Cafe was just what the city needed.

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Ashes to Ashes? In Korea, It’s More Like Ashes to Beads

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As a result of changes in traditional South Korean beliefs, more and more people are choosing to have their cremated loved-ones’ ashes turned into decorative beads they can keep around.

10 years ago, 6 out of 10 Koreans who died were buried, according to Confucian beliefs to respect the dead and visit their graves. But, due in part to western influence, but also to a strong government campaign to convince people to switch to cremation, Korean culture changed drastically. In a small, densely populated country like South Korea, space is very important, so in 2000, the country’s government initiated an aggressive pro-cremation campaign that included pamphlets, radio broadcasts and press statements, This culminated with a law passed in 2000, requiring anyone who chose to bury their dead, to remove the grave after 60 years. Largely as a result of these facts, only 3 out of 10 Koreans were buried last year.

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English Student Has Tongue Lengthened So She Can Speak Korean

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Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones, a young student from Nottingham, England, underwent surgery to have her tongue lengthened after her dentist suggested it might be the reason she couldn’t pronounce certain Korean sounds.

Although she’s never been to South Korea, Rhiannon is really passionate about the language and culture of the Asian country, and dreams of living and working there later in her life. Her fascination with everything Korean started a few years back, after she listened to Korean pop and watched some television shows at a friend’s house. Pretty soon, all her free time was taken up by anything related to Korea, and she even began attending a Korean church in Nottingham.

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