One of the most interesting parts about traveling is seeing the cultural differences between our home countries and the countries we are visiting.
This can also be one of the most fun parts about traveling, whether you discover different habits, food, or in this case, exercise routines. Here are 22 of the weirdest things I noticed during one month traveling through China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia:
1. Chinese “Square Dancing”
Unlike our version of square dancing in the U.S., China’s square dancing is where random groups of people dance in public squares or spaces for exercise. It’s surprisingly pretty good and really fun to watch, maybe America can adopt this tradition?
In China, I noticed a lot of people spitting while walking down the street. This is a habit that comes from the pollution levels in China. Watch where you’re walking![ I’m not going to insert a picture here because we all know what spit looks like and I don’t think anyone wants to see it ]
3. The Toilets in Japan
The toilets in Japan are heated, have spray jets like bidets (but with pressure, oscillation levels, etc) and even can produce a “fake flush” sound. I was so impressed by the toilets in Japan that I wrote an entire post about them here. Apparently this is one of Japan’s biggest souvenirs.
4. Shirts In English That Don’t Make Sense
I found a lot of shirts in China and South Korea that have English words, but don’t quite make sense. I figured this had something to do with English being “cool” and that most people buying these shirts probably can’t tell what they say. Here’s an example of one I saw below, or if you are ready for a laugh you can also look at these examples.
5. Escape Ropes
In Seoul, the hotels have emergency exits that consist of a small box with a line to propel out the window in case of an emergency. You just hook it on the loop and batman out.
6. The Snacks
No wonder why Asian people are so thin with candy that consists of seaweed and dried up fish. If I lived there, I’d be healthy too.
7. Security Guards with Fire Extinguishers
In Beijing, the guards around Tiananmen Square have large sticks and fire extinguishers. The fire extinguishers are for anti government protesters that set themselves on fire.
8. Beijing Night Market Food
The Donghuamen Night Market serves up all sorts of interesting food, such as testicles, scorpions, and intestines. If this picture isn’t enough to gross you out, read my whole article on the market here.
9. The Toilets in China
The toilets in China were quite opposite than the toilets in Japan. People in China are probably pretty good at doing squats. Needless to say, I have not dedicated an entire post to these toilets…yet.
10. This Duck Jelly
This is some sort of appetizer I received in Beijing. In short it’s parts of a duck mixed into jelly and also the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. You can get one for yourself at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, where the menu consists entirely of different parts of the duck. I didn’t touch this jelly, but you can see what I did eat here.
11. Decorative Beer Foam
In Tokyo, there was an item on the menu named “Frozen Foam Beer” so I decided to check it out. I ordered the beer and got something that looked like a beer milkshake. Apparently they add frozen beer bubbles on top of normal Japanese beer and it’s supposed to keep it cold for a longer amount of time. In America we usually don’t like this much foam, but then again Japan is pretty much the complete opposite.
12. 0.8% Volume Beer
I also ordered this beer (Hoppy) in Tokyo, but to my disappointment it was .8% alcohol. I came home and did some research, and it turns out that since Hoppy contains only 0.8% alcohol, it skirts the beer tax. The locals will mix it with a distilled spirit (Shochu) which is also lightly taxed and has an alcohol content of 20-25%. Therefore, I must have looked like an idiot drinking a .8% beer at the bar without Shochu.
13. Soup With Tiny Whole Fish
I ordered Miso Soup in Osaka to find little white fish at the bottom. They’re so tiny that you can’t really taste them, but I have to admit it kind of creeped me out.
14. Removing My Shoes for Business Meetings
I knew people were expected to remove their shoes when entering eachother’s houses, but wasn’t expecting to do it for business meetings. This particular company had me put my shoes in a cubby and adopt a pair of clogs for the day.
15. The Pink Swirly Thing In My Udon
I was served this pink and white swirly mystery object in several different soups while I was in Japan. I assumed it was a vegetable, until I used Google and realized it was actually seasoned and cured fish paste. For some reason, adding the word “paste” to things doesn’t really do it for me. I’m glad I didn’t know this while I was eating.
16. Tunnels That Go Through Buildings
While I’ve driven through tunnels that go through mountains or under the ocean, I’ve never seen a tunnel that goes straight through a building. I found this view from the top of the Umeda Sky building in Osaka. It definitely saves neighborhoods from being knocked down for road construction, but I can’t imagine how noisy it would be to work or live inside this building.
17. An Interesting Michael Jordan
I spent Halloween in Seoul and found the first red skinned “Michael Jordan”.
18. This Nap Café
19. Balinese Legong Dance
The dancers in Bali are the first one’s I’ve seen that incorporate their eyes into the dance. It doesn’t sound that weird, but see for yourself:
20. Whitening Face Creams
Before visiting Asia, I always thought of Asian girls as pale, but then I realized that they just use whitening face creams and really white makeup. I had to be careful when buying skin products to make sure I wasn’t buying something that would make my skin pale (as a white girl, I like to be tan).
21. Casual & Cheap Plastic Surgery
Seoul has some of the cheapest rates for plastic surgery (and a lot of other beauty routines) in the world. Because of this, Seoul has the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery among the people, so it is safe to say that most people walking down the street have had something done. I’m not a fan of Buzzfeed, but this article does show some pretty good “before and after” shots of how insane some of these facial surgeries are.
22. These Pre Packaged Hot Dogs
As someone that’s used to seeing hotdogs sit in water at a stadium or in a heated glass fixture at the gas station, I have so many questions about this. When were these cooked? Does the bun get stale? What’s the shelf life like?