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Subways in any city have their own stories to tell. And if you look deep enough, the Seoul subways have movie-like story lines of heartbreak, passion, struggle and desperation. Read about the interesting people you’ll see while riding the Seoul subway and the story they have to tell!
Note: This post is not a mockery. Seoulistic.com believes Korean people of all situations add to the diversity and beauty of Korean society ;).
Love hurts, and nowhere does it hurt more than Seoul subway stations. If you’re ever hanging out in Seoul at night and planning on taking the subway, you might run into a few newly single Koreans. A common sight seen at Seoul subway stations are couples breaking up. This is mostly for the youngest of Korean couples, but many of them can be seen sitting on chairs in the subway platforms with sad looks on their faces. They let train after train pass by as they go through the process of breaking up. We sure hope you don’t run into a Korean couple breaking up, but if you’re in Seoul long enough, be prepared to see your fair share of Seoul subway station breakups.
The Seoul subways are places where people of all different types gather. When different types of ajeoshis (term used for older Korean men) gather on the Seoul subways, lots of interesting things happen. For whatever reason, the Seoul subways are a hotspot for hot headed Korean ajeoshis to get into some interesting altercations. Of course this is not a common occurrence, but when it does happen, you might have front seats to a short 2-5 minute shouting match over nothing important. Sometimes alcohol is involved, but even if it is, these little tiffs usually end in harmless posturing. Most ajeoshis have more bark than bite, and watching dogs bark it out is one of the most interesting things you can see on a Seoul subway!
Rent can be expensive in Seoul, so that’s why some entrepreneurial Korean men and women make their way to the Seoul subways on weekends to make a living. Instead of paying rent for a super expensive commercial space in Seoul, some light-walleted Korean businessmen and women make the Seoul subways their stores. Many carry a cart around with a large cardboard box filled with their products. Products can range from sewing kits, rubber gloves, mosquito tennis racquets, scarves, blinking keychains, and anything else that’ll earn these hardworking men and women a few thousand won. But the most interesting thing to watch is their salesmenship. Armed with a mic and amp, these Korean entrepreneurs will talk their mouths off trying to see you a pair of space age technology panty hose. Stretchy and unisex? Sold!
Although the word ajumma used to be a term that only referred to married women, the term is now more suggestive of women that are no longer young and passive but older, agressive and strong. Of course there are some ajummas that are stay extremely classy and elegant no matter how old they get. But at the other end of the spectrum are the strongest and most aggressive ajummas who can definitely be seen on Seoul subways. You can experience the strength of these women when you get a forearm shove to your lower back, letting you know that she’s getting off. Their strength is also evident when you’re waiting in front of the subway doors to get out and an ajumma thats coming in just walks straight through like you were a sheet of paper. Most of the time these ajumma are rushing trying to grab the first available seat, so remember to move if you’re ever in the way!
On weekends, the Seoul subways become filled with beggars holding donation buckets. Many have tape players hanging around their necks that play Christian hymns, trying to appeal to Christian sympathetics. But more than the tape players, the most interesting piece of hardware they have are those blind walking sticks. For some reason, many Seoul beggars are blind. They usually sweep the floors with their sticks while walking to make sure they’re not walking into people; but they always make sure to pause with every step – just in case someone wants to donate. Many seoul subway riders claim that these blind Korean beggars are fake. But don’t let that stop you from donating. They’re still in need of some help, aren’t they? :).
Don’t forget to read our tips on riding the Seoul subway like a local!
Have you seen any of these interesting people on the Seoul subway? Share your experience with us in the comments!