Korea Q&A: Partying Drinking Ajummas with Piercings – Seoulistic

Korea Q&A: Partying Drinking Ajummas with Piercings

Questions include: Why do Koreans like drinking so much? At what age is one considered an ajumma? Are non-ear piercings common in Korea? What’s it like to throw a party in Korea?

“Why do Koreans like drinking so much?”

Drinking in Korea is a way for all people to bond and get closer. Korea’s pretty reserved a lot of times when it comes to emotions, feelings and generally opening up. But with a bit of alcohol, those awkward silences and things you’ve always wanted to say come pouring out. And so Koreans commonly use alcohol to get closer with old and new friends. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s cheap as hell! Soju, the Korean spirit that’s about 19% alcohol, is only a little more than 1,000 won ($1 USD), and it’s served in all corners of the peninsula. Without it, many confessions of love, development of trust and the spilling of secrets may have never happened ;).

Here’s more detail on why drinking is important in Korea!

At what age is one considered an ajumma?

Ajumma (아줌마) = married woman

This term is dreaded for many Korean women because it labels them a money-saving, afro perm getting, middle aged women who is done with her prime. Although the term literally refers to married women, they have come to be known jokingly as the third gender in Korea because of their penchant for saving money and being very aggressive. The age at which one is called an ajumma, however, is all relative. Being “over the hill” differs for everyone. And for a little 5 year old child, someone who is in their early 30’s is already near death. But for a 20 something year old, it may be someone closer to 50. An easy rule of thumb is to think of anyone your parents age to call an ajumma or ajeosi (the term for male equivalents).

Are non-ear piercings common in Korea?

Most women in Korea have simple earlobe piercings, with some being a little more edgier than others and getting cartilage piercings. These are all normal, common and acceptable in traditional Confucianist Korea. But nose, brow, lip, tongue and other piercings are a bit too individualistic for a society that tries to fit in with everyone else. Sure they do exist, but it’s not very common. Even walking down Korea’s subculture hub, Hongdae, you may find some people with metal in unnatural places. But don’t be surprised if you don’t find any non-ear piercings in Korea.

What’s it like to throw a party in Korea?

Unless you’re having your party at a club or bar in Korea, most parties in Korea are focused on inner circles. That means privacy and intimacy. A lot of times, revelers will enjoy each other’s companies in party rooms, whether that be at a karaoke, hotel, or even businesses specifically designed for private parties, parties in Korea are for the most part private affairs. So in Korea, it’s a more intimate affair with close friends. Inviting other friends may be possible, but that’s if it’s a whoa crazy crazy kind of party with lots of drinking and at a public place (usually with some form of dancing).

Hope we answered your questions :). If you have a question about Korea, remember to leave it below in the comments!

Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


  1. Elio says:

    Hi Seoulistic , Keith and Everybody !

    I’m french & I’m gonna live in next September for playing poker on internet. So I would like to know

    1- what do Korean think about France/French ( Maybe European )
    2- What do they could think about my job ( poker player ) . Overall about gambling/Marginal Job !

    Thank you ! 

  2. Lauren says:

    Hey 🙂
    I’m going to be an exchange student this summer in Seoul, and I was wondering just how bad monsoon season is. Would it limit weekend excursions within Korea, or is it not as bad as the name suggests?

    • Dennis says:

      The rainy season in Korea is just… A lot of rain. It’s really hard to describe if you didn’t live somewhere with one, but you just grow used to it. Bringing umbrellas with you every day is normal, and my usual activities have very rarely been restricted by the rain. I don’t know what kind of weekend excursions you were planning on, but if it’s just touring city places, I don’t see the monsoon limiting them. But, it IS a lot of rain, especially if there isn’t a lot of rain where you live (Where I’m currently at, it rains maybe twice a month), and it CAN get messy. Two(or was it last year?) when I visited Korea, There was so much rain, that the sewers got full, and I was stranded outside with water up to my knees (probably over a foot of water at least).
      I don’t know if I was actually useful in this post, but as long as the excursions isn’t something physical like running or hiking or camping, you should be good.

      note: I lived my childhood (up to 1st grade) in korea, so the monsoon is just natural to me. But if you’re not used to it or come from dry places, Korea is very, very very humid during the rain season. It would probably be a very good idea to have an air conditioner handy, a fan doesn’t cut it for me when I visit Korea during the summer.

  3. Yasmin says:

    As for the squirting out water of a piercing hole: my friend and I used to have a pierced lip. It was only on one side and we tried it out. The only difference was that my puncture was directly under and her puncture some millimeters under the lipline. She could squirt out water, because her piercing hole did not get closed through the pressure. So I think it depends on the place of the puncture, your lip and hole size, maybe technique…but it is possible ^.^

  4. Kate says:

    I think the best idea would be to have a party at home, in a close circle of close friends. Be sure to take care of entertainment so that guests do not get bored, I also advise you to buy shrooms canada here, it will definitely improve your mood

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