CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
What’s the deal with Korea and poop?
When you visit or move to South Korea, you will experience a number of new and interesting things. You will soon realize that it is the land of cuteness – cute cartoons, cute bags, cute socks, and cute poop. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly: cute poop.
Look, here is a perfect combo of cute socks and smiling poo!
Without looking too hard, you can find any number of items that follow the happy # 2 theme. There are toys in Toy Alley, such as this golden poop hammer that laughs:
(picture courtesy of Amy Hickerson)
There are art installations throughout the city, like these lovely, colorful piles near Hyehwa Station:
There is a toilet-shaped museum in Suwon, called Mr. Toilet House, dedicated to all things…well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. In all seriousness, though, it has ties to the World Toilet Organization, which focuses on improving sanitation conditions worldwide – definitely a worthwhile cause.
In Insadong, on the top floor of the Ssamzigil Shopping Center, there is the Ddo-ong Cafe, which has toilet bowl mugs, urinal planters, and these fabulous hats, that my husband couldn’t wait to model:
You can even leave a happy note for your loved ones on the window:
Just outside of the cafe, as well as downstairs, you can purchase the ever popular ddongbang, or “poop bread” – a poo-shaped pastry filled with red bean paste. My husband and I thought perhaps Nutella would be a nice alternative filling.
At the downstairs stall, you’ll see the Korean cartoon character known as Dongchimme, who appears in the Dalki series. He loves his namesake so much, he wears it on his head and collects it.
I could go on and on and on, but I’ll leave it to you to find more poo related items in Korea. The real question is: “Why is it so popular?”
There are a few theories floating around. One is that is has to do with past medical practices, where fecal matter was used in medicine. Another theory says it stems from a reverence for the cycle of life and the importance of feces for fertilization. Still others feel it is just another example of everything cute in Korea, so why not our bodily waste, as well?
Whatever the reason, it’s definitely a “thing” in Korea. Have fun and enjoy the quirkiness.
Want to visit Mr. Toilet House in Suwon? Here’s an article on our site with more information: http://koreaye.com/suwon-toilet-museum/