Top 10 Weidest Facts about North Korea

Top 10 Weidest Facts about North Korea

From interesting farm fertilizer to state mandated haircuts...stay tuned to number 1 to find out what IS legal there that's illegal almost everywhere else!

10. Their Sense of Time
In North Korea, they have their own time zone. Seriously! It's a half an hour different, instead of the usual hour between time zones, because they didn't want to have the same time as Japan. They were mad about Japan rulling their country in the past, so the logical move was to "show them" by creating their own time zone. We're pretty sure Japan didn't care. This self-created time zone was named Pyongyang Time, after their capital city. Though, just recently, they have supposedly changed their clocks back in attempt to show South Korea they are serious about peace. Let's cross our fingers that THAT works out. Let's be honest, it's hard enough figuring out what time it is when you go on a trip, but adding in half hour changes just totally messes with everyone. But that's not their only time quirk!

North Korea also has its own year. You heard that right. It is not 2018 in North Korea. A few years after Kim Il-Sung died, they made his birthday the starting year of their calendar. Who is Kim Il-Sung? Kim Jong-Un's grandpa, and the original mighty be forever worshipped over there. And if you don't know who Kim Jong-Un is, then you have been living under a rock. So since Grandad Dictatorman was born in 1912, that's when their calendar starts, meaning it is currently the year 106 in North Korea. And forgetting celebrating the New Year on January 1st, because that's not when Grandpa was born. Their calendar switches over on his birthday, which happens to be April 15th.

9. Farming With Feces
We're just going to casually move from time zones and calendars to...feces. Yes, feces. Street name: poop. Since the country has closed itself off from the rest of the world, refusing assistance from any other part of the world, they have hit a few brick walls. Shockingly, when you quarantine yourself, there can be side effects. Who knew! One of the many problems North Korea has had to deal with is poor farming conditions. There is a list of reasons why, but basically they need manure-rich soil, but don't have enough cattle to make said manure. It's a domino effect of icky-ness with the end result being human feces being used to fertilize the soil. Oh, but that's not all.

Poor farmers are so desperate to produce crops that they'll steal their neighbor's feces. Let that sink in for a moment. Stealing. Feces. On purpose. Can you imagine life being so bad that you intentionally sneak out in the middle of the night to steal your neighbor's poop? The situation is so bad that Kim Jung-Un has even ordered people to use human feces in farming. We're not sure if this includes poop donations at your local hospital, but...we don't really WANT to know. And, as you may have imagined, this also has side effects. One farmer that defected to South Korea was found to have a 10 and a half inch parasite in his intestine.

8. A Fake City
The poverty rate is sky-high in North Korea, but at least there's a beautiful little village nicknamed Peace City. It's kept scrupulously maintained and could house 200 people. Except that in houses zero. It's fake. A ghost town made to look like a thriving metropolis of prosperity. So instead of putting actual living people in this town, they keep it empty. Why, you ask? To lure in naive South Koreans. North Korea keeps this city close to the border, so that curious eyes will think they are seeing a beautiful, peaceful city where the buildings are maintained and fights never break out. Luckily for South Korea, they're not that stupid. While some may have fallen for the oasis, other South Koreans have studied the buildings and on-goings from afar. Low and behold, people never walk around on the streets. Ever. The windows don't even have glass. The outside world has nicknamed it Propaganda Town. You probably don't want to add it to your travel itinerary.

7. Required Haircuts
There is no room for individuality in North Korea. Everyone must fall in line and not stand out. So much so, that there are certain hairstyles everyone must maintain. You cannot veer from these hair choices. Men's hair cannot grow longer than 2 inches and they have a list of acceptable haircuts that they must follow. Though if you're older, you are allowed to grow it out to a lengthy 2 and ? inches. Of course, all males are highly encouraged to get the hair cut that Kim Jung-Un has. Unmarried women must keep their hair in a bob, while married women have a little more lee-way. North Korea must be the only country without teenagers trying to find themselves through purple hair and nose rings.

6. Kidnapping a Director
When a dictator wants something, a dictator gets it. And a dictator wanted a director. Yes, as in a movie director. In 1978, Kim Jong-Il wanted to have a North Korean film industry. But instead of, oh, I don't know, encouraging the youth of the country to learn the trade and invest in schools that would teach various occupations and crafts, Kim Jong-Il decided to just take a director from South Korea. Because that's somehow the most logical choice. And we wouldn't want a dictator to have to wait more than five minutes for something, now would we? So Shin Sang-Ok, a famous South Korean director, and his wife Choe Eun-Hee, an actress, were kidnapped and brought to the north. For eight years, the couple was forced to make films for North Korea before finally escaping back to the south. In the beginning they were separated and Shin Sang-Ok was jailed for years after trying to escape multiple times. He was eventually released in return for making films. As one might assume, Sang-Ok's films needed to show the north in a perfect light, with topics picked by the man in charge. Kim Jong-Il thought they if the world saw his propaganda, that they'd agree with his view. Spoiler Alert! It didn't work.

5. The Rich-Poor Divide
Though not surprising, the divide between the elite and poor in North Korea is infinite. While the elite have designer handbags, all the food they could want, and a life of luxury, the poor are struggling to stay alive. There is no middle class. You are either rich or you are poor. The rich even have their own town! We wouldn't want them to have to lay their holy eyes on an unclean wretch like a poor person. Goodness no. Pyongyang is the elite city. People living there must be loyal, devoted and healthy. Meanwhile, less than 3 percent of roads in North Korea are paved. The majority of people are beyond starving. You already know about the feces farms. (Sorry to bring that up again.) And then there is the "Three Generation" rule of punishment. If you go against the government, it's not just you that goes to a prison camp. Your parents, your children...everyone goes! If you think about it, it's cruelly genius. A person might try to escape, thinking death is better than living their oppressive life. But if they know it could also be death for their children or parents or grandparents, then it deters many from attempting to escape. Rich or poor, there are still some things everyone deals with. Even an elite person who shows themselves to be untrustworthy would be subject to the prison camp rule. one escapes the propaganda TV. There are three channels for the entire country. Three. As in 1-2-3. That's it. And in case you were wondering, none of those channels are showing "This Is Us" or "Friends" reruns.

4. No to Jeans
Apparently, jeans are part of the socialist machine. Who knew. Because of this belief by the might Jung-Un, jeans are not allowed in North Korea. Ever. We're guessing that means no "casual Fridays" at work. Bummer. But don't worry, while you're stuck in your work pants, you are at least allowed to smoke...umm...things that aren't always legal in other parts of the world. Yup, of all things North Korea allows, and a certain plant is one of them. Go figure. You can't watch good TV or have long hair, but you can do drugs. Number 3: School Desks and Accordions. You probably remember all those mornings growing up that you whined about going to school. If you have kids, karma has now served you a nice plate of revenge, as your own kids make the same complaints.

3. No to Education
Now imagine that in addition to going to school, you have to BUY everything you need. And we're not just talking about notebooks and pencils. You have to buy your desk, your chair, and let's not forget your heat in the winter. Some of the poorest families are forced to hide their kids at home, despite it being against the law, because they simply cannot afford to send them to school. Others bribe teachers to keep their kids from doing any hard labor that sometimes comes along with the schoolwork. But while you toil away working for you heat, at least you can be comforted by the soothing sounds accordion. It was required that every teacher learned to play the accordion during the 1990s. Who knows why...Maybe he was tone deaf and thought they sounded lovely. Maybe he thought it was cruel and unusual punishment. But regardless of the reason, the teachers all became fluent in accordion.

2. Invasion Tunnels
This fact might be more disturbing than weird, but North Korea supposedly has tons of invasion tunnels leading to South Korea. These secret tunnels are spacious enough for tens of thousands of soldiers to just storm up to their southern neighbors. And, for the record, North Korean soldiers are lethal. Think about, you're being trained in an environment that probably kills you if you can't become a killing machine. All the more reason to cross our fingers that the rumors of peace are true!

1. Visiting a Dead Guy
You would think there wouldn't be any weird and surprising facts left to say about North Korea but, in actuality, we couldn't even fit everything into this list. But probably the weirdest of them all is the fact that they keep a dead, former leader, preserved and on display, for all to see. Yes, it's the actual body of Kim Jong-Il, the original ruler whose birth is the basis for North Korean time. His body was embalmed and put in what is essentially a glass tomb. It is the most popular attraction in North Korea, where people can go and pay their respects, while literally staring at a decades-old corpse. If you think about it, this shouldn't be shocking. After all, the leaders are turned into godly legends. Stories are told as fact about amazing feats they have allegedly accomplished. Kim Jong-Il scored a perfect 300 point game the first time he ever went bowling. And let's not forget when he golfed for the first time and got 11 holes in one. Oh, and he walked at 3 weeks old and could control the weather. And these mythical powers have been passed down through the generations. The current ruler, Kim Jung-Un, was able to drive at the age of three.

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