You know they say that the grass is greener on the other side? Well, not always. Today we're gonna talk about the North Korea and the most bizarre and interesting facts about it. I mean, there's a lot of strange things about this country, but I give you ten the most interesting and the strangest ones.
TOP-10 Most Interesting North Korea Facts. Part 1
North Korea Has Its Own Time Zone And Calendar
It seems, that North Korea wants to be original in everything. The government even decided to create its own time zone called Pyongyang named after their capital. It differs from the Japanese and South Korean time for 30 minutes. North Koreans started to use this time zone in 2015 when celebrating the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japan.
And now let's talk about dates. North Koreans use the traditional Gregorian months and days' numbers. But if you think it's 2017 in North Korea, guess again! This country uses the calendar called Juche, based on Kim Il-Sung's date of birth (April 15. 1912). This means the year 1912 is Juche 1 (the start of the counting). And the traditional date in North Korea looks like this: Juche 105 (2017) or Juche 105, 2017. So step aside, Jesus"...
By the way, they don't celebrate Christmas in North Korea (well, that is not a surprise). Instead, on December 24th they celebrate the birth of Kim Jong-il's mother.
North Korea Has Official Haircuts
Apparently, Kim Jong-Un (the present leader of the country) thinks he is the finest fashionista in the country and everybody should follow his style. North Korean men have 10 official haircuts to choose from. But the main rule is that the hair shouldn't be longer than 2 cm. The best thing you can do here is to make a similar haircut as the leader has. He and his fans call it "ambitious" (whatever that means…).
Somehow a better situation is with female haircuts. They have 28 approved alternatives for married women. Nevertheless, unmarried ones have to wear short hair. But it shouldn't be shorter than bob length (ugh, it's so hard). To avoid problems women should get married sooner and just copy the wife of Kim Jong-Un – remember that if you ever go to North Korea
North Korea Won the 2010 World Cup
In the 2010 World Cup, the North Korean team scored a goal against Brazil and made its way to the final"... In their dreams! The North Korean football team lost with the 2-1 score. But the government decided not to upset the citizens, so"... They showed people the video telling that the North Korea's team crushed Japan (7-0), USA (4-0) and China (2-0) and reached the final against Portugal. They even showed some shots from the matches with goals and cheering. Except for the fact that some parts of the compilation looked really old"... And by the way, the broadcasting of the World Cup was in North Korea with the 24-hour delay.
Every Five Years North Korea Holds Elections
Every five years people in North Korea vote to choose their leader"... out of one candidate"... So, I guess, Kim Jong-Un is probably the one and only head of state in the world who gets 100% of votes. And it's not all! If you want to vote for somebody else, you can cross out the name of the only candidate. But there's no privacy or anonymity, so you must understand what will happen next…
By the way, North Korea has its own constitution that claims democratic voting (yeah, right), freedom of expression and religion"... And this document is available for everyone. But apparently, not everyone wants to read it.
Human rights violations come from the times of Kim Il-Sung, who is considered to be an eternal leader of the North Korea, even though formally his heirs rule the country now. That makes North Korea the only necrocracy in the world (when the country lives under the rules of a dead leader). But now their political doctrine transformed to a new one.
As they say, in North Korea they don't have communism anymore. Since 2009 their political ideology is called "Juche sasang" – self-reliance ideology, that includes Marx and Lenin's theories. It separates the state diplomatically and economically from the other countries. The government rejects the "dependence on others". At first, it was just a political ideology, but now "Juche" is considered to be world's tenth largest religion!
North Korean Accordion Generation
If you wanted to be a teacher in North Korea in 1990th, you had to play the accordion. As for me, it's a very strange rule. I mean, there are a lot of other nice instruments, and more popular too. But apparently, the authorities considered it to be the "people's instrument" as it is easy to carry along the day while working. But I still don't understand, how can people work and play the accordion at the same time. And, what's more important, what for…
There’s a Fake Village In North Korea
After the Korean War, the North Koreans decided to show their southern neighbor how great it is to live here. They built Kijong-dong (Peace Village) not far from the border of the country. It should encourage South Koreans to move to the north. But apparently, they forgot one important thing – people. Since the town was built in the 1950s it was empty like some sort of a ghost town. But officially the North Korean government assures that 200 families live there and have everything they need for a comfortable life: schools, hospitals, kindergartens etc.
In reality, there are no glasses in the windows of the village buildings, the lights are turned on with a special timer, and the only people here are the workers, who sweep the roads to give the impression of some ongoing activity.
North Korean “Godzilla”
When Kim Jong-Il saw the "Godzilla" movie, apparently, he wanted to share his impressions with his people. But of course, he couldn't show them the Japanese version. So he decided to create his own movie monster called Pulgasari. This propaganda blockbuster was created by a South Korean director Shin Sang-ok.
Kim Jong-il was a big fan of the director, so he kidnapped Shin Sang-ok and his wife, the famous actress Choe Eun Hui, so that they can provide the North Korean citizens with the remakes of famous movies, but with the drop of propaganda of course. Luckily the couple had a chance to escape 8 years later. But they've shot a whole lot of films for the North Korean regime.
By the way, it seems Kim Jong-il was a big fan of the movie industry. He had a collection of 30K famous films, including all James Bond movies.
North Korea Exports Very Strange Goods
It is probably the most amusing thing in the whole story. The great part of the income North Korea gets from selling counterfeit cigarettes and pharmaceuticals like Viagra, fake $100 bills, drugs like methamphetamine and marijuana to Japan and other countries. In 2003 a merchant North Korean ship tried to deliver 150 kg of heroin to Australia. Imagine that"...
By the way, pot is legal in North Korea. Distribution, possession, and consumption of cannabis are a common deal here. Besides, it is recommended instead of tobacco because it is considered to be healthier. Marijuana grows widely here, but people are calm with it. Maybe because it isn't strictly banned in North Korea, and so people here are not so interested in it.
North Korea also sells small arms and missile parts to terrorists from so-called rouge-nations. Besides, they say, that North Korea also practices outsourcing – people from the labor camps often work in Siberia.
I was really surprised when I found out, that a lot of European and Asian companies invested in North Korea's casinos for tourists (about 1,5K tourist come here every year) and mineral mines (which are estimated to be worth $6 trillion). In 2010 these investments reached $1,4 billion.
Jeans, Coke And Pizza Are Banned In North Korea
You can't wear blue jeans in North Korea. They are considered to be a symbol of American imperialism. This also relates to piercing. The authorities think that the western fashion trends influence the citizens of North Korea badly.
Besides fashion, the government doesn't trust even food that came from abroad. North Korea and Cuba are the two countries in the whole world where you can't buy any Coke. The North Koreans have also never heard about pizza.
But remakes are their favorite things! North Koreans have their own version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". The music is the same, only, in this case, the song is called "We Have Nothing to Envy in the World".
North Korean Unicorns
One of the fun facts about North Korea. In 2012 North Korea reported that they have found an ancient lair of a"... unicorn. Apparently, the legendary king Tongmyong had one 2000 years ago and rode it on some occasions"... The discovery was made by the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences. The Korean news agency said that the archeologists found “A rectangular rock carved with words “Unicorn Lair" in front of the cave that supposed to the lair itself. The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392)".
Of course, this news was widely discussed in the world – I mean, people have found a UNICORN lair!!! But the next reports said that the Korean terminology was mistranslated in the news. So the original message referred not to a unicorn but to the kirin – a mythological beast with “the body of the deer, the tail of a cow, hooves and a mane and one horn on the head". Well, yes, that changes the situation completely!