91 percent of South Koreans use a smartphone. Backed by the world’s fastest internet speed, their country’s mobile app market is thriving. So what killer apps do South Koreans rely on to guide them through the complexities of 21st-century life? Here, we dug up a handful of the most “South Korean” apps in the mobile ecosystem — ingenious little software gems that are unique, exotic and surprisingly practical.
1. Uncomfortable with swearing? Let your phone take care of it.
“Openly swearing for you,” an app no longer in service, is dedicated to the art of cursing. Developed for those who are too shy to spout their own abuse, it provides a comprehensive list of every South Korean swear word under the sun, and even speaks them out loud. Korean cuss words excel at expressing various levels of frustration, and this app perfectly captures their beauty. Its linguistic subtlety and articulate vocalization are outstanding. This is the ultimate stress relief provider – many users claim to have found peace in its combinations of colorful words.
2. An app to cure your hangover… allegedly.
Hangovers are the scourge of South Korean mornings, largely due to the local culture of heavy mixed drinking. Take any two types of alcohol and Koreans will mix them, creating combinations like somaek (beer with soju) and yangmaek (vodka with beer) and more. They say mixing alcohols makes for a worse hangover, but this app will soothe your troubled head and belly by playing ambient nature sounds, with different options according to what you drank last night. Available on Android.
3. The art of ancestral veneration
South Korean national holidays involve laborious Confucian ancestral rites called jesa. Many younger people today are losing touch with such traditions, so do not always know what to do when worshipping their ancestors. This app is here to guide them through all the cultural confusion. “The Jesa Whizz” is available on Android.
4. Finding the right title for the right relative: Another cultural minefield
Another app for making it easier to uphold tradition: This one is here to let you know the right Korean terms to refer to the various relatives you haven’t met in years. Koreans use a large number of different words that specifically reflect gender, marital status and degree of kinship, such as your “father’s unmarried younger brother” or your “maternal grandmother’s married brother in-law.” The iPhone app in the image below is no longer available, but do not fear: There’s another one available on Android.
5. Golden rules for surviving on one’s own
This app is a treasure trove of know-how for students living alone, or jachwisaeng in Korean. Want to know how to make mosquito repellent with orange? Or how to drive ants out using coarse sea salt? Often regarded as a deprived social class, such jachwisaeng youngsters are the object of much pity in South Korea. On “The Book of Jachwisaeng,” students — or anyone living alone, for that matter — can benefit from a wealth of low-budget, live-saving insider tips. Available on Android.
Cover Image: (Source: pixabay)
Seohoi Stephanie Park wrote his radar report.