Korea’s “The cactus listens to your heart”

For all you lonely people out there in the world and you happen to be in South Korea, a country with a heavily exposed couple culture, why not get a cactus that will replace the missing significant other in your life?

Despite me being single AF (forever alone), I did not buy this cactus because I am lonely, but I bought it because me and my friend were walking around Insadong (인사동), a popular traditional souvenir and shopping district, she wanted to buy one and because there would be a discount for buying two, I thought I would buy one this year. Thus, I was being a good friend by helping her get a discount, duh.

But in all realness, this cactus obviously does not listen to you when you speak. It’s purely for aesthetics.

I know last year when I came to South Korea for the first time, I saw this “listening cactus,” in Bukchon Hanok Village(북촌한옥마을), where the traditional style housing is located, and also a friendly walking distance from Insadong (인사동). My friend, who invited me to join her and her students on this trip to Insadong (인사동), Bukchon Hanok Village(북촌한옥마을), and the N Tower, had bought one and I thought the concept of a cactus listening to you was … dumb(?). I really did not see the point in this cactus.

There are different styles/versions you could buy of this cactus – the most famous is the necklace cactus. The cactus is put into a capsule, which is attached to a necklace chain. There is another version, slightly bigger that can be attached to other chains (cellphone chains, key chains, etc …). Then the biggest one, which is the one I bought and displayed in the picture, has the option to stick on to the wall and act as a decoration in your room.

In order to take good care of this cactus, all you have to do is simply leave it in a petri dish with water, and let it sit there for 1-2 hours – I believe once a week. I honestly did not do this, I just gave it a few drops of water once in a while and it turned out fine, I mean look at my picture, it even sprouted a little bit!

I think when I go back to South Korea, I will definitely buy another one that I will bring back home with me because I do like it as a little decoration. Sadly, I was not able to bring this one back because I had a ton of things and even though this is very small, I just did not want it to be squished in my difficultly closed and packed suitcases. I handed it over to the care of my friend, not sure of its condition now though.

If you are thinking of a souvenir to bring back from South Korea, which is not too mainstream, or even a little gift for yourself to remember your time in the lovely country, I would suggest the cactus that listens.


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