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Oh boy: is this ever an awkward topic for us. How can we talk about it without seeming arrogant, yet how can we answer the question somewhat accurately? The video’s already darn long with our rambling. I think the first thing we can say that we didn’t mention in the video is that, regardless of what is actually happening to us, we don’t FEEL like we’re famous. We feel like famous people/celebrities are super talented in some special way and that is was their GOAL to become famous, via sports, acting, music, whatever. I think if you enter the world never planning on being known by other people, it’s a bit of a shock and difficult to grasp in your mind.

Now when it comes to being YouTube famous, we know that we’re not anywhere close to Nigahiga or Smosh who have millions of subscribers. They’re the most famous of the YouTube famous. They’re A-listers. Whatever we are, we’re not top-tier, but we’ve experienced a small slice of fame from YouTube, and it has changed our lives quite a bit.

So, we’re going to try to talk as candidly as we can about what our lives are like now that we are where we are in our Eatyourkimchi careers, which – by the way – we had no intention of making careers out of originally, and we consider ourselves vastly fortunate for being able to do. It still surprises us. We always think to ourselves that, if we were to wake up, and realize that the internet shut down forever, or if people just stopped watching us overnight, we’d probably be like “yeah, that seems about right.”

Being able to work in a studio now with other people is also totally awesome for us. Before, it was just the two of us in our pyjamas at home all day, isolated from the world, living like crazy kpop hermits, filming and editing non-stop, with our business life and home life becoming intertwined endlessly. It seems like every time we hear about YouTube celebs, they’re often described as introverts as well, since they’re always stuck in their basements filming and editing. So, for us, having a studio now is so much more refreshing and invigorating. We walk into the office, see Leigh and Soo Zee, bounce ideas off each other, plan projects together, learn things from one another, and create things together. We feel rejuvenated in this environment, you know? Having that split between work and life is really important, even though we didn’t realize it before.

Ok, so that’s part of the first answer about how our lives have changed personally as a result of Eat Your Kimchi. We went from isolated teachers (haha, trust me, lesson planning is SO deeply consuming as other teacher reading will surely agree), to isolated video editing hermits, to slowly reintegrating with society now that we have other people helping us with the editing. We went from employees on a clear career path to small business owners. We went from people working in the public service sector to the bloggers in the creative industry.

As to how our lives have changed in society in relation to others, as opposed to just how things have changed ourselves, the biggest change for us is that we’re no longer anonymous. Unless we hide under umbrellas and take all of the smallest side streets, we are recognized everyday. Sometimes only once a day, other times once every ten minutes. It’s honestly something that shocks us, shocks others that are with us, and it’s something we have a lot of thoughts on.

1) Fame is extremely subjective: when we meet people who recognize us, there are many different reactions, ranging from “oh! I think I know you!” to “ERMAHGERRRRDDDD!!!” Whoever it is that we meet, we’re always interested in the people that they’re hanging out with at the time, because those are the ones that often look at us like “who the eff are these dirty hipsters?” and then they try to get their friends to hurry up, while the person who recognized us is like “OMG YOU DON’T REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!!” That’s why we can never have any sense of inflated ego about this. No matter how many people recognize us, there will be many more who will have no idea who the hell we are. And the most hilarious thing is watching a Nasty try to explain who we are to their unimpressed friend…”They make videos about Korea, and they go wanking, I mean, not like real wanking, it’s like, wonderful adventure now…okay never mind, but they have these kpop review segments with…oh right you hate kpop….well their fapfaps are so informational…no wait it’s not like that…it’s like their dog has blue hair…just…ahhh…never mind.”

The same thing happened for Martina’s Birthday, when we were at a hotel which happened to be having a party with “celebrities,” who would tell us in conversation that they’re famous celebrities…who we’ve never heard of. I don’t think anyone has the right to claim they’re famous unless they’re the president of the USA. That’s someone everyone knows! Everyone else varies in degrees of obscurity, the slightest hint of which should put them back in their place.

Being “famous” doesn’t mean anything. Everyone’s famous in one way or another. You’re famous in your family. You’re famous in your classroom. And oftentimes, you’re more famous in these settings than people who are supposedly “famous” elsewhere. G-Dragon is huge here: if he didn’t tell everyone in advance where he’s going, would he be famous in Pocatello, Idaho? Maybe if their are any VIPS there, but otherwise, he’ll just be a Korean dude in Idaho.

Which is why YouTube fame strikes me as so odd. I remember reading an interview from a famous YouTuber who has over a million subs (can’t remember who it was, though) and he said that he gets recognized in the streets around once every six months or so. To which we were freaking floored. How the eff is that?!?!?! That’s impossible. We get recognized daily, and his audience is many times larger than ours, but people don’t recognize him? DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! BRAIN ASPLODE!!!

But then we think, well, here in Korea, we do stick out more than regular looking folk. Martina has pink hair. I’m freaking tall as hell and have a red mohawk. In a country where we’re taller than most people, and the hair colour is predominantly black, we do stick out more, and thus have a higher chance of getting recognized, the way a purple man would be more recognizable in the USA. So, recognition does not equal fame, or celebrity, or whatever. But when we get recognized when we’re in other countries, especially on the streets of Toronto: that’s when we feel like barfing from mind-blowing explosions of whhhaatttt!???

2) Because we’re regularly recognized, we’re a lot more cautious: we can’t go out looking like crap, just in case someone asks for a picture. Well, I supposed we can, but then you feel like crap when that picture shows up. When we’re out filming in public, we’re in the zone, and we’re always REALLY surprised to see a tweet or message from someone who says that they saw us but didn’t want to say hi because we looked busy. COME SAY HI!!! Please! It’s always the most uplifting part of our day! Honestly, it’s amazing how meeting a Nasty can recharge our energy and drive us to be better.

We have to say that regardless of this little slice of fame we experience, we’re grateful for how awesome the Nasty’s are with us. We know real celebrities in Korea, and from what they tell us, random people in public treat them like subhumans. People run up to celebrities, take pictures and demand pictures, demand 10 autographs for their girlfriend, nephews, cousins, and friends, then leave after getting their fill. They don’t care if the person is in the rain, or in a rush, or hungry, it’s like, “HEY YOU! STOP YOUR LIFE AND GIVE STUFF TO ME!” People never treat us that way. People want to have conversations with us, hang out and talk, have some drinks, and just treat us like we’re friends. The celebrities that we know get fawned upon, but are never talked to like regular humans. Maybe they like it. Maybe they don’t. I know that, for us, you couldn’t pay us enough money to be in their position. It sounds terrible. To us, we’re happy to talk to people that talk to us like people, and it feels like, rather than being spotted like a celebrity, people greet us like a family does at an airport.

So, TL;DR: we love you guise.

ToFebruary
  1. Simon went through all those M words and I literally could no longer remember Martina’s name. I sat there like, “why do I wanna call her Martha??” Well played.

  2. bunnyhops

    What is the university/college life like in Korea? Is it similar to the US: Like living in the dorms, are classes constructed the same way(having classes at different timings) Or is it similar to school but in a university?

  3. Now that you guys are so crazy famous (k, maybe just a little crazy) have you ever been stocked or had a fan do something really creepy?

  4. I heard recently that someone was asked by their Korean principal to “act more like Simon and Martina” in the classroom. (Which I assume means acting like you two in your videos) I know that you have said that you act different on camera than you did in the classroom. What was your classroom composure like and what advice on this subject would you give new teachers coming to Korea?

  5. heyy guise! do you still keep up with other non-kpop songs (eg. beyonce) or maybe indie-american or british bands u used to listen to? also is it easy to do so in korea or is it a lot easier to just stick to kpop…i remember there was a video u made where u mentioned justin bieber’s baby :)

  6. Seoulfood02

    Hey guys. Im a girl in high school and would love to go to college in Korea. Is it possible for an American who barely knows any Korean to be able to study there?

  7. Cyber_3

    A question for TL;DR :
    If you are sick or injured in South Korea, how do you find a doctor? Are the doctors traditional eastern medicine doctors or are there some western-type doctors? What is the quality of care and is it expensive? Do you need a special health plan?

    Cyber_3 – frankly, this is probably one of the most important questions when travelling, but it’s hard to find info on……

  8. anonymous

    Hi Simon and Martina,

    I was wondering how one should deal/act when having a discussion or argument with an older Korean person. I’m married to a Korean (who is little older than me and I’m not Korean) and he respect me but his mother doesn’t. She demand my respect and abusive her power of being older and makes me feel low because I come from blue collar family. I say anything she doesn’t like or stand up for myself and tell her she can’t control my marriage. She says I’m disrespectful or she just laughs in my face. Any advice, marriage or cultural? p.s. My husband has told her but she still does it but now when he’s not looking. help please.

  9. Hi…. I have a question if you are a foreigner who live in Korea and you get sick…and you don’t speak korean well…Are there doctors who speak English?

  10. Proud to say I followed you two from the beginning. Back in the days, there used to be only a few comments (maybe 8 at the most). I knew you’d become YouTube famous one day, especially when you started talking about Kpop. I first visited the site because I wanted to teach in South Korea, and your site was the most informational. Still is! Love you two. Glad to see your success.

  11. I wanted to ask you guys, I know this have goes for months… but what do you think about this whole nuclear threatening from North Korean to South Korean and the United State? Did you feel concern about this or you don’t care about this kind of topics?

  12. It is true that Korean people does not use deodorant on winter? and that They don’t smell bad?

  13. k this is more of a plee then a question… but plzzz consider coming to AnimeNorth one year and hosting a panel!!!! It would be amazing!!

  14. Would you guys consider doing a panel in Canada? AnimeNorth in Toronto actually hosts K-pop panels now, they are all fan run though we don’t get any special guests or anything but they are very popular! I know everyone that goes is a Nasty :D

  15. sweetest-song

    Do you guys deal with any hate? I know you guys sometimes talk about being scolded about talking about Brohoho rooms and odd lighting but do you experience TRUE hate? How do you deal with it? Does it ever hold you back? And are there a lot of EYK haters, if any?

  16. What are your thoughts about shipping? And do you think there is a difference on how shipping is “lived/viewed” by korean fans as compered to international fans?

  17. sweetest-song

    Do you guys deal with any hate? I know you guys sometimes talk about being scolded about talking about Brohoho rooms and odd lighting but do you experience TRUE hate? How do you deal with it? Does it ever hold you back? And are there a lot of EYK haters, if any?

  18. Cara Rose
    Cara Rose

    query: with the KMAs happening soon, Is there any any awards ceremony that you watch annually or prefer, and do you agree with those artists who’ve been nominated?

  19. I’m just now watching this video and this may seem like a TMI moment but when I was a cheerleader we had to wear spanks and we always got wedgies so instead of pulling them out we just spread our legs and dipped, dipped down to get them out. So if that helps you guys, I gotchu. ;)
    And I felt really happy watching this TLDR. You guys are so awesome and really are the kind of vloggers that I love so kudos! Brownie points! Oh yeah! Lol
    Thanks for being awesome. *thumbs up*

  20. man you guys are like Andy Warhol of our time……

  21. In the U.S. teen pregnacy has been on the rise and such, and I know you guys have talked about modesty in Korea but is there places like Planned Parenthood in Korea, where people can go to get birth control, plan B and std screenings? Also in general do you guys think people in Korea need/want these things?

  22. Oh its really nice how you love your fans so much its kind of sweet

  23. Hello! I’ve never posted or asked a question here before so I hope this is okay. ;A;
    How do you guys feel about kpop fans shipping idols together, such as shipping guys and girls together or members of the same group? I heard from some people that they get very uncomfortable with it, but that others use it to their advantage? I want to hear your guys’ opinion on it. :) Thank you!

  24. Okay, I’ve got 2 questions :]

    1. How are the restrooms in Korea? (Clean/dirty, fancy/squatters, etc) And where can someone find the clean and nice bathrooms if they are rare?

    2. Can you explain the concept of fan-service (e.g. boy-band members kissing) and why it’s so popular (if it’s as popular as it seems to be on YouTube)? And why don’t there seem to be videos of girl-band members doing the same? Is it because of gender-stigmas, or fans of girl groups not being as into it, or something else?

  25. Kind of a TMI question, but a very important one: How easy is it to get your hands on reproductive health products in Korea? Are there free clinics similar to Planned Parenthood where women have access to birth control, morning after pills, etc?

  26. Been with you since Feb. 2010 so I guess this is my 3rd anniversary with you all!!!! You still make me laugh and I still use you guise ALL the time to introduce my friends into Kpop and Korean culture in general! Thanks for all you do!!!!!

  27. If it wasn’t for teaching and getting a teaching job in Korea, do you think you would have gone to Korea on your own..willingness/wanting to go? Or would you have stayed in Canada? Or gone to another country?

  28. You guys are freaking awesome. Really want to meet you guys on the street someday! (if i have the chance to go to korea >< Totally laughed out loud when you mention the guy that went AYY GIRLLLL xD bet that was such an amazing feeling ! Love you guys ! omg so mushy heh… but hwaiting! <3

  29. Mackenzie Cheadle

    Hi Simon and Martina! I’m Mackenzie from Australia and I’m 18 :D
    Here’s my question for TL:DR; How aware are South Koreans of North Korea and what are the general opinions of S.Koreans on the people and Government of N.Korea? How do they feel about there being two Korea’s and do S.Koreans feel any sort of connection with N.Koreans?
    I’ve been meaning to ask for a while and though it would be appropriate after the tremor on the 12th :) Hope no one you know was affected by the tremor and wishing you all the luck with the New Year!

  30. Hey! So I’ve been wondering if you guys had any hobbies other than blogging and such. It’s just my personal interest whether you guys (or more like Simon) had any interests in gaming since Korea’s gaming culture is just like HUGE. Did any one of you become interested in online computer games or just generally games? (Since Korean people aren’t really a huge fan of video games like Xbox, PS3, etc)
    Tony, 17, Germany (I’m Korean!)
    *I’ve seen you guys done a video about Starcraft II, but I’m not sure if you guys talked intensely about it.

  31. changedbylife

    My friends(they’re asian to some percent) and I know Korean. We have also taken singing lessons since we were young. However, recently our jokes about auditioning for a K-Pop company, seem more like we should take a chance. I’ll be blunt. I’m black. Even though, I can speak Korean to an intermediate level and can dance some of the moves and belt out some of the songs. Do you think I should audition when the k-pop industry is mostly looking for ASIAN artists?

  32. mangamaani

    What are Valentine’s day and White day like in Korea?

  33. kpoplatinlover
    kpoplatinlover

    I really hope I can meet you guys someday. You’re amazing!
    As for my question… I was wondering, are there many boys that are fans of K-Dramas ? At least in Korea?

  34. Wooo, Windsor! That’s where I grew up!
    Though I don’t think I could move back ever – haha Love you guys! Every video reaffirms my desire to visit Korea. :)

  35. You guys are awesome! Your videos are so much fun and super informative :D also, I didn’t know that you guys went to UWindsor for your B.Ed, WOO! ^_^

  36. Sherrie Chung

    Man… I saw Martina on the streets of Myeongdong back in like 2009 and I so regret not stopping you and saying hello! I’ve been a fan of Eat Your Kimchi since then and it’s awesome to see how it’s developed and grown. Hwaiting!

  37. Kanna Tenshi

    In one of the past livestreams someone had asked about the tattoos on Martina’s feet. I knew that she had them, but I had no idea about the meaning behind them or what they were specifically.

    So, can you both show us your tattoos and tell us the meaning/motivation behind getting them?

  38. Are there any huge differences between those korean guys and girls on
    the street and on TV? Including their faces, images or clothing

  39. I’m new to the whole EYK world so here goes. I’m an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter in the states, so I’m curious if you know about/have had any interaction with Korean Deaf culture or Korean Sign Language.

  40. Your American accents are stronger in this video!

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