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COMMENTS

Wow! It feels like forever since we filmed this video! We made it before we went on our Mexico/California trip, because we planned on putting some stuff up while we were gone. Turns out that we put up our Mexico trip video instead, and wanted to save this (and another) video for the week when we got back from our trips, when we’d be jet-lagged and exhausted. Hooray! Turns out that it’s actually quite good timing, because now we’re getting over some nasty pink-eye as well, and if we had to film something now we’d look like vampires: not the sexy, True Blood kind, with pushup bras and six packs. More like, the dirty, just got turned into a vampire kind, with our eyes glowing red from hunger for blood. Except our eyes would be glowing red from pink-eye.

Side note: having pink eye makes looking at the screen as we type very, very difficult, so we’re typing most of this with our eyes closed. WE GOT SICK WICKED TYPING SKILLLLZZZZ. At the same time, if we have a lot of errors here, forgive us. We’re not really doing a lot of editing in our blog post this time.

Aaaaanyhow, CRIME IN KOREA! I think we mentioned before how completely safe we feel here compared to how we feel back in Toronto. Again, we don’t want to make it seem that because we feel so safe here that we didn’t feel safe in Toronto, or that anyone should draw the conclusion that because Korea feels safer to us that Toronto is a wild jungle of crime and murder and mugging. That’s not the case at all. We lived perfectly fine and content in Toronto. We just feel like there are things we don’t have to worry about here in Korea like we did in Toronto. Here in Korea, we haven’t seen any Rob-Me-Please ATMs. Don’t know what those are? Those are ATM machines in public that you feel like, well, maybe taking money out at this spot right here…maybe that isn’t the best idea. We don’t see vandalism here in Korea as well. Graffiti is barely anywhere. Things aren’t broken or smashed randomly. And we just never hear about gun-crime in the news, like a random person going into the mall and shooting it up. Sure, that’s exceptionally rare in Canada as well, but here in Korea, we just never hear about it at all.

I hope Canadians don’t get offended by this. We’re not trying to paint it in a negative light, though its contrast with Korea might make it seem that way. We still love Canada and all. We feel a lot safer in cars in Canada and don’t feel like we’re going to get mowed down every time we cross the street, like we do in Korea. And we’re sure there’s organized crime here in Korea that’s mega-nasty. We…just haven’t experienced anything like it at all here, and haven’t even seen traces of it in public.

Yeah! Hopefully that made sense. And if we said anything off, we blame the pink-eye! Also, we’re sure that your experiences are muuuuch different than ours, so let us know in the comments what your experiences in Korea or in your home country are like. Our own personal experiences are by no means definitive, but hopefully we can get a bunch of people here talking about what their experiences are like :D

ToFebruary
Gmarket
  1. Teresa McAllister

    Now that I think bout it when I read some school life manga’s there will sometimes be a cooking class or something in which the girls normally make cookies or other foods and give them to friends. Is this an actual thing or is this just bogus?

  2. Teresa McAllister

    This was interesting and educational.

  3. I know that Korea is safer than the United States, but recently I have been watching videos of foreign girls talking about being sexually harassed and stalked by strangers in Korea and it’s kind of making me scared since I plan to study in Korea in the future. I’m wondering if Martina and other women you know have experienced any of this and how do they fight against and try to prevent it?

  4. Freddy Solis

    Haha y’all are hilarious!!! I’m seriously laughing so hard!

  5. Where I live pretty much all that is on the news is robberies and the like because it is more exciting and more people will watch that. I also feel like people already have an idea of which countries are safer than others? Do you think there is a specific reason that Korea seems to have a lower crime rate than Canada?

  6. I’m relying on your video on crime to convince my parents I’m not going to die overseas.

  7. Thanks guys! I completely agree. I too am from Canada and have lived mostly in smaller cities, but I feel much, much safer in big cities in Korea than I do in smaller cities and towns in Canada. It isn’t like I am afraid in Canada, not at all, but, like you said, there is a stronger sense of overall caution or consciousness of the possibility of crime. I don’t feel like that here even a tiny bit. It’s actually a little weird.

  8. Hey there! I’m a senior and foreign exchange student from America~! (currently living in the Mapo/Gongdok area of Seoul) Unfortunately I am not able to completely agree with you on this one. Recently there have been some cases of kidnapping and rape that occurred at the elementary school across the street from my apartment complex. Also a few weeks ago, one of the apartments in my complex was robbed! I would like to remind all that while generally Korea is very safe, walk with a bit of caution at night, especially if you are unfamiliar to the area!

  9. In korea, (i am a christian) how many christians do you see around korea when you are walking around and you know like right away and in your mind is like ‘oh! that person is not christian… he is bad or something like that..’

  10. kaynauxious

    In Korea,do people criticize you because of your blog?

  11. Ashlyn930

    How did you guys get into kpop? Where you already into it when you moved to Korea, or did you discover it when you got to Korea?

  12. deathofyouandme

    here’s Germany and I’m planning to visit Korea. One of my friend from Korea who works in my land took military service for about 2 years! I just want to know about the relationship between South and North Korea. And sometimes Korean feel uncomfortable when they get talked about Japan. I’ve heard that there were historical conflict between Korea and Japan! I want to know about those things! XD

  13. ryansgirl050400

    Something to share. I am in S. Korea for the first time. I have been traveling around and I was only a bit freaked out looking down dark side streets. At Seoul Tower, I saw that a lady left her purse in the bathroom and it was brought to the counter right way. Nothing was stolen. :D Awesome. I am heading to Busan next. :D Wish me luck

  14. Irene Bondar

    What is the health care like in Korea?

  15. Moontos

    So, I know a lot of parents are strict and mine aren’t really that strict at all but it seems that they’ve got this burden on Korean music, I don’t know. I wasn’t really accepted into both my school and my family because that of listening to kpop. School gradually loosened up but at home my parents always told me to turn of my music and to listen to something else.
    After a while I wasn’t allowed to hang posters of my favourite groups on the wall, or set them as background pictures on my computer or even buy albums.
    I don’t know if my parents hate Kpop or just want me to act “normally”.
    So, how can I make my mummy and daddy kind of take what I like seriuously :P and did you guys have any trouble like this

  16. Moontos

    I’d like your opinion on the battle between B.A.P and Exo ? :P

  17. Tiffany Stevenson

    Since Halloween is coming up, do you have any good Korean ghost stories to share?

  18. Julie Morgan

    Hahaha I have a corolla and I blast Super Junior!!

  19. Korea is generally safe. There’s no random gun man shooting at you… but there’s a chance that a random guy with a knife wants your money in the shady hour. A lot of manual labors from other countries cause more robberies and rapes, so Koreans are voicing stricter background checks on the immigrants from certain countries like China. There was a huge news few month ago, when a young woman called the police asking for help that a stranger’s breaking into her house. Later the police found the chinese immigrant guy chopping off her body to sell as human meat. Ewwww… so… be careful! It’s not like crime never happen in Korea, it does happen but a lot less than other big cities like NYC or LA, since not many people do drugs and allowed to own guns.

  20. TheYoonEunHye

    Ooh guuuise it’s so hilarious how you pronounce Ngoc Tran Le :D YOU ARE GENIUS!~ ♥

  21. South Korea ranks 108th in gender equality, while Canada is at 21. Do you personally feel that there is less equality in South Korea?

  22. CornBom

    Im really curious about; Drugs and Smoking in korea? :3
    Is smoking common in korea?
    Do you know where usually they get drugs or use drugs?

  23. megustadoritos

    Hi Simon & Martina! Hope you’re doing well. ^.^)/ Is it common to see Koreans of any age wear any type of orthodontic treatment? Like braces? If they do, do they like to embrace it? Or keep it hidden from the public?

  24. disqus_92km5sNL9h

    Tim Hortons REPRESENT!
    Freakin’ iced caps…

  25. Lindsey~!

    hajj~ simon and martina,I have a problem with talking, because I stutter. And have been bullied format in the past. Now is my question if people stutter there, are they also bullied and how do they help them??

  26. I’ve been teaching Koreans in Canada for a few years now and I was shocked to find such a high level of, shall we say, antipathy toward the Japanese. Even the younger children seem to be totally on board with this and very open about this feeling. Have you had similar experiences in Korea?

  27. Zoe McKeown

    What is the anime/manga scene like in Korea? Is it a really big thing or is it not very popular? If so, what are the more popular mangas/animes?

  28. Do your Korean friends think that the spreading of interest in Korean culture is in some way changing their daily life and maybe general impression of other countries? And if so, in which way?
    I’m really interested in the intercultural point of this “k-wave”!
    Greetings from Italy!

  29. I recently came back from a trip to Korea and as a woman traveling alone I felt pretty safe most of the time. I think I felt more safe in my hotel and hostel than I do at home sometimes. (There’s a lot of baby-mama-drama on my street.)

    The only time I felt unsafe was when a friend took me booking. She said it was one of those things you need to experience when you visit Korea along with going to a noreabang and the palaces. The first thing she said we needed to do was to a guy in a suit with a head set or walkie talkie and tell him we want to go booking. Ok, that’s a little weird but we find one and he puts us in a car that takes us to a club. On the way to the club my friend tells me to make sure I have my wallet on me because they’re going to take my bag and my money might not be safe. Alright, this is my second clue that this is a weird and possibly unsafe thing to do. So, before we get to the club I make sure that my money, my passport, and other valuables are hidden in various places on my person. When we get in (we didn’t have to pay for the car by the way) we’re seated at a table and given a platter of fruit and free drinks. Then a waitress comes up to us and drags us by the wrist to various tables of guys (at one point I tried to go back to get my scarf and she wouldn’t let me go). We kept bouncing around tables for various reasons (they wanted to meet Korean girls rather than foriengers or my friend wanted to meet a Korean guy) and would always end up back at our table. Then, when my friend goes to the bathroom, I’m dragged into a private room with two gentleman in their 40′s or 50′s (I’m in my late 20′s). One leaves, giving a knowing nod to his companion on the way out, and now I’m alone with this older Korean businessman. Before he can even say or do anything I hightail it out of the room and find my friend. We end the night talking to two guys our age, part ways with them, and going home. Luckily, nothing bad happened and I made it back to my hostel safely but it definitely showed me a skeevier side of Seoul and I least I got an interesting story out of it.

    TLDR; Seoul felt safe overall but booking is less innocent than it sounds.

  30. Sorry in advance for the long comment, but I looked up the crime rate in your hometown vs mine. According to the site I went on, the crime index for Toronto is 28.73 as opposed to 60.16 in my town (so less than half). In fact, I just found out my city is in the top 5 cities in the US for the most gang-related crimes. Pretty crazy! So I totally understand what you mean about being nervous! I was walking through a dark parking lot getting to my car last night and was really, really nervous. It made me think of this video of yours! One of the many reasons I’m so excited about moving to South Korea is not having to be so nervous walking around by myself. I can’t wait to get there! It’ll probably take me forever to not be jumpy at nighttime over there though since I’m not used to it lol I’m used to constantly having to avoid creepers lurking in dark corners where I live!

    • I’m not quite sure if the site I went on was reputable or not by the way. But I do know that my city is one of the top 5 cities in the US for gang violence. I hate to say bad things about my own country but the US can seriously be a pretty scary place to live at times!

  31. What’s it like for people with disabilities in Korea? I’m interested specifically in students with disabilities. What’s school’s accommodations like?

    And in restaurants where there’s low-table seating (the ones where Simon has trouble placing his legs under the table), how do they accommodate for people in wheelchairs? How does the viewpoint of disabled people differ from North American vs. Korean perspective?

    Any general experiences or knowledge would be welcome! Thanks! :D

  32. Totally agree about feeling safe here. Though as I watched this video I wondered if you guys ever have contact with the US military here in Korea. The only times I’ve had issues with safety in Korea were in some parts of Itaewon or the ‘villes’ in places like Dongducheon and Uijeongbu, both of which cater to GI’s.

  33. walking late at night alone is super dangerous for women.
    Also it depends on where you live. place full of apartment, that is one of the most safe place. There’s security, cameras everywhere, and even the attitude of police in that area is different. But when you are not rich enough to get an apartment or nice house, live in somewhere full of small and old houses, narrow alleys.. you are more exposed to crime. I think it is same as everywhere else… also I think downtown and urban area, apartment area is safer because there are A LOT of people till the late night time.

  34. Is there a strong counter culture in South Korea? Perhaps with values in environment, activism, art, social justice? aka are there hippies?

  35. fruitsnsweets

    I think Simons shirt is really appropriated for this topic.

  36. What is their entertainment industry like?  I’ve watched
    a couple of korean movies and they are so violent/disturbing. Eg old
    boy. I saw the devil.

    Like the music it seems Korean movies seem to be ‘in’ underground thing. Why? Tell me. :-)

    • My and my cousin actually had this discussion with a mutual friend before who thought Korean entertainment was mostly the violent/disturbing movies… because that’s all they saw on Netflix. But actually most Koreans watch variety tv shows and dramas… not usually the dark and disturbing movies. The dark/disturbing Korean films are just what’s found a niche market in places like the US and grew popular.

      But recently, because of the Hallyu wave, more dramas are getting onto Netflix, so people are seeing more true Korean entertainment of what people usually watch on a daily basis. There are also a lot of comedic or sappy movies in Korea… like “Sunny” is a popular newer one. There’s a popular film industry in Korea that is thriving, but it seems like the main entertainment revolves more around variety tv & dramas.

      A great resource for looking up Korean movies & tv shows, actors, etc… is http://www.hancinema.net which is sort of like imdb for Korean entertainment.

      I’m not sure if you’ve seen any other Korean films or dramas or tv shows, but some great places to watch them are:

      http://www.dramafever.com
      http://www.viki.com
      http://www.dramacrazy.net

      And a Korean variety show that’s really awesome & super popular in Korea right now is called Running Man, which you can watch at http://runningmanclub.blogspot.com

      Hope I helped answer your question, even though I’m not Simon & Martina. Lol.

  37. Yeah, I feel the same. I mean, NZ is a very safe country, comparatively… but I have had a few terrible encounters in NZ, which I could never see happening in Korea.

  38. Having lived, studied, and taught in Brazil, where robberies in broad daylight were common, I agree that I feel comfortable BY FAR living and teaching here in South Korea. However, I almost feel as if because nothing ever “happens” here on a regular basis, even the most simple happenings are causes for true alarm and that the “crazies” are REALLY CRAZIES. As in psychopaths.. And that, Simon and Martina, really is scary!

  39. lap flip

    I feel you simon and martina !! When i came to visit korea last year, the only safety issue i had about korea was the driving. Honestly i had almost gotten run over by a car while crossing the street even though the pedestrians had the right of way. But other than that i felt totally safe walking around daejon area at 2 or 3am. :p

  40. If I went to Korea, what would they think of me? I have freckles and I know that they are very concerned with their skin. Also, just curious, what do they think of gingers haha

  41. AnMei Lee

    Would you be able to talk a little about culture shock and homesickness..? It’s a depressing topic, but I find that it effects a lot of people moving to a different environment (myself included)… Do you know anyone who has felt this badly or know any good tips for adjusting to life in another country? =人=

  42. I’ve felt very similar to Simon and Martina about the safeness of walking around outside, day or night. If you’re on the main streets by yourself you really have nothing to worry about in terms of getting robbed or feeling threatened. For women, I would put out the concern of drunken men, especially since I’m currently going to college where there’s a lot of bars and motels in the area. Just have street smarts and you’ll be fine. As for the not seeing graffiti broken bottles, etc, most places don’t have that. If you’re in the bar areas around universities such as Hongdae or Kondae, you definitely will. I’ve seen mixed reviews of Itaewon. I was really looking forward to going to the area when I came over however being there a few times, day and night, I really don’t care for the area. I only go to get a quick bite to eat, and not alone. I get a weird vibe when wondering the streets since it’s definitely an “alternative” place to go. At night, there are transgender bars, and prostitution happens in the back streets. You can definitely stay away from that, however, I’d much prefer other areas to club and as well as staying away from the military men.

  43. I went to Korea when I was eight, and I would wander around all the time and my mom was like PANIC “JIN UDI ISSUH”( Jin where are you)

  44. I live in Busan and I feel absolutely comfortable walking down my street at 4am in the morning. I’m from the US and I lived in a nice neighborhood and I would have NEVER felt safe doing that back home. I feel completely safe walking places at night in Korea by myself too. There are always people out at night in Korea. I love it. I think a lot of it is that Koreans don’t carry guns and so that takes off some of the unsafe feeling. The only thing I ever have to worry about is being knocked over by a crazy ajumma who thinks she owns the sidewalk! (-_-)

  45. as a Vietnamese, I found it super funny hearing Martina pronounce the user name, lol :D

  46. GDaeLuv

    you’re gangsters and Toronto is harlem! Got it!!

    hahah jk jk.. But I have been to Korea and I was out with friends at noraebang till 4am and then we decided to go to Dongdaemun (shopping district) and it was super safe.. Im from NY so I was like “ok middle of the night NY radar alert!!” but then i was like wait? there are people studying at coffee shops and old women getting vegetable stands ready.. this is super NOT NY alert mode.. needless to say i was confused. Only 1 incident happened to a friend who got punched by a crazy ajushi.. but im pretty sure he was a legit crazy person and it was the only thing i heard bad that happened on our trip.. i felt super safe.. way more than i feel in NY…

  47. I actually feel exactly the same way as you guys, but trying to explain it to my family is so difficult. My home town is really quiet (Brisbane, Australia) but there’s still things I wouldn’t do: walk around by myself after 11pm, go down certain streets or into parks after dark, walk around with my wallet or phone hanging out of my bag etc. But when I’m in Korea all that goes out the window and suddenly I’m wandering around Hongdae on a Wednesday night at like 2-3am by myself and heading down tiny dark alleys being all “lalalalalaaaa”. And given that I’m a very small and clearly weak girl – that’s saying something about how safe Korea is.

  48. CheshireCalamity

    I’ve never been to Asia, but I have traveled most of Europe and parts of South America, and there were some cities where I could wander the streets until o’dark thirty in the morning and not be bothered by anybody, while in other places the locals cautioned me not to even set my purse down by my feet under the table at a cafe because thieves were known to wander by and snatch them right up!

    Guess it all depends on where you are! The vibe was often different from city to city even within the same country.

  49. Jennifer Bjork

    I’m would like to know what the religious culture is like in Korea. Is it fairly open? I’ve heard that there are a lot of Christians. I’m Jewish so I’m curious about whether Koreans will care if the subject should come up in conversation. I’m not particularly religious or anything, just don’t want to end up in an overly awkward situation if it does matter.

  50. Starsania
    Starsania

    I have noticed Koreans tend not to worry too much about crime when they come over to America to study. I worked in the library on campus while I was in college and it was always the Korean kids who left their laptops out on desks and tables out in the open for hours on end before they came back to get them. Some even left them there overnight.

    We’d often pick them up and put them behind the front desk for safe keeping, but it confused them as to why we did that. We’d always try to explain that it could have been stolen but they really didn’t grasp that concept.
    It is a fairly safe library in a small city but it was also open to the public and there was always the chance someone could have just walked in and walked out with a new laptop.
    On the other hand American kids always took their things with them, I never once had to hide their things behind the front desk.

  51. Denise Alfonso

    do they have winter,spring and summer break in korea??

  52. Damn, a free car AND a free baby? That’s pretty good.

  53. Tif_any99

    Are fans crazier in Korea more than anywhere else?

  54. curiousmind9

    Hello Martina and Simon. I’ve read and heard countless of rumors about the extent of discrimination in South Korea in terms of race, but more specifically the color of the skin. My first assumption about this would be that it is true, only because there is so much talk in Korea about how the fairer the skin, the more beautiful you are perceived to be. I was wondering if that really is the case in South Korea and how bad it really is if it is true? If so, does being a foreigner with darker skin make you more unacceptable in Korean society?

  55. Hello Martina and Simon. I’ve read and heard countless rumors about the extent of discrimination in South Korea in terms of race, but more specifically the color of the skin. My first assumption about this would be that it is true, only because there is so much talk in Korea about how the fairer the skin, the more beautiful you are perceived to be. I was wondering if that really is the case in South Korea and how bad it really is if it is true? If so, is being a foreigner with darker skin make you more unacceptable in Korean society?

  56. Lindsey~!

    Well I am form the Netherlands and hearing that the crime rate is low in
    Korea, is nice to hear. The only thing I hear here on the news lately
    is students taking a gun to school and shoot you teacher and other
    students. Young people who murder or taking knives with them to school,,
    O_o” Guys where is the world going!? Is that the new kind of jokes?
    And you do not have to walk over the street here at night, or you see
    some gangsters walking around. So hearing that about in Korea, I wish it
    was the same here.

  57. Lindsey~!

    Well I am form the Netherlands and hearing that the crime rate is low in Korea, is nice to hear. The only thing I hear here on the news lately is students taking a gun to school and shoot you teacher and other students. Young people who murder or taking knives with them to school,, O_o” Guys where is the world going!? Is that the new kind of jokes? And you do not have to walk over the street here at night, or you see some gangsters walking around. So hearing that about in Korea, I wish it was the same here.

  58. I think that anecdotal evidence isn’t really something to rely on in this case. Although you may not have the crime statistics memorized, they are a really quick google search away.

    Although it’s true that cases of robbery, burglary, and theft are higher in Canada than Korea, instances of violent crimes (intentional homicide, rape, and assault) are actually higher in Korea than Canada.

    I’m not trying to be contradictory, I just know from experience (although admittedly not in Korea) that sometimes living abroad can give you a skewed sense of safety. Sometimes a foreign country can feel safer because you are limited in what you are exposed to and can understand. That kind of false security can be dangerous, especially if you live alone! :D

    • Sung Soh

      I think Majority of the violent crimes you mentioned are often crimes of passion and not directed to strangers (at least in Korea). The sense of safety is often related to the rate of random crimes. So Canadians should feel more concerned than Koreans to walk street at night.

      • I wasn’t suggesting that Canadians or Koreans should feel less or more concerned while walking down the street. I don’t really care if Korea is “safer” than Canada, or vice versa I was suggesting that you should be careful no matter where you live, because it’s easy for people living abroad to fall into a false sense of security.

  59. disqus_4uXbwpwclJ

    This is a question to the TLDR : This there many different religon in south – koraen, i mean do you guys see many girls with hijads and other religons clothing in south- koraen and if there is, do south- koreans threat them diffrently or look strange at them??? I am asking this question because i am a muslime girl that has always loved south- korea and always will love it and i am just curious about how south- koreans will threat me if i come to south- korean =)

  60. Roxanne75

    how about classical music training? I’m a professional “classical” musician in the States. I’ve heard teaching music in Korea is a possibility.

  61. i remember seeing my neighbor get water ballooned by random guys driving by while trying to be cool in their loud car

  62. Can you cover about sport in Korea…I’m interested in finding out about ice hockey in Korea…do girls actively play too?

  63. Akina Nguyen

    Did my study abroad for 6 months in Suwon and Seoul and I never felt unsafe whatsoever during my stay. And that is including my nightly routine of stumbling back to my dorm drunk at 4 am, across a totally abandoned and pitch dark campus. Not even when going out in Itaewon with all the foreigners around did I feel unsafe. For one, it’s because the streets are always packed with people. And there is always a 7/11 at every corner so I felt like I was never alone or at least help was always nearby if I need it.

    Secondly, there are just so many things to do when you’re out, so I can’t imagine vandalism or loitering out of boredom in Korea. Kids are always in them PC bangs and karaoke rooms. There are UFO catchers on the streets, stores stay open till late, plenty of entertainment. I just don’t see reason for Koreans to be dissatisfied about life to result to street violence. There is a lot of drinking and public drunkenness, but even so, I never witnessed a fight. Usually their friends would have stopped the argument before things could escalate or the drunks are simply ignored when they try to provoke ppl.

    As for the sense of crime.. Here’s my episode. It was my first week in Suwon and I was drunkenly finding my way back to the dorms after having lost my friends when a guy stopped in the streets. He was like “AYYY GUURRLL! What are you doing out here at 4 am, it’s dangerous. Let me buy you a drink!” (For realz. I’m not making shit up). So he just dragged me into a nearby alley and up a small shady bar. He was then on the telephone and 5 minutes later 4 other guys showed up. I was freaked out and tried to get the hell out of there, but they insisted that it was dangerous for me to go out alone and wouldn’t let me leave. 10 minutes later they suddenly dragged me out and there was a car waiting at the door. They pushed me into the car and all got on.

    To my surprise, a few minutes later I was dropped off at my dorm where all international students stayed, and the boys took off just like that. In a western country, the ending of that night would have been very different.

    The next day was actually Chuseok . A phone call woke me up at around 9AM and it was the Korean dude from last night. I guess I gave it to him when I was drunk. He said that he was in front of my dorm and told me to come down. Everything about this screamed ‘stalker!’ but I had to get rid of him so I went down.

    Man did I feel guilty when I saw him. He had brought fresh coffee and a bag with all kinds of Korean food his family made for Chuseok. He figured that since I was new in Korea that I wouldn’t know about the stores being closed on Chuseok so he brought me food just in case. (I’m never gonna think any bad about a stranger ever again!)
    I felt so sorry that I was hung over at that time and couldn’t invite him inside because of the dorm’s rule. Naturally, he became one of my best friends in Korea and we are now still in touch.

    Another story is the time I went to Busan. We went eating at this massive hall above the Jagalchi fish market where they serve everything fresh from the tank. It looked like they had 100 seating areas there. Apparently whole dining hall closes up at 8 or at least pretty early. So we just had our dinner served when the lady came by and asked us to pay. Within minutes the hall was completely empty, but no one had told us to leave. We could have trashed the place, we could have emptied the soju fridge! But being good Christians we just finished our dinner, placed the dishes in the sink and left. There was no security, no surveillance cameras as far as I can see; any one could have walked in or out freely. Korea is amazing!

    • Your experience when you got dragged into the car… that is SCARY situation. I’m just saying you’re hella lucky, he could’ve taken advantage of you since you were alone. I’m glad to hear that it ended well though, and that he sounds like a great guy.

  64. TOOOTALLY agree will all thus… unfortunately my most favourite bycycle i got made here was stolen. On a happy note the next week someone gave me a free awesome motorcycle. WEE UPGRADE!!!

  65. I live in the boonies of Incheon (almost into Gimpo really) and only once did I have a situation where I didn’t feel safe. I was walking down the street with an ajumma not to far ahead when a clearly drunk man in the opposite direction of us. He passes us but then doubles back to grab my arm. Not to rob me or anything, no he wanted to speak English. All it took to get rid of him was a light shove into a wall and the ajumma shouting something at him before he continued to stumble his own way.

    Other than that one occurrence this country feels very, very safe. As a foreigner people tend to either just avoid you or are very happy and excited that you are here in their country.

  66. I don’t live in Korea (I live in Hong Kong) but I did visit Seoul during the summer and definitely agree with your viewpoint! I didn’t feel scared at all when I was out walking alone even though I was in a foreign city I’d never been to before. The only time I was a little nervous was walking back to my hotel from the subway past all these drunken business men, however I had been brandishing my umbrella so I felt protected. xD I live in Hong Kong and also feel very safe here, the only times I feel like “Oh goodness, I need to hold onto my purse” is when I’m in very crowded marketplaces or in little side alleys….or Mong Kok/Wanchai at night. To me, Asia feels very safe even though my city in the States was not unsafe, there were things to look out for (Coyotes eating dogs being one…) and gangsters and robberies, however since I’ve come to HK I feel so safe.

  67. Nah I have the same feeling about Vancouver as you do about the safety in Toronto. No offence taken.

  68. Amyaco

    Is it possible to live in Korea and not drink? I really want to look into a teaching job there, but I don’t drink alcohol and I’m afraid that since it’s such a part of the culture (especially in work situations) it would be really hard to do so and people would get offended, etc. Surely there have to be some people in Korea that don’t drink? Are they just considered social rejects? XD

    • Hi! I don’t drink for medical reasons and I lived in Korea for 2 years and am going back again. A lot of the Koreans I knew didn’t drink and rarely was I pressured to drink. It’s pretty much like living anywhere else–people might ask why you don’t drink, but they’ll let you to whatever your personal choice is. There are a ton of things to do in Korea that don’t involve alcohol so don’t let that deter you!

  69. Korea’s safety level is probably similar to Singapore’s, which like you said, really lowers your sense to detect danger. I walked from Sinchon to Hongdae area at 10/11pm last time when I visited Korea all alone. I kept alert but didn’t think of not doing it ’cause it’s dark and possibly dangerous.

  70. KIwiS! hihi~!! thank for the video!

  71. whywhywhy

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcLNteez3c4&feature=relmfu Have you seen it? I cant decide if I like/dont like it… Can you explain why the vowels have changed…
    I really like psy’s enthusiasm… I dont know if I like Hyna’s sexy approach too much.

  72. 1amLinK

    When I was in Korea as a first grader, everyone would walk to school.
    So I walked by myself for 15 minutes and nothing bad ever happened.

    When I moved to Canada, however, I was in third grade when I understood my area and English, and it took 15 minutes from my house to my school, too, but the principal at my school wouldn’t let me walk home by myself and my little brother (grade 1 back then) and I had to leave the school quickly to avoid the principal. Then we would have to stay at the community center nearby with a friend of my mom’s until my mom came to pick us up. It was annoying. =_=

  73. I mean, it also has to do with their culture, I think. I felt very safe there, as safe as I feel when I’m in medium to small towns in Germany. I was perfectly fine walking home at 3am and I’m a girl. But Korean guys, at least the ones I saw and meet, don’t really think usually of attacking women. Not saying in the US they all do (far from it), but even when drunk they were respectable to me. Not so much with several of the American guys I saw outside clubs and bars. I learned to avoid them at night because they seemed a lot more likely to do something (which I feel bad for saying, but there’s a reason a lot of the American military people aren’t allowed in certain clubs and bars). And when I got back to the US, I was actually kind of scared to see so many caucaisian males around me since when I was in Korea, I usually only saw them at night around the bars near my apartment and drunk. And after two months of that, it takes a while to get used to being around them again. It was reverse culture shock. Like I said, I’m not saying that American guys are all prone to violence or anything (far from it usually), just that Korean guys seem to be a bit more mindful of it all. And German guys are similar as well. Well, at least in my experience. >_- But please, I mean no disrespect to anyone or any race or culture.

  74. irritablevowel
    irritablevowel

    This is funny to me because I live in Chicago and to me Toronto feels like the land of safety. I was in Montreal for a few days this summer and was delighted to find I could walk back to my hotel at night and not feel like death was imminent. I’m not saying that Chicago is terrible, I love Chicago and I love living here, but by necessity I’ve become wary. I really notice it when I’m in a safer city. So if you Torontonians (?) feel safer in Seoul than in Toronto, I can’t even imagine how I would feel.

  75. Hey Simon and Martina was wondering if your going to post the Kcon video soon and maybe a video of all the things you guys got. Also it was a pleasure meeting you guys! Martina you always look so pretty, and Simon i feel really bad that you were soooo sick! Thanks for wearing bright and smiley faces for us! I hope i get to meet you guys again in the near future! I hope you guys get well soon!

  76. How bad is the problem with teen pregnancy in korea? and therefore early sex education? because here in costa rica, theres gotta be a minimum of one pregnant girl per high school classroom…

  77. Sara Farooquee

    Haha I see used condoms outside my house in Korea…. haha I must live in a bad area! my boyfriend’s car has got plastered with spit overnight before…. and i live in a small town…

  78. Tiery and Cheryl

    I got hit by a car when I lived in Korea…while I was walking on a crosswalk. Apparently I was really nice for not demanding money on the spot. Also a dirty old man felt me up once…I was told I was too kind in that situation as well because I didn’t get him fired. A mentally challenged girl also just randomly walked up and punched me in the stomach…while I was walking down the street in the middle of the day… Lol. And I still tell people Korea is a really safe place. I think I think I’m just a trouble magnet.

  79. When I first started living in Korea I felt as you both do ~ very safe. However, the reality is a little different. My wife (who is Korean) and I have now lived in Australia for several years. We’re spoken about this issue many times, and she is quite concerned about crime when we visit Korea (relative to Australia – not Sydney). Women should be particularly careful in Korea; never take a taxi at night. Recently there’s been a significant increase in violent unprovoked attacks with knives in Korea and child abductions are common; but as you say, this is probably nothing compared to certain areas of North America.

  80. Gosh… used condoms…. on the street…. everywhere…. down Don Mills RD….. =_=
    At least we know people are using protection because people like this who dispose of their… products…. should not have kids….

  81. yeah korea looks amazingly safe i lived in mexico and after 11pm i dare not go out my house

  82. Agree! I always feel super safe in Korea. It’s not like Australia is really unsafe we just have more things like petty crime and more chance of violence.

    Because Korea is so safe compared to most other countries Koreans can have some problems when they come to Australia. So many have things like laptops get stolen because they aren’t as vigilant as Australians.We know if we turn our back someone will take the opportunity to steal everything! It is harder for Koreans to grasp that because people just don’t steal the same way in Korea. 4 Koreans I know had their laptops stolen a month or 2 ago, and over the past few years I can probably think of about 10 more times where a Korean friend or acquaintance had something major stolen like a laptop, phone or wallet. Also 2 of my Korean friends have been viciously bashed before in Sydney. These type of attacks aren’t like really common in Australia but I do think they happen to Korean men because of reasons like being out very late at night- whereas an Australian might have just avoided that situation altogether.

    Years ago, before I met my husband, I was dating a Korean guy and his room was robbed one night. His wallet and other stuff were taken from his room. After I rushed over to him I told him he needs to be really careful because the thief will come back. He was living in backpacker type accommodation and I suggested he move all this things into the safer main area. He dismissed what I said and said they wouldn’t come back. Of course by the next day more stuff had been stolen because the thief had come back. I have heard from police before that criminals often do target Asians, particular those on working holiday visas, because they know that they aren’t taking the same measures as Australians and are easier targets to steal from. For example- the four Koreans that had their laptops stolen the other month, we warned them many times to be careful, to lock the doors, but it seems like the thieves had realised their house was an easy target and in the middle of the day walked in the unlocked door and did a sweep of the house (and this is in a ‘safe’ area).

    I do understand how hard it can be for some Koreans to really grasp the opportunities thieves will take here because Korea just doesn’t have petty thieves like that really. Shops have stuff out on the foot path and no one steals it! You can put your bag on a table in a coffeeshop, go do some other stuff for an hour, come back and your bag will still be there. When people pass out drunk on the street, no one takes their phone and wallet.

    It is funny about how there isn’t the same type of teenage crime and aggressiveness. I hadn’t really thought about it but now I’ve realised that. Like teenagers in Australia can be scary! I cross the road if I see a group of teenagers that look aggressive.
    But when visiting my husband’s home town and walking past his highschool we would sometimes see the “bad” students smoking behind a building and they definitely were not scary, not like the bad students I’d expect in Australia.

  83. I’m currently studying in South Korea at a University on an exchange program. I have to agree I feel ridiculously safe here. I got to school in D.C. and the area I’m in is REALLY safe since it’s practically residential but if I go out to go to a club or something in a different part of the city I always have to go in a group. Although I’ve heard from my friends here that Itaewon can be kind of sketchy especially at night. I’ve never personally been so I was wondering if there’s any truth to that?

    • Akina Nguyen

      A nigth out clubbing in Itaewon may be a bit intimidating, but I blame that on the foreigners. You just don’t know how they will behave when they’re drunk. Koreans.. I know they just lie down on the street and sleep it off.
      But you’ll mostly find the American people from the military base in Itaewon and most of the people I’ve encountered were pretty relaxed.

  84. I agree! I feel very safe here, no matter what time of day it is. Although I do tend to attract some strange characters…While I don’t feel threatened when I go anywhere, that doesn’t mean you can completely let your guard down. One morning as I was walking to the bus stop, an old man approached me and tried to have a conversation with me (which was difficult, I hadn’t learned any Korean yet and the only English he seemed to know was “are you married? nice to meet you!”) When I tried to leave to catch my bus, he grabbed my boob…

  85. I also feel very safe living in Korea. This is my second year, and while I’m now living in a very busy area with a lot of clubs and bars, I’m thankfully a bit off the main drag, and don’t feel at all uncomfortable walking home even late at night. I do, however, keep a weather eye out for drunken ahjusshis, just in case they want to cause problems.

  86. i live in southern californina, pretty close to the beach. and during the day i feel relatively safe. i could walk alone through the streets (not without some catcalls though) the park, and the beach no problem. but there are some places that make me nervous. like the street over from my house is called ‘Slater Slums’. theres a reason a police station was put around the corner there.. as for the park, you can NOT go in to the park when it gets dark. its a law that you cant go in after 8 but everyone knows better than to go in when it gets dark. druggies, muggers, and homeless people tend to wander the parks at night. anyway! i love my city regardless because its clean, people are nice, and has many options for fun (:

    Simon! Martina! this TLDR had me thinking. Is there catcalling in korea? have you, martina, ever experienced it? or have either of you seen it happen? ive experienced it many times and cant tell you how much i hate it. and i dont think id like it even in a different language >.<

    • Akina Nguyen

      I only wish. The Korean boys are too shy or just too formal to be picking up girls. So no, I’ve never experienced catcalling. For sure, you will have someone come up to you and ask if you’re a Russian saram >:) eventhough you look nothing like a Russian. So far that has been the only kind of harassment I got in Korea.

  87. does spogy have a korean passport? i’ve always wondered ??

  88. Eryfa

    I don’t know about Korea, but Simon and Martina are absolutely right about Toronto. During the day, I would say you could walk anywhere alone, and even at night, most places are still completely safe. When they say that Korea is safer than Toronto, it means that they’ve seen NOTHING. I don’t know about the US, but Toronto is amazingly safe.

    Also, Simon and Martina, when you come back to Canada, please please please be the people who roll up to Tims blasting SuJu!

  89. I am currently a student in Seoul and I only have great experiences with safety.

    The only time you need to exercise caution in Seoul is when you are near the American military drinking spots at night! In Hongdae I have seen bars with signs saying that no American service men are allowed in. But personally, I’ve never had a slight worry about my safety. Only my attractive blonde friends had a few creepy old men follow them on the street (“Russian Sadam?”).

    I was sitting on the subway then I saw two Ajumas walk on and offered my seat. In the process of doing that and then realising that I was arriving at my spot on a busy train make me panic and run to the door. In the process leaving two of my bag which had my Laptop, ipad, wallet, passport, mobile phone and clothing. I got my bags back 4 hours later with everything in there and definitely nothing missing. Same when I drop something on the street, there a few people who try to give you the things that you dropped! Maybe I just have crappy cheap things to Koreans :P.

  90. AndreaAnne

    I Laughed so hard when you mentioned the wolverine key fits, i think i learned that when i was 10, yes 10 years old. ah good memories…

  91. KpopLove

    Simon and Martina what is it like when it is a weekend in Korea is crowded or not like in northamerica

  92. hopeandmemory

    I live in Daegu and I feel absurdly safe most of the time. I think I still have my North American paranoia, though, because when I walk home very late at night and some guy is walking down the street behind me I instinctively speed up. Nothing ever happens, I don’t get followed into my apartment complex – it’s just not very well-lit and my first reaction is to get nervous. The only thing that’s ever happened to me to make me feel anxious was when a guy on a bicycle told me I was beautiful and blocked the street I was trying to go down to get home, but I managed to get away from him. He wasn’t Korean, either. My Korean friends insist on escorting me home late at night; they think it’s really unsafe here, but clearly they’ve never been to the U.S. D:

  93. Oh, and Martina, I love your mommy-bear ferocity regarding Spudgy. :3 “And If you ever ran over Spudgy… I would cut you.” I think all your fans would join you in the cutting. >_>

  94. I totally agree. In America, if I am in a crowded place, I almost always have my hand on my pocket to deter theft. I also keep my eyes out more for unruly people. I still am vigilant when I am Korea, but I’m not nearly as on alert. I don’t worry about getting pick-pocketed, and physical threats are at a minimum. In fact, my rule of thumb in Korea is to stay away from foreigners and I’ll be good to go. Now, this isn’t to say that I haven’t had issues. I have had a drunk guy follow my wife and I and curse at us because I was a piece of crap American stealing his women and she was a hooker, so on and so forth. These kind of events are quite rare though.

  95. As much as I agree with your video being from New York City, Foreigners who look different however, as in whose skin tone is not like Simon and Martina might feel different.

    Sexual crimes are also seemingly increasing. I’ve once encountered a masterbator with his junk out at 4 pm on a sunny saturday afternoon. As many safe nights as i’ve had i’ve had an equally disturbing amount of unsafe feeling nights.

  96. I live in Daegu, South Korea and i completely agree with this video. I come from a very small town (sydney) in Nova Scotia. And that is a pretty safe place as well. However, again, like you said, you still do things like keep your purse closed and close to you, don’t walk down scary alleys at 2am, etc. However, I have totally done that stuff in Korea and all is good. I am quite worried when I go back to Cape Breton that I will do something foolish because I am not used that kind of environment anymore. ^_^

  97. Jennifer

    Simon and Martina,
    I live in Pyeongtaek, and I completely agree with you 100%. I was just talking about this yesterday. If I am at a coffee shop and have to use the restroom or get up, I can leave my computer, phone, etc. and feel completely fine. I joke that I could probably give my wallet to a random Korean and tell them to hold it for an hour until I get back, and they would make sure nothing happened to my money. I feel as if respecting one another, especially elders is a hugeeee aspect of Korean culture.
    However, due to the close proximity of the Osan Airbase, I have noticed prostitution, etc., is MUCHH more prevalent in these areas, and I don’t feel as safe. It might be due to the fact that illegal activities seem know their markets…catering more in an area which will use their services, etc.
    Compared to America, I think Korea is safe, especially for women. I LOVE this aspect of Korea! :-)

  98. I believe Korea is a seemingly safe place because the streets are usually lit at night and you can’t really go many places in public without seeing someone else on the street at any time of the day or night. However, in my experiences, and the experiences of my Korean female friends and other foreign friends, people tend to get fooled by this false sense of security. My first year in Korea I was attacked in my apartment by a neighbor with a knife at around 9:30 in the morning. Luckily I was able to fight him off and nothing disastrous came of it. The worst actually came in dealing with the Korean police and prosecution system, both of which encouraged me to forgive the man in exchange for bribes from his family while accusing me of being a liar. Unfortunately among my friends and acquaintances, similar situations have happened. To be clear I’m not saying that Korea is more dangerous than America or Canada or anywhere… just that the same things can happen here.

  99. loladaisydukes

    I have to angry with you both, Korea especially in Seoul is safe. I remember I was walking in Hongdae at 1am lot of drunk men walking and shouting but they don’t harm people esp. ladies unlike in other places.

  100. Canada & Korea both definitely seem a lot safer than the US. I live in Northern California, and I don’t feel safe here at all, even in the relatively safe neighborhood that I live in… especially because where I live, you have to drive through unsafer parts to get to it. I have a friend that lives in a scary neighborhood nearby always telling me horror stories about people getting shot or mugged. FREAKS ME OUT! Honestly, after I graduate I have the choice of either going to South Korea & trying to make something out of myself there, or going to Los Angeles… and because Korea seems safer for a single lady trying to move her way up in the world, I think I’ll go there. Lol. There are nice, safe parts in LA, but only if you have teh monehs… which I do not have. ~_~ So instead I will have to live in survival-world-LA. Not really feeling that.

    But yeah, thank you so much for bringing up the issue of crime, safety, and danger in Korea!! I actually just recently had an argument with my mom over it. Sometimes she confuses me because she’s Korean, just went to Korea last summer, and actually thinks that crime there and crime here are the same. Me & my cousin (she’s Korean, too) kept telling her she was wrong! I think she drank the ex-Korean-living-in-the-US-married-to-ex-military-man nationalism kool-aid. o_O Now I have to show her this video. Hehe.

    Thanks for sharing~

  101. ok, here in Brazil, you can’t walk without looking behind you because someone can be following you, and NEVER, mainly at night, stay with your phone visible while you walk, babys? if you let yours in the street you can be sure, he is not going to be there after 1min u.u and every corner, expect someone is going to assault you >< and be careful!!!

  102. When it comes to violent crime and theft, I feel safer here in Korea than back home in the US. I feel much less safe in traffic, though. :P

    Also, and it might be partially because body language is different here and I don’t know when someone’s creepy like I do back home, but I have never been sexually harassed so much as in Korea. While most of them were weedy or drunk and I felt confident to take them down if necessary, the fact that someone could put his hand up my skirt in a bus and get VERY LOUDLY slapped and called a pervert with NO ONE looking over to see what was wrong, makes me feel very unsafe in that way. X|

  103. Buzzbee

    I have experienced crime in Korea. One of my good friends had her apartment broken into and her laptop, camera and accessories, jewelery and DVD player stolen. The police showed up and did dust for prints but we never heard from them again. I also know of two rapes that occurred here. In both cases the reaction of the police was very negative. In one case the police was implying that the lady in question had somehow been too friendly (she was walking home from work) and may have accidentally given the wrong impression that she was “available” through her dress or her body language, then the police implied that she was beaten up by a jealous lover and was too embarrassed to tell her bf the truth. There is plenty of crime but it’s seldom reported or make the statistics due to blood money, which often the police help negotiate. Blood money is basically a payoff or compensation to the victim out of court. My friend was driving and was hit last year by a drunk driver who tried to leave the scene of the crash. The police came, he was over the limit. The result, he paid her 1 million won -$900 usd and was given a caution. Crime does not get treated the same way so never make the official statistics.

    • There are a lot of crimes that never make official statistics all over the world, though, in my experience. I’m not arguing, just felt like I had to point that out. For instance I live in the US and I was in a 3 car accident before and although there was minor damage, the driver in fault didn’t have insurance and was ready to pay cash up front to me and the other driver that were involved. Because we felt sorry for him and the amount was an acceptable amount, we agreed to his negotiation because in the end, it was a good settlement that benefited all of us without having to taken any legal action. This was a “crime” that was never reported.

      Likewise, I have a friend who has been assaulted sexuality a number of times, and either she was mistreated by authorities as it being her fault, or she never reported the crime. I think after it not being taken seriously by authorities, she gave up even bothering to report anymore.

      Truthfully there is no place on this planet that is completely 100% crime free, so all we can do is rank different areas of the world from the most dangerous areas to the least… whether it be continent, country, city, province, or street.

      I hope most peoples’ experiences in Korea will be more fortuitous than unfortunate… and that if unfortunate things do happen, that they are able to recover & have more fortuitous experiences following their unfortunate ones.

  104. jordynngardner

    Now I live in the very bottom of Utah in the ‘burbs almost two hours out of Las Vegas. A good majority of Utah is pretty conservative/religious so it’s fairly safe so safety isn’t an issue where I live. Every summer though I live in Las Vegas (near North Las Vegas) , and lemme tell you in certain parts you really wanna watch your ass.

  105. One word ghetto. That is where i live. It’s not the greatest place to live anymore…it used to be beautiful until the riff raff moved in and dropped all the property value to below half it was 10 years ago.

  106. I’ve never had anything happen to me in the US, but I have heard of my friend’s sister who escaped getting raped because she was in the track team and managed to outrun the guy, other girls getting raped even in broad daylight, a dead body found in the bushes outside my brother’s apartment, my friend’s cars getting smashed and things stolen, thousands of dollars worth of stuff getting stolen out of the apartment above mine, and it’s generally a given that you never leave anything unlocked. So yeah I don’t feel nearly as safe as you are describing, and I’ve never even lived in the really large cities.

  107. Oh, silly Martina, you can stop lying about how wonderful Toronto is ;)

    I don’t know which part of Toronto you two are from, but places such as the east end and Scarborough have gotten pretty bad =/

    • Eryfa

      Really? Maybe it’s because I live in Old Toronto, but I always feel completely safe in my area, even after dark… And I haven’t even experienced half the stuff they said they had…

  108. How do Korean animal shelters work? Are there many petshops that sell (puppy mill) puppies?
    I’ve seen the video in which you got Spudgy, but I wondered if you talk about the shelters (or the Korean pet culture) in more detail. I visited the animal rescue site and I saw that some of the adoptable animals were in the deathrow. I live in a country where all the animal shelters have a no-kill policy and it makes me really sad that there are animal shelters who euthanise animals (and the fact that I can’t help them). I also came across a site of an American rescue group that rescues ‘death row dogs’ and there were highly adoptable dogs of all ages (some as young as 9 or 11 months old) who all are going to be killed if there not rescued in time.
    The reason why I asked these questions is that I thought it would bring more awareness to people who don’t (much) about it and I thought it could convince people to adopt a shelter animal (and save a live) instead of buying a puppy at a petshop.

  109. What about the roads? It seems like there are a lot of car accidents. Is that the case?

  110. Tiffany Stevenson

    I’m confused by the Korean age system. I’ve been told that a 20 year old Korean may actually only be 18 by Western standards. Can you explain?

    • Koreans count the time in the womb as well, so when a person is born, they are counted as 1 year old. Where as Western system counts time of birth as age 0. So that’s why if someone is 20 in Korean age, they are actually 19 in Western
      standards. The Chinese also use this age system :)

      • Michelle

        That, and I think Koreans count themselves a year older when Korean New Year rolls around rather than their actual birthdays, right? So say someone would be eighteen in a Western country. Since they count the time in the womb, they’d be nineteen. Then New Year would make them twenty. That makes a two year difference, and once their birthday comes around, there’s a one year difference.

    • 1. Everyone, at the moment of birth, is one year old.
      2. Everyone adds an age at New Year’s Day. (Either on the solar one or lunar one, depending what people celebrate.)

      So more than likely unless they specify that they are 20 by western age, they are meaning they are 20 in Korean age which would make them 18 in western age.

      it also depends on the time of year in which you are asking the person their age. for example: if the person is 18 in western age, and its BEFORE the new year they will tell you they are 19 yrs of age, but if you ask them AFTER the new year then they will say 20 yrs old.

      hope that makes more sense. :)

      • Yup, basically add 1~2 years. Makes me feel so much older. -___-

      • ashtenmorgan

        In addition, it’s not just Korean but pretty much all ASIAN (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam…etc…)

        • Not all of Asia. Most of East Asia though. For example, Singapore and Malaysia i am 110% sure use the Western age system.

          Asia (the continent) is pretty big, and i think most people tend to forget that Asia also includes places like Indonesia, Philippines and India.

        • pepperandice

          lol thats wrong, like what hazel below said, singapore malayasia indonesia mos def use the western age system, im born and bred asian and it took me awhile to understand the korean age system, even in chinese society, china hk taiwan as you listed, where that system is called shu sui (except i think thats a lunar thing only and doesnt count the year in the moms stomach like the korean one), it isnt used at all in general daily life or in the media, i suppose it might be used in random traditional things like fortune telling or feng shui im not too sure, but everyday life no way, if you were to ask someone in chinese from those areas what their age was, they would tell you the ‘western’ age, its not even seen as ‘western’ age lol, its just their age if you get what i mean, just by watching taiwanese shows interviewing or talking about hallyu stars, countless times iv seen the hosts confused and asking how the age system works and explaining it to the audience

    • This is often explained as “Koreans counting the time in the womb” or “When youre born you are 1 year old” neither of which make any sense.
      Think of it like this – When you are born you are in your 1st calendar year so you are 1, then on New Years day you will be in your 2nd calendar year so you will be 2. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve had a birthday yet, its how many calendar years you have lived in.

      If you want to calculate it then you use the method Dawni described of adding 2 years to your age if you haven’t had your birthday this year, otherwise adding just 1 year.

  111. I LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO AND I DO THE WOLVERINE KEY THING. So I totally lol-ed when you said that. lol.

  112. Tiffany Stevenson

    I am very confused by the Korean age system. I’ve heard that if someone tells you there are say, 20, they may actually be 18 in the West. Can you explain?

    • Koreans are 1 year old the day the are born. Then on New Years, instead of their birthdays, they age another year. So someone who was born in November, like say Kevin of UKiss, in January of the next year would be considered 2 years old in Korea, while in the US he would be considered 3 months old.

    • A 20 year old in Korea is really only 19 years old by western standards. They count the time spend in the womb were as we dont.

  113. michiehaha87

    Why why why dont Korean women know how to cook until they are married? and guys dont seem to ‘live’ until thy go to the military? I have a lot of korean friends of both sexes that are the epitome of that stereotype. Im sure is a cultural thing, parents seem to be overprotective and try to give their kids everything to ensure a smooth transition into adulthood. But adulthood for them seems to come a little late?

  114. Alyson Eberle

    Not asking when you are having children, but if you did have children do you think you would stay in Korea and have them go to Korean schools or would you go back to Canada for their education?

  115. Whilst I do believe that Korea is super safe, if something DOES happen, I have little to no faith in the law enforcement. I was in a situation where I had to call the police and it took them over an hour to get to my apartment after being on hold for 10 minutes and then finally leaving my address (after being hung up on). Not a single person will move for an ambulance with it’s sirens on, and foreigners are often looked at differently when there has been a crime involving them (a friend of mine was a victim in a beating and she has been treated extremely poorly by the law enforcement).

    Yes, it’s safe here, but I know I’m screwed if something does end up happening.

  116. Lundgren92a

    I live in Japan since about one year ago, and I feel the same thing.
    Sure I live in a small city, but it’s feels like super safe here in Japan.
    The only thing that have happened to me is that the removable light that I had on my bike was stolen. And that’s it.

    If I go somewhere, like to school or the konbini, I don’t even lock my door. And nothing has happened.

    In my homecountry I would almost shit my pants sometimes when I was walking home from my friend. And it’s like a 5 minutes walk.. But here; I took a 2 hours walk one night, drunk, and nothing.
    But yeah, the streets was kinda empty, but still. Haha.
    It’s still such a difference. Like a 2 hours walk back in my homecountry feels like Im going to get raped or mugged or something everytime I turn a corner or go by a park or something like that. But here it just feels peacefully.

  117. Oyeshi Ushi

    Dear Simon and Martina,
    With the presidential election coming up, do majority of Koreans pay attention to American politics? If they do which candidate (or political parties) do you see them supporting? Have your political views changed by living in Korea?

  118. You don’t hear of any gun crime cuz all of the gangster use metal rods DUH!

  119. teddy2965

    lol….what you guise said about Canadian teenagers are so true. No lie. I’m from Mississauga and there’s always some people huddled up at Heartland blasting music from their crappy old cars…it’s so ridiculous!

    my question to you guise is : What are the national holidays in Korea? And what do they do for each celebration/holiday?

  120. what you guise said about the teens here in Canada are so true and it’s just so ridiculous how retarded people can be at night blasting their ‘gangster’ music from crappy old cars….(btw….im from Mississauga so i totally get this too…hahaha)

    my question to you guise is : Have you guise watched the Olympics this year? and if so, how do you guise feel about the things that happened to both the Canadian and Korean teams in the sports of soccer(Canada) and fencing(Korea)? Do you guise have any comments about the achievement of the Canadian team?

  121. Do you see a Korean and a foreigner as couples on the stress ?

  122. In America most teens try finding Jobs by the time they’re either a sophomore and junior in high school while still attending school regularly. Do the students in Korea get jobs while still in school or are they like usually completely focused on school…does that make sense?

    • I know what you mean. As far as I know, we haven’t seen any high school students with jobs. They could be out there somewhere, but we just haven’t seen any.

    • JuneBug B Bernier

      Their Real Job is studying until midnight so that they are better/smarter than anyone else so that they can get into the right university and get the right job and so have/live the right life.. Even little school kids are under this pressure 6½ days a week…The pressures are so high on young Koreans that suicide is the major cause of death.

    • korean and japan are the same. teens in japan and korea are not allowed to work. they have to finish school and get their cert, after that, only they are eligible to work. finish high school are very important in korea and japan. but there are some who work part time, but not many.

      • Umm… actually the Korean law clearly states that teens over 15 can work (of course with a cert). However it is very true that school work is much more important for Korean students and their parents, and normally they don’t work.

    • It’s pretty much the same in most Asian countries, study first before anything else for the majority.

    • I’m not sure about in the cities, but out here in the country, a fair number of my students actually work as delivery people for local chicken joints.

    • In the words of most Asian parents, “Why you duh need duh money? I duh pay por alleady. You jobu iz duh studee. You duh student.”

  123. minty_chip

    Yup, I learned the wolverine claw tactic too. haha I also have a volkswagen key that releases like a shank so I’m pretty prepared key wise. However, I almost never leave my dorm past eight unless with a group of people. A lot of students have gotten mugged a couple blocks away and there’s quite a few homeless people nearby. You just never know when living the city.

  124. Hello,
    Martina and Simon, I have a question sinister.

    Why do
    people commit suicide in Korea? I read that the suicide rate is quite high, so
    I wonder what in reasons they have to
    commit suicide in such large numbers. Life is so short that I really do not understand it! Do you know what
    is happening? (sorry for my bad English, I use to speak back in my days, but I
    live in Spain so my English get lost in the air:)

    • student study so much they wanna die, and also if your not pretty the chances youll be judged is high

    • Vanessa

      I had the same question (and trying to see how I could instill happy thoughts into my elementary Korean students’ minds)… and I came across this video being made by an American exchange student in a Korean high school. She talks with a lot of her fellow students and sheds some person light on those questions. Check out the trailer! It’s definitely worth it:
      http://koreanhighschool.com/

    • Yes Simon and Martina, I’m wondering this too. I usually hear that it’s because of depression, so in conjunction with the question about suicide, how is mental health looked upon in Korea? I’ve read that that in Asian societies, people feel ashamed to reveal that they have unstable mental health so they don’t seek any help.

    • Sara Farooquee

      There is alot of pressure here to be the best and perform your job or duties extremely well and koreans feel like complete failures and it seems that the society is not as forgiving to people that may be slightly different (monoculture, not much diversity AT all especially outside of Seoul and Busan). As a foreign teacher who has taught at public school and hagwons (tutoring schools), the hagwons had that culture as well and I failed terribly to conform to what they wanted but thankfully I was brought up that it was ok to be different and moved on.

    • I’m only slightly qualified to answer this, seeing as I wrote a paper on it last year. There are quite a few factors but the ones I focused on were the educational pressures and the pressures to succeed. There’s a lot of pressure in SK to succeed, and sometimes the pressure becomes too much for a person to stand and something (a bad grade on a very important test perhaps or a coworker getting the promotion they expected) ends up driving them over that edge to suicide. That’s just a little insight, but I have statistics and sources and such. ^^

      • AnMei Lee

        Do you have a link to your own work or anywhere that I could read up on this? :DD It’s an interesting topic, and I would love to be able to read up on it a bit more..

        • Tokki

          Ah sorry, it was a paper for University so I turned it in and promptly…forgot about it until I stumbled across this question on the video. xD Sorry.

        • AnMei Lee

          Ah well, no problem XD I know I never keep my Uni essays so I can’t blame you haha

    • It is very common in Japan too! The students are committing suicide because they are stressed out and depressed. Students go to school from 8am until midnight sometimes. The pressure these kids are under to perfom well is tremendous! I teach 6 year olds at a hagwon (international age 5) and the kids go to school from 9am until 5pm and even after that some do more after school programs. Good grades are the highest thing for students and they spend all day in schools. If they do bad on a test or something like that they will get in trouble by their parents and also risk not getting into a good college and thus not getting a good job. They are under a lot of pressure at a young age.

    • If you’re talking about young people, it is very much due to academic pressure or peer bullying. The college entrance test that high school students take at their final year is a major thing and even then getting into certain universities makes you seem more prestigious and well-off than others. And when you spend every day studying for that one single exam and then somehow not do as well as others expect you to, that again gives them tons of stress. Koreans still take it very personally in that they feel academic qualifications and career achievement are reflective of your capability.

      Bullying is quite a problem in Korea, quite comparable to how you see extreme fans/ anti-fans treat the celebrities. Koreans being quite a collectivist society put social inclusion and harmony as priority over being individualistic. So it is likely that they don’t take being ostracized by peers as well as kids from other cultures. Unfortunately until today South Korea still remains as the country with the highest youth suicide rate. The good news is many people including the Koreans are beginning to recognize it and they are attempting different solutions to rectify the problem.

    • From what I know, there’s an insane amount of pressure on the Korean people to be extremely successful in everything they do. Also, there is a huge pressure for them to look perfect. That’s just my view based on some research I’ve done on it because I didn’t understand it at first either. I think that’s also why Japan has such a high suicide rate as well.

    • Jay Kim

      Sadly to say, in 2012, approx. 30% of death cause of Seoulite of South Korea was suicide(GangNam was the highest), and further more so many teenagers commited suicide(of course among 30%, teenagers was the largest percentage). Korean food is wonderfully good for health, but korean average life expectancy is just 81(this is ridiculous when it comes to healthy food). In Korea, smoke rate, alcohlic drinks, suicide rate is top class in the world. These makes Korean killed earlier. So, if someone from abroad stays in Korea, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, and don’t suicide yourself, then your life will be happier.

  125. Ahhh i think i’d be in serious danger upon returning from Korea if my Safety Sense got broken xD In Liverpool UK there are some rough places with heavy and i mean heavy gang violence.
    I used to have a system for going the shop it was like early in the morning to early lunchtime is fine the gangs will still be asleep, late lunchtime through to evening was dodgy time alert and if it was raining i was free to go at anytime because though they dressed head to toe in waterproof North Face tracksuits and coats they never quite grasped that hoods are used to protect the head from rain and not for concealing your face from police xD
    I would love to experience walking the streets freely bahaha xD

  126. I am curious as to how Koreans look on foreigners coming to their country and marrying natives and making their home Korea. After watching some drama (not historically accurate) and reading about some Korean history (very historically accurate) I wonder. In dramas foreigners are exotic and sought after. Then I look at history and Koreans have been very cloistered and even kind of phobic about other Asian countries (no wonder after what Japan did to them at the turn of the 20th century). So what have you seen. If you two would have a child in the (distant but not so distant) future would he or she be able to marry a Korean person easily or would his/her potential in laws just throw a fit that the potential spouse is genetically from Canada?

  127. Magic.of.Korea

    Hey, I was just wondering when you guys started to like kpop? When and how did you discover it? Did someone show you a music video, if so, then what was the first mv that you watched?? One more thing, did you like or know about kpop before you came to Korea???

  128. Someone told me recently that TEFL programs in Asia often look for people with blonde hair and/or blue eyes to teach. Since it’s possible Simon had you as his get-in-free card, how many of your teaching friends have blonde hair and/or blue eyes and do you think this has something to do with their abilities to get jobs as western foreigners in Asia?

    • hopeandmemory

      That’s not true at all, at least for teaching in public school. I’m with the EPIK program and there are people of many nationalities and ethnicities in the program.

  129. Cheyenne Lin

    i really do want to know about the rape/molestation rates in korea before i go but ill look that up separately! it’s my dream to become an international english teacher who teaches english as a second language especially in Korea! but i’d need a friend to go with me. i wouldn’t just go alone.

  130. What is Korea’s view on facial piercings? And I know they’re kind of conservative, so what about like, bright skinny jeans and etc. (I’ve only seen them in shiny and u-kiss videos, kekekeke)

  131. I have to agree with the both of you, when I go to a big city in my country(germany) i feel uncomfortable during the evening/night even when I’m with a friend. However, when I went to Seoul, I felt very comfortable and save even when I went out alone during the night to do some late shopping, taking the Metro.walking through dark alleyways( which I would usually never do over here) etc.

  132. I’m not sure if anyone asked this before or not, but if it was asked, I apologize. However, how did your parents handle your choice to become teachers in Korea? How did they handle the move and your stay there? Were they accepting? Upset? How did they warm up to the idea?

    I ask because I am applying to become a teacher, and I fear my parents’ reactions. Do you have any tips on how to soften the blow?

  133. Martina: Me and my roommates live in Toronto for school, and we died laughing at the Wolverine key-hand bit because we ALL do this! I think it must be a Canadian thing… Osmosis or Wolverine DNA or something, because we’ve never heard this mentioned anywhere but your video!

    • AudreyKoopman

      Really? Every girl I know, including me, does this lol. I just think its such a common thing in North America that it isn’t mentioned because its like the norm.

      • I guess it’s good to know self defence is popular! We just thought it was weird because no one ever told us to do it, and we’ve never seen/ heard about it in movies or on television, so everybody kind of just picked it up on their own while thinking no one knew about it, so we never shared it with anyone.

        • AudreyKoopman

          Oh, haha I gotcha. The fact that no one ever told you and yet you still did is very strange (because you’re right, it isn’t shown in movies/on TV.
          My older sister told me about it when I learned to drive and therefore would be more likely to be in places like parking lots, all alone, at night lol.

    • Heh, I did it too, as well as other women I’ve talked to about it before, but I live in the US.

  134. So true. I never felt a threat to my personal safety when I lived there, regardless of neighborhood, time of night, darkness of alley, or drunkness of self. However, like anyplace in the world, I did experience some petty theft (I still sometimes mourn the loss of those sandals) and once my taxi driver was a bit of a creeper (aka “Are you Russian?”). But all of that was negated by the time I left my purse on the shelf of a 7-11 and returned over 14 hours later and it hadn’t moved an inch. Seriously. Nobody even touched it. High-fives Korea. High-fives.

  135. Hahahaha the way they pronounce the asker’s name. It’s a Viet name

  136. wait r u talking about seoul crime rate or bucheon crime rate?
    isn’t bucheon a satellite of seoul? like Guelph is to toronto? of course there is less crimes in guelph than in toronto.

  137. I GOT PINK EYE AND I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO SEE YOU GUYS!!!! I LIVE IN LONDON, UK!!! I DON’T KNOW HOW I GOT IT!!!! ¬_¬ Did you guys like send the pink eye virus through your videos! =O

  138. I guess all places have a certain degree of crimes… I live in Romania(Bucharest) and it’s generally safe to walk but like you said there are certain areas you shouldn’t wonder around… and at night…. I usually avoid getting out of the house at night and avoid getting home late… you never know what’s out there

  139. Korea is NOT safe when it comes to fraud. In north america you don’t think about it. When you think crime you think violence. But there are so many fake products, so many fake business, so many fake everything.

  140. KATHyphenTUN
    KATHyphenTUN

    hahahahah OMG! SIMON!!! my boyfriend got egged while biking home from school too!! you made me laugh so hard!! and I completely agree with many of the points you said about crime in canada, so no offence here! ^.^

  141. lol I’m like that with my friends, when I’m doing something “bad” I try to do it as secretly as possible :P

  142. What…I live in Canada and I never got egged or seen anyone or anything egged. where do you live? lol, but there are those teenagers and the condoms on the ground.

  143. Laurana1

    I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I’m glad you talked about it! When I first mentioned my desire to go to Korea a few years ago, my parents were really worried. I was like 18 at the time and they thought Korea wasn’t very safe. They even encouraged me to go backpacking through Europe instead, which I now find funny, because I’ve heard how safe Korea is (and we’ve also seen the movie Taken, so now my parents are paranoid about Europe xD).

    Honestly, sometimes I get really worried about my safety here. I live in Colorado, which a lot of people have probably heard about this summer. A gunman shot up a theater full of people at a midnight movie showing, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. They say he would’ve killed many more but his gun jammed. Not only that, but recently a little 11-year-old girl named Jessica Ridgeway went missing. There were posters of her up everywhere and everyone was talking about her. My work (I work at a Target deli) even made sandwiches and coffee for a team of volunteers who were out looking for her. Unfortunately, they found her body and we couldn’t save her. They are also saying there have been other disappearances or attempted kidnappings. The kidnapping of Jessica happened in my city, and I actually live in a pretty safe area! I have a friend who lives in a bad neighborhood and they hear gunshots every night. She said they have neighborhood kids who are like 10 and come and smoke weed in front of her house. By contrast, we leave our house unlocked, even when we all go out for a few hours. Even so, I’ve always been taught to be careful and wary of strangers. If I’m out late walking and I see a stranger coming along, my guard goes up. I always have to wonder if this could be someone who would hurt me or even possibly rape me. I don’t like having to be suspicious of people who probably would never do anything like that, but I know it’s necessary to always stay on your guard and be ready.

    Lately I can say I’ve been getting more and more concerned about my safety. People are getting very worked up about politics these days, and I fear one day a bunch of people might just snap. I think it would be nice to live in a place where I didn’t really have to be afraid. Korea sounds really nice in that way. I also think it would be nice to someday raise my own children in a place where I don’t have to worry they might get kidnapped and murdered like poor Jessica Ridgeway, or shot up in a movie theater. Even though these happenings are rare, they still make me worry.

  144. Haha I remember learning about the Wolverine thing during high school. In contrast, I haven’t heard anyone I know being egged in Toronto or the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Though, I think my area is pretty safe as well. Super Junior!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  145. Marta_Loves_Spudgy

    ChealseaSpeaks (youtuber) has talked about safety in korea. She talked about how drunken older men would follow her to her officetel sometimes early in the morning or late at night. Moral of the story, carry some pepper spray ladies. Other than that I would agree that korea seems safe.

  146. Here in Santa Ana CA, USA my dad left a camera in view of the window in his locked car at Church, and we still got broken in to…..ugh!

  147. I’m from Lithuania and two weeks ago i finally joined our Korean Culture Club (which is going to be changed into an official Center in a couple of months). and I was already told many stories about the korean exchange students comming here. (our club takes care of them, helps them, tries to introduce them to our own culture, etc.) the main complaint that I heard from most of our old-members was that Koreans just Keep Loosing their belongings. like constantly. one lost his phone, the other his wallet, other even his passport. though my guess is that they didn’t loose them, as in left them somewhere, but they got them stolen. pick-pocketing is rather widely spread here and since these students came here from a country where such things barely exist, they must have become victims of this type of crime wthout knowing it.

    i guess it’s much better to grow up in an enviroment where you know how to be alert of possible crimes, than in an almost absolutely crime-free enviroment. i mean this becomes useful if you move to a country which is the other way around in this sphere than yours.

  148. I completely understand what you’re talking about, but I really think that Korea is much safer than other countries. I live in Moscow Russia, and I have to admit that you shouldn’t go out in the late evening or night time, Unforunately here you can’t feel safe in the night almost anywhere – once I was smashed by the empty beer bottle into my head near_my_house, so…. yeah, good to know that it really is much safer in Korea :)

  149. You mean I DON’T need a rape whistle and pepper spray wherever I go in Korea? And I DON’T need to worry about wearing red or blue in certain areas? LOL

  150. I always felt safe walking around in Korea and left my purse in my seat while off elsewhere with no problems. That said, I had money stolen out of my guesthouse room while we were sleeping (There was a small outer room with a bathroom and a storage place, and a larger interior sleeping room – they broke into the outer room, but didn’t come into the room where we were actually asleep), and had an ipod stolen out of my backpack (while I was wearing it) – I suspect at least the latter crime was committed by a foreigner.

    However, a friend of mine had three or four bicycles stolen from the entryway of our officetel by high school students (I saw them hanging around, looking at the lock on the last bike one day). Also, some of the kids from school stole our enormous iron school sign to sell for scrap. I have no idea how they got the bolts out of the concrete, but it was too heavy to carry away all the words – they only got one before we caught them.

    So there is petty theft, vandalism (especially if you count graffiti), but very little visible violent crime. There is a fair bit of domestic violence, but a foreigner is not terribly likely to deal with that personally.

    Just my two cents.

    • Hi Jolene, I’ll be going to South Korea soon and staying in a guesthouse as well. I’m just wondering whether your belongings locked
      up when the money was stolen out of your belongings? I was going to
      bring in my bag with any cash I had into the sleeping quarters and keep
      it close to me (like under my pillow).

  151. thank you for covering this issue! maybe this will put my family and friends more at rest when I finally do move to Korea.

  152. I thought Korean gangsters were kkangpae?

  153. Hahaha…Sounds about how I felt when I lived in Okinawa. I would be completely drunk off my face, I would be alone, and it would be 2am. Still felt pretty damn safe compared to the States….And to definitely here in Turkey. D: I don’t even feel safe going out with a group, completely sober, and in the afternoon.

  154. Erisadesu

    so let me get this straight…is it safe for me to be a criminal in Korea?…What do you mean that’s not the point?

  155. musosuru

    I live in Winnipeg which is apparently the murder capital (per capita). Everyday there seems to be news on a new shooting/murder/pedo getting released. Korea sounds billions of times safer. Hell, I even live in a better’ neighbourhood and still got chased 4 blocks by a drunk guy and it wasnt even that late :/

  156. What is it like to go to Hospital’s and Doctors in Korea? In Canada as you know we have free health care, and then if you go to the United States you have to pay for everything unless you have insurance. Does Korea have like a mixed system for Heath Care? I do know there is never a shortage of Doctors like there is in Canada and USA because status is what matters most of the time and being a doctor is looked at as amazing.

  157. You can thank the Confucius teachings on shame and honor and respect for keeping Korea so safe. I wonder if China or Japan are just as safe?

    • I think Japan is safe … at least from what my teacher told me…and an elder classmate ^^ He once lost his wallet and when he went back the other day to try and find it, it was laying on the spot where it fell the day before xD And my teacher once did an experiment like that with same results (she only used something different than a wallet)…
      I am not sure if it’s really safe but, from what I heard ,Japan seems to be safe.
      Maybe it’s the same as Korea when talking about safety…

      Well, at least it is much more safer than my country. Even during the day I watch out for any suspicious people -.- I don’t even go out during the night…

    • I lived in Japan, and I’d describe it just how Simon and Martina describe the sense of safety they feel in Korea. If you’re eating in a restaurant, you can get up to go to the bathroom and not feel concerned about leaving your purse behind. Coming from America, I hang onto my purse like it’s attached via an umbilical cord, so it feels weird to not have to watch your personal belongings so carefully. Also, I could go out food shopping at the grocery store at 1:00, 2:00 am and not be worried about being jumped in an alley. The only thing that you have to watch out for is your umbrella, lol. Most of the time there are racks outside of stores and classrooms for people to leave their wet umbrellas. Rain can be sudden and strong, so sometimes people caught out without an umbrella would take a random one from the rack. These umbrellas are basically all of the $1 variety, so your wallet doesn’t take a hit, but now you’re the one stuck in a torrential downpour without even a hood (Japanese clothes usually don’t come with practical hoods because everyone carries an umbrella). It’s been years and I’m still miffed at the person who took my umbrella, lol.

  158. We just moved back from Korea after living there a few years with the U.S. military. I felt it was the safest place I’ve ever been. I grew up in a small town where no one locked their doors and it still did not feel as safe as Korea. I would love to move back and stay forever so I would not have to worry about my children’s safety. It seemed so strange when we first got there and saw 5 yr old children walking alone to school down the street from their home. I would never in a million years let my son walk home from school and he is 6. Can’t trust people here in America like that.

    • I live outside Washington DC, and I still see little kids walking home by themselves from school. I don’t know what’s wrong with people. I know far too many kids that ended up as victims to ever feel safe letting a child of mine do that. Actually, I know enough minors that were raped and assaulted that if I ever have kids I will probably end up watching them like a hawk, and feel terrified every time they leave my sight.

  159. Here is a overview from a more formal point of view (US Dept of State): https://www.osac.gov/Pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=12050

    A lot could be contextual safety – very safe in the day to day normal activities, but less if you go places where the shadier things happen, or esp. if you git involved in the unsavory activities directly.

  160. Roxanne75

    OH – and Simon’s shirt is soooo gangsta! Gotta have an eye out for care bears with ill intentions.

  161. In Korea, what jobs/careers may foreigners have/be able to do, besides teaching? This was asked before and I was hoping it would have been chosen so I want to ask it again in hopes of this question being picked.

  162. How does Korea handle health insurance? How expensive is it, compared to other countries?

  163. I was just partying in Toronto for the weekend, and the only trouble that came my way was in the form of spilled beer on my pants by a drunkard who had a bit too much. Of course, after apologizing profusely (as we Canadians do) and offering to by me a drank, all was forgotten. It’s kind of nice to hear that you guys feel relatively safe where you are, because I’m planning a trip to SK to visit my friend in Ansan (obviously we’ll be hitting up other places as well), but still… takes the edge off. :)

    P.S. I used to be one of those rebellious teens blasting rambunctious music outside of Timmies when I was in high school… Oh man. If only I could erase 2005 from my memories haha

  164. Also, one random story of when I was in Korea. A friend and I stayed with a host family and we all went out for some Korean BBQ one night in Hanok Village (Jeonju, SK) and there were some foreigners (like us) who were totally wasted out of their minds at a street food stall. They saw us and were all, “Aww hey whatupp girls? Come and drink with us!” A total “Ooh hay gurl lemme buy you a drank” moment. Our host family was horrified because they had never seen drunk people call out to strangers like that before, but we explained it to them and they were like “Omo. So rude. I can’t beweive it!” Haha.

  165. This made me think about safety in my country…and here it’s bad, really bad! 4 months ago police found part of human body in a bush under my window ;__; I wish my country was a lot more like Korea.

  166. I really love the fact that you guise addressed this! I’ve often gotten questions about what the crime was like. I lived in the Hongdae/Yonsei area of Seoul for a little over a year and routinely came home in the wee small hours of the morning (3-5 am). I have never felt more safe in any city. In. My. Life. The only area of question was a large covered market behind my building that housed several go-stop rooms and a couple of “gentlemen’s clubs”. However, even that area felt safer at night than daytime in the city where I currently live. I would move back in a heartbeat if the right opportunity presented itself!

  167. How does Korea handle health insurance?

    • http://askakorean.blogspot.ca/2010/01/healthcare-system-in-korea.html
      It’s universal health care..very similar to Canada’s.
      Korea is not perfect but Korean health care system definitely ROCKS and it’s one of the best in the world.

      • As a foreigner, unless you have
        national insurance provided by your employer/university, it can be expensive.
        For Koreans, the things that are really expensive, such as Cancer treatments,
        are not covered by the universal health system and are known to bankrupt
        families. Also, Korean doctors are known for over-medicating and giving courses
        antibiotics for virtually anything. I personally don’t trust them, and would be
        inclined to see a Western doctor at Severance Hospital.

        • I’m not sure about the part about health care being expensive in Korea. Even though I’m sure it’s more expensive for foreigners than for Koreans, but health care is still SUPER cheap to foreigners compared to America. The US government pours so much money into healthcare research that everything becomes expensive through inflation. In Korea, I can get a head-to-toe examination for less than 100 bucks. Psychiatrists cost $30 dollars per hour compared to like $200 in America. Even with employer-provided healthcare, Korean healthcare is still massively cheaper than America.

        • Good point. I can’t really comment about the health system in the US. Here in Australia healthcare is just free for those with humanitarian visas, spouse visas, PR or citizenship, no stings attached. When I first went to a hospital (근 병원) in Korea I was dumbstruck at the idea of paying to see a doctor; ha! how naive I was!

  168. I was thinking about this theme… it’s very weird to me, cause here at Chile is very easy that someone assault you on the streets if you are not alert. Thanks for the video! ^^
    I don’t know f you guy talked about this before, but I want to know how is the Korean health system…

  169. Roxanne75

    I’ve never been to Korea (hoping to someday) but I was in China last year. I spent time in 10 cities, mostly in the northern region, and I must say everyone was super nice. The only time we experienced crime was in Bejing while sight-seeing. Two men tried to rob us. Luckily, we were able to get agressive with them and we ran away without them chasing after us. On a side note – my favorite city was MaAnshan.
    I live in Phoenix, AZ. Crime here is so so. I’ve lived here 19 years, so I’ve learned the do’s and dont’s. Due to our proximity to the Mexican border there is much drug/people smuggling going on. The zip code I live in is #1 in the USA for identity theft. The saddest part is, due to the open border many people, mostly Mexican people, are getting hurt. Sad but true. And most the hard-core drug gangs are from central America.
    BUT, after all, I like living here. People are kind and generous and the weather is superb from Oct. – May! (there is no winter here!) AND there is a great blend of people from all over the world, so the food is great! There are a few great Korean places, and TONS of middle eastern (may fave food) places to eat! Okay, I’m getting off topic and hungry. Adios!

  170. PunkyPrincess92
    PunkyPrincess92

    i should move to Korea and be one of your friends from ENGLAND!!!!!!! (weird thing to say i know!!!)
    seriously i should totally tell my parents to move to Korea cos it’s safer then here!!! my mom is one of those moms who are constantly way too worried for their children, she’s SO scared of the world!! haha!!! aww!! she just doesn’t like us being out in the dark and stuff!!! (me too though, you should see the area i live in….not nice)
    wow i’d love to walk around at night not feeling scared!! so i’m guessing you definitely don’t smell weed around in random areas?
    and eewww i hate seeing used condoms, ‘specially in school!!

  171. I live in Texas and everybody may think that every Texan owns a gun, but that’s only half true. While not every person has one per say, almost every household has one….or many. Depends on where you are in Texas. The country folk down here carry lots of guns for both safety and work (ranches, hunting, etc.) and they only use them for those things. (famous country song line about Texas: “Our houses are protected by the good Lord an’ a gun. You might meet em both if you show up here not welcome, son.”) In the ghetto, people carry guns much like a normal ghetto/gang area would. For the people in between, we carry how we see fit. If you need it, get it. Sad truth is that America has lots of random shootings all over the country. Having loose gun laws comes with a price.

    I just spend a few month in Korea as an ESL teacher this past summer and I saw ZERO things that made me feel unsafe. In fact, my students were like “Teacher, we will walk you home. It’s not safe at night.” and I found that ridiculous because I had not even seen a person who may have even LOOKED shady. I had no problems whatsoever. And I loved it. Ah~ I can’t wait to go back.

    • KowaiKawaiiChibi

      I’m from Arkansas and it is the same way. Most of our guns are hunting guns and people will even take them to school or college (usually by accident, and they give them to police or campus security for safekeeping.) My town is very small and very safe, although we do have one side that is not as safe. I still don’t walk alone at night though. In America, the girls know a few rules: don’t walk alone around 1 or 2, don’t wear a ponytail if you’re out late, shorter hair is even better, don’t look like you’re not paying attention, stay in lit areas, pepperspay, etc.

    • Hi! Just wanted to throw my two cents in. I live in Texas too and perhaps it’s just where I live (in a suburb of Dallas), but my family does not/has never had a gun in our home and most of my friends and their families don’t either. (We’ve discussed it. Perhaps we’re all just weird? lol) That being said, there is still gun crime hanging around, but it’s mostly like you said like in a normal ghetto/gang area. Plus these things usually happen late at night, so no one I know walks around late alone. I’ve totally done the Wolverine Key thing, because even if there’s no gun involved, you WILL get jumped. It’s not 100% or anything, but it’s still common enough that I would NEVER walk around alone at night.

    • I live in Texas too! East Texas. We don’t own a gun either although we have begun talking about buying one. Aaaanywho…. where did you teach in Korea? Your kids sound so sweet! And how did you prepare to teach them? Meaning how did you prepare your curriculum and where did you find resources?

  172. One thing though. I don’t think Korea will be more rebellious and the crime rate go up. I mean, it’s more like the crime rate has been going down and down till what they have now.
    This episode is hilarious!

  173. I actually feel safe…ish when walking around in Chicago, but of course, it’s a certain part of Chicago and I’m never alone… and I’ve only been in Chicago at night, like, twice. xD And this is despite the “flash mob” attacks by teenagers and such. I just feel like I don’t look vulnerable/weak, so no one really wants to mess with me. Plus, I’m a big girl, so it’d be difficult to kidnap me. Lawl.

    In Korea, it was just awkward walking around with the drunks late at night and during the day. They were more likely to approach us in our personal spaces, and… they did. xD;; One man got all up in my sister’s face with his finger pointing at her at Busan’s train station for some reason. He didn’t even say anything, so it was weird and kind of hilarious – not so much for my sister. So yeah, I only felt nervous, but I never felt like I was ever in possible danger. When I was a kid (4-6 years old) in Korea, though, I must’ve felt super safe because there were plenty of times when I just walked into random people’s homes and shops by myself in different towns/cities – not just my home town. I think about it now and think I totally lucked out in not being abducted. ^^;;; But maybe that’s accredited to Korea’s safety?

  174. silverdoodles

    Another danger I noticed is no one buckles up in the back seats of cars. So dangerous..

  175. When I visited Korea, I saw a lot of women walking alone at night…along side streets, down quiet roads, and I thought to myself – “No woman would ever feel that safe walking the street in America!” I always felt safe and secure walking around. I was grabbed in a club by a creep, but I chalk that up to the club atmosphere, and stuff like that happens everywhere. :) I agree with the point you made about the cars, though….I had a few mini-heart attacks driving the roads there. ^^

    • I felt the same way about walking alone at night when I was in Korea. I don’t particularly like walking around at night by myself on my campus in the US, but I felt pretty safe when I was in Seoul.

    • Hmmm, that actually makes the Kdramas make more sense. They would show a woman walking by herself late at night through a dark alleyway, and then she’s surprised when someone attacks her. I was just thinking “well, duh! that’s why you don’t walk down alleyways by yourself late at night.” But maybe it’s not all that common to be assaulted in Korea? It’s hard for me to imagine anywhere a woman might feel safe walking by herself late at night.

      • pepperandice

        i moved from singapore to london two years ago and i can say definitively that was the first time in my whole life (20 years) that iv felt endangered enough on the street at night, that my heart would actually be pounding from the sight of a man, even if he didnt look shady at all, coming near us, that i would speed up or even half run, by myself or even with friends, to the nearest public transport thing we were heading to

  176. Hi there ! ^^ I lived in Korea for a while and now I’m back in Canada for the time that my husband finish university ! For the safety in Korea I experienced exactly the same thing as you guys ! Whenever I couldn’t sleep I was just hanging out and going to a random 24h coffee shop and I never felt in danger or even a little scared. (I was living in Seocho next to Gangnam fyi) Also, one of my friend lost her wallet once and a random korean person found it and called her to give it back to her. :3 I heard a lot of stories like that and experienced some myself which makes me think that there’s a lot of honest people in Korea. <3

    Thought some of my things have been stolen when I arrived in Korea but I was in a club and I left my purse full of precious thing on the bench so I kinda deserved it. T.T Also, my husband (who is Korean) when he was a school boy in Korea, have been followed with his friend on the way back home by two high school students who eventually grabbed them to steal their money but my little hubby smacked him in the face with his skateboard LOL So Korea is definitely not perfect but I never felt that safe in my entire life ! Especially that now for my hubby's University we live in Vancouver… x.x Fortunately I didn't see too much crystal meth yet LOL It's not thaaat bad but I never go out alone after 10pm ;~;

  177. HAHAHAHHAHAAHHA THE THING ABOUT THE TIMMIES CARS AND GANGS IS SO TRUE. So ridiculous. “Look at me and mah donuts, so g”. I live in the GTA, and I don’t feel safe at all. I’m going to Yonsei next year, so hopefully I’ll feel much safer in Korea :3!

  178. Andra Langoussis

    You talked a lot about kids/teenagers and safety, but not much about skeevy adults. I know that a lot of times I’ll cross the street to avoid especially shady looking beggars/homeless people/loiterers because I don’t feel safe. Do you find that there are fewer of those in Korea?

    • There were homeless people there when i was there (i came back about 2 weeks ago?) and i mainly saw a few in Seoul. Not to the extent that i see them in NYC, but i didn’t go everywhere. While we were there, i only “met” one guy who gave me the not good shivers, and we out walked him. lol.

    • Yes. Homeless people in Korea are harmless. Also unless you actually know where they live/hang out your interaction with them is very limited unlike other big cities (Europe/North America)

    • We experienced homeless people in Busan. Before we reached the train station there, my mom told us to keep our bags to our sides. My friend had a backpack, so my mom walked behind her because she said beggars will go into the bags without anyone knowing. Sure enough, two beggars tried to walk behind my friend as we were leaving the train station, and my mom and I intervened. They didn’t come across as “that type” to do something like that. One was a very sweet-faced elderly woman, and I don’t remember the other, but I recall being surprised.
      I assume as well that it depends on location. Seoul didn’t appear to have many, if any, beggars/homeless that made us feel unsafe.

  179. n3k0grrl

    Oh, guise, hey guise! Please please tell me you weren’t being superfluous about the blasting of kPop music at Tim Horton’s! Your awesome rating is already high, but that would totally bring it to new levels.

    That said, Toronto scares me, but it did before this. :P I grew up in a small town in Newfoundland (we’re talking 8k people, tops), and then moved to a relatively small city in Ontario (something in the area of 100k people), and the size & density of Toronto just gives me the heebies. ^_^ That said … I suspect even my small town/cities get more of the TYPES of crime that you discussed than does Korea. I’m afraid to walk down unlit areas alone in the dark, I lock my door religiously, and don’t get me started on graffiti — everywhere with the graffiti.

    Anyway. I really hope you get well soon! Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. ^_^

  180. Ninjaraj

    Thanks for answering this guys! I felt super safe when I was in Japan, but I was wondering if it was the same in Korea.
    I admire your tenacity, doing this for us when you’re sick. Please get better soon. Pink eye sucks.

  181. Hey you two!! I just wanna say y’all are amazing! You guys have me laughing so hard at almost every vid you post!! Thank you for the levity! By far you guys are my fave peeps to follow!!

  182. Chiiuhh

    It’s like you know my life! Taking off for Korea literally right now.

  183. What form of martial arts do you (all) practice? Did you pick it up before or after you went to Korea? If it isn’t Tae-Kwon-Do, were you able to easily find a dojo that focuses on your specific martial art?

    DFTBA!

    Also – When I was a little girl I visited Korea. As we went from my grandfather’s village to Seoul, my mom kept warning us to stay close or the mafia would kidnap us and sell us on the black market. Scared the crap out of me, and to this day I don’t know if she was kidding or not.

    • NaToTheWak

      Women traffic and forced prostitution are still endemic in Korea. But I’ve never heard of the “mafia” operating by kidnapping foreign children in the streets!

      • The thing is, if a child gets kidnapped in korea, people think “the parents must be rich and want a ransom” not “the child must be used for pedos and cannibals” I mean, why on earth a kidnappers want a noisy child that’s not even their own?

    • that reminds me of when we visited the Phillippines. My mother’s friend who lived there warned us not to walk around by ourselves, because the gangs might try to kidnap us thinking that because we are white we are rich, trying to get a ransom.

      I have to admit it kind of scared me how she said it so casually, like it was common knowledge.

      • While it is true that most white people seen here (Philippines) can be believed to be rich, there are lots of well-populated places to hang out without feeling in danger of kidnapping :) And I think your mom’s friend is just being cautious–in truth, as long as you’re aware of your surroundings (something that applies to all places around the world, I think), you’ll be fine.

        I do know that because we have so much military unrest in the south (Mindanao), many would-be tourists and visitors think that the Philippines is a hotbed of war and violence :/

        • Yeah. I had a great time there. We went to Cavite (I think it’s spelled that way?) because that’s where my mother grew up. I’m not sure if that’s a safe spot or not, but it was fun. And the food! I miss the food so much… my mother cooks Filipino food for us, but it’s not the same when you have to use American ingredients.

    • i think this is in China not in korea ^^’ my teacher said this about China and how children traffic is there…

  184. Great video!~ I loved Simon’s shirt, haha.

  185. CAN I JUST SAY! and this is totally random.. but I’m watching Running Man from the beginning and OMG you guys were on there how awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you two were such good sports!!

    Anyways I’m a new NASTY :D and yes a comment related to this post.. uhh.. that’s amazing because although canada is sooooo safe.. i can’t believe korea is even safer :o!!!!!!!!!! that’s amazing!!!! for those that don’t live in canada.. crime rates here are significantly lower than other parts of the world.. so to say that you hardly hear anything in korea.. is pretty Amazing… I hope my friend gets into the teaching post in korea so i can visit herrrrrrrrrrr and hopefully you guyssssssssssssssss <3

  186. How did you prepare for moving to Korea? How much money did you have to put aside? I’m really curious about that. Please reply to this question.

  187. Yeah, in the U.S we have a lot of graffiti, though its mostly on abandoned buildings and usually only in the poorer parts of town, at least it is in Connecticut. We have a lot of gun crimes too, especially after the Batman movie shooting, but aside from that there’s really nothing else. And I haven’t seen a Rob-Me-Please ATM yet, but I’ll be on the lookout, lol.

  188. The Wolverine key thing! I totally do that.

  189. I just came back from a long vacation in SK. I felt super super safe there, and when i go back (hopefully soon lol), i will not be worried about going there alone.

  190. Aweseomnes

    wow coincidentally, I was just wondering about this the other day haha

  191. Janice Wong

    yay first comment! really hoping u’ll resume ur kpop monday videos with renewed vigor soon! get lotsa rest guise! we’re willing to wait as long as ur keeping ur health a priority!

  192. I wish I could feel that safe here in Brazil. I just bought a new phone and I’m afraid to leave the house with it :-P

    • Hi, just wondering cause my friends and I want to head over to Brazil for the World Cup 2 years from now, but… how is it there… really? All we get on the news are favelas and BOPA, which I know is a gross generalization.

      • Well, it’s not like if you’re walking on the street here you will be robbed for sure, see favelas and stuff like that. I live in a normal neighborhood here in Rio and I never experienced something like being robbed, never stepped on a favela before and I always see people holding iPhones on the buses all the time. You just have to watch out the areas that you’re going. If you have any other doubts you can ask :)

        • Paola

          Look, I live in Brazil, but I live in Rio Grande do Sul, in the south of
          the country (look in the map). Over here we don’t have that kind of
          violence, I never experienced something like that, and I really don’t
          like to know that Brazil give this image to the foreigner people….. I
          feel realy bad about that… The thing is, you can’t go out (crazily)
          showing everybody that you have a phone or notebook (etc), just be
          careful with your things and that’s all. And, at least in my city, we
          don’t see favelas or police, crazy war people and guns, I never saw
          something like that…. So…

        • Paola

          Just, the important thing it’s to be careful and don’t look like you have no idea about were are you going and look like you are lost, or looking like you are not paing atention to the people that are around you.
          You have to look like you live here or know about Brazil and behave with confidence. I think that if you look lost or if you look like you are not paing atention, you can be a potencial target for robbers or even some guy that could try to sell you something unreasonably expensive….

      • I live in São Paulo and have only lived here, so I can’t talk about Rio de Janeiro (although I don’t think it’s so different). I don’t even know how the security will be in 2 years, but, well, let’s talk about how it is now:

        When walking in the street, if you’re a woman it’s good to always hold your purse like in your shoulder. If you carry it unconcernedly, swinging it in your hand, probably someone will just pass by running and steal it hahaha
        When in the bus or subway, watch out pockets from purses that may not be turned to you, someone can quietly open it and steal something as well.
        If you’re in a cafe or any place like that, don’t leave your things in a table to go somewhere, carry it with you unless there’s someone you know that will be there to watch out.
        Clothes too, if you’re wearing those showy necklaces, rings… :)
        Of course there are neighborhoods that are safer than others, but this is complicated and actually you can even find favela and richness in the same neighborhood, so in this case my warning is to trust your feelings :)

        So there’s no need to be neurotic with it hahaha just be aware and you’ll be fine. I’m 21 and have been robbed just once. By kids :/ (although that may sound ridiculous, but there were 4 of them and I couldn’t see if they’re carrying a gun)
        Other brazilians, if you remember more things, please!

      • I not only live in rio, but I work with tourism, and, sincerely it’s just a city like any other(when it comes to danger). For someone visiting, it’s good to study as much as you can about the city and what places you want to visit, the best ways to go there and carry notes in Portuguese like “how can I go to..” and the address of the place you are staying. The hotel front desk will always have someone willing to write it all down for you. If you have a specific time to get somewhere, leave a lot earlier because the distances are big and the chance of you getting late are high. If you have a big camera AND really want to use it(like me), don’t wander alone, always have someone you trust with you, and, of course, have some common sense, use and put it back inside the bag. Always watch your stuff, like anyone from a big city does, look around and please, PLEASE, listen when someone says “to this place it’s better to get a taxi.” It’s safe to ride a bus or the subway, but sometimes it’s just hard to get there by bus. Or so it is to a tourist.
        Yes, we have many favelas, but, you know what? They are not dirty caves where the bad guys hide, it’s just a place where poor people live. They work, go to school and all people do. And usually tourists LOVE favelas.
        Never carry your original passport, only a copy, for the obvious reason that you might not get robbed, but you can simply lose it. No, we don’t accept dollars(you can change them in the hotel), no, we don’t speak Spanish(though we can try to understand it), but yes, we DO love tourists and usually do our very best to please them. Come, you will love it.

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