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Do Foreigners Have to Be Fashionable in Korea?

October 4, 2012

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A question about Korean fashion and style! But, more than just about the trends and style: how important is it to be stylish in Korea if you’re a foreigner? Will you not “fit in” if you’re not stylish? Is there more pressure put on foreigners, because they’re foreigners? If so, how has our style changed because of living in Korea?

Well, we kinda answer both questions, but disagree with the bridge between them. Yes, we have changed our style while living in Korea, and yes, it has changed because of Korea, but we didn’t change it because of a desire to fit in or to be more accepted. We’re foreigners, and we’ve come to accept that we’ll always be viewed as outsiders.

Now, don’t take that in a super-negative way. It’s not like we’re sneered at or excluded from anything. Korean people are always super nice to us, friendly, helpful, and generous. But we always get the “Oh! You’re a foreigner!” kind of deal, in which we’re always reminded that we’re outsiders, rather than a part of Korea, you know? Even our friends who have mastered the Korean language or married their Korean partner will still be viewed as “foreigners” by Korean people that don’t know them, and they will never really have to fit the rules of Korean society completely, even if they do follow all the rules out of respect. Of course it’s not like we try to avoid fitting in as a result. In fact it’s the opposite, but we’re still SEEN as outsiders who don’t “have to” do what Korean people do to fit in. Know what we’re trying to say?

Now the really difficult situation is when you LOOK Korean but weren’t raised in Korea, thus you are a foreigner, but Korean people don’t fully accept you as one. Our Canadian and American friends who are of Korean descent actually have a pretty hard time in Korea, especially if they don’t speak Korean because they are expected to act and speak a certain way, even though they have nothing to do with Korean society apart from their appearance. So, in our opinions, fitting into Korean society has nothing to do with how stylish you look, but how Korean you look. Anyhow, this topic could be further delved into, but for today’s topic, we’re going to focus back on the actual question being asked!

We did, however, still change our style in Korea, because we were inspired by how bloody stylish everyone seems to be here. Our change is less out of a desire for acceptance and more out of admiration. After seeing how amazing everyone looked all the time, we felt ourselves asking “why can’t we do that”?

Let me tell you a story of what really changed my (Martina) idea of fashion: when we go to the airport in Korea, we’re amazed at how Korean people look incredibly stylish even though they’re taking a 10 hour flight wherever. Back in the day, we always used to fly in our scrubbiest of clothing: PJs, jogging pants, flip-flops, etc, but after flying back and forth from Korea to Canada, I saw lots of incredibly dressed people that would get on the airplane with us in style, sleep like us, and then freshen up (change, put on some makeup) and pop off the plane in Toronto like they were coming off a fashion runway. Meanwhile, we got on the plane looking pre-exhausted and got off looking even more exhausted.

So after three years of flying in my PJs, I decided to try to look as stylish as the Korean people I saw at the airports. I wore a long black super comfy dress and wore a pair of comfy fold-up travel sparkle slippers. I packed a comfy hoodie, a brush, and some very simple makeup in my carry-on. I got on the plane feeling like a million bucks, snuggling happily in my oversized dress and hoodie, and before landing I popped into the washroom to run a brush through my hair and put on a little makeup. Despite the 14 hour flight to Toronto, I FELT AWESOME AND CONFIDENT! As soon as I saw my family they all exploded with compliments about how lovely I looked in my dress and how perky I looked!

I was just so shocked to see how different I felt just by how I was dressed. It was like my PJs were telling me to be mopey and sleepy and my dress was telling me to hold my head up high and strut off the plane! So after this simple test, I decided to try on more of the cute dresses I’ve always wanted to wear but thought I couldn’t pull off. I seriously feel bubbly and happy in a puffy dress; I feel like I’m out of an anime or something, and I know when I feel sad and mopey I tend to go towards jeans and a huge hoodie to sulk under. No cupcake earrings that day. So for me, my emotions can be affected by the clothing that I wear, and although it may not be that way for everything, I still recommend trying a test on yourself to see if different clothing, a change in your hairstyle, or an addition of makeup can affect your confidence or attitude for the day! Hokay. Martina’s big odd rant over! BTW, is this just me or does anyone else notice a link between their clothing and attitude?

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Do Foreigners Have to Be Fashionable in Korea?

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  1. I definitely feel a difference in my attitude by the way i dress (you are not alone martina!) and i think there are many girls that feel the same way. Fashion can be both a confidence booster or… it can also have the opposite effect. I think its just important to fall in love with the clothes you put on and the positive attitude will follow that feeling! ^.^

    4 years ago
  2. i would like to see a picture or martina back in the day with her more goth look

    4 years ago
  3. But sometimes it can also have a negative affect. I have a friend whose family isn’t well off. Her and her sister do dress up with hair, nails, and makeup always done. It does give them more confidence, but the issue is that they try so hard to impress with their looks they spend money on that instead of important things. There are so many times she has declined going out with us or not been able to get lunch because her money goes to her wardrobe.

    Not disagreeing with your statements, just saying that it isn’t always the best way to show you respect and care for yourself.

    4 years ago
  4. Can you be a foreigner barista there and get a work visa? :O I really should research how work visas work… I really don’t know…

    And I want purple hair. :D

    4 years ago
  5. I know how you feel, Kristen! I’m half-Korean, and was raised in Sacramento, but there is a big Korean community here, so I was raised by Korean people, grew up attending Korean churches, and in & out of different Korean language schools…

    And I’ve always been overweight…

    And nobody has ever been cruel to me! They always say nice things and go out of their way to compliment me. My mom’s friends always say I’m pretty, and no matter what they will always find something nice to say about me. Like, they think my earrings are cute, or my eyes are pretty, or my hair is nice, or something like that. From what I’ve experienced, Korean people don’t go out of their way to harm your feelings… they try their hardest to try and boost them, and to boost you as a person.

    It’s usually the older ladies (like my mom’s friends) that will say something about my weight, and then it’s only as a way of encouragement… they will do it gently and in a gentle, sweet manner, because they see my potential to be healthier and want me to strive to take better care of myself. It’s never in a mean way. :)

    Even when my cousin moved here 8 years ago to attend school here in the US, I was afraid she wouldn’t like me because I’m fat, but things turned out just fine! She was nice, and now that we communicate better, she’s always encouraging me, and is never cruel. Her Korean friends are also nice, as are new Korean people that I meet in my life, a lot of them are new to the US, too.

    No matter what, I think there are more nice & encouraging people in Korea than cruel and harmful people. If they make any sort of comments about your looks, health, etc… it’s because they want to help, not harm. :) No matter what, just take care of yourself! Don’t get depressed~ just love yourself first, and put your health & well-being first. That’s what matters. And then, really think about the comments people make, and use it for inspiration and enlightening, instead of fuel for sadness.

    Sorry my comment was so long. ~.~ This stuff is just near & dear to my heart… I am still heavily involved in the Korean community where I live, and have Korean friends & family… and I’m still fat! I’m trying to lose weight & take care of my health, though… and yeah, partially because of the same fears you have, but mostly because I want to be healthy & inspired.

    And Kristen, just from your comment alone, I can tell you have a sweet spirit. There’s nobody in this world who could see/feel such a sweet spirit and call you horrible. :P

    4 years ago
  6. I’m a person who dresses for comfort more than anything. But, when really thinking about it, my clothing style differs depending on where I’m going and who with. Like, if I’m going to class I dress decently nice. I study graphic design and go to the art college at my university and pretty much all of my classmates get very dressed up. At first I didn’t really care because I was in school for full days and wanted to be comfortable, but then I started feeling like the oddball. So if I meet with college friends I’m a little more done up (I’m still not a makeup person unless like at a wedding or something…)
    But, if I’m with my high school friends. Jeans and a t-shirt. I’m just more comfortable with them I guess and really don’t feel a need to impress (part of it could be that we went to private schools and had uniforms, plus it was an all girl school..no impressing was needed). As for my co-op job, I started off dressing nice, but the place is super casual and I felt weird for dressing for work…so back to the jeans and t-shirts haha.

    The only emotional link I can think of with my clothes is if I’m sick I wear sweatpants and hoodies.
    As for airplanes, nothing will ever convince me to wear anything but sweatpants and flip flops. As I said, I dress for comfort and if I’m gonna be in the same spot for hours I better be comfortable at least.

    4 years ago
  7. Oh my God !!! You’re from Canada????? I’m living there :) That’s cool to know :)

    4 years ago
  8. We have friends in Korea with dark skin, light skin, olive skin, black hair, curly hair, freckles, red hair, braids…and they have had nothing but POSITIVE comments towards their looks, but it also depends on how you feel towards peoples reactions to you. For example, one of our friends with very dark skin sometimes had children curiously reach out and touch her skin (and smile) or my friend with really curly red hair; everyone loves her hair but they think it is a fake perm and dye job! Many people ask me if I’m wearing blue contact lenses!

    4 years ago
  9. I’m also curious about this. :) I want to live & work in Korea, but I’m not 100% sure if I want to teach English. I think I would like to give it a try, but have no teaching experience, and I’m not sure if I will be giving my students the best education they can get out of a foreign English teacher. I’ll be graduating within the next 8 months with a degree in digital filmmaking, and my strengths are in writing and directing… but not sure if there’s a job market in Korea for an entry level foreigners in this field. Anyway, I guess I’ll just have to check it out myself & see! My senior thesis will be a short film influenced by Korean myth & culture (about the Kumiho tale), so I’m hoping this will help me out in someway, too. ^^

    4 years ago
    • So awesome, a fellow film-type person thinking of pursuing their career in Korea! For me I am planning on teaching in Korea at least first- I really enjoy being around children and I’ve always admired my tough-but-cool teachers, and I think it’d be awesome if I could be a teacher like that. But hey- Korean film doesn’t have that much that’s been explored in North America. Try volunteering at an Asian or Korean Film Festival, get some connections to the Korean film world and you never know, you just might end up creating your own career!!

      4 years ago
      • this is so awesome! i’m a film major and i plan to move to korea after i get my degree, so i’m super pumped to see other people wanting to do the same! i hope maybe my korean will be strong enough that i can get some entry level job on a korean set and make some connections that way.

        4 years ago
    • Yes I have a couple of foreigner friends who are working at international Companies like Samsung. And they are working like they would back in their home country and they do not require to know Korean for the job. (though knowing Korean may be helpful) You can try to apply to International Korean companies and if you’re lucky, you may get transferred to work in Korea! =)

      4 years ago
  10. Because they don’t see that everyday (students, especially, aren’t allowed to dye their hair)…usually kpop stars do that…

    4 years ago
    • doesn’t change the fact that it’s narrowminded by people to shun someone just because they have a different hair color. Where’s the acceptance?

      4 years ago
      • I think the same way goes for a person that likes to wear black all the time and is being shuned in his own society because of his clothing preference…

        4 years ago
        • are you referring to goths? in that situation too, it’s narrow-minded from people. Although getting a haircolor is a bit different from being goth in terms of how much you change your looks :)

          4 years ago
  11. You can’t know for sure….they uploaded a video about the oppinion Koreans have about darker-skinned ppl and the thing is that you stand out…you might get a starred at or not.(depending on the person)…I think the confidence boost depends more on yourself.. youtube(.)com/watch?v=Q7zW9KjSzOQ

    4 years ago
  12. nah

    i was just going to ask that!

    4 years ago
  13. i feel like that but when i pain my nails cuz i don’t really dress up and when painting my nails I allow myself to go wild

    4 years ago
  14. I have a mild phobia of “change”/trying new things/breaking out of my box, but you guys inspire me to try new things all the time. I’ve now tried Korean food, which I was scared to do before, and I liked it. And now I want to try wearing different clothes and seeing how it makes me feel. Instead of thinking of it negatively, like how I usually do with the phobia, I am going to try to think about it positively. Thank you guys :)

    4 years ago
    • WAHOO!! Awesome to hear! I’ve discovered new things that I love that I thought would never look good or me things that I wear just for “arts sake”, as in, it may not be sexy or flattering, but it’s a funky piece of clothing that I just admire. I never would have done that a couple years ago! Hannah and Martina FIGHTING~

      4 years ago
  15. A lot of people say negative things about the fact that Koreans tend to care about their outer appearance a LOT and i never new how to respond to it. But one day I heard a Korean American Dermatologist talk about a book she wrote and she put it this way. Koreans are very big on outer health and inner health. Inner health with the food they eat to different herbs they use and they also feel the same way about their outer health. If you are healthy inside and out and take care of yourself inside and out it will help you all around. And also she did say that Koreans want the inner beauty and confidence to show on the outside so thats why they take care of their outer appearance NOT because they are shallow.. so this is how I explain it to other foreigners now and to be honsest. I have become more conscience (in a healthy way) about my outer appearance ever since I started studying Korean and going there. And I really appreciate it.

    4 years ago
  16. ahhhhh look at that pudgy Spudgy…. he’s so cute~ X3

    4 years ago
  17. Hey guys, What do you think about the global success that PSY and his Gangnam Style is having? Because I’m from Spain, and here he’s number 1 in all the music charts!

    4 years ago
  18. Yeah I definitely plan on stocking up on cutesy (is that even a word? lol) dresses before going to Korea :) Martina, when you were a teacher, what was the norm for the dress code? I’d love to wear nice dresses to work there everyday but I wasn’t sure if suits/slacks were more the style as a teacher/professor. What is considered decent/indecent in that setting?

    4 years ago
    • I think a style proper for a teacher there is the one that doesn’t stand out too much.(You can look stylish with a more natural make-up too)

      4 years ago
  19. I’m also been affect a lot by what I’m wearing. That’s why I’m always trying too like good even the week end at home, alone and depressed ^^. It really affect my mood. During my exam, i always try to dress well because that’s make me optimistic. The more i’m depressed the more I look like I want to do a fashion show. Thank you by the way for the new video

    4 years ago
  20. I have kept one style whenever I dressed up,I wear a shirt and pair of shorts and some flats or sneakers,my skin is often in a very horrid condition,it is either I have a pimple or something and I really don’t like make-up LOL

    4 years ago
  21. Ahh.. I remember martina introducing her bb creams. That’s when she doesn’t wear make up yet. And that’s how i found s&m. Through bb cream. ( i don’t know but want to use make up). Now I’m a yg stan… Ahh life. Full of surprises. >_<

    4 years ago
    • Because of Martina and the bb cream video I errr… Went to the face shop in Korea town in NYC and bought a bb cream even though I am black…. Just because I wanted a bb cream. It sorta works but I have to cover it with my powder. The bb creams I saw being sold in the us by western brands seemed different too.

      4 years ago
      • I think at that time there wasn’t western brands going into the bb cream thingy. Was it a year after? It then comes in tons of shades.

        4 years ago
        • Still not in shades for black people. Most of the big makeup lines in general have very limited shades for people with dark skin. It is like they expect all of us to fit into the one or two tones of ‘ brown’ and ‘chocolate’. The only real exception to the big lines and the lack of dark tones is MAC. Otherwise you have to go with specialty brands which deal with makeup for people of colour. But that’s really only for foundation, concealers and powders which have to match undertones too.

          4 years ago
        • Usually bb creams have light coverage though. Makeup artist who have no idea how to make up dark skin sounds very stupid. Like. how exactly do they get qualified.

          4 years ago
        • The same way hairdressers get qualified to do hair but have no idea how to do natural black hair. Black people are a minority in the US and therefore are a ‘specialty’ market. If you want to do their hair or makeup that would be something ‘ extra’. Of course, the same skills apply when it comes to makeup application. the problem usually is the lack of range of products and maybe ability to match tone. Of course it has improved over the years. But I have talked to even black workers at certain makeup counters in department stores and they advise you look elsewhere.

          The reason Iman ( the supermodel married to David Bowie) created her own makeup line was because when she was a model she always had to mix and do her own makeup. Now it’s one of the best known specialty brands. Of course it is completely different where I live where non blacks are the minority. And in Korea it would be even more different where there are hardly any people living there with dark skin.

          4 years ago
        • This makes me wonder. I’m from Malaysia. With 3 main races. Malay, Indian and Chinese. Most Indians have very curly hair too and love treat it to straight or wavy. I guess make up here won’t have the problem when the majority are dark skinned. But ebony dark is rare.

          4 years ago
  22. Yes, my Korean American friend was in Korea for most of the year and said that everyone was dressed impeccably! He said, however, the downside of that was that there was an aspect of misogyny in that some guys would court their girls and be perfect & sweet, but once they got them and the girl did not dress up for once they had no problem basically saying, “Oh, you look like sh*t today.”

    4 years ago
    • Oooh, sorry I know this is super late–but yes and no. I know that it’s normal, affectionate even, to tell someone they’re having an off day in Korea. But he said in his experience (based on what his female friends told him) it was more like, “I really don’t want to be seen in public with you until you go and fix yourself. We are not going on this date until you look better.”

      4 years ago
      • wow, since i’ve recently been immersing myself in korean stuffs, that logic kinda makes sense, it really shows the value that’s put on outward appearance. but there are still people who go out in their pj’s at night to go to a convenient store right? or something like that.

        3 years ago
  23. I wish i could be Spudgy’s fangirl… Spudgy Oppar <3

    4 years ago
  24. ooohhh fashion!!!! awesome topic!!!!
    i’m anti-makeup!! i don’t have anything against it!! it’s just that i feel uncomfortable with it and very self concious when i did have to put some on!!
    i love Korean fashion!! actually i’ve loved it since a i was really young, i just didn’t realise it! basically i used to play an online dressup game and i thought it was Japanese, then a few years back i remembered the game again and just thought i’d check it out again for no reason and i noticed the writing in the corner and it was KOREAN!!!!!
    it’s a dressup game called RoiWorld! but it got taken over by an american company now or something i think cos the site now is so lame!! but you can still find the old games on a different site!!! (i don’t even know why i’m writing this info! haha)
    and i’ve always been a fan of Japanese Harajuku fashion….but i wouldn’t go around walking like that, cos it’d be weird around here, and i wouldn’t want attention on me!!

    my outfit depends on my mood and also the weather!! if it’s a nice sunny day i’ll probably be all colourful, and if it’s rainy then i’ll wear dark colours and more comfortable clothes!!
    my attitude doesn’t change with what outfit i’m wearing!! i’m always quiet and shy whether i go for a bright look or a more rock look, or vintage style, or casual, or whatever else!!! (obviously i’m hyper with my friends though!! haha!!)

    anyway after getting into Kpop it hasn’t actually influenced my style cos… i’ve already liked stuff like that!! hahaha!!! which is why i love the fashion in Kpop cos it’s already my style!! (not everything though)

    4 years ago
    • I play fashion games too… still… at my age… -__- Lol~

      4 years ago
      • hahaha!!! aw that’s okay!!! i’m pretty sure i’ll be playing them again now, cos this has seriously made me miss them!!

        4 years ago
        • Yeah, they’re just too much fun! :P OH, have you heard of Polyvore.com? I love that place. ^^ I have an account there at http://roseywinter.polyvore.com/

          4 years ago
        • yeah i’ve heard of it and seen it around but i’ve never actually used it!!
          oh just checked yours out! very nice!! especially the ‘gray n black’ outfit!! and i love your choice of colours! ‘specially for the ‘casual meetings’ one!!

          4 years ago
    • I kno what ur talking abt! My korean friend was playing it in computer class and we all started to play the game. Very addicting right? Your right, the fashion there was amazing.

      4 years ago
      • oh i used to play on dressup games all the time!!!! so addictive!!! like i was saying i went back to check it out a few years ago, and i couldn’t stop playing it!! hahaha!!
        i could even remember what outfits i used to dress up the characters, and i was interested in seeing how my style might have changed….but i still have the same fashion sense!! hehe!! i put the same outfits on them again just like a used to!!!
        i know! totally! the outfits are so pretty!! i used to wish i had come of the clothes from there!

        4 years ago
  25. HA! I did the opposite! Scrubby clothing, no makeup, disheveled hair from staying up too late. Maybe I should have used war paint…

    4 years ago
  26. “I’m too big… for this country…” LOL aww Simon lmao

    4 years ago
  27. If I don’t get up and do my makeup and get going in the morning I will spend the entire day in yoga pants watching kdramas munching on junk snack food and not get a single thing accomplished all day! Then the next day I just feel like crap

    4 years ago
  28. after i got into kpop and korea in general, i started changing up my style too! less hoodies, more cute layer tops. and i took a major interest in skincare. when my skin looks good i feel really good, and when my skin’s not so good i pop some bb cream over everything and do something cute with my makeup! when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you look even better :D

    4 years ago
  29. Ditto on being treated as a foreigner no matter what you do. I’m a mess of ethnicities and nationalities, plus I’ve never lived in one country for more than 2 years, so I’ve been treated as an outsider all my life no matter what I do, what I wear, or how fluent my language skills are. If I’m lucky, they might ask me what city I’m from (as opposed to what continent).

    I’d love to comment about being fashionable/stylish in a foreign country, but me and ‘fashion’ are never in the same sentence.
    However, I AM fairly knowledgeable on how to dress so that half the people on the street don’t stare at you in disgust. My motto for lyfe: Low key is the key.

    4 years ago
    • if you don’t mind my asking: how come you never lived in one country for more than 2 years? It’s my dream to be able to move regularly and travel the world so I’m really interested: is it your job or something else? and if it’s a job which one?

      4 years ago
      • Uhh…it’s just been that way since I was born, with my parents’ jobs – they were linguists, freelance translators/interpreters, community health/development workers, university professors, and Bible translation consultants (if that means anything to you) – and all at the same time, usually. Being a multicultural family, (we all have at least 2 passports) our friends and relatives are spread all over the place so we go visit a different country every year. And we lived in countries with strict visa laws that kicked out all the foreigners every 5 years, which means we’d have to find a new home until we could get back in again….etc etc.
        And since I grew up like that, I’ve had itchy feet ever since – I’m just physically incapable of settling down – especially cos I don’t ‘belong’ anywhere. So I just go out of my way to do placements in different countries/hospitals every year, or do volunteer work in disaster-hit countries for a few months, that kind of stuff :S

        But in relation to your dream, if you want to travel the world, some common moving jobs are if you join the army, work with some international airline, become a businessman/woman, join an international NGO, or something like that. I have a friend who is a well-paid computer programmer who travels while working (since all he needs is his laptop and an internet connection). The main drawback there is that he stays in a hostel everywhere which isn’t very comfortable, and can be quite expensive.

        But, umm. Travelling constantly without any roots can be very stressful, difficult, and expensive. There’s a LOT of paperwork involved, if you stay for more than 3 months at a time. It’s better if you have a partner or friend to go with you. If you just like travelling, I’d suggest get a well-paying job in your home country, and then go visit a different country every year with the money you earn. Or something.

        4 years ago
        • Wow, you’ve certainly travelled, lucky you! Maybe you should start your own YouTube channel; You could be EYK’s first spin-off! :D

          4 years ago
  30. “No, I’m just saying Junsu is very embracing of his RUN FOR IT”

    LOL!

    4 years ago
  31. I am going to study abroad next summer at Yonsei and this was a super big concern of mine! It made my day to see that you guys uploaded this video. I consider myself fashionable, but not the perfect hair and cute dresses everyday type of fashionable that seems to be the case in Seoul. I feel better now knowing that it won’t be the end of the world if I have an off day.

    4 years ago
  32. Simon – I really, truly feel your pain (though I imagine it might be even worse for you……) I moved to Korea sometime ago to attend university and I sort of knew it from before that with my height of 178cm, I can’t really find very many clothes here… But now, looking at all these Korean girls all dressed up everyday for classes, I’m really getting upset that I hardly ever find clothes that fit me or if they’re big enough they’re usually somehow weirdly cut so they don’t end up fitting well…… :”(

    So, 힘내라, you’re not really alone….. ^.^

    4 years ago
    • I think I may know some Korean online shopping websites catered to more various ranges of height. I will ask my cousin living in Korea who is about your height and wears all these super feminine things =)

      4 years ago
  33. I have one question.

    What is Korean think of Chubby people? I have lived in an asian country before ( Vietnam ) and Chubby people always get teased/ yelled/ put down at by their own family .

    So could you please look more into that matter? :D thank you

    4 years ago
  34. hello! i’ve got a question, but it’s not very easy to ask. here goes!
    the country i would most want to visit is South Korea, because of the music, the culture, the food, the exceptional public transportation, and so on. the country i would least want to visit is North Korea, probably for obvious reasons. so my question is: how do South Koreans feel about people who have the same culture, the same history until so recently, living so near and so horribly. if the other half of MY country was living in poverty and misery, i think it would bother me every day.
    any thoughts from Simon & Martina?

    4 years ago
    • I think that the general consensus is that North Koreans are viewed as part of the same family (which is actually literally true for many many families suffering from forced estrangement). However, the view on North Korea the nation is either they are a rogue country, South Korea’s greatest danger and enemy or they should be treated as South Korea’s partner and neighbor. It’s actually a really divisive issue.

      4 years ago
    • I know that many politicians are trying to reach a settlement, and there will probably always be a desire to unify Korea again. But I know most politicians want to wait till the economic scenes are both equal- which we all know probably won’t ever happen if North Korea keeps going the way it is.

      I wonder how Korea views Japan now with some of the younger people? I know there is a lot of tension between Japan and Korea and China because of ahem…. some attacks. And some other land disputes. I even know one of my friends from Hong Kong warned me about his Japanese roommate- making sure I wasn’t racist… which I almost wanted to respond “American’s don’t care. They only bombed Pearl Harbor in our eyes” I only wonder because I remember there being a scandal with Baby VOX awhile ago about the Dokdo Islands, and which country it belongs to.

      4 years ago
    • Nic

      That’s a good question. I can’t even imagine what it would really be like for my country to be divided like that. From what I’ve observed there are different opinions. It’s mostly the older generation who want reunification and as time goes by the younger generations feel more and more separate from North Korea and mostly feel anger about it. They don’t really see the North as Koreans like them… and it’s a fair point that the culture has been divided for 60 years. My own personal experience seeing my husband react only in anger when North Korea does something or tries to attack. I’m curious what students in South Korea think about North Korea, perhaps Simon and Martina can share what they know from their teaching days about what students think now.

      4 years ago
      • Nic

        I’m always really curious about it. I’ve been to the DMZ zone and looked into North Korea- you can’t see much and also done a tour down into a tunnel that North Korea dug into South Korea- they’ve done this many times and scarily South Korea think they are more they don’t know about. The tunnels are just big enough to march and army through.
        I have friends who have friends who are North Korean. They escaped and got back to South Korea and then came to Australia. But they really don’t tell anyone. There is a stigma about it but South Koreans can sometimes spot if someone is North Korean because of their accent and the way they speak Korean. North Koreans who escape have difficulty adjusting to South Korean society. They often can’t hold down jobs, have difficulty making friends. They are constantly suspicious of everyone and everything- the affects of living in a communist society.

        4 years ago
        • Nic

          I’ve read a lot of the revolutions in China and Chairman Mao and you are right about the similarities. I agree that there is unlikely to be a happy medium. I’ve read that South Korea won’t even have the wealth to absorb North Korea if it collapses until at least 2020. If the North Korean regime was to collapse now, it would be really really bad for the South and will be terrible for their economy. China doesn’t want North Korea to collapse either because they don’t want refugees flooding into their country. There is no easy answer unfortunately.

          4 years ago
        • Nic

          thanks, edited haha.

          4 years ago
    • But North Korea has a plan to conquer south Korea.. That’s why there are alot of US military base in South Korea to protect it… I think thats how South Korean thinks about it..

      4 years ago
      • i don’t mean how do the countries feel about each other politically, i’m more wondering about how a normal south korean person feels about a normal north korean person. does that make sense?

        4 years ago
  35. Being an Asian in a Western country, I actually do worry that there are expectations of me when I’m in an Asian country (especially since no one can seem to guess which ethnicity I am…)I don’t fit any of the usual “Asian” stereotypes (although I do wear glasses and my driving is questionable at times). So while I want to feel reassured, I can’t, because I think the assumption that I’m a “foreigner” would be kinda different.
    Nonetheless, I’ve been to a few Asian places and haven’t run into much trouble, just can’t shake that feeling off.

    Also, I like to wear ironic t-shirts and jeans so my sense of style is kinda…

    4 years ago
    • I’m the same way about the t-shits. I’m Asian-American and I love those ironic-Engrish t-shirts! :) (I’m also a girl).

      4 years ago
      • There was this nice shirt I saw that happened to say “bitch” (from Asian online shop), sadly I don’t think that’d go down well at an Australian University…

        4 years ago
  36. C&S

    I would definitely say YES YOU SHOULD BE DRESSED UP to feel awesome and confident… + fit in Korean society. It’s funny because lots of my friends in school like my clothing and my answer is?? guess what, they already know my answer. “I GOT THIS FROM KOREA :D” And next everyone says “oh god you get everything from Korea!!”…. Foreigners, enjoy variety of fashion when you live there… Good to try new styles.
    BTW I am very impressed with your makeup Martina. Simon your secret message was well received in the previous video. LOL We might visit Korea around Christmas time~ saving my $$ to shop. – C&S

    4 years ago
  37. I’ve started changing my style because of Korea too, I love their fashions! I used to wear sweatpants to my classes 5 days a week, but now we’re almost 2 months into school and I haven’t wore jeans ONCE, which is a huge deal for me xD I’ve also started wearing mascara (I never wear make-up), and I’ve definitely noticed I’m a much more happy and confident person :)

    4 years ago
  38. Our Canadian and American friends who are of Korean decent…….

    Decent. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t help it >_<

    4 years ago
  39. TT^TT.

    Korea doesn’t have my size for both clothes and shoes but but but their clothes are so cute !!!!!!!!!!!! I wanna buy it so much !!!!!.

    I must lose weight to become more healthier !!!!!!!!!!!!! ….. “A promise that I never fulfill ” ==”

    4 years ago
  40. Martina you looked super pretty here + I love your earrings which kind of disappeared! anyway this was really interesting^^ Thank youuu :)

    4 years ago