Woohoo! TLDRs! Haven’t done these for a while! We were supposed to do one last week, since we do them every second week, but with Martina’s busted ankle she needed to rest, so we postponed it until this week. Sorry guise! We’re back to our normal schedule now!

Anyhow, this week’s TL;DR question was quite easy, and we had lots of things that we excluded from the video, which we’ll talk about a bit here:

1) The X-arm crossing: whenever we go to a store and they don’t have something in stock, they cross their forearms and say “no.” Saying no would have been enough, but the arm gestures are just overkill; wonderful, wonderful overkill, that we have at first adopted in jest, but now do regularly, unfortunately, to which our friends give us the same confused look we gave the store clerks when we first met them.

2) Hand Phone: We call our cellphones handphones now. WHAT THE EFF?!?! Why call it a handphone? Is there a foot phone? Using the word “hand” is totally redundant. Like “this is mouthfood.” Anyhow, even though we hate the word, we use it all the time, and confuse the bajesus out of our Canadian friends. Thanks Korea! ARGH!

3) Intolerance of Salty Food: Now, this isn’t really a habit as much as a taste. We find that whenever we travel back to Canada, we can barely eat anything for the first few days, because it’s so overwhelmingly salty that we gag. No joke here. It’s really, really salty. Korean food doesn’t use a lot of salt, it seems, while North American food uses too much. So, after living here for a few years, our taste buds have totally changed.

4) Looking both ways before crossing a one-way street: Gotta be done. Or you die.

5) Momomo instead of blahblahblah: Korea’s version of “blah blah blah” is “momomo” We say it all the time now. Again, quite awkward when you slip up in front of your non-Korean friends.

6) Forks are awkward: We’ve been using chopsticks with everything now, and whenever we’re given forks to use we’re so…confused. Not that they’re confusing to use. They’re a lot easier than chopsticks. Forks are just so…barbaric. I don’t want to stab my food anymore. I want to pick it up. Chopsticks let you do that. It’s like, the more humane way to eat food. Sometimes we go to Korean restaurants and they won’t give us chopsticks, probably because they think we can’t use them, but we’re so much more comfortable with them now!

That’s it for now, I think. We could go on for a long time, but we already wrote a MASSIVE blog post today about Engrish in Kpop. We’ll try to keep this of reasonable length. Let us know if there’s anything we missed. Any habits you dropped or adopted since coming to Korea? I’m sure we’ll read the comments and be like “OH MY GOD HOW DID WE FORGET THAT?!?!” Ha!

On a side note: did anyone notice the new lighting? We got new lights and we’re totally stoked. We look so much crisper now, I think. Sorry. Nerd comment there. Carry on!

  1. I spent two year in Japanese classes and I still have a hard time not bowing. It causes some level of discomfort with my Chinese in-laws at time though. They consider bowing to be a very classist habit from the old days. = /

  2. I live in America but like I watch so many korean cultural videos and now if I’m greeting a teacher I have the tendency to bow and it gets really awkward and my teachers are like what are you doing and then I have to explain everything and it’s a habit I’m trying to break

  3. What I would find hilarious is if they people that see this vlog start unconsciously imitating your mannerisms…
    Who am I kidding?…. yesterday I did the X-arm crossing…. only by watching you …

  4. oh the hand phone….. i love it when you said “is there a food phone?”
    i myself lived in canada for a looong time and i got used to saying cellphone.
    so whenever i go back to korea to visit my family, people are like, ‘what is a cellphone?’

  5. Since my grandmother is korean and is teaching me, i have a habit of bowing and shaking hands with my hand on my arm and i live in america so they think im weird considering i dont look foriegn at all

  6. I feel so weird….because I haven’t spend any time in Korea or any other Asian countries and I have the habit of bowing :/

    I did that when I received my certificate at graduation and my friends pointed it out and laughed at me.

    I think I may have picked up the habit from Taekwon-Do practice. >.<

  7. I’ve never been to ANY Asian country but I DO kinda bowing thing (not exactly front bow Asians do but sort of turning-my-head-to-the-side-a-bit-and-low-it-down *weired*) all the time for saying “hello”, “bye” or “sorry”. LOL

  8. I bow to people I meet or greet, even though I have never been to Korea. When I apologize to people, I’m like, “I’m *bow* sorry! *bow*” I think I just picked it up from K-Dramas and variety shows and when I do it, people give me weird looks. Also when I talk to people, I say “Ne” and when I see people I know, I started waving, yelling, “Annyeong!”

    I also pick up random Korean words and phrases and when I’m irritated or panicking, I suddenly blurt out all sorts of Korean words I know and nobody understands what I’m saying. Since my friends are also K-Pop fans, they can pick out a couple of words they understand like “Ya!” “Aigoo!” “Babo” and common phrases. But most of the time, it’s like I’m talking to myself.

    Nowadays, I’ve also began to think about how convenient the Korean language is. I mean, you could just bow while saying sorry so you don’t have to look the person in the eye. There are a lot of stuff you can say in Korea without sounding as cheesy as you would if you said it in English.
    I’ve also started using chopsticks and mumbling in Korean at home and … My dad hates it. I wanna go to South Korea so I can blend in…

  9. so you hating to say “handphone” in turkey we are calling them “pocket phone” =_=

  10. Before I was with my husband—he’s Thai—I’d already picked up the habit of bowing from watching Korean dramas. What I specifically picked up from ze hubby is:
    1) Taking off my shoes at the front door. I now cringe when non-Asians guests don’t do it.
    2) What I like to call the “Asian squat.” Hm, know what I’m referring to?
    3) Eating ze “Thai” way which is generally with a spoon in my right hand and a fork in the left. Thai folk only use chopsticks with noodles and sushi (pretty much).
    4) When I’m surprised by something I’ll say “oi!” Not sure how to spell the sound.
    5) I’m learning Thai so sometimes I’ll think in Thai… There have been many times I’ll want to respond to someone in Thai, but stop myself before doing so, haha.
    6) This goes for the taste buds, but I far prefer Asian food over American.
    Phew, I think that’s it–or at least what I could think of off the top of my head. =)

  11. I hold doors for people all the time… and I would say my parents taught me to be polite(all the time and I like being nice) and all but the fact is that I’ve been doing it way before I became accustomed to Korean stuff and mannerisms. I did it isn’t all my previous schools and I still do it now. I stand there and I’m like “Go ahead, why are you looking at me so weirdly?” But Korean dramas and reality shows have made me so much more aware of the fact that I do it so often and subconsciously. Also I’ve always been sort of uncomfortable when people hold the door for ME, it makes me feel like I’m forcing them to do something which annoy me a bit because I’m known to be the nicest person ever. 
    In school especially when guys(the usual people who I see in through my everyday passing) hold doors open for me I walk really quickly through it sort of thinking to myself, “Now you think I’m lazy” or “He thinks I can’t do anything for myself” and “You didn’t have to do that”…and yeah that’s basically it. Along with saying “예” and acting so…so formal to people I don’t know well. There are so many things that peole have mentioned here that I do but sometimes it’s just to confuse people XD

  12. I’m not korean or live in korea and I say aigoo all the time.

  13. “There’s a party over here, a party over there, wave your hands in the air, shake your derrière . . . “

  14. Cell phones/hand phones are called mobiles or mobile phones here in Australia. I have a feeling that it’ll take me a while to not call mine a mobile lol.

  15. Haha, handphone xD First time I hear this, but it’s similar to the Germans saying ‘Handy’. Where did this word come from O_Ö
    And I have to agree with the salt amount of Western countries from Asian countries. My parents are like this, too. They don’t like too sweet or salty food: Maybe because they once lived in Asia for a long while, but now their tast buds still are not used to this …
    Or one of my friends used to bow to people like my parents e.g. greeting someone and in other situations. So I think this is adapted in some regions of Vietnam, too.

    I often use interjections like aish, aigoo, omo unintentionally, too.
    Or when I’m sometimes talking with a quiet voice to Germans, but this would lead them into thinking that I’m not confident enough to speak with a clear and loud voice. Though my parents taught me to speak with a soft voice because I’m a girl. You know what I mean? Asian versus Western countries proprieties.

    Well, I think there are more things, but I can’t remember them xD

  16. when and how did you guys get into K POP :)

  17. Can you do a TLDR on Religion in Korea? It mentions in your FAQ that you both minored in Religion and I’ve heard Christianity is BIG in Korea so I was wondering how big it actually is, have you been to any Korean churches or have Korean Christian friends and how (if at all) Christianity affects the drinking culture in Korea? Drinking/getting drunk is taboo to alot of Christians in the Americas- how different is that in Korea (do you still seem unsociable if you don’t drink if you say you are Christian)?
    Also – what religion are you guys? Just curiosity… maybe you don’t want to talk about something so private online :)

    • although i am not martina, i can answer that for you, except for simon and martina’s religion part (i am convinced that they are either atheists or agnostics…?)
      all i can say as a korean is that only 10% of the population is korean.
      remember just because a person says he is a christian doesn’t mean he’s devout. a lot of church goers
      drink alcohol and rarely but have pre-marital sex.
      don’t forget that korea is NOT a country founded on christianity like europe.

  18. I’m 16 and I recognize the “Woot, there it is!” The hip it hop it etc thing I’ve also heard before. I also do the arm-in-a-circle-above-shoulder-thing while saying whoot-whoot! “Raise the roof” with the raise-the-roof-arm-waving is just normal to me…

    The slow-talking-and-extreme-hand/arm-gestures is also something I do normally… I talk with my hands (I swear I was born to speak in sign-language) but the slow-mo talking really only happens when I meet new people because I talk really fast. I mean really, really fast. My family has to stop me sometimes and they’ll just be like “Whaaat?”

    Now, loud talking? I think I only speak loudly when I get really caught up in a conversation because I get so focused on the topic at hand and stop paying attention to my surroundings.

    The x-arm crossing… I don’t remember when or where I picked that up, but I did. It just sort of happens now… Bowing I know I picked up from watching WAAAAY too many K/J-Dramas and variety shows. Opening and closing doors is a bit of pet-peeve of mine. Manners, people, manners! Though I think it’s more of a romance-type thing? Holding a door open or pulling out someone’s chair is something you only do when you have a crush on someone or you’re in a relationship, I think.

    Whew, that was long! (and late but I was grounded so…) I think my favorite segment besides WANKing has to be your TL;DR’s! I hope you ankle gets better, Martina!

  19. Haha totally agree with the bowing and the thing about touching your elbow when you hand something to someone!! I just returned home from Korea and been doing that a lot. And the speaking really slowly and using hand gestures for everything lol!

  20. can anyone explain how to get to the page with the questions to vote up and down and to ask your own question? ive been trying to find it…

  21. LOL enjoyed reading it and related many things to my own experience. My colleague frm Bhutan visited Korea and she asked for direction, one man did  the ” X arm crossing ” poor girl ,thought he meant go straight and turn left and then go straight and turn right, she could never find her destination ;)

  22. What’s the name of the song that martina sings in the video?
    she said it was one of eminem’s song as i remember.
    i really wanna know the name. :)

    Ps. i’m a korean student and living in seoul right now
    and i’m 19 in korean age so it’s a tough time for me because you know
    the huge test whatever ㅋㅋ
    i live near 이화 university and i really hope we can meet someday

  23. I keep saying 응… 응…. as I listen to a friends story.

  24. Wow, talking loudly.  My Japanese wife scolds me about that constantly, and I never understood why.  I guess it must be something about Korea/Japan and the volume of your voice.

    Glad I watched this video. :)

  25. Where did you guys get you wall decals , i really like those .i just moved and i cant paint my room so i think wall decals would look nice too .

  26. I love the way you did your eye makeup Martina.Brings out your eye color ! 

  27. How about saying excuse me or sorry when you bump into someone? 

  28. Well, I can’t comment on habits formed in Korea, but I have been in New Zealand since I was 19 (I’m American, now 25) because of my kiwi husband. On a recent trip back home everyone was hassling me about my ‘British-ness’ (they’re not too educated on NZ obviously..). I say ‘aye?’ instead of ‘huh?’ I intonate on almost every sentence instead of a quick ‘ya know?’ I say Kiwi instead of New Zealander and call kiwis kiwifruits. I know how to pronounce Maori and now ‘think’ in Maori pronounciation style. Example: my father was driving us in VA and a sign said ‘To Powhite Parkway’ and I thought it was ‘Toe-poe-fit-ee’, as Maori would pronounce it. There are way too many things to name, but suffice it to say it happens and there’s almost nothing you can do about it! 3rd culture peeps we are :) Love your TLDR’s btw.

  29. Bowing. I started doing this mainly when I got back from Japan, but I never notice it. I never think it’s weird, and my family and friends never say anything about it. Then I meet someone new and I bow and I either get weird looks or they literally laugh. While I stand there, totally confused, my parents or friends usually have to make up some excuse like “Oh, she studies Asia, so she does weird things sometimes.”
    I’ve also realized that after returning from Korea, I have a habit of using Konglish. Especially saying “진짜” when ever I’m really excited or upset. One of my uni friends finally asked me the other day why I always cuss in Korean, and I had no clue what she was talking about. Then I had to explain I was really just saying “really”. . . .Ahhhhh Konglish ♥

  30. I used handphone all the time instead of cellphone. It’s weird using cellphone. So it’s an Asian thing? lol

  31. Definitely have been stuck holding the door open for the masses before. Never again.

  32. I use straws to drink coffee in America too. It’s supposed to help keep your teeth white…….. supposed to…….

  33. lol at using chopsticks, more humane way t eat food XD
    Mine is bowing, Using Omo&Aigoo, Covering my mouth when I laugh and passing food by holding my elbow.

  34. The covering your mouth, speaking softer, bowing, not making direct eye contact and making random korean exclamations and saying thank you for every little courtesy came from a mix of watching lots of korean dramas, music videos, and growing up with korean godparents and a korean best friend. When we were little, they were always shhhing us so now, naturally, I speak softly, and so when I speak with my family, I feel like I’m yelling all the time because they say I speak all soft and try to be cute. I definitely cover my mouth when I laugh or speak and when I’m eating. It’s been so trained into me, I can just remember my mama coco across the table “Cover your mouth, no one want to see you eat” lol

  35. omg we do that ‘touch ur arm’ thing in india 2! like, wen we’re taking or accepting sth, we have 2 hold our right arm with our left arm.

  36. Oh yea, forgot to mention: I don’t live/have never been to Korea. I actually live in Phoenix AZ. We don’t really have very many..Asians, period, so people really have no idea why I do some of the things I do that isn’t very normal for people around here…

  37. now the korean blood is getting on to you~ muhahahahahahah~!!!

  38. This was definitely the funniest TLDR so far!

  39. Ok well, hope I don’t offend anybody but I’ve been having this thought for a long time, Is it common for koreans to eat dogs, what do younger generations think of this? 

    • First of all, eating dog is not very popular in Korea. It goes long way back to ancient times. Since beef, pork and even chicken was very very expensive and hard to get for most people, dogs are the easiest and sole provider of protein which people could get around them. That’s how people started eating dogs, but it’s neither that popular nor inexpensive now.  Besides, we, Koreans, do not eat house pets. There are particular breeds for eating, though. (Hmm… sounds weird, but true…) So here are answers to your questions:

      1. Eating dog is not common though it is huge part of  restaurant business in Korea.
      2. Younger generations in Korea mostly consider eating dog a part of the culture and they think it’s just an individual taste although they don’t eat dog meat.

      Hope this helps. :) 

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