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How to Spend Free Time in Korea

June 13, 2013

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Ok super generic title here, and – we realize – this isn’t necessarily true of what everyone does. One part of the video we cut out was when Martina asked her students – back when she was teaching – what they did on their free time, a lot of them would just say “sleep” or “watch dramas.” It’s not like, the moment a holiday or weekend starts, everyone packs into the parks. Though, it’s so crowded that it feels that way.

You know, that’s one thing that still surprises us about Korea: how crowded it can get. A few weeks ago, the first Saturday in which the temperature broke 20 degrees, the two of us decided to go to Samchungdong for a date-day. Turns out that EVERY OTHER COUPLE IN KOREA DID THE SAME THING. Though, I’m sure this isn’t true. Tons of people stayed home or did something different. It didn’t feel that way to us, though, because there were so many couples walking around, holding hands, that it felt like the crowds that leave concert halls after the show’s over. It’s overwhelming. Then again, when we go back to Toronto, we look around and ask ourselves where did all the people go. Feels like a ghost-town to us now, though I’m sure that it’s not. In comparison to Korea’s really high population density, it feels that way.

Another thing we didn’t really talk about in this video: I think the urban sprawl that we’re used to in North America really prevents people from doing a lot on their weekends. Where we grew up, you couldn’t really walk anywhere. You have to drive, since everything’s so spread out. In Korea, though, we can easily walk to a park, a movie theatre, a few coffee shops, a bunch of restaurants, a hospital, and a shopping mall, all within 20 minutes of walking. Things are so condensed here, which makes it easier for people to do things. While, if you’ve gotta drive for an hour to get somewhere, you might not be as motivated. No? Thoughts?

Back to free time in Korea: there is something else that we forgot to mention: Pensions! Though, our experience of pensions is really limited, since we’ve only been a couple of times A LONG TIME AGO, we do know about them:

Pensions, from our experiences, are kind of like cottages that you rent for the weekend. They’re far away from the city. They’re not really like those log-cabins by the lake and whatnot. The pensions we went to were old schools that aren’t schools anymore. Hell, you know, I just thought of something brilliant: the Eatyourkimchi crew should all go to a Pension and make a movie out of it. That’d be awesome! Though, one thing I do remember about pensions that sucks: sleeping on the floor. You have a mat on which to sleep on the ground, but those aren’t comfortable for us, aka, first world problems. Ok: just emailed Soo Zee about this. Gonna get something planned for one of these weekends. We should also go to Busan. Hell. Lots of things we should do.

Ok I realize the point of the last paragraph was to talk about pensions, but we didn’t talk about them. We just remembered them vaguely from a couple of years ago, so now we decided to go to one. We’ll be able to tell you a lot more about them once our video on them is done. YAY! We’re super stoked for this. Or it could be the 3AM crazies kicking in now, in which we think every idea is a great idea, and maybe this is a lot lamer than I’m making it out to be.

IF there’s anything we missed out on in this post and video, let us know. I’m sure we’re missing a bunch, and as soon as someone suggests it, we’ll be like “OH HELL HOW DID WE FORGET?!” It’s really the public park tent culture that surprises us the most. So many tents! Are you used to seeing that where you’re from?

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How to Spend Free Time in Korea

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  1. I think you guys should go to G-Dragon’s father’s pension, wherever it is and tell us about it.

    3 years ago
  2. Can you guys go camping for a WANK??? :D cuz that would be cool.

    3 years ago
  3. I’m envious, I really wish I lived in an area that had more things…heck anything with walking distance. Then again it is 104º degrees (that’s 40º in celsius I believe) outside right now and I don’t even want to walk the three minutes from my office doors to my car. In the winter though, things within walking distance would be wonderful to have.

    3 years ago
  4. Haha, the malls! I’m so used to two-story and one-story malls, and so when my grandparents brought me to a Korean mall I was like , “Why… are there… so many… floors…”

    3 years ago
  5. Hi you lovely people! So I’m planning my 25+5 birthday adventure [I can’t bare to say the real number yet] for next year, and it has always been a dream to go to South Korea and explore. Is there a better time of year to travel to Seoul or one that I should avoid all together and why? I’m super excited to take the adventure and I want to make the best of it, so any advice would be totes fab and helpful!

    3 years ago
    • Thanks so much for your helpful tips. My birthday is in September so I’m thinking of making it a Fall trip, but maybe I’ll travel during the summer prior. Thanks for all of the hints on the places to see. Maybe I should just have you plan my trip.

      3 years ago
  6. Now I want to go tent camping in a park and have food delivered to me. That sounds like so much fun!

    Even though it was a total coincidence, June 12 (aka the day this video was uploaded) happens to be my birthday, so the shout-out at the end made my day a little better! Thanks Simon & Martina!

    3 years ago
  7. Was that Barbra Streisand at the end of the vid?

    3 years ago
  8. WHAT ARE THESE PERK PACKAGE I KEEP HEARING ABOUT???? DX I only know about the ones on Indiegogo where you could get Polaroids or Music (I got the music). But now there were Make-up ones, and other stuffs. I’m sad now. Sad face!!! :-(

    3 years ago
    • It was all on the same fundraiser, you could have gotten a beauty care package or a shout out if you could afford it ^^ I got the CD too, I love Aegyozilla’s solo.

      3 years ago
  9. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen any of these shout outs yet!

    Martina, did Hyori’s make-up inspire you that much? ^^

    3 years ago
  10. IT’s a multi-level coffee shop that is filled with people coupling together..hmm…I thought that that sort of thing was NOT accepted in Korea. (Mark that one up as; things that make you go ‘hmmm’ (there is a earworm for ya!))

    3 years ago
  11. Hi, Simon and Martina! I’m currently watching a lot of k-dramas lately and I wanted to ask Martina, since Simon doesn’t watch them that much, how popular are they in Korea? Since you said that k-pop wasn’t that popular in Korea, I’ve been wondering about this. Give some tummy touches to Spudgy on my behalf and some treats to Meems. Thanks =)

    3 years ago
    • Pretty sure k-pop is popular music in korea, just that some groups that are popular internationally aren’t that popular in korea, personally I’d compare k-dramas to spanish telenovelas or north american shows like pretty little liars/glee/soap operas or whatever, not everyone watches them, but alot of people do.

      3 years ago
      • Though I have several Korean friends who aren’t at all into to kpop, I don’t know any Korean person (at any age) who doesn’t watch k-dramas kkkk. Just like I’ve never met anyone, man or woman, who doesn’t like Hyun Bin! He’s so popular <3

        3 years ago
  12. I have a question about not wearing shoes outside. Here in the Pacific Northwest you can see many people from young to old take off their shoes and just walk around. Usually this happens at parks, events, fairs, ect. Many Korean dramas portray being shoeless as shocking (for a lack of a better word). Is going barefoot in public a taboo in Korea or is it just a TV/Movie industry? Thanks!

    3 years ago
  13. Where are the top 5 places a person visiting Korea just HAS to go? Restaurant, store, garden, whatever. Also, here’s a picture of my doggie!

    3 years ago
  14. Aah tent culture, or what we’d call camping here in Australia. Every long weekend or even if the public holiday is on a Thursday/Tuesday, people (mostly Caucasian) will take time off, cram their kids into a car, shove their camping equipment into their trailer, on top of the car, or attach a caravan on the end and drive off to the national parks or near the secluded beaches and camp. Just beware the dingos, mosquitos, and if you’re really unlucky, the weather.

    3 years ago
  15. Red

    You should definitely do a video about Busan. I only got to spend one day last time I visited Korea and I wish I had more time to explore.

    3 years ago
  16. D: ARE YOU GUYS NOT GONNA GIVE AWAY THAT BLOCK B ALBUM ( Even if i missed it xD ) ? :( I WANT IT D: I SERIOUSLY WANT TO GRAB IT AND HUG IT I WANT IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! D:

    3 years ago
  17. I heard that many younger Korean females dream of wanting to own a coffee shop…at least that is what I got when I was talking to people in Seoul (in coffee shops hehe)

    3 years ago
  18. make a video showing us the vertical mall thingie ? :P

    3 years ago
  19. I was looking at Simon’s chest hair…its so distracting…all i could think about was Kevin >.< BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    3 years ago
  20. GET THE IRON MAN TENT!!!! Even if it is so tiny that your feet are sticking way out, that is just too cool to pass on! We only have dull mono-colored options around here. Don’t waste this chance. It’s frickin IRON MAN!

    3 years ago
  21. How many coffee shops are there exactly in Korea? o.O Also, I’m not sure if our ideas of “a lot” of coffee shops match, since here in Vancouver we say that if we throw a rock it will hit three Starbucks XD I heard Tim’s is more popular in Toronto and Starbucks in Vancouver :) Also, Martina said “P Shi Bang” hehe more Koreanification! (Yes, I made that word up…)

    3 years ago
  22. Hahahaha drink some food and eat some drinks XD

    3 years ago
  23. Do you guys ever feel like people in Korea usually don’t hang out in their houses? Sometimes I don’t want to leave the house just to spend money but in Korea they always feel the need to go out and do stuff. Additionally, if you want to go like hiking somewhere in North America not only is it an activity but also a chance to get away from people but in Korea a lot of times you end up hiking in a line with hundreds of other people. haha. Thoughts? Opinions?

    3 years ago
  24. Hi guise! You have mentioned that the music that is popular in Korea is quite different from what the international audience likes or what you review for KPop Music Mondays. What music is popular in Korea, and what bands aren’t listened to as much in Korea as outside of Korea? :)

    3 years ago
  25. Hi Simon and Martina!
    I have a bit more free time in …. 2 weeks, and I was thinking I would spend my monies on sending you a package. Is there any British food that you would like? Anything you particularly wan to try? Thanks :)

    3 years ago
  26. Martina does have a matching problem…

    3 years ago
  27. I’m Hmong and in my culture, we do that fairly regularly. Especially if it’s a huge Hmong gathering say for the Fourth of July tournament at Como Park in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lots of families will bring out their tents, ‘lay’ or straw mats, blankets, you name it, to this tournament and hang out for a few hours or more and just chill. It’s pretty cool. Best part is that there are vendors that sells anything from food to clothes and there’s a zoo nearby that you can go visit!

    3 years ago
  28. Hi Simon and Martina! I know this will be lost in the comments but I just want to say thank you! You’ve both inspired me so much. Please keep up the good work~ P.S. Martina, you’re so pretty~ I want to be pretty like you! What’s your secret? ;)

    3 years ago
  29. a) That shout-out was pretty epic

    b) I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who says ‘eat drinks’ instead of ‘drink drinks’. I try not to, but… it’s difficult to get it right when I’m talking.

    c) Martina, liking the cherry look with a kind of vintage twist to it ^_^

    3 years ago
  30. For a second I thought Martina dyed the tips of her hair red!!

    3 years ago
  31. Martina you look especially gorgeous!!

    wow…tents at the park?? weirdly cool!!!
    aaww Pororo Land!! that might be the one Running Man went to!!! (unless of course there’s more than one Pororo Land!!)

    aaaww that shoutout!!!

    3 years ago
  32. Dear Simon and Martina =3 , I am really curious about the Anime culture in korea, is it as huge as in Japan ? Do you often see people reading manga in the subway ? Are there any otaku’s events ? XOXO

    3 years ago
  33. I tried to watch this but my kittens got in the way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s5gKt_sRRY&feature=youtu.be

    3 years ago
    • OH MY GOSH, THAT CAT IS SO ADORABLE!!!!!

      3 years ago
    • You need to have an explaination with your striped kitten. He/she sat still in front of the screen right when the video was over. That’s not the way it works.

      3 years ago
    • kittens y u so cute ^^

      3 years ago
    • GAH!!!!! KITTEEENNN!!!! I FORGIVE YOU! TAKE ALL MY MONIES AND TUNAS!!!

      3 years ago
      • Yeah, the stripped one was Ahn and he loved sitting on my lap or shoulder and watching you guys talk. He died sadly shortly after this was filmed. We think the had a defect and he wasn’t putting on muscle mass. His cage mate, Cathan, is kicking tho. He loves watching EYK videos too and other kpop videos (he chases the members dancing on the screen with his paw).

        3 years ago
  34. MARTINAAAA U GETTIN PRETTIER OMG SOOOOOOOOOOOOO NASTY

    3 years ago
  35. Can you guys tell us more about MT’s and such. In drama’s and variety shows they make it seem like it’s an event that you have to experience at least once in your life. Do MT’s only exist for idols or also for the ‘regular wokring men’?
    Thank youuuus~~~

    3 years ago
    • MT’s do exist. When I was working there my academy had MTs. I remember once we went to the horse races and got to sit in the VIP lounge. There was lots of drinking and then a BBQ lunch. We went in a coach – and yes, the coaches are the same as in the Gangnam style clip with curtains and everything.

      3 years ago
    • Er..sorry I don’t know what an MT is either?

      3 years ago
      • Membership Training. OMG really..you guys never heard of it? O___O Whenever they go out in the mountains and stuff they all go: “waaaah, reminds me of MT”.
        I guess I watch too much Korean television… :'(

        3 years ago
        • Ko

          Hi! I just wanna help you understand what MT is in Korea. So basically, MT is a colleage activity in which all freshmen are supposed to participate to have a chance to get to know their peers and seniors. Each department in colleage organaizes their own MTs . In general, It takes place at the start of a first semester and they go to somewhere away from a city. They usually go through a physical training in order to build up discipline like in the military but not that serious and have different types of activities. Last but not least, after those activities, they drink A LOT and many become shit-faced lol.
          Just FYI, we call MT for two different things in Korea. One is the colleage activity as I mentioned above, and the other one is motels. MT stands for motels

          3 years ago
      • Hey, guys! I tried to google it and found this:
        “MT”, which stands for membership training, is a modern phenomenon in
        Korea. It is basically a retreat where a group of people from an
        organization go away together for a day or more and carry out a variety
        of group-bonding activities and training activities.

        I guess I’ve never heard about this…o.O

        3 years ago
    • what’s MT?

      3 years ago
  36. Is it just me or does the sound sound a bit weird? I can hear Martina more from the left and Simon more on the right rather than balanced.

    3 years ago
  37. go to GD’s pension please! dolce vita http://www.thenemo.kr lol

    3 years ago
  38. Can I say how much I love the preview shot for the video? Both of your expressions are my favorite thing… s.

    3 years ago
  39. Flin Flon Nowhere?… Manitoba is gonna be MAD at chu!

    3 years ago
  40. Martina !!! You look especially vibrant today or yesterday…or perhaps last week when you filmed this haha.

    3 years ago
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