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?

  1. not sure if u covered this issue. i wanted to know about plastic surgery in south Korea.

  2. Martina’s constant blinking kind of distracted me a bit hahah XD I wonder if her eyelashes were giving her problems~

  3. oh, the tents. So many tents. Everywhere. Tents are expensive though! the only one you can get for $30 dollars is that iron man one from homeplus which my Husband and I were totally…not….contemplating buying.

  4. Sry! this is and add-on to my other comment/question, i have two examples for the teeth smile thing, the Actor Yoo Seung ho has the described teeth and Lee Gikwang from Beast/Batoost/B2ST.

  5. Hi simon and Martina ^0^ I have a kinda weird question but im gonna still ask it anyway, um…. do you know how korean celebrities get their teeth so amazing!? the teeth are about the same size and are very white, and the bottoms are even and when they smile it looks so cute! but when some smile they only show their top teeth. it looks so adorable! also do they “file” their teeth to make it even?

  6. Dear Simon and Martina you guys have talked about all sorts of food in Korea. I was wondering if you have encountered lots of food that doesn’t match description on the menu. For example you order a ham and cheese toast but actually get a loaded sandwich with meat, egg, tomato, lettuce, pickles and ketchup (not that I mind but if I have food allergies this would be an actual problem). I am currently visiting Seoul and I was wondering is this normal?

  7. Hello, I’m Caitlin and lately I have noticed that some people (mainly teens) in my area have been suffering from self harm and eating disorders and I was wondering if there are any people like that in South Korea. Is is normal to hear about things like this in Korea? How do people deal with it? And have you experienced any sort of situation with a friend or student (not pointing any fingers) in your life? Thanks

  8. Seeing your videos on T-ara and Kpop Fans, I wonder if you heard about the hype on Exo’s three wins. Apparently, Naver has released the news on Exo’s third win on Inkigayo and the article has raised around 11685 messages of hate on NITZEN. Many of the comments are about the flawed voting system and that SM bought the trophy or how EXO won by their young but large fandom and that they didn’t win because good music but by good promotion etc:

    As an exotic, I don’t find their reasons legit but then I am biased (You don’t really have to read the comments):
    “Well I was coming from a non fan perspective so I would emphasise the skeptical point of view. If EXO’s music is good than they will gain fans, their are people who do feel put off stanning the group but may still like a couple of their songs, I may also add that fame is probably the wrong way to describe EXO (obviously people know them, they have some level of fame) but
    fame in this circumstance I feel should have particular connotations. Wonder Girls, Busker Busker, Lee Hi, PSY, SNSD, BigBang are famous (and some also have large fandoms) but their regarded as famous because they have performed a feat that is memorable or exceptional in the minds of many even outside of those aware of happenings in the music scene. In many ways that’s considered acceptable and justified fame.
    What EXO has is a large, zealous, niche fandom that is pushing something to be more than what it is (yet) and from how people have described it as a form of ‘mediaplay’ sort of shows that their resorting to infamy to get fame which is also resentful. Every fandom of a particular group wants their band to get famous, you can’t really villianise what the EXO fans are doing in that regard but I think what upsets people is the fact that because their fandom is so large they can compensate in areas were normally it relies on the performers to make up the difference and the fan’s contribution gives them the final push. Its the illusion that EXO could have zero in other criteria but because of fans efforts alone they’ll still win. Leading back to the the large company thing, EXO would not have the fandom is they didn’t have the ingenious push from SM, therefore they are in this position by vice and virtue of their company rather than their talent alone. People resent that they feel this group is being ‘forced’ on them or taking away from more ‘deserving’ performers. They are gaining fame but they are not making something that those before them had to produce to get the same amount of fame…EXO’s main folly is being the ultimate example of why the system is flawed, and how business/company power can override musical integrity. It links with the increased push towards indie groups, people are resisting the monopoly they feel SM is gaining, hence why not all the top comments ‘blame’ the fans along but talk of the whole music system going down the pan.”

    I prefer this comment below:
    “But then you understand that people is judging EXO based on their assumptions right? Based more on an idea than mere fact. I mean, as you mentioned, you can’t really say they are famous the way SNSD, Lee Hi, Big Bang and PSY are, but people instantly think the recognition they get is undeserved, when there is barely any recognition at all, even less positive. How does that add up? Sure the hype was pretty big, but many people didn’t care. Many more than expected, and that same people claim EXO got fame they didn’t deserve,fame that never existed in the first place because right out off the bat they were infamous for “being too famous”. This niche of a fandom you mention is all they have, and people claim they have much more, but they DON’T. Then they claim the industry is dying because of some fans. EXO ends up being a victim of people’s coming up with their own ideas and concluding them with something that didn’t even happen in the first place.A music show is not going to change people’s minds. They aren’t going to like EXO because they won, and they can comfortably still like whatever they want to like, awards or no awards. Talent will shine through, winning or no winning. So as you say, people complaining are doing it out of resentment, not out of genuine worry about “artistic integrity”. The only reason they connect that to the awards show is because they want their artists to win, and that’s pretty much it. This ended up being about the fans and the non-fans, and stopped being about EXO. That’s not “going to the root of the problem, hence why many people mentioned the corrupted system/artistic inegrity”, that’s looking up for ways to complain because your artist didn’t win, even though they are not going to stop releasing music, they won’t stop having many other successes and people that love them and there is always going to be room for proper and honest ranking systems. And when their artists win there always will be people that won’t like it, and it’s the same story.

    Frankly there is much derision, and people is harsh and questions “Who the fuck are these people?” and you bet they are going to look for them. As you see in many of the comments, there was plenty of people complaining because how come some faceless dudes won? It wasn’t even about the quality of the song, but the recognition. And you bet some of them
    will be curious, and some of them will look them up.The problem with Wolf, and both their title tracks really, is that they are not pop songs in the strict sense. Firstly because one was a strange mix of electronic, gregorian, screamo thingies, hardly a radio song, and the second was a strange mix of dubstep and hip hop, hardly a radio song too. Like you said, there is
    always going to be a standard mold for “popular” music, and EXO went ways to be really far from it, and the truth is, their songs weren’t good enough to break from that mold and appeal to people as “pop” music,and then, because they won, people is going to be even harsher about it.”

    Thus my TDLR for the week is: Throught this EXO situation, what are your thoughts on the ranking system, on the people opinions, on the current music industry and quite bluntly, did EXO really deserve this win.

  9. Hi Simon / Martina / Dr M / The Spudge,

    A while ago you did a video about how to teach in Korea, and now I’m scared of Hagwons. BUT what what do you do if you want to teach in a public school? How did you get involved? Are there any recruitment agencies that are better than others, or should I just contact the schools directly?

    I’m studying for an education degree at the moment. In September I’m going to Daegu to do a 6 month internship at one of the universities, but I’m already looking into coming back to teach once I graduate :)

  10. I asked my husband and he said Jimmy is a possible Korean name, but it could also be thought of as slang… so your kid may be made fun of. But if you want a kid to take to Pororo land I will volunteer my adorable 16 month old. He would love it^^

  11. Where I live most things are within walking distance too. Apart from friends! My friends all live in different towns so organizing get-togethers is a pain >_<

  12. Ahahahaaha Sean Bean, Summer is coming omg hahahaha I’m dying (much like the majority of the characters -_-) but seriously that made my day

  13. i figured the tents were the Korean way of picnic-ing in the park while also not getting tanned and keeping cool since tanning not so popular… oh and to ward away insane bugs and such

  14. Hell yes, get to Busan! I’m sure you’ve already been here and know it, but this town rocks, especially in summer.

  15. Hi Martina and Simon! (I’m putting Martina’s name first to change things up!)

    I have a question for next week’s TL;DR:

    What do you guise think about non-Asians trying out for Korean agencies such as YG and JYP? In what way would you think it’d affect Korea to see non-Asians in Kpop groups and as idols, if it were to ever happen?

  16. Whattttttttttt how could you forget noraebang (노래방)??? Karaoke…so much singing in Korea…

  17. hmmm… There is at least one Jimi – Park Ji-min.
    What! is she, chopped liver?

  18. All i could see was Simon’s hairy chest. Good work on that, man. lol. Martina your skin looks fabulous.

  19. Based on watching the “Truth Is..” Australian tv show on kpop that you were featured in, I have two potential questions for a TL;DR:
    1 – How do you see the “Korean Wave”? Is it working? Is it worth it?
    2 – How do you feel about the conditions the kpop groups live under and is one of your goals (perhaps not an original goal) now to try to highlight the situation so that maybe the situation can improve for them?

    Either one would be awesome but……kinda political I guess. I hope that’s ok?

  20. Hi, Simon and Martina!
    I am a big fan of yours. And I wish to suggest a EYK camp through which Simon, Martina, and your fans together can spend 2 days 1 night with food and doing many things such as contest or camp fire, and ppl can sleep on pention. Of course, ppl in south Korea can attend, or someone who has plan to visit Korea during that event. But It’ll be fun. Thanks.

  21. I was wondering if there are any foods or products that you’ve found in both Korea and Canada that have been made differently in each country. Kind of like how the same brand of soda tastes different depending on the region it’s from because it’s meant to cater to the tastes of the people that live there.

  22. Hi! I am Korean and live in Korea, and yet many of the things you say about Korea (such as all those parks with people and tents and Hongdae, and other stuff) are those that I have never experienced before and are obviously only in big cities like Seoul. Have you ever been to smaller cities in Korea, and how different was it to Seoul?

  23. Martina, your look today is gorgeous! Love the lipstick color a whole lot!



  25. @simonandmartina:disqus Possible TL;DR question? I came across this post http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/78521202.html from coming across this post: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2013/06/can-non-asian-foreigner-succeed-in-k.html and I thought the whole topic of “racism” within k-pop (in the first link) was interesting…You may need to read both posts before answering, but what do you think about non-Asians becoming k-pop idols? Obviously Busker Busker is successful but in general the k-pop scene still is dominantly Asian, despite having large international fanbases and oversea auditions. Just thought it’d be an interesting thing to talk about!

  26. Hey @SimonandMartina Possible TL;DR question? I came across this post http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/78521202.html from coming across this post: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2013/06/can-non-asian-foreigner-succeed-in-k.html and I thought the whole topic of “racism” within k-pop (in the first link) was interesting…You may need to read both posts before answering, but what do you think about non-Asians becoming k-pop idols? Obviously Busker Busker is successful but in general the k-pop scene still is dominantly Asian, despite having large international fanbases and oversea auditions. Just thought it’d be an interesting thing to talk about!

  27. OMG and EYK Crew MT video would be awesome! We could see you guys playing Korean games with punishments and to choose who cooks or washes the dishes :D

  28. When I was at Yonsei, having to ride the subway to Gangnam was a pain because it took 45 minutes. LOL So my friends and I always headed to Hongdae instead, which was less than 5 minutes by taxi and less than 15 minutes by subway. Plus, it was cheaper. There’s also jjimjilbang and noraebang. Both are pretty affordable, and they’re everywhere, too. Shopping is easy as there’s street stands everywhere… especially if you need socks… As for pensions, I’d really like to what it’s like going to an MT with Simon and Martina. LOL

  29. What abt the public bath/sauna? Do the ppl still like to go there or is it an old-fashioned one?


  31. ” 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.”

    This is one of the main things that appeals to me about Korea. I hate that I dread having to go anywhere here due to driving. It’s 20-30 minutes by car just to get to my university! I never want to do anything extra at school due to that drive time. If I want to go see some cool movie or do some event somewhere like gamestop, I rarely ever go because of how long it takes to drive, wasting gas, and since I share the car with another person I can’t do anything while she’s at work. The only place that’s feasible to walk to is a freakin 7-11, and I’m even kind of afraid to do that due to the crazy college drivers (I live on same street as another college, not mine) and the dangerous people who have done things like raped people who were just walking down the same street I live on.

  32. Funny that there’s a tent culture in Korea. My Chinese grandparents view camping as backwards. “We work so hard to give you a good life. Why would you want to sleep on the ground?”

  33. with so many people in one area, how would the delivery guy know which person ordered it?

  34. I live in Kansas and oh man you definetly need to drive to go anywhere! We don’t have such a dense population as Korea or even other cities in the U.S. If my family wants to go to a mall that actually has good stores we drive out to Wichita which is 3 hrs away!!! A decent amusement park is 5 hrs away! Yes we have driven 5 hrs to go to an amusement park! And when driving you can go a long time without passing any cities. The ones you do pass are just tiny little towns that you wonder why people live there. Sometimes I’m jealous of bigger cities that have everything a few minutes away but then again I don’t love crowded places, so little towns have their benefits! Like cleaner air! And big backyards! :)

  35. Martina, can I just say you look GORGEOUS (as you always do :] )! I just love the make up you did in this video ^^
    With the earrings, hair, and outfit, perfection!

  36. What about swimming pools in korea? Do a lot of people swim, are there a lot of pools? This may seem stupid but, because people want to stay pale and don’t show much back skin do girls wear a t-shirt over their swim suits or just go in a one-piece?

  37. speaking of parks!! I randomly decided to watch your Day in the Life in Korea video and from around 2:20 -ish to 3:14 we can see some examples of people hanging out at the park! :D you guys should check that vid out!

    *cries* i love that video so much by the way! I hope that if you do ever get the time, you might make an updated day in the life in Korea vid :3 those are always my fave kinds of vlogs~

  38. Oh Simon – Flin Flon isn’t in the middle of nowhere…it’s actually in Manitoba.

  39. You guys have mentioned your creepy room that is off the kitchen in your studio, why is it creepy? What happened in there? You said you would tell us one day, it should be that day :)

  40. Is the Birthday song still copyrighted?

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