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One Year Later: Japan vs Korea

December 15, 2016

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By some fluke, it has been exactly one year since we announced we’re moving to Japan. We honestly didn’t plan to publish this kind of video on this date, but it seems befitting. We announced our decision then, and we’re talking more about it now.

It’s been a year since that video and I think a year has been a good amount of time for us to think things over. We thought about it for a long time before announcing that video, and we’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on our lives since. And from every angle we look at it, the answer is the same: this has been the greatest year of our lives.

Saying that, though, is kind of scary for us. Very scary. I don’t know if we’ve been clear about this, but some of you might glean that we’re really uncomfortable with the anger we get from Korean netizens. Any discussion we have about both countries hits a sore spot for nationalists. Yes, we know Korea and Japan have a bad history with each other, as we’re constantly reminded. But the fact is, we don’t share that history. We’re not Korean. We’re not Japanese. We don’t have a dog in this race. We just lived in Korea, and now we live in Japan, and we want to be able to talk about our lives retrospectively sometimes, and to see how we’ve grown.

I honestly think that our time in Japan has been so great specifically because of the troubles we had in Korea. When we tell our friends here the things that make us happy about Japan they look at us weird. And I think if we came to Japan without the context of Korea, we would take a lot of the things we love about Japan for granted. I mean, we grew up in the suburbs of Canada: our neighbourhoods were always quiet. We wouldn’t give a shit about that if we moved to Kichijoji straight from Pickering. But after losing so many hours of sleep in the screams of Seoul, coming to the peaceful nights we have here means a lot more to us than it would have otherwise. Our time in Korea has helped us love our time in Japan more.

I was in the car with one of our Japanese friends recently. We were waiting to turn left. There was a car in front of him that had many MANY opportunities to make the turn, but he didn’t take it. We waited until the driver ahead of us went, and then took our turn when it came up. My friend apologized for being such an angry driver afterwards. For doing what, I don’t know. I actually laughed. He didn’t even honk his horn! He just sighed as far as I can remember. If this was Korea he would have leaned on his horn, and driven around the guy through oncoming traffic and endangered us all. I didn’t feel at all in danger driving with him, or with anybody I’ve ever driven with in Japan.

I’m expecting to read in the comments “but please understand our situation” from people upset with our verdict, but I’m not trying to be a historian or anthropologist here. This isn’t a discussion about the rich histories of both countries. This is a simple video: I lived in both countries, and living in this one is better for me, and holy shit I’m so worried about saying that but hell I should be able to say that. I’m not telling everyone that Korea is hell, which many Korean people are saying themselves. I’m just saying that, by the end of my time in Korea, it wasn’t for me.

This feels almost like breaking up with a boyfriend. We had good times, I know that. But by the end of the relationship I was starting to see sides of you that I didn’t want to experience. It was time for me to move on to my life. Time for us to see other people. I’m sure you’ll find someone that can love you more than I did, and I wish you health and happiness, but I need someone different in my life. And I’m seeing someone new, actually. His name is Japan. We have a great relationship together. And I couldn’t be as happy as I am now if it wasn’t for what I learned with you.

I hope that you, the reader, can also feel comfortable in knowing when it’s time to move on. If you’re dating someone who abuses you, or if you’re at a job that treats you like shit, you have all the right in the world to find a new partner, to look for a new job. And if you’re in a country that makes you uncomfortable, you have all the right to try to move somewhere else. You should be able to express that you feel your country isn’t treating you how you want to be treated. For those of you unhappy with the results of an election, if you feel like you’re jeopardizing your wellbeing staying where you are, if you’ve fallen out of love with your country, find a new love. It’s your life. Please live it how you want to.

And now it’s time for me to unwind with a bottle of wine. Hopefully my ex won’t blow up my phone with angry texts.

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One Year Later: Japan vs Korea

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  1. Hello Simon and Martina!

    Right now, I am in my first year of university. I moved out of the bubble I was experiencing in my hometown of San Bernardino, and went straight to the University of California, Irvine. Now, I’ve only lived in Irvine for 10 Weeks (the length of an academic quarter), but I honestly do like it in Irvine more than San Bernardino. I still love my hometown. It has a special place in my heart. After all, I’ve lived there for 18 years, and maybe it’s because I live in a University bubble, but I’m very happy with my life right now.

    What I’m experiencing is probably relatively small in comparison to your move from Korea to Japan, but thinking about life retrospectively is really nice.

    6 months ago
    • Hey there! Sorry to barge in, but I am also from San Bernardino County (Apple Valley, specifically) and graduated from UCI in 2012. Hello fellow desert dweller and Anteater (zot zot).

      Since UCI, I have moved to Seoul and REALLY liked the changed from small town (Apple Valley) to city (Irvine) and ultimately to Seoul (large city). I totally understand what Simon and Martina are talking about BUT I really enjoy the buzz of the city. Calm places make me anxious and bored.

      5 months ago
    • Hi there. I live in Orange County, and I work in Irvine. I have several friends that go to school at UCI. It’s definitely a bubble… UCI is an interesting place. I’ve heard people refer to it as being behind the orange curtain (implying that OC is a place with a lot of people that make a lot of money, there are lots more conservatives here than other places in CA, etc).. I don’t want to talk down on it because overall it’s a pretty great place. I’m glad you’re enjoying it down here, just remember that your university experience won’t even be indicative of what it is like to live in this area and not go to school, know what I mean? I definitely encourage you to go around and explore different cities in the general area, in CA in general, and maybe all over the US! I came from the Midwest and overall I love CA so much more. Good luck in school!

      6 months ago
    • Hi there, just here to say that I’m also a freshman at uci, and I come from a not so great city in central California. Irvine is sooooooooooo nice. I’m already excited for break to end so I can go back. It’s such an awesome city

      6 months ago
  2. Hi guys! first of all, i’m sorry if i spell wrong something, which will probably happen since english is not my first language. I’ve never done anything like this, i’ve never reached out to contact anyone on the internet, so i feel a little bit weird since i have seen your face so many times and you don’t really know me, i can’t help to feel like a creeper jaja, anyways i have been following your videos for the last two years i think and they have really helped me in ways you can’t imagine, i don’t want to get emotional or anything, though i really want to thank you. I don’t really know why this video made me want to contact you, you really seem so happy in japan and i’ve been wanting to move to japan for a long time. I’m 22 years old and i still have two more years of college ahead, however i think if i’m really going to take that step eventually, i better start doing research. I’m sorry if i’m boring you, i’ll get to the point soon. I’m currently studying physical therapy in México city (where i was born and have lived my entire life) and since i know Martina has EDS and has seen a lot of pt’s (physical therapists), i was wondering, have you had any experiences with pt’s in japan?? are there a lot of pt’s in japan?? do you think it would be hard for a foreigner to move to japan as a pt? i know i could research all this things myself, and i will, but i wanted to know what you guys think of it since i really value your opinions and experiences cause i think you are such warm and kind people.
    As always i wish you two the best and i hope you keep that strenght and spark always alive as you have done all this years.
    I send you lots of love, oh and i’m Daniela btw, thank you guys, lots of kisses from México.

    6 months ago
    • No sienten mal por su inglés. Está muy bien y sólo necesitan escribir “fuerte” como “strength.” Mi español es muy horrible pero me espero que fui ayudable.

      6 months ago
      • *sientes (lo siento no tengo la posición a corregir su inglés si no puedo hacer el mismo con mi español >w<)

        6 months ago
  3. Hi Guys, I love your videos I’ve been following you since 2011. I’ve never committed on your videos before but I do love them. I also lived in Korea I was in Seoul for a year. So I find it interesting hearing about your experiences in Japan vs. Korea. I was just wondering how are Susie & Lee are? Do you still keep in touch with them and will they become to Japan to visit you guys in the near future? Also what did you do with your cafe? I’m assuming you sold it, but would you ever open a small pop up cafe in Japan? Anyway I’m happy you are both doing so well and loving life! -Regina

    6 months ago
  4. I love how you guys handled this video, and I’m happy you actually made it. You mentioned before that “netizens” went crazy about the shower/tub situation, so I didn’t think you would breach the subject of Japan vs Korea ever again.I hope people who watch this video can relate it to their own bad experiences. It really only takes one bad experience to learn your lesson, but when you’ve had continuous things occur, your view is already formed in regards to your own life and what you would like to include and exclude.
    My father passed away four years ago (they found out he had cancer only two months before he died, and the end of his life was spent asleep), and I stayed in denial for longer than I think anyone should stay in denial. I was at the hospital, I was at his grave, and I go every single year, yet I somehow convinced myself I was dreaming. Well, he wasn’t there when I graduated from college, but I started working immediately after in the first place that contacted me. I hated it. I loved the job, but I hated the office politics. Between never really grieving and going into a building I can’t even stand to look at anymore, I started having anxiety attacks. The first time it happened, I freaked, by the third time I was convinced I was dying of a broken heart. I went to the doctor, was prescribed whatever, and no matter the dosage nothing was working. I hated the dizziness and nausea that came without even treating my symptoms. So, I went to see the doctor again and she told me to quit. She told me to quit, and that if I had to come see her again she was sending me to a psychiatrist. So, I quit, and I flushed those damn pills. That was the first time I have ever truly placed myself first in any situation.
    Well now, years later, I’ve graduated once again, but this time in psychology. I am leaving for Haiti early tomorrow morning to see my mom who moved back there after my father passed away. Our relationship isn’t perfect… not even close. I have yet to say anything to her about it because the guilt that she is the last parent I have kills me. I take all that she gives, even though last night on my way home I ended up sobbing while driving with my boyfriend next to me. I regretted purchasing the plane ticket a week ago when I bought it, and that phone call last night, after I spent the last three days (right after my last exam) running around the city running errands for her, and buying this and that for her (though she is coming to the US in a month) broke me. I barely have room for my own clothes in my suitcase or carry on. Last night, she basically blamed me for my estrangement to my older brother who was a severely poor sibling to me (I won’t get into details, but I was actually on my way home from dropping gifts off for my nephews since I won’t be here for the remainder of the year).
    My father always had my side, he always knew the truth, believed in me, understood me, accepted me for me, and he always defended me. He was my one-man-army (he was actually a veteran, so it seems appropriate), my superman, and basically protected me from the two of them. Talking to her only makes me miss him more.
    I’ve lived in the city that I am in for most of my life, and I have hated it for most of my life. I relate this place to all of my bad experiences and I’m considering moving to Canada. My make-shift family, my boyfriend and best friend (who I always just introduce as my older sister), have offered to hide my whereabouts from my mother if I decide to move. For all the crappy things that have happened while I have lived here, these two amazing people are irreplaceable in my tiny world.
    Sorry for the long post. I’m in the middle of playing Tetris with my luggage, but I’m glad to get this off my chest. Soon, much like you did, I hope I can get off of this ride.
    PS: Sorry for any typos. I haven’t slept much, so I’m barely functioning.

    6 months ago
  5. I found your videos while living in Korea for 3 years (my husband is in the US Air Force) and I have to say we loved our time there, but we were super ready to leave at the end of our 3 years! We found that just like anywhere, there were lovely people and there were rude people (as a woman I encountered more rude than my husband, some men were genuinely awful to me, and I got asked if I was Russian a lot, and was told it was because there are a lot of Russian prostitutes in Korea and they were trying to see if I was “available”???) but we just sort of accepted everything as cultural differences and tried to never have a truely “bad” experience there, but honestly it was hard. We are tall people, so we would walk into stores and get crossed arms and kicked out as “too fat” (which we aren’t, we are thin, but we know they meant just too big in general.) We had people shout “I love you!” Or any English they knew from the streets, and we met some amazing people, but my husband also got hit by a car TWICE while we were there, both times in a cross walk, while the car was stopped for a sign, and then gunned it while he was in front of the car. Luckily he wasn’t ever badly hurt, but seriously? I was almost T boned by a bus in my van; I was on the street, it was coming out of a parking lot, and the driver was watching television!! I had to swerve into the wrong side of the street to avoid being hit (there was no oncoming traffic at the time.) but it was stupid dangerous. It just seemed like everything was a little harder for us than it needed to be, everything just took a little more effort, or was a little more aggressive than warranted. (Even something simple like wanting to throw away your trash, if you are out in public and want to dispose of a popcicle stick and wrapper, good luck finding a garbage can, and there is soooooo much garbage on the streets, it’s unsanitary. We also were photographed a lot, as in camera’s jammed a foot away from our faces photographed, I know it’s the tall, blonde hair blue eyes combo, (my kids and I all look the same) but it’s tiring sometimes to feel like an exhibit.) We genuinely understood is was just a cultural difference, but that didn’t make it easier to be a foreigner there (which is the same for people traveling to the US I’m sure) but as someone who has lived all over the world, (my mom is South African, and my dad is English) Korea just was a combination of things that were hard for me to live with everyday (the struggle was real!) but I would go back again in a heartbeat, just like I would go back to Japan, or any of the other countries we’ve lived in a heartbeat, because I can do anything for a little while, and I can make it what my attitude wants it to be, as a choice of where I choose to place my focus. (Being a permanent expat would probably be a harder decision because it wouldn’t have an end date, I don’t think I could permanently live in Korea as a non native Korean.)

    6 months ago
    • I really love the way you expressed that.

      “I can do anything for a little while and I can make it what my attitude wants it to be.”

      It’s so true. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes I just have to refocus my perspective.

      6 months ago
  6. I’m sorry that you felt so scared to post this video, but I’m really glad you did. I think leaving a situation that you no longer feel is working is really hard, but necessary–and being able to reflect on that experience is even more important. It’s funny that you mentioned leaving a job that treats you badly, because after taking a break to travel to Japan in April, I finally decided I wasn’t going to return to a toxic and abusive job. While these past few months haven’t been super easy, I’ve been overall so much happier. Even on the bad days at my new job I can say to myself “I’ve gone through worse,” so I know it will be okay.

    On another note, leading up to my trip to Tokyo, a very big city, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t actually enjoy it there. My mind could only compare its scale to that of New York City, which in my numerous visits there I’ve found to have a coldness that negatively affects my mood and temperament. I was so happy to find that Tokyo was different from NYC in all the ways that make me not care for it.

    Despite all this, I still would like to visit South Korea one day. o^o

    To answer your question though, which is not super exciting: I’m an American living in America, who studied and got a degree in graphic design, is working a full-time bakery job while working on graphic design on the side trying to get ~that~design~job~. I’ve been engaged since April, and uh, like to make stuff.

    As far as questions for you guys…I have had one for a long time, but is a little heavier and not necessarily my business to know, so have not, and probably will not ask it.

    A more lighthearted question though: have you ever considered going on the road traveling? I’ve been super into the tiny house movement (although realistically I probably have too many hobbies to live in a tiny house…), which are generally mobile, but there are also repurposed buses, vans, and even just RVs. I vaguely remember you guys saying you liked the off-the-grid (underground?) homes, which I thought were sorta in a similar realm.

    Also also, my fiance and I made Martina’s eggnog a couple weeks ago. Super yummy~

    6 months ago
  7. This video hit home with me. I spent a year as a student in Japan and a year in Korea. I loved my time in both countries but I feel more accepted in Japan. That may be due to speaking significantly more Japanese than Korean. I even came back to Japan as an English teacher (although I’ve learned that elementary schoolers just don’t jive with me). And outside of the YouTuber work there are so many things you guys brought up that I also have felt.

    I’m glad you’re having such a wonderful time in Japan! Keep up the awesome!!

    6 months ago
  8. It’s always so hard to move because you feel so at home with the place you’re leaving behind but after a time, the new home feels just as comfy if not better. (Not always but mostly). This post was tugging at the heartstrings a bit because it did feel like you were talking about a past breakup with a former lover or friend. I’m glad you like your new home and can share with us what you do enjoy about it.

    6 months ago
  9. Hey Simon and Martina!

    It’s really great to hear you guys have enjoyed your year in Japan

    As a overseas Korean i do think the abuse you recieved was inexcusable and incredibly rude.

    But to defend those who were perhaps slightly upset or unhappily surprised (as I was) upon you guys’ early fee videos in japan (particularly the comparison videos in collaboration with another japanese youtuber) was i guess a sense of betrayal, ofcourse japan and korea have their pros and cons which suit some and not others but in these videos straight after you left korea all you guys seemed to do was point out all korea’s cons in absolute favour of japan. Yes, ofcourse you guys are entitled to prefer japan but the way in which this preference was delivered could have been a bit more considerate as it felt like you guys were dusting off your hands from making videos of a country you guys didnt really even like.
    For many of us who had been watching and supporting you guys (for both your fun character and sincere communication with fans) it naturally came as a shock. Perhaps if you had not appeared to disregarded the country that you found your footing for where you are now perhaps less of us would have been disheartened. I understand as you guys said in the video you guys arent trying to “take back” korea or disregarding it. But until this was forthrightly spoken it wasnt delivered that way.

    Each to their own but personally i and probably many others were disappointed because it felt like the sincerity of your old videos were tainted.

    I really do hope you continue to get better Martina and wish you the best for the upcoming year as well

    Merry early Christmas

    6 months ago
  10. I really appreciate this video you made about your experience about living in Korea and Japan. As I am preparing to go to Korea to study the language. I enjoy all of your videos. You both are so inspiring for doing what you love. And your videos even taught me to swear in English. ^^”

    I live in Montreal and grew up there. Then I moved and lived in New York City for 6 years. It was a wonderful experience for me to live in a big international city and it helped to improve my English speaking. I really enjoyed living on my own. But after 6 years, I felt bored about my job. So I decided to leave. I spent one month in Bali taking food class. Then I spent one month in Hong Kong. I am back in Canada but ready to leave again. I am looking for a new career and a new place to live.

    I love you guises, life should be fun and I see both of you as happy and fun people. \^^/

    6 months ago
  11. I spent a total of five years (in two chunks) in Korea as a soldier. My wife is Korean and there is a special place in my heart for Korea. Your points, however, are pretty spot on. I have had some wonderful times in Korea, but I have also had a lot of frustrations. When I was deployed to Iraq, between my first and second time in Korea, your videos made me really nostalgic and miss it. I ended up going back and overall enjoyed my time there, but I need to take Korea in smaller bites, I think.

    I don’t have a lot to judge Japan by – I have only visited Okinawa for a few days, but I wouldn’t mind doing a few years there. Thanks for your honest feedback. I’m glad you guys are doing so well right now.

    6 months ago
  12. I generally liked all your videos since today, but I don’t know.. something seems a bit off with this one. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of what you talk about seems to stem from living in a city compared to somewhere more rural. I mean.. you guys were working in hongdae, if I remember, so is it really fair to compare how you live now compared to then? If the orders were reversed and you lived in a major city like Tokyo then moved to a quieter location in Korea, would your arguments still be valid? And people calling the cops on you for kpop jokes is just crazy and I’m sorry you guys had to go through that.. but how is that something that happened because of living in Korea? Aren’t the arguments you make about simpler business planning more because you have an agency now, instead of doing everything yourself? I.. I just don’t know. Please don’t think I’m just an angry internet troll. You guys are totally free to have opinions and express them however you want, but for people who seem awfully concerned with stepping on toes of angry commenters, it seems strange that you would approach this topic as “Korea vs. Japan” rather than “What we had vs what we have now” or “Changes in the past year that made life easier” or even “Crazy things we don’t have to put up with now”.. which might be more in tune with a lot of what you guys are saying.. but I’m sure the extra views from a super controversial title always helps..

    6 months ago
    • That’s totally fair of you to say. There’s a lot to unpack in your comment, and I don’t think I can answer it all, but I’ll try to answer some.

      1) We’re not living in rural Japan. We’re living in Tokyo.
      2) Us talking about our working conditions isn’t a statement of what work is like in either country. We did our best to answer the question that was posed to us, pick Korea or Japan, but we framed it as subjectively as we possibly could. Framing it objectively would be a lot more confrontational, I think. Which is why we tried to emphasize as well that our Korea is different than your Korea, our Japan different than yours. I don’t know how else we could have handled the question posed to us.

      At the same time, I really wanted to emphasize how much happier we are here. This literally has been the best year of our lives. I’m happy to say that. And I think sharing that in this video made sense.

      3) As for the title, it’s always tough to make a title that makes sense to the topic. And though it wasn’t a scientific study of Korea and Japan, I think the title, in a few words, still makes sense to people watching. When you have a few milliseconds to appeal to viewers, brevity is your friend, I think.

      6 months ago
      • hey thanks for trying to reply. This is kind of why I really like you guys as content creators, because you reach out and try to explain rather than taking the easy way out and ignoring opinions that can be hard to swallow. I guess what rubbed me the wrong way was the fact that I felt the title itself was a bit clickbaity and didn’t even seem that well connected to the actual points you guys were making. (I fully acknowledge what I know is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s much more going on that you purposefully chose not to share) I know professional youtubers are reliant on views and as you said, brevity is the key in garnering interest. But.. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that.. there are expat content creators on youtube who make exclusive Japanese content like micaela, and those that make exclusive Korean content like the Korean Englishman. But you guys are so unique in that particular niche because you have this massive dedicated following AND the experience of being immersed in both cultures. I guess what I hoped was that you guys could provide something different, a unique perspective that.. somehow bridged the two worlds more harmoniously, rather than pitting them against each other. Whether you intended to or not, when you label a video ‘Japan or Korea, did we make the right choice’, and your answer is a resounding yes for one side, in the milliseconds it takes to appeal to viewers, it seems like just more fodder to fuel that meaningless flame war between the nationalistic hotheads in both countries. Surely internet veterans like yourselves know this. We have more than enough arguments about which country is better, thank you very much. As much as I understand your point about brevity, sometimes true intentions can get lost in translation. That’s why I was a bit disappointed on how you chose to approach this topic, because I genuinely believe that at your core, you guys are not about that. You guys are not about making a quick buck based on guaranteed trigger topics, not about online wars, not about A is better than B, or adding to the hate that we already have so much. I guess I was a bit sad because it seemed that the whole attitude both in your blog and throughout the video seemed to carry this negative attitude… Thanks for replying.

        6 months ago
    • Well,I don’t really understand, why you guys are saying this?, maybe I got the message in the video wrong, but clearly, Simon said that they have the right to express their experience, why?, because it’s theirs. This is not to make a fight about two beautiful countries, I just think that we should respect their opinion.

      6 months ago
    • I completely agree

      6 months ago
    • I have to echo this comment. Why broach the subject this way? You made your careers off of Korea because Kpop was growing even further in the international market. I genuinely don’t believe you guys would be where you are without Korea so why even discuss it in this manner? I haven’t been watching your videos lately, only the travel and food ones. The Eat Your Sushi segment is boring, I’m sorry but it is. I don’t have time to sit for an hour and watch you guys talk. I’m glad others can do so but it’s just not for me. Besides Dan, you guys actually seem lonelier in Japan. And maybe that’s what you want!
      You say “We don’t have a dog in this race” and yet you pitted the two countries against each other versus the different lifestyles you’ve been living. I really, really don’t like the way you guys approached this subject.

      6 months ago
      • This comment is savage but I do agree with the Eat Your Sushi segments. They are too long and dry. I never watch them. I honestly miss the k-pop review videos. Those were the best things ever. I loved how they made me chuckle. I miss the funny segments. And I personally agree with their experience of “Japan vs. Korea” because it echos my personal experience with living in both places. But the difference is, and like you mentioned, that Korea put Simon and Martina on the map. They made Korea SOOO appealing for several years. And because of that, were very successful and could have a business. It’s funny to me because once I moved there and became disillusioned, it seems as if they did too around that same time! Suddenly, K-pop wasn’t as fun anymore, and k-dramas seemed banal and repetitive. They started posting more heavy videos (k-pop slave contracts, poor treatment of unwed mothers, suicide statistics). Anyway I have a point. My point is, yes, they have a right to say whatever they wanna say. It’s their experience. But I do agree, considering how many positive things happened for them in Korea, it’s interesting to hear such negative feedback. But there is a such thing as overstaying your welcome in a country. That’s why I left Japan after two years. Because I felt my attitude changing subtly. And I didn’t want to leave Japan bitter. Seems like that’s what happened to Simon and Martina. They just stayed a little too long and it left a bad taste in their mouths. I get it.

        6 months ago
      • They already stated why they decided to tackle this subject and the questions they were being asked about which country/experiences they preferred. They never pitted either country against the other one. They merely expressed the reasoning behind their answer. Unless you have reading or listening comprehension issues it’s not really that hard to follow. As for you stating that their Eat Your Sushi Segment is boring, why are you here? If you don’t like them, why stick around to troll? That actually says more about you than them. And before you reply that you are entitled to your opinion I will beat you to it that no one is entitled to care. I don’t think they are lonely at all, they don’t show all of their lives ya know. Their video’s showcase a rather small chunk of their day…

        6 months ago
  13. The blog portion of this really hit a chord with me. I was in a very bad situation and after many years of trying to grin and bear it I finally realized I could choose to leave and it wouldn’t make me a terrible person.

    It’s wonderful that you guys have found so much happiness. Keep being your awesome selves and don’t let any angry netizens tear you down.

    6 months ago
  14. Heya. Its so great that you guys are much happier here in Japan now. I haven’t been to Korea but I did have a moment when I was applying for A job in Japan and I considered trying Korea. I wrote a pros and cons list and honestly even then Japan came off on the winning side. It may be due to my age as well.

    I do have friends that hate it here. Mostly because they live in a rural/ countryside area and don’t have much of a bond with the people around them. I on the other hand adore my tiny little town and my sweet and kind neighbours who bring me fruits and leave packages for me when they think I need some care and attention.

    Honestly, moving to Japan from my home country of Barbados was he best decision I could have made. It was just the right time and I am having a good time.

    Its so wonderful that we are both experiencing the same things.

    6 months ago
  15. Oh I agree!!! I like both Korea and Japan, have been to both and I’m interested in both cultures and languages. But when it comes to traffic and general respect for pedestrians Japan wins hands down! I was in Korea in October and I was almost ran-over by a Mercedes while I was in the middle of a pedestrian crossing in Daegu! To all Korean people giving you a hard time: are you serious?? Have you been to Japan? Or how about North America? It is granted that the vulnerable pedestrian has the right of way! And what’s with all that honking and aggressiveness? I totally agree with you guys and I’m happy you could move out and settle in Japan.

    6 months ago
  16. I’ve been living in Korea over 3 years as a teacher and I completely get it. A long term expat I knew here summed it up the best “Korea is a great ride, but you have to know when to get off”. Korea has been an amazing experience for me but after a few trips to Japan I’m looking forward to working there next. Older and desiring more ‘calm’ as well! Kudos to you guys for always tackling questions like this in a balanced way.

    6 months ago
  17. As an arm chair traveler I really have enjoyed your intrepid travels. One really must be young to plunge into such a different culture! I am also sure many have visit the USA and have found it a horrible experience, depending on how and where they lived. There are city jungles and harsh environments in every country. I get it – you only are talking about your experience, not anyone else’s. I also believe you when you say that some experiences were bad for you and some were wonderful. That is really the way life is. People who have never traveled and had to learn/live another culture (as I have done when younger) will have a hard time getting this. I remember walking down a street in Northern Europe and hearing English and almost crying because it felt so like home, and I didn’t know these folks from Adam. Also having a headache in the afternoon from transelating in my head all day – This is serious work folks. Everything was different for me there, even though I come from European stock and many of their foods/traditions/values were familiar to me, It was STILL a culture shock.
    You have a right to your opinion. And those who follow you and really know you, know your hearts are in the right place. I’m so happy you have found a pleasant place to live and learn in Japan!

    6 months ago
  18. Hey guys! It’s been such a long time since I last saw you… I remember seeing you announce your move on facebook, but my life got so crazy and different since the days I used to watch your videos daily, back in my teenage years, that this is my first video from you in almost a year and a half…
    Martina, you look beautiful, and both of you seem really happy with your new life in Japan – which makes me glad!
    So, since you wanna know, here’s my situation: I’m brazilian, 20 years old and it’s been a year since I moved from my state (the neighbouring Espírito Santo) to Rio de Janeiro to go to college here. I was actually lucky to be accepted in one of the best Law schools in the country, but I have to be honest: I was so frightened about coming to live here… People from Rio always seemed so harsh and demanding, and very impatient about meek and timid people like myself. In fact, in the first few weeks that theory was confirmed, because people here easily yell at you and expect you to be extroverts like them (even the “shy” people are quite more sociable than me). But I found out that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I met some awesome people that always expect me to have an attitude and an opinion about everything, and care about me, and let me care about them, so I’ve been developing a thicker skin and learning to be less sensitive about little things. My social experiences here (and the fact that I’m living alone for the first time in my life) made me a truly better, more secure person. I still get scared of people yelling at me at shops and being impatient when I’m being indecisive, but I learned to deal with it. Also with pressure, because my school really demands a lot from me.
    Today, I believe the best decision I ever made was moving to this big, chaotic, violent city. Because it is also beautiful and is teaching me one of the most valuable lessons ever: Care about people. Don’t be afraid of being Yourself. Don’t be afraid of giving your all. Don’t be afraid of other people.
    Also, I thought that living downtown (near my campus) would be crazy noisy, but as it turns out Rio is one of those cities that do sleep… To my delight!
    I guess I have a lot to catch up with your other japan videos, so see you! Btw sorry if my english is bad, haven’t practiced in a while :P

    6 months ago
  19. So first of all, I haven’t been watching much of your videos lately but I am really glad to see you guys enjoying your life in Japan. To be quite honest, the answer to the question wasn’t much of a surprise to me.
    Japan was the first foreign country I lived in, sweet 20 years old and everything that could go wrong went wrong – just when things started getting better, I learned that I wouldn’t be able to extend my visa further and had to leave. Because I knew people in Korea, I went to Seoul and I really loved it at first. Since I am originally from Berlin, I think it was the rough vibe that reminded me of home a bit.
    Years have passed, and quite frankly I never recommend my friends to come here to stay. The general stress level in Korean society seems high (get into the best school, uni, company, look amazing, have a bigger car, house, salary than everyone else) and unfortunatel that makes them loose interest in other people. I am annoyed by people bumping into me without saying sorry, but when I mention it in front of Koreans they will say “It can’t be helped because there is so many people…” I started wondering: “Where people in Japan like that too?”

    I did go on vacation in Japan a couple of times while living in Korea and every single time, I felt soo relaxed. But ultimately, when I went to Tokyo, I was just impressed how – even in a place like Shinjuku station – people will rush but never run into you. It’s like nknjas swiftly moving by with milimeters to spare. Then again when I rode the bus and a girl pulled at the handrail attached to the back of my seat a bit too intensely, it bent over slightly and she apologized for it even though it wasn’t such a big deal. I know some people don’t mind apologizing or not, taking care or not, but we are all human at the end of the day regardless what’s going on in our lives, and just switching off your good manners in public because ‘everyone does it’ is kinda ignorant. None of those people would ever behave like this in front of their friends or beloved ones. The double facedness of so many people is scaring me up to this point.

    This being said, I think Japanese treasure the ‘me AND you’ a little more. All these places with counters where people – strangers – get together and share their lifestories…. Maybe Japanese won’t make a lot of new true friendd through their adulthood, but they still seem to value communication an respect towars your next. They are human.

    I wouldnt want to miss my experiences in Korea, but at the end of the day I would always prefer Japan over it.

    6 months ago
  20. Sooooo proud of you guys!You really could see the change in the vids you made when you moved to Japan. That was amazing. I live in Alabama. Im from Chicago. I moved here about 10 years ago. Ive lived in some other places, but Alabama was a good move for me, and my family. (Ihas 3 kids and a hubs). I needed to be somewhere that Icould feel safe… and to quote Simon “The air in Chicago is 90% bullets”. I am ready to travel now that the kiddos are older. And Cuba is first on my list now that its opened its doors somewhat to the U.S. Continue to rock out… (ps… Ihad a package for you guys, that Iwas taking my time to compile… and lost it in a move. Ifeel pretty shitty about it.Ill start another after Christmas.)

    6 months ago
  21. I am glad you two have found a place of comfort. I’ve watched your videos for the last few years and your newer ones have definitely reflected the changes you’ve noted for yourselves. For many reasons I have yet to do much traveling so I live my life vicariously through you and your videos-It’s nice to see how happy you’ve become with relocation.

    It takes courage to face the masses on a sensitive topic like this one. I’ve lurked for years but I wanted to add my voice in support of you two (and Dan) to counter some of the negative that might work its way into the comments. You do you; keep growing, sharing, and reflecting. Your followers are here with you, even if they are silent-they far outnumber the haters.

    6 months ago
  22. I am a Korean-born Canadian who immigrated to Toronto when I was 5, and stayed in Toronto until this year August when I moved to Tokyo. I know it sounds cheesy and but you guys have experienced all of the countries I have ever lived in and I feel inspired to comment in my warm kotatsu (you should totally get one if you haven’t)

    When you were in Korea I vicariously experienced what it would be like if I were to ever to move back and truly experience Korea outside the first 5 years of my life. If I had, I would’ve felt like a foreigner in my own ‘motherland’. But your videos helped me relieve that sort of tension, as I would have found the same things/experiences awesome, downright weird, or outrageous as a Canadian in Korea.

    Living in Tokyo now I find myself agreeing with you especially regarding the friendliness of the people, even as a Korean-born who blend in (at least) in appearance. Seeing you guys really happy in Japan gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in this cold-as-balls weather :3

    6 months ago
  23. I lived in Korea for two years but now back living in the UK. I met my boyfriend out there, he’s Korean but lives in the USA. I think my experience is very different to others as I’ve been able to understand Korea on my own terms and through my boyfriend’s views and how he sees Korea. He doesn’t always agree with how Korea is either and also has frustrations, especially when it comes the work culture. Korea is still a big part of my life even though it’s been two years since I left, I made some of my best friends there and it was life changing in a way. I think a lot of my frustrations with Korea are similar to yours, the amount of times I was close to getting run over, or how many times I’ve spoken in Korean and been met with nervous laughs. Another major problem which still bothers me now is how Koreans assume my relationship with my boyfriend isn’t serious because I’m a foreigner. He’s had to get used to negative reactions or people being overly surprised about the fact. Korea did become my home and I loved my life there, especially the teaching and I do miss the city life sometimes as it’s something you just don’t have in Europe. I did visit Japan only briefly and I did find the atmosphere different and one thing I immediately noticed was how clean the streets were compared to Korea! However I think I now appreciate a lot more about the UK, the countryside, better equality, and strangely actual standards of safety and things like labour laws. I imagine I could end up in Korea again but I if I do I think I would go back with a different mindset so who knows

    6 months ago
  24. I taught in Korea the same year you guys were teaching there, so I got into your videos because it was like reliving my experiences plus some. That being said, I love experiencing a new country with you guys, and my wife also has EDS, so there’s a certain “I get it” camaraderie there as well. Looking forward to our weekly Saturday morning ritual of Simon and Martina and coffee this weekend! :)

    6 months ago
  25. I’m glad you both are enjoying Japan so much, and that you’ve found a space where you are happy both personally and professionally! I hope the netizens don’t give you any trouble over your opinion though – because honestly your opinion and your personal reasons for this opinion do not personally affect them.

    I have yet to visit Korea, but I did visit Japan last year (mostly Tokyo and a little bit of Kyoto, Yokohama and Fuji Five Lakes) – and I’m not sure if I had such a positive impression of Japan because I went very soon after a personal tragedy but I found it beautiful, peaceful and it really defied what I was expecting. For example I was going into Tokyo thinking it would be a concrete jungle and found it had way more green space than I thought.

    To answer your question from the video, I am currently Canadian born and in Canada trying to pursue a career in teaching in Ontario but the market is so insanely oversaturated with teachers I decided to teach in Japan :D I find out in January when I am to arrive and which city I will be living in, but I do know I have been placed in the South Kanto region so I am super excited (I really hope I get placed near or in Hakone for some nice hot spring relaxation time)

    6 months ago
  26. Yay, I missed your TL;DRs so much! The ones about Korea were actually how I found (and fell in love with) you guise! <3 You shouldn't have to be scared to express your opinions, I hope that the commenters will understand.
    I also have a question that you might like to talk about in one of (hopefully many =D) future TL;DRs! I noticed that with your move to Japan both of you slightly changed the style of your clothing, so I wanted to ask how easy/hard is it to shop for clothes and shoes in Japan, when you're (for a lack of a better term) "Western sized"? =D I'm from Europe (Czech Republic) and I would really like to go to Japan some time in the future, and I'm a little scared I won't be able to fit into anything there, since I'm not exactly skinny..
    Anyway, thanks again for bringing TL;DRs back! I'm sending you a lot of love from Europe!^^

    6 months ago
  27. Great video guys! Love when you are reflective of your experience and of things you think about regarding your life/choices/living situations. I lived in Korea twice…first time I loved it so much which is why I knew I had to go back and give it a second try. I realized it was too much for me to even consider living there full-time but it is an AMAZING place to visit and have fun in my opinion. Like you guys said, crazy and raw and always a party….great for a trip but not for your life. I’m going back to Korea for a trip and I think that is how I would like to keep Korean in my life, a fun place to visit and have fun. I visited Japan for a week before (and I’m very excited to be going back next month!) and at the time I felt like I could appreciate life in Japan more from a serious perspective over Korea’s which sometimes felt too predictable, too fun, and too forced upon me because I was a foreigner. People in Japan didn’t make a big deal when I walked into stores and weren’t always gasping at me for saying something in Japanese like they do in Korea (biggest pet peeve. haha)

    I will say, however, that Korean food is KILLER as well as the price of things. haha. The lack of my idea of fresh/good vegetables in Japanese meals sometimes got to me and also I felt the learning curve for Japanese is so high that I gave up quickly while Korean was extremely easy to learn to read and write.

    Happy you guys are enjoying Japan and your new adventures! I really enjoy seeing all of your new videos and I’m glad my donation from way back when is still being put to good use :-)

    6 months ago
  28. I have mad respect for you guys making this video. In all honesty I watched you guys from the very beginning because I was was interested in the korean culture and language. For many years I loved learning all the culture aspects of the Korean people but slowly I realized that I began to find many faults in the way the korean society functions (not saying that there aren’t nice korean people) but there were sides to it that I didn’t like. It was like the fairytale version of Korea that I had visioned so many years ago, slowly faded.
    Also, I get that Japan and Korea have bad blood because of the war history and that’s fare enough but if they continue to live in the past and hold on to that anger and hold all responsibilities of Japans’ past as one, I just feel it’s very closed minded and in this day and age they need to be aware that just because one person is like a certain way (or one countries history) it doesn’t dictate all and forever are the same.
    Not sure if I sound like nonsense :)
    I love the work you guys do and what you guys represent (accepting and not judging and always tackling anything with a positive mind). I’m always thankful for your videos and the energy you guys bring to the world. I would be so happy if had friends like you: talk fashion and makeup with Martina, play games with Simon and eat glorious food with both :)

    6 months ago
  29. I’m really happy you feel at ease in Japan. It shows in your videas! I have been living with my boyfriend in Ireland for the last 10 years. We have left our home country Poland due to economic difficulties and the same negative and rough energy you were refering to. It is not that I don’t love my country or my countrymen, it is simply that I feel more at home with the easy going nature of Irish people. Sure I have a fair sharo of my bad days here as well but the people here are much more open and friendly.
    We have visited Japan for the first time this October and I have to say the people there are just as nice and friendlj, just more efficient. We fell in love with Japan and plan for it to be our main holiday destination for the next couple of years. Who knows we might move there eventually.
    The main point is, both me and my bf understand where you come from. We live in a wonderful times whre most of the world is open to us to explore and why not choose a better suited place to live when you have the option to do that.
    We both admire you very much and send our warmest thoughts from ever green (and ever wet…) Ireland!
    Don’t let the hate get to you!! Keep up the amazing work!

    6 months ago
  30. I have a question I really hope you’ll answer! I love you guys, but I really miss how you used to have different types of videos (i.e. TLDR, WTF, etc) – do you ever think you’ll do that again, or will all your videos just be one offs from now on?

    6 months ago
    • I’m not too sure. We’re doing our best to keep up with two videos per week (and we’re bad at it sometimes!). TL;DRs are interesting to do, but sometimes a bit scary, like today, in which I feel really scared for the anger to come. But we’re talking with Dan about introducing a third weekly segment. Hopefully we can get that started soon :D

      6 months ago
      • It is so sad that rude people make talking about how you feel anxiety filled. It’s not like you said Korea is the worst place ever, and Japan is moralistically superior; you simply said that for you and your lifestyle, as a non native Korean, and a non native Japanese person, Japan is working out better for you right now. I can’t see anything controversial about that since it’s purely about your personal experience, it’s not like anyone can say “no you’re wrong, you liked Korea better!” With any level of authority on the topic.

        You seem happier in your recent videos, and I don’t think you need to justify why to anyone!

        6 months ago
  31. Nationalism seems to be a pretty serious problem all across the continent. I don’t have a dog in the fights either. I live in China, someone ate it. (just kidding)

    But I envy you guys for getting to be in Japan for the Ghost in the Shell event and the FFXV release. Can’t imagine how amazing it must be near the source of all that. All the stuff you share sounds so incredible.

    6 months ago
  32. I’ve been following you guys foreverrrrrrr (since y’all were teaching in Korea woah) and it has been a joy following you through Korea and now Japan. I hope your ex doesn’t cause you too much trouble and your new relationship treats you right. And if in a couple of years, this relationship dwindles, there’s always plenty more fish in the sea :D
    For myself I’ve wanted to move out of my country for a decade at this point but I’m committed to a professional program that will hopefully open more doors for me in the future. 4 years of medical school with a crazed man as the president :x
    Until I’m free to make my own way, I will continue to live vicariously and support you guys~ and I want you to be happy and ignore whoever tries to make this a nationalist issues

    6 months ago
  33. Hi Simon and Martina!
    First off, I just want to say that I actually really love Martina’s look in this video. So colorful! Even more than usual! If you had said you were just experimenting I would have believed you. Really cool change of pace.
    Secondly, even though I’m currently studying in Korea and more interested in Korean culture (not pop culture, just general culture) than Japanese culture right now, I’m glad to hear you guys are in a much happier situation, especially work situation, now. I think it’s so important to work in an environment where you feel like you can grow professionally, rather than be restricted so much by time constraints and ridiculous amounts of paperwork.
    Also, although I have been a student here for such a short time and haven’t personally experienced a lot of the problems you guys are talking about, this video and the mood of all of your recent videos is getting me really excited for my first ever trip to Japan this February! I think I’ll be spending most of my time NOT in Tokyo, but maybe by some miracle I’ll run into you guys somewhere, haha. Keep on keepin’ on, much love to you both (and Dan and Spudgy and Meemers).

    6 months ago
  34. I share all of your videos to my air force wive’s group. Your videos have so much love and warmth to them and I feel like I know you. Not once did I watch a video on Korea and you made me feel like korea was a horrible place and I love that! Their is so many “bad” stereotypes for korea with the wives I try to enlighten them and show them what a unique and interesting place korea is and your videos just bring that point home in a strong way. Thank you!! I am happy you guys are finding your place in Japan=)

    6 months ago
  35. Hmmm…
    I’m still confused how much of it is really “Seoul vs. Tokyo” rather than “Korea vs. Japan.”

    In any case, having spent time studying abroad in Shanghai, I can sympathize with all the points made here; especially the driving. At some point, I must have become very agitated with adjusting to life there, that I did the whole “Gandalf – YOU SHALL NOT PASS” thing in front of a tour bus that was trying to bully it’s way through a crowd. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Never quite got used to the micro-aggression of new drivers.

    When I visited Seoul, I found it to be an energetic place, but not really one I’d ultimately want to spend much time living.

    Although, I’ve never had that much interest in living for an extended period in Japan: I find certain elements with such a rigidity in rules to be anxiety-inducing. Then again, being self-employed probably alleviates some of this tension.

    Overall, I think being black colored (for lack of a better word) my impression of the months I spent in East Asia. Talk about feeling like an outsider…

    6 months ago
  36. I support you in assuming your preferences. I, for myself, travelled both countries multiple weeks, the niceness of Japan is also unbeatable to me. It’s complicated when I have to explain to people I meet that Korea just didn’t do it for me either (I went to Japan first), the country was beautiful, the people were overall very nice, but I know I just wouldn’t fit in, something was odd. Japan, on the other hand, conquered my heart. Ironically, I’ve always thought it would get the other way around.

    6 months ago
  37. Guys, all that matters to us (well, to me, at least) is that you’re happy wherever you are. If you’d decided to stay in Fiji or Bali or any of the other amazing places you’ve been, I’d still be happy for you, as long as you and your furbabies are happy. Whenever I start to miss your Korea videos…I just go back and watch them again! You’ve been my favorite Youtubers since I discovered you nearly three years ago, and I consider it a privilege to continue getting these peeks into your life. Keep doing what makes you happy! Your determination and dedication to happiness is more inspiring than the actual things you’ve done, if that makes sense. I’m proud of you both, inspired by you both, and thankful to both of you for doing what you do.

    6 months ago
  38. How is your health Martina? At the beginning of the video you told us it’s the worst in a few years (?), wish you the best! You guys are great.

    6 months ago
    • It’s not great lately. We’re learning how to deal with new symptoms that are popping up. Hopefully we can get a handle on them soon :D

      6 months ago
  39. I am not Korean and I cannot imagine while you guys keep getting mean comments about your choice to move to Japan or comparing two countries you happen to have lived in.
    Also, I can’t believe it has already been a year!
    I still love watching your videos and even though my participation might mostly be the silent reader, I appreciate all the effort and love for all the things that go into your videos.
    You guys had a big impact on me regarding living my life without regrets and enjoying the little things.
    Everyone deserves to make their own decisions and be happy about them, so I hope you continue to enjoy living in Japan and feel happy and at home.

    6 months ago
  40. While I do miss you guys being in Korea, I’m glad you guys are happy in Japan. I still love reading your blogs and watching you videos and I can’t wait to see what your next year in Japan will being us. =^_^=

    6 months ago