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Korea vs Europe

October 24, 2013


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We figured we’d take over this week’s TL;DR to say our last few thoughts about Europe and share some stories about what we found interesting, but didn’t really get a chance to show in our HUGE BARRAGE OF TRAVEL VIDEOS. You’d think we’d have said enough, but there are a few last things that interested us that we didn’t get to mention.

Vikings Don’t Have Horns

So, we learned this in Norway. Someone told us that Vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets. It’d be extremely impractical, and that the horns were only put on in Hollywoodization of Vikings. I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, so then, at our event in Norway, when we mentioned this, the crowd all agreed with it. Totally blew our freaking minds! Or is that something that everyone knows? We can’t be the only ones that are surprised by this.

European Architecture

We say this from time to time, but it really hit us hard when we were in Europe. We don’t like Seoul’s architecture. It’s so incoherent. A big box building beside an older Victorian style house, beside a building covered in mirrors, beside an older Korean style home, beside a new building popping up that looks nothing like any of them. There’s no consistency, no continuity, no spirit. Every building has its own agenda here in Seoul. Sure: there’s lots of cool buildings popping up with cool architecture, but they have nothing to do with the other buildings around them.

In Europe, though, we’d go to some areas that have been around for 600 years, and are solid and beautiful. Hell: our studio’s been around for less than 50 and it’s falling apart. We’ve spent farrrr too much time dealing with our maintenance guy in trying to fix the leak in our ceiling. But in Stockholm, for example, those 600 year old buildings were damn near immaculate.

At the same time, we understand that Korea was devastated from the war, and a lot of its architecture was razed, so it’s not a fair comparison when you talk about traditional buildings. Agreed. It’s Seoul’s newer buildings that look a bit too rushed and not thought out, and it was spending time in Europe that really brought that out for us.

The Bread Is Freaking Amazing And Has Made Us Fat

If you can’t tell from our chubby faces, we really enjoyed eating in Europe. The being said, we might have overdone it regarding our love of bread. We really hate Korean bread, and yes, I know Korea is a rice based country thus why would they be interested in bread making, but considering all the many, many bakeries that are all of Korea, you’d think there would be some differences in how people have learned to make bread. Sure, you can find a handful of bakeries that create good old fashion whole wheat or rustic loaves of bread, but that’s only useful if you’re lucky enough to live very close to one.

From our experiences in Europe we didn’t even know just how different the process of making bread can be from country to country. The bread in Norway was different that what Sweden had to offer us, which was totally different in France, and even MORE different in Poland!

While we understand the lack of land for cow pastures it’s hard to understand why Korean bread hasn’t progressed. I mean, it’s really really bad. I don’t know about around the world, but in Canada and USA there is a cheap white loaf of bread that’s really soft and you can buy it in a supermarket or convenience store. Well Korean bread is 23048834792847398 sweeter than that. It’s SOOOO SUGARY! Korean bread isn’t really bread made for savoury food but dessert. Which is why there is a bread dessert which is literally a giant thick slice of white bread covered in ice cream, caramel, and whipped cream. We ate a really bad version of that dessert, which is called Toast, on one of our FAPFAPs.

Anyhoo the point of this rant is that we’re kind of happy that Korea has such crap bread because otherwise we’d just keep getting fatter. Yay?

Final Coffee Thoughts

You know how we mentioned good coffee near our studio? It’s Zombie Coffee. It’s a small shop that opened a short while ago, after our studio opened, and it’s a husband and wife that run the place. We love their stuff, and we go there all the time. We even share candy with them sometimes :D Check it out. Here’s a picture.

Zombie Coffee

Point being: we were expected to go to Europe and be blown away at how much better their coffee is than Korea’s coffee, but we were wrong. Indie coffee shops, like Zombie Coffee and others, make some of the best coffee we’ve ever had, and we drink it by the buckets. Korea might not be up to speed on cheese and bread, but it’s doing great with coffee.

So, long story short, Europe made us realize that we’d be a lot fatter if we lived there.



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Korea vs Europe


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  1. Re-watching old videos, yay! I’m sure someone else pointed this out, but the reason bottled water is so expensive in Norway is because the tap water is drink-clean all over the country. In my home town we have some of the cleanest mountain water in the world. Buying water is not neccessairy, so the prices for it are very high. I only buy water at the airport, for example.
    Just wanted to make sure you guys knew this before returning to Norway and wasting money on buying water again! Just buy something really cheap(not water, buy it for the bottle) and fill the bottle at any place. My experience is that you can go to any Narvesen or 7-eleven and ask them to fill your bottle for you – for free.
    Have a nice new tour of Europe guys!

    2 years ago
  2. isa

    I’m dutch and the other main reason that we can speak it so well is because we don’t dub things. if we want to see something we watch it in english and if you grow older you watch it whitout the sub

    2 years ago
  3. …about English… I think that watching untranslated cartoons and, at the same time, learning English at school boosted, a lot, my English skills…… I remember we had to do a lot of compositions and projects and had to present them in class…but we didn’t use to have that many conversations…

    Great work! :)


    2 years ago
  4. My question does s.korea have thirft or second hand stores, like they do in the usa?

    2 years ago
  5. So interesting to hear your views on Europe, I really do believe we’re the most different people in such a “small” continent, but of course that’s because we have the most countries in one continent.. So therefore, like many others below me has stated, there are many differences between Northern/Western Europe and Southern/Eastern Europe.. In the countries you visited, people are pretty much fluent in English and understand it by both reading, listening and talking, but in the South/East, being fluent in English is not so common.. Also the prices are crazy different, like Norway (as you experienced).. I’m Norwegian, and for example Slovakia is a dream place for me because the costs there are so low compared to what I’m used to.. Each country are known for their own special thing, and I love that about us Europeans! ^_^ Please visit next year too! ♥

    2 years ago
  6. One thing about going abroad that just flabbergasted me was that you had to pay to use public restrooms. I mean, it seems like going to the bathroom is something that everybody does (right? RIGHT?), so how can you make people pay to use public restrooms. I was in Venice and had to go to the bathroom, and there’s weren’t any public restrooms around, so I asked a bunch of different restaurants and cafes if I could pay to use their bathroom, and all of them said no. Surprisingly one of the nicest restaurants near Saint Marco was the only one that let me in…

    2 years ago
  7. I’m from Holland and I like to wear clothing with lots of colors, and people find it weird, or people are like, you’re always dressed so colorful, so yeah people are used to wearing dull colors… My favorite color is purple, and I get a lot of comments about it.

    2 years ago
  8. Oh My! I’m really having a lot of fun reading those comments…this topic was indeed so so interesting…Thank you S&M!!! This way we can learn a lot about each other culture! *_*

    2 years ago
  9. Hey Simon and Martina!
    About the English learning process in Europe, I live in Portugal and I had English as a mandatory class for five years and I must say, it is NOT in those classes people learn English. I had horrible teachers every year and learned one word in all those classes : shelf. European youth knows how to speak the language due to movies, music and the Internet. I learned how to speak in English due to Harry Potter movies and songs on the radio.
    Also, here most foreign shows ( about 65% of programs we see) aren’t translated, only subbed, which makes it easier for us to learn it and is the reason I’m able to write this comment. :3 Love your videos, kisses and hugs from Portugal!
    P.s: We’ve got lots of cheese here (GOAT CHEESE)!

    2 years ago
  10. Hello S&M.

    I’m from Puerto Rico and currently living in Florida so I will be contrasting some things I’ve experienced from these 2 places.

    Puerto Rico:
    – People drive crazy and tend to not respect stop signs
    – The roads are full of holes, you feel like you’re riding on a horse
    – Prices are cheaper
    – People are more friendlier and noisy
    – Work and, especially, school have too many free days

    – People follow road rules(including having more respect for the popo)
    – Roads are smoother
    – Cost of living is more expensive
    – People tend to be isolated, they keep to themselves rather than be noisy and nosy(which I appreciate)
    – There are less holidays

    I could even contrast some things I’ve heard/read/watched between South Korea and the places I’ve lived in but I haven’t visited the East, yet.

    Hope the entire Eatyourkimchi crew have an awesome Halloween and BOOYA!

    2 years ago
  11. I too was amazed at how well everyone speaks English in mainland Europe. I think it’s because they start learning at a young age whereas when I was at school we didn’t start until around age 12. And now I haven’t been to school for 5 years or more, my French has gone completely out the window. Sacré Bleu!
    As for differences I noticed, in Italy; cars don’t stop for you at zebra crossings, in Spain; the atmosphere is so relaxed. Shops close for like 2 hours at lunch. Unfortunately my memory isn’t that good for Holland and France so I can’t remember what differences I encountered.

    2 years ago
  12. Speaking and using English ni Europe really is much easier than in Asia. I live in Belgium which is next to the Netherlands, France, Germany and we’re just using the american and britisch culture quite a lot. The TV shows a lot of English spoken programs, movies, shows with subtitles, so they don’t take out the original audio, the internet is mostly in English and if you learn English in school, it’s easier to pick up since you already have a knowledge of the English you got in your free time and if they teach you well, it’s not that hard actually.
    I know for sure that I probably will raise eyebrows when learning those English exam kind of English, but we really did learn how to use it to be conventional :)
    But maybe also because Korean, (also other Asian languages like Chinese, Japanese…) is just a different method of learning and using than English. That’s memory while Dutch, French, German, Swedish… they use letters to form words and all ^^

    2 years ago
  13. Just my two cents on your bread problems. It could be that the bread taste so different because of

    A) the water in each country tastes different. Sounds silly but there have been tests where people ate pizza and could tell which water the crust was made out of by the taste. Water makes a HUGE difference in how bread tastes. That is also why I hated every pizza place in Philadelphia.
    B) Maybe some of these bakeries were using live yeast cultures, which is TOTALLY based on region. Basically, having a live yeast culture is 100% regionalized. So if you took famous San Francisco sour dough yeast, shipped it to Korea, nursed the yeast, made a few loaves of dough, let it regrow and replenish, you will notice your bread will start to taste different. What happens is the San Francisco native yeasts die out and the native Korean yeasts take over. This isn’t why Korean bread stinks, but might be why Korean artisan bread doesn’t taste like European bread.

    On a side note, I am SO ever grateful that you mention sweet Korean bread on your blog because it has prevented me from wasting my money at my local Korean market. My husband asked if we wanted any fresh bread, and I gave him a quick- “You don’t want that bread” look. I had to explain to him how it is was sweet later on, which he still doesn’t fully understand today…

    2 years ago
  14. Thought on English, the language might be similar to English than Korean to English which would make it 10x’s easier to learn and speak English like Italian, French, and Spanish are very similar and wouldn’t take them much longer to learn that language other than probably learning that there are a few pronunciation difference example for chicken for Italian and Spanish it is spelled pollo but in Italian it is pronounced Po-lo and in Spanish it is pronounced Po-yo (respectively I don’t have the true pronunciation guide on my computer up just the simple google translate).

    2 years ago
    • Well, Spanish and Italian are indeed quite similar, being both latin languages, but they are not as similar as others may think they are…we do undestand each other but there are also lots of differences, not only in pronunciation…
      You know, it is all about how much you practice a language!
      For example, I don’t have a problem with English subs, but I do have some when it comes to Spanish subs…I watch all korean dramas and programs with Eng sub, and I’m so used to them, that even if I try to do the same with Spanish (a language I like a lot), it just doesn’t work the same way to me! The same goes for lyrics translations in music, and so on…I do understand Spanish, but it takes me a lot more time and effort!
      While, if I watch movies with eng sub i’m even able to catch some Korean words or Japanese ones (though Japanese to me is way clearer when it comes to try catching words)…So, I guess it’s more a question of habits! The more you practice the more you become good…

      2 years ago
  15. Thanks, that was cute!

    I actually learned it from “Horrible Histories” – BONUS: “Nasty” is a word from the Vikings as well ;)

    It’s a kid’s show but SERIOUSLY so so so sooooo funny. Can’t get that “Stupid Deaths” song out of my head! <3

    2 years ago
  16. heh, so you guys had some life changing experiences in europe, eh?
    i must say that happened to me when i entered canada as a kid.
    because my aunt showed me a video of vancouver from the ministry of tourism,
    canada seemed to be always sunny, just like california.
    but the reality? LOTS of rain….
    and although i appreciate medicare, the transit fees across the country was sooooo expensive!
    i think living overseas made me appreciate korean subways…. a lot!

    2 years ago
    • omg same here! Haha! I was so surprised when I went to Vancouver….

      I was also like “oh, Canada is going to be just like California..lets go to a Trader Joes or a Target! :D” and…no…
      But I was talking to a friend who grew up in Vancouver and she was telling me that it has developed a lot more recently so yay!

      2 years ago
  17. Wow haha “What Does The Fox Say” is really popular here in America too….

    2 years ago
  18. EYK should totally come to Seattle and check out the coffee culture there! I’m a little south, so I don’t know for sure, but they’re kinda famous for their coffee. And the Space Needle. But most importantly, COFFEE!!! #EYKinUSA #USNasties!

    2 years ago
  19. I actually moved from the USA to Germany a year and a half ago!

    I do have to agree with your point on how Europeans dress sort of -cough cough- drabby. A lot of times, if I go out into town with my pink pants and ‘HELLO’ sweater, I get a lot of stares from more of the older generation. The younger generation is a lot more open to unique clothing, but only to a certain point.

    And also, I think Europe is a bit plus size unfriendly, in particular with woman. There are nearly no nice looking clothes and most of it is marketed to mothers or old women, not 20 year old women -_-

    As for the excellent English, it is because English is studied SOOOOOO LONG here in Germany (at least). I volunteered in a German elementary school for a year and was officially charged to do english lessons for the whole school (of 60 kids xD).~~ by the way, I used a lot of your old teaching videos for some help with ideas. So thanks a ton!~~ This is starting in the FIRST GRADE. And then they continue to have required English from fifth grade until they end school! And some people even get private lessons. Hardcore o.o

    And lastly, don’t try learning german unless you love the language xD it has the most complicated grammar IN THE WORLDDDD. (i think at least xD) Short story short: Three articles = overloaded brain xD But thankfully I love German ;D

    But in the end, I really feel like I connect with you guys. I moved here with a lot of doubt, scared for my future. I was interested in Germany but just wasn’t sure if I fit in. But over time, like you guys, I’ve fallen in love with this country!

    TL;DR : Moved to Germany, had a little culture shock, but love the country and it’s culture in all ways

    2 years ago
    • Ya, you really need to like the language to enjoy it xD I just love how it sounds and how the sentense structure is just sooooo logical xD But there are still things I just can’t figure out that just take time to learn xD I’m actually just finishing my intensive classes to get my certificate so I can get into German Uni xD

      Do you live in Germany?

      2 years ago
  20. i would think that it is easier for europeans to learn english than for koreans. i speak english, spanish, and am a french minor in college and because many european languages (like english) are latin based the sentence structuring and words are to a degree similar. but although i’ve learned the korean alphabet, composing sentences in korean are highly difficult for me, because it really is a different mindset and has evolved from a completely different language.

    2 years ago
  21. Am I the only one who is /not/ in love with What does the Fox say? I just found it awkward and annoying. xD; I would totally prefer a What does the Spudgy say!

    Also, you guys look fine! You don’t look pudgy to me at all! I’m glad you had a great trip, though! I’m jealous of your traveling. =P

    2 years ago
  22. It’s really something if you have a good bakery really close in Poland. There are so many of them. Whenever you go in the city, there’s always a place where you can find a good bread, even in the villages there must be a shop and there’s always bread. One of the brands is really famous in my region and well… It’s hard to say no to this delicious things… And smell makes it much more difficult…

    2 years ago
  23. The one thing I love about Sweden when I’m abroad: drinkable water.
    Every time I’ve been abroad, my mom always gave me this glare and said in a stern voice: “And remember, you shall not drink water from the tap.” I don’t know what’s up with this, if it’s dirty or too much chlorine (?) in it too be healthy for you, but you shouldn’t drink it. At least if you don’t boil it first. And buying bottled water feels like such a waste of money, it’s just water for goodness sake. So yeah. Drinkable tapwater in my heart.

    2 years ago
  24. Martina, I must say I absolutely love your hat. :D Glad you found a store branch with it in stock during your trip.

    Me and my boyfriend have been travelling a lot these past years, South Korea, Japan, England and France included, but I think the one common thing we found for all countries was how cheap they were compared to our home country. And yes, I am Norwegian, and I live in Norway. xD We went crazy at Etude House, paying 10 NOK for an eye shadow we would have paid at least 40 NOK for at home. And holy smokes, the food was sooooo cheap! Not to mention delicious. So yeah, if you save a bit of money, you can live pretty well during your holiday because of the “favourable” exchange rates.

    The one thing I miss the most when I go overseas is being able to drink tap water. It’s super convenient to just take a bottle, fill it, and head out. While in Seoul, I made the mistake of filling my glass directly from the sink, not thinking too much about it since I’m used to it. Tasted like chlorine.

    Oh, yeah, and The Fox is sung by a Norwegian duo called Ylvis. It’s become the pride of the nation these days, it’s basically everywhere, much to my annoyance.

    2 years ago
  25. So I can tell everyone, I must go to Korea to lose some weights. Awesome, it’s for my health, yo! I love coffee shops and I want to experience Korean’s coffee culture.

    2 years ago
  26. Well…We were in Seoul (and in Busan) – me & my sister – for the last two weeks of September. We are from Latvia and the end of September is pretty chilly here while Korea was a prolonged version of summer for us! Yeah!!! Even though Latvia and Korea are pretty far from each other, I would say that we have a lot of similarities – like history, nature, prices, climate..except mountains!! We don`t have them – it`s all flat here!!..etc.
    I liked that Seoul was very oriented for tourists – all the signs, direction markers, maps!!! I loved the maps! They are practically everywhere!!! (not so much in Busan, though) Koreans are very friendly! If they see that you are struggling with a
    map, they come up to you and try to help, even if their English isn`t so good. We, here in Latvia, should work on that! Interesting thing was that street vendors were divided by theme – street where lamps are sold,street where wedding dresses are sold, street where safes are sold, mechanical parts, led displays, puppies etc. And what`s about those robotic ladies at the entrances of the shops?! A little scary! :D
    The biggest thing that was different was the feeling of safety!! We made a lot of walks through Seoul late at night, and I haven`t felt so safe anywhere else! That was liberating! Ahh!! And the stairs!! They are everywhere! LOL
    We don`t have a very diverse street-food culture here in Latvia, while Seoul had a great variety of food!! Did enjoy every dish we ate! Nom, nom! One think that we 100% would need in Latvia are pastry shops like Paris Baguette – those shops just make people happy! it`s not like we don`t have pastry shops, we do! But they don`t have THAT feel.
    Korean museums are more interactive (the same I can say for the Shanghai museum of history – pretty neat)! Although I think that our palace museums have advantage over Korean – we have a lot of furniture and relics and other old/historical stuff still
    there, while Korean palaces are empty. The same goes for Chinese palace museums – all empty.
    Those were GREAT two weeks! Would like to come back someday!

    Arta & Ilze from Latvia

    2 years ago
  27. I’m actually sort of schocked that European coffee isn’t better. I guess like you said Cafe culture is more important than the drinks themselves.

    2 years ago
  28. Its really fun to listen to how you thoughts about Europe and how fashion, food and how much everything costs here differs from what you is use to in Korea :) Something that always suprised me at first when i travelled to other countrys – not very far away saddenly – but on vaccations and stuff is that we (in Sweden at least) can drink our water directly from the water tap! :)

    Everytime i go away – that is something I can miss alot!! :D Many people is always used to the ideá that they have to buy the water in a bottle! Probably other countrys have the same as us, but often when im outside Sweden – ive always been told – dont drink from the water tap (!!)

    Martina – Simon: Tell me if you want ingredients to make bread (if you dont have everything you need – I can try to send you fun stuff) :D You know: sunflower seed, nuts and berries, dried yeast (is it called that?) – name it and I will start with a new package ;)

    Have you gotten the package I sent you!? (Should be wraped with cardboard around – and have a box inside it – and is it whole)!? :)

    2 years ago
  29. YES THANK YOU! I totally agree with you! In Sweden (in any cases) fashion doesn’t existed! People are walking around in there pajamas on the town! WHAT!? WHY!? I’m from Sweden and it is so uninspiring!

    For the English, I’ve studied/spoken English for 12 years now and that we learn English more verbal/conversational in school is nothing I’ve experienced, in junior high it was all about the grammar and just passing the exams. But to be honest I never got the grammar, I’m a much better speaker then writer, but then again I didn’t have you guys as my teachers! ;D
    A big difference between Sweden and other countries (in my experience) is that we do not dub! Nothing on TV is dubbed (well except children programs) so we hear English al the time, I mean I hear English at least 3 – 6h a day, every day.

    And I do not know how it is for other countries, but in Sweden, it’s almost a MUST to know English to get a decent job. And now a third/fourth language is like really good, English is more like a must, and it’s expected of you.

    Fun facts for you guys: we do have lines in high school that only teaches in English, but the majority of Swedes don’t got to such programs but we have them and they are called IB, stands for International Baccalaureate ^^

    Love you guys! And I hope you come back to Sweden soon! <3

    2 years ago
    • In Spain where i’m from there is nothing subbed… cause it’s all in spanish LOL Really they prefer to pay someone to translate and put their voices on a tv show/film than spend t on our terrible english education. And well in germany (Where i live now) you can find more people speaking english, but it is because they have a better english education, but not because of the german tv, where they also translate most of the tv shows/films ;)

      2 years ago
  30. As always, I love how you guys talk and how it feels like you’re interacting with the audience and think about how to make us understand in the best way. You guys are an inspiration in so many ways! You wonderful people you.~

    I saw it in a comment below and I thought it would be interesting. I’ve seen in different videos you’ve made that women and men are expected to behave differently (as in many other countries) (for example smoking and the handshaking thing). And I’ve also seen a couple of dramas.
    What kind of “gender roles” do you see in your everyday life? How does Korea see on them in general? Has this changed anything since you moved to Korea? And how big is the difference in the view on it between the different generations?

    (Pronounciation —> TalÁ-rià <— If you pronounce it wrong I don't mind since I pronounce it in a Swedish dialect, ohoho)

    2 years ago
  31. Good coffee ? Go to Spain, Italy or Portugal ! (Specially if you are a Espresso fan (: )

    2 years ago
  32. I always was really intrigued about how things worked in Japan. I once read someone saying: “That building is 30 years old, it’s really old, you don’t want to live there.” And I was like o.O 30 years is not old. As for Korea, I don’t know anything about it other than the fact that shopping malls seem to often crumble apart. If there is an architecture expert here, please speak up. It’s highly intriguing.

    2 years ago
  33. Wanna get fat? Go to Portugal. Good cheese and bread included :D
    I’m a portuguese student living in the UK and I miss the good food so much…

    2 years ago
  34. Hm. I visited Italy this summer and it opened my eyes for a lot of things I hadn’t previously thought about my home country. I can point out that this was the second time I was travelling outside Scandinavia, first being to London but other than that I’ve been to Denmark like tons of times. But after visiting a few cities in Italy I came to really appreciate the restaurants and waiting staff so much more back home in Sweden.

    It did not matter if we ate breakfast at our hotel, or sat in a bar/café during lunchtime or ate dinner at a restaurant – the staff was so rushed. They rushed us to a table, then barely had we opened our menus and then we were supposed to order, and then we got our food (at different times, they did not serve our whole group, some of us got our food up to fifteen minutes after the first one had gotten his) and as soon as someone had finished eating the staff was there to clean the table. We did not get the time to fully enjoy our meal because it felt like we were being rushed to eat, pay and leave as quickly as possible.

    Could be because in Sweden it is not uncommon for guests to stay over two hours, talking and eating and talking some more, then ordering in desserts and talking again, yeah you get the point. I think I was mostly shocked that Italy, a country known for their delicious food, was so rushed at just that. Anyway, that’s what I remembered when you asked the question.~

    2 years ago
  35. Martina, where did you get that hat? I’ve seen you wear the white one and now the black. I really like them.

    2 years ago
  36. I said this on the video comments but i want to post it here too. I feel like the reason Europeans are so good at English is because most of the time the Characters and the Sentence Structure are the same. So it’s a lot easier to learn, speak and write in a language so similar to your own whereas in Korea they have to switch back an forth from Korean to English in characters and sentence structure which is definitely a lot harder.

    2 years ago
  37. haha just last week i was walking home and there were a bunch of dudes just literally sitting on a park bench smoking weed! now if it was the shady park near my house that would be normal, but it was in this really nice beautiful park near my campus and i was kinda surprised! and it was on a beautiful sunny day!

    hhmm…never heard that ‘what does the fox say’ song before!!

    2 years ago
  38. Hmm that is a good point, most asian languages have different language structures than English.

    I am Singaporean, and we can speak both English and Chinese fluently. But perhaps this is because we have learnt both languages since birth.

    2 years ago
  39. agree that it is very different but i dont think you can discount more efficient teaching methods, proper immersion(as in their example of conversational english) is a huge aid to learning a second language, in singapore our main and official language in schools is english but in general everyone HAS to learn a second language which is mainly mandarin, malay or tamil, usually respectively chosen by chinese, malay and indians which are the three main races in singapore. im chinese and Any mandarin immersion around me came in the form of tv(subtitled in english mind you) or occasionally having to speak to older people who couldnt speak english well, but this was extremely rare for me and most of my friends, we came from english speaking families, spoke to each other in english, mainly watched english shows, never read mandarin books, the most mandarin we would speak or read in a year would be in mandarin class in school where we still spoke to each other in english anyway lol, only to the teacher in mandarin. i know its not exactly similar as english in korea because theres no racial context of learning english like we do with learning our 2nd languages, but i feel like i can draw a parallel with chinese being so not a part of my life except through the media and school, making it no different from a korean kid watching subtitled american shows and learning english in class. in fact the ONLY reason i can still speak and read chinese somewhat fluently is because i got into taiwanese dramas and variety shows when i was a teen and watched it for years, all the while struggling with the stock way with which my teachers taught mandarin (exam based as s n m say). Any complicated phrases or words that i know, or id even go so far as to say the fact that i can even string a sentence together today(my chinese is crap but iv met alot of sgpn chinese who know it wayy worse than me lol), were maintained by tv more than whatever my teachers tried to rote teach into us(im not kidding when i say 90 percent of exams was just about proving how much of a memorization ninja you could be, not actually integrating these phrases into your vocab through more ‘natural’ exposure and use if you get what i mean).

    2 years ago
  40. Wow! This was really interesting!
    Well, you know, Northern Europe is really different from the rest of the continent, since they have an Anglo-Saxon cultural line, really far from the Latin one (I guess France could be considered as an half-way reality), but really, I agree with the Ma below (hello! I’m happy to finally read an other Italian nasty’s comment, evviva!!!).
    Italy, but Spain also, and Greece, and the Balcanic area, are not as good at English as the Northern Europe, even if European educational system is indeed really good and is more about understanding and reasoning, than about memory.
    Well, Italians are not as good as Swedish, German and Norwegian people…it’s just natural, since our language has different origins!
    Moreover, about coffee, I guess Americans tend to like the “Americano” type, that for an Italian person generally means “that black colored kind of water they like to drink, calling it coffee” XD…
    You should really try a real Espresso in a real Italian bar…it is just too different!!!!
    About fashion, this is a thing I’ve been thinking about for quite the time: Korean fashion is really colorful and funny, but it is kinda oriented to “The much the better” concept, a thing that is not always true…if you talk about fashion with Southern Europeans, you’ll discover that we have a different idea about what is stylish and what it is not…Italian fashion, for example, is really design oriented, but we generally go with the concept “just few things but well matched” and “The least the better” …I personally like a lot of korean fashion aspects, but I also often find myself thinking “this is really too much”…I guess it just a question of perception, the same thing that happens when you talk about what is considered beautiful and what ugly from county to country…

    2 years ago