For starters, I’m sure some people might see the title of this blog post and video and jump into the comment section, guns blaring, keyboards smoking from all the rage typing. Korea vs Japan! There’s bad blood between Korea and Japan, for reasons that we can’t do justice in explaining in a short blog post. We see these tensions pop up often in our YouTube comments, if we ever mention anything Japanese. I know it’s gonna be the same in the YouTube comments to this video. But I know you blog readers are more civil than that, and can focus on the discussion at hand. Which is why we love you all. Thanks for coming here and leaving great comments. The discussion in last week’s Sexism in Korea video here on the site was wonderful. Thank you all for that.

We’re hoping that we can keep up the discussion with this week’s topic of differences between Japan and Korea. Basic differences, that is; stuff you might have noticed. Not talking about differences in language or culture or history or politics. Just different experiences of both countries. We mentioned a few in our video. There are tons more. Some that we didn’t mention that you might find interesting:

Japan has a much bigger disk culture, it seems. We saw tons of DVD shops, and huge, sprawling DVD sections in stores for soooooo many things. Old shows, like Alf, had the complete DVD sets available in Japan (seriously who the flurk would buy an Alf complete set?!?!). In Korea, though, we BARELY see any DVDs. It’s unfortunate. When we first came to Korea, we could rent DVDs from the convenience store, and saw a few DVD shops around the area that we could get movies from. Now, our convenience stopped renting out DVDs, and those rental shops are closed. I’m sure we could find DVDs if we went out looking for them, but they’re nowhere near as pervasive as they were in the places we visited in Japan.

Korean taxis are freaking cheap! To be honest, I don’t think I ever took a taxi before coming to Korea, because taxis are so expensive everywhere. Sure, they drive like maniacs and we feel like we’re in danger every time we’re in one, but they’re cheap! In Japan, taxis are crazy expensive. We never went into one, but we were told to stay away. You know, damn: we should have tried it just to see what it was like. We can’t compare the prices because we’re not sure. Maybe Japanese taxis are not as crazy expensive as people make them out to be?

You know how we feel about driving in Korea (it’s the worst). We always feel funny whenever we go to Japan, because on the first day we’re always like “Don’t cross the street yet! It’s our light, but this mofo’s gonna kill us!” but that never happens. Cars stop behind the lines they’re supposed to stop at! It’s amazing. Korea: we love lots of things about you, but we hate your driving the most!

Speaking the Native Language
Ok, so this one we’re not too sure about. Please let us know if you’ve experienced it differently. Here’s what we kinda thought: whenever we saw interracial relationships in Japan, between a foreigner and a Japanese person, they very often spoke to each other in Japanese. In Korea, though, most of the interracial relationships we’ve seen have people speaking in English. Is it just us who noticed this? We don’t want to form any speculations as to why, or if this is indicative of different countries and their perceptions on language. Maybe we just fluked out and saw a few instances in Japan of people speaking Japanese, when in reality foreigners don’t speak it too often. Or maybe lots of interracial couples in Korea speak Korean to each other (but we seriously barely know of ANY). Thoughts?

Lots of Different Kinds of Foreigners
In Japan, we saw many more foreigners than we do here in Korea. Most of the foreigners we meet here are English teachers, while in Japan we saw lots of different foreign families, with baby carriages! Seriously barely see any foreigners with baby carriages here. Maybe foreigners leave their babies at home? Ha! That was a joke. But, seriously: we heard people speaking German, Russian, heard a lot of Nigerian accents, and just saw more multicultural diversity in Japan than we do here in Korea. Maybe because we were just in the touristy parts of Tokyo, while it could be that outside of those areas foreigners are totally screwed? I don’t know.

Restaurant Service
We talked about how we dearly missed vegetables when we went out to restaurants in Tokyo. Another thing we really missed that we couldn’t really articulate in a short video was the level of customer service that we missed from Korea. Wow. It’s one of our favorite things about this country. If we go to small restaurants, not the big franchises, and there’s an ajumma (older lady) working there, she treats us like we’re family. She’ll talk to us fondly, let us know if our jackets fell of our chairs and are on the ground, will flip our meat for us, give us extra side dishes not on the menu for free, and just so much more. One of our favorite places in Bucheon (OH WE MISS YOU SO MUCH BUCHEON!) – our favorite Samgyeopsal place in fact – had the sweetest ladies. They loved Martina’s hair, would talk about it whenever she redyed it. There’d even be moments when they’d pull of loose strands from Martina’s jacket. During the winter, they’d heat up sweet potatos, not available on the menu, and bring them to us. Damn! They were so kind and caring! And that’s not just for that restaurant: we get similar treatment in lots of other restaurants in Korea. We never got that in Japan. We did for that Best Sushi in Japan place, but that was more because he was passionate about his art, rather than being kind and caring, you know? Who knows: maybe we just went to the wrong restaurants in Japan, but we remember feeling that lack of care in Tokyo restaurants.

Anyhow, that’s it for now. I’m sure some of you will mention something and we’ll be like “Oh right! Totally forgot about that!” And then we’ll copy what you said, put it in the post, and then delete your comment, like it never happened. Ha! We wouldn’t do that :D

  1. Hahaha, let’s talk about ajumma (older lady) in korea.

    ajumma literally means aunt in korean, as does ajussi (older gentleman) means uncle. it refers to an older lady, usually married, but not necessarily.

    an ajumma is the most beloved thing in korea, not only because she’s older, and lady, but because she carries with her special aura with her–she’s kind, she’s generous, sometimes she can be harshy, but cares about you. no wonder the word itself means aunt!

    there was a set of jokes about ajumma in korea while ago (like 10-20 years ago), which i wouldn’t go further execpt an example, mainly because i can’t remember them well, and because it would cloak the post. anyway, the idea behind it is sometimes her actions seem funny, and selfish, but her intentions are always good, and lovable. because her actions are from her love for the family. and because she’s such a harmless person, who’s physically weaker, and should save her strength to care for the family. (ex. when in a bus, when there’s empty seat, an ajumma would be the first person to catch the seat–since she has to go home, and cook and care for the family. etc.)

    korean culture is very much family-oriented. and many of you would probably know about this, but we not only call older lady ajumma (an aunt), older gentleman ajussi (an uncle), but also calls older friend either hyong (an older brother) or noona (an older sister), and younger friend dongsaeng (an younger brother or sister). also, we always call seniors either harabuji (a grandfather), or halmeoni (a grandmother).

  2. Hello I usually dont bother to comment on internet but I just wanted to share my personal (opinion dont get me wrong ^^) experience. so u guys mentioned that how couples speaking English in Korea and in Japan they speck Japanes? I think it is because like u guys mentioned most of foreign people live in Korea, they are living in Korea as English teacher thus they are usually not encourage to speck Korean and if u live in Seoul u don’t actually need to use Korean that much. in addition many Korean people see u differently if u speck English

  3. Kimbab Cunkook rocks ;) Thanks for the video too – very informative :)

  4. Your post isn’t even reliable.
    This website is more on the side of korea.
    Korea is like a second japan, mini japan.
    Koreans try to copy japanese in every ways.
    Martials arts, fashion, cars, etc…
    If you never lived in japan you can’t understand.
    ive been to korea btw.

  5. you dumbasses taxis in japan are expensive because they are premium in everything do not comare you korean fools.

    • Why hello there. I see you have strong feelings about Korea and Japan. However it is against our commenting guidelines to be disrespectful. Which this post obviously is. If you persist in posting disrespectful and inflammatory comments you will be banned.


  6. Well, Koreans in Toronto doing sushi does not sound strange to me.

    Let me explain. In the Netherlands where I live, the most “traditional Dutch” fastfood would be fries, as in French fries, or “chips” in the UK. These have pretty much been taken over by Chinese in the last 10 years. In the town where I live out of the six “snackbars” I have been in five are run by Chinese, or maybe one by Japanese. This seems to be a national phenomenon.

    Moreover, but this may be just where I live, I’m told many “Italian” pizzeria’s are run by Turks. So I just to had to know … who runs the local Turkish bakery? The ones behind the counter I met were Moroccans.

    So, yeah, Koreans doing sushi, check.

  7. Great post. I lived in Japan for a year and traveled a bit in Korea. You are basing your finding on only Tokyo, kind of like judging America on only New York. There are almost no foreigners outside Tokyo and Osaka, and those that are there are teachers or students. Taxis are quite expensive compared to korea, but the subway was much better in my town(Fukuoka) than Seoul. I enjoyed that is was 100% on time.

    My favorite restaurant was this little house that a couple turned into a restaurant. for 6-7$ I got a giant plate of chicken, rice, tofu, veggie and a pickled veggie and all the green tea I could drink. They had a library for manga that was free to read and usually bought the newest edition of new books to read.

    Still loved the topic and the show.

  8. I somehow missed this video when it was originally posted, but found it while looking for info about moving from Seoul to Japan. I completely agree with everything you said. I was so impressed with how clean the streets were, even the street markets were immaculate! And, the subway in Osaka had me in tears. Not only is it hard to use, but nearly all the maps in the subway were in Japanese, so I couldn’t figure out where I was going in order to know how much it would cost. Fortunately, a very nice Japanese man helped me the first time, but after that I was screwed. I found the buses in Kyoto much easier to use, but still ridiculously expensive. And the lack of access to the internet was painful. Hmm…I’m beginning to wonder why I want to live in Japan. As for sushi, there are one or two decent places in Seoul, but nothing compares to being in Japan.

  9. I want to help to tell more about people of Japanese from what have I experience it.

    Japanese People are nice. Very nice. Especially from Kansai Area (That means Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Kyoto). You can already feel the difference at the atmosphere itself. At Osaka, they will help you GLADLY. Even when I was at Osaka end I forgot which way to my Hotel, I ask for the staff at the mall that connected into the hotel that I’m staying (And I got loss ;D) and then they gladly escort us into the place, and when we arrived at the detination, they bow to us and say “ありがとうございます” which in romaji is Arigatou Gozaimasu which means Thank you very much (Which it can be interpreted as “Thank you very much for visiting our mall”) And also we got help from officer when we visit Kyoto and to think he like candy from my country xD We told him we want to go here and the officer explain which bus should we take it. God I love Kansai area <3.

    About Foreign who speak Japanese with Japanese people. They could be exchange student or someone who work at Japan. Japanese people can't speak English fluently, heck they even can't speak English xD So in order to be accept it by society, foreign had to learn Japanese. But there are also foreign who speak English so maybe you don't venture too much.

    Restaurant service at Japan is kinda different even from my country standard. Especially the Food Court. If you ever eat food from food court, remember, always, again, ALWAYS bring it back into the place where you bought the food cause it Japanese culture.

  10. Well in Tokyo, there are far too many people to give kindly service like that. But outside of Tokyo, I got kind service and kind people in restaurants. Most times they will leave you alone because most people like being left alone when eating.

  11. Actually, you can find Japanese style sushi in Korea.
    There are some conveyer belt sushi restaurants. (회전스시 or 회전초밥)
    회 is Korean style sashimi, and 초밥 is Japanese style sushi, I think.

  12. Oh and, in Japan, people eat insanely fast. When I was in Korea, i didn’t experience seeing any Korean person eat quickly but I don’t think it’s applicable to all Koreans. But in Japan people stand while they eat ramen and finish in 3-5 minutes. O.o

  13. But what I find different too is, Korean boys really love gaming no matter how old they are but some Japanese boys I’ve met are like, “gaming are only for kids.” O.o

  14. I’m wondering then about the indie music. Is it only Korean Indie Music or were/are there any in Japan? Have you heard any from other countries? Also, outside of work attire, how do Japanese people dress for different occasions? I could always check this out through Google as usual, but how much more fun when asking (=^___^=)

  15. I think Japan has lower birth rate, so immigration incentives are higher? Hello from Toronto, ON, Canada BTW!!

  16. I think Japan has lower birth rate, so immigration incentives are higher? Hello from Toronto, ON, Canada BTW!

  17. As someone who spent the last year in Central Japan and will soon be moving to Korea, I must say I am relieved to hear the lack of vegetables is unique to Japan! There is nowhere to order a decent salad. And by decent, I mean a non-saucer-of-shredded-cabbage-topped-with-canned-corn-and-way-too-much-mayonnaise. Americans have this image of the the Japanese diet being extremely healthy, but really they eat a lot of meat, white rice, and fried everything. I think this has a lot to do with having t import all their produce, though. When one apple = $5.00, and one carrot = $1.00, you can see why restaurants use veggies as the garnish.

    Dear God, half-frozen sushi sounds awful! Japanese places, even the cheap kaiten ones, make it right in front of you out fresh ingredients. I didn’t live in Tokyo, but the smaller restaurants in my city were very service oriented. Less friendly than American service to be sure, but especially at places you’ve been to more than once, they are very hospitable. I’ve had waitresses pick up scarves or jackets from the floor for me, joke with us, comment on my clothing, give us free refills. I also had this happen while on vacation in Tokyo and Kyoto.

    The Tokyo subway system is a mess! There are two private companies plus the nationally owned JR lines, and as you all mentioned, there’s that new extension that doesn’t connect, and you have to get off and walk a few blocks to continue on that line. They just finished building it a few years ago, so they must have had problems with zoning. Nagoya’s subway only has four main lines, and everything is labeled in English! Much easier to navigate, much less crowded, and not really any problems with gropers. Kyoto’s public transport wasn’t bad either. If you ever are back in Tokyo, you can use http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ to figure the fastest/cheapest way around and avoid having to change lines. Even my Tokyo-ite friends use it daily. Japanese bus drivers are pretty safe, but in general people ignore traffic signs, lights, and laws, and as a pedestrian, if it’s your turn to cross the street, you’ve got to just go for it or no one will stop at crosswalk. Lax observance of traffic regulations was a big surprise for me. But you can’t deny that the trains run on time.

  18. Hoe in korea is not a koren word for sushi, they’re totally different cuisine. So obviously when you go buy hoe in korea, it’s unlike all the sushi you ate before. they’re different fish, prepped in different way, that is eaten in different way. You can’t say “oh how come there are all these korean sushu chefs in toronto and none in korea” makes no sense because korean sushi chefs are making sushi, while the korean how chefs are making hoe. if you want to eat sushi when ur in korea, look for a japanse sushi restaurant not a korean how restaurant.

  19. Fruits in Japan taste soooo good. I’d be healthy too if that’s what fruits tasted like.

    But in Japan, fruits are considered a luxury and are often given to other people as gifts. I remember seeing a mango being sold for $1200 usd.

  20. i’d love to go to both countries, but I really wonder how do people afford things in Japan? I always hear how expensive it is in Japan. I’ve seen prices for japanese dvd’s or cd’s and they are ridiculously expensive. Their toys and models I can understand xD

    I really like hearing about how people drive in different countries. I’ve went back to HK and its extremely affordable to take a taxi. As for driving in general from what I’ve seen. People don’t really drive fast, but they dont yield to the pedestrians when they have the right of way unlike the US. I’ve literally seen vehicles speed up when people try to cross on a red light. I’ve heard in china the driver yells at you if they hit you lol. On my local news channel a few weeks back broadcasted the way people in Russia drive or will jump in front of cars to sue the other party. insane i tell you lol

  21. I really found it interesting that the sushi places you guys go to in Canada are run by Koreans. Here in London is a Japanese chain restaurant called Wasabi and my friend was telling me a few weeks ago how it was actually started by a Korean guy selling sushi on the side of the road and then became this huge chain as his popularity increased. Nowadays, most of the Wasabi stores are owned by Koreans too o: Wasabi doesn’t like…specialize in sushi, really, but they do have good sushi options. I think it’s interesting that so many Japanese food places outside of Japan are owned by Koreans o:

  22. Oh! And about the restaurant service… it’s actually their way of beeing polite. In Japan it’s polite not to invade the privacy of someone you don’t know. Plus Tokyo is the “cold” capital… that’s also why it’s very seldom you get to know new people just by talking to them.. in Tokyo you need someone to introduce you most of the time. The countryside and the south are very different though! People are more open there and talk a lot : )

  23. Hmmm about the interracial couples talking mostly in japanese…. i don’t know how it compares to Korea but here’s my take on Japans part. I personaly know many mixed couples talking japanese most of the time, but I quess that’s because they ARE in Japan. If they were in the foreign boy/girlfriends country they would probably speak the language spoken there! ; ) In Japan you pop out a lot if you speak something besides Japanese and chances are all your friends and especially your japanese boy/girlfriends friends who didn’t study abroad won’t understand a word you say : ) Also if they didn’t meet abroad the Japanese might not feel so comfortable speaking english, like most japanese sadly : ( the school system doesn’t usually teach speaking too much … aand in reverse the chances are high the foreign boy/girlfriend wants and/or needs to practice his/her japanese! If you live there for a long time and want to work in a real company english just won’t be enough…

  24. I’m not sure if the language reason is because of the type of tourism in Korea and Japan. Many people learn Japanese, it’s a really accessible language to learn. In my hometown there’s a university and community college that both offer Japanese, while there is no Korean program, although maybe next semester (cross our fingers, it’ll get approved). Anyways, I feel like people go to Japan with their love of Japanese culture, learning the language, and many people go to Korea to make money. But I think these days more and more people are going to Korea because they love the culture, since the hallyu wave became really popular. I think as time goes by there will be more people in Korea who actually speak Korean and perhaps they will be speaking to their spouses in Korean like in Japan. Before Korea became more well known, I think many people didn’t know much about Korea as they did with Japan. In the states for example, we never learned about the Korean war, but of course we learned about Japan because of WWII. I think we had more exposure to Japan than Korea, but with the help of the internet, youtube, and various sites, people are learning about Korea and getting interested. I think in 10 years it will be very different than the way it is now.

  25. From my experience most koreans consume media online rather than rent DVDs. Also, I agree that interracial couples tend to speak english in korea. I’m not sure but I think this has to do with koreans being more likely to live in different countries. I lived in 5 different countries and three states in the US and whenever I meet an asian the person is usually chinese or korean, not japanese. Those couples you see speaking english are I think dating koreans who lived overseas for a while and are somewhat fluent in english. Also, this comes from my experience from living in korea but when you meet a foreigner it is common courtesy to speak in english. All koreans afterall are taught english in schools.

  26. omg I clicked the send button by accident, I was going to post more, orz.
    Speaking of japanese people speaking english. Well, the best way to communicate in there is speaking japanese ad being able to read hiragana, katakana and a few kanji (because without kanji you are lost, try to at least memorize a few, and by few I mean around 120, and with that you can survive). I remember I was once walking down the streets near a restaurant zone and there was this guy who was adevrtising a place where food seemed to be really nice. Since back then my sucky japanese skills were awful (they still are though) I decided to approach him trying to talk in english. They guy just too a step back and started shaking his hands saying “NO ENGLISH!, NO ENGLISH!” xD so I guess it’s better to speak japanese. Also it’s more well seen among japanese people that a foreigner speaks japanese.

    Foreigners living in Japan…hmm…well I only know there are a lot of mexican people living in there, with children who speak better japanese than spanish and already hold the citizenship lol. I don’t have a lot to say in there. :/
    I have also met a lot of Interracial merriages (both in Japan and Mexico) amongst Japanese and Mexican. In most of them both parties speak both languages (spanish and japanese) and teach their children both lol. One of my teachers is half mexican half japanese, and his mexican dad teaches japanese, while his japanese mom teaches spanish to foreigners here in Mexico, LOL.

  27. Well, I have traveled to Japan a couple of times in my life (2 to be exact; the first time it was onlt Tokyo for two days and the other one was a full two-week long trip, in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagasaki and Osaka. Gonna visit Osaka on summer though). So I am going to post about my experience in Tokyo, being the city I had been most at (and the only one where I noticed stuff). Well, there in Japan the subway industry is privatized so there are a lot of companies, their prices vary with each other but it’s like the most favored transport among citizens (idk about this last statement but my japanese teacher told us about it so).

    Just so you know taxi cabs in Tokyo are REALLY expensive, like, really. Dunno about Canada but here in Mexico the rates are ok. I mean, taxis and buses here are quite cheap, to say the least (we mexicans complain now because about 20 years ago the bus rates were about 1 MXN (only in Mexico City though) and now it’s about 8MXN, which is crazy for those who live in the capital but compared to the rest of the country and world it’s still cheap) so when my dad and I took a taxi cab to drive us to the hotel (we got lost orz), which was about 10-15 minutes away, it costed about 6,000 yen, and I was surprised. Ever since then I believe it’s better to get a railway map. Needless to say it’s confusing as hell. Dunno if in Korea the subway it’s in charge of the government or is it privatized as well?

  28. Have u ever played the korean ‘pepero’ game? Is it played a lot there or do u see it a lot? I think its a cute game. Halarious when vexx plays it.

  29. I second a lot of what people have said about Tokyo being different to the rest of Japan. I’ve lived here for 5 years (in other areas away from Tokyo) so I might take a stab at those other specific questions & observations.

    Taxis are *definitely* crazy expensive. They’re cheaper in bigger cities because they have more customers, but out here in the country they are ridiculous: 2000 yen ($21 Canadian) for a 15min journey is a good example. They also rarely have GPS/maps of the local area outside of major cities…

    Driving skills of people here can be pretty questionable because of the licensing/testing system. It can be very easy and quick to get a license, since there is little emphasis placed on practical skills combined with the theory…in the end it all comes down to a theory test rather than one which is on-road. Add that to the daredevil grandads zipping around in their mini-trucks and it can be quite the heart-stopping experience to drive in metro/rural Japan. Yes, they do obey lights and signals more than some other countries…living here long-term though, you notice a surprising amount of mistakes/errors on the road.

    Speaking the language: One reason for more interracial couples speaking Japanese to each other might be because the number of people who have studied Japanese who are coming to Japan is getting larger every year. Perhaps it doesn’t happen that much yet with Korean?

    Vegetables!!! the meat + carbs + meat + carbs thing in Japan is really sad…but I have met quite a few people here who openly declare that they hate vegetables… (T.T) But eggplants, pumpkin and especially sweet potato (satsuma imo) are amazing here – it’s crazy they don’t make it onto the menu more.
    I’ll make you guys tasty Japanese veggie dishes, no worries! ^^

  30. I know you guys have touched breifly about this before, but i’d like to know more about how is the pressure from media and society to be thin and beautiful affecting South Koreans (female and male)? Like are there a lot of eating disorders? or more on the popularity of plastic surgeries? etc.

  31. Hello! I have just found your videos and they are REALLY interesting and funny :)
    I am curious to know how environmentally aware/ friendly is Korea? Are things like recycling and making your home energy efficient easy and common to do?
    Abi L in the UK

  32. When I lived in Japan the taxi’s changed $50 for 5km. O_o

  33. You are in Hongdae now, right? I got one sex shop for you…. There is Condomania. I think it is near Ho Bar III. Here is the address 360-5 1st Floor, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea, tel: 337-9139. That would make a funny WANK.

  34. You guys briefly mentioned interracial couples in Korea. Are relationships between foreigners and Koreans common there? What are the reactions to such relationships? I remember seeing that video warning Koreans not to marry foreigners which seemed very negative…

  35. Hey guys Me and my best friend Saki (Silvia) started learning Japanese and we wanted to go there, but since we discovered you, we are like OMG Korea is 100 times better. We started learning Hangul and after we finish our studies we wanted to go to Korea :3 so I wanted to know how could we come to live there if we don’t become teachers (I mean like what could we work there)

    • I don’t think there are a lot of job opportunities for foreigners in Korea since youth unemployment is a huge social problem nowadays. There are 3D jobs, of course, since nobody wants them (though I think this is a problem too..), and lots of workers from underdeveloped countries fill in those places. S&M talked about some of the difficulties they had to go through to start the eyk business in previous videos. The majority of foreigner employment I observe as a native citizen are three types in large: Foreign language teachers or teachers in international schools, government officials/military officers, and employees of global companies (mostly professionals with license, I think, like consultants or financiers). Maybe this website could help you: http://www.contactkorea.go.kr

  36. Koreans don’t rent DVDs anymore in Korea because they can watch everything on demand through their cable and internet, so why bother renting physical stuff or even mail dvds, that’s so last century lol. They can just click on tv and see the old shows and dramas and films whenever by clicking their remote. And those service are way way cheaper when you bundle with your internet, cell and cable. Thank god for fastest internet in the world. S&M, for sushi in korea, maybe you should try out more spots. Go to Busan, that’s where japanese go to eat sushi, since it’s soooo expensive in Japan.

  37. The HAIR!!!! Japan’s hair is so much better!!!!!

  38. Isabel Ruby

    whenever i’m in Japan, they always start off speaking English to me, until I respond to them in Japanese.

  39. I studied abroad in South Korea in 2011, and took a short vacation to Japan while I was there. And the main thing I noticed in Japan was how much everyone wanted to help us. We would be standing there, looking at a subway map, and even though we knew where we were going four or five people would stop and ask us if we needed help or were lost. And when we actually did get lost, we had a wonderful oba san actually escort us all the way to our hostel! In Korea, if we asked for help or directions they would help, but I just noticed they weren’t as forward about it as they were in Japan.

    • That’s funny, I experienced the exact opposite. I was friggin lost in Seoul and a young business guy ask me if I needed help. The guy even walked with me halfway to the subway station. No one helped me in Japan. I guess it’s different for everyone.

  40. This is a really late comment, but I asked my dad who’s a Korean sushi man that works here in Canada, and he said that since foreigners and Koreans have different taste, they make sushi differently. That and some ingredients in Canada are expensive and hard-to-find in Korea and vice versa.

  41. “Japan has a much bigger disk culture ” they have a lot of anime dvd’s don’t they?

    I dont know about the spoken language between interratial relationships… it might be just a personal preference thing…like they’re trying to learn different languages so they agree beforehand to talk in a certain language …I don’t know :)

    I’d like to think that the reason, behind Japanese men and women dressing black and white, would be because they’re ninjas undercover and they want to stay away from the public eye as much as possible :)

    And about the Japan x Korea conflict. I think what was in the past should stay in the past. People can acknowledge it but shouldn’t feel pressured. I love both Japan and Korea.

    Awesome TLDR! ^^

    Love you guise (>*-*>)


  42. Oh man, when I was in America before I came to Korea, I worked at a sushi restaurant, and the owner was Korean! But, he had studied the art of sushi in Japan, and his co-chef was a Japanese guy who was a certified master (no joke, this guy had been
    studying it his whole life) of traditional Japanese court cuisine. The food was ridiculously good. Maybe the Koreans who own sushi restaurants in Canada studied in Japan, too?

  43. “meat sauce or saucy meat” >:3

  44. Amyaco

    Is restaraunt service bad in Japan compared to Canada too, or just in comparison to Korea?

  45. Dear Simon and Martina could you tell me which or who is your favorite artist/ idol exactly and why?

  46. I studied abroad in Tokyo from last September to February of this year and one thing that stood out for me was how every single Japanese female wore a skirt every single day, no matter the freezing temperatures. The only exception I saw was if girls were coming from sports practice and very clearly wearing their team sweat-pants. I do not even own a skirt, so my college Japanese friends seriously approached me to express their concern over me wearing pants every day. I don’t know if it’s because these girls were trained to wear skirts every day from primary school dress codes, but from college to the workplace, when you can wear your own clothes, all the women continue to wear skirts.
    I have only been to Seoul during the summer, when it was too hot to wear pants comfortably, so I wonder what is like for the rest of the year/seasons? Anyone who can comment comparing fashion in the two places?

    • It’s very similar in Korea. Korean women will often wear mini skirts even in the dead of winter, and on top of that they will also wear high heels even on the icy ground! I personally don’t understand it, but I suppose my best guess as to why they do that is because appearances are very important in Korean culture, so they want to look their best regardless of weather.

  47. How did you guys learn Korean? Did you take lessons before you went or whilst you were living in korea? Or did you just learn it from living there and being surrounded by the language?

  48. What is the university/college life like in Korea? Is it similar to the US: Like living in the dorms, are classes constructed the same way

  49. I haven’t been to Korea (yet!) but I’ve lived in Japan for a while, and so I’ll throw in my 50 cents!

    When it comes to speaking Japanese as foreigner and Japanese, I think the interest in learning Japanese has been bigger for a longer period of time than it has for learning Korean. Thus, logically more foreigners would be able to speak Japanese to a level that enables them to lead comfortable conversations with natives. It might also be that to me it seems Japanese are often scared to death of making mistakes, and so they’d rather speak in Japanese to someone whose Japanese is very broken than revealing that their English is not as top notch as they’d like.
    Also – it might be a prejudice and please correct me if I’m wrong (just keep your fires away, I’m not trying to insult anyone), BUT – to me it seems like the interest in Korea for foreigners to go and visit the country largely comes from the more recent K-pop boom, whereas Japan for a few decades has been attractive for people interested in fx manga/anime and the Japanese culture that I think is more widely known for being “one of a kind” than Korea’s is (not saying this is true!). I think that is also why there’s a bigger ethnic diversity in Japan. Does that sound reasonable?

    I also think that Japan is much more accessible when it comes to for example foreign exchange. I at least know that it is impossible for Danes to go to Korea on exchange unless you study Korean, and this is only available at one specific university out of all in the entire country. At the same time it is possible to go to Japan from at least 3 different universities, regardless of whether you study Japanese or not, and on top of that a lot of exchange organizations send students for High School exchange years in Japan, but none do to Korea.
    I have, though, more than often heard Japanese talk in English to foreigners!

    I’m also surprised by the restaurant service you mention! But I think that’s also because you’re comparing it to Korea, which apparently has extraordinarily good service. It might be that if you compared it to, say, the US, Japan would probably do pretty well. I always experience very good service at Japanese restaurants, and I have had the waitresses chat with me just because and on one occassion my friend and I got free desserts because the waitress was in a good mood. Thinking about it, I actually seem to remember Japanese restaurant staffs as being very welcoming and talkative – but here the big-franchise-or-small-franchise-part also plays a giant role! There’s the general polite service in “big” places or restaurant chains (well, Japan doesn’t really do big restaurants, seeing as there’s hardly ever room for one… lol), but if you go to a small local restaurant or cafe they will often be very friendly and try to speak their horrible English to the best of their abilities. Japanese people generally seem to pride themselves in good public service!

    Anyways, thanks for this! It’s interesting to hear about the differences!

  50. i love how you guys put a picture of Bleach (one of the most amazing animes ever in the history of anime) in the video. plus this information is great for when i’m in korea or japan :)

  51. Social norms associated with Korean subways are a bit more relaxed than those dictating Japanese subways, i.e. it is socially accepted to talk on the cell phone in Korean subway cars while it isn’t in Japan. However, I don’t really see people being loud in Korean subways, especially when compared to how obnoxious and disrespectful people can be in NYC, Toronto or Paris subways. Also, I find Japanese social norms unnecessarily too strict at times. For example, you go to a pop concert in Japan and you would find the audiences way too quiet because their social norm says “shut up and listen”. Too oppressive at times.

  52. One of the major differences I noticed when I visited South Korea, if the attitude of people on the trains. In Japan we DO NO TALK ON PHONES, and definitely not in loud voices (In fact there are signs in all trains asking you to put your phone on silent and refrain from talking, if not turn it off). We generally don’t have loud conversations either. Or eat (unless it’s a shinkansen). From my visit I saw that Koreans are, in general, polite and respectful, but from a Japanese perspective I found train trips to be different to those back home. But in saying that, I totally agree with you two about the actual train system: WHY CAN’T ALL THE STATIONS BE AS EASY TO WORK OUT AS THEY ARE IN KOREA??!!

  53. Funny you’d mention sushi, cause it’s like the opposite situation with my Mom. She hates sushi in America because they are just mushy pieces of blandness to her. Good sushi/sashimi, for her, needs to be fresh and firm that requires good amount of chewing. I guess that’s preference shared by most Koreans, so that’s why all the sushi places in Korea are like that, different from sushi places in other parts of world run by Korean people.

  54. Thanks for this video! I am currently studying in Tokyo and recently spent a week in Seoul. From what I’ve seen Tokyo is much cleaner than anywhere else I’ve been but that doesn’t hold true for all Japanese cities. Osaka tends to have dirtier streets and generally is more similar to Seoul. Though, I haven’t noticed any fliers.

    As for food, it is quite hard to find vegetables when eating out in Japan unless you go to restaurants that serve western style food and order a side salad. That being said, izakayas (bars) tend to serve either edamame or salad.

    The trains in Tokyo are much more expensive than Seoul, some lines more than other depending on the cost. But they’re not too difficult to use once you get used to it.

    Japanese business people do all dress exactly the same. I think it stems from the emphasis on being a part of a group rather than an individual and that which company someone works for is often more important than what their job actually is.

    With interracial couples, I think there are two reasons they tend to speak Japanese. First, Japanese tend to have quite poor English skills and even when they do have a high level of English they are not confident speaking. Second, from what I’ve seen, most foreigners who end up dating a Japanese are also interested in the culture and probably having been studying Japanese
    since before they met their partner. This is especially true of women since Japanese men are notoriously uninterested in having serious relationships with foreign women, so maybe they feel more comfortable if she at least speaks Japanese.

    There are really friendly oba-chans (ajumma) in Japan but you need to go to very small family owned restaurants, especially outside of downtown Tokyo, and they tend to only speak Japanese. On a slightly different note, I find people who work at Japanese convenience stores to be much friendlier than in Seoul. Here, everyone is constantly saying ‘welcome’ and ‘thank
    you’ and speaking to me as if I was a Japanese, albeit with some small look of concern as to whether or not I understand. However, in Seoul they were completely silent, which felt very awkward after six months in Tokyo.

    Sorry for such a long comment!

  55. Sandra Darling

    When I was in Japan, I was talking to a Japanese guy who went to college in Korea, and I talked about wanting to go to Korea. These are the things he told me about Korea. He told me that the food was very spicy so I had to be careful. He said that in Korea, everyone is in a rush and is telling you to hurry, but they often show up late. And he talked about how they add ‘ya’ to the end of people’s names. When I went to Korea, I realized that the food was spicier than Japan’s, people were rushing around much more than Japan, but yes still did manage to keep us waiting. I guess he was right :)

  56. Hi Simon and Martina, what do Koreans think of foreign musicians promoting in Korea?
    Do Koreans really look down on non-Asians in the K-POP music scene, and is it true that Korean entertainment companies won’t take a non-Asian? Thanks!

  57. If a celebrity were to have a friendly conversation with you in person, who would you like for him/her to be? & what would your conversation be like?

  58. Could you pls explain what the TVXQ break up was about i don’t have a clue about what it was. Great TLDR by the way love you guys SIMON and MARTINA!!!

  59. More people speak to each other in Japanese than in English because Japanese is offered like every where as an alternate language in high school! I am serious whether it was when I lived in the Philippines or transferred here to Canada you could learn Japanese as part of you everyday school curriculum but Korean on the other you would actually have to go to a university EX: UBC or a Korean Language institution to go and get lessons on Korean. As for the more cultural diversity Japan has been a hell of a more wealthy and internationally renowned country than Korea. Korea was in shamble and was on the poorest places on the planet in the late 50′s to mid 60′s. It also didn’t help that iit was one of the most unstable democracy’s in Asia for the longest time and had the constant threat of North Korea. Even now a days not many people want to go live in Korea just for the heck of it because of the North and the fact that a lot don’t even know what the South is like. It really wasn’t till the after the Olympics did anyone even look at Korea and not until the Samsung and Hyundai brought attention to its technology and the Hallyu wave brought even more recognition for its Arts, Culture, and Fashion Worldwide. Korea is really only opening up to the world right now which is why you wont see many foreigners and you wont here Korean being spoken by foreigners its simple was not an interest globally for such a long time.

  60. Can someone give me a good reason on why people compare countries? I find it kind of irrelevant and sometimes annoying. I’ve been around the world and in my eyes each country has their own beauty and history. A good and unfortunate example is this: I went with a group for a Belgium-Germany-Netherlands tour. I thought all three had different beauties and the last thing that came to my mind is to compare which country is better or worse and why they do such things that other countries can’t or do. Unfortunately, at the end of our trip in the Netherlands, the group were debating on which country was better and how one country was better than the other. Why do people do this? To me it’s rude. What’s the point of the Korea vs. Japan subject?

    • Sandra Darling

      Simon and Martina did not compare which country was better than the other. They were comparing about how things are different in each of the countries. They love both Korea and Japan. In fact, they have talked about wanting to move to Japan and start Eat Your Sushi. But yes, I agree with you that it can get very annoying and frustrating when people want to debate or discuss two or more countries and talk about which one is better. But this is not what Simon and Martina did in this TL;DR.

      • I sure hope not. Japan is already flooded with tourists, blogs, and vlogs. Eat Your Kimchi is only one of the very few quality blogs about Korea. Eat Your Kimchi, please stay in Korea.

        • Sandra Darling

          I think they want to eventually do both. I think whenever they do Eat Your Sushi, they will still keep doing Eat Your Kimchi too.

        • Peter Robinson

          If that’s the case, than I want the money I donated back. It’s Eat Your Kimchi or nothing.

        • Geri Dong-Kwon Monteiro

          How much did you donate to presume you can try to dictate their future activities?

  61. I don’t know if this question will get to you at all, but could you possibly comment on the current atmosphere in South Korea regarding everything that’s going on between the North and their threats against the U.S. and the South? I understand if the both of you would rather not since it can be a touchy topic, but I find that you guys probably are getting a unique perspective that those of us in North America are not.

  62. LOL did Simon just say ” I achurry ” ?

  63. hahaa you got me there at the deleting our comments… Lols.. Nice! XD

  64. You guys should definitely check out other areas of Japan–Tokyo is one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world and is really quite different from the rest of Japan. Outside of Tokyo you see fewer foreigners and I feel that people (in the Kansai region especially) were also much warmer. I lived in Kyoto last year and spent some time in Osaka and Kobe. It’s vastly different! Tokyo seems to exist in its own bubble.

  65. Hi Simon and Martina! I just read an article online on how Kpop is affecting plastic surgery in Korea. The thing that really stood out to me in the article was “Some reports place the number of South Korean women who have had a cosmetic procedure at one in five.” Why do you think the rate is so high? Is it because they are obsessed with beauty or because of the influence of the image of Kpop? It just seems strange why people react so negatively to their Kpop idols admitting to doing it when they have that many people getting it. I know a cosmetic procedure does not necessarily mean plastic surgery, but people still react negatively.

    • i don’t think kpop influences it that much, korea just has a very detailed definition of beauty. the pressure from society to look good (especially for girls) is high as well, since as far as i know, everyone has to put a photo on their resumée when they’re trying to get a job. so it’s probably more them being obsessed with beauty than the influence of kpop. idols just have an even higher pressure on them to look ‘perfect’, so many look exactly like that “ideal beauty”.
      If you read negative reactions about idols admitting to plastic surgery, i bet they’re from international fans or netizens.i don’t think most korean fans would even care about it, as plastic surgery is really common there and everyone probably knows that most idols did have it.

  66. Hey S&M! I was wondering about Korean superstitions. Like in NA, how it’s bad luck to open an umbrella indoors or if you break a mirror you get seven years of bad luck. Are there any, if there are any you find strange or if you’ve had any “bad luck”. -Meghan, USA

  67. Thanks for the video and the blog post! Learnt so many new things today! :D
    And I think, for the last section of your post (on restaurant service), it might be like the Japanese culture, like they’re more reserved, like they keep to themselves? Anyway, I have a (vaguely) similar experience as you guys in this aspect (even though I don’t live in Korea and am not able to frequent restaurants as much as you guys). But yeah, like, in the small restaurants in Korea, the atmosphere is very cozy and homey, but for small restaurants in Japan, there’s a sort of like, barrier between the customers and the shop workers~ It’s probably a culture thing~

  68. Congratulations to Simon and Martina. They successfully created a Japan vs. Korea video without being offensive! (It was a little offensive to me because I am a big seafood lover in Korea LOL)

  69. You mentioned the Korean sushi people in Toronto…in Burlington there’s a Japanese/Korean restaurant that is owned by Koreans but the sushi people are Japanese…and it’s vastly entertaining listening to them trying to converse with each other in their common language….really, really bad English.

  70. In Tokyo, don’t expect people to be super kind.
    Although, the other day my finger was bleeding, and a lady across me on the train offered me band aids. I was surprised, having just come from 10 days in the countryside (where EVERYONE is freaking nice!), and coming to a rather “cold” Tokyo.
    Anyways, the man sitting next to that woman started talking to me, and we had a nice chat.

    Once you break the ice with Japanese, they’re usually very kind – but that don’t often do it on own initiative.
    Oh, let me mention a friend and I went to a tiny Korean place, and chatted with the (Korean) owner/cook? He’s close to school, so I’ll probably go there often (also cos the food was awesome!). He was so nice, and seemed super happy when I asked about Korean words.

    I agree with you on the veggies, too. There’s just not enough in Japanese cuisine! D:

  71. I love SK a lot more now but I have been in love with Japanese culture ever since I was a small kid watching Super Sentai on TV. Even though the polishedness of SK can be enticing, things like homophobia, the way women are treated in general and the whole censorship thing turn me off a lot, so being the type of individual who does not know how to not stand out (Hi G-Dragon, I stole your hair again) and working in the adult entertainment industry (burlesque dancer + pinup nerd food vlogger) I do feel more inclined toward spending time in Japan. Sad but true.

  72. Hmm. I was wary when I saw the title, but after watching the video and reading the blog, I’d say you handled the topic really well. I can’t speak for the Korean aspects, but I found myself nodding along with most of the things you observed about Japan.
    Also, I can get really sensitive and defensive when it comes to anything Japanese, but you didn’t set off any alarm bells, so I doubt you’d offend anyone from that side.

    Good job!! ^^b

  73. I’m staying in Japan and just visited Korea for 10 days, so my point of view is the opposit of yours :) I agree with you to some extent! When it comes to the business clothing, in Japan you’re basically not allowed to stick out of the crowd if you’re working at an office. A friend of mine couldn’t wear a shirt with barely noticeable pink stripes because it was too much. I think because of that strict nature, the youth of let’s say Harajuku or Shibuya, is kind of pulling in the opposit direction, hence their crazy clothing, hair and so on. Then, the subway! I agree, Tokyo transportation is expensive as hell! I know it’s super tricky to figure out all the lines between different companies, subways, normal trains and what not, but other than that, dear god, it’s flawless! Clean, smooth, always in time, runs everyother minute, people are super respectful during most of the time, especially when you get on and off, as well as the amazingly smart ticket/card system to avoid littering, while in Korea, I had to pay 500 won extra each ticket, and then recycle the ticket to get my 500 won back D: If I don’t have that extra 500 won coin, then I can’t ride ._. Considering the taxis in Korea, it’s great that they’re so cheap! It’s only costs like 3000 won… AND YOUR LIFE! x) Yes, I thought I’d die every time I went by taxi in Korea. Japan is expensive, true. From Shibuya to Yoyogi (two stations, takes about ~4-5 min by train, or ~25 min walk) costs about 1200yen, and it starts at 700. What’s fun is that we think the opposit when it comes to the restaurant service! Might be due to the language barriers? When I returned to Japan, I was so pleased to be met with smiles and their polite way of expressing themselves, while in Korea I didn’t feel like I got to experience that at all. Especially a lot of the younger people working in Korea had really bad attitude ._. The biggest difference I noticed was probably how easily Koreans give compliments. I thought Japanese people did it freely, but I was complimented on my looks where ever I went, and I guess it shows that Korea is REALLY focused on beauty and appearance. What hurt my heart the most was when my Korean boyfriend’s aunt was telling her niece that her eyes were too small and her nose not big enough, and that she should get it fixed T_T
    Either way I do love the differences, and there’s really a lot to learn from both countries :) Long post, hoo!

  74. When I first saw the title of this week’s TLDR I was like “Whoa this is going to be interesting”. If I may add to what you guys mentioned in the video, I think contemporary Japanese culture is more obvious and flashy than Korean culture. I don’t know why but Koreans seem to care more about what other people might think about themselves. Something too sensational in the Koreans’ perspective is duly avoided and toned down in the society. But what it comes to those things that are thought to be acceptable in Korean society may spread like wildfire to the point that can be seem to extreme or even weird to the foreign perspective. For example, I remember watching a video on Youtube about “couple culture” in Korea. Even though Korean society is not very open about sex or sexuality, being a couple(heterosexual) and displaying the affection for each other is highly acceptable in Korea and coupe items like t-shirts, rings, sneakers, underwear or businesses that are customized for couples like couple cafe are everywhere. In Japan, I learned that people don’t feel as comfortabe in displaying their affection as in Korea. Even little things like holding hands are not common in Japan, or so I’ve heard. I’m not sure this is correct but I too was weirded out by hearing about that I’d like to find out more about the differences.

  75. For just visiting a place Japan or South Korea which would you say has better English help for the foreigners who don’t know English that well? which would you say is more tourist friendly???

  76. I like the more serious TLDR’s cause it gives me more of an Idea of weather I want to teach in Japan or South Korea. Thank you Very much. and keep it nasty….oh wait that sounded wrong but oh well hopefully you get the jist of what i’m trying to say

  77. I have a comment on the interracial couples speaking the native language section. During college, I studied in Japan and one of my professors was a British woman who married a Japanese man. She studied Japanese extensively in university and came to Japan to further her language. She met her husband, who knows some English but they mainly speak in Japanese. I think partially because of his family members, she mainly speaks in Japanese too. They had recently had a child too.

    Anyway, I think more interracial couples in Japan speak to each other in Japanese because there are more opportunities around the world to learn Japanese. Japanese became a popular language to learn in the late 1980s in America since their economic boom so more Japanese language programs formed. Korean language on the other hand is only becoming more popular right now. There were far less people learning Korean elsewhere in the world so there are less foreigners in Korea that know the language well.

  78. Cool topic ! I’ve lived for more than 1 year in Tokyo, visited Seoul (even briefly), so there are some points I slightly disagree on.

    First, about the subway. Sure in Japan the fee is so freaking high that it gets me mad everytime, and Japanese subway is freaking huge, but you get used to it. BUT, Korea, I was shocked how long you have to wait between two trains even during the day ! And as the night is coming closer, it’s getting only worse and worse. You really can’t be in a hurry in Korea’s subway. Yet I must say that there is something I loved in Korea : that little trumpet music before the train arrives. It made us laugh our ass off with my friend, it’s like a royal anthem or something like that. Fabulous.
    I must say that taxis’ fares are a bless in Korea. I have a little story about that : when had to get back to Japan, we thought our plane was leaving at 10, so we woke up consequently, but by looking closely to the ticket, we figured out that it was actually LANDING at 10. We packed like crazy in not even 5 minutes, and left in a hurry. The magical thing is that it was very early, so we were able to take a taxi with both low circulation and price. Finally, we got our plane on time. That would have been impossible to do in Japan.

    And another thing. This is just a personal opinion, but for me japanese service is the best. They really care about everything, are always so smily and polite. Again, it must be because I don’t know korea well enough yet, but the first two days we were in Seoul, after 10 months living in Japan, we were really shocked about the rudeness of people, almost everywhere, in groceries, in taxis, and in restaurants. BUT we got used to it from the third day, also met really nice people, and I gotta say that I really wanted to stay for a longer time in Korea at the end. They’re passionate like us europeans (and americans for sure) and I loved that so much, felt like my way of thinking was somewhat closer to them. I especially noticed that about couples : they hug and kiss in public places like we do. In Japan, they barely hold hand. That’s quite frustrating.

    Quick and simple conclusion : Japan will always be first in my heart, certainly because I know the country a lot more better, but Korea is also freaking awesome. You gotta love them both !

  79. Hey guys, I found your observations really interesting. I’ve been living in Japan for two years, and my location is very close to Korea, so I’ve been there many times too. I agree about the taxis! Korean taxi drivers behave like they’re auditioning for Fast and Furious 10: Haeundae Drift (or something) but in Japan, pedestrians rule the road. As far as multiculturalism goes, you were in Tokyo, yes! Most foreigners are scattered around in the inaka (rural) areas, so when we see another foreigner it’s like “oh…foreigner! Woah!” whereas in Tokyo it’s pretty much the norm. Also many foreigners here can speak Japanese, which helps with dating and stuff. Japanese are usually really shy to speak English and will open up more easily if spoken to in Japanese. I found Koreans were more confident to just chat in English (so refreshing).
    Anyways, that’s my ramble. Thanks for the blog! ^^

  80. As (a french girl) living in Japan, I agree on the vegetables part! I miss them so much when eating out, unless you go to family restaurants (often a salad bar is provided) but the food is western style adapted to Japanese taste. Regarding the restaurant service, you can find the family atmosphere more on the country side or small restaurants in the alleys of Tokyo. Other parts, I do not know as never been to Korea :p but interesting video (as always).
    And regarding the native language part, I speak only Japanese with my husband too ;) but on the contrary quite a lot of Japanese women with French husband speak French though.
    My first comment ever on your blog but I follow you since many years and that’s amazing how you made this far!

  81. aha when i was in tokyo back in ’09 i was in a manga shop and whoop after that wall of manga it was weird sex toys. ah japan…

  82. the black suit, plain shoes uniform reminded me of the Japanese drama – Rich Man Poor Woman… the girl on her job hunt wears those!!

  83. Looking spiffy Simon! I like your tie. :3

  84. You guys are so brave…seriously. I don’t think I would have the guts to bring up Korea and Japan in the same youtube video. More power to you!

    There are just a few things that I want to comment on based on my experience living in Japan for 3+ years and living in Tokyo and beyond.

    1.) The subway/train system.

    I can see your point about how it’s nicer that the Seoul subway system is managed by one group and so it’s easier to get around and about in Seoul. Tokyo and the mutant spider web that is the subway system is pretty complicated and that’s usually why most people I know take the above ground trains. I really only used the subway maybe four times the two years I lived in Tokyo. I stayed mostly on the Yamanote line and a few of the private train lines. And of course always use Hyperdia. Hyperdia is your friend and saves you from having to use a subway/train map which is ridiculously complicated even when it’s in english. It really takes about six months before you’ve got Tokyo’s transit in your head. Y’all might want to look into getting a suica card next time you’re here.

    2.) Pornos.

    While I completely agree that the amount of pornography available to the average individual on the street (and visible by minors) is ridiculous in comparison to the west and Korea, I would like to point out that you were staying in Akihabara which is pretty much the pornos center of Tokyo and Japan at large. True there are also many things available in Akihabara to the average nerd on the street (Models, video games, maid cafes and butler cafes) but there’s no where near the same amount of porn out in the open in say, Harajuku or Meguro or Shinbashi, etc… Y’all were kind of staying in Pornos city if you catch my drift.

    3.) Speaking Japanese….

    I’m going to be brutally honest here, the Japanese are terrified of doing something, anything wrong. They will freeze in place, petrified at the thought of making a mistake and so that’s why a lot of them simply won’t speak english, even if they know it and they’re quite good at it. They are afraid a foreigner will correct them and thus embarrass them. (You know because when someone makes a mistake in English we all Hulk out and destroy property and egos.) It’s a big deal and as a teacher it’s something I deal with on a frustrating daily basis. I can’t managed to coherently form a sentence more complicated than “I like chocolate” but because I don’t have that crippling cultural fear of making a mistake I happily blather on at my students like a drunk six year old. So that’s why a lot of foreigners speak japanese to their japanese friends ad co-workers because we can’t get them to speak english to us! *HULKS OUT* Not without copious amounts of beer and then really, everybody is speaking the universal language of booze.

    4.) Veggies

    Japanese cooking has a strong emphasis on seasonal foods so you’ll often find that restaurants will change their meu based on what’s in season. So since you came to Tokyo in February a lot of the veggies in season are root vegetables and previous veggies made into pickles. Fresh side veggies isn’t really a japanese thing unless you count shredded diakon with your sashimi. They like to boil, pickle and saute their veggies or slice them up and serve them in a weird salad. If you really want veggies then your best bet is to order a salad or look specifically for a vegetarian/vegan/Shoujin ryouri place. Summer is a different story but sadly, you guys were here in February. Which doesn’t even have cool treats like Sakura mochi.

    I hope I haven’t offended you or anyone else and I do hope you will come back to Japan and get a chance to visit Osaka, Kyoto, etc… They’re beautiful and a complete differently experience from Tokyo.

  85. Okey, about the foreign couple thing;
    From my 6 months of stay in the Kansai region I’ve come to the conclusion that here almost NO ONE speak english good enough to be understood properly(unless you understand some japanese words and body language) and if they can speak good english they, for some reason, choose not to speak english to you in case they are not good enough(unless they are forced to). Therefor most foreigners that lives here for a long or short stay have to learn the language quickly to be understood. That may be the reason why foreign couples speak Japanese rather then english. (Fun fact; I know a Norwegian woman who has lived here for 40 years and she married an american guy, but she doesn’t speak good enough english and he doesn’t speak Norwegian therefor they speak Japanese to communicate xD )
    btw. Loves the TL;DR’s!!!

  86. I haven’t been to Korea, but when I was in Japan I noticed that not only is there not any PDA, there’s barely any physical contact between people at all. Unless it was someone helping their drunk friend out of a piano bar, or a group of schoolgirls walking with their arms linked together.
    I talked with a girl who lived for a while in Japan, and went on a trip to Korea while she was there. She said that to her, even though Korean PDA is virtually nonexistent compared to the US or Europe, she saw a lot more of it there than in Japan. She was dating a Japanese guy, and she was having a little trouble adjusting to the fact that he was too embarrassed to hold her hand in public – and that wasn’t an unusual attitude for the Japanese couples she knew, she said she knew quite a few who’d been married for many years who still wouldn’t even publicly hold hands.
    So that’s my partially-second-hand two cents. :)

  87. Looking snazzy, Simon!

  88. when i went to japan i was most surprised that CDs was still such a big part of their culture. their CD stores were flocked with people, whereas i think just about everywhere else in the world, CD shops are one by one going out of business. something else i noticed in japan, did you see their Manner Stations? LOL its like an area for smokers, and the name is funny. Another thing i don’t see in other countries is that japanese people don’t eat while they walk because they think it’s rude. so after purchasing some snacks, we’d have to actually stand against the wall and finish eating before continuing to look for other food.

  89. I live in Florida and most of the sushi places I’ve been to have been run by Japanese people. At least I think so… unless there are mysterious Koreans behind them all. lol

  90. Hi Simon and Martina; I love your TL:DRs its what got me into you guys in the first place :D Just a tip maybe it’s best to choose your title better if you don’t want it to sound so antagonistic? e.g. Differences between Japan and Korea or Our experiences of Japan vs Korea communicates the topic more clearly to me. That title stokes the fire unnecessarily when it wasn’t meant to invite conflict remember it is a sensitive issue and does put people on the backfoot.

    • I agree with you there :/
      When I saw the title, without even watching the video or reading the blog post, I had a big sense of dread in the pit of my stomach :(

      • Thanks fuuko (Annalita?) BTW I’m an Aussie too from Melbourne :) yeah hopefully people will view the video and read the blog to get a better understanding!

        • Annalita = An(derse)n(L)alita :D

          Melbourne > Sydney *runs away*

        • Oh! err right that’s what I meant about your name :P LOL Agreed Melbourne > Sydney (I’m from Sydney originally so I can compare) Never been to Townsville but went to Mackay hot and sweaty up your way!

  91. kawaii_candie

    I reaaaally enjoyed this post! since i live in Japan and all ^_-

    the flyer thing does exist in Japan, but it’s much different, and i’m pretty sure not illegal (if equally annoying…) people will usually stand outside of train stations and hand out either flyers, or tissue papers with advertisements on them. in the summer, the often hand out “uchiwa”s (big round plastic hand fans) with advertisements on them. the thing is, the fans and tissues are a good idea, but a) there’s only so many you can take and b) it’s really not gonna make me go to your store/restaurant/etc. also, at my station, it’s always the same 3 people advertising the same 3 shops. it’s like dude, you see me and try to give me a flyer every single day and i’ve lived here for a year and still not been to your hair salon. get a clue!!

    i’ll cook you veggies next time you come!!!! or better yet, i’ll take you to this organic food restaurant near my house! (lol… since i’m not an amazing cook, eheh…)

    it’s really cool to hear that the little worker bees in korea like to dress up!! yeah, in japan, there’s a reason they’re called “salaryman” and they all look the same – as they should (according to japanese mentality). do you know the japanese proverb “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”? that explains a lot.

    about the language stuff… i think the reason for the difference is that (forgive me for saying) Japanese people really suck at english. when they can, they’ll speak to you in english, but it’s not a great percentage of the population that can, but they’re usually pretty eager to speak english and it often happens that you’ll meet a stubborn person who tries to express themselves in broken english, even though your japanese is blatantly much better. also (and this kinda makes me laugh) i can’t tell you how often i’ve had someone bump into to me and then eagerly say “sorry!” and walk away looking so proud that they’d spoken english to the foreigner. lol

    but yeah, i do think that a lot of things that you noticed are because you were in Tokyo… outside in the boonies, it’s a lot different and much less “multicultural”, if you will.

  92. I’ve not been to Japan but I do live in Hong Kong and one big thing I noticed as a difference between Seoul and Hong Kong was the subway system. Korea’s subway system is a little bit more complex, there are more lines, and less escalators that HK’s subway system. xD I actually prefer Hong Kong’s but that might be because I love HK’s love of escalators.

  93. At least get a Viet or Chinese

    Why are a bunch of white people talking about Korea and Japan?

  94. I would really like to know the different in the manga/anime industry from the manhwa/anime industry in Korea. I know that its really big in Japan but it doesn’t seem to be really huge in Korea. Is there any reason or is it just that Korea likes doing drama more? Is being a mangaka in Korea looked on as a good thing or is it like the “starving artist” we have in America?

  95. KATHyphenTUN

    A possible reason for the interracial relationships speaking Japanese is maybe it is an easier language to speak? It might just be me and maybe not the same for non-english speakers, but (since I’m trying to learn both languages at the same time) I find that I pick up on speaking Japanese a lot quicker. I feel like for Korean there are more sounds that are difficult for my mouth to shape and make sounds right.
    Overall wonderful TL;DR!

  96. “And then we’ll copy what you said, put it in the post, and then delete your comment, like it never happened. ” HAHAHAHA

  97. I was in Seoul earlier this year and went to a sushi restaurant to try it out… I totally agree with what Simon and Martina mentioned about the weird Korean style. A majority of our fish was either frozen solid, or only half defrosted and served on an ice-cold stone plate. I’ve been to Japan many times and never had sushi like that anywhere. Sushi here in Melbourne, Australia is also very good and some places are just as good as in Japan. Hmmm… Maybe more Japanese tourists need to visit Korea and influence the local cuisines :)

  98. In regards to the fliers/advertising in Korea, I remember seeing a, I guess, uber-fashionable young woman on a train who, after applying makeup or something, turned around and slapped a business’ sticker onto the train window. While that confused me, I kind of shrugged it off as typical teen behavior like they do in the US. There were a group of school girls near her who were apparently whispering negatively (I assumed this because of their glares) about her for doing that, and I had no idea why, until now (maybe?).

  99. Simon and Martina, about the speaking the Native Language, I believe you are right. I am half Japanese and half American, and when I went there last summer NO ONE would talk to me because I looked American and that I was a bit taller than some people. During the trip, many people would bump into me and would just say “sorry or gomennasai” and just walk away. If you go to Harajuku, there are more people who are interested in foreigners. When I saw a group of girls in awesome colorful costumes, a cameraman walks up to me and asks in English what I think about this group of girls. He was surprised that I spoke Japanese to him. Harajuku shops (to me at least, this doesn’t mean it’s a fact) they are more open minded. They gave me discounts on clothes and accessories when they found out I lived in America, but that could just be me. It does seem that no one talks to you unless you have a Japanese friend or relative that speaks out toward people. This is what I experienced from my 3 months.
    About the restaurants, you maybe be right about that too. It seems like the the waiters or the chefs, aren’t to talkative to their customers. I noticed in restaurants where they have less people, (like this one restaurant in this subway) the people were very kind. The people in the stores like seven-eleven or sankusu, the people are very kind. But it could be because I had my elder grandmother that was born and raised in Japan. I guess it all depends on who you are with. I don’t know, I could be wrong. But it does seem like the chefs and waiters are quick in taking in orders and making the food. I hope this helps!
    PS: Next time when you go to Japan, you should go to Mister Donuts!!

  100. Nice TLDR! Dunno if you guys saw my tweet but a very sweet Japanese blogger, Yumeko, has written two posts fairly recently about how and where to access free wifi in Japan (she’s based in Tokyo)! Check out her posts: http://bittenbefore.com/tokyolife/2012/12/03/japan-tokyo-travel-guide-how-to-access-free-wifi-in-japan/ and http://bittenbefore.com/tokyolife/2013/03/22/japan-tokyo-travel-guide-how-to-access-free-wifi-in-japan-part-2-starbucks-edition/. Hope these can help you guys out the next time you’re in Japan :D

  101. My Korean friends told me that Korea is wifi heaven too…they said internet in Australia sucks…hahah

  102. i just noticed that simon and martina is also sm, which is ironic, cuz simon and martina dont like sm that much.

  103. I’m really confused by your Japanese food experience because Japan is known for having some of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Most Japanese dishes come with vegetables in it or if they don’t then you can order one. What about edamame as a side? Or Okonomiyaki (a japanese savory pancake that’s 80% cabbage of which you can get a vegetable version) as a dish?

  104. I’ve noticed here in SoCal too that pretty much all sushi places I’ve been to are ran by Koreans

  105. It’s the same in Australia. Basically every Japanese restaurant is run by Korean people. 0_0

  106. I’m living near Tokyo with my Japanese husband and we visited Seoul over New Year’s.

    About international couples speaking Japanese: Maybe there are more in Korea, but I’ve met tons of guys (it’s ALWAYS guys) from English-speaking countries who have been living in Japan for years and don’t speak the language. Here, if you don’t speak English and it gets a bit more complicated, people will sometimes just ignore you or tell you they can’t service you.

    When we went to Korea, everyone would just speak to me in Korean (after trying to speak to my husband, who does not speak a word of the language), and I actually thought that was pretty cool. As said, in Japan, even if you just look foreign, you’ll see the panic rise up inside shop staff in the eye of “OMG I’LL HAVE TO ENGLISH!”, and they’ll try to not serve you at all apart from paying, while being absolutely obnoxious if you are or speak Japanese.

    Tokyo’s public traffic system is confusing when you’re not used to it (and it’s freaking expensive), but in Seoul we often had to walk forever to just switch plattforms. Next time, try Hyperdia.com, you just have to input where you are and where you want to go and it tells you how to get there, the site supports English.
    And yes, taxis are expensive. From the train station to our home, a distance which takes 12 minutes to walk, you pay almost 1,000Yen (almost 12,000Won). In Seoul (and even moreso in Taipei), we would just use taxis when we couldn’t be bothered to walk, and while the driving might be crazy, it’s just soo much cheaper.

    The suits are a bit special, my husband has to wear one too and has given me some insight. It breaks down like this, basically:
    Fancy shoes (especially patterns) -> shop staff
    non-black suit, young -> shop staff, non-office job
    non-black suit, older -> higher position inside the company, my FIL wears pinstripe suits and coloured shirts and he’s almost as high up as it goes, if my husband did the same thing, he’d be in trouble
    Women in suits -> shop staff, job-hunting or in their first years of work, otherwise they change to something a bit prettier.

    With Japan many people think it’s very individualistic, in large part because of the Harajuku girls, but they’re not really seen as role-models, as smart or as having potential, especially if they are above a certain age (22, when most people finish university). When talking about it with Japanese people, their main response is “They should just grow up.” Japan is a very sad country when it comes to expressing individuality through appearance. Germany, where I’m originally from, might not be as colourful when it comes to clothing and styles, but I feel there’s more acceptance towards people who don’t adhere to the norm.

  107. Simon: ” i just want to know who runs the inflatable, obnoxious thing industry in Korea because they are freaking loaded. Everybody is buying it from them”
    Me: *shouts at screen* “BROHOHOHO?!”

  108. 6 years in Japan (western Tokyo mostly) and 9 in Korea (Gunsan and Seoul), this pretty much what I saw. Tokyo is definitely more expensive, yet Korea feels like capitalism rum amok at times. In Korea, a clothing shop will close and after a day remodel a restaurant would open, while Japan is more stable. I’ll take driving in Japan over Korea any day, wrong side of the road and all!

  109. I live in California (bay area represent!), and let me tell you that all the sushi/Japanese places here that I eat at are NEVER run by Japanese people. They’re almost always run by Koreans or Chinese (and maybe with a few Mexicans thrown into the mix).

  110. oh my stars! i almost fell off my chair when i read the ‘Nigerian accents’ part….:D i’m Nigerian
    cool TL;DR guise

  111. OMGOSH Look at this old S&M video I just found!
    1. Spudgy was one greeeeeeen ^^
    2. You guys should totalllllly do a remake of this when it gets warmer out!! ^^
    Maybe they will see it then and consider it!

  112. If Korea doesn’t have DVDs, then what DOES it have?

    • everyone shops online! there are even online rental shops. So offline shops are difficult to keep up.

      • Oh, right, duh >_<; …I guess in America, it's kinda divided evenly. DVDs are bought, not rented; renting and buying can be done online or via cable service (like OnDemand).

  113. Simon and Martina, those black suits with white shirts tend to be the “uniform” of the job hunting ones, or the newly hired. Those who have had a job for a little while start to develop their work attire to sorta conform to whatever job they have…

  114. I just want to make a quick comment about the portion in the blog post about interracial relationships in Japan vs Korea. I recently met up with a Japanese friend of mine who was visiting the US with her American boyfriend who started out teaching English in Japan, but he’s doing something else now. Anyways, I did find it interesting that he’s trying to help her learn English better, but in their side conversations to each other when they were trying to decide how to reply to something I said, they were speaking purely in Japanese. Of course, I don’t know how much of either language they use when it’s just the two of them, but I did find it interesting that they were kind of teaching each other, while falling back on Japanese when they needed to.

  115. Hi guys! I know this question is controversial but I’m really curious and like hearing different perspectives. I live in the states and I recently did an English paper on healthcare in different countries based on the documentary Sicko. I saw that in Canada they have universal healthcare and I was wondering if it is the same in Korea. I know Martina broke her ankle a while back and I was wondering if she had any problems getting treated because she was a foreigner, or if you had problems getting healthcare if you have it. Sorry if this is a bad question. Thanks! MB.

  116. I have to disagree with your comment on restaurant service in Japan. But I’m going to have to preface this by saying I speak japanese. I think, unless you make a conscious effort in Japan to talk to the locals, they are not just going to come out and start a conversation. Many of them don’t feel confident speaking in English, so unless they think you speak japanese, they’ll pretty much leave you alone.

    However, I have had many wonderful conversations with locals. When I lived in mitaka ( close to downtown Tokyo) I used to frequent a city called kichijoji. There is a tea shop there, and one day I took my friend who is a big tea enthusiast there to see it. While we were looking at the counter displays for tea( and talking in Japanese) a nice older lady came up to us and started talking, telling us how to select the best ones. She told us we need to eat the dry tea leaves, and then had the attendant pull some out while she critiqued them with us.

    Another time in kurama ( a small town an hour out of Kyoto) me and my friend stopped at a family run traditional japanese restaurant. It was the summer time, and they had the best umeshu! As we were leaving we got into a long discussion about how they make everything from scratch, and they were very friendly and open with us.

    There are many more examples, but the point I’m trying to make is that I think you have to be a little more proactive in showing your love for their culture. I’ve been to both korea and Japan many times, and I actually get the opposite feeling of what you wrote above. But I know it’s not because Koreans are inhospitable , but because my skills in the Korean language aren’t good enough to have that interaction with them. I don’t know if I said that very well, but that’s just my two cents

  117. Idk why, but there are so few Japanese people here in the US, like in schools and stores you see Koreans, and Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Philipino, etc, but not Japanese, unless is someone mixed, so here too, to the sushi places I’ve been to I hear them speaking and i’m like “ohh Korean” >.<

  118. It seems to me that Korea has had an increasing global presence (culturally speaking) In the last 5-10 years, whereas Japan started a bit earlier, which would explain the international families. I grew up around central Illinois (which many see as quintessential middle America) in areas where the Asian population was generally very low, and Japanese language classes started becoming available at more schools in the past few years, but I haven’t gone anywhere yet that has Korean language classes (though I hope to go to U of I for my masters – fingers crossed!). Idk if this is just me, but it seems like Korea is just now starting to approach the Zenith of cultural globalization, so perhaps more international Korean speaking families will appear in the next 10-15 years. Who knows!

  119. I personally haven’t been to Japan, but a friend of mine has and she talked to me about it, and one thing that she said is that people are very cold and not very friendly or sociable. That probably explains why the restaurant service was the way it was. Another thing that explains the people speaking Japanese is that the Japanese prefer that people make an attempt to use any small amount of Japanese that they know, rather than speaking English… From what my friend said, most of the people in Japanese have a really hard time speaking English. Being a linguistics major and having taken Japanese language myself, that’s pretty understandable. Japanese language has a very different structure than any Latin-based languages, and the grammar is Japanese is so simple, whereas in English, it has what is probably the most complicated grammatical structure (besides Latin, which isn’t really spoken anymore). So hopefully these second-hand observations, as well as my own observations about the language are informative.

    • i totally agree about the language class, it seems america went through a love japan time in about the early 90′s. I’m american and i have an easier time with japanese then english. with korean im haveing a very hard time with understanding the sounds or atleast the correct ones. i did notice that many japanese write and read english really well.
      but you do have to realize the culture is based off of respect for others. i made many japanese friends while traveling, they would take me their house and feed me or show me around ( some paid for my way) and i didnt once have to buy my own saki. the thing is that they dont make friends with you, you have to put in the effort.

  120. Great TL;DR! I feel so happy when I read these blog post, especially if it’s about these nice ajummas from the Samgyeopsal restaurant and of course the cheese lady!! Please visit Bucheon and meet them to give them some flowers or like that! I think they would be so happy and that would be so sweet!! :)

  121. My TL;DR question, could you guys talk to us about what equipment and programs you use to film and edit and all that. I know you guys have talked about what camera you have but more then that, the lenses, lighting, etc.

  122. NOT THAT IT’S ANY CONCERN TO ME OR ANYTHING but I’m wondering if it’s legal for people to have a couple porn files on their laptop when they go to Korea (though I suppose if anyone was concerned over this they could just store some files on Dropbox before leaving and download them when they get there, maybe… not that it’s a concern to me). I heard that message appears on free porn sites because if it’s free then underage people can see it, so they are trying to stop underage people.

  123. Lols. I will have to agree with everything you have said. Though I have never been to Canada I can not speculate about the sushi.

    But I want to talk about the ads or adverts. You mention how they are always tossing them on the ground and flinging gods no where. Well, In japan, yes I do live here so I can say this honestly. The ads come in lithe hand tissue packets.

    Ok, so you are walking around Sakae or Nagoya and you need to sneeze real bad or you have to blow your nose because its starting to run and you do not want to run into a bathroom nor do you have tissues on you. Don’t FRET, keep walking around there will be a gazillion people passing you tissues on the streets. And on those tissues are ads for hostesses, restaurants, and sometimes english classes. I collect them every weekend. I need to stock up on the tissue.

    Also, Porn. oh dear. you are so correct. lol. But guess what, you can find porn in the convienence stores. Conveniently. *guffaws* ah yes, you can find it everywhere. It brings up the Avenue Q song for the internet: the Internet is really, really GREAT…… FOR PORN!! You can’t get away from it. *runs screaming*

    lol. Anyways, I love this TL;DR. I hope you get a chance to do more. Maybe compare the music between Korea and Japan. The differences. Or your likes and dislikes. Or just whatever. Because I have notice a lot of difference between Korea and Japan.

    Anyways Thanks guise for this fun and enlightening TL;DR.

  124. On the topic of interracial couples in Korea mostly speaking English and in Japan mostly speaking Japanese. In my experience it is a lot easier for foreigners to pronounce Japanese words than Korean words. I’m guessing maybe foreigners and Japanese in a relationship in Japan are more likely to speak Japanese because they are more comfortable pronouncing Japanese words than a foreigner and Korean couple in Korea.

  125. Great TLDR!!!I loved it!!:)
    I’ve always wondered what kind of northamerican things are popular in korea and are there any?
    Like films,actors,shows or any type of clothing?

  126. “Korea vs Japan” SO BRAVE.. SOOOO BRAVE….. (I gotta disagree about your sushi points tho… there are good sushi restaurants in Korea too! and I love 회!, but I guess for foreigners it can be a bit different :D )

  127. has living in korea affected some f your old habits or created new unusual habits that you probably would have never done if you stayed in canada? (btw i’m from canada 2! XD)

  128. This makes me feel a bit bad because I’m definitely a part of that interracial couple that speaks English in Korea. I know enough Korean to get by, but I really need to study it. I’ve also noticed that interracial couples are more rare in Korea, people still kind of act surprised when they ask “Wait, you two are together?” I think Japan has more immigrants, or people interested in traveling and working there, so they meet and date Japanese people more naturally then in Korea.

  129. I asked this on youtube as well, but I don’t know if you were able to see it. I am really curious so:

    You guys mentioned the flyers and advertisement that are thrown on doorsteps, and that just got me wondering…

    How is the waste management in Korea? Are they big on recycling? How clean is the environment?

    In Canada the homes have strict limits (of 1 to 2 large bags depending on where you live) on how much garbage you can put out on the curb, and homeowners have to separate the recycling, trash, and organic material. If they see mixed up garbage, the trucks refuse to pick them up. Also, if you want to put out extra garbage, you have to buy tags to put on the extra bags. (All of these changes have happened in the GTA recently)

    So how environmentally friendly is Korea? Are there any strict government policies/laws related to waste management/ the environment?

    • I am curious about this too. I remember you guys having that video of the recycling at your apartment, but it didn’t seem that good. Just different sized plastics for different containers. Do they recycle VHS, car seats, diapers (yes you can recycle those, but not many people do), electronics, paint, etc?

      I am curious since I know Japan has a rep of being generally really wasteful. Youth have little respect for the land, and although there are activists on preserving Japanese land, basically if it is a wild animal, it is endangered. A lot of the packaging is crazy, and wasteful. Sorry guys, ramune soda- that little marble and thick glass- it adds up! And I think the marble is plastic inside a glass bottle so therefore really isn’t recyclable (unless you break the glass and fish the marble out which isn’t safe)

      Anyways, I am always curious how much awareness there is to some of the “hippie-dippie” eco-friendly things. Veganism, Organic Foods, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Fish, Hybrid Cars, general “green” being tossed into all products.

    • MOST people live in apartments in Korea. And they are like super strict with trash SEPARATING. Like papers in one bag. Food waste in another. etc etc. I once did it with my aunt when I went to visit. If you wanna throw a shoe away, you can put it in this mailbox looking thing where they take it somewhere, or you can throw it… into the huge bag just for shoes and clothes and other things lol If you don’t separate them well, then the security guard guy will kinda get mad at you haha. I’m not too sure on the specifics with the government waste management thing. They do this once a week or something, so you have to keep your trash until that day or the week.

    • simon and martina have a video of the Korean recycleing on their youtube if you browse videos and then go oldest to newest you will see it.

    • Do you know that waste management is done by the cities? Because it’s really funny to read you saying “in Canada, it’s like that” as if it was all like that coast to coast. o.O

      But I agree that it’s a good question about Korea. I remember when they explain that there is no public garbage bins and that they are rationed with garbage bags… it sounds silly but it’s all fuzzy in my memory. Anyway, I’m very curious about how does it work in Korea (or Seoul, assuming it’s not the same in every cities)

      • Ah, yeah I guess you’re right. I said “in Canada” because I’ve lived in different parts of the country and because we’re talking about Korea as a whole here as well. I tried to specify later on saying in the GTA.
        They even said in a video that they have to buy garbage bags and that there aren’t any public trash bins where they live. So good point, how is it different in other parts of the country as well?

  130. Well, all I can say (since I have not been in either place) is based on my experience with Koreans in the Canary Islands (I promise I will not bring this up again

  131. My mom is Korean and my dad is Japanese. What can you tell me about how that mix is thought of in Korea? and Japan? I am not ashamed of either of my cultures but I am fully aware of the animosity between the two countries. I know lots of other mixed Koreans and Japanese (mixed with others, not so much each other) and we all have our struggles to be accepted and to “find our place” within the varied cultures. What are your thoughts on this?

  132. The reason you saw a ton of foreigners is because you were in Tokyo. I remember my mom saying that she once was walking with my father down the street in a rural area of Japan and the people were so surprised to see a foreigner that they would always look twice at my dad… even the people who were driving. (I think she said somebody almost crashed because they were turning their head back to get another look). I also remember her saying that she was at an airport once and a couple of Japanese women came up to her asking if my sister was a halfie (half Japanese, half American) and they asked if they could take a picture with her.

  133. I’ve noticed that as well! In California, almost ALL of the sushi places I’ve visited (a lot) have been owned/run by Koreans.

  134. In Germany, we have wifi passwords, too – and for outside Internet we have to pay a monthly amount.

    • Imagine free wifi while riding DB and waiting for your 40 minutes late Train.. Down with these expensive Telekom Hotspots!

    • Yeah! What’s up with that? I’m from Peru, and my airport has free WiFi – and all the Starbucks here have a password, but the staff will gladly tell you if you ask them. When I went to Denmark (via Germany), I couldn’t get WiFi without having to pay! In both airports! And both Starbucks had no WiFi! And the networks redirected me to sites where I had to pay with a credit card for 15 minutes of WiFi! Inconceivable!!

  135. When it comes to the language barrier, I’ve found it very easy to find classes to learn Japanese, but Korean language classes are difficult to come by.

  136. Do you think Takeshi’s Castle was just a program about Japanese people trying to make their way through the subway?

  137. Hi guys! I am about to move to Korea for school in a couple months and I’m so excited! I’ll be there for about 3 to 4 years and so I was curious what the healthcare system was like there? Do some doctors in Seoul speak English? Can you get insurance if your a foreigner? And what has your experience been with the healthcare system in Korea?

    • I’m Korean but I’m American. From my experience, it’s pretty alright… Some doctors were nice, some were kinda rude. Maybe I was being a bit too sensitive. I’m not sure about the insurance. My parents had a korean social security number so i just kind of automatically had insurance. I think I went to get an acupuncture treatment once and it costed like 10 dollars. I don’t think doctors speak english very well… This is the best I’ve got since I’m korean and I speak korean too… I hope a foreigner can give you more information…

    • I know that my sensei says that Japanese doctors tend to write in German so that when some one has a traumatic illness they don’t know till the whole family is consulted maybe its similar to Korean but I have no Idea.

    • Hey, I was just recently in hospital here in Korea. I am an EPIK teacher and we have insurance, which covers about half of the cost of procedures. I had an emergency surgery and a two week stay in hospital and my team of surgeons had very good English, as well as the majority of the nurses and ICU staff. It’s helpful to know some Korean as well though! Some facts/differences: you must pay the full amount due before you can be discharged. If you need to sign any papers ( to approve a surgery, get a radioactive liquid scan etc) they might help explain what it says, but there will be no English version so there has to be a level of trust there. Due to the language difference, it can be very hard to get information or answers that satisfy you. You kinda have to wing it at times! In the wards there is a ‘guardianship’ type system. This means that it is expected that you have someone caring for your basic needs and advocating for you if you feel pain or something like that. As foreigners this can be the most difficult aspect of a hospital stay. Be well and good luck!

  138. i was cocking my finger load up to rail down on this post. but okay.. that’s something i didn’t know.
    i know koreans drive like a maniac, but compare with NY, its not that much of a difference.
    do japan have tipping system like America?
    have you guys been to the where Nukes hit? i heard even Japaneses don’t want to live in there.

  139. There are many restaurants in Korea specializing in Japanese style sushi and sashimi, some serving excellent dishes even many Japanese admire. I live in Michigan and visited Toronta many times, but find sushi and sashimi in Korea are much better than those offered in Michigan or Toronto. Perhaps you visited only substandard places in Korea, maybe…Also I want to point out that sushi is Japanese, not traditional Korean food. Korean sashimi is aged and prepared differently than Japanese counterpart, in addition to be often eaten wrapped in perilla leaves with soy paste. I prefer Korean sashimi to Japanese any day. So it maybe a matter of personal preference, you can not say Korean sashimi is worse than Japanese. The anago you say “too chewy” is considered a delicacy in Korea and Japan. Maybe you have not acquired its taste yet:you must chew very long and it gets better and better as you chew. very sweet aftertaste. I heard many rumors of people dying from eating too much before going to sleep:it is so delicious.

  140. Hey, I hope you two enjoyed your stay in Japan ^^
    There are a lot of things that I could add, agree or disagree with, but I’ll stick to the restaurant service bit. I’ve been living in Tokyo for more than half a year now I can definitely relate to what you said- when you eat out it does feel a little like you’re doing business rather than enjoying a nice meal… at least at most places. But I recently happened to go on a trip across different parts of Japan and oh, boy. Are Japanese people diverse in their attitudes. This kind of family-like treatment that you spoke about does exist here, especially in places like Kyushu.
    My point is, I think the whole problem is not Japan, but Tokyo in particular. Being the huge, international city that it is, this kind of “coldness” that the people living here seem to project is not surprising. Not just Japanese people, everyone.
    So if you have a chance, try and go visit other parts of the island too, like Fukuoka and Kyoto~ I’m sure you’ll love it. ^^

  141. I was surprised when you talked about the metro. I found it way easier in Japan. I never got lost there. Can’t say the same about Korea. Maybe that’s because I’m more used to the Japanese Metro? I don’t know. But I agree with the other comparisons. It was interesting

  142. I lol-ed when i saw the Bleach photo that you inserted XD

  143. It’s funny to me that you say the Sushi restaurants were all run by Korean people in Canada. Because here, every sushi restaurant is run by Chinese people.

  144. Neat TLDR. I have to completely agree about Korean run kitchens in sushi places. Of course I prefer them over the Mexican run kitchens where they try sneaking hot sauce into everything.

  145. Thanx that was interesting. Haha Wifi Heaven – ! I guess we win that status globally atm. Not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. Just imagine what these invisible hi speed wifi frequencies are doing to our bodies. Probably fuckin us up.

  146. maybe card flipper is fighting crime at night and just needs to pay the bills.. fighting crime isn’t lucrative.

    and please tell me this.. .in Protect the Boss, JiHeon wears this business suit with wings and writing airbrushed on his back. this isn’t common is it? or is it just style for a drama? really creative.

  147. I use to lived in Korea before and now I lived in Japan so I really seen both culture. All of the things you stated are true. I just want to add that I think Korea has more better technology than Japan. Tokyo an major cities have great technology but the other part of Japan is just ehhh… not so good some train station in japan doesn’t accept Pass card or T-money but in Korea every where you can use your T-moey. Alot of store in Japan doesn’t accept credit cards, in Korea even a smile stand accept credit cards… And almost all Korean has fancy phones like the latest one but in japan you will see japanese having those flip ups getto phone.. I love Korea cause it’s so cheap and accessible not like Japan it’s freaking expensive…

    • Sorry, but on the topic of those flip phones… have you actually seen them though? Those flips phones are NOTHING like the flip phones America had to offer. They are a lot more advanced. And most of them are really cute and totally my style. Add one of those cute Japanese cell phone charms and I’m hooked!

  148. Japanese drivers are the best! When I was living in Japan the area where I lived had the smallest streets I have ever seen! I’m a great driver but I don’t think I could have got my car down that street without dying. But when I was there I would see two cars meet going down the same street and manage to pass each other without crashing! It was amazing! lol

  149. Cyber_3

    Great TL;DR.

    Just my observation about the Japan vs. Korea english-speaking, and I’ll preface it with “I’ve never been to either”:
    1) Of all the people I know who have gone overseas to teach English (and there are quite a few), none of them have ever gone to Japan. I suspect there may be some, but not many. Whatever their reasons (cost of living? no jobs?), perhaps if Japanese students are predominantly being taught English by non-native speakers of the language, their final abilities are then less.

    2) When I was in university, I had the opportunity to meet both Korean and Japanese exchange student groups through my classes in Asian culture and Japanese language. The Koreans all spoke english fairly well and we had little to no problem understanding each other. The Japanese students could not understand us at all, or us them. In my frustration, for a joke, I tried speaking english with a comically thick Japanese accent (my Japanese was minimal at the time) and problem solved! I was suddenly the “translator” for both groups, the Japanese students now understood me perfectly, even if I still struggled with what they were saying, I now had a rosetta stone of sorts to go on……

    Also, anime/manga was HUGE in France before it even set foot in North America (perhaps because French was the international language still until the 1990s) so I think that there has just probably been more people learning japanese outside of Japan overall than people learning korean outside of Korea. Even today, if I can’t find a manga or anime in english, I’m almost 99% sure I can find it in french. Thank you french immersion ^_^v

    Cyber_3 – watched lots anime on tv in Canada back in the 1970s-80s in french, since that’s all there was…..

    • Really? Comming from Australia I know heaps of people who taught English in Japan, they have a government sponsored program for that called JET. When I was in Japan there were lots of people with passable english (maybe not enough to hold up a conversation but enough to deal with us). In fact nobody spoke to me in Japanese unless I spoke it to them first. They expect foreigners to know no japanese.

      • Cyber_3

        um….er….well, maybe my information is a little out of date, I went to university about…oh my….(counting)… eep! 16 years ago now….. Or maybe they don’t need North Americans to teach english there because they have Australians so close by? Or perhaps the Australian accent makes a difference? As you have travelled there and are so much closer anyhow, I would certainly bow to your greater knowledge on this point.

        When I went to Shanghai for work 5 years ago, I did meet people who could speak english, more commonly than I expected, but I’m pretty sure from the time that I got lost downtown alone that it is not widespread. However, work situations or school situations don’t always reflect what is the norm for the general population so this was all speculation/anecdotal on my part. Thanks for the reply.

  150. Wow :) Loved to hear of the differences between Japan and Korea based on your experience :) Very interesting

  151. Who needs porn in Korea when you got girl groups and boy groups getting all nasty with each other? :P

  152. While I have to agree with you about the service in Japan, I’ve come to realize that that’s not always the case. When I was in Fukushima, a group of my friends and I went to a Mom&Pop type udon restaurant. An older couple was working there, and they were so kind and attentive. Some of us simply ordered rice, but they gave us udon for free, because they wanted us to “taste authentic udon”. The older man was particularly sweet, because he kept trying to converse with us despite the language barrier, and we ended up teaching each other a few words. I think it really just depends where you go, much like every place in the world.

  153. Thanks for this post! I’ve never been to Korea, but I lived in Japan for about a month with a Japanese family and visited other cities in Japan, including Tokyo. If you go to smaller cities in Japan they are generally more friendly. The Japanese are usually respectful, which can sometimes come off as cold if you don’t know the culture and just how they are being respectful to you by doing a certain thing.

    Many times I got lost, and when asking for directions, the people I asked were very helpful. One time at night I asked directions from middle school girls and they asked if I wanted to walk together with them because they were going the same way. We listened to and talked about kpop on the way. Haha! Another time I asked this Japanese guy where the arcade was and he walked with me and my friends until it was in sight. He even spoke a little English so he asked us questions along the way, while I tried speaking a little in Japanese with him. :) Then there was this time late at night where I got on the wrong bus to go home, ending up going the whole route to the middle of nowhere, and once I told the bus driver the situation, he drove me back to the station and said not to worry about the fare. There are so many helpful people in Japan, but Tokyo can be a little cold because it’s a big city and there are so many people. It’s just the difference between big cities and rural towns, really. The relationships between people in big cities is limited because people come and go so often.

    It really depends on your personality and what you prefer to deal with in life that makes you enjoy one culture more than another. Korea seems nice, but Japan is my first love. Sometimes I feel like I am more Japanese than American. My personality just seems to fit more with them. Korea is interesting, but I don’t know if I could live there. Koreans generally seem more outgoing and can express themselves a bit more loudly than Japanese. The Japanese tend to be more reserved and quiet, and I identify more with that. Those are very much generalizations because I have met outgoing and loud Japanese, but as a general whole that seems to be the case.

  154. I lived in Korea for 2 years and visited Japan twice. One of the main differences I noticed was how people moved on sidewalks and down in the subways. In Korea, people walk everywhere with no order. And slowly. And stop randomly in front of you to check their phones. It was entirely frustrating to try and get somewhere, either in our small city or in the bigger cities like Seoul. Also, lines mean nothing in Korea. People might form a line while waiting for the bus or subway, but as soon as the bus/train arrives, the line is abandoned and it’s every person for themselves. But when we went to Japan, we saw that people walked on the left side of the sidewalk and moved to the side if they had to stop, much like cars. And people actually stood in lines to get on the subway. In both Toyko and Seoul, there are so many people, but we found it much easier to move around in Tokyo.

    Also, we found that cell phone (mobile, hand phone) manners in Tokyo were much better than in Korea. In Tokyo, you are not allowed to talk or make any noise on your phone while riding the subway or in many restaurants. That’s quite the opposite in Korea, where we found that people (teens) would often blare their music or watch tv or games on their phones with full sound. Also, older folks tended to talk loudly as well, but they are old so they are allowed.

    But Korea takes the cake for being affordable place in which to live and travel! We took a five minute taxi ride in Fukuoka and it must have cost us $10 – in Korea and in our small city, that would barely break the minimum payment of $2. Hotels and food in Tokyo are quite pricey, but you can easily find a cheap hotel for $30 and a meal for $5 in Seoul. The train was also quite expensive in Toyko – I don’t remember how much it cost to go from Tokyo to Mt Fuji, but I know that to travel across Korea from Seoul to Busan on the high speed train is $50. You can’t even get from Toronto to Kingston, ON with $50!

    Also, Seoul has the best subway system we’ve ever taken. Now we are back in Ontario and when we visit Toronto, we are always saddened by the lack of service, the expense, and how they are just starting to introduce a card system and people are all upset about that!

    Seriously, Seoul – you rock. And Tokyo too. But Korea, I miss you!

    • I completely agree about the chaos on sidewalks in Seoul. It was frustrating that people were always in the way and often were completely oblivious to it – even in the train stations when changing lines. Most of the time it was a couple holding hands walking slow as molassses on a tiny street) so I definitely relate to what you are talking about.

  155. Simon! I mustache you a question: are you growing out that mustache? Or is it that you got lazy?

  156. thisll probably get lost in the shuffle since this is such a good tldr but im considering moving up from my entry level sony dslr into the canon and i notice you guys have a wonderfully selected pair of lenses, the 50mm prime and the wide tokina(oh how i lust for this!), and they seem to fit everything you do, plus some extra pretty videos youve done, i really wish you could do a tldr on camera-relatedness, especially since you said you had no experience editing before, based on that its very professional kit youv chosen, anything interesting you want to say about how you chose your gear, how you use them, etcetc

  157. Hello! I’ve been a huge fan of Japan longer than for Korea, but right now I like them both a lot! Even though I hadn’t had the chance to visit them… YET!xD

    These differences are new to me… I really learned something from you guys today! yay!:)
    Btw I thought that you would have said something that you said before in your vlog of your Japan trip… I was waiting the whole video for it!^^ How about what you said before about how you saw a lot of people eating alone in Japan whereas in Korea, people barely ever eat alone!!!:P haha! bet you forgot about that! hehe~

  158. Yea when i visited Osaka before, i asked for a direction to ppl on the street in English and they all. Answered in Japanese..

  159. I’m in California and have been trying to learn korean – and I got enough in me to know if someone is speaking korean (thought not 100% what they are saying). I’ve been to a few pho houses here and realized all the staff spoke korean, whatt???? Maybe they dig the restaurant biz.

  160. My husband and I are planning on having our late honeymoon in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto >.<). Coz we didn't have one after the wedding a few months ago lol
    So this kinda helped (will have to remember to steer away from train stations ;P). And if the taxis are cheap, my hubby will LOVE it haha he hates using buses and trains.
    I soooo want to try out different Japanese foods. Coz I've never been really impressed by any of the Japanese restaurants I've been to in the Philippines and here in Seattle. I watched your video when you guys were still in Japan and the sushi and ramen just made me crave GOOD sushi and ramen LOL

    Ohh, I will have to cover his eyes from pornos everywhere ;P

    Thanks for this vid! You guys are awesome! XD

  161. You are right about people in Japan mostly speaking Japanese with other people. Their English education is horrible, consists of a teachers teaching in Japanese some words that resemble English. In Japan there are 6 levels (if I remember well… it might have changed since I lived there) in the national English test and teachers are only required to pass the second level (1st being the highest)! As Japan is famous for training their teachers all the time, and respecting them a lot, I found incredibly surprising when I heard this. (Especially since I could have passed the 1st level at the age of 16… And I’m not a native English speaker.) So I think that is the main reason why foreign people speak Japanese with the locals.

    Abundance of foreign people: the foreign population of Japan is mainly concentrated in Tokyo, so it is no wonder you saw so many foreigners. In the country there are many towns, even cities that have very few or no foreigners at all. Some of the Japanese people have never seen white people in real life. However, I think that the main reasons for the foreigners are: manga/anime and the WW2. You can find loads of Americans in Japan (especially in Okinawa), and many people got to know to Japan because of the manga-craze. Korea on the other hand hasn’t had anything similar to the manga-craze and puts no effort in order to bring non-Eastern Asians into the country.

  162. Could you also tell us how they treat foreingers who try to speak their language, how easy it was to get around if you don’t speak Japanese etc. I’ve read that Japan is trying to reduce the importance of Kpop so Jpop has a better chance there, do you know anything about that?

    • It is extremely easy to get around Tokyo when you don’t know the language. You can find maps easily in English, and all the subway stations are first announced in Japanese and then in English. If you can’t catch it over the loudspeaker, English is ticked along several sides of the subway cars so that you know which station you are going to next. The lines can be confusing, yes, but at least they are color-coded and you can eventually get around to where you are going. Or just stand at a map looking confused and someone will come up to you and ask to help.

      Restaurants can also be extremely easy … lots of menus have pictures on them, so we just pointed and gestured at what we wanted … you will also learn hand gestures to let them know you want the ticket for your meal. One thing we learned while in Tokyo, no one brings you your bill when you sit down in a restaurant. We watched several people and learned there was a clipboard by our table with our table number on it. We took that to the front and paid the cashier at the front. All money was put in a little tray … (in stores and restaurants) we did not physically hand a Japanese person our money. We put it on the tray, moved it over and they put our change on the tray, and then handed us our receipt and purchases with two hands.

      In large department stores you will find people working the floor that speak English quite fluently. Tourist spots also have pamphlets in English, and when we went to the Imperial Palace, we listened to the tour in English over headphones. Police and guides were always very friendly and willing to help.

      If you make any efforts to speak Japanese, you are greeted with smiles and some will speak to you in Japanese, or limited English, but people eventually get the point across. When we were there we saw advertisements for mostly Japanese music culture, but Kpop in Japan (that we noticed) usually had Korean artists singing in Japanese. Not much Korean language unless you went to a Korean area. I did see Korean idols’ music videos and albums playing, but they were singing in Japanese.

  163. DVD/CD is going away because we’ve the internet now, and who wants to rent DVD and wait for it to come out versus just go on the internet. This is why more company is going network world.

    Both have their similarity, and that is emotion. Both like to keep it inside, and just use like a certain kind of manner which I find really hard to understand. In Korea, you cannot outspoken your elder in any way, and do not say something bad about someone else even friends. In Tokyo, Japan, it’s like a cold place with little to no emotion. They follow a really tradition aspect. This is unless they adapt to the western culture which there is still some that need to be hide.
    *This emotion thing make me hard to express myself, it’s like I’m boiling up, but cannot do nothing about it. It’s worst if you’re the youngest -_-*

    Both have their pros/cons, but I still love Japan&Korea Manga/manhwa, and Korean drama ^^

  164. “There are ocean creatures I don’t want to eat”


  165. So I just finished watching the video haha and actually a ton of Japanese restaurants in Tampa Bay are also owned by Koreans…odd. :)

  166. I’ve never been to either of those countries, but what I heard from my friends (Japanese major btw) was that many Japanese people responded to even the most polite and gramatically correct Japanese questions with their Engrish…or just ignored them.
    An author of a book I recently read had similar experiences in Japan too (and she’s not from an English-speaking country)…
    So it’s probably a bit of a chance..
    I don’t know, I really want to see for myself (hopefully soon ;) )

  167. If you guys ever go back to Akihabara there is a great soba place near by that you should check out. It has a great Old Tokyo feel to it and the food is amazing! http://tokyofood.blog128.fc2.com/blog-entry-17.html

  168. Actually, I think I know why everyone and their mother’s WiFi is locked down in Japan. They recently passed a new anti-piracy law that says that you can get jail time if you’re caught *downloading* copyrighted material. If you search sites like ANN, then you’ll find a butt load of articles about people being arrested for downloading anime and what-not. This is pretty big, because most copyright infringement laws only cover uploading or facilitation (running a website that offers downloads).

  169. Oh noes, might get some crazy netizens indeed. I figured the netizens are so angry about not being able to express their anger in public so they do it online. But anyways, hopefully everyone will be nice. :) Someday I’ll be flying into Seoul and then going to Japan from there since the flight tickets are so much cheaper that way. Can’t wait!

  170. Well I can’t give my opinion on differences because I have never been to either places but I would love to go to both countries some day :) this was an awesome TLDR, you guys handled it professionally AND honestly! I really respect you guys and I REALLY love watching your videos… you guys are just awesome!!! thank you for making videos!!

  171. i think the “foreigners speaking japanese” thing is because if the foreigners speak english first, japanese is easier to learn and pronounce than korean i think.

  172. I love this topic, but I also hate it because it often leads to many people going “japan is better’ “No Korea is better” and its like, let’s all take a deep breath and really analyze what is being said. No one mentioned which country is superior, we are just pointing out the differences. Every country has differences. I realize it’s a sensitive topic because Japan and Korea had that history and many Koreans would love it if Korea had “better differences” mentioned. Right now I’m afraid to even venture into the youtube comments area (which is why I watched this video through your blog). Much more civil and hopefully less immature fans here (regardless of your age). Thanks for this topic though, I always wanted to know what some of the differences are (i totally agree with you about the driving thing though. I’m going to Korea in the near future and I had wanted to drive around the country since apparently my american drivers license can be used, but I’m afraid of the irresponsible crazy ass drivers in Korea)

  173. S&M I love u but can u please stay away from seriously topics please

  174. The koreans you met in Japan probably belong to the zainichi koreans which came to Japan between 1910 and 1945. Most of them refuse to take the Japanese nationality because they have to give up their Korean name and to take a Japanese name. That is probably the most pressing issue in the zainichi community besides discrimination by the Japanese societey (although they are Japanese as well).A Korean friend who belongs to that zainichi community told me that the zainichi are not very welcome in Korea either, so that could be a reason for Koreans in Korea lacking japanese sushi skills ;)

    • well … I think it’s simply due to the different in taste. If there was a need of japanese sushi in Korea, it would have come no matter what. Where there are buyers, sellers come ;)

  175. ‘Like’ for the porn music at 6:00. Mmmm….sooo sesual! :-D

  176. From what I understand with the language of inter-racial couples, Japan is VERY focused on being a homogeneous society and take great pride in that (they RARELY grant foreigners citizenship regardless of how long they’ve been there). Therefore, inter-racial relationships aren’t looked upon the best so I’m assuming that by with both of the people speaking Japanese, whoever the foreigner is is showing that respect and understanding of the culture by being able to speak the language.

  177. I’m surprised that not a lot of foreigners spoke Japanese. I had the same opinion you guys did. Maybe they do it more at work rather than on the streets? That’s super interesting though.
    As to why there is more diversity in Japan, I could be totally wrong but I think Japan is more inviting. Inviting in the sense that there area lot more job opportunities and I think I read in the comments below that there about the anime/manga industry which a lot of people are into all over the world. Plus, Japan is popular for tourists. I don’t know, but I’ve always wondered about the diversity differences between Japan and S. Korea.

  178. Soooo many sushi places in Australia are run by Koreans, like I’d say the majority are. It’s almost a sure thing that when you go buy sushi the employees will all be speaking Korean. So sushi made by Koreans is pretty good here but I’ve never had sushi in Korea AND my (Korean) husband said he has never actually eaten sushi while in Korea. Weird.

    One thought on the language thing and about interracial couples speaking Japanese. Here at least, it’s a lot easier to learn Japanese and is taught in schools. For example, my brother who has been living in Japan, started learning Japanese in school when he was about 13. So by the time he moved to Japan when he was 19, he already had a good understanding of the language and then after a few years managed to reach fluency. I know lots of people who have some level of Japanese because many people study it at school.

    For me on the other hand, I had no knowledge of Korean until I made Korean friends in my mid 20′s and now though I’m married to a Korean man, I’m struggling learning Korean as an adult. Even now with Australia doing major trading with South Korea, Korean has not been put on school syllabuses. There is a big push for Asian languages in schools now so Australian school students can learn Mandarin and Japanese but for some reason there is no push for Korean. So that might play into the interracial couples speaking Japanese, the non-Japanese person in the couple may have already been exposed to Japanese, giving them that jump into learning and being able to speak it with their Japanese partner.

    • It might also be that Korea as a country is just blooming in terms of their culture being known in other countries. I’ve noticed that how much people know about a country has to do with the country’s economic influence. Hence why everyone has a good idea of American stuff or British stuff. And Japan made a big leap back in the eighties, so by now schools already have programs for the Japanese languages and pretty much everyone and their pastor knows what kawaii means. My university has a language centre, and they teach over 20 languages, but the ones that got more students are English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. Clearly the pattern is there. South Korea was in a really bad situation back in the eighties, and now they are so well of in no time at all programs will be implemented to learn Korean.

    • I live in the U.S. and in a smaller area and my one good resturant that serves sushi is run by a Korean woman. Who happens to also serve Japanese and Korean Sushi and other Korean and Japanese foods, its the only place that serves Kimchi too. :)

    • I like what you said about Austn schools teaching Korean. I want to do Korean as part of my degree, (I’m studying Japanese too,lol) but I could only find one Uni here in Melbourne that taught it, which is Monash Uni. It’s so far from my house, it’s not worth going all that way, as I don’t have a car. :( Interesting to note though, the Japanese school in the CBD, where I sometimes have lessons, actually has a Korean class now!
      I love how the government is putting an emphasis on Asian languages in schools, so maybe in a couple of years Korean will be placed on the syllabus?

  179. I’m visiting tokyo this june with my family and we plan to take the subway throughout the trip. But i’m VERY worried about how crowded the trains will be. Is it really like how it is on tv/online where it is SUPER packed and crowded where everyone is just smashed together like sardines. I have this weird phobia (don’t judge me) of being in crowded places where everyone is kind of “touching” each other. Especially in trains and shops.

    • I don’t think its a weird phobia. I have a friend who hates crowds too, they make him really uncomfortable.
      Like most public transport in any big city around the world, there will be times when its really busy and it will be super packed, but there are also times when you will be able to sit down and have ample room to yourself
      Just consider when you are going to use the subway. During the peak times, like just before and straight after working hours are most likely to be the busiest times, so I’d avoid using it then. Other times of the day you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
      You can also do things like when you are waiting for a train, move to an area that doesn’t have a lot of people waiting. If you walk a little bit further away from the main entrances less people will be waiting there and less people will get into that section of the train. So its possible to avoid the bigger crowds.
      When we went to Japan we didn’t have many problems. Yes there were a couple of times when it was really busy, but we just waited for the next train and it was quieter. Don’t worry about it too much. I hope you enjoy your trip~ :)

  180. How’s Korean animation? Are there any Korean cartoon shows (not kiddy shows) for teenagers/or older? Or is it all just for the little ones. (I also know that Korea does help a lot with making USA animation.)

  181. teal deer question: How have things changed since you’ve come to Korea, and what do you think is changing now? I know that before I came here I was warned about a lot of things that seem to be less true now (like you mentioned in one post about women being more open about smoking now), and with the 빨리빨리 culture things seem to change so fast! (albeit with the weird dichotomy of a strong tradition and all old people in charge)

  182. I kinda understand the locked down wifi for Japan. I’m studying computer security and having your wifi free and available can be dangerous. If you don’t set your wifi right, people can do some damage to computers and cause some serious problems. I just hope that Korea is setting up separate wifis for personal use and public use.

  183. just an FYI, because you two were speaking about two different countries, there were times when i wasn’t sure which country u were talking abt. u should have said ” IN KOREA ******* ” and ” IN JAPAN ***** “. had to rewind once or twice. just a little FYI :)

  184. Hello! First I really love this blog! So thank you that you do this! :D
    I’m living in Japan for 6 month as student, and in the spring vacation I could go to Korea for 3 weeks, too. The first and the most important difference was the people. In Japan nobody is rude, nobody make fight, or something else. In Korea they do. I think korean people are more lively. And friendly. Japanese are very kind to you, for the first time. Then, when you want to make friends for example, they pretend as they don’t know you. Everytime. I think Japanese can’t speak out their feelings, korean can a bit more. But this is just my oppinion. :D

  185. How’s Korean animation? Are there any Korean cartoon shows (not kiddy shows) like do they have any cartoons shows for teenagers? Or is it all just for the little ones. (I also know that Korea does help a ton of USA animation.)

  186. I think more foreigners in Japan are able to speak Japanese because the Japanese language is a lot more poplular to study internationally than Korean is, but Korean language is getting a lot more popular so more people are speaking it now…

  187. While I haven’t visited Korea yet, I studied down in Fukuoka, Japan for 5 months. I’m thinking it might have just been the Tokyo area, because every restaurant I went to was super nice and friendly and very homey, particularly this one small mom-and-pop ramen shop that made the best food ever.

  188. I think Japan in the smaller cities is waaay different. Japan’s advertising is a little annoying too, because they hand out little tissues with their info on it, but you can always just refuse them. I used to do that because I would have a bagillion if I took them all!

    I would definitely say it is more cold though in general… I noticed in Japan people were just more to themselves and they are very shy to speak English so they don’t interact with foreigners most of the time. When I went to Korea though, everyone stared and tried to talk to me! It was kind of a culture shock after being in Japan for so long. At one point I literally thought I could be invisible in Japan because no one ever paid attention to me! It has its pros and cons, but it can be lonely.

    Porn culture is definitely apparent in Japan… I remember the first time I went into a convenience store and saw men browsing through porno magazines in plain site! So embarrassing!

    Of course, the Japanese subway is so expensive. I never used transport there and chose to ride my bike instead. I took a taxi once with my coworkers and it was expensive. It was the same as a Korean taxi basically. The Japanese trains are old, but they are always on time and really reliable. The Korean subway is cheap but I think they were rarely on time when I rode on it… it has trade offs I guess. The price for Japanese transport is crazyyyy though!

    I have no idea what you are talking about for the vegetables. My school fed me and I always ate tons!! I miss the food so much. :D

    • Hmmm, maybe in Tokyo they are a little cold? But actually I feel the exact opposite I just went to Korea and I felt everyone was so cold to me: on the subway and even walking, people wouldn’t look at me or even talk to me, just glare if maybe they wanted me to move over or something. Even buying things in the store, they never really said “hello” or replied to my “thank you”. In Japan, they always welcome you to the store really excitedly and on the street will stop and apologize if they knock into you. And many people, young and old, practice talking to me in English or even in Japanese. But I think maybe it just depends on the time and place for both countries.

      • I actually never went to Tokyo, I was in a smaller city called Okayama. I see what you are saying about being cold though in Korea, I did notice that many times people were a little unfriendly (mostly the old people can be a little rude sometimes!) but in Japan I just felt a little standoffishness because everyone is so shy, especially to speak English.

        In Korea though, everyone wants to speak English to you and they aren’t shy about it. Soo many people wanted to practice their English with me. It definitely wasn’t that way in Japan at all… I don’t think there was even one person who approached me while I was there. In general, I noticed that in Korea people were open about showing surprise and interest in a foreigner, while Japanese people were mostly very polite and avoided staring or making you feel awkward for being the foreigner. Once you know Japanese people though, they are really kind and go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It can just be a little hard to get to that point, especially in the smaller cities.

  189. Love Simon’s tie today (and the TLDR obviously!).

  190. Have you seen the taxi drivers in Japan? with their silky white gloves, black suits, and expensive watches? riding a taxi in Japan is a luxury, and I barely saw anyone actually using taxis.

    Regarding the language, Japanese just can’t speak English. It doesn’t matter how much they try, or sound like they can, you will end up not understanding half what they’re saying, like, at all.

    Japanese pedestrians seem suicidal to me. They would walk blindly when a car nears them and that is some real heart-attack material.

  191. I love Sweden .. Anyone? :(

  192. I’ve never been to Korea, but as for speaking the native language, a part of it is probably that it’s a lot harder to learn. I’m in college now, and majoring in Japanese, but I wanted to start learning Korean as well. My school is probably 5-10% Korean, which is a rather large percentage, but they don’t offer the language. Or history classes. The library section is bare. For Japanese, they have an entire department with history courses and culture courses as well as language coursese, and I think there’s less than 1% Japanese students. It’s impossible to find someone to teach Korean, and relatively easy to learn Japanese.

    • if there are Korean students in your school who knows Korean, you can ask them to do an exchange language program with them. Go to a site that have lessons on learning Korean and both of you can learn Korean and English together. My School started to have Korean studies, probably in the last decade or so and it seems popular. You might be able to make a club out of it or something to find like minded individuals and form your own group to learn Korean together and just ask locally if possible for someone who speaks Korean and have time to teach you guys.

  193. The reason you guys probably had better treatment in Seoul vs. Tokyo is that there are less foreigners in Seoul – so they are much more surprised to see you – Tokyo has been pretty crowded with foreigners for a long time and from all over so it isn’t really a rare thing. I experienced “service-su” :) in Korea of course at several restaurant with the free banchan and sometimes soda. In Japan, my equivalent was at arcades – when I would play arcade games the attendants would often give me service and pushed the stuffed animal or prize to the end of the crane machine to help me tip it over =].

    Another major difference is the subway. In Seoul, you pay considerably less to travel, but in Tokyo you pay every time you change lines and it’s very expensive in comparison to the subway in Seoul and I thought the subway in Tokyo (if you’re not on the JR Line) is actually less foreigner friendly than the one in Seoul that has TVs and sound systems notifying you in a bunch of languages if you’re approaching your stop.

    It was my experience that Japanese people in Tokyo were more willing to help direct a foreigner than those in Seoul – I’m not sure why that was – but anytime I was lost in Tokyo I could walk up to almost anyone and ask for directions. Another thing with that is that people in Korea would tend to make alot of eye contact with me when I was on the subway (I’m Hispanic) and many times I was asked what exactly I was doing in Seoul. In Tokyo, everyone would avoid eye contact and if they did make it they would immediately apologize and bow (because it’s really quite rude imo), although I did get used to the staring in Seoul and just started to look up at the ceiling when on the Subway.

    I think the food in convenience stores in Tokyo are pretty superior to those in GS-25s or Family Marts in Korea. I had this amazing spaghetti out of a 7-11 and it was better than the Italian restaurants I had tasted out in Seoul. Tokyo has a better grasp of foreign cuisine than Seoul and I feel that might have to do with the amount of time Tokyo has had exposure to foreigners and how many have lived there to influence the food.

    Def. don’t get in a Taxi lol it’s so expensive. You’re better waiting it out in Tokyo for sunrise and the subways – in Korea I would regularly just hitch a cab home though after a night out on the town. Not so in Tokyo.

    Arcades are also a difference. Obviously there is Akihabara in Tokyo and Japan is where most video games come from, but really Japan has a ton of arcades in comparison to Seouls PlayStation-bangs or Wii-bangs which really only have FIFA and fighting games/shooters in them. In Tokyo, you can play the older most retro video games and I loved that!

    Autumn also seems to last longer in Tokyo (maybe because it’s an island?). I went to Tokyo in December 2011 and still saw autumn leaves and cold but temperate weather, while I was literally freezing my butt off in Korea and all the trees and plants were long dead.

    That’s all for now :)

  194. PunkyPrincess92

    i love Korea and Japan!! my 2 fave countries!!! (that i’ve never been to T_T, but i will one day!!)
    Korea!!! you better recycle all those flyers!!!
    wifi heaven is a place where i need to live!!
    oohhh!!! Simon you so nasty!!!
    haha again!!!! you mention SHINee….you sing Juliette!! hahahaha!!

  195. I love japanese street advertising ^^ Of course there’re people who try to give you just some flyers, but when it gets colder almost everyone gives you tissiues with flyers in the package :) I never buy tissues here ^^

  196. It’s interesting that you point out that interracial couples speak Japanese in Japan and English in Korea, I was unaware of this but it doesn’t surprise me. Having lived in Japan, English is rarely spoken at all and if you have lived there long enough to have a significant other you are expected to speak some Japanese by that point (actually it is more of a necessity than an expectation).

    I imagine there are more foreigners in Tokyo, but in Osaka where I lived I almost NEVER saw another non-Asian person if I wasn’t in my university international building and it wasn’t even until my final months there that the train lines had stop announcements in English. I also rarely saw interracial couples. So basically, in Japan people speak Japanese.

  197. I went to Japan this winter and Korea last summer. I can surely agree with the taxi fares, they are crazy in Japan.

    Starting fare is like 10$ or something then it gets multiplied like crazy. We’ve never took one eventhough the first day, the person we were visiting said to take one. But I knew the fare was unbelievable. We asked for the map to the information ojisan there, found our place in the map and walked, at 12.30 am with luggages rather than taking taxi.

    On the other hand, taxis in Korea are really cheap, after you get used to give the address to the ahjussi, its OK. just be careful to the people who try to deceive you. One time we were coming back to seoul from busan at 4 am. there were taxi drivers who tried to fish for customers with high prices. I was nearly accepting then thought this shouldn’t be the case and found taxis near the place and saved like 6$ or something.
    I think you won’t see something like that in Japan because people follow rules more strictly in my opinion.

  198. I think the bigger amount of foreigners could perhaps partly be explaned through the worldwide popularity of manga and anime. A lot of fans become interested in the country as well and eventually visit it. Korea hasn’t such a “export hit” (not that I know of).

    • Korean Dramas? K-Pop? :D

      • I don’t think that those are as widely known as manga and anime. At least not where I come from. Everyone here has at least heard about manga but I know absolutey no one who know about k-pop or k-dramas.

      • as it is, hallyu is still very much an underground sporadic thing outside of asia, youd think from watching news about the concerts kpop stars are doing that its huge but its really not, fans are passionate but few and far between, its nothing compared to the impact manga and anime had/still has in america europe etc

      • Yeah, but isn’t that really recent though? Not the actual dramas and music, of course, but the wave of interest in other parts of the world. It’s just that ever since I was little I was watching Japanese cartoons, but I had never really saw that same level of easy exposure to Korean entertainment. I think Korea’s big wave may still in the making or rather in its first stages, but I think it could definitely be really big too.

        Edit: Oops, sorry. Didn’t refresh and see the other comments. :p

      • I think k-pop is more of a recent thing, people have been talking about japan since i was really young, because of the mangas and famous games from there. Korea is more of a new topic im hearing, cuz of k-pop mostly i think. Maybe 3 years ago i started hearing people mention it more?..maybe more i forget xP yeah that’s just my area though *canada gta*

    • I agree. I live in Poland and barely anyone knows about kpop or dramas, while only elders dont know about mangas and anime. There are sushi bars everywhere and only like 3 places (in Warsaw) you can eat korean food. Japanese culture is way more acknowledged

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. I didn’t know about Korean Dramas or Kpop until I stumbled upon Korean Dramas when I couldn’t find any anime shows I wanted to watch and even then I thought they were Japanese and really didn’t want to watch them. I only learned about Kpop from Eat Your Kimchi when I was searching for something about Korean Drama or Korean Musicians and stumbled across EYK’s Dance Kpop 2008…I think (I didn’t actually watch it until 2011, when I first found out about Kpop)…it was the one with G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker” and one with SHINee. So there you have it….stumble upon K-Drama and Kpop from an anime site (CR) and a couple visiting South Korea. :P

  199. On the porn issue, I agree that porn is more accessible in Japan. Their sex culture is very obvious. I am used to seeing older Japanese men on trains or buses looking at their Hentai porn.. and eyes glued to their phones one by one in a row… I also like to make a point on the role of the Korean government issuing laws against mini skirts and disabling porn sites.. When i grew up in the early 2000′s..Korea was a bit more conservative, but it seemed over night the Korean girls on music videos became very sulty like they were studying BET like no other..On the issue of governemnt intervention..I don’t think it’s a bad idea..however I can see how American’s would feel pissed about losing their civil liberty-freedom to expression and expression of sexuality. I think this is a hot topic! I hope to hear more about it in myriad of ways in discussion.

  200. ohhhh SIMON you so NAASTYYY..! xD you sure somebody TOLD you about these internet differences??

  201. You CAN find DVDs in stores if you look hard enough. Last trip I got several box sets of old series I couldn’t find online. BUT I get the sense that most Koreans order everything online or watch stuff on their phones or download stuff so the old school video/dvd rental places are all dying.

  202. Excellent video, Simon and Martina! I’ve lived in Japan for three years and am now living in Seoul, and definitely agree with all of the points you mentioned.

    Some other differences include how Korea likes to blast music out of their stores (in additon to all the other signs/banners you mentioned), the prevalence trash on the streets, and people spitting in public in Korea. On the positive side, Korea seems to have a lot more delicious street food, and food is a much more reasonable price. Such a large chunk of my paycheck in Japan went towards keeping myself fed, whereas in Korea it doesn’t seem to be as big of a burden. You’ll never find the flat metal chopsticks in Japan either, those are purely Korean, and the banchan, yes, I don’t think I could live without it now. You can definitely order vegetables in Japan but they are not nearly as prevalant as in Korea. I think you mentioned this in another video but people in Korea tend to hangout and eat in groups a lot more than Japan, which can make for a livelier environment. In fact, I feel as though Korea in general is more livelier than Japan, but I’ve been told the opposite by others who have been in both countries. It might just come down to where you’re living.

  203. I agree–totally wish there were some DVD rental places here in Korea! p.s. I love my kimbap chunguk ajjumas! They used to always fawn over my braids/hairbows/etc, but lately they’ve been oogling over my husbands curly red hair. haha. Just like the old ladies back in the US did!

  204. Hey guys! I studied abroad in Japan for 4 1/2 months, and while I was there visited Seoul for a few days, and a bunch of stuff struck me as different, too! As for the speaking, from my experiences I think your observations were right. Unless I clearly had no idea what was going on and spoke English first, most people spoke to me in Japanese and I had to respond with it. I think many people have studied English in their past, and once I was familiar with several older people they were willing to dig up a few English words to help me if I was struggling. But yeah, mostly you’re expected to speak Japanese. When I was in Seoul, though, Korean people spoke English to me ALL THE TIME. Which was good, because I didn’t speak any Korean. ^__^
    With the restaurant service, I would blame that on you being in Tokyo. I spent most of my time in smaller towns, and often we would have pleasant conversations with the older ladies running little restaurants. If we went back, they would usually remember us and be happy we returned!
    Two things that struck me when I was visiting that were different were the level of noise, and the frequency of bowing. Trains and subways in Japan, from my experiences, are pretty quiet, and if you talk it’s weird and quite noticeable. I was struck immediately, being in Seoul, how LOUD the subways were! And in Japan, I feel like I bowed all the time, entering and exiting stores, talking to people…but in Korea, I felt weird when I did it (instinctively), because I didn’t really see anyone else doing it. Was that just me, or is bowing not as prevalent in Korea as I had previously imagined?

    Thanks for your video, it’s fascinating to see what people observe! Thanks for being so dedicated and awesome~!!! ^_____^

    • I totally agree. I think it is so weird when I was in Japan airport, I exist the gate, and I was about to get my baggage check then all of a sudden the guy gave me another shoe and ‘bow’ to me. I was like um… O_O and I just bow since he bowed lol

      In Korea, you bow to your elder, and in a respect manner actually, so it’s not like a bow daily thing.

    • Well, I haven’t been to the countries but I have noticed that Korean exchange students spend more time bowing in general than the Japanese students. Initially, I had though that the bowing portion of the culture was primarily in dramas or at least overemphasized in the dramas. That is, until I saw it in person. I was speaking with a Korean friend when he spotted his seonbae. He stopped talking to me and did a 90 degree bow to the guy. I was informed that it was normal. Also, if you aren’t a native, they have VERY different expectations for you. Most of the Japanese I’ve met could care less about the bowing. The Koreans, on the other hand, are very big on the elder respect thing and if they know you know the proper behavior, they make sure you do it.

      I said all that to say this: Things are likely different in the expectations for foreigners. I’ve never been to the countries so I have no real idea of things there. Only how the exchange students and immigrants behave. Forgive my rambling.

      • when I read your comment the first time, I read it as “spend more time bowling” and I was like really? they bowl alot? lol

      • Ahaha yea, I’m Korean and I live in Australia. I’m always curious about Korea because I never got to visit a lot so I always ask my parents about random things about school life in Korea and stuff. Since this was like, 30 years ago, I dunno if it changed but yea… The bowing to elders is very practised over there. Apparently in schools, if you don’t bow to your sunbaes, you can get beat up for it?? Some scary shizz right there.

      • but she’s saying the total opposite of that…

  205. I like Korean sashimi, raw squid, and sea squirts..dipped in gochu-jang. I really like the ones from the Haenyo from Jeju Island..
    Korea has come a long way folks…
    I grew up in S.Korea in the early 90′s and moved to Japan mid 90′s and now that I visit back in 2012 ..i’m blown away. I’m proud of Korea!!! (South)

  206. This is amazing i want to visit both places!. free wifi and the fastest internet in the world , my gamers heaven !

  207. It’s funny because there’s a Japanese restaurant I love in Brussels, honestly, it’s the best one in the city…but I go often enough to have a talk with the manager and I know all the people in the kitchen are Koreans. It doesn’t bother me, they make really good food. The manager said that Koreans like to come and work abroad for a minimum wage (idk how much you make working there) but Japaneses aren’t so keen on leaving their country or working for a smaller amount of money. I don’t know if it’s true ^^

  208. The advertising in Japan can get a bit annoying as well! In the main streets people will stand outside their shops or at busy crossroads with packets of tissues that have flyers inside. So by the end of the day you’ll have accumulated about 10 packets of tissues (which are useless as well cos they are so thin!!) Or they’ll stand there and shout out promotions and walk around with huuuge signs advertising it! I guess it’s better than the flyers thrown on the floor though :P

  209. peachflavouredcottoncandy

    well.. i’m german, my boyfriend is japanese and we talk to each other in english :D we get many weird looks btw

  210. Boy, I would love free wifi in Toronto… but like that’ll ever happen LOL ;___;
    When I went to Osaka, Japan a few years ago with my family, it was hilarious when we got lost because my dad, who knew VERY little Japanese, tried asking for direction but as soon as the Japanese peeps heard English or noticed that he was a foreigner, they dipped lol it was funny but at the same time, we were still lost xD

    I had the same confusion with the public transportation… “Fine, I guess I’m lost in Osaka forever” lol

    • I’m living in Osaka right now and I have to say, that never happened to me. Every time I get lost, even if they don’t speak English, we use body language and they always get so worried that they actually take me to where I am trying to get to. Or they lend me their phone/look up info for me on their phone. The times I tried asking for directions in Korea (in English), they all looked at me with a “Oh God, I don’t speak English” look on their face and took off. Or kinda grunted something in Korea and pointed vaguely in a direction. But I guess everyone has different experiences.

  211. I think if you travel outside of Tokyo you’ll experience more of the kind/caring ahjumma type you mention in your restaurant section. In my experience people in Tokyo are kind of cold lol.

    • yes, right. After tokyo , I visited Osaka and Kyoto. It was a lot different. Kansai region people are a lot friendly than the ones in Tokyo.

    • I found people in Japan to be super helpful and friendly everywhere, seriously I’ve never seen a culture that’s this friendly before. Everyone went out of their way to assist in any way that they could. I spoke only Japanese though (basic) so I’m not sure if the experience is different for other people. I found people in Tokyo to be very friendly, the only people that were a little less friendly (and this still means very friendly because it’s Japan) were the people in Oosaka. Oosaka, why must you do everything differently! Like suddenly we had to stand on the other side of escalators, every other city in Japan was on the other side. But I’ve heard people say the exact opposite about the people in Oosaka too, so it might just be our experience.

      • Osaka prides itself on being different than Tokyo. They have different habits, different humor and I swear Osaka ben is practically a different language. I would equate it to being on par with Texas and the rest of the United States.

    • Yeah I experienced kind Japanese people who helped me when I was lost and I had less caring service in Korea. The experience is different, each restaurant is different. If you go to the countryside in Japan like Fukushima (if it’s better from the devastating event last year) the people are nice and a lot of families grow their own garden of veggies and fruits. My host family was in the countryside and I went pumpkin picking with my sofu (grandfather). The community were a lovely and lively bunch.

      • I agree with tokyo people being cold but policemen and security personnel are really nice, you can ask them questions, directions, etc. and not afraid to interact with people who only knows english.

    • I think it’s basically just Tokyo where you’ll have the slightly colder experience. Tokyo’s used to absorbing a ton of people and cultures, and so it’s sort of its own entity. Outside of Tokyo, you get a lot better service. I’ve been studying here in Akita since August and I’ve met some really kind ahjumma types. It probably helps that there are many more elderly people here while all of the youth move to Tokyo to work in corporations and such.

    • I’ve never been to Korea but I have been to Japan a few times and from my experience I saw that people are nice and polite when you ask for assistance or help but very rarely do people come approach you. When I was in Kyoto we wanted to go to the Kyoto manga museum and we were lost. A number of people walked by us and recognized (at least I think they did) that we were lost but didn’t approach us. However, the two people that we approached and asked were both really nice. The latter even went out of her way and took us to the museum that was a couple of blocks away. We’ve also gotten lost in Tokyo in a really crowded place and a lot of people passed us and knew that we were lost but again no one approached us. However, when we asked for help the person tried his best to explain and was very helpful. I find that to be a general trend in Japan. One time we were on the train and this young girl but toilet paper in her dress and I believed a lot of people noticed but no one (including us) went up and remind the girl until like half an hour later and this lady did so only as she was getting off the train. I wanted to tell the girl or her mom but my mom stopped me because she wasn’t sure how the mom would react. I discussed this with my mom and we came up with the hypothesis and the Japanese people didn’t want to be impolite and that they probably thought the mom should have noticed. I don’t know if that is true but that was just what we came up with.

      It seems that Japanese people are polite and helpful when you approach them first.

    • Have been to several places around Japan and Tokyo is much more like the city scene (still nice but just not as homey as others).

      I stayed with a host family for a while and they had their annual clean up the neighbourhood day. I asked my family if it was an obligation and they said not really, that everyone just likes to work together to keep everything clean. And you know those idealized communities where people just know everyone and offer to drop them off at home if they see them walking on the street. Well it exists. Everyone is so amazingly nice it makes me want to cry.

      • I live in a suburb in Saitama, about 20 minutes outside of tokyo, and the attitude here is very much like what you said. As soon as I enter Tokyo though, it’s much different. I think it’s just too fast paced. People generally don’t stop and take time to notice those around them. A common problem in any metropolitan area I think.

        • I was a foreigner (asian but still foreign) so some people did stop to help me around and i agree that it just comes with the metropolitan factor. Still loved Japan though; the people, food, and everything in general was great.

  212. Dvds in American seems to be heading down the same path as Korea. I live in a small time surrounded by cows, but we still had a movie rental store in our town when i was growing up. In fact by the time I was in High School we had 2. Now we have none, though we do have a red box machine in our grocery store. Blockbusters are also closing down all around us. Now I don’t know if it’s because of Netflix that we see these going away. I mean I can still find DVDs, but even music stores that carried CDs and DVDs are closing down.

    As for your Taxi remark I have a question for you. I’ve never been to Korea, though I would love to be there, but a friend of mine had a son who lived in Korea because he was in the military. He told me that even though they are cheap if you don’t give the exact amount they won’t give you change. He told me that his son’s wife one time (who is from the Philippines) gave twice as much as she didn’t have anything smaller and was crying to her husband because he refused to give her change. He also told me that his son had a hard time getting a taxi to take them if they had a debit card. They wanted cash because they figured you wouldn’t have exact change. Can you confirm or deny this? Do you know if this only happens to foreigners if you do notice that?

    • I live in a college town, pop 35,000 ish and we had blockbuster for a short time when I was younger but we had a hometown you know family owned and run video rental place that went out of buisness arround the time of netflix and redbox. I miss them. The only way to rent a movie in town is to go to redbox or rent it online through blockbuster or amazon.

  213. TLDR I’m from Mexico, and the saying that “men don’t cry”, but I always see Koreans
    shows when the mans cry, in dramas, idols cry at concerts etc, etc.

    Really men in Korea are so sensitive? Or only in the tv?

    • i think its only on the tv. they tend to exaggerate how people act and behave on tv so as have that “more dramatical” effect.
      plus, the way you put it, its hasty generalization. thats like saying, “since a lot of mexicans in US tend to do odd jobs such as lawn mowing, i guess mexicans really like mow lawns.”

      • But I think she has a point. Latin American males (read: my husband, cousins, dad, etc.) seem to have this overly masculine ideal of what males should be. The manliest Korean artists still look feminine in the eyes of the men in my life. Crying in public…big NONO.

        Even the difference between Latin America and the US is very visible. So, her question about man being emotional is very legitimate.

        • But what is overly masculine? Rough? Big? Cold? Domineering? Sexist? Drunk and sweaty and ugly and unkempt? For Asian a masculine man doesn’t have any of that. A man should take care of himself just like a woman does. And so far, from all the things that my Asian friends tell me, a girl can hold her liquor as well as the guy does (have you ever seen all the idols just casually talking about drinking?)

          I don’t know about your family, but so far all the people that I know don’t have this overly “masculine” idea of what males should be. But again, living on the capital of a country always makes your perceptions of things much broader. I’ve seen guys and girls cry on the streets, and when I say it’s not much it’s because people in general don’t like to be seen crying, not just men.

      • There’s a difference between making a racist generalization about a minority group living in another country, and drawing conclusions about a country’s culture from the media that country produces about ITSELF. Not saying that TV is representative of real life, because it’s not, but it definitely is shaped by a country’s culture, i.e. Hollywood vs. Chungmuro. So I think it’s a legitimate question (and I’m curious about the answer too).

        • This reminds me of when my Korean friend thought all foreigners had no inhibitions about being naked in public because she had seen them naked on TV while protesting animal fur.

          TV as media is a very powerful educational tool.

    • And that’s what i call sexism in Mexico, Is like saying that girl should only play dress up and boys should play with action toys and whatnot. For(us) mexicans men don’t tend to cry, but that does not mean there aren’t any boys that do cry, Same goes for korean people, there might be people who cry alot, and there might be those who don’t. You can’t generalize just by looking at dramas. Cause if that were the case with us mexicans, we might as well have a freakin ¨telenovela¨ as our lifes.

    • I’m Mexican too and so far I haven’t seen a man denying his feelings to avoid crying. Either I have very, very sensitive guy friends or you are just going by the phrase without really looking around you. Because it’s just not Korean men that cry, and my friends can attest to that :P

      And, as I understood, it goes deeper than just “being a man” or something. As far as I know, Korea has a different archetype on the socio-cultural construct of what a “man” or a “woman” is like. For you a man is supposedly a person that doesn’t cry, but for men in Korea crying doesn’t make you any less of a “man”. Hell being sensitive doesn’t make you any less of a man. In fact, girls dig that :B if you know what I mean. But it depends too, I live in the capital, and it’s always so much more open to the outside world, so it might be different than say living on other states or provinces, and I’m sure it’s similar in Korea too and just everywhere around the world.

      Like Gabriela says, there are people that cry more and people that don’t cry, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the country. You might get a stereotype from it, and it might tell you a lot about the perceptions many people hold, but ultimately it can never be used to form a solid objective point of view or a reliable statistic. Never.

    • Wooow don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the mexican man don´t cry ever, or be less of a
      man for that, but from my perspective (I’m from Merida, and now live in
      Reynosa) is quite unusual to see men cry, in my reality only see man’s cry
      because death a family, and of course I understand that the dramas are not
      reality, or do we live as Maria la del barrio? I’m just saying that I would
      like to know how real is what we see, because in the end we aren’t there.

      • irritablevowel

        I understand what you’re saying. The very masculine male figure holds a high place in Latin American culture. The definition of machismo is “exaggerated masculinity”. Exaggerated, as in over the top. Obviously you don’t mean every Mexican man is super macho, you’re just speaking about general cultural references.
        As for Korea, I wouldn’t make any generalizations about Korean men from Korean dramas because dramas are designed to appeal to female fantasy. The guys are doing things that women WANT to see, because they don’t usually see it. Telenovelas work the exact same way. Romantic comedies work the same way.
        What I do think you can take away from dramas (and telenovelas), and the pop culture of any country, is a sense of what a country or culture values.

        • I agree that one should not make generalizations about a country from its media and assumed that was why the person asked the question in the first place. I too have been wanting to know if normal everyday Korean men are generally more expressive with their emotions then lets say normal everyday American men.

          Although the media, as said before, is not an accurate representation of a country and its society; it can give clues to its social norms since media ultimately helps shape social norms. I do disagree with your statement that Korean dramas are designed for the female fantasy. While yes some of the dramas most likely have a larger female audience, many are on major networks that both sexes watch and therefore contain elements that pertain to both females and males.

    • From what I’ve seen, Korean men don’t cry that often… I mean well… Men in general from any nation don’t cry that often…

      Well… I don’t think the average girl cries that often too lol. I heard a lot from Korean men about crying after a break-up while they drink soju and such. It seems a lot of men do that. On dramas and stuff, you probably see a lot of crying cuz things are so dramatic. Loved ones dying, etc etc. And as for idols crying at concerts, I think they cry to really SHOW that they are thankful and really touched by the award they receive or how so many fans came to watch them. I once heard one male idol member say he was planning on crying cuz the moment seemed right.

    • Well more than tv vs reality, it depends on what part of the country you’re in as well.
      I lived in the southeastern province of Korea and apparently men there are know to be more rough, less emotional, men of few words, and generally perceived as more “manly”
      But then again, that applied to the girls as well. It was kind of a joke that Seoul girls want a southern guy and all guys like Seoul girl.. opps getting off topic.
      But w/the men crying, apparently it’s really attractive to Japanese girls b/c they feel Korean guys are easier to talk to. Just what people have told me over the years. Haven’t really seen this in person so don’t know how valid it is.

    • This is an interesting subject and something I am very aware of being married to a Korean man. There are definite differences to Australian men that I can see (I’m Australian). There are generational differences as well, like guys my husband’s age and younger show affection in a different way to the how men my husband’s father age act. It’s not necessarily that Korean men are very very sensitive, but their idea of what masculinity is, is different to many other countries. Things that Australian men see as “weak” or “girly” or “gay” is quite normal for Korean men. For example, expressing friendship with other guys both verbally and very physically, wearing colours like pink or liking more feminine things, singing their hearts out and crying at karaoke. In some ways it’s that Korean men have more freedom to express themselves that way as well as their culture focusing on a lot on couple and romantic stuff and expressing themselves. I never see it as Korean men are less masculine, rather, their version of masculinity is different to many other countries.

    • Isn’t the “men don’t cry” the very same reason why they cry in dramas or concerts? It heightens the climax and I feel for a lack of sleep highly stressed young idol in a concert would feel teary after a sudden difference in burdens. That and fan service. Hmm.. my point is it’s not that the men have different sensitivity.. or something.. But what the public finds ok. Real tears.. is a very manly thing.

    • To be honest, Korean men don’t cry very often. Really, in dramas, and tv shows they do, but in general they don’t. Many Korean guys told me that a guy can only cry for 3 reasons. 1: The day he was born, 2: The day his parents die, 3: The day his country gets destroyed. These are the only 3 reasons most Korean guys say are acceptable for them to cry. I’m not saying they don’t cry, of course they do, they are humans, we have emotions–but it’s STILL embarrassing. They don’t wanna cry publicly just like any guy in most cultures. I tend to be emotional so there were times when my gf and I fought and I was really sad and cried. My Korean friends told me I should cry while I was alone, because it was shameful to cry so openly.

  214. lol, so living in Korea is probably a lot better than living in Japan.. ;D

    • I wouldn’t say that one is “better” than another. It just offers a different experience. That’s kinda why we’re so happy we lived in Korea after living in Canada. Growing up in one country, you take everything there for granted, think of it as normal, but once you live somewhere else and see how things are done differently, you start to question what you’re used to. You see where some things in your home country need improvement, and – at the same time – you appreciate the things you never thought of before. I love Canada for it’s grass and open areas, breakfast, multiculturalism, and safe driving, and those are things I never thought of before. That doesn’t make it better. It just makes me appreciate those parts more than I did before.

      Same with our experiences in Japan. Things we took for granted in Korea we appreciate more now :D

      • Exactly. And this is how peace and understanding happens. :D

      • I’ve never lived somewhere else in my life, so I don’t really know what kind of experience is this ;D Living in Lithuania (this country is next to Poland and Russia in Europe T.T so far away from Korea T.T and nobody knows it ;D ) is nothing like living in South Korea, this is really a big difference, lol, since it’s so far far away~ ;D still, thank you for information ;D

    • As Simon and Martina said, its not about being better. I think though it really depends on your situation, what you’re used to, what you’re willing to get used to, and what you prefer. Some may like it better than Korea, others might like it better in Japan. It really depends on what you want. For them, they lived in Korea for so long, they prefer Korea. Just as my father lived in America for so long that he thinks he won’t be able to live in Korea again (traffic is terrible, etc).

  215. D’aww.. at first I was first.. then I refreshed and I wasn’t.. sad day is sad.

  216. COOL TLDR – Could you tell us what you know about saesang fans in Korea and whether or not the Korean media mentions them, maybe even with anti fans? XD

    • I’d love S&M to cover this topic, and to discuss stalker laws in general

    • Can’t imagine how S&M can talk about this since its not like they have saesang fans.

    • I asked about this many times an never answered.if they answer yours i will be pissed dafaq off.

    • I’d like them to cover Korean fans and ‘netizens’ in general. They seem to have a lot more pull and power over K-Pop idols, musicians and actors than in the west and even in Japan. I wonder why that is. I mean we have haters in western pop but they’re not nearly as vehement as Anti-Fans and Saesangs.

    • yes, you can even find a subbed korean documentary on youtube abou that topic (very interesting!!)
      just type in “saesang fans” and you´ll find it, it´s quite a long video, splitted into 2 parts.

    • woa i asked this question a few days a go and NEVER got any attention HOW DID YOU DO THIS

      • LOL I think you just have to be one of the first to comment, also I am hoping that Terri and Hokkaido Fox’s bits get talked about as well if this topic is chosen :D

    • seriously, this question is being made again and again. I’d rather know more things about korea itself than kpop…it’s always about kpop and that gets tiring

      • Get used 2 it because music is sort of a common ground for any culture/race/etc. Kinda brings ppl 2gether.

        • and that’s not what I implied, did I? I’m a kpop fan myself but you have music mondays and plently of other kpop related videos made by them. Simon and Martina probably know about sasaeng fans as much as the average kpop fan does. There’s only the tldr where they can discuss other issues regarding korea and not just kpopkpopkpopkpop. I personally started watching their videos for the tldrs after all. (There’s not that many decent youtubers who vlog/discuss about korea-related issues either)

      • Agree with you. Its not like S&M are knowledgeable about saesang bc they don’t stalk the idols with the crazy fangirls. Unless they do a WANK outside celebs’ houses and get run over by crazy fan girls.

  217. i wish ALL places in the world had free wifi like korea omg

    • I would like that everywhere as well, but due to hackers and terrorists nowadays in many places here in the USA it’s kind of tough to allow all that freedom to occur, lol -_-’

  218. Hey I’m from Toronto! Just curious, what sushi places do you go to when you’re here?

  219. I went Tokyo for one week and fell in love with it instantly. I was told that Seoul and Tokyo were basically the same except for the language difference. Boy was I ever given false information. I love both cities but they are completely different. I think Hongdae is like the Korean version of Harajuku. Also, Tokyo takes cuteness to a completely other level. Kyeopta X10 = Kawaii. I was also completely surprised that no one tried to run me over =P

    • We do see similarities with Harajuku and Hongdae, in different parts. Part of Harajuku is like Myeongdong (closer to the station) while farther away from the station, when you cross the street (what’s that area called? Omotojuku or something I think? It literally means “Beside Harajuku”) that area seemed very Hongdae-ish :D

      • omotesando?

      • Or maybe the Yoyogi Park area? It’s right across the street from Harajuku station. No idea what the neighbourhood’s called though =X

      • Maybe you mean Omotesando? It’s actually not Harajuku anymore (as harajuku itself is just actually just a part of shibuya) Close to the Harajuku station everything is mostly for teenagers, especially takeshita-dori, this is the über-hip fashion most people know and mistake for the overall japanese style. Omotesando on the other hand has many foreign high fashion brands and is very expensive but if you go to the sidestreets it’s again more of a younger harajuku vibe. And you can get your VEGGIES there!! = ) If you ever go to Tokyo again and miss your veggies: I can recommend “brown rice cafe” I love this sooo much, it’s vegetarian japanese kitchen and organic! Just opposite of brown rice cafe is also the “crayon house” which offers vegtable all you can eat! I could name some more places, but these I like the most : )

    • From my impression of Hongdae (for like the 2 days I was there lol) I would relate Hongdae more to places like Kichijoji, koenji, and Shimokitazawa. Harajuku is much more where the junior highschool/ highschool kids go hangout and the places I mentioned are more collegey towns with lots of cafes, more mature fashion, and also quite a few live houses. If you ever go back to Tokyo you should check those places out ;).

  220. How can you buy k-dramas if there aren’t dvd shops?! Tragic.

    • I think you need a different verb than “buy” WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE I MEAN DOWNLOAD! Oh God! Did I just write that? No! No I don’t endorse that kind of behaviour!

      • I think that’s also why maybe the dvd shops closed because Korea is one giant downloading country LOL. I mean even my uncle downloads EVERYTHING from shows to foreign movies. He also complains about slow American internet, at which I say go back to your country then, we won’t help you with your effin visa ungrateful dude. I went on a tangent LOL. But yeah, also I know that in America, a lot of the Korean video stores were closing due to the fact that many of them carried illegally downloaded DVDs which American Gov’t is starting to notice. (illegally downloaded Korean movies that barely even came out, American movies, etc. but especially American movies because all of them have korean subtitles and I was pretty sure the ones my dad rented, they were still shown in theaters)

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