Yay! We mentioned in our TL;DR that we just passed 5 Years in Korea! Wow. That’s quite a long time. We sometimes speak with people who have been here for, like, a couple of months. We remember what that was like! But we also remember how different we were back then as opposed to now. We mentioned a bunch of ways Korea changed us in the video above, like in our taste buds, portion sizes, perceptions of masculinity and sexuality, our sense of danger, and our paying more attention to our appearances. There are a couple of other things that have changed with us that we didn’t mention in the video, though, so we’ll talk about those here:

Our Taste in Music:

Ok, so we’re music hipsters. We listen to lots of weird indie stuff. People might be really surprised by our taste in music, because they think that we only listen to Kpop, for some reason (maybe because we’re known as Kpop people on YouTube?) Point is: we didn’t like Kpop when we first came to Korea. Our music snobbery got in our way for a while. Hardcore snobbery. It was hard for us to think of Kpop as “real” music, whatever “real music” means. The idea we had before was that music is only good music if it’s made by the musicians alone, and Kpop seemed so fake in comparison. Kpop bands don’t get together from high school and jam out in their mom’s garage and play gigs at local bars and struggle to make ends meet and bartend part time while they practice with their band the rest of the time. There’s none of that with Kpop. Kpop bands are assembled by companies. Members oftentimes don’t know each other before forming the band. Kpop bands oftentimes don’t make their own music, but have songs written for them by people from different countries. There’s none of the traditional sense of sincere artistry in it. Well, that’s what we thought before, or – more specifically – what I – Simon, super music artsnob – thought before.

But that’s changed. I found that I was spending too much time focusing my energies on reasons to NOT like kpop, rather than just letting myself like it. It’s music! Doesn’t matter how it was made: it’s still music. Doesn’t matter if it was one person who wrote the song or a hundred. The song’s there to listen to, and oftentimes it’s ridiculously fun to dance to. Why deprive myself of the joy of liking something? So I can feel better about myself, think highly of myself for not liking a song? Why take pride in NOT liking something? That’s silly. We hear this a lot when we speak with foreigners in Korea not into Kpop. They never speak of it like a “meh, it doesn’t really do it for me.” There’s a passion and a fervor in their eyes, and they speak angrily against kpop. I didn’t want to be one of those angry people any more…

It was really Brown Eyed Girls “Abracadabra” and 2NE1 and Big Bang’s “Lollipop” that got to me. I thought “hell, these are awesome, AWESOME songs. So freaking fun! Why am I trying to deny liking them?” I gave up my pretentions. Sure, I stopped thinking of music as this infallible art or something like that, and good riddance. Pretentious people in any field, be it music or literature or movies suck at parties. They’re condescending fartsuckers and live bitter lives of resentment. Spend your life enjoying more things rather than defining them.

You know, I just realized that I shouldn’t be writing this post while partially drunk. Tomorrow’s a holiday in Korea, and there’s some great energy going on outside, and we’re sitting here at 1AM working on this video and blog post, so we decided to grab a couple of drinks and get back to work, Mad Men style. I forgot that I had a serious post to write, so – my apologies if I’m a bit incoherent.

Our Mission in Life:

Before we came to Korea 5 years ago, we planned on being in Korea for a year. Our plan was this: Korea one year, Japan maybe a year or two, and then back to Canada to teach and “start our lives.” Our idea was that we should travel when we’re young. Why wait till you’re retired to travel? By the time you’re retired, you’re old and in pain and sleep a lot more. Why not enjoy your travels when you’re young and get it out of your system? That’s what we thought.

Yes, it was unconventional, but we thought ourselves risky for doing so. Oooh! A year or two overseas! That’s different! And while we were in Korea at the beginning, we spoke with people who would sometimes ask us “when are you going to start your REAL lives” Real lives. Yes. That was the term used. Like, what we’re doing in Korea isn’t our real life. We have to go back to Canada, back to our roots, and buy a mortgage and buy a car loan, work our 9 to 5, and do all of the things normal people do. Not that we’re bashing that! Not at all! Sometimes we look at our lives now and think that there’d be comfort in a regular life. We just noticed, though, that the idea we had from people who lived lives like this was that the lives we were living here weren’t “real” or weren’t “right.” It’s just a phase, and soon we’ll return to normalcy.

We thought that for a bit, too, but the more we lived here the more we realized that maybe we might want to live here for a long time. Maybe we don’t have to go back and do things the way they “should” be done. Maybe we could live perfectly legitimate and real lives here. We don’t have to get a mortgage. We don’t have to have kids. We don’t have to own a car. We don’t have to do the things that normal folks do, and we wouldn’t have to worry about being unfulfilled as a result.

We’ve met so many awesome people here. Just yesterday we had people from Australia here filming something with us. Two white guys living in Australia, traveling to Korea, and speaking Japanese. How cool is that? We know Canadians living in Korea who married Korean people and have started lovely families here. Are their lives not real? That’s silly. So we look at ourselves now, two white people living in Korea and making YouTube videos. What’s wrong with that? Is that not a real job?

Sorry if that’s a bit of a ramble. Our point is this: coming to Korea and living here has really changed our perceptions of what’s normal and acceptable. Our fruits are far from our roots, but that doesn’t make them rotten. And I hope that, by being here and sharing our lives with people online, we can motivate others to try something different. There’s a world of possibilities out there. So many places. So many options. So many lifestyles. So many lives to live. All of them real. If you’re bored of your life or unhappy or discontent, move! Go somewhere else! You have friends where you live: make new friends! You have family where you live: make new family! It’s not like your old friends and family will cease to exist. Go new places. Do new things, and find something that’s right for you. If life hands you lemons, go somewhere that life grows mangoes. That is, if you like mangoes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like mangoes…

  1. Korea does change you, agreed! Martina, fyi: I work at the school where they filmed B4Fs. They still have tons of photo ops and movie props around. I’ve heard the F4 classroom is still open to visitors, too. You all should come out one of these days and do an episode on iconic kdramas or english language hagwons or something like. :) http://www.yea.or.kr

  2. I really like seeing other people doing different stuff. My hubby and I
    live on a boat with our 5 year old. We didnt even TALK about kids until
    we had been married for over 8 years. People were always asking when we
    were going to have kids, and have a “real life”. I call BS on those
    who cant get over their personal paradigm. Same with living life afloat:
    just because it doesnt conform to most peoples ideas doesnt make it
    less real, or “a phase”. Its our life. Korea is YOUR life. Live it how
    you want to. You are the ones whos happiness you need to focus on. ;-)

  3. One way that Korea has changed me is my outlook on law enforcement. Police are so nice here. they give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    My husband got trashed one night and passed out in the taxi on the way home, so the taxi driver called the cops. Rather than detain him for drunk disorderly behavior like an American cop probably would have, they stayed by his side, outside in the cold in the dead of winter at 3am until I came to pick him up, and they were so pleasant about everything.

    Even if someone gets drunk and tries to punch out a cop, usually the worst they will do is cuff the guy and take him to the station so they can watch him until he sobers up enough to come to his senses. The sense of honour here is so great that usually the drunk guy feels really bad and apologizes profusely when the cops let him go.

    I thought it was funny when Simon said that him and his friend left before the cops could pin blame on them for the fight, because more than likely, once they heard the story, they probably would’ve shaken your hands and thanked you for diffusing the situation.

  4. By reading this post, I realize how much I want to travel and how important it is for me!! :D The big (p̶r̶o̶b̶l̶e̶m̶) question I ask myself is, how can I have enough money to do that? -_-” *sigh*

  5. My twinsister doesn’t like mangoes. She’s weird hehe. ^_^

  6. SO COOL! To the right of City Hall, close to the park, where the Angelinus coffee shop should be/is on the corner, that’s where we lived. That’s where we went to the coffee shop with cats. That’s where we went for our favorite patbingsu. That’s where we went for Ajumma Samgyeopsal. It’s a great location. Make sure you go there!

  7. It’s strange to me that moving away for a year (or more) seems to be an odd concept in North America. In New Zealand, all everyone wants to do is leave and go on our OE (Overseas experience for all you non-kiwis). We regularly go to the UK, Canada, USA and Australia to live for a long periods of time. I think that has something to do with us being so far away from the rest of the world and hence we need to base ourselves somewhere closer to the rest of the world to make travelling cheaper and more accessible.

  8. Since you guys talked about living life the way you want to, I think this is a good post to tell you this.

    Before I started watching your videos, I was already somewhat interested in Korea and it’s culture, although pretty much the only things I knew were Korean dramas and a few Kpop groups.

    But after watching you guys, I’ve really grown to love what you have shown your Nasties about Korean culture, food, etc. And this could not have come at a better time in my life. I was just graduated from high school and my “plans” for my life were pretty much washed down the drain and I was wondering what I could possibly do that I would actually LIKE, since what most people choose as “real” or “normal” lives seemed completely boring and didn’t interest me in the slightest.

    Now, partially because of you guys (and, admittedly, partially because of my love for Korean dramas and Kpop), I know that I want to major in Korean language, which will give me an opportunity to visit Korea for a study abroad program, and also give me many more options with job opportunities, since I’ve also decided to at least minor, if not double major, in psychology as well.

    My mom, although supportive of my decisions, thinks it’s a bit strange and others don’t understand why I am so in love with Korea. However, because of the wonderful things you have shown about Korea, I’ve learned that many of the things I value and believe in are much more valued there instead of here in the US where my opinions are seen as strange and different.

    I sincerely thank you guys for giving my life some direction when I felt completely lost. And while I’m not sure if I can complete my goal quite yet, I at least have a goal now.

    I respect you guys so much, and I am grateful to you! Fighting!!!!

  9. thank you simon and martina… am planning a trip to Korea to test the waters there (have no great expectations, just excited about the adventure) and i completely agree with you on the ‘real life’ philosophy.. am one of them… wandering around India… for quite a while.. i hope to see you guys or visit your studio when i finally land there.. it would be an honor to see you guys!

  10. I only like mangoes in super small portions.

  11. I’m studying abroad in Japan for a year and majoring in Japanese&Int’l studies… but i’m worried about how to survive with that type of degree. I mean, I know your degree isn’t your career and there are a lot of things out there but… I don’t want to get stuck in America >< Thank you for the inspiration to just get going!!

  12. Isnt it if life hands you lemons, go somewhere where life grows mangoes or is my english getting bad? Oh and anyways love the deep quotes and the kpop story. It’s really true, when I talk to kpop haters over the internet, they always hate it with a passion. It aggrivates me. They dont just say, “Oh, I like my music better, I’ll just pass.” Instead they have to go all in depth on why kpop sucks and the femininity and fakeness of it. It’s just eughhh I get it, kpop isn’t for everyone but you don’t have to insult them so much that my eyes bleed of too much of naive closemindedness.

  13. This post is really inspirational :3 I’m moving to Korea in August because I got an scholarship to study a master program there…people always gets surprised when I tell them, as if they were saying “oh that’s cool for you…but…are you crazy?” …well this is my dream and I worked hard for it and waited patiently, so I don’t mind what other people think, I might be different, yes, but that’s something that will lead me to live new and different experiences in my life and I’m happy about it :)

  14. I used to always change the adage of “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” to “If life gives you lemons, add vodka”. But I sincerely appreciate the new twist that you have added. It is more empowering and less intoxicating!! Congrats on 5 stellar years, and may there many more stellar, nasty ones to come!

  15. Simon and Martina, you have hit a big concept here with the masculine ideology. Being Midwest USA, the man is the (lol) hairy Hugh Jackman-type and so every time I point out a handsome Korean I get weird looks and comments on how he is not a real man. I can see a masculinity to the Korean guys that my friends can’t and I am glad you pointed it out as a perception. Thank you!

    • The funny thing about that Hugh Jackman metaphor is that as much as he represents a hairy wolverine-type character, when I hear his name I immediately think of him as a slightly flamboyant character in the broadway musical ‘ Jersey Boys’.

      Even stereotypes can break stereotypes.

  16. One of my favorite parts about this post is actually reading through the comments people are posting and realizing how many people out there want to travel and want to make their travels more than just a vacations (although vacations are very fantastic lol) There are so many of us, and now we all know that is we ever get those questions from other like,”What about your REAL life?” we can go onto EYK and find others that don’t think like that.
    We should make a club called “The Roaming Nasties” lol

  17. This was one of my favorite blog posts. I felt I could relate to it so much. I abruptly went to Japan for three months during high school in 2007 because my environment was overwhelmingly depressing to me at the time and I needed to get away. I needed to be in a completely different place. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My friends back home couldn’t really understand it, though. I feel like many people I know still feel it was some cool, but transient experience that I partook in that was some sort of outlier of my other life experiences. Those three months were more influential to me than other entire years of my life. It inspired me to become an Asian Studies major, seeking to become a Korean and Japanese translator. I have been back to Japan twice and will be going to South Korea for six weeks this summer. It was one of the most self-defining experiences of my life and I certainly was changed because of it. I am a happier, more open-minded and adventurous person.

    So, yeah. Thank you for this awesome blog post! Drunken ramblings are sometimes the best ramblings.

    • I can totally relate. I just up and went to India for a month one time to volunteer teaching English. I was only gone for four weeks but it completely changed my life, and it is now my dream to teach overseas. People get really confused at the fact that so little time (in the grand scheme of things) can have such a big impact on someones life. But being so out of the so-called “comfort zone” is so much more influential than years of “normal” life.
      Anyway, you go girl! Super jealous of your travels. (I don’t have any plans to travel again till I graduate with my bachelors, DARN YOU STUDENT LOANS T_T )
      Hope you have lots of fun this summer!

  18. Speaking my language. Traveled via education throughout the US. Now I’m working on teaching certification and experience so I can hopefully work in a (hopefully swanky) international school next school year.

  19. At first I felt wrong for wanting to write YOLO but after a few seconds I was like screw that YOLO :P

    Everyone needs to think how much the world would be better if only those who truly wants to have children have children instead of having them because of social pressure. Now you can pretty much apply that to everything else.

    Please don’t live in regret.

    Be happy.

  20. I don’t like mangoes >.>
    And my family thinks I’m weird for that but I just don’t like the texture of mangoes in my mouth >.<"

  21. wow. the whole “real life” part really hit me. this post made me want to hurry up and go to another country to teach. That’s what i’ve been aiming for for 3 years now. every time you guys talk about your lives in Korea i get so jealous T^T haha but this was a great post

  22. The last paragraph speaks to me right now. I’m getting to a point where I might be moving out of the house I have grown up in and I want to be excited and to live life to the full and experience new things. However there is always one nagging part of my brain that is saying ‘what about money? How will you pay for rent, bills, food? What if you don’t get a job?” etc. But I really do want to get out there and experience the world, make new friends, make new family. So what I don’t have any idea what I want to be doing in 5 years time, at least I’m going down a path I enjoy, and meeting some fantastic people along the way. I don’t want to live a ‘real’ life! Thankyou for inspiring me to live life to the fullest! :)

  23. OMG, I’m really happy with this post, it’s like a massege for me! hahaha
    I’m in a phase of my life that I have the opportunity to study in korea for one year and I couldn’ decide to go or not! I’m from Brazil and last month I went to Super Show 5 in my city, I don’t like Super Junior that much but was one of most memorial days of my life. I kept imagining how would be live and study in Korea.
    In Brazil when you say you listen to korean music now they only think in Psy (yes, is sad), even being japanese descendent they think I’m strange. The only person that supports me is my mom because she loves Big Bang, K-dramas and stuff hahaha!
    Unfortunately my father wants me to go to Japan and japanese family you know.. it’s a bit complicated :(
    After watch this video I decide to keep my dream, I wish my experience be as happiest as yours.

    I love you guys and you inspire me for real, thank you so much :D

  24. You’ll love this: You can add COWBELLS to every song you like on this webside :D

  25. “Abracadabra” and B1A4’s “Tried Walking” are what dragged me in, and I haven’t looked back since. We are kindred spirits.

  26. *lol* I think i never ate mangoes. . .
    Thou I never lived outside of my country, I think that one will change depending on the culture of the other country.

  27. I live in Brazil, and i love that my country has a lot of different cultures, but i hope some day i can go visit other countries, learn and absorb their culture and make new friends, i’m really happy that through youtube i can see EYK because that’s means that if you guys can, so can i, right ?
    I’m a nasty on the other half of the world, Happy anniversary !!! lol
    sorry for my English, I’m not very good writing in English … but i wanna to say thank you simon and martina for making my days better <33

  28. In my community, girls and boys usually spend a year in Israel after high school. It is such an amazing experience to go to a new country and see a new culture.

  29. Same here on the gayness thing, i don’t live in Korea but i watched a lot of dramas and music videos. At first i was like *I love them* but that’s pretty gay… totally different views now, my dad still calls most of them gay but he is a little more open in regards to gayness ^_~

  30. Gotta say EYK has garnered such a lovely bunch of supportive Nasties ^v^ Great job Simon & Martina and all you ooh so nasty Nasties ^=^!

    Oh and all the best to all who have the opportunity to go to other countries that is totally different from your home town! Not only is it just brave to do it for the first time, that’s “Bravery Achievement Acquired!”, but your life will be richer for it! You’ll get to tell stories like “Oh that one time I went to *exotic place* and *had an awesome story*…

    I was blessed enough to have 2wks in Japan when I was in high school and because we were so high on life (on Life only… Promise!) you get to do some crazy stuff or remember a lot of funny stuff that had happened… Even simple funny stuff like my host family’s dog farting on que when Mama-san was just warning me about him farting ^^’… side note: do not feed chocolate to dogs!

    So going back to my point… Listen to Simon & Martina, they have an excellent point and I happen to love mangoes over lemons

  31. This is my most favourite and insightfui TL;DR!! Loves all around! <3<3<3

  32. *_______* I’m moved guys!
    You’re just so right about this! Living up to others’s expectations of what is normal and right is not a good thing, because it narrows your mind and makes you unable to look at the world in its variety…well, I’m a South Italian girl, and here traditions about life, marriage, work, etc, are really deeply rooted…I like my country but sometimes I feel somehow stuffy, because none can understand why I love Asian culture so much and listen and watch Korean stuff all the time.
    Now I understand it even better.
    It’s all about being curious and willing to learn and discover things about people, even if they live in a far away place, and have perceptions and cultures very different from yours!
    Maybe I’ll never be able to work or live abroad, but even so, thanks to people like you, I can still know and discover a lot, of course using the new technologies in the right way, trying to learn and understand the world a bit more everyday! ^_^

  33. reading this post makes me realised that there are many options in life.THANKS !!!

  34. Korea has changed me as well. Just being around fit, healthy and beautiful people inspired me to lose ten pounds and completely change my lifestyle :)

  35. Danger radar in Korea? You never know when a car would shoot past you. But then again most drivers in Korea have this amazing sense for sudden braking. All I can say is: just cross the zebra crossing. The “look around + wait 3 seconds” rule don’t work here. They won’t stop unless you start crossing(:

  36. i want to know the creepy evil room in ur studio…

  37. OMG, I can totally relate to my attitude change towards what makes a man hot and manly since I found kpop two years ago. Since U-KISS is my primary addiction I’ll reference them. I could never have imagined being attracted to Kevin (sorry Kevin) because he’s so pretty. He’s very attractive, just not my normal taste. In fact Soohyun was my bias till Eli pigeoned his way up to the top. Yet in the past few weeks, Kevin has caught my eye and I’m seeing more of his manly charms. Something I couldn’t do before. It’s opened my eyes to more perspectives of men in general. Now to find one, you know unless you can send Eli, Soohyun or Kevin my way, which ever one you can catch first. XD

  38. The “real life” thing is so true. I’m looking forward to a future of backpacking and working around the world. That’s my number one dream for my life, and it always has been. By doing something out of the norm, you are standing up as an example for everyone who just wants to do something different with their life, to tread off the beaten path. Thanks for doing what you do. :)

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