Go Premium
Facebook Twitter Google Plus

What Surprises us About Japan and South Korea

October 14, 2015

Comments

Share Post

And now for the last of our Japanese related videos from our last trip, here’s a video we shot with Rachel from Rachel And Jun. Woohoo! We’ve hung out a few times before, but we never actually filmed anything together. A couple of weekends ago, though, we were both in Osaka at the same time, so we finally got to filming something. Yay!

It was something we were talking about anyways. I mean, we’ve been living in South Korea for over seven years now. For us to say that it hasn’t changed the people we are, the way we perceive things, would be dishonest. When we first came to Korea we found things bizarrely different, but now they’re normal to us, and when we go elsewhere around the world is when we feel our culture shock as people adjusted to Korea. Sounds weird? It is to us as well.

And I’m sure we’re not the only ones in this boat. Rachel’s in that boat now as well, and so we found it interesting when we started talking about what surprises us when we visit each other’s country of residence. We had a lot to say, so we put it together in a video.

One of the things we didn’t get to talk about here is actually something that happened to me (Simon here) when I was out by myself. The last week we spent in Japan Martina got wicked sick. She’s still recovering from it now, a bad stomach flu, that’s lasted almost 10 days now. While she was sleeping, I didn’t want to just stay at our Airbnb and stare at her. So I went out for walks around Osaka, lots of times. Something that I found that surprised the hell out of me: what is it with Japanese schoolchildren and their love of unicycles? I swear: I walked by an elementary school and saw kids during recess rolling on unicycles, huge entourages of unicycle gangs rolling around the fields. I thought it might have been a gym class activity, but afterwards, when I came back at night, I saw lots of kids in groups on unicycles outside of school. It was bizarre. In all my life, I can say that I saw more unicycles on that day than I had in all of my other days on earth combined.

My biggest problem was that I wanted to share this with people, but how could I? Here’s an older man with a moustache, chilling in the park, and – what – taking videos of kids on unicycles? PERVERTO! No way I was gonna get yelled at for doing something like that. So I just had to ingest the memory, and tell it as a story afterwards. Sorry for not taking videos of it and sharing it here. I didn’t want to be a creeper. But that surprised me, big time: Japanese kids out-unicycle Korean kids a thousand times over.

So that’s it for my story. Check out the differences Martina and Rachel talked about in Rachel’s video as well, here below!

Otherwise, let us know if there are any things that surprise you when you visit other countries that might seem normal to residents of that country. I like having discussions like this with our well-traveled friends. It’s funny how nothing’s normal anywhere. Everything is strange to someone somewhere.

Oh! And for those of you wondering, we filmed this in our Airbnb in Osaka. Yes we use Airbnb a lot. You know this by now, don’t you? Sign up for it if you haven’t yet. Here’s a $25 coupon, on us :D

Comments

33

Share Post

TL;DR

HIDE COMMENTS

What Surprises us About Japan and South Korea

33 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

  1. Hi Martina and Simon,
    I am a huge fan of you guys and today I have officially watched all of your videos (Woow!). I just wanted to let you know, you guys have gotten me through a lot of rough times. THank you so much for being so amazing and posting videos that overall make my life happier, even in my most awful days. Thank you so much for being so kind and happy in so many of your videos and for being what I want to be as an adult.

    1 year ago
  2. sorry this is a super old post, but this is relevant to me since i’ve lived in Japan for 7 years. pretty much arrived here at the same time as you guys did. XP

    first of all, let me answer the unicycle question. yes, it’s a thing they learn in elementary school. i dunno why, but it seems like all elementary schools have unicycles in PE… it also weirded me out when i first came… but since i haven’t stepped in an elementary school in years, i’d forgotten about it…

    so anyways, yeah, i’ve been living here 7 years, so i’ve been “japanized” a lot, i think… this year i went to korea for the first time, and here are some of the things that i noticed, or shocked me… hmm… the first thing i noticed was that koreans are kinda rude. lol. not in an “everyone is an asshole kinda way” but just, culturally? i guess? in japan, everyone is soooo polite all the time, you just get used to it… i remember even on the train on the way to seoul, i heard everyone with their loud ringtones on the train and i was like “OMG!! why you got your phone on loud?!?” lol. in japan, you’re supposed to set your phone on “manner mode” and it’s really bad to speak on your phone on the train. you might get yelled at by old people if you do. Another thing i noticed is that, although Koreans seem to be super beauty-conscious, they’re definitely not as fashionable as japanese people… and the people who are trendy, it’s more like street wear and sports brand and bright colors, whereas in japan there are several different fashions and everyone will just be decked out from head-to-toe in their own style with perfect hair and perfect accessories… hmm, what else… oh! YOU GUYS HAVE CAKE!!!!! i am dying of jealousy… japan can’t do cake. it can’t really do sweets in general… everytime you see something that looks tasty, it’s just a big fake filled with sadness… but i really enjoyed the korean cafe culture and all the little cakes and sweets you guys have there. i wanna go again and try more!!

    2 years ago
    • A lot of what you post is pretty subjective. I’ve lived in both Korea and Japan and can say the following: while Japan is a bit more orderly and “mannered”, this is primarily referring to people in Tokyo. I have experienced people who can come off as a lot less mannered in Kansai. Likewise, I rarely have seen anyone be loud on a subway in Korea and people are often shunned if they are loud, unless you are considered an elder. In Japan, people will sit on the handicapped seats of the subway if no one is occupying it, and in Korea this would be considered extremely rude regardless of whether or not it’s occupied. With regards to fashion, Korea is a lot more fashionable in my opinion, but Japan has a lot more unique fashion. In any case, the point of this reply is, all is subjective and you should visit more before making conclusions. :)

      2 years ago
  3. Random question: What are sports like in Korea? I understand that most students don’t have time for sports; however I was wondering what was the most popular: equestrian sports, golf, soccer, etc.?

    2 years ago
  4. I was just in Toronto for the Big Bang concert, so we drove from Indiana through Canada. Things that are different than the US I noticed: clean bathrooms no matter where you stop, you can’t pull over just anywhere off the highway to find gas/food…you have to wait for En Route stops for food and gas, the border people are nicer on Canada side, Tim Horton maple doughnuts are the best, Canadians speed a lot, Canadian concert crowds are so polite, hotels are so quite, and Canadian are very nice when you ask random questions.

    2 years ago
  5. Fun Fact: In Australia having a bathtub can totally depend on where you live.
    I have lived in a number of places over the last decade or two, and only 50% of those places have tubs.
    I also think that the age of the place is a big factor.
    Our current flat is easily from the 1920’s (which is ancient for Aus) so it has a remastered tiny shower/toilet. I’m surprised the plumbing is working. The previous place was a little unit, with a tub that most of my limbs stuck out of when I used it. Prior to that we had a combination bathroom with a large area for the toilet, tiny space for the shower, and the rest taken up by counter & washing machine. If I could add a picture it would make more sense than I could possibly describe. And don’t get me started on the fact that the hall light was also the switch for the fan!!
    TLDR: Some place have a variety :D

    2 years ago
  6. No bathtubs in the apartments? That’s really strange. I lived in Seoul for almost 20yrs, and still have family members living there.
    But we always had bathtubs. Usually the second bathroom just comes with the shower only.

    2 years ago
  7. I used to work at H&M in Harajuku, Tokyo, and at first I was quite uncomfortable about the high pitched voices that all of my colleagues had, but after some weeks, it’s like you all of a sudden have switch. You just switch it on when you start work, and switch it off when you’re done x) It comes naturally, because it’s one of the ways to show the customer that you’re caring and service-minded.

    I lived in Japan for over two years, and I moved to Korea about a month ago, and it’s so hard. People can be incredibly rude, and I feel like I have to fight with every person to defend my personal space which is shrinking by every day that passes ._. Every morning on the train, ahjummas and ahjusshis hit everyone with their bags, people are loud and no one cares about standing in line properly T_T I guess Sweden and Japan are similar in so many ways about being quiet, having personal space and standing in line, that it’s a huge culture shock for me to come to Korea and get used to this ._. What do people do to not to go completely insane? How do you guys stay calm?

    2 years ago
  8. Correct me if I’m completely mistaken here, but didn’t you have a bathtub in one of your previous apartments?
    I seem to remember Meemersworth lying of a math in front off a bathtub in one of your apartment tour videos, and Simon screaming “I haven’t had a bath in Korea before” over the tub…. :P

    2 years ago
    • Yes we did! One glorious year of a bathtub but weirdly it didn’t have shower curtains or a door that actually closed. It was just a swinging door so the hot air left very quickly and you were left shivering in the tub.

      2 years ago
  9. I’ve found this http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/japan-loves-unicycles … about the unicycles … note this … “But why are unicycles so popular in Japan? In 1989, the Japanese Ministry of Education had made it a part of the national physical education program for all third and fourth graders to ride unicycles. So almost everyone in the country has ridden a unicycle at some point.” … wow .. it’s amazing … and then .. there is this .. https://www.vat19.com/item/the-self-balancing-unicycle hohoho … ^_^

    2 years ago
  10. I left this comment for Rachel over on her Youtube page as well … Culture Shock.

    You guys want to get a real shock … make friends with an average family in the Philippines and stay with them for a few days. Its a hot weather country, a lot less affluent generally and a lot of things wealthier countries take for granted are much more rare.

    My wife is a Filipina and I’ve traveled there to visit both her family and for a host of other reasons over the years (I was also stationed in Japan back in the late 80’s thru early’90’s and traveled into Korea a number of times as well – culture shock about how much Korea has changed, too).

    In the Philippines, I’ve stayed in a number of places where a “shower” was using an old kitchen soup pan to dip water from a bucket to pour over my head to bathe … same pan is used to dip water to dump in the toilet bowl to flush it. You do NOT drink water from the taps, either, without boiling it first – they don’t have anything like sewage treatment we are used to in many places.

    The bedrooms are usually on the second floor and the bathrooms are on the ground floor. The bathrooms are tiny and there is just a drain in the floor where the water runs out from the “shower”. BE SURE TO BRING SHORTS WHEN YOU ARE STAYING AT SOMEONE’S HOUSE SO YOU DON’T END UP WITH WET PANT LEGS WHEN YOU GO TO BATHE as you will have to pass thru the living room area (which is usually occupied) to return to your room and finish dressing.

    2 years ago
  11. The pitch of a woman’s introductory voice goes up when they are most fertile (ovulating), as found by a UCLA study. The way women dress and walk can also change.

    If you notice your girlfriend’s “hi” going way up in pitch, don’t run out of condoms.

    I love to take baths myself, and I had a hard time finding bathtubs in India.

    2 years ago
  12. Oh good on you Simon, for not creepily taking videos of little girls :p

    2 years ago
  13. Funny story (at least for me). I’m from Canada and I lived in Scotland for a year going to school, and I would be constantly taking to my roommates about what I did with my girl friend (ie. friend who is a girl). And I found out later that my roommate from Liverpool totally thought I was gay because I always talked about my girl friend. It never caused any issues, I just found it amusing when my other roommate later told me.

    2 years ago
  14. Super nerdy dumb ignorable question: This video and Rachel’s video were both obviously shot in the same place at roughly the same time, using (I’m guessing?) the same equipment. Audio on this vid sounds great, so why is it that in Rachel’s video, the audio is VERY noticeably split between the right and left speakers? Just curious.

    2 years ago
    • I think it’s because we set our audio to dual mono in post, while Rachel left it at stereo. We forget that sometimes as well, and our audio stays on the wrong channels. Super nerdy answer!

      2 years ago
  15. Good to know about taxi drivers in Korea!

    I can vouch for the ones in Japan. Super nice, good driving (smooth) though most drivers are elderly male.

    In Mainland China and Hong Kong, the taxi drivers are crazy! They drive fast and zigzag through traffic. You have to hold onto something, especially when they make turns. (Hong Kong has their notorius minibus, which has a really bumpy ride and you can slide off the seats.) Taiwan has friendly cab drivers, and you can go to any 7-Eleven kiosk to request a cab!

    2 years ago
  16. Which idol did Rachel see or will it be in another video?

    2 years ago
    • She saw no one. Just cardboard cutouts. And we couldn’t get into a maid cafe b/c turns out they have waiting lists. :(

      2 years ago
  17. Hi Martina! I noticed you mention in this video the “ringing in your ears” when referring to how quiet Japan can be. I have struggled with tinnitus for almost 10 years and was wondering if it is something that you struggle with as well?

    2 years ago
    • I lost the hearing in my right ear about 2 years ago from EDS so I always have to listening to people with my side shave ear (both a stylish and practical hairstyle to cover up my useless ear to open up my good one^^) and it’s always acting weird and ringing or buzzing or whatever. The doctors thought is was tinnitus but after all the tests they think I dislocated a tiny bone in my ear from a really loud noise. Ear problems of the world unite! *fighting*

      2 years ago
  18. Not sure if this counts but it’s still considered culture shock so….

    When my bf moved from China to Canada, he was shocked that almost everyone has microwaves in their homes.
    Few years back when he went back to China for his once every few years visit, he was shocked that his home city still hasn’t started using credit cards yet. Even now, it is almost the same…

    2 years ago
  19. I’ve been to Korea and Japan and I don’t think there are two countries that people basically think are the same but are actually totally different.

    Also… Why are you guys using American spelling (i.e. color)? By the way I had to go back and retype colour because my brain can’t write it any other way.

    2 years ago
  20. I’ve been to both Korea and Japan and except for the jingle music in Japan I recognize all the points you just mentioned :D
    Our cab driver was also ancient, on his drivers license it said he was from 1933 I think. We didn’t believe that, but now I hear this, maybe he really was 92 :O
    Mind is blown. . . Also he didn’t let us take care of our own luggage. I have never felt this incredibly uncomfortable while watching this ancient, tiny japanese person try to take those suitcases out of the back of the car.

    2 years ago
    • Hehe, I can guarantee you that your taxi driver wasn’t born in 1933 ^^; The Japanese don’t always use the christian calendar, especially in official documents and such. Then they usually use the year depending on the current emperor. So, this year it’s Heisei 27. Which means that your taxi driver was most likely born in Shouwa 33, which means he’d be born in 1958 :)

      2 years ago
  21. Hi! I’ve been seeing your videos for several years now but this is my first time leaving a comment :)
    You mentioned in the video in your friend’s channel that there are no bathtubs in Korea. Actually, that’s just the case for small apartments for 1 or 2 people, and larger apartments all have bathtubs!XD
    Anyway, I’m a Korean living near Seoul, and I’ve felt that there since you live in Seoul, your vision of Korea can be slightly different from what the rest of the country tends to be.
    I think it would be fun for you to film a video with a friend who lives in someplace else than Seoul and find new differences in even the same country! :)

    2 years ago
    • Thanks for the input! Our friends live the countryside and they have a bathtub too, but even though we live in a 3 bedroom apartment with two bathrooms, no bathtub! I was so shocked! I guess it’s shocking because in Canada everyone house and apartment has a bathtub unless you do construction to remove it. Great comment, we always need other perspectives! :)

      2 years ago
  22. Go to know that, I’ve been to Japan a few times and now I want to travel to Korea. Thanks a lot you guys! <3 Keep up the good work ;D

    2 years ago
  23. It is so much fun to see my fave youtubers in one video YAY! Very interesting! Japan and Korea have been my dream coutries since I was a litle kid! I hope to see more collab videos in the future~ :)

    You guise rock!

    2 years ago
  24. Loved this. Even though I was aware that Korea and Japan are very different from each other, it was very interesting to actually see what those differences truly were. As always thanks for your amazing videos…I’m curious to find out which star Rachel met. xD

    2 years ago
    • She met…no one! Just cardboard cutouts. Hahaha! And we couldn’t get into the maid cafe because there is a waiting list! They want to “greet you” when you come home. :O Pretty boring stories in the end.

      2 years ago