If you couldn’t tell from the enthusiasm in our voices, we find the topic of technology in South Korea really exciting. There’s so much cool stuff here! Now, I’m worried that some of the things we mention here might be common in your countries. Forgive us if they are. We just remember not having these in Canada. It’s been six years since we lived in Canada, though, so maybe some of this stuff is already available there. If so, please let us know!

Otherwise, here are some other cool things that we didn’t talk about!

Built in Rice Dispenser

Ok, so this isn’t really an electronic thing, but it’s pretty badass. Rice is a big part of Korean cuisine. So big, it seems, that a rice dispenser is built into our cabinets. So, there’s a thin little drawer right beside our appliances drawer. I pull the thin drawer out, turn a nob, and exactly one cup of rice comes out into a little box at the bottom, and I pull that box out, then dump that into my rice cooker. IT’S SO BRILLIANT! We don’t eat a lot of rice, so we put other stuff in there, like barley and quinoa instead. But, still, it’s cool

Ceiling Clothes Dryer

Ok, now this thing here is electrical. Here’s the deal: our washing machine is in the room beside our kitchen. Attached to the ceiling is this odd box with a few bars on it. That box has a remote control that does a few things. With that remote control, I can have the bars lowered, since the bars are attached to an accordion contraption, which attaches to the box. So, I lower the bars, then put my wet clothes on hangers, and put those hangers on the bars. Then I push another button on the remote to bring the bars back up to the box. But here’s the cool part: I push another button on the remote, and the box is now a fan that blow-dries the clothing. AMAZING! It’s not hot air that shrinks your clothing or anything. Just a nice fan that blows on your clothes from above. It’s so brilliant! It’s off the ground so you can still walk around. And as soon as it’s done drying, you can simply bring your clothes over to your closet, as they’re already pre-hung. That’s pretty awesome, IMO.

Warning: Tech Ain’t Cheap Here

This was majorly disappointing for me. Before coming to Korea I was under the impression that living in Asia would result in buying cheap electronics for everything, but that’s really not the case in Korea. Tech stuff here is expensive. It’s actually cheaper to buy a Samsung TV in Canada than it is in Korea. Our TV cost us three times more than the TVs we’ve seen at Best Buy.

Now, supposedly the reason why things are so expensive here is because they come with lifetime warrantees or something like that, so if anything ever goes wrong you can just bring your Samsung product to the Samsung shop (and those things are fairly prevalent around here). We still haven’t had to bring anything in, so it’s kinda good that our electronics aren’t faulting, but still kinda bad that we spent so much money on it. Eerrgghhh :(

So, that’s it for this week’s TL;DR. Let us know if you have any cool tech stuff that’s common in your country that you didn’t see in other countries. I’m sure there’s stuff here in Korea that we’ve taken for granted. Let us know if we forgot any!

Otherwise, make sure you click on this pretty button here below for more TL;DR videos! We’re flying out to Sweden tomorrow early morning, so we might not be as active in the comments as we usually are, but we’ve still got videos prepared in advance! Don’t miss out on them, including our important Coffee Shop Opening Party Announcement video tomorrow!

  1. Here in Ohio, US we have corn. Also non-functioning stoplights

  2. We have that parking space indicator technology stuff at the malls in New Jersey BUT they are usually horribly inaccurate. There’s one light to about six spaces and most of the time when you see a green light it is actually a lie and there really aren’t any spaces available. And we don’t have any of that other stuff. So basically we got nothin’.

  3. 1. Turtlenecks forrreevveeerrrrrrrrr!
    2. “or i gun” the last way you said it:)
    3. I have not really crossed over to animes, manga, manghwa but you definitely made it sound interesting and fun, thanks!

  4. We in Estonia have the parking lot lights and the large boards which show haw many spots are free and where they are. I don’t know if they also have this in many other countries, but our student ID cards are electronic, so instead of having to buy a bus card(like an oyster card in england) we just have to carry out student ID card(the busses ure free anyway for citizens so yu wont have to pay). And we really don’t have wifi, everyone just has 3G or 4G, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have it really…. Awesome video, TL:DRs are my favourite! Love ya guys!

  5. I used to live in a student dorm in Melbourne, Australia. They had door locks could be unlocked with your student card or with a silicon bracelet.

    I never took it off so I never got locked out. Slept, showered and eat in it. If every door could be like that it would be amazing!

  6. I was in Korea this summer and one of the things that blew my mind were the car elevators. So freaking amazing! Like…an elevator for your car! Never seen one of those in the US. Another thing was the automatic-replacing-toilet-seat-covers-thing, where you press a button and new toilet covers slide out. I didn’t see this everywhere, only at the airport, but wow, were they cool.

    • Yes!!!! We have those in the US actually. I live in NYC and they are all over. All the casinos have them as well as rest stops on the highways. You will now find them in most amusement parks as well!

  7. The coolest thing we have here, are in Target stores. ._. In the frozen food section, the lights inside the freezers are off, and when you walk down the aisle, they turn on one by one. So it’s like, I AM GOD MUWAHAHAHA! But then they turn off behind you one by one and it turns into a scary J-Horror movie like The Grudge…. XD

  8. Oh my God, when I found out about the code-locked doors, I thought “this is what I need!” Apartment doors in Paris automatically lock when you close them, so if you forget your keys inside, you are screwed. The good thing is that you don’t need keys to go out, but you do need them to get back in… You have to take your keys with you when you’re taking the trash out or putting something away in the storage unit.
    In the old fancy buildings, there is something called “servant’s rooms” (chambres de bonne). They were used by servants in the old times. They are on the last floor (6 or 7) and have their own independent wooden spiral stairs that lead to the kitchen backdoors of the big apartments on the floors below (and no lift, obviously). They’re the cheapest place to live in and are usually for broke-ass students.
    It looks like that http://media.wizzz.sdv.fr/7/1/3/6/5/9/4/2/2/8/original.jpg
    I lived in a place like that for two years. The best thing is, the toilets are shared, which means in the corridor, which means you need to take your room key with you when you pee (and TP). Guess who got locked out a couple of times, in her socks, with no phone or money, and even without my glasses…

  9. oh my GOODNESS- The subways in Toronto are SO AGGRAVATING I JUST WANT TO PUNCH PUPPIES ARRRGGGGGasdfkj;gsdafas!! The subway system is so short as well.. I mean… It’s not so massive that implementing wifi and all that fancy jazz down there would be hard. I think the city would be much better for it too. :/

  10. In Argentina, our mall marked each section of the parking garage with a cartoon of an adorable animal. My family never forgot where we parked our car – mostly because I always made them park in the panda section. So cute :)
    Has anyone seen something like this elsewhere?

    • We have the same concept here in malaysia, except its not animals but fruits.But not all shopping malls have them, mostly we have sections marked with color and numbers coded walls. Which is pretty normal to me haha

  11. I visited Korea about two months ago but never saw one of those motion-sensor escalators… You guys must live in a swanky part of Seoul lol. The apartment things you mentioned are solely in the high rise apartments, most Korean apartments still use the non-touchscreen, telephone way to answer the door, if they even have that. One of my grandmothers lives in a less affluent area and she still uses a key and lock, although I saw a couple doors with a keypad installed.
    But overall SK is definitely ahead in technology, it has a high standard of living with several DENSE metropolitan areas so life is a lot easier technology-wise there =]

  12. South Korea is so ahead!!! I had no idea they had such advanced stuff! I live in Virginia and we don’t have any of that, except for the Parking Lot technology (mainly near DC and in Baltimore, Maryland)

  13. America is so behind lol. Ummm well I know we have like home security and maintenance apps on our phones so like you can lock your whole house with your phone if you forget or think you forgot to do it. Or if you think you left lights or water running you can use the app to turn it all off. But it’s really expensive and you have to pay for it with your security company, it’s not included in any house or apartment you get.

  14. HEYY! About the parking lot technology, where they show you the number of spaces left, there is one in Canada! The Square One shopping mall (in Mississauga), has implemented it recently!

  15. You guys should visit us in the Middle East pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease

  16. lol, I’m from Dubai, and here because we have the biggest mall in the world, we can easily forget where we parked your car, so we have cameras that are connected to the red/green lights above the parking slots that you talked about. The cameras connect to a touch monitor you use to find your car. You just enter you cars number in the monitor and it automatically finds your car and it shows you a map of where it is.

    And instead of stopping at the tollbooth, we have Salik (literally mean”Passable”). You just stick a sticker/tag on the car windshield and it will automatically deduct money, we don’t need to stop at all.

    • I’ve been to Dubai and Korea, and the technology in both is pretty similar. Actually, in the malls of many Middle Eastern countries they advertise tvs by playing k-pop songs. I like it because I can do my grocery shopping while listening to 2ne1. Haha.
      One thing that I saw in South Korea and in the Middle East that I haven’t seen in other countries is doors with a push button to open it. To most westerners these doors look like motion sensor automatic doors, but there will be a metal rectangle on the side. When I was in Korea, I saw a group of my foreign friends standing outside a door waving at it. None of them could have figure out how to open it, lol. I just walked up and pressed the button. The shop keeper must have been so confused.

  17. Hi Simon and Martina!!!! UUUUU YOU SO NASTY~
    Lets face it, since you now are in this geeky roll its the perfect time to talk about video games coughSIMONcough, I’ve seen that Simon is into Final Fantasy (Me too! HIGH 5!) Come on! I know you want to ;D maybe you can talk about your favorite video games and recommend some awesome ones (like final fantasy X) Now’s your chance!! GAMERS UNITE!

  18. Well America certainly doesn’t have anything awesome like that, I mean we DO have those automatic vacuums you guys used to always brag about, and I’d be like WAIT NO WAIT WE HAVE THOSE TOOOO! XD
    But one thing that blew my mind was actually something that came on my newest phone, and it’s a universal remote. It might not sound very useful, but oh my God is it good for pulling pranks. You can hook it up to any TV or cable box, too, so you can pretty much use it anywhere, it’s awesome.

  19. Oh my goood! Simon i have the same hat!! *Nerdyhigh5*

  20. In Mexico we have those escalators. And the parking lot thing, but not in all of them, just in the newer establishments. I’ve also seen those in Houston. A number with the places available and stuff. And to pay in most places you just have to make a line in some square machines outside stores, and they give you a ticket. But there is also generalised paying system for highways and parking lots, where you just make a deposit of a certain amount of money and put a sticker with some sort of bar code on the top of your car, and a lot of parking lots have sensors in entrances and exits with that system now so you don’t have to do anything at all anymore.

  21. Question for tl;dr:
    Hello, i live in Puerto Rico and here, cock fights are kind of a big deal. I know that in Asia cock fights are also very active part of the society in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan, i was just wondering if it was also i a part of the Korean culture. I hope to travel to korea soon and it would be amazing e to take my dad to an Asian cock fight. If you could make a video explaining if it is or isnt or if its not then how is it viewed by koreans etc. Thank You! It would be a great help.

  22. I LIVE IN DUBAI!!!!!! what!! what!!! ….but i like the whole elevator and door technology in korea….i hate waiting for elevators!! :(….the escalators here are motion sensor too. and the parkings are the same here…but no typing your plate number and stuff…the computer just reads your car barcode.

    there are no jet packs lol….but our toll gate systems is really awesome, when you get a car, you buy a SALIK tag its like a small bar code on your wind-sheild and everytime you cross a toll gate, it docks the points off your tag and takes coins off your balance. AWESOME. no waiting and looking for change and coins and that kinda stuff…you can recharge it again with your phone later.

    ALSOOO heres the best part…. the taps dont have the handles and stuff…you will never have to touch taps again…they have a little red motion sensor at the botton, so you just wave your hand under the tap and water comes, automatic. and no BAR SOAP STUFF!! thats gross…how do you guys wash your hands with bar soaps that other people touched O___O…there is like a button you push and it squirts liquid soap out.

    there is more but this comment is getting too long!

  23. In Hungary we don’t have things like this… you open the door with a key, you have to flush the toilet your self, and the elevator… what elevator?? you’re lucky if there is a working elevator in your block of flats (block of flats is more common than apartmans). The parking thing i don’t know… i never used a car before xd. I live in the suburbs of a city and when we have a storm or the sky is cloudy we don’t have internet and we cant’t watch tv. Maybe in the capital city you can find more advanced technology but in general Hungary is really below compared to South Korea. And it s not too environmentally friendly either. In Serbia it s the same. In Vojvodina ( small part of Serbia where a lot of hungarians live) having internet is rare. And smartphones? Im surprised if a vojvodinan person has a got a mobile phone. In Hungary they are pretty common but just like anywhere else some people has this some that.

  24. I live in Sydney, and I’m starting to see a lot more of the parking thing in some of the bigger malls. We still use paper tickets though :/ Damn, I would love that keypad for my house, haha because I forget my keys way too many times……

  25. Wow, America really feels like shit to me right now. I mean, at least where I’m from, in North Carolina, we don’t seem to have much of that stuff. We have automatic toilets and motion-sensing sinks and paper towel dispensers and hand dryers and stuff like that, but I feel like that’s pretty standard. I think the coolest thing I’ve seen are windows that can instantly glaze over with the flip of switch. At my college, we pretty much are dependent on our IDs, as they give us access to lots of different places and money and stuff like that. Our rooms are card swipe, kind of like at a hotel. That’s pretty cool, I guess, though entering my exact room still requires a key (the card gives us access to my four-person suite).

    I think that if you can afford it, you might have technology like the one in Korea, or if you happen to live in the correct place, but I haven’t seen much advanced technology like that.

    • But wow, our cell reception is horrible sometimes. Our GPS pretty much stops working if you go into a small town (it was a terrifying experience,I assure you) or in a parking lot with lots of floors. We were at the hospital today, and my mom’s phone pretty much dropped a call as soon as we entered, which was pretty unusual. Also, if you go up into the mountains… If you go into fast food places, you’ll probably have free wifi, but that’s it. Also, where I live, we don’t have subways, so I can’t say anything about that. You just have to drive everywhere. Or walk, if you’re okay with crossing lots of roads of traffic in this intense heat.
      Aha, and losing the key is sooo horrible. I’ve had to climb numerous ladders and trees to get back into my house. At my old house, we had a large porch which provided a nice roof I could sit on if I opened my window, and I rarely locked my window, so I had to use that window a couple of times to get back in, after acquiring a ladder. And more recently, my brother and I were locked out of our current house, so we had to carry a huuuge and heavy ladder over to our backyard balcony (which is on a hill) and climb up to get in through the balcony door, which luckily wasn’t locked.

  26. In Japan, we have the same thing with the mall parking. Each time you go up a level when you go park, it tells you if there are any open spots. Also, there are small parking lots around places where they have historical sites. Japan is a small island, so streets are small, and we can’t park on the streets like America. In these parking lots, you don’t have to take a ticket or anything, like you said in your video for mall parking. instead, we choose a place to park and a bar beneath your car goes up, locking the car in place so you can’t go driving off without paying, like this picture http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9Wu_fv0DMXQ/S-F1ekP-PeI/AAAAAAAAAXU/LFQXEztc27s/s320/CIMG1482.JPG .

  27. I live in Las Vegas,NV and Here in Vegas some of the newer hotels, like for example the Cosmopolitan and the Outlet mall, have that sort of parking where there is a sign that tells you which floors has parking space with the green and red lights. Here in the US they do sell the number keypad door locks but they cost a lot. The coolest thing I saw the other day was on the bus, they had FREE Wifi which is big here cause it is usually mostly on the strip that they have those buses with free wifi. I hope they add more of those buses to all the routes not just on the strip.

    All the cool technological things I see are always of course on the strip, like the monorail has improved a lot, it doesn’t break down anymore from what my friend tells me.( she works at the monorail station) but yeah you guys should come to Vegas, there is dolphins in the middle of the desert and tigers and uh no bears anymore, that I know of. Shark reef is also great it has other marine creatures and reptiles too. what does the tigers and sharks have to do with technology uh not much just cool that we’ve got them here and I guess they wouldn’t be able to survive here without technology. Simon and Martina come to Vegas!!! Girls Generation, B.A.P, Big Bang, SHINEe,B2ST, G.Na, Rain, Brown eyed Girls, Secret, sistar and I’m sure many other kpop stars have been here. There is lots to do and theres big convention centers and small ones and theres a nice kpop community here.

    • Woot, another Las Vegas Nasty ^_^ I personally haven’t experienced the free wifi on the buses or the monorail just cuz I don’t take public transit but I have seen the signs on the buses when I’m driving downtown.

  28. About US being a bunch of different countries, it’s not really so much of each state being different as much as geographical regions having slightly different mannerisms. People living in the new england region and along the east coast will speak normal american english with fairly advanced technology (for america haha) and the population is pretty culturally diverse, while people living in the south will have accents and ways of life as well as diet. In the great plains region I’m not too sure but population is a lot less dense, so I’d expect it to be a bit less technologically advanced. On the west coast and south western US, there is again, lots of cultural diversity from latin america and asia.

    • As a Southerner… We are actually pretty culturally diverse. I am sure small towns in the North—and everywhere else, for that matter—will have less diversity and cultural diversity, but if you hit pretty much any city, you’re bound to get a lot of diversity. Not to mention, not everyone here speaks with accents. Even for those who do, accents vary from region to region, so someone from the Appalachian Mountains won’t necessarily have the same accent as someone from the North Carolina barrier islands. And what is “normal American English”? Words said up north will be different than those from the west and those from the south and those from the midwest. There is no set “normal American English”. Food is the same as accents. Food from Louisiana is not exactly the same to food from North Carolina which will differ from Texas and then Florida and so on. I can see how the North and West probably are more advanced in technology, but since they are more heavily populated, it makes sense, though I don’t think we’re that far behind, honestly. Such as with diversity, bigger cities will have more advanced technology than smaller cities.
      I would have to agree with the “each state” comment. Even within a state, culture can vary. Geographical locations might have similarities, but so does El Salvador and Mexico, but just because they’re from a similar area, that doesn’t mean it’s the same culture.

  29. My dryer recently broke down. I bought a great drying rack at Costco and when I do laundry I set it up underneath a ceiling fan that is always on during the day. It is amazing that in 2-3 hours everything is dry. Then I put everything away and nobody knows. I don’t need my dryer anymore.

  30. “We don’t eat a lot of rice”
    rice is beautiful ∏.∏

  31. I was at the local Seattle Applebee’s restaurant yesterday and all the tables had a tablet that would take your order. There were still wait staff but you can get your appetizer/drink/entree/desert at any time without waiting for someone to come by your table. The tablet also lets you customize your order and even request drink refills. Oops… I forgot to ask for ranch and the waitress is all the way over there. I could wave her down while hollering excuse me or I could tell the tablet. Tablet. Ranch shows up from the kitchen in under a minute. You can also pay your bill and play table a wide range of table games for an additional 99 cents. I heart technology. Though my internal pessimist says it’s just a way for the company to employ less workers and still keep customers happy.

  32. In my home we don’t really have any amazing advanced technology stuff, the most tech thing of mine is probably the built in finger scanner in my laptop, no more typing in the password for me! At my University the escalators are motion censored and work in both directions, however half the time you are waiting around for it to change in the direction you need to go. I want to go to South Korea and see all the technologies!! ♥.♥

  33. I was raising my eyebrow at you guys in the first few minutes, I thought motion sensor lights, escalators, soap and tissue dispensers, water faucets, and the red and green lights thingie with numbers for parking was everywhere.. So now I know it’s not.. interesting!

    You guys really need to come to Dubai, even if it was just for a vacation! You’ve experienced a lot of cultures, but don’t seem to have tried Middle Eastern/Arab one! Can we lure you in with our shawarmas, and ahem, fancy malls and venues(I guess?)? :D

    Light sensors are awesome btw! All lights in universities and offices are usually equipped with motion sensors, I get to enjoy the lights turning on slowly as I walk through corridors or enter classes :D
    Our professors keep complaining that they need to stretch every 15 minutes in their office, or else the lights will turn off due to lack of motion (could be a good exercise too :P)

  34. Kia ora S&M from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Not far from where I live (off the main highway) is a shopping complex with open-air & underground parking facilities, called “The Base, Te Rapa”. They have about 3,000 car parks (so far?) & each parking spot has a sensor. As soon as someone parks there, digital signs along the highway & around “The Base” show the number of car parks available, in which area & also states when they are full. It is only in the “Te Awa Retail Shopping Centre” underground parking lot, that they have the light system (red=occcupied, green=vacant & blue=reserved disability car park). Other than that we just got fiber-optic internet installed throughout the country, but I did laugh at Simon’s comment about jetpacks because we have that here. The “Martin P12 Jetpack” is on-sale now for approx. USD$150,000 & they call it a “motorbike in the sky”. The company plans to sell them first to rescue or government agencies, so it might be a while before the “average” kiwi is able to buy them.

  35. I first saw the parking garage meter-ish things in the big malls in California when I moved here 5 years ago. I feel like otherwise, we don’t have a lot of technologies to improve our lives. Though, I guess I do have a keycard that I swipe against a pad to get into my apartment complex? But my door is still a traditional key, and I still have to press elevator buttons with my fingers (peasant style).

    About the different states being like different countries… I moved from northern Indiana to southern California five years ago. I am still absolutely blown away by the way Californians are compared to where I’m from. Language, mode of dress, types of food, infrastructure, most things are fairly different! I feel like making that move will prepare me for all kinds of other culture shocks like moving to a different country! I’ve also visited other states for at least short stays, so I can say with some conviction that things are different around NYC, they are different in the Tennessee/Georgia area, they are different in Texas… Yep. Lots of different groups of people.

    Generally, since it is all the US though, I feel like people can move to a place where they are happier, and that’s important. Where I’m from people are kind of mean and unhappy with life, it reflects in everything they do. I left IN and moved to CA where people bask in sunshine all the time- people are so much friendlier and more open. Even Orange County (where I live more) one of the most conservative spots in the state is more progressive than my home area. It’s nice that we don’t have to get a visa to go live in a different state, it’s easier for us to find places that suit us.

    • Small world! I grew up in Orange County, and you’re absolutely right! OC may be one of the most conservative counties in CA, but we’ve got a really chill and open-minded crowd, too. I like to blame it on the really nice weather we have year round (although it’s been BLAZING hot lately) that puts people in a good mood. I hope you choose to stay in SoCal for a long time. I’ve traveled to a TON of places (Nevada, Colorado, Texas, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington) to find my place, but in the end, nothing beats Southern California for me.

    lol every time I visit Korea and come back to Toronto, I am in utter disappointment…
    Last year, they installed wifi service on two station platforms – yeah, on the platforms… of two stations – and it was such a big deal. And people were complaining on websites and forums that “kids these days can’t go 5 minutes without their phones,” and, “the day we get wifi/phone signal on the trains is the day my peace will be disrupted from loud people talking on their phones the entire ride.”

    …and that is why Toronto does not develop.

    Sorry S&M for the rant, you covered a touchy subject *sniff*

    • for singaporeans,that will raise the cost of public transport….but these old fogeys probably think these kids won’t talk or even do small talk if they have wifi

    • Oh. One piece of technology I wish Korea had was machine dryers… Korea is such a humid country in the summer and it takes forever for your clothes to air-dry. Blech.
      Another is built-in A/C. Why does Korea (again, a hot country in the summer) never build apartments/buildings with central A/C?

  37. The parking and the lights are all the same in Thailand when I went there.

  38. I can’t recall any of superb technologies here in Indonesia /sad
    I don’t think there’s some tech developments here, like I don’t see any superb tech in the most common places, like in malls, roads, etc.
    Or do I miss something out there? Indonesians, please let me know :/

  39. I’ve been to a couple malls in Alberta, Canada last summer when I was visiting from America and all of them have had those red and green parking light things! I’m not sure where you guys lived in Canada, but they are pretty common in the malls of Alberta!

  40. I live in the Independent Republic of Peoria, Illinois. Our technology? We have doors. And, erm, occasionally sidewalks here and there.

    :: cries ::

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