148 COMMENTS

Ah yes. It’s that time of year. Winter is over. Spring is just around the corner. Hope is on the horizon. The cold clenching death of Winter has almost passed. But not yet. While Winter is in its last death throws, it makes sure to fart out its last act of spite: Yellow Dust season.

There’s a lot to say about Yellow Dust and we didn’t talk about it all, simply because it’s pretty difficult for us to talk now. Hot damn it did a number on us yesterday. We don’t usually wear face masks out. I feel really claustrophobic in those face masks. And, hell, did you ever burp in one of those? It’s like hotboxing yourself in nasty gastric fumes. Not fun. But we’ll make ourselves wear them this time of year when the Yellow Dust levels get too high.

A few interesting things we read about Yellow Dust: supposedly it’s a lot worse because of deforestation: the sands would be blocked a bit if there were trees in the path of the wind that carries the dust. South Korea supposedly gave China a bunch of trees to plant to try to help inhibit the Yellow Dust, but China decided to plant them by highways instead, because WHUTCHU GONNA DO TO STOP US? No, I’m sure there’s a better reason for that. Right? There’s gotta be. Guise?

One thing we want to mention, if it wasn’t clear enough in our fumbling around with the topic, is that we’re not scientists and we don’t know the official terms for any of this. I know some people use a different unit of measurement, like PMs, and they measure the size of the particles or something. I don’t know. We use the UUUU-gram measurement, and we’ve found that the crappiness we feel directly corresponds with the higher the u number measurement. So, if you’re in Seoul and want to keep up to date with the air quality, you can follow the Yellow Dust Robot, or you can use this site if you’re not a Twitter user. Soo Zee just uses Naver for her info.

Side note: I remember when we first arrived in Norway when we started our European Tour last year. We flew right from Korea to England, but we didn’t leave Heathrow Airport. From there we caught our plane to Norway. When we got out of the airport in Norway, we freaked out when we smelled how clean the air was there. I was like a dog in a car sticking his head out the window sniffing everything like mad. It was so delicious. The difference is clearly perceptible. For those of you living in countries with clean air, don’t take it for granted. It’s lovely. I wish I could breathe in air like that regularly. I’m actually a bit worried about what the long term effects are of being in a place of poor air quality. How many years of our lives are we tossing away?

So, that’s it for our ramblings about Yellow Dust. Let us know if you’re in the area and you experience it, or if you know anything else about it.

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ToFebruary
  1. In the UK, not very often maybe like once every 2 years or something we get sand from the Sahara Desert and this like sand/dust covers cars and makes them dirty. But I don’t think it’s toxic or anything but like I said before it barely happens.

  2. Just got back from our month in Korea and Japan, back home to to Scotland, and oh my god! The air quality difference is huge! Even in London the air seemed fresher than in Seoul. But when I got home to my leeedle island I felt I could breathe and didn’t have to chew air that had already been chewed a thousand times before. I’m glad I visited, but I wouldn’t be able to live there :/

  3. We have clean air where I live. I will try to be more thankful for it. As it is, when I travel, as soon as I get close to home I literally roll down the window and gulp in the clean air. Yes, my husband thinks its weird.
    My new favorite snack: goat cheese spread with mashed mango on salt and pepper potato chips :)

  4. im from hilo, hawaii and the air is pretty clean here. the vog would probably be the main air issue. there’s not really a certain time of year, just depends on the winds. when it gets really bad the air looks very hazy and you can smell the sulfur. sometimes you can see it even though it doesnt look too hazy. it’s because of the volcanoes and Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 so there ya go.

  5. The dust comes from the Loess Plateau. This is extremely fine, ~400 microns sized dust particles. This travels across the Chinese industrial area and picks up all the pollutants. I have seen a rating of 1950 down in Gunsan (chart goes to 1000), I could not see the mountain 1/4 mile away. I use Korean Meteorological Agency Government website (www.kma.go.kr), down right now with everyone checking yellow wind numbers, also not a intuitive website for navigation. English site helps, but limited on services. Former Meteorologist, and yes, I can taste the dust today.

  6. I live in North Carolina (kinda like at the very middle of the east coast of the US) and any day now we’re probs gonna start getting this icky little green inch worms of dorm. They are every where. EVERY WHEEEEEEEERRRREEEeeee…
    Anyways, they eat away at trees and they fly on these long, sticky, nearly invisible strings of terror. And people run into them all the time and they eat people’s hair and GAH.
    Until they finally show up, we have 50-bajillion kph winds. Yay.

  7. My sister went to Shanghai last year, and she had no idea it was yellow dust season. It was early in the morning so it was misty. She thought it was just mist but when she got back to the place she was staying at (she was there as a part of an art exhibition), they were asking her why she wasn’t wearing a mask and stuff.

    She then got really sick afterwards, and when she came back to NZ, she had this terrible fever and stuff.

  8. I get itchy eyes & cough-y when I’m around dust normally cause I’m allergic (being in dusty places or when I clean my room especially).. I can’t imagine how bad my allergies would be if I were in Korea with the yellow dust (even if it’s not only dust stuff).

    Here, I don’t think we have many super bad things.. The only thing we really have to worry about here is hurricane season & the heat in summer (I’m in Florida).. We also have a lot of mosquitoes where I am, so if it’s been rainy/hot (aka summer) & you go out at night, you just get assaulted by them. Oh, which reminds me of “love bugs” who are harmless, but also LOVE to assault & bother you when they’re here.

  9. Don’t think we have anything like that here is Southern California. But we do get a lot of fires in the summer, during the fire season is when we get really bad air quality. The sky gets grey but its all smoke and ash. The streets and cars get covered in white, its all ash. It gets everywhere, if you aren’t careful it will get into your house and it will just look like thick layer of dust. The sun gets really bright red – thats how you know that the “clouds” covering it aren’t clouds but smoke. And on top of that it gets REALLY hot. We had three wild fires in one year a while back, schools had to be cancelled because it wasn’t safe for people to be outside. Even during passing period, going from one class to another you would get all wheezy and start chocking. It was all the ash in your lungs.

  10. And then you became… The Eat Your KimCheese Crew. :D

    Also it’s rennet, Martina! Good luck on your next attempt! :D

    BTW… My “yearly disaster” is what you guys already know: ICE STORMS~! That was fun, but luckily not that bad every year!

  11. I live in north Texas, and some years we get tornadoes everywhere, but I feel really bad for Oklahoma because every year like entire towns are obliterated from tornadoes. Yet they keep building there? Idk, but it’s really scary. And because weather in Texas is so ridiculously unpredictable, it literally can be ANYTIME of the year, though generally it’s between March and August. And there has to be storms usually for one to start. There’s been a bit of a drought so there haven’t been very many the past few years.

    Two Christmas Eve’s ago, there was snow EVERYWHERE, it was below freezing, the snow was a few inches high (which is a lot for where I’m at, Snow is a relatively new thing that’s been happening the past few years) and then we woke up Christmas day and it was like 75 degrees (which is ~25 Celsius I think?). That’s how inconsistent this shit is xD BUT I DIGRESS THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING I’M SORRY ;~;

    Anyways, because Texas is so big, everything is kind of spread out and sprawling, so I don’t think there’s really any pollution problems that you can’t get away from. And even in Downtown, while it’s noticeable to me because I’m kind of sensitive to that stuff, it’s not that bad xD

  12. I personally haven’t experienced Yellow Dust or anything like it here in Florida, BUT! My family is from Trinidad/Venezuela, and I hear from them about something similar. African Sand??? Something like that. Everything you described about Yellow Dust sounds EXACTLY like what they were talking about. From what I recall, during a certain time of the year, sand from Africa blows all the way over the ocean and into Trinidad to make their lives miserable. Cover up guys! Breathing in that stuff does not make for happy time!

  13. I lived in (and never left) Jasper, Alberta for a few months one summer. The air was so clean it was bizarre. When I visited Vancouver at the end of my trip I was almost relieved to breathe in the smog as it reminded me of home lol

  14. Make a tldr on ghosts paranormal-ly thing! Is that weird? Yes but I can’t find anything anywhere on it! Ps never knew what yellow dust was until now!

  15. Well I live in Hong Kong currently, so sometimes we get really horrid pollution that makes it impossible to see other buildings from the window. It’s terrible, and if I walk around for a while outside on days there’s a lot of pollution, I get really horrible headaches. So yeah, I know how you feel but at least there’s no dust particles here~!

  16. Technically Sweden doesn’t have much of natural disasters (besides some storms then and then, but I never actually experienced them), but Umeå, the town I’m living in currently is called ‘Björkarnas stad’, The Birch City basically, and my dad is highly asthemetic, so during spring he can’t really visit D:

  17. I feel like the countryside is generally better when it comes to yellow dust. I never really noticed I had a hard time breathing while in Seoul until I went way out to the countryside to see my family gravesite. Woah, I took a LONG brisk hike in the middle of the woods and I didn’t get winded at all, whereas here in Seoul, I’m winded after climbing a small hill. You should count yourself lucky for not having to put up with all the poison in your lungs xD

  18. when you guys are having yellow dust..we here in singapore are fighting with haze..it gets super super hot all day long till night and freaking hazy..so we need to dring more water to keep ourselves hydrate..everyone was hoping for rain..thank god the rain came down for the past few days..please take care guise..

  19. Argh, gotta love Spring! Our wattle trees in Australia are a pain the ass when they flower- the tiny little furry flowers crap so much pollen everywhere while stinking up the streets.

  20. Australia doesn’t have a season like that and we have pretty clean air in my opinion :) But I remember once a few years ago i woke up, looked out the window and saw that the sky was orangey-red. There was a whole load of dust that day, and we had to block gaps where sand and dust could enter our house >< Last year we also had a day or two where the sky was a dull orangey-red, and it was because all the bushfire smoke had blown over to Sydney, which is where I live :)
    Apart from that, everything's fine though ^^

  21. When I lived in the interior of British Columbia, during the summer there would be many forest fires since it’s a really dry area. One year the fires were pretty bad, but thankfully didn’t cross into our town. However in the mornings it was as if it snowed (in 35c weather!) there was white grey soot covering the streets and cars. The sky would always be a freaky orange colour and the air smelled horrible. I walked up 2 blocks to the convenience store and swore my lungs weren’t getting enough air. Just totally gross, but even more sucky for the people who had to leave their homes, lose land, etc.. oh and fires encouraged the bears to leave the forest and run around town eating garbage.

  22. I’m not sure if this happens anywhere else, but in the lower south east of Australia where I grew up, every summer/December-ish time we would get what we called “Christmas beetles”. They are these bugs about 3cm long who would just inexplicably start turning up around buildings – DEAD! I’ve never seen a live one, but every year there would be a lake of dead Christmas beetles surroundings buildings like a little dead bug moat. It’s absolutely disgusting and you have to keep a broom handy in order to sweep them away. Blech.

  23. Actually, we get them in MS too. So it must be a Gulf Coast thing. I completely feel you though – love bug season is a pain :

  24. I’m from Sweden where the air is clean, and I have definitely learned to not take it for granted! :( I’ve visited Korea a few times and…I don’t want to be rude but it’s true that Korea has some serious pollution issues. Obviously they aren’t anything close to China’s pollution issue, but still. It made me thankful to not have to be afraid of dying from pollution when I go outside.

    Hmm, I can’t really think of anything here in Sweden like that…In the north, though, there are tons of mosquitoes that come during the summer. They don’t carry malaria but their bites are reeeeally itchy and they are really annoying, too. They sound a bit like cicadas. Err, the bugs you always hear in anime. x( Ugh…Thinking about them almost makes me hate summer.

    Otherthan that, the weather is usually surprisingly mild. I mean, in the arctic circle area, it’s obviously very intense in winter, but it’s usually just rainy and mildly warm where I live. The flatter parts of Sweden have tornadoes, however they aren’t really anything to worry about. Very small tornadoes and not very common. Nothing too extreme, thankfully. (Unless you count seasonal depression and the occasional nasty thunderstorm. But those are exceptions, not the every day thing.)

    Dare I say, everything in every aspect of Sweden is just..lagom. c;

  25. Very rarely, but these last few years have been pretty bad, states around Texas or in Texas would have awful fires during the summer, and actually where I live during winter we were still under a fire ban where we couldn’t even use our outside fireplace, because it is so dry. So while these massive fires were happening, the wind would carry down the ash to our area and other places, and the sky would be pretty much black. It really looked like black snow was falling from the sky. It was pretty bad. Like I said, it happens very rarely, but these past few years have gotten pretty bad.

  26. S&M: Do you guise make kimchi at home? If you do, that would be a fun video to see! :)

  27. This question came to mind while I was rewatching some of you guy’s old videos. How is the recycling culture in Korea? Say for example, you guys have moved places several time and lost a ton of weight…so at some point you guys probably had to get rid of stuff that’s still in good condition. Here in the US, there are stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army where people donate their stuff to. Buying second hand stuff here is pretty common and no-big deal…but in Hong Kong (im from there) buying second-hand stuff (antiques being an exception) is not very common. People there tend to assume its unhygienic and only for people who are not that well-off. Besides donating and stuff, im also curious about how eco-friendly Korea is. I’ve heard about how extremely eco-friendly Japan is, from their technology to products to buildings and how they even have people who pick up your recycled stuff everyday.
    Maybe hygiene can be included in the question as well since its somewhat related (clean streets?)…lol i remember you guys talking about how lots of girls in Korea don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom and fixes their hair instead.

    • me too! I see people sorting their recyclables on dramas. Seems like there is so much packaging on foods and such. I wonder where the trash goes? Is there much of a tree hugger culture in Seoul? or elsewhere? I wondered about thrift stores/upcycling too. What about an earth day tldr?

  28. In Trinidad there used to be butterflies crossing the highways long ago like lots of them but now they stopped coming i was too young to remember what it looked like or the time of year it used to happen

  29. only odd number plated vehicles can drive? why is that?

    • Oh i see so it’s just to limit the number of cars that can drive on those days… Very interesting… Does that include public transportation like buses? What about on emergencies for example you need to go to the hospital?

  30. …not sure if this counts, but everyone knows it’s springtime when the local Cal State about 20 miles away makes a massive amount of county around smell like cow-poop. Like super fresh disgusting poop.

  31. We have the annual “Santa Ana Winds” at southern California, USA. They are supposedly originated from Santa Ana… the city that I live at… -_-‘ but oh well, they are really strong winds! So strong that the trees in the city tend to be tilted!

  32. From what I understand, this yellow dust thing goes by region. So if a nearby city gets a yellow dust warning, consider your place warned as well. It might be a bit worse in big cities, because it tends to trap air, and big buildings block air circulations.

  33. if it got really bad i would either have to say home or have an oxygen tank with me if i was in Korea. I have bad Ashama so i would be a bit scared to go outside. I will make sure to figure out how much oxygen tanks are during yellow dust. by the way how long does it last for the transition. is it 2, 3, 4, 5 weeks long?

  34. wow thats crazy, this is actually great to know for people who want to move to korea. I would probably be freaking out if i didn’t know why i was dying and get really paranod. So thank you if i come to korea at that time i’ll make sure to watch for the levels and etc.

  35. I know here we have vog and it can make some people feel really shitty, I know once they cancelled a track meet because they were worried about the girls, but still that goes away with a strong enough breeze. Even the pollution in Hawaii isn’t that bad because the breeze just moves it away from us and it’s around the ocean instead. Oh boy, I wonder if my family will complain about this sort of thing when we do our vacations?

  36. Where I come from in Northern-Norway we don’t have sandstorms or anything like that, what we do have however is millions of mosquito. During the summer there can be so many of them outside our house that all you can see is, literally, a black wall that moves and makes buzzing noises:/

  37. @IndecisiveKPOPer:disqus how far south are you man/woman? The only thing that I can legit remember was when I was in 6th grade we had ash falling from the sky because of a forest fire up in San Bernadino, and the other incident was 2 or so years prior to that when the sun was as red like a lipstick. o-o

  38. I remember a few years back in Sydney we had this freak red dust storm which blew in from Central Australia. It turned out a lot of asthma sufferers and old people were being hospitalised, planes were grounded and people were encouraged not to go outside etc. I probably should’ve watched the news though because I was walking around without a face mask like ‘I aint scared’ and was completely oblivious to the fact that people weren’t actually going outside. Anyways, I must thank my nose hairs for trapping some of the sand haha ==

    • I remember that! I’m on the Gold Coast in Queensland, and we got that freaky storm too- the whole sky turned this freaky yellow. The beaches were literally deserted and everything was covered in that awful dust from the desert.
      I think it stuck around for a couple of days?
      I remember seeing photos of Sydney and seeing how you guys got hit pretty hard with the awful stuff. Unfortunately the dust has now been replaced by bush fire smoke these days. :-/

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