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One Year Later: Japan vs Korea

December 15, 2016

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By some fluke, it has been exactly one year since we announced we’re moving to Japan. We honestly didn’t plan to publish this kind of video on this date, but it seems befitting. We announced our decision then, and we’re talking more about it now.

It’s been a year since that video and I think a year has been a good amount of time for us to think things over. We thought about it for a long time before announcing that video, and we’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on our lives since. And from every angle we look at it, the answer is the same: this has been the greatest year of our lives.

Saying that, though, is kind of scary for us. Very scary. I don’t know if we’ve been clear about this, but some of you might glean that we’re really uncomfortable with the anger we get from Korean netizens. Any discussion we have about both countries hits a sore spot for nationalists. Yes, we know Korea and Japan have a bad history with each other, as we’re constantly reminded. But the fact is, we don’t share that history. We’re not Korean. We’re not Japanese. We don’t have a dog in this race. We just lived in Korea, and now we live in Japan, and we want to be able to talk about our lives retrospectively sometimes, and to see how we’ve grown.

I honestly think that our time in Japan has been so great specifically because of the troubles we had in Korea. When we tell our friends here the things that make us happy about Japan they look at us weird. And I think if we came to Japan without the context of Korea, we would take a lot of the things we love about Japan for granted. I mean, we grew up in the suburbs of Canada: our neighbourhoods were always quiet. We wouldn’t give a shit about that if we moved to Kichijoji straight from Pickering. But after losing so many hours of sleep in the screams of Seoul, coming to the peaceful nights we have here means a lot more to us than it would have otherwise. Our time in Korea has helped us love our time in Japan more.

I was in the car with one of our Japanese friends recently. We were waiting to turn left. There was a car in front of him that had many MANY opportunities to make the turn, but he didn’t take it. We waited until the driver ahead of us went, and then took our turn when it came up. My friend apologized for being such an angry driver afterwards. For doing what, I don’t know. I actually laughed. He didn’t even honk his horn! He just sighed as far as I can remember. If this was Korea he would have leaned on his horn, and driven around the guy through oncoming traffic and endangered us all. I didn’t feel at all in danger driving with him, or with anybody I’ve ever driven with in Japan.

I’m expecting to read in the comments “but please understand our situation” from people upset with our verdict, but I’m not trying to be a historian or anthropologist here. This isn’t a discussion about the rich histories of both countries. This is a simple video: I lived in both countries, and living in this one is better for me, and holy shit I’m so worried about saying that but hell I should be able to say that. I’m not telling everyone that Korea is hell, which many Korean people are saying themselves. I’m just saying that, by the end of my time in Korea, it wasn’t for me.

This feels almost like breaking up with a boyfriend. We had good times, I know that. But by the end of the relationship I was starting to see sides of you that I didn’t want to experience. It was time for me to move on to my life. Time for us to see other people. I’m sure you’ll find someone that can love you more than I did, and I wish you health and happiness, but I need someone different in my life. And I’m seeing someone new, actually. His name is Japan. We have a great relationship together. And I couldn’t be as happy as I am now if it wasn’t for what I learned with you.

I hope that you, the reader, can also feel comfortable in knowing when it’s time to move on. If you’re dating someone who abuses you, or if you’re at a job that treats you like shit, you have all the right in the world to find a new partner, to look for a new job. And if you’re in a country that makes you uncomfortable, you have all the right to try to move somewhere else. You should be able to express that you feel your country isn’t treating you how you want to be treated. For those of you unhappy with the results of an election, if you feel like you’re jeopardizing your wellbeing staying where you are, if you’ve fallen out of love with your country, find a new love. It’s your life. Please live it how you want to.

And now it’s time for me to unwind with a bottle of wine. Hopefully my ex won’t blow up my phone with angry texts.

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One Year Later: Japan vs Korea

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  1. I generally liked all your videos since today, but I don’t know.. something seems a bit off with this one. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of what you talk about seems to stem from living in a city compared to somewhere more rural. I mean.. you guys were working in hongdae, if I remember, so is it really fair to compare how you live now compared to then? If the orders were reversed and you lived in a major city like Tokyo then moved to a quieter location in Korea, would your arguments still be valid? And people calling the cops on you for kpop jokes is just crazy and I’m sorry you guys had to go through that.. but how is that something that happened because of living in Korea? Aren’t the arguments you make about simpler business planning more because you have an agency now, instead of doing everything yourself? I.. I just don’t know. Please don’t think I’m just an angry internet troll. You guys are totally free to have opinions and express them however you want, but for people who seem awfully concerned with stepping on toes of angry commenters, it seems strange that you would approach this topic as “Korea vs. Japan” rather than “What we had vs what we have now” or “Changes in the past year that made life easier” or even “Crazy things we don’t have to put up with now”.. which might be more in tune with a lot of what you guys are saying.. but I’m sure the extra views from a super controversial title always helps..

    3 years ago
    • I have to echo this comment. Why broach the subject this way? You made your careers off of Korea because Kpop was growing even further in the international market. I genuinely don’t believe you guys would be where you are without Korea so why even discuss it in this manner? I haven’t been watching your videos lately, only the travel and food ones. The Eat Your Sushi segment is boring, I’m sorry but it is. I don’t have time to sit for an hour and watch you guys talk. I’m glad others can do so but it’s just not for me. Besides Dan, you guys actually seem lonelier in Japan. And maybe that’s what you want!
      You say “We don’t have a dog in this race” and yet you pitted the two countries against each other versus the different lifestyles you’ve been living. I really, really don’t like the way you guys approached this subject.

      3 years ago
      • They already stated why they decided to tackle this subject and the questions they were being asked about which country/experiences they preferred. They never pitted either country against the other one. They merely expressed the reasoning behind their answer. Unless you have reading or listening comprehension issues it’s not really that hard to follow. As for you stating that their Eat Your Sushi Segment is boring, why are you here? If you don’t like them, why stick around to troll? That actually says more about you than them. And before you reply that you are entitled to your opinion I will beat you to it that no one is entitled to care. I don’t think they are lonely at all, they don’t show all of their lives ya know. Their video’s showcase a rather small chunk of their day…

        3 years ago
      • This comment is savage but I do agree with the Eat Your Sushi segments. They are too long and dry. I never watch them. I honestly miss the k-pop review videos. Those were the best things ever. I loved how they made me chuckle. I miss the funny segments. And I personally agree with their experience of “Japan vs. Korea” because it echos my personal experience with living in both places. But the difference is, and like you mentioned, that Korea put Simon and Martina on the map. They made Korea SOOO appealing for several years. And because of that, were very successful and could have a business. It’s funny to me because once I moved there and became disillusioned, it seems as if they did too around that same time! Suddenly, K-pop wasn’t as fun anymore, and k-dramas seemed banal and repetitive. They started posting more heavy videos (k-pop slave contracts, poor treatment of unwed mothers, suicide statistics). Anyway I have a point. My point is, yes, they have a right to say whatever they wanna say. It’s their experience. But I do agree, considering how many positive things happened for them in Korea, it’s interesting to hear such negative feedback. But there is a such thing as overstaying your welcome in a country. That’s why I left Japan after two years. Because I felt my attitude changing subtly. And I didn’t want to leave Japan bitter. Seems like that’s what happened to Simon and Martina. They just stayed a little too long and it left a bad taste in their mouths. I get it.

        3 years ago
    • That’s totally fair of you to say. There’s a lot to unpack in your comment, and I don’t think I can answer it all, but I’ll try to answer some.

      1) We’re not living in rural Japan. We’re living in Tokyo.
      2) Us talking about our working conditions isn’t a statement of what work is like in either country. We did our best to answer the question that was posed to us, pick Korea or Japan, but we framed it as subjectively as we possibly could. Framing it objectively would be a lot more confrontational, I think. Which is why we tried to emphasize as well that our Korea is different than your Korea, our Japan different than yours. I don’t know how else we could have handled the question posed to us.

      At the same time, I really wanted to emphasize how much happier we are here. This literally has been the best year of our lives. I’m happy to say that. And I think sharing that in this video made sense.

      3) As for the title, it’s always tough to make a title that makes sense to the topic. And though it wasn’t a scientific study of Korea and Japan, I think the title, in a few words, still makes sense to people watching. When you have a few milliseconds to appeal to viewers, brevity is your friend, I think.

      3 years ago
      • hey thanks for trying to reply. This is kind of why I really like you guys as content creators, because you reach out and try to explain rather than taking the easy way out and ignoring opinions that can be hard to swallow. I guess what rubbed me the wrong way was the fact that I felt the title itself was a bit clickbaity and didn’t even seem that well connected to the actual points you guys were making. (I fully acknowledge what I know is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s much more going on that you purposefully chose not to share) I know professional youtubers are reliant on views and as you said, brevity is the key in garnering interest. But.. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that.. there are expat content creators on youtube who make exclusive Japanese content like micaela, and those that make exclusive Korean content like the Korean Englishman. But you guys are so unique in that particular niche because you have this massive dedicated following AND the experience of being immersed in both cultures. I guess what I hoped was that you guys could provide something different, a unique perspective that.. somehow bridged the two worlds more harmoniously, rather than pitting them against each other. Whether you intended to or not, when you label a video ‘Japan or Korea, did we make the right choice’, and your answer is a resounding yes for one side, in the milliseconds it takes to appeal to viewers, it seems like just more fodder to fuel that meaningless flame war between the nationalistic hotheads in both countries. Surely internet veterans like yourselves know this. We have more than enough arguments about which country is better, thank you very much. As much as I understand your point about brevity, sometimes true intentions can get lost in translation. That’s why I was a bit disappointed on how you chose to approach this topic, because I genuinely believe that at your core, you guys are not about that. You guys are not about making a quick buck based on guaranteed trigger topics, not about online wars, not about A is better than B, or adding to the hate that we already have so much. I guess I was a bit sad because it seemed that the whole attitude both in your blog and throughout the video seemed to carry this negative attitude… Thanks for replying.

        3 years ago
    • Well,I don’t really understand, why you guys are saying this?, maybe I got the message in the video wrong, but clearly, Simon said that they have the right to express their experience, why?, because it’s theirs. This is not to make a fight about two beautiful countries, I just think that we should respect their opinion.

      3 years ago
    • I completely agree

      3 years ago
  2. Hey Simon and Martina!

    It’s really great to hear you guys have enjoyed your year in Japan

    As a overseas Korean i do think the abuse you recieved was inexcusable and incredibly rude.

    But to defend those who were perhaps slightly upset or unhappily surprised (as I was) upon you guys’ early fee videos in japan (particularly the comparison videos in collaboration with another japanese youtuber) was i guess a sense of betrayal, ofcourse japan and korea have their pros and cons which suit some and not others but in these videos straight after you left korea all you guys seemed to do was point out all korea’s cons in absolute favour of japan. Yes, ofcourse you guys are entitled to prefer japan but the way in which this preference was delivered could have been a bit more considerate as it felt like you guys were dusting off your hands from making videos of a country you guys didnt really even like.
    For many of us who had been watching and supporting you guys (for both your fun character and sincere communication with fans) it naturally came as a shock. Perhaps if you had not appeared to disregarded the country that you found your footing for where you are now perhaps less of us would have been disheartened. I understand as you guys said in the video you guys arent trying to “take back” korea or disregarding it. But until this was forthrightly spoken it wasnt delivered that way.

    Each to their own but personally i and probably many others were disappointed because it felt like the sincerity of your old videos were tainted.

    I really do hope you continue to get better Martina and wish you the best for the upcoming year as well

    Merry early Christmas

    3 years ago
  3. Hey, Martina, it’s me, Korea. It’s been almost a year since we broke up. I almost forgot that you even existed, then I got this giant stone on my head out of nowhere. I mean come on, I know we didn’t have the best relationship ever, but we still dated for eight years. Did you really have to talk behind my back and tell what happened between us to the entire world? I thought we moved on and we are cool. What the hell is this? Do you think I liked everything about you?

    Well, here are few things I want to say. Hey, you have lived with me for eight years, and we can’t even have any meaningful conversations in Korean. Can you say anything in Korean other than when you order food? And yet you always complained that you feel like an alien here. Have you tried to get to know my friends and my families? Have you ever tried to get to know me for real?

    I can’t believe you talk about Japan and me like we are little kids who are having a fight in a playground. That fucking bastard broke into my house, beat me up, rape my sister, robbed my house, and never apologized. Alright, I’m not even going to ask you to take my side. I knew you always had a crush on him since you talked about some anime shit all the time. But can you at least not talk about that douche bag in front of me, and compare me to him? Come on Martina. We have been dating for eight years. Am I asking you too much if I say I want a little bit of loyalty from you? Or at least a sense of empathy?

    Hey, I’m sorry our relationship has ended like this, and if you feel like I abused you while we were dating, I’m sorry. I hope that you will be happy with your new boyfriend. Can you just stop stabbing me from the back? Please move on like you said, because I already have.

    -Korea

    3 years ago
  4. Woah woah you make $$ doing Youtube videos in South Korea, and now you’re bagging on the same country that helped you get that $$ in the first place? I’m sorry for what happened to you guys in Korea, but remember there are tons of rude, inconsiderate people in the world, not just in Korea. Moving to Japan is one thing (I didn’t comment on that when you guys did a year ago), but comparing Japan to South Korea is just plain wrong. While most Japanese citizens may not be aware of what happened in the past, Japan as a nation tortured and killed thousands of innocent Koreans, never forget. I don’t care if you’re not Korean. If you lived in Korea for that long (longer than me, and I’m Korean), you must have acquired some sort of sentiment for the country, even if your stay might not have been pleasant at times. You’ve shown the ultimate form of disrespect for a country that you’ve once called home.

    I regret that I was ever your fan in the first place. This is NOT about K-pop. I’m not even following K-pop anymore, so don’t anyone call me a rabid K-pop fan.

    By the way, if you’re going to live in Japan, at least change you website URL permanently to EatYourSushi, NOT EATYOURKIMCHI. Stop loading off from South Korea if you don’t even like them anymore.

    3 years ago
  5. Hey Simon and Martina. I have been one of your shy fans who watched most of your videos for a long time, yet this is my first time leaving a comment (I think….). I think you are very funny, loving, and genuine people. I really like so many things about your lives and experience. Also, I am very glad that you had your happiest year of your life in Japan! That’s just wonderful.

    Yet this video came as an unhappy surprise to me. You are entitled to say whatever opinion you have about your personal experiences and I respect that. But I felt a bit disappointed because the level of exaggeration and tone of the video on the negative aspects of Korea was very strong, almost as if those years were traumatic. It felt like the tone when you are talking bad about your ex to win favor of your current partner. And as a fan who treasured your 8 years of videos, I couldn’t help but feel kinda back-stabbed. I know you did not mean that way, but it felt like those happy, energetic funny videos were actually made in an unhappy, crappy environment (where at times other people looked at you like you “had leprosy”..wow..).

    I know there isn’t a perfect place. Just like how you said in one of the youtube comments, “life isn’t black and white”. But, this video sure does feel like black and white to me. The whole flow of the video is basically ‘this sucked in Korea but its awesome in Japan, thus I feel happier now.’ The old Korean fans would find this quite disappointing, not just because of their nationality, but because we thought you were happy too in Korea. “Wonderful Adventures Now in Korea” didn’t seem quite wonderful I guess.

    I’m glad you at least do not regret living in a place where you started your adventure. Those hundreds of videos you produced with your hard work really payed off because many of us absolutely loved them as viewers. However, this video is quite skewed. You used words like “no one, never, always” to describe a darker side of A and a bright side of B under the title A vs B. And as a fan who had seen wonderful videos of once bright A, it felt quite disappointing.

    Nonetheless, I thank you for your wonderful videos and allowing me to back away in perspective to see through my environment that I became inured to. I’m truly glad that you found the right place and the right time. I still treasure your experiences in Korea (I’m sure you do too). I hope the best for your health and happiness!

    3 years ago
  6. Hi Guys, To start off, i want to say that given such a difficult question, you guys handled it well and gave your answer with the right justification. you guys were real, honest and purely just you. Since you have been true to us in this video, i think me as an audience who has seen you grow should be too.

    As you had said, these experiences are your own. These are something you had experienced by yourself in your life, we can’t judge them and say right or wrong. I am very glad that Japan had worked out so much better for you- both professionally and personally.
    However, i feel, after moving to Japan you guys have put yourselves in a box and you are just happy to be in that box. but unfortunately that box is shirking and so are you guy. for example, when you were in Korea, and when you were in your early days of video making, you guys had that amazing energy. just watching you both on a 3 mixture video put a smile on me- you guys were different, unique and i can’t find a better word, but just energetic. you used to play games with each other, the travel within the city ( Like the Namsan Tower, Coffee Prince adventures, Hongdae club adventures etc.)the TLDRs and the most creative K-pop Music Mondays. I was able to see the creativity you had, but now i don’t see that in you.
    To be even honest with you, the EatYourSushi segment is kind of dragging. Thought you guys have even answered a question of mine, i just don’t find the eagerness to watch EYS segments anymore.
    I have never been to Korea, however you showed us Korea. you guys just walked around the city and food was just a part of it. Now, you guys eat and touring the city is just a part of it. i really hope that would change. Japan has a lot to see than just restaurants….as a person on the other side of the world, i want to see it from a foreigner’s point of view.

    It would have also been nice, to give Korea some compliment. After all, it was the county that made you YouTube superstars that you are today. you guys learnt and we learnt with you. You guys started your career there. Korea was a stepping stone. however, all that you told us was Korea was horrible to you. Though you might be thankful to Korea in some ways, that was not well communicated to me and i would think and understand that Korea was hell to you guys. Also Simon, comparing yourself to a person with leprosy was very crass. never expected that! However, i can’t judge your experience.

    Also, on your note about your life as you tubers, i can’t tell you how proud i was when you guys announced you were staring on your own with a full fledged studio. I used to tells tories about you guys to my friends who had no idea of who you are what do you, but i just enjoyed telling them stories about you. i understand that to manage everything from ‘ corporate’ to ‘ creatives’ is a massive task. trust me i know ( Personal professional experience). I am very happy that you guys have found a wonderful agency that understands you and now you don’t have to worry about the ‘ corporate’ part. this does not mean Korea was bad to you. rules are rules. try opening a business as foreigners in a different country, you would probably need to go through something similar or much worst. each country has their own set of rules and for you guys, in Japan, you have an agency to look after that paper work and it made things easy for you. sorry but i can’t take that as a valid justification. May be you like this kind of working style than being completely independent.

    Finally, guys i just want to say, each country has their own pros and cons. each country has its won charm and its own dirt. its a bit upsetting to know that the cons of Korea have stuck with you. Though i may not be able to accept your reasoning completely, both of us have our own opinions and in the end of the day its your life and i am just an audience.

    Having said this as a viewer behind the computer screen always rooting for you, just wish you guys would just come of the little box you have put yourself in and show us Japan- in the old Simon and Martina style.

    Until then, always loving you and always supporting you.

    3 years ago
    • Wow okay so it turns out after years of watching S&M it was this comment that made me register on the site.

      I think I understand what you’re saying and expressing but yo. People evolve. People try things. People find that some things work for them, and that other things don’t. People are sometimes young twenty-somethings recently moved to a foreign country for the first time with the energy and excitement of adventure-ready youths having their first experiences. And then those people grow up. And become ten years older. And have all the life experiences that happen during that time. And are different (not better not worse, just different) for it. So I get what you were saying, but with all that you were also saying you don’t like the people that Simon and Martina have become nearly as much as you liked their previous selves. And that can be way more hurtful than it is helpful, especially because I’m pretty sure that S&M are proud of the growth they’ve made and like the people they’ve become. I know I’m proud of who I’ve developed into over the years and welcome such evolution in my fellow man as well. Hooray for change!

      (Also I don’t want to come off more defend-y of people who aren’t asking for my “help” or overstep my boundaries with this but, UnicornScotch if you have been watching these videos for so long then I’d think you’d be more aware that Martina’s health condition has been becoming a bigger factor in daily life over the years and that some of the changes in video style have been to accommodate for changing needs while still allowing the whimsical self-expression that is joyful video making. I’m glad their doing what they need to to make it work, and that I still like what they’re doing. Sorry if you don’t.)

      3 years ago
      • Hi Terraki,
        I’m glad that my comment made you register with the EYK website!
        First off, all what i said was completely my thoughts and my opinions. just like everyone has their own view point, i did have mine and for as much as i love Simon and Martina, i just thought they should know what i as a viewer thought too.

        See, i understand, people evolve. i started watching EYK, during my last year at Uni…now I’m in a completely different part of the world, with a job and with a boyfriend. something i did not have when i was introduced to EYK. I have evolved too- into a much mature person than i was before. however, i still do things i did during my university days in a different land and i enjoy it and i manage it better. My comment was never intended to be hurtful to anyone especially to Simon and Martina. But, i’d just wish that they would take my comment in a positive sense, than a negative one.

        Ture, i have known about Martina’s EDS since the beginning and i have personally sent her well wishes on EYK’s social media. i am not asking them to go disco dance or climb a mountain…but be like how they were before. this does not mean i don’t like what they are doing today. i totally love their travel shows. With what they have become, they are trying to accommodate what they are into what they can. i understand.

        So no hard feelings, to you Terraki. And to you, Simon and Martina. I never intended to hurt you guys in anyway. all i just did was truly write what ‘i’ felt and that too with a positive sense. i still love you all and will keep on supporting you no matter what.

        3 years ago
        • Seriously?? Seriouslyyyyyy??? U want her to run around Tokyo, walking for hours (those wanks were filmed the whole day, usually into the night as well!) when there are days when it’s hard for her to even get out of bed? When just sleeping ‘wrongly’ causes dislocated joints and she has to wear a sling to immobilize her arm coz her shoulder hurts so bad? When she’s a young, pretty 30-something lady who has to use a walking stick some days when her body isn’t cooperating?

          Just because you don’t see it in the videos, doesn’t mean she’s not hurting. EDS is crippling!! Her whole life has changed in these few years, so yeah, she can’t be doing things as she used to 8 years ago.

          God, how entitled you are, spoilt brat! Every video that they put out is like a gift to me. A sip of water in this barren desert of my life! #DramaticMuch! They don’t have to do it, u know. They can do other things to get money, but their channel grew because people like me actually love watching them and live vicariously through them. But that doesn’t mean that they HAVE to do what you tell them to do. They will make their decisions based on what is best for them. If they could do those wanks, then they would have done it, right? But they want to do different thing, and grow their skills, so who are we to judge them?

          Even long-running tv shows like wheel of fortune changes their format and introduces new twists all the time. Simon and Martina are still doing food and travel videos, are still sharing a little snippet of their lives with us, but in a different way.. So let them have fun and do things their way..

          Lastly, u only see a small part of their lives. There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. U will see at most 2 hours of their whole week. What happens during the other 166 hours is between Simon and Martina. Only they know what they are going through. U say that they r living in a box, but just because they didn’t bring their friends into the studio and film with them, doesn’t mean that they don’t have any friends, or that they just sit at home all day staring at the wall. Even in this post, Martina is talking about how her Japanese friend was driving her around. Must they bring in alllllllllll the people in their lives into this YouTube world?

          Grow up, seriously..

          3 years ago
  7. I’ve been living in Korea over 3 years as a teacher and I completely get it. A long term expat I knew here summed it up the best “Korea is a great ride, but you have to know when to get off”. Korea has been an amazing experience for me but after a few trips to Japan I’m looking forward to working there next. Older and desiring more ‘calm’ as well! Kudos to you guys for always tackling questions like this in a balanced way.

    3 years ago
  8. I found your videos while living in Korea for 3 years (my husband is in the US Air Force) and I have to say we loved our time there, but we were super ready to leave at the end of our 3 years! We found that just like anywhere, there were lovely people and there were rude people (as a woman I encountered more rude than my husband, some men were genuinely awful to me, and I got asked if I was Russian a lot, and was told it was because there are a lot of Russian prostitutes in Korea and they were trying to see if I was “available”???) but we just sort of accepted everything as cultural differences and tried to never have a truely “bad” experience there, but honestly it was hard. We are tall people, so we would walk into stores and get crossed arms and kicked out as “too fat” (which we aren’t, we are thin, but we know they meant just too big in general.) We had people shout “I love you!” Or any English they knew from the streets, and we met some amazing people, but my husband also got hit by a car TWICE while we were there, both times in a cross walk, while the car was stopped for a sign, and then gunned it while he was in front of the car. Luckily he wasn’t ever badly hurt, but seriously? I was almost T boned by a bus in my van; I was on the street, it was coming out of a parking lot, and the driver was watching television!! I had to swerve into the wrong side of the street to avoid being hit (there was no oncoming traffic at the time.) but it was stupid dangerous. It just seemed like everything was a little harder for us than it needed to be, everything just took a little more effort, or was a little more aggressive than warranted. (Even something simple like wanting to throw away your trash, if you are out in public and want to dispose of a popcicle stick and wrapper, good luck finding a garbage can, and there is soooooo much garbage on the streets, it’s unsanitary. We also were photographed a lot, as in camera’s jammed a foot away from our faces photographed, I know it’s the tall, blonde hair blue eyes combo, (my kids and I all look the same) but it’s tiring sometimes to feel like an exhibit.) We genuinely understood is was just a cultural difference, but that didn’t make it easier to be a foreigner there (which is the same for people traveling to the US I’m sure) but as someone who has lived all over the world, (my mom is South African, and my dad is English) Korea just was a combination of things that were hard for me to live with everyday (the struggle was real!) but I would go back again in a heartbeat, just like I would go back to Japan, or any of the other countries we’ve lived in a heartbeat, because I can do anything for a little while, and I can make it what my attitude wants it to be, as a choice of where I choose to place my focus. (Being a permanent expat would probably be a harder decision because it wouldn’t have an end date, I don’t think I could permanently live in Korea as a non native Korean.)

    3 years ago
    • I really love the way you expressed that.

      “I can do anything for a little while and I can make it what my attitude wants it to be.”

      It’s so true. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes I just have to refocus my perspective.

      3 years ago
  9. I’ve been living in Korea for over 14 years. Listening to you guys (even while you were still here) I always wondered how it is that we were having such different experiences in the same country. You might be right about your neighbourhood: I live in a detached house and I have my cackle of halmonis and ajummas who greet me and share a laugh with me every once in a while. Also, my local CU (former FAmily Mart) cashier is super friendly and always sneaks in some “bonus” goodies. The level of noise in Seoul, the crazy driving, the general inconvenience you talk about has gone down drastically in the years I’ve been here. I allow that we have all might be having different experiences here, and I only travelled in Japan (loved it completely) not lived there, so obviously I am no expert about that part of the world. But, I am of this, I say that without any reservations. You guys were always ‘above’ Korea, never ‘in’ Korea and that’s what coloured your years here. You were always the balcony observers, never on the floor, cynical yet polite (must be a Canadian thing). Glad you’re happier in Japan. And you are happier there because you feel welcome. Have you ever done anything in KOrea to get that sense of belonging? I joined some Korean activity clubs (hiking, choir singing, and the like), and OMG, this made a world of difference in my attitude to Korea and my level of happiness her soared. I wish you hadn’t answer this question because people seem to take you words very seriously. Dear all: don’t listen to anybody. If there is anything to be said about Korea is that it is a land that never ceases to surprise, enchant, enrage, and crawl under your skin unlike any other (I’ve lived in many).

    3 years ago
  10. I don’t usually leave comments but I felt compelled to do so after having read this article and some other comments on this subject. Firstly, I love you guys, I’ve been a viewer for a few years now. But sadly, I have to admit that this video was a bit disappointing (not in what your perspective was but how the video was presented). When you guys first decided to move to Japan, I was really enthousiastic about the decision because I admire both Korean and Japanese cultures very much. I felt a bit shocked because the news of you guys moving was so sudden and unexpected but I wanted to support you guys.
    I feel as if you held back a lot of (negative) feelings about Korea as a whole and you’ve only just opened Pandora’s box. I’m not going to lie, I’m Korean so hearing cons about Korea does kind of irk me but I assume that this is normal because most people have strong sentiments about their home country. Some people who were born in war-ridden countries still aspire to go back and help their countries develop (no matter how imperfect they are). So I understand why some Koreans are really enraged about this topic. The fact is that the history between the two countries is quite complicated and still unresolved. You guys may not have incorporated the history of these two countries in your discussion but it will still have an impact on your viewers because these events have made both nationalities somewhat sensitive to each other. I feel like the best way to go through with this was to list the cons and pros of each country but not directly state your opinion of which country you liked. Now I’m not saying that your opinion is wrong or bad. It’s good. It’s an opinion. And you shouldn’t have to sugarcoat things. But judging by how each country is very sensitive to each other, it would have probably been better for you to have held back a little. You obviously fit in with Japan better so you probably see more advantages to it. That being said, for the purpose of the video, I think that you should have brought up pros and cons that exceed your perspective on the two countries. The way that the video was formatted, made me believe that there was no good thing about Korea. I absolutely want your happiness as it is really nice to see but I feel like you guys should have been a little more careful on a comparison video…

    3 years ago
    • koreans are always bring history to everything about Japan, im not defended the country where im living but is very tired,always same,is like koreans doesnt have nothing more to say.

      2 years ago
  11. The blog portion of this really hit a chord with me. I was in a very bad situation and after many years of trying to grin and bear it I finally realized I could choose to leave and it wouldn’t make me a terrible person.

    It’s wonderful that you guys have found so much happiness. Keep being your awesome selves and don’t let any angry netizens tear you down.

    3 years ago
  12. I am a Korean-born Canadian who immigrated to Toronto when I was 5, and stayed in Toronto until this year August when I moved to Tokyo. I know it sounds cheesy and but you guys have experienced all of the countries I have ever lived in and I feel inspired to comment in my warm kotatsu (you should totally get one if you haven’t)

    When you were in Korea I vicariously experienced what it would be like if I were to ever to move back and truly experience Korea outside the first 5 years of my life. If I had, I would’ve felt like a foreigner in my own ‘motherland’. But your videos helped me relieve that sort of tension, as I would have found the same things/experiences awesome, downright weird, or outrageous as a Canadian in Korea.

    Living in Tokyo now I find myself agreeing with you especially regarding the friendliness of the people, even as a Korean-born who blend in (at least) in appearance. Seeing you guys really happy in Japan gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in this cold-as-balls weather :3

    3 years ago
  13. As an arm chair traveler I really have enjoyed your intrepid travels. One really must be young to plunge into such a different culture! I am also sure many have visit the USA and have found it a horrible experience, depending on how and where they lived. There are city jungles and harsh environments in every country. I get it – you only are talking about your experience, not anyone else’s. I also believe you when you say that some experiences were bad for you and some were wonderful. That is really the way life is. People who have never traveled and had to learn/live another culture (as I have done when younger) will have a hard time getting this. I remember walking down a street in Northern Europe and hearing English and almost crying because it felt so like home, and I didn’t know these folks from Adam. Also having a headache in the afternoon from transelating in my head all day – This is serious work folks. Everything was different for me there, even though I come from European stock and many of their foods/traditions/values were familiar to me, It was STILL a culture shock.
    You have a right to your opinion. And those who follow you and really know you, know your hearts are in the right place. I’m so happy you have found a pleasant place to live and learn in Japan!

    3 years ago
  14. I am glad you two have found a place of comfort. I’ve watched your videos for the last few years and your newer ones have definitely reflected the changes you’ve noted for yourselves. For many reasons I have yet to do much traveling so I live my life vicariously through you and your videos-It’s nice to see how happy you’ve become with relocation.

    It takes courage to face the masses on a sensitive topic like this one. I’ve lurked for years but I wanted to add my voice in support of you two (and Dan) to counter some of the negative that might work its way into the comments. You do you; keep growing, sharing, and reflecting. Your followers are here with you, even if they are silent-they far outnumber the haters.

    3 years ago
  15. Oh I agree!!! I like both Korea and Japan, have been to both and I’m interested in both cultures and languages. But when it comes to traffic and general respect for pedestrians Japan wins hands down! I was in Korea in October and I was almost ran-over by a Mercedes while I was in the middle of a pedestrian crossing in Daegu! To all Korean people giving you a hard time: are you serious?? Have you been to Japan? Or how about North America? It is granted that the vulnerable pedestrian has the right of way! And what’s with all that honking and aggressiveness? I totally agree with you guys and I’m happy you could move out and settle in Japan.

    3 years ago
  16. I love how you guys handled this video, and I’m happy you actually made it. You mentioned before that “netizens” went crazy about the shower/tub situation, so I didn’t think you would breach the subject of Japan vs Korea ever again.I hope people who watch this video can relate it to their own bad experiences. It really only takes one bad experience to learn your lesson, but when you’ve had continuous things occur, your view is already formed in regards to your own life and what you would like to include and exclude.
    My father passed away four years ago (they found out he had cancer only two months before he died, and the end of his life was spent asleep), and I stayed in denial for longer than I think anyone should stay in denial. I was at the hospital, I was at his grave, and I go every single year, yet I somehow convinced myself I was dreaming. Well, he wasn’t there when I graduated from college, but I started working immediately after in the first place that contacted me. I hated it. I loved the job, but I hated the office politics. Between never really grieving and going into a building I can’t even stand to look at anymore, I started having anxiety attacks. The first time it happened, I freaked, by the third time I was convinced I was dying of a broken heart. I went to the doctor, was prescribed whatever, and no matter the dosage nothing was working. I hated the dizziness and nausea that came without even treating my symptoms. So, I went to see the doctor again and she told me to quit. She told me to quit, and that if I had to come see her again she was sending me to a psychiatrist. So, I quit, and I flushed those damn pills. That was the first time I have ever truly placed myself first in any situation.
    Well now, years later, I’ve graduated once again, but this time in psychology. I am leaving for Haiti early tomorrow morning to see my mom who moved back there after my father passed away. Our relationship isn’t perfect… not even close. I have yet to say anything to her about it because the guilt that she is the last parent I have kills me. I take all that she gives, even though last night on my way home I ended up sobbing while driving with my boyfriend next to me. I regretted purchasing the plane ticket a week ago when I bought it, and that phone call last night, after I spent the last three days (right after my last exam) running around the city running errands for her, and buying this and that for her (though she is coming to the US in a month) broke me. I barely have room for my own clothes in my suitcase or carry on. Last night, she basically blamed me for my estrangement to my older brother who was a severely poor sibling to me (I won’t get into details, but I was actually on my way home from dropping gifts off for my nephews since I won’t be here for the remainder of the year).
    My father always had my side, he always knew the truth, believed in me, understood me, accepted me for me, and he always defended me. He was my one-man-army (he was actually a veteran, so it seems appropriate), my superman, and basically protected me from the two of them. Talking to her only makes me miss him more.
    I’ve lived in the city that I am in for most of my life, and I have hated it for most of my life. I relate this place to all of my bad experiences and I’m considering moving to Canada. My make-shift family, my boyfriend and best friend (who I always just introduce as my older sister), have offered to hide my whereabouts from my mother if I decide to move. For all the crappy things that have happened while I have lived here, these two amazing people are irreplaceable in my tiny world.
    Sorry for the long post. I’m in the middle of playing Tetris with my luggage, but I’m glad to get this off my chest. Soon, much like you did, I hope I can get off of this ride.
    PS: Sorry for any typos. I haven’t slept much, so I’m barely functioning.

    3 years ago
  17. Heya. Its so great that you guys are much happier here in Japan now. I haven’t been to Korea but I did have a moment when I was applying for A job in Japan and I considered trying Korea. I wrote a pros and cons list and honestly even then Japan came off on the winning side. It may be due to my age as well.

    I do have friends that hate it here. Mostly because they live in a rural/ countryside area and don’t have much of a bond with the people around them. I on the other hand adore my tiny little town and my sweet and kind neighbours who bring me fruits and leave packages for me when they think I need some care and attention.

    Honestly, moving to Japan from my home country of Barbados was he best decision I could have made. It was just the right time and I am having a good time.

    Its so wonderful that we are both experiencing the same things.

    3 years ago
  18. Guys, all that matters to us (well, to me, at least) is that you’re happy wherever you are. If you’d decided to stay in Fiji or Bali or any of the other amazing places you’ve been, I’d still be happy for you, as long as you and your furbabies are happy. Whenever I start to miss your Korea videos…I just go back and watch them again! You’ve been my favorite Youtubers since I discovered you nearly three years ago, and I consider it a privilege to continue getting these peeks into your life. Keep doing what makes you happy! Your determination and dedication to happiness is more inspiring than the actual things you’ve done, if that makes sense. I’m proud of you both, inspired by you both, and thankful to both of you for doing what you do.

    3 years ago
  19. Hi Simon and Martina, I’m a korean who just registered on your website. I agree the traffic problems in korea, but I don’t agree the noise at night in Seoul. There are places having different noise condition even in one city, one small area. I have lived Seongbuk-gu in Seoul for 10 years but I haven’t been tortured by any noise while I sleep. Besides, you were able to find and move to some quiet residential area in Seoul. It’s not a small town, you know. You were careless regarding these conditions at the beginning and just poured out flames which you have in mind and later said “Of course, It’s our case”.. It’s not good way to say something.. I know you made another video mentioning bad korean bathroom sewerage system, and that’s similar to this. Even though you don’t have bad purpose, careless insetting generalization easily make people misunderstand your massage.
    I’m not saying ‘plz understand our situation’ and not a nationalist. My uncomfortableness is not from some issues between Korea and Japan. Come on, Korean are sensitive to Japan because of history, it’s fact. However, we especially offend wrong statement and act of Japan for their history and we know your opinion is not that case.
    What I feel disappointment even more is this page sounds like “so what, you nationalism-natured korean? we once were mate and had a good time but that’s all. I’ve got new smarter man so It’s the bye-bye time. Be cool and grow up”. I wish you just chose inappropriate expression.. Even that is just what you thought, expressing your thought in this way is definitely rude attitude.
    I felt appreciation when you informed Korea to other people over the world. When you move to Japan, I wished you get happy time and those wishes are still in my mind. I also smiled(food challenge, visiting tourist region..) and felt sorry(car accident, poor korean pet surroundings..) while watching your various contents, and those are also good memory in my mind as an ordinary korean. We’re not simple boyfriend-girlfrend relationship. We can share memory and softly say hello to each other later, as a creator and subscriber. Also I don’t think your contents was only a pure business because it had fun, warmth, and massage. It’s natural that people don’t like some good memory to become deceived or easily meaningless.

    3 years ago
  20. Although Im so glad youre happier now, it is such a shame to hear you talk so negatively about your time in Korea especially as I know you enjoyed it overall. Years after discovering. Your ‘tube I actually went to Korea because you spiked an interest for me and now (to answer your question) I am planning on teaching English in Korea starting Feb/March. Obviously hearing people I trust so much talk so negatively about a country I thought you loved has worried me, but, like you said everyone has a different experience; I hope mine is better than you portrayed Korea in this video…

    3 years ago
  21. Hi Simon and Martina, I’m sorry those events happened to you during your stay in Korea. As a S. Korean living overseas, I know it’s not easy to live in a “rougher” culture than back at home so I understand where the frustration was coming from. However I must say this blog post came as a bit shock for me. You were always so well diplomatic in addressing sensitive issues in your videos, and that’s what I highly respected, but this blog post and video went a bit wild let’s say. Comparing your frustration (not the experience in Korea) on dating abuse or shitty jobs were quite a strong metaphor I must say. As someone who was really happy for your next chapter in Japan, I feel quite “heartbroken”. At least I don’t go around and talk this bad of my ex-boyfriends after a breakup.

    3 years ago
  22. I think for sure you guys are having a much easier time in Japan. I think your experience in Korea has a lot to do with that. You had a pretty uphill battle in Korea to make a place for yourself. You first jobs there were tough and particularly Simon had a hard work environment. There was a big shift once you guys started YouTubing full time. But like you said, that was a lot of work in Korea. But it wasn’t just with the paperwork and government regulations, you were growing your audience still and working hard on setting up something for the long term in regards to your channel and followers. And now, you are in a place to reap the rewards for all that hard work. So part of me thinks it might be less Japan in general and just where you are in life. You’ve reached a sweet spot. And all the Japan bonuses like your neighborhood and the ease of living, have a lot to do with how hard you worked before to get to this point. Congratulations guys! You’ve done a super job. I think I’ve only ever posted once before, but I’ve been around since the early early days. I’ve seen all your hard work. And I’m super excited that it’s paying off. I get that it’s still work. But you are so much happier. And I’m happy for you.

    My spot in life: I’m “just” a mom. I say that because no mom is “just a” anything. But I’m in my late thirties and I homeschool 3 elementary aged kids in the suburbs. And I couldn’t be happier. We get to learn about the things that are important to us, and then spend the rest of our day playing video games and watching YouTube. (HA! The kids wish!) Like most kids their age they aspire to be YouTubers when they grow up.

    As my Tl;DR request, I’d really like to see a behind the scenes of what you guys do to make a video. You might think it’s boring, because that’s the work end. But I am really interested, and I know my kids would love it. We’ve watched/read the video/blogs where you discuss the equipment you use. They’d like to see a wide shot of the set and where the lights are. And when you do location shots do you scope things out first, and do think about things like lighting in the restaurant. And any little tips you’ve learned the hard way. I wont let them have a public channel until they are teenagers. But they have started practicing and are trying to learn all the thingz!

    3 years ago
  23. Hmmm…
    I’m still confused how much of it is really “Seoul vs. Tokyo” rather than “Korea vs. Japan.”

    In any case, having spent time studying abroad in Shanghai, I can sympathize with all the points made here; especially the driving. At some point, I must have become very agitated with adjusting to life there, that I did the whole “Gandalf – YOU SHALL NOT PASS” thing in front of a tour bus that was trying to bully it’s way through a crowd. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Never quite got used to the micro-aggression of new drivers.

    When I visited Seoul, I found it to be an energetic place, but not really one I’d ultimately want to spend much time living.

    Although, I’ve never had that much interest in living for an extended period in Japan: I find certain elements with such a rigidity in rules to be anxiety-inducing. Then again, being self-employed probably alleviates some of this tension.

    Overall, I think being black colored (for lack of a better word) my impression of the months I spent in East Asia. Talk about feeling like an outsider…

    3 years ago
  24. Sooooo proud of you guys!You really could see the change in the vids you made when you moved to Japan. That was amazing. I live in Alabama. Im from Chicago. I moved here about 10 years ago. Ive lived in some other places, but Alabama was a good move for me, and my family. (Ihas 3 kids and a hubs). I needed to be somewhere that Icould feel safe… and to quote Simon “The air in Chicago is 90% bullets”. I am ready to travel now that the kiddos are older. And Cuba is first on my list now that its opened its doors somewhat to the U.S. Continue to rock out… (ps… Ihad a package for you guys, that Iwas taking my time to compile… and lost it in a move. Ifeel pretty shitty about it.Ill start another after Christmas.)

    3 years ago
  25. See, if Korea wants more visitors and people to appreciate their country, then act more graceful towards each other and others! This is a problem even in America with other Koreans. I’ve experienced it myself, being Korean adoptee, they still treat me really unfairly. They don’t treat me like a person but rather trash. So I am sorry your experience with living in Korea wasn’t as happy as you expected. I hope Japan embraces you rather than giving you disgruntled feelings.

    3 years ago
  26. So first of all, I haven’t been watching much of your videos lately but I am really glad to see you guys enjoying your life in Japan. To be quite honest, the answer to the question wasn’t much of a surprise to me.
    Japan was the first foreign country I lived in, sweet 20 years old and everything that could go wrong went wrong – just when things started getting better, I learned that I wouldn’t be able to extend my visa further and had to leave. Because I knew people in Korea, I went to Seoul and I really loved it at first. Since I am originally from Berlin, I think it was the rough vibe that reminded me of home a bit.
    Years have passed, and quite frankly I never recommend my friends to come here to stay. The general stress level in Korean society seems high (get into the best school, uni, company, look amazing, have a bigger car, house, salary than everyone else) and unfortunatel that makes them loose interest in other people. I am annoyed by people bumping into me without saying sorry, but when I mention it in front of Koreans they will say “It can’t be helped because there is so many people…” I started wondering: “Where people in Japan like that too?”

    I did go on vacation in Japan a couple of times while living in Korea and every single time, I felt soo relaxed. But ultimately, when I went to Tokyo, I was just impressed how – even in a place like Shinjuku station – people will rush but never run into you. It’s like nknjas swiftly moving by with milimeters to spare. Then again when I rode the bus and a girl pulled at the handrail attached to the back of my seat a bit too intensely, it bent over slightly and she apologized for it even though it wasn’t such a big deal. I know some people don’t mind apologizing or not, taking care or not, but we are all human at the end of the day regardless what’s going on in our lives, and just switching off your good manners in public because ‘everyone does it’ is kinda ignorant. None of those people would ever behave like this in front of their friends or beloved ones. The double facedness of so many people is scaring me up to this point.

    This being said, I think Japanese treasure the ‘me AND you’ a little more. All these places with counters where people – strangers – get together and share their lifestories…. Maybe Japanese won’t make a lot of new true friendd through their adulthood, but they still seem to value communication an respect towars your next. They are human.

    I wouldnt want to miss my experiences in Korea, but at the end of the day I would always prefer Japan over it.

    3 years ago
  27. I’m really happy you feel at ease in Japan. It shows in your videas! I have been living with my boyfriend in Ireland for the last 10 years. We have left our home country Poland due to economic difficulties and the same negative and rough energy you were refering to. It is not that I don’t love my country or my countrymen, it is simply that I feel more at home with the easy going nature of Irish people. Sure I have a fair sharo of my bad days here as well but the people here are much more open and friendly.
    We have visited Japan for the first time this October and I have to say the people there are just as nice and friendlj, just more efficient. We fell in love with Japan and plan for it to be our main holiday destination for the next couple of years. Who knows we might move there eventually.
    The main point is, both me and my bf understand where you come from. We live in a wonderful times whre most of the world is open to us to explore and why not choose a better suited place to live when you have the option to do that.
    We both admire you very much and send our warmest thoughts from ever green (and ever wet…) Ireland!
    Don’t let the hate get to you!! Keep up the amazing work!

    3 years ago
  28. I have mad respect for you guys making this video. In all honesty I watched you guys from the very beginning because I was was interested in the korean culture and language. For many years I loved learning all the culture aspects of the Korean people but slowly I realized that I began to find many faults in the way the korean society functions (not saying that there aren’t nice korean people) but there were sides to it that I didn’t like. It was like the fairytale version of Korea that I had visioned so many years ago, slowly faded.
    Also, I get that Japan and Korea have bad blood because of the war history and that’s fare enough but if they continue to live in the past and hold on to that anger and hold all responsibilities of Japans’ past as one, I just feel it’s very closed minded and in this day and age they need to be aware that just because one person is like a certain way (or one countries history) it doesn’t dictate all and forever are the same.
    Not sure if I sound like nonsense :)
    I love the work you guys do and what you guys represent (accepting and not judging and always tackling anything with a positive mind). I’m always thankful for your videos and the energy you guys bring to the world. I would be so happy if had friends like you: talk fashion and makeup with Martina, play games with Simon and eat glorious food with both :)

    3 years ago
  29. Hey Simon and Martina. I have been one of your shy fans who watched most of your videos for a long time, yet this is my first time leaving a comment (I think….). I think you are very funny, loving, and genuine people. I really like so many things about your lives and experience. Also, I am very glad that you had your happiest year of your life in Japan! That’s just wonderful.

    Yet this video came as an unhappy surprise to me. You are entitled to say whatever opinion you have about your personal experiences and I respect that. But I felt a bit disappointed because the level of exaggeration and tone of the video on the negative aspects of Korea was very strong, almost as if those years were traumatic. It felt like the tone when you are talking bad about your ex to win favor of your current partner. And as a fan who treasured your 8 years of videos, I couldn’t help but feel kinda back-stabbed. I know you did not mean that way, but it felt like those happy, energetic funny videos were actually made in an unhappy, crappy environment (where at times other people looked at you like you “had leprosy”.. wow…).

    I know there isn’t a perfect place, just like how you said in one of the youtube comments, “life isn’t black and white”. But, this video sure does feel like black and white to me. The whole flow of the video is basically ‘this sucked in Korea but its awesome in Japan, thus I feel happier now.’ The old Korean fans would find this quite disappointing, not just because of their nationality, but because we thought you were quite happy too in Korea. “Wonderful Adventures Now in Korea” didn’t seem quite wonderful in the way you described in your video.

    I’m glad you at least do not regret living in a place where you started your adventure. Those hundreds of videos you produced with your hard work really payed off because many of us absolutely loved them as viewers. However, this video is quite skewed. You used words like “no one, never, always” to describe a darker side of A and a bright side of B under the title A vs B. And as a fan who had seen wonderful videos of once bright A, it felt quite disappointing.

    Nonetheless, I thank you for your wonderful videos and allowing me to back away in perspective to see through my environment that I became inured to. I’m truly glad that you found the right place and the right time. I still treasure your experiences in Korea (I’m sure you do too). I hope the best for your health and happiness!

    3 years ago
  30. I echo other commentators. Really _really_ hate how this topic was approached. Both countries got so much great food, sauna, hot springs, sushi, kimchi,culture, music, everything else to offer.

    But yet both have the highest suicide rates. There was also that dark period between the two where one country used the other as sex slaves, place to plunder, and dehumanize. (I hope I lightened things up here.)

    In my opinion, without mentioned consideration for the historical context and sensitivity, the video was terribly click-bait, thoughtful and insult to both countries trying to heal past wounds.

    But that said, love your other videos.

    3 years ago
  31. While I do miss you guys being in Korea, I’m glad you guys are happy in Japan. I still love reading your blogs and watching you videos and I can’t wait to see what your next year in Japan will being us. =^_^=

    3 years ago
  32. Hi Simon and Martina. I’m a 30-something professional data geek (programmer) living and working in the noisiest, dirtiest, most sarcastic city on earth: new york. Living here is maybe like what you went through in Seoul except with a worst subway system and more homeless addicts panhandling for change. I’ve lived in nyc for 8 years and while I seem to have more and more complaints about this city (and country) I am still relatively happy here. Before this, I lived for 1 year in Kyoto and 6 months in Seoul. I loved and still cherish the time I got to live abroad in Japan and Korea but it never seemed like real life to me. I was an observer: self-determined to remain an outsider given that I knew I’d be moving back to the States when the right opportunity arose.

    Here is New York, some days I’m happy, some days I’m not. Even though I’ve become immune to the daily brusqueness of life here, every shove and act of injustice is hardening me and changing me into a much more pessimistic person. So I question myself: Do I really like it here? Am I really happy?

    I live along a busy avenue (lots of extremely loud buses, waste management and emergency vehicles, horn-blasting yellow taxis, drunken hooligans, barking dogs, you name it) on the fifth floor of a crumbling walk-up apartment building in Manhattan. I fight with apartment management over every leak that has to be fixed, and pesticide treatment that has to be scheduled. Some days, I have to battle parades, demonstrations, movie/tv filmcrews, and other street closures just to make it to my front door. Ordering packages is stressful since I don’t have a doorman and am not sure what the heck the UPS/FEDEX/postal service will do this time with the package (nevermind what state it’s in).

    I could write a novel here but I’ll spare you. The point I want to make is that I still feel very alive and challenged here. I met my other half here and have formed solid relationships with different kinds of people I would’ve never crossed paths with otherwise. I love that inspiration, hiking, food, people-watching is so accessible (just one -stinky – subway ride away!). I am willing to suffer for this, for now. I’m not sure how much longer. It’s all a personal decision right? Maybe I’ll be super happy if I move out of nyc and can enjoy a full night of uninterrupted sleep, or order something from amazon without stressing out that someone will take it. I wouldn’t have even known such pleasures and reasons for elation had it not been for all these years of suffering hardship, eh?

    You guys mentioned it too directly in your video. Part of the happiness you feel in Japan is because of what you went through in Korea. I think we have to take the journey and experience things for ourselves to define what makes us happy and appreciate all the feels.

    Wishing you both much health, wealth, love, and happiness for the new year!!

    3 years ago
  33. Hey guys, thank you for uploading such a great video. I was always a silent reader and always loved your videos and blogs etc. Today I wanted to write you guys because I am overthinking too much about my life nowadays and this video helped me to try something new. I really love Korea and I was there last year on vacation (alone) and Seoul and I connected ^_^ and in September I was in Japan, this time with a friend and I also made a lot of friends there, but still Japanese people were somehow colder for me than the Koreans.
    So this year I sent an application for an exchange semester in Seoul, didn’t work out. My friend with whom I was in Japan told me to also send an application to Japanese universities and I was like no, I didn’t connect with the Japanese people.
    And now I have the opportunity to applicate again and there are only slots left in Japan (also in Canada and USA, but never thought about an exchange semester there). I thought about it for a long time and I was thinking till today if I should send an application and saw your video. Thank you for making this video, seriously I was thinking so hard and then I watched the video and was like Simon and Martina did it as well. They went to countries without knowing anything and they survived. So after watching the video I chose to send my application letter to the Waseda university in Tokio and I really hope that I get to study there. After hearing the things you guys said I changed my mind and I think I should give Japan a second chance.

    PS: even if we don’t connect after one semester, I think it will be a great experience for me, so I’m really looking forward to study there ^_^
    PPS: I really hope to see you guys someday, would be really cool to get to know you guys personally. Love you guys and thank you so much for helping me to make this decision!

    3 years ago
    • That makes me so happy! I really want people to feel more comfortable with traveling and trying new things. Reading this comment puts a smile on my face :)

      3 years ago
  34. Hi guise! I really loved this video and I loved that you were both brave enough to make it. I initially wrote this long comment about how right I feel your comparison was but I’d think, in the end, like you, I’d rather just write happy things. BIG BIG BIG BIG HUGS!!!!! — !!!! and I’m happy that you’re happier now. This video was a little green but no doubt you filmed it before you adjusted your lighting settings. I think that you were also as diplomatic as you could be and I’m glad that you didn’t bend over too far because it’s awesome to be strong and believe in yourselves. The snow on your webpage is a little distracting but very cute!

    As for myself, I live in rural-ish Southern Ontario now. I’ve lived in several cities in Ontario, including Toronto downtown. I’ve travelled lots of places, including China, but I still haven’t made it to Europe yet. If I had to pick anywhere in Canada to live, it’d be Montreal again. But I really like your commune idea, but I’d automate it so I wouldn’t have to do too much farm work ;). I do have some school and personal research background in Asia and its cultures but I found your videos completely unrelated to any of that. My husband sent me a link to your Itaewon Freedom KMM he stumbled upon one day and I really enjoyed your brand of humour, could relate to you as fellow Canadians, and any learninating I did was a completely bonus :3. I was initially very disappointed when KMM ended but not because of kpop but because I liked the skits. I totally understand now(understood then eventually too) that you couldn’t talk about it at the time and I hope that I wasn’t too rude in my frustration ^^;;;. I love your food videos, travel videos, and just every day fun videos so I hope that you continue to enjoy making them because I will always love watching them. You are a great example and help others be brave, I hope I get to meet you some day but in the meantime: Merry Christmas! and here’s to a great New Year of new adventures!

    3 years ago
  35. I can’t agree more with your feelings in this video.
    I’m 26, originally from Australia but this is my third year living and teaching English in Kobe, Japan and I’m not leaving any time soon.
    I’ve found that people seem to have ‘Japanese personalities’ or ‘Korean personalities’. Many of the people I know who love living here are naturally more introspective/reserved or really love the Japanese attitudes and values. On the other hand, the friends who visit Korea and instantly love it or prefer it to Japan are usually more gregarious, social and spontaneous. I had always imagined myself living in Korea and I enjoy visiting, but returning to Japan was such a relief.
    Even during my first holiday to Japan, it felt like I was coming home.

    3 years ago
  36. Hello Simon and Martina!

    Right now, I am in my first year of university. I moved out of the bubble I was experiencing in my hometown of San Bernardino, and went straight to the University of California, Irvine. Now, I’ve only lived in Irvine for 10 Weeks (the length of an academic quarter), but I honestly do like it in Irvine more than San Bernardino. I still love my hometown. It has a special place in my heart. After all, I’ve lived there for 18 years, and maybe it’s because I live in a University bubble, but I’m very happy with my life right now.

    What I’m experiencing is probably relatively small in comparison to your move from Korea to Japan, but thinking about life retrospectively is really nice.

    3 years ago
    • Hey there! Sorry to barge in, but I am also from San Bernardino County (Apple Valley, specifically) and graduated from UCI in 2012. Hello fellow desert dweller and Anteater (zot zot).

      Since UCI, I have moved to Seoul and REALLY liked the changed from small town (Apple Valley) to city (Irvine) and ultimately to Seoul (large city). I totally understand what Simon and Martina are talking about BUT I really enjoy the buzz of the city. Calm places make me anxious and bored.

      3 years ago
    • Hi there. I live in Orange County, and I work in Irvine. I have several friends that go to school at UCI. It’s definitely a bubble… UCI is an interesting place. I’ve heard people refer to it as being behind the orange curtain (implying that OC is a place with a lot of people that make a lot of money, there are lots more conservatives here than other places in CA, etc).. I don’t want to talk down on it because overall it’s a pretty great place. I’m glad you’re enjoying it down here, just remember that your university experience won’t even be indicative of what it is like to live in this area and not go to school, know what I mean? I definitely encourage you to go around and explore different cities in the general area, in CA in general, and maybe all over the US! I came from the Midwest and overall I love CA so much more. Good luck in school!

      3 years ago
    • Hi there, just here to say that I’m also a freshman at uci, and I come from a not so great city in central California. Irvine is sooooooooooo nice. I’m already excited for break to end so I can go back. It’s such an awesome city

      3 years ago
  37. I lived in Korea for two years but now back living in the UK. I met my boyfriend out there, he’s Korean but lives in the USA. I think my experience is very different to others as I’ve been able to understand Korea on my own terms and through my boyfriend’s views and how he sees Korea. He doesn’t always agree with how Korea is either and also has frustrations, especially when it comes the work culture. Korea is still a big part of my life even though it’s been two years since I left, I made some of my best friends there and it was life changing in a way. I think a lot of my frustrations with Korea are similar to yours, the amount of times I was close to getting run over, or how many times I’ve spoken in Korean and been met with nervous laughs. Another major problem which still bothers me now is how Koreans assume my relationship with my boyfriend isn’t serious because I’m a foreigner. He’s had to get used to negative reactions or people being overly surprised about the fact. Korea did become my home and I loved my life there, especially the teaching and I do miss the city life sometimes as it’s something you just don’t have in Europe. I did visit Japan only briefly and I did find the atmosphere different and one thing I immediately noticed was how clean the streets were compared to Korea! However I think I now appreciate a lot more about the UK, the countryside, better equality, and strangely actual standards of safety and things like labour laws. I imagine I could end up in Korea again but I if I do I think I would go back with a different mindset so who knows

    3 years ago
  38. I spent a total of five years (in two chunks) in Korea as a soldier. My wife is Korean and there is a special place in my heart for Korea. Your points, however, are pretty spot on. I have had some wonderful times in Korea, but I have also had a lot of frustrations. When I was deployed to Iraq, between my first and second time in Korea, your videos made me really nostalgic and miss it. I ended up going back and overall enjoyed my time there, but I need to take Korea in smaller bites, I think.

    I don’t have a lot to judge Japan by – I have only visited Okinawa for a few days, but I wouldn’t mind doing a few years there. Thanks for your honest feedback. I’m glad you guys are doing so well right now.

    3 years ago
  39. I have a question I really hope you’ll answer! I love you guys, but I really miss how you used to have different types of videos (i.e. TLDR, WTF, etc) – do you ever think you’ll do that again, or will all your videos just be one offs from now on?

    3 years ago
    • I’m not too sure. We’re doing our best to keep up with two videos per week (and we’re bad at it sometimes!). TL;DRs are interesting to do, but sometimes a bit scary, like today, in which I feel really scared for the anger to come. But we’re talking with Dan about introducing a third weekly segment. Hopefully we can get that started soon :D

      3 years ago
      • It is so sad that rude people make talking about how you feel anxiety filled. It’s not like you said Korea is the worst place ever, and Japan is moralistically superior; you simply said that for you and your lifestyle, as a non native Korean, and a non native Japanese person, Japan is working out better for you right now. I can’t see anything controversial about that since it’s purely about your personal experience, it’s not like anyone can say “no you’re wrong, you liked Korea better!” With any level of authority on the topic.

        You seem happier in your recent videos, and I don’t think you need to justify why to anyone!

        3 years ago
  40. Hey guys! It’s been such a long time since I last saw you… I remember seeing you announce your move on facebook, but my life got so crazy and different since the days I used to watch your videos daily, back in my teenage years, that this is my first video from you in almost a year and a half…
    Martina, you look beautiful, and both of you seem really happy with your new life in Japan – which makes me glad!
    So, since you wanna know, here’s my situation: I’m brazilian, 20 years old and it’s been a year since I moved from my state (the neighbouring Espírito Santo) to Rio de Janeiro to go to college here. I was actually lucky to be accepted in one of the best Law schools in the country, but I have to be honest: I was so frightened about coming to live here… People from Rio always seemed so harsh and demanding, and very impatient about meek and timid people like myself. In fact, in the first few weeks that theory was confirmed, because people here easily yell at you and expect you to be extroverts like them (even the “shy” people are quite more sociable than me). But I found out that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I met some awesome people that always expect me to have an attitude and an opinion about everything, and care about me, and let me care about them, so I’ve been developing a thicker skin and learning to be less sensitive about little things. My social experiences here (and the fact that I’m living alone for the first time in my life) made me a truly better, more secure person. I still get scared of people yelling at me at shops and being impatient when I’m being indecisive, but I learned to deal with it. Also with pressure, because my school really demands a lot from me.
    Today, I believe the best decision I ever made was moving to this big, chaotic, violent city. Because it is also beautiful and is teaching me one of the most valuable lessons ever: Care about people. Don’t be afraid of being Yourself. Don’t be afraid of giving your all. Don’t be afraid of other people.
    Also, I thought that living downtown (near my campus) would be crazy noisy, but as it turns out Rio is one of those cities that do sleep… To my delight!
    I guess I have a lot to catch up with your other japan videos, so see you! Btw sorry if my english is bad, haven’t practiced in a while :P

    3 years ago