Culture

Traditional and modern Korean culture.

How to pick the sweetest strawberry 7

There was supposed to be a Mr Gwon Time yesterday. It is finished and ready to go but we haven’t subtitled it yet. Subtitling can be a lot of work and we haven’t felt up it because of the ferry tragedy in Korea. The mood has been very subdued here and everyone is just constantly watching the news and hoping.

We do have a few videos that are ready to go though.

We tell you which strawberries are the sweetest ones in Korea.

There is also a new video on our bonus channel.

Sacheon Seafood Market 6

I’ve mentioned before that I do feel sorry for all the fish and sea creatures just waiting to be eaten. However, it is fascinating to see this part of Korean culture. Since Korea is a peninsula they have always had a lot of seafood in their diets and it is an important part of Korean food.

Those that know me well know my thoughts on octopus…. that trip and seeing how many octopuses were trying to escape just confirmed my theory that they will one day take over the world and when they do, I’m gonna be like “I didn’t eat you!”

Henry 44

Henry

His man crush of the moment is on Henry because he has been watching him in that TV show (male celebrities experience being in the army).

One of the things I like about Korea and Korean guys is that they can openly show affection for other men without feeling like they are compromising their masculinity. They compliment each others’ appearances and show physical affection easily. It’s normal to have what we may call a crush on another man, but in a platonic way. A good example of this is seeing how excited Kim Woo Bin was when G-Dragon called him.

I’ve definitely seen a clash of cultures before when I’ve seen Korean men turn to Australian men and say “You are very handsome”. Completely normal for a Korean men to say that, but it’s not something Aussie guys are used to hearing from straight men and they can feel a bit uncomfortable.

While I was making this comic my husband stopped me in the middle of it because he wanted to show me another video of Henry…

Cherry Blossoms 8

Cherry Blossoms

We went and saw some cherry blossoms with some friends and when you go in a group it’s not as romantic… I’m sure it would have been super romantic when we were in the excitement of the start of a relationship. My husband acknowledged this when I said it but didn’t even look up from instagraming! Married life….haha. But really he gave me a rose the other day so he does definitely make an effort.

There are cherry blossoms all over Korea but the ones in concentrated areas are where everyone goes to see them. Where we went there was a mini festival set up. There were also views of the mountains and the sea, so it was extra nice. The wife of my husband’s best friend pointed out which way we had to walk because she’d been there before. This led to her husband asking, “Did you come here before with another man?!” Yup, she had… she’d been there with an exboyfriend. Her husband exaggerated his shock and said to their baby, “Your mother came here with another man!”

There are so many couples about when there are cherry blossoms. It’s so pretty and romantic, especially when the wind blows and the petals blow around like snow. We did film our trip so we’ll have a video up about it soon!

BB Cream 27

BB Cream

One of the things I really like about Korea is there isn’t the same obsession with masculinity as the West, and masculinity is often defined in a different way  to Western Culture. BB Cream is a great product in Korea and BB Creams here have many uses other than just a foundation and are usually an all in one product. Whitening, blemish treatment, serum, sunscreen, moisturiser, as well as coverage. Unfortunately most BB Creams from Western companies are just tinted moisturisers and don’t have the benefits of Korean BB Creams. Beware of those ones.

My husband wears BB Cream when we film videos and occasionally when we have to go to an event or something. He doesn’t wear it every day, and wears one designed for men. He is pretty lazy about putting it on, but luckily BB Creams tend to adjust to match skin tone. He should do it in front of a mirror though! He puts it on the same way Aussie guys slap on sunscreen at the beach. I think if it ever became really normal and socially acceptable for men to wear BB Cream in Australia they’d probably do it that way as well! Put some in their hands and then rub vigorously over the face for 5 seconds.

Many people comment on how great Korean people’s skin looks, especially Kpop stars. Korean people do take care of their skin and do a lot of treatments on their skin, but that’s only part of it. BB Cream and makeup play a huge role and Kpop stars wear a lot of makeup! Sorry to burst any bubbles there. Your oppas are wearing so much makeup… it’s not that they are completely flawless..

Is this milk okay? 13

is this milk okay?

This was so funny to my parents-in-law because I had been speaking to my husband and I used informal language, but because of the timing it sounded like I had replied to my father-in-law with informal language which is really rude! They knew that I hadn’t done that on purpose but because it sounded like I had, they laughed so hard. Especially because my father-in-law had softly said, “It’s okay” and then I had yelled, “It’s not okay!!!”

It’s been the running joke in the house for a few days. Every time I walk into the room my parents-in-law say, “안괜찮아!”

At least I made them laugh!

Feeding 44

FEEDING

This is an interesting cultural difference if you are from a western country where you probably haven’t had someone feed you since you were a child. I’ve had control of how much food I put in my mouth at once for most of my life, especially because a lot of the time I’ve eaten with a knife and fork and can cut things quite small. I often have trouble fitting things like gimbap or samgyupsal wrapped up in lettuce in my mouth. So when someone else does it to me, I often find it really difficult.

However, as my husband keeps pointing out to me, it’s seen as a loving gesture. People don’t do it to people they don’t like. When we were out at a galbi restaurant recently he got me to do it to his parents, insisting that is really nice for them. For me, I just felt like I was invading their personal space, so that is something I will have to get used to. Sometimes it is difficult because even though it’s a nice gesture, you don’t actually want to eat the thing they are putting in your mouth, and other times it’s just the shock when you aren’t expecting it… or maybe it’s just the way my husband does the surprise ram food into my mouth? If you are married to a Korean, do you find this difficult as well?

I have started getting used to it, but I do have those almost choking moments! And in that moment I feel like I’d rather die than spit out any food in front of people…

Unexpected 11

Unexpected

For Lunar New Year we went up a small mountain to visit my husband’s family’s ancestral graves. It was quite serious and solemn, so it was completely bizarre to see that squirrels have been using one of the burial mounds as a place for their nuts! There was a hole with small pieces of branches around it, which my father-in-law had to fix.

We were in the middle of the woods up a mountain in winter and even though I knew we weren’t far from the town it still felt very isolated. It didn’t help that I started thinking about the Barrow-wights in the Fellowship of the Ring (the book not the movie) when I saw the hole that had been made. I’m great at freaking myself out.

Hanbok 19

Hanbok

When I got the hanbok the women in the hanbok store told me that I shouldn’t eat while wearing it. I can see why, because they are very expensive!

This may be one of the reasons why he refused to have one made for him, because he would have to be careful and not eat much in it. Lots of people asked on the social media why he wasn’t wearing one, and there are a few reasons. They are expensive and he didn’t want his parents to pay for it. Also, hanboks for men are less flattering and not that many people actually wear them these days. In fact, besides from a few children I was the only one here wearing one. Also, when he wore one at our traditional wedding, his pants kept falling down! So he has embarrassing memories of wearing one.

I still think he should own one though, what do you think?

One problem I had on Lunar New Year was not wanting to eat for fear of dropping something on my hanbok, but then everyone was urging me to eat at the same time. I ate some watermelon and some dripped onto it and I silently was like “Noooooo!” and quickly covered it so no one could see. I didn’t eat again until the dinner when I could take it off.

Immigration Four 9

Immigration Four

Korea, like many other Asian countries, has a superstition about 4 because it sounds similar to the word for death (in Sino-Korean).

Of course tetraphobia is not the only thing needed for living in Korea. I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am that I visited Korea many times before moving here, because it has made the transition a lot easier. If I had never been to Korea before, I would be very overwhelmed. Even more so because we are in a rural area and not a city. I’m sure there will be hard times ahead though.

My visa was extended easily enough thankfully. The visa system here is different to the Australian system. I came to Korea with a 3 month partner visa which has now been extended to 1 year. We just extend again when we need to.

New Haircut 34

New haircut

He gets really shy about compliments because I don’t think he has actually received that many in his life. He was never the handsome guy so it’s strange for him that people now compliment him. He doesn’t really fit into the  general Korean girls’ standard of beauty so when international people say something like, “You look like this actor” or “You look like this Kpop star” he gets embarrassed and says he hopes Korean girls don’t see those comments because he dreads to see their reactions.

For example, last night he was playing poker with my brother and some Korean girls and I walked in and affectionately called him a “handsome boy” because I like his new haircut. A Korean girl there immediately reacted with such disdain, “Handsome boy???” He then pointed out that his wife is allowed to call him a handsome boy regardless of what anyone else thinks!

Two Towels 10

2 towels

Hopefully you have seen this comic and know what my husband was trying to do and why he didn’t bring a towel. This time my brother and I were swimming and I didn’t think my husband was getting in the pool, so I didn’t make sure he had a towel. He joined us later and was still planning on using my towel! Luckily my brother knew what he was trying to do!

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