My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Category: Culture (page 21 of 22)

Traditional and modern Korean culture.

Korean Drama Arm Grab

Arm Grab

I have no idea why they do this… I guess just cultural difference where it’s completely fine to grab someone’s arm or wrist like that and drag them in the direction you want to go. If an Australian guy did this to me I would assume he was really angry with me and I’d likely get defensive and slap him. I’ve said a few times to my husband that when he does it to me in Australia it does kinda look like he is an abusive husband dragging me somewhere!

But like many things, it’s just different in Korea and this type of movement is shown a lot in Korean drama. Either dragging the girl somewhere to talk or pulling her in for a kiss.

All my comics are about real things that happened and the above one is no exception So although my husband does do the arm grab thing it is usually in a mundane situation like that. No romantic kisses or dramatic confessions.

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One of the many differences between English and Korean is how direct you are to people. The Korean language has a lot of ambiguity and people often don’t say exactly what they mean. Whereas in English we can be very clear and say exactly what we mean and it’s socially acceptable to speak like that as well. So while native Korean speakers can usually understand each other because they understand the subtleness of the language, it can be hard for someone learning the language.

What is also hard is when a Korean person speaks with the ambiguity of the Korean language but in English!

Sometimes my direct questions are answered this way too often and I can get a bit annoyed!

One time I asked my Korean teacher about this and he said, “If your husband says ‘maybe’ he probably means no.”

Then I asked my husband and he said, “I usually mean yes.”

See? Even Koreans can’t agree on it!

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Cup of Tea

Not something I do a lot but starting to realise why some Korean girls do it… hehehe.

‘Oppa’ is the respectful term used by girls for a guy who is older than them. I don’t usually call my husband that because I use other names couples can use. Because of the popularity of Korean dramas a lot of international fans seem to think that ‘oppa’ is always used by a girl who is in love or in a relationship with the older guy. Not always. It was and still is a normal respectful term to use to a guy who is older than you. It literally means ‘older brother’. I only use it at times where I want to be extra respectful.

Being cutesy like that is called ‘aegyo’ and a big warning here: if you have a Korean partner and you want to try being aegyo it may not work! A lot of guys really hate this and one of their reasons for seeking out a non-Korean partner could be because they want to date someone who does not do this. So proceed carefully!

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Watching Pride and Prejudice

I love all things Jane Austen but Jane Austen books and adaptations aren’t as popular in South Korea as they are in some other countries. My husband didn’t have much of an idea about what I was talking about when I first started explaining the phenomenon of Jane Austen. This ended up to being to my advantage though. Too often males in western countries can take an instant disliking to anything Jane Austen simply because they have heard it’s something ‘girly’ and old fashioned for women. There are lots of amazing and sensible men who enjoy all things Jane Austen but by far women outnumber men.

I even had a previous boyfriend use Jane Austen as a reason to break up with me (though among other reasons) because he had an irrational fear that I would force him to attend the Jane Austen Festival and dress up in costume. I had no intention of doing that but he had such ridiculous ideas in his head that he refused to listen.

So I was very happy when my husband had no problems with sitting down and watching Pride and Prejudice with me. He wasn’t very familiar with the storyline so it was nice to see someone experience Jane Austen for the first time. He is usually quite expressive and vocal when watching movies and dramas and this was no exception.

Pride and PrejudiceThe Wickham and Lydia storyline quite upset him. He also watched ‘Lost in Austen’ and had quite a dramatic reaction to the ending which I may make a comic of another time.


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Ice Mum

Something we can never agree on is how to respect and speak to parents. Because my husband comes from a hierarchical society it is ingrained in him to always be respectful to his parents and not to disagree with them. Whereas I come from a society that is more relaxed about parent/children relationships and I will openly disagree with and contradict my parents. I have a good relationship with my parents but some things I may do or say my husband sees as disrespect. He has trouble understanding this sometimes.

This incident however, was actually one of those times where I was not doing anything that could be seen as disrespectful but he still thought I was! And he thought that for many months!

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Changdeokgung Palace

Warning: don’t ask my husband questions at historical sites as he will just make shit up.

Have you visited Changdeokgung or any of the other palaces in Korea?


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Jokduri and yeonji gonji

Why does the bride wear that thing on her head and have red dots on her cheeks in a traditional Korean wedding?

I think I’m smiling through the pain in the above photo! It was not at all comfortable and it was a hot day.

The crown is called a jokduri. It was worn by married women on formal days and for wedding days. At the end of the Joseon Dynasty these were very popular and quite extravagant. They are made with black silk, padded with cotton and decorated with embroidery and other accessories. In modern Korea you are only likely to see them at a traditional wedding ceremony.

Originally they were created by Mongolian women for when they went outside. The Korean version is smaller than the original Mongolian version.

The red dots are called yeonji gonji and they can either be drawn or painted on or be cut out pieces of paper that are stuck on. Mine were literally red stickers! Red is believed to protect against evil so the red dots on a bride’s cheeks are believed to protect her from evil spirits.

I also had fake eyelashes on. The makeup artist told me that fake eyelashes are very important in a Korean wedding ceremony but I don’t think that is tradition!

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