In Korea

KOREAN SLANG CHALLENGE 0

When our good friend Sara (SeoulSarang) was in Korea a few months back, Hugh challenged her to guess the meanings of these new Korean slang words.

Have you heard any of them before?

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SURPRISE COW 1

Just a quick video we filmed a few months ago in the Korean countryside. These bulls were being exercised while we happened to be walking through our village. We didn’t expect to see them on the road like this.

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KOREAN PET NAMES 2

We talk about Korean pet names! We cover the most basic ones (and some new funny ones) but there are more talked about on this blog here.

What are the most common pet names in your country?

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Sunrise on Jirisan 0

Hugh vlogged hiking up Jiri Mountain to see the sunrise!

The reason why I didn’t go was because of all my health problems, my body wouldn’t handle hiking all the way up there. Hugh and his friends stayed with his friend who is a ranger on the mountain, but usually people stay in that one big cabin and sleep on the floor right next to each other. It’s quite cramped! Hiking is an activity that middle aged people love in Korea, so usually it’s all ahjummas and ahjussis hiking up mountains in Korea.

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WE VISIT NAVER WEBTOONS AND LINE 0

This was a really interesting day because we got to visit Naver and Line. For those that aren’t aware, Naver is the Korean equivalent of Google, not only a search portal but other things like webtoons (webcomics). Naver Webtoons are all in Korean, but LINE Webtoon is the English site for Naver webtoons and that’s where I am a featured artist with my webtoon Nicholalala.

It was really cool to see inside of Naver and the floor for both the Korean and English webtoons. The spaces available to the public are super nice, so check them out if you are in that area (Green Factory, Bundang).

Thank you to David and Jenny for showing us around!

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Cutest Pension and Ganghwado Mudflats 1

This video was not planned, we just happened to go to this pension with friends who were getting wedding photos taken. We discovered this pension was so nice and really adorable so we decided to make a video. Pension, which is the Konglish name for this type of accommodation vary wildly in Korea, so this was definitely more of an upmarket one. It is also a ‘healing’ pension, which means that it’s not the type of place for big groups of people to go and be loud and BBQ. It’s for couples or families to have some quiet time, enjoy the countryside and relax and maybe do some crafts.

인천광역시 강화군 길상면 해안남로474번길 19 가족펜션
지번 인천광역시 강화군 길상면 선두리 1055-17
전화번호 032-937-3525

19, Haeannam-ro 474beon-gil, Gilsang-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon, Korea

 

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I Seoul U 19

I Seoul u

You might have heard about Seoul’s new slogan “I.Seoul.u” and you’ve probably seen the ridicule of it. For good reason! It’s pretty bad… what is that even supposed to mean?

Foreigners living in Korea are often frustrated with the terrible English in professional settings. English that could easily be fixed but isn’t. It can be puzzling when so many young people speak English well and there is this desire to speak English, why isn’t more care taken with English? From what we can tell is that the people usually in positions of power are older and more arrogant. We’ve heard stories of people working in companies where they are overruled by bosses who have less English skills than them.

We’ve also heard from insiders that this was the situation with this slogan too. Without naming anyone, someone in power was already set on the “I.Seoul.u” slogan before it even went to a vote, and so those connected with this were not surprised that it was the one chosen because someone at the top made sure it was. Also reports have come out from foreigners at the dinner where there was a “vote” that they were told it had already been chosen. I think we can assume that no English speaker voted freely on this slogan.

It’s such a shame. Other countries have good slogans that actually make sense, but Korea has such a reputation for inane, ridiculous and confusing slogans. It’s really not the right way to attract tourists.

The only benefit has been that at least people are talking about it, but I’m not sure if it’s prompting anyone to visit Korea. Korean tourism advertising constantly has problems and those in charge obviously don’t have the knowledge of what foreigners might actually be looking for. And can someone please tell me why there are buses in Seoul that say “Visit Seoul!” on the side of them? If someone is reading that… they are already in Seoul…

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Chuseok Food 6

Chuseok Food

Like in most other countries, the preparation of holiday food is done by women in Korean culture. Even in Australia there tends to be more traditional roles in a lot of families on holidays but it’s more obviously defined in Korea. With my mother-in-law and sister-in-law I helped prepare all the fried food for Chuseok. Koreans don’t mind eating fried food cold so it’s food that is supposed to last for a while. Because so much has to be prepared, it takes hours and hours and my body does not enjoy sitting on the floor for that long. So I had to roll my eyes at Hugh exclaiming his difficulty of not being able to choose what to eat.

Since we have an intercultural relationship I expressed some of my Australianess and told him that if he is not helping with the cooking and is just lazing around, he should clean up outside and make the front of the house look nice for Chuseok, which he did.

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Chuseok in Korea 4

Chuseok is an important holiday in Korea. Everyone is expected to go back to their ancestral home towns (or wherever their family is) which means millions of people have to travel at once. The traffic is horrendous and the public transportation is completely booked out. Luckily for us, we are already where we need to be! One advantage of living in the countryside.

In this video we show a few snapshots over two days. We prepare food for the ancestral memorial service in the morning (that food gets eaten by everyone later) and have many relatives visit.  Since it’s a ‘harvest festival’ holiday we wanted to show the countryside changing around us now that it’s Autumn. Hanbok (traditional clothing) is not necessary anymore, but is nice to wear which is why I put mine on in the evening.

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Traditional Wedding – 전통혼례 가마 5

Traditional korean wedding

I made this comic quite a while ago but it was never posted because it was supposed to go in the book (for the Korean market). Since we are now changing the format of the book a lot (one of the reasons why it’s taking so long) I can post it on here.

Traditional weddings are rarely done these days in Korea unfortunately, but I’m glad we had one. We were carried in ‘gamas’ by our friends, which gave Hugh’s friends the chance to complain about how heavy he is!

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STRAWBERRY SEASON IS COMING! 2

This video shows the farm getting ready for strawberry season (November to May). While other produce is dying off as the weather gets cooler, the strawberry plants are getting ready to produce super sweet strawberries.

Strawberries in Korea are very sweet but my parents-in-law’s strawberries are particularly sweet because they put a lot of effort into making sure they are extra sweet. Some other farms choose quantity over quality so their strawberries are not as sweet: be careful! The strawberries from our farm end up in department stores in Gangnam, but of course the middle man takes a big cut. The strawberries go to market first before department stores. It would be great if there was a way to sell directly and get a bigger profit but it’s not really that possible, because strawberries expire quickly and it’s a whole other business, on top of working on the farm, to do that. We may be selling some directly to some cafes and restaurants who order a lot, but the majority go to be auctioned off and then sent to department stores. The boxes usually have my father-in-law’s name on them too. Sancheong (our region) strawberries are now known to be the best in Korea, sometimes cafes have signs boasting that they have desserts with Sancheong strawberries.

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Pigs 10

Pigs

We had just come back from Seoul when he said this. I was so disappointed that there wasn’t little piggys on the farm. But it’s funny because I start to make mistakes too. After being in Korea for so long, in English I do have problems with some sounds that should be natural for me but are difficult for Koreans. I find it harder to differentiate between B and V now. F and P is still okay for me, but for Hugh, even speaking English every day, it still trips him up.

 

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Picnic Set 3

Picnic

If I’d taken a second to look closer I would have recognised what it was, but I wasn’t paying very much attention. Chuseok, which is one of the big holidays in Korea, is coming soon, so places like E-mart have these types of things prominently displayed.

An important part of the Chuseok holiday is going to where ancestor burial mounds are and paying respects and tidying up the graves. There is a ceremony with some food and drink, so this type of set makes it easier and nicer. It’s plastic and portable and easy enough to lug up a hill or mountain. While we have the proper set for the ceremony done in the morning inside the home, I’ve only seen paper cups used up where the burial mounds are. Obviously someone has realised there is a market for a portable set that is easy to carry.

When we post photos online of the food set up in the morning on holidays like this, people are always curious… what happens to all the food?! We eat it! That’s one of the interesting things about this tradition. The food is put out symbolically for the ancestors (about four generations back) but then we eat it all over the holiday. It’s important to remember family members who have passed on. I find it quite moving, especially when we pay respects to Hugh’s grandfather who loved him dearly but died when Hugh was still young.

 

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Costco in Korea 3

Yesterday Hugh went to the Costco in Busan. It was the first time he’d been to a Costco so he made a video.

 

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Geoje Island 거제도 5

I was still recovering from surgery here so not up to doing much filming. This year, health problems and busy schedules have really prevented us from filming everything we want to but it has lead to Hugh’s decision that he is going to film a lot more for you guys. That will give me more time for the comics and webtoons, while still having lots of videos on this channel. Although he is a social butterfly in real life (and never stops talking haha) he has always been much shyer on camera. Hopefully he will become more confident now, so please encourage him!

Geojedo ‘Theme Museum’ was kinda brilliant in its weirdness. There was Greek mythology on the outside, lots of Korean modern history objects inside, and then suddenly random stuff from movies…. but older movies from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I have a feeling it’s a museum where museum objects go to retire… they just take everything!

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