Here is one difference between how Hugh and I take photos of ourselves for Instagram. I take a photo, might put a filter on it and add some stickers… that’s it (occasionally I might just erase a blemish). Hugh takes lots and lots of photos and then picks the best one. He goes to the beauty editor in an app and fiddles with it, turning up the brightness and smoothing everything out. He goes through with the concealer brush tool as well. He sometimes even slims down his face and makes his eyes bigger. THEN he’ll put a filter on it. Yes he is more of a teenage girl than me. I know it’s common all around the world to change how you look in photos, but it’s a big thing in Korea.
I’m always surprised at how photoshopped many Koreans’ passport photos are. We don’t even really have that option in Australia if you do it the normal way. You go to the post office, they take your photo. It looks terrible, but that’s normal, and then you put it into your application right away. When you get your passport the photo now looks even more terrible, but is probably an accurate representation of how you look getting off a 10 hour flight anyway.
I’ve heard that some Korean people have actually had trouble getting through customs because their passport photo had been photoshopped too much.
Do you think people just expect online photos to be photoshopped now? And that of course people look great online and it’s not surprising when you meet people in real life and they don’t look anywhere near as good? Will our minds just adjust to that?
We were at a Japanese restaurant the other day so the chopsticks were bigger and rounder than Korean metal ones. I felt very clumsy using them. Korean ones can be a pain to get used to, because they are flat and small, but once you can use them well it feels more precise and it’s hard to switch back.
He also didn’t want to go swimming because the water was cold and he is a baby. It was nice and refreshing for me though! Nice fresh mountain water. I need swimming buddies.
(If you are wondering why he didn’t just go naked, we were with his sister and friends).
We answer your questions about Korean dramas. There is always lots more to say on all these topics, but never enough time. If you’d like us to elaborate more on a certain answer just leave a comment and we’ll try to reply.
Some extra thoughts:
I really do feel that schools can vary a lot based on where the school is and the type of school. Hugh definitely had a more wild time at school than I did, even though I went to school in Australia. His school was considered more of a technical high school where students weren’t going to go to top universities anyway. He literally drank alcohol on school grounds. In this area we can see that teenagers are probably way more promiscuous too. We’ve been in restaurants where teenagers next to us were talking about sexual things in a very crass way. Compare that to many other schools where people are very shy around the opposite sex. Especially if someone goes to an all boys school, or all girls school. When we did this video with Jongdae he talked about just never even having the opportunity to meet girls. Hugh says lack of students and money means that the highschool in this area was co-ed and there was less pressure on students to study hard, so teenagers end up being…. teenagers. There is some truth in teenagers in dramas being ridiculously awkward, but when people in their 20’s are like that, it’s super unrealistic.
Also, of course not every guy is going to be doing an “event” for his girlfriend, but it’s completely normal if a guy does. Korea also has that push and pull idea with dating which means that guys are expected to be very persistent if they really like the girl.
Were any of these answers in the video surprising to you?
New Nicholalala episode is up! (Even if you saw this one on the Challenge League earlier this year, it’s a bit different now).
Hope you guys are enjoying these webtoons! As always you can like, share and comment if you want to. The Nicholalala webtoon is currently at number 10 in the Slice of Life category on Line Webtoon thanks to you guys! If you haven’t given me a rating yet you can here.
This happens sometimes… Actually I always have back up comic ideas but it still has to be the right time or fit into our schedule. For example, a comic that takes half an hour to draw is fine, but one that is a more complex idea and needs more panels and backgrounds, that can take several hours and may not fit into our schedule on that day.
That’s the way inspiration can be sometimes. In one day I can have many comic ideas and other days there is tumbleweed blowing across my mind.
When we first saw them building this coffee shop we were so excited because it meant there was finally somewhere local to go! If we want to go to a cafe we have to travel by bus for 20 minutes to Jinju. Not something we can do all the time.
There are technically two other cafes in this area, but one of them is dodgy and overpriced, and built next to a rubbish dump! It’s not really a coffee shop and doesn’t have that atmosphere. You have to go up stairs to the second level and apparently the owner does “face reading” (fortune telling by looking at someone’s face) as well. There is another cafe that is small but decent, however it’s still not the Korean coffee shop vibe that we like in cities.
So of course we had to explain what dabang coffee shops are. They are everywhere! No thought to design or atmosphere, it’s usually just old tables and chairs in rundown buildings. Not all, but a lot of them have varying levels of prostitution. They deliver coffee and only hire women, so the deal is that men who order coffee can also pay for something extra. The line of what is prostitution in Korea is so blurry. Things vary from women being paid to talk to men while serving them to of course all the way through to selling their bodies. Some dabangs have rooms upstairs for that. That’s why it’s mostly old men at these places. Prostitution in Korea is everywhere but everyone turns a blind eye. So you can see why we don’t ever go to those types of coffee places.
Those that watched the drama Modern Farmer might remember a scene where the woman opens a Ediya coffee shop in town. Ediya being a big proper coffee shop brand, but two men come in and one grabs her, insinuating that he wanted more from her. Completely disgusting and unacceptable behaviour in a real coffee shop (or anywhere in my personal opinion), but not completely unrealistic if you know what it’s like in countryside areas.
This new real coffee shop is such a good thing here! There is such a community vibe to it and it’s been wonderful to see that many older women have somewhere to go and talk. The prices are half what city prices are but it has free wifi and all the stuff you expect from city cafes in Korea (wonder if I can get them to add chai latte to the menu though).
Something that is sad about living in the Korean countryside is that a lot of places are dying. Our village certainly is. Young people have all moved away. But Wonji, the town next to us is actually growing. It’s a beautiful location, apartment prices are cheap, so young families are moving there to live. This coffee shop opening is a symbol of life coming back to this area.
Living in the countryside definitely makes me appreciate the small things in life.
Also, the coffee shop is run by someone in the Gwon family, so a distant relative of ours. Hugh complained that he wanted a discount but I think if the coffee shop gives out discounts for all Gwons they would have to give discounts to pretty much everyone here… many many Gwons in this area.
He likes to think I’m such a baby and so helpless so it’s funny to turn it back on him.
Also it’s not just about being forgetful, it’s because once I’ve got my shoes on, I can’t go back inside! I’m not Korean and haven’t mastered the getting shoes on in 2 seconds thing. It’s such a hassle having to take my shoes off again, go back inside and get whatever I forgot and then put my shoes back on.
In Sydney we had a no shoes inside rule as well, but we’d ignore it if we had to run and get something quickly. I’ll get in big trouble if my inlaws see me do that though.
We still have a few vlogs from when we were in Australia. We’ve been a bit slow editing them, but here is when we went to SBS PopAsia for an interview and then had dinner with Han and Sophie and Alice.
New Nicholalala Webtoon episode up on Line Webtoon!
This episode is a new one that has not been on the Challenge League. If you think you know the story of how we met, THINK AGAIN!
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As I’ve mentioned before, Hugh’s sister is back from her working holiday in Australia. It’s normal for women to live with their parents until they get married in Korea. Hugh’s sister gets married in a few months so he only has a little bit more time to torment her at home, but he is making the most of it.
All the bugs are back now that it’s getting warmer. I hate it! They are just so annoying. I swear that Korean flies and spiders and bugs are just way more annoying than Australian ones.
Korea is an awesome place, but how some people in the international Kpop and Kdrama communities talk about Korea can more harm than good. Of course Korean tourism plays a part as well. We’ve heard of people coming to Korea and expecting to meet a rich handsome guy exactly like in a drama and when that doesn’t happen, they go back to their own country angry and disappointed and hating Korea. We get a lot of emails and messages, and many of them are worrying to us because of the high pedestal some people place Korea on. I know that many of you have a very balanced view of Korea, so you might be surprised that there are people with such extreme ideas about Korea, but we are seeing it more and more. In particular, I think people from countries where they may lack a sufficient education are particularly at risk, as they lack the skills to research and understand on their own. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamor that is presented internationally about Korea, which can lead to disappointment in the long run.
For international Kpop fans, they may be surprised to hear how little people actually listen to Kpop. There are the huge groups that people know about, but mostly Kpop is for teenage girls, and even then those girls will have one favourite group, not several. It’s odd to many Koreans when they see international Kpop fans liking so many groups at the same time. It may be hard for some fans to hear but your favourite Kpop group may attract very little attention in Korea. That’s why some Kpop stars go onto TV shows, because it’s a much bigger platform for them to attract attention that may trickle down to the Kpop group they are in. That’s not to say that there is no Kpop in Korea, you’ll hear it all the time, being played in stores and you’ll see the bigger groups in advertising and of course you may have the chance to go to a concert, but Korea is not magical Kpop land.
We talked about many other things in this video but had to cut a lot. One thing we had to cut but will talk about later is how the international community talks about Korean military service and the problems with that.
Korean society really caters to people staying out all night. There are many restaurants that are open all night and things to do well into the early hours of the morning, like noraebang (karaoke). Because we live in the countryside we either have to make sure we get the last bus at 11pm from Jinju or stay out all night. There is the option of getting a taxi, but it’s about $20 and that just seems like too much in Korea (though the same trip in Australia would be about $60!).
Hugh is not as young as he once was though, and all nighters can catch up on him, though he does a lot better than I do. I’m amazed when he comes home at 8am and then has to help his parents on the farm right away.
Lots of people have huge nights and go straight to work in the morning in Korea as well, though of course there may be consequences… like Hugh’s friend who is a hairdresser and was still drunk in the morning when she went to work and managed to cut her own fingers. Don’t think I’ll get her to cut my hair.
Due to my health problems and constant battling with fatigue, it is a part of Korea that I find difficult to keep up with. When you go out with friends for dinner, it’s not like in Australia where you have dinner and drinks and then can be home by 10pm! Instead, in Korea, you don’t just go to one restaurant, it’s normal to go to 3 or 4 and to stay out really late. I sometimes have to avoid social situations simply because I know I will be wrecked for days if I spend that much time out.