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Busan Slut Walk Sat. Aug. 31, 6-7 PM, Seomyeon

TONIGHT! Busan Slut Walk Sat. Aug. 31, 6-7 PM, Seomyeon
This flyer was created by the event's organizers: Don't Do That


Exploring the Hidden Market Streets of Euljiro

Before the days of discount supermarkets and department stores, markets were the primary locales for shopping, trading, and gossiping in Korea’s major cities.  Sadly, due to rapid modernization and an increase in more convenient shopping facilities over the past few decades, traditional markets have continuously lost patronage and are quickly diminishing in size and number.  While efforts are being made to preserve them, citizens predict that they will cease to exist in the next twenty years.

Although Seoul is abundant with must-see destinations and attractions, few of them provide an authentic glimpse into Korean culture as well as the city’s traditional markets.   Recently, I went on a self-guided walking tour through the maze of markets in Euljiro, central Seoul, for an insightful look into the daily lives of the Korean working class.

Korean Mail-order-bride Syndicate Caught in the Philippines

A fellow blogger, Chris Palasz of An American in Korea sent me this news link:

Philippine authorities have rescued 29 women after busting a mail-order bride business and arresting two South Koreans and their four local partners, a police official said Thursday.

Police raided a house Wednesday in Bacoor city near Manila used by the syndicate and found the women, including a 16-year-old girl, said Chief Superintendent Reginald Villasanta, executive director of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.

The syndicate collects thousands of dollars in fees from Korean men seeking Filipino wives, telling them falsely that the money will go to the women’s families, Villasanta said.

The Philippine embassy in Seoul has reported receiving many complaints from Filipino womenabused by their Korean husbands and whose marriages have ended in abandonment or divorce.

It said that the women, who were given false information about their husbands’ family backgrounds, were wed through illegal “marriage brokers” in the Philippines, the embassy said in a statement.

Villasanta said the police were tipped off by victims. He did not give details of the police operation.

He said the suspects will be charged with violating the human trafficking law, which carries a 20-year prison term, and another law that prohibits mail-order brides, punishable by six years in prison.

Read more here: www.bellinghamherald.com

I am sharing this news with my FKWL readers to warn Filipinas and other foreigners who are planning to marry a Korean to be cautious of illegal matchmakers (or all matchmakers, in general).

Marrying someone from a different country OUT OF LOVE is already difficult. What more if you marry someone from a different country who is a total stranger, someone whom you met through a matchmaking agency and have known after only a couple of days?

In the Philippines, matchmaking is illegal. I have discussed this in a previous post, Why I Married a Korean. Let me reiterate the Anti-Mail-Order Bride Law (Republic Act 6955 Section 2):

It is hereby declared unlawful:

(a) For a person, natural or juridical, association, club or any other entity to commit, directly or indirectly, any of the following acts:

(1) To establish or carry on a business which has for its purpose the matching of Filipino women for marriage to foreign nationals either on a mail-order basis or through personal introduction;

(2) To advertise, publish, print or distribute or cause the advertisement, publication, printing or distribution of any brochure, flier, or any propaganda material calculated to promote the prohibited acts in the preceding subparagraph;

(3) To solicit, enlist or in any manner attract or induce any Filipino woman to become a member in any club or association whose objective is to match women for marriage to foreign nationals either on a mail-order basis or through personal introduction for a fee.

Though it is illegal in my country, Korean matchmakers find ways to scout for brides, mostly from poor families. These women are promised an affluent life in South Korea, but often fall victims to domestic violence or end up having unhappy marriages.


High Kicks and Wood Breaking at Arirang Taekwondo

When I graduated from high school, I thought my days of field trips were long gone.  So, when I was told at the beginning of the semester that my Sogang University classmates and I would be participating in an off-campus "cultural experience" this past week, I got a little bit excited, mostly because it would be a day off from studying.  Considering I've lived in Korea for about four years now, I figured we'd be going to a museum or on an outing to a palace, things I've done many times before.  So, I was surprised and somewhat hesitant when I was told that we would be learning Taekwondo.

Foreign Spouses to Take Korean Language Test for Marriage Visa

Photo from Koreatimes, May 29th, 2013

Photo from Koreatimes, May 29th, 2013

Starting next year, foreign spouses will be required to take a Korean Language test when applying for a marriage visa. As of now, there is no rule requiring foreign spouses to take the Korean Language test, but because there have been many reports of interracial marriages ending up in divorce and several cases of domestic violence and marital problems caused by language barrier and cultural differences, theMinistry of Justice is implementing stringent language requirements.

According to the Koreatimes, the test will be given during a visa interview. If you have acquired the beginner level certificate of the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK), the interview will be waived. To pass Level 1 of TOPIK, you should be able to understand and construct simple sentences for practical writing and daily life (such as introducing yourself, greeting, shopping and ordering at a restaurant) using 800 basic vocabulary words and simple sentence structures in Korean. To obtain Level 2, you should be able to comprehend and express common and personal topics (such as schedules, hobbies and appointments) using 1,500 to 2,000 words and more basic grammar structures, as well as distinguish between formal and informal use of the Korean language. If you want to know more about TOPIK, you may visit topikguide.com.


Let Me Tell You Something about My Korean Parents-in-law


The Buzz on Seoul's Urban Beekeepers

On a warm spring afternoon, Jin Park, a 32 year old Korean citizen, guides me to our destination on Nodeul-seom, a seemingly unremarkable island smack dab in the middle of Seoul's Han River.  Park looks like any other guy his age, donned in cargo pants and a navy hoodie.  Those passing him probably suspect he designs software, works for a company, or, perhaps is still even a student.  It's not until we reach the far end of the island that Park reveals he is quite different than the rest of his city-dwelling peers.  As he takes off his baseball cap and replaces it with a veiled hat, he makes it evident that there is a new subculture emerging in the Korean capital: urban beekeeping.

Not “Gay” Lovers, Just Friends


App Guide to Korean Culture – My First App on Google Play

The past few days I have been spent my time developing this app on Korean culture and learning Android at the same time. Developing this app has been a challenging and a fruitful experience for me. Finally I have managed to upload it on Google Play. I request you to download this app on your android device and experience it, rate it and review it on Google Play. Since this is my first attempt at developing the app I am sure I might have left a lot to be desired. So I request you to let me know your suggestions on improvement and enhancement of the app in the comment section below.

App Guide to Korean Culture – The Curtain Raiser.

App Guide to Korean Culture


Tong-in Market Dosirak Cafe: The Ultimate Korean Lunch Box

When I was in elementary school, I refused to anything that the school cafeteria spit out.  I was an extremely picky eater and because of this, my mom had no choice but to prepare a lunch box for me everyday.  I would get so excited to see what she had packed at lunch time: a crust-less turkey sandwich, string cheese, a bunch of grapes, pasta salad.  On a really good day, I'd find a Lunchable waiting for me, along with a note wishing me luck on whatever test I'd be taking that day.  My lunchbox meals were not just food... they were special moments in my day, provided courtesy of my thoughtful mother.

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