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Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea

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Photographer: Elijah Hail

The Term:

Riding the White Horse in Korea

I read every Korean blog Google populated in the first few pages and happened upon the concept of “riding the white horse in Korea”.  What this meant was that there were certain locals in Korea who preferred socializing with foreigners, but only as a novelty.  In less politically correct terms, this typically referred to a Korean man wanting to have sex with an All-American-looking woman.  There are many Koreans (male and female) who do not subscribe to the homogeneous ideologies of this small nation.  There are many Koreans who don’t make fetishes of particular races.  I have several North American friends who are dating or who are married to wonderful Korean men.  This article is part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date, and is not about those people.

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Photographer: Trevor Paterson

A Horseless Carriage

In my year in Busan, I met and socialized with a ton of Koreans in our little neighbourhood of Hwamyeong.  On Friday nights we played guitar, a friend from a more central location brought a cajon, and we sang outside the local convenience store while eating instant ramyeon and drinking soju and/or beer.  There was never a time I felt like I was singled out as a caucasian North-American.  We were friends who enjoyed playing music together.  On the other hand, there were plenty of caucasian males who would mess around with anyone they could, but would exclusively date Korean women.  This is the North-American equivalent/opposite of what we’ll call “the local” from this point on.  Seoul was a different dating story…

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Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

The Local

“The local” is chasing the white horse in Korea.  He just wants to screw date someone foreign he can show off to his friends.  As a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found that, more often than not, this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent.  I don’t believe a significant other should be a status symbol.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier people men woman wet market basket meat fish utensil refrigrator signage pail lamp light korea
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

Where (not) to meet The Local

Korean men frequently try to pick up at events called “language exchanges”.  This goes both ways, but I often hear about foreign women who want to improve their Korean skills and are instead propositioned.  Most people who have been here longer than a couple of months will scoff, roll their eyes, and dive into their own personal anecdote about a language exchange situation gone wrong.  They often involve the suggestion they “practice” Korean and English in a DVD Bang (a room with a tv, dvd player, couch, and a box o’ tissues), a love motel, or her apartment (as many Koreans in their 20’s still live with parents).  This is definitely a consideration when thinking about why many foreigners give up on learning Hangeul.  Language exchanges are great places to meet women who are new to Korea.  Guys chasing the white horse in Korea tend to lurk here.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier guy fitness athlete health boy people court black and white asian
Photographer: Poodar Chu

Western Status Symbol

You shouldn’t date someone or even befriend someone because you think she’ll impress your friends (or teach them English).  My old school asked me to help a young CEO of a Private Equity firm.  I think he wanted to introduce his employees to someone who looked different to the women with whom they would typically interact.  Meeting these men who couldn’t look me in the eye for the first two meetings was insightful.  I wasn’t introduced for my teaching abilities, but for the way that I looked.  Fortunately, these guys realized that I could discuss the Financial Times and other such publications.  Within a few meetings I was taken more seriously and some of my suggestions for their business were put into place.  I stopped wearing makeup or particularly fashionable attire.  I definitely don’t think I was brought in as a white horse in Korea, but it was pretty close.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier architecture building infrastructure room wooden bench people man guy thinking alone sad male asian
Photographer: Can Anh Khai

Dating Korean Men

I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I haven’t dated a Korean man while living here.  I’ve been asked out on dates, but the way the question was posed didn’t really feel like it was a date.  Dating conventions tend to be quite different from back home, and I just haven’t had the time for the runaround.  I find Korean men to be quite beautiful.  They often dress very well and have their own style.  The #1 sales of cosmetics for men come out of Korea.  While I enjoy getting dolled up, I don’t spend too much time on it.  If my man takes longer to get ready than I do I’ll get antsy and peace out.  Men in Korea tend to be more in touch with what we call their “feminine side”.  I think I’m a bit aggressive and outspoken for them (and the aforementioned North-American counterparts).

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier horse animal stem grass bokeh trees sunlight sunshine nature plants branches fog
Photographer: Annie Spratt

A friend of mine went on one date with a local Korean guy.  After that one date they were exclusive (from his perspective).  She went along with it even though she was still dating other men.  This is why communication is important.  He would bring her around his friends and show her off, but there was no way he was introducing her to any family members, including his cousin who was his best friend.  He wanted to meet more of her caucasian (only) friends.  This “white horse in Korea” is a woman with some serious sexual prowess.  No matter how she tried to entice him, he couldn’t keep up.  Their relationship ended when she popped into the shower with him to spice things up.  Things didn’t perk up – she never saw an erection from him again.  Guess the white horse in Korea isn’t for everyone.

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The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


6 Reasons We Probably Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea

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This is a local re-post of an article I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago.

Even though we are bombing Syria now and Trump wants to look tough and presidential, I do not think we will bomb North Korea. We’ve thought about it for years and always demurred. Trump, for all his bluster, has changed those reasons for not attacking, so I still think we won’t do it. Maybe Trump really is erratic and unpredictable, but I’d bet McMaster and Mattis are telling him a lot of the same stuff – huge risk or war, Seoul’s vulnerability, trashing of the relationship with China and so on. Are we ready to gamble all that on strikes that might not even work?

The full essay follows the jump:



US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made waves last week when he suggested that military action against North Korea was an option. He pointedly said that former President Barack Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approach was over. Tillerson did not say what military options were under consideration, but bombing is the likely choice. The US has air superiority over North Korea by a wide margin, while it is unclear what kind of naval action would be available, and ground action of course has huge risks.

The idea of retaliating against North Korea has, of course, been around for a long time. North Korea provokes South Korea, Japan, and the United States regularly. Several of those provocations were severe enough that military action would likely have enjoyed some global acceptance. In 1968, the North Koreans captured the USS Pueblo, a naval intelligence vessel, and held the crew for almost a year. In 1969, North Korea shot down a US reconnaissance plane, killing the crew. In 1998, North Korea shot a missile over Japan. In 2010 North Korea sank a South Korean corvette and shelled a South Korean-held island, killing fifty. Yet in each case, the US, South Korea, and Japan choose to defer. The reasons for that restraint are broadly still in place and will likely inhibit President Donald Trump as they have previous US presidents:

1. Seoul is extremely vulnerable to North Korean counter-fire. This is probably the greatest military constraint. South Korea is badly configured for a protracted bout of tit-for-tat retaliation and counter-retaliation with North Korea. This is not like Israel’s ability to strike Arab opponents with limited counter-strike vulnerability. Seoul and its surrounding Kyeonggi province lie right on the demilitarized zone border. Kyeonggi includes 55% of the entire South Korea population and is the economic and political heart of this highly centralized country. This megalopolis makes for a big, hard-to-defend, easy-to-hit target should Pyongyang hit back against an airstrike.

2. Trump would need the political approval of South Korea and Japan. Those countries would bear the brunt of any retaliation. Legally, Trump could proceed of course, but he would destroy the US alliance with either or both if they did not approve. While Japan under hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might run the risk, South Korea is effectively unable to respond now, because its president has been impeached. Seoul is led by a caretaker government at the moment, and the left, which would almost certainly disapprove of airstrikes, is widely expected to win the upcoming May election.

3. Such a strike would not be brief or ‘surgical;’ it could last days or even weeks. As such, it would soon look more like a war rather than a limited action. North Korea has spent decades tunneling to protect its military assets after it suffered under an extraordinarily punishing US air campaign during the Korean War. It has also invested in road-mobile launchers and submarines. If the US were to try to hit all of North Korea’s nuclear and missile assets, the air campaign would likely be extensive and lengthy. If it did not, North Korea might well use its remaining assets to strike South Korea and Japan. The longer the campaign dragged on, the more likely North Korean counter-action would become. A slide toward all-out war would loom,

4. We do not know what North Korea’s red-lines are. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) presumably has war plans, just as we do. Those plans almost certainly have flash-points for how to respond to allied action. Given that its nuclear and missile programs are North Korea’s most valuable assets, after the leadership itself, it is easy to imagine that the KPA would hit back. Also, the longer the US air campaign lasted, the more it would look like a war, not a limited action. There would be rising pressure throughout the North Korean elite to do something, and given that the KPA’s access to the highly-constrained national budget turns on its reputation as the state’s ferocious defender, the brass would almost certainly be howling to hit back hard. Again, the slide from a limited action toward war would loom.

5. North Korea would almost certainly use human shields. Assuming the US air campaign did not end in short order, the North would almost certainly start wrapping potential targets with civilians. The North Korean elite let one to two million of its citizens starve to death in the late 1990s famine. They would have no compunction to once again sacrifice their people.

6. Such an airstrike would wreck America’s relationship with China, the most important bilateral relationship in world politics, for years, perhaps decades. Any US campaign would take place over China’s objection, and the US would almost certainly not provide any advance notification. China loathes North Korea but fears its collapse and US military hegemony in Asia even more. The US has always grappled with how much to let North Korea impinge on its relationship with China. While Washington desperately wants Chinese assistance on the North, it has never risked the entire relationship, in all its many important aspects – trade, investment, China’s dollar reserve holdings, the South and East China Seas, climate change, and so on – on the North Korea question.

These costs and constraints do not make airstrikes impossible, but they have impeded kinetic options in the past, and I see no reason why they do not this time as well. That the US is considering airstrikes anyway, despite these high hurdles, suggest just how dangerous North Korea has now become.

Filed under: Korea (North), The National Interest, Trump, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University




Learn Korean Ep. 92: Changing Action Verbs to Adjectives (Part 2 of 2)

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What's wrong with sleeping in now and then? I mean, who said 14 hours of sleep every night is too much? Nobody said that. But Keykat doesn't like it. I think she wants me to wake up earlier. She's always the early bird. How unfair.

This episode will take a look at more uses for the word 것 ("thing"), when used together with verbs. It is a continuation of the last episode in this series (Ep. 91).

Remember that there are free extended PDFs available for every "Learn Korean" episode, and each contains additional information or examples not covered in the video.

Check out the episode here!

Click here to download a free PDF of this lesson!

The post Learn Korean Ep. 92: Changing Action Verbs to Adjectives (Part 2 of 2) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Korean Air Pollution At 2 Year High, ROK Tests New Missile, Expat Alleges Police Discrimination [Korean News Update]

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The concentration of fine dust particles in South Korea’s air is the worst since 2015, the ROK has test fired a new long range ballistic missile, a Busan-based expat has been thrust into the spotlight after alleging discrimination by South Korean police, & an iconic Hollywood symbol will soon be replicated in Seoul. All that & more on the latest Korean News Update podcast episode from Korea FM.

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Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips

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About Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

Early April every year, the Simni Cherry Blossom Road, the 4 km road that connects Ssanggyesa Temple and Hwagaejangteo Market, is filled with 1,200 cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  To capture this scenic view, people from all over Korea take a trip to this small village in Hadong, Gyeongsangnamdo Province and have an unforgettable moment with their beloved people.

In the hope that international travelers also get to know about this charming little village, I, a member of Trazy Crew and your best online tour guide for Korea, set off to Hadong to deliver the beautiful scenery of Hwagae Cherry Blossom FestivalHwagae Cherry Blossom (0)Trazy’s Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival tour bus dropped me off at Ssanggyesa Temple. The tour is designed for you to walk about 4 km from Ssanggyesa temple to Hwagaejangteo Market while enjoying the cherry blossom arch over your head.

Ssanggyesa Temple

Ssanggyesa Temple is one of the most popular temples in the Jirisan area and its foundation dates back to the 8th century. The layout of the buildings in the temple compound well harmonizes with the surrounding nature. The colorful, but not necessarily gaudy, paintwork on the wooden buildings doubles aesthetic pleasure in the traditional construction.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (1)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (2)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (3)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (4)

Simni Cherry Blossom Road

The road to Hwagaejangteo Market divides into two at the temple’s entrance by Hwagaecheon Stream. Both roads, laid out side by side with the stream in the middle, are filled with densely planted cherry blossom trees. Whichever side you choose, you’ll walk under the beautiful cherry blossom arch. Also, you can switch the road at the bridges that you will encounter a couple of times on your way to Hawgaegangteo Market.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (5)

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (6)
Photo of the other side taken from one side of the stream
Hwagae Cherry Blossom (8)
Photo taken on the bridge

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (7)This cherry blossom road has a nickname. Some people call the road “Hollye-gil” which is translated as “Wedding Road” in English. The myth behind it tells that if a couple walks this road together, they come to get married and live happily ever after.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (9)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (10)

Tip 1. Try Cherry Blossom Oyster & Ice Cream!

By the time my legs got tired and I needed something to eat, I came across a few food tents and snack bars. While the food is generally slightly over-priced, it is worth trying this unique local food of the area, Beotgul – the cherry blossom oyster.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (12)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (13)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (11)This oyster is caught from Seomjingang River in the local area. Unlike other oysters, this inhabits fresh water and grows as big as a human hand. I ordered one huge oyster. The server lady cut one of the shells off, took the flesh off from the other shell, chopped the flesh into a mouthful size and topped it with sour and spicy chili sauce. If you feel put off by raw freshwater food, you can also ask to cook it.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (16)I kept walking towards Hwagaejangteo market, the pick-up point for the tour bus to Seoul. This time I came across an ice cream stall famous for the cherry blossom ice cream. They added cherry blossom syrup in the ice cream mix. The ice cream is very sweet and you can taste the flowery flavor in it. I continued to follow the road with the ice cream on one hand, and the camera on the other hand.

Tip2. Walk More for the Greater View!

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (17)As I got closer to the market, the view became even more picturesque because the cherry blossoms begin to bloom near the market and they gradually spread up to the temple, the higher area. My view became brighter and brighter every time I took a step forward. The snow white cherry blossoms absolutely dazzled my eyes.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (18)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (19)The magnificence of the view reaches its peak at the end of the 4-km cherry blossom road and I finally met Hwagaejangteo Market with its signature thatched roof stores.

Hwagaejangteo Market

Hwagaejangteo Market is located where Hawgaecheon Stream joins Seomjingang River that divides Jeollanamdo Province and Gyeongsangnamdo Province. For its geographical feature, the market traditionally served as a meeting point for people from different provinces. People from Gyeongsangdo Province and Jeollado Province would come to Hwagaejangteo Market and exchange their local produce.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (22)The statue symbolizes a pedlar who used to travel across the country to sell goods in Hwagaejangteo Market.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (21)You can find locally cultivated green tea and herbs, pottery, and rice wine in the market. Hwagae Cherry Blossom (23)The beautiful scenery of the surrounding area attracts heaps of tourists all over the country and the market, of course, serves as an agora for people from different regions to meet.

Things to Check before You Visit

  • Wear in Layers!
    Although it is warm during the day in early April, mornings and nights are still chilly and you definitely need a jacket. The tour starts in the early morning and the temperature is highly likely below 10-degree celsius. It would be wise of you to wear thin clothes in layers during this season.
  • Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes!
    The area is not hilly but you’ll have to walk the 4 km cherry blossom road and more. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Remember When to Visit!
    Cherry Blossoms in Hadong, located in the southern part of Korea, bloom earlier than those in Seoul. Make sure you plan the trip for the first week of April if you want to visit Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival.

Looking for other spring festivals in Korea?

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Browse more spring packages and tours at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, and savor the delights of spring with us!button31
a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

Vineworks Korea

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Anyone who knows me well knows I have a fondness for wine.  My personal perspective on wine is that the best bottle is quite simply the one you enjoy.  I seem to have found a kindred spirit in Ian Ashworth, Founder and Proprietor of Vineworks Korea!

Vineworks Korea

Vineworks Korea has been going strong for about a year and a half.  They host wine events all around Seoul.  They’ve now decided to get their own proprietary space and have spent the past 3 months in what they call the Vineworks “living room”.  This small space is tucked away in an alley between Hapjeong and Sangsu stations on the 4th floor of a glass building.  The plan is to make it a comfortable and relaxed place.  The idea is to connect the senses. Connect wine, senses, and people.  They have a kitchen on the 5th floor is where food is prepared, wine is shared, and people get educated, happy, and fat!  While I might not be on board for the “fat” part, I adore a glass of wine at the end of the day and wholeheartedly believe in cheat day!

Vineworks Korea was created with three passions in mind: wine, language, and community.  They want to “use wine as the lubricant in the communication engine”.  At Vineworks Korea, Ian is clearly passionate about wine (and urban gardening!).  He speaks a mile a minute with such excitement you can’t help but follow on the edge of your seat.  Moving forward, Wednesdays and Fridays will be event nights open to the public.  Beyond those times the space and services are available for rental with packages inclusive of just the space, an extravagant catered soiree, and everything in between.  Wednesdays will primarily be vegetarian dining.  Each week will feature a new and exciting theme.  The Vineworks Korea team aims to explore new cultures through fine ingredients and home-cooked food.  Each recipe has a story!  The goal of these events is simple: to gain the confidence to open up a menu and order a proper bottle (or glass) of wine you like!

4 Simple Rules…

You don’t have to be a dick about tasting wine:

  1. Look at it.  Make sure there’s nothing wrong with it (ahem, make sure there’s no shit in it).  Is it the colour it should be?  Look at it with a white background and tilt it slightly to admire its shade.
  2. Swirl – release the aromas.  The shape of the wine glass is designed to release those smells.
  3. Smell – stick your nose in it, give it a big whiff, and let it go to the back of your throat.
  4. Sip – try the wine!  Now that you’ve admired it and salivated over it give it a big ol’ sip!  Let the wine rest on your tongue a bit before you swallow.  Yes, swallow.  Enjoy your wine.  At these tastings there’s no need to spit it out in an effort to pretend you’re kosher and classy.
Our event on Wednesday was designed to introduce some Seoul bloggers to Italian wines.  We began with some cava (Spanish bubbles – just to celebrate before digging into the old country).  Once Ashworth had introduced us to the comprehensive Vineworks Korea vision, we moved onto a fresh rosé.  I wish we had been able to get a closer look at each bottle, if only to tell you exactly which to get if you want a rosé that isn’t too potent on the sweet scale (read on…Ashworth sent me the goods!).  While sipping rosé we smelled 8 scents to see if we could guess what the fragrance might be. We had t, plums, baking spice (cinnamon), strawberries, cherries, black currants, blackberries, leather, and raspberries on our list.  I was fairly confident in my selections, but only got 4 out of 9 right!
 Over the course of the evening we were treated to: 
  • Chispas – Spanish sparkling (Cava) in a an Italian style – Method Charmat (While the Traditional Fermentation’s second fermentation happens in a bottle, the Charmat’s or Tank’s method takes place in a large closed pressure tank making for softer bubbles.  This particular bottle featured an extra fruity taste!)
  • La Perugia – Rosé – Very popular Bio-organic Italian Rosé.
  • La Perugia – EOS – Bio-Organic wine from Veneto DOC, North East Italy – loads of strawberry and cherry flavours.
  • Querceto Chianti – black cherry and leather.
  • Doppio Passo Primativo (Puglia) – chocolate and baking spice.

The Food

The menu was delightful (and plentiful!).  We enjoyed vegetarian quiche (tomato and spinach, Ashworth’s Mum’s recipe), garlic shrimp (Jordi from Barcelona’s Brothers favourite recipe), and a selection of cheeses (including Pecorino – cheese made in the  same traditional method and recipe as Roman Legionnaires ate 2000 years ago).  We also had homemade soft tacos with refried beans (lentils) courtesy of Mogo, a new meal-in-a-box service designed for Koreans and Expats on the go.  While their tasty lentil tacos didn’t quite fit the Italian theme, they hit the spot with great flavour and even better textures.  I must contact them for their cooking tips in Korean kitchens!

Business Development

Beyond social events, Vineworks Korea offers a variety of services for Koreans and Foreigners alike.   Ashworth says that there’s roughly a 50/50 split between Koreans and Foreigners who employ the professional services available through Vineworks Korea.  “Wine is language upon the lips” according to Virginia Woolf.  Since wine can enable inhibitions to be lost, it’s Ashworth’s belief that wine should paired with language learning.  According to their website, they offer experiences for “professional learners looking to improve business, networking and etiquette skills.”  They also offer a course for “wine lovers who wish to improve their communicative, interactive and social skills – or just have some fun learning about wine!”


  • Every Tuesday – Spanish evening & a tour of Spain.
  • Vegetarian Wednesdays – exploring bio-dynamic, natural and vegetarian wines  – Wednesdays from 7:30 PM.
  • Fridays in April – French Friday – Exploring Bordeaux (April 7th), Burgundy pinots (April 14th), and Cotes Du Rhone (April 21st) casual wine exploration and bar evening.
  • April 13th – Charity fundraiser (TBC) for the deaf – raising alternative communication awareness.
  • Sundays in April – Roast Beef and Bordeaux (April 16th), Seriously Syrah & Lamb – traditional British Sunday Roast with red wines (April 30th).
  • April 23rd – South African Braai – Rooftop BBQ and Spring party afternoon.

Contact Vineworks Korea

Opening hours: Events registration only, but check back for “open bar” casual roof top evenings more regularly with the weather getting warmer.

MOGO Meal Delivery Service Seoul Korea Vegetarian Vineworks Korea


Shout-out to Mogo: “the healthy way to eat conveniently.”  No dietary restrictions (they work with almost all dietary restrictions).  Healthy, nutritious, shockingly affordable (each kit feeds 2-3 real people), delicious, free of any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, and additives.  They also ship anywhere in Korea and every new account gets a free meal kit coupon!





Like it? Pin it to your Pinterest Board and make sure to check out Vineworks Korea soon!

Vineworks Korea Seoul Blogger Wine Event - Learn, eat, drink, communicate!

The post Vineworks Korea appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Where to Go & What to Do over Korea’s Long Weekend Holiday in May

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Mark your calendar now as there is a long weekend ahead of us in May in Korea! Children’s Day Weekend: May 3~7 This year, with Buddha’s Birthday on May 3 and Children’s Day on May 5, you can make it a five-day holiday by using a vacation day on May 4. You may even be … Continue reading Where to Go & What to Do over Korea’s Long Weekend Holiday in May

Is Becoming a Photographer Really Worth It?

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Recently, I saw a friend post about whether “it” is really worth it. This passion that we all have, this “thing” that we pour our hearts and souls into that may or may not yield something in return. My response was more or less like the typical “it’s the journey, not the destination” type answer. However there is a little more to it than that. This is what I want to explore today because it is something that I think some many of us creatives deal with. We struggle with finding the meaning in our work and expressing ourselves and not to mention trying to find a way to make a living from it.

Going Nowhere is Still Going Somewhere

One of the points that was brought up was the fact that you’ve invested so much time into learning and honing your craft and for what? It goes nowhere. One of the points that I countered with is that simply by learning and doing something, then you are moving forward. See the thing is that too many people sit around do nothing. By pushing yourself forward with anything you are bound to get “somewhere” and that is the main thing. With photography it is sometimes hard to actually feel like you are going places when you see so many people start up and then in a year they are famous or running workshops or whatever. they move so fast forward that it feels like you are moving backwards. The thing is that each day that you seek to improve yourself you do actually get somewhere.

I often get caught up in what other photographers are doing. I think how much of a failure I am because when I try to do certain things, they are complete and utter flops. I forget that sometimes I have had my successes and that there will be more to come. If I stop, nothing will come. So that is basically why I keep plugging away. A couple of weeks ago I was staying for free in a luxury hotel  overlooking the ocean in a room that would have cost a considerable chunk of my paycheck as a teacher. I got there because of my passion and my determination for improving my photography.

If You Feel Like You Are Going Nowhere, Turn Around

Often in our pursuit to be the best we forget how far we’ve come. We get put off by fauxtographers when they brag about their accomplishments and yet forget that we’ve had some too. I remember reading somewhere that you should keep a folder full of your published works and awards to remind yourself when you feel down. This may seem narcissistic but it does help. When the douchebag fauxtographer brags about a photo in a magazine and for some reason it pisses you off (it shouldn’t) click through that folder and remember that you’ve been published too.

Looking deeper, we often try and measure ourselves with our accomplishments. However, I am here to tell you that it is not the accomplishments or the accolades that  are worth it. It is the people that you meet along the way that really make “it” worthwhile. Some of the best people that I have ever known I have met through photography. Not to mention some of the best experiences that I can remember have been with a camera in hand.

It’s Not What You’ve done, But Who You’ve Done It With

That title came sort of wrong but you’ll get what I mean in a sec. When my best friend Dave Harvey passed away suddenly it ripped a hole inside of me. I lost that connection and that one person that truly understood me. That connection was solidified through photography in many ways. He taught me so much and when we’d go out it was like time stopped. A magazine article or an award can’t replicate that kind of experience.

Over the years I realized that I still have so many people that “get it” and by that I mean you can spend an entire morning clicking away and saying pretty much nothing. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some pretty amazing people through photography. People that in some cases are getting pretty well known  for their photographic talents. Again, these experiences are what make “it” so much better. Sure having an article published in a magazine validates what you are doing in some cases but having awesome people in your life is  much better.

So to answer the question above, is it worth it? Yes, it is. Photography can help you on so many levels. If you are feeling stuck my advice to you is to keep on doing what you are doing. I write articles that nobody reads, I make pictures that nobody sees, I make videos that nobody watches and I organize events that nobody goes to. However, I have to keep doing what I am doing because that is my passion. It is what keeps me alive and keeps me going. To be honest, I couldn’t think of my life without photography. It may seem worthless at times but you just have to turn around and look at all that you’ve done.

Also, this doesn’t just apply to photography. I have recently received my masters in education and I couldn’t be farther from finding a job in Canada. That feeling of “was it all worth it?” stings when I start trying to find a job that will bring me back home. Realizing that despite all the money and time that I have put into studying and getting good grades, nobody wants to hire a 39-year-old English teacher with a camera and that hurts. However, the more I produce and the more I improve, that will get me where I want to go. If I quit, life just stays the same or gets worse. So I will leave you with the words of the legendary Eric Thomas.

“Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute or an hour or a day or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever. The most important thing is this; to be able at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you will become” ~ Eric Thomas

The post Is Becoming a Photographer Really Worth It? appeared first on The Sajin.

Colombian Accuses Busan Police Of Discrimination After Costco Assault

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Colombian Leo Mendoza has lived in South Korea for 16 years. He’s married to Korean & is a well known member of the Busan community for his work with a local dog shelter. Recently, he & his wife were shopping at Costco, & according to Mendoza, he was attacked by an older Korean man after a disagreement over how he & his wife spoke to the man’s family after their young daughter was almost hit by a car. After police arrived on the scene, it became clear to Mendoza that he & his wife’s request to file charges was not being taken seriously, & after several hours explaining their version of events to authorities at multiple police stations, the tables were turned as Mendoza’s attacker claimed he was the victim, & Leo was told by police he was being arrested for assault. He & his wife quickly tuned to Facebook to describe their version of events on a public post that quickly went viral, & Mendoza also spoke with Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland to tell his story & warn other foreigners in South Korea to not get involved in other people’s affairs as racism & police discrimination will likely cause foreigners to lose their rights. Find more of Leo Mendoza’s version of events on his Facebook page here –

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The post Colombian Accuses Busan Police Of Discrimination After Costco Assault appeared first on Korea FM.

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