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Cya Later, Seoul: Things I’ll Miss About Korea

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Cya Later, Seoul: Things I'll Miss About Korea The Toronto Seoulcialite

So Long, Korea!

My life here has been incredible, but even in Neverland you’ll find you have your ups and downs.  Last week, to the dismay of many on Facebook, I wrote about the things I hate about living as a foreigner (expat) in Korea.  This week, on a more positive note, I’m sharing just a handful of things (okay, two or three handfuls) I’ll miss about living in Korea.  I had always planned on either staying 1 year or 3 years (for the Olympics).  As someone already commented, 3 years does not a Korea OG make.  This is not a comprehensive list, it’s just the musings of a basic bitch.  It’s much tougher to write sarcastically when talking about things you’ll miss.  So, set your cynicism aside and read on from most obvious to more detailed.  Here are just a few things I’ll miss about life in Korea.
Cya Later, Seoul: Things I'll Miss About Korea The Toronto Seoulcialite Overhead shot of table with bowls of bibimbap, pho, kimchi, and Korean food
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak

The Food

There’s a big Korean population in my home city of Toronto.  I had been for AYCE Korean BBQ with friends and for quick bibimbap lunches, but there’s so much more to discover about Korean cuisine.  In Toronto, Korean BBQ just comes with kimchi and rice.  I’m definitely going to miss all the delicious side dishes (반찬) that accompany the meat in Korea.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

I had tried Soju back home, but Makgeolli was a game changer.  When we visited Singapore, the bottles which cost KRW 3,500 here were going for $18.  I can’t imagine how pricy it will be back home in Canada!  I’ll miss Hotteok (호떡) on a cold winter day.  I can go for spicy chicken called Dak Galbi (닭갈비) any day of the week (with cheese, of course!)  One of my favourite snacks is a steaming hot King Size Dumpling (왕만두).  You certainly don’t see those on every corner back home.  In fact, most of the street food is pretty boring.  We have food trucks galore, but stalls were limited to hot dogs.  Has anything changed?

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 A Massive Subway System

The subway systems in Busan and in Seoul are very convenient.  With 9 subway lines and buses connecting the dots, the Seoul subway system blows Toronto’s measly 3-lines out of the water.  I’m not looking forward to going back to packed streetcars skipping skipping stops due to crowding.

Cheap Taxis

While fares are hiked up at night after the subway closes, a taxi in Korea will still be way cheaper than a fare back home.  It used to cost me $10 to get across downtown.  Now I can get halfway across the city for that amount.  Let’s not get started on rent prices in Toronto.  I’m terrified.

Cya Later, Seoul: Things I'll Miss About Korea The Toronto Seoulcialite G2Cell: The Holy Grail of Korean Skin Care - ThatGirlCartier - Genoheal Review

Skincare Everywhere

If Korea has taught me anything, it’s how to take care of my skin.  I used to wash my face with soap before bed and any kind of moisturizer was a faraway thought.  Now I run ThatGirlCartier which focuses on K-Beauty and Dating.  I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of amazing facials, cosmetic procedures, and skincare lines while living in Korea.  I’ve found a personal favourite brand and I’ll have to stock up before leaving.  I’m definitely going to miss the convenience of all the Skincare Shops in any given neighbourhood.  Shout out to the gazillions of cosmetic and plastic surgery clinics in Korea.  How am I going to afford botox now?

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Concept Shops/ Stores with More

I’ve already written about the Style Nanda Pink Hotel/ Pink Pool Cafe and Skinfood’s Cafe.  Since there are so many shops in competition, you’ve gotta have a gimmick to stay alive.  For example, Espoir has opened up a Make-Up Pub with customized cosmetics.  Do retailers get this creative back home these days or is it “one night only” done up by PR firms for influencers?  This shop in Hongdae is a permanent fixture!

Cya Later, Seoul: Things I'll Miss About Korea The Toronto Seoulcialite

Wifi Everywhere

There’s wifi on the subway and in practically every restaurant, cafe, gym, and doctor’s office.  While I still use up my 3 gigs of data before the month is up, I could totally get by on wifi alone.

Various currency bills pinned to a large world map with colorful pins in various locations
Photographer: Christine Roy

Not Tipping

I read a friend’s Facebook status about tipping lately and it got me thinking.  She mentioned that she took herself out for dinner and sat at the bar.  The bartender was neglectful – she had to ask another server for water and yet another for a status update on her meal which had taken an eternity to arrive.  After tax, the meal came to $30.  The people commenting still said they would tip 18%.  I felt a little uncomfortable not tipping when I first came to Korea, but now that I’m used to it the idea of paying an additional 18% for crappy service boggles my mind.

Image result for korea table button

Bing Bong

I used to feel so uncomfortable pressing a button to get my server’s attention, and I still cringe a little yelling out “저기요”.  As a server, I always felt a little awkward disrupting someone’s conversation to take an order, quality check, or wrap things up and deliver the cheque.  With the touch of a button, we can let our server know exactly when we want something.  It’s not exactly a step of service, but it takes the guesswork out of it all.  I’m a fan.

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Everything is easy here once you know a little bit of Korean.  The bus system is pretty straightforward and the subways are in multiple languages.  Everything is done online.  You can order food whenever and to wherever, and there are convenience stores situated in every nook and cranny of this city.  If you need or want something it’s not tough to get, and usually all you’ll have to do is lift a finger.

Photographer: Rashid Khreiss

Instagram Photo

Drinking in the Streets

Convenience store socials are an essential part of the Korean experience.  Sharing soju on a mountain with Korean aunties and uncles happy to see you enjoying views of their country is unparalleled joy.  Going on a Mak-about (a walk-about with Makgeolli) can be sheer bliss.  Fried chicken and beer by the Han River? Simple decadence.  I’ll definitely miss the punk in drublic vibe of Korea.

Photographer: Mark Mingle

No Shame in the Selfie Game

I used to feel so embarrassed snapping a selfie.  As a solo traveler (for the most part) it’s tough to get a sly picture of yourself at tourist attractions.  Not in Korea!  I know most people want you to shove that selfie stick where the sun don’t shine, but here you’re welcome to snap a selfie (or a dozen) almost anywhere you please.

Instagrammable everything

While it might not always taste great, Korea is awesome at making adorable edible treats.  Some are better than others, but you can count on at least one moment in your day lighting up your insta-story.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Quirky Corners and Street Art

If you follow me on instagram you’ll know I have a great love for street art.  In Korea, you can find awesome murals and graffiti through Itaewon, Hongdae, Sangsu, Seongsu, and in the alleys of Gangnam.  I know I can find street art lots of places (and we found plenty in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore) but I feel like in Korea I noticed street art through brand new eyes.

Instagram Photo

Incheon International Airport

Getting from the desk to the gate might be a headache, but Korea as the gateway to Asia is something I’ll never take for granted.  I’ve traveled to China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore and am not done yet.  I’ve fallen in love with people, places, and plenty of plates in Korea and beyond.  Getting to the side of the planet that many times would have been impossible from Canada.

Photographer: Mathew Schwartz

The History of Korea

All over Korea you can visit temples, tea houses, mountains, and palaces.  Any day of the week you can don a hanbok and step into the past.  While Korea and Canada are both relatively “new” countries, Korea is rich in tumultuous history.  There’s plenty to learn about culture and heritage in Korea.  I’ll never be able to learn enough!


Bright Neon Lights

It’s totally cheesy, but I love walking through areas like Jamsilsaenae (RIP Sincheon) or Hongdae and seeing all the flashing lights day and night.  I love walking home and seeing Seoul N Tower (Namsan Tower) all aglow.  The more I write this the lamer it feels.  Sure, I’m going to miss alot of “stuff” in Korea, but more than that I’ll miss the people and the opportunities.


Opportunities for Foreigners

As much as there’s systemic racism in this homogeneous society, there’s also a ridiculous amount of opportunity for people who don’t “look Asian”.  Even if you haven’t dedicated yourself to the arts, you can get gigs as an extra here and there on dramas and in movies.  A lot of hagwons just want a singing/ dancing monkey equivalent who will look and sound as different as possible to his or her students.  It’s not always fair, but the odds are ever in our favour if you’ve got a Bachelor’s degree from a certain set of countries.  When I go home will I be relevant in my industry anymore or will I have to start from the bottom…

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Expat Expectations

I think there’s an understanding among most of us foreigners in Korea.  It’s not easy to be away from your family and the way people cycle through Korea it can be tough to maintain friendships.  This one is a bit of a double-edged sword, but I find most people here genuinely want to be open about forging new friendships.  If you’re open to adventure or even have even just a smidge of curiosity, you’ll find new pals with common interests.  These are people you may never have met back home, but aren’t you glad you’re giving one another a chance?

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Chosen Family

Having close friends from around the globe makes leaving Korea extra tough.  I know that when I go home I’ll have the opposite problems.  Instead of missing a wedding back home, I’ll now be missing weddings and other important events all around the world.  More than any one thing I’ll miss about my life in Korea is the cheesiest answer of all.  I’m going to miss you.  I’m going to miss being able to call you up to go to trivia on…well…any given night of the week.  I’ll miss bumping into you at Fountain when it overflows.  I’ll miss the simple routines like coffee after lunch and a stroll around the park.  I’ll miss being mistaken for that other blonde blogger who loves to eat.  I’ll miss discovering new and exciting things since Seoul is ever-changing.  I’ll miss you.  All of you.  I’ll miss you most of all when I leave Korea.

The post Cya Later, Seoul: Things I’ll Miss About Korea appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

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How To Say ‘Great’ In Korean

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Have you ever wanted to describe something to your Korean friend, but been at loss as to how because ‘good’ just doesn’t quite cut it? That’s the moment you’ll want to know how to say ‘great’ in Korean!

Keep reading and this article will teach you the ways for how to say ‘great’ in Korean, preparing you for when that important moment comes. Have a great time learning with us today!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘Great’ in Korean

There are a few word options for you to use when you want to describe something as ‘great’, depending on what exactly you want to say.

대단하다 (daedanhada) is a great word to use when you want to imply that something is ‘great’ in size figuratively. For example, when you mean to say that something or someone is ‘incredible’ or ‘amazing’.

훌륭하다 (hullyunghada) can be used to described something or someone that is not only ‘great’ but ‘remarkable’, ‘magnificent’ and ‘superb’. For example, the new movie you just saw or the best book you’ve ever read.

위대하다 (widaehada) is another excellent word to use to imply that something is ‘great’, and can be used in a variety of situations. For example, it is especially good to choose to use when you want to describe something as ‘greater’ or ‘the greatest’.

Lastly, when you wish to speak of specifically the size of something, such as your tall height, then the verb 크다 (kheuda) is your best friend. While it’s meaning is not literally that of ‘great’, it can be used as such, also in situations where you might want to describe the likelihood of something happening as great.


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences

two thumbs up


그녀의 일에 대한 능력은 대단해요 (geunyeoe ire daehan neungnyeogeun daedanhaeyo)

The ability she has for work is incredible.

어머니의 사랑은 세상에서 가장 위대한 사랑이에요 (eomeonie sarangeun sesangeseo gajang widaehan sarangieyo)

A mother’s love is the greatest love in the world.

그는 미래에서 큰 인물로 될거에요 (geuneun miraeeseo kheun inmullo dwilgeoeyo)

He will become a great person in the future.



너는 대단한 미인이야 (neoneun daedanhan miiniya)

You are incredibly beautiful.


이 책은 모든 점에서 훌륭해서 추천해주고 싶었어 (i chaekeun modeun jeomeseo hullyunghaeseo chucheonhaejugo sipeosso)

I wanted to recommend this book because it’s great in every aspect.


내일 비가 내릴 가능성이 크지? (naeil biga naeril ganeungseongi kheuji?)

The chances of raining tomorrow are great, right?


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘Great’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean.

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Fall Colours of Korea

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If you talk to any Korean over the age of 40, they will no doubt tell you about the “4 seasons of Korea” and look a bit astonished when they realize that places like Canada also have four seasons as well. This concept comes up in a lot of older textbooks and even my Korean language books as well. While it may seem strange, Korea does not disappoint when it comes to the seasons and fall is one of my favourite seasons here and that is why I can see why so many people are proud of them.

The beauty of fall is that there is a vibrant burst of colour before the long grey period of winter. I love the colours of fall, especially at the Buddhist temples around Korea. The trick to capturing great colours is to really make good use of the light. I find that you can stretch the shooting times out a lot more on the clear days. Not to mention that the bright mid-morning light often works best for these shots.

The 3 C’s: Contrast, Colour, and Creativity

I find that beginner photographers often are overwhlemed by the scenes that they see. They end up just “documenting” the scene rather than really diving in and exploring it. That is why I try and stick to the 3 C’s when I go out. This keeps me from just “spraying and praying” when I go out. When you are looking for certain concepts or ideas, you will produce better images in the end. You will find yourself looking for shots rather than hoping that you “something” at the end of the day.


Look for areas of light and dark to really make the scene pop. You can enhance the contrast in Lightroom after, but try and find the contrast on your own to train your eye. This is where harsher light may actually help you. Use the leaves to hold back some of that light and see what the shadows do.


This can be over done at times and I am no stranger to this at all. However, do not let that stop you from seeking out the colours that attract us all to this great time of the year. The best way that I find is to either hit the peak season or combine the 3’s like I mention in this article. Try choosing a single colour to focus on and see where that takes you.


I love seeing what people come up with during this time of year. Do just try and document what you see but try to express your vision. Basically, use your imagination and create images that express something more than “I was here” and you will be off to a great start. Look for new angles or try different apertures to isolate images. Think about what the scene is really saying to you and try to capture an image that show that.

The Bottom Line

Fall is a great time of year and you should try your best to show your version of it. You don’t have to be on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia to capture a remarkable autumn shot. You just have to explore your world as I have done here in Korea. Think about what this season means to you and what tools and techniques you can use to express that vision.

The post Fall Colours of Korea appeared first on The Sajin.

Getting Free Bibimbap in Korea | 비빔밥 먹방

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Earlier this year I took a trip to a Korean temple to get some free Bibimbap [비빔밥]. Yes, "free." I wanted to film my experience going there, and also to talk about the dish.

Also you might notice that this video is longer than my usual food videos. It's a different video style that I wanted to try once. If you like it, I might make more food and travel videos in this style.

Check it out~!

The post Getting Free Bibimbap in Korea | 비빔밥 먹방 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Ang Traje de Boda sa Ukay-ukay PART 5

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PART 5: Ang Bangkay Hindi ako makapaniwala sa aking nabasa. “Paano nangyari iyon?” Muli kong tinignan ang newspaper clipping na naglalaman ng mga pangalan at larawan ng apat na kasamang nasawi ni Celeste sa malagim na aksidente dalawang taon na … Continue reading

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Solar and human powered trike project stranded in Busan

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As some may still remember of the Swiss Solar Impulse 2 which flew around the world using only solar power, the Solatrike-Project of another Swiss guy head off about the same time. Since July 2015 the Solatrike of David Brandenberger is on the road from Europe to South Korea. The solar and human powered recumbent Trike passed on this way 17 countries and filled 22’000km so far.

The Swiss traveller was looking for something to transport a load of luggage in a sportive and environmental saving way. He chose a bike because of the slow travelling speed and to get in contact with locals, but his luggage was too heavy to pull it all. That’s why he thought about a motor as an assist and solar panels to charge the battery independent of energy sources. He found the Czech recumbent Trike fabrication AZUB, which did a race with something similar. They provided him with experience and a custom built recumbent Trike and trailer. Knowing only a little of electricity, solar power and bike repair, David Brandenberger head off to his adventure in direction Asia. His skills getting better in these things on the way, but the focus are still on photography and doing sketches.

He spent rainy nights with Uzbek construction workers in a worn out house in Kazakhstan, got interviewed by many reporters in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece, survived a narrow construction road passing huge trucks in the dust in China or a night in a desert storm holding his tent against the fierce wind inside the Gobi desert. There are a lot of stories he could tell of his tour from the heat in Azerbaijan and the freezing cold in Kyrgyzstan, but the most he likes to tell about the friendliness of the people he encountered along the way. Some provided him with food along the way, invited him for a night to sleep, helped at repairs on the Trike or to find the right direction and others organized to find a company which could build a new trailer in Uzbekistan.

His goal is to travel with his Solatrike as far as he can and as long as it’s possible. If he could cycle around the world he will be more than glad. The half of the length around the Equator he already cycled and he is still in good mood to continue to South East Asia. Unfortunately he is stranded here in Busan for more than one and a half month now, trying in vain to ship his Solatrike to South East Asia. Crossing boarders by land with his bike was never a problem, but shipping it to another Country seems to be impossible. Every Country finds another reason to deny this travel to be continued. David hopes to find a good way out of this situation that he can continuing on his mission to promote solar and other alternative power like Solar Impulse 2 with his Solatrike-Project.





Peace Out Seoulmates: 15 Things I Hate About Korea

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Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea

Deuces, Korea!

In March of 2018, I’ll be leaving Korea.
After 1 year in Busan and nearly 2 years in Seoul it’s time to bid adieu to the Land of Morning Calm.  I’ve had plenty of amazing travel experiences and local opportunities, dating blunders, and hagwon hells in Korea.  There’s plenty to love, but everyone loves to hate.  Here’s my list of things I won’t miss about living in Korea.
Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea spa white towels tiles bench yellow rubber duck massage
Photographer: Leeroy

#15 – Just Like T-T

One thing about gyms and spas in Korea is that they give you the tiniest towels of all time.  How am I supposed to get my body dry enough with such a tiny towel?  I’m on a tight schedule to cover up with all the other ladies gawking at my waygookin parts.  I’m ready for a real towel, Korea – especially in the winter!
Things I hate about living in Korea

#14 It smells like shit everywhere.

Korea is no longer a third world country, but there seem to be an awful lot of third world values.  The way people treat the streets as though the sidewalk is their own personal garbage can is infuriating.  It’s especially obnoxious when your ajumma landlord freaks out because you’ve managed to get some paper in the plastic recycling or have put your trash in the wrong gu’s bag (the horror!)  The plumbing is a massive issue here, too.  In Seoul it’s not quite as bad as it was in Busan, but Korea still smells like fecal matter in certain areas.  I joke that my apartment reeks of farts, but the plumbing here truly is garbage and until the frost came on it really did smell like crap.

Korea Pet Peeves - Things I won't miss about Korea things I hate about living in Korea people woman stripes sweatshirt blonde beauty laundry machine shop lazy
Photographer: Kristopher Roller

#13 Laundry – I want to burn all of my clothes

Is it really too much to install drying machines in these apartments?   With my ondol heating not being nearly as good as I’d like, my place is freezing.  No chance of opening these windows for a breeze!  In the winter, my clothes often smell musty/ moldy.  Through the rest of the year my washing machines have always just destroyed my clothes.  Packing up to go home shouldn’t be much of an issue considering I’d like to burn my entire wardrobe!

Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea food dragonfruit fruit rambutan fresh dessert grapefruit table pink
Photographer: Brooke Lark

#12 Staying Healthy’s a Full-Time Job

I have found trying to eat clean to be quite difficult.  The lack of affordable fruits and vegetables has made it really easy for me to fall into unhealthy habits.  People LOVE to eat bread in Korea.  My students are brought up thinking that glutinous rice is a health food.  They use margarine/ canola oil to cook just about everything.  Everything down to garlic bread is sweetened to high heaven.  I was told I’d lose so much weight in Korea due to the healthy diet here and honestly that’s just a bunch of hogwash.  I trained hard for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week and ate really clean to drop the weight.  This year I even enlisted the help of Sprout, a natural, healthy food delivery service across Korea.  No matter how much kimchi or kombucha you consume, there isn’t a quick and easy weight loss tool.  The lack of easy, health-conscious options in Korea is something I just won’t miss.
urinals bathroom restroom washroom tiles ceramic white Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea
Photographer: Markus Spiske

#11 Personal Hygiene in Korea: What a Mess!

Why put soap in the bathrooms when nobody washes their hands anyway?  Here – let’s put a bar of soap on a stick.  Those who DO want to use soap will have to pretend to give a handy while touching something riddled with someone else’s germs!  The number of times I’ve heard the hand-washing issue discussed has me…in disgust.  For good measure, let’s give coughing a drop here, too.  If I had a cheon-won for each time someone coughed a lung up on me while on the subway, I’d no longer have to teach English in Korea.
Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea guy man male woman lady people food fruits apples pomegranates grocery market grocer weigh racks
Photographer: Erik Scheel

#10 Retail Anxiety

Another thing I won’t miss about living in Korea is the retail anxiety I experience every time I got to a grocery store or cosmetics shop.  As I descend into the LotteMart grocery department, my ears sting with the sound of vegetable vendors, meat merchants, and fishy fellas screaming at me to buy their wares.  I know that retailers shouting all day into microphones isn’t well-loved my foreigners, but the locals don’t really seem down for it either.  I’ve seen plenty of people young and old covering their ears… “시끄럽다!”
Korea Pet Peeves - things I hate about living in Seoul, Korea coins money pay savings cents collection wealth treasure investment financial funds metal cash business
Photographer: Karol Dach

#9 Foreigner Price in Korea

On several occasions at markets, shops, bars, and in taxis I’ve been quoted a higher price than my Korean (or even simply Asian) friends.  Has this happened to you in your home country?  Of course it’s happened to me at nearly every country’s tourist attractions, but when I’ve lived in Korea nearly 3 years and am speaking Korean to the service agent it blows my mind to still be quoted astronomical prices simply because I’m not from Korea.

people girl standing talking phone wall shopping bag mall
Photographer: Porapak Apichodilok

#8 Here for your Edutainment

When shop owners make fun of my Korean or wave their arms and squeal “Big Size-y!” while shooing me away it actually really hurts my feelings.  When I’m shopping I make every effort to be polite by bowing and speaking Korean in the most natural way I know how.  I wear a Korean size medium and generally have no issues fitting into “free size” garments.  I see you over there letting Korean women who are larger than me try on your clothing.  What gives?
still items things taxi sign traffic cars vehicles city urban downtown metro bokeh
Photographer: Peter Kasprzyk

#7 Taxi Drivers in Korea

I have a major love/ hate relationship with Korean Taxi Drivers.  The fares are incredibly cheap and, in most urban areas, cabs are plentiful.  Sometimes I’ll get a very friendly driver who is just over the moon that I can speak my pitiful bit of baby Korean.  More often than not, they’ll see my blonde hair and when striking up a conversation will ask if I’m Russian.  Live here long enough and you’ll recognize that when a middle-aged/ older Korean man asks if you’re Russian, he’s asking if you’re a prostitute.  The backpedaling that has happened when I tell my driver in Korean that I’m a Canadian person is impressive.  That’s if they DO talk to me.  I’ve had situations where the driver won’t confirm my destination and will take me on a wild goose chase to hike the fare.  I shouldn’t have to call the cops just to get from point A to point B!  I also get perturbed when taxi drivers simply won’t pick up foreigners.  Sometimes if they do, they demand a flat rate and won’t use their meters.  Don’t they realize how badly this reflects on Korean people on the whole when a tourist has to stay out all night just to get back to his or her hotel?
architecture building infrastructure structure chair white wood plant green tiles floor frame picture apartment windows condominium hotel
Photographer: Breather

6. Ondol Heating

My kingdom for a radiator! While I know many people love floor heating (I certainly did while staying in a hanok in the middle of winter), it’s not for me.  It’s November and I’ve been sleeping with 3 layers of clothing and 3 blankets on and my space heater aglow because it takes too darn long for my floor to heat up.  I’m also terrified of having a “the floor is lava” situation if any of the gazillion plastic things I own overheat and melt.

people girl eating restaurant soup food
Photographer: Henrique Félix

5. The Sound of People in Korea Eating.

You’d think it’d be the soup I’d hate most, but it’s actually pizza.  The sound of people eating pizza in Korea makes my eyes water and my ears bleed.  I’m not (just) talking about Koreans, either.  A few of my ESL teacher friends who have been here 3 or 4 years masticate obnoxiously, too.

doll mannequin broken blue people crowd
Photographer: Edu Lauton

#4 빨리 빨리!

“빨리 빨리”, or “hurry, hurry”, doesn’t actually mean productive or efficient.  This cultural phenomenon is a great way to pass the buck and save face.  People are moving along just fine and then all of a sudden it’s “hurry, hurry” time.  In North America, the annoyance is “hurry up and wait”.  In Korea it’s “wait…and then freak out because you just realized you messed up and have to fix the situation immediately or the whole world will implode.”  I find that people in Korea really go out of their way to push or shove the foreigner.  This was especially prevalent in Busan, where I’ve had ajummas elbow me hard enough (and for no reason) to leave bruises.  I try to be polite and say excuse me in various forms before moving past someone.  Often people will stand still completely oblivious to the fact that anyone is trying to get by.  I hate being shoved out of the way just as much as I hate having to push.
P.S. Special shout out to everyone glued to their phone while walking up or down flights of stairs.  You’re the real efficiency heroes.
people man smoke cigarette leaves green chair

#3 The Horking and Spitting

I live on top of a hill tucked away beside the army base in Seoul.  I didn’t think that my only opportunity for sweet repose would be from 2 AM – 4:30 AM.  In Korea, walls are thin and at all hours of the day and night I can hear horking and snorting and coughing and spitting.  It wakes me up at home.  It creeps me out when it happens in the street.  There have been a couple of instances where the guy hasn’t been watching and I’ve actually been caught with an errant loogie.  Walking the streets of Korea is not for the faint of heart!

people old woman grandmother tobacco flower
Photographer: hannah cauhepe

#2 Respect is Reserved

I’ve noticed that in Korea, while the elderly are certainly not taken care of as well as they should be, there is a real sense of duty when it comes to showing respect in public.  Respect is reserved, but don’t skip to thinking it’s deserved.  You’re only due your common decency if you’re superior in age to the person dishing it.  Then, there’s no real reason for you to thank the person (or even say please). Elders have no respect for the younger generation.  They don’t even show appreciation when younger people go out of their way to help.  Respect is an expectation.  Common decency isn’t so common.

red pink mathematics education learning chalk
Photographer: George Becker

# 1 Korean Logic

If you work for a company in Korea, you may have experienced something called the “Korean surprise!”  Plenty of my colleagues have arrived at work only to find out that there’s an essential presentation about which they were never told.  It’s parents day!  Open class!  Graduation picture day!  The Ministry of Education is here!  You owe 30 report cards as of yesterday!  Oh, you didn’t know?  You must have been told.  You are wrong.  Please understand our unique situation.
korea wet market meat seafoods vendor people box
Photographer: Saya Kimura
The unique situation is sadly that there’s not just a lack of communication, there’s a lack of logic.  When working with companies in Korea, I’ve found that they put one foot in front of the other.  They focus on individual puzzle pieces rather than seeing the whole picture.  Korean logic is my #1 pet peeve about living in Korea.  Let’s hope I haven’t inherited it over the past 3 years of living in this country which has afforded me so  much!
15 things I hate about living in Korea
Are you an expat in Korea or anywhere else on the globe?  Do you agree or disagree?  What are your favourite parts of living in another country?  Stay tuned for all the wonderful things I’ll miss about living in Korea!

The post Peace Out Seoulmates: 15 Things I Hate About Korea appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Busan Traditional Market Festival

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2017 Traditional Market Festival

(2017 ChungmuDong  Saebyeok Haean Golmok Traditional Market Festival)

In Korea, in all cities you can find at least one Traditional Market which is called Shijang시장 in Korean. You can find almost all the things you need in daily life, such as fruits, vegetables, cloths, accessories, etc. They are also a popular attraction for tourists who visit Korea, to see Korean traditional shops, souvenirs and get familiar with the atmosphere of a Korean traditional market. These markets are also so popular for having cheap items as well as variety of things based on your taste. Some of these markets are well known for some special items such as fish market, cloths market, etc.

One of the most famous traditional markets in Korea is Jagalchi market in Busan. The famous fish and seafood market which is located in the Nampo Dong district in Busan. Jagalchi market is very well known among tourists as well as locals and people do daily shopping, eating at the restaurants and also enjoy watching all those creatures taken from the sea!

But out of those who know Jagalchi well, how many know that there are actually many small traditional markets near Jagalchi? Yes, it is quite interesting that there are some hidden small but crowded markets near that area. The Saebyeok Traditional Market (새벽 시장) and Haean Traditional Market (해안 시장) are two of them, which are located in Nampo dong, very close to Jagalchi market.

In these two traditional markets, you can find sea food, as well as fruits, vegetables, plants, even sleepers! But what makes these two markets more important is the festival that is held every year there. Every year a festival called “Traditional Market Festival” is held at Saebyeok Traditional Market (새벽 시장) and Haean Traditional Market (해안 시장). I had the chance to participate this festival this year and cover the news as a reporter of the festival.

The festival this year was held on Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th. Some contents of the festival were same on both days and some were different. You could see little shops were selling their products like fish, seafood or even street food, besides some tables with special services such as nurses who offers medical emergency or some others who were doing some traditional treatment. On the other side of the market, there also table for some fun activities such as making postcards and handicrafts or fortune telling! There you could make your own fish with your style or choose a sentence in Korean and the artist woman made you a lovely postcard. All for free!

As an official part of the festival, there was a small stage which celebrated another year of Traditional Market Festival. The festival on Friday started with a marching band performance and followed up by the festival mayor speech, as well as some other staff; followed by the very fun part of the festival which was the performers who sang traditional songs that had the older men and women dancing in the street. Traditional Korean music is something I personally really enjoy. I feel so happy when I see older people enjoying themselves and are so excited to see a performance that they start dancing and clapping. One part of Korean culture that I love is that older people actually have their own style of fun and they start dancing just by hearing their generation’s song being performed.

You could also win a fish! A raw fish to take with you and cook at home. That’s quite interesting! To get that, you just needed to collect 3 stamps from all around the markets.

This is not a big festival in Busan but you really should visit. It is held every year by Busan City at Saebyeok and Haean Traditional Market in Nampo dong. Don’t miss it next year!

2017 Photos Below

Pusanweb Photo Flashback of Chagalchi Festival 2001



How to Say ‘Maybe’ in Korean

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Yes is  네 (ne)  and no is 아니요 (aniyo), but do you know how to say ‘maybe’ in Korean yet? If your answer to this just so happens to be ‘maybe’, or perhaps even ‘no’, then this is the lesson for YOU!

Today you’ll learn the ways of how to say ‘maybe’ in Korean, and whatever using that word can bring about for you. Just maybe this is the word to jumpstart your Korean language learning journey. Get your notebook and pen ready, and let’s get going!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘Maybe’ in Korean


Although there are several different ways to imply the meaning of ‘maybe’, there are three main words to use to describe it directly and generally. The first word to use is 아마 (ama), the second word to use is 아마도 (amado), and the third word to use is 어쩌면 (eojjeomyeon), all of which are interchangeable with each other.

If you want to use the word ‘maybe’ with the meaning of ‘by any chance’ (as in “can you maybe help me with this?) then using the Korean equivalent of 혹시 (hokshi) is the way to go. In turn, if you’re using the word ‘maybe’ with the connotation of ‘I wouldn’t know’ or leaning towards the negative (as in “Maybe that’s the answer, maybe it isn’t”) then you should say 글쎄요 (geulsseyo).


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences


아마 내일 다시 비가 올거에요. (Ama naeil dashi biga olgeoeyo.)

Maybe it will rain again tomorrow.


아마도 여섯시까지 일을 다 마무리할 수 있을 거예요. (Amado yeoseossikkaji ireul da mamurihal su isseul goyeyo.)

Maybe I can finish all of my work by 6.



혹시 그 파티에 같이 갈래? (Hokshi geu patie kachi gallae?)

By any chance, wanna go to that party together?


어쩌면 그가 한 말이 모두 사실일지도 몰라. (Eojjeomyeon geuga han mari modu sasiriljido molla.)

Maybe everything he said was true.


글쎄, 그 약속이 아직 확실한지 모르겠네. (Geulsse, geu yaksoki ajik hwakshilhanji moreugettne.)

I wouldn’t know, that appointment hasn’t been finalized yet.


Maybe, just maybe, you now know how to say ‘maybe’ in Korean? We’d love for you to show us your mad skills! What word would you like to learn next? Let us know in the comments below and maybe your choice will be our next article!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto

The post How to Say ‘Maybe’ in Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean.

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