Korea Q&A: Anti-Japan Impregnating, Stealing Foreigners

We got another Korea Q&A with Serine from 11x11PM!

Here’s your questions, and here’s our answers :)

Jeff Scott Elwell asks: Is it easy to go to places outside of Seoul and get back with the same day? Like the huge amusement park, the beaches or even Jeju Island? Thanks again for the other vid

It is definitely possible. But it’s might not be very practical. Flights are quick and they’re not too expensive. Jeju is the farthest destination, and it is only 1 hour away from Seoul if you’re taking a flight. So it is definitely possible. But why would you go all that way and not stick around to explore a bit? :)

Hc Hoo asks: Can one travel in Korea without understanding korean language?

Yes, you can definitely travel in Korea without knowing Korean. Everyone will understand simple questions like “how much” and “where’s the bathroom.” So anything that a tourist might need will be no problem when traveling. But just a warning, the smaller the place you visit, the more you’ll need Korean. The countryside will definitely have lots of people who can’t understand much.

Jeremias Ivan Secoff asks: I’ve heard the relationship between koreans and japanese is not very good because of history, but I’ve never seen any friction between the two of you so far (in dramas…) Can you tell me the korean’s view about that?

50 years of colonial rule buddy. And it wasn’t all happy times. So yes, there’s definitely tension. Even to this day there are historians and politicians from both countries that dispute what went on in the past, who did what, etc. And there are still protests at embassies and crazies that do crazy things like burn stuff. But it’s actually cooled down a lot. Generally, younger Koreans have no problems at all with Japan. And there are of course many Koreans that go to live in Japan as well. It’s a really complicated situation :P

Febian Alaina Phoebe asks: What is one thing in Korea you think foreigners should never miss out on?

Food definitely. But you’ll have to eat anyway. So we’re going to say 찜질방 (jjimjilbang)! Jjimjilbang is a Korean dry sauna. They’re seen all the time on Korean dramas if you’ve never seen it. But basically, more than sauna, you go there to relax and hang out with friends. There’s food inside to eat, there’s places to sleep, movies and TV shows to watch and a whole bunch of other things you can do.

Note: In the video Serine mentions getting naked, but that is specifically for 목욕탕 (mokyoktang), a bathhouse. Jjimjilbang you only get naked when you change into your sauna clothes (provided).

Arnab Sen asks: Why are many rooftops painted green?

Super observant question! Apparently it’s a paint that protects against weather. And it just so happens to be green.

Kathi Strie asks: Is it true that foreigner man/ white man do have a bad image in Korea? I´ve seen a korean-doku about foreigner man which just cheat on korean women like make them pregnant or steal money and leave! Is it true that most people think bad about foreigner man?

Foreign men don’t have a reputation of impregnating Korean women, stealing their money and then leaving. That sounds like a wild child that somehow made the news. Not everyone hates foreign men. It’s totally up to the individual of course. Some Koreans are totally racist. Of course! But there are also people that prefer foreign men more because they think they look like movie stars :)

You can follow Keith on his personal website, Facebook page, twitter!

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If you got a question, leave it in the comment section!

About Keith

Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com

21 comments

  1. Ben Sorrell

    Is it just me or does Serine kinda look/sound/act like Hara Goo?

  2. Leora

    I don’t know about impregnating girls and running off with their money, but a friend of mine and her co-teachers got a big lecture during training about not sleeping with Koreans because you’ll give them all STDs. The implications being that ALL foreigners are some sort of typhoid Mary, unknowingly carrying latent sexually transmitted diseases all over the world. Not the most welcoming speech to receive upon arrival.

    • tired

      Was the lecture given by an ajosshi? You know, one of Southeast Asia’s largest demographic of sex tourist? Regular customer to one of the 600,000+ sex workers in South Korea? One of them? From his vantage point of superior moral authority? With the benefit of world-class sex education and medical care?

  3. Angel

    Keep it up! These are awesome and fun!

  4. tired

    I find it hilarious that the complaint with Japan is “they don’t acknowledge the REAL history” when Koreans, generally speaking, have little to no knowledge of the historical facts themselves, other than what has been repeated from teachers and parents. 50 years? Where does that number come from? If you count from the annexation to the surrender, it’s 35 years. If you want to go back to 1876, you could make an argument… but 50? Anyway… it was 70 years ago, and the people who organized/supported that regime are all dead. The western world has moved on from the Germans, and thankfully… can you imagine how holding on to all that hate an animosity would affect the ability of neighboring countries to conduct their lives in a sane and mutually profitable manner? I’m just saying that the situation is not “complicated”, it’s really very simple: if you want to argue that the Japanese are unforgivable demons then at least educate yourself, otherwise, move on with your life. Of course, you could cling desperately to hate from the past… look how well that has worked out in Palestine or the Balkans….

    • James Mason

      You can’t compare Germany to Japan…Germany did everything right after the war, they compensated a lot of their victims and set up charity organizations, admitted responsibilty etc. However, Japan hardly admits to even doing anything wrong, their current prime minister questioned the meaning of “aggression” and denies Japan’s wrongdoing. Also the Osakan mayor said that comfort women was a good thing…And of course there is the shrine which has the names of class A war criminals on… those responsible for the murder, rape and mutilation of women and children and the leaders of Japan bow to them!…this isn’t history… this is here and now.

    • ans

      tired must be japanese. german and japanese are totally different when it comes to acknowleging their faults and being responsible for it.
      Germany regrets and tri not to happen the incident ,never while Japanese are proud of it…….!???!???
      China Indonesia Philippines Korea etc became all victims from their experiment using living human body. sick of their proud action toward their ancestors

  5. tired

    As for the media reports of evil, sex-crazed western males, that isn’t some “wild child” that made the news, that is mainstream media, like the MBC piece “The Shocking Truth about Foreigners” and regular hatchet jobs in the press and on TV. These don’t speak for all Koreans, but it is most certainly a socially-tolerated and even socially-encouraged stereotype that is far from underground or fringe

    • James Mason

      Unfortunately there are some really bad stereotypes of western males. I saw the MBC program and it was really disgraceful that a national television station would air something like that. If Korea wants to taken seriously as a leading nation they have to stamp out this fast, all it’s going to do is spread xenophobia. Sadly, I’ve experienced this first hand, I was on the train in Seoul with a Korean girl(not my girlfriend) and we over heard a girl saying she would never date a foreigner. Part of me wanted to sit her down and say where do you think Korea would be without certain foreigners, namely Americans, British and the rest of the allies that liberated them from Japan and then from the communists…???

  6. Educated

    He said “50” but that doesn’t mean he isn’t educated on the topic or less able to comment on it. If you didn’t pick up on the tone of the q&a, it’s light-hearted lot trying to address some not so easy subjects people want to know about. He’s not tryjng to verbalize a thesis. By the way, how do you know that what our parents and teachers taught is inaccurate? I majored in history at Berkeley and focused on East Asian countries. What my parents taught me isn’t that far from what I’ve read. As for the passing of the people who ruled Japan in the 1st half of the 20th century, the point is that the current policy makers continue to make comments and gestures which downplay the incredibly harsh rule Japan had during their colonization in korean and other Asian nations. E.g. Osaka mayor’s comments on comfort women being a part of war and that the U.S. Military should utilize brothels, and the continual visitation by the PM of the shrine of war.

    Relax and ease up on judgemental point of view. Your opinion is not the only one, and in this case it’s just not right at all.

  7. tired

    1) While the conduct of certain of Japan’s rulers have been less than diplomatic or sensitive, the same can be said for certain of any nation’s leaders. However, officially and as a nation, Japan has repeatedly apologized for the former imperialist regime and has abided by the terms of its surrender. When Korea takes care of it’s own issues, from prostitution to spousal abuse to involvement in its own military atrocities in places like Vietnam, then perhaps the culture as a whole will be on more solid moral high ground to nitpick over the ramblings of the occasional moron elected official in Japan. At least they aren’t starting fist fights and throwing furniture at each other.

    2) The whole visiting the war dead shrine is a ridiculous argument. Obviously they aren’t visiting the place to say, “Hey, thanks for all the war crimes guys! Those rapes and murders were awesome!” Their soldiers, right or wrong, died in service of their nation, right or wrong. What exactly would you propose? Abolition of memorials for Japan’s war dead?

    3) What teachers and parents teach may very well be accurate, but my experience, as well as the experience of many people I have met and talked to, suggests that what is generally taught about the rest of the world to small children is not only incorrect but hateful. Certainly the situation is better now than it was 5 years ago, but the nationalist spin version of history is just as alive and well here in Korea as it is in Japan… and those living in glass houses…

    4) Sitting as a ethnically Korean person on a subway hearing a Korean woman talk about how repulsive the idea of dating a foreigner is to her is not the same as actually being a foreigner in Korea. It’s kind of like saying you’ve experienced life as an African American because you watched “Roots”. I appreciate what you’re saying, however. You’re right about Korea not being taken seriously as a “leading nation”. My guess is we’ll have to wait for the current regime of ajosshi to die out before we’ll see a big change. Fortunately the alcohol consumption, tobacco use and driving habits should cut the wait time down significantly.

  8. laseh

    Hi Keith,

    Bring back the other girl…!

  9. wakeup

    All of this finger pointing is typical western BS, it’s hilarious how Westerners think they should not have to earn acceptance in other countries after doing more damage than most eastern nationalities. Who haven’t you fought, killed, gone to war with, or slaughtered? Koreans, Japanese, whoever else, don’t have to like you. Work on correcting the ills of your countries before telling other nations how they should act, believe, and handle themselves.

    Westerners behavior abroad is shameful, male AND female. You mock and belittle Asians when they don’t want to worship you. Grow up! Yet you think every female OR male should be your sex slave, girlfriend, etc. with very little effort because, after all, you come from the stronger, better, nation. You won the war, right? aND WHERE would they be without you?

    As a Westerner, I hide and run from you when I see you. You want to make friends with other Westerners, just so you can talk badly about Asians and how you feel mistreated because no one is worshipping you.

    If you can’t hack it in places with very little western influence, and in places who have their OWN culture–stay home!! I hate sharing the same passport as many of you. Your historical track record is why people feel that way about you. For there is a bit of truth in every stereotype after all.

  10. Elle Tan

    Keith, my questions: i see so many times in k-drama,

    1. when a person gave money to the other person, they gave a bank book (looks like a book from a bank to me, correct me if i’m wrong), instead of a check, why is that?

    2. when someone doesn’t want to take a call, they ripped off their battery from the phone, instead just reject call or shutdown with the button.. is that a trendy habit :D ? do you know the reason?

    it’s not important questions, i know, just my curiosity went on for years without someone can explain why :D

    thanks for answering

  11. jinku

    keith what happened to the other hot girl.what u said about younger koreans having no problem with japs is false.

  12. GIM

    This comment is more like a comment on the comments than on the video. Mostly it is to vent.

    1. I can understand those who want Min Song A back. She is pretty, funny, and works well both with Keith and alone. I read that she got married and has her first child. I can guess why she might have other things to do right now. I am sorry that she got married, but as I am over 60, am married myself with two grown children, and am not ready to start over in that regard, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    Serine is very good. The above listed attributes apply to her as well as to Min Song A, though differently. I really enjoy listening to her and to the back-and-forth with Keith.

    Things change in life. It’s sad, but so what.

    2. As far as the history with Japan is concerned, I doubt that there is one Korean point of view. A lot depends on the experience of the person or the memory of the relatives who lived at that time. I have one friend who sees all of the history with Japan as being one attack after another. Yet, there are films like “Doenjang-gun and Natto-jjang’s Marriage War,” which suggests that there has been a lot of cooling down.

    I like “tired’s” comments. There is a lot more to be said, but he says what he says well. No nation has a history which can make its people feel proud, completely. So what? We – I am an American – had a lot of Japanese in the States precisely because they did not like what was going on in Japan politically. And our government decided to isolate them. But my mother remembers to this day the fear and the panic after Pearl Harbor among ordinary people, and I uncerstand the reaction to the Japanese presence a lot better. No one really understood anything. It does not justify the wrong done to the Japanese, but it is hard to understand what could have been changed.

    3. I have more to say, but I have already said too much.

    Keith, I am glad you picked up the QandA again.

    Serine, I like your contribution a lot and I hope it continues.

    If either of you see Min Song A, tell her that I love her, but I realize that what might have been could not, in fact, ever have been, not really, and I send congratulations on her new family life, and good luck on raising the kid.