Open Thread #12 (Updated)

( Source: geishaboy500 )

Let’s try this again!

Always just an experiment really, after last week’s open thread received no comments whatsoever then I deleted it and thought I’d call it a day, but I’ve relented and decided to give the open threads one more shot: after all, all the others received many. So, if you’d like a forum to talk about virtually anything Korea-related each weekend (albeit with a preference for sociology and pop-culture), and perhaps most importantly one that is moderated also, then please do make sure to contribute this time!

But please don’t get the wrong impression: of course I’ll be a little disappointed if the open threads don’t take off, but I don’t mind really, as keeping you entertained and informed is my prime concern (call me selfish, but I would like to get paid to write eventually, and this is how I learn how!). And with that in mind, in lieu of an extra post this weekend I’m starting this open thread a little early to give me more time to work on several in-depth ones I’ve been promising for a while.

Before I go though, an admin note for RSS feed subscribers: I recently bought the domain “”, which the old  “” now automatically redirects to, but I’ve noticed that although the feed for the latter still works just fine in Google Reader, the feed for the former is completely haywire, throwing up any post I simply edit even if it is several years old. That wouldn’t normally be a problem, but then I’m doing some major spring cleaning as it were, editing a month’s worth of old posts at a time, and this has meant that sometimes 20 very old posts have been arriving in your feed each day, which must be a little annoying. Sorry about that, and unfortunately I don’t know what I can do about it until I finish in a couple of weeks, but if you’d like to receive notification only when new posts arrive in the meantime, then please consider changing the feed to the old wordpress one, or alternatively you can subscribe by email via the button on the right.

Have a nice weekend!

( Source: HikingArtist )

Update, Monday 26th – Apologies, but those posts will have to be postponed a little, and this week’s Korea Gender Reader to next week: our landlord has just informed my wife and I that she wants to raise the rent, and so much of today has been spent looking at apartments online. We might be moving in less than 2 weeks!


31 thoughts on “Open Thread #12 (Updated)

  1. Sorry, thought the hottie was toking up. With what is coming out the left side, I guess she is really dropping some acid.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. The hottness means she can get away with a lot.


      1. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the original pic! Now I got some scary specs checking me out and people falling off a cliff! Ahhhhh!

        More hippie hotness! Hwiting! (punch fist in air like a three-year-old)


        1. Oh not a “mistake” I suppose, but “he’s/she’s hot” kind of comments tend to get very boring for everyone else very quickly. So, call me a grouch, but I don’t want to encourage them…


  2. Here’s a question:

    Actress Goo Hye-sun . . . Do you think she’s going to be successful wearing all her different hats (acting, directing, writing, painting, singing), or will it add up to fluff?

    I loved her in the TV drama “Pure Nineteen,” but since then . . I dunno.

    What do you think?


  3. I know plenty of english teachers visit this site, but have any of you guys went to college in Korea? More specifically grad school. It is something I am considering and being as big of decision as it, I’d like to gather as much information as possible. I was looking at the GSIS program at KU. I’d actually be interested to hear about anyone’s experience with KU.


    1. I did a language immersion program at KU. While it’s not a very good indicator of what it would be like to attend as a full time student, I can say that I enjoyed my time there very much. The language instructors where amazing, the school went to extra lengths to make sure my class had every oppurtunity to improve our learning as possible. i.e, Field trips to different cultural centers, outings with the instructors, they even hooked us up with some student volunteers to hang out with and show us around the town. The campus is beautiful and very easy to navigate. The area An-am is an awesome college town, but not a college town like Hong-dae, it’s alot quieter. Even the students you meet on the campus walking around are very helpful and willing to help foreigners. I would highly recomend KU. I loved it and am hoping to go back later this year.


    2. I studied for a semester as an undergraduate at Yonsei, and there were a handfull of people there attending full-time. It’s possible to get your degree there and only take classes in English, as well. I don’t know about grad school yet, though I’m interested in going myself.


      1. Well I’d like to thank everyone for their replies, as this is a pretty grand (ha) decision I’d like to get as much information as possible. I am wanting to focus on the Peace and Security track, possibly looking to get a federal job back home in the states dealing with the North Korea issue. My main goal would to become fluent and make some good contacts. I could do that without an MA but I doubt a BA will go too far with any government or NGO. Thanks again to James as you’ve helped me a bit in these open threads, if I am ever in Busan I owe you a meal. Thanks again guys.


    3. I went to grad school at Yonsei while working full-time. I was able to pull that off because I had a flexible work schedule that simply required me giving some face time in the main office, and as long as I did all my duties there was no problem.

      The scheduling was important because the classes were mostly in the morning and early afternoon, which are prime working and teaching times (right?).

      I enjoyed the experience. Lots of smart people and smart professors (mostly). If you enjoy the subject matter, it’s worth it. I’ve heard good things about the various GSIS’s (graduate school of international studies) that are taught in English at Korea University, Ewha (men can attend), Seoul National, and even the smaller ones like Sogang.


  4. I appreciate your postings and your insights. They help give me a picture of what life in Korea is like, and an appreciation of a people and culture I otherwise know little about.


    1. Thank you very much Steve (and James below), but just in case I gave the wrong impression, I’m not about to quit blogging or anything: was just considering discontinuing the open threads because of last week and all. But will definitely keep them going now! :)


  5. I think the whole is it/isn’t it IVY fuss earlier this week is a prime example of how far down the decency ladder ‘news’ goes.
    I’m also rolling my eyes at the name for CNBLUE’s fan club as being BOICE (like voice) it sounds like the worst konglish -_-
    hmm – maybe I’ve had too much caffeine today *puts down the cappuccino and backs away*


  6. Well, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now, mainly because, I have began dating a Korean woman and wanted to learn more about the culture. Mr. Turnbull I find your blog most entertaining, amusing, insightful and educational.
    My lady is definitely not your traditional Korean woman as, she grew up in Toronto and can be considered completely North Americanized as well as anti Korean culture (in regards to how women are treated) however, I am not the typical choice of any Asian woman for the fact that I am Black *GASP* and even in a city as diverse as Toronto its not all that common to see an Asian woman with a black man or vise versa. Now, in the black community we (well most of us) have no problem accepting another race into our families, while their may be some initial raised eyebrows at that first meeting, as long as the person is not a complete and utter moron, you’d be treated like part of the family. I have learned very quickly that this is definitely not the case with the Korean community. My Lady wants to take me to Korea and I do want to go as I love to travel but, I do have some reservations after reading several stories of the women being disrespected for walking with anyone that is not Korean. We are a ridiculously affectionate couple and I do not stand for anyone ill treating her which would almost guarantee some sort of confrontation which, from my understanding would result in my incarceration because foreigners are not given the benefit of the doubt by the local authorities. I suppose I don’t actually have a question but, just looking for your opinion and your readers opinion.


    1. We are a ridiculously affectionate couple and I do not stand for anyone ill treating her which would almost guarantee some sort of confrontation which, from my understanding would result in my incarceration because foreigners are not given the benefit of the doubt by the local authorities.

      It’s been 15 years since an American GI was convicted of assault after a fight that started with an an ajosshi reacted angrily to the GI putting his hand on his wife’s bottom while standing in a subway car. The PDA and the nonKorean racial identity of the GI were factors. Koreans have become more tolerant of foreign male/Korean female pairings and of PDA, but there are still plenty of old-school ajosshis who feel entitled to confront strangers. A black/Korean couple being “ridiculously affectionate” would be waving a red flag in front of a bull. Your risk, your choice, your call.


  7. My co-worker showed me a quote from a Korean psychologist (don’t know the name or the article it came from unfortunately) that said that Korean woman are more depressed than woman from other countries because they enjoy their drama and relish the pain of depression.

    Not sure what I think of it, I know that certainly the movies and dramas in Korea have romanticized the whole pain of love thing, but do Korean woman take this to a level above woman from other countries?

    Let me know what you think and I will try to find the psychologist’s name…


    1. I guess it was an article by Michael Breen from the Korean Times written about nine days ago. Still trying to find the link…


  8. Anybody catch this article about a movie based on “sex volunteers” that sleep with disabled people?

    They’re, like, organized with websites and stuff it looks like. This led me to do a search for “sex volunteers” on google, which turned up articles about Japanese men that volunteer to sleep with housewives that haven’t had sex with their husbands in years (or, in some cases, EVER).

    Interesting stuff… I’m sure people sleep with other people out of charity, but had no idea it was organized and a “thing”


  9. Popseoul has a great post on accusations that 6 out of 7 of the songs on Hyori’s new album were plagiarized. They’ve lined up Youtube videos of the originals and the Hyorized versions. Incredible that a megastar like Hyori would put out an album filled mostly with copies of works by foreign artists. If a North American star did this, her career would be dead in the water.


    1. OMGKPOP has a better article, including “The Alphabet Song” by Second Person, which samples Annie Lenox’s “No More I Love Yous” and appears to be the immediate source for Lee Hyoir’s “Memory”. There’s also a comment from areia (the Greek guy who remixes K-pop songs) saying that his mother immediately recognised “Swing” as a ripoff of a song by Mikis Theodorakis.


  10. I have a question about the practice of blurring. Watching “reality” Korean tv these days is like thinking my glasses have spots on them.

    Why, when the host is walking down the road somewhere, does the show feel the need to blur out license plates, faces, hats with logos, t-shirts, and business signage on trucks and businesses? Is there some kind of law in place that mandates this? Was someone sued for something and now the shows are scared? Instead of making the “offending” whatever go away, it just draws my eyes to it to the detriment of whatever the show is supposed to be about as I tried to decipher the blurring (“Is that a Nike logo on his hat?”).


    1. That reminds me of watching “The Birds” a couple of weeks ago. There was a scene where the main characters were talking to an old woman who lit a ciggarette as they talked. The weird thing is that only the LIGHTING of the cig was blurred. They showed the cig, showed her smoking it, even stubbing it out later. But, for some reason, they couldn’t show that she had to apply fire.


  11. I have really liked the link you posted in your topic a few posts back about dating in Korea. Before you got married and stuff, how was the attitude towards you dating Korean women ect?

    I’d be interested in that cause I’ve only really seen female perspectives so far


  12. Really like your site. Am from the Philippines, and a k-drama and j-drama fan (and my brother and his wife works as English teachers to Koreans).

    Anyhow, since you did offer your blog (and this specific category) for open discussion… I am curious. One of my favorite singers John Hoon recently signed-up for military service, and that Gong Yoo recently came out of his and met with his fans to say ‘Am back!’.

    Are they really able to just pick-up from where they left? They build their careers and fanbase, and then…’I’ll be gone for a few years, I hope you can wait for me’?. Does the goverment require an equivalent servitude from the women? (or the current bias is more than enough commensurate?)


  13. tardy to the party!

    what do you think about the new girls generation Biotherm CF?

    if i didn’t know the brand, my mind would be filled with suggestive ideas. my mind is filled with suggestive ideas. although from an advertising perspective, i gotta say, they are still playing within the lines of what goes.


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