What culture shocks have you experienced while visiting or living in South Korea?

I found the lack of gender equality there pretty appalling. I’m no feminist – and I frankly find feminism in Western countries to be a bit of a joke – but Korea really needs more feminism.

It’s not even close. Korean women really get the short end of the stick here. Not just wages either – the way men act and women act there is straight out of the 1950s USA. Lots of housewives expected to stay at home and be seen but not heard, doing the majority of housework and child rearing. Men are expected to make all the major decisions and be the major breadwinner. Domestic abuse is common. Sexual assault and rape are the most common violent crimes. Cheating is widely tolerated. 2nd highest amount of prostitutes per capita. Abortion is illegal (unlike Japan). Women are objectified constantly – see kpop groups for a good example. Women get pressured to quit their jobs after they get pregnant. Women are pressure to wear makeup everyday because its ‘manners’ (guys are not subject to same requirement). Straight out of the 1950s. Unlike China and Western countries, the jobs here are gender separated. Certain roles are only done by women and certain roles only done by men. Taxi drivers? Always men. Hair Salon? Always women.

I find it shocking that a country which is top 10 in the world in GDP and #2 in Asia in terms of GDP/capita is so behind when it comes to treating women with respect. Many guys drag girls to a motel after drinking heavily. On the subway many girls would just be standing in their high heels – the guys there don’t give them their seat at all like they would in Canada. I did feel bad for them – these girls probably have to wear those high heels all day every day – so I often gave up my seat for them if I had a chance. I also find it odd that Korean guys complain about having to pay for women on dates – not only is that a standard thing to do in other countries – but cmon guys… the women make 60% of your salary the least you can do is pay for her. I made sure to pay for all my dates without complaints.

Given this, I find it funny and ironic that so many kpop/kdrama fangirls want to move to korea and date Korean men, most of them from China (the best Asian country for a girl IMO) ironically.

For rich people and foreigners its not that bad. For college age students, it might be pretty good. Nightlife is great and you can party all night. However, if you are a native Korean of any other age, it’s pretty stressful. As any Korean can attest:

-from middle school onwards, students are constantly studying. Usually up to 10pm to 11pm most days at a cram school. Even after high school people still study to get into companies or graduate school. Studying is a Korean national pasttime. I see cafes open at 3 am in the morning full of students at the tables. English is often a pre-requisite to apply for any big company (even if they aren’t expected to speak it at work) – and often other languages like Chinese and Japanese are studied to just to get a leg up on the competition.

-work culture sucks. Your boss can discriminate based on your race, sex and appearance. Your boss can interfere with your personal life. You cannot go against your boss. Sexual harassment is common in Korea and unlike the US you can’t easily sue because of it. You are expected to work overtime – sometimes until 11pm, sometimes until 2am. Often you have to work weekends. You aren’t supposed to leave work until your boss does. You are expected to drink with your boss if he offers yet still show up on time the next day. You don’t get much maternal leave when you get pregnant – you can possibly get fired if the company thinks you will spend too much time on your kid – and paternal leave is next to nonexistent. If you get older and cannot get promoted to a manager you are expected to retire early to avoid the social awkwardness of reporting to someone younger than you. And on top of that the salary isn’t that great. I had a friend who literally finished at 4am everyday, came home to shower, and went straight back to work. You can literally die of overwork.

-men and women (but especially women) are expected to look perfect whenever they go outside. Appearance is so valued in South Korea that plastic surgery is often done just to have a better chance to get a job (so think about that next time you criticize Korean girls for being ‘fake’). Women are constantly checking their makeup in the mirror (even high school girls). And after they marry they are still expected to take care of the household duties. Abortion is still officially illegal (this despite that Korean men drug + rape women but don’t consider it rape). It’s especially difficult in South Korea to be a woman which is why the marriage rates and birth rates are declining.

If I had to sum it up in one word its competition. This is both the strength and weakness of South Korea. Yes – South Koreans have a lot to be proud of. They have one of the most popular entertainment industries in the world. Beautiful women are everywhere to be seen. The nightlife is incomparable. Samsung is the largest IT company in the world. They have the best esports gamers in the world. All this from a country about the same size as Ohio.

However, there are many dark sides to this light, and often average Koreans have to suffer from birth to death because of it.. which is why young Koreans refer to their country as ‘Hell Joseon’. Their country has the highest suicide rate in the OECD for a good reason.

Which country is better to live in, South Korea or Japan?

Korea for me.

Having also been to Japan before, there a few reasons why I like Korea better.

#1 is cost of living. Tokyo costs way more to live in than Seoul. Koreans like to think Seoul is expensive – it’s not – compared to Tokyo and Shanghai, Seoul is downright reasonable.

#2 is Koreans can speak better English on average than Japanese

#3 is Koreans are easier to read than Japanese. A lot of people put this a strong point of Japanese: that they are more polite, cultured etc. They are actually too polite to a fault. so much so that you can’t really tell what they are thinking. They are too polite to ever say anything directly. You never know whether the girl you are taking on a date is enjoying it or not. Either way she will say she enjoyed it. Whereas with Korean people and Korean girls they will be more direct in telling you what’s on their mind (but not TOO direct like Chinese). That’s the perfect balance I think.

#4 is you are in danger of earthquakes and nuclear radiation in Japan. In Korea you just have to worry about ‘Rocket Man’ but that’s ok – because if he ever does something, all Koreans can die at once and you don’t have to worry about losing any of your loved ones because you will be dead too! yay!

Updates – am I getting better?

A few months ago, I had an anxiety attack that really scared me, I wasn’t breathing well, couldn’t sleep, had chest tightness and palpitations and I was scared that I had a heart attack, so I went to the doctor and cardiologist to take a look – well good news is that it wasn’t heart related and I’m in good health it was just caused by stress and anxiety – partly due to crypto crashing and partly due to breaking up with my gf. I took anti-depressants and am still taking them, and I seem to be getting better.

Safe to say this year has not been good to me so far. I am filled with regrets from not selling my crypto at the beginning of this year. I had the chance to book a $50k profit + send it over to Korea which had a premium on crypto at that time to make another 30-40% profit. Instead I doubled down on my risk, took out 3 loans and attempted to catch a falling knife – and now I’m down $100k+ on my investments. On top of that I lost $2300 because I re-sold a Chanel bag online and forgot to ship the package priority and when it went to Canada, buyer complained they didn’t receive it, I couldn’t refute that claim because it didn’t offer tracking to Canada, and had to give that money out of my own pocket. I also lost a $1000 Camera+Lens because the Renovation movers misplaced it somewhere. In addition to that I was scammed 1.5 ETH ($1200 total) and none of the ICOs I invested in made any money for me – on average I lost like 60-80% when it debuted. All these money issues were a major cause of my depression and anxiety these days.

So good news is I am still getting over that crypto loss (I am still losing a lot but oh well… its just money.. ill make it back), and I’m trying to focus on other things like how to make back that money. However, bad luck strikes again! I was in the process of trying to purchase 1000 GIN to setup a GIN masternode (GIN COIN) and sent it to Crypto-Bridge which was the ONLY exchange where I could purchase it – and lo and behold just THAT day they had an issue with BTC deposits and mine got stuck – been waiting for 5 days so far and no sign of me getting that money. Meanwhile price of GIN has gone up 40%. FML. Seriously I have the worst timing ever or this year really hates me in terms of finances.

In other news, I had to fork over an additional $25k to renovate my apartment and hopefully that sale goes well. I’ve had enough financial problems this year so I hope that’s the one thing that I might actually get in my favor. I am probably going to work for another 2 months… I don’t like my job but my financial issues have forced me to continue working longer than expected.

I also play a lot of video games these days, of course. Far Cry 5 is a great one that I continue to play with my friend these days, as well as some good old school Gunbound as well. In addition I’ve been playing this awesome cyberpunk game with talking dogs and robotic lolitas and all that great stuff in a game called VA1-HA11-A Cyberbunk bartending action and the game is one of the best visual novel type games I’ve played (right next to Stein’s Gate which is hands down the best one I’ve played so far)

VA1-HA11-A on PS Vita
VA1-HA11-A on PS Vita

In addition I’ve obtained a lightsaber! Yes Saberforge has taken 4 months(!) to finally make my Bane Mk II Count-Dooku style curved hilt lightsaber and yes it looks great and it’s awesome.

Saberforge Bane MkII Lightsaber
Saberforge Bane MkII Lightsaber