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  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1328

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« on: June 12, 2020, 02:03:06 am »
What's the biggest change to Korea that you have noticed since you've been here?

Mine is the change in tobacco culture, when I first moved to Korea you could literally smoke any and everywhere including stores. Now it seems you can't smoke any where.


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4430

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 03:12:46 am »
What's the biggest change to Korea that you have noticed since you've been here?

Mine is the change in tobacco culture, when I first moved to Korea you could literally smoke any and everywhere including stores. Now it seems you can't smoke any where.
I have to agree.

When they increased the taxes a lot of people quit.


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3828

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 06:09:19 am »
koreans have more exposure to foreigners. i don't get stared at, pointed at, shouted at, or my feet spat at/verbally abused when i'm with my korean wife (which happened way too often)

or maybe i just don't notice it anymore :)


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2020, 07:11:05 am »
Education
#metoo changed the drinking culture in schools.  Definitely positive. 
English learning has moved away from rote learning.  English teaching has changed and evolved the most out of all subjects here.
Teachers are becoming VPs and Ps based on merit rather than age, not hugely, but noticeable over the last ten years or so.
The Uni entrance test is becoming less important to students trying to get into university. Using interviews and school records and reports more.  Meaning less stress.

Other
Pollution - for the worse
Now only two seasons.
The 국민차 has gone from the 'Avante' to the 'Grandeur' now, showing how Koreans are becoming 'richer'.


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 07:26:54 am »
Quote
English learning has moved away from rote learning.  English teaching has changed and evolved the most out of all subjects here.

Are you talking about public schools specifically? Elementary, Middle School or High school? What I've heard from the latest crop of K teachers (from all levels) i've been training is they still mostly teach in Korean and it's still all about the test at high schools.

Coffee shops. From very rare in the early part of the century  to one on every street corner now.
HBC, going from one dive bar and a Korean restaurant (both still there) to what it is now.

The smoking thing was funny. Koreans seem to have a penchant for the nanny state at times so they went way over the top with the ban (IMO)  A short time after the ban, Koreans would come back from London and complain about how disgusting it was that people could smoke in the streets.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 07:34:46 am by stoat »


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3828

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2020, 09:45:45 am »
so they went way over the top with the ban
this happens with everything that is banned/changed in korea

seems there's never a sensible middle ground- always goes from one extreme to another


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2020, 10:07:43 am »
Yeah, I was just thinking about how the number of smokers I get stuck behind walking had dropped dramatically, lol. I had no idea there was a ban, or that they'd raised taxes.

And, honestly, I'm not seeing as many young couples, either. Because there aren't as many of them, lmao? I dunno, I just know that during cuffing season they are ****** everywhere and they are the bane of my existence because they walk all super slow and get in the ****** way and take up the entire ****** sidewalk... but there hasn't been as much of that in the past year or so. It's just not as bad. That just me?

I also lost a few of my favorite foods because any time I find something I super like around here they take it away from me.

And maybe it's just in my town, but I've been seeing a shift away from chicken restaurants and more towards pork restaurants lately.

A lot of things that were difficult to impossible to get locally without access to a U.S. base or paying outlandish prices are now more readily available at reasonable prices, at least online. I can buy oatmeal without ordering it online now. Surprised this didn't come sooner, I couldn't get any of it from anywhere but Seoul when I first got here.

I've been seeing more Korean men who're actually trying to bulk up in the gym rather than staying slim. A few of them have figured out workout culture and I wish there were more of them, but I'll take some over none like there used to be.

While there's still a lot of disdain over English in schools, I've been noticing more and more students who're starting to take it more seriously, and I've been very impressed at how quickly a few of them have progressed in less than a year once they finally decided to get their shit together. I've always had students like this, but there seems to be more of them now. Also not sure if that's just me and my schools, though.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 10:30:38 am by Chinguetti »


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1185

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 10:38:01 am »
Unisex bathrooms are becoming much more rare.  And I don't mean a bathroom with a key that both sexes use.  When I first came to Korea it would be a shared bathroom at most places with a urinal and a cubicle and men and women would use them at the same time.  I always found it awkward to follow a woman into the bathroom at the bar so I'd wait until they came back out but no one else would wait so if you needed to relieve yourself at the bar you needed to adapt.  It was the norm my first year in the late nineties at public places.  A couple of years ago I went into the washroom at Gilbert's Burgers in Sinsa and they still had that set up. I was in there doing my thing and a hip young lady came in and just went into the cubicle directly next to me and let go.  I got out of there before she finished as it's something I have never adapted to and always feel I'm somehow in the wrong. 


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2020, 10:43:08 am »
Are you talking about public schools specifically? Elementary, Middle School or High school? What I've heard from the latest crop of K teachers (from all levels) i've been training is they still mostly teach in Korean and it's still all about the test at high schools.

Yes, public school.  What I mean, I suppose I should have said 'moving away', as opposed to 'moved' as i suggests totally changed.  From my elementary/middle days 13 years ago, especially in middle, it was only about memorising texts and repeating, but not necessarily understanding them.  Elementary is quite simple as the scope is narrow, play games, watch the video, sings songs.
 English contests at that time were about memorising those texts and repeating them, but not really understanding.  Like Chinguetti mentioned, students seem to be taking it more seriously, and I think that's because it's evolved in how it's taught so is more accessible now to more students.  There are still elements of rote, but Korean English teachers have also changed how they teach, they get sent abroad to do training where they pick up techniques and methods, there are camps set up here for Korean English teachers.  In Chungnam, we have the 'Cifle Program' which my old co-teachers say they really enjoyed and find very useful.  Yes, Korean teachers still teach in Korean, but their English ability has got better through these kinds of exposure to English.  I'm not saying it's totally changed, but definitely noticeable. 


  • Samrey
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • September 07, 2017, 11:31:36 am
    • Seoul
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2020, 10:53:37 am »
Education
#metoo changed the drinking culture in schools.  Definitely positive. 



Can you elaborate? What on earth was it like before?


  • T.J.
  • Veteran

    • 226

    • June 09, 2011, 11:07:16 am
    • 서울 은평구 연신내
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2020, 10:54:46 am »
The subway system is huge compared to when I first arrived. There were only four lines back then and the three line only ran from양재 to 구파발. It also only cast 300-400 Won to ride.

Urban sprawl also connecting Seoul with Ilsan and Uijongbu. Seoul definitely ended at the city limits back then and the tank traps over all the roads leading into the city marked the line.

Censoring of foreign films back in the day. One that really stands out in my memory was from Jurassic Park. They cut the scene where the lawyer hiding in the bathroom gets eaten by T-Rex. *spoiler alert* While you still see this a lot on TV, I don't think there is much of that in the cinema anymore.

Ride Sharing in taxies used to be a thing when I first arrived (합승). Drivers would pick up second fairs if they were going in the same direction. It was an interesting way to meet people. I was sorry to see that one go.

There used to be trash bins every few meters along the streets until they removed them all with the implementation of the current trash bag system.

Believe it or not tanning salons went through a boom of popularity.

No more curfew these days like there was when I first came. Bars would continue serving but the doors were shut and you could only leave if the all clear was given.

Biggest change though has to be the disappearance of the summer protests at the universities and the accompanying tear gas. You never left home without a handkerchief back then because more likely than not you would encounter some tear gas.



"An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."

-Will Rogers


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2020, 11:09:11 am »
Can you elaborate? What on earth was it like before?

Older male teachers can't really pressure female staff into drinking booze with them.  It can still happen but from what I've seen male teachers seem to be more understanding of a person's right to choose if they want to drink or not.  In 2016, before the metoo movement really exploded, at my school the third grade male teachers used to force the two young female teachers to go out drinking and then after drinking slow dance with them in the noraebang.  When I mentioned this to one of my co-teachers, she nearly exploded, 'They can't do that.  If other teachers had known there would some big words coming their way!'.   Years ago, there was always a lot of booze flowing and female teachers were expected to drink.  But on the whole now, Ps, VPs and teachers are way better at understanding someone's choice about drinking. 


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2020, 11:09:50 am »
Can you elaborate? What on earth was it like before?

Well, there aren't as many hweshiks, now, and the VPs and Ps aren't as likely to try to push everyone into drinking. They weren't really that bad to begin with in my schools' cases, but I've still noticed a heavy lean away from any situation that could lead up to it anyway. A lot of teachers are choosing to go straight home instead of pressuring others to go palling around in some bar or hof after work. They're just a lot more careful about things, now.

Not sure if this is what Ronnie was referring to, but this is how it is from my perspective.


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2020, 11:13:11 am »
Quote
Ride Sharing in taxies used to be a thing when I first arrived (합승). Drivers would pick up second fairs if they were going in the same direction. It was an interesting way to meet people. I was sorry to see that one go.

Really? You didn't get annoyed when a driver picked up and dropped someone off in the middle of your ride, , got money off them, and still made you pay the whole fare? Happened to me a few times.


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1185

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2020, 11:18:18 am »
I used to go to the cinema a lot my first year in Jeonju.  I liked all the old theatres clustered near the Gaeksa area that used to have the marquees with the painted billboards.  That was a neat touch.  Some of the paintings were just awful but some were good.  Anyways, none of the CGV plex type places then.  Also, I remember going to Godzilla with a Korean teacher from my public school.  She was surprised that I got annoyed by the fact that they were overselling the film.  They would just keep selling tickets to anyone that wanted one and if you couldn't find a seat you were just expected to wait until another showing or get a refund. 

The most annoying part of the movies back then was that because they oversold seats people were allowed to come into the movie before it ended to claim a seat.  So, you'd have people watching the end of a film they were just about to see.  Hard to beat that as a spoiler. Of course, you'd then have people standing in the aisle why you were trying to watch a movie.  I quickly learned to avoid the busy times. And with the disarray that came with the IMF period at my after school company, catching a quiet matinee with a cold beer was a regular activity when we had no a/c in the hot months.  Most of those theatres seemed to be gone when I went back to Jeonju two decades later.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1824

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2020, 11:20:26 am »
Can you elaborate? What on earth was it like before?
I came in on the tail end of all the really interesting shenanigans. Basically, when all the female staff left, the real party began which involved bringing in women of a different profession. Often school hwaeshiks would include the head of the pta (before they usually were men), mayors, police chiefs, and guys from the education office. And it was all under the hwaeshik budget. These days you can barely buy a coke without it being scrutinized by the admin.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1824

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2020, 11:23:43 am »
I used to go to the cinema a lot my first year in Jeonju.  I liked all the old theatres clustered near the Gaeksa area that used to have the marquees with the painted billboards.  That was a neat touch.  Some of the paintings were just awful but some were good.  Anyways, none of the CGV plex type places then.  Also, I remember going to Godzilla with a Korean teacher from my public school.  She was surprised that I got annoyed by the fact that they were overselling the film.  They would just keep selling tickets to anyone that wanted one and if you couldn't find a seat you were just expected to wait until another showing or get a refund. 

The most annoying part of the movies back then was that because they oversold seats people were allowed to come into the movie before it ended to claim a seat.  So, you'd have people watching the end of a film they were just about to see.  Hard to beat that as a spoiler. Of course, you'd then have people standing in the aisle why you were trying to watch a movie.  I quickly learned to avoid the busy times. And with the disarray that came with the IMF period at my after school company, catching a quiet matinee with a cold beer was a regular activity when we had no a/c in the hot months.  Most of those theatres seemed to be gone when I went back to Jeonju two decades later.
The first time I watched a movie in Korea was Shrek, way back in like 2000. Unfortunate I watched smack dab in the middle of the summer break. Parents just let their kids run around. It was a madhouse in there. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised since I guess really young kids probably could barely read the subtitles.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1824

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2020, 11:30:41 am »
Older male teachers can't really pressure female staff into drinking booze with them.  It can still happen but from what I've seen male teachers seem to be more understanding of a person's right to choose if they want to drink or not.  In 2016, before the metoo movement really exploded, at my school the third grade male teachers used to force the two young female teachers to go out drinking and then after drinking slow dance with them in the noraebang.  When I mentioned this to one of my co-teachers, she nearly exploded, 'They can't do that.  If other teachers had known there would some big words coming their way!'.   Years ago, there was always a lot of booze flowing and female teachers were expected to drink.  But on the whole now, Ps, VPs and teachers are way better at understanding someone's choice about drinking. 
When I first started teachers would regularly go out drinking like 2-3 times of the week. And during these drinking fests, they would often tell me how it was like in the 80s, and 90s, where they say they'd drink virtually every single night until like 2am (was in the countryside where the curfew wasn't as strictly enforced pre-87 supposedly), because they weren't sure if they'd still have a job come morning. I guess parents were much more understanding back then. My guess is that it wasn't just teachers that drank heavily since Korea was still very much a developing country back then, and people had little else to do aside from work, and family.


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2020, 11:40:49 am »
Heavy drinking has always been a part of the culture in general. Doing anything connected to it was and still is given a lot of passes. The excuse is that it breaks down social barriers and allows people to show their true selves.

Someone wrote a really interesting article on Korea's drinking culture and how it's evolved over time, but I can't find it. I remember it mentioned something about how alcoholism wasn't (and generally still isn't) really recognized in Korea, and that an old woman who was constantly drunk off her ass could be seen as both harmless and cute, back in the day.


Re: Biggest Change to Korea since you've been here?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2020, 12:30:14 pm »
Wow, some of you guys are ancient! Keep 'em coming though, I love stories from the past.

Aside from what others have said, one of the biggest changes I've noticed is the consumption of gaegoggi (dog meat).

When I first came here, students and teachers happily stated how delicious it was and how much they loved eating it, for my wife's welcoming dinner, the school decided to take her to a gaegoggi restaurant, after a few minutes she left as the smell and thought was making her sick.

Within the space of a few years, it's suddenly considered disgusting and everyone claims to have never eaten gaegoggi or met anyone who has tried it.