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Promoting Korea Online

Updated: 2011-03-16 00:00:00 (KST)
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Blogging services have been available in Korea since 2002! And the number of bloggers is increasing every year.
According to an official survey, 58.1% of Internet users go online to visit other people's blogs.

The number of blogs written by foreigners in Korea is also rising. How do foreign bloggers look at Korea[Interview : Simon, Blogger for "Eat Your Kimchi"
Canada] "The contents of our videos are that we want to show everyday life in Korea. We don't want to show just touristy things like, "Go visit this, go visit that." We want to show what our lives are like in Korea, how fun Korea is, how interesting Korea is, and different parts of Korean culture."

The couple's blog, consisting mostly of videos, covers everything about Korean culture that they have encountered, covering topics such as Korean food, language, and education. Their reason for starting the blog was rather simple.

[Interview : Martina, Blogger for "Eat Your Kimchi"
Canada] "We originally started the blog for our parents and our families because they were a little bit afraid of us going so far away from them. So the very first day we came to Korea, we did a video about "sundubu jjigae," and we wanted to show our family that we're doing okay. But slowly, many strangers from around the world started to visit our blog, and it became more and more popular, so we were very surprised."

Simon and Martina began recording themselves in order to keep their families updated on their life here in Korea. However, as their videos became popular worldwide through YouTube, they started to focus on their blog. After 3 years of blogging, they have become experts at posing and expressing themselves naturally in front of the camera.

As they became more actively involved in their blog, Simon quit his job as an English teacher and became a full-time blogger. People around them are amazed at their passion.



[Interview : Kim Yeon-jin, Cafe employee] "I once read their blog. It was very fun and upbeat. However, when they work here in the cafe, they are very serious. I feel that they really love Korea."

For Simon and Martina, Korean culture is always full of surprises. What they see and experience goes into their blog. These days, their interest is on Korean pop culture, and many of their posts are their takes on K-pop music videos.

Many people visit the couple's fun and informative blog, and it is especially popular among people from English-speaking nations.

[Interview : Martina, Blogger for "Eat Your Kimchi"
Canada] "If you look at this map, the whole world is highlighted, so we have visitors from all over the world. But the darkest green locations right now, we have Australia, USA, Canada, South Korea"

[Interview : Simon, Blogger for "Eat Your Kimchi"
Canada] "So far, every month we get close to 1.5 million views on our videos on YouTube, so it's doing quite well."

Whenever Simon and Martina have time, they instantaneously set up their camera and record parts of a new entry for their blog.

They are planning to start traveling around Korea for a year, visiting every nook and cranny. This is to present a more fantastic and diverse Korean culture, for which we cannot wait to see more of their great blog.

[Interview : Simon, Blogger for "Eat Your Kimchi"
Canada] "I think the power of blogs is that a lot of people go on the Internet to learn something. They want to get some new information, and I think the power of this blog is that it gives a lot of people information about South Korea that they don't usually get. I think South Korea is more than just hanbok and kimchi and mountains, that's old Korea. I think we're offering new views of Korea, a new look, a fresh perspective, and that's what we're really interested in."

Sinchon is an area in Seoul filled with youthful energy. Here we can find someone who is looking at everyone else with a critical eye. He is Michael Hunt from the United States.

Interested in Korean street fashion, he comes out to the streets of Seoul to snap pictures for his blog.

[Interview : Michael Hurt, Blogger for "FeetManSeoul"
USA] "I'm taking pictures of what people are wearing, and that's just part of my interest in taking pictures of characters on the street, people that you see every day."

Boasting great Korean skills, he easily finds his models.

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "I'm a fashion photographer. Can I take a picture of your fashion style

[Interview : Michael Hurt, Blogger for "FeetManSeoul"
USA] "I was just a documentary and street photographer, and the more I took pictures of patterns I saw in not just people, but paid attention to what they were wearing, because their fashion is part of their identity, people started paying more attention to my blog. So I just started thinking more about what people are wearing as part of recording characters on the street and things like that."

Seeing the individualistic and unique styles that people confidently display on the streets, Hunt became attracted to Korean fashion. Having taken pictures of street fashion for 7 years now, he is now more insightful about Korean fashion than most Koreans.

[Interview : Michael Hurt, Blogger for "FeetManSeoul"
USA] "I think Korean fashion doesn't have that kind of outlandish feel at the extremes. I think Korean fashion is very much in the middle. Every day, average people are trying to look good and you can call Korean street fashion very ready-to-wear. I think that's where you find the charm of Korean fashion."

Hunt's street fashion photos are not as extravagant as those found in fashion magazines, but present a charm of their own.
Many people have reacted positively to these photos, giving his blog a total hit count of 1.2 million to date. His followers come not only from Korea, but also from Japan, China, the United States and all over Asia.

[Interview : Michael Hurt, Blogger for "FeetManSeoul"
USA] "One of the things Koreans want to do is produce "munhwa" contents, like cultural content about korea, but the problem is, it doesn't matter how much there is in Naver, or the Korean Internet. If it's not in English, it doesn't exist outside of Korea. We have a disproportionate amount of power in focusing or deciding how Korea's talked about or what content is produced. It's a pretty special situation."

Foreign bloggers have come to Korea for their own reasons, but are all spellbound by the charms of Korea!


They present Korea in their own colors through their blogs.

Foreign bloggers are Korea's online promoters! We look forward to seeing more of their great bloggings!


Reporter : noakim@arirangtv.com

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