Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 5 mistakes that Foreign guys make when meeting and dating Korean women

This is a guest post by dating consultant BlueMystery

Living in Korea is very challenging. Even more so, building a life is even more work, especially a dating life.

Unfortunately, foreigners who come here make big mistakes when it comes to meeting and dating Korean women. In fact, I’ve taken the time to write down what I’ve found to be the biggest mistakes that foreign men make, during years of living in Korea and professionally helping men date Asian women.

#5 Thinking that Korean women are easy
Before I came to Korea, I was very excited because I imagined that Korea was a lot like South East Asia: Just show up and women will be lining up to go on dates with you!


Korea, I soon found out once I arrived here, is on the opposite side of the dating spectrum. In fact, I’ll even say that foreigners have more hurdles to go through in Korea than anywhere else in Asia. This is especially true the darker you are. What can I say? Life’s tough for us (I’m darker skinned as well) but if you really want to find and date the ideal Korean woman for you, it’s definitely possible and we’ll make it happen!

#4 Forgetting that the East and the West are different

It doesn’t take long to figure out that Western women and Korean women look different. What does take an eternity for guys to figure out is that Western and Korean women think, act, and do different!

This is more than just about the women themselves, but also the society and culture in which they’ve grown up in.

Korean women think that the man is responsible for escalating the date into something more. Therefore they won’t necessarily give you any sign, clue, hint, or impression that they want you to escalate the interaction. If they find you not wanting to hold their hand, caress their hair, or even kiss them, they will assume that you are not interested, and will move on.

Another key note is that Korean women love knowing that they have control of the date. This is quite different from Western women who enjoy being on the saddle more and feeling like they are taking control of the interaction. So they will act like they don’t like things more, will throw comments about your choices, BUT ultimately they want you to be in control and are more comfortable with it as well.

Also, Korean culture is quite the land mine. Have you hung out with Korean women? How about co-workers? Do you get the stares? Sometimes. How about those moments when you don’t get the stares?

She’s getting them. Big time.

Now I won’t get into the ‘whys’ or the “it shouldn’t be that way” debates. I will get into how they need to be considered when you’re going out with a Korean woman. For them, being looked at negatively by an adjoshi (which means ‘uncle’ in Korean) who could be her own father with whom she’s probably living with, is painful.

You see, being with a foreigner is still very new and different for her, regardless of whether or not you’re a gyopo or not. You want to calibrate how much hand-holding, touching, and especially kissing when you’re with her.

This is even stronger for when you’re approaching a random woman at the bookstore, or coffee shop or even the subway. You want to assume that she will be shocked and even frightened when you are going up to talk to her. Even more so, you want to expect that she will feel uncomfortable with the situation. Be sure to calibrate how you’re talking to her based off of that, and make sure that she feels comfortable with talking to you first, before you escalate the interaction.

#3 Don’t take advantage of that first impression
Ever wondered why Italians and French were so successful at scoring dates with American or Canadian women? It’s because they take advantage of the first impression.
Have you ever met an Italian man? To other men, they look like a typical guy with dark features, a weird accent, a slightly aggressive vibe, and an edgy look. What do they look like to women? An adventure…

Unfortunately, when I ride the subway, take the bus, hang out in Itaewon I see too many foreigners who look the same! They don’t have a ‘look’ going for them. They look like English teachers who just got off of work and are about to go to a bar. In other words, they look generic. They remind me more of the typical businessman adjosshi than the exciting and mysterious foreigner.

Foreigners are seen as different and exotic., Then how about using that to our advantage? Take a step back and look at how you can separate yourself from the rest of the foreigners out here. How can you make yourself look different than the rest of us?
Think about your hobbies, passions, ethnicity, home country, and find your image that radiates from who you are.

Gyopos! This is even more important for you because otherwise you will just come across as an English-Speaking Korean. The reason why most Gyopos tend to be treated like Koreans who want to be foreigners is because they come across as Koreans who want to be foreigners. You need to make your distinction even stronger.
For example, I’m from Texas, am learning Korean as a hobby, and have lived in the Mediterranean. When I go out, I tend to wear a cowboy hat, a T-shirt with Hangul in it, and leave a rugged look, similar to an Italians’. Do you think that I stand out? You bet! Do women come up to me and start conversations with me? You bet! Am I different from the rest of the pack? You bet!

Show your unique self more aggressively, and allow that to make women and people, curious about who you are and wanting to learn more…

#2 Not wanting to learn about their world
One thing that just gets be cringing is how many foreigners I meet who have lived here for years and know nothing about the culture besides Chuseok and Chinese New Years vacation! Most foreigners here don’t even speak basic Korean! Most foreigners don’t even bother trying!
Think about it. Imagine foreigners coming to your home country and not speaking the language. Not even bothering to! This is a big mistake!

Learning Korean is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself even if you’re only staying here for a month! You see, it’s not that you speak the language that counts, it’s that you’re willing to learn about them and their world. This gets you lots of points when it comes to meeting and dating Korean women. I mean even reading Hangul was designed to be easy! And what a great skill to have when you go back home and share your adventures with your social circle.

#1 Not going out at all!
This is THE biggest mistake I see guys make, and yet it’s the easiest one to deal with. Most foreigners who come here choose to go from work or school to their homes and only go out to go shopping!

Granted, this might be because it’s intimidating to be a foreigner in this country, or they might have kept the habit from their home country.

Whatever the reason, this habit must go! And you don’t have to go to Hongdae, high-priced clubs or massive social events.
You can go to coffee shops, bookstores, parks (during this time of year it’s great), such as Namsan park. Personally, I like coffee shops as Korea has become a coffee-drinking country, which I am happy to see.

Thanks for reading my article and if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at BlueMystery@PickupAsia.com.
Also, visit: www.pickupasiatoday.com/

Thank you for your expertise BlueMystery! :) 
Agatha Maia

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Seoul rocks underground

Korean pop (or K-pop) is great. Fun, creative and hugely entertaining with all the boy and girl bands' synchronized dancing. But (if you live here) there's a chance you might feel like you've been getting a little too much of it, am I right? Well, in Seoul, you can always 'run underground', because that's where Rolling Hall will be rocking, literally!

Advertising poster for Rolling Hall's special night tomorrow, Oct. 25th!

You're in Korea (anywhere here, seriously), you take a taxi, K-pop playing on the radio -- and it might not even be radio, but a cassette tape (a new one -- which I actually think is awesome)  :) --, you walk into a grocery store, a department store, a mall, a convenience store, a bar (Korean bar), a restaurant, a fast-food restaurant, a coffee shop, a beauty salon, etc etc and YES, there will be K-pop playing all over the place, most likely, yes. And yeah you will be hearing the same songs everywhere you go.

Being bombarded with K-pop is, pretty much, part of every foreigner's daily life in Korea, but as my ex-boyfriend (a British English teacher who's been here for almost 3 years) used to say, "from listening to it so much, you end up loving it" :). But if you're getting a bit sick of it and is craving some interesting 'rocky' change, get your kicks underground Seoul, at the Rolling Hall! -- Just a block away from Sangsu subway station's exit 1, right by a Family Mart, but underground -- It is THE place to go. You'll be amazed at how much high caliber rock will come out of fully Korean bands in that place!

The performing place opened in 1995 and I truly believe it's changed Seoul's nightlife forever...

A non-bar place, with just a stage, colored lights all over, lots of lined-up chairs, beautiful people and outstanding music, the Rolling Hall has become famous for various rock bands' showcases, first-rate weekly shows and monthly festivals, such as the recent Korea-Japan Rock Festival that took place just last August and featured the Japanese bands Kaneko and Zin-Sil.

Check out these cool photos I took of two Korean duos and a band on October 8th. -- That night also featured the remarkable American singer Shay Bailiff and his kick-ass Korean band (see previous post).
-- A simply awesome night. :)

Now, watch this video of American singer Shay Bailiff (see previous post) and his Korean band doing an exciting cover of The Calling's "Wherever you will go" for his Rolling Hall crowd's delight. :)  -- Video posted on YouTube January this year.
- His band is called Shay Band (셰이밴드).

You really gotta go there and feel that vibe! Koreans play awesome rock, you'll be impressed. And Shay is on his way to becoming a Korean legend.

PS. I've been in Korea for over a year and just found out about this place a few weeks ago. I had an awesome time there on the 8th and strongly recommend that you go and check it out the minute you have the chance to. Good time guaranteed. ;)

Rolling Hall hot info:
website: http://www.rollinghall.co.kr/
Tel. 82 (0)2 325 6071 (Seoul) 
Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 30,000 won, weekly.

Friday, October 16, 2009

He sings in Korean, he has a Korean band, he is American

To really understand a culture, you have to speak the language. Well, this 22-year-old native Louisianian living in Seoul can not only speak Korean fluently, but sing in it professionally.

Shay Bailiff live at the Rolling Hall, Seoul on Oct. 8, 2009: A first-rate performance.

Tall, blond, athletic and in possession of a guitar, Shay Bailiff shines on Korean stages with his amazingly powerful voice and constant smart fun interaction with his crowd, in fluent Korean. Shay told me -- we got to meet :) -- that a good Korean friend of his back in Louisiana taught him Korean language. And I'm actually guessing that was the same friend who, 2 or 3 years ago, suggested he sang a Korean cover song and put it on the internet, which, according to one of his interviews, was how it all began. I don't know when he started learning Korean, but he's been living here for over 9 months now.

Shay's unique talent has recently been spotted by major Korean television networks SBS and Mnet (the "Korean MTV"), and out in the public eye. His very first appearance on Korean television seems to have been this of a casual solo street performance in a busy university district of Seoul, which aired on an SBS news show just last month. "A westerner singing (unknown songs*) in Korean? And this well? Wow!", I believe those were some of the thoughts that made dozens of Koreans stop to watch him at this street performance. Some even sat on the ground, delighted. Click right here and see for yourself. -- Just don't mind all the Korean. ;)

Seoul being the metropolitan capital it is, you wouldn't think people would look that amazed by his performance -- as shown in the SBS video above (link). But the thing is that this young talented singer is a pioneer, given the fact that no other foreigner in this country is doing what he is.

His most recent appearance on Korean television took place Sept. 26th on SBS's Star King. A mostly comic show Koreans watch religiously. Here's a bit of what happened when he was on the show. You gotta check this out:

*About the unknown songs I mentioned earlier, well, Shay's producer writes the Korean songs, while Shay writes their English versions, beautifully. Together with his producer - and guitarist in his band - 'KooPD' (his pseudonym), Shay released his first Korean single 'Odyssey (항해)' July last year. A beautiful song, with beautiful meaningful lyrics which I'll try and put up here later -- its English translation, as well, of course. ;)

Check out the 'KooPD with Shay' Odyssey video clip:
-- Oh, I almost forgot, KooPD owns the independent record label Digipop.

Now, in this touching casual acoustic live performance somewhere in Korea, Shay combined the two versions (Korean and English) of his single Odyssey, for the audience's delight.
Check it out:
-- I truly encourage you to watch it till the very end.

And guess what, the latest news on this young singer's career is pretty huge. Just last Thursday, the 8th, he announced on his twitter page that his Korean debut album 'Dreaming' had just been released all over Korea (at this site: click here). And just today, another huge announcement: they freaking got the album releasing around the world (at this site: click here)! The album features 5 songs in Korean and 1 in English.
And here's also the Mnet page for his album:

Also, you've gotta check out the official video clip of his Korean single Dreaming:
-- Another beautiful song -- awesome melody and lyrics.

What Shay has been doing is inspiring, exotic, daring, never done before such way. It is, I'd risk saying, groundbreaking, especially in such a particular country like South Korea that has "just" begun to open up more with the launch of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding agency in Seoul, January this year. At this present time, more than ever, Korea wants and needs foreigners for various reasons, and Shay has beautifully managed to make just the perfect connection between language and people/culture, through outstanding music with his kick-ass Korean band.

I leave you with more pictures I took of his live performance last Thursday (the 8th) at the Rolling Hall (http://www.rollinghall.co.kr/), in Seoul. -- The guitarist on his left-hand side is his producer KooPD. The band is known as Shay Band (셰이밴드).
PS1. The Rolling Hall (just out of Sangsu subway station's exit 1) is an awesome place to go, if what you're looking for (and I truly think you might be) is a smart alternative to Korean pop, if you know what I mean. :)

Shay's links:

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Shayliff7
Shay Band website: http://www.myspace.com/shaybandasia
Korean Fan Cafe: http://cafe.daum.net/loveshay
Follow Shay on twitter: http://twitter.com/Shayliff

PS2. Shay, of course, does remarkable covers, and so to wrap this all up in style, here's his cover of Sting's 'Shape of my heart' I personally love. :) Enjoy: