How Korea Was Different 10 Years Ago

I just thought about it. This year, 2012, marks the 10 year anniversary of when I first came to Korea. 10 years, yo! Back then I was really into kpop and Korean movies, didn’t speak much Korean and was really bad with girls. Now it’s 2012, and I’m not that into kpop or Korean movies anymore, and I speak much better Korean. I’m still pretty bad with girls though :P

But Korea’s changed too. Like… ALOT. It’s crazy how much things have changed in Korea. Here are somethings that I’ve noticed are different from 2002 and 2012.

Speaking English was the bomb - I was mad popular back then just because I spoke English. It was awesome/sucked cause everyone used to stare at you if you spoke English cause it was so different. Now everyone speaks English, and I lost my edge :P
Kpop Used to be Sappier - Check out the most popular Kpop songs back in 2002. They were all crazy sad. Now it makes me wanna shake my butt.
Celebrities Were Much Easier to See - They all just hung out in Apgujeong and they were super easy to see all the time. Now they’re all super rich and going to these super rich places that normal folk don’t go.
Korean people started getting tattoos
– Back in 2002, if you had a tattoo, that meant you were a gangster. Now it’s a fashion statement.
Girls smoking outside – It was funnycause 10 years ago, women smoking was a taboo, and I’d see grown women sneak behind a building to smoke. Now they just smoke anywhere. Do your thang girl!
COEX was brand new and had a hof and nightclub inside – The hof is kinda understandable, but a (booking) nightclub inside a shopping mall? Weird! Now they’re all at hotels for some reasons.
NB was the only club – I think clubbing was brand new to Korea. And NB was the only one there. Now there’s like a gajillion clubs.

Surprised at all? Korea’s changed fast man. Really fast.

Me too. Here’s a bonus picture from back in 2002, when I was 19 :)

17 thoughts on “How Korea Was Different 10 Years Ago

  1. Interesting post – especially for someone like me who knows very little about Korea outside of dramas and the net.
    3 things: Do you think it was harder as a Korean-American who didn’t speak much Korean vs any other American coming over? In other words, did people expect more from you because of your appearance then say a little white girl with a southern drawl? (yeah – I’m pretty sure it sounds just as funny as you imagine it when I try to speak Korean – 안녕 Ya’ll)
    If you want sad songs, listen to 말도없이 – that’ll clear your sinuses. :) or for a switch – if you want to shake your butt and cry at the same time – try FT Island. No one ever gets the girl, but they are so animated by the loss. (I think the juxtaposition is hilarious – and yes that juxtaposition is why I listen to kiddie music :))
    smoking – bah humbug. I don’t see that as a good thing, except now it is equal opportunity lung cancer. :)

    • Yea, just thought it was interesting how girls aren’t afraid to smoke in public anymore. And I think what you’re asking is the same now vs 10 years ago… it depends on the person! Some people expected me to be Korean, some people just thought I was totally American. Each person’s expectations are different I guess!

  2. elleywv says:

    i can relate with speaking english and being bomb about it..haha. i remember my mom and cousin shh-ing me and telling me not to speak English where we were out in public because we would stand out as foreigners. cool post! hyunwoo’s tweet brought me here. ^^

  3. Daniel Jinsub Lee says:

    I feel like a lot of Koreans try to speak English but aren’t very good at it. Whenever I speak English to my Korean friends, they’re at awe..

  4. is speaking english really a big deal in korea? I notice some korean actors also know how to speak mandarin and nihongo.
    awesome post! a decade is a long time. it’s evident that Korea is still progressing.

    • It used to be… but Korea has become a lot more multicultural :) It’s definitely not such a big deal if you speak English now (at least in Seoul it isn’t)

  5. ladycamia says:

    I love your blog. Wow Korea changed a lot. Why are you bad with girls? I think you will be a cool person to be around with. Thanks for all the tips.

    I wish Kpop or Idols are the same back in the days. Now they can’t even go out anymore.

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