The Marmots Hole is a blog where people come to talk about Korea. Its run by Robert J. Koehler, a magazine editor living in Seoul and a 10-year-resident of Korea. The blog represents a rather poor attempt to mix hard news and intellectually enriching discussion of serious topics such as Korean history, Korean politics, North Korea, the U.S. troop presence in Korea and regional geopolitics with less-serious fare—Korean tabloid crap, booby pics, dumb foreigner stories and the like.


This blog is NOT representative of Korea.

The Marmot’s Hole is in no way, shape or form a fair representation of Korea. Korea—at least that part of it south of the DMZ—is a modern nation and growing regional and world power with, depending on who you ask, some 5,000 years of history behind it. It’s home to over 40 million human beings who go about their days living their lives like people in other normal countries. It also happens to be a great place to live. Yeah, it has its quirks, but which nation doesn’t, and at least Koreans aren’t shooting each other over PS3s (although they aren’t above putting out hits over online game disputes).

It would be impossible to fully represent a nation as diverse and dynamic as Korea on one website. And this one doesn’t even try.

This website is certainly full of stuff—3,693 posts (including this one) and 53,205 comments (as of Dec. 16, 2006) since 2003. Many of the posts, however, are political screeds that probably speak more of the ideological inclinations of its authors than of Korea. Still others are translations of completely meaningless crap that I found amusing as I was scanning the day’s news. Then there are the expat-related stories that I post because, as an expat, I find them important/amusing/embarrassing and, last but not least, the booby pics, which indicate nothing about Korea other than there are women here with nice boobs.

In other words, it’s a blog.


If you’re using this blog as your primary window on Korea—-and I pray to God you aren’t—then I beg you to reconsider. Likewise, if you know nothing about Korea, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog unless you want to develop an extremely skewed view of the country. Want to get an idea of what Korea is like? Go to Korea. net. Or better yet, make the hard-working boys and girls at the Korea Tourism Organization happy and actually visit the country. It’s a beautiful, exciting and—especially important in these chaotic times—safe place with a rich culture and friendly people. And not a single console-game-related shooting all year.


Robert Koehler (a.k.a. me) is a 32-year-old (as of 2007) executive editor of a Seoul-based culture and lifestyle magazine.

A native Long Islander and a graduate of Georgetown University, Robert has lived in Korea since 1997, mostly as an English teacher, graduate student and newspaper translator.

When he’s not at work, Robert can usually be found at his home in Seoul’s multicultural Itaewon neighborhood spending quality time with his loving wife Solongo or traveling around Korea snapping photos—he has a particular fondness for early-modern and colonial-era architecture.

For interviews with Robert, see: