The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Category: Completely Random Crap (page 1 of 49)

“Topless” and “bottomless” pictures

The latest controversial photo in Korea has 18 modern dance students at Chonbuk National University in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, take a “topless” photograph to commemorate their graduation.


(Image from

So, what’s up with that one guy in the right corner?  What’s his story?

Meanwhile, in ‘Murica:

(Image from NY Daily News)

What is it?  Oh, just attention whore celebrity Kim Kardashian and her technologically enhanced butt out there to “break the internet.”

Is it sexy, funny, over-the-top?  Regardless, the internetz, armed with an iconic image, is rather creative at making hilarious fun out of it.

외국 남자들 (foreign men) portrayed as [completely normal] boyfriends?

A rather progressive yogurt commercial:

Commentary and background information given by James Turnbull over at The Grand Narrative.

Are South Koreans ignorant?

Ipsos Mori, a U.K. market research company has come up with an “ignorance” index of the world’s 14 most developed countries.  In defining “ignorance” Ipsos came up with nine questions about the 14 countries in the survey and asked an appropriate sample size of citizens of each country the nine questions about their respective country.

The results?

Ipsos MORI Perils of Perception: Index of Ignorance

(Image from Ipsos)

The questions were basic social facts about each country such as the rate of teen births, people over the age of 65, immigration rates, life expectancy, etc.  I took the test (available here) for both the U.S. and South Korean and I got a seven and eight out of nine questions right, respectively.

Japan (number 12) appears to blow Korea out of the water here.  Italy isn’t that surprising.  The U.S. at number two isn’t terribly surprising either, unfortunately.  Sweden, as usual in these type of indexes, outperforms.

Kansas City’s Korean good luck charm

The Irish have the Blarney Stone, the Chinese rub Buddha’s belly and the Kansas City Royals have Lee Sung-woo.

They have who, what, huh?

Okay, so the story goes that in the middle of the American major league baseball season the Kansas City Royals were just an average team in a small market with average talent, having yet another ho-hum average season in their bland 45 year history (playoff-less in the last 28 of those 45 years).  That was until a foreigner named Sung-woo Lee from far away South Korea came on the scene.  Through social media, Sung-woo was a regular fixture on Royals’ fan sites and blogs and exhorted Royals’ fans to persevere, which helped to inject much needed enthusiasm into the traditional fan base.  Interestingly enough, Sung-woo’s online participation started as an attempt to learn English by consistently conversing with American baseball fans.

(Image from KMBC, Channel 9)

Native Kansas City residents were curious about this Asian man from a far away country and his interest in their local team.  Usually, when a foreigner is interested in an American baseball team, it’s usually a team from one of the bigger markets like the NY Yankees, LA Dodgers or Seattle Mariners, etc.  But Kansas City?  As a Midwestern town they are not close to Asia or Europe and the “city” of barely 500,000 people does not have the ritz and glamour of a New York or Los Angeles.

But a committed fan Sung-woo appeared to be.  He even came to Kansas City in August of this year for a 10 day stay.  Locals gave him a hero’s welcome, rolled out the red carpet and showered him with Midwestern hospitality.  They named a hot dog in his honor and even had him throw the first pitch in a game against the A’s.  But the real news is what happened to the team during his little Kansas City vacation: an eight game winning streak that put them in the wild card hunt.  The New York Post called this the baseball “feel good” story of the year.  Locals call him the “superfan.”   NPR said he’s spread “Korean pixie dust” on the team.  Korea Times US Edition called it “Korean Karma.”  KMBC channel 9 reporter Kris Ketz simply called Sung-woo their “good luck charm.”

American baseball is a notoriously superstitious sport.  The 2002 Angels had the rally monkey, which some believe helped propel a pretty average talent wise team all the way to winning the World Series.  Well, not to say that a man and a monkey are the same thing, but it appears the good luck charm thing is happening again this year and this time it could very well be the Royals who benefit.  They swept the Baltimore Orioles for the AL Championship yesterday and will either play the Giants or Cardinals for the MLB World Series.

Photo of the Day: My, those are some nice waegook-in (외국인) bosoms there, huh Rep. Kwon?

A ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker caught looking at a sexy picture during a National Assembly audit.

(Image from KoreaBANG)

Saenuri lawmaker Rep. Kwon Seong-dong using company time and bandwidth to explore extracurricular pursuits.


Well, well, what do we have here?  A larger version of the picture that the Honorable Rep. Kwon was so intently staring at?

(Image from Seoul Shimbun)

Why, say hello to September 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Month Tiffany Toth.

NSFW here.

USFK MREs STILL popular in Korea?

Apparently so.  Back in 2009 51 Koreans were arrested for illegally selling American MREs.  Well, last month more people have been arrested for selling American MREs!  Apparently, the people are being arrested not so much for selling the MREs but for selling expired MREs (i.e. after 10 years).  Supposedly, Korean hikers and campers like expired American MREs.  At $2 a pop for a meal containing 3,000 calories, it is hard to beat the price too.

Personally, I don’t see how Koreans can be all that excited about 10 year old (or older) beef “patties,” faux pork “ribs,” chili & beans, cajun rice & sausage, meat loaf with gravy, etc.  However, according to this video, even a Desert Storm era MRE can be edible.  Any ways, I just don’t see the aforementioned flavors being all that exciting to the Korean palate.  Anyone have some inside information here?

Lady Gaga wears outfit with hangul on it in Tokyo. Japanese netizens go ape sh*t

On her Instagram account Lady Gaga posted a few pictures of her walking around Tokyo with an outfit that had, gasp, hangul written on it- 컬러.  Evidently it’s Konglish for “color” (kol-lo), a play on the style of her outfit.

Why Lady Gaga's Outfit Upsets Some People in Japan

(Image from

Reported by the Asian pop blog Kotaku, evidently the fine folks at 2ch, wasted no time in getting a lively thread started to display their shock and aghast.  Some of the more interesting comments?

“She thinks South Korea and Japan are the same.”

“Wearing clothes with Korean characters and sauntering about Roppongi is giving hate to Japan.”

“Get outta here, you shitty white person.”

“Yep, just a dumb American.”

“Certainly looks like between Japan and South Korea, Gaga likes Korea more.”

There appears to be two schools of thought here.  One is that Lady Gaga is an ignorant American who doesn’t know the difference between hangul and hiragana and this is just a dumb mistake.  The other view (from the more paranoid 2ch members) is that Gaga knows full well that hangul is Korean and is taking Korea’s side on historical issues!  Her parading around Roppongi in a hangul suit is her way of thumbing her nose at Japan!

Personally, I don’t really know what Lady Gaga is trying to do, but I kind of think that she would know the difference between the two writing styles.  Crayon Pop did give her an outfit with her name stenciled in hangul on it:

(Image from Lady Gaga’s Twitter)

For those of you who may not know, it says Leh-yi-dee Ga-ga, in Konglish.

Now, in all fairness to 2ch commenters, if Lady Gaga was running around the streets of Seoul and taking pictures of herself with an outfit that had hiragana characters on it and prominently posted the pictures on the internet, then I would say that Korean netizens would react with similar butthurt and aghast.

I take it this is some sort of hipster humor thing, right?

I suspect this is somebody’s idea of humor, and to be honest, the “trying to get all up in your wonton soup” line was kinda funny.

Still, with what’s passing for racial dialogue on the Internet nowadays, I can never be too sure.

See the writer’s follow-up post here.

RIP: Harold Ramis

(Heard on the Armstrong & Getty Show this morning)

And for something a little different…

I don’t usually blog personal stuff, but…

A Canadian friend of mine—yes, I have Canadian friends—was photographing on a rooftop yesterday evening when he saw a man who looked like he was preparing to jump from a nearby roof.

Police and fire were called in to respond and, presumably, talk the man off the ledge.

Anyway, I get a call today from a French photo buddy of mine—a French photo buddy with a head for heights and fondness for ledges. He says, “Strangest thing happened to me last night. I was taking photos from a roof last night, and I ended up getting escorted off the roof by a cop, and their were firetrucks waiting below. The cop was very nice, though.”

Well, at least Edmure Tully’s wife is pretty hot

So, when you think about it, the wedding wasn’t completely horrible, was it?

I believe that should be ‘yeppEUN gongju’

This—well, really, the whole Tumblr—is hella funny.

Mrs. Marmot was particularly amused by how he felt the need to explain the meaning of “Twinkie.”

(HT to Wangkon)

Educators gone wild

From KoreaBang, “Korean Teacher Beats Up Student, Then Masturbates in Hallway.”

Somebody was clearly having a very, very bad day.

On a much more serious note, we have what appears to be a professor using, to put it charitably, a very poor choice of words (see the end of the video) towards a foreign student (HT to Twitterer).

The video is apparently courtesy Elvira Tanjung, an Indonesian-born researcher in lovely Jinju. Usual caveats about Youtube videos—i.e., you don’t really known what you’re watching—apply.

UPDATE: Elvira Tanjung wrote about the incident in the Korea Times:

After the professor returned to Korea, he visited my rented room. He was visibly angry and yelling at me. He threatened to cancel my degree. I was shocked but I wanted the world to know how horribly he dehumanized me, record it and upload it to YouTube.

I would like to give information to other prospective students out there, because I don’t want other people to experience the same thing we did. That video probably lasted only four minutes, but that’s what happened to me almost every day during the past two years I studied under his supervision. He never treated me with dignity at all.

Those words and treatment are unacceptable; we could sue him for insulting someone from another country. All we could do before we go back to Indonesia was to report this problem to the Indonesian embassy in Korea and send them the video. Staff from the international office at GNU talked by phone to staff at the Indonesian embassy to clarify the problem.

I’d say the university and professor in question probably owe the public an explanation.

The Body Language of Bill Gates

Speaking of winking and offending (see Robert’s post earlier), Bill Gates 빌 게이츠 is in S.Korea. He’s already given a speech to students at the SNU, and had lunch with 이재용 Jaeyong Lee (Samsung) yesterday. Today he was at the Blue House to meet with President Park 박근혜 .

Korean netizens are talking about his handshake with her (how he’s clued up in expressing his level of repsect according to what they deserve) in which he has one hand in his pocket, and comparing it with when he shook hands with Kim Daejoong 김대중. So of course, being a curious George, I had to look it up. LOL
Maybe it’s more to do with closeness in age (Bill is probably the same generation as Park and 2MB), but who knows?

Thank God he didn’t wink and slap his own backside, lick his finger and go “chzzzzzzz” (the sound when something burns).

Personally I think Park should change her hairstyle, maybe use less hairspray. She should also ditch her current stylist who seems to dress her up in Merkel suits.

North Korea and Iran for the win!

Today’s WaPo asks which countries do the U.S. hate the most?  Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.  According to the latest Gallup poll it’s North Korea and Iran.

How Americans view foreign countries (Data: Gallup)

So, what about countries that view the U.S. “favorably?”  According to the Pew study in 2011 and 2010 that would be Kenya, Nigeria,  Lithuania, and drum roll- South Korea.  Interestingly, the Germans are rather ambivalent about the U.S. and the Russians have warmer feelings about the U.S. than one might think.  Also, Americans view Germany and Japan, two former WWII foes, rather pleasantly today.

How foreign countries view the U.S. (Data: Pew)

The Pew appears to skip South Korea on occasion, but here are their results over the last 12 years.

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