Gumiho Roommates and Unlikely Romances: A Webtoon Review of 간 떨어지는 동거

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안녕하세요!

Do you like Korean nine-tailed foxes, unlikely accidental cohabitation between love interests, and blunt humor? 간 떨어지는 동거 is the webtoon that falls next on my list of favorite webtoons (after Spirit Fingers, of course) precisely due to these features.

Take Lee Dam (이담), a chicken wing-loving, self-assured, no-time-for-your-sexist-or-flirtatious-nonsense college student. Add Shin Wooyeo (신우여 – reversed this becomes 여우신 or fox god), a stupidly attractive, centuries old, chicken-avoiding-and-magic-wielding gumiho who has nearly acquired all the power he needs to become human.

Now make them collide on the street so that the gumiho’s fox orb slips from his mouth into hers.

 

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Oh, darn. Guess they have to live together Continue reading

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TV Shows about Foreigners in Korea

Looking for shows about foreigners in Korea? Trying to improve your Korean by watching fun shows? Look no further. Here are two shows I highly recommend!

 

비정상회담 | Abnormal Summit 

Watch with English subs here.

Overview:

  • Also known as Non-Summit
  • Talk show/debate format mimicking a UN-style summit
  • Features non-Koreans who are conversational or fluent in Korean
  • Each member represents a different country
  • The summit is headed by three Korean MCs
  • Korean celebrities appear as guests that present a weekly topic, usually social/cultural/personal issues of their own or that are submitted to the show
  • Members vote if the agenda is normal/abnormal and then debate
  • English subtitles easily available
  • Very popular in Korea
  • Many of the original summit members have become foreign celebrities in Korea with CFs and their own businesses

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If you like watching non-drama shows and are a foreigner, chances are you’ve already heard of this. Abnormal Summit gathers Korean-speaking male foreigners from various countries who are living and working in Korea and engages them in dialogue over cultural differences. Generally, a celebrity guest appears on the show and represents the person who submitted the issue, or they sometimes bring their own problems. The members vote on whether the person is “normal” or “abnormal” and then debate from their respective cultural perspectives.

Naturally, having a single person represent the perspective of, say, all of the United States, or Malaysia, or the UK (shall I go on?), is an enormous simplification. But the show’s concept is fascinating and it is immensely fun to practice Korean by listening to a group of foreigners and three Korean MCs discuss cultural differences and their personal experiences. The foreign members are non-Koreans who are fluent or conversational in Korean. Their pronunciation isn’t always great, and when they make a mistake, all the agony of language-learning suddenly is validated. I’m not the only one who makes mistakes!

Sorry for reveling in the mistakes of others for a moment, but it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one. And if these guys can go on Korean TV and debate difficult cultural conflicts without being fully fluent in Korean, why not you? Why not me? Let’s learn all the Korean! This show has English subtitles available on different sites, so never fear.

This show is comedic much of the time, but also can offer truly intense and in-depth debates and insights on current global issues or national issues, so you won’t just be practicing Korean but also learning about current events.

And yes – only men get to be permanent guests on Abnormal Summit. There was another show, 미녀들의 수다 or “Beautiful Women”, that featured foreign women, but it ended in controversy.

미수다 was known by various names like “A Chat with Beauties” or “Global Talk Show” and was fairly popular until its ratings crashed and burned in 2009 when a panelist said that men under 180 cm were losers and she would never date them. Ah, is that so? Great, thanks for ruining the one show featuring foreign women. There was controversy over whether she was forced to say this per a script or if it truly was her opinion, but regardless of the real culprit, the show stopped airing after that.

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미녀들의 수다 Talk Show Poster

But still, can we get a show in this intercultural debate format that features foreigners who speak Korean – but not limit it to only men or only women?


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글로벌 가족정착기 한국에 산다 | Global Family  

Watch on the EBS site.

Overview:

  • Documentary-style episodes
  • Each episode or set of episodes focuses on a different mixed couple
  • All episodes available for free on the EBS website
  • Korean subs available but no English subs
  • Not as popular as 비정상회잠
  • Commentator’s 아저씨 voice is fantastic

Global Family is a documentary-style show from EBS that goes into the homes and lives of international couples living in Korea – where one of the couples is native Korean. The other may be from any number of countries ranging from Canada to Ukraine, and the non-Koreans vary in their Korean ability and their years living in Korea. Some are married, some engaged. All the episodes that I have seen address the relationship between the foreign-in-law and their Korean in-laws in a way that challenges the stereotype of fierce in-laws and prejudice against foreign wives or husbands.

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This show is a great way to see the interaction between different cultures in terms of relationships and establishing a family in Korea. For me, it also has become a source of encouragement like Abnormal Summit because while some foreigners are fluent in Korean, others stumble in their pronunciation and make hilarious mistakes on camera – but does that stop them? No!

Nor should you or I stop. We will make mistakes. We will laugh at our mistakes. Learn from them. And move on and make new mistakes but not make the same mistake twice. That’s what shows about foreigners in Korea can teach you. Not just cultural differences and intercultural communication, but being fearless in your efforts to use Korean.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a site that has this show subtitled in English. The EBS site does offer Korean subtitles, which can help you catch words you don’t hear correctly, and improve your reading along with your listening, but it presents a challenge for Korean-learners who aren’t ready yet for subtitle-less shows. Start with Abnormal Summit, and try out Global Family when you’re ready for more of a challenge!


If you like other shows that feature foreigners speaking Korean, or know of English subs for Global Family, let me know in the comment section below.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

 

지금 재생 중

Korean Webtoon Rec: “A Dreaming Girl, A Dreaming Boy” by the Creator of Spirit Fingers

한경찰 작가님이 began a new webtoon, 꿈꾸는 소녀, 소년 at the end of October and has maintained both Spirit Fingers and her new webtoon to the awe of her many Korean readers. Usually the quality of one drops due to the workload, but 스핑 is going strong while her new webtoon is also a top contender, ranking fifth among series that are updated on Tuesdays.

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As always, all I want to do is rave about her artwork. This webtoon is beautiful (although I’ll always be biased toward Spirit Fingers) and it seems to be building a plot just as complex and interesting as 스핑. Currently it has only seven chapters out, so be warned if you’re the type that needs to wait until a series is finished to marathon through it; for now you’ll have to wait patiently for the update each Tuesday. But if you’re already following 스핑, it’s a great mid-week read to tide you over until you can find out what happened to that dear, amazing 우연이 (can you tell how much I want to be best friends with her).

This story involves four middle school students, each of them enduring personal struggles at home while attending school and trying to complete a group project that goes awry. One boy lives with his grandfather in poverty; another is cast down in his wealthy father’s shadow and fights to escape the life that his father wants him to live.

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Look at this. Look at this incredible art that speaks to the feelings of the boy trailing along in his father’s shadow, forced to play soccer to meet his father’s expectations. “I hate soccer…Dad…”

One of the girls constantly suffocates under her mother’s overbearing presence and intervention. The other girl, whose backstory isn’t yet revealed, tries to befriend one of the boys when she recognizes him from a soccer team they had played on several years prior, but she is angrily rebutted. Where will the story go now that they’re all fighting over the group project while dealing with inner turmoil?

It seems like there is potential for love interests to develop later on, but it’s hard to tell at this early stage. 한경찰 작가님이 does an incredible job of weaving many storylines into one plot as in 스핑, so romance or not, this is a webtoon to follow!

“Dreaming Boy, Girl” is my own translation of this new webtoon’s title, although it may pop up on translation sites as something else. As far as I know, there are not yet any English translations but I will update here if I learn of one. As always, please support the webtoon creator by reading on Naver if you can! And follow her Instagram @hedaa2002:

https://www.instagram.com/hedaa2002/

Online Korean news articles on 꿈꾸는 소녀, 소년:

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

지금 재생 중:

수란 is back and the world is blessed with her voice.

페북 추천: Learning Korean with Humans of Seoul

This is a bit of shameless self-promotion since I’m a translator for the Humans of Seoul page, but did you know that we also have a page dedicated to dissecting the Korean interviews and explaining intermediate-level Korean? You can find us at Learning Korean with Humans of Seoul. While I contribute, I also love reading the posts my fellows create there. There’s always something new to learn, no matter how much you already know!

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Below the dissection, you can read the entire original interview in both Korean and English (not pictured here).

Continue reading

Korean Reading Practice: College Diary 대학일기 Webtoon Review

Looking for reading practice in Korean? A friend introduced me to my latest Naver webtoon obsession. 대학일기 or College Diary is an adorable, easy-to-read look at the daily life of a college student. It’s witty and poignant, clearly drawing on the writer’s personal experiences and causing readers to comment Continue reading

The Best Studying & Hang Out Cafes in Hongdae

After spending so much of my time in cafes around Seoul, I thought I would write a post dedicated to some of my favorite places in Hongdae* to study, write, or just relax with friends.

Cafe Blanc

Blanc is tucked away Continue reading

블로그 추천: The Kimchi Bear

안녕하세요!

Shout out to my awesome friend who had remade his tumblr for his Korean self-studying journey. We’ve had Korean classes together for the past several years and he’s a pretty fly guy, so you should check out his tumblr if you feel like learning how to be fly like he is. He shares pictures of delicious food and has now started sharing Korean vocabulary or grammar points that he’s studying or resources that he finds useful. I recommend following him if you have a tumblr – then you can learn new words that are interspersed throughout whatever else you’re reblogging. Nice, right?

한국어를 재미있게 공부하세요~^^

 

지금 재생 중: