Famous YouTubers, Simon and Martina, incurred the wrath of Korean netizens when they released a vlog entitled Japan or Korea: Did We Make the Right Choice? The vlog compares living in Japan vs living in Korea.
Simon and Martina, a Canadian married couple, lived in South Korea for eight years before moving to Japan in 2016. They began their YouTube careers by reviewing K-Pop songs and later branched out into Korean food, activities, and travel adventures. Since Simon and Martina essentially built their business around Korean culture, Korean netizens weren’t too happy when the vlog ultimately leaned in Japan’s favor.
1. Neighbors & Sounds
When Simon and Martina arrived in Japan they were amazed by how warm and friendly their Japanese neighbors were. One neighbor even invited the couple out for dinner.
Simon stated that their Korean neighbors were far colder and more distant. However, Martina acknowledged that their experience with Japanese neighbors might have been very different if she and her husband lived in a Japanese apartment rather than in a residential neighborhood.
In Korea, the couple was always acutely aware that they were foreigners.
Simon claimed that, at times, he felt like a leper or an alien when he entered Korean stores and restaurants. Korean servers would laugh at their use of Korean but Martina said that, in Japan, even her most feeble attempts at speaking Japanese are understood and taken seriously.
In addition to being very welcoming, Simon and Martina’s Japanese neighborhood is much quieter than their previous Korean neighborhoods.
Simon and Martina are able to sleep through the night without being awakened by honking horns and yelling people. Martina compared Seoul to New York, a notoriously noisy American city.
2. Life As A YouTuber
Being foreign business owners in Korea was far more stressful for Simon and Martina than being foreign business owners in Japan.
In Korea, Simon and Martina had to have their own office space, a separate home, and had to file a large amount of paperwork. To run their Eat Your Kimchi studio, the couple had to pay rental fees and maintenance fees. They also needed to buy more furniture and supplies to accommodate their growing staff.
Visits from Korea’s immigration office also caused the couple stress.
Immigration officers would ask to see Simon and Martina’s paperwork to make sure they were not running an illegal business. This usually occurred after angry viewers, who did not like the opinions expressed in Simon and Martina’s K-Pop videos, reported the couple to immigration.
In Japan, however, Simon and Martina are now under the Breaker Network and things are going a lot more smoothly.
The business process is much more streamlined. Simon and Martina do not need to hire accountants, or do additional paperwork. This new YouTube partnership has given the couple much more creative freedom.
Simon and Martina found there is an “angry energy” in Korea and a calm energy in Japan when it comes to being on the streets.
Driving in Korea proved to be a dangerous experience for the couple. Many Korean drivers were aggressive and apparently did not follow the driving laws. This included parking illegally and speeding through red lights. Friends of the couple had been knocked off bicycles, injured in hit-in-runs, and one nearly died after a drunk driver ran her over.
Martina acknowledged that not all Korean drivers are bad drivers and not all Korean driving experiences are negative. However, she and Simon experienced so much of both that their opinion of Korean driving became, ultimately, a less favorable one.
In Japan, by contrast, Simon and Martina feel much safer both as pedestrians and as passengers.
They have found that Japanese drivers are far less aggressive and will slow down to allow pedestrians the right of way. They no longer are afraid to cross the street and can trust Japanese taxi drivers to drive safely in all weather.
4. Netizens’ Responses
At the end of their video, Simon and Martina stated that their opinions of Korea and Japan are based on personal experience and are not meant to be taken as absolute fact.
They acknowledged that everyone who lives in the countries will have different perspectives. However, this disclaimer did not prevent keyboard warriors from expressing their rage on a Korean forum.
Some netizens felt Simon and Martina had betrayed Korea.
Some netizens thought that the couple was exaggerating their negative experiences.
Others expressed their anger in a much blunter way.
Did Simon and Martina make the right choice to move to Japan? Watch their full video, then decide!