MON, MAY 23, 2022
Korea-Japan email exchange highlights virtual travel between youth
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Korea-Japan email exchange highlights virtual travel between youth
  • By Korea.net
  • 승인 2022.02.17 00:10
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Korea and Japan are struggling to improve bilateral relations due to differences over views of history, and the COVID-19 pandemic has also blocked human exchange between both nations. Young people from the two sides, however, can still enjoy each other's culture through social media.  

Korea.net staff writer Kim Eun-young and Honorary Reporter Ruka Ohno from Japan show how young people in both countries conduct cultural exchange through email before and after Lunar New Year. This article shares parts of the two's email messages to each other.

From top left clockwise, "Squid Game" cosplay (Bungeishunju); a homemade dosirak (boxed meal) under the "Squid Game" theme (Miho Kurihara's Instagram); 14,000 posts on "dohan play," or virtual travel to Korea (Screen capture from Instagram); Korean food and souvenirs (Ruka Ohno); and Tsuruhashi Street in Osaka, Japan (Miho Kurihara's Instagram)
From top left clockwise, "Squid Game" cosplay (Bungeishunju); a homemade dosirak (boxed meal) under the "Squid Game" theme (Miho Kurihara's Instagram); 14,000 posts on "dohan play," or virtual travel to Korea (Screen capture from Instagram); Korean food and souvenirs (Ruka Ohno); and Tsuruhashi Street in Osaka, Japan (Miho Kurihara's Instagram)

Hello, Eun-young!

Nowadays, I'm into K-dramas and "dohan play" (virtual travel to Korea), which makes it seem like I'm physically visiting Korea. On weekends, I get healed by watching Korean dramas on Netflix. "Crash Landing on You" is ever-popular and series like "Squid Game" and "Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha" are hot. Korean dramas are so popular here, as eight of the top 10 Netflix dramas in Japan last year were Korean. Recently, I'm watching the romantic drama "Our Beloved Summer."

There is also a craze here for following K-dramas. On Halloween last year, many people dressed up like characters from "Squid Game" on a street. They also made unique meal containers shaped like the characters. Big discount marts sell kits for making dalgona (honeycomb candy). I'm going to make and eat dalgona while watching "Squid Game" again. 

Not long ago, I met a relative who used "Japanese-Korean" (new words that mix Korean and Japanese) expressions. I was amazed to see her saying "Jinjja sorena (You're right)" to convey agreement or "Gamusa seuru" to express thanks. Mostly high school girls use these words a lot. They consider Korean pronunciation cute and sophisticated as part of the latest cool trend. 

I was frustrated that the prolonged pandemic prevented me from traveling to Korea. But thanks to social media, dohan play is becoming popular. At a hotel, I watched the Seoul Music Awards while eating Buldak Fried Noodles and drinking a mint chocolate beverage. Dohan play is so popular that it has inspired related products. It was nice to briefly soothe my longing for Korea, but I want to directly visit and feel the atmosphere. 

The atmosphere of restaurants has also changed due to the popularity of the drama "Itaewon Class." Neon signs with vivid colors full of "newtro" (a neologism referring to things from the past being cool through the combination of the words "new" and "retro") sensibility are often seen on Osaka streets. Adding fancy colors to Korean letters makes me feel as if I'm in the country.   

This week, I plan to go to a new Korean-style cafe with my friends and take photos there. I'll get in touch with you after visiting the place!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Ruka Ohno in Osaka

From top left clockwise, figures from the Japanese cartoon series "Demon Slayer and the Nintendo game series "Animal Crossing" (screen capture from Instagram); a takoyaki (a ball-shaped Japanese snack) machine (Lee Kyoung Mi); and a panoramic photo of Nijimori Studio Scenery (Nijimori Studio)
From top left clockwise, figures from the Japanese cartoon series "Demon Slayer and the Nintendo game series "Animal Crossing" (screen capture from Instagram); a takoyaki (a ball-shaped Japanese snack) machine (Lee Kyoung Mi); and a panoramic photo of Nijimori Studio Scenery (Nijimori Studio)

Ohayo, Ruka!

Thank you for the letter. I saw the photo on your social media and it feels like Korea. So dohan play is popular in Japan.

Japanese animation and games are highly popular in Korea as well. More than 2 million people watched the cartoon series "Demon Slayer," and my friend even bought the series' figures and dolls as souvenirs. The Nintendo game "Animal Crossing" was also popular. In addition to the game packs selling out, it was also hot on the mobile market. The biggest attraction is feeling happy in a comfortable atmosphere while playing cute characters and sharing in the process.

When I was in Japan, I liked to see out from the window of the front row seat of the subway's first car, but I'm sad over being unable to visit Japan. I get a bit of satisfaction by watching videos on YouTube. A co-worker at my company's Japanese-language section recently bought a takoyaki (a ball-shaped Japanese snack) machine to make it at home. But she finds it difficult to recreate the original taste of Osaka, so she longs to visit Japan as soon as possible.

Nijimori Studio, a Japanese-style theme park in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi-do Province, is a hit on social media. It's a famous place for filming K-dramas. I felt like I was back in Japan's Edo period, when restaurants and ryokan (traditional inns) made of wood were built in forests. It even made me feel as if I was on a day trip to Japan. You can eat kaiseki dishes at a ryokan while looking around the Japanese shopping district wearing a kimono. I'm going there with my friend next week.

Improving Korea-Japan relations will take a lot of time, but couldn't young people from both countries open the door to improvement if they communicate through noncontact exchanges like this? Take care until we meet again. Bye!

 

Eun-young in Seoul


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