Photoshop Level: Korean

Photoshop Level: Korean

My co teacher showed me my school’s yearbook recently. When I found my picture I couldn’t help but notice I had been photoshopped to the nines. I’m pretty sure I don’t even have pores anymore. My coteacher said I look like my normal self and very pretty, but to me my face had creepy doll like look.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE photoshop. I took a college course on it in high school for fun and I never looked back! It’s amazing for when you had a horrible zit on prom night, something was in your teeth for graduation, or you just want to look like you sleep on a regular basis.

I was trained to take natural beauty and enhance it in a natural way. Koreans don’t agree with me on this though. For example, the other day I went to the bank and above each teller is a sign with their name and their bank id picture. Every single picture was photoshopped. We aren’t even talking the pore removing airbrushing in my yearbook pic either. I’m talking jaws were smoothed and shaved to look more triangular and small. Noses are lightened and liquefied to add height. I guess the pictures looked like the actual tellers below, if they were on an episode of extreme Korean makeover.

After talking to some Korean friends I realized tons of official photo ids in Korea are photoshopped. A friend from LG showed me his work id and his extremely square chin was suddenly softer, pointier, and more V like. He’s an electrical engineer, and yet somehow his work thought it was important to whitened his skin in his ID as well.  You know because that will make him work harder…or something…

Drivers licenses are routinely photoshopped as well. In America they won’t even let you look at your picture before they print and they usually take one. Koreans however will make absolutely sure they are showing their best face to the police officer about to give them a ticket, even if it isn’t their real face. I guess I can’t be too surprised. What do you expect from the country that requires a picture with every job application and has the highest plastic surgery per person rate of any country?

Ohhhhh Korea. You both amuse and disappoint me sometimes, but at least you keep it interesting and for that I love you.

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Tattoos in Korea

Tattoos in Korea

The first time I was invited to check out one of Seoul’s tattoo parlors my first thought was, “Aren’t tattoos illegal in Korea?” Apparently not because today I find myself at yet another tattoo shop in Korea. This one is called Sun Rat and it’s in Hongdae. As it turns out tattooing in Korea is very much alive and legal. They just require the tattoo artist to a licensed medical doctor first. You know, because why would I want an artist creating masterpieces on my arms when I can have a doctor drawing stick figures on my lower back! Luckily for y’all a lot of places with real artists (who still religiously adhere to all safety regulations like any good tattoo artist would) blatantly ignore that little rule. They can do this because the enforcing of that little law is loose at best.

However, I wouldn’t run out and get one just yet. First, think of your mother, and no not how good the word Mom would look on your bicep. Think of the company that tattooed people keep! I’ve seen these people and they aren’t the kind of guys you’d want next to you in the jimjilbang pool. I know your next question is why is this apple pie cute American girl keeping company with gangsters, thugs, and untrustworthy tattooed people then? Well obviously it’s because I’m a gangster thug! However, don’t get your hopes up that I’m unladylike boys because this belle is tattoo free (as of right now). You know, that way I can still get out of the thug life before it’s too late!

But seriously, those are the stereotypes a lot of older Koreans associate with tattoos, (gangs, unladylike, untrustworthy) but anyone younger than 40 will tell you it’s just not true. Yes tattooing used to be used in Korea to show which gang to belonged to, but then the key word here is USED TO. It’s the same in the States, Japan, etc, but we’ve moved on from that and yes Mrs. Adjumma Korea has too.  Personally I can appreciate a good tattoo, even though personally I don’t see myself getting one any time soon. They can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people and are a beautiful way to express yourself if done well. These little tattoo shops popping up around Seoul prove the minds of younger Koreans are opening to the possibilities of tattoos. I just hope the rest of Korea follows too. 🙂

Kpop blasphemy!

Kpop blasphemy!

Found this doozy in the Myeongdong underground subway shopping area. I would watch my back if I were this shop owner. I’m pretty sure putting a poster of JYJ next to a poster of TVXQ these days is the Korean kpop equivalent of putting a target on your back. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big daddy company of TVXQ sent hitmen to defame the JYJ poster. What a vicious silly battle…

Desk Warming

Today is day 1 of my February desk warming month. There is a part of me that is happy about this, because I’m being paid to show up to work and blog/reddit/watch youtube videos all day. However, there is another part of me that is really worried about extreme boredom. Really there are only so many movies one can watch before you’re stuck watching The Babysitter’s Club Movie…something I did today that I’m not proud of. Maybe if I get bored enough I’ll start studying Korean wholeheartedly and actually progress in my speaking and listening abilty. Maybe…