|Type of site||Video blog|
Eatyourkimchi is a video guide on how to live life in Korea created by Simon and Martina Stawski. The name of the video blog comes from the word Kimchi, which is an iconic fermented Korean vegetable dish . The YouTube channel featuring their videos is the 18th most popular in Korea and the YouTube portion of their videos accumulated more than 194 million views as of May 31st 2014 on four separate channels. The rising popularity of Eatyourkimchi has led to the Stawskis being interviewed by various media outlets around the world.
The Kpop, Korean Food, and Life in Korea Blog
The video series seeks to fill a gap left by travel guides and government organizations by helping teach visitors from other countries about daily life in Korea. According to Elsyabeth Hahm of Yonhap News, eatyourkimchi gives viewers "a local's perspective into Korean culture that you can't get from your average guidebook." The videos take a humorous approach and target an audience that prefers to "watch" rather than read.
The video blog has some recurring themes and topics such as the Korean language, food, and music. Individual videos have covered how a Korean washing machine works, delivery services, the table bells in Korean restaurants, and how to pay bills. The series has included cooking videos for kimbap, tteokbokki, instant ramen and many other foods. With the opening of their studio in Seoul, the Stawskis started interviewing K-Pop singers and artists. Before that, the two felt it was inappropriate to invite artists to their personal homes for interviewing purposes and declined several interview requests.
They also have regularly scheduled segments:
- Mondays: Kpop Music Mondays - Reviews of K-Pop music videos
- Wednesdays: TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) - Fan questions about living in Korea, Korean culture and society and their personal lives answered by the Stawskis
- Thursdays: WANK (Wonderful Adventure Now Korea) - Showing popular places to hang out as well as road trips or FAPFAP (Food Adventure Program For Awesome People) - Eating out in Korean restaurants, food delivery services, cooking Korean dishes and convenience store items
- Fridays: Livechat - Chatting with fans, opening of care packages
- Saturday: WTF (Wonderful Treasure Find) - unusual products and devices from all over the world, an Open The Happy video - Korea unrelated videos such as movie reviews, make-up tutorials and montages of their pets or DICKS (Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang) - a segment hosted by employees SooZee and Leigh about Korean and North American slang words
- Sundays: K Crunch Indie - Introducing Korean indie music
In December 2011 the WTF, segment was replaced with the WANK segment, due to the Stawski's wish to go out more often. When Martina fractured her ankle in February 2012, WANK was temporarily replaced by FAPFAP. However, due to the popularity of FAPFAP, they have decided to have FAPFAP and WANK on alternate Thursdays. The WTF segment however was reintroduced on July 27, 2013, after many viewers actively advocated for the series persistently and the Stawskis wanted to break out of their working routine.
In addition to their regular segments, they also have the annual Eat Your Kimchi Awards (EYKAs) with 2012 marking the first ever awards ceremony. Categories of the 2012 awards included: Best Potential Music Mondays of the Year, Rookie of the Year, best gun usage and many more. Each of the winners is awarded with The Golden Spudgy Award, based on the Pekingese the couple adopted back in 2009.
The Stawskis are a married couple from Canada who moved to Korea in 2008. When they arrived on May 31, 2008 there had been threats of violence between North and South Korea. As a result, they shot their first video at the Incheon International Airport as an attempt to show the couple's parents that they were safe. The video showed the tired couple enjoying a tofu dish called sundubu jjige. However, the video blogging grew into an "everything about Korea” channel.
In addition to its personal story, Eat Your Kimchi is also part of some larger trends in Korea. There were no Korean blogging services before 2002, but since then the number of bloggers has grown year by year and the number of Korean blogs created by non-citizens has swelled along with it. Then in 2008, YouTube entered the Korean market. According to Yoon Ja-young of The Korea Times, with the introduction of YouTube "life changed" for some Korean residents such as the Stawskis. As of 2011 their particular video blog format is still not common in Korea since according to Martina Stawski "barely anyone does dedicated videos about Korea."
After quitting their jobs as teachers, they became full-time bloggers living off the ad revenue from their YouTube videos and website. On September 5th 2012 the Stawskis launched an Indiegogo fundraiser for setting up a business and a studio to film in in Seoul. After less than seven hours, the goal of $40,000 had already been reached. More than $110,000 were raised during the 45 day long fundraiser.
On August 9, 2014 Eat Your Kimchi and Talk To Me In Korean had a grand opening for their cafe called "You Are Here Cafe." The cafe was announced on April 24, 2014 and the couple explained that the name came from maps in malls having arrows on it stating "You are here." Situated in the hostel part of Hongdae, the cafe serves as place for foreigners and natives alike to meet and greet, as well as offering Korean language classes in the classroom that is in the cafe building.
Reception and Audience
The Korea Herald included Eatyourkimchi in a list of 21 of "the nation’s most useful websites" and at Hiexpat.com it was voted the best expat blog in Korea. The video bloggers behind eatyourkimchi have been featured on television shows such as Heart to Heart, Quilt Your Korean Map, Star King, and Running Man. They are frequently stopped in the street by fans taking pictures. However, the blog has also received some criticism. The Stawskis report that unhappy Korean netizens will sometimes swarm their site and leave hate comments when the couple make honest observations and critiques about Korean life and culture.
Although Martina says that eatyourkimchi has a worldwide audience, the biggest ones are in Australia, USA, Canada, Singapore and South Korea. Eatyourkimchi videos are distributed online through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube. and Kondoot As of April 18, 2014, their YouTube channel has more than 500,000 subscribers. Meanwhile their website, which also hosts videos, receives more than 750,000 hits a month from more than 100,000 unique viewers.
- Video blog looks at life in Korea, Korea JoongAng Daily, February 28, 2011
- "kimchi (food) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2011-07-26.
- Tan DingXiang (Mar 25, 2011), Eating Your Kimchi with Simon and Martina, The UrbanWire
- "K-pop diplomacy | The Stream - Al Jazeera English". Stream.aljazeera.com. 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- Flatley, Joseph. "K-Pop takes America: how South Korea's music machine is conquering the world". The Verge. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- Ramstad, Evan (2012-09-07). "Canadians in South Korea Fund Expansion of Popular Web Site - Korea Real Time - WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- Ramstad, Evan. "Canadians in South Korea Fund Expansion of Popular Website". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Unlikely Korean pop star conquers the US, 'Gangnam Style'". AFP. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Kalka, Emma. "U.N. Security Council set to pass resolution against North The Korea Herald > Entertainment > Hallyu A lot more than just K-pop". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2013. "The two not only made the move from Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, to Seoul, but decided to register Eat Your Kimchi as a company in Korea and opened their own studio in Hongdae."
- Elysabeth Hahm (January 19, 2011), Bloggers help visitors know true aspects of Korea, Yonhap News Agency
- Jessica Wilmes (June 7, 2011), Martina & Simon Stawski KOREA’S BEST GOES ON-LINE THANKS TO COUPLE OF CANADIANS, Eloquence International Lifestyle Magazine
- How YouTube impacts lives of ordinary people, The Korea Times, February 28, 2011
- 순두부찌개에 중독돼 '한국 블로그' 운영하는 캐나다 부부 (Tofu Soup jungdokdwae), Korea Blogs, Chosun.com, retrieved July 20, 2011
- Promoting Korea Online, Arirang
- [한국 사는 지구인]①‘잇유어김치닷컴’ 사이먼-마티나 부부…“불판위 계란찜 동영상 대박!”, February 15, 2011
- The Korea Herald guide to the nation’s most useful websites, February 27, 2011, retrieved 2011-07-26
- Eat Your Kimchi voted best expat blog, The Korea Herald, January 25, 2011, retrieved 2011-07-26
- "2010 best blog in Korea - We have a winner!," Groove Korea February 2011, 20, issue 52. pdf download on drop down menu at http://www.groovekorea.com/groove-korea
- "Airang TV | Heart to Heart" http://www.arirang.co.kr/Tv2/Heart_Archive.asp?PROG_CODE=TVCR0106&view_seq=4918 retrieved July 19, 2011
- Arirang's Quilt Your Korean Map archive http://www.arirang.co.kr/Tv2/TVCommon_NoStaff_Archive.asp?PROG_CODE=TVCR0542&MENU_CODE=101195&view_seq=2893&Page=1&sys_lang=Eng
- ""놀라운 대회 스타킹" ("Amazing tournament stockings")". sbs.co.kr (in Korean). July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2011. lists the bloggers as " 괴짜 파워블로거 Simon&Martina 부부!" or in English "Simon & Martina geek power couple bloggers"
- "Korea + videos = Shazam," Groove Korea March 2011 pdf download on drop down menu at http://www.groovekorea.com/groove-korea
- Simon and Martina's YouTube page, stats viewable on the top of the page.