Eat Your Kimchi
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Type of site
Eat Your Kimchi was a production company based in South Korea that publishes videos featuring the two creators, Simon and Martina Stawski. They are known for their videos which compare the differences in Korean and Western culture. The YouTube channel featuring their videos is the 18th most popular in Korea and the YouTube portion of their videos accumulated more than 239 million views as of October 6, 2015 on four separate channels. The Stawskis have been interviewed by various media outlets around the world.
In 2012, the Stawskis officially registered Eatyourkimchi as a company in South Korea and opened their own studio in Seoul. On December 15, 2015, the Stawskis announced their decision to move to Japan and therefore close down the Korean studio, while continuing to make videos under the same name.
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.
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:
- 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, or Speaker's Corner, uploaded every Sunday on their You are Here Cafe channel, with many people leaving messages in their coffeeshop booth, discussing popular topics in the news in Korea or around the world.
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 (Food Adventure Program For Awesome People). 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 5, 2012 the Stawskis launched an Indiegogo fundraiser for setting up a business and a studio to film 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.
The word 'kimchi' in the name 'Eatyourkimchi' refers to the Korean dish, Kimchi.
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. However, the blog has also received some criticism. The Stawskis report that large numbers of anonymous users have engaged the site with vulgar comments in response to controversial statements made by the couple.
Martina Stawski claims that Eatyourkimchi has a worldwide audience with the largest communities in Australia, USA, Canada, Singapore and South Korea. Eatyourkimchi videos are distributed online through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube. and Kondoot As of April 2016, their YouTube channel has more than 1,000,000 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
- Tan DingXiang (Mar 25, 2011), Eating Your Kimchi with Simon and Martina, The UrbanWire
- Eat Your Kimchi. YouTube.
- "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
- "WTF - Our Last WTF - Eat Your Kimchi". Eat Your Kimchi.
- "Samchi Gui and Budaejjigae - FAPFAP - Eat Your Kimchi". Eat Your Kimchi.
- "WTF - Breast Enhancers - Eat Your Kimchi". Eat Your Kimchi.
- Promoting Korea Online, Arirang
- 한국 사는 지구인①‘잇유어김치닷컴’ 사이먼-마티나 부부…“불판위 계란찜 동영상 대박!, February 15, 2011
- Evan Ramstad. "'Nasties' Fund A Prosperous Future Awfully Pronto". WSJ.
- "Eatyourkimchi: Opening A Studio". Indiegogo.
- "WE ARE BUILDING A COFFEE SHOP! - Eat Your Kimchi". Eat Your Kimchi.
- 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!" (PDF). groovekorea.com. February 20, 2011.
- "Heart to Heart". Airang TV. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
- Arirang International Broadcasting Foundation. "TV Archive - The World On Arirang". arirang.co.kr.
- ""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" (PDF). Groove Korea. March 2011.
- "WE ARE GOING TO SINGAPORE! AHHH! - Eat Your Kimchi". Eat Your Kimchi.
- Simon and Martina's YouTube page, stats viewable on the top of the page.
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