Café Seoul Season 5, Episode 13: Blackface Supplement – The Bigger Picture

I am guessing that subscribers are getting tired of me apologizing for taking so long to edit. There’s been a lot going on since these episodes were recorded. A lot. If you don’t already know, then you can find out about it in the next episode.  At any rate, I won’t be apologizing for the lateness to you subscribers for this episode, but I WILL apologize to our guest, Fatimaah-Joso Menefee. After our blackface episode (episode 3 of this season) aired, she took it upon herself to send us a critical email, where she was very appreciative that we decided to speak on the subject, but pointed out areas we were lacking in knowledge. This led to a back and forth email discussion, and we decided to invite her on the show.

But naturally, because of scheduling issues, it was not to be. She did however record her voice for us and we made a mini-episode about that.

Photo shamelessly Stolen from Brothas&Sistas of South Korea Facebook Group

Also in this episode at the end, I mentioned that the Facebook group Brothas&Sistas of South Korea protested an event in Busan that was featuring blackface skits, and were successful on having the blackface removed. The exact details were unknown at the time of recording, but here is a link to the post which details exactly what occurred.


Café Seoul Season 5, Episode 12: “Out” in Korea

Wow, this episode is like 6 months late. Apologies to our guest Hyunsoo Kim, who was kind enough to visit with us in August of 2017 to discuss being “Out” in Korea. Out meaning… LGBTQ.

Obiwan seems to be cool with it.

News of the Weird:

On the Pulse: Discussion with Hyunsoo Kim regarding what it is like to be LGBTQ in Korea in comparison to other places she has lived. Many people who have lived in Korea for a long time have heard someone tell them that there are no gays in Korea. This is how dire the situation was… recently, but things are changing. But even though Korea is the bbali bbali country, this change can’t be fast enough, because Korea is still lagging socially on rights for sexual minorities. Outside of Korea it may not be such a big deal these days to be out… but within Korea, Hyunsoo says that very few people are really totally out to everyone.

Coming out isn’t easy, nor is being closeted. Many people need support for whatever situation they may be dealing with. During our podcast recording, Hyunsoo recommended Ddingddong, a Korean youth crisis center as a resource for people who may need someone to talk to.

Café Seoul, Season 5, Episode 11: Cut for the very first time

After a long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long period of being very very very very very busy, Eugene has actually finally found time to edit this episode.  Rydia is back and our subject today is plastic surgery.

This picture has been circulating the net for quite a while. It shows the contestants for Miss Korea 2013. Some people say they all have the same face. What do you think?

But rather than criticize all the people in Korea getting it, we are discussing why Rydia made the decision to get it in the first place.

During the initial banter of this episode we got some letters from Dave and from Kathleen. Dave’s letter sparked a discussion on Western remakes of Asian films. Kathleen’s letter caused us to discuss foreigner privilege in Korean settings.


News of the Weird:


Rydia Kim was once a co-host on Café Seoul, and she’s returned to discuss plastic surgery in Korea. As someone who recently got a procedure or two herself, she’s here to elaborate on her decision to get plastic surgery, and how her initial aversion to the practice was overcome. She also goes in detail about how the procedures have helped her to be confident and how it is important to have a positive body image. Later Rob and Rydia discuss why plastic surgery is such a trend in Korea, and how body alterations work in the context of Korea’s modern culture.

Rydia can be found @Rydia0722 on Instagram

If you’re an expat in Korea, chances are that you are her friend on facebook already, or are at least friends with someone who is her friend. She’s very popular afterall.


Café Seoul Season 5, Episode 10: There’s a HYPHEN!


Well what can we say we couldn’t resist. Yes, we are supposed to be a Korea related podcast but sometimes you just have to live a little and invite your nerdy friends to talk about super heroes. Given the overwhelming praise and high regard of the Wonder Woman Spectacular (by us recording it) in episode 6, we decided, what they hey… while we may in fact have great power due to this podcast, we don’t necessarily have great responsibility to anyone other than our own nerdy whims. So friends, we give you the Spiderman Spider-Man Homecoming Special episode. AND YES! IT’S SPIDER-MAN with a HYPHEN! It annoys Eugene to no end than people keep misspelling it, and this has of course become a running gag in Café Seoul history that Rob likes to tease him incessantly for. But whatever, you’re here to LISTEN to Café-Seoul, not worry about the silly details of behind the scenes running gags.

  • Teen Hero Popularity Contest – Similarly to what we did in the Wonder Woman episode, we talk about some of our favorite teen characters from movies and TV (and books), then make them face off against each other in a 1:1 battle royale to find out which one would hypothetically kick the ass of the others.


  • Spider-Man Orientation – Discussion of the Spider-Man character, and how we came to know him, as well as some of our favorite storylines, and ranking the movies he’s appeared in so far.


  • Spider-Man Homecoming – In depth discussion of the most recent film, Spider-Man Homecoming.

Special thanks to Emma Kalka for stalking us and using the dark side of the force to trick us into inviting her to appear in this episode.
Here’s the link to the film about Rufio as mentioned in the show. 

Café Seoul Season 5, Episode 9: Traditionally Speaking


Café Seoul is back! Korea’s traditional culture is the topic of this episode, and we have one of the most knowledgable academics on hand to discuss the role that traditional culture, specifically performance art plays in modern Korean society.

Special Guest: Dr. CedarBough T. Saeji, Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies

Dr. Saeji moved to the Republic of Korea in 1996. Saeji has since spent more than fifteen years in Korea, where she completed an MA in Korean Studies (Yonsei University, 2006). Outside of Korea she has spent time elsewhere in Asia and completed the coursework for her PhD in Culture and Performance (UCLA, 2012). She currently teaches a course called Korea Popular Music in Context at the University of British Columbia.

Image stolen from

News of the Weird:


On the Pulse:

Profile picture from the website of UBC

How relevant to modern Korean society is Korean traditional culture? Many people who observe Korea suggest that Korea’s traditional culture is somewhat removed from its modern one, but is that really the case? In this episode we have the benefit of an academic expert to delve into this topic and find out exactly what role traditional culture, specifically performance art plays in Korea today. In addition to the overlying theme, we discuss some initial access points for Korean traditional culture and how one can go about learning more about and enjoying the rich traditional culture Korea possesses.


Here are some links for websites on Korean cultural performance.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Suh from episode 7, who answers a followup question from a listener in this episode.

Cafe Seoul Season 5, Episode 8: No, It’s not Painless

We’re behind in the editing, but better late than never. This episode is about Korea’s suicide crisis, so it is a little heavy. Special Guest: Shaun Webb of Shaun on Site


Unofficial Translation: “(life is) so tiring, isn’t it?”

News of the Weird

On the Pulse: Korea has a suicide problem, and we’ve invited Shaun Webb on the podcast to discuss his own attempted suicide and to discuss the very serious situation in Korea. Topics include the societal causes of the suicide epidemic, efforts the government has made for suicide prevention and how effective they are, and several suicide prevention resources. 
Here are some useful links for anyone who might need them: (Korean) 

seoul hotline: 02-916-9191 

love line counselling center: 02-715 8600 and you can search for the phone numbers, websites and addresses of other hotlines around the country.

Season 3, Episode 13: Farewell Olivia


Stolen from

Stolen from


(1-12-2016) There’s a reason why it took me so long to write the entry for this episode. Part of it was the fact that I wanted to bring the rest of the site up to speed, another part was honestly procrastination. However, the true reason is because when Olivia left, I honestly felt like a part of my life in Korea died. When we first met, I originally did not want to give her a chance. In the cutthroat world of English language radio in Korea, the show I was working on got abruptly cancelled. The new show I was moving to was just starting, and I wanted to protect my own… the talents that I had found and cultivated and brought in. I was successful in keeping most of my guests around, but they wanted to force Olivia on me with no extra budget. I devised an idea where she would appear once every two weeks and switch off with another weekly guest, but I was not happy about having to cut back on the other guest. So, yes, while it does seem our relationship got off on the wrong foot, a friendship began to blossom. Around the time when Christine and I started to seriously talk about starting this podcast, I ran it through several other people, and the most enthusiastic was Olivia. I may not have seen it at the beginning, but Olivia was probably the heart and soul of our podcast, even throughout its various changing formats. (In fact, after season 1, I thought it was over. I can almost guarantee that season 2 would never have happened without the enthusiastic encouragement of Olivia.) We grew closer over time and there was one episode where she yelled at me because I was being overly picky about how I wanted her to deliver a line (listen to the episode for a clip to hear her yelling). I might have seriously considered ending a friendship had it been anyone else that did that. But there was this unspoken bond that let me know we were still cool and she was just frustrated. Later she described it by saying that she felt like I was her brother. Wow… that’s deep. I don’t think I ever told her how much that meant to me. Growing up with 3 brothers, I never knew what it would be like to have a sister, but if it is anything like having Olivia around all the time, then it would have been awesome. Having this quirky fun-loving, fragile, non-gyopo-stereotypical gyopo girl in my life over the past few years has taught me a lot about myself, and those are the best friendships anyone can have.  So, even though it is a bit late… farewell Olivia, you will be dearly dearly missed.





Also included in this episode:

  • Blossom started as a permanent member of our team (at least until the end of season 3).
  • Discussion about former pop star Yoo Seung Jun asking forgiveness from Koreans for allegedly changing his citizenship more than 10 years ago to avoid military service
  • Part 2 of the discussion about English Language Radio with Chance Dorland of the Chance and Dan Do Korea Podcast. Chance introduced a new internet radio station called KoreaFM. The station can be found at
  • Ask Aaron and Olivia without Aaron (as he had his final appearance last episode)
    What will you miss most if/when you leave Korea?
  • Discussion with Olivia about her Korea Journey and Farewell

Some of the music in this episode came royalty free. It is Music by Dan-O at