KAZAN: "Five years ago, I was searching in the Internet and found a K-Pop video. The music style was very unusual and the video was interesting with powerful dances. I had never seen anything like that before," saif Farida, 18. It launched an interest in Asian culture that has grown with time. Farida practices cover dancing (K-Pop) and studies Korean language once a week via Skype as her university doesn't offer it. Having spent two weeks in Korea, she would like a chance to work and live in Korea. In the mean time, she is studying English and Chinese at university.
MOSCOW: ‘’People are always smiling, the restaurants serve free water and there are toilets in the underground,’’ said Irina, 19, about some of the things that surprised her on her recent trip to South Korea to study the language. Irina, an Asian studies student, was going to take Japanese, but switched a month before classes started after attending a Korean cultural event in Moscow. She said her interest in Asian culture initially came from Japanese animation.
Sofia, 20, was among the few thousand attendees at a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Moscow. She was standing near the entrance of Sokolniki Park in a green scarf, green shamrock hat and with a shamrock painted on her face. She was holding a sign that said ''free hugs.'' Sofia said she is studying English and Korean at university and has visited Korea twice. She said she wanted to take an oriental language as she already knew French well. Sofia said she comes from a family of doctors and dreams of being a medical translator of Korean-Russian and English-Russian. I asked why Sofia why she didn't follow in her father's footsteps to become a doctor if she enjoyed the medical industry so much. ''I have problems with physics and chemistry, but no one said you can't be a medical translator.''
She owns a clothing shop at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk’s outdoor market in the center of town. A native Sakhalin resident of Korean ethnicity, the 60-year old was dressed colorfully on this slow day. She said her clothing sales have suffered because Chinese goods have become more expensive in ruble terms. She said she travels every six weeks to China to buy clothing….
She was running an errand at the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk post office wearing a pink coat and long pink scarf, black leggings and high tops. She had blue eye lenses and her finger nails were painted in different colors - green, yellow, blue. She said he was of Korean ethnicity and grew up on Sakhalin, one of many ethnic Koreans here. She has visited relatives in Korea. I asked if she spoke Korean. ''I don't speak very good Korean because I grew up here speaking Russian.''
Ye Ji moved with her parents to Russia 12 years ago from Korea, living initially in Irkutsk in Siberia near Lake Baikal. She is now studying law in Vladivostok and says her co-students ''treat me like a Russian rather than a foreigner.'' Ye Ji said she is looking forward to moving back home when she finishes her university degree. ''I have lived in Russia for so long, its about time I lived in my own country.''
Alexei and Alexander first met at a karate school about 17 years ago in a town of 40,000 in Russia’s Far East. Alexander said they soon became friends and ended up attending a marine university together, working afterwardsy as quality control and commercial managers on ships that caught crabs near Kamchatka…