I got Seoul and I’m super bad.

June 13, 2012

I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life. Such as slicing my finger on a tube of toothpaste. I tore my leg open on a mattress once, requiring 7 nasty staples to seal me up. And I even broke my leg on an exercise bike, putting me in a thigh high cast for an entire summer. Perhaps these minor/major incidents lend themselves to my being vulnerable in song; having experienced just how fragile our little lives are.


The first night I arrived in Korea I plugged my beard trimmer into the wrong wall socket and blew the thing up in my hands near missing an electric shock. It’s a good thing I wasn’t shaving my area. I took surviving the incident as a sign I’m supposed to have a thick beard this month. In all areas.


On the outdoor stage at Nami Island, just outside of Seoul, Korea, we headlined the Rainbow Festival and were the delight of 10,000 harmonizing fans. All was merry on the island established about 50 years ago with great intent, i.e. enormous trees lining the paths and roads with shade and beauty which in turn attracts abundant wildlife. All of the buildings and structures on the island were made of reclaimed and recycled material, which is also a nice earthy touch. Plus, you don’t see very many cars on the island due to the only way onto the island being boat or zip-line, which is rad in and of itself. Being in this eco-minded and altogether new world, I saw birds I’d only previously seen in cartoons and about a thousand different species of insect. However, the trouble with being in a spotlight on a tiny island is you become the brightest in the bunch, therefore the delight of 10,000 winged or multi-legged creepy-crawlies. Never mind being vegan when you’re the flame to every moth. You’re eating insect whether you like it or not.


Maybe bug guts between the gums is to blame for my language mix up. In each country I do my best to say a few simple phrases in the native language and in Korea instead of saying “You’re Great!” to an audience with beautiful voices, I kept saying “Good Bye.” They must’ve been super confused by my saying this again and again though never actually leaving the stage. “Good Bye!”


And lastly, Sungha Jung is Korean! He’s the kid I’ve mentioned in a few interviews to be my zen master of guitar. I thought he was Japanese by mistake. I would’ve seen this if I’d visited his official website and seen how it’s entirely in Korean and English. Instead I’d been focused on his YouTube arrangements and misplaced his heritage altogether. If you haven’t yet checked him out, visit SunghaJung.com to hear the gorgeous guitar arrangements of some of your favorite songs.


And a special thanks to all our Korean fans for helping us kick off the tour. Thanks for the lights, love and paper airplanes. “Good Bye!”

  • Avatar of letsbreal
    letsbreal said ...

    Sometimes people are vulnerable in theirs lyrics and sometimes people are hiding. Sometimes it is easy to use a bright light to direct attention and sometimes when we feel shame, we need to speak. You don’t find love on a diet coke can. Not really.

  • Avatar of kaunkst7
    kaunkst7 said ...

    Just found your journal – love it! :-) Loving I Wont Give Up too!!!!

  • Avatar of CarolynH
    CarolynH said ...

    I love your story about the language miscommunication issue! I had “brushed up” on my Spanish beforehand and yet still spent an entire evening saying “listen to me!!” to my sister in laws parents from Mexico! I thought I was saying “excuse me” each time I needed to squeeze by each of their chairs! :-)

  • Avatar of Rose
    Rose said ...

    Great Pic! Look at all those happy people!

    Off topic…sorry… But Seriously how fun was it to sing with Daryl Hall? I recently heard him on Howard Stern…He has a really great gig…having fun people come sing with him. But to relive songs of your childhood, cool. There is one point in So close where he doe his signature “Yaa” and it throws me right back into my Folks fancy van with the blinds on the windows and the burgundy carpeted floors walls and ceiling. swiveling around in my captain seat singing at the top of my lungs…awwwww. Thanks J!!

    Happy Travels!!


  • Avatar of ConnieLee
    ConnieLee said ...

    Actually, it kind of is like Aloha. The greeting, “Ahn nyong hada” , means to be peaceful…slight changes to the ending change it to departing, go/stay in peace. “Ahn nyong” can be used for both greeting and departure but it is very informal, and really only used when addressing children or close friends. Sorry for the language lesson but I thought people might find it interesting.

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Oh man! I thought I had won something because my RCTS CD had 13 tracks instead of 12. I’ve been waiting for you to deliver my prize since April. Today I watched your Frick and Frack video chat and was bummed out to hear that you put “I’m coming over” on every CD. By the way, you’ve gotten as bushy as Bush, only his Bush defies gravity and yours obeys the laws of nature. Second by the way: That girl had no idea who Rhoda was. You really need to use age appropriate references.

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    What if goodbye in Korean was like aloha?

  • Avatar of fisness
    fisness said ...

    Hey jason when you’re in Singapore you should come to VeganBurg! It’s very close to where i live! =) the food there is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

  • Avatar of easalonga
    easalonga said ...

    I appreciate that you’re so candid about everything. A near life-death experience, and yet you bring a smile to my face. It will only be a month, so just be careful (though it may get itchy at times). I just came back from Seoul and Hong Kong last week. Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to give the local eating establishments a try. I can’t wait to see you in NYC and Toronto. Have fun in Asia. I’ll be checking on your Journal posts soon. Take care Jason

  • Avatar of lovePEAR
    lovePEAR said ...

    ahh the Pierre Richard syndrom … haha watch the movie “La chèvre” with Pierre Richard & Gérard Depardieu a classic from 1981 but oh so funny :) http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Richard , Life is precious & Lovely <3 Thank you for your light, words , paper & Love :)

  • Avatar of EvaHassine
    EvaHassine said ...

    Que buenooo Shunga Jung!!!.. Keep having fun, Jason ! I’m exited for you and everybody out there, sweet feeling knowing that at the end of this super year I’m gonna get a dose of Jason Mraz , too! Great.!!!

    dd, blessings, love and happiness, Eva

  • Avatar of Ally
    Ally said ...

    When that trimmer blew, it’s a good thing you weren’t doing any man scaping down your pants… Korea may have got a concert by the last castrati (although, it may have alleviated normason’s fear of you remaining “regular” :)

    I see you got your Grandma a plant for her 83rd birthday? I know what I’ll get her … A tshirt that says:

    “My grandson is famous, and all I got was this crummy plant!!! ”

    Gee, Mraz… You couldn’t have broken open the safe and sprang for the fuzzy slippers! :)

    ~Ally Old Soul

  • Avatar of Marianne
    Marianne said ...

    feel seouly loved……..;-)

    @ Mariefromfrance…….thank you for that beautiful link…..:-)

  • Avatar of Marianne
    Marianne said ...

    Dearest Jason …..:-) Yourè so “Good bye.” <3 <3….Love and enjoy your Journals everytime:-)
    Thank you so much for sharing :-** Thank you…enjoy your journey ,voyage….LOVE

    P.S….i know exactly what will happen …..Our gang will be on the " youre good bye" trip…..a new expression is born…here we go…………;-))) :-****

  • Avatar of mariefromfrance

    Always a pleasure to read your blog. So funny about the Good Bye thing.
    No relation to your post but I came across this video and I thought you would appreciate it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JrJVUsnsimw#!

    Enjoy your Asia Tour!

  • Avatar of lauren.kim.779

    Don’t put yourself down for making language mistakes – it happens all the time. I just want you to know that all of your Korean fans are seriously suffering from the “aftereffects” of your show and we’re all sharing the concert stuff to remind us of the night you were here. Thank YOU Jason, the band, and the crew for sharing the musics of your blood, sweat and tears!!

    P.S. All of Korean girls are starting to have bangs. :)

  • Avatar of sophi_lee
    sophi_lee said ...

    I really want to see you again in korea soon!
    Your concert really awesome!
    I hope your world tour concert … Everything goes smoothly~^^
    “Good bye and see you again”
    - sophi

  • Avatar of sophi_lee
    sophi_lee said ...

    MISS YOU ! Jason!
    I want to see you agin Korea soon~!

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    So this is what it feels like to be on a stage.

    “Hello everybody, my name is Laura and…uhmmmm… Hi Mum!” -_-’

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    Blowing up a trimmer…that’s some scary stuff actually. I can’t visualize how one can cut a finger on a tube of toothpaste though. Maybe I’ll google it. Love the laughs as always. “Your great and good bye.”

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    You mean one of those stationary bikes? That takes real talent!… Did your face get all sooty and your hair stand on end like in the cartoons? “And for my next number, I’d like to do an impression of Bushwalla…”

    Signed, Sleepless in San Antonio.

  • Avatar of costellocrew5
    costellocrew5 said ...

    I am always astonished that almost without fail, whenever you post a new journal entry, I log onto your site that evening. And no, I don’t log on every night! At times a couple weeks will go by. There are no notifications, I just occasionally think, Hmmm “we” should be hearing from you by now. So I log on and voila, a story is waiting! I was thinking about Spencer West starting his unbelievable journey today and I think that prompted me to check your journal.

    Anyway, loved the random thoughts tonight. Funny stuff (well maybe not the culture mix up…oops…mistakes happen). I can only imagine how confusing the language stuff gets. You’ll probably start using your newly acquired Korean in China, then your Chinese in Thailand, and your Thai in Indonesia. You might want to write a few phrases phonetically on your hand before each show! From thousands of miles away, it looks like your tour is off to a pretty spectacular start. Happy for you and all these international Mraz loving fans but we will be even happier when you are stateside! Be well. With love from your friends in CT!