Koreans Love Me, But Hate Me

Love always wins

Don’t read if  you’re not cool with truth bombs!

Whenever I tell Korean people about Seoulistic.com, everyone tells me that I’m doing such good and meaningful work. Koreans are very proud of their culture, and I am proud to be a part of it too! I see the beauty in Korean culture. I really do. I gladly share Korean culture with everyone, and for that, Koreans love me.

But at the same time, I am still a Korean-American–not a full Korean. I have a different way of sharing Korean culture than how Koreans might choose to do it. And for that some Koreans hate me (or at the least strongly disapprove of my stuff).

Take for example my video on Korean Punishments. I love this video. The punishments are things that I personally experienced in my life. This kind of stuff makes me feel super connected to Korea (which I love!). But some Korean people didn’t like the video because they thought I was criticizing the way Korean parents and teachers punish their kids. The fact that I talked about hitting children was a sore spot for some too. But the fact is… it’s a part of Korean culture. Nearly every Korean (older Koreans at least) experienced hitting from a family member or a teacher. Shoot, I experienced it, and I was a 2nd generation Korean-American living in New York!  To me, it’s a part of the culture that’s helped shaped me and also helped shaped Korea. And I think that’s awesome :) (I was also glad to see youtube commenters experiencing the same things in their own cultures!)

I also just posted on The 5 Most Interesting People You’ll See on the Seoul Subway, and I’m sure there are going to be Korean people that are not happy with the post. There I write about blind beggars, feisty ajeoshis and pushy ajummas. Things that some Koreans think I shouldn’t write about. But these are real people that you’ll see on the subways, undeniable members of Korean society. And I think they’re interesting as hell. Many foreigners will only get to meet Korean people of certain backgrounds: educated Koreans, multi-lingual Koreans, Koreans with international experience, Koreans who are not poor. But I think that’s misrepresentative of Korean society.

There are things that people aren’t so proud of in their cultures (i.e. the reality tv show ktwon–although I must admit it is entertaining). But I embrace it all. I think it’s great that there are beggars that fake being blind. I think it’s awesome that ajummas don’t care and just shove everyone out if their ways. And who doesn’t like to watch a harmless fight between ajeoshis? I don’t want to be censored because to me, it’s everyone and everything, good and bad, that make Korea so interesting.

I see the beauty in all things Korea. Love me or hate me, your boy Keith is gonna bring it honest!

Thank You Everyone!

Thank you everyone! I asked for some help with some motivation, and so many people responded with comments, emails, and donations. I was really shocked to see a total of $480! Again, thank you everyone for all the great encouragements.

I was never going to stop working on Seoulistic.com. I was just looking for a little more motivation. And I definitely got it.

If you can still donate, that would be great! It would really help me keep motivated, and keep making good content!
If not, consider liking my facebook page, and Seoulistic.com’s facebook page. I’d appreciate your support! Thanks everyone!

Recording with Songa tomorrow. Wish us luck! :)

Personal Plea: Keith Needs Some Motivation

I try to be as honest as possible with everything I do on the web. My personal belief is that if you’re honest, people will respect you and listen to what you have to say. So with that said, here’s what’s really up with Keith and Seoulistic.com as of this moment.

I’ve been running Seoulistic.com for almost 4 months, and I have seen phenomenal growth. This month there will be 17,000 unique visitors, which is pretty amazing for the short time span. Of course I haven’t done it alone. I am immensely grateful to talktomeinkorean and seouleats and everyone else that have so kindly believed in my content and shared it. Without everyone else, seoulistic.com (and your homie Keith) is nothing. Really, really, really big thank you to everyone!

But the truth is, I’m losing steam! Although the growth and the response have been amazing, it’s kind of hard to keep going without anything that can materialize. So I’m making a one-time plea (hopefully!). In an effort to keep myself motivated and to really see if my online content can translate into something profitable, I am asking for donations. I’ve only had 1 donation so far, and it really made me feel good about my work. And honestly, I don’t want to ask, but I’ve run out of motivation for the moment, and I think this will help me pick up some steam again.

So! If you think Seoulistic.com and my own content here at gyopokeith.com have helped you in anyway, I’d really appreciate anything you can donate. It’ll show that people actually do care about my work, and that’s really important to me. Hopefully it’ll keep me motivated enough to keep going until I can make my own money.

Any donations, small or large, would be welcome via paypal (credit cards are ok). And if you can’t donate, I’d be super grateful if you supported my sites by liking seoulistic and gyopokeith on facebook. Thanks again everyone!

Click here to help motivate Keith with a donation!

P.S. – Taking a mental vacation until Sunday :)

Korea Then vs Korea Now: Korean Cultural Identity Crisis

Seoulistic.com is a site dedicated to introducing Korean culture among other super useful tips. But here’s the problem: Korea itself is having a cultural identity crisis. I had a post about how Korea was different 10 years ago. That just goes to show how much and how quickly Korea is changing. It also makes it really difficult for me to create videos/posts that are 100% correct about Korean culture. Here’s a few examples:

- Touching in Korea: I made a video about what touching the opposite sex is like in Korea. The older people usually don’t get all up on each other, but some of the younger generation is all like “whatever, yo! lets get busy!” in public.

- Korean Style Punishments: this video was about what punishments are like in Korea. I showed the original video to a couple of people including @kyeongeun and @yo_ona. Hitting is old school… now it’s all like “I love you, i love you!”

Being awesome on subways used to mean never siting in the priority seating and getting up for the elderly/kids/etc. But these days there are lots of younger Korean kids that are not that awesome and just stay glued to their smartphones (sometimes ignoring the elderly in front of them). Scary ajummas and ajeoshi’s 10 years ago would have ripped one into them, but now they just give em stank eye.

So it’s hard to be totally on point cause Korea is changing so fast. It’s kind of stuck between the old way and new way of doing things. While all the older traditions and ways of doing things is still true, it definitely is changing. Nowadays it’s all about being chic and modern, but personally, I like most of the old stuff much better. If you haven’t noticed, I’m an ajeoshi at heart ;)

What it’s Like to Live in Korea as a Korean-American

I got a request from Eddie (?) from Seattle about what it’s like to live in Korea as a Korean-American. And I delayed so long, so I just had to do it today eventho I’m hungover. haha. There’s no bells or whistles with this video, but I hope you understand!!!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_f6B0w-0rU]

If you have any video requests, let me know!

Funny Search Terms on Seoulistic.com

Seoulistic.com gets a lot of its traffic from google searches. But some of the keywords that are turning up are pretty hilarious. Here’s a few that I saw and thought “WTF?”

korean culture 2 guys cannot go movie
(wow, so specific!)
my korean friend hand feeds me
(3 people searched this lol)
do korean friends of the same sex kiss
(hmm………)
does eating chicken feets make you strong
(probably!)
is ice expensive in korea
(what kind of person needs to know this info? -_-)
emoticons sex
(uh……)
why dont the koren girls hug back?
(got your answer here homie!)
shitty apartment in korea
(cause that’s what you look for in an apt!)
how to get a korean body
(be Korean?)
koreans have weird teeth
(we do?)
koreans dont have a culture
(really??)
Interesting to see that people all over the world are searching weird stuff about Korea. My favorite is “my korean friend hand feeds me” lol! What’s yours? :D

My Dad is the Ultimate Korean-American

My dad is, culturally speaking, half Korean and half American. He’s a really unique guy because most Korean people his generation are totally Korean. But my dad is not. He immigrated to New York when he was a teen, so he has the unique experience of being young enough to be Korean, but also have lived in America long enough to be really American. Here’s a few fun facts about my dad:

He speaks English with a Brooklyn accent: Most Korean immigrants of his generation can only speak broken English. But my dad is fluent, and he has a Brooklyn accent on top of that. How awesome is that?
His all time favorite movie is “Animal House”: This is a 70′s movie about chugging beers in college. Most Korean folks don’t even know what that movie is. My dad lived it!
He has an American-style tummy: Korean men are usually pretty slim. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a Korean man like my dad… skinny arms and legs, but with a big ol’ tummy!
He loves big ass cars: This is the part of him that is totally American and makes me think he’s from Texas. He used to drive those big ol’ Lincoln Town Cars. Now he drives a BMW X5.

He’s still really Korean at times though. He doesn’t say ‘I love  you’ at all, and he’s not so big on hugs. But I’m totally cool with that. I feel really lucky to have a father that is both a Korean and an American. What are your fathers like?

Bonus picture! ANIMAL HOUSE!!!!!

Korean Girls Be Hiding Their Boyfriends

Ok, so this has been bugging me for a while. I’ve been noticing that some Korean girls don’t post pictures of their boyfriends on their facebook, their kakao pictures, their cyworld, just anything that is shared with the world. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen Korean girls posting pics with their boyfriends before, but there are quite a few girls that do NOT post their pics with their boyfriends. Maybe it’s just me being uber suspicious of Korean girls, but if I’m dating someone I like, I would love to show the world who I’m with. You know?

Example 1: There was this Korean friend of mine that was dating a guy for 4 years. And I did not see 1 single picture of her boyfriend. Who knows… maybe I did see a pic of her bf. But for 4 years, you have to make some kind of effort to make sure you purposely dont mention it!
Example 2: I was the one who took a picture of her and her boyfriend. And she cut him out of her pic yo! She’s not a girl to be dating around when she has a boyfriend. I am extremely close to her, so I know. But  I mean… why you gotta do that?!
Example 3 & 4: I’ve even seen wedding pictures that have the guy blatantly cut out. Girls be married yo… and still you’re cutting your man out??? WHY!?

I’m not trying to be judgmental here. I am just very, very curious. Why do some Korean girls (again, not all) purposely leave their boy toys out of the picture??? Back home, I’d be proud of my girl. I would love to share with the world the girl that I’m with. But that isn’t always the case here.

I don’t think Korean girls are looking to cheat on their boyfriends. That’s not what I’m suspecting (at least not everybody :P). But what is it? Are you keeping your options open? Are you hoping to maybe meet a better guy in the future? Tell me k-girls…. what is up?! I just don’t know!! :)

How Korea Was Different 10 Years Ago

I just thought about it. This year, 2012, marks the 10 year anniversary of when I first came to Korea. 10 years, yo! Back then I was really into kpop and Korean movies, didn’t speak much Korean and was really bad with girls. Now it’s 2012, and I’m not that into kpop or Korean movies anymore, and I speak much better Korean. I’m still pretty bad with girls though :P

But Korea’s changed too. Like… ALOT. It’s crazy how much things have changed in Korea. Here are somethings that I’ve noticed are different from 2002 and 2012.

Speaking English was the bomb - I was mad popular back then just because I spoke English. It was awesome/sucked cause everyone used to stare at you if you spoke English cause it was so different. Now everyone speaks English, and I lost my edge :P
Kpop Used to be Sappier - Check out the most popular Kpop songs back in 2002. They were all crazy sad. Now it makes me wanna shake my butt.
Celebrities Were Much Easier to See - They all just hung out in Apgujeong and they were super easy to see all the time. Now they’re all super rich and going to these super rich places that normal folk don’t go.
Korean people started getting tattoos
– Back in 2002, if you had a tattoo, that meant you were a gangster. Now it’s a fashion statement.
Girls smoking outside – It was funnycause 10 years ago, women smoking was a taboo, and I’d see grown women sneak behind a building to smoke. Now they just smoke anywhere. Do your thang girl!
COEX was brand new and had a hof and nightclub inside – The hof is kinda understandable, but a (booking) nightclub inside a shopping mall? Weird! Now they’re all at hotels for some reasons.
NB was the only club – I think clubbing was brand new to Korea. And NB was the only one there. Now there’s like a gajillion clubs.

Surprised at all? Korea’s changed fast man. Really fast.

Me too. Here’s a bonus picture from back in 2002, when I was 19 :)

Why I Chose Not to Live in Gangnam, and in Gangbuk in Seoul

Gangnam in Seoul is pretty famous. But I don’t live there. It’s really t rendy and cool, but it’s also a bit expensive and, and a bit too new (if you know what I mean).

I enjoy living in the older part of Seoul, which is Gangbuk (North of the Han River). To me, it has a more Korean feel to it, rather than the new, fast and hip modern culture of Gangnam. And although I try to be hip and modern, deep inside I’m really an ajeoshi. So Gangbuk fits me nice and snug :)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaGmh1Z-Fk4&w=640&h=360]

Where would you guys live? :)