Mt. Bukhansan – Climbing is Great!

This week was pretty laid back, and I spent a lot of my time doing nothing. So I decided to take some time by myself to climb Mt. Baekdusan, located right in Seoul :) It’s really amazing that a national park is located in the nation’s biggest metropolis.

I didn’t know how to get to a certain course, so I went to the general area and took any bus, asking if the bus went to 북한산. The bus driver said there were many places to get off, and he didn’t know where to drop me off. So I just kept my eyes out the window until I saw lots of mountainness and there definitely was a lot of mountain.

One of the coolest things was the temple located in the mountain, 금선사 (Geumseonsa). I stopped by on my way down to drink some fresh water that was coming from the mountain. That was some good water.

I’ve Got Some Love for North Korea

While watching soccer this weekend – of Portugal thrash North Korea – I found myself rooting passionately for North Korea, even more so than I did for the Southern brethren. It’s the whole underdog, loveable loser thing that North Korea’s got going on. But it’s a bit more than that for me.

As a 2nd generation Korean (aka Gyopo), I find myself oddly connected to them as if we grew up as neighbors and have a common cultural heritage. It’s the same reason I root for any Korean athlete over American athletes; it’s also the same reason I feel a sort of familiarity and connection with some famous Japanese athletes when I find out they’re actually Korean. It’s the hope and belief that yes, we are connected through some long and old history, displaced in this world as long lost kin. I ended up in America, North Koreans ended up on the wrong side of the border.

It’s too bad it’s over for them in the world cup. But maybe you’ll catch good ol Jong Il off guard one of these days. And even if you get crushed, I’m still rooting for you :)

Post Birthday – Work-mania

My birthday passed last week. Thanks everyone for the well wishes! Turned a loser, to a overnight sensation. Ok maybe not. But thanks anyway. It really did mean a lot :)

My dad has always told me to do what I wanted to do, and to work hard. Any job that I’ve had, I’ve always worked hard. When I worked at my Aunt’s dry cleaners, I tried to do something every moment I wasn’t doing anything, but she just told me to chill out. When I first taught English at YBM, I came in early to prep, when there wasn’t really any prep involved. It was regurgitating material that was given to me. While working at Innovative Language I worked hard there too. I didn’t mind the long hours, or the low pay. I just thought it was just a part of life. But when things turned sour, I refused to work. So for a few months, I did nothing. Like absolutely nothing. I was rotting both mentally and physically.

Now that I’m out of there, it’s hard to get back to working hard. I found myself having the inability to focus, the inability to close. I’m a great starter, but I can’t seem to call the closer from the bullpen. I just leave things hanging. So when I started teaching again just last month, I found the adjustment tough.

But now that I’m back in the groove of working, I’m starting to get back into working hard. Staying late, working at every free moment, on the subway, waiting for a friend. I find myself hustling, which is good. I’ve been so dead for so long, I need some hustle in my life.

Now that I’m starting to get my groove back, I’m starting to pick up as much work as I can. Teaching early in the morning, internship during the day, working at night. It feels good to be working hard again, and to feel somewhat of a freelancer. Although I have a full-time job, the hours are flexible enough that I can pick up some other projects on the side. I just hope I don’t burn out in the process.

By the way, if anyone is looking for an English teacher, Voice actor, internet marketing consultant, spread the word homies! I’ve got my hustle back ;)

Famous Korean Foodie

김수진 (Kim Soo Jin), who makes food for dramas (식객 | Gourmet) and movies (왕의 남자 | King and the Clown), and also appears often on the popular TV show Sponge 2.0, was kind enough to grace the 오방색 (Obangsaek) documentary a few hours of her time. She’s a totally classy woman, who made some awesome food. We didn’t get to eat any of it, but just the look of it made me feel like I was an awesome king. Except.. I was an intern. Haha, no complaints at all. I would never meet awesome people like her if I wasn’t doing this awesome project.

If anyone is interested in taking cooking classes in Seoul, give her academy a try. She has staff that speaks Japanese, Chinese and English. They’re super friendly, and you get to make amazing Korean food.

First day filiming obangsaek

Today was the first day I was on production and it totally exceeded expectations. I didn’t do much but boy was it a great experience. I learned a lot not just about just film but also the process of documentaries.

Documentaries are basically about life. Human relations. And yes, that is true for life, but the challenge of docmentaries is to capture that human relation. Whether it be on film, audio, pictures or even written form, it’s all about the capture of that relationship.

Instead of trying to artificially construe a situation, it’s all about capturing the essence of that relationship.

And even if you wanted to construe a situation or scene it’s still about capturing genuine opinions and thoughts. And the important thing there is to make people comfortable. And how do you do that? Simple. Human relations. Build a rapport with your subject and you’ll be in the clear because once you have that relationship everything is genuine.

Life lessons from the film industry!

Not Doing Much, but Doing A Lot

I’ve been pretty busy the last few weeks.

I just started a new job at an English academy. The hours are great, from 4 PM to 10PM, which leaves a lot of time during the day. But there’s also a lot of work that needs to be done outside of work. I don’t mind that very much, cause I need to make that paper boy! But it’s still a lot more free time than I can get else where. It’s also fun to get in the classroom and hang out with kids. Just the other day, I taught them the words “doo doo butter.” A lot of kids took real good notes.

I also started a new internship as a production assistant. I’ll be helping produce a documentary about Korea and Korean culture in the modern day. It’s about a musical that portrays that subject matter, and the documentary is about that musical. Kind of confusing, I know. Basically it’s this:

Korean Culture -> People making a Musical -> Documentary about the musical.

Still don’t get it? it’s cool, cause I barely get it myself. Something about Obangsaek, which I just learned recently.

Anyway, here’s a trailer for it:

Obangsaek: a documentary portrait of modern Korea. from Benzo Media NYC on Vimeo.

I took this internship (aka no money), so I could learn about the film industry, but also, so I could learn about the process about making a documentary.

To help with the process of learning, I also just applied to a radio documentary job for an English radio station in Korea at TBSeFM. It’s not much money, but I’m guessing it’s going to be somewhat of an internship. It’s all good, cause I’ll still get a chance to learn to do some stuff that I’d like to get into.

So that’s a lot of stuff on my plate. But I’m still not doing much.

Not doing much in the sense that I’m working on other people’s projects and not my own. I’d like to do radio documentaries, get back into podcasting, get into some voice work, and maybe write a screenplay while I’m at it. I’ve got a lot of dreams and ambition, I just really lack a lot of will power and drive.

This is a personal blog for the time being, but at some point, I plan to have 5 different projects that I’ll be writing about here. Several different links each linking to different projects that I’m working on.

It’s an aspiration for the time being, and one that I don’t think is too hard to achieve. Hopefully, in a few weeks things will start to roll.

Be Kind & Work Hard

Recently, I’ve been really trying to figure out what kind of business I can run on my own. This is a pretty hard task. But on top of not necessarily knowing what I would specifically like to do and just having a lot different unrelated ideas that I could do (see: quarter-life-crisis), I’m also trying to figure out myself in a personal sense.

This blog is a perfect example of what I’m going through right now. It is so unfocused, and undefined, it’s useless to others. But in that sense, it’s still a personal blog. And the fact that I just have one up is a step in the right direction.

I’ve been learning a lot the last few months. Just from reading other blogs and books. Most of these stress the same thing. Hard work, and determination. I’ve always been a hard-worker (well, at least when I cared about my work). And working for myself, hoping to run a business on my own, or do my own thing should be an even greater motivator than working for someone else. What I am lacking now is simply direction.

However, another thing that I heard, interestingly enough from Conan O’Brien, is to be kind. This is something a good friend, and my father has also told me. Be kind to other people and good things will happen. I see this happening to both my friend and my father. I’m still struggling to change myself to make this happen. Not that I’m not a kind person. It’s just that I’m more selfish than kind.

Korean Drama’s

Right now there are a few big blockbuster drama’s playing here in Korean. This one in particular stars 손예진 (Son Yejin) one of the reasons I became more interested in Korean culture. And, I’m not going to lie, I learned Korean so that I could meet girls just like her, girls with the whole innocent, fair lady look that she has (however, I hear she’s got a big attitude!).

I’ve grown old of Korean dramas, but Yu hasn’t. She’ll push me aside without hesitation to watch the drama of the week. She’ll plop down in front of screen and sit there with tissues and a bottle of wine. She’ll be drunk and all cried out by nights end.

I’ve thought of doing content related to this niche, but my heart’s not in it. And what good would it be trying to force myself to work if I don’t necessarily find any value in it. I’ve never really been one to do anything for the sake of a paycheck, or even the promise of one.

If only I had the foresight when 손예진 was just a budding star.

Next!

Might As Well Take Over the World While I’m At It

I recently just quit after working 3 years at KoreanClass101.com, and InnovativeLanguage.com. It was a great experience to learn, which I did a lot of, but towards the end, there was not much learning involved, and more of “just do what you’re told” (which I’ve never been really good at anyway).

So I left New York and came to Korea to work at Webactually.co.kr. I figured a start-up Internet marketing agency would be right up my alley. But instead of doing any marketing, all I did was translations of e-mails the boss wanted to send. Not very stimulating if you ask me. Plus, it seems like my 3 years of prior start-up experience around the web was about 3 years more experience they had.

So my buddy Howard hooked me up with a job at his English Academy. They’re giving some pretty decent pay, with work hours starting from 4PM – 10PM, which I love, but also hate at the same time. I love that I can work on anything I want to before 4PM, but getting home at 11:30 PM is proving to be quite a challenge.

I’ve always said I wanted to do my own thing, produce my own content, and possibly even make an effort to monetize that content. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and to be honest, I still only have a vague idea. I would still need money for hosting and domain, so I’m waiting till my next paycheck. But when I get it, hosting and domain will be right after a bottle of bubbly, cigar, and possibly gold grillz on my list of things to get.

Until then peeps. Please be kind :)