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! :)

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 ;)

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

What Countries are Most Interested in Korea?

Just thought it would be fun to share who’s interested in Korea by taking a look at the stats from seoulistic.com.

Just a few quick random thoughts on these stats:

The US is because of Kpop?
Korea’s obvious. Seoulistic.com is mad helpful yo!
Singapore I heard Kpop and Kdramas are just mainstream, played in shopping malls and on primetime tv. Dang! True?
Malaysia? I have no idea why Korea’s popular! haha
Philippines, same as Singapore?

Curious! where are you guys from and why you’re interested in Korea/seoulistic.com?

Also, if you have any post suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for ideas :)

Gyopokeith.com and Seoulistic.com Statistics

Everyone likes statistics. Me too. Somedays I just find myself not even really working and just kind of staring at my site stats. So I’m sharing it with all you lucky people that end up at this post. And of couse I’ll give you my semi-informed analysis (a total guess!).

Gyopokeith.com Stats

I’ve only done two videos, but they really brought some traffic to this site. Also of note, the blog posts other than videos that have gotten the most traffic are the ones about my dating exploits. Guess I gotta post more about dating in Korea! But that means I have to actually go on some more dates ;)

Seoulistic.com Stats

TalktomeinKorean.com has helped a lot. And 6,000 unique visitors in a month and a half isn’t bad at all! Just gotta keep doing it. That’s all :)

How Will I Make Money from Seoulistic.com?

I get this question a lot. People always seem to wonder how people make money from websites. Most people just assume it’s advertising. But in reality, advertising (google adsense) may be one of the hardest ways to make money. You’ve got to have A LOT of traffic to actually make a living off of a website that way. (You only get a couple of cents per click!) It’s good if you want to make a couple of extra bucks here or there, but unless you have 100,000+ visitors, it’s not really an option to turn it into a business.

There are a number of ways that I’m planning on monetizing the site, but the main option for me at the moment is to make digital products. This will initially come in the form of e-books. And eventually, I’d like to package them into a smartphone app (with in-app upgrades). I’d also like to expand to Korean language products. This is actually a lot of hard work, and it takes quite a bit of time to create professional quality products. But I also believe the reward is the greatest (no shipping/printing/production costs). I want to make it affordable enough so that everyone can make use of these guides. I believe in making it as cheap as possible, as long as I am fairly rewarded :)

My target audience is people visiting Korea or living in Korea. Here are a few e-books that I’m planning on writing:

- Insiders Guide to Myeongdong / Itaewon / Hongdae / etc.
- Ultimate Guide to Living in Korea (for newcomers)
- Cultural Guide for Exchange Students in Korea

Would you buy these for $5 a pop? If not, how much would you pay? What other kinds of e-books would you consider buying?

I spilled my guts on this one folks (as always :P). If you have any suggestions, help a brother out! :)

Hot Girl Hired – Videos Coming Up

A few weeks ago, I was able to hire that hot girl I was talking about (maybe more cute than hot, but I’m down!). It was tough when I was just advertising on craigslist Korea on my own, but my (awesome) college student part-time employee was pretty clever and more resourceful than I. She went on some Naver and Daum cafe’s (essentially, Korean message boards) and went specifically to modeling/acting message boards to post an ad for them. And bam. In less than a week, 43 models and actresses flooded my inbox. Most had modeling/acting experience to some degree, and some were even on major network television shows. The surprising thing was I was only offering 18만원 for the entire day. Not bad at all!

This Sunday is our shoot. I have 1 day to finish all the scripts I wrote for learning Korean. That’s why Seoulistic.com only has 1 post for this week. (I also have a recorded phone call with my mom in the wings I want to post on this site). I’m taking so much time to prep for this shoot because I don’t know what I’m doing in terms of video. This is my first foray into this medium. But just like the Seoulistic.com launch, I’m just doing it and figuring it out from there. It’ll be fine :) I will also be acting in the videos as well. So if this were a movie, the credits would say: “Written by Keith Kim. Directed by Keith Kim. Starring Keith Kim”

That’s a ROFL on so many different levels!

Seoulistic.com Launch – Nothing’s Ever Perfect :)

As many readers of this blog will know, I am working on http://seoulistic.com. I was hoping to have an official launch date of April 16th. I wanted to have a stock of posts, a few videos edited, a number of things ready, tweak a few things here and there. But whatever right? Nothing’s ever going to be perfect. I’m never going to have the perfect website, and I’m always going to look to tweak and redesign everything. So I might as well keep going and try to build up my readership as I go along.

So today is my first official post, Seoul’s 10 Most Famous and Popular Galbi Restaurants. My friend already told me he tried to comment and he got an error. Good that I found out about this asap, rather than later. It would have been the same with an official launch date or not :)

So, help me out folks. Retweet, repost, share, like, stumble, whatever your fancy. For folks who want to visit, live in or is just generally interested in Korea:

http://seoulistic.com

BTW, most of the posts here are written while I’m home in my jammies, really unkempt, drinking a cup of coffee. Nothing’s ever perfect son!!! :D

New Part-time Employee

I need some help working on Seoulistic.com. So I posted on the sites I mentioned in my previous post. I am not offering much as this is coming out of my own pocket, so I went with a student as my first employee.

I love Korean student employees. The younger they are the better (chill, I’m not a creep! just read on). When I was working at KoreanClass101, my first part-time employee was Minkyung. At the time she was a 20 year old college student just looking to make some spending money. It wasn’t a lot of money, but she appreciated it. And she was really sincere and hardworking.

That was in Japan. Now I’m in Korea, and minimum wage in Korea is about 4,600 won an hour. So I know any Korean student would jump at the chance to do easy research work from home for what I’m offering, 8만원 a month (about 70USD). They’ll appreciate anything that doesn’t require serving food in a McDonald’s uniform.

So I picked this 19-year old kid with no job experience at all. When she replied to my ad, she had no resume and said she had no work experience (not exactly the best way to get a job!). When I met her, she seemed lost and it seemed fairly obvious that she had never applied for a job before. But that’s the exact reason I chose her. I know she’ll do what I ask without complaints. She already seems to be hardworking and sincere. And as long as I’m fair to her, I’m sure she’ll keep doing this until she’s got something better going on.

I would like to build my entire team with these college kids. But I mean, that’s not really sustainable nor very smart. But for the time being, these kids are perfect for what I need!