My dad is in town taking care of some stuff and hanging out, and today I hung out with him and his homeboys from elementary, junior and high school. And I gotta admit, it’s pretty original gangsta (og)… or at least original Korean gangster. Here’s a couple of examples:
- they all call each other 임마 (immah) and 새끼 (saekki). Normally these are Korean curses when said to strangers, but among friends from childhood, it’s just another way to address your friends. Cursing at ur friends and getting away with it is mad og!
- my dads friend was concerned that I was bored, but one of the more gangsta ajeoshis said i should just be quiet an listen. I wasn’t even mad yo! I know when one of your dads friends tell you to just “be still” (가만있어), you listen!
- my dad was telling stories of how his boys ruled the school and no one messed with them. They were the athletes back in the day and if you messed with one, you messed with em all! LOL sounds similar to my favorite korean gangster movie, 친구 (Friend) :)
- one confirmed jail time, probably a few more ha!
- the baddest ajeoshi started two fights. At the end of the night, he had one of em bowing to him, OTL lol!
- one ajeoshi said straight out that one of em was a gangster (깡패). I believe him because that dude had a perm
And of course, they are still very Korean. Even with all their Korean original gangsterness, there was a lot of hand holding, which progressed to cheek kissing and I love you’s (alcohol may or may not have been involved).
Cool night to experience my dad and his og friends. But actually, his childhood stories sound very similar to my own… just much more Korean
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!
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!!!
If you have any video requests, let me know!
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!!!!!
There are tons of Korean-Americans (aka gyopos) in Korea. Tons. And I’m one of them.
The thing is everyone seems to know each other. If you meet someone new, you’re bound to know a mutual friend. I kind of hated the fact that my world was so small, but it’s ok now. I realized it’s just a part of my life and part of who I am
Enjoy the video!
Here’s a typical phone conversation with my mom. There’s lots of repeating, lots of miscommunication, and lots of babying. My mom might be a little funny and crazy, but I still love her