My Top 10 “Must-Watch” Korean Movies

*Must-Watch Korean Movies, Must-Watch Korean Dramas, &More*

Many of the movies on this list are independent films.

Some of the independent films are by Kim Ki Duk, my favorite director. He is a controversial director in Korea; however, he is critically acclaimed abroad.

Nevertheless, ALL of the movies on this list address issues within Korean society, issues that– in fact, pervade humanity. Therefore, they will challenge your perspective of your own society and your perspective on humanity as they blur the lines between justice and revenge– between love and obsession– between the beautiful and the grotesque– between good and evil.

1. Address Unknown

Address Unknown~

Address Unknown~

Set after the Korean war, a half-black, half-Korean boy lives with his mother in an abandoned school bus. While his Korean mother looks for his estranged black father by writing letters that always come back stamped “Address Unknown,” he struggles to fit in with Korean society. In the end, will he ever really belong in a place that has no place for him?

Watch HERE, unsubbed, on Youtube!

2. The Unforgiven

The Unforgiven~

The Unforgiven~

A boy finally goes off to army, but he struggles to fit in and follow commands from his superiors, one of whom happens to be an old friend, or hyung. Slowly, the army changes him, but once he leaves will he be able to come to terms with the person he has become?

Watch HERE, unsubbed, on Youtube!

3. Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys~

Beastie Boys~

Two men sell their bodies for sex as “hosts,” struggling to make ends meet and to make sense of the world they live in.

(Featuring two of my favorite actors before they “blew up,” Ha Jung Woo and Yoon Kye Sang!)

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Amazon!

4. No Regret

No Regret~

No Regret~

A secretly gay man falls in love with a boy who drives him home one day (designated driving services are popular in Korea). Then, they meet again at a host bar where the boy is working. Although they fall in love, will their love survive the pressures of Korean society?

(Stunning performance by Kim Nam Gil.)

Watch HERE, English and Vietnamese subbed, on Youtube!

5. Birdcage Inn

Birdcage Inn~

Birdcage Inn~

In a beautiful but gritty coming of age story, a young, conservative girl is forced to confront a prostitute who moves into her home that serves as a motel for travelers. As she does so, she finds out more about herself and her own sexuality.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Youtube!

6. A Good Day to Have an Affair

A Good Day to Have An Affair~

A Good Day to Have An Affair~

A married woman finds out that her husband is having an affair, and a single woman finally meets the man of her dreams; but, not everything is as it seems.

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Youtube!

7. A Good Lawyer’s Wife

A Good Lawyer's Wife~

A Good Lawyer’s Wife~

After struggling to deal with a cheating husband and his strange family, the wife of a lawyer is suddenly confronted with a loss that wakes her up from the dream she’s been living; but, will she ever dream again?

Watch HERE, unsubbed, on Youtube!

8. Chubby Revolution (or Plump Revolution)

Chubby Revolution~

Chubby Revolution~

A lighthearted comedy tackles a serious issue: The obsession with physical beauty in Korea. How? Well, a model suddenly starts to gain weight when she finds out that the man she is in love with only dates chubby girls. Will he fall for her, and does her weight really matter to him– or to her?

Watch HERE, English subbed, on GoodDrama!

9. Time

Time~

Time~

It’s been two years, and he no longer looks at her anymore. So, a young woman becomes increasingly obsessed with her looks, suddenly disappearing one day. Secretly, she undergoes plastic surgery, only to come back to her boyfriend as someone new. Will he remember his old girlfriend, or will he forget her and fall in love with someone else– no, with her, again?

Watch HERE, English subbed, on Viki!

10. Silenced (or The Crucible)

Silenced~

Silenced~

A teacher reluctantly goes to the middle of nowhere in order to teach at a school for the deaf. He misses his wife and newborn baby back home, but when strange things start to happen around him, he realizes that the deaf children he teaches have been sexually abused by the faculty of the school. Silenced and ignored by the entire community around them, will anyone– including the new teacher, listen to their anguished voices?

(Based on a real-life story.)

Watch HERE, unsubbed, on “Watch Again” Korea!

So, what are some of your “must-watch” Korean movies?

Although these movies may be hard to find– along with their English subtitles, it’s worth taking the time to look for and watch them; but, if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, then leave me a comment, and I’ll try to help.

In addition, many of these videos can be found subbed in languages other than English, so it’s worth doing a quick search on your own, too– if you speak Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, and even Italian!

P.S.: Want more Korean movies? No problem. I have a second and a third Korean movie list, with even more must-watch Korean movies from rom coms to horror flicks to action-packed blockbusters.

About these ads

“Are you going to post ‘Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys’ soon?”

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I’m sharing this Q & A from my tumblr blog, because I like to keep you girls updated as much as I can!

Soon?

Yes, after I explain what sex, dating, and marriage in Korea are REALLY like.

However, it probably won’t be what anyone is expecting! So far, I’ve been talking to my oppas. To them, we are just “non-Korean” girls. This means that they don’t have any specific advice for us as “black” girls.

(For example, like other non-Korean girls, we should learn Korean and learn about Korean culture, too.)

So, what’s the best way to write the guide and have it be for US?

My oppas are “writing back” to ALL of the letters we wrote.

For example, we said:

“So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.”

My oppas said the same thing, but:

“… based on Korean dramas or Korean idols.”

I hope that makes sense and seems like a good idea, because I REALLY want to keep these “guides” personal and real, not shallow or superficial.

In addition, I would like to add the following:

It would be impossible for me to write an actual guide to black girls OR an actual guide to Korean boys, complete with rules and “How To’s.” When it comes to relationships, I don’t believe in rules, and it’s up to YOU to figure out how to make your relationship with the person you love work.

As you can see, what I’ve done with these guides is to start– and now continue, the conversation between black girls and Korean boys.

I hope this conversation is informative, inspiring, and encouraging, because too many people are afraid of crossing language, cultural, and physical barriers when there is really nothing to fear but the failure to even try.

So, stay tuned, because Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys is coming soon!

Dating in Korea

*The “Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea” Series*

In this post, I’ll talk about dating in Korea and (very briefly) take you to a world similar to that seen in everyone’s beloved Korean dramas– just in case you read Sex in Korea and were wondering whether or not that world even existed…

Love seems to always be in the air in Korea.

Koreans even have romantic holidays– one for each month, so check out this video to see what Pepero Day in Korea is all about!

(To see the full list of romantic holidays in Korea, check out THIS article.)

But, even without romantic holidays there are still plenty of special events for a couple to celebrate, from surprise events to 100 days to 1,000 days, an event famous Korean singers Oh Jong Hyuk of former group Click B and Soyeon of T-Ara were recently caught celebrating with several friends.

Speaking of celebrity couples, these days it seems like ALL of our favorite Korean celebrities are dating, from comedians to actors and actresses to idols!

In response, many people have expressed their happiness for these couples but also their shock and concern over the age differences between both confirmed couples, like Tony An and Hyeri, and alleged couples, like Choiza and Sulli

Age Differences and Dating in Korea

Just the other day my friend was taken aback by an ahjusshi who was messaging her. He is 34, and she is 24. I’ve had similar experiences where Korean men who I think are too old approach me for a date, and I was similarly taken aback.

(My ex-boyfriend– Korean, is only five years older than me.)

However, it seems like men in Korea are allowed to be much older than the girls and women they date or marry. Even Kim Soo Hyun said that he’ll get married to a 21 year old girl when he’s 41; and, here are some shocking age differences between a couple in Korea that is still just dating, a recently engaged couple in Korea, and married couples in Korea.

A Couple That Is Still Just Dating:

Baek Yoon Shik (actor): 30 years

A Recently Engaged Couple:

Park Jin Young (JYP): 9 years

Married Couples:

Yang Hyun Suk (YG): 12 years

Seo Taiji: 16 years

Lee Juno: 23 years

For a longer list of married couples with BIG age gaps between them, check out THIS article; and, its not just older men, yeonsang, and younger women, yeonha, who are tying the knot!

Kim Jo Kwang Soo (director, gay): 19 years

In addition, in recent years it has become something of a trend for older women, also yeonsang, to date younger men, also yeonha, but not with such big age differences. For example, Baek Ji Young is nine years older than her husband, Jung Suk Won. Kim Woo Bin’s girlfriend is actually older than him, too, but just by a year.

But, in Korea, why is the age difference between older men and younger women who are dating or married so big?

For me, perhaps because I am Nigerian-American, this age difference is somewhat shocking, but it is also completely understandable from the perspective of Korean culture: In Korea, age differences are often bigger between older men and younger women who are dating and married, because it is generally up to the man to prepare everything from a house to a car to a ring.

So, these?

Just click the image to watch the actual video on Youtube~

And, this?

Korean Drama Birth of the Rich~

Korean Drama Birth of the Rich~

According to THIS article, titled “It’s Not Like on TV: ’80% of Korean Men Without a Car and Home of Their Own Never Find Love’,” not ALL Korean men are rich!

And, not ALL Korean men can find love, BECAUSE they’re not rich:

“The reason I was dumped by my last girlfriend was that I didn’t have a car and a home of my own. Her parents were completely against us being together.”

So, Korean men often get married when they are older– after going to army for two years and after working for “X” amount of years– older and thus, wealthier.

Of course, this is definitely NOT always the case, but it seems to be the case more often, at least compared to America where men and women tend to support each other financially, allowing men to get married sooner rather than later. Although, in America there are also PLENTY of gold-digging young women who date and marry extremely old men just for their money.)

But, what do young women in Korea look for– is it really just a house and a car?

One survey might have an answer, but remember that all surveys have their flaws and faults and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Younger women in Korea who were interested in getting married said the following would be a “game-changer” for a potential husband who also happened to be a bad first date: 36 percent said the type of car he drives, 27 percent said his annual salary, 23 percent said if he looks charming in a suit, 11 percent said manners and sense, and just three percent said humor and an ability to lead a conversation.

(To take a look at what Korean men had to say, check out the full article HERE.)

Date or Die

Dating in Korea is like breathing: Everyone does it, and if you don’t, then you’ll “die.”

Out and about in Korea you’ll see tables and specials for two. Couples of all ages hold hands and can be spotted easily, especially if they’re wearing couple items.

Couple One~

Couple One~

Couple Two~

Couple Two~

(To take a look at even MORE Korean couple looks, check out the full article HERE.)

But, why is dating, or yeonae, so important in Korea?

Well, dating is the best way to find a husband or wife and go on to get married and build a happy or at least stable and secure family; and, in Korea, family matters. So, here are some typical(?) questions a Korean mother will ask her son’s girlfriend, as seen on Mamma Mia (English subbed) at 28 minutes:

“Are your parents still alive?”

“What is your religion?”

“How many siblings do you have?”

“What do you do for a living?”

However, the younger generation of Koreans might not care about the answers to those questions. A close Korean dongsaeng of mine said that she wished her parents didn’t care so much about who she dated.

(Same here.)

Matchmaking

Matchmaking in Korea is INTENSE.

Couples who look alike are said to match, so couples often go to get their faces matched. Couples also talk about compatibility concerning their blood types and star signs, something many of us already know about thanks to movies like My Boyfriend is Type B and dramas like 12 Men in A Year.  More traditional Korean matchmaking involves getting a couple’s names read, as well as going to a fortune teller to see if a couple is meant to be together…

This might be why there are so many Korean shows and Korean services that are devoted to matchmaking.

For example, JJak (or “other half”) is a popular show in Korea where a group of single men and women live together and go on dates with each other. At the end, they can choose their other half or walk away empty-handed and alone.

Although not everyone chooses to televise their blind dates, if someone is single, then they are often sent on sogaeting, short for sogae meeting, by a matchmaker, family member, or friend.  These are just what we call blind dates, and they can be for two people or for a group of people, so long as the numbers make pairs and no one is left out!

Sogaeting for two~

Sogaeting for two~

Once Koreans get older, then they can also seonbogi, or go on a blind date with the intention to get married.

If you are curious about a “typical” Korean blind date, then check out this (English subbed) episode of Mamma Mia for two blind dates, one arranged for an older woman looking for a husband and one arranged for a younger boy looking for a girlfriend:

However, blind dates don’t always involve as much effort and romance as you see on TV; and oftentimes, they can end abruptly as someone rushes off to the bathroom and never comes back to that small, cramped table in a cafe or hotel lobby.

Typical Dates

Typical dates between couples in Korea tend to involve the same activities: Food at cafe or restaurant; going to see a movie, play, or baseball game; hiking; biking; sightseeing; and, date “courses.”

Dutch pay in Korea isn’t very common, and that might be why girls and women complain about men who use coupons on dates as they try to save money. But, some of the best dates might be “1 night, 2 days,” short vacations that a couple takes together lasting one (special) night and two (fun) days.

So, dating in Korea is likely to involve the romance (and drama) that many foreigners have come to know and love!

However, don’t expect every Korean boy or man to be just like a lead actor (or second lead actor) from a Korean drama, especially when it comes to dating…

>.<

Next up, Marriage in Korea!

Sex in Korea

*The “Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea” Series*

This post, Sex in Korea, is probably not what you are thinking it will be, but it will definitely crush any illusions you might have from the world of Korean dramas or the world of Korean idols where Koreans just don’t have sex, let alone kiss or date– except for in Soulmate and 12 Men in A Year, my two favorite Korean dramas, because they were so real and honest rather than JUST being ridiculously romantic.

So, let’s start from the bottom– prostitution, and work our way up to pleasure and procreation!

^^

Prostitution

Prostitution, or “host and hostess” culture, is still very popular in Korea.

(I’ll also talk about clubs, nights, and “spas”, because I think its important to know about them– and the differences between them, before going to them.)

Last summer I lived in Sin-nonhyun, which is an entertainment district right next to the business district of Yeoksam.

I lived just a block or two behind this building:

"New" Nonhyun Exit #3~

“New” Nonhyun Exit #3~

How convenient for all those businessmen next door– and for me, because we were all just minutes away from tons of karaokes, restaurants, bars, and clubs…

Literally just minutes.

I remember being SO surprised by the abrupt change from my quiet street to Gangnam Road’s busy street to the bright, crowded street behind it as my dongsaeng showed me around Sin-nonhyun for the first time:

g1

Gangnam’s road~

What was behind it~

What was behind it~

However, my oppa in America actually told me not to live in Sin-nonhyun, because it was his old neighborhood, and he knew exactly what it was all about.

(But, when I finally arrived in Korea and had to find a place to live, it was my best bet after I spent an entire day in a hot car on a hot day with a NOT so hot Realtor and didn’t find many places in Gangnam that fit my budget AND my lifestyle.)

At first I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings, but after I talked to another oppa that I met in Korea who said he hated Sin-nonhyun, because it was a “red-light” district, I started to…

I started to notice the prolonged glances from businessman and ajusshis late at night when I was dressed up and waiting for a friend to meet me and just happened to be on the street corner of Exit #3 (the exact place with the holes in the wall from above); or, the advances and invitations to “hang out” from them when I was on my way to the local convenient store to get a half pint of ice cream– again, always late at night.

And, when I finally saw a girl in my neighborhood wearing very Very VERY short shorts and heels, I realized just what my oppas meant.

Pleasure

Nightlife in Korea– and the rest of the world, is all about pleasure. After all, after a boring day at school or a hard day at work, people want pleasure. In Korea, pleasure means cafes, restaurants, and bars with delicious food and often expensive drinks, as well as crowded clubs, quirky karaokes, and– of course, sex.

Hooking up happens, even in Korea.

However, a vast majority of Koreans live with their parents, and some continue to do so even after marriage. This makes going home together a little hard to do. So, that’s why there are lovmotels that are open 24 hours a day.

A sex toy vending machine at a love motel in Korea~

A sex toy vending machine at a love motel in Korea~

However, pleasure is a part of every sexual relationship in Korea, both casual sexual relationships and serious sexual relationships. So, there are people who are one night stands. There are also people who are casual lovers, and a person who is a casual lover is known as a “섹스 파트너,” a borrowed word with a questionable connotation that literally means sex partner. Then, there are people who are more serious lovers, known as aein, which is a word also used for a boyfriend, namjachingu, or girlfriend, yojachingu.

(It’s good be aware of the different relationship statuses that exist in Korea. That way, you will also be aware of your own status in a relationship in Korea and avoid getting confused, embarrassed, or hurt.)

One of my Korean girl friends told me that she lost her virginity in a love motel that was actually very close to her university. Her ex-boyfriend took her there to celebrate their 100th day together, but it wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting…

So, just so you will know what to expect, check out this video on love motels; and, after watching it, I just realized that I stayed in one last summer!

Procreation

On the other hand, sex is also a topic that is approached very differently in Korea, especially once you get outside of prostitution or nightlife.

In Korea, sex is also seen as procreation– a natural way to build families, which are a very important part of Korean culture. So, on TV and in the real, you will often hear people ask married couples about their honeymoon and their married life after it. In fact, birth, stamina, and even whether or not a couple had sex that morning is a topic of frequent conversation– at least among older generations and in the context of marriage.

For example, on Korean variety show The Human Condition, a cast member had recently gotten married. He arrived late to that morning’s opening, and several of his fellow cast members asked him whether or not he was late because “a good thing had happened that morning,” or “if he had been busy working on making his second generation.”

Jeju Island even has an outdoor sculpture park devoted to sex!

^^~

^^”~

For more on Jeju Island’s “Love Land,” go here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love Land (South Korea)

And here:

http://www.jejuloveland.com/eng.html

In addition, 속궁합, sokgoonghap, is a word used to describe whether or not a man and woman “match” in bed; this matching is usually done BEFORE marriage, which might explain why so many Koreans (at least more than I would have expected) have shotgun weddings.

My ex-boyfriend– Korean, once said something about having babies first and getting married later, too. I literally lifted my hand and told him to put a ring on it. He got upset and asked me why I didn’t want to have his babies, and I was thinking to myself, “Are we really having this conversation?

We’re not even supposed to talk about or have sex, right?

Wrong.

But, for more on sex in Korea, including topics from pornography to “pet boys” to date rape, check out this gritty documentary series on Dramafever.com:

Shocking Life – Sex

Finally, learn about sex and make an informed decision about having (or not having) sex, whether you choose to do so in America or in Korea!

Next up, Dating in Korea!

I Can Hardly Wait

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Okay, I’m so excited about going to Korea!

I’ve been shopping for winter clothes (got an awesome coat from Barcelona + more) and planning my trip down to what I will do each day.

I even started blogging on Naver in Korean again:

http://blog.naver.com/becomingnina

(Nina or 니나 is my Korean name.)

I also got in touch with my friends in Korea!

I can’t wait to see my best friend again. She’s teaching in Korea, and I’ll be there just in time for New Year’s Eve! This year she was my midnight kiss, but hopefully this year I get to kiss someone else.

(But, I’ve had such a good year after kissing her! Anyway, I don’t want to make her girlfriend jealous, and I would like to kiss a cute Korean boy even though they don’t do the whole midnight kiss on New Year’s thing and think its weird.) 

I also can’t wait to see my unni, the one from the shoe store in Apgujeong. I got in touch with her yesterday, and she told me that she married her Nigerian boyfriend! I am SO sad to have missed her wedding, but they are living happily in Itaewon.

(I might stay in Itaewon, too– for the food, the fun, and the subway line that takes me to my favorite neighborhoods.)

My dongsaeng was so surprised and happy to hear from me, too. He finally finished military service and is going to start working at my favorite club– Ellui, in October! I can’t wait to see him again, because he really made my first trip to Seoul special by showing me around my old neighborhood in Nonhyundong. We had so many adventures, and we have a lot of catching up to do!

I am also trying to get in touch with two other friends through email. One is my dongsaeng, and she also made my trip special– so special that I missed my flight home in the morning and almost gave my parents a heart attack. The other is my oppa, and I REALLY miss him and want to see him, because he was the best friend that I had while I was there, so hopefully I get to meet them both again.

I really hope that all of you get to travel, be it to Korea or wherever your heart and feet take you!

If you are interested in planning a trip to Korea for now or for later, then just let me know, and I will be more than happy to help.

^^

Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea: An Introduction

*The “Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea” Series*

As my friends and I get older (we’re in our early 20′s), we worry about things like the difference between a job and a career, like the difference between love and marriage. I’m Nigerian-American, and I grew up Catholic. I also grew up watching Hollywood classics and reading regency romances. So, that all makes me decades– if not centuries, behind modern day America, especially when it comes to sex, dating, and marriage.

I don’t get couples who don’t hold hands when they walk down the street together, who are on their phones even when they’re with each other.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned love– or at the very least, companionship?

So, in this introduction, I’ll briefly talk about my own personal thoughts and feelings about sex, dating, and marriage, as well as how I met and fell in love with my ex-boyfriend, who is Korean. I’ll also talk about the worst dating advice– possibly ever, on “How to Get a Korean Guy,” and finally, I’ll talk about what I think is the most important part of sex, dating, or marriage– love, and hopefully encourage you to see beyond the shallow and superficial things that you probably hear on a daily basis.

Then, later on in three different blog posts devoted to each topic I’ll  talk A LOT about sex, dating, and marriage in Korea, partly to explore the differences between American and Korean culture and partly to introduce an upcoming post, Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys.

First (and Last) Dates

I started dating in college once I started focusing less on studying and sports and more on, well, boys.

The one tall, brunette All-American (white) guy– military boy with calf tattoos, a big red truck, and a camo hat, that I dated (literally one date) also didn’t get the lack of affection between American couples, but that didn’t mean that there was any attraction OR affection between us, at least not that I was aware of…

I also dated a short, brunette Sicilian boy, a short, blonde Jewish boy, and a kind-of tall, black-haired Chinese boy– all during my freshmen and sophomore years of college and all literally ONE date.

They even asked me out on relatively similar dates– coffee, studying, and dinner, where I was relatively, similarly bored…

My Ex-boyfriend

FINALLY, when I was a senior in college, I met my ex-boyfriend at a club. We danced and drank together, and then he asked me out as soon as we got outside. It was cold, so he gave me his jacket. We went back to his place where we fooled around, but I was a virgin so that was all we did before falling asleep.

And, from that morning when we woke up together– sober and starry-eyed, we were a couple.

We were in love, and we crossed the language and culture barriers between us– no, we tore them down until there was nothing between us.

Behind The Scenes Story:

Once, I asked him if he had seen any black girls in South Korea.

Shockingly, he said, “No.”

That was back in 2011 when he was 26 years old…

That’s a long time to go without seeing a black girl!

He also said that he saw a black girl– Beyonce, for the first time when she became famous in Korea with her hit song “Single Ladies.”

However, he didn’t date me because I was black, and I didn’t date him because he was Korean. In fact, he really didn’t care about my race and my skin color (or my hair), and I really didn’t care about his bad English (or whether or not he was just like a character in a Korean drama).

The Worst Dating Advice (Ever)

That’s why this is the worst dating advice ever:

http://www.korea-dating-tips.com/dating-tips-for-women.html

(While tips #1, #4, and #5 are worth taking a look at, don’t even get me STARTED on #3, because a lot of Korean boys and men admire American women for our perceived openness, strength, and independence.)

“If you are into dating a Korean man then I recommend being aware of the changes you must make.”

Bullshit.

Be YOURSELF, and be with the person who loves you for who you are– be he Korean, black, white, or an alien from outer-space(?). The hard part should be FINDING that person, not CHANGING yourself.

(*cough*The Self-Confidence Campaign*cough*)

Finally, the following needs to be said:

People aren’t “fetishes,” and an interest in someone of another race is not a “fever.” Traditionally, a fetish is for an object that arouses you sexually; and, a fever is an illness, one that typically passes after a short period of time.

In my opinion, love, which is the ultimate goal behind dating and the ultimate reason behind marriage, is more than a “fetish” or a “fever,” and the latter– marriage, is supposed to last forever.

So, stay tuned!

Because, I still have to talk about sex, dating, and marriage in Korea!

Two Weeks

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

I just bought my ticket!^^ I’m so excited, but I still have a lot of planning to do…

>.<

I’ve been saving up for it like crazy, but I bought it on impulse today, because when I checked the prices they were all SO expensive– except for the ticket that I bought, and there weren’t even a lot of those tickets left! I know they will only get more expensive later.

(I still need to tell my parents, too.)

Anyway, I’ll be spending two short but sweet weeks in South Korea this winter break. That’s just enough time for me to see my family at home for Christmas and come back home in time for school; and, it’s also enough time for me to see my friends in Seoul and visit Busan.

Anyway, law school is as busy as ever!

But, I will be back with updates on everything soon, so stay tuned!

^^

The Self-Confidence Campaign

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I am not my size.

I am not my skin color.

I am not the number of sex partners I’ve had.

But, why is that all anyone cares about– just because I’m a girl, a woman?

I’m a student. I’m a writer. I’m a person; and, I have the right to be different. I have the right to be ME, a me that I– not society or the media, define.

I don’t want to be my size. I don’t want to be my skin color. I don’t want to be the number of sex partners I’ve had.

True love begins with self-love, and if you want to find self-love and true love then you need self-confidence, something I’m slowly realizing that so many girls and women do NOT have.

What’s wrong with YOU?

Nothing.

But, I can tell that our society and our media have done something terrible to the minds of girls and women, because we all think that there IS something wrong with us.

We’re not pretty enough.

We don’t want to be smart. We don’t want to change the world. We just want to be pretty, even if that means changing who we are– and drastically.

Wake up.

Think for yourself.

Don’t believe what you’ve seen and heard in society and the media about what’s considered beautiful.

As girls and women, we are so much more than pretty objects, and we are so much more than sex objects. And, there are boys and men who will see that and love you for who you are, so stop trying to change yourself– and stop judging yourself based on your size, your skin color, and the number of sex partners you’ve had.

You’re not “fat,” you’re not “undesirable,” and you’re not “a slut.”

These are words that we need to stop using.

You’re someone special, and if you can’t see that, then no one else will.

Because,

You are not your size.

You are not your skin color.

You are not the number of sex partners you’ve had.

<3

Things Oppa Said

*Diary*

“I don’t want to make you wait for me. It’s hard, and you’ll get hurt.”

(내가 와야 니가 안 힘들어)

“Love– not sex OR consideration, is more important in a relationship between a man and a woman.”

(사랑더 중요해)

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” 

(착하게 말해)

These are the things oppa said, but I would ALWAYS argue with him, especially when we first met. Why?

Well…

I wanted to wait for him, because I really liked him.

But, if I was waiting for him to come back right now, then I would miss him– a lot, and it would hurt– a lot. Instead, he’s a treasured memory, and we’re both happy– and we’re both not making promises that we can’t keep.

If we do meet again, then there won’t be any broken promises between us, either.

I like that.

“Consideration” (배려) or “Love” (사랑)?

My ex-boyfriend was always considerate of me.

(I wish there was a better translation for 배려, but there isn’t– or if there is, then I just don’t know it.)

My ex-boyfriend always took care of me and my friends– even my sister when he finally met her. We were in love, but because our love didn’t work out, I thought that if I had taken more care of him, then we wouldn’t have broken up even when we were long distance. So, to me, consideration suddenly seemed more important than love.

However, he told me that love was more important.

Looking back, he was also the first person that I opened my heart to since my ex-boyfriend.

(By then, I had finally thrown away The Ring.)

And, looking at him one day, I felt that feeling– one that I had forgotten: Love.

Now, I think that feeling– that love, is more important, because in that moment I realized how rare and precious it is.

I wasn’t always nice to him.

I was mean to him, because he made me nervous, and I didn’t know how to talk to him. Once, he even scolded me when I wouldn’t look into his eyes as we talked.

I was also jealous, and I didn’t like his job– something I told him the night we met and a few times after. He was at the bar almost every night– always drinking with customers, working late, and going home tired.

It hurt me to see him tired, but for some reason I couldn’t comfort him. He was older than me, and he was a 상남자 from Busan– not Seoul, or a “rough guy.” He was also a gentleman but always straightforward and strict– always short with his words.

So, after seeing how I was hurting him with my words and actions– even though I didn’t mean to and didn’t think I could hurt him, I started being nicer. I did those small things I had forgotten how to do, like smiling and saying oppa– both like I mean it. I left him lollipops when he was tired, and I looked him in the eyes when we talked.

It’s important to have boys or men in your life, and not just as lovers but as friends and “brothers.” It doesn’t matter who they are– what matters is that they listen to you, understand you, and do what’s best for you.

Because, good girls can say, “I’m right,” and great girls can say, “I’m wrong.” However, the best girls can say, “I’m wrong, but I’m going to make this right.”

Listening to the things oppa said to me again and again in my head almost everyday even though he’s already gone, I realized that I was just a good girl– until I met him.

I never thought I could be happy without my ex-boyfriend, so I spent the past two years trying to replace him.

I was wrong– I could never replace him. I was wrong– I can be happy without him. And, I’m a better girl, now, because of the things oppa said that made me realize I was wrong– because of my family and my friends who stayed by my side through thick and thin, helping me make things right.

This is what I said, in a poem I wrote in April when I had finally decided on my New Year’s Resolution:

“And this year I decided to break my habit of clinging to people I had loved but would never love again– to dreams I had dreamed, but would never dream again.”

… Because I want to fall in love again, because I want to dream again.

I hope you all have met or will meet someone who makes you want to fall in love again– who makes you want to dream again– who makes you want to be a great girl!

^^

Korean Boys: A Guide to Black Girls

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

Korean boys…

Here?!

Yes.

The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools on WordPress show the following search terms that have brought visitors to my blog:

(Please excuse the bad grammar– it’s definitely not mine.)

“i’m a corean boy”

“meeting african girls in seoul”

“are black girls into korean guys?”

“i like black girls and i’m from korea”

“do american girls like korean guys?”

“im korean and i want a african american girl”

I was just as shocked as you might be, although I wasn’t surprised. After all, Korean boys are probably just as confused about us as we are about them; and, when confused, don’t we all go to Google?

So, Korean boys,  here is your Guide to Black Girls. 

I received so many submissions that addressed what we as black girls want YOU to know about us, and I thought about how to put them all together for a LONG time.  Finally, I decided to write this guide as our “hand-written” letters to you.  In it, you will get to find out about us as we separate the fact from the fiction and talk about everything from our fears to our futures to some of our favorite and least favorite things. 

Letter #1:

We don’t only date within our race. So, if you like us, then don’t be afraid to ask us out. True love is color blind.

Letter #2:

We are open-minded and diverse. A lot of us find different races just as attractive as our own; and, sometimes, maybe even more attractive than our own! We actually are attracted to you, too, but sometimes we have no clue what to say to you, which probably goes both ways.

Letter #3:

We can be approached the same way other girls can– with varying results.

If you do work up the courage to talk to one of us, then just because she happens to reject you or be rude to you doesn’t mean that we all will.  And, if you do approach us, be genuine.

A black girl is not your 장난감. A black girl is not your one-nightstand. A black girl is not your fantasy.

Letter #4:

Don’t make assumptions about us or our culture. We probably have a lot more in common than you might think! Some of us even speak Korean, and a lot of us are willing to learn.

Letter #5:

You do not have to act like a Korean version of Lil’ Wayne to impress us– just be yourself, and don’t assume we won’t like you for who you are!

So, don’t be afraid to make the first move: Give us a compliment, flirt. We are just girls before we are black girls. So treat us that way– as girls, as people. Don’t only see the color of our skin, but do be careful when you talk about or touch our hair… >.<

Letter #6:

There are quite a few of us who are nothing like the media portrays us– I mean, we are the complete opposite, in fact.

Letter #7:

For example, we don’t want your money, and we won’t get pregnant just to get it. My ex-boyfriend’s mom always thought I just wanted him for his money, since “black people are so poor.” This is also just another false stereotype.

Letter #8:

Basically, many of us do not fall into that stereotypical “ghetto lifestyle.” We don’t all “talk ghetto”, live in the hood, and want a “gangster boy.”

Letter #9:

But, we don’t all look like Beyoncé or Halle Berry, either…

Letter #10:

We are all different.

Not all of us are loud. Some of us are quiet. Some of us have short tempers, but some of us don’t. So, take the time to find out about us on an individual basis. How?  Just say, “Hi.” I mean that’s a good start, right?

Letter #11:

So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.

Letter #12:

Be confident and willing to talk to us and to get to know us. We want to know that you genuinely care about us and that you are willing to embrace us, including our culture and the struggles that go along with it.

Even though we are known for being strong, independent, and opinionated, we want to be loved, treasured, and respected like everyone else. We want someone to lean on, so if you do love us, then be ready to support us and stand up for us, too.

Letter #13:

Please make sure your parents are okay with interracial relationships, because it will be hard for us (and YOU) if you have to choose us or your parents in the end.

Letter #14:

We love your eyes. They’re charming.

Letter #15:

We are sexy, but we can be cute and do aegyo, too!^^

Letter #16:

We don’t believe the stereotypes about how you aren’t good in bed or have a small penis; because, “it isn’t the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

The Last Letter, MY Letter:

I hope that this guide and these “letters” from black girls to Korean boys starts the process of building better relationships between black girls and Korean boys. But, this isn’t just a guide for Korean boys. It’s a guide for the world, which is often too judgmental of black girls– of black people– of Korean people– of people.

Finally, if you’re not afraid to stand up for yourself in this world even if you are different and if you’re not afraid to open your mind and heart to someone else in this world even if they are different from you, then thank-you.

It means you’re a part of the change that I wish to see in the world.

And, stay tuned for Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys!

P.S.: I really couldn’t have written this guide without the help of the Korean boys who first stumbled across my blog and the black girls who then gave me their sincere thoughts, words, and hearts as we tried to help them the same way we’ve been helping each other.

Thank you!

^^