So, What’s Next?: Korean Culture Blog Posts, KCON, &caughtinkorea

*Off Topic*

I’ve had my nose buried in the entire Sookie Stackhouse series– you might know these books a little better as the TV show True Blood, for the past week. I managed to read them (all over again) from start to finish, which explains my long(er than usual) absence.

Well, I forgot how much I love reading for fun! After all, I was in law school for the past three years and had no time to read anything but casebooks

>.<

Anyway, here’s what’s coming up on WesternGirlEasternBoy, because I love blogging, too!

So, What’s Next?

I have some new, exciting Korean culture blog posts in the works:

How to Make Korean Friends Online, in America, and in South Korea

This But Not That: How To Dress To Impress in South Korea

How to Lose a Korean Guy in 10 Days (Based on True Stories)

My Favorite Kindie Artists, Part 1

My Favorite Kindie Artists, Part 2

Of course, Feeding Your KDrama Addiction will be back, too!

In addition, KCON 2014 is in TWO weeks. I STILL can’t believe that I’m going.

(This is crazy.)

While there I plan on going to the convention and the concerts as well as crossing a few things off my “KCON Bucket List,” like bar hopping, shopping, and sight seeing in Los Angeles. Of course, that includes a trip to KTown, AND meeting up with one of the minds behind KDrama.com.

(Their site just gets better and better, so be sure to check it out!)

I will be sharing my first KCON with you all here on my blog and at my Instagram, and I hope you are just as excited as I am!

So, stay tuned!

I’ll be back tomorrow, and I’ll kick things off with a translation of 한여름의 일기장.

P.S.: I recently discovered these hilarious, NSFW KakaoTalk chats by caughtinkorea, a black girl who is living in Korea. Be sure to check out her tumblr for those chats (oh, yes– Korean boys can be crazy, too) AND more fun stories about her life in Korea. Oh, her brother is in BTS’s new reality TV show, American Hustle Life, and she’s sharing stories about that, too.

<3

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Ghana’s Sam Okyere Is A Korean TV Star

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

I’ve talked about Sam Okyere before (aka Sam Ochiri or Sam “572”– “572” should be said in Korean, so that’s oh-chil-ee) HERE and HERE. Now, I HAVE to share this article about him:

Ghana’s Sam Okyere Is A Korean TV Star.”

To everyone who still thinks that Koreans are all just mean, racist people– to everyone who dreams of being a star in Korea even though they are not Korean– to everyone who loves to see One Love spreading across the world…

Keep your eyes on this guy from Ghana!

Sam "572" and his Aussie hyung Sam Hammington for Vogue~

Sam “572” and his Aussie hyung Sam Hammington for Vogue~

And now, part rant, part real talk– I hope you’re ready for what I have to say to everyone.

To everyone who still thinks that Koreans are all just mean, racist people…

I’ve read one too many stories from people who think that all Koreans are racist based on what they’ve seen and heard or a few bad experiences that they’ve had.

Now, although I’ve talked about whether or not Koreans are racist before, I have to elaborate: A lot of the negativity you experience has nothing to do with your race and everything to do with your expectations and attitude.

When it comes to South Korea, if you refuse to assimilate into Korean culture to some extent (whether because you think you can do whatever you want in someone else’s country or because you just aren’t thinking about the MANY differences between your culture and theirs), then yes– you will stand out like a sore thumb, and for all the wrong reasons.

Even if you’re standing out for the right reasons, you still might not know it!

For example, not speaking Korean means you really don’t know WHAT people are saying about you, and this statement goes out to the black girl who was also from America that I met during my first trip to South Korea. She turned heads and stopped traffic but assumed every Korean person was just staring at her rudely or saying racist things about her.

They weren’t.

In fact, they were complimenting her left and right, trying to catch her eye or strike up a conversation with her, but she had already put up a brick wall between herself and every Korean person– guy or girl, who crossed her path.

It was sad, to be honest, because she had really closed her heart off to the place where she was living and the people she met.

I understand that some Koreans ARE racist, but don’t let a few bad Koreans spoil the whole bunch. I had my own racist experiences in Korea– like the guy who told me to go back to my own country the first day I arrived, but that didn’t stop me from modeling in Korea, being in a Kpop video, and making tons of Korean friends and boyfriends boytoys.

(Yeah, let’s be honest…)

Basically, Koreans are just like us in many ways, so don’t judge them until you’ve met them.

Finally, there are the people– usually girls, who think that Korean guys only like Korean girls, or that Korean guys only like a certain type of foreign girl who is pale and big eyed with big boobs and a big butt but is still somehow skinny…

*Rolls eyes at ALL guys who want THOSE kinds of mythical girls*

I don’t know if you could tell, but I’ve gotten one too many questions asking ME if Korean guys like this or that in a girl. I don’t know– I’m not a Korean guy. I’ve let you all know what my Korean guy friends think, but I REALLY think you should just meet Korean guys and find out for yourself, because they are all different…

Just like the rest of us!

^^

To everyone who dreams of being a star in Korea even though they are not Korean

Even if you don’t want to be a Kpop star, which is hard for Koreans as it is anyway, you might still want to be a star– a celebrity, an entertainer, a comedian, an actor, a model, in Korea.

Sam “572” is doing BIG things in South Korea, so why can’t YOU? Is it really your race or your skin color (or size) that is holding you back or will hold you back?

No.

Sam isn’t Korean or pale skinned– far from it in fact. Yes, he is a guy, but that doesn’t mean he looks anything like the “ideal guy” we hear so much about in the Korean media or from the mouths of Koreans themselves.

What Sam does differently:

1. He speaks Korean fluently.

2. He understands Korean culture and more importantly Korean people.

3. He confronts issues such as racism and prejudice in the real world– not just behind a computer screen; and, he does more than confront them…

He changes them.

Now, I’ve seen a few people respond negatively to Koreans after watching Sam appear on the following episode of Happy Together (where Sam and Yoo Jae Suk first met and fell in love):

Why?

Well, one of the Korean hosts stated that he looks like Will Smith. Another host continually made stereotypes about Africa and African people.

They also called him “Black Sam.”

If you are American and thinking like an American, then this will immediately seem racist. However, you need to be able to see the world from someone else’s perspective and understand where they are coming from without letting your own personal experiences or biases come into play.

Koreans will ALWAYS tell you who you look like. It’s just a thing they do, and they do it to each other, too. The first words I often heard out of strangers’ mouths when I was in Korea were Beyonce, Naomi, or whatever famous black female star came to mind– and for Koreans, there aren’t many beyond Beyonce, Naomi, Rihanna, Whoopi, and Oprah!

So, it’s not something to get offended or upset about, although let’s face it– Sam looks like Will Smith about as much as I look like Beyonce or Naomi…

Not at all.

As for Park Myung Soo, the host who was stereotyping Africa and African people, he is ALWAYS rude. It’s his gimmick.

Koreans, by the way, have a completely different sense of humor and make jokes about or laugh at many things Americans are offended by. This makes sense since Korean people and Korean history are entirely different from ours, and things we as Americans might be sensitive about just don’t make Koreans as sensitive.

Unsurprisingly, on another show hosted by Yoo Jae Suk, Infinity Challenge, Sam and Park Myung Soo were watching soccer together with other Korean celebs and hugging whenever Korea scored– Yoo Jae Suk invited Sam since he thought he would be lonely watching the game alone.

Park Myung Soo even giggled like a little boy when they hugged– it was SO cute.

Aaw~

Aaw~

I’ve also heard that Sam supports Park Myung Soo by attending his events!

Finally, Koreans have a different idea of “black.” It’s just a color– sometimes, like white. They called the “other” Sam– Sam Hammington, “White” Sam, too.

To everyone who loves to see One Love spreading across the world…

I am so proud of Sam and so thankful that he is pursuing his dream with bright eyes and an open heart.

I hope he encourages you and inspires you the same way he has encouraged and inspired me– although I still have no desire to be a star in Korea even though I have had my own few seconds of fame.

Nevertheless, I am dreading the daily monotony of life as a lawyer and looking forward to KCON 2014!

So, be sure to check out the article, “Ghana’s Sam Okyere Is A Korean TV Star“!

Because, I think we should all be a little more like Sam– and that includes getting a cool last name that sounds like numbers in Korean.

<3

Daniel Cooper: How One Korean Girl Broke My Heart, Then Fixed It

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Daniel Cooper, my friend and fellow blogger at Voyage To Asia, is back with another great guest blog post!

Daniel Cooper~

Daniel Cooper~

And, if you haven’t read his first guest blog post, then be sure to check it out HERE.

This week he’s back to tell us more about his sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartwarming experiences in Asia!

How One Korean Girl Broke My Heart, Then Fixed It

Hello!

First off, this post is a little sensitive as it contains a bit of racism and targets international relationships, but…

Isn’t that what WGEB is all about?

So, let’s share!

^^

After being in China for a few months prior to the time this incident happened, I had already learned a ton of Chinese that I can competently use in any situation. It goes without saying that I thought I was “that guy.” My confidence was at an all time high, and I started learning some Korean around this time, too.

So, this is the story of how a Korean girl attacked me with racism, and then came back with real understanding. Now, she is one of my closest friends, but it all started during our first round of drinking one night in China.

Hyung:

“Daniel, what club do you want to go to tonight?”

Me:

“Hmm, well it’s up to you guys, but… Ruby’s is always fun.”

Noona:

“Okay, then let’s go to Ruby’s!”

So, after some soju and Indian food (Exotic, right?), we got a few taxis and were on our way. There were about 11 of us in total.

Once we arrived at the club, we found a sofa big enough for all 11 of us, chilled, had some drinks, and then danced– of course. Since I happened to see one of my other African-American friends, we wandered off together for a bit. Later, we decided to chill outside, and of course he started talking to some Korean girls…

In perfect Korean, which left me speechless and clueless.

I did notice that one Korean girl seemed upset, and I didn’t want anyone to feel left out, especially since I felt left out, so I asked if she spoke Chinese…

She did!

We chatted for a good five minutes, and she even cracked a smile before saying that even though I’m funny, don’t think about asking for her number or becoming her friend.

This was confusing as hell, so, like most people would, I asked her why.

She said, while pointing:

“You see my friend over there?”

Me:

“Yeah, she’s talking to my friend.”

Her:

“Yeah, I don’t like black people, so don’t ask me for my number or anything. Sorry, nice guy.”

Without pausing, I said:

“Okay well, give me your number.”

Her:

“Didn’t I say don’t ask?!”

Me:

“I didn’t ask.”

Her:

“Go away, I really hate black people. They are always so mean and vicious, and you don’t know how to love people right. I don’t trust you.”

I wanted to ask her what happened, but she kept on going and said:

“I swear if I see another black person hurt my friend or any of my friends, I will never let it go. I will never accept it.”

But, what really happened?!

Well, after doing my best to hear her out, I found out that her friend was really hurt by a black guy who cheated on her twice AFTER she forgave him, and then he lied to her about his visa expenses. She gave him half, since she didn’t have much at that time, and he took the money and ran…

Which is stupid, and not just because she is really beautiful!

To read how my friend and I turned this group of hurt and hateful Korean girls into happy Korean girls, be sure to check out Part 2 on my blog, Voyage To Asia.

^^

My Thoughts?

First, I want to thank Daniel for coming back like he promised, and I can’t wait to read the rest of his story!

Second, I wasn’t shocked by what she said, because I’m guilty of the same thing. I had a bad experience with one Korean guy a LONG time ago, and because of him I swore that I would never be friends with, like, or date a Korean guy ever again…

Well, the VERY next day I met my first boyfriend– a Korean guy, and I couldn’t have met a better guy! So, I think Daniel did exactly what he should have done in that situation: Keep an open mind and an open heart, even if someone else’s mind and heart are closed.

We all have our ideas about other races of people who are different from our own, and these ideas can be good or bad, positive or negative. However, like the girl Daniel met and I did, it’s important to realize that our ideas about other races of people– if prejudiced by one bad experience, are definitely wrong.

And for once, being wrong never felt so right!

<3

Korean Boyfriends: A Korean Drama Come True?

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

I’ve talked a little bit about my ex-boyfriend, right? He’s from South Korea, and he had only been in the United States (Texas of all places) for six months when we met on January 23, 2011.

 That’s on 1/23!

Or, I would never be able to remember…

>.<

Anyway, he knew a little English, and I knew a little Korean; but, lets just say that my Korean improved and his English stayed the same.

Well, recently I’ve been watching the charming chaebol KDrama Scent of A Woman, and Kang Ji Wook (played by Lee Dong Wook) totally reminds of my ex-boyfriend– for better of for worse, since I don’t exactly want or even need to be reminded that I met, loved, and lost someone like him.

Now, I’ve watched a lot of KDramas, but I always thought they were a little very unrealistic. Well, I was wrong!

So, here’s why having a Korean boyfriend CAN be a Korean drama come true.

^^

Kang Ji Wook, or My Ex-Boyfriend?

Kang Ji Wook is a chaebol, which makes him rich and more than a little jaded.  My ex is, too. Born in 1984, he grew up in Apgujeong, one of the most expensive places to live in Seoul. But, he left home when he was 16 to work… and to get into LOTS of trouble.

(He has a tattoo on his back and more than a few Harleys. Last time I checked– still Kakao stalking, he bought a new apartment and a Ferrari.)

Anyway, Kang Ji Wook is also just a big kid with lots of scars left over from his childhood. His mother passed away, and he doesn’t get along with his father– AT ALL. Hmm, my ex actually came to America because his one and only older sister passed away, and he also doesn’t get along with his father.

So, what happens when a Korean guy like that falls in love?

He turns into a total angel and spoils the girl he loves!

Shopping Sprees

He's waiting~

He’s waiting~

Bored...~

Bored…~

But wondering what you'll look like in that dress~

But also wondering what you’ll look like in that dress~

Then: Bam!~

Then: Bam!~

Looks good, right baby?^^~

Looks good, right baby?^^~

My first second date with my ex was at this outdoor shopping mall in Austin called the Domain. We went shopping at a lot of places, but all I remember is going to Betsey Johnson!

Afterwards, we had a nice salad and steak dinner at an Italian restaurant. Of course, he over-tipped. Seriously, he didn’t understand the conversion rate at all and may have had Monopoly money in his pocket for all he cared!

Anyway, we went shopping together quite often until we fought in the Betsey Johnson store… two days in a row. He said that I “lose my mind” every time I go in that store, so I told him we should stop going shopping together, and we did.

Well, we stopped going to Betsey Johnson together, at least!

Sweet Serenades

Belt out a tune for me, baby~

Belt out a tune for me, baby~

On the weekends, my ex and I would always go to noraebang, or Korean Karaoke, after going DT. He is a really good singer, and he would always sing to me.

It wasn’t the first time (or the last time) that I was sung to, but it was definitely the best and most memorable! Right before he left, he actually serenaded me with this song, “Seoshi” by Shin Sung Woo:

“I’ll always be standing here, so after you’re tired from walking you can see me–

There, that star in the sky…

So you can see my heart, that loves you.” 

You probably had never heard of that song or that singer until you watched– if you did, a popular Korean variety show called Roommate.

The Not-Soft-But-Still-Romantic “Pillow Arm”

Pillow Arm!~

Pillow Arm, when you use his arm as a pillow!~

“Pillow arm” is really popular among Korean guys, but only the hardcore couples keep doing it night after night. I mean, his arm definitely falls asleep and goes numb!

Waking Up With Sunshine (and Him)

*Sigh*~

*Sigh*~

I don’t know, but this is why I was REALLY reminded of my ex. I mean, I loved waking up with him…

Me in his arms and sunshine on our faces- it was just a dream come true.

^^

If you’ve dated a Korean guy or had a Korean boyfriend, has watching a Korean drama ever reminded you of him?

If so, then let me know.

If not, then tell me about a character from a Korean drama that you wish was your boyfriend!

P.S.: No tears were shed while writing this blog post.

<3

The Top 6 (Real) Reasons Why People Go To South Korea

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

These days, it seems like everyone is going to South Korea, but why? Well, the following reasons are the REAL reasons why people go to South Korea. Some of them might shock you, and some of them might surprise you…

Or not.

Either way, I’m just going to tell you what I’ve seen, heard, and experienced first hand ever since I decided to go to South Korea for the first time back in 2012.

Reason #1: Sex

You would NEVER know that she's just a member of a girl group and that this is their video!~

You would NEVER know that she’s just a member of a girl group, that this is a screen cap from their music video, and that she’s NOT actually half-naked!~

Wait…

What?!

Why would anyone travel all the way across the world– or less than all the way across the world, just to have sex?!

I don’t know, but maybe it’s because of the image that South Korea projects to foreigners through its media, such as Kpop music videos featuring sexy but cute girls and boys and Korean dramas and Korean movies starring hot actresses and even hotter actors.

Either way, I saw it first hand when I went to South Korea. After all, I accidentally lived in a red light district my first time there!

Wait, what I actually saw was not sex, although when I went out with my classmates from law school one night, I did see many things that I should not have seen… just imagine hands going where hands should NOT be going, at least in public!

It can be hard for foreigners, especially girls, to go from sex to dating (and to marriage) since they do seem to make one BIG mistake that I already talked about HERE but also talk about HERE.

(Now, I don’t care WHAT country you are in– having sex with someone you just met is a good way to make sure that you don’t see them again, or at least not for anything more than that!)

However, most of us are young, wild, free, and just want to have fun while teaching English or studying abroad– no matter where we are; and, there is something “safe” about knowing that what you do in South Korea will (probably) stay there.

So, what REALLY makes sex the number one reason on this list: South Korea, while famous for music, dramas, and movies, is also “famous” for prostitution.

Reason #2: Teaching English

A teacher and her students~

A teacher and her students~

Okay, this is probably the reason that you were expecting to be first.

Most of the foreigners that I met in South Korea were teaching English, and they probably still are.

In fact, I took a Korean class in 2011 while I was completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology… and still dating my ex-boyfriend. He’s the (real) reason why I went to South Korea for the first time!

Anyway, about five or six students that I took that class with were (or still are) teaching English in South Korea, and there were only about 20 of us!

I’ve also met someone in law school who taught English in South Korea with his wife…

Anyway, you get the point!

Reason #3: Studying Abroad

Study abroad~

Study abroad in South Korea~

If you meet a foreigner in South Korea, and they’re not teaching English, then they’re probably studying abroad.

After all, I also went to South Korea for the first time to study abroad at Sungkyunkwan Law School, and I know many of you are planning on or are already studying abroad in South Korea, too.

(For more on studying abroad in South Korea, go HERE!)

Reason #4: The Nightlife

Whooo~

Whooo~

There is NOTHING quite like the nightlife in South Korea

Everything is open late, and it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is– a club somewhere will be crammed with good looking people swaying and grinding to some good beats until about 6 o’clock– or even 9 o’clock, in the morning!

Don’t even get me started on restaurants, bars, and even noraebang, or Korean karaoke. You can read more about that HERE, where I blog about my two week long white winter in Seoul that took place just last year!

^^

Reason  #5: Kpop

BTS~

BTS~

Yes, Kpop made the list, too.

Hell, I know I WANTED to see some Korean idols when I went to South Korea– I just never did.

*Sigh*

Maybe next time but definitely at KCON!

Reason #6: Military Service

The army~

The army~

I also met a lot of people who were in South Korea because they (or their family) were stationed there– like the boys I filmed that one Kpop video with…

Blink and you’ll miss it!

So, did all of the reasons you were thinking of make the list?

None of these reasons are “good” or “bad.” There are only good and bad trips to South Korea, so make yours good by going for the RIGHT reason, which is something only YOU can decide for yourself.

Now, if you want to know where to go once you get to South Korea, then stay tuned for The Top 10 Trendy, Must-See Spots in Seoul!

The WGEB Facebook Page, The Traveling Kimchi &Daniel Cooper

*Off Topic*

WGEB is finally on Facebook!^^

Click HERE to like WGEB on Facebook and get daily updates on the latest WGEB, KDrama, and Kpop news, or just keep in touch with me.

There’s a lot in store, so stay tuned for the following:

An introduction to my friend and fellow blogger The Traveling Kimchi, more guest blog posts from Daniel Cooper, and the new series Feeding Your KDrama Addiction where I’ll let you know about all the Korean dramas that you’ve been craving from noona romances to medical dramas to high school dramas and more!

As always, thanks for following WGEB!

I’ll do my best to keep improving my blog until it becomes a home for everyone interested in and passionate about not just Korean culture but the undeniable connection between different cultures, languages, and people. After all, the WGEB community has friends and followers from all around the world.

My Favorite Korean Food

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

There’s so much to love about Korean culture, from the people to the language to the history nightlife; but, I also have to talk about my love for Korean food.

As much as I love Korean BBQ, it’s not my favorite. I love soups and stews filled with spice, meat, and flavor

So, my favorite Korean food is kimchi jjigae.

My friends and I are regulars at the Korean bar here in Austin, and it has my second favorite kimchi jjigae. My absolute favorite is at this Korean restaurant in Dallas that my friend and I stumbled on while we were there.

(Last summer I dated three different Korean guys who worked there, and one of them STILL works there and STILL likes me, but I do my best to act like I don’t know him and never went on a date with him– a date that made me realize some people know absolutely nothing about dating, especially what to do and what NOT to do on a first date.)

 Anyway, we only order two things off of the menu: Korean BBQ or kimchi jjigae.

Kimchi jjigae~

Kimchi jjigae~

Kimchi, Korean green peppers, green onions, tofu, pork cuts, and so much more make this my favorite Korean food!^^

What’s your favorite Korean food or a Korean food that you want to try but haven’t yet?

P.S.: I finally remembered to take a picture of my favorite Korean food last Friday even though we go to the Korean bar almost once every two weeks– if not almost once every week!

My friend and I– just the two of us, did work last Friday:

My bowl and our side dishes~

My bowl and our side dishes~

All that remains~

All that remained~

10 Korean Drinking Games

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Soju~

Soju~

Koreans love to drink…

And, they love to play games, too!

So, here are 10 Korean drinking games. Yes– I’ve played them all! But, some of these games are really easy, and some of them are really hard, so I’ll go through the easy ones first and save the best hardest for last!

Korean Drinking Games

Most of these games are played while sitting in a circle, and if that matters I’ll try to mention it.

1. Image Game

(이미지 게임, or image game)

Level: Easy

When it’s your turn, say any image that you want and ask who best fits that image.

“Who is the person who looks like they have had the most boyfriends or girlfriends?”

Then, everyone (including you) will point to that person, and they have to drink. It’s a great way to get to know the people you are drinking with, so it’s almost always used as an icebreaker and is usually one of the first games that gets played.

(This is also known as Chopsticks since you can play with chopsticks and use them to point instead of your finger.)

2. Baskin Robbins 31

(베스킨 라빈스 31, or Baskin Robbins 31)

Level: Easy

Everyone can count up to three numbers. The first person starts with one, and they can stop counting at one, two, or three. Then, the next person will count up to three numbers starting where the first person left off.

Person 1: “One, two.”

Person 2: “Three, four, five.”

Whoever makes a mistake and counts more than three numbers has to drink. However, whoever says 31 also has to drink, so be careful of how low or high you count!

(This game is easy and fun but can get confusing if someone playing doesn’t know how to count in English or if someone playing doesn’t know how to count in Korean, which definitely happened when I was playing before!)

3. 3-6-9

(삼-육-구, or sam-yook-gu)

Level: Easy

This is another counting game, but everyone can only say one number. Every time a number with three, six, or nine comes up, then the person saying it must clap instead. We clap once for 3 and 30, but clap twice for 33, 36, 39, etc.– if we get there!

Whoever says one of those numbers on accident instead of clapping or forgets to clap twice if needed has to drink.

4. The Quick Wit Game

(눈치 게임, or nunchi game)

Level: Easy

This is another counting game, and you can only say one number, too. Everyone sits in a circle, and someone has to start by saying one and standing up at the same time. The next person has to say two and stand up, and so on.

If more than one person says a number and stands up at the same time then they have to drink. However, the person who is last also has to drink, so be quick and be “witty!”

5. I Love You

(사랑해, or saranghae)

Level: Easy

Everyone sits in a circle. The first person can turn to the person on the left or the person on the right and say, “I love you.” Then, the person being told I love you can accept it, turn to the next person, and say I love you; or, they can reject it and say, “꺼져,” or kkeojyo, which means get lost.

If either person laughs then they have to drink, so keep a straight face and try to stay sober!

(I played this during a group sogaeting and my match told me to get lost. He ended up dating another girl who was also on the group date, and I think they are still together!)

6. Son Byung Ho Game

(손병호 게임, or Son Byung Ho game)

Level: Easy

This game became famous in Korea after Son Byung Ho played it together with the MCs and guests on Happy Together, one of my favorite Korean variety shows.

You might know it as the OPPOSITE of “Never Have I Ever.” You hold out five fingers and say something that you’ve actually done and that other people might have done, too. If someone else has done it, then they have to fold a finger down.

Like SNSD, you can also say, “Fold if you’re married,” or, “Fold if you like sweet potatoes.”

Then, whoever has no fingers left first has to drink.

7. King Game

(왕 게임, or wang game)

Level: Easy

You need at least three people and a deck of cards, and it helps to sit in a circle, but don’t let anyone see your card!

Everyone picks a card, and the person who picks the King gets to decide who and what. Usually, the King can pick one or two numbers who have to do whatever he says from dancing to kissing to stripping– well, by the time this game gets played, people are usually drunk and dirty!

Don’t want to do what the King says? Then, you have to drink.

(This game can also be played with cigarettes or paper, but you have to mark them up with numbers and draw a king.)

8. Soju

(소주, or soju)

Level: Easy

For this game you will need a bottle of soju! Take the cap off and twist the end part. Then, take turns trying to flick it off with your finger.

The person who’s turn is next when it finally comes off has to drink; or, whoever flicks it off can make everyone else drink!

9. 007

(007, or gong-gong-chil)

Level: Medium

Everyone sits in a circle. The first person says gong and points to someone else. That person says gong and points to someone else. That person says chil and points to someone else. Then, that person says bang.

The game stops, and the people on both sides of the person who said bang have to raise their hands. If they don’t, then they have to drink.

10.   Name Game

(네임 게임, or name game)

Level: Hard

This is another icebreaker, but it’s MUCH harder than the one from before. It’s also known as frying pan, but we’ll call it the name game. First, everyone sits in a circle and sings a song, “DING-dingdingding, DANG-dangdangdang, DINGDING, DANGDANG, the name game!”

Then, everyone claps.

Clap 1: Slap your thighs.

Clap 2: Clap your hands.

Then, point to the right with one thumb.

Then, point to the left with one thumb.

Then, slap your thighs again, and so on.

The first person will say someone’s name along with a number from one to four. That person has to immediately say their name that many times to the beat while clapping or pointing, and then pick someone else.

 (A lot of Korean drinking games start with songs, like the “Random Game” song that picks someone to pick a random game. There is also a “Baskin Robbins 31 song, and the “jjook jjook” song to encourage someone to drink if they are having a hard time!)

So, have you played any Korean drinking games?

And, here is the “jjook jjook” song!^^

“술이 들어간다 쭉쭉쭉!,” or “sooli deureoganda, jjook, jjook, jjook!”

It means the liquor is going down (your throat), followed by a very nice onomatopoeia for the sound.

 

Daniel Cooper: Western Boy, Eastern World

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

The WGEB community just got a little bigger, and I’d like to introduce you all to my first guest blogger!^^

Daniel Cooper

Mr. Cooper~

Cheesing~

Daniel Cooper is 21 years old, and as an African-American student at a historically black university– Lincoln University, he took on the challenge of introducing his black peers to Asia.

Along the way, he founded The Chinese Club at Lincoln and managed to study abroad in China twice. In the end, he accomplished a lot:

“Yes, I turned what was thought to be a small time, soon-to-disappear language on a black campus into a thriving program that I hope can be taken seriously, and it will be.”

But, while in China Daniel felt the strong push and pull of the Korean Wave, and he’s here to share his funny and heartfelt stories about his first experiences with Korean culture from the good to the bad to the ugly.

Western Boy, Eastern World

Hello everyone! My name is Daniel (丹尼尔) Cooper, and you can visit me at my blog, Voyage To Asia.

Korean Culture– the Korean wave, is so powerful. Even in China I was dominated by it, and even when you think you know Korean culture the wave from that massive ocean proves deep indeed. So, here are just a few flashes of my good, bad, and ugly experiences with the Korean wave after a few months in China!

(I’ll be talking about my experiences with my Korean friends Kyunghan, Kim, Genie, and Lin, and they also starred in my blog post on My Korean Influences.)

Choi Kyunghan

Kyunghan and I~

Kyunghan and I~

Always the leader, and he also had a knack for leading people to new experiences. According to him, “Offering octopus is a sign of friendship in Korean culture.” Well, I did not know that! The subsequent action was to shove an octopus from a street vendor down my throat, because we’re good friends, right?

Kim Minjung aka Kim noona

Kim noona and I~

Kim noona and I~

Nice and caring but not nearly as innocent as you might think since I thought Kim noona could easily find a job as a spy. She’s good at gathering intelligence. Between me, Lin, and Kyunghan, there were no secrets from her. She was also a hookup person, and toiled to introduce me to every Korean girl she knew. She even pushed me to go on some of those group dates that are so popular in Korean culture, but I’ll talk about that later!

Lin

Lin~

Lin~

Hanging out with Lin was the most comfortable since he was a lover of the night life… and also got the girls!

LOL

He’s not nearly as traditional as Kyunghan or Kim noona but still interesting in that respect. Lin actually loves black people more than I do, and since he liked a black girl in my program group, he wanted to learn some Ebonics from me– real thug. But, Lin was also real hospitable, and I realized this after meeting his family in which I was adopted after just two days. His mom told me to call her “mom,” and his sister was another noona…!

(I can never meet someone young enough that I’m oppa.)

Genie

Genie~

Genie~

Genie was a friend of a friend, and since that’s a perfect way to meet people in Korean culture, Genie and I actually dated for awhile. And man, she knew all the spots! One thing I learned from Korean girls: Better have that fashion.

She had money and intended to spend it. We went dating in Korean town in Shanghai where we hit up some Korean BBQ, went to a bar, went to get some snacks, then went to another restaurant (she can eat), and we finally ended with that KDrama style walk and talk in a nicely lit road with no people near the park.

Now, between the three of them I ended up getting hurt, sick, traditional, and downright embarrassed!

Getting Hurt

Let’s start with the hurt– not hurt as in dumped by Genie, or hurt as in getting beat by Kyunghan or Lin (they are both built), but hurt as in my pride. Nothing serious of course, but I must say that I’m a pretty good badminton player– just not at their levels yet!

Getting Sick

I’ve been to China twice before meeting them, and it was not a big issue. I have good food tolerance, but… — and that’s a long but, they got me sick somehow.

I’m a chicken, beef, pork, and shrimp kind of guy, and I’ve never had octopus or any of those indescribable, unknown foods that they had me eat. Kyunghan Hyung always picked up the tab, or Kim noona (but hyung’s money), and they never let me pay. I like this part of the culture, but eating free means that you eat what’s given to you. And, in my case, it’s squirming octopus and fire buring cold kimchi.

The amount of spice in these dishes was unheard of! I used to think that if you’re turning red, then maybe that’s enough. But to them, that means eat more.

So, I think I got sick AND gained weight, too.

Getting Traditional

I knew that Koreans usually bowed to each other as a sign of respect, but I never really saw it in practice until I met Kyunghan! He bowed to someone else, another Hyung!

:O

I thought, “Oh… wait, what?” Well, I can do that to, so the next day I saw Lin and bowed, but that didn’t work. Then, I saw Kim noona, and I got a bow back and a cute laugh, but noona is always like that. Then, when I saw Kyunghan hyung I bowed, and I finally got the, “Daniel! Not bad!” And, that’s how I impressed Kyunghan hyung, and even to this day I bow to maybe 70 percent of the new Koreans that I meet.

It makes everything so much easier, but it’s safe to say that Kyunghan hyung is the most traditional!

Getting Embarrassed

And, the embarrassment. This is a blog post in and of itself, but I’ll keep it short for now.

Kim noona gave me the most chances to embarrass myself, but in a cute way as they describe: Group dates. One or two in awhile is fine to me, but every other day is kind of… Well, people thought that I was a playboy since I was getting setup so much, and I didn’t even do anything!

LOL

 More over, when we play those drinking games like 007, or gong-gong-chil, people point their fingers at who they think should drink, so guess who got picked: Usually me or Lin. Well, once I get a little alcohol and some music, I turn up. But, Koreans can turn up, too! So, we start dancing.

Now, I dance freestyle, and that alone makes them parade me around in clubs, but it’s fun, especially seeing them copy me. Oh, and Kyunghan hyung has really got moves! Last thing in the embarrassment section is seeing the girls of this group date, or when I have to fend off some outsiders who try to dance with us in the clubs.

Protective much? Yes, but only because I love them.

It’s me again, westerngirleasternboy, but I hope you enjoyed reading about Daniel’s adventures with his Korean friends and with Korean culture. It’s crazy to think that this all took place in China, but then again it’s not so crazy when I think about my own adventures with my Korean friends and with Korean culture that take place here in Austin, Texas.

Yes, the Korean wave has probably hit us all no matter where we are!

Daniel, you have to come back!

So, stay tuned for more guest blogging from Daniel along with a blog post by yours truly about some of my favorite Korean drinking games!

P.S.: Want more of Daniel? Be sure to check out his blog and my favorite blog post, Black in Asia…?.

^^

Korean BBQ

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

If you’ve never had Korean BBQ, then you’re definitely missing out on what is one of the most delicious ways to eat meat in the world and what is a BIG part of culture in Korea.

It’s not just about slapping a bunch of special BBQ sauce on pounds of meat sitting on a grill outside, chopping it up, and sticking it right in your mouth or in between two slices of bread before eating it like here in Texas.

(But, damn, that tastes good, too!)

It’s about grilling the meat to perfection, dipping the meat in your favorite sauce– ssamjang or sesame, placing it carefully on lettuce or a sesame leaf before decorating it with your favorite side dishes from kimchi to bean sprouts to garlic, and then wrapping it all up before devouring a bite of food that looks like it might break your jaw but definitely won’t.

Unfortunately, it definitely will break your heart when it’s all finally gone.

Don’t watch this video on an empty stomach, but yes, it’s what samgyubsal, my favorite type of Korean BBQ second only to galbi, or ribs, is all about!

Over SXSW, my friend and her boyfriend hosted a wonderful Korean BBQ with samgyubsal and so much more (like gyeran mari, or egg rolls, and doenjjang jjigae, or fermented bean stew) at their home, and it’s something you should try, too!

Barbecuing~

Barbecuing~

But that's not all!~

But that’s not all!~

Desert~

Desert~

And hookah~

And hookah~

We also had everything from bokbunja, or raspberry fruit wine, to tequila to white peach sake.

Good food, good drinks, and most importantly– good friends!^^

This was another awesome part of my spring break, which is– of course, over now…

>.<

The WGEB Community

*Off Topic*

At first I blogged for myself– just because my oppa kept planting little seeds in my ear about how great I would be at blogging about Korea, Korean culture, and Korean boys. Now, I blog about a lot more than that, and I also blog for me AND the amazing girls (and boys) who follow my blog (and have even become my friends).

Together, we are the WGEB community!^^

After doing my first giveaway, someone from the WGEB community who was actually a winner of the giveaway reached out to me in a fun, heartfelt way.

She goes by Miki, and she sent me this awesome video about being able to finally get her first Kpop CD:

I also love the reactions that Miki and her sister “M9Y9″, who is also an amazing singer and songwriter, do on Kpop MVs!

Since I love BTS, too, I’ll share this one:

She also has a fun (and very random) tumblr, which you can check out here.

The best thing about being a part of a community is getting to share so many things that we love with the awesome and amazing people who love them, too.

So, welcome to the WGEB community!

What Not to Do in Seoul, South Korea

fi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

I’ve been to South Korea– just Seoul, twice now. Once for law school and an internship for three months in the summer of 2012 and once for vacation for two weeks in the winter of 2013. Of course, I drank– I danced– I devoured Korean boys and men like a box of fine chocolates dated, but there were some things that I just didn’t do…

Or, at least learned NOT to do.

So, here it is– all the dirty laundry that I’ve been meaning to air out, but no– it’s not mine.

(At least not all of it.)

1. Don’t pick up Korean guys at clubs.

By picking up Korean guys at clubs, I mean taking them home– not drinking, dancing, or a little more with them AT clubs. Now, taking them home might mean taking them to YOUR home, but it might also mean going with them to a hotel, love motel, or– of all places, a DVD room, all of which I’ve talked about in THIS post on Sex in Korea and THIS post on clubs, nights, and “spas” in Korea.

(I’m only mentioning DVD rooms because an American girl one of my best friends went to school with in Korea slept with a few Korean guys in DVD rooms. I don’t know if she met them at clubs, but DVD rooms?! Imagine Blockbuster with porn and private theater rooms in the back, but try not to imagine anything more than that! Thankfully, not ALL DVD rooms are so “dirty,” literally.)

In addition to having talked a little bit about DVD rooms in Korea, I’ve also talked a lot about clubs in Korea:

Clubs in Korea are well-known for being a place to pick up the opposite sex, hookup, and have what is (usually) a one night stand, so if you start dating a Korean guy or have a Korean boyfriend, then he may or may not let you go clubbing.”

Why?

Well…

Whoo~

Whooo~

Whooo~

(Okay, not everyone who goes clubbing in Korea has this much fun or takes pictures that make it seem like they’re having this much fun…)

I’m not talking about clubs in Hongdae, although Cocoon and NB2 might be relevant to this conversation. Mainly, I’m talking about clubs like Ellui and NB in Gangnam where the crowd is older, hotter, and wilder.

Club Ellui in Seoul:

However, in Korea it’s definitely easier to be approached by Korean guys and also easier to approach Korean guys at clubs– especially if you don’t speak Korean, which might be why so many girls try to meet Korean guys at clubs!

For that reason (or whatever reason), I hear this from girls ALL the time, whether I’m in Korea or on my blog:

“I go to clubs and meet Korean guys, but they never like me or I never see them again even though I thought they liked me. What should I do? I really want to go on dates with them, too.”

Sure, if they “like” you, then it always starts out sweetly. After all, the most commonly used pick-up line by Korean guys (who may or may not speak good English) at clubs when they talk to foreign girls is the following:

“Where are you from?”

He’s cute, or maybe you’re too drunk to know if he’s cute or not, so you smile, and you tell him where you’re from. He buys you a drink. You drink together. Then, you dance together– usually known as 부비부비, or boobie boobie.

Boobie boobie in Korean dramas~

... And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

… And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

But, in Korea, you don’t NEED to go to clubs to meet let alone pick up Korean guys, and unless all you want is a casual relationship, then I don’t think you should. In Korea, it’s common enough for guys to approach girls they like on the street or in cafes– wherever they see you, so just “dress up” when you go out, make eye contact, and smile.

Then, wait and let the magic happen!^^

P.S.: I think that casual relationships have their time and place– even in Korea, so THIS what not to do is for the girls who are expecting what starts as a casual relationship with a Korean guy at a club to turn into something more.

(This isn’t impossible, it’s just RARE, especially when language and culture barriers can get in the way.)

In addition, I think that most Korean guys prefer to do the chasing rather than being chased, so I really do mean wait. This doesn’t mean do nothing. It means do everything to get his attention and keep it without “making the first move”; or, if you’re a professional, then make him THINK that he’s making the first move.

(Making the first move could be anything from approaching him first to texting him first to other “firsts,” but I’m not trying to give you girls dating advice, because my own friends can barely learn what I try to teach them.)

Thankfully, it’s okay to be awkward and very “unprofessional,” because a guy– including a Korean guy, should like you for who you are and NOT who you are trying to be. However, if you make a bad first impression on any guy because you ARE awkward or “unprofessional,” then he’s highly unlikely to forget about it…

*Sigh*

2. Don’t drink (a lot).

Where I’m from, it’s a tradition to drink a lot and pass out or black out every now and then, which is NOT what my friends and I do when we go out, but we all know who to call in case that happens: 911.

But, I’ve seen American girls– they were a group of teachers, leave their drunk, passed out friend on the street outside of Monkey Beach in Apgujeong. No one knew who to call OR what to do, and no– I never hung out with those girls again.

At the same club, I met another teacher from America– really sweet girl but a little strange, who got really drunk and disappeared with two Korean guys that I introduced her to (oops), much to the dismay of her friends, and when I told them exactly who she disappeared with they said:

“She’s not that kind of girl.”

Yes, she was, as I found out the next time that I met her.

Why do girls make bad decisions?

(She admitted that it was a bad decision.)

Blame it on the alcohol.

*Plays “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx*

Apart from Goose, Patron, vodka, and Henney (which is the name of a Korean guy that I just met), there’s something called soju. If you’ve never had soju, then drink it MIXED with beer and lemon, fruit, or yogurt– if you drink it at all.

Here’s some advice from an oppa that I met while in Korea for the first time:

“Don’t drink a lot or say that you can drink well. It’s not pretty, and some Korean guys will hear that and think you are “open” and try to take advantage of you.”

This is exactly what happened to an American girl that I spoke with recently. She was with some Korean guys who “fed” her alcohol, and then– of course, afterwards they didn’t bother contacting her again.

Death in a bottle~

Another cultural difference that makes it seem like all Korean guys are judgmental of or don’t like girls who like to drink? I wouldn’t say ALL, but I would say a lot, especially if they just met you (at school or at a club for example) and don’t know you very well.

Now, I only REALLY drink soju with my close friends– usually my 오빠들, or older Korean “brothers.” By REALLY drink I mean not just a few shots but a bottle or two.

Anyway, I don’t drink a lot in Korea, because I don’t know who to call or what to do in case of an emergency, and I don’t think you should either UNLESS you know that someone will be there to take care of you and make sure you get home safely.

(Someone like Mr. Kang.)

3. Don’t be a tourist.

Korea has a lot more to offer than palaces and famous landmarks, but the only way you’ll ever experience Korea is to go out on your own and wander around OR to meet someone who can take you to all the cool places that only Koreans ever seem to know about.

I don’t have anything else to say about this, because there’s really nothing wrong with being a tourist, but it seems like such a waste to travel to a country and never experience what it’s really like.

What did you learn?

Hopefully, you learned that MANY girls go to Korea with stars in their eyes because of Kpop and Korean dramas, and in the end they face disappointment, disillusionment, and disaster because of cultural differences, especially when it comes to relationships.

Hopefully, you also learned that your safety is important, and it’s not worth putting ANYTHING above that– be it ignorance about Korean culture or indifference to meeting good or bad Korean guys or the idea that you are invincible and nothing bad will happen to you in Korea.

Honestly, there are a lot of other things that you really shouldn’t do in Korea, and I think the biggest one is assume that it’s okay to dress and behave in Korea the same way you dress and behave in your own country.

Be yourself, but try to “blend in” by learning about and adapting to Korean culture, too.

As an ahjusshi said about Americans in particular:

Americans are very honest and innocent. They can say that they’ve done something wrong and people will forgive them. It’s not like that in Korea, so Americans come here, and when they make mistakes– especially because the two cultures are so different, they get in trouble– they get hurt.”

So, no matter where you’re from, when you go to Korea, DO have fun, but DON’T put having fun first. You’re still in a foreign country, and you always need to remember that, and remember this:

Safety, first!^^

This blog post sponsored by Smokey the Bear:

Smokey The Bear~

Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 2: Studying Abroad in Korea

*The “Preparing for Life in Korea” Series*

These days, many high school, college, and graduate school students from around the world are interested in studying abroad in Korea. However, whether you are studying abroad in Korea just to have fun and learn about Korean language and Korean culture OR to prepare for a life and a career in Korea, it’s important to find the study abroad program that is right for you!

BUT, if you are studying abroad in Korea to prepare for a life and a career in Korea, then you have to be a lot more serious about where you go to school and what you decide to study while in school:

You have to find a study abroad program offered at a school that will look good on your resume and impress Korean employers. You also have to find a study abroad program with classes that offer educational, practical, and professional experience in your chosen field so that that you can succeed, or at least get hired, when you finally start looking for a job in Korea.

So, for students who are interested in studying abroad in Korea in order to prepare for a life and a career there, this one’s for you.

1. Pick your career path and (try to) stick to it BEFORE you decide to study abroad!

I studied psychology and fashion design before somehow ending up at law school. I always wanted to study abroad, but it was only after I was sure about my career path in law that I decided to study abroad at a law school in Korea and learn more about life in Korea from studying and working to dating and everything in between.

(I was lucky, because after a quick search I found a study abroad program on international law offered by Fordham University School of Law– one that took place over summer at the Sungkyunkwan University School of Law in Seoul, South Korea.)

 If you are interested in seeing what career paths are available to foreigners in Korea– to foreigners who do or don’t speak Korean, then the best place to look might surprise you: Craigslist Seoul.

Once you’re on CL Seoul, just browse through the job listings that best fit your chosen career path or field.

(For example, I would look at the “legal/paralegal” or “government” job listings, but less traditional fields like marketing, entertainment, writing, etc., will have more results and better results. In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to send an email to potential employers and do a little networking, either, but I’ll talk more about finding a job in Korea in Preparing for Life in Korea, Part 3: Finding a Job in Korea.)

You can also look for study abroad programs that fit with your career path at these Top Ten schools:

Seoul National University

Yonsei University

Korea University

Pohang University of Science and Technology

Ewha Women’s University

Sungkyunkwan University

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Pusan National University

Hanyang University

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Okay, so you’ve picked your career path and a study abroad program that fits with it, but when should you study abroad– later?

No, because…

2. The sooner you study abroad, the better!

If you can fund your study abroad through working a job or two and getting a tuition loan or scholarship, then there is no reason to put off studying abroad– the sooner you go, the better.

Why?

Well, you’ll get to see if living– studying, working and dating, in Korea is something you actually want to do; and, by attending a school in Korea, you’ll also get meet peers and professionals who you can network with later on when you are trying to find a job in Korea.

 Many schools offer fall, spring, summer, and even winter semesters abroad– along with exchange programs, so take a look at your wallet and your calendar and start those applications, but ONLY if you…

3. Already know the requirements of your study abroad program and have made sure that you meet them!

Applying was a painless, simple process for me, and many of you will be able to apply directly to schools in Korea or through study abroad programs like CIEE; although, those applications are a LOT more complicated.

However, most study abroad programs in Korea only take students from accredited universities– not community colleges; and, your GPA (usually) matters.

However, Hanyang University’s International Summer Institute (HISS) takes ALL students:

“In order to participate in HISS, students must be enrolled in a college or university program, or at least need to have graduated from high school. The average age of students on HISS is between 18 and 25. If you meet these requirements, you can proceed to the application procedure below.”

(Check out the HISS application HERE.)

Studying abroad in Korea is another big step in preparing for life in Korea, and make your study abroad in Korea count by thinking about your future– not just having fun.

For more on studying abroad in Korea go HERE to read more about the following: the admissions process, languages of study, programs of study, and scholarships.

HERE is another helpful site, but like most Korean sites, it’s pretty… but a little overwhelming!

So You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star?

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

This is a special post for my “little sisters” who are interested in pursuing a career in the Korean music industry as singers; and, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out THIS post by seoulbeats about what it’s like for Asian-American, Latino, black, and white people who are currently pursuing “The Korean Dream.”

I’ve talked about the music industry in Korea before HERE, but I’d like to offer some advice– not just a warning, and introduce two possible role models (for my little sisters in particular) who have made it big in Korea and are black and Korean: Insooni and Yoon Mi-rae (aka “T” or Tasha).

And, here are two important links:

Entertainment Companies and Their Artists

Entertainment Companies and Their Addresses

(I know that there are people of every race who are pursuing careers in music or entertainment in Korea, so there is someone out there who we can all look up to! If you’re not sure, just ask me. I wish I had room to mention them all– from Jessica Gomes to Julien Kang to Sam Hammington and even Olivia, a French girl, and Sam, a Kenyan boy. But, don’t even get me started on the people who are Korean-American or Chinese and have made it big in Korea!)

From now on, I’m not going to use the word “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star.”

I don’t think you’ll make it (very far) in the Korean music industry as a foreigner unless you have the humble heart of a true singer and are willing to work incredibly hard from learning to speak Korean to learning about Korean culture to learning about the people and companies that make up what has become a very large industry– on top of actually singing and maybe even dancing if you become a “dance gasu.”

Why won’t you make it far if you just want to be a “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star”?

These days, anyone can get surgery and be styled to look like a Kpop idol or Kpop star. These days, anyone can even have the attitude of a Kpop idol or Kpop star. So, what separates you from everyone else is your voice, talent, and work ethic. Having a good work ethic, especially in a place where people are often over-worked like Korea, will be the best way to make your dreams come true.

After all, by now many of us know that auditioning to be a singer in the Korean music industry both in America AND Korea is an ordeal, and the competition gets harder and harder every year! So, that means YOU have to work harder, too.

(To see what its like to audition for SM, watch THIS video as the members of Infinity Challenge– seven of Korea’s most famous comedians, do just that!)

If you DO manage to pass the audition and sign with a music or entertainment company, then practice harder than everyone else. Take critique– in fact, ask for it. Go out of your way to sing or dance anywhere and for anyone.

Most importantly, don’t let the challenges you encounter, such as discrimination or cultural differences, bring you down!

It’s hard for Koreans to make it in the music industry, too, so don’t see your challenges as any harder than anyone else’s, although they might be different in many ways. From running errands to performing favors to standing on small stages night after night and even being scolded and getting your feelings hurt– you better be ready to deal with it all and get through it all, always learning and improving along the way.

In addition, take the time to get to know your sunbaes in the Korean music industry, from H.O.T. to EXO, from G.O.D. to 2PM, from S.E.S. to SNSD, as well as other legends and current trends in the Korean music AND entertainment industry.

However, for my “little sisters” who are looking for a sunbae and role model who might hit a little closer to home, then look no further than Insooni and Yoon Mirae.

Insooni~

Go HERE to read more about Insooni and her story, as well as get some excellent advice from The Diva of Korea herself.

Yoon Mi-rae with her husband, Tiger JK~

Yoon Mi-rae is someone many people are more likely to already be familiar with, so I won’t spend too much time talking about her except to say she is an amazing rapper AND singer who has come a long way in both Korea and America!

If you have a dream, go for it; and, don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

But, be realistic. Don’t just see your dream– see the hard work, dedication, and effort it will take to make it come true.

(And, if you want to know how I got to meet people in the music industry and be in a Kpop music video a few years ago, then shoot me an email or check out THIS post on my tumblr.)

My Biggest Korean Culture Shock

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

So, I’m Nigerian-American– that’s Nigerian-American just in case you can’t see all of the letters.

What could my culture possibly have in common with Korean culture?

Well, a lot– like an emphasis on education and family as the most important things in life; and, that’s why I was initially drawn to Korean culture.  Its definitely NOT because of Kpop, but it definitely is ALSO because of my Korean best friend (and first love) from college, Korean dramasKorean movies, and Korean music.

Anyway, Nigerians eat spicy stews and sweet bread, too, with lots of bitter vegetables and yummy(?) meats. Of course, I won’t go much further than that in comparing Nigerian food to Korean food, but I’ll be sure to write about Korean food soon!^^

Well, what else?

We respect our elders, too, from giving big greetings to doing small chores to obeying general commands, like the following:

“Bring me my shoes, Jenny.” — My Aunt.

Do what you’re told.

“Wash the dishes, Jenny. Now!” — My Mom.

Do what you’re told when you’re told.

“Jenny… Jenny… JENNY!!!” — My Dad.

And, come when you’re called, even if you’re upstairs in your room trying to watch your shows.

*Comes out of shock*

Of course, when I say, “elders,” I don’t just mean “old people.” For example, out of respect, when I was a kid and even now I always greet people who are older than me first.

And, little children are kept separate from older ones out of respect for age differences and the wisdom wrinkles that come along with being older. For example, my older cousin ordered my younger cousin to sit on the floor so she could sit on the couch.

We even separate the house (living room, TV Room, upstairs) based on age: The adults get the living room, we girls get the TV room, and the boys (and kids) get the upstairs.

Like Koreans, Nigerians also have traditional clothing along with traditional ceremonies and even traditional weddings.

So, apart from the language, the singing in front of people in small rooms, and the living and showering in even smaller rooms, I was never really shocked by Korean culture.

Well, until I started watching Korean variety shows…

I’m writing this post right after watching the latest episode of Mamma Mia. What I’m about to tell you happens all the time, but this time– I just HAD to write about it.

On this episode, moms and their famous daughters were featured. Most of the daughters were also moms, too, so after awhile childbirth came up, and the women talked about how long it took for them to give birth.

That’s normal enough.

However, SUDDENLY, they started talking about the following:

Literally the main female host said, “tightening your anus”  to explain 케겔 운동” or Kegel exercises, which one woman did in order to promote better health after birth.

(You should have seen Kyuhyun of Super Junior’s face– he’s a main host on the show, too, when they told him what “케겔 운동 ” meant.)

Then, my favorite comedian and Busan boy Heo Kyunghwan chimed in and asked the woman:

“Oh, are you doing that right now?”

Surely enough, she was. Her face got redder and the veins in her neck became more pronounced as she counted to ten.

Of course, everyone joined in– even the camera men.

To wrap things up, Heo Kyunghwan mentioned that Kegel exercises are also good for male stamina.

Then, the conversation strayed back to that same woman, who said she “enjoyed eating her husband’s love.”

(Uhm, surely she’s not eating what I think she’s eating nor talking about it on national TV?!)

Anyway, they also talked about premarital pregnancy, something one male guest’s wife and one female guest had gone through (and how to break it to the parents) along with taking showers and using the bathroom together with their spouses.

They decided that while taking showers together seems romantic, its not.

Lesson of the day:

“결혼은 현실이다.”

“Marriage is reality.”

So, I suddenly realized that everything that I know about sex, dating, and marriage I learned from romance novels, my Korean ex-boyfriend, independent films (mostly Korean but some Italian and French), and Korean Variety Shows, because its just not something that my Nigerian family talked about, AND its not something that I ever wanted to learn from American politics or American society…

or American Porn.

BUT, whenever I hear Koreans talk SO openly about birth, stamina, and sex– on TV of all places, I’m always shocked by how open their culture is with each other about those issues. Keep in mind, though, this is sex in terms of FAMILY, not anything like what Hyuna and what’s his name are doing– those two “Troublemakers.”

So, what’s YOUR biggest Korean culture shock?

>.<

“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!

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!