The Traveling Kimchi

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

Before The Traveling Kimchi was The Traveling Kimchi, she was just a girl named Jessica that I met in my first Korean class back in 2011. Little did I know that she would become a great friend AND fellow blogger years later.

We met again in 2013– when I went to Korea last winter. We had an amazing time at my favorite bar– Bunker, my last night there.

Recently, I found out that she’s been blogging about her adventures in South Korea, too, so I knew that I had to introduce her to you and share her adventures with you, too!^^

The Traveling Kimchi

The Traveling Kimchi~

Jessica~

“Who is the Traveling Kimchi?”

“Why, she’s a tiny half Korean-Irish American currently living in Seoul, South Korea! After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin the Traveling Kimchi decided it was time to explore her roots! Since her arrival in 2012 she has been blogging about her experiences not only in Korea but all of her adventures abroad. She hopes you will enjoy traveling along with her and are inspired to pick up your own passport and see a culture and world beyond your own.”

– From The Traveling Kimchi’s Facebook Page

In addition, The Traveling Kimchi and westerngirleasternboy might be two very different blogs by two very different people, but we share the same exact mission:

“… to encourage thinking openly, meeting new people, having lifetime experiences, and traveling abroad.”

The Traveling Kimchi is on Youtube, and I wanted to share this cover she did with you all since it IS Sunday morning!

By now, we probably all need a little pick me up before the week starts, so here it is:

She has a lot of other great videos on everything from her adventures in Korea and Thailand to her favorite beauty products to what to do BEFORE you come to Korea, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday morning…

For some of us, “rain is falling.”

For some of us, it’s Easter, and we’re with our families– celebrating what should be a day that is less about hunting for eggs and more about hunting for something else.

For some of us, though, it’s just another Sunday– the Sunday before our last week of school… ever.

(That would be me!)

So, I’ll be watching Korean dramas and trying to write and edit my final papers! My last year of law school is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to start working, traveling, and living. I might even get to see The Traveling Kimchi again sooner than either of us thought…

The Traveling Kimchi, take me with you!~

The Traveling Kimchi, please take me with you!~

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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…?.

^^