A few months ago, I stopped by my friend Lance’s house to hang out with some old high school friends. We talked about girls, school, work, and other miscellaneous things. But 15 minutes into the conversation they all started speaking some random alien language that I was unfamiliar with:
Lance: Dude, did you hear about Jaebum?!
Josh: OMG no! What happened?!
Annie: He left 2pm!
Lance: Yea! I just read it on soompi and-
Josh: What’s going to happen to 2pm now?!
Puzzled by who Jaebum was and whether or not 2pm was a soft drink or a t.v show, I interjected and said “What are you guys talking about?” It seemed like the question hit them 5 seconds after I asked; and then they all turned to me in unison and said “It’s Korean stuff. ” Hmmm…Okay? I left the room feeling a little dumb and went to play some video games.
After a good ten minutes of playing games I started to wonder: who the hell were they were talking about? And why were they talking about Korean stuff? Little did I know that this one incident would later fester into a raging form of Korean Leprosy. A month or so later, EVERYONE was into Korean culture!
WHAT THE FUCK IS A KOREAN?! I mean shit, I like to consider myself a very knowledgeable Asian guy who knows the difference between Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese people – but for some weird reason, I never cared to delve into Korean culture. The extent of my knowledge was limited to Korean BBQ and Kim Jong Ill and his fabulous sunglasses.
What was once a simple interest to my friend Lance later became what I called an obsession. For christ’s sake, he even grew his hair out in order for it to look more Korean! I was shocked! It was like a zombie invasion had hit the city and now, my best friend was infected! Do I shoot him in the face or let him cultivate this Korean identity? But nay! Like any good friend, I decided to see for myself what this Korean shit was all about. So here it is, I’m goin’ in…
To illustrate how little I knew of Korean culture, I have this Asian cd that I absolutely love. I listen to it all the time for it’s R&B melodies and Pop tunes. However, I had no idea that what I was listening to was Korean music! But apparently, a lot of Korean music is pretty damn good. Sure, I’m not a big fan of all the K-Pop out there but technically speaking, I’m not a fan of Pop music in general.
Personally, I would rather shove a 4lb golden Dildo into my ears than to listen to such horrendous music as Justin Bieber. But in the world of K-Pop, things aren’t so bad. I’m all for Asian identity and I’m a big advocate in improving the image of Asian men in the media, so to see these tall, good looking Asian guys sing well and dance well, was really making me a happy man. And besides, have you seen the quality of the music videos?
K-Pop might not be my favorite cup of tea but it is quite enjoyable – and a lot more enjoyable than the McMusic that Americans are so notorious for producing. However, I gotta admit: Them Koreans can SANG! Them Koreans can also dance! Not to mention, the Korean girls in those videos are prit-tee damn cute ; which brings me to my next point:
Korean girls are fuckin BEAUTIFUL!
Granted that Women of every color can be beautiful (and I don’t mean it in a Barney “inner beauty” kind of way, I really do mean it), I think Korean girls have got it goin on. First off, they are what I like to call “hybrids”. In my opinion, Asian women come in different sizes and shapes. Some of them are tall, and some of them short. Some of them have big tits, and some of them are perfectly normal. But one of the things I look at is where they are placed on the image level.
Japanese girls are famous for being quirky and adorable. Chinese girls are sophisticated and straight forward. However, Korean girls are a good mix of Japanese and Chinese: they’re Sophisticated yet quirky. They know when to act professional yet at the same time, they know how to turn up the Asian-ness to a level 11 **Y^_^Y*
There’s more to Korean food than BBQ
When most people think of Korean food, they refer to things such as BBQ. Like Americans (who eat loads of grilled meat and bacon and cheeseburgers and..) Koreans also eat food off the grill. While most people enjoy their smoked delicious BBQ, I enjoy their wet and warm goodness: soups. A big sector of Korean cuisine lies within soups and stews.
From the king of soups, Gom Tang (Ox bone soup), to the cold noodles in Naeng Myun, the food has a very earthy yet familiar feel. There are lots of complex flavors and the idea of DIY cooking/seasoning seems to resonate throughout the food. But as always, Kimchi is Marlon Brando – it’s the godfather. You eat it with rice, you eat it with soup! You eat it in a house and you eat it with a mouse! Bottom line, Korean food is fuckin great; and if you’re looking for a balance between the savory-ness of Chinese food and the simplistic freshness of Japanese, Korean is a good compromise.
So why are Koreans so important?
For those of you who were up to date with my Facebook posts, I mentioned that I was going a full 4 days as a “Korean”. This meant that I ate Korean food (breakfast/lunch/ dinner), listened to Korean music, and dressed like one as well. I even grew my hair out to accentuate the image. So what exactly did I get out of all of this? What the fuck is Korean culture? And why should you and I give a shit?
In case you haven’t noticed, Koreans are rising up in the economy. Their impact has even lead to a great increase in sales from Korean car company, Hyundai. Their food is gaining incredible momentum and Korean celebrities are amassing TONS AND TONS of devoted fans here in America. Yes. White girls listening to K-Pop. Fuckin bananas right? (haha..fucking Bananas…)
But the most important issue to me is this: Asian Americans have no role models in American media. The last remnants of an Asian idol died awhile ago, when Hollywood decided to cast a potato head (white guy) as the leading character in the Dragonball movie. From that moment on, we had nothing. Bruce lee is dead and Jackie Chan is off making movies for more potato heads.
We simply don’t exist. But here comes Korea, and their giant cultural industry. They bring us food, they bring us music. They bring us beautiful girls, and good looking guys. And in return, millions of Asians flock to their doorsteps to watch and be amazed. For once, we see ourselves in a positive light. For once, we’re not some Asian nerd, or an Asian whore submitting to the will of some American war “hero”. For once, we’re desired. For once, we feel important.
So for all the people out there trying to be Korean, honestly, I approve. If the only way, as an Asian American, to find positive role models is to seek out the celebrities of other cultures, then I approve. If making your hair more Korean makes you more confident, and brings out the best in you, then FUCK EVERYONE ELSE! Go do it! If you’re a 16 year old girl shopping for a girls generation outfit to make yourself feel beautiful, then DO IT, GIRL!
American media gave up on us a long time ago. Although we exist in fragments here and there, we aren’t represented in television and movies as equally as we should. So I welcome Korea, with open arms, to come and dominate our media. And yea, FUCK AMERICAN MEDIA! VIVA LA KOREANS, BITCH!
Lee Hyori, please be my Seoul mate ^_^