Category Archives: Videos

A few random notes before closing up shop

– So, this will be probably my second to last post here. I leave for Mexico this week where I’ll teach high school writing and literature. I really hope they speak decent English because I’m not quite ready to spend another year sucking at a 3rd language. Plus they don’t give me a co-teacher.

– I haven’t decided yet if I’ll start another blog while I’m in Mexico. I probably will, but not immediately. I kind of want to take a break for a few weeks, just to get used to Mexico. If I do start a new blog I also want it to be more focused than this one, and since I have yet to choose a focus I have yet to create a new blog…but when I do I’ll post the link here for anybody interested. In the meantime you can keep checking me out at instablogs.

– One thing I’m worried about in Mexico, besides being kidnapped, is tequila. Tequila is either the best idea ever or the worst, depending on whether or not you enjoy ripping your shirt off in the middle of a club and dancing to “Sexy Back” even though the songs not playing at the moment.

– Was in Itaewon this past weekend for a goodbye drinking session with a few friends. At the end of the night we decided to get some Kebabs from the Kebab van. It was later in the night and they were running low on meat, luckily I was in time to order. Some of the guys behind me, not so much. A fight ensued behind me between two foreigners and a Korean guy when the Korean guy tried to cut in line. Now, the kebabs are delicious – I should know, I ate 3 – but when the Korean guy grabbed the kebab sword and started swinging it at the two foreign guys, even I thought that was a little ridiculous. I mean, it’s not like we were all waiting in line for the last ribwich…that I would have understood.

– I don’t know if it’s just Korean cab drivers that like to pretend like they’ll pick you up, only to speed up once they get a closer look at you, but I know I don’t like it. It’s not like I’m a violent looking person with a kebab sword. But I doubt that yelling obscenities as the taxi drivers passed by helped our cause.

– I’m upset that Korean men suck at basketball so much. I think if they were better, we might actually get some men’s basketball coverage here in Korea. It’s really the only event I care about, and if I have to see a replay of archery, judo or the men’s 400 something event in swimming again I might just up and move to another country – oh yah.

– Additionally, not only does South Korea field no mens’ basketball team, but they do field a women’s basketball team. I think I’d rather watch archery or Garden State, rather than women’s basketball. (and those who know me know how much I hate Garden State)

– A final note about the gum lady post. It was actually inspired by my friend Noreen, who was attacked in a hit and run by the gum lady, when she refused to buy her gum. The gum lady punched Noreen, and then ran off the subway in what is one of the funniest mental images I’ve ever had.

– The new Batman movie is sweet, but I don’t suggest sneaking beer into the theater unless you want to leave halfway through to go pee. It’s a really long movie.

– Finally, I was going to leave you with my Korean Underground Hip-Hop playlist, but when I started putting it together I thought I’d just rather give you a few artists and songs you should type into youtube. No matter how much I talk about the K-pop stars, my first love is always hip hop. It’s the thing that first made me enjoy writing when I was in high school. Anyways, the list goes as follows

1. Dj Soulscape – Story
2. 리쌍 (leesang) ft. 정인- Rush
3. Infinite Flow – 20’s
4. Deepflow – Bring Rap Justice
5. Mild Beats – Deal with us
6. Garion – Ancient Story
7. Primary Skool – So Much Soul
8. Da Crew – City of Soul
9. E Clue – Keep ya head up
10. Basick – Better than the best
11. The Unforgiven – What’s the Name
12. Digiri – 아이에서 어른으로
13. Paradigm Shift – Bewylder
14. Superman Ivy – Yes Yes Ya’ll
15. Kebee – Feeling You
16. DJ Shinin Stone – The Hypnotize

There’s a bunch more I didn’t include, like Drunken Tiger, MC Sniper or 45 Rpm because they’re big enough that you’ll stumble across them eventually. Or Paloalto and Quiett because you should really just listen to everything they have. Then this video below, because it has a member of Big Bang in it, but still a decent song.

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I’m not one for too much celebrity gossip and news and stuff

but these are just two things I didn’t feel like passing up.

First, Lee Hyori proves, once again, that the only thing geeky girls need to do to become super attractive is simply take off your glasses and not carry around books.

Also, the title of her new album is Hyorish. I spent 20 minutes trying to think of a comment that didn’t revolve around the name of the album sounding like the word “whore,” but I couldn’t

Then, Miss Korea, I know it’s typhoon season and all…but damn

Anyways, that’s all I got for today. For those of you who also check me out at instablogs expect a new post up tomorrow. Not that I have anything in particular I feel like posting there but it’s been a week since I’ve written for them and I feel like I should. Since, you know, they label me as an editor and all.

I think I want Lil’ Wayne to die.

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Who says Korean guys look awkward when they sing R&B?

Oh yeah, me, right now.

I actually think the guy is pretty talented so I’m not exactly sure what it is.  Maybe it’s the flannel, or the shirt that reads “Wicked.”

Or maybe it’s just cause he’s whiter, skinnier and had more work done than Michael Jackson.  His eyebrows really creep me out.

Also, during the last 30 seconds or so when the girl is surrounded by all the backup dancers a word springs to my mind.  It starts with “B” and ends with “ukake.”

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Superficiality Matters #1: Korea is a goth kid

(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated. This is the 5th of 5 posts about Superficial things that stand out to me.)

Superficiality: Really sad music videos

Why it happens:

After watching countless music videos that involve bright colors, candy, roller blades and Wonder Woman, I have to think that the sad music videos are reactions to the little kid “bubble gum” pop that dominates South Korean pop music.

It’s artists who, believing they have actual talent, want to differentiate themselves from the pre-packaged groups such as Wonder Girls, Jewelry or Super Junior.

In essence, it’s Koreans answer to early 90’s grunge music. Only if instead of not caring about life in general, grunge was really sad because their girlfriend was put in the hospital by a vicious street gang while she was babysitting your mentally challenged friend who you were ashamed to be friends with but finally came around to when you began to get repeated nose bleeds and realized the shortness and importance of life.

What it says about Korea:

The question really goes back to why it happens. There’s the obvious answer I discussed above, but why is sadness necessary at all to show artistic ability?

Supposedly, misery loves company. So I guess happiness loves…not company? I always founds this statement to be odd as happy people tend to have more friends. Maybe it was a Korean who originally coined the phrase.

Korea is a society that, at it’s core, is constantly on the defensive. After a history that has been spent warding off foreign invaders Korea has developed a very “us vs. the world” mentality.

So, just like in middle and high school when you secretly believed the world was out to get you this defensive mindset could make a person, or in this case an entire society, a tad depressing. Korea is a goth kid.

Visual Example:

Monday Kiz

This song gets me pretty excited when I here it while walking down the street. It feels like the video should be pretty happy, but then a little girl dies. Of course…why shouldn’t she?

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Superficiality Matters #2: Jessica Alba

(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated. This is the 4th of 5 posts about Superficial things that stand out to me.)

Superficiality: Jessica Alba seems like the only American actress Koreans universally find attractive

Why it happens:

Aside from the obvious answer of “because she is attractive,” I think it has more to do with style than anything.

It goes back to the cute Korean girl syndrome that I mentioned in my last post. Despite stereotypes to the contrary Korean girls generally do not fall into the seductive Asian temptress mold. Jessica Alba seems to maintain a little girl cuteness in all of her movies that matches with the Korean ideal of how a girl should act.

Even when she plays a stripper in the blood drenched misogyny that is “Sin City,” she is juxtaposed against her childlike self, both literally and figuratively. You see her one instant grinding a pole in a cowboy outfit, and the next jumping off the stage to bear hug the police officer who saved her life. It’s an endearing quality that either you have or you don’t. This is opposed to someone like Angelina Jolie who fits into the seductress template.

What it says about Korea:

Korea has nothing if not a defined sense of beauty. Since most people are relatively thin, face takes on a new importance. Anybody with a large ass need not even try; Juvenile was never popular here. High nose, big eyes, thin/small face: these are what make a Korean girl stand out against the crowd. No wonder plastic surgery is so popular.

In the end, I think this ends up saying more about Jessica Alba than it does about Korea. I find it interesting none the less.

Koreans think Lucy Liu is hideous.

Visual Example:

Lee Hyori and Jessica Alba sell makeup in Korea. If you want to see the ideal in Korea beauty this is the commercial to see.

Added bonus, Jessica Alba’s Korean voice over.

Also, I thought I’d throw this video in where Lee Hyori decides she is fat and so she should consume nothing besides some black bean drink. I wonder what eating disorders are like in Korea?

I also like this commercial because I can pick out almost half of the words that they are saying.

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Superficiality Matters #3: I’m so sorry, but I can’t sing the rest of the song

(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated.  This is the 3rd of 5 posts about Superficial things that stand out to me.)

Superficiality: Korean Songs, English Choruses

Why it happens:

I was sent a link the other day talking about how English, as it appears in Korean songs, is without meaning. Instead it is part of the musical backdrop, on par with the piano, guitar or other instrument.

At first I thought this was kind of silly until I remembered how often English songs do this. At this point, I don’t even think Timbaland could make a beat if it didn’t include some Indian girl singing in the background.

I also remember all those cool kids who got Chinese symbols tattooed on their back that they thought said “Unity,” but really said “I have sex with pigeons.” It is at this point I realize how much South Korea would culturally gain from the term “Douchebag.”

Oh well, at least when they wear shirts that say “Spoiled Brat” on them, they’re not purposefully making a statement about themselves.

What it tells us about Korea:

Who the hell knows.

I’m just upset that I can no longer use the phrase “Tell me,” “One more time,” or “Sorry,” in class ever again without starting a medley.

Also, I can’t get the words out of my head and it annoys me when I only know half the words to the songs.

Visual Example:

As if the music videos above weren’t enough. Here’s the infamous camera commercial where the singer sings “Let me taste, your banana.” Followed by her softly singing MMM, MMM, MMM accompanied by slurping sounds.

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Filed under Culture, Korean MTV, The foreigner experience, Videos

Superficiality Matters #4: Cute Korean Girl Mystique

(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated)

Superficiality: Korean girls who act cute and naïve towards males.

Why it happens:

Essentially, it’s a difference in the way relationships are approached between the United States and Korea. Ever since I first thought that Courtney was cute in my 6th grade class, I’ve been pretending to not like girls that I actually do like. Girls do the same thing towards guys. These trends often carry themselves over into our adult dating relationships.

It’s a defense mechanism against getting hurt and maintaining a person’s individuality.

Korean girls seem to have no such defense mechanism. After a few dates with Rachel I knew she liked me because she told me. Additionally, she did it in a distinctly cute Korean girl sort of way. She did it despite her fears that I might become disinterested in her, cheat on her or do something that would hurt her in the near future. She put herself out there early. She had no defense. I could very easily have hurt her.

What it tells us about Korea:

It tells us that long term relationships are more desired in Korea. This has to do with factors involving gender issues, money, living with ones persons parents till they are married, status in a group of friends, and many other things.

Many foreigners get the wrong impression from this behavior that

A: Korean girls are easy to pick up, and

B: Korean girls are completely naive.

It could be argued that the ease which one picks up a girl depends on the girl, and they would be right. Are all Korean girls easy to pick up? It depends, they are individual people after all.

With few foreigners in Seoul, foreign guys are what you might call a “niche market.” Although most Korean girls wouldn’t give a foreign guy a second look, the types of girls you might find at foreigner hot spots would. They are probably attracted to foreign guys in the first place. These girls represent only a subset of Korean girls.

Also, calling these girls naive is simply…well…naive. They have their dating games the same way westerners have their games. The game is so different however, that most foreigners probably don’t even register it as game.

In the United States it’s the “I’m pretending not to like you” game.

In Korea it’s the “I’m so cute and innocent how could you ever hurt me” game.

The stereotype is that foreign guys are all out for one night stands. it’s a well known stereotype amongst girls. They may act like you are special, and they may act like they are hurt, but in the end it’s still an act. They are ready to move on about 3 minutes after you do.

They may tell say “you are handsome,” but my guess is it’s just because it’s one of the few phrases they know.

Visual Example:

Propose – Lee Seung Chul

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