A Synonym for “Less American”

Let me tell you a few things. I’m 40% Korean, 40% Japanese, and 20% American. This does not mean I’m a descendent of Jeremy Lin nor I speak Mandarin. My mom has a last name Kim and first name Miyuki. This does not mean she is a chinc or a tiger mom. My grandmother is Japanese American, and she has a strong accent. This does not mean she is not American enough nor she should feel the shame of beingRead more

What is ‘LAON’?

In the beginning of the year, I became a part of a group called ‘LAON Culture’, a student-run online magazine on Korean culture. Run by Korean students studying in the US and in Korea, LAON aims to explore various aspects of Korean culture such as history, music, art, and food. We write articles with various themes that reflect the views of Korean students, and try to promote Korean culture to the world. I’m currently working as the Art & SocietyRead more

The Yellow Ribbon

“Guys, let’s take a class picture!” One of the students shouted to his friends with a big smile on his face. A group of students turned around with arms around each others’ shoulders, and gladly started to look for a photo spot. The students all looked delighted. Maybe they were a bit tired as they all had to leave home so early in the morning, but they were excited to go on their first high school field trip. The studentsRead more

Nostalgia

Imagine you are walking along the streets of downtown Seoul, enjoying the usual scenery of the city: skyscrapers piercing the sky, metro stations connecting everywhere, and people busily walking with Starbucks Americano in their hands. You would probably pass by towering, fancy buildings that share the same look, people strolling in the park listening to K-POP with their Samsung phones, and kids playing with their I-pads at a café. After getting the general feel, it wouldn’t take long to realizeRead more

“Kosian? Korean!”

I live in a country that is often referred to have a racially homogenous population with only 3% of the entire population being foreign residents. In such a place where the majority of the population share the same regional background, it has been regarded as peculiar to have a family from a place other than Korea or to have a different skin color than the majority. In recent years, the previously racially homogenous nation started to face an influx of immigrants fromRead more

Project G’Love: Exhibition for Syrian Refugees “One Touch of a Brush”

This summer, students from the US, UK, and Korea came together to raise a fund to donate socks for Syrian refugees in Turkey. We organized a series of events including the upcoming art exhibition on human rights. This students-run gallery will showcase human rights related art works of 20 students from all over the world. It will be located at the WCO stage (Anguk station Exit 1) on August 20-22th from 12 to 5PM. All profits made from the gallery willRead more

“Skyscrapers and Peony”

On this piece, I tried to express the discrepancy between what I envision as the ‘real’ and ‘ideal’ Seoul. You could easily tell that the upper part of the piece represents the polluted city that almost lost its identity. There are trees, rocks, and rivers that appear on Korean traditional artworks on the mid-lower part of the piece; these are the symbols of neglected traditions of the country. In the center, there’s me, gazing at the peony blossom on my hands. The flowerRead more

Lesson from Will: How to be open-minded?

It was a balmy spring day when I got back to my hometown for vacation and met Will, an Indian businessman touring Korea for the third time. As a teenage English tour guide, I enthusiastically introduced Gyeong-bok Palace, the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul, to the curious businessman. My unforgettable moment started when he complimented on how detailed and coherent my presentation. Soon, I asked him “I’m very impressed it is your third time visiting Korea.Read more

10 Million Against Me

I still remember the eyes of the belligerent, old lady piercing through me with disgust. “Go back to your country, you Japanese bitch.” She called me a bitch in front of strangers passing by in the street. Listening to the tsunami of such vulgar words, I stood frozen in time, seared with an embarrassment that I had never felt in my life. I wanted to scream back at her. Tell her I was doing the right thing for my ownRead more

Museum Docent at the National Gugak Center

It hasn’t hit on me yet that my sophomore year of high school has come to an end. As soon as school ended, I headed back to Seoul for summer. This summer will be significant to my high school career; I have been planning on various activities to pursue my passion in a myriad of fields that all boil down to my main concern in the lack of appreciation of traditional values and cultures in Korea. Ever since I first startedRead more