Fast forward a couple more months. I discovered two TV channels broadcasting entirely in Korean and stopped watching the Chinese channel. I’ve forsaken American TV (a wasteland this season anyway) in favor of modern Korean dramas, and other programs whose genre was harder to identify – game shows, documentaries of working class life, reality shows on dysfunctional families, travelogues.
And then there are the music videos. Untouched by feminism, K-pop’s youthfully energetic optimism in the face of a stressfully uncertain future reminds me of the U.S. during the Cold War years.
With its scenic craggy mountains, island-studded shores, freezing/roasting weather, and lengthy and convoluted history – what a spunky, conflicted, complex culture this is!
While most of the dramas are subtitled, the news is not (hmm). The death of Kim Jong-il monopolized the TV stations for days, and I was frustrated that I couldn’t even read the news ticker. I started to learn Hangul. I bought stickers for my keyboard and activated the international language packs – look at me, I’m typing in Korean!* 쇱습니다! There are a ton of great resources for this which I’ll share in future posts.
*[check out my Keyboarding in Korean page for more info on how to set this up]
So that’s my story of finding Korea so far. Do I plan to go there someday? Maybe. Do I know any actual Koreans or Korean-Americans? Not yet. Maybe you?