I know I'm preaching to the choir here, of all places, about miscommunication and its affect on, well, EVERYTHING. Family get-togethers that include my husband AND mema usually have something along this line happen: mema says something (anything), husband says “oh, but that's not actually correct, it's this...”, mema doesn't understand the correction only that she's being corrected and she considers the gauntlet thrown and she will not be defeated, husband didn't intend this reaction (debatable, if you ask me), but he will not be defeated either, so they continue back and forth. Really, you guys? Husband – she has no idea what you're talking about & you're fully aware of that, doesn't that mean, on some level, you already won? Just shut up & celebrate in silence. Mema – you have no idea what he's talking about, so why are you arguing an argument for which you have no basis to argue? Just ignore him entirely, go poke the baby & enjoy at least ONE moment in life.
How many of you are multi-lingual? Do any of you know a sign language? What about Korean Sign Language (KSL)? I actually just discovered that there was a KSL about 3 days ago. This semester, I… lucked into taking American Sign Language (ASL). I am a little ashamed to admit that the idea that a KSL existed didn’t even dawn on me until after my Monday night class. For me, ASL has been a life changing experience. I had no idea. Really, I just had NO idea.
Apparently, many South Koreans are taking that to... the
knife. Smile surgeries, such as the Smile-Lipt, are one of the latest
fads in Seoul surgery. For a mere $2,000, you, too, can smile forever.
I always wanted to look more Korean (I live in Alaska, most
people think I'm Alaska Native), but it seems that Koreans want to look
less Korean? Eyelid surgery was always known to us; Mema had double
eyelid surgery. Make-up tattoos have been known of for a while; Mema
said she wanted to "always wake up looking beautiful". These were things
known, but never spoken of. Double eyelid surgery is, allegedly, so
commonplace now that they don't even refer to it as surgery anymore.
And it's not just for women! South Korea has the HIGHEST number of
plastic surgeries per capita. There's even one of those tumblr pages dedicated to it. Is K-pop to blame?
If you are Asian American, you probably have seen the following video, maybe even on this very site! But just in case you have been hiding under some rocks lately, here it is in all its glory:
The hilarious star of this video is Stella Choe: dancer, choreographer, and actress. As luck would have it, Stella and Kimchi Mama Julie have a mutual friend, and so we were able to ask her a few questions!
Kimchi Mamas: Please tell us about your acting/career background and current projects.
Stella Choe: I started dancing when I was 6 and knew by 10 that I wanted to be a dancer. I started doing dance jobs when I was 16, and then after high school, went on to a dance scholarship program at the EDGE Performing Arts Center which trains you for a dance career. I finished college and persued dancing, and have done some fun jobs.
I toured with Paul McCartney in 2002 to 2003, I have been in episodes for Scrubs, Two and a Half Men, I am one of the cheerleaders in the film "The Replacements" (funny side note: my credit was as the "Asian" cheerleader. HAHA!) I have been an assistant and associate choreographer for films that include "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "A Cinderella Story" and "Gangster Squad." Being a dancer in LA exposes you to the film and TV world and I started acting, but mainly for commercials.
KM: Wow, you danced for a Beatle and choreographed for Brad Pitt! Amazing! So how did you join this project? Were you familiar with Ken Tanaka and his work?
SC: I am friends with David Ury, the co-writer of the sketch. We were at a party together and the "What kind of Asian are you?" question came up in a conversation with some guy. It was pretty innocent, but anyway, David and I started talking about it and he came up with the idea of turning the tables. David and Ken then co-wrote the sketch. Oddly enough, just before that party David and I had talked about doing a video for my reel to help me get new theatrical representation for tv and film, so the timing was perfect.
I am also familiar with Ken and am a fan of his videos and his picture book Everybody Dies.
This was something new for him to put up on his channel. None of us thought the reaction would be what it has been!
KM: During your Britishisms part, how much was scripted and how much was ad-libbed? Either way, is there more footage out there? Can we see it? :)
SC: There was definitely a script we worked with, but as we shot I had some room to play. It was a collaborative effort, with the creative crew shouting out things at one point and me attempting to list as many british things I knew, and having fun with the physicality of it. There's an outtake reel that was published a few days ago, and you can get a sense of the silliness of it all!
The other actor, Scott Beehner, and I just shot a new video today with us reading some of the Youtube comments from the original video that are hysterical and ridiculous in and of themselves. It's a quick montage of "zingers" which should be posted soon.
KM: Can't wait for that! And it actually brings me to my last questions: were you raised by a Kimchi Mama? If so, how did she react to your interest in the arts? And has she seen the video?
SC: I was indeed raised by a Kimchi Mama!!!!! The best! My parents immigrated here in 1969 and my 2 other sisters and I were born and raised here in LA. My mom encouraged us to assimilate and be American. I think it was a tricky balance for her to try to keep Korean traditions alive in our upbringing while trying to raise us in Manhattan Beach (a very white beach community).
I have to say I was pretty lucky in the support department. I think my mom was worried about me pursuing a career she didn't really understand, but I did well in school and after college I was like, "I'm freeeee!!!" and I got a waitressing job. Even now, I don't think she gets how I support myself, but she's always excited to hear if I get a job and have food to eat. She saw the video and thinks I look crazy and am acting crazy. Ah, you gotta love a Kimchi Mama.
Thanks so much to Stella for taking the time to talk to us! Also, please check out Stella and David Ury in their interview with the Huffington Post, where they provide even more background as to the inspiration for the video:
feel nauseated! I have never before in my life read something that
gave me a physical reaction like this. I have the physical urge to throw
up! I don’t even know where to begin. I’m going to try... Osaka Mayor
Toru Hashimoto, who otherwise looks to be a human, said that the rape of
women (comfort woman) was ok because it relaxed their rapists (Japanese
Comfort women were NOT prostitutes! They were set up to be raped by Japanese soldiers by the Japanese government.
women were kept in small cubicles that resembled micro-sized
portapotties. They were forced to stay in these cells without being let
out except every couple of weeks to wash themselves. These enclosures
had chamber pots within them. Every fifteen minutes a Japanese soldier
would enter and rape the woman inside the cubicle, and if the woman in
anyway rebelled, she was pulled out, put to death and left where other
women could see her as a warning. The soldiers gunned down lines of
women if they caught STDs, instead of treating them. The women were
treated as less than human all those years ago, and now Hashimoto
dehumanizes them again.
if a German politician came out and said that some part of the
Holocaust was necessary? What if he said that the victims of the
holocaust deserved kind words, but that killing them, torturing them,
using them as slaves made the German soldiers relax, made them feel good
because they were at war, and provided needed relief? How would the
world react to that statement? How would the victims of holocaust feel? Is
there inherently some difference between how the world views the victims
of one country-wide tragedy to another? I wonder why one article on the
BBC website is all the press this has received, and I wonder how
different it might be if it were about another set of victims.
I cannot understand where Hashimoto is coming from but you can read it for yourself here:
Have you read this review of the documentary Seeking Asian Female? What are your thoughts? I have a non-Asian male acquaintance who has a definitive "type" of woman - tiny, feisty, hardworking, future-baby/homemaking Filpina; but he's also the uber-geeky American guy who long-distance "dates" women in other countries, making the occasional trip east when funds allow.
Seeking Asian Female, by Debbie Lum
I found the story kind of fascinating - I, too, cringed, but still, I couldn't stop reading. Would you, like Sandy, stay so you wouldn't lose face upon finding that your knight in shining armor was not so shiny? Does it matter how they start if they fall in love with each other in the end?
Netflix doesn't have the Debbie Lum's documentary quite yet, but I've saved it to my queue... now, will I actually watch this when it arrives in mailbox?
Episode Two of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," a new show on CNN that promises to "take you to exotic global destinations through Bourdain's unique lens," featured Los Angeles' Koreatown last week:
Anthony hung out with two famous Korean American "bad boys": Roy Choi of Kogi foodtruck fame and David Choe, street artist and newly-minted multimillionaire. Roy and David took Anthony on a culinary tour of K-town, including surprising stops at Sizzler and Jollibee, as well as profiling their families' compelling stories. Roy even gave an excellent breakdown of the 1992 LA Riots from the Korean community's point of view, a viewpoint that is not often explained so poignantly on mainstream media.
I really enjoyed the show, being a fan of all three gentlemen, and feeling more and more proud as they introduced Anthony to each new beloved haunt: the glories of Beverly Soon Tofu, the rohsu gui at Dong Il Jang, and this amazing-looking dumpling place called Myung In Dumplings which I now have made my life's goal to find and set up camp in. The Koreatown they showed him was sexy, delicious, laid-back, and rife with gorgeous examples of the ever-fabled melting pot.
One stick in my craw was the lack of a strong female Korean American voice. David Choe's mom was featured quite heavily, which I appreciated, but if he's looking for "bad Koreans," he would have benefitted from getting to know some Korean renegade riot girls too! I personally would have loved to have taken Anthony around Galleria market, fed him gamja tang, haemul jungol, and soondae, and drink him under the table at the noraebang! Maybe next time, bro!
I don't know exactly how old this website is, but you gotta check out Seoulistic.com! The videos and articles are hilarious and ring OH SO TRUE! (Old school Korean punishment, anyone? Thoughts on dating? . . . )