Thursday, October 28, 2010

why do i feel like i'm running out of time?

i guess it's a good thing that will put some fire under my ass.

Monday, October 25, 2010

you know those rare moments in life where everything is alright with the world and you're sitting on the elevated backseat of a city bus with the best view onboard of inside and outside the vehicle and you're listening to nina simone's "little girl blue" as you watch the city of seoul and its nighttime energy pan by with its countless dwellers and flashing neon advertisements while staring at the backs of the other riders' heads as you ponder where they're coming from or where their destination is or what they're looking forward to in life or what particular smell brings them back to their childhood and every detail in your surroundings seems to have its own spotlight making each swinging bus-handle hanging from the ceiling have a personal story about all the differents hands it encountered today and the appearingly exhausted torn leather seats with husky voices from too many cigarettes seem in desperate need of whiskey and good conversation and you're actually able to lose yourself for an instant and forget you're on the way to your shitty ass bartending job?

well, i live for those moments.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

i really loathe the word "fusion" and think it should be banished.

i thought running away to korea would spare me the agony of cringing from hearing it uttered, but i'm sad to report that that is so not the case.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

i'm currently alone at a "music bar" in hongdae.

the place is located in the basement of a building and it's super dark in here. the bar is pretty much lit by candles and the glow of laptop screens, and the smell of stale cigarette smoke lingers with every breath i take---but it's okay because their draft beer is cheap and served in glasses that are so ice-cold that the coaster sticks to the bottom edge like a small kid getting a haircut while sitting on a phonebook . there's classic rock n' roll from the fifties blasting on the speakers and obligatory posters of b.b. king and jazz books scattered throughout the place and the overall atmosphere is relaxed and low-key. i've been walking around for the past few hours or so, just continuing to explore all the small alleys and side streets of the neighborhood while looking for a relatively inexpensive place to grab some dinner. i'm not sure how nutritional a meal of draft beer and stale tortilla chips is, but i guess it will have to suffice.

i had an off-day last night while working at the bar, and today was just one of those days where i wanted to be alone with nothing but my thoughts, music and comfortable sneakers while wandering around seoul on foot with no agenda. i think i think too much and sometimes i wonder if all this solitude i feel really has anything to do with my surroundings. am i just destined to be always feel alone? but even if i am, i guess i'm okay with it. rather, i guess what i need to focus on is finding a way to feel fulfilled in life. i'm pretty happy here in seoul, though. who knows. do you know? yeah, me neither.

well, the bar has now switched to playing sappy (but excellent) korean ballads. i feel like i would love to partake in a good sob session to let out some steam, but unfortunately i'm usually incapable of producing anything beyond a tear or two.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

i've been wanting to write a post about this for sometime now.

i'm a gay korean-american, is that really such a big deal? yes, i know it's not a shock to many people since i write about dating, relationships and guys on this blog, but what you might not know is that it's taken a lot of time and work for me to get to this point.

growing up, i never was able to conceptualize the fact that i was different. from kindergarten to the sixth grade, i basically moved and attended a different school every year. i believe that's what made me a loner at heart, and i was used to not having friends or people to confide in. i had issues with my father as a kid, so i always sought comfort in my mom and two older sisters. since i always moved, i stopped trying to make friends after a certain point and got very used to being around the women in my family and felt at complete ease around them. all these factors were just part of the natural sequence of events in my life and i thought every outcome from it was what naturally made me who i am. i didn't have anyone to compare myself with or to talk to to realize that i might be different, so i just accepted myself as a natural recluse who preferred to deal with my issues through food. as i got older, i don't think i was just in denial about my sexuality, but i was actually confused. i just wasn't sure what i was going through and feeling, and i strived to be like everyone else i knew by casually "dating" girls that never went beyond our social-status. looking back on that time now, all i can think is wow i would never put myself through that again. i came out to my first friend right before my 21st birthday, and since then the number of people who i've confided in has grown (perhaps slowly at first, yet still with progress) to what it is now. i would definitely say that the internet helped me because the period that i started college in was the beginning of the time where having a computer and going online daily was a part of everyday life for people my age. that's when i truly began to understand that i was not like my friends, and going online and seeking information about who i might be by connecting with others similar to me became an extremely helpful source. after years of lying, denial, and being ashamed, i chose to only surround myself with people that i knew would accept me for who i am and allow me to grow as an individual. by doing so, i've been able to experience life in the way it's meant to be. what? just because i was born gay, does that mean that i have to feel different and inferior to anyone? fuck no. fuck that shit. seriously, i don't know when it happened but years ago, i started to understand human beings in general are different. there are however billion people roaming this planet trying to find their own happiness and meaning in life, or course there are anomalies to what people consider the norm. shit, people are born in so many spectacular and amazingly different ways, what exactly is so hard to understand about that? honestly, think about it. everyone is born with their own characteristics. there are so many different types of people roaming this planet, it's only naturally that some people are born with traits that others might consider different. but isn't that what makes people, people? our differences? haven't you ever had to work with someone who just absolutely annoyed the fuck out of you and wanted to kill? and then you realize that's just who they are and that people who are the complete opposite of you and what you believe in also roam the earth? i really don't get what is so hard to understand about that. people who say they're gay are actually born that way, period. there's nothing else to discuss or understand. just like you're born as a man/woman and attracted to men/women in a way that society and most of your neighbors believe in, there's also people who are NOT born that way. what the fuck is so difficult to understand about that? when a transgender person says they were born in the body of the wrong sex, what exactly is it about that that is so hard to comprehend? let's say you're a male born into a male body that instinctively likes females---no problem, right? but say that you're a male instinctively into females but you happened to be born into a female body? yes, it happens. you might have been born into a sex and sexual preference which is completely accepted and deem-able by society, but not everyone was born like that. get over it and accept it.

sometimes i question why i was born the way i am in this current generation. with the rash of all the recent suicides by teenagers and other young folks who were being bullied for who they are, all i can think is, "why?" it's so tragic. all i want to say is that as korean-american guy from flushing, queens, the pressure of living up to the certain norms of that culture is just not anything i concern myself with anymore.

i've come to the conclusion that some people are not worth my time. for people who don't believe that people are born gay, i honestly have nothing else to discuss with. with an intolerant viewpoint like that, i just assume that everything else that comes out of your mouth is garbage. you basically don't understand the fundamental differences of people, therefore you fall under the category of people who can't be taken seriously. it's not my job to educate dumb-asses like you---if you can't learn about human beings on your own, then you should really stay home in your realm of comfort.

i can say that i still grapple with my sexuality. moving to korea has been a completely different experience on its own. so many people stay closeted here but i guess i'm feel lucky since i feel no obligation to lie about myself here. i in no way feel like the poster-boy for gay rights, but i guess i'm at an age where i have a complete understanding that all human beings are different and for anyone who doesn't understand that, i just pity your existence.

maybe i've had WAYYYYY too many glasses of maker's mark alone in my room, but i hope that any young people out there who might be grappling with their sexual identity realize that you're not alone, there are countless others out there like you. and don't let the idiots who think that they're right because they speak in a decibel louder than you make you think you're inferior in anyway. just have some sympathy for them and realize that their ignorance hinders them from reaching their full potential in life---they're not worth your time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

i'm really starting to take a liking to seoul.

it's funny how when i returned from my trip to japan and was riding the subway home from the airport, i felt this huge wave of relief come over me. having spent 4 days in a country and city where i didn't know the language and found it somewhat challenging to get around, i felt really excited and happy to be back in korea. the unexpected emotion was really an odd surprise but just goes to show how attached i've become in the past four months.

i still have moments when i'm on the bus alone at night, staring out the window and gazing at all the buildings and people, where it doesn't feel real that i'm actually here. if only i could finally find a job and make some decent money so i could live in this city for awhile, that would be ideal.

anyway, just as i did in nyc, i love walking around seoul and stumbling upon old relics and plaques indicating the historical significance of the spot and what once transpired there.

while the city is very modern with sleek buildings and state-of-the-art architecture, seoul is steeped in thousands of years of history. it's common to find an old palace or historical structure surrounded by glass towers and soaring advertisements made with neon signs and blinking lights. there's a lot of contrast here between the old and the new, and i love thinking about how different the city was a long time ago.

the area of the bar that i work at is within walking distance of gwanghawmun, which is a large gate that leads to one of the former main palaces in seoul. it was constructed in 1395 and is now one of the most popular and scenic spots in the city for natives and tourists. sometimes when i get off of work really late at night, i like to walk around the area alone. it can be eery when desolate, but it's great because there's a lot to see, including huge statues of iconic figures from korean history. i like to think about what it was like to walk down that very same street hundreds of years ago and imagine how everyday life was back then. what did they eat for breakfast? what was a popular topic of conversation? where did they go for fun? what were their hardships? i also think about the era of when my parents were my age in the seventies, and ponder how different it was for them to take a stride through the city. my mom told me she remembers as a young girl when she first saw bananas being sold in seoul, and how exotic and expensive they were. things have definitely changed since then and while i'm grateful for modern technology and growth that korea has undergone the past decades, a part of me wishes i was able to experience a simpler time as well.

here are a few photos of my parents (and one of my maternal grandma) in korea from when they were younger and what seems like another lifetime ago in the seventies. if only i could live a day in the background of these photos.

Monday, October 11, 2010

sometimes, i miss my sister and friends back in nyc so much.

but life goes on. thank god for the internet and email.

Friday, October 08, 2010

thanks to technology, catching up on recent episodes of american televisions shows are just a click away online. most networks are able to sell more advertising by making their shows available on their homepages or portals like hulu, and it's a win-win situation for everyone!

however, i've sadly learned that the vast majority of these websites and portals don't allow video access to people who are using a computer from an international location. i'll click a link to watch something and get excited because of course the fucking online-ad always streams (and i've just increased the number of page views for the website's sales team), but the moment the video should start, i'll see a message such as "unable to offer this video to users of your region."

it sucks. a lot.

thankfully, there are a small handful of websites with videos that are accessible from korea. one is and i've been watching the rachel maddow show religiously. i didn't really get into it back in nyc, but now i've become a hardcore fan and never miss an episode. i'm really stupid and not knowledgable when it comes to politics, but i love how her shows breaks everything down simply so even an idiot like can me can understand. i definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to be more informed on the current events of politics in america. it disgusts me that some candidates are just liars and downright distrustful people who get rich from their hatred and cater to certain deplorably ignorant americans.

on a side note, i had the pleasure of briefly interacting with ms. maddow while i was working in the service industry in nyc, and i can attest that she is very gracious, humble, and an extremely generous tipper.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Saturday, October 02, 2010

god, i hate it when people spit into ashtrays.
"Can I be honest with you, Mr. Wind-up Bird ? I mean, really, really, really honest? Sometimes i get sooo scared! I'll wake up in the middle of the night all alone, hundreds of miles away from anybody, and it's pitch dark, and I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen to me in the future, and I get so scared i want to scream. Does that happen to you, Mr. Wind-up Bird?"

the wind-up bird chronicles, by haruki murakami. page 449.

i first read this book almost ten years ago, and started it to re-read it a month ago in korea. i finished it when i was in japan and was pleasantly surprised at how much more positive my experience of reading it was. prior, it wasn't one of my top choice murakami books, but i thoroughly enjoyed it a lot more this time around.

one of my favorite lines is the quote above. it's exactly how i feel when i wake up in my windowless room in seoul.

Friday, October 01, 2010

osaka, japan.

me and the "self-timer" option on my friend's camera became bff's during this trip.