Hello Annie

I’m half-Korean and half-Dominican.  You’d think my halves would have equal representation in my life, but unfortunately my dad was heavily assimilated to American life at a young age, whereas my mom immigrated much later in her life and therefore raised us with a lot more of her culture.  So, culture-wise I think it’s more accurate to say I’m half-Korean and half-American.

I grew up without the Korean language (outside of some colorful bits my mom used when she was especially angry, foods, a few everyday phrases, etc.) until I finally studied it for a year in college.  I decided that I needed to improve my listening and speaking skills, so I turned to K-dramas.  I watched a handful, but they wore me down with their depressing storylines.  (If there’s one thing I can say for my Korean brethren, it’s that they know how to cheapshot you into bawling your eyes out.)  I started dabbling in J-dramas, which were by and large much, much happier.  That, accompanied with my best friend/college roommate’s love of anime and Miyazaki movies, got me watching a show that had been relatively new at the time, “Naruto”, as well as her favorite “Fruits Basket”.

For about a year, I started watching anime.  I don’t quite remember everything I watched, but the big ones were “Naruto”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Fruits Basket”, “Bleach”, and “Fushigi Yuugi”.  After a while, though, “Naruto” was all I watched.  I started getting curious about manga when I started getting bored with the filler episodes for “Naruto” (episodes they aired when the show plotline had caught up to the manga).  So I started reading the manga.  Eventually, I stopped watching much anime and was only reading manga.  Which I still do today.  I read mainly shoujo and josei (manga geared towards pre-teen/teenage girls and twenty-something women – I admit I’m a sucker for romance, btw).  Recently I really got into Korean online manhwa, too.  I also started listening to a lot of Japanese and Korean music – not just anime or drama themes, but also particular artists like Super Junior, Ikimonogakari, Ayaka, Cherry Filter, etc.

I lived in Japan after college for 3 years, where I learned basic Japanese and taught English.  So now I can watch pre-teen dramas and some lighter variety shows without needing too much translation (though I still have to look up a lot of words afterwards).  I’m back in the States and living in California now, but that hasn’t really diminished my love of Asian pop culture.

Phew!  ^I really windbagged up there, didn’t I?  Well, let’s end it quick, then.  Here’s some of my LOVES in unranked order:

  1. Spicy foods.  (If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not hot enough.)
  2. J-dramas/K-dramas.  (Hana Yori Dango, My Name is Kim Sam-soon, Coffee Prince, Buzzer Beat, etc. etc. etc…….)
  3. 関ジャニ∞ (Kanjani8).  (Yes, I’m into Johnny’s.  That’s a story in and of itself that I may devote an entry to later on.)
  4. J-pop/K-pop (Surprisingly, I don’t follow the latter as much as the former.)
  5. Competitive swimming.  (That’s right – I’m not 100% nerd…I’m also part-jock.)
  6. OK Go.  (My favorite band, and not just for their cool videos or nerdiness.  I love dance rock, which defines their older stuff, but I also like a bit more experimental stuff, which defines their latest album, “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky”.  Go try them out!)
  7. Studio Ghibli movies.  (AKA Miyazaki movies.  All-time faves include “Spirited Away” and “Whisper of the Heart”.)
  8. Fantasy.  (Novels, movies, TV shows…I can be a little picky and judgey, but I do love them and the attention they’re getting.  Escapist literature with a message FTW!)
  9. Traveling.
  10. Ice cream.  (My ultimate vice.)
And, to quote Kelli, “DISLOVES”:
  1. Cilantro.  (Okay, this has been improving for me…in low doses, it’s quite nice.)
  2. My many, many allergies.
  3. Natto.  (Gross.)
  4. Raspberries/raspberry-flavored anything.
  5. People with closed minds!

And that’s about it!

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