Blogger answers questions on anything Korean
This is the second in a series of interviews that feature individuals who help promote Korean culture overseas. — ED.
A screen capture of the “Ask a Korean!” blog. The photo of the blog operator, who is a 30-year-old Korean-American attorney, is not used because he wishes to remain anonymous
By Jane Han
NEW YORK — Consider “Ask a Korean!” your go-to for everything Korean. Really, everything.
From questions as light as “How do I attract Korean men?” and “Why is StarCraft so popular in Korea?” to dubious ones like “Why do Koreans hate the Japanese?” the Korean — the man behind the popular Q&A blog — answers them all, except questions about himself.
The 30-year-old Korean-American attorney, who made his blog debut in October 2006, prefers to stay anonymous. But he did open up about why he started blogging.
“To be honest, it was an impulsive decision,” the Korean said in an interview with The Korea Times.
Having been inspired by “!Ask a Mexican!,” a weekly column written by Gustavo Arellano, the Korean didn’t mull long before launching his site as a hobby while attending law school.
“One day I decided to have this blog, I solicited some questions from my friends, and by the next day, the first post was up,” he said.
Now, Ask a Korean!, also known as AAK!, draws nearly 100,000 visitors a month.
“I receive between five to 10 questions a day and I try to answer every single one of them, as long as the questions are sincerely asked,” says the Korean, who has a pet peeve about incorrect spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Asking readers to follow basic writing rules isn’t much, considering the amount of time and work he puts into his answers.
The Korean, who spends his weekends researching and writing draft posts, once spent up to 10 months pondering and replying to a question on Confucianism’s influence on Korea.
“Luckily, I was in a better position than most to write about that topic because my grandfather was a Confucian scholar,” the Korean said. “But I still had to brush up on the old texts and read a few more books before I could answer the question in a reliable manner.”
Not all questions call for this much work, fortunately. The most common questions the Korean receives are about Korean men.
“Hordes of non-Korean women ask about how to approach a Korean man or why their Korean boyfriends are acting in one way or another,” says the Korean, whose readers are largely from countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But questions come from farther out, the extent to which the Middle Easterners ask about Korean pop culture.
Answering these questions are fine, however, he finds it most rewarding when he is able to help Korean adoptees or adoptive parents.
Some of the adoptees ask for something as basic as reading their own Korean names from the paperwork.
“Identity struggle while living abroad is always difficult,” says the Korean, who moved from Seoul to Los Angeles when he was 16.
As someone who knows both Korea and America, the blogger thinks the whole of Korean culture is not well-known, the reason why the little parts that are known are constantly blown out of proportion.
“Koreans, and especially the Korean government, still have a great deal to learn about simply showing the culture, not telling it,” says the Korean.
뉴욕 -- 한국에 대한 모든 것에 답변을 해주는 한국 사람이 있다.
“왜 스타크래프트 게임이 한국에서 인기가 있는지?” 와 같은 가벼운 질문에서 부터 “왜 한국사람이 일본사람을 미워하는지?” 같은 미심쩍은 점까지 답변을 해주는 인기 문답 블로그를 운영하고 있는 이 한국인은 그 자신에 대한 질문을 빼고는 모든 것에 대해 답변을 해 주고 있다.
2006년 10월에 블로그를 만든 이 재미교포(30) 변호사는 이름이 알려지지 않기를 바라고 있지만 왜 블로그를 시작하게 됐는지에 대해 입을 열었다.
코리아타임스와의 인터뷰에서 그는 “솔직히 말해서, 블로그를 하게 된 것은 충동적인 결정이었다”고 밝혔다.
매주 나오는 구스타보 아렐라노의 칼럼 “멕시코인에게 묻기”로 부터 영감을 얻은 이 변호사는 법학전문대학원을 다니면서 오래지 않아 취미생활로 사이트를 개설했다.
“어느 날 블로그를 개설을 결정했고 친구들에게 질문을 해달라고 요청을 했는데 다음날 첫 질문이 올라왔습니다.”
현재 AAK로 알려져 있는 한국인에게 묻기 블로그는 한 달에 100,000명에 가까운 네티즌들이 방문하고 있다.