About this Blog
This is Jumping the Asymptote, a weblog dedicated to understanding Korean culture as compared with other cultures (comparative cultural analysis). My name is Tony Hellmann. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in cultural studies from Western Washington University and a Master’s Degree in counselor education from Penn State, where I focused on multicultural education and counseling. I am an amateur comparative cultural analyst.
I am not an authority on Korean culture. I am one guy with a particular set of life experiences, who is making observations for all to see. If you find something insightful or relevant, cool. If not, its all good.
Regarding this blog’s title: an asymptote is a line which is the limiting factor for a curve. The curve continually approaches but never meets the asymptote. It comes from the Greek work asymptotos, “not falling together.” If you’re the curve, it may look possible to eventually meet the asymptote, but meeting it (much less crossing/jumping it) is impossible. However, lots of people come to Korea with the unconscious idea that after some time here, they’ll be able to jump the cultural asymptote. A lot of angst disappears when you stop trying, but just enjoy getting closer, day by day, although you know you’ll never touch it.
This weblog is dedicated to promoting understanding of Korean culture, especially for expatriates living and working in Korea. As I learn, I will share my observations in the form of essays, and you, dear reader, will voice your opinions in my comments, and deliver corrective slaps to the head as necessary.