About the Author
In an early comment a reader basically asked me what business I have doing comparative cultural analysis. He specifically asked me about my training, so here is a longer form of the summary on my About this Blog page, for those of you who care:
I currently reside in the United States, but this blog is based on experiences I had while in Asia.
I hold a BA in Cultural Studies from Western Washington University. My primary cognate was Asian American studies. I minored in African American literature. I hold an M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Penn State University. My major area of research was sexual identity development and how that is affected by ethnicity/culture. I have a book chapter published in the field of ethnohistory, an academic article published in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling and Development about how ethnicity and sexual orientation intersect and provide implications for counseling, but most importantly I use my training (both cultural studies training and counseling training) to ask good ethnographic questions. I’ve been fortunate to have experiences that have allowed me friends and contacts from all walks of Korean life. I’ve worked with Korean linguists. I have a good friend whose family owns a farm, and I worked his farm with him on weekends when I can get away. I spent a year working for the Republic of Korea Air Force, living on a ROKAF base, and I taught classes to low-rank enlisted men, high-rank enlisted men, low-rank officers, and one-on-one English lessons to colonels and generals. The lessons with the high-ranking officers quickly devolved into comparative cultural discourse over a beer. Because of my work with ATEK, I have had access to Korean reporters, a police inspector that I had lunch with every time I was in Seoul, Korean business people, politicians, etc. And I spend a lot of time asking one of them about something another one of them said. The responses are rich and fascinating. Once on a train, I met the Deputy Director of Mental Health Policy for the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs, and we had a great conversation about similarities and differences between the mental health fields in America and South Korea.
All that said, I reiterate: I am not an expert on Korean culture. I have some training that helps me conduct a particular kind of inquiry and I record it in this blog. If you find something insightful or relevant, cool. If not, its all good; thanks for stopping by all the same.
Update 1: Now that I’m back in the USA, I’ve got full access to wordpress again. Over the last few months, while I was in China, I could get in through a proxy, but scripts were broken, which meant I couldn’t see site stats, do fancy formatting (like links), or upload pictures. All that is taken care of now.
By the way, to the one guy in Seoul who writes me nastygrams, you’re wasting your time. They go right into my spam box (I love filters!) and I don’t read them. But I do see the usernames/ip address from time to time, so I know you’re out there typing away…