Inspired By KOREA

Inspired by KOREA Series – 14. Shari S Coakley

Story by Shari S Coakley
How did you find out about Korean culture?
It’s actually very random, and unexplainable. Going back to over ten years ago I frequently attended Tae Kwon Do classes, and it became my hobby. I then stopped after a few years, and my next interaction with South Korea was at university. My flat mate had a friend from back home staying with us, and she excitedly showed me a K-Pop music video; B2ST- Bad Girl if I remember correctly.
I was so confused. She then began to tell me names, and who her favourite was. My response was: “but you can’t understand what they’re saying?” At this point, I wasn’t fazed by any of it.

Fast-forward 3 years; I was on YouTube one day and a video popped up in the suggestions section – a music video by Big Bang, I began watching and was automatically hooked; I feel that it was the video production and content that drew me to K-Pop. It was the fact that it was different, and was something that I had never seen before. I then started researching more and more, and I found myself watching more music videos, variety shows, dramas and documentaries. As I had no clue about Korean music and culture, I wondered if anyone else in the UK had the same interest that I did.
In May 2013, I saw Watsky and Dumbfoundead in concert, and by chance a lot of the attendees were also into Korean music and culture as well! I soon realised that there was a large K-Pop community in the UK, and started to attend a number of events thereafter. I’d say that my interest has gone more towards Korean culture, the present day in South Korea, and the history of the country. It has been this way for a long time.
This is due to my age, and a lot of crazy shenanigans that I’ve witnessed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have favourite artists, and can appreciate new music, but my interest has stretched beyond K-Pop now. There is more to life than K-Pop, and my interest in the country itself has enthused me to travel to South Korea on two occasions; where I have acquired true friends, and fallen in love with the cuisine!
I love nature, and enjoy meeting new people and learning about how people live, along with their traditions, etiquette and culture. The Korean language intrigues me, and although I’m not in a hurry to become fluent, I enjoy listening and attempting to read Hangeul, based on the small things that I know. Other than my own Caribbean cuisine, Korean food is definitely my favourite. It’s not easy to become bored of it, as the variety of food is so vast!
As a Black British Caribbean female, I’m expected to only like certain things; stereotypical if you ask me. Many people think I’m strange and my interests are strange- but it’s better to be different in all honesty!
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‘Inspired by KOREA series’ is an ongoing collection of posts by YOU! Since we are a community of Korea lovers, we want to share your passion and how you are inspired by Korea! Submit your story of how you found out about Korean culture and what draws you to Korea to [email protected]!

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