We caught up with Korean-American YouTuber Justin Choi in Seoul and asked him a few questions. You can find the full interview on the Inspire Me Korea YouTube channel.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello everybody, my name is Justin Choi. I’ve been in Korea for about 8 years. I was originally born in the United States. I came to Korea originally just to work and have fun, but the work steamrolled and I ended up staying for much longer than I had planned.
Justin Do It TV is my channel on YouTube, please go and check it out! I do a lot of Vlogs around Korea as an American. I make a lot of fun and honest content. I just like to have fun.
Is there anything in particular that you want to focus on?
To be honest, I wouldn’t say they [my video topics] are important issues in Korea, but there are more things that relate to me living as an American in Korea. To me it is important, and I think that a lot of other foreigners living in Korea might find it important too.
Reaction videos or Vlogs – which are easier?
Vlogs are way easier! I do want to continue the reaction videos that I do with my friends. The most interesting aspect of it is editing it, but it just takes so long to edit. If you guys see my work flow, I use Premier Pro. There are so many cuts because I shoot them all individually and then I cut in one question and then cut in each frame of them answering. Then I have to make sure to cut out any mistakes they’ve made when talking.
It’s a lot more fun to create and a lot more people enjoy those videos definitely. But it’s too much work to do that as often as I want, so maximum, I can do one of those videos a week. I like to do a lot of self-talking Vlogs and reflect about things that I’ve felt within the Korean culture.
What advice do you have about getting into vlogging?
The thankful thing is that I started with my cell phone. My main advice is that location doesn’t matter but lighting does matter! I’ll be honest – if the lighting is bad, then there will be a lot of grainage on it. I started with an iphone 6 and it worked out a lot better than I thought. As long as you know how to touch the colour schemes which is very easy (you can find all these guides online). My most viewed video (24,000 views) was filmed with my iphone 6 last year. It is more about the content. For me, it was easier to start by showing my personality and true self in front of a phone rather than a camera.
Do you have any tips for people coming to Korea?
Definitely visit Korea. You’ll have nothing but a good time, especially if you come with someone. The food is great in the beginning; the price of the food is amazing. You can find an Airbnb for really cheap. There is just a lot to do as a tourist, whether it is going to traditional palaces, or even going to something small like a movie theatre in Korea can be a completely different experience. They do play a lot of English Hollywood movies with Korean subtitles. But you have to come when the weather is good. Summer is variable, you’ll have to wear a tank top. In Winter you’ll have a hard time walking around.
Please explain your tattoo!
This is my favourite tattoo. If you look very closely, it is half Abraham Lincoln and half Sejong Daewang (the Great). If you don’t know Abraham Lincoln, just get out! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that!
Sejong Daewang was (I believe) one of the greatest Korean emperors because he invented the modern day Korean letters, like the alphabet. His purpose was that even the commoners would have an easier time learning the language. As you all know in history that if you don’t know how to read and write, you are considered the lowest of the lowest class. He didn’t want that to be a crippling factor for his people so in that aspect, I think that is amazing. And Abraham Lincoln because I also think he is one of the greats.
How would you inspire our audience to keep learning Korean?
You have to find the most enjoyable way to keep at it. If you think of it as studying it every day, you are not going to do it. What I started to doing was that ever since I was a child, I would borrow cassette tapes of K-dramas, all these Korean dramas that even some Koreans haven’t seen. At the time I didn’t realise, but I was studying Korean. I’m not saying to go and watch all of the K-dramas that you can, but if you are going to watch them, do it without subtitles. At first you will think ‘what the hell is going on?’ but the more you focus, you will improve, so just find the most entertaining way. Or date someone who can only speak Korean!
If you want to check out more of Justin, head on over to the links below and follow him on his social media accounts:
Featured image: © Justin Choi and Diana IMK, InspireMeKorea, 17.02.2019, Inspire Me Korea.