That time I was on Korean TV

I wonder just how many more readers I would have if I posted about all the things that I don’t have time to regularly post about. The latest and greatest was my little adventure with Arirang TV.

One of the first questions I get is whether I get paid or not. The answer is no, but that is fine with me. It is not so often you get asked to come out in front of millions of potential viewers.  Arirang paid for everything including hotels, transportation, and food – so really there is not any fuss on my end. We spent 4 days filming around Korea, giving me access to places that I would have never been able to do on my own – or without suspicion.

I like Arirang. They even took the time to interview me a few times and share their ideas with me about what the show could be able. The concept was that about me being a food blogger, so  I had to go around doing my food blogger things.

Unfortunately, I had sold my camera so by the time the shooting began, I had to use a camcorder  – which they supplied. Personally, it felt a little demeaning, since it doesn’t serve me justice to what I actually do and go through.

We went to some pretty awesome places including Gwangjang shijang, Jiri-san,  Gyeongsangnam-d0, and all around Jeollanam-do.

Around Seoul we filmed some places like Baked Fish street and Meat street – both places that I  had never ever heard about. It was nice to learn about them and despite not a fish fan, I have to admit it was pretty damn good. Hit up Gwangjang shijang too.

Probably the most exciting part for me was Jiri-san. It is a mountain located in the Southern part of Korea. There we had some smoked black pig. To me, it was the highlight of the entire filming session and I didn’t have to act excited for it like Korean TV asks you to.

As for Jeollanam-do, the area lived up to its reputation for good food. We went to places like the Bamboo forest in Damyang, which despite being cool looking, due to all the bamboo, sucks balls deep in the summer. I don’t think any other part of Korea is hotter and more humid than bamboo forest, despite us being in the shade the whole time.

We also went to Changpyeong, which is designated as a slow city (not having the conveniences of modern life and actively maintaining a traditional culture alive). There was a Jongkasjib which allowed us to take part in jesa. I was asked to wear a hanbok, but if anyone knows me – I would never get caught alive in one.

I also was able to meet a true sauce boss and 400 year old soy sauce. Not to forget mentioning what is probably the best shikye I have ever had.

Overall, it was a very nice experience and I am quite thankful for being allowed to take part of it. Though…at the same time I am quite embarrassed. For anyone not familiar with Korean TV, there is a fair amount of over exaggerated acting.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am somewhat…reserved? Quiet? Not really the most expressive type – clearly – but I had to act for the sake of TV.

For one, I had to act really foreigner. That is, even though I know some level of Korean, I had to speak in English. But the funny thing is that the people I was interviewing would answer me back in Korean. And not my level of Korean but some really hard-core high level shit, at least for me. I just had to smile and nod. They wanted me to ask more questions but well…if I don’t know what they are saying then I really can’t hold up a conversation.

There was also alot of staring. Me staring at ajummas making Korean food. Me staring off into the distance. Me staring at Korean things…you know…that kinda stuff. Anyways, I would be walking on the side of mountains, walking into peoples houses and starting conversation. Real Zelda kinda stuff.  And yeah, I had to act surprise that I didn’t know what was coming. It’s quite unnatural as most people don’t wear hanboks around the house and have foreigners walk onto their property without freaking out.

I also had to act like I did’t know what most stuff is. Now..the thing is that the theme of this was that I was a food blogger that goes around Korea and makes videos about Korean food. Which is true, that is what I actually do. But I had to have some objective.

They asked me, why do I go around Korea and make videos about Korean food? Why? I said, “Because it is delicious.” But that that is not a good enough answer, and I NEED some reason for doing it. Because I want others to know about Korean food wasn’t a good reason either. So we had to work something out, I left it to the writers from whatever information they could gather from the interviews with me.

I couldn’t help but feel that it was promoting Korean food for Koreans, though I was under the impression that the target audience was foreigners.

What struck out the most though was…that despite me being a food blogger, I didn’t even know what ddeok galbi was. Well, I do know what it is, but for TV I had to act like I didn’t. I mean…in my mind I was thinking, what would people think? A food blogger that doesn’t know what deeok galbi, doenjang, or other Korean foods are?

But well, after some time I just gave up and followed what they wanted me to do. I just wanted to enjoy it and have a good time.

Then there was that camcorder too…it’s not a big deal, but I felt it made me look more like some noob tourist than an actual…writer or photographer.

I hope I don’t sound ungrateful – I mean I did have a good time but…yeah, pride set aside, not sure I want to see myself once that airs next month.

Tell me what you think!

  1. hehe nice to read about your experiences! Would have been a lot nicer if you are able to act normally and not pretend to not know things >< This is why I seldom watch Korean variety or non-dramas. Cannot stand the exaggerated stuff.

    • Hehe, but also probably more boring to see me in my natural state, since I don’t talk much : ) But yeah, I don’t like pretending I don’t know anything and…acting. Ah, I will be so embarrassed once this videos is out! You come to Seoul this next month right? :)

  2. I also was able to meet a true sauce boss and 400 year old soy sauce. What does a 400 year old soy sauce taste like? How do you preserve a sauce for 400 years.

    I guess you got a taste of the entertainment business. Everyone wants a guest that seems bigger than life with a big personality to draw in viewers. Since it’s their show they call the shots. Since it’s Korean tv I guess they go by their viewpoint.

    Now comes the editing don’t be surprised how they portray you.

    Love the pictures it’s a shame you sold your cameras. I also love photography, yet you are so good at composition. Hope you consider a book on Korea maybe you can do co-author with a Korean writer you trust to record your viewpoints.

    • Hehe don’t you worry! I sold my camera so I could upgrade to a new camera: ) One that I already bought. Plus I still have my film camera too. Hopefully more videos to come, just been a little busy. And yeah..the tv show comes out this month, and I doubt anyone will recognize me by how I am portrayed: (