On Thursday night the Nanoomi crew (including your humble KTLIT correspondent) were lucky enough to be involved in a dual launch party that featured Zen Kimchi, Eat Your Kimchi, and several folks who write about Korea without having to invoke kimchi.^^
The first launch was that of Benson Lee’s (the director of Planet B-Boy) Obangsaek project, which is aimed at bringing modern Korea to the global community and the second launch was of a Nanoomi ReadBuild book (the first, we hope, of many). Benson began with a short speech outlining the lack of information on Korea available to the Western world. This point was driven home by an alternately amusing and sad video in which he asked people from various countries, what they knew about South Korea. The answer, of course, was, “pretty much nothing.” Further, he asked 40 random folks in Times Square what they knew about Korea and 39 of them answered “North Korea.”
Benson went on to discuss some of the projects he’s working on, including the Obangsaek website, with the hope that social media can bridge some of this gap. The event was held at the Platoon Kunsthalle, in Gangnam. This is a super building constructed out of 28 iso cargo containers which create a large, flexible and beautiful event space. Platoon Kunsthalle is a venue for all matter of events, including underground art, studio space, exhibitions, multimedia perfomances, and workshops. This night, however, it was dedicated to the launch of Project Obangsaek and the Nanoomi/ReadBuild book project.
After Mr. Lee spoke, it was time for Nanoomi to strut our (half) hour on the stage. That part of the event began with Cynthia Yoo giving a short presentation on what Nanoomi is, and what our goals are (“Sharing Korean Life, News and Blogs,” as it is put on the website). As I listened to this presentation I was particularly struck by the parallelism and overlap between Nanoomi and the Obangsaek project.
After Cynthia dazzled the crowd with her high-watt introduction, Korean food-aficianado and radio-star Joe McPherson, gave the audience a brief look at what he and his partners are doing on the ZenKimchi website, which is the original Korean food website (in English) in Korea. The presentation was short and remarkably zippy considering that Joe’s radio show begins at 5am each day and he was up substantially beyond his bedtime. One of the highlights for me, was seeing how much international press attention ZenKimchi has garnered.
Next, it was Charles Montgomery (me) on stage, presenting the NanoomiReadBuild partnership to write and publish in English and Korean a 60,000 word book tentatively titled “The New Korea Files: Beyond Bulgogi.” This book will tell the stories of expats in Korea and what Korea has meant to them. As the pun in the title suggests, the book is partly aimed at the new generation of Koreaphiles being created by the ongoing international success of Korean video, food, and literature. This presentation was also brief, although the presenter was waaaaaaaay more handsome than the guy in the previous presentation!
The Nanoomi presentation ended with Simon and Martina, the masterminds of the wildly popular “Eat Your Kimchi” a video blog which covers all kinds of aspects of Korean culture, from K-pop, Korean food, some of the odder aspects of Korean culture, to Spudgy “the world’s weirdest looking dog!” Simon and Martina poured on the video and the crowd was entirely entranced, and often laughing out loud. If you’d like a quick, easy, and highly entertaining introduction to Korean culture, Eat Your Kimchi is the place to start!
With that, and too soon it seemed, the Nanoomi part of the show ended and the room was quickly re-fitted for a quick round of speed-dating, prior to an evening ending “Seoul Train Party.”
It was an outstanding event and everyone had a great time!
It makes me look forward, even more, to the next Nanoomi get-together, tentatively planned for next month.