Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Hi, I’m Genie Joo, the creator of OPPA BLOG. It’s nice to meet you.

You might be wondering, what is OPPA BLOG? I guess the run-of-the-mill answer I give people when I can't get my thoughts together is that "OPPA BLOG is a visual lifestyle and culture site about Korea".

I'm sure there are a million blogs just like this -- in fact there are, though they're mostly by expats, writing about their experiences in Korea. And while a lot of the sites do a great job with what they do, the one thing I am doing differently with OPPA BLOG is offering the perspective of actuals Koreans. Specifically "oppas", that is to say guys of a certain age – though not necessarily older than me.

The reason why I’m focusing on dynamics with oppas is really just a personal decision, because I just have an easier time interacting with guys than girls. For most of my adolescent years I was mainly surrounded by guys, which I think in turn just always made it easier for me to make friends with them (who knows, I’m pretty sure there will be an occasional appearance by a girl friend or two on the blog).

I’ll be honest, I worry quite often about how OPPA BLOG will be received, when there is an increasing amount of blogs dedicated to fighting the fetishizing and stereotyping of Korean men, and Korea as a whole. I see how a blog dedicated entirely to oppas, a term that is loosely thrown around by enthusiastic k-pop fans, can be problematic. However, the intentions of OPPA BLOG is the complete opposite of fetishizing the Korean male - rather I hope that it will be a platform for real Korean guys to share their opinions and feelings, as opposed to what is idealized in dramas.

But of course, by no means is this blog going to be 100% serious; it’s meant to be whimsical, fun, with copious amounts of mustaches (and because this is Korea most of the facial hair will not be real), at the same time as it aims to be insightful. Hopefully this blog will add another layer to people's perception of Korea and Korean people — debunking some of the stereotypes from pop culture and media. Also, I hope it will be a way for me to better understand the culture of the country that, while I didn’t grow up in it, I consider home.

So much has happened since the day when the idea of OPPA BLOG was first thought of, and up till now. There has been so much trial and error -- though with more errors than anything else haha. When the blog first came about, I had a team to help me bring all the ideas for OPPA BLOG to life. We worked long and hard hours meeting people, making connections, thinking of ways to make OPPA BLOG better, and everything in between. But in the end it didn’t work out creatively or otherwise. The second time, I had to endure another roadblock and put this on hold because of my health.

For the longest time I was wallowing and wondering about what I was going to do, or even how I could manage to continue with OPPA BLOG alone. I was really, honestly thinking about quitting this idea all together... but due to the wonderful support of a few friends I decided I wanted to keep on going with this idea — I love it too much to not go on with it.

This is how OPPA BLOG started: kind of like a joke, but at the same time, the more I thought about it -- it had potential. Throughout the months I've spent working on OPPA BLOG there were a lot of concepts thrown around. Obviously, nothing is set in stone but there's a general aesthetic and whimsicalness I am aiming for, and here are a few things that I hope will be regularly featured on OPPA BLOG. 

Hyundai Card Music Pop-up Store at Hongdae

For example, Q&A's about Korea/Korean culture, and to have the guys featured on the blog create playlists with music recs for readers. In fact, I hope to write a lot about music, specially the independent music scene in Seoul, which has so much to offer! I hope to share nice cafes and good restaurants in the city, as recommended by oppas, to give you a impression what Seoul has to offer beyond Myeongdong and Hongdae. In between all this, there might also be videos of oppas acting out your favorite drama stereotypes, and copious amounts of polaroids featuring fake moustaches haha.

I hope you guys will join me on this journey through making OPPA BLOG — the good, the bad, and everything in between -- while learning a bit about me, while I learn about myself and the place I call home. Maybe with your help I can make OPPA BLOG into something even greater than I had imagined it to be.

They say 3rd time is always a charm, right? Well, let’s see where this goes…

All photos courtesy of the lovely nana of oh my tokyo! (aka the platonic life partner)

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