Korean Language Blog

A New Chingu (친구): The Korean Blog’s Newest Addition Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Tony KitchenEach week, I will be contributing to this blog, posting about Korean food, travel, culture, and occasionally language. After living in South Korea from 2008 to 2012, I spent the last several months with an itch I needed to scratch. That itch was to return to my second home, the Land of the Morning Calm: Korea. Now, as an American living in Europe, I will travel to Korea through my memories and posts, using my expertise and experience to bring you along each week.

Busan, the second largest city in Korea, was my home for those four years. I worked as a teacher, from a private academy (학원) to my final job at Busan High School (부산고등학교).  On my weekends and during those rare Korean work holidays, I traveled extensively in Korea, visiting and re-visiting my favorite spots. Growing up with a chef for a father, and with a last name like Kitchen, food was always a primary objective during my travels and daily life. And what would be a Korean meal without Korean spirits? I look forward to showing you what I believe to be Asia’s hidden gem–as a nation, a culture, and a cuisine.

My Korean language ability can be described as intermediate to advanced. I maintain native Korean friends wherever I go in order to keep my level up, and to keep my Busan accent (부산 사투리).  As an American born into a monolingual household, and with Korea being the only language I can consider my second language, I will share the plights and joys of studying the language. Additionally, one of the hardest things for a Westerner to do is to understand the Korean cultural without reservations. Studying the language is essential to understanding how Koreans interact.

I was born in a small town in Michigan in 1984. (Knowing the age of a person is critical to social interactions in Korea, whether it is drinking with your new Korean friends or talking to your Korean corporate partners. And your age is never what it seems in Korea. On New Year’s Day, I will be 31.)  I probably didn’t know Korea existed until I was 10.  Growing up in America, little did I know how much I would adore and appreciate every aspect of that little peninsula wedged between the Yellow and East Seas.  After all, Korea is the size of Indiana.

Prior to living in Korea, after graduating from the University of Missouri I wrote for a daily newspaper in Michigan. Since leaving Busan, I lived in New York City, where I worked as a freelance writer for food and travel sites. Last July, I took another leap across an ocean, and moved to Slovakia in order to mix teaching and journalism. Needless to say, travel, food, and international culture are central to my life.

And nowhere else are those things finer than in South Korea.

I look forward to developing a solid relationship with my readers. I hope my posts, along with Namsoo’s, bring you back time and time again.

Ban-gab seub-ni-da! (반갑습니다!)

Tony Kitchen

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About the Author: Tony Kitchen

Tony is a seasoned traveler who lived in Busan, South Korea from 2008-2012. While living in South Korea, he traveled extensively around Asia. After leaving, he spent 100 days traveling from Russia to Germany and many places in between. Currently, he lives and works in Budapest, Hungary, focusing on South Korean and East Asian business. Tony has an M.A. in International Relations with a specific focus on South Korean-U.S. relations and North Korea.