Michael Aronson, a New York native who now lives in Seoul, Korea, loves everything about his adopted country. He expresses this love in video clips (like his frolicking, hip-hop-inflected ode to the Seoul subway system, above) that he posts on YouTube. The Korea Daily interviewed Aronson when he visited New York recently, and ran the article that we have translated below.
There is a man who is spreading Korean culture through YouTube. His name is Michael Aronson.
He was born in Stony Brook, Long Island. While he was studying East Asian Studies at New York University, he visited Korea as an exchange student in 2005. After he came back to New York to graduate, he went back to Korea again, and has lived there for two years. He fell in love with the Korean subway, Korean food and Korean culture, and expressed his love of Korea through video. His most popular work, “Seoul Subway Song,” has been viewed by more than five hundred thousand people.
We [The Korea Daily] met and interviewed him. When we met Michael in person, he was a timid person. We wondered why he is so fanatical about Korean culture. He works as an editor for English books, and he told us that he felt a bit awkward when he came to New York.
Korea Daily: Why Korea?
Michael: When I went to Korea at first, I felt comfortable and I thought that there is connection between Korea and me. I love Korean culture, and I wanted to expressed Korean culture funnily, so I chose YouTube to express my feelings about Korea.
Korea Daily: When did you really start to make the music videos?
Michael: Since 2010 I have made 16 long music videos. Including short videos the total would be over 300.
Korea Daily: How do you get the ideas or concepts for music videos?
Michael: I usually get the ideas from talking with other people. My friends shoot the video, and I do the rest.
Korea Daily: Do you have any experience filming?
Michael: No, I have never made video clips before. I just kept thinking of how I could make a better video, and as a result, I was able to make these kinds of videos. But now people’s expectations are higher than before. Even though these expectations are a bit of a challenge, I think it means that I should try new things.
Korea Daily: Why aren’t you comfortable in New York, even though you were born here?
Michael: I didn’t know that New York seemed so old, compared to Korea. When I came to New York through JFK Airport, I saw the sign, “Welcome to New York,” in the dark hall. However, I didn’t feel welcomed to New York because Incheon airport is better than JFK.
Korea Daily: If you made a video clip about New York, what would you want to show?
Michael: I would just want to show the real New York subway, the dirty stations and the people who play music. Koreans think that New York is a fancy city, a fantasy land. The show “Sex and the City” shows New York as a fancy and splendid city. Even though New York is a fancy city, it is also a tough place for the people who live here.