It has always bothered me a bit when they ask me: “Are you Chinese or Japanese?”.

You know, asking this to a Korean is like asking a Spanish something like … Are you Italian or German? With all my respects to Italians and Germans. It’s like if I saw you whitey and I asumed that you deliver food or work in a car factory.

Better just ask ” Where are you from?” So you’ll get the answer to your question and save yourself from losing points just opening your mouth.

It is also a bit annoying when you ignore it, answer you’re Korean, and then they ask “¿North or South?”

If I was from North Korea it would mean that probably escaped from my country and wouldn’t be writing these words quietly. My family certainly would have paid for my defection.

I kindly ask you to read and inform yourselves a little before screwing it up again. We are not talking about wines, but general culture.

I don’t want to go on and on but, as they say, “know the past and you’ll understand the present.” So I will try to be brief.

Korea was invaded by Mongols, Chinese and Japanese. Due to its geographical situation between China and Japan, it has always been desired by both military and commercial strategic reasons.

Mainly by ethnic and religious issues, North and South have always been separate in the past, both during external invasions and during periods of peace. Precisely after the last invasion, the Japanese one, is when it was definitely divided.

By the way, do not talk too much about Japan to old people in Korea. Neither the North nor in the South. It’s like talking to a survivor of a nazi concentration camp in Poland. Almost at that level.

I am not an expert in Korean history, but all Koreans know the mythical story of the naval battles of XVIth century against the Japanese with the Kobukseons. One in particular is something like the Korean version of the confrontation of the 300 Spartans (tough guys, the Greeks) against the Ottomans but in a naval battle version. Cool. The myth, not war. By the way, there is even a movie.

Later, Korea was again invaded by Japan in 1910. After the surrender of the Japanese empire in World War II, Korea got the independence on 15th August, 1945.

But then came more complications: in 1950 North Korea started the march to South Korea. Russian and Chinese gave support to the North Koreans. American and United Nations to the south. After 3 years of war, the 38th parallel draws a line on the ground that divides the peninsula in two countries. A state of armistice was declared and since then there is something that could be called peace.

From there, one Korea, remains comunist. The other one becomes capitalist. If you are South Korean you can not visit the demilitarized zone in parallel 38. Due to my Spanish nationality I had the opportunity to visit it. It is sad. It has become a circus for tourists to visit one of the hottest spots in the world. They show you the tunnels dug by the North Koreans to come to the south and there is even a souvenir shop. The soldier assigned to us as a guide laughed telling stories of a ghost town visible on the horizon.

A Latino US soldier joking about a Korean problem, talking in spanish to a South Korean-Canarian on the border with North Korea. Cool

Korea was considered the second poorest country in the world. Currently the north remains comunist and the south is among the richest countries on the planet.

Ju-Yung Chung was born in North Korea during the Japanese invasion and lived in abject poverty. Years later, he would be known throughout the world as the founder of Hyundai. Today he is a case of study, one of the greatest examples of entrepreneurship in the world. Another day I will talk about him because his story takes some time to be told.

It’s a shame that two sister countries are confronted for so long by ethnic, religious and political ideologies. By the same problems that have brought the war to the whole world.

Maybe my korean roots have marked my behaviour in personal and professional terms, accompanied by my canarian islander lifestyle, which especially distinguishes all those Korean-canaries that are rocking the world.

Perhaps Korea is not the best playing football, but beware with Koreans. So… neither Chinese nor Japanese, I am Made in Korea, assembled in Canary Islands.