I Am KoreAm: Robbie Choi
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 4th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG , I Am KoreAm
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Name: Robbie Choi
Age: 33
Location: Seoul, Korea via Vancouver, BC, Canada
Occupation: Educator

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
I ask myself, “How can I make today better than yesterday?”

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I would probably walk into a live sporting event and cause some “unfortunate” things to happen to my most despised team/player.

If you could go only to one restaurant for the next 5 years, which would it be?
Mickey D’s. I spent a couple of years working at McDonald’s in high school, so at an early age, I was exposed to the greatness that is the Golden Arches. Show me a man that can refuse a Chicken McNugget! Continue Reading »

North Korean Soccer Star Set To Play In South Korea
Author: Steve Han
Posted: January 4th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Korean soccer star Jong Tae-se is set to join one of South Korea’s most popular clubs, the Suwon Samsung Bluewings, according to a team official.

Jong, 28, has been playing professional soccer in Germany since impressing at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as a key player for North Korea. Despite realizing his lifelong dream of playing in Europe, he demanded a transfer recently after he spent majority of his time at FC Cologne on the bench.

“We’ve reached an agreement with Cologne to transfer Jong to us,” Suwon general manager Lee Ho-seung told AFP. “Jong will arrive here as early as next Monday for a medical test. If he passes, we will sign a contract with him.” Continue Reading »

Anti-Japan Protestor Stabs Himself in Stomach
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 4th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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A 57-year-old man known for protesting against Japan stabbed himself in the stomach in demonstration against the Japanese envoy’s visit to president-elect Park Geun-hye.

Kim Chang-geun was part of a civic group demonstrating at Gimpo Airport in Seoul awaiting the arrival of Fukushiro Nukaga when he plunged the five-inch blade into his stomach. He was later taken to the hospital, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper.

Kim’s group was demanding an official apology from Japan for war crimes committed during World War II. Continue Reading »

Friday’s Link Attack: Google Chairman’s NK Visit; Moon Bloodgood Gives Birth; Wonder Girls
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 4th, 2013
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2 Americans Are Advised Not to Visit North Korea
New York Times

The State Department said Thursday that it had advised against a visit to North Korea by the former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, and Google’s executive chairman, Eric E. Schmidt.

Neither Mr. Richardson nor Mr. Schmidt have publicly discussed reports of the possibility of such a trip or its purpose. The two men could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Victor D. Cha, an expert on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the visit might aid discussion of a humanitarian issue of concern to the United States: North Korea’s detention last month of a naturalized American citizen born in South Korea.

Google exec to visit North Korea: why Obama administration isn’t happy
Christian Science Monitor

Former US diplomat Bill Richardson is planning to take a Google executive to North Korea. The State Department has said the visit is unhelpful. The concern is about timing, it seems.

Japanese Envoy Tries to Mend Ties With South Korea
New York Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan reached out to South Korea’s incoming president, Park Geun-hye, on Friday by sending a special envoy to Seoul with calls for mending ties that had become strained under their predecessors.

But no immediate breakthrough was expected as the two main East Asian allies of the United States exchanged barbs couched in diplomatic language, a reflection of their long-running differences, rooted in Japan’s often brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910 until 1945.

The Japanese envoy, Fukushiro Nukaga, a lawmaker in the Liberal Democratic Party, met Ms. Park in her Seoul office on Friday, delivering a letter from Mr. Abe and the Japanese leader’s invitation for Ms. Park to visit Tokyo. Mr. Nukaga relayed Mr. Abe’s call for a close cooperative relationship with Ms. Park, hoping that “the launching of new governments in both countries will mark a good starting point in bilateral relations,” said Cho Yoon-sun, a spokeswoman for Ms. Park.

Northwest’s Korean Community Draws Close After Deadly Bus Crash
Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Northwest Korean community is grieving two more victims in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. So far, seven of the nine victims’ names have been released in the accident that also injured dozens.

One of the latest two victims to be identified is Chun Ho Bahn, age 63. She was a U.S. Citizen from Bothell, Washington. Her husband is being treated at a hospital in Pendleton. The other victim is Ae Ja Kim, age 61, from Korea. Her husband is still being treated in Portland, Oregon.

Assistant in Fort Lee doctor’s office charged with sexually abusing patients
NJ.com

An assistant in a Fort Lee medical office has been charged with sexually assaulting two patients, authorities announced today.

According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, two females called authorities last month to report that they had been inappropriately touched by an employee at the Central Avenue office of SBK Medical Group.

One told police that 29-year-old Gung Kim had touched her breasts and vaginal area during a procedure on Dec. 21, and another reported that, during a Dec. 29 visit, Kim “performed a procedure upon her that was not requested nor authorized” and involved the touching of her vaginal area, Molinelli said.

The Top 10 Outstanding Asian American Achievements of 2012
Northwest Asian Weekly

6. Jim Yong Kim was named president of the World Bank. Formerly president of Dartmouth College, Kim succeeded Robert Zoellick as his five-year term ended last June. President Obama nominated Kim to the position for his global development experience. Hailing from South Korea, Kim is the second World Bank president to be born outside of the United States.

Asian-American groups alleging discrimination lose bid to halt new California ban on shark fin soup
New York Daily News

A U.S. District Court judge denied an injunction Wednesday in a court battle that pits culture against environmental concerns for shark populations.

Moon Bloodgood Welcomes Daughter Pepper
People.com

Moon Bloodgood is a mom!

The Falling Skies star, 37, and her husband Grady Hall welcomed their first child, daughter Pepper, on Saturday, Dec. 15, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.

Wonder Girls Interview: Sometimes L.A. Korean Food Is Better Than In Korea
LA Weekly

A few years ago, none of the Wonder Girls spoke English; today they are all nearly fluent. Formed in 2007, the five woman K-pop group was on the forefront of the cultural crossover phenomenon with a string of hits. All in their early twenties, the Girls — Sun, Lim, Sohee, Yenny and Yubin — have opened for the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber and were the first South Korean group to have a song on the Billboard chart, with their ’50s girl group-influenced “Nobody” reaching #76 in 2009.

San Francisco-area woodworker crafts new instruments, sounds
Southern California Public Radio

There are guitars and cellos and banjos. Then, there’s the “sympathetic cannon” or the “ox”.

Those are some of the instruments designed and built by California wood worker Sung Kim. In his studio he creates musical devices that look and sound like nothing else.

South Korea Prepares The Young For A Rapidly Aging Population
NPR

At a clean and sunny community center in Seoul, the South Korean capital, senior citizens make clay models of their own faces in an arts class. Some of the faces are vivid and lifelike. Others are expressionless and indistinct. The project is intended to help the seniors remember what they look like.

This is the Gangseo District Center for Dementia. Since 2006, Seoul has opened a dementia center in each of the city’s 25 urban districts.

It’s one of the novel approaches that South Korea has developed to cope with an epidemic of dementia. Recent data suggest that South Korea is now the fastest-aging country on Earth.

The South Gate Will Stay Closed A Little Longer
Wall Street Journal

Cold weather is keeping Sungnyemun’s gate closed for longer.

The restoration of Sungnyemun, also known as Namdaemun, which is Korean for big south gate, will take four more months, an official said Friday.

The gate, designated by the government as National Treasure No. 1, was burned by an arsonist in February 2008. The top of the two-story structure was destroyed and the rest of it extensively damaged.

Rain to Be Punished For Dating Scandal
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 3rd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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The South Korean military is set to punish pop star Rain after photos of him cavorting with actress Kim Tae-hee recently surfaced, prompting many Korean citizens to question exactly how much free time the enlisted idol has to pursue such endeavors.

Korean tabloid Dispatch was the first to break the news that the ab-heavy 30-year-old hunk was dating the 32-year-old actress and model, with a series of grainy and dull photographs showing the pop star exiting a white sedan. Somehow they were able to recognize Rain, who was hiding behind a big white face mask, and connect him with Kim, whose agency confirmed the couple have been dating for about a month.

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