KoreAm Journal - Korean America's Premier Magazine http://iamkoream.com KoreAm Journal | Official Website Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:03:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Korean Air Heiress Pleads for Leniency in ‘Nut Rage’ Appeal http://iamkoream.com/korean-air-heiress-pleads-for-leniency-in-nut-rage-appeal/ http://iamkoream.com/korean-air-heiress-pleads-for-leniency-in-nut-rage-appeal/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:45:50 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75811 by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Heather Cho, the eldest daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, asked an appeal court on Wednesday to overturn her conviction for disrupting a flight in an angry outburst over cabin service.

Cho, the former vice president of Korean Air, was sentenced to one year in prison over an in-flight incident at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. After she became angered by how she was served macadamia nuts, the executive forced a taxiing plane to return to its departure gate in order to eject the cabin crew chief off the plane, according to Reuters.

In February, a lower court found Cho guilty on multiple charges: forcing flight route deviation, obstructing aviation safety and assaulting two cabin crewmembers physically and verbally.

The incident sparked widespread ridicule and public anger towards chaebols, families that run South Korea’s largest conglomerates. Many critics questioned whether or not chaebol families had excessive influence on running the country.

In the first session of Cho’s appeal hearing on Wednesday, the heiress’ attorney sought to reduce her sentence by asserting that the plane’s movement of 20 meters on land is not enough for it to be considered to be in flight.

“Let me take this chance to ask the victims for forgiveness … I am repenting for what I have done. I am asking for leniency,” Cho said, wearing an olive-green prison uniform at her appeal hearing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Prosecutors also appealed Cho’s earlier acquittal of obstructing the government investigation into the “nut rage” incident. They argued that her sentence was too light and was skeptical of whether Cho was sincere in her apology.

Meanwhile, the flight attendant who served the now famous macadamia nuts has separately filed a civil lawsuit in New York for compensation against Cho and Korean Air.


Featured image via Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

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Dictionary App Helps North Korean Defectors Speak ‘Southern’ http://iamkoream.com/dictionary-app-helps-north-korean-defectors-speak-southern/ http://iamkoream.com/dictionary-app-helps-north-korean-defectors-speak-southern/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:34:44 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75796 Pictured above: An instructor demonstrates how to use a dictionary app to a group of teen North Korean defectors. (Photo via Cheil Worldwide)

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A new smartphone app has been developed in South Korea to help North Korean defectors overcome one of the biggest barriers in assimilating to life in South Korea—speaking in the Seoul dialect.

To South Koreans, English words like “ice cream” and “shampoo” are part of everyday language, thanks to America’s cultural influence through its military and pop culture presence. However, to North Korean defectors who fled their reclusive country, these words have no meaning.

Seven decades of separation have created a linguistic gap so wide that some language experts believe that about a third of everyday words used in the two Koreas are different. Even the simplest tasks such as asking for directions require a new vocabulary for defectors living in South Korea.

With this in mind, Seoul advertising firm Cheil Worldwide teamed up with local nonprofits to develop Univoca, a South Korean-North Korean dictionary app, to help socially marginalized defectors overcome communication issues.

i_622_350Photo via thenextgag.com

According to Agence France-Presse, the app offers translations of 3,600 key words plucked from South Korean high school textbooks and modern-day slang, making it an incredibly useful for teen defectors struggling in school. Users can scan unfamiliar words with their smartphone camera or manually input text for translation. Since its launch in mid-March, the app has been downloaded more than 1,500 times.

“For North Korean teen defectors, who are more sensitive to cultural differences, the language issue is considered a first priority to solve when settling down in South Korea,” Cheil said in a statement.

According to the Ministry of Education, the population of North Korean student defectors, excluding those of college age, rose from 966 students in 2008 to 2,183 last year.

Many of these students face challenges of learning rapidly-changing youth slang and “konglish” vocabulary, which uses English words in non-standard ways, like “service” for freebies, “dika” for digital camera and “hand phone” for cellphone.

Noelle Kim, one of the defectors who helped provide translations for the app, said working on the project brought back memories of her own linguistic struggle. She recalled having difficulty mastering English words and how reading just a few pages of a South Korean school textbook used to take her hours.

“Something like this app would have been a precious gift to new arrivals like myself five years ago,” Kim said.


Recommended Reading: 

North and South Korea Face Increasing Linguistic Gap” by the Associated Press

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South Korean Man Indicted in Knife Attack on U.S. Envoy http://iamkoream.com/south-korean-man-indicted-in-knife-attack-on-u-s-envoy/ http://iamkoream.com/south-korean-man-indicted-in-knife-attack-on-u-s-envoy/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 18:07:41 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75791 Pictured above: Kim Ji-jong, the assailant who slashed U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert’s face, lies on the ground after the attack. (Photo courtesy of AP)

by KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday indicted a man who slashed the U.S. ambassador in Seoul last month on charges of attempted murder.

Kim Ki-jong, 55, was indicted Wednesday on charges of assaulting a foreign envoy and obstruction, according to an official at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, who did not want to be named, citing department rules.

South Korean law requires the trial to start within 14 days, and there is a possibility that it could start as early as next week, according to an official at the Seoul Central District Court, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules. He said it was too early to comment on the potential penalties Kim could face.

Prosecutors have also been investigating whether Kim violated a controversial law that bans praise or assistance for North Korea. The court official said it was possible prosecutors may add such charges against Kim during the trial.

Police say Kim attacked Ambassador Mark Lippert with a knife during a breakfast forum on March 5. He suffered deep gashes on his face and arm and was treated at a Seoul hospital for five days.

Police say Kim chose Lippert as a target to highlight his opposition to ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills. North Korea has angrily reacted to the drills, calling them an invasion rehearsal.

Anti-U.S. activists such as Kim have long blamed the presence of 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South as a deterrent to the North for the continuing split of the Korean Peninsula.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Nexon Employees Dress Up as Game Characters for April Fools’ Day http://iamkoream.com/nexon-employees-dress-up-as-game-characters-for-april-fools-day/ http://iamkoream.com/nexon-employees-dress-up-as-game-characters-for-april-fools-day/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:28:40 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75776 by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Today is April Fools’ Day, but the U.S. isn’t the only country known to pull mischievous pranks on this holiday. Employees of Korean game developer and publisher Nexon decided to take their April Fools’ Day prank to next level by dressing up as game characters.

Founded in Seoul in 1994, Nexon has a long resume of PC and mobile online games, including MapleStory, VindictusAtlantica Online and Combat Arms. In the photos below, you can see that some of the employees dressed up as characters from past Nexon games. How many characters can you recognize?

10986981_872188706177724_6579033370710794097_nNexon employees entering the building.

11134000_872188672844394_4403180812540824554_nThey come through the revolving doors like a boss. 

11080900_872188676177727_6256058353949644442_nSome characters are adorable, but they might be scary for children.

10409093_872188682844393_8700618959598134323_nGame characters need their coffee to charge their HP.

11081313_872188792844382_8996983821285639163_nDon’t mind the game characters, the front desk clerk tells the visitors.

10421137_872188909511037_1230152102599825108_nTime to go through the turnpikes.

10985952_872188942844367_899079066286348933_oIt’s going to be one awkward elevator ride for that one employee dressed as a civilian. 

11046393_872189052844356_8684455953448903570_oHold the elevator! Oh wait… I can’t fit. 

11081309_872188782844383_8710313614083483477_nI guess I’ll stay in the lobby forever. 

Which costume is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.


H/T to Soompi. All photos courtesy of Nexon.

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Audrey Fashion Show 2015 Recap http://iamkoream.com/audrey-fashion-show-2015-recap/ http://iamkoream.com/audrey-fashion-show-2015-recap/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:29:39 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75752 story by AMBER CHEN
photography by JOHN PARK

The Audrey Fashion Show 2015 took place at 440 Seaton in downtown Los Angeles on March 28, and it was a grand celebration honoring Asian Americans in fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Satine Boutique owner Jeannie Lee was the chosen curator for the show, handpicking designers from all over the world to showcase their summer collections. And because Audrey Magazine had invited some of the most fashion-forward celebrities in the Asian community—from Hana Mae Lee, to Lindsay Price, to Eugenie Grey—the entire venue had become a runway, even before the show officially started.

afs-selects-006Hana Mae Lee of Pitch Perfect

afs-selects-007Jeannie Mai, co-host of The Real 

afs-selects-008The Filharmonic

Kicking off the show was Korean American indie folk-rock band Run River North. After releasing their self-titled album last year, the group has been touring all over America and parts of Europe, but they still made time to blow us away at the Audrey Fashion Show. Their passionate performance held the audience’s attention until the very end, as they played signature tracks like “Monsters Calling North” as well as testing out newer songs for the crowd.

afs-selects-009Run River North

Following their set, the night’s host Jeannie Mai, from FOX’s talk show The Real, took the stage to welcome the audience and introduce the designers. She told stories about what it meant to her when she first saw Audrey Magazine at a bookstore 12 years ago, when the premier Asian American women’s lifestyle magazine first launched, and she even had time to crack a few jokes, asking the audience where she could find a good bowl of pho in LA and doing a spot-on impression of her Vietnamese mother telling her to drive safely back when she got her first car — which was, incidentally, a Toyota, the title sponsor of the night. Other sponsors included PIA, the Korea Daily, WacowLA, MYX TV, Johnnie Walker, Asahi, Qupid, South Coast Plaza and Make-Up Artist Network.

afs-selects-010Jeannie Mai hosting the Audrey Fashion Show 2015

With everyone’s spirits enlivened, the show began, starting with New York City based designer Rachel Antonoff and L.A.-based designer Heidi Merrick. Focused mainly on flowing casual wear, models were dressed in a variety of vacation-worthy styles, complete with straw hats and matching platform wedges.


Next came L.A. based contemporary brand AND B paired with Sachin & Babi, named after its husband and wife founders, who stormed the runway with its more modern take on the upcoming season. Models wore contemporary pieces in mainly neutral colors, but still managed to engage onlookers with the addition of bold accessories.


As a pleasant surprise for the females in the audience, French brand Elevenparis, was the first of the designers to have male models, earning copious applause from the women throughout the venue. With a more street style bent, models sported jersey-esque sets printed with tropical florals and even headshots of model Kate Moss.


Taking a short break from the fashion, world renowned dancer/choreographer Mike Song and beatboxer Terry Im, better known by his stage name KRNFX, paired up to give a more than memorable performance. Perfectly synchronizing his moves with KRNFX’s beats, Mike Song moved with ease, portraying comical scenarios such as killing a fly, dancing in a club, and a ping pong game between friends. After beatboxing along with Song, KRNFX took center stage to perform a mind-blowing solo, his power never faltering, earning the respect of all the guests.


The show continued with JACHS New York paired with designer April Mun’s Stella & Jamie. The rock-chic brand strayed from its usually women’s only collection and expanded into menswear. L.A. based brand Cult Gaia and L.A. based designer Sechung showcased a line of cheerful spring styles, while Becca by Rebecca Virtue paired with Lezard Swim to fully embody the upcoming summer season with beachwear.




Ending the performances of the night was the six member group The Filharmonic, an L.A.-based boy band who first gained fame in the NBC reality show The Sing-Off and who will appear in the upcoming highly-anticipated movie Pitch Perfect 2. While on stage, they sang a myriad of songs including Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” the popular “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, and “All of Me” by John Legend. All a capella, their rich vocals effortlessly filled the venue.


For the last time, Jeannie Mai took the stage with runway show curator Jeannie Lee to thank James Campbell of James Campbell Productions and to bid the audience farewell, encouraging them to continue the festivities, ending the show on high note.


Originally published on Audrey Magazine

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Details Still Sketchy Following Fatal Shooting of Student Outside Anaheim Clinic http://iamkoream.com/details-still-sketchy-following-fatal-shooting-of-student-outside-anaheim-clinic/ http://iamkoream.com/details-still-sketchy-following-fatal-shooting-of-student-outside-anaheim-clinic/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:47:56 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75738 by COURTNEY LEE

A 20-year-old Korean American man was shot and killed by a security guard outside an Anaheim medical marijuana facility on March 15 following a suspected burglary, according to Anaheim police.

Family and friends gathered for the funeral of Jee Sun Yoo of Fullerton last Thursday at the Han Kook Mortuary, according to a posting on Facebook. Yoo, known as Jason among friends, would have turned 21 on March 23.

According to Anaheim authorities, the security guard heard commotion outside the facility—located in the 200 block of North Wilshire Ave.—around 6 a.m. and spotted Yoo trying to climb a fence. The guard confronted Yoo and a struggle ensued, resulting in the fatal shooting. Yoo was armed with a weapon, police spokesman Lt. Eric Trapp told KoreAm, but did not specify further details, since the case is still under investigation by homicide detectives.

According to Trapp, the guard fully cooperated with police and was released after questioning. No charges have been filed against the guard, whose name or age has not been released.

The on-duty security guard was not assigned to patrol the facility that evening and only happened to be in close proximity, Trapp told KoreAm. While the guard was employed by a company contracted to provide security to the Anaheim marijuana dispensary, he was assigned to be patrolling other areas that night.

Marijuana dispensaries, otherwise known as medical marijuana clinics, were banned by the city of Anaheim in 2013, yet a handful of dispensaries are still operating, while subject to civil and criminal charges for staying in business. City spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz told the OC Register that officials are still in the process of shutting down the businesses.

Efforts to eliminate the city’s marijuana clinics seem to have produced some confusion, however. A woman who picked up the phone at Anaheim Patient Care told KoreAm she was unsure about the legality of her business and was under the impression that the city was going to leave a few dispensaries open. Robert Havens, manager of Anaheim Holistic Care, another such medical marijuana clinic, said in a phone interview he disagrees with the city’s plans.

“The state allows us to operate under Proposition 215,” Havens said, referring to the 1996 California ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana. “Patients need safe access to medications and we provide that. It’s not fair that cities want to take that away. We are in battle with the city right now.”

Havens, whose business competes with the facility outside that which Yoo was fatally shot, said he also hires contracted security guards to patrol his business.

“They are licensed guards,” Havens said. “I’m confident that if any type of incident happened, the security guard would use the necessary force within his right to defend what he needs to defend. We would never expect anybody to go outside their bounds of abilities.”

Anaheim police declined to release further details regarding the incident until the investigation is complete.


Featured image via OC Register

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KakaoTaxi Hits the Road in South Korea, Challenging Uber http://iamkoream.com/kakaotaxi-hits-the-road-in-south-korea-challenging-uber/ http://iamkoream.com/kakaotaxi-hits-the-road-in-south-korea-challenging-uber/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:20:25 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75724 by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Daum Kakao on Tuesday launched its new cab-hailing app KakaoTaxi in South Korea to compete with Uber, which has recently been subjected to crackdowns by Korean authorities.

KakaoTalk is considered to be Korea’s most popular mobile messenger operator, boasting over 140 million users worldwide. The new taxi app is Daum Kakao’s first step towards transforming KakaoTalk from a SMS replacement to a lifestyle services platform, according to the company’s press release.

KakaoTaxi is reported to automatically set a pick up location and finds the nearest available cab based on distance and current traffic conditions. Once the request is approved, the app provides the passenger with the driver’s name, photo and vehicle description. Passengers can also send push notifications to their KakaoTalk friends that includes pick-up time, drop off location and estimated ride time. For further privacy protection, all chatroom exchanges are automatically deleted once the cab reaches its destination.

Earlier this month, South Korean authorities arrested the head of Uber Korea and 29 other company officials on suspicion of operating illegal taxi services.

Prior to the launch, Daum Kakao took careful steps to avoid the same mistakes as Uber by signing memorandums of understanding with organizations representing licensed taxi operators, including the Korean National Joint Conference of Taxi Association, the Seoul Taxi Association, the Federation of Korean Taxi Workers’ Union and the Korean Taxi Workers’ Union.

KakaoTaxi also signed an agreement with subway card maker Korea Smart Card Corp., which is 34 percent owned by the Seoul Metropolitan City Government. With this deal, passengers can pay for their cab rides with their T-money cards and the app can track the flow of commuters in Seoul—another advantage over Uber.

Fares can also be paid via online payment services KakaoPay or BankWalletKakao, according to a Q&A with Daum Kakao.

“KakaoTaxi was designed to make the taxi-riding experience as simple and easy as possible by eliminating the need to physically hail taxis or search for taxi service phone numbers,” John Jung, Head of KakaoTaxi TF said in a statement. “Daum Kakao will continue to improve the service so anyone that needs a taxi can use KakaoTaxi to get where they need to go quickly, conveniently and safely.”

KakaoTaxi is available for download at Google Play store, with an iOS version scheduled for release in April.


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Korean Baseball Team Shoots a Fireball for First Pitch http://iamkoream.com/korean-baseball-team-shoots-a-fireball-for-first-pitch/ http://iamkoream.com/korean-baseball-team-shoots-a-fireball-for-first-pitch/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:27:34 +0000 http://iamkoream.com/?p=75725 by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

There are first pitches in baseball, and there are Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) first pitches.

We’ve seen South Korean gymnasts and Taekwondo athletes do their thing. So how about a fireball from the top of the centerfield scoreboard this time around, courtesy of the KT Wiz?

Hat tip to Dan @MyKBO for always showing us the best and weirdest of Korean baseball.

Apparently, there is also a superstition among Korean baseball fans that when a male celebrity throws a first pitch during an important game, the home team loses. That explains the number of female celebrities tossing out the first pitch—it’s more than just about the outfit. #baseballreasons


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