Why Kim Jong Un Snubbed Mongolia’s President
Wall Street Journal
Mongolia’s president had a busy four days in North Korea this week, meeting various officials and zipping around to Kim Il Sung University, a Pyongyang theater, the Munsu water fun park, the border with South Korea and Kim family mausoleum, among other places.
But after Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj had jetted out of Pyongyang on Thursday it became clear that he didn’t meet the one person expected to have capped it all: Kim Jong Un.
What’s with the apparent snub?
Experts say it may have something to do with North Korea’s ambivalent attitude towards the landlocked country to the north-west. The nomadic ancient Mongolians were considered barbarians by the Koreans, according to historians.
When It Comes to Slaying Asian-American Stereotypes, Ads Lead the Way
Before May runs out, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the importance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when the country recognizes the contributions and achievements of Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage.
May heralds two important moments in history for the United States and Americans of Asian-American ancestry. In May 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America, and in May 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by a large number of Chinese immigrants.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1978 to proclaim Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week an annual observance. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush extended the week to a month-long celebration. Each year since then, every sitting president has issued a proclamation commemorating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Back to Korea
More and more Korean students who have come to the United States to study are on their way back to Korea. They say even the Korean companies here are refusing to sponsor them in order to obtain a work visa, making it impossible for them to get employed and stay in America.
One 25-year old female Korean, identified only as K here, says she’s been spending stressful days since graduating from Cal-State Northridge this year, during an interview with The Korea Times. “I was told since I was a sophomore about how difficult it is to get a job here, so I even changed my major from straight traditional music to more practical management in music, but it hasn’t helped,” she said. “At every job interview, they tell me they find it difficult to hire me because of my resident status, to a point now where I have to seriously consider going back to Korea.”
Many of her friends are facing a similar predicament. She says it seems like one out of ten has been successful in landing a job in the U.S. after finishing their studies here and added, “I even have a friend who got married here but still can’t find a job!”
Review: A one-man revolution rises up in ‘Sake Bomb’
Los Angeles Times
In “Sake Bomb,” twentysomething video blogger Sebastian (Eugene Kim) has a problem few film characters ever face: a sense of relentless, righteous rage for which there is no simple solution. For Sebastian, life as an Asian American male is one of perpetual defense against silent accusations of foreignness, meek quietness and — the one that really stings — small genitalia.
To disabuse the world (or at least his 10 subscribers) of such stereotypes, he bleats the concepts of Asian American Studies 101 over the Internet. In person, he’s even more unpleasant, indicting any Asian woman with a white partner as a self-loathing racist, a charge he doesn’t really believe.
Actress Jamie Chung Reveals What It’s Really Like to Train for a Half Marathon
A little over two months ago I was presented with the opportunity to run the San Francisco half marathon with Nike. It sounded like an almost impossible and utterly scary challenge, but after a solid week of consideration I decided to accept.
I’d never been one to set any fitness goals for myself— I was more of a running “dabbler,” if you will— but over the course of the two months leading up to the San Francisco half marathon, I really dedicated myself to a fitness schedule. That meant getting plenty of sleep, scheduling runs into my morning routine at least four days a week, adding extra protein to my diet to supplement all the calories I was burning, and running in the more supportive shoes Nike Lunar Glides.
As my training progressed I met other women running on the team, like the actress Jamie Chung! I jumped at the chance to interview her, and here are her tips for running, more about her routine, and stellar words of motivation.
Roy Choi serves up an appetizer with memoir ‘L.A. Son’
Los Angeles Times
Several years ago, a cookbook editor friend called asking my advice on whether she should publish Jacques Pépin’s autobiography. Pepin is one of my heroes in food, I told her, but I’d pass on the book — all chef biographies tend to follow the same story arc, there’s not a lot new to be said.
Wisely she ignored me, and though “The Apprentice” turned out just as I predicted plot-wise, it was one of the bestselling cookbooks of the year. I learned two lessons from that incident: I’m a lot better off as a second-guessing journalist, and when it comes to these autobiographies, plot is secondary to character.
What brings this to mind is Roy Choi’s new book, “L.A. Son: My Life. My City. My Food.” On the surface, there is not much to connect Pépin and Choi. Pépin is the consummate old-school professional. Choi is the tattooed bad boy popularizer of the Korean taco and the food-truck craze, thanks to his Kogi truck.
YouTube All-Stars: Why I Love Korea (Interview)
The YouTube Music Awards is going on right now and Seoulistic was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event! Youtube flew out a few YouTubers to Seoul to film videos to promote the event. Some are in Seoul for the very first time, others have been living here for years. And we thought with these diverse backgrounds, it would be the perfect to ask people what they thought about Korea and what they loved about it! Hopefully, you’ll get to see why we’re running this site and making videos on our YouTube channel!
Roots of K-pop
Everything has its roots and humble beginnings of its own. K-pop is no exception.
While today’s genre is characterized by pretty young boy and girl bands with slick dance routines and computer-assisted catchy tunes, its primitive form nearly nine decades ago was nowhere near any sort of attention-grabbing fanciness.
Back then, the out-dated combinations of black and white traditional costume or “hanbok” was considered the sole “uniform” for singers, with which they solemnly crooned melancholy songs on creaking wooden stages under dim lighting.
They normally confronted another harsh reality after the show: social stigma. In a society affected by Confucianism for generations, entertainment was considered an inferior profession so that its practitioners were belittled with the derogatory nickname “tantara.”
Ken Jeong ready for SportsCenter
I’ve been in Europe this week, so I watched opening night NBA highlights in Dublin. We’ve been on a press tour for The Hangover Part III’s DVD/Blu-Ray’s release but it’s been the release of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin that has been occupying my mind.
I’m a hoops addict — which is exactly why this opportunity to host tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, on the first Friday of the 2013-14 NBA season, is so humbling.
I grew up in North Carolina, which was heaven for a hoops junkie, with Duke and Carolina right there. (Editor’s Note: Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate and received his M.D. from UNC. He is a licensed physician.)
Footballer Lee Chun-soo Says Sorry for Bar Brawl
Incheon United star Lee Chun-soo apologized in front of the press on Thursday for his involvement in a recent bar brawl.
The 32-year-old former national team member was accused of assaulting a customer at a bar in the early morning of Oct. 14. He faced the press this week and read out a written apology.
The footballer said he wanted to apologize to his fans and the club for letting them down.
Mystery meat dish in Koreatown a tasty surprise
Los Angeles Times
When I was in Korea a few weeks ago, I fell in love with something called tteok galbi, hand-chopped beef short ribs mixed with vegetables, aromatics, sometimes even pork, then grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Tteok is the Korean word for rice cake, but the patties are so called because they look a little like rice cakes, not because they include rice among their ingredients. They are more or less the local equivalent of hamburgers, served bare on a plate accompanied by neither rice nor bun.
The best tteok galbi tends to be served with the bones inserted back into the patties as a sign of authenticity, and maybe to add a little flavor. In Gwangju, there is an entire street devoted to tteok galbi specialists. In Damyang, the home of the dish, a platter of the juicy, crunchy patties joins bamboo “sashimi” as the heart of the region’s famous country meals.
I did not find it beyond imagining that among the several hundred Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, there might be one or two serving some version of the dish.
Korean art on exhibit at world-renowned U.S. museums
Korean art has been regarded as a spinoff from those of China and Japan, which are believed to possess the core of Asian cultural and aesthetic values. It is rare to have the opportunity to appreciate the sheer essence of Korean art on the international scene.
However, as Korea’s national profile is on the rise partially thanks to the cultural influence of “hallyu,” or Korean wave, global interest in Korean cultural roots is also spiking. Ongoing exhibitions in the United States featuring ancient artwork from Korea offer an opportunity for non-Korean visitors to discover the unknown beauty of Korean ancient art which is discernible among Asian cultures.
Supported by the National Museum of Korea, two major exhibitions on Korean art are taking place in east and west coast cities of the United States. “In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty” and “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” allow for a large-scale and in-depth exploration of rare objects from two ancient Korean kingdoms ― Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) and Joseon (1392-1910). It is notable to compare the two distinctive cultures based on different ruling ideologies ― Buddhism in Silla and Confucianism in Joseon.
Instagramming North Korea
Three North Korean boys gaze attentively into the camera lens, their portrait surrounded by selfies and shots of fancy food. Nearby, a female soldier smiles as she salutes, and a woman runs a snack shack in the North Korean countryside.
They are the subjects of the trailblazing Instagram account of an American teacher in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital and perhaps one of the least understood places on Earth.
Drew Kelly, 24, is one of the few foreigners posting photos of North Korea.
Known as the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea is renown for its government’s secrecy and strict control on the flow of information. The country’s authorities and its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, severely limit what state media report and the access that foreigners, and especially journalists, have to the country.
South Korea’s Fashion Doyenne
Wall Street Journal
In 1947, at the age of 19, aspiring South Korean fashion designer Noh Myung-ja decided to change her first name to Nora. Her inspiration: the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play “A Doll’s House,” about a housewife who leaves her children and husband to discover herself.
Ms. Noh, who had recently ended a marriage of convenience that helped her avoid becoming a “comfort woman” to Japanese soldiers, soon left Seoul to study fashion in Los Angeles. So began a career spanning more than six decades, in which the designer’s name and brand, Nora Noh, became a driving force in South Korean fashion for more than three decades, from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
The debates about whether Jesus Christ was white or black continue to be taken more seriously than they probably should. But an art museum in South Korea is exhibiting a series of paintings that ponder the question: What if Jesus was Korean?
Seoul Museum will exhibit “The Life of Jesus,” by South Korea’s late folk artist Kim Ki-chang from October to January to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of Kim’s birthday. Painted in 1951 during the Korean War as he was fleeing from a North Korean invasion, the paintings were inspired by the artist’s imagination as it places Jesus amid the backdrop of the Joseon Dynasty.
One of the paintings shows Jesus wearing a gat, a Korean traditional hat made of bamboo and horsehair, as well as a durumagi, an overcoat that’s another piece of Korean traditional clothing. Other paintings include Joseon aristocrats taking the place of Roman soldiers as they crucify Jesus, as well as the Joseon version of “The Last Supper.” Continue Reading »
Handover of U.S. command of South Korean troops still under debate
Sixty years after the end of the Korean War, the United States and South Korea still can’t agree on who should take charge if another war breaks out with the communist neighbor to the north.
For years, Washington has been trying to persuade the South Korean military to take operational control of its own forces in wartime, ending a six-decade-long arrangement under which U.S. commanders have retained that authority over South Korean troops. Although supportive in principle, a succession of governments in Seoul have repeatedly delayed the command transfer, reinforcing doubts about whether the South Korean military is capable of operating without U.S. leadership.
Pentagon chief, at Korean DMZ, says U.S. will not cut force in Korea
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel toured the Korean DMZ on Monday under the watchful eye of North Korean soldiers and said the Pentagon had no plans to reduce its 28,500-member force in the South despite budget constraints.
“This is probably the only place in the world where we have always a risk of confrontation,” Hagel said after visiting a blue, single-story building with a corrugated metal roof where talks are held with North Koreans in the truce village of Panmunjom.
As Hagel walked through the building, which spans the military demarcation line between North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers peered through the windows on the northern side filming his movements.
Truth Or Propaganda? Finding Real Stories In North Korea
North Korea remains one of the most closed places in the world. And that makes Tim Sullivan kind of a rarity: As the Asia correspondent for the Associated Press, he’s spent about six weeks in the country over the course of two trips.
In addition to his stories for AP, Sullivan also wrote an article entitled “The Real North Korea” that’s in the October issue of National Geographic.
It’s a different kind of reporting trip, Sullivan tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.
“A lot of my time is spent … gauging what is real, what is fake,” he says. “If something is fake, in what way is it fake? Do they really do this job and they’re simply acting for me? Or do they not do this at all, and it’s complete Potemkin?”
Former child prisoner almost died three times during horrific decade in North Korean gulag
National Post (Canada)
North Korea is estimated to have about 150,000 of its own citizens in a network of gulags across the country. Many are there for political reasons and to be “reeducated.” Prisoners are held in near-starvation conditions and torture, beatings and executions are common. On Friday, the National Post’s Tom Blackwell spoke to one of the few prisoners to have escaped as well as a former guard at a notorious camp.
In his frightening decade as an inmate of a huge North Korean prison camp, Kang Cheol-hwan could never be sure of exact numbers, but knew the statistics were chilling.
Of the 35,000 or more prisoners at Yoduk camp, about 10% died every year, succumbing to malnutrition, mistreatment, overwork or a combination of lethal factors, he estimates.
S. Korean minister calls Japan ‘immoral’ for covering up radiation leak
South Korea’s fisheries minister strongly blasted Japan Monday for apparently trying to downplay, if not cover up, radiation leaks at its nuclear power plant.
Yoon Jin-sook, South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries, stopped short of calling Japan a liar, saying the country is without conscience or morality.
The South Korean minister had said Japanese fishery products tested safe. The ministry, however, has placed an import ban on all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident, in which a powerful earthquake led to a meltdown of a nuclear reactor in early 2011 and subsequent radiation leaks.
Tokyo Boycotts Google Korea Maps
The Japanese government has instructed regional government and state organizations not to use the Korean version of Google maps due to the labeling of Dokdo, to which Tokyo has flimsy territorial claim.
The Korean version of Google maps lists the Korean islets as “Dokdo” but not by the name the Japanese have for them.
According to the Tokyo Shimbun on Saturday, the central government in a notice to regional governments and national universities said Google maps contain names that are “not in line” with Tokyo’s official position. The Japanese version of Google maps labels Dokdo with the Japanese name of “Takeshima.”
North Jersey Korean health fair data help track risks
The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
In the six years since Holy Name Medical Center launched the first Korean Health Festival, doctors have been able to track trends in the data collected from blood work and other screenings. And that has allowed them to better serve North Jersey’s Korean population.
Among other things, they have found that Korean immigrants struggle with depression, and that there are high incidences of diabetes and hypertension in the community, festival spokeswoman Eunice Kang said Saturday as she moved through the hospital’s Marian Hall during the sixth annual festival.
I Partied Hard With Far East Movement
8:24 p.m.: Prohgress downs a strawberry Sunkist and mentions that he doesn’t often smoke weed because it makes him paranoid. He enjoys cocaine and ecstasy, however.
8:25 p.m.: Over the summer, they traveled to the French island Corsica to do a live performance. After the show, they brought people back to party in their hotel room. Apparently, their night got so wild that someone took a shit in the bathtub and syringes were found in the other room.
8:27: The group has been touring and making music together for ten years. They originally performed straight hip-hop, but after a trip to Amsterdam, they got turned on to dance music and began combining the two genres. “We get to take everything we grew up on and mash it up with what we learned in the dance world. And we also learned how strong and long-lasting dance music is,” Nish says.
‘Nikita’ Writer, Eva Longoria Developing Conspiracy Drama for CW
The CW is staying in business with Nikita’s Albert Kim.
The co-EP/writer behind the network’s departing drama has set up a drama with the network and exec producer Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The untitled drama revolves around a woman imprisoned for a double murder she didn’t commit who earns her law degree while behind bars. After winning her freedom, she joins the high-powered law firm that she believes is at the center of the conspiracy that framed her.
Run-DMZ: Washington rappers plan North Korean visit
Post Media News via Canada.com
The only poet whom I have ever heard rhyme the words “onomatopoeia” and “diarrhea” is lying on a divan in the master bedroom of someone else’s house in a very nice neighbourhood of Washington, wearing camouflage trousers, shoulder-length dreadlocks, and a blue T-shirt that says “I ♥ Cats.”
He is a delightfully bright 19-year-old pipe-dreamer, back-flipper and potty-mouth named Anthony Bobb — stage-named “Pacman” — who, if a series of improbable events actually occur between now and mid-November, plans to film his next rap video inside a party bus in a one-party state.
Hence the recent burst of publicity here for an adventure that promoters are calling “Pacman and Peso Go to North Korea.”
Riding the Korean Wave
Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Although the South Korean economy struggled through 2012, and tensions with North Korea ran high earlier this year, the pulling power of Korean pop culture remains as strong as ever in drawing a record number of tourists to the country.
Building on a 3.6% year-on-year rise in international arrivals in the first half, the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) has set a full-year target of 12.5 million visitors, hoping to attract US$15.6 billion (about 16.5 trillion won) in revenue. Aggressive marketing campaigns, coupled with the appeal of K-Pop, films and TV, are expected to sustain healthy growth in the tourism market.
The history of the ‘Korean Wave’ can be traced back to about 15 years ago when the romantic comedy My Sassy Girl was released and became a blockbuster hit throughout East Asia,” said Yong-Ju Jeon, the CEO of IHQ, South Korea’s leading entertainment company.
‘If It Swings’: An Asian-American Jazzman’s Pioneering Career
Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.
“One of my biggest highlights in Stan’s band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called ‘Stairway to the Stars,’” the 83-year-old Baltazar says. “He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great.”
Hyun-jin Ryu on his final start, season, getting ready for playoffs
True Blue LA
Hyun-jin Ryu ended his regular season with an abbreviated start on Sunday, gearing up for his first major league playoffs. Ryu allowed two runs in four innings in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Rockies.
Sunday was the only time all season Ryu failed to last five innings, but that’s because his short start was planned, and he was at 76 pitches through four frames. His first season in MLB was an unqualified success.
“Overall I”m very satisfied with my first year. Most importantly I got away without having any injuries,” Ryu said after the game, through interpreter Martin Kim. “The pitch counts in games was beyond where I thought it was going to be, so I’m very happy with where my season ended.”
South Korean Scientists Use E. Coli to Make Gasoline
Wall Street Journal
Escherichia coli can cause serious food poisoning but Korean scientists have come up with a more helpful use for the sometimes-deadly bacteria: producing gasoline.
Using genetically modified E. coli to generate biofuel isn’t new. U.K. scientists said in April they have developed a process under which the bacterium turns biomass into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel–a development that followed similar research by U.S. biotechnology firm LS9 in 2010.
But the breakthrough this time is important because the reprogrammed E. coli can produce gasoline, a high-premium oil product that’s more expensive than diesel if the biofuel becomes commercially viable, according to Prof. Lee Sang-yup at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. His team’s study was published in the international science journal Nature on Monday.
Korean-American student from Tacoma wins statewide art contest
Northwest Asian Weekly (Seattle, Wash.)
Tacoma student Young-eon Kim won the top prize in the 2013 Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) Year of the Apple Art Contest. A student attending Tacoma’s Charles Wright Academy, she was awarded the grand prize in a surprise ceremony in the middle of art class with teacher Brian Hutcheson on Sept. 12.
The contest encourages art students in kindergarten through 12th grade to seek inspiration from Washington’s biggest crop. Young-Eon’s winning submission, “Apples under the Balcony at Sunset,” garnered a $750 cash prize and inclusion in the 2014 Dow AgroSciences wall calendar.
Why So Monochrome?
Art historian Joan Kee sheds light on Tansaekhwa, a crucial artistic movement in the post-Korean War period.
By CHELSEA HAWKINS
Mark Rothko. Jackson Pollock. Franz Kline. Hans Hoffman. If you follow contemporary art, or have a soft spot for abstraction, these names surely ring a bell. But what about Kwon Young-woo or Ha Chonghyun? Lee Ufan or Park Seobo? These artists were all part of the contemporary Korean art movement known as Tansaekhwa, or monochromatic painting, which drew heavily from and embellished upon the methods and styles used in Western abstraction and expressionism. Yet, most people—Korean American or not—are unlikely to know much about the artistic movement, which attempted to overthrow the confines and hierarchy of the Korean art world.
Art historian and professor Joan Kee is hoping to change that with the publication of her book, Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method. The text is the first scholarly English-language book of its kind, tracking the history of the development of contemporary Korean art and the emergence of abstraction in Asia.
The first-time author says she is hoping to “get the ball rolling” with her recent publication and inspire fellow scholars and art lovers to explore the realm of 20th-century South Korean art.
“There are deliberate holes I left at the conclusion [of the book] and these unfinished threads,” Kee explained during a Skype interview last month. The scholar, who is a professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is in Singapore until September, researching Southeast Asian art. “They’re unfinished for a purpose because I want other readers or younger scholars to look at this and say, ‘Oh, this is where the conversation can now pick up,’ allowing a different direction for this idea of Korean contemporary art to move towards.” Continue Reading »
Kim Jung-gi is a phenomenal artist, but in this latest video via the U.K.’s Telegraph, he shows viewers just what he’s capable of.
A trained illustrator and animator, Kim first garnered attention outside of South Korea because of his uncanny ability to recreate images from memory — no reference points, no sketches, no notes. Continue Reading »