Major League Baseball’s hottest leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo homered twice and went 4-for-5 at bat, as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Miami Marlins 4-0 at Marlins Park on Wednesday.
It was Choo’s second multi-homer game of the season; he now leads the team in total home runs with nine.
“He was awesome tonight,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He hit the ball all over the field. That was some night.”
Choo blasted Sanabia’s 93 mph sinker out of the park to give the Reds a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. In his next plate appearance in the sixth, Choo again belted Sanabia’s sinker. Continue Reading »
As North Korea heats up, South Korea and Japan should warm ties
Christian Science Monitor
Cooperation on missile defense between South Korea and Japan would help blunt threats from North Korea. But Japanese officials’ recent insensitivity to Imperial Japan’s painful role in World War II, including forcing South Koreans to become ‘comfort women,’ works against cooperation.
U.S. lawmakers lambaste Japan’s mayor over view on ‘comfort women’
Two U.S. congressmen strongly criticized an outspoken Japanese politician Wednesday for openly backing Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during the World War II.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto reportedly said earlier this week that pushing those women into sexual servitude was a military necessity. More than 200,000 young women from Japan’s colonies are said to have been forced to serve as “comfort women,” an euphemistic expression.
“Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks that comfort women were ‘necessary’ are contemptible and repulsive,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement with Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).
SKorean women scoff at fired Park aide’s claim ‘cultural difference’ behind touching scandal
Associated Press via Washington Post
A South Korean presidential spokesman who was fired after inappropriately touching a woman during a U.S. trip blames a “cultural difference” with America. Other South Koreans say the fault for such incidents truly lies with a society that allows powerful men to get away with harassment.
Five months after the country elected its first female leader, Park Geun-hye, last week’s incident involving her spokesman Yoon Chang-jung marred her first trip to Washington as president. It also highlighted the gender divide that remains in South Korea, where women say they get paid less than men and are given fewer promotions.
There’s an “unspoken consensus” among influential South Korean men that they can avoid punishment for sexual harassment, office worker Joo Insun said. She added that a former employer responded to her own claims of a colleague’s misbehavior by scrutinizing her instead.
Man Sentenced For Throwing Fatal Beach Party Punch
A Chicago man was sentenced Thursday morning in connection with a beach party fight that turned deadly.
James Malecek, 19, waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
A judge accepted the plea agreement, and Malecek will serve 145 days in jail beginning July 1.
Malecek punched Mt. Carmel high school student Kevin Kennelly during a July Fourth disturbance in Long Beach, Ind., in 2011.
Korean group petitions schools over textbook
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The Korean-American Association of New Jersey is making a push for school districts with large Korean student populations to use textbooks that refer to the Sea of Japan as the East Sea as well.
The association recently presented Fort Lee school officials with a petition signed by members of the Korean-American community. Similar requests by individuals acting on behalf of the Korean-American community were made to Leonia and Palisades Park officials, said association Vice President Sonny Kim. More than 1,500 signatures of residents from the three towns were collected, he said.
“We knew it as East Sea, and we want our children to learn the correct term,” said Kim, who immigrated to the United States at age 4. “To us Korean-Americans, the correct name is East Sea.”
CD 13 Debate: Mitch O’Farrell Says John Choi ‘Foments’ Racial Division
Patch.com (Los Angeles)
The two candidates for the Los Angeles City Council District 13 seat met one last time Tuesday in the Elysian Valley.
Choi’s ability to represent beyond the local was his big theme. O’Farrell emphasized his proven experience working in the Council District 13 boundaries.
The campaign has become rough these last few weeks, with Choi accusing O’Farrell of voter fraud and O’Farrell focusing on Choi’s ties to labor and machine politics.
Once down on their luck, Washingtonville deli owners on rebound
Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.)
After losing their business and their home to the recession, the owners of the closed Lim’s Deli in Blooming Grove have reopened at a new location, this time in a tiny renovated building behind a sushi restaurant off West Main Street.
The new venture was made possible thanks to the support of a community that refused to see the couple, who gave out free coffee and breakfast sandwiches to those in need, put out on the street.
“Everybody came together, one helping hand led to another, and now it’s finally open,” said Lucille Cimorelli, who provided Yeon Suk Choi and her husband, Chun Suk Lim, the 450-square-foot building they now lease from her for a fraction of their former rent.
The gathering place features an upbeat name — Rainbow Deli — and a few new menu items, including a Korean Bulgogi wrap. Choi’s wise counsel, sympathetic ear and compassion, which won her many loyal customers over the years, are free, as always.
South Korea’s PSY to co-host MuchMusic Video Awards
CTV News (Canada)
The MuchMusic Video Awards are going “Gangnam Style.”
The music station has signed on South Korean pop star Psy as co-host and performer for the MMVAs bash in Toronto on June 16.
MuchMusic says the “Gangnam Style” singer will be making his live Canadian television hosting and performance debut at the street-level show that’s known for its wild antics.
Psy to perform on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ (American version)
In the previous season of America’s “Dancing With The Stars“, the contestants performed Psy‘s worldwide hit, “Gangnam Style“. However, in the current season, we’ll get to see Psy perform live as the show enters its final weeks of competition later this month!
According to YG Entertainment, Psy will be performing “Gentleman” on the 21st’s episode to cheer on all the finalists remaining on the broadcast airing through ABC.
Hyun-Jin Ryu plays catch with young Dodgers fan in the stands (Video)
Here’s a pretty cool scene that we don’t see every day: Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Korean pitcher imported by the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, playing catch with a kid in the stands during batting practice.
The young fan goes by the name of Deuce, and he’s a regular in the Dodgers left field pavilion. (And he’s got a pretty good arm, huh?) Deuce’s future trips to the stadium won’t be as cool as this one. According to Dodgerfilms, who captured and posted the video, the pair played catch for about five minutes until batting practice ended.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and champion figure skater Yuna Kim appeals for the children of Syria
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic Gold Medallist and world champion figure skater Yuna Kim today made a heartfelt appeal for support for the children of conflict-torn Syria.
In a 30-second video message Kim, a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2010, calls on viewers to, “Help UNICEF help the children of Syria.”
It’s probably safe to say this was the most humbling moment of Korean professional baseball player Jeon Jun-woo’s career.
The Lotte Giants player thought he hit a game-tying two-run homer in the 9th inning against the NC Dinos and flipped his bat with a flourish, raising his finger into the air in triumph and giving shouts-out to his teammates. The only problem is, the ball was caught at the warning track. FAIL! Continue Reading »
North Korean academic says detained American called family and asked US to push for amnesty
AP via Washington Post
A North Korean academic says an American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor has called his family and urged Washington to push for his amnesty.
Ri Gyong Chol, section chief of the North Korean Academy of Social Sciences’ Institution of Law, also told The Associated Press Sunday that Kenneth Bae informed his family on Friday that he couldn’t appeal his April 30 sentence.
Ri’s information came from authorities in charge of Bae’s case. Washington has called for Bae’s release.
N. Korea in dangerous nuclear showdown: US envoy
AFP via Google News
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is playing a dangerous game in his nuclear showdown with the international community, the US envoy seeking to tempt the isolated state back into talks said Thursday.
Glyn Davies said ahead of a tour of South Korea, China and Japan that it was becoming clear that the young Kim is the master dictating policy, including sanctions-busting nuclear bomb and long-range missile tests.
Juliana Redding Murder Update: Kelly Soo Park’s defense claims Redding’s boyfriend could be killer
In a key pre-trial hearing days before Kelly Soo Park stands trial for the 2008 murder of 21-year-old aspiring model Juliana Redding, the prosecution and defense effectively switched roles as Park’s attorneys sought to point to what they say is another possible murder suspect — Redding’s boyfriend.
The defense team is attempting to establish that former Santa Monica resident and surfer John Gilmore could very well have been the killer, instead of Park. Meanwhile, prosecutor Stacy Okun-Wiese voiced her intention to demonstrate Gilmore’s “innocence,” insisting Park is indeed the killer.
Park is accused of beating and strangling Redding, whose body was found in March 2008 in Redding’s Santa Monica, Calif. condo. Redding had moved to Santa Monica from Arizona in order to pursue a career in modeling and acting. She had been featured in Maxim magazine, where she won a “Hometown Hotties” contest.
District Attorney investigates complaint in Hollywood area council race
Southern California Public Radio
The District Attorney’s Office is investigating a complaint that campaign workers in a Hollywood area city council race illegally filled out ballots for voters.
The complaint was filed by the John Choi campaign against his opponent Mitch O’Farrell. According to the campaign, the O’Farrell camp mishandled ballots and outright voted on behalf of constituents in the Little Armenia neighborhood. The O’Farrell campaign denies all the allegations.
“This is the most blatant and widespread case of voter fraud I’ve seen in 20 years of political campaigns,” said Mike Shimpock of the Choi campaign. “They are literally stealing this election. This needs to be stopped.”
LA Catholic Archiocese grooming next generation of elementary school leaders
Southern California Public Radio
Tech-savvy and a skilled fundraiser, Jae Kim is exactly the type of leader the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles wants for its schools.
Last July, Kim became the first person other than a nun to be principal of St. John Chrysostom School in Inglewood. He’s outfitted the 85-year-old school with Wi-Fi, developed a financial plan that includes a rainy day fund and instructed teachers to post grades online.
Kim is part of a new generation of leaders whom the archdiocese is grooming. They’re being cultivated at a critical time for a Church eager to attract and hold onto the next generation.
Crazy, Stupid, Korean Love: On David Choe, Han, and “Unmarriageable” Koreans
I asked a few Korean Americans to elaborate on their “unmarriageable” status as professed by Choe. Aside from a universal sense of self-deprecation and wryness at an all too familiar topic, some responses specifically alluded to the personalities and relationships of their parents’ generation:
“It feels great because now I can tell my mom that it’s not my fault after all! It’s just because I’m Korean American. So, it’s your fault, mom. Your fault.” –C.K.
“My Korean father refused to marry my Korean mother, and abandoned her, pregnant and alone. I was sent away from the motherland, to be raised strangers abroad. But yeah, sure. That sounds great. It’s not like I’ve spent my entire life trying to prove I’m unmarriageable and unloveable.” –K.D.
“If I’m anything like my mother, I completely understand why a man would hesitate to marry me.” –V.L.
South Korean Men Cosmetics-Crazed
Their catchy tunes and sleek moves have helped sell billions of records.
Now, K-pop’s biggest stars are helping cosmetics firms sell makeup – to men.
Eager to achieve their pretty-boy looks and smooth complexion, South Korean men are increasingly turning to BB cream foundation and anti-aging products to achieve K-Pop perfection, spending $900 million a year on cosmetics, according to research firm Euromonitor.
South Korea is by far the largest in a growing global market for men’s cosmetics, accounting for nearly a quarter of sales in the skin care market.
Japanese First Lady in Korean Musical Furor
Akie Abe, the wife of rightwing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came in for a storm of criticism when she said on Facebook that she went to see a Korean musical.
Last Wednesday night, Akie posted the seemingly uncontroversial comment, “I had an enjoyable time watching Korean musical ‘Caffeine’ currently on stage in Tokyo,” with a photo showing her in front of the poster. “Caffeine” has been running since April 25 at the Amuse Musical Theater in Roppongi, Tokyo, which is dedicated to Korean musicals.
But Japanese patriots were incensed by her “careless” conduct as the wife of the prime minister at this “sensitive time.”
Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu Consistently Good in First Eight Starts
Yahoo Sports [Contributor Network]
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a lot of money on Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu this winter. So far, he’s making them look awfully smart.
The initial scouting reports weren’t exactly impressive: an average fastball, an average slider and a potentially plus changeup. The reports almost didn’t warrant a six-year, $36 million deal and a $25.7 posting fee. He was nearly a $62 million commitment before even throwing a pitch in the majors. That’s what former No. 1 overall draft picks in the NFL used to get. In a league where contracts are guaranteed, the Dodgers were taking a considerable risk, no matter how deep their pockets are these days.
Hank Conger’s mother marvels at son’s MLB dream
Eun, born and raised in South Korea until immigrating to the U.S. in 1986, came from a culture that preaches studying hard, going to college, obtaining a degree and ultimately working a normal 9-to-5 job.
Draft night brought mixed emotions.
“It was half and half,” Eun said of how she felt to watch her son get selected in the first round. “I was happy, but then another side was like, ‘Aw, he should go to school.’”
But Eun can laugh about all this now. Her 25-year-old son is living out his dream in the Major Leagues, while serving as a backup catcher on the Angels and doing what only one percent of those who aspire to take on his profession actually accomplish. Better yet, he’s playing for a team whose home ballpark resides in Anaheim, a half-hour drive from the Huntington Beach area where Conger grew up.
Margaret Cho: I’d like to be a role model for minority women
From your early days, you often use your family as material in your stand-up — and your mother was the “headliner” in your latest tour. How did your parents and your cultural upbringing influence your career path?
Yes I think so, but what was remarkable was how much it really informed me as a person. I don’t know how Confucian I actually am consciously, but it seems to really have affected me because of my upbringing. I’m very drawn to Korean culture and food now that I’m older and have a more secure sense of my Americanness. There was a period where I wanted to avoid Korean things because they felt so close to home, but now I miss my home so much!
Asian American Literary Pioneers
May is Asian American History Month. As a recent U.S. Census report revealed, Asian Americans are the largest group immigrating to America in the last decade. It goes without saying that Los Angeles and Southern California is central to this, like it is with the Latino population. L.A. Letters celebrates all histories every month but nonetheless this week will focus on a few forgotten early Asian American pioneering poets that paved the way for the stellar contemporary writers mentioned previously in this column, like Sesshu Foster, Amy Uyematsu, Chiwan Choi, Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Edren Sumagaysay, Cathy Park Hong, and musicians and artists like Tracy Wannomae, Alan Nakagawa, DJ Rhettmatic, Prach Ly, and Yayoi Kusama, among countless others.
North Korea says Korean-American sentenced to labor had smuggled in anti-Pyongyang literature
North Korea delivered its most in-depth account yet of the case against a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor, accusing him late Thursday of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-Pyongyang activities at a border city hotel.
Still, the long list of allegations included no statement from Kenneth Bae, other than claims that he confessed and didn’t want an attorney present during his sentencing last week for what Pyongyang called hostile acts against the state.
Since the sentencing came during a period of tentative diplomatic moves following weeks of high tension and North Korean threats of nuclear and missile strikes on Washington and Seoul, outside analysts have said Pyongyang may be using Bae as bait to win diplomatic concessions in the standoff over its nuclear weapons program. North Korea repeated its denial of such speculation in the new statement, but the pattern has occurred repeatedly.
Disgraced spokesman leaves blemish on Park’s U.S. visit
President Park Geun-hye’s first official visit to the United States ended in one of the worst ways possible Friday with her spokesman being fired amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted a woman during the trip.
The allegations sparked public outrage in South Korea and dealt a serious blow to Park just as she was beginning to regain public confidence through her handling of tensions with North Korea and what appeared to be a successful five-day visit to the U.S.
“(He) completely poured cold water over the accomplishments of the U.S. visit,” said one presidential official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s causing an extreme burden to state affairs.”
Dennis Rodman says heading back to N.Korea
AFP via Google News
Basketball hall-of-famer Dennis Rodman said he plans a second trip to North Korea to try to use his budding friendship with leader Kim Jong-Un to free a jailed American, in an interview aired Friday.
The flamboyant basketball legend, approached by celebrity news website TMZ as he walked on a Los Angeles street Thursday, said he would return to North Korea on August 1 on a mission to release jailed tour organizer Kenneth Bae.
“I’ll be back over there. I’m going to try to get the guy out,” the heavily tattooed Rodman said in between waving to well-wishers.
Woman pleads guilty to hitting and killing teen
AP via San Francisco Chronicle
An associate professor at the University of Montana has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge filed after her car veered onto a sidewalk and struck and killed an 18-year-old Missoula man.
Yoon Hee Cho, 38, pleaded guilty Thursday in Municipal Court to careless driving resulting in death and to driving on a sidewalk.
The plea agreement calls for Cho to spend 30 days on house arrest and pay $5,000 into the Chance Geery Memorial Fund in lieu of a fine.
Cho was charged in the death of Geery, who was struck on April 1 as he was walking and holding hands with his girlfriend.
Palisades Park man linked to ID and credit card fraud ring to be deported to South Korea
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
A Palisades Park man involved in a massive identity theft and credit card fraud ring was transferred Thursday to immigration officials for deportation to South Korea after a federal judge determined that the 31 months he has already spent in jail would satisfy his sentence.
Osung Kwon, 37, pleaded guilty in 2012 to using a social security card and counterfeit driver’s license he obtained through a borough-based black market enterprise to defraud banks and credit card companies of almost $400,000. He has been in prison since he was arrested in September, 2010.
Speaking through a translator, Kwon, who was wearing shackles and a green prison jumpsuit, apologized to U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden and pleaded for a lenient sentence.
Witnesses tried to save 4-year-old after he was struck by Jeep
First he heard a thud. Then screams. Then Jim Sugent saw a 4-year-old boy lying in the middle of Stevenson Avenue in Alexandria.
Police say the child, who was identified Friday as Jacob Choi, had run into oncoming traffic May 4 and was struck and killed by the driver of a 2010 Jeep Commander. The driver, who is 84, has not been identified by police. He has not been charged in the accident, which remains under investigation, police said.
Jacob’s mother, whose name and address were not released, ran into traffic after her son and also sustained injuries, but they were not serious, police said.
Star Trek’s John Cho a boldly going actor worth shouting about
“I get called Harold the most,” Cho says. “I think maybe Harold & Kumar fans don’t know my name and Star Trek fans do know my name … Harold fans are vocal!”
And of course there’s Star Trek, now two films into the franchise with Star Trek Into Darknessset to boldly go to theatres galaxywide on May 17. Cho plays Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the prequel reboot series, the promotion of which has brought him to Toronto. (His introduction at a Monday night screening of Into Darkness included reference to him as “the MILF guy.”)
This makes three hit franchises that Cho has been active in so far, and he’s just entered his 40s. He’s also busy with TV series, most notably the sci-fi drama FlashForward and the recent sitcom Go On, and his early career in the 1990s included much stage work, as a member of East West Players, an Asian-American theatre company in L.A.
Tokimonsta Live at KCRW on Morning Becomes Eclectic 05.09.13
LA native Tokimonsta has a unique take on electronic dance music and is notably the first female to join the groundbreaking Brainfeeder crew, led by Flying Lotus. We’re treated to one of her energetic live performances on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15am.
Choo staying calm in contract year
When new Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo arrived in Cincinnati at the start of the regular season, a book was waiting for him at Great American Ballpark. The text was written in Korean, Choo’s native language. A fan had sent it, he said.
It wasn’t a baseball book. It was about the games we play between our ears. Choo read about keeping a narrow focus, about thinking “simple things,” about accepting that he can’t please everyone.
“When you stop, you see everything,” Choo told me recently, in the cramped visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley Field. “I really want to explain it to you, but it’s hard to say. I’ve already read it three times.”
Mets could go after Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in offseason
New York Daily News
Almost anything would be an upgrade for the Mets, considering that the state of their outfield is as bad as predicted — even if reserve Mike Baxter has a knack for the big moment, as he showed again Thursday night.
Who’s better: Henderson or Aldo?
ESPN Insider (subscription req’d)
Lightweight champion Benson Henderson and featherweight champ Jose Aldo are two of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts.
In their most recent fights, Aldo dispatched Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision in February at UFC 156, and Henderson beat Gilbert Melendez in a split-decision victory in April during UFC on Fox 7.
Although the two fight in different weight classes, Aldo has hinted at a jump in competition. Should Aldo beat top contender Anthony Pettis at UFC 163 in August, there’s a real chance these two champs could soon meet in the Octagon.
Mom’s Cooking Comes Between a Husband and Wife
The New York Times
Sometime KoreAm contributor Sung J. Woo writes a Mother’s Day piece for the New York Times.
My mother and I don’t fight often nowadays, because I’m 41 and she’s 72 and we lead separate lives. I see her once every two weeks. She makes me lunch, we shop at Costco, she makes me dinner, then she sends me off with grocery bags full of her cooking.
We’ve been on this schedule for the last eight years, since my father passed away. But on this evening, near the end of my visit to her senior apartment, I could tell we were going to argue.
“Just take it,” she said.
“It’s just one more.” There was an edge to her voice. “Why are you being difficult?”
Have American Parents Got It All Backwards?
This is a guest column by Korean American professor, Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us.
The parent I used to be and the parent I am now both have the same goal: to raise self-reliant, self-assured, successful children. But 12 years of parenting, over five years of living on and off in Japan, two years of research, investigative trips to Europe and Asia and dozens of interviews with psychologists, child development experts, sociologists, educators, administrators and parents in Japan, Korea, China, Finland, Germany, Sweden, France, Spain, Brazil and elsewhere have taught me that though parents around the world have the same goals, American parents like me (despite our very best intentions) have gotten it all backwards.
We need to let 3-year-olds climb trees and 5-year-olds use knives.