N. Korea fires short-range missiles, South says ‘provocative’
AFP via Yahoo News
North Korea fired short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast for the second time in a week Monday, prompting a warning from South Korea of “reckless provocation.”
The missile tests have clearly been timed to coincide with annual South Korea-US military exercises which kicked off a week ago and run until mid-April.
Two missiles were fired Monday and both flew around 500 kilometers (310 miles) into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea’s Defence Ministry.
Four short-range Scud missiles were fired in similar fashion on Thursday.
South Korea proposes regular family reunions with North
South Korean President Park Geun-hye made a formal proposal to North Korea on Saturday to hold family reunions regularly, uniting families separated since the 1950-53 Korean war, a sign Seoul is seeking to improve relations with the North.
The reunions used to be held roughly annually, but until this February had not taken place since 2010 when tensions between the two Koreas spiraled after the South said the North sank one of its naval vessels.
The latest family reunion was held on February 20-25 at the Mount Kumgang resort just north of the border and a total of 813 family members met in tears and joy.
“I propose to North Korea to make family reunions regular in order to ease the deep sorrow of the separated families as soon as possible. North Korea too has separated families and I believe it also has to relieve their pain and agony,” said Park in a speech marking the March First Independence Movement Day.
N. Korea’s No. 2 man arrested
North Korean government may have locked behind bars the state’s second-in-command Choe Ryong-hae for not fulfilling his duties and other allegations deemed disloyal, Free North Korea Radio (FNKR) said Friday.
According to the media’s state correspondents, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Chief was arrested at his home on Feb. 21 at around 6 a.m. Some 30 military guards detained Choe who at the time was getting ready to go to work.
The guards, after the arrest, confiscated all documents and appliances at his office in the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.
Choe is known to have been serving his jail time in a cell located inside the State Security Department since then.
Park Geun-hye Asks Xi Jinping…
Exit Emperor Kim Jong-Il
SK President Park Geun-hye is said to have asked China’s President Xi Jinping whether there was a plan for China to annex North Korea as the 4th province of the Northeast (Dongbei) in the event that North Korea’s governance structure completely breaks down. Xi is said to have answered, no.
Presumably, the new leaders of the respective countries had vetted this question/answer prior to their summit (Beijing, June, 2013). Nevertheless, it is a loaded question, and it had to have caused stir among policy wonks in Beijing.
Park’s question goes directly to her initiative in unification of two Koreas under the leadership of South Korea. She sought consensus among neighboring countries, and appears to have persuaded Xi, Putin, and Obama that Korean unification under the South Korean leadership was good for the region.
Ex-Premier Murayama Expects Abe to Stick by Japan’s War Apologies
Wall Street Journal
Tomiichi Murayama, the former socialist leader of Japan who apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression, is the latest ex-premier to come out of retirement and make current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uncomfortable.
Mr. Murayama, who is celebrating his 90th birthday Monday, said in a recent visit to South Korea that he expects Mr. Abe to stick by the 1995 “Murayama statement” that contained the apology. Mr. Murayama also wants Japan to uphold a 1993 statement apologizing over the “comfort women” issue, made by Yohei Kono, Japan’s then-chief government spokesman. The term comfort women refers to women and girls, many of them Korean, who were forced to sexually serve Japanese soldiers during World War II.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Mr. Murayama stepped up his criticism of those who want to revise the apologies, describing the recent controversy surrounding the Kono statement as “meaningless.”
South Korea Assails Japan on Wartime Brothels
New York Times
Unleashing fresh criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea on Saturday urged him to be honest and courageous enough to face his country’s history of aggression in the early 20th century, especially its enslavement of Asian women in Imperial Army brothels.
“True courage lies not in denying the past but in looking squarely at the history as it was and teaching growing generations the correct history,” Ms. Park said, referring to Japan’s often brutal colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. “The more one denies the history of the past, the more wretched and more isolated one gets.”
Just a day earlier, Mr. Abe’s government said it would re-examine a landmark 1993 apology it made to the sex slaves, commonly known by the euphemism “comfort women.”
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho ‘seriously considering’ Arizona congressional run
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho is strongly considering a congressional run in Arizona, sources tell the Washington Examiner.
Cho, the former associate director for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, has been taking calls encouraging him to run in Arizona since Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor announced Thursday he would retire after his current term.
Sources close to Cho, a Phoenix native and Arizona State University alumnus, said he is seriously thinking of throwing his hat into the ring in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. If successful, he would be the first Korean-American Democrat elected to Congress.
Cho also has been an editor at Newsweek/Daily Beast and worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as associate director in the Office of Legislative Affairs.
Gourmet Heaven owner charged with discrimination, wage theft
Providence Journal (Rhode Island)
Gourmet Heaven owner Chung Cho was arrested Monday on five charges of discrimination against workers and five violations of failure to keep wage records at its Connecticut stores, according to Connecticut court records.
Four days earlier, on Feb. 20, New Haven police arrested Chung on 21 felony counts of wage theft and 20 misdemeanor charges of defrauding immigrant workers, according to the court records.
Gourmet Heaven has two locations in Connecticut and two in Providence, one on Weybosset Street downtown and the other, more recently opened, on Meeting Street on College Hill.
The Providence stores are not under investigation, according to Nicole Armstrong, program coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
Oscars: Karen O Performs Ethereal ‘Moon Song’ With Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig
Karen O took the Academy Awards stage Sunday with special guest Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig accompanying on guitar for their performance of Oscar-nominated original song from Her, “The Moon Song.”
Dressed in a deep-V red gown, a seated Karen O brought an ethereal mood to the Dolby Theatre with Koenig’s help on supporting vocals. The performance was in stark contrast to Pharrell Williams’ show-stealing performance of Despicable Me’s “Happy” minutes before, with dozens of dancers amping up the star-filled crowd. An image of a moon rose as Karen O and Koenig crooned “The Moon Song” with the rest of the stage in black.
The two teamed up for a new version of “The Moon Song,” which was co-written by Karen O and Her director Spike Jonze, as part of a three-song EP released on iTunes. Karen O also recorded a solo version.
2NE1 Vs. Girls’ Generation: K-Pop Girl Group Battle Raging on the Charts
As two of K-pop’s biggest international acts, Girls’ Generation and 2NE1 dropping albums within days of each other was sure to stir up a competitive chart battle in both their native South Korea and abroad. According to early chart forecasts, both Korean releases should be making exciting chart moves.
Industry forecasters suggest that 2NE1′s new album “Crush” might sell around 4,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, March 2. Meanwhile, Girls Generation’s “Mr.Mr.” EP could sell 3,000.
If 2NE1′s latest effort sells 4,000, it would easily mark the act’s best sales week; the group’s previous high came when “2NE1 2nd Mini Album” EP sold 1,000 in its first week in 2011.
‘Frozen’ Crosses $75 Million in South Korea, Breaks Local Records
Frozen broke several South Korean box office records over the weekend as it became Sunday the first animated feature and the second imported film to cross 10 million admissions here.
As of Monday, according to the Korean Film Council, the Oscar-winning film has grossed $75.48 million (80.45 billion won), making Korea the most successful market for the Disney animation outside of the U.S.
The film’s directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, expressed thanks to Korean fans with a hand-drawn picture of the character Olaf and the message, “Thank you Korea for loving me so much! I want to give you all a warm hug!!”
The Chinese obsession with Korean dramas is making bad Chinese TV look bad
Days after a woman suffered a heart attack after staying up late to watch the hit Korean drama “My Love From the Star” (来自星星的你), Xu Qinsong, a Guangdong delegate to the CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference), stood up for the poor souls working in the lackluster Chinese domestic television industry by saying enough is enough with China’s Korean drama craze.
In a recent interview, the venerable Mr. Xu lamented how the Korean Drama obsession is hurting China’s “cultural self-esteem.” And the truth is, he does kind of have a point.
“My Love From the Star,” which recently concluded its first season on February 27, weaves a deeply complex and nuanced tale of a young, beautiful Korean actress (played by the young and beautiful Jun Ji-Hyun) who falls in love with her young and beautiful alien boyfriend (played by the young and beautiful Kim Soo-hyun). The show has been broadcasted on China’s video platform sites LeTv.Com and iQiyi, where it has reportedly been watched 14.5 billion times on the latter site alone. Damn. On February 14th, over 100 fans took out a full-page advertisement in the Beijing News to wish male star Kim both a happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday on February 16th.
Korea’s indie rock music survives in shadow of K-Pop
South China Morning Post
It’s Saturday night in Hongdae, one of Seoul’s best-known entertainment districts. Alleyways that are quiet by day have transformed into bustling passageways lined with busy bars and restaurants; street food vendors have pitched tents to serve soju and fried seafood; and young men and women prowl the streets in their nightclub finery.
With so much action going on, it’s easy to miss the entrance to Club Freebird, an obscure but influential music venue in the area. Inside the bar, surrounded by the blue haze of stage lights, a small crowd sways to Led Zeppelin-inspired guitars and the siren-like vocals of a singer in black eyeliner, fishnet tights and shorts.
Apart from the cheap drinks, every member of the audience is here to enjoy something that South Korea isn’t known for: indie music.
Yoo Jae Suk Gifts University Students Who Appeared on “Running Man”
Comedian Yoo Jae Suk gave gifts to the guest university students who participated in the March 2 broadcast of SBS’ “Running Man.”
According to a “Running Man” representative on March 3, “Yoo Jae Suk gave iPads as gifts to the university students who participated in the ‘Running Man 2014 University War’ special.”
The rep explained, “Yoo Jae Suk wanted to express his gratitude toward all of the university students who actively participated on the show. He was too shy to give the gifts in person, so he asked the production team to give out the gifts on his behalf. He wanted to let this pass quietly, but people found out.”
Nike yoga master trainer Leah Kim: I felt out of place in an office
Leah Kim, 34, was an unsporty child destined for a ‘proper’ job. Somehow, she became Nike’s global yoga master trainer.
Growing up in California, it was the norm to be health-conscious and yoga was around my entire life. But it wasn’t until I was at college at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] that I walked into class with the teacher who would become my mentor, and yoga became a huge part of my life. During that first class, I started experiencing the aspects of yoga that go beyond the physical, that ask you to look within. It seemed like there was so much to learn and I just wanted more.
I was definitely not sporty at school – not in the slightest. Sometimes it feels like a fluke that I’m now a ‘Nike athlete’ but I stepped into my body’s potential when I stepped on to the yoga mat. I’d gone to UCLA to study economics but I wasn’t passionate about it. Growing up, there was an inherent expectation that I would get a ‘proper’ job in some sort of business capacity. But once I got into my cubicle at my first job out of college, I felt out of place and uninspired. I found I was so much more contented at the yoga studio than anywhere else and wished I could spend all day long there. Then one day I had the realisation – well, maybe I can…
S. Korean business man charged for alleged spying for North
A South Korean businessman has been indicted on charges of handing over classified information to North Korea, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The 55-year-old man, only identified by his surname Kang, is under suspicion of transferring state-of-the-art South Korean military technology between March 2012 and July 2013, as well as providing personal information on hundreds of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The (leaked) data were important and could be used by North Korea for military or intelligence operations,” said an investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
Among the leaked confidential data is the transferring wireless video and audio system technology called “KAISHOT,” prosecutors said. The technology was used by the South Korean Navy during the rescue of Korean sailors from Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden three years ago, they added.
Virginia bill on ‘East Sea’ in home stretch
Use of the name East Sea in textbooks won approval Monday from a Virginia legislative committee, leaving just two steps before a longtime dream of the local Korean-American community comes true.
The House of Delegates education panel passed it in a 18-3 vote. The House floor is expected to vote Thursday on the bill, which requires new school textbooks to name the body of water between Korea and Japan the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
Chances are high that it will pass the floor, given the level of support in the chamber. Since the legislation was already approved by the Senate, its fate will likely be decided by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has the power to veto legislative measures.
N.Koreans ‘Want Reunification’
More North Koreans than South Koreans want reunification, according to a straw poll of defectors by Media Research with the assistance of the North Korea Refugees Foundation.
Interviews with 200 North Korean defectors, most of whom came to South Korea within the last two years, revealed that 76.5 percent of them believe North Koreans want reunification “very much,” and only three percent “a little.”
Two percent said North Koreans “do not really want” reunification, while 0.5 percent said they do not want it at all.
South Korea: Kim Il-sung ‘worship’ declared illegal
Jo Young-nam apparently went to North Korea in 1995. He travelled through Germany, Japan and China to get there, and later claimed political asylum in Germany. He was arrested in 2012 when he returned to South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
A lower court had ruled Jo’s visit was akin to sightseeing. But South Korea’s Supreme Court says Jo was supporting North Korean ideology when he saw Kim Il-sung’s embalmed body at an extravagant mausoleum in Pyongyang, leading it to ban the activity for all South Korean citizens.
“His worshipping at the palace, which symbolizes Pyongyang’s propaganda, can be interpreted as praising and propagating the North’s ideology,” the high court ruled. “The way in which he entered the North, his continued support of the enemy and the symbolic meaning of the palace should be taken into consideration.”
Korea Adopts Name-and-Shame Tool to Boost Jobs for Moms
South Korea will adopt a name-and-shame policy, publicly identifying companies with low female employment levels, as President Park Geun Hye targets 1.65 million extra jobs for women.
Policy steps will include increased subsidies for parents on childcare leave and preferential treatment for “family-friendly” companies seeking government contracts, six ministries said in a joint statement today.
With an aging population threatening to undermine South Korea’s economic growth, Park, the nation’s first woman president, has pledged to lift the female employment rate to 61.9 percent, from 53.5 percent, before her term ends in 2018. Cho Yoon Sun, the minister for gender equality, is working with the family-run industrial groups called chaebol to try to end male-dominated employment practices.
How I Learned To Feel Undesirable
It’s an odd feeling, as an adult, to look at a photo of your parents and feel perplexed by it. As a young child, I believed that most sets of parents looked like mine — a Korean man, a white woman — and it never registered to me that other parents looked different, or that their love could be something culturally undesirable.
But as I have moved through 32 years of looking at myself in the mirror, a time in which the vast majority of interracial couples I have known have looked nothing like my parents, I have come to see their love as something rare. Most men in interracial couples I have encountered do not look like my dad. They do not have his skin tone, or his combination of dark hair and dark eyes. My mom often tells me stories about when she began dating my father in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, and I could only infer from her stories that her predominantly white community felt confused and unsure why a white woman would find an Asian man attractive.
I learned, slowly, painfully, over the course of my life that most people shared the opinion of my mother’s community. I know this, because I look like my father
Nothing like “Duck Dynasty”: My life as a female hunter
Female hunters are everywhere. They are on television as the women of “Duck Dynasty” and the ladies of “American Hoggers,” blogging under names such as “Hardcore Huntress,” and co-authoring bestselling cookbooks such as “Kill It and Grill It.” Is this reason for feminists to celebrate, or a symptom of something more complicated? And is there some unspoken rule that says female hunters must be white-hot blondes?
Alas, I am neither hot nor blonde (though my sister, during her rock-star phase, certainly qualified). I’m a Korean-American preacher’s daughter who hunts and butchers my own venison. I thank the land, the Lord, and the deer for the bounty I am about to receive, for I fully expect that one day, nature will be feasting on what’s left of me.
The New York Times isn’t writing fawning articles about the kind of hunting that I practice, even though my bona fides sound a lot like those of the goddess of girl hunting, Georgia Pellegrini. She went to Chapin. I went to Andover. She became a stockbroker. I became a professor. She cooks. Me too. Pellegrini turned to hunting after butchering a domesticated bird. That was also where I started. After the encounter with an eviscerated bird, however, everything diverges.
The 1960′s American K-Pop Tale of “The Kim Sisters”: From Post War Korean Poverty to USA Prime Time
If asked “What is the first Korean music you were introduced to?” how would you respond? Fans from the 90′s might say H.O.T., Seo Taiji and Boys, g.o.d, Fin.k.l and etc. More recent fans may respond with Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, 2NE1, and etc. However, if you were to ask the same question to an American in the 1960′s, they would most likely respond with “The Kim Sisters.”
Wait, the Kim Sisters? Who in the world are they? “The Kim Sisters” was a popular female music trio from Korea composed of sisters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and Mia (Mia is actually a cousin of the two, but was considered a sister) who battled poverty and hardships on their journey to becoming a top act in the glittering light filled city of Las Vegas, as well as becoming a favorite guest on the popular Sunday night variety show “Ed Sullivan Show.” Lets take a look at their amazing story that begins with their musically talented family in war ravaged Korea during the 1950s.
The story of the “The Kim Sisters” begin with their musically gifted family. The mother of Sook Ja and Ai-Ja, Lee Nan Young, was a famous singer in Korea before the war, most known for her 1935 hit “Tears in Mokpo,” and their father Kim Hae Song was also a successful conductor. The sisters would lose their father during the war and the bombings would destroy their home. Lee Nan Young continued to support her family with performances for the GI troops stationed in Korea, when one day she decided to make the trio “The Kim Sisters,” composed of her daughters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and niece Mia. Thus the group began, and the trio began singing together during their early teen years for GI troops stationed in Korea.
Foreign entertainers are finding fame in S. Korea
Korea Times US
Japanese actress Mina Fujii featured only briefly in the 2012 television drama “Emperor of Drama.” She had a very small role and her Korean was at a beginner’s level. But instantly, people began inquiring about her on the Internet. There was a demand for actresses such as Fujii in the Korean entertainment industry.
Having acted since she was a teen, Fujii was not a stranger to the Korean entertainment sector. She appeared in music videos with TVXQ, when it was still a five-member K-pop group, and the actor/singer Jang Keun-suk, who is known as “Prince of Asia.” Serendipity was it? Maybe it was. The Japanese actress however was frank and straightforward in saying that she came to Korea after a search for her niche in the competitive acting industry.
“I fell in love with ‘Winter Sonata’ as a viewer and started learning Korean. I didn’t study Korean with a certain purpose back then. I also liked how the drama continued for 45 minutes and had a different story and ambience,” said Fujii in an interview with The Korea Times. An actress since teen, the Niigata-native turned serious about making her entry into the Korean market when work dwindled after graduation from Keio University.
Orioles have made an offer to Korean pitcher Yoon, source says
The Orioles have enough interest in signing Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon that they have made him an offer, according to an industry source.
Yoon has received multiple offers to pitch in the big leagues in 2014, but has not yet made a decision, a source said. That could come within the next several days.
Along with representatives from the San Francisco Giants, the Orioles attended a private workout for Yoon in California last week. Club officials wanted to make sure that Yoon, a 27-year-old who reportedly has a fastball in the low 90s, was healthy.
The 2011 Most Valuable Player for the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, Yoon also won a gold medal with the South Korean team in the 2008 Olympics.
Kimchi grand master Kim Soon-ja takes Korean dish global
South Korea’s best known dish is kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage, which is served with every meal of the day – including breakfast.
The grand master of kimchi is Kim Soon-ja, and she is South Korea’s secret weapon in expanding the appeal of the country’s national dish.
Mrs Kim explains why she wants people across the world to eat kimchi.
‘I am Homeland’ showcases Korean-American poets
A collection of poems written by first-generation Korean-Americans has been published in the U.S. It consists of 120 poems delving into their migration experiences, sense of displacement and their daily lives as immigrants in the country they chose as their second home.
Titled “I am Homeland,” the collection is edited by Choi Yearn-hong, a scholar who also serves as the founding president of the Korean-American Poets Group. In his introduction, Choi explains why the collection is unique compared to other works of literature written by second- or third-generation Korean-Americans.
He identifies as a first-generation Korean-American poet as well. Born in 1941 in Korea’s Chungcheong region, Choi first moved to the U.S. as an international student in 1968 and eventually settled in Washington, D.C., in the early ’80s. He still lives in the city.
Let Korean Photoshop Trolls Brighten Your Day Once Again
It’s Tuesday. There are days left in your week. Maybe you need a pick me up! Maybe you need Korean Photoshop trolls. I know I do. P
As Kotaku first pointed out last year, Korean Photoshop trolls make the internet a better place. And hopefully, they’ll make your day a better one, too.
Once again, the trolls folks at We Do Phoshop are taking requests, and will turn your photos into… something you aren’t quite expecting.
Koreas Plan Family Reunion Talks
Wall Street Journal
The two Koreas on Monday appeared to move closer to resuming reunions of families separated by the Korean War after North Korea agreed to hold preparatory talks at the border this week.
Breaking its weeklong silence on the South’s proposal that the reunions be held from Feb. 17 to 22, Pyongyang suggested a meeting on the northern side of the Panmunjom border village on Wednesday or Thursday
The South notified the North that it preferred Wednesday, Seoul’s unification ministry said. North Korea later agreed.
“Given the urgency of the family-reunion issue, the government will prepare for the reunions to resume as soon as possible,” ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told a regular briefing.
French cartoon festival highlights sex slavery victims
A special exhibition about Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II attracted nearly 17,000 visitors during the four-day Angouleme International Comics Festival in France.
On Sunday, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Cho Yoon-sun welcomed the event for helping raise international awareness of the tragedy of wartime victims.
“The power of art is enormous. I feel vindicated that the wartime sex slavery issue has become a universal wartime human rights issue through the art of comics at this festival,” Cho was quoted by the ministry as saying.
The minister promised that she would continue to try and raise the issue at the international level through diverse forms of art.
Inside North Korea’s Western-funded university
In the heart of North Korea’s dictatorship, a university – largely paid for by the West – is attempting to open the minds of the state’s future elite. The BBC’s Panorama has been granted unique access.
Entering the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, it is immediately clear this is no ordinary academic institution.
A military guard salutes us as our vehicle passes through the security checkpoint. Once inside the campus we hear the sound of marching and singing, not more guards but the students themselves.
They are the sons of some of the most powerful men in North Korea, including senior military figures.
Wary NKorea struggles to stay afloat in info age
It’s late afternoon at the e-library in North Korea’s Kim Il Sung University, where row after row of smartly dressed students sit quietly, their faces bathed in the glow of computer displays as they surf the Internet. On the surface, it’s a familiar-seeming scene, which is exactly why officials are offering it up for a look.
North Korea is literally off the charts regarding Internet freedoms. There essentially aren’t any. But the country is increasingly online. Though it deliberately and meticulously keeps its people isolated and in the dark about the outside world, it knows it must enter the information age to survive in the global economy.
As with so many other aspects of its internal workings, North Korea has tried hard to keep its relationship to the Internet hidden from foreign eyes. But it opened that door just a crack recently for The Associated Press to reveal a self-contained, tightly controlled Intranet called Kwangmyong, or ‘‘Bright.’’
Document shows Japan’s aggressive lobbying against East Sea name
The Japanese Embassy in Washington signed a US$75,000 contract recently with a major U.S. public affairs firm in a bid to kill a legislation on the use of the “East Sea” name, according to a related document.
Yonhap News Agency on Sunday obtained the four-page contract signed in mid-December between the embassy and McGuireWoods Consulting LLC (MWC). It details the company’s strategy to block a legislative move in the U.S. state of Virginia on identifying the body of waters between Korea and Japan.
The legislation would require local school textbooks to name it the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
MWC is developing “white papers and talking points on why the ‘East Sea’ proposal is bad public policy,” reads the document from the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chun Doo-hwan’s Son Owns Prime Real Estate in U.S.
Disgraced ex-president Chun Doo-hwan’s son Jae-yong and his wife, actress Park Sang-ah, own a US$2.4-million home in Orange County, California, giving the lie to his claim that he is broke.
The property was discovered by journalist Ahn Chi-yong, who analyzed real estate registration documents and other materials for the Chosun Ilbo’s premium website on Sunday.
Prosecutors last month revised an arraignment of disgraced Chun Jae-yong and his uncle Lee Chang-seok, reducing the amount of taxes they allegedly evaded from W6 billion to W2.7 billion (US$1=W1,073). Prosecutors accepted Chun’s claim that he did not manipulate a real estate contract for the sale of a plot in Osan, south of Seoul to dodge W6 billion in taxes.
South Koreans drink twice as much liquor as Russians and more than four times as much as Americans
The biggest hard alcohol drinkers on the globe aren’t cuddled up somewhere in sub-zero Siberia; they’re sipping on Soju, in South Korea.
South Koreans drink 13.7 shots of liquor per week on average, which is the most in the world. And of 44 other countries analyzed by Euromonitor, none comes anywhere close. The Russians, the second biggest in Euromonitor’s sample, down 6.3 shots per week; Filipinos drink roughly 5.4 shots per week; and Americans consume only 3.3.
South Korea’s unparalleled liquor consumption is almost entirely due to the country’s love for a certain fermented rice spirit called Soju. The South Korean liquor accounts for 97% of the country’s spirits market.
S. Korea Crackdown on Underground Economy Stokes Angst: Economy
South Korean (KOGDPQOQ) bar owner Jeong Young Soo doused his body with paint thinner and set himself aflame, his final protest against a government crackdown to collect more tax from his industry.
The shock in front of Chuncheon city hall, northeast of Seoul, highlighted an underlying tension as President Park Geun Hye tries to squeeze an extra 27.2 trillion won ($25 billion) in revenue from the undocumented economy.
Extra pressure on groups from bar owners to doctors to mom-and-pop retailers contrasts with Park’s 2012 election-campaign focus on reducing the scope of industrial groups, known as chaebol, to create space for small- and medium-sized businesses. The clampdown may have the opposite effect, said Jean Lim, a Seoul-based economist at Korea Institute of Finance, a non-profit research center.
‘Frozen’ Sets South Korean Box-Office Record for Animated Film
Frozen has became the highest-grossing animated feature ever in South Korea over the weekend, while also selling the most tickets during the country’s long Lunar New Year break from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the Disney film has grossed $44.17 million (47.7 billion won) in South Korea, passing prior record holder Kung Fu Panda 2, which pulled in $41 million (44.3 billion won) in 2011.
Frozen, about two estranged sister princesses trying to break a wintry spell that freezes their kingdom, has so far drawn more than 6 million admissions in South Korea as of Monday. It reached the box-office milestone in just 18 days, after taking only 17 days since opening on Jan. 16 to reach 5 million admissions. The film is expected to easily break 7 million admissions in the days ahead.
South Korea’s film offices often use admissions as their primary measure.
The Frozen soundtrack is also reportedly selling well, according to local music charts.
Expectations high for Korea’s Olympians
Figure skater Kim Yu-na and short-rack skater Shim Suk-hee are expected to lead South Korea to a respectable medal count behind traditional powerhouses at the Sochi Winter Olympics, according to recent projections.
In its preview of the Games, the Associated Press (AP) predicted Korea would win six gold, two silver and three bronze medals. That would put Korea in seventh place overall according to gold medal count.
Meanwhile, Sport Illustrated magazine predicted Korea would capture five gold, five silver and three bronze medals, finishing eighth in gold medals.
Both had Kim defending her gold medal in women’s figure staking over opponents such as Mao Asada of Japan and Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia.
James Hahn ready to make his move at Pebble Beach
San Francisco Chronicle
One year later, James Hahn still hears more about his dance moves than his golf skills.
Hahn stitched together a strong West Coast swing in 2013 – tie for fourth in Palm Springs, tie for 16th in Scottsdale, tie for third at Pebble Beach. Even so, most fans remember him for his animated, Gangnam-style dance off the No. 16 green at TPC Scottsdale (the party hole), after he rolled home a 20-foot birdie putt in the final round.
In nearly every tournament since then, spectators have asked Hahn to dance again. Even after a routine par on the first hole? Uh, no, he’s not really in the mood.
Pot Bar Now Opens Wednesday, Here’s What to Drink
The Line Hotel, a revamp of what was formerly known as The Wilshire Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard at Normandie in Koreatown, has a cool new minimalist look and a top shelf set of food and drink operators poised to make waves. While the hotel has been up and running for guests since early January, the property’s food and drink components are still in the works, but come Wednesday (yes, slight delay) The Line’s lobby bar, Pot Bar, part of Roy Choi’s Pot restaurant, will soft roll. Choi, who earned a name for his prized mashup of Korean and Mexican flavors at Kogi, has teamed up with eat-your-drink chef Matthew Biancaniello, a barman applauded for his own crazy mashup cocktails that sometimes involve uni and white truffles.
In ‘open letter,’ N. Korea urges inter-Korean dialogue
North Korea called again for inter-Korean talks Friday, this time in the form of an “open letter.”
“It is our determination to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity, completely halt hostile military acts, realize the reunion of separated families and relatives, resume the tour of Mt. Kumgang and reenergize multi-faceted north-south cooperation and exchanges,” the powerful National Defense Commission said in what it says is an open letter to South Koreans.
The move came after the South Korean government rejected the North’s dialogue offer, with “unacceptable” pre-conditions attached, earlier this month.
SEE IT: Marco Rubio stares down the barrel of a North Korean soldier’s camera lens
New York Daily News
Marco Rubio came face to face with a North Korean soldier Thursday at the DMZ but his Communist counterpart didn’t see the Republican as much of a menace, ditching a gun for a camera to snap the Senator’s pic.
Rubio (R-Fla.) appears somewhat dumbfounded as he stares through the thick glass at the “the edge of freedom,” that separates Kim Jong-un’s territory from South Korea.
The GOP star hit Korea on the last stop of his weeklong Asia tour, that also included stops in the Philippines and Japan.
S. Korea chides Japan for renewed claims to Dokdo
South Korea criticized Japan Friday for renewing territorial claims to its easternmost islets of Dokdo, urging Tokyo to heed international warnings against its nationalist actions.
Seoul’s reaction came after Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated his country’s claims to the islets in an address to parliament and after the Tokyo government opened a website promoting its claims to the islets.
“Such groundless claims and useless attempts repeated over time only show the world that Japan is still under the spell of imperialism,” the foreign ministry here said in a statement.
It also shows how hollow Japan’s so-called active pacifist policy is, the ministry said, referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hard-line policy seen as being aimed at exerting more diplomatic and military power in the region.
Virginia Senate passes bill on East Sea name
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Virginia’s state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill supported by the Korean-American community endeavoring to publicize the name East Sea for the body of water between Korea and Japan.
The 31-4 vote Thursday represents a significant victory for ethnic Koreans in the state against high-profile lobbying by the Japanese Embassy in Washington.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dave W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), would require all new textbooks for Virginia schools to use the name East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
LAST month a business student at Korea University in Seoul posted a large bulletin on a wall in the university grounds. In bold black pen, Ju Hyun-woo recounted the week’s events: thousands of railway workers dismissed for striking; the suicide of a farmer in protest at the construction of electricity pylons near his village; and the conservative ruling party’s proposal to expel an opposition politician for questioning the legitimacy of the president, Park Geun-hye. Mr Ju asked readers: “How are you all feeling nowadays?”
Answers came in thick and fast, and most people said they were not fine. Within a few days dozens of handwritten posters—known as daejabo—were pinned up next to his, on issues ranging from high gas bills to gay rights. Now Mr Ju reckons almost 1,000 have been tacked onto university walls around the country. Students in Japan, America, China and Chile have followed, posting pictures of their posters on the “Can’t be OK” Facebook page, which gathered 260,000 followers in a week.
Social media have long been a haven for anonymous dissenting voices in South Korea. But Mr Ju says he wanted to “take responsibility” for his poster: he signed it and stood in front of it for ten hours, engaging passers-by. Breaking with a tradition of politically charged, militant daejabo, used in the past by Korean students to demand change, Mr Ju left readers to come up with their own grievances—and answers.
Seeing none, Korean-American community works to recruit foster parents
Southern California Public Radio
Recruiting foster parents in Los Angeles County is tough. Finding Asian caregivers, particularly Koreans, even more so.
Not one of the thousands of foster homes in Los Angeles County is Korean-speaking — which can make a stressful situation even worse for a foster child who only knows that language.
“Being in a non-Korean home is just shocking to them,” said Mike Oh, a county social worker who works with Asian-American foster children. “We’ve had a lot of calls from the foster parents saying that the child appears to be traumatized, and not eating, not sleeping.”
Asian Americans and the ‘model minority’ myth
Los Angeles Times
Previews of Amy Chua’s forthcoming book, “The Triple Package” (co-written with husband Jed Rubenfeld), detonated a social media uproar among Asian Americans. Many were infuriated by the New York Post’s report that Chua, the self-styled Tiger Mom, was identifying eight superior “cultural” groups in the United States: Jewish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese, Nigerian, Cuban and Mormon. For Asian Americans, the problem is about another Chua production that seems to perpetuate the “model minority” myth and, in particular, the notion that Asians are culturally — even genetically — endowed with the characteristics that enable them to succeed in American society.
Before the mid-20th century, the Tiger Mom did not exist in the national imagination. Instead, Americans believed that Chinese culture was disgusting and vile, viewing U.S. Chinatowns as depraved colonies of prostitutes, gamblers and opium addicts bereft of decency. Lawmakers and citizens deployed these arguments to justify and maintain the segregation, marginalization and exclusion of Chinese from mainline society between the 1870s and World War II. Those efforts were more than effective: to have a “Chinaman’s chance” at that time meant that one had zero prospects.
There is danger in offering culture as a formula for success, because our ideas of culture are hardly fixed. The history of Americans’ views about Chinese immigrant behaviors shows that “culture” often serves as a blank screen onto which individuals project various political agendas, depending on the exigencies of the moment.
English teacher extradited from Armenia over teen sex tape
A 29-year-old American accused of having sex with a teenage girl and posting a video of it online was extradited from Armenia to South Korea on Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice said.
The ministry has been tracking down the suspect’s whereabouts since 2010, when he fled to China as the video stirred a firestorm of criticism in the Korean online community.
“The urgency of each case decides how fast the extradition will take place. In this case, it only took three months, whereas it could take up to three years for other cases,” a prosecutor in charge of the case told The Korea Herald.
Chang-rae Lee: By the Book
New York Times
The author of “On Such a Full Sea” has been rereading the classics he tackled in college — “big, complex works which I found arresting and difficult then and find arresting and difficult now.”
What’s the best book you’ve read recently? And your vote for best book of the last year?
Two first fictions dazzled me in the last couple of years, the novel “Mr. Peanut,” by Adam Ross, and “Battleborn,” a story collection by Claire Vaye Watkins. “Mr. Peanut” is a hybrid wonder, being at once a detective story, an arch gloss on that genre and a bravura romance, totally upended, that employs the possible murder of one’s wife as a means of revealing the manifold facets of truest, desperate love. All this is driven by the edgy sparkle of the prose, which acts not only as a mirror or lens but as an accelerant, lighting up every layer of his characters’ consciousnesses to a degree that feels almost dangerous. Watkins’s “Battleborn” is equally potent even though the stories range widely in setting, time and voice, the modalities coming at you with a ferocity and intelligence that seems like a magic trick. But there’s nothing artificial about these stories, for as you read them an indelible picture begins to emerge of a certain sensibility, maybe borne from the desert West — toughened, resourceful, both hellbent and eternally hopeful.
Korean American dude on the upcoming season of Survivor
His name is Woo, and he’s a martial arts instructor. His dad is a Tae Kwon Do expert, and he was brought up in the Tae Kwon Do tradition. He looks like a surfer dude, and in fact, he teaches surfing for a living. This season, the contestants will be broken down into three tribes: Brawn, Beauty, and Brains. Woo will be part of the Brawn Tribe.
Should be a fun season. I like this female contestant‘s quote:
Reason for Being on SURVIVOR: The chance to experience a once in a lifetime journey and to show everyone that just because I have huge boobs and a pretty face does not mean I am dumb, it just means I look better when I am winning.
I may have to cheer for her just for that.
Korean rock band forays into US, UK
Korea’s top rock band YB has signed a promotional contract with the former manager of Guns N’ Roses as part of an effort to make it into the American and British music markets.
The band’s domestic management said Tuesday that the five-member group, led by vocalist Yoon Do-hyun, will release its first English album in February and promote it with the help of Doug Goldstein, a former manager of the legendary American rock band.
Goldstein saw potential for YB’s success in Western countries after reviewing its music and performances, according to the band’s management.
Male And Female Idol Groups Ranked By Entertainment Reporters
ENews tvN recently ran a survey amongst 30 Korean entertainment
reporters to get them to rank male and female idol groups according to
Find out where your favorite idol group is ranked in different categories like vocal skills and dancing skills.
Online gaming addictions: Sundance films explore a darker side of the Internet
Deseret News (Utah)
For weeks, the young couple would arrive at an Internet cafe in Suwon, South Korea, shortly after dinner and spend up to 10 hours playing an online game that involved raising a virtual child in a fantasy world.
Meanwhile, their real-life 3-month-old girl was home alone with a bottle. The neglect resulted in the infant’s death and involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents.
In mainland China, desperate parents are forcing their teen children into military-style government rehabilitation camps, hoping to cure the youths of a diagnosed addiction to online gaming, which has blurred their distinction between the real and virtual worlds.
Teen star Ko ready to go as LPGA season begins
AFP via Yahoo News
Lydia Ko has jumped to fourth in the world rankings as the LPGA season begins Thursday, but the 16-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander has not adjusted to her lofty spot.
“Not at all, ” she said. “I don’t think it’s something you kind of get used to.”
Ko will play her first event as an LPGA Tour member starting Thursday at the $1.3 million Bahamas LPGA Classic on Paradise Island.
Two more ski jumpers earn spots at Sochi Winter Games
Two additional South Korean ski jumpers have earned spots at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, an official here said Friday, doubling the size of the ski jumping squad.
Lee Myung-gyo, director of ski jumping at the Korea Ski Association, said Kang Chil-gu and Choi Seo-u will compete in Russia at the Winter Games set to begin on Feb. 7. The two will join Choi Heung-chul and Kim Hyun-ki, who’d earlier qualified based on their world rankings.
Under the qualification rules by the International Ski Federation (FIS), a country can only have a maximum of five male jumpers. If a country has more than five eligible athletes, then Olympic berths will be reallocated to next eligible athletes from another country.
For South Korea’s old, a return to poverty as Confucian filial piety weakens
There’s a dark side to South Korea’s 50-year rise to riches: The graying generation that is most responsible for that ascent is living in relative poverty.
In a fast-paced nation famous for its high achievers and its big spending on private tutors and luxury goods, half of South Korea’s elderly are poor, the highest rate in the industrialized world.
Some live in crumbling hillside neighborhoods that lack running water. Others wait in line at soup kitchens where there is no young face in sight. The worst-off comb through garbage, collecting cardboard and paper and lugging it to trash yards, where they can receive several dollars for a pile. It’s common in central Seoul to see hunched seniors gathering scraps.
Chinese Shrine to Korean Assassin Irks Japan
Wall Street Journal
Japan, South Korea and China are sparring over a new shrine.
The opening on Sunday of a memorial hall in China to the assassin of the Japanese governor-general of Korea in 1909 has drawn a sharp exchange of words between Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.
The memorial hall was built at the railway station in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, where Korean national Ahn Jung-guen shot and killed Hirobumi Ito on Oct. 26, 1909.
Modeled on the original façade of the station and with a clock showing the exact time of the assassination, the hall is the fruit of a request by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in June last year.
South Korean Trade Official Abducted in Libyan Capital
New York Times
Gunmen have kidnapped a South Korean trade official in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, according to the South Korean government, which advised its citizens Monday to leave the country.
Han Seok-woo, 39, the head of the Tripoli office of the government-funded Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, was on his way home from work on Sunday afternoon when four gunmen stopped his car and abducted him, officials with the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Both the ministry and the trade agency said they were trying to gather information on the kidnappers and on Mr. Han’s whereabouts.
Bergen Dem Chairman Stellato backs Roy Cho in CD 5 race
There has been speculation for months about whether Bergen Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato would ultimately back Roy Cho, the Korean-American attorney from Hackensack who is the sole declared candidate to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R – 5).
The answer apparently came in the middle of the glittering Rockleigh Country Club ballroom at the Bergen Democratic Party annual Victory Gala on Thursday. And the message was conveyed not completely in English.
In an interview with reporter Yoojin Sung of Korean Radio Broadcasting, Stellato’s comments, later translated into Korean, show support for Cho’s candidacy.
China, South Korea face familiar woes in English quest
Japan isn’t alone in its struggles with teaching English. China and South Korea have experienced similar frustrations, but their responses and results have been quite different.
It’s easy to compare the three nations because of their similarities: English is completely different from their native languages; they’ve all had limited immigration and haven’t been completely colonized by an English-speaking Western power; and all three currently share low birth rates (though China has had an only-child policy that is just starting to be relaxed).
The most obvious difference between the three countries is scale. China’s population is 1.35 billion while Japan and South Korea’s are 127 million and 50 million, respectively. This is relevant to the number of English speakers education systems are producing — all three have a high-stakes college entrance exam on which English is a required subject. In 2013, 9.12 million students sat China’s exam, the Gaokao, 650,000 sat Korea’s College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) while 570,000 sat Japan’s National Center Test. Furthermore, one of the requirements for an undergraduate degree in China is passing the College English Test (CET); in 2013, 9.38 million students sat this exam.
What’s Unnerving About Angela Buchdahl? She Talks About God
Jewish Daily Forward
What has made some people nervous about Angela Buchdahl becoming the senior rabbi at Central Synagogue – one of the two largest Reform synagogues in New York and one of the biggest in the United States – is not that she’s the first Asian-American rabbi. It’s not that she’s a woman or, at 41, so young to lead a congregation whose membership will soon number 2,400 families. It’s not that she’s been working primarily as a cantor for most of her career. It’s not even that she’s the mother of three young children, though that has given some in her congregation pause, Buchdahl said. No, it’s because she talks about God.
“We become very nervous talking about God in the Jewish community,” Buchdahl tells Haaretz. “I made people on the search committee a little nervous about it.”
God is at the center of Buchdahl’s life. Born in South Korea and descended from a Korean king, she has prayed every night since she was a young girl in Tacoma, Washington, with a Korean-Buddhist mother and American-Jewish father. And in her new role at Central Synagogue, she is trying to put God at the center as well.
AB InBev to Pay $5.8 Billion for Korea’s Oriental Brewery
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI) agreed to pay $5.8 billion for South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co. Ltd., regaining control of a company that became the Asian nation’s biggest brewer under KKR (KKR) & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners Ltd.
AB InBev will fund the acquisition with internal resources, according to a statement from the companies today. The Leuven, Belgium-based maker of Budweiser and Corona will receive about $320 million in cash when the transaction is completed.
AB InBev, the world’s biggest beermaker, is buying back a business it sold to KKR in 2009 for $1.8 billion when it sought to cut debt following InBev NV’s $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch Cos. KKR subsequently sold 50 percent of the asset to Affinity. Since then, Oriental Brewery has become South Korea’s largest beermaker and more than doubled earnings, boosted by its Cass brand.
Living someone else’s life
Property theft can easily be punished as long as evidence points in one direction, hopefully the right one. But what happens in cases of identity theft?
As the online community continues to grow rapidly, netizens are finding themselves hesitant about uploading personal information online, where it can be easily stolen with none being the wiser.
Some websites have developed strategies to prevent this from happening by disabling the right-click button and requesting users to place watermarks on their photographs, but stealing photos and another person’s life still isn’t all that difficult.
3 Arrested in Massage Parlor Prostitution Sting
Bridgeport police arrested three women on Wednesday night during a sting operation at an illegal massage parlor, called the American Asian Modeling Studio.
The officers, dressed in civilian clothes, went to the Asian Modeling Studio at 3853 Main Street at about 10 p.m. on Thursday to conduct an undercover operation.
They said they spoke with to a woman through a barred door and received a price quoted price for massage and sexual services, but were told to come back because the woman working that night was busy with another client, police said.
Skokie Celebrates Korean Culture With 60-Event Series
Skokie Patch (Skokie, Ill.)
Taste kim chi, learn about what it was like for a teen boy to leave Korea when his parents opened a store in the U.S., learn a beloved Korean folk tale and more as “Coming Together in Skokie & Niles Township” launches Sunday, Jan. 26 and continues with programs for about two months.
“It will be a great opportunity for people to experience and learn Korean culture,” said Tom Suh, president of Korean American Association of Chicago (and Chicagoland) at a preview of the event Thursday.
This is the fifth “Coming Together” program, said Susan Van Dusen, who was one of five women who founded the event five years ago; it has previously focused on the Indian, Assyrian, Filipino and Greek cultures. It has grown every year, but has taken a big leap forward this year by including events at the Morton Grove, Lincolnwood and Niles libraries, and venturing into area schools with programs.
Jamie Chung On Once Upon A Time: ‘I Would Go Back In A Heartbeat’
Jamie Chung has a new primetime drama for NBC, but don’t count her out of future episodes of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
“I think it would be really disappointing to leave the audience with this giant question mark,” Jamie told AccessHollywood.com, following the NBC “Believe” panel (her new show) at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour on Sunday. “I would go back in a heartbeat. I am committed to this show, but I don’t think that door is shut, so I’m hoping that there is something we can do to kind of answer more questions.”
Jamie plays Mulan on “Once,” and in recent episodes, her feelings for another, female character – Aurora (played by Sarah Bolger) – were alluded to.
North Korea to Play Asian Games
Wall Street Journal
The North Koreans are coming again.
Pyongyang said late Monday that both its men’s and women’s soccer teams would participate in the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea, later this year.
The announcement marks a continuation of interaction on the sports field even as ties between the two Koreas remain unstable. Last week, North Korea warned of an “unimaginable holocaust” if South Korea went ahead with military drills with the U.S. planned to begin next month.
South Korea rejected the North’s demand to cancel the drills.
Chef Sang Yoon’s prime rib with horseradish creme fraiche on THE Dish
Chef Sang Yoon was born in South Korea, schooled by some of the finest chefs in the U.S. and Europe, plays hockey and has been called “the godfather of the gastro-pub scene.”
Yoon began his culinary career as a teenager in San Francisco with Jeremiah Tower and Julian Serrano. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America and then spent two years working in Northern Italy and France.
He bought his first restaurant in 2002. It is a renovated dive bar called Father’s Office. It features the Office Burger, which was named one of the world’s best by Esquire magazine. The burger is controversial because Yoon does not allow any substitutions or ketchup in his restaurants.
WE: Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea.”
“More and more we can see that the question is not whether we are ‘individuals,’ ” Chang-rae Lee writes in “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead), his new, dystopian novel. “The question, then, is whether being an ‘individual’ makes a difference anymore.” It seems doubtful, in Lee’s sombre future. Afflicted by swine- and bird-flu epidemics and a profound change in the climate, America, now known simply as the Association, has split into three separate social groups. At the top sit the Charters, a small professional class that has corralled the country’s remaining resources and withdrawn into gated villages. Catering their dinner parties and keeping their cars perpetually waxed are the “service people,” who live in the land beyond, known as the counties.
MINTING JULEP: HOW A FORMER STARBUCKS EXECUTIVE IS USING HER BEST CUSTOMERS TO HELP IMPROVE THE BEAUTY-PRODUCT BUSINESS
She is reimagining the entire enterprise of selling beauty merchandise to women, from product design to the transaction experience. During her four years at Starbucks, Park developed a keen understanding of just how crucial the happiness of the customer is at every turn. “It’s about thinking through every step of the customer journey,” she says.
When she launched Julep, Park’s first move was to open a small chain of beauty parlors. These brick-and-mortar outposts–carefully designed to encourage social interaction via communal spaces with movable furniture–function as mini labs in which to test products on actual customers. Park trained facialists and vernisseurs (a term that is to manicurist as barista is to coffee pourer) to listen closely to reactions and report back. Julep uses that info to tweak details such as colors, packaging, and scents.
Big ambition, big pressure: Seoul’s new art museum is in the spotlight
South Korea’s $230 million National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) opened in November with a towering ambition — become what the MoMA is to New York and the Tate is to London.
The museum couldn’t be in a better location to attract attention — it sits just across the street from Gyeongbokgung, Seoul’s main royal palace, and adjacent to a neighborhood that’s one of Seoul’s most popular among tourists.
Other than Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, a private art museum owned by Samsung, Seoul has no other large museum housing Korean contemporary art.
Korea’s Teddy Bear Museum Makes the World a Cuter Place
Sometimes the world isn’t very adorable. If only it looked a bit more like this! You know, like it were filled with teddy bears.
As recently noted by Korea Realtime, South Korea’s Jeju Island is home to all sorts of interesting museums.
There’s a sex museum, a computer museum, and a teddy bear museum, which features teddy bear versions of famous works of art and celebrities.