SKorea rejects NKorea’s conciliatory gesture
South Korea rejected North Korea’s offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included canceling Seoul’s regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.
The North’s powerful National Defense Commission on Thursday proposed the rivals halt military actions and mutual vilification to build better relations. The North, however, strongly hinted it would maintain its nuclear weapons program and urged South Korea to cancel its upcoming springtime drills with the United States.
The North’s overture is a sharp departure from its repeated threats of nuclear strikes against Seoul and Washington that raised tensions a year ago. Analysts say Kim Jong Un’s government hopes that improved ties with South Korea could help attract foreign investment to boost the communist nation’s lagging economy.
China urges Koreas to improve ties amid Pyongyang’s ‘peace offensive’
China called on both South and North Korea Friday to take steps to nurture better cross-border relations, with Pyongyang’s “peace offensive” raising fresh concerns that tension on the peninsula may rise sharply again ahead of joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.
North Korea has proposed this week that both Seoul and Pyongyang stop military provocations and mutual slandering to improve bilateral relations, but demanded the cancellation of upcoming South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
South Korea brushed off the North’s proposal that strongly indicated that Pyongyang won’t give up its nuclear weapons program, questioning its sincerity. Some Seoul officials described the North’s latest reconciliatory gesture as a “camouflaged peace offensive.”
North Korea’s Rare Earths Could be Game Changer
Voice of America
A recent geological study indicates North Korea could hold some 216 million tons of rare earths, minerals used in electronics such as smartphones and high definition televisions.
If verified, the discovery would more than double global known sources and be six times the reserves in China, the market leader.
British Islands-based private equity firm SRE Minerals Limited announced the study results in December, along with a 25-year deal to develop the deposits in Jongju, northwest of the capital, Pyongyang.
#HowIMetYourRacism: How Asian-Americans on Twitter are telling Hollywood to back off
Southern California Public Radio
In recent months, some Asian-Americans have taken to Twitter to call out incidents in the media they see as racially insensitive, or downright racist — most recently the Kung Fu movie-inspired episode of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”
And they’re getting attention.
Asian-American viewers and others unleashed the #HowIMetYourRacism hashtag after watching the show’s most recent episode — which aired Jan. 13 — in which its white stars dressed up as Asian grandmasters who drank tea, ate noodles, killed flies with chopsticks — all the while Asian extras hovered in the background.
Breaking Brian Shin: portrait of a Bay Street master and suburban drug dealer
Brian Shin seemed like the ideal employee. He worked long hours, dressed sharply and exuded sufficient swagger to fit in on Bay Street. His pedigree—a bachelor’s in commerce from U of T, a master’s in taxation from the University of Waterloo and work experience at the tax firm Deloitte—made him overqualified for his job at Lannick, a corporate recruiting firm. In two years, he placed roughly 100 managers and executives, and contributed $700,000 to the bottom line, making him one of the company’s top recruiters. He earned a salary of $130,900.
Shin was handsome, his hair neat and cropped short on the sides, and he was persistent and passionate in his work. He had a soft touch, too. When the mother of one of his former clients was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Shin made a point of offering his condolences. His boss, Joseph Diubaldo, considered Shin the best employee he’d ever hired.
In January 2012, Shin invited Diubaldo out for coffee, something they’d done regularly. But this time was different: Shin seemed agitated, and Diubaldo guessed that something was wrong. Then, Shin dropped a bombshell. For nearly half his life, he told Diubaldo, he had trafficked marijuana. He’d started in Grade 9 and worked his way up the food chain for 14 years—keeping his double life secret from his family all the while—and at his peak dealt upwards of 500 pounds of weed a year and handled $1.8 million in cash. He recounted how, in the summer of 2009, he’d been arrested at his stash house, how his parents, heartbroken at the news, had bailed him out, and how he was now awaiting trial. Working as a headhunter, he said, was a way to cover his legal bills, but the guilt of lying was gnawing at him. He was desperate to confess before Diubaldo read about him in the news.
More charges filed against Long Grove man in fatal DUI crash
Daily Herald (Chicago, Ill.)
A Lake County grand jury on Wednesday approved additional counts of reckless homicide against a Long Grove man accused of being intoxicated during a crash that killed a woman in September.
Stephen E. Tomczyk, 22, of the 3200 block of Middlesax Drive, was already facing three counts of reckless homicide for the crash that killed Jeewon Kim, 47, of Buffalo Grove on Sept. 5, 2013.
With the charges added Wednesday, Tomczyk now faces six total counts of reckless homicide.
“Hawaii Five-0′s” Daniel Dae Kim on a career in paradise
For Daniel Dae Kim, working in paradise has been twice as nice. He played Jin-Soo Kwon on the series “Lost,” and now he stars on another show filmed in Hawaii. He plays Detective Chin Ho Kelly on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”
Kim joined “CBS This Morning” and discussed his career, being able to work in Hawaii and his family with the co-hosts.
Growing up, Kim actually wanted to be a lawyer, not an actor. He told the co-hosts that, as an undergraduate, he wanted to be an attorney and study political science. He said he did one of those things and “ended up being an actor instead.”
“When I wanted to be an attorney, I think I wanted to be a litigator; I wanted to be in a courtroom,” he said, “and there are a lot of similarities between that and what I do today.”
PSY and Snoop Lion Slow Dance to G-Dragon’s Song at a Noraebang
Looks like we got a sneak preview of PSY‘s upcoming music video! Is that G-Dragon and Snoop Lion we see?
That’s right, it looks like G-Dragon and Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dog) will feature in PSY’s music video. In the photo we see the three at an old fashioned noraebang. They are wearing similar looking checkered suits, and PSY and Snoop Lion are getting very close with two very happy looking Korean women.
It had been previously reported that Snoop Lion was in Korea to film one of the PSY’s music videos. When PSY announced that he will most likely make a comeback in either February or March, it was also revealed that Snoop Lion would feature on one of his tracks. Later, YG Entertainment announced that PSY will film his music video in mid-January and that they are shooting for a early March comeback.
First Korean Indie band concert in LA
Korea Times US
America has Nine Inch Nails, and Korea has 10cm.
The Korean acoustic folk indie band 10cm will hold a solo concert in Los Angeles on Jan. 31. It will be the first concert hosted by a Korean indie band in the world’s biggest music market.
The venue is Club Nokia.
Making their debut in 2010, the duo act ㅡ vocalist Kwon Jung-yeol and guitarist Yoon Cheol-jong ㅡ had a meteoric rise to fame with several hit songs including “Tonight I’m Afraid of the Dark,” “Give a Hug” and “Fine Thank You and You?”
Reality Show Catapults Kim Hee-ae into Fashion Icon Status
Actress Kim Hee-ae is shaping up as a hot fashion icon, with the clothing, bags and accessories she shows off in a cable channel reality program frequently selling out nationwide.
tvN’s “Sisters Over Flowers” features episodes of a 10-day backpacking trip to Croatia and Turkey by four veteran actresses — Kim, Kim Ja-ok, Lee Mi-yeon and Yoon Yeo-jeong.
The trend started with a long black padded coat from Burberry Brit that retails for over W2 million (US$1=W1,063), which Kim wore in the first episode. Despite its expensive price tag, the coat soon vanished from department store shelves across the country.
Report: Park Ji-sung’s return ‘possible’ in March
Former national men’s football team captain Park Ji-sung could return to play in one of South Korea’s tune-up matches ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup, the squad’s head coach said Thursday.
On the sidelines of the team’s training camp in the World Cup host nation, Hong Myung-bo said the former Manchester United midfielder may put on a South Korean uniform to face Greece on the road in March.
“It can happen,” Hong said. “There are many possibilities.”
Demand for W50,000 Bills Still Soaring
Due to explosive demand for W50,000 bills, the amount of new bills printed exceeded W9 trillion for the first time last year (US$1=W1,064).
The Bank of Korea on Thursday said total bills in circulation at the end of last year were worth W63.37 trillion, up 9.03 trillion or 16.6 percent from the previous year.
W50,000 bills accounted for 88 percent of that surge. As of the end of 2013, W40.68 trillion worth had been issued, up 24.2 percent from a year ago.
Eugenia Kim to Launch Shoe Line — For Real This Time
Exciting news on the Eugenia Kim front: The masterful milliner has officially expanded into footwear — high-end footwear, in fact — that for Fall 2014 draws on the dark side of 1970s rock ‘n roll, as well as lessons learned from the designer’s first stab at footwear back in 2003.
Kim’s first shoe launch was a success in many ways — the shoes were bought by big retailers like Saks and even won the designer a CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year award in 2004. Sadly, the shoe line fell by the wayside in 2005 when Kim, whose company was still fairly small, had to produce more volume than her factory could handle. “[The factory] couldn’t produce on time, so after a couple of years I decided to stop and focus on hats,” the designer explained to us in a phone interview Thursday.
“I was in my 20s the first time [I did shoes]. I learned so much during those two years,” Kim says. Now, with more experience under her belt, it’s a great time for the brand to be trying again, she says, in part because she’s noticed a “new vanguard of shoe designers” that she could easily become a part of, but also because she now knows a lot more about production. Kim says she has spent a lot of time working on developing the line — she began working on it in April of 2013 and even took a trip to Italy to visit her new factory, which also manufactures shoes for the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Thus, the quality is high and the materials (mink fur, pearl cabochon, burnt ostrich) luxe. Prices will range from $535 to $1,095.
North Korean escapee recalls life in labour camp
A man who was born inside a North Korean labour camp and escaped in 2005 has been speaking about his experience.
Shin Dong-hyuk, 31, escaped from the camp after climbing through an electric fence.
During his time inside, he was starved, tortured and saw his mother and brother executed.
Dong-hyuk recently wrote to former basketball player Dennis Rodman to ask if he would pressurise leader Kim Jong-un to deal with the camps.
On the piste in North Korea: Regime’s luxury ski resort opens for business
Skiing is not the first thing that immediately springs to mind when thinking about North Korea. But a luxury resort in the isolated nation is now receiving visitors.
Located in Masik, Kangwon province, the hotel and resort officially opened January 1 after reportedly encountering a number of setbacks.
Simon Cockerell of Beijing-based Koryo Tours was one of the first visitors invited to the resort — representing one of the few foreign tour companies operating in North Korea.
In memoir, Gates calls ex-Korean President Roh “crazy”
Reading a new memoir by former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, South Koreans may be quite surprised by his characterization of the country’s late President Roh Moo-hyun as “a little crazy.”
Gates recalls a November 2007 meeting in Seoul with the liberal-minded president, whose diplomatic and security policy is still being debated.
He calls Roh “anti-American and probably a little crazy.” Roh was quoted as telling Gates that “the biggest security threats in Asia were the United States and Japan.”
The 618-page book, titled “Duty,” went on sale Tuesday and has already become sensational for the former secretary’s criticism of President Barack Obama for his strategy on Afghanistan.
Dead Bodies in the Philippines Identified as Koreans
Two charred bodies discovered on eastern Cebu Island in the Philippines in November last year are those of missing Korean used car dealers. Police are investigating, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
According to the ministry, police in the Philippines rushed to the scene of a fire on Nov. 19 and found two bodies in a charred Korean-made automobile. There was suspicion at the time that the bodies belonged to the two missing Koreans.
The prime suspect is a business partner named Warren Sia who is now being sought by police. Sia owed the Koreans W200 million (US$1=W1,061) and police believe he killed them to steal four cars valued at W100 million.
Report: Thinner doesn’t mean healthy for Asian-Americans
Asian-Americans tend to be skinnier than white, black or Hispanic Americans, but that doesn’t necessarily equal healthy, new national data reminds. People of Asian descent still struggle with health issues associated with being overweight, like hypertension and high cholesterol.
The report found that Asian-Americans do tend to be thin: About 38 percent of Americans of Asian descent are overweight, meaning they have a BMI, or body mass index, higher than 25. Compare that to 66 percent of white Americans, 76 percent of black Americans and nearly 80 percent of Hispanic Americans. (Body mass index is a widely used way to measure body fat based on height and weight. Anything over 25 is considered overweight.)
But Asian adults were about equally as likely to have high blood pressure as white adults, and the rate of high cholesterol among Asian-Americans was about the same as it was among white, black or Hispanic adults in the U.S.
3 tapped to fill vacant position on Palisades Park Council
The Democratic Municipal Committee has submitted the names of three candidates to fill the council seat left vacant by the recent resignation of Jason Kim, who was the borough’s first Korean-American councilman. All three men have served as trustees on the local Board of Education. The candidates are Christopher Chung of East Central Boulevard, Thomas Matarazzo of East Harwood Terrace and James T. Ring of Grand Avenue. “They are all hard workers,” said Michael Pollotta, chairman of the committee, on Tuesday. “…They know a great deal about the issues in town, and any of them would be a great councilman.”
Local student wins national essay contest, donates prize to library
KAIT.com (Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri)
Suh Young Choi is a student at Valley View Junior High School. Last year her sixth grade English teacher, Joan Hannah, had the class write six essays in two days.
Hannah wasn’t punishing the children. Instead, Hannah said she “wanted the kids to understand real world deadlines.”
“It was kind of a killer,” Choi said. “But, we did it.”
Later Choi and Hannah were surprised when they learned one of those essays was one of 18 to win the Nestle Very Best in Youth 2013 contest.
“I knew her work was good enough to win, but I just couldn’t believe it,” Hannah said.
Kang Ji-young to leave KARA
Following Nicole’s departure from KARA, youngest member Kang Ji-young has given notice that she toowill quit the group.
According to DSP Media, Wednesday, the 20-year-old singer gave the agency written notice that she does not want to renew her contract once the present one ends in April. As a result, the popular K-pop girl group now has just three members — Park Gyu-ri, Han Seung–yeon and Goo Ha-ra — who renewed their contracts.
The agency said it will consider whether KARA should continue as a three-member-girl group or if new members should be added. DSP Media said that Kang had indicated her wish to study abroad. On Monday, DSP Media announced the official contract expiration of Nicole.
Tricks to keeping Korean traditions alive
News Journal (Longview, Texas)
Even though her mother is from South Korea, Abigail Lunde didn’t really like kimchi growing up.
“My mom would put a little bowl of water next to my plate and wash it off for me,” says Abigail Lunde, now 28, of the fermented side dish that almost every Korean (well, 95 percent, according to a recent survey) eats at least once a day.
“My mom wanted me to be Americanized,” Lunde says. “We would go back (to South Korea) every few years to visit, but I didn’t understand the culture. I don’t speak much Korean. The first Korean I learned to speak was ‘I don’t want any more, I’m full.’”
Any time she’d cook with her grandmother, either her mom would have to translate or they’d communicate by pointing and repeating words that neither totally understood.
It wasn’t until Lunde was in college and bartending and working at sushi restaurants in Springfield, Mo., most of which are owned by Korean families, that she really started to appreciate the culture.
Tobacco Returns To The Bar, This Time Inside Cocktails
Take a sip of the Oaxacan Fizz at Father’s Office in Los Angeles and you’ll discover the unmistakable taste of tobacco. That’s because this cocktail is sweetened with a small amount of tobacco-infused sugar syrup.
“A lot of people say, ‘I only smoke when I drink,’” says chef-owner Sang Yoon. “We say, ‘Now you can do both.’”
Mixologists are helping tipplers enjoy tobacco even as smoking bans spread to more than half the states in the U.S. Though some may drink the cocktail in search of a buzz, mixologists say tobacco adds an unexpected flavor profile that pairs well with dark liquors.
Creating the tobacco syrup was a trial and error process for Yoon. “We took a Marlboro Lights cigarette apart and tried doing an infusion, which turned out to be horrible,” he says. “We tried chopping up cigars; that tasted horrifying. We tried snuff, which didn’t work.”
Pipe tobacco was ultimately the winner. “It’s much sweeter aromatically and on the palate,” he says. And it echoes the smoky elements of the San Juan Del Rio mezcal, which forms the drink’s backbone.
Happy Hour Goes Korean at Namu Gaji
There’s not really such a thing as a bad happy hour. When a couple of bucks are knocked off a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail, a feeling of contentment washes over us, and we’re able to forget the obstacles, transgressions, or missteps of hours past. When an establishment throws discounted food into the mix,this satisfaction is turned into sheer bliss, especially when these options include inventive, untraditional versions of tacos and fries.
At Namu Gaji, the much-loved NKA (New Korean American) spot in the Mission, you can knock back a few $2 soju shots, sip on $3 pints (current selections include Asahi, Linden Street’s Burning Oak Black Lager, and Magnolia’s Tillie’s Union Ale, a toasted rice ale brewed exclusively for the restaurant), or enjoy 15 percent off wine bottles (reserve list excluded) alongside their famed Korean tacos — your choice of chicken, short rib, or tofu, with seasoned rice, kimchi salsa, and remoulade, served atop a seaweed “shell” ($3-$5.50).
Or if you have partaken in a bit too much of the $8 “happy sake,” soak it up with the gamja fries ($11), a decadent and flavor-piquing take on the classic fried potato. Namu’s version tops it with a combination of short rib, kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise), gochujang, and kimchi relish, resulting in a dish that is savory, sweet, spicy and sour … basically everything you could ever want.
Flat Top Brings the Neighborhood to You
For chefs and restaurateurs, this truly is a town without pity. Rare is the Gotham restaurant that lasts longer than a mayoral term. Yet even with the endless cycle of openings and closings, losing a beloved haunt feels painful. It also intensely focuses attention on the latest darlings. Flat Top, from the team behind nearby hot spot Jin Ramen, is well on its way to achieving darling status.
A bistro nestled in the knolls of Morningside Heights, Flat Top glows with candlelight from inside its expansive front windows. A monochrome mural painted on brick depicts a bridge’s undercarriage, contrasting with a row of wooden booth-backed tables. It’s an inviting space that feels instantly familiar, and Flat Top would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood. On 121st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, it has garnered the attention of Columbia University students and faculty, area residents, and doctors, staff, and visitors from St. Luke’s hospital a few blocks south. Downtown dwellers have also been sniffing around, as word trickles out about chef Charles Cho’s competent cooking.
Choo Shin-soo itching to get going for new season
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Leaving home on Wednesday to begin his first season with the Texas Rangers, Choo Shin-soo said he’s itching to get his offseason training underway.
Speaking to reporters at Incheon International Airport, the South Korean outfielder said he is a little behind in his training schedule after a whirlwind of activities at home.
“I’ve spent about two weeks here and I don’t even know how the time has gone by,” said Choo, who has made a series of corporate and charity appearances here. “I am starting my training about 15 days later than usual, and I’d like to get going quickly.”
Kim Yu-na feels no pressure to repeat as Olympic champ
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na said Wednesday she isn’t feeling any pressure to win her second straight gold medal next month at the Sochi Winter Games.
At a press conference held at the National Training Center in Seoul, Kim said she is preparing for the upcoming Winter Olympics as if it were just another event.
“I am not doing anything special in my training,” Kim said. “I am not trying extra hard just because it’s the Olympics. Before every competition, I try to put myself in the best possible shape, and it’s no different for the Olympics.”
Taeseok Kang designs vegan handbags with a difference
Experimental designer Taeseok Kang of EH London has designed a somewhat interesting handbag collection.
Totally vegan, the collection titled Sexual Humorous is entirely crafted from vegetarian leather, using plated brass for hardware fixtures and hair for tassels, braided handles and the like. So what’s the story?
X-Ray Reveals Hundreds of Gold Needles in Woman’s Knees
LiveScience via Yahoo News
When doctors examined an X-ray image of the knees of a woman experiencing severe joint pain, they found a gold mine: hundreds of tiny gold acupuncture needles left in her tissue.
The 65-year-old South Korean woman had previously been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage and bones within the joints degrade, causing pain and stiffness. But when pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs didn’t alleviate the pain in her knees and only caused stomach discomfort, she had turned to acupuncture, the doctors wrote last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Acupuncture is an alternative medical practice that uses needles to purportedly stimulate certain points on the body, to alleviate pain or to treat various diseases.
North Korea: Kim family’s former sushi chef says uncle was executed over ‘pleasure brigade’
The Telegraph (U.K.)
Kim Jong Un’s uncle may have been executed for his taste in young women and role in maintaining a “pleasure brigade” for Kim Jong Il, a former chef for the North Korean leader has said.
Kenji Fujimoto, a sushi chef who worked for the Kim family between 1989 and 2001, has said Jang Song Thaek was given the task of recruiting women – some as young as 15 – to please the late dictator.
Mr Jang, the uncle to the young leader, would often abuse his position in the talent hunting process, and that may provide some insight as to why he was executed on 12 December 2013, he told NK News.
How is South Korea doing these days?
Guardian Weekly (U.K.)
“How are you all doing nowadays?” The question has been bothering South Korea ever since early December when Ju Hyun-woo, an economics student at Korea University, put up a dazibao – a handwritten poster commonly used by opponents of the dictatorship in the 1980s, taking a cue from the propaganda messages that flourished in China under Chairman Mao.
Appealing to his generation, thought to be largely apolitical, Ju asked: “Is it OK for you to ignore social issues since it is not your business?”
He went on to mention a strike by Korail staff, who fear the national rail operator may be privatised, and the way the state has been operated since Conservative president Park Geun-hye was elected in December 2012.
Korean cartoons on former sex slaves to go on display at French festival
Cartoons about former Korean sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II will be exhibited at the world’s largest comic strip and cartoon festival, the Seoul government said Tuesday.
Some 20 cartoons and four videos including animations by local artists telling tragic stories of the former sex slavery victims will be featured in a special exhibition of the 2014 Angouleme International Comics Festival, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said.
The gender ministry sponsored the festival scheduled to run from Jan. 30- Feb. 2. in the southwestern French city of the same name.
North Korean Refugee Flow Still Suppressed
Wall Street Journal
The number of North Korean refugees arriving in South Korea held steady last year, reflecting continued tightened North Korean border controls since the rise to power of Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said Tuesday 1,516 North Korean refugees arrived in the South last year, up by 14 people from 2012. That brings the total official number of escapees to 26,124, the ministry statistics show.
While many North Koreans leave their homeland for good every year, the number arriving in South Korea tumbled 44% between 2011 and 2012. Activists and recent refugees attribute the decline to Pyongyang’s border crackdown following Mr. Kim’s succession in late 2011.
Key Obama Aide Tipped as Envoy to Korea
Mark Lippert, a key aide to U.S. President Barack Obama and chief of staff to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, is a strong candidate to succeed outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim.
Kim is set to become a deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs.
Sources in Washington on Monday said Kim may be summoned back to the U.S. before his term ends in August of this year, because the current deputy assistant secretary James Zumwalt is likely to be appointed ambassador to Vietnam.
As Asian-Americans Age, Their Children Face Cultural Hurdles
New York Times
Two thick blankets wrapped in a cloth tie lay near a single pillow on the red leather sofa in Phuong Lu’s living room. Doanh Nguyen, Ms. Lu’s 81-year-old mother, had prepared the blankets for a trip she wanted to take. “She’s ready to go to Vietnam,” Ms. Lu said.
But Ms. Nguyen would not be leaving. The doors were all locked from the inside to prevent her from going anywhere — not to the coating of snow that had fallen that day outside Ms. Lu’s suburban Philadelphia home, and certainly not to her home country, Vietnam.
Ms. Nguyen has Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Lu, 61, a manicurist who stopped working two years ago when her mother’s condition worsened, is her full-time caretaker. In Vietnam, if a couple has children, the children must stay home and care for their parents, Ms. Lu said.
Palisades Park councilman steps down due to illness
Jason Kim, the first Korean-American to be elected to the Borough Council, has resigned his elected post citing health issues, but has taken a full-time job as deputy director of the borough library.
Kim resignation took effect Friday. On Monday, he said his decision to leave after reelection to a fourth term and days after being sworn in was not an easy one, but one he said he needed to make for his family. He declined to say what sort of health problems led to his resignation.
“I’m not going to quit everything, but I’m going to take it easy for a bit, but I still have a mission to help the Korean community, and Palisades Park,’’ said Kim. “… I may come back when they need me again, but right now my health issues have scared my family, and family always comes first.”
North Jersey Korean Americans celebrate another year of community’s emergence
The sounds of traditional Korean musical instruments boomed from a fifth-floor meeting room at the Bergen County Administration Building on Monday while about 100 people gathered to celebrate Korean-American Day.
The day marked the 111th anniversary of Jan. 13, 1903, when the first large group of Korean immigrants arrived in what is now the United States. There were 103 Koreans who made the journey, which ended in Hawaii, a U.S. territory at the time.
Since that day, the community has grown to about 1.7 million nationwide, according to 2010 U.S. Census. In Bergen County, there are about 58,000 people of Korean descent, according to 2012 estimates from the U.S. Census. They represent the largest Asian community in the county.
Adopted girl and her mom head from Sacramento to Korea in search of birth parents
Dawson was born Aug. 9, 1992 at a home for unwed mothers in Andong, the “spiritual capital” of South Korea, three hours southeast of Seoul. Her birth mother, a 23-year-old former store clerk, named her Kwon Hee Joo – “Joyful and Pretty Kwon” – and prayed she would be adopted by a family that could give her a good home.
She found that home in Sacramento, and now the Jewish girl from Gold River has left for South Korea determined to find the young woman who gave her up. She wants to explore her own identity, and also to let her birth mother know she made the right decision.
Accompanied by her adoptive mom, Andee Press-Dawson, Fawn boarded United Flight 853 to Tokyo Friday, switching to United Flight 881 for Seoul. “I have such great parents and such an amazing older brother, David, who was also adopted from Korea,” Fawn said, “but something was always missing. Last October, I told them this was just something I had to do. I’m at the stage where I’m trying to find my own identity.”
Big Bang’s Tour Highlights Band’s Enduring Popularity in Japan
Big Bang’s concert at Kyocera Dome in Osaka on Monday showed how K-pop is still washing through Japan. The concert was an unscheduled last stop on their tour of the country but tickets still sold out.
The boy band launched their tour with a gig at Seibu Dome in Saitama on Nov. 16 and continued to Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Sapporo, drawing about 770,000 fans.
“Only a few top Japanese bands such as Mr. Children and EXILE have had such large-scale tours,” the band’s agency YG Entertainment said.
Drunken Tiger Talk Hip Hop’s Early Days in South Korea: “It Was a Secret Society”
Today, one of K-pop’s signature charms are its acts boasting the quintessential rapper—CL of 2NE1, Yubin of Wonder Girls, etc. But hip hop has only been a part of South Korea’s mainstream for a little more than a decade. Korean-American rappers Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae—who, along with their longtime collaborator, New Zealand MC Bizzy, comprise Drunken Tiger—are two of the country’s most respected rap artists. The real-life couple are known for leading the then-underground genre into the conservative nation’s consciousness in the late ’90s.
“Back in the day it was crazy underground,” Tiger JK tells Fuse News for this week’s FUSE LOVES SEOUL: From K-Pop to Hip Hop special. “Hip hop existed, but it was almost a secret society thing. [People would say things like], ‘I heard there’s somebody or a group of people that dress funky, they sag their pants, all their clothes are baggy and they battle.’ It was really crazy because you don’t hear them on the radio.”
Find out more about Drunken Tiger and their continuing quest to break into Korean pop tonight on Fuse News at 7:30/6:30C. Head back here after the show for the full interview.
Magik* Magik Orchestra maestro Minna Choi discusses concert, When We Were Young
Artistic Director of San Francisco-based, Magik* Magik Orchestra, Minna Choi formed the orchestra a mere five years ago and this year will celebrate it’s success with a grand fundraiser – “When We Were Young”. Choi wasn’t much older than five herself when a music teacher spotted her knack for picking out melodies on the piano. A natural talent that has been nurtured with a childhood of piano lessons and a love of pop music, it was not until her first job out of college at a New York studio that she felt the confidence to charge producers for her skills. This prompted Choi to return to formal schooling again and in 2007 she came home to the Bay Area to study at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music where Magik came into being.
What inspired the name Magik* Magik Orchestra?
Classical music seems to always have unpronounceable names. I wanted a name that was playful, whimsical and most importantly easy to pronounce. Also around the time I was dreaming of Magik, I saw a photo of myself as a 5 or 6 year old in a Yamaha Music School group photo with a banner above saying “Music Is Magic”.
Why did you come up with the idea of “When We Were Young”?
Almost every year, we have wanted to do a Magik celebration concert. But this year was the first time that our organization has hit a stride. We now have the bandwidth and creative time to see what is the next step. That we decided is education and outreach to children that we hope to do more intentionally. We get hundreds of requests but only a handful are educational. And I don’t think it’s because there is no demand. We hope to raise some funds so we can do some workshops and be proactive about marketing and letting people, schools, parents know that we are here.
MLB takes formal step for big league clubs to sign S. Korean pitcher
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Major League Baseball (MLB) has requested a status check on South Korean star pitcher Yoon Suk-min, baseball officials here said Tuesday, a formal administrative step before a big league club can sign any professional player from Korea.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said it informed MLB that Yoon is eligible for free agency after being asked about the 27-year-old’s status in the top domestic league.
The request is the second of its kinds after MLB first tendered a status check to the KBO in October when Yoon was still under contract with the Kia Tigers during the postseason.
Bobsledders Book Tickets to Sochi
Korea secured two berths in the four-man bobsleigh event at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Monday due to its strong performance at the America Cup.
At the eighth round of the Cup, the final event of the season, Korea ranked eighth overall due to the combined scores of its two teams.
Pilot Won Yoon-jong steered Team A to fourth place while Kim Dong-hyun guided Team B to seventh.
Bibimbap Recipes That Put All Other Comfort Foods To Shame
We’re big fans of comfort food — we’ve eaten more grilled cheese sandwiches than we care to admit — which is why we love bibimbap. It gives us all the comfort of a bowl of mac and cheese, with the added bonus of not putting us into a food coma.
It’s the simplicity of bibimbap that makes it so special. This typical Korean dish is made up of nothing more than a bowl of white rice, topped with seasoned vegetables, and a chile pepper paste. It’s also sometimes accompanied with an egg and thin slices of meat. That’s it.
Yet somehow, when it all comes together, it tastes like the type of comfort food we’ve always wanted without even knowing it. Maybe it’s the perfect bits of crisp golden rice mixed into the bowl. Maybe it’s the piping hot stone bowl it’s served in. Or maybe it’s all the chile paste we can liberally add in. We’re not sure, but we know you’ll like it.
Photographer creates ‘Google street view’ of North Korea
A Singaporean photographer has offered up one of the most unique glimpses yet of life inside North Korea. He’s done it by capturing hidden corners of the country in a series of 360° photographs. And what’s more, the country’s authorities don’t seem to have a problem with it.
Last autumn, Aram Pan, originally from Singapore, was authorised to travel to North Korea. Once inside the country, he stitched together several photos of the same places to create unique 360° images, allowing people to navigate virtually anywhere inside the picture. Enthusiasts of the project are already comparing ‘DPRK 360′ [the name of Aram Pan's photography project. The initials DPRK stand for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] to a North Korean version of Google street view. The photographer explains on his site that his work doesn’t seek to tackle politically sensitive subjects, but rather encourages the public to interest themselves in the country and ‘uncover its mysteries’.
His work shows that despite the draconian restrictions which stifle freedom of expression in North Korea, there is still a certain degree of coverage tolerated — so long as it’s not political.
S. Korea doubts sincerity of North’s peace offensive
South Korea expressed doubt Friday over the North Korean leader’s rare peace offensive as it urged Pyongyang to make serious efforts to denuclearize itself.
“We have no choice but to question the sincerity” of Kim’s conciliatory gesture, unification ministry spokesperson Kim Eui-do said in a comment.
The comment came two days after leader Kim Jong-un called for “a favorable climate” to improve ties with South Korea and pledged to make aggressive efforts to strive for better relations in his New Year’s message.
The ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, cited Pyongyang’s track record of carrying out provocations and slandering South Korea as a reason for caution on its peace offensive.
A Dog of a Story: Why Kim Jong Un Probably Did Not Feed His Uncle to 120 Hounds
Kim Jong Un’s late uncle was “worse than a dog,” according to the blustery state media account of his purge. But was he killed by a pack of half-starved dogs?
That’s the claim of Beijing-linked Hong Kong newspaper, Wen Wei Po, which on Dec. 12 reported that the instead of being executed by a firing squad, as is typical, Jang was stripped naked, thrown in a cage with five of his associates, and devoured by 120 hounds as Kim Jong Un and 300 officials watched. The dogs preyed on the prisoners “until they were completely eaten up,” according to the Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, who picked up the story on Dec. 24.
Female perspective still in short supply in Pennsylvania Legislature: Patty Kim
I quickly observed a female perspective is still in short supply. Women make up about one in six House members and are even rarer in leadership. I was surprised at some early advice from a seasoned colleague: “Don’t carry a purse.” To me, it showed that the women who have gone before me had to “downplay” that they were females in a male-dominated arena. I’ve heard stories about how women staffers and legislators were poorly treated in the years before I arrived. I appreciate those pioneering women who had to endure a lot to make it easier for me, so that in 2013, I unselfconsciously carry a purse.
I knew reform couldn’t wait but that as a freshman member in the minority party I needed to focus on what I could do by example. One of the first communications I received was a letter stating that simply by virtue of being sworn in I would receive a raise above what legislators in the previous session had been paid. I returned that $1,776 “adjustment” to the Pennsylvania Treasury and introduced legislation to eliminate these “COLAs”. To ensure my office’s operations are transparent, I post all my expenses on my website (they can be viewed under “expense reports”).
Tech exec Ken Cho keeps raising the bar
Austin Business Journal
Software maker People Pattern Corp. has been five years in the making for CEO Ken Cho.
The Austin-based startup, which earlier this week completed a $4.5 million Series A round of funding, is Cho’s third company and is based on an idea he began discussing with University of Texas professor Jason Baldridge in 1998. The concept blends proprietary data with open data from social media to develop specific audience data for marketers.
The result is People Pattern, which launched last March and already claims several major enterprise customers. The company employs eight workers with a tool designed for chief marketing officers to quickly determine how well ad campaigns are working.
Buena Park’s “Koreatown” Shopping Center Readies for Kickoff
Orange County Business Journal
A new Korean-American shopping center in Buena Park is expected to officially launch on Jan. 10, according to Korea Herald Business Daily, a Korean-language newspaper.
The center, called Village Circle on Beach, has a dozen or so tenants lined up, including a number that are expected to open in coming weeks, with most focused on Korean-American customers. The area around the center has been dubbed Orange County’s “Koreatown” in the ethnic press.
Operations effectively began in late 2013, when Japanese discount goods chain Daiso opened. Los Angeles-based Open Bank started its first OC branch there in December.
Allen Suh: The chef
For almost anyone in the business of entertaining people — whether as a chef, concert promoter or otherwise — there comes a moment when taking a risk implies an uncertain variation on that famous maxim from Field of Dreams: If you build it, will they come?
For chef Allen Suh, his version was something along the lines of: If you open a ramen shop inside of a small breakfast diner in a sleepy residential neighborhood on Mondays and Tuesdays, historically two of the slowest weeknights for any restaurant, will they come?
Suh spent eight years working his way up the restaurant food chain: late nights spent watching “Iron Chef,” a gig at a hibachi grill, classes at Le Cordon Bleu, and working in the celebrated kitchen at Restaurant Eugene. He also spent four years as executive sous chef at One Flew South, which has the unusual distinction of being one of the most celebrated airport restaurants in the world. All of that experience still couldn’t guarantee that people would actually show up.
Diving Into the Wreck ‘On Such a Full Sea,’ by Chang-rae Lee
New York Times
Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading, and “On Such a Full Sea” provides all that and more. It’s a wonderful addition not only to Chang-rae Lee’s body of work but to the ranks of “serious” writers venturing into the realm of dystopian fantasy. Colson Whitehead, Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood (in her recently concluded MaddAddam trilogy) have all tackled this genre. Doris Lessing’s “Mara and Dann” is a classic, as is Anthony Burgess’s “Clockwork Orange.” Further back in time, one has only to think of Orwell, Huxley and Wells, even Jack London and Mary Shelley. As the author of such carefully realist fiction as “Native Speaker” and “A Gesture Life,” Lee has always been preoccupied by the themes of hope and betrayal, by the tensions that arise in small lives in the midst of great social change. His marvelous new book, which imagines a future after the breakdown of our own society, takes on those concerns with his customary mastery of quiet detail — and a touch of the fantastic.
Top 10 Asian American achievements of 2013
Northwest Asian Weekly
Each year, certain people are recognized for their accomplishments in the Asian American communities. There were many incredible feats this year, so we grouped them into 10 accomplishments.
1. President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in August. Inouye was the first Japanese American to serve in Congress, representing the people of Hawaii from the moment they joined the Union.
2. U.S. Senate Confirmations: It was a big year for U.S. Senate confirmations. Pamela K. Chen became the first openly gay, Asian American person to preside on a federal bench when she was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Raymond T. Chen became the first Asian American to serve on the Federal Circuit in more than 25 years with his U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmation.
Srikanth Srinivasan was confirmed as the first circuit court judge of South Asian descent to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Korea’s favorite TV shows
Koreans’ favorite TV programs are the “Infinite Challenge” (무한도전), followed by recently ended drama series “Princess Aurora” (오로라 공주), despite being under heavy criticism throughout its 150 episodes, according a Gallup Korea survey.
Both shows are distributed and syndicated by Korea’s Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
The results came from a Gallup Korea poll conducted December 16-19. A total of 1,207 people in Korea, at least 19-years of age and older, were asked about their favorite TV programs, and MBC’s Infinite Challenge again came in first at 10.4%.
Infinite Challenge was at the top of the poll every month last year, except in February, and its rating was the highest in October with 13%.
Girls’ Generation Soo Young is in a Relationship with Actor Jung Kyung Ho
Soo Young of Girls’ Generation admitted that she is ina relationship with actor Jung Kyung Ho.
Girls’ Generation is in love! It has been only two days that YoonA admitted her relationship with Lee Seung Ki, but Soo Young also got caught dating her actor boyfriend, Jung Kyung Ho.
The two were once suspected in last year, but denied to be in a relationship. However, one medium in Korea caught them enjoying a date on Christmas and announced that the two are seeing each other.
Boyfriend Announces US Showcases in Dallas and Chicago
Any Best Friends in the house? Great news, six-member boy group Boyfriend has just announced their US showcase tour, “Boyfriend First US Showcase Live in USA“!
On March 11th and March 13th of next year, Boyfriend will be performing at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, IL and Verizon Theatre in Dallas, TX, respectively. The showcases will begin at 7pm and doors will open at 6pm.
Tickets will go on sale on January 7th at 10am 7pm CST on axs.com for Dallas and etix.com for Chicago. Ticket prices include many opportunities for VVIP and VIP ticket holders to have autograph sessions and hi-touch sessions with the boys themselves, so don’t miss out!
Lim Hyun Gyu to headline UFC event in Singapore
Korean MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter Lim Hyun Gyu will face former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s main event this Saturday in Singapore.
Lim (12-3-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) got his chance as a last-minute replacement, but the stage doesn’t get much bigger – this will be the first MMA event to be streamed exclusively on the UFC’s ‘Fight Pass’ digital network.
The subscription service, which is accessible on a free trial through February 28, is currently available in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
The UFC is the largest MMA organization in the world and the event is reportedly close to selling out the 6,000-capacity arena at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
The 28-year old striker Lim, standing 6′ 2″ tall, was mighty impressive in his last two knock out wins, and the 26-year old Belgian champ Saffiedine, more known for his defense, will be making his long-waited UFC debut.
Local GoFundMe Campaign Raises Money for Family Performing Missionary Work
Bayside Douglaston Patch
An online campaign dedicated to raising money to help fund a family’s missionary work has, so far, raised $4,180.
Oakland Gardens’ John Hyun Yoon created a GoFundMe page titled “Send the Yoon Family to the Nations,” with the goal of raising a total $34,000. So far, 50 people have donated to the fund.
The page reads:
Lately, God has really been challenging our faith to trust Him to be our everything and follow Him. We have decided to take action and follow Him into a life of missions and dependency on Him.
Korean noodles? In Memphis?
Dallas Morning News
This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food.
Those foods are what tourists typically obsess over, standing in line at Central BBQ for smoky ribs or Gus’s Fried Chicken for juicy drumsticks. But there’s a place in Memphis that makes standout Korean food. Crazy Noodle might be proof that people in intensely Southern cities like Memphis, where collard greens are made correctly and macaroni and cheese is listed as a vegetable, are welcoming the cuisine of immigrant communities.
Owner Ji Choi estimates that 60 percent of her customers are regulars. It’s a hidden gem for tourists seeking to avoid the barbecue and the out-of-towners.
It’s been a long time, but once again, Rain is back.
The South Korean pop star is set to ring in the new year by releasing his sixth full-length album, his first in four years and the first since his two years of military service. “Rain Effect” will hit shelves on Thursday, four days earlier than expected, his management company Cube Entertainment said.
The 31-year-old, whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, unveiled teaser videos earlier today for two tracks on the album, “30 Sexy” and “La Song.” The two tracks look and sound completely different, but looking at his track record, Rain is completely capable of pulling off both styles.
Since being discharged from mandatory military service in July, Rain has been keeping himself quite busy. Other than preparing for his sixth album, he has been in Alabama filming for The Prince, an action thriller with an ensemble cast, including Jason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack. Due to the filming schedule, Cube Entertainment pushed up the release date from Jan. 6 to Jan. 2. Continue Reading »