Why Kim Jong Un Snubbed Mongolia’s President
Wall Street Journal
Mongolia’s president had a busy four days in North Korea this week, meeting various officials and zipping around to Kim Il Sung University, a Pyongyang theater, the Munsu water fun park, the border with South Korea and Kim family mausoleum, among other places.
But after Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj had jetted out of Pyongyang on Thursday it became clear that he didn’t meet the one person expected to have capped it all: Kim Jong Un.
What’s with the apparent snub?
Experts say it may have something to do with North Korea’s ambivalent attitude towards the landlocked country to the north-west. The nomadic ancient Mongolians were considered barbarians by the Koreans, according to historians.
When It Comes to Slaying Asian-American Stereotypes, Ads Lead the Way
Before May runs out, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the importance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when the country recognizes the contributions and achievements of Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage.
May heralds two important moments in history for the United States and Americans of Asian-American ancestry. In May 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America, and in May 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by a large number of Chinese immigrants.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1978 to proclaim Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week an annual observance. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush extended the week to a month-long celebration. Each year since then, every sitting president has issued a proclamation commemorating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Back to Korea
More and more Korean students who have come to the United States to study are on their way back to Korea. They say even the Korean companies here are refusing to sponsor them in order to obtain a work visa, making it impossible for them to get employed and stay in America.
One 25-year old female Korean, identified only as K here, says she’s been spending stressful days since graduating from Cal-State Northridge this year, during an interview with The Korea Times. “I was told since I was a sophomore about how difficult it is to get a job here, so I even changed my major from straight traditional music to more practical management in music, but it hasn’t helped,” she said. “At every job interview, they tell me they find it difficult to hire me because of my resident status, to a point now where I have to seriously consider going back to Korea.”
Many of her friends are facing a similar predicament. She says it seems like one out of ten has been successful in landing a job in the U.S. after finishing their studies here and added, “I even have a friend who got married here but still can’t find a job!”
Review: A one-man revolution rises up in ‘Sake Bomb’
Los Angeles Times
In “Sake Bomb,” twentysomething video blogger Sebastian (Eugene Kim) has a problem few film characters ever face: a sense of relentless, righteous rage for which there is no simple solution. For Sebastian, life as an Asian American male is one of perpetual defense against silent accusations of foreignness, meek quietness and — the one that really stings — small genitalia.
To disabuse the world (or at least his 10 subscribers) of such stereotypes, he bleats the concepts of Asian American Studies 101 over the Internet. In person, he’s even more unpleasant, indicting any Asian woman with a white partner as a self-loathing racist, a charge he doesn’t really believe.
Actress Jamie Chung Reveals What It’s Really Like to Train for a Half Marathon
A little over two months ago I was presented with the opportunity to run the San Francisco half marathon with Nike. It sounded like an almost impossible and utterly scary challenge, but after a solid week of consideration I decided to accept.
I’d never been one to set any fitness goals for myself— I was more of a running “dabbler,” if you will— but over the course of the two months leading up to the San Francisco half marathon, I really dedicated myself to a fitness schedule. That meant getting plenty of sleep, scheduling runs into my morning routine at least four days a week, adding extra protein to my diet to supplement all the calories I was burning, and running in the more supportive shoes Nike Lunar Glides.
As my training progressed I met other women running on the team, like the actress Jamie Chung! I jumped at the chance to interview her, and here are her tips for running, more about her routine, and stellar words of motivation.
Roy Choi serves up an appetizer with memoir ‘L.A. Son’
Los Angeles Times
Several years ago, a cookbook editor friend called asking my advice on whether she should publish Jacques Pépin’s autobiography. Pepin is one of my heroes in food, I told her, but I’d pass on the book — all chef biographies tend to follow the same story arc, there’s not a lot new to be said.
Wisely she ignored me, and though “The Apprentice” turned out just as I predicted plot-wise, it was one of the bestselling cookbooks of the year. I learned two lessons from that incident: I’m a lot better off as a second-guessing journalist, and when it comes to these autobiographies, plot is secondary to character.
What brings this to mind is Roy Choi’s new book, “L.A. Son: My Life. My City. My Food.” On the surface, there is not much to connect Pépin and Choi. Pépin is the consummate old-school professional. Choi is the tattooed bad boy popularizer of the Korean taco and the food-truck craze, thanks to his Kogi truck.
YouTube All-Stars: Why I Love Korea (Interview)
The YouTube Music Awards is going on right now and Seoulistic was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event! Youtube flew out a few YouTubers to Seoul to film videos to promote the event. Some are in Seoul for the very first time, others have been living here for years. And we thought with these diverse backgrounds, it would be the perfect to ask people what they thought about Korea and what they loved about it! Hopefully, you’ll get to see why we’re running this site and making videos on our YouTube channel!
Roots of K-pop
Everything has its roots and humble beginnings of its own. K-pop is no exception.
While today’s genre is characterized by pretty young boy and girl bands with slick dance routines and computer-assisted catchy tunes, its primitive form nearly nine decades ago was nowhere near any sort of attention-grabbing fanciness.
Back then, the out-dated combinations of black and white traditional costume or “hanbok” was considered the sole “uniform” for singers, with which they solemnly crooned melancholy songs on creaking wooden stages under dim lighting.
They normally confronted another harsh reality after the show: social stigma. In a society affected by Confucianism for generations, entertainment was considered an inferior profession so that its practitioners were belittled with the derogatory nickname “tantara.”
Ken Jeong ready for SportsCenter
I’ve been in Europe this week, so I watched opening night NBA highlights in Dublin. We’ve been on a press tour for The Hangover Part III’s DVD/Blu-Ray’s release but it’s been the release of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin that has been occupying my mind.
I’m a hoops addict — which is exactly why this opportunity to host tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, on the first Friday of the 2013-14 NBA season, is so humbling.
I grew up in North Carolina, which was heaven for a hoops junkie, with Duke and Carolina right there. (Editor’s Note: Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate and received his M.D. from UNC. He is a licensed physician.)
Footballer Lee Chun-soo Says Sorry for Bar Brawl
Incheon United star Lee Chun-soo apologized in front of the press on Thursday for his involvement in a recent bar brawl.
The 32-year-old former national team member was accused of assaulting a customer at a bar in the early morning of Oct. 14. He faced the press this week and read out a written apology.
The footballer said he wanted to apologize to his fans and the club for letting them down.
Mystery meat dish in Koreatown a tasty surprise
Los Angeles Times
When I was in Korea a few weeks ago, I fell in love with something called tteok galbi, hand-chopped beef short ribs mixed with vegetables, aromatics, sometimes even pork, then grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Tteok is the Korean word for rice cake, but the patties are so called because they look a little like rice cakes, not because they include rice among their ingredients. They are more or less the local equivalent of hamburgers, served bare on a plate accompanied by neither rice nor bun.
The best tteok galbi tends to be served with the bones inserted back into the patties as a sign of authenticity, and maybe to add a little flavor. In Gwangju, there is an entire street devoted to tteok galbi specialists. In Damyang, the home of the dish, a platter of the juicy, crunchy patties joins bamboo “sashimi” as the heart of the region’s famous country meals.
I did not find it beyond imagining that among the several hundred Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, there might be one or two serving some version of the dish.
Korean art on exhibit at world-renowned U.S. museums
Korean art has been regarded as a spinoff from those of China and Japan, which are believed to possess the core of Asian cultural and aesthetic values. It is rare to have the opportunity to appreciate the sheer essence of Korean art on the international scene.
However, as Korea’s national profile is on the rise partially thanks to the cultural influence of “hallyu,” or Korean wave, global interest in Korean cultural roots is also spiking. Ongoing exhibitions in the United States featuring ancient artwork from Korea offer an opportunity for non-Korean visitors to discover the unknown beauty of Korean ancient art which is discernible among Asian cultures.
Supported by the National Museum of Korea, two major exhibitions on Korean art are taking place in east and west coast cities of the United States. “In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty” and “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” allow for a large-scale and in-depth exploration of rare objects from two ancient Korean kingdoms ― Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) and Joseon (1392-1910). It is notable to compare the two distinctive cultures based on different ruling ideologies ― Buddhism in Silla and Confucianism in Joseon.
Instagramming North Korea
Three North Korean boys gaze attentively into the camera lens, their portrait surrounded by selfies and shots of fancy food. Nearby, a female soldier smiles as she salutes, and a woman runs a snack shack in the North Korean countryside.
They are the subjects of the trailblazing Instagram account of an American teacher in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital and perhaps one of the least understood places on Earth.
Drew Kelly, 24, is one of the few foreigners posting photos of North Korea.
Known as the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea is renown for its government’s secrecy and strict control on the flow of information. The country’s authorities and its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, severely limit what state media report and the access that foreigners, and especially journalists, have to the country.
South Korea’s Fashion Doyenne
Wall Street Journal
In 1947, at the age of 19, aspiring South Korean fashion designer Noh Myung-ja decided to change her first name to Nora. Her inspiration: the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play “A Doll’s House,” about a housewife who leaves her children and husband to discover herself.
Ms. Noh, who had recently ended a marriage of convenience that helped her avoid becoming a “comfort woman” to Japanese soldiers, soon left Seoul to study fashion in Los Angeles. So began a career spanning more than six decades, in which the designer’s name and brand, Nora Noh, became a driving force in South Korean fashion for more than three decades, from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
Fewer North Koreans fleeing to South Korea, U.N. rights envoy says
Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation in North Korea, said that in the first nine months of this year 1,041 North Koreans arrived in South Korea, compared to 1,509 people for all of 2012 and 2,706 people in 2011.
“This represents a reversal of the trend of steady increase in the number of annual arrivals since 1998, possibly due to recently tightened border control and increased incidents of refoulement,” Darusman wrote in a statement presented to a U.N. General Assembly human rights committee.
Darusman said the international law principle of non-refoulement – an obligation not to return asylum seekers or refugees to a place where their life or liberty would be at risk – clearly applies to North Koreans who have left without permission.
North Korea Bars Defector-Turned-Lawmaker From Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
A group of South Korean lawmakers who handle inter-Korean affairs made a rare visit to the jointly-run industrial park inside North Korea on Wednesday but left behind a colleague that Pyongyang singled out as unacceptable.
North Korea said last week that Cho Myong-chol, a member of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs and unification committee, couldn’t come into the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North didn’t specify why, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.
The reason was clear for all, however: Mr. Cho is a rare defector from Pyongyang’s upper echelon and now a prominent North Korea expert in the South. He became a lawmaker last year.
U.S. Promises to ‘Review’ Snooping on Korean Embassy
The U.S. government promised Korea to “review intelligence activities” after Seoul asked whether the National Security Agency wiretapped the Korean Embassy in Washington. This is seen as tantamount to an admission that it did.
“Seoul had demanded that Washington verify rumors about wiretapping and make its position clear,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Tuesday. “The U.S. has said it understands allies’ worries and promised to review intelligence activities.”
Cho neither confirmed nor denied that this was an admission that wiretapping occurred but merely said, “It’s up to the U.S. to answer the question concerning the interpretation of the words.”
As Power Line Grows, So Does Fight Between Ancient and Modern Korea
New York Times
The traditional farming villages within Miryang city, like so many in South Korea, are nestled against forested mountains. Rice paddies spill out into the valley, and persimmon and apple orchards line the roads.
Wooden farmhouses with their tile roofs were replaced long ago with concrete homes, but the rituals of a more ancient Korea remain. The farmers plan their lives around the growing seasons, and when they die, they are buried in plots that dot the mountainsides.
Now, a more modern Korea — in the form of imposing electrical power lines — is encroaching on the villages, including their burial grounds. The villages lie in the path of a major transmission route expected to distribute nuclear-generated electricity. Already towers are built along the spines of some nearby mountains, and 50 more are scheduled to be built in Miryang, some of them in the mountains.
Aging to Challenge South Korea’s Economic Transformation
South Korea has one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, but one looming roadblock threatens its path to becoming an international powerhouse: a rapidly aging population.
According to a report by the Korea Statistical Office, the number of people aged 65 and above has surpassed 6 million for the first time, accounting for 11.7 percent of the population. What’s more, the ratio of senior citizens to working age people – currently 1 to 6 – is projected to shift to 1 to 1.5 by 2050.
“The aging population is one of the most fundamental, structural shifts happening in Korea and affecting the growth prospects for the country,” said Wonsik Choi, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company in Seoul. “Just to give you an example, the working age population in Korea will peak at 37 million in 2016, three years from now and will diminish thereafter,” Choi added.
Education in Korea Class Struggle
AS THIS week’s special report on the Koreas points out, South Korea’s education system is both inspiring and intimidating. The country’s 15-year-olds ranked fourth in science (excluding Shanghai and Hong Kong), second in maths and first in reading in the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Its youngsters (aged between 16 and 24) did equally well in the OECD’s international survey of adult skills, released this month.
But South Korea’s enthusiasm for education has also been likened to a “fever”. Students spend long hours in hagwon, private cram schools, trying to outdo their peers in crucial exams and tests that have lasting consequences for their subsequent careers. In principle these tests are simply a measuring device, allowing universities and employers to rank students according to their underlying abilities. But the measure is fair only if everyone spends the same amount of time preparing for them. If one student spends his every waking hour (and some half-waking ones) preparing, then everyone else has to do the same, if they are to preserve their position in the rankings. Some of this competitive swotting no doubt improves students’ knowledge and abilities, to the benefit of society and themselves. But some of it is also a socially wasteful zero-sum game.
Professor Preserving Legacy of Emigrants
Korea Times US
A photo exhibition featuring the lives of early Korean emigrants overseas opened Tuesday at Kim Dae-jung Convention Center located in the southwestern city of Gwangju.
Professor Lim Chae-wan of Chonnam National University, who has been researching the Korean Diaspora overseas since 1991, organized the photo presentation project.
“I felt the urge to hold such an event as plenty of valuable, historic photos showing the developments of Korean Diaspora were stuck in a library and my research room. While databasing these materials, my colleague and I concluded that a photo exhibition could be a powerful presentation to show how early emigrants had lived in foreign lands,” Lim said during an interview.
Man in Wheelchair is Killed near Long Beach Intersection
Patch.com (Long Beach, Calif.)
A man in a wheelchair was killed Tuesday after he likely unexpectedly crossed in front of a motorist and was struck by the vehicle, Long Beach Police said today.
The crash was reported at 6:47 a.m. near the intersection of Orange and Alamitos avenues. Authorities identified the pedestrian as Bong Kim, 72, of Long Beach. He was a native of Korea, officials said.
Responding officers found Kim in the northbound lanes of Alamitos Avenue, according to a news release. Officers rendered medical aid until Long Beach Fire Department personnel arrived.
Woman dies after cosmetic surgery
A 22-year-old woman who had been in a coma for nine days after a cosmetic surgery procedure died Saturday, police in Busan said.
The college student only identified by her last name Kim received facial bone contouring surgery for more than five and a half hours on Oct. 7.
She was found unconscious by a nurse in the hospital’s recovery room that evening and immediately moved to a nearby general hospital.
Crackdown Needed on Substandard Plastic Surgeons
A 22-year-old university student died Saturday nine days after she underwent a bimaxillary or corrective jaw surgery in a cosmetic surgery clinic in Busan. In June this year, a woman in her 30s died a month after undergoing the same procedure in the hope of looking prettier.
Corrective jaw surgery is an extremely difficult procedure under full anesthesia that involves the use of surgical drills to carve away at bones, carefully avoiding muscles and nerves in the face.
The procedure was originally developed to treat patients with congenital defects that make it difficult for them to chew properly. But it has found more lucrative uses for people who want a slimmer jawline to conform to current ideals of beauty.
Musical move for Hangover star Ken Jeong?
London Standard (U.K.)
He is one of Hollywood’s best-loved comic stars, known for his outrageous humour. Now Ken Jeong has revealed he would like a new challenge — appearing in a West End musical.
The 44-year-old actor, best known as Mr Chow in The Hangover trilogy, was a doctor before getting his big break in 2007 comedy Knocked Up after doing stand-up in the evenings.
He told the Standard: “When I was in college, theatre was what I wanted to do.
Choi Division: Roy Choi, L.A.’s Street-Food King
New York Times
The Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Roy Choi was once a gambler and nearly a gangster, and a stoner from youth who was quick to fight, slow to wake. Born in Korea in 1970, he came to California two years later and grew up amid the dangerous currents of immigrant possibility: at his parents’ liquor store in Koreatown, until it failed; at his parents’ restaurant in West Anaheim, until it failed; at his parents’ jewelry store in Orange County, which made his family rich.
He was surrounded by latchkey knuckleheads, smart kids with bad attitudes, Armenian gem dealers, drug connects, college students, dishwashers, too many card players. It was a chef’s education — hardly obvious at the time — because even as he gambled, fought and schemed, he ate, voraciously, from every larder in town. Nothing fancy. Quite the opposite: his parents’ hot pots; dinners of ketchup-fried rice and Del Taco takeout; pho and cheeseburgers; kimchi and milkshakes at dawn. It was a life of late nights.
Eugene Ahn, a.k.a Adam WarRock, is used to being an outsider.
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, he was a “loner” caught between black and white in a region where racial tension is not uncommon. As a litigation lawyer with an Emory University degree, he was itching to get back to the music that inspired him.
It’s what one does with that angst that matters, believes Ahn. “I grew up pissed at the world,” he sings on his new album, “The Middle of Nowhere,” available Tuesday. “Now I put that (expletive) inside every MP3.”
Crayon Pop’s Unusual Road to Success Draws Media Interest
British weekly magazine the Economist published an article highlighting K-pop girl band Crayon Pop in its latest issue, which hit newsstands on Saturday.
As part of a 14-page special report on Korea, it wrote, “Crayon Pop are not a typical K-pop outfit. They look goofy rather than glamorous, like kid sisters not dream dates, and prefer plimsolls to stilettos.”
The success story of Crayon Pop’s song “Bar Bar Bar” was viewed as being different from that of other Korean girl groups. It “spread like a virus on YouTube,” the magazine wrote. “Whereas most songs peak early in the charts, then disappear, this one climbed to number one in some rankings months after its release.”
Samsung: We’re Too Big to Ignore
Wall Street Journal
At its first U.S. developer conference this week, Samsung Electronics005930.SE +0.67% had a message for Silicon Valley: We’re just too big to ignore.
Before some 1,300 software engineers and developers packed inside a San Francisco hotel ballroom, the Korean electronics giant trotted out a parade of executives and partners who introduced new tools to connect software with Samsung’s mobile devices and televisions.
Several executives came armed with statistics. Curtis Sasaki, a senior vice president of Samsung’s content and services business, noted that Samsung sold two televisions every second -– or some 7,200 by the end of the keynote. His message: stick with us — and our scale — if you want to reach customers.
Ice queen Yuna hones routines ahead of Sochi swan song
Informed she has taken a Korean Olympic Committee official’s seat by mistake, and her place is actually at the rear of the stage, the Vancouver Games gold medalist stifles an embarrassed smile and retreats to sit among her figure skating cohorts.
It might be the first time Kim has ever taken a back seat to anyone in South Korea.
With Wednesday marking the 100-day countdown to the start of the Sochi Games, the 23-year-old told reporters she was back skating and even doing jumps after taking time off to recover from a foot injury.
Kim, who blew away the competition in Vancouver to become the first South Korean to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal, said she was about “70 percent ready” and that she could return to competition in December.
Minnesota Twins keep tabs on Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon
St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minn.)
Whether the Twins make a strong play for Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon remains to be seen.
What seems clear is that Yoon, an international free agent represented by powerful agent Scott Boras, is on their radar.
“He’s got some talent,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said recently.
Mike Radcliff, Twins vice president for player personnel, added recently that the team was “fully engaged” in the Yoon process after watching him pitch numerous times in Korea and on the world stage at such events as the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
North Korea Hands Over 6 South Korean Detainees
New York Times
Six South Koreans who had been held in North Korea on charges of illegal entry returned to their home country on Friday, after the North released them in a gesture that could help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The six men were handed over to the South Korean authorities at the border village of Panmunjom, the South’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.
North Korean officials also handed over the remains of a woman. They said that the woman was the wife of one of the six men, and that she was killed during a quarrel with her husband, South Korean officials said.
Nuclear North Korea: Bad or mad?
UNDERNEATH THE “TOWER of the Korean War”, a monument in Seoul resembling a bronze sword, is a bunker managed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. Inside, visitors learn how to protect themselves from a North Korean attack, chemical (seal the windows), biological (cover your mouth and nostrils) or nuclear (find a bunker).
A squad of cadets, in the middle of their 21 months of mandatory military service, troop inside, don 3D glasses and watch a stirring televised account of the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island in November 2010 by North Korean artillery, which killed two soldiers and two civilians in the first shelling of South Korean territory since the end of the Korean war. The North Koreans, some analysts assumed, were trying to bolster their new general, Kim Jong Un, in preparation for his succession to the throne of the Kim dynasty.
N. Korean diplomat based in Ethiopia defects to S. Korea: sources
A North Korean diplomat based in Ethiopia defected to Seoul in August after seeking asylum at the South Korean Embassy in the African country, multiple sources said Friday.
The North Korean man, whose identity is unknown, stormed into the South Korean embassy in Addis Ababa, asking for help for his defection to the South, they said.
“At that time, he worked for the North Korean office of the trade representative in Ethiopia … I’ve learned that he is not a senior official, though,” one source said without elaborating further.
North Korea is losing a crucial source of income: Koreans in Japan
Possibly the only thing that North Korea needs and craves more than nuclear brinksmanship is hard currency, which is essential for the country’s survival but which international sanctions make very difficult to secure. The hermit kingdom has a number of ways to bring in cold, hard cash, but one of its previously most reliable has hit yet another setback in what appears to be its permanent decline.
That source of income is a group known as Chongryon, or the “General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.” The Japan-based, pro-Pyongyang group links North Korea with the sizable community of ethnic Koreans living in Japan. Since its 1950s founding, Chongryon has done three things, and done them all pretty well: pushed pro-Pyongyang ideology among Japanese Koreans, funneled money from those Japanese Koreans into North Korea and, most important, has run all sorts of business that existed solely to generate cash for the North Korean regime.
With Impeccable Timing, ‘Dokdo Day’ Arrives to Stir More Nationalistic Fervor
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s territorial dispute with Japan over a minuscule rocky outcropping in the ocean has been out of the headlines for some months, but Tokyo and Seoul are doing what they can to try and fix that.
Earlier this week, the two foreign ministries embroiled themselves in a tiff over a YouTube video that Japan’s foreign ministry posted on its website, asserting sovereignty over the uninhabited islets known internationally as the Liancourt Rocks.
NTSB went to South Korea as part of Asiana Airlines crash inquiry
Los Angeles Times
National Transportation Safety Board officials have traveled to South Korea as part of an investigation into the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport, in which three people died and more than 180 others were injured.
The investigators interviewed managers and training personnel and “observed Asiana procedures in a simulator and an exemplar aircraft,” according to a NTSB announcement Friday.
Investigators in Korea also combed through records from the airplane involved in the accident.
Man wanted for August sexual assault
KTVA CBS 11 News
Police are searching for a man charged with sexually assaulting a woman in late August.
James Kim, 56, faces two counts stemming from the incident. In a statement released Wednesday, Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Castro wrote Kim was gone when officers arrived at his residence to place him under arrest.
Police initially believed Kim fled to Korea, but new information pointed in a different direction. They now believe Kim is still in Anchorage, Castro wrote, possibly staying with people who don’t know about his recent activity.
Korean Victims of Hiroshima Bomb Awarded Medical Costs
A Japanese court has ruled that it is against the law not to cover the medical costs of victims of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb who live outside Japan.
Under a relief law for atomic bomb survivors enacted in 1994, the Japanese government covers all medical expenses of victims who received treatment in Japan but not of those treated elsewhere.
Lee Hong-hyun (67), a Korean victim who lives in Korea, filed the lawsuit along with the surviving families of two other Korean victims.
The judge said there is “no clause in the relief law that limits the provision of medical expenses only to Japanese territory.”
TEA to Present Julia Cho’s 99 HISTORIES, 10/24-11/16
99 Histories is a powerful story about the bond between mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts across three generations. 29-year-old Korean American violin prodigy Eunice comes home pregnant and unmarried, and tries to mend her estranged relationship with her very Korean mother. Haunted by memories of a violent past, Eunice must confront her ghosts before she can move forward. This is a riveting and poignant drama of memory, legacy and home – what is remembered is made up, the only homelands that exist are the imaginary.
Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) is proud to present “99 Histories” by Julia Cho, and directed by Terry Dodd, opening Thursday, October 24 and running through November 16. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Single tickets are: $25 at the door, $23 advance; $20 anytime students/seniors 60+ with ID, groups of 6 or more. Tickets are available by calling 303-856-7830 or online at www.theatre-esprit-asia.org. All performances are held at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010
MLB players from Park Chan-ho to Ryu Hyun-jin fuel baseball boom at home
The Korea Baseball Organization said last month that South Korea’s top professional baseball league has passed the 6 million mark in attendance for the third straight year. It’s a reminder of how the ball game has emerged as a national pastime.
Not only diehard baseball buffs but also ordinary families, couples and friends are visiting the ball parks together to watch the heart-thumping, live drama. People also constantly talk about the games and players in the workplace, at schools, cafeterias and on social networks.
It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Korea is a “baseball nation” yet, but it’s also safe to say that baseball is now an integral part of Korean leisure.
Yankees interested in Korean relief pitcher
New York Post
With all the emphasis on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and which team he signs with, Oh Seung-Hwan, a Korean right-hander, is also drawing attention.
The Yankees are among the MLB clubs that have scouted the 31-year-old reliever who is a seven-time All Star in the Korean Baseball Organization and has spent nine years with the Samsung Lions.
Like Tanaka, Oh has to go through the posting process which won’t begin until Nov. 1.
From Whitney High to UC Irvine to Pro Boxing
Korea Times US
Cerritos resident and UC Irvine graduate Daniel Kim will make his long-awaited professional boxing debut on Friday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.
The 23-year old Korean American Junior Welterweight is scheduled to fight four rounds against Cory Muldrew (0-3) from Phoenix, Arizona. Both weighed in at 142 pounds on Thursday.
Orange County-based boxing promoter Roy Englebrecht appears to have high hopes for the 2012 Southern California Blue & Gold champion. Kim joins a trio of undefeated fighters promoted by Englebrecht – Alexander Flores (13-0), Dwain Victorian (2-0), and Curtis Millender (3-0 in MMA).
Wall Street Journal
A long-held winter practice of Koreans may be declared an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco.
Kimjang—the making and sharing of kimchi, Korea’s pickled-vegetable staple— has been listed by a Unesco advisory committee that evaluates new candidates, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration said Wednesday. The final decision will be made during the Unesco sessions slated for Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 2 to 7.
Kimjang would become the country’s 16th intangible cultural heritage, joining the likes of the epic chant pansori (approved in 2008), traditional martial art taekkyeon (2011) and the lyrical folk song arirang (2011).
Tacky Tourist Items You Can Buy at the North Korean Border
It’s hard to imagine the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world’s most heavily armed border, as anything other than a long, dreary stretch of dangerous terrain. Just last month, a man was killed by South Korean soldiers while attempting to swim into North Korea. It’s just the most recent fatal incident along the 150-mile-long DMZ, in place since 1953.
It’s a different story in the border city of Paju, South Korea. There, life looks more similar to Niagara Falls than a place of half-century-long political tension.
Conveyor belts at sushi restaurants are both the best and worst. Sometimes, your desired dish will show up right at the moment the thought crosses your head. Most other times, you’ll see a customer three tables ahead take the last crab roll, and it’ll be ages before the next batch rolls around. Continue Reading »
Kenneth Bae’s mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son
Walking into a Pyongyang hospital room to greet her imprisoned son, Myunghee Bae was overcome with emotion. Talking exclusively to CNN, Bae said it was a “very happy moment. At the same time, I could not believe he was a prisoner in North Korea; a new realization.”
Bae was granted a five-day visa to North Korea and three short visits with her son, Kenneth; a total of six hours, in which she says there was not one moment’s silence. “He said he’s being treated very fairly,” she said. “He was taken to a special labor camp, so he was the only prisoner, and a whole lot of people have to stay with him, guards and doctors.”
Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, was arrested in November of last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean regime says he was found guilty of “hostile acts” and attempts to topple the government. His mother says he has a profound love for the country and its people, and any offense he caused was not intentional.
Engaging with North Korea
Los Angeles Times
Pyongyang, North Korea — I became British ambassador to North Korea a year ago, and since then I have seen firsthand the nature of the regime. Its human rights record is appalling; it continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and to sell its military know-how to other states. And yet, I’ve also seen that it is possible to engage with the regime constructively.
The United Kingdom is one of just a handful of Western countries that have diplomatic relations with North Korea (known formally as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and that maintain embassies in Pyongyang. We are there because we support international efforts to encourage North Korea to engage positively with the outside world and to stop its provocative and repressive behavior. There is a better course for the government if it wishes to take it.
Make no mistake, North Korea continues to aggravate the international community in cycles of threat, provocation and conciliation that have become a familiar, even expected, theme.
MTA officer struck by car at Verrazano Bridge
ABC News (New York)
An MTA Bridges and Tunnels officer was critically injured when he was struck by a vehicle Sunday morning at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Authorities say 61-year old Thomas Choi, a 10-year veteran, had parked his wrecker truck near the entrance to the Brooklyn-bound lower level of the bridge near the facility administration building when he was struck by a Nissan Maxima with New Jersey plates at around 7:45 a.m.
The 26-year-old female driver from Bayonne remained at the scene. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad. The driver and four passengers inside the car were not injured.
Mayoral Candidates Court Asian American Vote, Fill Up On Soda Ban Debate
NY1.com (New York)
Friday afternoon Bill de Blasio got a warm reception in Chinatown, picking up the endorsement of the Lin Sing Association, a coalition of Chinese-American groups and local elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“We’re going to make a very focused effort in the Chinese community,” De Blasio said.
It was a different scene in Flushing, where Republican Joe Lhota attended an Asian Americans for Lhota fundraiser at a Chinese restaurant. Attendance appeared to be sparse, though Lhota said many supporters were arriving later.
miss A’s Min gets embroiled in a racism controversy
Min recently posted a photo onto her Instagram that she apparently found funny – a photo that had Rick Ross’ head attached to Sunmi’s body. While that might not seem too offensive, the photo also included a fried chicken leg with the caption “Rick Ross – Lacking 24 servings”.
The fried chicken jab is a derogatory jab at many African Americans, and has a history back to when slaves would fry the leftover chicken from plantation owners to eat them.
The photo deeply offended many on the internet, and she has since deleted the photo from her Instagram. However, there are those defending Min since Rick Ross/chicken memes are popular. He is know for his love of chicken and even owns a chicken restaurant.
‘Konglish’ Is Pervasive in K-pop Songs
Finding a K-pop song with lyrics entirely in Korean is getting increasingly difficult. Behind the changes are musicians and producers who seem to regard the mixture of Korean and English as fancy, and more importantly, are trying to make K-pop more appealing to the global audience.
Yet English lyrics are not always worded properly. Many international K-pop fans say they are even frustrated by what they call “awkward” English terms or expressions in K-pop.
“They (international K-pop fans) become annoyed with strange English lyrics,” Mimsie Ladner wrote in an article she posted on the Huffington Post under the headline, “K-pop and the Future of Korea.” She went on to say they are also frustrated by “seemingly identical tunes that blare from just about every storefront of the country.” Another foreign K-pop listener echoed the view, saying, “If [K-pop musicians] are going to use English, they should use real English.” The listener, who refused to be identified, said, “It’s always random, meaningless words like ‘man,’ ‘girl,’ ‘you,’ ‘baby,’ ‘Come on,’ which only lower the quality of the songs.”
Accommodations | A New Hotel in L.A. Celebrates its Koreatown Surroundings
New York Times
In L.A.’s golden age, when streetcars clanged past urban orange groves and Carmen Miranda was Hollywood’s nod to ethnicity, the high life thrived on a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard near Vermont Avenue. Today, a generation after gang wars and riots sapped the life out of this district, it has re-emerged as the lively epicenter of the city’s Koreatown, bustling with restaurants, nightclubs and shops. The area has long been off the tourist map, but this is about to change with the opening of the Line in November.
The hotel’s creator, Andrew Zobler, is the man behind the Beaux-Arts-style NoMad Hotel in Manhattan and the cheap-chic Freehand Miami hostel. But the Line, designed by Sean Knibb, is something different for both Zobler and Los Angeles. Korean-American culture — or at least a high-end permutation of it — is the 388-room establishment’s organizing theme. ‘‘There is so much good stuff coming out of Korea today, and nobody has really captured that in a hotel,’’ Zobler says. Setting out to educate himself on Korean culture, he encountered the celebrated chef Roy Choi, who will preside over the hotel’s two restaurants: Pot, which serves a new take on hot-pot cuisine, and Commissary, a vegetarian eatery. The 24-hour thrum of the neighborhood inspired Zobler to make the hotel an all-hours social hub. There will be a late-night bakery, a newsstand that never closes and a nightclub that stays open until the wee hours, called Speek, created by the twin brothers Mark and Jonnie Houston, who grew up just four blocks from the hotel.
Shipbuilding in South Korea: Extreme drilling
SOUTH KOREA’S shipyards are having a busy time at the moment welding the behemoths of the shipping industry into shape. Clustered around Busan, the country’s second city, the big three yards—Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries—are churning out Maersk’s “Triple-E” class, which at 400 metres in length are the world’s biggest container ships; an oil barge that at 460 metres long is just under half the height of England’s tallest mountain, Scafell; and some of the largest-ever jack-up oil rigs. Equally impressive are the latest “ultra-deepwater” drill ships. These are being built at SHI, and were described to your correspondent on a visit to the yard as “giant Black&Deckers” by one engineer. The first of these, the Viking, was christened recently by Maersk, the ship’s owner.
As inland and offshore wells nearer the coast run down after decades of exploitation, so Big Oil is being forced ever farther out to sea. The new type of drilling vessel is specifically designed to work in the very deepest of waters, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of west Africa. At 228 metres they are relatively short compared with the giant new container ships, but what they lack in length they make up for in technical wizardry. The Viking, which is going to be used by ExxonMobil, can operate in depths of more than 3,000 metres of water and then drill down through another 12,000 metres of earth.
Food Fair Highlights Health Benefits of Korean Food
Korean food and culture is based on health. And finding ways to incorporate foods such as seaweed into dishes—including ice cream, noodles, and other snacks—is a never-ending pursuit.
Seaweed is an extraordinary source of nutrients that includes protein, iodine, and vitamins. It has three times the amount of calcium than milk, according to the Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.
“I think the health benefits and varieties of Korean food is not very well known,” said Kim Jae Soo, president of the Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation. The Korean Food Fair, held in Times Square on Oct. 19–20, was organized by the corporation.
South Koreans Cut Back on Coffee
Wall Street Journal
The South Korean coffee frenzy seems to be waning, with data showing a drop in imports and average household spending on the popular beverage.
Almost every other building in Seoul and other cities houses a café, but South Koreans appear to have cut back on coffee as the country’s economic woes keep a lid on consumer spending.
Each household spent an average of 7,873 won ($7.4) on processed coffee or tea in the April-June period, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier. That was the second straight quarterly fall after a 1.4% drop in the January-March period, said Statistics Korea on Monday. The latest declines followed five years of nonstop quarterly gains until 2012.
14 Reasons Why Living in Seoul, Korea is Awesome!
1. Public Transportation in Seoul
Transportation in Seoul is very affordable. The 1050 won (approximately $1USD) base fare is the envy of commuters in other major cities with more expensive public transportation systems. Plus, public transportation in Seoul is super convenient. You can get to pretty much every corner of Seoul only relying on subways and buses. Public transportation is also very safe in Korea. Sure there’s a few crazies here and there, and some lines do tend to get more crowded than others, but that goes for any public transportation system in a major city. The majority of Seoul commuters are exhausted businessmen and students that just want to go home in peace. If you’re already living in Seoul, you know how valuable public transportation has been to you.