Tag Archives: football

koreajapan

Japan Soccer Coach Wants To “Take Asian Games Away From Korea On Their Own Turf”

by STEVE HAN

South Korean under-23 men’s soccer team is vying for a gold medal at the Asian Games for the first time in 28 years, but it will have to overcome arch rival Japan in the quarterfinal match on Sunday to have a shot at achieving the ultimate goal in Incheon next week.

Host nation South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Hong Kong 3-0 on Thursday in the round of 16. Led by head coach Lee Kwang-jong, the team won all four matches in the tournament so far and has yet to concede a goal. But Japan will pose the biggest threat for the Korea, which hasn’t faced serious competition thus far as its opponents included minnows such as Laos and Malaysia.

“I wanted to play South Korea here,” Japan head coach Makoto Teguramori told Kyodo News. “It doesn’t get any better than this. I mean, imagine what it would be like if Japan took the tournament away from Korea on their own turf. I can sense how badly Korea want to win this competition … We’ve got to be prepared mentally. We cannot allow ourselves to get beaten mentally.”

Since 2002, teams are only allowed to include players younger than 23 for men’s soccer at the Asian Games. FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, levies the age cap on international tournaments sanctioned by organizations other than itself (including the Summer Olympic Games) as part of its plan to make the World Cup the most glamorous soccer event in the world. As a compromise, men’s soccer teams at both the Asian Games and the Olympics, both organized by the IOC, can have up to three players over 23.

Although the age cap is at 23, the entire Japanese roster consists of players aged 21 or younger as Teguramori wants the less heralded Asian Games as something of a dress rehearsal for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Japan also played at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China with its under-21 team, consisting of players who would still be young enough to satisfy the age limit at the Olympics in 2012, and still impressively managed to win the competition.

Unlike Japan, no player in South Korea’s roster is younger than 22. Additionally, head coach Lee further emphasized his “win now” mentality by even utilizing all three of his over-aged player slots with those who represented Korea’s senior national team at this past summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Taking the all-or-nothing approach at the expense of drawing a larger picture for the bigger tournament in the Olympics remains a hotly debated topic for Korean soccer fans.

However, such a decision for the Koreans is also the most suitable way to accommodate their most talented players from obtaining military exemption, which is granted to all of South Korea’s gold medalists at the Asian Games. Many believe that the country’s 21-month compulsory military service for all able-bodied male citizens is detrimental to the development of young athletes whose careers are generally short-lived compared to other professions.

Image courtesy of KPPA

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Korean Soccer Prodigy Lee Seung-Woo Scores A Cracker, Calls Japan “Easily Beatable”

by STEVE HAN

In February of last year, we blogged about South Korean soccer’s prodigy Lee Seung-woo as the Spanish media began tipping the teenager as the “second coming of Lionel Messi.” The comparison made sense at least from a geographical standpoint as Lee is also developing through the youth ranks of FC Barcelona, one of the biggest professional soccer clubs in the world, just as Messi did.

To say that Lee will replicate Messi’s success is still something of a pipe dream. Lee, 16, has shown enough promise at Barcelona to play for its under-18 team after the club advised him to bypass the under-16 team altogether, but Messi was already playing for Barcelona’s senior team by the time he was Lee’s age. The Argentine then went on to score over 350 goals and won 21 championship trophies.

But at the very least, Lee is on track to become Korean soccer’s brightest star after more than 18 months since KoreAm introduced him to our readers. Playing for South Korea’s under-16 national team this summer, Lee is in a class of his own as he’s leading his country at the 2014 Asian Under-16 Championships. The videos of his two goals at the tournament so far has gone viral among soccer fans around the world let alone Korea. British newspapers the Daily Mail and the Mirror posted the videos and dubbed him a “wonderkid.”

Lee’s game-winning goal versus Thailand, which sets Korea up against Japan in the quarterfinals, was perhaps the best showcase for his talent. Running at full speed towards the opposing goal, Lee flicked a pass from his teammate on his first touch and bunny hopped over two slide-tackling defenders in a split second before firing a shot past the goalkeeper to give Korea the lead just before the halftime mark.

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Aside from the goal, Lee also won over the hearts of even more Korean fans during his post-game interview. When asked about the upcoming quarterfinals game against longstanding rival Japan in which the winning team would earn a berth at next year’s Under-17 World Cup, Lee smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said, “As long as we play our game, beating a team at the level of Japan will be easy.”

Screen Shot of Tiger Mascot

PIC OF THE DAY: SKorea’s Mascot Comically Feigns Injury During Friendly Against Uruguay

by REERA YOO

South Korea may have lost the international friendly match against Uruguay 1-0, but it had its shining moment when their tiger mascot, Baekho, dramatically feigned injury after a misplaced pass struck him.

South Korea's tiger mascot feigns injury

After the ball ricocheted into his face, Baekho pretended to collapse while clutching his face with his large paws. Not many spectators seemed fazed by the act, except maybe the one photographer nearby who looks back with a hint of concern.

While the simulation has been called shameful and accused of seeking sympathy from the referee, you have to admit, it’s pretty hilarious.

Photo via Metro UK

Uli-Stielike

5 Things You Should Know About Uli Stielike, SKorea’s New Soccer Coach

by STEVE HAN

When the Korea Football Association (KFA) unveiled Uli Stielike from Germany as head coach of South Korea’s national team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the fans and media alike began asking the same question: “Who?!”

Here are five things you should know about the 59-year-old man who will lead South Korean soccer’s quest for the World Cup in 2018 after its massive failure in Brazil this past summer.

Stielike was easily one of the world’s best players in his generation.

A playmaking central defender, Stielike played for Borussia Monchengladbach–a German powerhouse in the 70s–from 1972 to 1977, winning three German league titles. He then moved to Europe’s winningest club of all-time, Real Madrid of Spain, where he won three Spanish league titles. The deep-lying playmaker, known for his high “soccer IQ,” was also the centerpiece of the German national team that won the 1980 European Championship. To this day, Stielike remains as one of very few players who’ve played in the finals of the World Cup, European Championship and European Cup (now known as the Champions League).

Unfortunately, Stielike has little to no competitive coaching experience.

He started his coaching career in 1989 as the head coach of the Swiss national team, but left two years later with no notable accomplishments. He then bounced around the second divisions of German and Spanish leagues before becoming an assistant coach for the German national team from 1998 to 2000, a period known as the “dark age” for German soccer. Between 2001 to 2006, he coached Germany’s youth national teams of various age groups. Since then, he coached briefly in Switzerland before working with two different professional teams in Qatar over three years. He has been out of coaching since 2012. Stielike doesn’t possess any notable winning pedigree as a coach and has no experience in coaching a team in a competitive environment, such as the World Cup. That’s a concern for Korea, as its ultimate goal is to redeem itself four years later from this past summer’s disastrous World Cup campaign.

“Stielike’s only coaching experience was in Qatar over the last six years,” said Hyunmin Kim, Goal.com Korea‘s German soccer columnist. “He has been away from European soccer for a long time, so it’s hard to determine how well he has kept up with the rapid pace of modern soccer’s development in recent years.”

5514Uli Stielike playing for Germany

But Stielike has firsthand experience in revamping and developing Germany’s modern national team program, which today is considered as the best in the world.

German soccer’s rise over the last decade began when the German Football Association (DFB) decided to plow through its youth development model for all ages to re-brand German soccer’s image. Until then, the Germans were notorious for their rigid, physical style of play, which evidently hit a dead end when the national team crashed out of the first round at the 2000 European Championships. Stielike was hired to oversee youngsters who could potentially represent Germany in the future. His job over the next six years entailed coaching Germany’s under-19, under-20 and under-21 national teams. Some players who played under Stielike’s guidance during his six year stint include Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, all of whom were part of Germany’s World Cup winning side in Brazil this year.

“Stielike took over Germany’s youth teams while the national team was struggling,” said Goal.com’s Kim, who lived in Germany during the early and mid-2000s and followed Stielike’s teams. “He served as the coach who bridged the gap between a struggling team and talented young players, like Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mertesacker and Podolski. Those are the players that opened the floodgate and started Germany’s golden generation.”

Stielike had his chance to coach at the World Cup in 2010, but his dreams were shattered when his son abruptly died two years before the tournament.

The closest Stielike came to coaching a national team at the World Cup came in 2006 when he became the head coach of Ivory Coast, a juggernaut of a team from Africa led by Didier Drogba, who was one of the best forwards in the world at the time. Stielike may have dreamed of leading the team of talented young players to the 2010 World Cup, but sadly, he left the team in January 2008 when his son, Michael, became ill with a respiratory disease and died a month later. Stielike returned to Ivory Coast in March, but he soon left the team after his contract wasn’t renewed.

It was Stielike’s willingness to commit to the growth of South Korean soccer at all levels that convinced the KFA to hire him.

Many qualified coaches around the league expressed their interest in coaching the Korean national team, but the challenge for the KFA was to find a coach who’s committed to helping Korean soccer grow at all levels, not exclusive to producing results at the World Cup four years later. Bert van Marwijk, a renowned Dutch coach, was in pole position to land the job last month, but the deal fell through when he demanded a two-year contract instead of four and that he maintains his residence in Holland throughout the term. On the other hand, Stielike promised to re-locate to Korea with his wife. He also agreed to expand his role beyond coaching the national team and lead seminars for coaches around the country and hold clinics for young soccer players over the next four years.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong Il, Hyuna, Seung Hoon Choi

From Miraculous Birth to ‘Axis of Evil’: Dictator Kim Jong Il’s Timeline
Bloomberg

North Korea ends 12 days of official mourning today for Kim Jong Il, the dictator eulogized by his nation’s state media as “Dear Leader.”

Kim died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, brought on by exhaustion as he traveled the country by train offering guidance to his people, according to the official account of his passing.

Below is a timeline of notable events during the life of Kim, showing the contrast between the persona crafted by his state media and the accounts of outsiders and the international press.

Where in the World Is Kim Jong Nam?
Time.com

Reports say Kim Jong Il’s eldest son is now under “Chinese protection” after leaving the island of Macau. But like most things in the Hermit Kingdom, it’s hard to know for sure.

Just how isolated is North Korea? 6 facts to consider
Christian Science Monitor

North Korea’s outlook has earned it the title of the ‘hermit kingdom.’ The country is both cut off from the wider world and intensely focused on its neighbors.

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In South Korea, some praise North’s departed “Dear Leader”
Reuters

Despite growth that has propelled South Korea to become the world’s 13th largest economy, a powerhouse that makes computers, mobile telephones and cars, there are some in the capital of Seoul who believe life is better in the impoverished North.

As the world watched Wednesday’s funeral of dictator Kim Jong-il, who presided over famine, a nuclear arms push and military skirmishes with the South, Choi Dong Jin, 48, told Reuters that Kim was “a great and outstanding person” for resisting U.S. imperialism.

Korean American pastor seeks reunification through humanitarian aid
CNN.com

When Chang Soon Lee reflects on his childhood years in North Korea, his joy quickly turns to deep sadness. Like millions of Koreans caught in the middle of the Korean War in the early 1950s, Chang at the age of 15 was forced to flee his native homeland.

His father, a prominent minister who survived World War II, disappeared just days after communist-led forces invaded Pyongyang. “After the (World War II) liberation of Korea, my father often visited churches and preached but one day we waited for him and he never returned home,” says Chang.

By the time an armistice halted the Korean War in 1953, nearly 37,000 U.S. troops had been killed and more than 400,000 North Koreans soldiers were dead, according to the U.S Department of Defense.

Chang eventually emigrated to the United States on a student visa and became a minister, co-founding a ministry for Korean immigrants at Wiltshire United Method Church in Los Angeles, home to the nation’s largest Korean-American population.

But Chang has never forgotten his homeland and he’s returned half a dozen times on humanitarian missions, taking tons of food to orphanages as part of a charity group he established in the United States. “Its a kind of symbolic showing for them that we love you, you are our brothers and sisters, we are tragically separated but we are one and we are concerned about you we are praying,” says Chang.

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N.Korean Spy Kills Himself
Chosun Ilbo

A man who claimed to be a North Korean defector has committed suicide after confessing that he was sent to spy on the South.

During questioning the man, who was in his 30s, said he had received orders from Pyongyang to report on a South Korean organization that helps defectors from the North.

The National Intelligence Service said the man had hanged himself in a shower room. The source said North Korean spies held the man’s family hostage and that he felt pressured after his confession.

Adoption of Korean boys leads to full house
Journal Review (Crawfordsville, Ind.)

Paul and Stacey Leonard of Ladoga adopted sons Charlie, 1, and Reuben, 5, from South Korea. The Leonards also have a biological son, Peter, 8.

Injury costs Huskers one-time starting lineman for bowl
NBC Sports

Due to an injury to the regular starter, Nebraska Cornhuskers offensive lineman Seung Hoon Choi will be in the starting lineup when Nebraska takes on South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.

S. Korean short-track legend gains Russian citizenship to fulfill Sochi dream
Russia Today

Russia’s medal hopes at their first-ever Winter Games in Sochi have been given yet another boost as South Korean short-track legend Ahn Hyun-soo has finally been granted Russian citizenship.

The 26-year-old captured three golds and one bronze at the Turin Olympics back in 2006, becoming the most successful athlete there. He is also a five-time Overall World Champion.

HyunA & 2NE1 make it to Spin.com’s ‘Favorite Pop Tracks of 2011′ list
allkpop

On December 27, the website for music magazine Spin revealed their favorite pop singles of 2011.

Among the various songs by A-list pop icons, two K-pop songs made it to the list. At #3, HyunA‘s “Bubble Pop” beat #4 pop princess Britney Spears‘ “Till the World Ends“, and 2NE1‘s “I Am the Best” took the #8 spot.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Kimchi Fines, Hollywood Missionary, Hines Ward

Restaurants Sour on Rules Over Kimchi
Wall Street Journal

Lidea Park, owner of Duck Hyang restaurant in Queens, says she makes kimchi with trepidation.

Ever since she received seven violation points during a city health inspection in June, she’s been fearful about how her restaurant prepares and stores kimchi, a traditional fermented dish that is a staple in Korean cuisine. The violation points resulted from five pounds of kimchi being left at room temperature and exceeding the city Department of Health’s 41-degree temperature requirement for cold foods, according to the inspection.

“They don’t understand the kimchi,” said Ms. Park. “Many Korean restaurants with kimchi get points because the inspector, they don’t understand what it is.”

Korean restaurant and business groups say they are all too often unfairly penalized by the health department because their fermented foods are determined to be above 41 degrees, the temperature below which city rules require potentially hazardous prepared cold food be stored.

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Great Falls man pleads guilty in contracting scam
Washington Post

A Great Falls man has admitted he played a key role in what authorities have described as one of the most brazen federal contracting scams in U.S. history, according to court records that became public Monday.

Young N. Cho, who also goes by the first name of Alex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges at a secret hearing in September — just weeks before federal agents arrested four other men in a $20 million scheme that targeted the Army Corps of Engineers.

Cho’s plea deal became public after a federal judge ordered it unsealed.

Cho, 40, was chief technology officer of Nova Datacom, a Chantilly-based information technology company that did work with the Army Corps. His role in the scam began in 2007 when he began passing kickbacks to two program managers at the Army Corps in exchange for lucrative contracts, according to court papers.

Background Extra Recounts His Unlikely Spiritual Mission
Media Bistro

LA native Steve Cha has a B.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and is currently working on an M.A. in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Along the way, he also worked for several years as a professional background extra.

Earlier this year, Cha published a book about his on-set experiences called Hollywood Mission: Possible. With Christmas and Tom Cruise upon us, he is re-promoting a tale of, essentially, the Tim Tebow of background extras:

During his three-year journey, Steve evangelized many famous actors, actresses, directors, and aspirants in Tinsel Town… Steve’s revealing autobiography recounts how the gospel was shared with celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Dan Aykroyd, and many other stars.

Hines Ward in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ trailer
CBS Sports

“Dark Knight Rises,” the latest in the line of Batman movies from Christopher Nolan, is slated to hit theaters in July of 2012. But the full trailer hit the Internets over the weekend and guess who makes a cameo: Hines Ward!

We already knew that a slew of Steelers players were playing roles in the movie as members of the Gotham Rogues, whose home field is set at Heinz Field, but not until my younger brother chatted me on Sunday did I realize that Ward was actually in the preview.

You can check out Ward’s appearance at the 1:15 mark below as he runs from not just defenders, but a slew of explosions set by Bane, the movie’s villain, who’s basically like an evil version of Rob Gronkowski, who is also hell-bent on blowing up Heinz Field (only metaphorically) and quite clearly a efficient killing machine created by scientists.

Chul Hyun Ahn explores the Infinite Void
Baltimore City Paper

You can walk all the way around it for hours, but to fully experience artist Chul Hyun Ahn’s “Void Platform,” you have to take off your shoes (as signs prompt you to do) and walk out onto it.

The “out” inserts itself in that sentence because of the nature of the piece. In the front gallery at C. Grimaldis Gallery on North Charles Street, Ahn has constructed a low 10-foot-by-8-foot plywood-faced platform that appears to cover a yawning pit descending through the floor as far as the eye can see, albeit a pit lined with subtle bands of greenish lighting. You find yourself testing the surface with your sock-encased toes, curious to know if it will hold your weight. It will, but you hesitate a little anyway. You step onto the smooth surface and stand over what seems to be infinite space receding away below your feet. But if the surface of the piece didn’t hold your weight, you’d drop a mere 16 inches onto Grimaldis’ wooden floor.

Why it’s great to be a foreign traveler in Korea
CNNGo

With so many foreign travelers visiting Korea on shopping sprees, it seems Korea has been busy devising ways to say “visit often’ and “thank you” at the same time.

There is so much special treatment for foreign travelers, we wonder why Koreans aren’t more envious.

Here are five benefits of being a foreign traveler in Korea.

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Monday's Link Attack: David Chang, Forever 21, K-Pop

The Hangover Part III
GQ

It started as a challenge. A patently absurd challenge. Could one writer keep up with a real-life Wolf Pack—comic star Aziz Ansari, top chef David Chang, and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy—as the hipster trinity partied through Tokyo, arguably the food capital of the world? (It’s definitely the drunk-karaoke capital.) Brett Martin remembers what happened next. Most of it.

David Chang – surly and hot, the chef who’s delivering Manhattan chic to our high rollers
The Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Momofuku Seiobo opened just three weeks ago at the revamped Star in Pyrmont and is already one of the most talked-about restaurants in town, and not for all the right reasons. There’s the online-only booking policy, $175 upfront payment in a dark diner without a view and music too loud for the over-45s.

Chang is a bit surly. The shopping trip to Railway and Rowe Sts in Eastwood to sample the delights of Sydney’s Little Korea doesn’t start well when he is kept waiting 40 minutes after his car fails to turn up. He hops in a cab instead and picks up the organiser of the missing lift – me – on the way.

He doesn’t talk much, preferring to eke out emails on his phone before his New York head office shuts up shop.

Anthony Bourdain called him the hottest chef in the business. At 27 the New York food scene was struck dumb by his French/Japanese/Italian/Korean cuisine, including homemade, fluffy white steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly and topped with hoi sin sauce and dishes including his spins on ramen noodles, kimchi stews and slow-cooked egg.

Amid Shrinking Budgets, Forever 21 Just Keeps Getting Bigger
Advertising Age

(Pictured above: Linda Chang, Forever 21 senior marketing manager and daughter of co-founders Do Won and Jin Sook Chang).

For a privately held fast-fashion retailer that after 27 years in business is still run by its Korean-American founder, Do Won Chang, Forever 21 has been behaving a lot like a big-box giant.

While many stores struggled to stay afloat during a recession that walloped consumer spending, Forever 21 pushed forward aggressively, opening ever-bigger locations and in many cases moving into space vacated by bankrupt businesses. Some Forever 21 shops, at 90,000 square feet or more, now rival a Kohl’s or Target in size.

“Many of [Forever 21] locations look and feel like flagship stores,” observed Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with NPD Group. “Every shopper feels like it’s a great experience for them.”

South Korean pastor jailed for adultery
AFP via Yahoo News

A South Korean Christian pastor was jailed for 18 months for having a decade-long affair with a woman whose wedding he had officiated at, according to a court.

Adultery in South Korea is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison but most offenders usually receive only suspended jail terms and imprisonment is quite rare.

The 51-year-old pastor, whose name has been withheld for privacy, had a secret affair with the woman, 41, for more than 10 years after conducting her marriage ceremony. She and her husband were both followers of his church. The woman was also given a year-long jail sentence.

Korean-American Director Rediscovers Roots
Chosun Ilbo

Tammy Chu was adopted by an American family at the age of nine and raised in rural New York state. She never saw another Korean until she went to college. “I remember what my birth parents looked like, but I forgot how to speak Korean and memories of Korean culture also disappeared from my mind,” she recalls.

Chu became a documentary film director and came back to Korea in 1998 for a project. “When I came to Seoul, it felt strange yet familiar and uncomfortable yet comfortable.”

She now lives in an apartment in Itaewon. She had shuttled back and forth from New York and Seoul for some 10 years and eventually decided to settle down here. Last year Chu, who can now understand a lot of Korean, won the top prize for a documentary at the Busan International Film Festival for her film “Resilience,” which focused on Korean adoptees.

Assault At Anti-FTA Protest
Wall Street Journal

Protests against South Korea’s ratification of a free-trade agreement with the U.S. took another ugly turn over the weekend with the assault of a police chief during a major demonstration in central Seoul.

Park Geon-chan, the head of Jongno Police Station, sustained minor wounds after being attacked by a group of around 100 demonstrators. They were part of a larger gathering of over 2,000 anti-FTA protestors that brought the Gwanghwamun area to a standstill on Saturday evening.

Mr. Park was apparently singled out because of his status and because he was in uniform.

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US jury convicts man of visa fraud for recruiting Thai welders, forcing work in restaurants
AP via Washington Post

A California man was convicted of seeking visa extensions for Thai welders purportedly hired for a construction job when in reality they were forced to work at restaurants and live in deplorable conditions, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Yoo Taik Kim, 55, was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday of visa fraud and lying on his citizenship application.

The case was part of a broader investigation into a labor deal that Thai welders claimed promised them legitimate jobs for an American steel company but subjected them to intolerable conditions at the hands of Kim’s manpower company.

Beckman-Ocean View recap
OC Varsity

Jeff Kim scored four rushing touchdowns and added another receiving as Beckman defeated Ocean View, 62-24, in the second round of the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs Friday night at Ocean View High.

The game was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter as Beckman (10-2) carried a 45-point lead into the final quarter.

Kim finished with 204 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a scoring run of 90 yards midway through the third quarter. He also caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Biedgoly to put Beckman up 28-10 three minutes before halftime.

White Men are Likely to Move Twice as Fast When With a Minority Girlfriend
8Asians

Among young American adults, relationships between white men and minority women move into sexual intimacy and from sex to cohabitation significantly faster than white-white couples or minority-minority pairings, reports a new study by a Cornell demographer. […] Controlling for such factors as religion and family background, the researchers found that, on average, white male-minority female couples advanced to sex within one month of dating — nearly twice as fast as white-white couples.

Calling Out Names of 83,000 Lost South Koreans
New York Times

A group of elderly South Koreans are campaigning “to generate more interest in the fate of tens of thousands of South Koreans believed to have been forcibly taken to North Korea during the Korean War six decades ago.”

On a sidewalk in central Seoul recently, Lee Mi-il and several other older South Koreans took turns at a microphone, calling out what seemed like an endless list of names. They began in the morning and continued through the night, one faceless name after another — 83,000 in all — ringing out and melting into the cacophony of the capital city’s busiest district.

K-pop craze: The K Factor
The Independent (U.K.)

Yet another mainstream article about the global K-pop phenomenon.

The loudest screaming I’ve ever heard isn’t at a pop concert at the O2, or the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, or the Birmingham NEC – it’s ringing up and down the aisles of a cinema in central London. And the cause of such eardrum-shredding shrillness? Not stadium rock gods or Simon Cowell’s latest pop puppet or a Beyoncé-calibre diva, but a band you’ve probably never even heard of: SHINee, five pretty young men from Korea. This is K-pop, and it may just be conquering the world.

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Captors free last of South Korean businessmen held in restive southern Philippines, army says
AP via Washington Post

Kidnappers abandoned two South Korean businessmen in the restive southern Philippines after troops closed in and the gunmen panicked, an army general said Sunday.

The gunmen had been holding three South Korean businessmen. The first, Choi Inn-so, was released Friday, apparently because he had fallen ill and was slowing down the group.

On Saturday, the other two were found in Lanao del Norte province. Army Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes said Wu Seok-bung and Kim Nam-du were weak and starving when troops found them.

A Filipino guide who was seized with the South Koreans on Oct. 21 was reportedly shot in captivity, and troops will continue to look for him and the approximately 15 kidnappers, army Col. Daniel Lucero said.

Gardena husband shoots and kills estranged wife, then himself
Daily Breeze (Orange County, Calif.)

A man apparently shot his wife to death at the door of their Gardena apartment, stepped away from her and then killed himself, police said Friday.

Detectives said it appeared the husband, Won Chin, 52, committed the acts Wednesday night in the 15800 block of South Normandie Avenue because of a failing marriage.

“She moved out fairly recently,” Gardena police Sgt. Russ Temple said. “She came over to the house that night and it looks like he met her at the door and shot her with one single gunshot wound to the head.”

Korean Footballers a Step Closer to London Olympics
Chosun Ilbo

The nation’s Olympic footballers beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday to top Group A in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2012 London Games.

Led by coach Hong Myung-bo, the team added three precious points to keep its Olympic dreams alive halfway through regional qualifying. It now has seven points from two wins and one draw, while Saudi Arabia is bottom of the table with one point.

Counterfeit “Ugg” Boots Sold
KIMT (Iowa)

One person has been arrested for selling counterfeit “Ugg” boots at Southbridge Mall.

59-Year-Old Joseph Kim of Columbine, Illinois was arrested and charged with 1 count of Counterfeiting Intellectual Property, a Class D Felony on Wednesday. He could face up to 5 years in prison.

Kim is accused of selling counterfeit “Ugg Boots” at Southbridge Mall in Mason City.

“No Apologies” Rekstizzy | Decipher | Dumbfoundead [Official Video]
YouTube

Friday's Link Attack: Robot Prison Guards, MMA Fighter Ben Henderson, Chang-Rae Lee

Robot Prison Guards Roll Out
Wall Street Journal

As it seeks to become a leader in robotic technology, South Korea is about to put a new type of droid through its paces: a robot prison guard.

Under a project sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, trials of the robots will be held for a month at a jail in the city of Pohang, southeast of Seoul, from March. The robots are designed to patrol the corridors of corrective institutions, monitoring conditions inside the cells. If they detect sudden or unusual activity such as violent behavior they alert human guards.

Did the Novel ‘Native Speaker’ Foreshadow The Liu Fundraiser Scandal?
Wall Street Journal

A councilman from Queens, an Asian immigrant who’s traveled the striver’s path to success, rises to New York’s political heights with the support of a multicultural coalition of voters. His reformist zeal and unique ability to unite fragmented factions — blacks, Latinos, Asians and labor — make him a media darling and a serious contender for what some call the second-most powerful office in America: mayor of New York. But when an Asian American agent is sent undercover to probe the roots of his success, allegations of an illicit immigrant money ring surface, threatening to derail this rising star’s ambitions.

You might recognize this as the story of city comptroller John Liu, who’s gone from Flushing, Queens councilman to putative frontrunner in the race to replace Mayor Bloomberg in 2013 — only to have that status rocked last week by the high-profile arrest of one of his major fundraisers, Oliver Pan, over alleged financial improprieties. Liu, New York City’s chief financial officer and the first Asian-American to hold citywide office, said in a statement that he was “saddened” by the allegations: “If it is true, then the conduct was clearly wrong and my campaign was not told the truth.”

Uncannily, however, the controversy also happens to mirror the basic plot of a novel written in 1995: Chang-Rae Lee’s acclaimed PEN/Hemingway award-winning debut, “Native Speaker.” Reached in Princeton, where he’s a professor of creative writing at the university’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Lee admits to being a bit spooked by the seeming coincidence.

Martin Scorsese Gives a Thumbs Up to UCI Professor Kyung Hyun Kim’s Cinema Book
O.C. Weekly

​It’s not often that an academic tome–even one related to film–snags a forward written by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, whose latest movie Hugo coincidentally opens nationwide today.

But Kyung Hyun Kim, UC Irvine’s associate professor of East Asian languages & literatures and film & media studies, won those bragging rights, and like else everything in Hollywood it all started with the right connections.

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U.S. ambassador to Seoul confident of enduring ties with Korea
Korea Herald

U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim expressed confidence in the resilience of the ties between his country and South Korea, saying he believes the friendship between the U.S. and the country of his birth will survive any challenge.

In his second blog post since taking office earlier this month, the Korean-American ambassador said two of his main missions here are to “strengthen and deepen” both the bilateral alliance and people-to-people ties. He is the first Korean-American to serve as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul since the sides established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

Tales from Asia: Benson Henderson’s tour through Korea and Japan
Yahoo Sports

Last week, I was honored to be asked by the UFC to represent them in Korea and Japan. This is my first time overseas, which these days seems to put me in a minority. But I am looking forward to the great events and festivities that are lined up.

The main purpose of this trip is to visit with many of our American troops here in Korea. These men and women do so much for our country, and have to spend so much time away from their loved ones to accomplish that. We sometimes take that for granted.

I also wanted to take this trip for a very personal reason. I am a second-generation Korean-American, and I am visiting my mother’s home country. My Oma (mom) is accompanying me on this trip. Over the weekend, she will get to see many of her family members for the first time in years, and I will be meeting them for the first time EVER! Being able to share this trip with my Oma makes it so much more special.

I never really thought I’d come visit Korea until I was much older and retired, but the UFC has made it a reality. As I am writing this, we are driving through a very beautiful and slightly overwhelming downtown Seoul.

Half-Korean mixed martial artist proud of heritage
Yonhap News

Ben Henderson, a U.S. mixed martial artist born to a Korean-American mother and an African-American father, speaks only little Korean.

But that hasn’t stopped him from tattooing Korean characters onto his lithe, yet chiseled frame: his own name, as well as the words for “power,” “glory” and “warrior.”

In an interview with Yonhap News Agency Thursday, Henderson, a Colorado native, said he takes great pride in his heritage.

“I am very proud to be part-Korean, to have Korean in my blood,” Henderson said in a phone conversation Thursday. He was visiting the demilitarized zone (DMZ) as part of an ongoing tour in South Korea, and he’s also scheduled to visit U.S. troops and spend some time with his mother’s family. This is his first trip to his mother’s homeland.

“I think Koreans… have a lot of pride,” he said. “I think that’s where I get it from, from my Korean side.”

UC Berkeley student briefly sets up tent on Chancellor’s lawn, moves to Sproul
The Daily Californian

While most UC Berkeley students chose to head home for the Thanksgiving break, senior Alex Kim decided to do something decidedly different early Thursday morning.

Kim cancelled his plane ticket home and instead lugged camping equipment and his pet cat Obi to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s front lawn around 5 a.m. There he pitched a tent in solidarity with the Occupy Cal movement that has shaken the campus over the last three weeks.

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Interview with Two Brothers Making Products They Love
MYX TV

Terrence and Kevin Kim are two Korean American brothers from New Jersey who had a dream. Instead of going down the usual post-college-graduate path that most 22-year-olds follow after their education is complete, the brothers decided to pack up a suitcase each and head for Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Fast forward to the end of 2011, and the brothers have traveled all around China and Korea to experience the cultures of both countries by visiting factories, fabric markets, and sight seeing. Influenced by the traditional art, architecture, fabrics, dyeing, monks, etc., they decided to make their dream a reality.

Student kills mother, keeps body at home for 8 months
Korea Times

A high school student is suspected of having killed his mother and keeping the body hidden for eight months at their home after being pressured by her to get higher exam scores.

Gwangjin Police in eastern Seoul said Thursday they have requested an arrest warrant for the 18-year-old high school senior, identified as Ji, on suspicions of murdering his mother, 51-year-old Park. Ji is suspected of having stabbed his mother to death at their home in eastern Seoul at around 11 a.m. on March 13. The body was kept in her room for eight months.

According to police, Park kept telling her son that he must enter a top-class university and should rank first in nationwide exams. When he obtained lower scores than her expectations, she didn’t give him food or forced him to stay awake at night to study. Being afraid of her scolding, Ji had fabricated grade reports since middle school. His fear grew as his test scores fell after entering high school.

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New research reveals the reasons we shop on Black Friday
Washington Post

Sang-Eun Byun, an assistant professor of consumer affairs at Auburn University in Alabama, surveyed hundreds of shoppers at Zara and H&M and found that the limited availability of goods in those stores excited the customers. Even though it wasn’t Black Friday, she said her findings hold true for any shopping situation in which high-value goods are scarce.

Ordinarily, Byun said, shoppers are turned off by crowds. But when crowds create a sense of competition — such as when hundreds of shoppers are rushing to collect marked-down goods — they generate a different feeling entirely. Competition creates what’s called hedonic shopping value, or a sense of enjoyment from the mere process of buying goods.

“At certain levels, consumers enjoy arousal and challenges during the shopping process,” Byun said. “They enjoy something that’s harder to get, and it makes them feel playful and excited.”

North Korea Warns South on Maritime Drills
New York Times

North Korea warned on Thursday that any military clash on a disputed maritime border could escalate into an attack on the presidential office in Seoul, threatening to engulf the South Korean leadership “in a sea of fire.”

The threat came one day after South Korea conducted military drills near Yeonpyeong, a front-line island west of Seoul. The display of firepower was timed to mark the first anniversary of the North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong, which killed two marines and two civilians.

Hines Ward’s status unlikely to change
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward’s reduced status does not look as though it will change any time soon, which begs this question: Are we watching the final games of the brilliant career of the Steelers most prolific and decorated receiver?

Golfer Kevin Na Thanks Fans with Charity Tournament
Chosun Ilbo

Korean American golfer Kevin Na, who won his first U.S. PGA title on his 211th attempt and his eighth year on the Tour early last month, will hold a charity tournament under his name near Los Angeles on Dec. 8.

Marijuana plants worth $3 million found in Rosemead home
Pasadena Star News (Calif.)

Looks like a mullet is required to be a member of the Asian Boyz.

Deputies looking for Asian Boyz gang members wanted in a machete attack also discovered 1,400 marijuana plants worth about $3 million growing in a house on Wednesday.
In addition, authorities seized Ectasy pills and methamphetamine at a house next to the pot grow. They arrested a man and two teens for the assault plus two other people for the drug possession.

Sgt. Steve Kim of the Sheriff’s Asian Gang Team said 30 deputies served search and arrest warrants at five Rosemead locations at 6:30 a.m.

Being a TNA Knockout means everything to Gail Kim
SLAM Wrestling

It’s been a strange couple of months for current TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim. Back in August the Canadian-born grappler controversially went against instructions and eliminated herself from the Divas Battle Royal match on the August 1st episode of Monday Night Raw. A few days later Kim announced on Twitter that she had quit WWE, however, she was not permitted to leave.

What followed was a stunning standoff between WWE and their former Women’s Champion, which saw her forced to sit out the remainder of her contract. Kim’s decision to eliminate herself caused quite a bit of controversy, with some figures in the wrestling world who called her actions unprofessional, although Kim stands by the decision she made.