Just six days after Psy’s surprise appearance, Dodger Stadium was graced by another K-pop star when Tiffany Hwang of supergroup Girls’ Generation threw the ceremonial first pitch before Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Hwang, a Southern California native from nearby Diamond Bar, threw to Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, albeit somewhat off the mark.
Hwang said the newly-arrived lefty pitcher was now her favorite player on her hometown team.
“It’s great to see a fellow Korean on a team I’ve supported since I was young,” she told iamKoreAm.com before the game. “I hope he does well.”
Hwang’s pitch was a memorable one, unlike most ceremonial first pitches which become forgotten as soon as the actual game begins. It was actually more of a “throw” than a pitch, as she tossed the ball right through the middle of first base and home plate, prompting hysterical laughter from the crowd.
“It went terrible,” she said. “But [Ryu] said it was okay!” Continue Reading »
US urges N.Korea to free American jailed for 15 years
AFP via Google News
The United States on Thursday called for the “immediate release” of a Korean-American tour operator sentenced in North Korea to 15 years of hard labor for “hostile acts” against the government.
“What we’re urging the DPRK authorities to do is to grant him amnesty and to allow for his immediate release, full stop,” deputy acting State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told journalists.
Pae Jun-Ho, who is known in the United States as Kenneth Bae, was arrested in November as he entered the northeastern port city of Rason. He has been accused of trying to “topple the DPRK” (North Korea).
‘He’s not a spy,’ says sister of U.S. man sentenced in North Korea
The sister of a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp defended her brother Thursday, asking leaders of both nations to “please, just see him as one man.”
North Korean law allows up to 10 days of processing before a sentence is enforced, so it wasn’t immediately clear when Bae would report for hard labor, or where he was being held in the meantime.
“We just pray, and ask for leaders of both nations to please, just see him as one man, caught in between,” Terri Chung, Bae’s sister, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. “He’s a father to three children, and we just ask that he be allowed to come home.”
Editorial: North Korea must release Kenneth Bae
North Korea is likely using Kenneth Bae of Lynnwood as bait in a desperate game for political legitimacy. China’s role is key to helping to secure the tour operator’s release.
L.A. council candidates Cedillo, Choi join forces
Los Angeles Times
Two candidates for Los Angeles City Council who are running in separate districts said Thursday that they are joining forces.
At a news conference in Koreatown, candidates John Choi and Gil Cedillo said they will be supporting each other’s campaigns because they have similar backgrounds and shared values.
Choi, who is running against Mitch O’Farrell in the race to replace mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti in Council District 13, was born in Korea and was once the economic development director at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
No felony charges planned in teen pedestrian fatal
Billings Gazette (Mont.)
Felony charges will not be filed against the woman who drove onto the sidewalk and hit and killed a Hellgate High School student last month on Mullan Road, Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg announced Thursday.
Van Valkenburg, however, said the driver, Yoon Hee Cho, 38, likely will be charged by the City Attorney’s Office with a misdemeanor for careless driving that resulted in death. Chance Geery, 18, died shortly after the accident.
Cho’s lawyer, Paul Ryan, said she will “probably plead guilty” to the misdemeanor at her initial appearance because she does not want to “prolong the agony through lots of litigation.” Cho, an associate professor at the University of Montana, has never been in any kind of legal trouble and wants to accept responsibility right away, he said.
North Korea Activists Plan Balloon Launch
Wall Street Journal
The annual week-long event to raise awareness about North Korea’s human rights violations builds to a conclusion on Saturday with the deployment of a weapon that irks Pyongyang most: balloons carrying leaflets with information about the outside world.
For the past week, activists at the 10th North Korea Freedom Week hosted seminars, performances, prayer sessions and demonstrations, in order to give more exposure to brutalities inside North Korea.
On Saturday morning, activists plan to float large helium-filled balloons into North Korea from sites close to the border. Once the North’s main tool for southbound “psychological warfare” campaigns, the balloons carry information and basic goods across the demilitarized zone.
Asian Americans had higher poverty rate than whites in 2011, study says
Los Angeles Times
Contrary to popular perception, not all Asian Americans are basking in financial security and working high-income jobs after years of intensive schooling.
The official poverty rate of Asian Americans in 2011 actually exceeded that of whites by 2.5 percentage points, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The numbers are even more grim when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions.
Beaverton man gets 4 years in prison for robbery attempt that led to friend’s death
Steven Rhee told a judge Thursday he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he and a friend, armed with knives, followed a stranger for 10 blocks hoping to steal his backpack in October.
Rhee’s friend, Forest Alig, 24, caught up with the man, Galen Griffin, near Southwest Rosa Road and 183rd Avenue in Aloha. Griffin, 41, told Alig to leave him alone, but Alig ignored the warning. Alig threatened Griffin, who was armed with a .357 caliber revolver. Griffin fired two shots, striking Alig once, killing him.
Washington County jurors last week found Rhee, 41, of Beaverton, guilty of attempted first- and second-degree robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and distributing and possessing meth. Rhee was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
From Better Luck Tomorrow to K-Town: Asian Americans and Los Angeles in 21st Century Media
“The problem of this era is that we tend to see people in boxes. You’re lesbian, and I am white and heterosexual and he’s black,” Asian American film director Quentin Lee told journalists in 1998. “All these identities have become essential and stifling … With [Shopping for Fangs] we wanted to liberate these identities and ideas and put them back in play.”
Co-directed by Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, the 1998 feature film “Shopping for Fangs,” which turns fifteen this year, attempted to deconstruct the rigid boundaries of Model Minority tropes that have circumscribed Asian American life and representations in popular film and media. Addressing issues affecting “GenerAsian X” — homosexuality, identity, and consumerism — Lee and Lin explored the parallel lives of Phil (Radamar Agana Jao), Katherine (Jeanne Chin), and Trinh (also played by Chin), three Angeleno Asian Americans of varying ethnicities, as they intersect over the course of 90-plus minutes.
Taking place in the surburban/urban space of San Gabriel Valley, a region distinguished by its mix of Asian and California culture, Lee argued that no other space better demonstrates the late 1990s metaphor for “the subjectivity of Asian Americans a post-modern vision, comfortably juxtaposing bits of ‘Asian’ and ‘Western’ culture in a montage.” Los Angeles Times critic Kevin Thomas agreed, noting in his review of the film that San Gabriel Valley symbolized modern hybridity, replete with “cultural load star[s]” like the film’s Go Go Café — where one can get a club sandwich or dim sum, all to sounds of Cantonese torch singing in the background.
L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival to showcase films of diaspora
Los Angeles Times
In conjunction with Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival opens Thursday night in West Hollywood, kicking off 10 days of screenings, panel discussions, seminars and social events.
Now in its 29th year, the festival showcases new work by emerging and established Asian American filmmakers and also surveys the national cinemas of countries such as China, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Evan Jackson Leong’s basketball documentary “Linsanity,” which chronicles the overnight success of the Taiwanese American NBA player Jeremy Lin (and features L.A.’s own Kobe Bryant as a villain), is the opening film and will screen at the Directors Guild of America.
‘Eden’: a harrowing tale of sex trafficking
A movie review of “Eden,” a tale — directed by Seattle-based filmmaker Megan Griffiths — about a Korean-American teenager who falls victim to human trafficking in a corrupt New Mexico town.
Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany to throw ceremonial first pitch for Los Angeles Dodgers
Many K-pop stars throw the first pitch for baseball games in the Korean Professional Baseball league, but Girls’ Generation‘s Tiffany is one of the rare idols to throw the first pitch at a Major League baseball game in the United States.
[The California native will be] be standing on the mound at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Monday, May 6 to throw the ceremonial opening pitch for the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Psy brings “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman” onto NBC’s ‘Today Show’
Psy brought “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman” onto the May 3rd episode of the ‘Today Show‘!
He was at the Rockefeller Center in New York City to appear on NBC‘s ‘Today Show’, performing both of his hit songs. The hosts of the show and the audience followed not only his famous horse dance, but also his new “Gentleman” dance. Host Matt Lauer, who has a very calm image, even danced along with “Gentleman”, surprising everyone. He confessed that he’d only slept 45 minutes because he’d been so nervous about the dance.
Surging Cleveland Indians getting plenty of help from their return on the Shin-Soo Choo trade
Cleveland Plain Dealer
When the Shin-Soo Choo deal was announced, I liked it because the Tribe added premier pitching prospect Trevor Bauer.
Bryan Shaw? Matt Albers? Didn’t know much about either Arizona reliever and didn’t spend much time thinking about them. Drew Stubbs? Batted .213 and struck out a stunning 166 times in 136 games with only 14 homers for the Reds. I knew he could steal bases and was a good centerfielder. I also thought he’d never hit.
The trade seemed to be about Bauer, as well as bringing something to Cleveland for Choo, who is a year away from free agency and represented by Scott Boras. Choo would be gone in 2014, so turn him into something now.
Chef Edward Lee Adds Korean Spice To Southern Comfort Food
Korean and Southern food may not seem like a natural pair. But now it’s one more example of traditions emulsifying in the great American melting pot. Korean-American chef Edward Lee makes that case with his new cookbook Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories From a New Southern Kitchen.
Fusion cooking comes naturally to Lee: He grew up in an immigrant neighborhood of Brooklyn surrounded by Jamaicans, Indians, Iranians and Jews.
“When they immigrated to America, my parents deliberately decided they weren’t going to live in the big Korean enclaves,” Lee tells Morning Edition host David Greene. “They wanted to spread out and be amongst other people. That education in cuisine, ranging from so many different immigrant groups probably left more of a lasting impression on me in cuisine than anything else.
What’s life like for Kenneth Bae?
CNN via YouTube
South Korea Vows Military Reply if North Provokes It
New York Times
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea ordered the country’s military on Monday to deliver a strong and immediate response to any North Korean provocation, the latest turn in a war of words that has become a test of resolve for the relatively unproven leaders in both the North and South.
“I consider the current North Korean threats very serious,” Ms. Park told the South’s generals. “If the North attempts any provocation against our people and country, you must respond strongly at the first contact with them without any political consideration.
“As top commander of the military, I trust your judgment in the face of North Korea’s unexpected surprise provocation,” she added.
N.K. leader may attack to save face: U.S. lawmaker
With North Korea churning out military threats, a key concern is that its young leader Kim Jong-un may reach a point of no return in provocative steps, a U.S. congressman said Sunday.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said North Korea’s statements may not be an “empty threat.”
“Kim Jong-un is trying to establish himself. He’s trying to be the tough guy. He is 28, 29 years old, and he keeps going further and further out, and I don’t know if he can get himself back in,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
South Korean Media, Public Back U.S. Show of Force
Wall Street Journal
Recent announcements from the U.S. military of the deployment of advanced weaponry to South Korea as part of exercises have been designed to send a message to North Korea about the consequences of following through on its warnings of attack against the South and its allies.
Without question, Pyongyang has taken notice of the potential for a devastating counter-attack from the U.S. with its state-of-the-art nuclear-capable bombers and fighters. But with a young and largely unknown leader, it is far from clear whether displays of force will make North Korea less inclined to act rashly or spur it into lashing out.
North Korea Vows to Keep Nuclear Arms and Fix Economy
New York Times
North Korea’s leader on Sunday announced a “new strategic line” that defied warnings from Washington, saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”
Anniversary of Oikos shooting massacre in Oakland evokes painful memories
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)
June Lee, executive director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay, said the shooting and resulting trauma across the Korean-American community emphasized the need for more services.
“The community had no awareness of how to deal with it,” she said. “They find it really horrifying. In the Korean community if you have cancer, people will talk about it. But if you have mental illness, nobody wants to talk about it.”
Lee said the city and various nonprofits have expressed interest in grass-roots initiatives that would help tackle these issues, but so far nothing has been done.
Illegal alien pleads guilty to sex trafficking South Korean women
A South Korean man, who entered the U.S. on a temporary visa and then illegally remained in the United States, pleaded guilty to transporting female illegal aliens into the state of Mississippi for financial gain in connection with a sex trafficking organization, according to federal officials in a press statement released Friday.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs agents and officers from the Biloxi, Miss., Police Department.
According to court documents, Moonseop Kim posted an advertisement on the Internet offering Korean female escort services in September 2012. Undercover officers with the Biloxi police responded to the ad and conducted a sting operation which resulted in the arrest of the 54-year-old Kim and a Korean female.
St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Monday, officials at St. Vincent Medical Center announced that the facility has opened a 30-bed unit for Korean-American patients.
The unit is staffed by Korean-American nurses who speak fluent Korean. In addition, the unit features Korean cuisine, TV channels and signage throughout the facility.
According to hospital officials, the number of Korean-American patients seeking care at St. Vincent has grown significantly over the last 10 years.
Girls’ Generation’s ‘Gee’ breaks 100 mil. YouTube views
“Gee” by South Korean K-pop group, “Girls’ Generation” passed 100 million hits on YouTube Monday, according to the global online video website.
The video reached the milestone three years and 10 months after it was released on June 8, 2009, becoming the second video by a Korean singer or group to hit the record following rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
South Korean Shin-Soo Choo already impressing Reds fans
Choo is only the third Asian to play for the Reds (pitchers Jung Keun Bong and Sun-Woo Kim are the others), and is, by far, the best South Korean hitter ever to play in the major leagues (of the 13 South Koreans to play in MLB, 11 are/were pitchers).
His reputation as a nice guy – hard-working, unfailingly polite and yet confident enough in his English and himself to exchange wisecracks with his teammates – arrived in Reds camp before he did.
S. Korean golfer [KJ Choi] to enter Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame
South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyoung-ju will enter the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame, his agency said on Monday.
In a press release, IMG Korea said Choi, 42, will enter the hall in a special induction ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia in November, during the 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
Master chef Sang Yoon prepares pigs ear terrine
Los Angeles Times via YouTube
Philatelists rejoice as your prayers have been answered.
The South Korean postal service is issuing a special set of stamps next week that will feature “Gangnam Style” rapper Psy, Yonhap News reported.
The stamp series includes six stamps on three artistic cards, both featuring the performer doing his trademark horse-riding dance depicted in the pop art style, and a case made of tempered glass.
On the backside of the cards is Psy’s printed signature and a QR (Quick Response) code that allows his fans to watch the “Gangnam Style” video with a quick scan of their smartphone devices, [YG Entertainment said] said.
Duke University fraternity under fire for Asian-themed party
News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
A Duke University fraternity has been suspended from its national affiliation after complaints about a themed party last week that featured Asian stereotypes.
About 200 Duke students gathered Wednesday to protest the Kappa Sigma party, which was held Friday. The party originally was called “Asia Prime” in social media posts that featured references to drinking sake and an exaggerated, stereotypical language, such as saying “Herro” instead of “Hello.”
In response to student complaints, the fraternity changed the party theme to “International Relations” two days before the event. Still, photos from the party showed mostly white students wearing sumo wrestler costumes and chopsticks in their hair.
Grand jury indicts Biddeford landlord on murder charges
Portland Press-Herald (Maine)
A York County grand jury has indicted a Biddeford man on charges of murder and attempted murder after he allegedly shot three tenants in December, killing two of them.
Prosecutors say James Earl Pak, 74, of 17 Sokokis Road, shot to death Derrick Thompson, 19, and Thompson’s girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18, on Dec. 29.
Thompson’s mother, Susan Johnson, also was shot but survived.
North Korea: Rumblings from below
A sealed and monstrously unjust society is changing in ways its despotic ruler may not be able to control.
North Korea: The new capitalists
Even as another nuclear provocation looms, hope glimmers for the world’s most oppressed people.
Military commander hints at ‘pre-emptive strike’ on N. Korea
South Korea’s top military commander said Wednesday that his military is ready to make a “pre-emptive strike” against North Korea, even at the risk of a full-scale war, if there are signs that the North may attack using nuclear weapons ahead of its third nuclear test.
Gen. Jung Seung-jo, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks during a parliamentary defense meeting convened as tension runs high on the Korean Peninsula after Pyongyang vowed to conduct a nuclear test in retaliation for the U.N. sanction against the country for its December rocket launch.
Four of 10 young N. Korean escapees want to leave S. Korea: survey
Nearly four out of 10 young North Korean defectors feel disillusioned with life in South Korea and want to live in another country, a local survey showed Thursday.
The survey that was carried out as part of a doctoral thesis by Kim Shin-hee, a researcher at the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI), showed that 36.9 percent of the 287 youth polled did not feel pride in being a South Korean citizen, nor did they think the country was a good place to live vis-a-vis the rest of the world.
50 Most Innovative Countries
2. South Korea
South Korea ranked 2nd in Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index. Here is how the country ranked in the determining factors:
Mikyoung Kim’s Healing Gardens
New York Times
Mikyoung Kim, a Boston-based landscape architect, recently completed two therapeutic gardens for hospitals.
Psy’s Grammy Snub? Where Is The Love?
It was the first YouTube video to cross the one billion mark (and is now on its way to 1.3 billion). It has sold more than four million copies in the U.S. alone and millions more across the globe and, well, try finding anyone on the planet who doesn’t know the lyrics or the horsey dance.
And yet, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is not on the list of nominees at Sunday’s 55th annual Grammy Awards. Yes, the Recording Academy tends not to lavish nominations on songs that are considered novelty hits. But “Gangnam” feels like much more than this year’s “Macarena.”
PSY EARNS $1 MIL FOR SINGLE EVENT, MAKES MORE MONEY THAN BIEBER
New Media Rockstars
How much would it cost to get YouTube global sensation PSY to perform at your party?
According to Malaysia’s ABN News, he is reportedly charging a minimum of $1 million. It’s the price the ruling Malaysian political coalition Barisan Nasional is paying the K-pop star to appear at their annual Chinese New Year event next Monday to dance and sing his ubiquitous tune “Gangnam Style.”
Popular K-pop group Girls’ Generation ditch the girly for the funky
The Straits Times (Singapore) (subscription req’d)
Six years after making their debut, Girls’ Generation have kicked off their high heels for sneakers.
In the process, the nine sweet, girlish members of the K-pop band have transformed into street-tough-looking rappers for their fourth full-length album, I Got A Boy.
Nosaj Thing Is Back
Nosaj Thing’s debut arrived four years ago, roughly the amount of time it takes a college student to graduate. By contrast, the electronic world matriculates freshmen every quarter. Four years ago, Skrillex was the lead haircut of a post-hardcore band, Steve Aoki’s brow-beating bro-beat was the national face of L.A. dance music, and Flying Lotus’ Los Angeles had only recently landed to blow smoke rings in the competition’s face. The Low End Theory, meanwhile, was mostly known as A Tribe Called Quest’s jazzy second record.
Big defeat to Croatia causes alarm in South Korea
AP via San Francisco Chronicle
These are worrying times for Asia’s most successful World Cup team. South Korean fans are proud of seven consecutive appearances at the World Cup but after a third consecutive defeat against an international rival, there is a growing feeling that another trip next year to football’s marquee tournament is far from a foregone conclusion.
A crushing 4-0 loss to Croatia in a friendly at London on Wednesday, South Korea’s biggest defeat since 2001, would not be a major source of stress had the national team not also lost to Australia in November and Iran in October in performances that were also disappointing.
One Year Out: Chan, Kim could rule figure skating at Sochi Olympics
By winning the South Korean national title in early January in only her second competitive event in nearly two years, Kim Yu-na firmly announced her return to Olympic contention. But it remains to be seen how a lengthy and difficult layoff will affect her prospects.
At nationals, Kim set records for scores in both the short program (78.50) and free skate (150.06). Setting aside the inconsistencies of scoring standards that sometimes render those scores meaningless, Kim’s performance was indeed record-worthy. It was smooth and confident from the triple Lutz-triple toe combination right through the finish. The 2009 world champ and three-time Grand Prix final winner, Kim has never finished off the podium when she and other skaters have competed under ISU rules.
For James Hahn and Si Woo Kim, Pebble Beach Pro-Am Is an Opportunity
New York Times
They are two South Korean-born golfers whose pursuit of the American dream has brought them to the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but from there the stories of James Hahn and Si Woo Kim sharply diverge.
Hahn is a 31-year-old rookie who was raised in the Bay Area; graduated from Cal in 2003, the same year he turned professional; and was married last year. He earned his PGA Tour card by finishing fifth on the Web.com tour, and has made the most of his first four starts, posting two top-16 finishes and cracking the top 30 of the FedEx Cup standings.
Kim is a 17-year-old who turned professional last year and earned his PGA Tour playing privileges with a top-25 finish at last December’s qualifying school. He cannot join the tour until his 18th birthday in June, and is playing his first tour event after receiving a sponsor’s exemption.
Top Chef Seattle Recap: Episode 14 tests Kristen Kish’s campfire cooking skills in Last Chance Kitchen
Episode 14’s recap of Top Chef Seattle comes with good news and bad news.
The good news is we’re down to only four chefs so there are only two more Last Chance Kitchen webisodes to win before West Michigan’s Kristen Kish will hopefully make her triumphant return in the finale. The bad news is there are only four chefs left so the scenes we have to watch in between the actual action of the cooking are going to consist of back stories and get this…playing ukuleles while waiting for bread to rise.
Where’s the (Piedmontese) Beef? At Star King in Koreatown
Where would you show off an elite variety of beef? Not in some flashy high-end dining spot but in the most beef-centric part of Los Angeles — Koreatown. There, it’s hard to find a place that doesn’t serve bulgogi and galbi, and the buzz words are grass-fed, Wagyu, Kobe and Black Angus. That is, until now.
The new player is Certified Piedmontese beef, which was introduced last week at Star King, the first Koreatown restaurant to put it on the menu.
BiBimBar Brings Fast-Casual Korean BBQ to the International Food Court
Now that SF Weekly offices have moved to the Financial District, we’ve been exploring the workday lunch options with some gusto. And among the favorites we’ve already found, one of the standouts is the week-old BiBimBar in the newly reopened International Food Court. It offers rice bowls, cold soba noodle bowls, and (coming soon) ssam wraps topped with banchan and meats like bulgogi, spicy pork belly, marinated chicken, and jangjolim — all familiar Korean barbecue flavors made healthy and portable for the workday.