When it comes to Korean music, it doesn’t get any more traditional than “trot.” But as girl group Crayon Pop found out, it can take just one word to get a song banned from broadcast.
Last Thursday, South Korean network KBS confirmed it had banned “Uh-ee,” Crayon Pop’s latest single, for the use of a Japanese word, “ppikka,” which means “shiny” in Japanese.
There is nothing inappropriate about the word, except for that it is Japanese in origin, according to the executives at KBS, which is well-known for being a conservative network.
“KBS notified us that ‘ppikka‘ is a vestige of Japanese imperialism and needs to be refined,” said Lee Sung-soo, an official at Chrome Entertainment. All other Korean television networks, however, approved the song. Continue Reading »
North Korean crew missing after capsize off South
A Sixteen sailors were on board the Mongolian-flagged cargo ship that went down off the southern coast of South Korea.
Three of the crew have been rescued, South Korean officials said. A search was under way for the remaining 11 crew members. The vessel was heading from North Korea to China with a cargo of steel.
South Korea’s coast guard said 13 vessels and six aircraft were involved in the search. It is not clear what caused the ship, which sent a distress call in the early hours of Friday, to sink.
N.Korean Drone Snapped Photos of Cheong Wa Dae
A drone that crashed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on March 24 hovered above Cheong Wa Dae and took close-range photos of the facility, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Based on several photos the Chosun Ilbo obtained on Wednesday, the drone started taking photos near Paju along a pre-set route. It flew right above Cheong Wa Dae and Gyeongbok Palace at an altitude of 1.3 km.
Analysis of digital information contained in these photos shows that the drone photographed the Cheong Wa Dae compound and its vicinity while flying from northwest over the area.
Japan’s claims in grade school texts
Korea JoongAng Daily
The Korean government yesterday “strongly denounced” Japan’s plan to significantly step up claims to the Dokdo islets in the East Sea in elementary school textbooks and said it was trying to distort history once again.
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology yesterday revealed that its textbook authorization committee approved fifth and sixth grade social science textbooks from four publishers that explicitly claim Takeshima, Japan’s name for the islets, as Japanese territory.
These four textbooks will be used in classrooms starting from April 2015. All four say that “Korea is illegally occupying Takeshima.”
Kim Is Unafraid to Fly
Wall Street Journal
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un clearly doesn’t share his father’s fear of flying.
On Wednesday, North Korean state media showed Mr. Kim disembarking from an airplane at Samjiyon airport in the north of the country, a rare shot of the leader traveling by plane.
Mr. Kim took part in an “oath-taking meeting” of Korean People’s Army officers close to Mt. Baekdu on the border with China, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The officers were reportedly wrapping up a study tour of battle sites associated with Mr. Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, in the area.
Ex-State Department adviser Stephen J. Kim sentenced in leak case
A former State Department arms expert who leaked classified information to a Fox News reporter was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in prison after a pointed courtroom debate about the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of unauthorized disclosures of top-secret information.
Stephen Jin-Woo Kim pleaded guilty in February to sharing classified information from an intelligence report on North Korea with reporter James Rosen, Fox’s chief Washington correspondent. Rosen was also targeted in the investigation by federal agents, who described him as a possible “co-conspirator” in a bid to search his personal e-mails.
Occupational therapist John Hwang hangs with the homeless
Southern California Public Radio
By day, La Puente resident John Hwang works in Monterey Park as an occupational therapist. By night – and sometimes quite late into the night – he’s walking L.A.’s Skid Row, checking in with old friends and making new ones along the way.
“I’ve always been very intrigued by people living on the street,” says Hwang, “because if you live in L.A., you see them all the time.” He had no plans to document his visits when he started going out to Skid Row about a year and a half ago. Yet as he met more people, and heard more of their stories, he felt he needed to share them somehow.
Kim Soo Hyun Scores Coca-Cola China Endorsement Deal
Soon, China will be filled with Kim Soo Hyun’s face with a Coca-Cola product.
In a statement made by KeyEast Entertainment, Kim Soo Hyun’s agency, the actor has been chosen as Coca-Cola China’s latest ambassador and is set to shoot a commercial film this May. The actual release will be made late this year.
Kim Soo Hyun’s popularity is mainly attributed to his hit SBS TV drama “You Who Came From The Stars” which started airing in Korea in December 2013 and concluded last February.
It was also reported that the broadcasting rights of the TV drama was the most expensive ever for a Korean drama in China.
Korean Author Kyung-sook Shin On Literature and Geopolitics
The border with North Korea and its famous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) must be one of the happiest and saddest places on the planet – happy because it is full of tourists having their pictures taken with the South Korean soldiers, who clearly enjoy the flattery (“Hey, he looking good this one!” josh their colleagues to each other over the tannoy); sad because it divides one people, brother from brother.
Newspapers in the west are full of the animosity between the two countries – all those stories of missile launches and military exercises on each side of the border. But when you visit, when you are there on the ground in this odd place, one doesn’t sense a raised fist; rather, an outstretched hand. The message, the signs, are all of peace and reconciliation. It is moving, even more so when one gazes out on the four-mile strip (two on each side of the border) that forms the DMZ itself.
The Walking Dead Relationships: Glenn and Eugene? Josh McDermitt Explains
The Walking Dead may be a show centered around a specific group of people just trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, but there’s still time for our characters to have romantic relationships with one another, and boy do they ever! We’ve got Gleggie, which is the name for Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene’s (Lauren Cohan) totally legit union, but we also have ‘ships like Richonne or Caryl, which advocate for pairings that haven’t happened on screen yet and may never even get to that point. Richonne is for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) fans, while Caryl supporters are those that want to see Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) enter into a relationship.
Roof of Kim Jong-un’s Jerry-Built Luxury Villa Caves In
The roof of a luxury villa in Wonsan belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has collapsed, apparently due to faulty construction.
A comparison of a photo of the villa taken by South Korea’s Arirang 3 satellite and an earlier image of the area on Google Earth shows a building in the compound with a collapsed roof.
One U.S. satellite image expert who analyzes photos of the luxury villas and government buildings used by the North Korean elite said the building appears to be an aquarium that was built in 2011.
Lee Min-ho meets President
Korea JoongAng Daily
Actor Lee Min-ho met with President Park Geun-hye yesterday at the third conference of the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment, which looks at issues related to developing Korea’s cultural content.
Lee was invited by the committee and the Blue House because of his fame as a leading figure in the Korean Wave. The meeting was held at Bitmaru Broadcasting Center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi.
Merkel vows support for Korean reunification bid
AFP via Google News
Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Germany’s support Wednesday during a visit by South Korea’s president for efforts to unify the Korean peninsular, saying its own reunification gave it a “duty” to help others.
“We would like very much to support Korea in this important issue,” Merkel told a joint press conference with President Park Geun Hye, who is on a state visit to Germany.
“Germany was divided for 40 years, Korea is in such a situation in the meantime” as the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which means the two sides technically remain at war.
South Korea captures a North Korean fishing boat
A day after North Korea test-fired two missiles, South Korea captured a fishing boat from the North that had crossed into South Korean waters, officials say.
The boat crossed the sea demarcation line that separates the two Koreas and was captured by the South Korean navy Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said.
The action comes as tensions between the two Koreas are rising once again. On Wednesday, North Korea tested two medium-range ballistic missiles, firing them into the ocean.
N Korea and the myth of starvation
One of the most commonly cited cliches is that North Korea is a “destitute, starving country”. Once upon a time, such a description was all too sadly correct: In the late 1990s, North Korea suffered a major famine that, according to the most recent research, led to between 500,000 and 600,000 deaths. However, starvation has long since ceased to be a fact of life in North Korea.
Admittedly, until quite recently, many major news outlets worldwide ran stories every autumn that cited international aid agencies saying that the country was on the brink of a massive famine once again. These perennially predicted famines never transpired, but the stories continued to be released at regular intervals, nonetheless.
In the last year or two, though, such predictions have disappeared. This year, North Korea enjoyed an exceptionally good harvest, which for the first time in more than two decades will be sufficient to feed the country’s entire population. Indeed, according to the recent documents of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), North Korea’s harvest totaled 5.03 million tonnes of grain this year, if converted to the cereal equivalent. To put things in perspective, in the famine years of the late 1990s, the average annual harvest was estimated (by the same FAO) to be below the 3 million tonne level.
MANDATORY KIM JONG UN HAIRCUTS A BALDFACED LIE?
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s distinctive hairstyle is the ‘do of the day on the Internet, thanks to a viral report that every male university student in the capital is now under orders to get a buzz just like it. But it appears the barbers of Pyongyang aren’t exactly sharpening their scissors.
Recent visitors to the country say they’ve seen no evidence of any mass haircutting. North Korea watchers smell another imaginative but uncorroborated rumor.
The thinly sourced reports say an order went out a few weeks ago for university students to buzz cut the sides of their heads just like Kim. Washington, D.C.-based Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources as saying an unwritten directive from somewhere within the ruling Workers’ Party went out early this month, causing consternation among students who didn’t think the new ‘do would suit them.
Video shows N. Korea karaoke salons
Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Rare video footage from North Korea has emerged showing men enjoying a night out in a karaoke salon catering to relatively wealthy North Koreans making money from often illicit cross-border trade.
The content of the hidden-camera footage, which could not be independently verified, was released by a South Korean pastor, Kim Sung-Eun, known for helping North Koreans escape to Seoul.
The grainy video included footage of a group of men and women, speaking with North Korean accents, drinking beer, singing, dancing and kissing in a South Korean-style karaoke “room salon”.
“This is a North Korean equivalent of a room salon, in the form of a restaurant combined with a karaoke where women serve male clients,” Kim told reporters in Seoul.
Breaking the Ice in East Asia [EDITORIAL]
New York Times
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan met, at last, on Tuesday. The meeting — with President Obama on the sideline at the nuclear security summit meeting at The Hague — was the result of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy in an effort to mend the seriously deteriorated relations between the American allies in East Asia.
Ms. Park and Mr. Abe had not met since each came to power more than a year ago, breaking a tradition of South Korean and Japanese leaders getting together soon after taking office. Ms. Park refused to see Mr. Abe, saying his government showed a “total absence of sincerity” in addressing the suffering Japan inflicted upon colonized Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Mr. Abe made things worse in December by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals. There was little chance of the two leaders beginning to mend relations without the American push.
Seoul, Tokyo Must Tackle Their Differences Head-On [OPINION]
The leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan sat down together on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague. The meeting, which took place at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands, came at the urging of U.S. President Barack Obama.
The three leaders vowed to stand together against threats from North Korea. “Over the last five years, close cooperation between the three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea,” Obama said. “Our trilateral cooperation has sent a strong signal to Pyongyang that its provocations and threats will be met with a unified response.”
President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe duly echoed the sentiment.
Korean business leader and shopping center owner Sim dies
Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)
Sys-Con owner and CEO Su Yong Sim, the Korean businessman who helped revitalize East Boulevard, died Thursday morning after a prolonged illness.
Sim’s company built several major facilities, including the $65 million Hyundai Heavy Industries plant in Montgomery and a $48 million plant for Donghee America Inc. in Auburn.
His holding company bought Stratford Square shopping center on East Boulevard and built a $4.5 million bowling center there. It also bought the shuttered Up the Creek restaurant nearby, remodeled it and opened it as Sushi Yama.
Food waste around the world
The Guardian (U.K.)
Jeong Ho-jin dons a pair of plastic gloves to show off his most proud achievement as a district official in Seoul, and then uses his keys to unlock a large, rectangular contraption that looks like some kind of futuristic top-loading washing machine. Loaded with bins half-filled with decomposing ginseng, lettuce and other meal remnants, this, it turns out, is South Korea’s high-tech solution to food waste.
Jeong works in one of two districts in Seoul where the high-tech food waste management program is being piloted. The program works by giving each household a card that has a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it containing the user’s name and address. They scan their card on a small card-reader on the front of the high-tech bin to get the lid to open, then dump the food waste into the bin and onto the scale at the bottom, which gives a numerical reading of the waste’s weight and disposal cost.
“Before this everyone paid the same flat rate [for disposal] and they would just throw their food waste away without thinking,” said Jeong.
Korean community centre seeks younger crowd
Vancouver Courier (Canada)
Vancouver’s only Korean community centre has undergone a facelift and will officially reopen its doors April 1.The centre, which is located at 1320 East Hastings St. and has housed the Korean Society of B.C. for Fraternity and Culture since 1991, received a grant from the federal government in April 2013 and began renovations the next month. The grant, from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, provided $226,602 toward the project and the Korean Society and Korean Senior Society matched it with support from the Korean government and member donations. Vancouver boasts the highest Korean population in the country at over 50,000 people.
BigBang’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ tops 100 mln YouTube views
South Korean boy band BigBang saw the video of its 2012 hit song “Fantastic Baby” surpass 100 million views on YouTube Thursday.
The video, which was first uploaded in March 2012, had slightly more than 100 million views as of about 2 p.m., making it the forth South Korean video to hit the milestone, following Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman.”
BigBang became the first K-pop boy band to do so.
Korean Journalist Seeks To Find Out If Beanballs Hurt
One Korean journalist for KBS worked on a feature on baseball players being hit by pitches, and did some firsthand reporting to find out if it hurts to be hit by a baseball. It does!
The whole video report—which isn’t embeddable—is worth watching, and you don’t need to understand Korean to figure it out: Pitches to the head, whether intentional or not, are causing injuries in baseball. The best part is definitely the high-speed camera footage of baseballs hitting a wash basin and frying pan, set to music that sounds like the Halloween theme.
POT by Roy Choi, a Soulful Ode to Korean Cuisine
As promised, POT is a powerful ode to Korean cuisine by one of the most notable Korean-American chefs in the country. Roy Choi opened POT inside The Line Hotel to the public for lunch yesterday, introducing dishes that seem whimsical and inventive on paper, yet incredibly grounded, flavorful, and intense to a fault on the plate. Think “Boot Knocker” stew, Choi’s take on a dish that Korean mothers make after school’s. Filled with Lil’ smokies, Spam, ramen noodles, and more than a few dollops of red chili flakes, it’s about as rich as the cuisine can get, without getting too serious.
The gently wrapped Kat Man Doo dumplings come dressed in soy, chilies, and scallions for maximum effect, while chewy squid gets tossed with rice cakes, onions, and gochujang. In almost all steps, Choi is taking the cuisine of his motherland and putting an elegant, chefly touch that elevates and refines flavors.
Probably the Worst Diary of Anne Frank Cover Ever
Usually, covers of The Diary of Anne Frank feature black and white photos of its author, Anne Frank. Or, you might see tasteful illustrations. You don’t usually see photos like this!
As recently pointed out by Korean-born Twitter user Che_SYoung, a version of this book was apparently released in South Korea years ago by an unscrupulous publisher:
It looks like a Harlequin romance novel! For the past few years, the image of this cover has been floating around online (as I mentioned, it is supposedly real!), and it even pops up when you Google Image search The Diary of Anne Frank in Korean:
Bojagi workshop offered at LACMA
Korea Times LA
[Korean-born textile artist Lee Young-min] currently holds bojagi workshops and leads a community bojagi project at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The program will take place on April 12, May 3 and June 7. The reservations of the workshops for April 12 have been already filled.
“Many parents with their children are taking part in the workshops. They are all beginners and not skilled but they return home with satisfaction of their completion of bojagi artworks,” she said.
She has organized numerous workshops, classes and demonstrations on Korean arts and crafts around the Bay Area. Recently she demonstrated her bojagi and “maedeup” or Korean knots in Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as part of the Asia Alive Program. Lee also participated in Oakland Museum’s Lunar New Year celebration with her bojagi and maedeup artworks.
S. Korea keeps wary eye on talks between N. Korea, Japan
South Korea has been keeping a wary eye on upcoming government-level talks between North Korea and Japan amid concerns that the diplomatic re-engagement between Pyongyang and Tokyo comes without any progress in efforts to denuclearize the North, two South Korean diplomats said Monday.
North Korea and Japan will reopen government-level talks in Beijing on Sunday for the first time in more than a year for discussions on a range of issues, including the North’s abduction of more than a dozen Japanese citizens decades ago.
The move comes as unpredictable North Korea is making a hawkish-dovish approach to the outside the world, while pushing ahead with nuclear and missile programs despite international sanctions.
Suicide Attempt Adds Another Twist to Korea Spy Scandal
Wall Street Journal
A South Korean intelligence officer attempted suicide on Saturday, marking another twist in the escalating spy scandal that has gripped the country in recent months.
The agent, identified only by his surname Kwon, was found unconscious in his car in a Seoul suburb, according to a fire department official, whose team first reached the site. Coal ash was found inside the car, in what appeared to be an attempt at carbon monoxide poisoning.
A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service on Monday confirmed Mr. Kwon’s suicide attempt and his hospitalization.
N.Korean Propaganda Against the South Is Failing
North Korean textbooks describe South Korea as a “fascist, military dictatorship” filled with “poverty and starvation,” but fewer and fewer North Koreans are buying the propaganda.
◆ “Living Hell”
North Korean textbooks teach that South Korea is dominated by “foreign powers” that trample on the Korean people and “taint” its history, language and way of life. A book of writings purportedly by former leader Kim Jong-il describes the South as a “living hell” dominated by the “terror and repression” of the U.S.
The North also teaches students that the U.S. must be driven out and South Korea liberated. Textbooks say U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea “fire guns in broad daylight, plunder homes and rape women.” There are also rumors that North Korean defectors have their “eyes gouged out and limbs severed” if they go to South Korea.
‘I’d Been Brainwashed’: The North Korean Defector Living In London
Kim Joo Il, 39, served eight years in the North Korean army. In 2005, after realizing his country wasn’t quite the paradise he’d been led to believe it was, he escaped the Hermit Kingdom by swimming to China. He now lives in London, where he’s the vice president of the Association of Korean Residents in Europe, works with North Korean refugees, and raises awareness about the North Korean regime’s human-rights violations. I recently caught up with him, and this is what he told me about life in his native country.
When I heard Kim Il-sung had died, I was near the 38th parallel [the DMZ between North and South Korea]. There was no electricity in North Korea that day, but I was so near the South Korean border that I heard them announce his death over the loudspeakers. I thought to myself, That’s bullshit—he’s not dead. How can the Great Leader be dead? He’s immortal.
It was impossible to imagine. I cried. We all did. Every morning, soldiers would line up to put flowers on his memorial, and we were all crying, crying, crying. Everyone was saying, “How can we survive, how will we live, what’s our destiny, now that our leader has gone?” If you’re brainwashed, that’s how you think.
Obamacare: Asian-Americans sign up in droves; Latinos disproportionately stay away
San Jose Mercury News
You’ve heard about the achievement gap, the wide disparity in educational performance between disadvantaged minorities and the rest of the student population.
Now comes the insurance gap, and in California it’s playing out most notably in the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans signing up for private health plans under the new health care law.
Of the nearly 700,000 people who enrolled in a health plan as of Feb. 28 through the Covered California health insurance exchange and identified their ethnicity, 23.1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty-two percent were Latino.
But the statistics are startling when you consider that Latinos make up 38.2 percent of California’s population and Asians just 13.7 percent.
GROUPON seems to be confused. The American e-commerce company, best known for its “flash sales”, recently announced it would soon shutter its Korean subsidiary. Despite vigorous marketing since it entered South Korea’s thriving e-commerce market in 2011, Groupon Korea has remained a laggard behind the three big domestic rivals: TicketMonster—Korea’s first “social” e-commerce provider, launched in 2010—Coupang and WeMakePrice.
The decision to close its Korean subsidiary comes only a couple of months after Groupon bought TicketMonster (known locally as T-Mon, pictured) for $260m—making South Korea Groupon’s second-largest market outside America. Yet the two moves have a common root: the withdrawal is proof of how hard it is to crack the Korean e-commerce market—and the acquisition shows the best way how to go about it.
Groupon is not the only Western internet firm that has lost out to local champions and given up in recent years. In 2012 Yahoo stopped producing content for the Korean market, after years of trailing behind Naver and Daum, two home-bred search engines. Google accounts for a measly 4% of searches there. Auction, Gmarket and 11st Street, Korean hybrids of Amazon and eBay, do far better than its Western models. EBay was the first to take radical action: in 2009 it bought Gmarket for $1.2 billion. Groupon, too, plans to learn from T-Mon, its South Korean acquisition.
South Korea Will Finally File a Complaint About Kim Yu-Na’s Silver Medal
With World Championships of figure skating beginning on Monday, South Korean Olympic Committee has said that it will file a complaint to the International Skating Union about an alleged breach of the code of ethics during the ladies competition at the Sochi Olympics. It’s a complaint the Koreans are afraid they’ll be punished for.
The complaint named judges Alla Shekhovtseva of Russia and Yuri Balkov of Ukraine. Shekhovtseva is married to the head of the Russian figure skating organization and was the judge seen hugging gold medal winner Adelina Sotnikova moments after the competition, and Balkov, who allegedly has ties to Moscow, was suspended for trying to fix a result during the 1998 Olympics. Both judges scored the ladies free skating competition, which saw Sotnikova receive the highest scores of her life and Kim Yu-na a silver medal free skate that many experts say was underscored.
The KOC and Korean Skating Union are asking for a thorough investigation of the judging composition and whether it was biased toward Sotnikova. And they filed the complaint knowing that it might result in retaliation. “We had to be very careful since an appeal or a complaint could strain relationships with international judges and bring disadvantages to our players in international games,” a KOC official said on Friday.
‘Auburn is my No. 1,’ says 4-star offensive lineman Kaleb Kim
Offensive lineman Kaleb Kim of Hoschton, Ga., named Auburn his favorite school on Saturday and hopes to make his commitment when spring practices end in May, reports 247Sports.
“Auburn is my No. 1,” Kim said after watching practice during his third visit to Auburn Saturday. “I liked what Coach (J.B.) Grimes is doing, and his intensity. I was standing by him the whole time. He gets after it. He’s intense. Face to face, he’s the nicest guy, but on the field it’s all business and he’ll get after you and I like that.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder added Georgia is his second favorite school. He also holds offers from Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.
Liverpool and Chelsea battle to land Barca wonderkid striker
Daily Star (U.K.)
Reports in Spain claim that both title chasing teams want to sign the young striker to his first professional contract.
Both clubs have been successful in snaffling up other promising cadets from the Nou Camp, but will have to move fast if they want to do the same with Woo Lee.
The youngster is understood to be close to completing a deal with Barcelona, who has also been offered bumper deals from the English teams.
Barcelona are known to have lost several of their most promising stars to their European rivals in recent years, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Canos leaving Spain to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
Seoul Restaurants’ Missing Ingredient: Chefs
Wall Street Journal
Korean cuisine arouses so much national pride that some South Koreans reach into their own pockets to advertise a single dish on major U.S. newspapers. So why are South Korean restaurants often ignored by food critics?
Hooni Kim, owner and chef of New York’s Danji restaurant–one of the few Michelin-starred Korean restaurants–says Seoul’s food scene lacks a key ingredient: chef-owned Korean restaurants.
Many of South Korea’s family-owned, down-to-earth restaurants specialize in a single dish that are based on recipes laid down by family matriarchs, but don’t have chefs who create their own sauce base, according to Mr. Kim.
Crisis in Korea as younger generation abandons kimchi
Its unmistakable smell permeates Seoul subway carriages during the rush hour, and aficionados claim it is the healthiest food on the planet.
Once valued as a source of vitamin C before the arrival of refrigerators, kimchi now crops up on menus far from its birthplace on the Korean peninsula. The spicy, garlicky cabbage dish is to be found as a pizza topping and taco filling in the UK, Australia and the US, where the Obamas are said to be converts. Kimjang, the traditionally communal act of making kimchi, was recently awarded world cultural heritage status by Unesco.
But despite its growing popularity in restaurants from Los Angeles to London, South Korea’s national dish is in crisis in its country of origin. To kimchi’s basic ingredients of napa cabbage, garlic, seasoning and copious amounts of chili powder, we can now add a trade war with China and fears of lasting damage to Korean cultural identity.
Inside South Korea’s Coolest Military Theme Park
This is the Wanju Military Theme Park in South Korea. If only more video game first-person shooters were this colorful!P
The self-described “military theme park” is an airsoft pellet gun map that uses the GunPower system. According to YouTube user Ds4odk, this system employs wireless BB detectors—one on the front, one on the back, one of the helmet, and one on the face goggles. Hits are signaled by LED light and electronic sound feedback, and kills are then registered on a central computer, and this particular map has closed circuit cameras.P
Do note that the “SF Special Force” logos throughout might be nod to online shooter Special Force, which is, as tipster Sang points out, called Soldier Front in the States.
The North Korean Purge That Didn’t Happen
Wall Street Journal
Call it a helpful reminder that much of what you hear about North Korea is probably not true.
A senior North Korean military official close to dictator Kim Jong Un reemerged in state media on Friday after disappearing from public view for a few weeks. Speculation had been building that Choe Ryong Hae might have been purged after a report from a radio station operated by North Korean defectors that Mr. Choe was arrested on Feb. 21.
The report said Mr. Choe had fallen short in his duties to keep troops sufficiently devoted to Mr. Kim, among other failings.
North Korean election provides clues to reclusive Stalinist state
Reading the official website of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and you would be forgiven for thinking the reclusive Stalinist state was the Cayman Islands of East Asia.
No taxes, zero unemployment and a performance-related reward-for-labor bonus regime, North Korea touts itself as having “a people-centered social system in which the masses of the working people are the masters of everything and everything in society serves them.”
This Sunday, North Koreans will be required to show their assent for this political system at general elections universally expected to return the current incumbent Kim Jong Un.
Pyongyang’s Hunger Games
New York Times
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry’s report on North Korea, released last month, contains so many tragic findings that it is difficult to grasp the scale of the crimes described. But the world owes it to the North Korean victims, both living and dead, to focus on a figure buried in paragraph 664 of the commission’s report: $645,800,000.
That is what the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is said to have squandered in 2012 on “luxury goods,” including cosmetics, handbags, leather products, watches, electronics, cars and top-shelf alcohol. In that same year, Mr. Kim also spent $1.3 billion on his ballistic missile programs.
Mr. Kim’s profligacy should be weighed against two other statistics absent from the commission’s report. The first is $150 million. That is what the United Nations World Food Program asked donor nations to give for food and other humanitarian aid for North Koreans in 2013. The second is 84 — the percentage of North Korean households that, according to the W.F.P. and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, had “borderline” or “poor” levels of food consumption in 2013.
Four U.S. congressmen urge reunions of divided Korean-American families
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Four U.S. congressmen submitted a resolution to a House committee calling for the reunion of Koreans in the United States with their long-lost families in North Korea, according to the Library of Congress.
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI) and Samuel Johnson (R-TX), all Korean War veterans.
“The division on the Korean Peninsula separated more than 10,000,000 Korean family members, including some who are now citizens of the United States,” said the resolution, referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs Thursday.
Japan’s Uphill PR Battle
Japan is involved in a worsening quarrel with its two neighbors, China and South Korea, not only concerning sovereignty over some tiny islets, but also its alleged tendency to whitewash its history of military aggression and brutal colonial rule.
One of the major points of antagonism is the issue of “comfort women” (or “sex slaves” as an angry Hillary Clinton called them), namely women in Japan-occupied Asia who were forced into prostitution serving Japanese soldiers. Despite the 1993 Kono Statement in which the Japanese government admitted that Japan’s military had coerced these women, a recent rise of nationalism has led a majority of Japanese to deny any such thing, giving rise to suspicion that Japan is again refusing to take responsibility for its war crimes.
On this issue, the Koreans are more militant than the Chinese and political ties between Tokyo and Seoul have been frozen since the hawkish Shinzo Abe returned to power, and has hardly bothered to hide his aim of repealing past Japanese admissions of sin regarding the comfort women. The right-wing prime minister actually represents a growing number of Japanese who believe that Japan did nothing wrong in the last world war and that the comfort women were only professional prostitutes. These Japanese are fed up with the Korean and Chinese demands for apologies and compensation.
Washington City Paper
Lobbyists have wet dreams about this scenario.
You’ve mobilized an entire constituent group, 80,000 potential swing voters in a swing state. It’s a growing immigrant population with a profile coveted by politicians: well-educated, relatively prosperous, suburb-dwelling, beholden to no party. State legislators and gubernatorial candidates meet with you and come to any press events you organize. They are prepared to speechify about whatever issue you tell them is dear to your community, and pledge that your cause is their cause. Any issue at all.
What do you tell them?
If you are Peter Kim, president of the Virginia-based Voice of Korean Americans, you tell them what your community really wants—more than anything—is for any reference in any school textbook to the body of water that lies between the Korean peninsula and Japan, commonly called the Sea of Japan, to say that it’s also known as the East Sea.
Flushing man to offer free meds, barber trims to the needy
New York Daily News
He wants to snip away at poverty. A Flushing man who gave away free bowls of soup to the poor at a Korean restaurant last month now has his sights set on the barber’s chair as a way to help out Queens’ neediest.
Jin Kim, 38, is working with a local pharmacy to hand out free meds and Queens barbershops to offer gratis haircuts.
“Not only me, a lot of people need help,” said Kim, a Korean-American immigrant and John Jay College Ph.D student who got the idea to start a charity when he first arrived in Queens 12 years ago and struggled to survive. “I think some people have more. Maybe they will share a little bit and help everyone. I want to be the connection.”
For Korean Kids, Mobile Chat Rules
Wall Street Journal
The verdict is still out on whether teens and tweens are a reliable predictor of tech trends, but if South Korean school kids make a good benchmark, chat is king.
A recently-released poll by the National Youth Policy Institute, a Seoul-based public research center, shows that the most frequently used feature among students in grades four to 12 on their smartphones was local messenger apps such as KakaoTalk and Line. Over a quarter – one third for girls – said it was their most-used feature.
The overall runner-up in the November survey was games (15.6%), followed by making calls (14.8%) and music (12.8%). Just 6.8% of the 10,000 students surveyed said social media was their most-used application, the same percentage as said browsing the Internet was what they do most on their phones.
S. Korean Dream Line: Rail Link Via N.Korean Eco Zone To Russia
Imagine a railroad linking the great industries of South Korea with Europe. The dream might some day come true as the South drafts elaborate plans for shipping goods through North Korea’s Rason special economic zone adjacent to the North’s 10-mile-long Tumen River border with Russia.
The South Koreans have the enthusiastic support of the Russians, who have long dreamed of shipping goods by rail from South Korean factories, through North Korea and then onto the trans-Siberian railway. They’ve already rebuilt the railroad into North Korea over which they once shipped oil and other products at prices way below their real costs.
The oil stopped flowing with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, but Russia has never abandoned its historic interest in the Korean peninsula.
Police seek help in locating missing Staten Island man
Staten Island Advance (N.Y.)
Police seek the public’s help in ascertaining the whereabouts of a 60-year-old New Springville man reported missing on Thursday.
Kang Ok Cho was last seen two week ago on Friday, Feb. 21 at about 6 p.m., according to a written statement from the office of the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for public information. He was leaving for his job at a Flushing, Queens, car service, said an NYPD spokeswoman.
The reason for the delay in the report being made was not immediately clear.
TV Soap Revives Korean Craze in China
Korean soap “My Love from the Star,” about a woman’s romance with an alien, has taken China by storm, sparking fads for anything from food to books.
The Bibigo chain of Korean restaurants launched a new dish in outlets in Beijing on Wednesday consisting of fried chicken, pickled radishes and two bottles of beer, which is a popular combination among Koreans.
“We decided to add the new item to our menus due to the explosive popularity of ‘chi-maek’” — the Korean abbreviation for the combo.
So what’s going on here then? Jessica Gomes’ goofy snap with Walking Dead star Steven Yeun’s sparks romance rumours
Daily Mail (U.K.)
She split from her long term boyfriend Sebastian Drapac a few months ago, and now it looks like Australian model Jessica Gomes could be back on the dating scene.
The 28-year-old David Jones fashion ambassador posted a goofy candid photo of herself and 30-year-old Walking Dead actor Steven Yeun on Instagram earlier today, sparking speculation of a new romance.
The pair playfully pulled their tongues out, and fans commented asking if the model and actor were dating.
Iowa City native connects two cultures in film debut
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Christine Yoo made her first movie as a student at Shimek Elementary.
“In my reading group, we wrote and shot a construction animation piece about finding King Tut’s tomb,” she said, recalling that she was inspired by her art teacher, Mr. Ferguson.
Years later, the former Iowa City resident has made her first full-length feature film with “Wedding Palace,” a movie about a young Korean American man dumped at the altar and facing a family curse that requires all family members to marry before they turn 30. The film strives to connect two cultures.
Yoo said the movie has been described as the Korean-American version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
An account of Kim Yuna backstage at Olympics; Netizens moved
‘Yuna cried a lot backstage. That was why the awards ceremony was a bit delayed.’
In contrast with her calm appearance after the women’s singles figure skating competition, ‘figure skating queen’ Kim Yuna (24) looked extremely sad backstage and shed many tears, according to an eyewitness account that was uploaded to the Internet. It has caught the attention of many people, and many netizens are crying together.
In a popular Internet community on the 3rd of March, a post titled ‘Kim Yuna is a delicate athlete after all’ has recorded a high number of hits and has gained a lot of public interest.
10 Personality Traits about Koreans You Should Know!
The most Korean of athletes are always nationalistic. Whether it be olympians that dedicate their victories to their home country, or MMA fighters that dedicate their wins to the Independence Day of Korea (UFC Fight Night 37), nearly all Korean athletes are loyal to their country. Koreans are raised to put their country before themselves, and that leads to nationalistic activists that fight for Korea’s ownership of the Dokdo Islands (aka Liancourt Rocks), expansion of Korea’s airspace territory, or even Koreans abroad fighting for renaming of the Sea of Japan (contested as the East Sea). Koreans are bred to be nationalistic, mostly with the phrase: Daehanminguk manse (대한민국 만세)! Victory to Korea!
South Korea is definitely on the forefront when it comes to the term “Save the Earth”! We always try to save on energy and recycling. The Korean government initiated a program throughout the country back in 2005 that tries to limit green house gases by conserving the energy costs of businesses through the Cool Biz program. Korea also takes its recycling programs serious! Bio-waste matter (left over food) is recycled through yellow plastic bags that are meant specifically for compost matter (which is rumored to be super eco-friendly and fed to pigs!). In addition, everything is separated by glass, plastic, cardboard and cans. And if you don’t believe us, watch your trash not get picked up!
Tate Modern buys first collection of Paik Nam-june works
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
The Tate Modern gallery in London said Friday it has bought its first ever collection of works by late Korean-born American media artist Paik Nam-june and will put the new collection on display in the second half of this year.
Tate Modern, which mainly houses international modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st century, acquired nine media art pieces and video installations by Paik, the gallery said.
It added the purchase was funded by South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. as part of a bilateral partnership deal signed between the two sides in January. The items will go on display in the second half of this year at the gallery, the gallery said.
Free Oriental Medicine clinic this Saturday in O.C.
The Korean American Federation of Orange County will offer free oriental medicine treatments and medical consultation at the Orange County Korean Cultural Center from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Appointments are required due to the limited time.
Acupuncture treatment with a moxa system, as well as consultation, will be aided by Dr. Han Choong-hee, who operates an acupuncture clinic in Irvine.