Tag Archives: k-pop

Tuesday's Link Attack: Mary Hayashi, Dia Frampton, Debbie Lee

Hayashi arrest no laughing matter [OPINION]
Oakland Tribune via San Jose Mercury News

A Bay Area columnist weighs in after it was revealed that Neiman Marcus security had red-flagged state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi during a previous visit. Hayashi, the first female Korean American to serve in the California Legislature, was arrested for felony theft on Oct. 25.

‘Voice’ Runner-Up Dia Frampton Works With Kid Cudi, Foster The People For Raw Debut
Billboard.com

“Red,” Frampton’s debut, arrives Dec. 6 on Universal Republic. She says the album is far more upbeat than Meg & Dia’s three albums and four EPs, owing to her collaborations with other writers in Los Angeles, Nashville and London. Without her older sister to split writer duties — “We don’t work together; she writes her songs and I write mine” — Frampton found the experience different from what she expected.

“This record is very personal, almost uncomfortable,” the 24-year-old artist says after doing a promotional concert at the Hollywood office of Reveille Productions. “I felt very alone on this record. On our last [Meg & Dia] record, we were stuck in this little cabin sharing bedrooms, just the five of us. The guitar amps were in the living room.

NKorea shows leader and his son watching massive live-fire drills amid tension with SKorea
AP via Washington Post

North Korean television has aired footage of leader Kim Jong Il and his son watching massive live-fire drills.

The footage aired on state television Tuesday showed Kim and his heir-apparent Kim Jong Un watching tanks, aircraft, warships and rocket launchers firing at targets on mountains. Dozens of troops were seen parachuting from a plane.

The two Kims were seen speaking to each other as they watched the drills from an enclosed viewing stand with senior military officers.

South Korean gamers suffer joystick curfew shock
The Register (U.K.)

A ban restricting all South Korean gamers under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6am is now in full affect.

South Korea, boasting the fifth largest broadband penetration rate, is the first country to implement the controversial initiative under the Youth Protection Revision bill.

The bill, variously known as the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law, had been contested but was eventually passed.

At this stage the ban only pertains to PC and console based networked games including Xbox Live, PlayStation and multiplayer dominions such as World of Warcraft. The government says that within two years networked games using mobile phones will be included in the ban.

News On-the-Go, Even in Pyongyang
Wall Street Journal

Like newspapers all around the world, North Korea’s biggest newspaper Rodong Shinmun is apparently adjusting to new technology.

Word is out that Rodong Shinmun is now providing news on cellphones in Pyongyang. Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper in Japan run by the General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan, published a story about it on Saturday.

It’s not quite right to say the newspaper has developed an “app” since there aren’t yet smartphones in North Korea. It appears Rodong Shinmun is sending out multimedia messages, or MMS, with stories.

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Lawsuit spurred by Virginia Tech student’s suicide settled for $250,000
Roanoke Times

The state has agreed to pay $250,000 and create a $100,000 scholarship fund to settle a $43 million wrongful death lawsuit brought against Virginia Tech by the family of a student who committed suicide, according to a court order

The state will pay up to $126,666 in legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorney. The family of Daniel Sun Kim is to receive at least $123,334.

Additionally, Virginia Tech will establish a $100,000 scholarship in Kim’s name, place a memorial plaque somewhere on campus and enact a policy of considering immediate notification of the parents or guardians of any student who is thought to be suicidal.

The Kim family brought the action in Fairfax Circuit Court in 2009 to “learn why Tech didn’t follow its protocols” in responding to a warning that Kim was suicidal, plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Mims wrote in a statement.

Ahn-Joo: Debbie Lee’s Korean Pub Food Restaurant, Her Cookbook + a Recipe for Chicken Meatballs
L.A. Weekly

Ahn-joo is the Korean word for pub food. It’s what Debbie Lee serves at her newly opened Ahn-Joo, a Korean snack bar in the Americana mall in Glendale. No liquor there, but Lee frequents Koreantown pubs so she knows the dishes well. And she adds her own spin to come up with a modern take, even turning rice cakes into nachos.

Nothing is cheffy or pretentious. “I’m a cook. At the end of the day, I want to serve people the food that I want to eat,” she says.

South Korea’s Hottest IPO: Boy Band, Inc.
The Atlantic

For the past month, the biggest story in South Korea’s stock market has centered on a five-piece boy band called Big Bang, and a couple puffs of marijuana.

News that the Big Bang’s front-man had reportedly tested positive for pot threatened to put a crimp in the initial public offering of YG Entertainment, the label responsible for some of the biggest acts in Korean Pop. The concerns were for naught. Last week, buyers snapped up YG Entertainment’s stock like teenagers trying to score tickets to their favorite boy band’s show. The company’s share price more than doubled on its first day of trading, reaching roughly $67 as buyers ordered 561 times more stock than was available. Its market cap now sits at roughly $340 million.

Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks to win Asia Series
Yonhap News

South Korea’s Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks of Japan 5-3 to capture the Asia Series tournament in a battle of league champions.

At Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, the Lions, the 2011 champion of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) overcame an early deficit against the Hawks, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) champion. Samsung’s starter Jang Won-sam settled down after a shaky start and the bullpen took care of the rest, as the Lions became the first KBO club to win the Asia Series since it began in 2005. The Lions also avenged a 9-0 loss to the Hawks in the round-robin phase of this tournament.

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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

Video Roundup: Wonder Girls Robots, Boomerang Man, Joy Osmanski

Here’s a look at some of the videos we are watching this week at KoreAm.

Robots Dance to “Nobody” by the Wonder Girls
The “Nobody” dance by girl group Wonder Girls took the world by storm, causing all sorts of people to try out the neat choreography. Videos of police officers, soldiers and average Joes doing the famous dance sprung up on all corners of the Internet. This video shows another group doing the dance: robots. These robots are on par with the motions of the “Nobody” dance.

Gary Lee – An American Dream
Gary Lee, a graduate of USC, joined the Obama for campaign right after graduation and used his knowledge in electronic and social media to help the Senator. He shares a bit of his uplifting tale from his humble beginnings to working the the White House.Boomerang Trick Shot
A Korean man shows off his mastery of the boomerang. From knocking items off of people’s heads to striking balloons with a blindfold on, the man’s skills with the boomerang causes applause from bystanders.

Loyal Dog Guards Owner’s Grave
In eastern China, a loyal dog warms everyone’s hearts by staying beside his deceased owner’s grave, refusing to budge. The villagers would try to lead him back to the village with the food, but the dog remains near the gravesite.

Chinese Snake Charmer
Liu Fei, a snake charmer from Mianyang, China, goes above and beyond with his tricks and bag full of snakes. The elderly man can easily weave the reptiles in and out of his mouth and nostrils with complete ease.

Joy Osmanski Promotes ‘Wedding Palace’
Cast member Joy Osmanski visits Portland for the West Coast Screening Premiere of “Wedding Palace.”

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Dia Frampton, Organic K-Pop, Korean Pitcher Joins Orioles

Catching Up With…Dia Frampton!
StarPulse

“I’m excited to start touring again. I’d just like to tour with as many great bands as possible,” she enthused. “I’d like to go worldwide. That’s a really big, big dream. I know that The Voice aired in a lot of different countries; I’ve got people on my Facebook page from [countries like] Singapore [and] Australia, and it just made me want to be able to tour in all these different places.”

Authentic: K-Pop Without Nips And Tucks
Wall Street Journal

Just when South Korea appeared ready to cement its position as one of the world’s capitals of plastic surgery, a backlash appears to be forming. Or at least a marketing opportunity.

YG Entertainment, one of the top music and entertainment producers in the country, is planning to launch a new girl group on to the K-pop scene with a twist – the members of the group will commit to not having any kind of plastic surgery.

YG said the group will debut next year and declined to announce its members except for one: Kim Eun-bi, a teenage singer who made it to one of the final rounds of the popular “Superstar K” audition-contest show last year.

Zakaria: Why all of South Korea went silent
CNN.com

Those of you who watched our recent education special saw the exhausting study habits of South Korean students. The culmination of that pressure was last week when almost 700,000 South Korean high school students took the test they had spent all those hours working toward.

It was a wild scene outside test centers as younger kids cheered on the heroic test-takers as they arrived. Police motorcycles even whisked the late ones to school.

But when it came time for the high schoolers to begin the grueling nine-hour exam, silence was the order.

40 Korean foods we can’t live without
CNNGo

Street food, comfort food, spicy stews for masochistic mouths: These 40 dishes are essential to the Korean heart, soul and digestive tract

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Single Women a Growing Problem
Chosun Ilbo

One in five women in Korea in her 30s is single, while in Seoul the ratio is one in three, according to Statistics Korea. Although there are no specific data on the total number of single women, experts believe around 40 percent of working women in their 30s are single, which is in line with what the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service estimates.

A report released on Wednesday by state-run Korea Development Institute on Korea’s low birthrate shows that Asian countries like Korea have a lot of women in their 30s who are single.

According to the KDI report, the six countries with the lowest birthrates among 222 countries are all in Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Those countries saw more and more women enter the workforce since the 2000s and are seeing a surge in single women in their mid-30s. As of last year, 21.9 percent of women between 35 to 39 were single in Japan, 21 percent in Taiwan, 17 percent in Singapore and 12.6 percent in Korea. The problem is not only that many highly educated women are single, but they do not want to have children.

O’s nearing deal with Korean reliever Chong
MLB.com

The Orioles are closing in on signing right-handed reliever Tae-Hyon Chong out of South Korea as the two sides — which were involved in heavy negotiations on Monday — have agreed to terms, according to a baseball source.

The exact length of the deal and money involved was not immediately known, as exact details were still being hammered out in the preliminary agreement. With the deal not yet official, the Orioles had no comment on Chong, who would need to undergo a physical examination before anything can be made official.

A 33-year-old submarine-style pitcher, Chong closed out South Korea’s gold medal win over Cuba in the 2008 Summer Olympics, and his poise on the big stage was a major plus for the Orioles.

What a potential Chong signing really means
Baltimore Sun

The jury is out on whether Chong will be able to make it as a late-inning reliever in the big leagues. Some believe his unorthodox style will befuddle hitters no matter where he is pitching. And he has had plenty of success on the international level (he closed out both medal games in the 2008 Summer Olympics).

But he’d be the first person ever to leap from Korea’s baseball league to the majors and some believe that’s way too much of a jump. That he’ll be a Double-A level reliever, nothing more.

Whether he makes it is only part of the plot here. The fact is the Orioles are the team that is on him. And Dan Duquette is the one with the major connection to South Korea. He had connections there when he was in Montreal and Boston and now his first noteworthy signing will be a guy from South Korea.

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Yeonpyeong Remains Rattled a Year After Attack
Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d)

A year after North Korea attacked this South Korean island, most of the destroyed homes and buildings have been rebuilt and the rhythms of daily life restored. But an enormous amount of anxiety and tension remains under the surface.

Residents become anxious and even frightened by loud sounds such as the hammering at houses being rebuilt, but especially when the small military post on the island tests its artillery guns every few months.

Tuesday's Link Attack: Sung Kim, SNSD, SK Soccer Team Loses

Foreign minister meets new U.S. ambassador
Yonhap News

The new top U.S. envoy to South Korea, Sung Kim, paid his first visit to Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Tuesday after taking office as Washington’s first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul.

Sung Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, arrived in Seoul last week as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul, becoming the first Korean-American to take the job since the two nations established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.

“I’m sure that your presence in Seoul will be a kind of symbol of the close relationship between our two countries,” the foreign minister told the ambassador.

Interview: Girls Generation Talk Fame, K-Pop, and World Domination
Complex.com

KoreAm contributor Jaeki Cho penned this lengthy Q&A with K-pop megagroup SNSD, a.k.a. Girls Generation.

Complex: I’ve noticed from footages that almost all the performances are done with heels on. How are your feet?

Sooyoung: We’re dying in pain! After a concert, our feet are literally burning.

Seohyun: A lot of calluses.

Yuri: Our feet are in bad shape.

Taeyeon: We take care of them, but they get messed up so easily.

Yuri: We’ve been wearing heels for so long, we’ve gotten so used to them that we feel more comfortable wearing them when we’re going up on stage. It straightens our postures; it makes us feel more confident. It’s not comfortable, but we’re so adjusted now that it feels weird without them.

K-pop: Soft Power for the Global Cool
Huffington Post

In recent years, even I have noticed the increasing amount of strangers I meet (both Asian and non-Asian) who become keenly interested in me once they confirm my Korean background: What is Seoul like? Do I watch Korean movies? What are my favorite Korean foods? Who are my favorite music groups, and have I met any of them? (Quite a big change from my early childhood in the suburban Midwest where many people would take the liberty of assuming I was Chinese!)

As an avid cultural traveler, I truly appreciate these conversations with so many individuals who are utterly fascinated with Korean culture. While I do not believe that this is the sole result of K-pop music’s popularity, the initial platform of these early dialogues are usually based upon either Korean pop music or Korean films (quickly followed up by Korean food, education, and plastic surgery).

Undoubtedly there are skeptics of K-pop’s global influence and utility as a soft power tool — but I find such hesitation towards this cultural explosion to often: a) stem from a limited racial approach to the subject, and b) originate from taste levels so mainstream that there is little chance for awareness of trends and cultural currents not yet adopted by big corporations and media.

N.Korea Joins Twitter Era
Chosun Ilbo

The North Korean propaganda website “Uriminzokkiri” on Monday joined the global craze for social networking sites by adding Twitter and Facebook tags.

That makes it even easier for North Korean propaganda to reach South Korea unfiltered, since content can now be shared with the click of a mouse. The “share” function is limited to posts denouncing South Korea.

North Korean websites like Uriminzokkiri are blocked in South Korea but can easily be accessed overseas, and can then be shared by overseas Koreans to reach South Korean users.

Will the North Koreans rise up?
CNN

What we can say for sure is that the North Korean press has simply not reported on any of the popular uprisings of 2011, obviously for fear of sparking protests within North Korea. In fact, Pyongyang issued a statement in March simply saying Libya’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program made it more vulnerable to western intervention. In other words, ‘We, the North Koreans, will keep our nukes as our insurance policy against regime change.’ So don’t expect Pyongyang to disarm anytime soon. The regime interprets the fall of Gadhafi as a cautionary tale. Don’t disarm; don’t try to talk to the west; don’t open up.

Meanwhile, the suffering of the North Korean people continues. Just last week, UNICEF reported that millions of children there are at risk of being severely malnourished. These children will be more vulnerable to disease and stunted growth. And there’s little hope that the government has the ability to help even if it wanted to.

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[Korean] Bloggers Penalized For False Review
Wall Street Journal

Bloggers trying to profit from their daily activities are nothing new. But the government decided over the weekend that some South Korean bloggers have crossed a line.

On Sunday, the Fair Trade Commission sanctioned 47 bloggers and Internet café owners for “deceitful behavior” that helped them to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The antitrust watchdog levied a total of 20 million won ( $18,000) in fines on four influential bloggers – known in Korea as “power bloggers” — for not telling readers that they received a commission in return for writing favorable reviews of products and organizing group purchases. The fees ranged from 2% to 10% of the total sales.

Lebanon shocks South Korea in World Cup qualifying
AP via Globe and Mail

Lebanon pulled off an astonishing 2-1 win over South Korea in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Beirut on Tuesday to stay firmly on course for a place in the fourth round.

Ali Al-Saadi gave Lebanon a shock 1-0 lead in the fifth minute but then cancelled out his earlier effort by conceding a penalty, converted by South Korea’s Koo Ja Cheol in the 20th. Abbas Atwi restored Lebanon’s lead from the penalty spot at the half-hour mark and his side held on to seal a priceless victory.

Group B leader South Korea has 10 points, the same as Lebanon, which trails on goal difference after five games. Third-place Kuwait has eight points, while United Arab Emirates has zero.

North Korea upsets Japan as tensions boiled in World Cup qualifier
AP via Herald Sun

Playing before a capacity crowd at Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pak gave North Korea a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute with an angled header beyond the reach of Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

The match had no bearing on the outcome of the group – Japan has already qualified for the next stage while North Korea can not make it – but there is always tension in this fixture between two nations that do not have diplomatic ties.

This was the first time the Japanese men’s team had played on North Korean soil since 1989.

That tension bubbled over at times, with several shoving skirmishes breaking out. North Korea had Jong Il Gwan sent off in the 77th minute for an aggressive tackle on Atsuto Uchida.

Koreans to Benefit from Automated Immigration Checks in U.S.
Chosun Ilbo

Most Korean travelers can soon enter the U.S. without face-to-face interviews with immigration officers at the airport. Seoul and Washington in a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii on Sunday agreed in principle to put them through electronic immigration gates instead.

Once the new program is in place, Korean visitors to the U.S. can avoid long immigration queues by putting their e-passports to the screen of an automated counter.

To benefit, travelers have to register with a smart entry system Korea implements to get approval from both governments as “trusted travelers.” “Trusted travelers” are those whose biometric information, including fingerprints and photos, is registered with the government, and who are deemed to present no risk.

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U.S. soldier allegedly set fire to bar
Yonhap

A U.S. soldier in Korea will be questioned by South Korean police on charges of setting fire to a bar in Seoul, investigators said Tuesday, amid growing public outrage after series of rape cases by American soldiers.

The private first class, whose name was withheld, from the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) was suspected of setting fire to a pub in Itaewon, an area popular with foreigners in Seoul, at 2:30 a.m. by pouring oil on a stove, according to Yongsan Police Station which controls the area.

The Country That Loves PC Gaming So Damn Much
Kotaku

Unlike Japan, South Korea has been predominately a PC gaming country. One of the major reasons for the lack of game console penetration was due to protectionism that made it difficult, if not impossible for Japanese companies to sell their wares in Korea—and vice versa.

The cultures are changing. Japan is opening itself up to Korean products, slowly. Ditto for South Korea. Nintendo now releases localized versions of games and hardware. However, the relationship that Korean gamers traditionally have with gaming is through the PC. And the game of choice is traditionally StarCraft.

The crazy wonderland of Seoul’s party motels
CNNGo

They used to be called “love motels,” for obvious (and optimistic) reasons.

Heavily stigmatized, Seoul’s love motels were long regarded as nothing more than glorified DVD rooms, with decor straight out of adult movies. Horrified parents would hold public protests if any were built in their neighborhood.

In recent years, however, a new generation of Seoul’s boutique motels have started styling themselves as “theme motels” and “party motels,” and have made much headway in making motels become socially acceptable, and even sought after — day or night.

Thursday's Link Attack: 2NE1, Steven Yeun, Hines Ward

Black, Korean leaders to commemorate 20th anniversary of L.A. riots
Los Angeles Wave

Seeking to create a multicultural Los Angeles that exists in lasting harmony, Korean-American and Black community leaders are spearheading a committee to commemorate next year’s 20th anniversary of the 1992 civil unrest.

South Korean students’ ‘year of hell’ culminates with exams day
CNN

Most South Korean students consider their final year in high school “the year of hell.” It is when all students are put to the ultimate test.

About 700,000 test applicants sat down in classrooms across the country Thursday to take their college entrance exams — also known as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students, all to ensure they made it on time.

Younger students gathered in large groups outside school gates, some having arrived at 4a.m. to mind a good spot, waiting to support their school seniors. Cheers exploded throughout the school grounds as test applicants arrived, most being guided by their anxious parents.

Englewood Cliffs may get new councilman tonight
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Gloria Oh was elected councilwoman for Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Once Oh, the highest vote-getter Tuesday and first Korean-American to win office in the borough, and Aversa are sworn in Jan. 1 the Democrats will hold all but one council seat.

World, Get Ready For 2NE1: MTV Iggy’s Best New Band In The World!
MTV Iggy

The meteoric rise of 2NE1 could be a fable, foretold by the epic video for their recent single, “I Am The Best.” Dark gives way to light, as a mysterious hooded creature appears in the distance. As the camera swoops in, flashbulbs pop, synths and beats explode, and BOOM! the ladies of 2NE1 take the stage, twirling in tight black pantsuits and sensual abandon. “I am the best!” they sing, and you can almost hear their millions of fans around the world screaming in concurrence, reveling in the awesome, almost otherworldly presence of this dazzling and fierce foursome. If they aren’t the best, then they are certainly something approaching perfection.

Clap Your Hands to the Geek
Hyphen

Adam Warrock — the Korean American attorney turned pop culture-obsessed rapper who won 2011’s Kollaboration Atlanta, the city’s annual Asian American talent show — is nothing if not hard to define. Whether rapping about This American Life’s Ira Glass or X-Men, he’s aware of the pitfalls of being boxed into the nerdcore genre, a school of hip-hop that focuses on themes like sci-fi and comics. While he also raps about race and identity, he doesn’t want to be labeled strictly as an Asian American artist either.

Farmer-Legislator Vows To Keep Fighting Korea-U.S. FTA
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Kang, a farmer from Sacheon, South Gyeongsang province, is one of the most recognizable members of the 299-seat parliament. He almost always wears a traditional hanbok, stands on the front line of every protest that his Democratic Labor Party supports and is willing to resort to shoving, fisticuffs and other minor violence to make his point. He has staged weeks-long hunger strikes and chained himself to the door of the main assembly chamber.

Now, the DLP and other opposition parties (including the biggest, Democratic Party) continue to resist any type of compromise with the ruling Grand National Party over the Korea-U.S. FTA. On Thursday, for the second week in a row, the ruling party canceled a plenary session. The next plenary is set for Nov. 24, which gives the parties two more weeks to argue over the FTA.

Q&A – Steven Yeun (Glenn)
AMCTV.com

Q: You stated once that your parents were upset when you told them you were not going to be a doctor or lawyer. Have they come around yet?

A: Oh absolutely. They’re now on full-throttle brag mode. They’re Korean parents, and they just wanted me to have a structured, safe life and when I told them I wanted to do this they were worried that I’d be struggling. This industry is up and down, but right now they don’t have to worry about me.

‘Walking Dead’: Why Glenn is a total stallion [RECAP]
Washington Post

But that didn’t stop Maggie from whipping off her clothes and getting down to some serious Glenn business.

Sure, she later said it was a “one time thing.” But it seems pretty clear that she’s got a bad case of the Glenns and a burning desire for another taste of go-to-town expert. And really, can you blame her?

Glenn, you are an inspiration, a hero, apparently a halfway decent lover, an excellent keeper of pregnancy test secrets and amazingly adept at rope-tying under duress. And for that, we salute you.

Ravens LB Ray Lewis Fined $20K for Hit on Steelers’ Hines Ward
SI.com

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has been fined for his hard hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, the Carroll County Times reports. NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweets Lewis was fined $20,000 for the hit.

During the game, Lewis’ play did not result in a penalty but the league believed the helmet-to-helmet hit was worthy of a fine. The play left Hines Ward “dazed” and the wide receiver did not play for the remainder of the game.

Korean star pitcher Yoon could be in MLB in 2012
Yahoo Sports

Right-hander Suk-Min Yoon, the 2011 MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, could play in the major leagues as soon as next season, his agent said Tuesday.

Scott Boras, whom Yoon and another WBC standout, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, hired recently, said he would speak with Yoon in the near future about entering the posting system, in which major league teams bid to win exclusive negotiating rights with a player. If Yoon, 25, chooses against posting, he would be a free agent next season. Ryu, 24, can post before the 2013 season and would hit free agency in 2014.

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More US states accept Korean drivers
Korea Times

Florida is the latest among a recent string of U.S. states that agreed to simplify what’s usually considered a complicated process for drivers.

Maryland was the first to ink a deal with Seoul a year ago, followed by Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts and Texas.

Under the new agreement, Korean drivers can acquire a U.S. license by presenting a valid Korean license with proper translation to the motor vehicle authority. The deal only applies to non-commercial motorists and some states require drivers to surrender their Korean license in exchange for a U.S. equivalent.

First Into Seoul? No Thanks
The Asian Lawyer via Law.com

As Korea has inched towards liberalization of its legal market over the past several years, there has been much speculation about which international law firms will be first into Seoul. Now, with the U.S. Congress ratifying a free trade agreement with Korea last month, the time for action is close at hand.

So the race is on, right? Not exactly.

Though a number of firms have been vocal about their desire to enter Korea at the earliest opportunity, many leading Korea practice lawyers privately express reservations about relocating to Seoul, citing everything from children’s school commitments to a preference for the warmer weather, lower taxes, and more expat-friendly environment of Hong Kong, where most international firms currently base their Korea practices.

South Korea’s High-Tech Arsenal
Chosun Ilbo

New high-tech weapons and equipment may be needed to counter the threat of North Korea’s nuclear arms and missiles. But what’s in the arsenal already? Here is a review of 10 high-tech weapons made in South Korea.

What Does The [Korean] National Flag Mean?
Chosun Ilbo

FYI.

South Korea’s wasted youth
BBC News

South Korea’s education system is held up as a model around the world. Some 80% of its high-school students now go on to further education.

But according to South Korea’s president, that academic success is creating its own “social problem” – a youth unemployment rate of 6.7% in October, more than twice the national average, even as parts of the labour market are hungry for workers.

South Korea’s Exam Suicides
Al Jazeera via YouTube

Wednesday's Link Attack: Dear Leader Death Rumors, K-Pop, Dokdo

Kim Jong-il Death Rumors Rattle Markets
Chosun Ilbo

Rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death spread through the South Korean stock market on Tuesday, driving share prices down and causing the won to plunge against the U.S. dollar. The KOSPI hovered around the 1,915 point level, similar to Monday’s close, but fell steeply at around 2:20 p.m. when the rumors hit the market. It closed down 0.8 percent (15.96 points) at 1,903.14.

A Playboy queen in chef’s whites
City A.M. (London)

IMAGINE, for a moment, the head chef at a Playboy Club. Whatever image just sprang to your mind, I am fairly certain it is not Judy Joo. A Korean-American former Wall Street banker (she was a sales-trader on the fixed income floor of Morgan Stanley; her husband works for a hedge fund in London), Joo has been executive chef at Park Lane’s revamped Playboy since it opened in June. The New Jersey-born graduate of Columbia University’s School of Engineering left banking and a fat salary to become a chef – taking rather a gamble on many fronts. We meet this most impressive and unlikely Playboy employee.

Q. What made you decide to make the leap from banking to cheffing?

A. I suddenly realised: I’m enjoying being a banker but I don’t love it. I was regularly taking a shuttle from LaGuardia to Boston and found myself grabbing the free cooking magazines in the bus station. I felt like Barrons and the Economist were more like homework. So after a while I was like: why don’t I just do what I love and follow my dream and my passion?

Winter Olympics a Bigger Boost for Korea Than K-Pop
Chosun Ilbo

Foreigners who live in Korea or have visited the country say Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics did more to boost Korea’s image than K-pop.

The Corea Image Communication Institute, which looks for ways to improve Korea’s image abroad, surveyed 211 foreign diplomats, academics, CEOs, artists and other opinion leaders from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7, and 55.3 percent said the Pyeongchang bid played the biggest role in improving Korea’s image.

Next were K-pop (18.6 percent) and Shin Kyung-sook’s international bestseller “Please Look After Mom” (16.7 percent). Others cited novelist Lee Oe-soo, figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, English Premier League footballer Park Ji-sung and singer Rain.

In contrast, 39.2 percent of 303 Koreans who were surveyed cited K-pop as playing the biggest part in boosting their country’s image abroad, followed by the Pyeongchang bid with 36.6 percent.

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[VIDEO] South Korea pushes its pop culture abroad
BBC News

Once under the thumb of, and then in the shadows of its more powerful neighbours like Japan, South Korea is emerging in the 21st century as a dynamic, global force. Rajan Datar reports on how it has now become a major exporter of popular culture.

Seoul dismisses Japan’s request to call off Dokdo concert
Yonhap

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday dismissed Japan’s recent request to cancel a scheduled musical concert on South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, saying it was “needless” to even consider the request.

S. Korean man sends his cut-off pinky to Japanese embassy
Yonhap News via Korea Herald

An unemployed South Korean man has been booked for investigation after he cut off part of his left pinky and sent it to the Japanese embassy in protest of Tokyo’s territorial claim to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, police said Wednesday.

Rain Chosen as Assistant Instructor at Army Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

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Father gets suspended term for beating daughter with bamboo stick
Yonhap via Korea Times

A Seoul appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling and sentenced the father of a teenage girl to a suspended prison term for beating her with a bamboo stick and forcing her to do long physical workouts.

The father, identified as Choi, 48, was indicted last year on charges of harsh treatment of his 15-year-old daughter. In addition to beating her with a bamboo stick, he was accused of forcing her to run on a treadmill for more than an hour at a time and to perform other workouts as punishment for not studying hard or being wasteful.

Do All Asians Have Flat Butts?
8Asians

I admit that I have a flat butt. Please, no jokes. I’m a little sensitive about it. Once I asked an ex-girlfriend if they thought I had a nice ass and they said I had a wonderful personality. I should have known then that the relationship was doomed.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: North Korea, Suicide, Opening Ceremony

Moving on when mom is killed at war
CNN.com

It was only natural for Kristin Choe to begin drawing. Even at age 3, she expressed herself through art.

And that’s exactly what she did in the months after her mother, Navy Lt. Florence Bacong Choe, 35, was killed by an Afghan army soldier in March 2009.

The little girl took out crayons and a sheet of paper and began coloring in some green grass. Her father, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chong “Jay” Choe, thought Kristin was drawing the family’s home. But the final sketch proved to be much more: a symbol of their new life and a little girl’s loving memory of her mom. Dad didn’t know what to make of the drawing. It left him speechless.

Yet he kept the picture as a reminder of everything that changed the moment Florence was killed. “When I think about what’s next — how do you press on? how do you live your life? — I think of Kristin first and foremost.”

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South Korea Approves Sending Medical Aid to North
New York Times

South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization to resume distribution of Seoul-financed medical aid to North Korea, amid growing international calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children.

The decision “was based upon our belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue,” a senior Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday during a briefing given on condition of anonymity.

Student Spotlight: Zenia Kim
StyleBistro

Zenia Kim is an M.F.A. Fashion Design student, who recently debuted her work as part of the Italian Trade Commission Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She also interned at Yigal Azrouel over the summer, and has spent the past few months exploring NYC and finding inspiration for her Senior Collection. Read on to hear about all of her eye-opening experiences!

Tackling South Korea’s high suicide rates
BBC News

More than 40 South Koreans a day are taking their lives and the government in Seoul has recognised it is a problem that needs tackling. But, as the BBC’s Lucy Williamson finds out, the reasons for such a high suicide rate are complicated and not easy to solve.

Senior actor found dead in apparent suicide
Korea Herald

A senior South Korean actor was found dead in his small rented room on Tuesday of an apparent suicide, police said.

Kim Choo-ryun, a 64-year-old actor who had his heyday in the 1970s, was found hanging in his studio in Gimhae, 449 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the police said.

He seemed to have killed himself the previous day after months of depression, they noted.

According to police, a suicide note found in Kim’s room, read, “I can hardly stand my loneliness and difficulties. I am sorry for my fans and family.”

11-11-11 is a popular wedding date
Bergen County Record

Krystle Patton, 27 and David Pak, 34, both of Hackensack, also picked Friday as their special day. They had been dating for several years when Pak proposed on Feb. 11, Valentine’s Day weekend. The two knew they would get married later that year.

“I had been waiting 5 1/2 years and wanted to get married in the fall, but I didn’t think we would get 11-11,” says Patton. “I know people had probably had that date booked forever, but someone just canceled and we took it.”

The couple, whose wedding will be at the Graycliff in Moonachie, found extra significance in the date. Pak is Korean, and Nov. 11 in South Korea is Pepero Day, similar to Valentine’s Day in the U.S. “It’s apparently our lucky number now,” says Patton.

Review: Momofuku Seiobo
Sydney Morning Herald

He does The Bun. Let’s get that out of the way right now. After months of claiming his famous steamed pork bun was not part of the plan at his new Momofuku Seiobo at The Star, David Chang has installed it on the $175, 15-course tasting menu. Thank the lord. It’s sweet and steamy, the pork belly in baby-bum-soft cushions of white bread, hit with hoisin sauce and cucumber, Sriracha chilli on the side. As the birthday bloke sitting next to me at the kitchen counter says: ”Ten more of those and a six-pack and I’ll die happy.”

This is the first Momofuku outside New York for Korean-American chef David Chang, recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 people who most affect our world.

Americans in Paris
The National (Dubai, U.A.E.)

Here’s a profile of the duo — Korean American Carol Lim and Chinese American Humberto Leon — behind fashion trendsetting company Opening Ceremony.

Lena Park Enjoys Belated Leap to the Big Time
Chosun Ilbo

The hit MBC TV reality show “I Am a Singer” was nothing if not transformational for Park. It has led to commercial contracts — the first since her debut — and requests to perform and appear on other TV programs. Park describes appearing on the show as a life-changing experience.

“In the past, only a few people recognized me on the street, but now everyone does,” she said. “But that has created a few problems too,” she added.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1976, Park came to Korea to perform back in 1995 when she was studying acting at UCLA. She says her first days in Korea were tough, since she had to live by herself without knowing the language.

Rain Named Top Marksman at Boot Camp
Chosun Ilbo

Self-explanatory.

Free David Choe Print on 11/11/11 Just Do What He Asks
Giant Robot

Artist David Choe is hosting an elaborate giveaway for some very nice prints of his work. The giveaway, which coincides with Pepero Day on 11/11, will require fans to do four tasks.

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Prosecutors Probing SK Group’s Chairman
Wall Street Journal

SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate with businesses ranging from telecom to oil, said Tuesday that prosecutors visited its headquarters seeking financial documents, as part of an investigation into allegations the group’s chairman, Chey Tae-won, used company funds to cover personal investment losses.

Big Bang wins “Best Worldwide Act” at MTV’s 2011 Europe Music Awards
allkpop

Big Bang won the award for best “Worldwide Act” at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.

How To Get A Korean Boyfriend
YouTube

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