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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
[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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Steven Yeun: ‘The Walking Dead’ aims for my groin Zap2it
“It seems like ‘The Walking Dead’ just kind of aims for my groin,” Steven Yeun, who spent the latest episode dangling inches above a water-bloated zombie in a well, tells Zap2it.com.
‘Walking Dead’ Creator Talks Steamy Sex Scene MTV.com
This week’s episode finally turned up the heat and gave us a whole lot of flesh — but not the kind “Walking Dead” heads are typically used to.
We’re talking, of course, about the steamy sex scene between go-to odd-jobs man Glenn (Steven Yeun) and newcomer Maggie (Lauren Cohan), daughter of farmer Hershel Greene. After Glenn successfully roped in an incredibly gruesome zombie at the bottom of a well (seriously, did you see that thing? That’s Greg Nicotero at his finest!), the former pizza delivery boy clearly demonstrated enough cojones to win Maggie’s heart — or at least her body. But following the spontaneous sexual encounter, Maggie called it quits, leaving Glenn more than a little bit confused about what just happened.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is in Seoul to meet with executives at several major IT companies over the next couple of days. One of the first stops was the Blue House, where he talked with President Lee Myung-bak about cooperation between Korean IT firms and Google, and Mr. Schmidt said Google intends to set up a YouTube channel for Korean pop music, or K-pop.
Judging by the response to a recent series of K-pop concerts around the world, that’ll get plenty of interest online.
Interview: Miss Korea 2011 talks fashion, her new job and plastic surgery CNNGo
For Miss Korea 2011 Yi Seong Hye, photoshoots, interviews, community service and learning how to do her hair and makeup herself are all part of her weekly official duties as the public relations ambassador for the country.
After spending 13 years in the United States — she attended high school in Boston and is currently on leave from studying at Parsons in New York — Yi had to learn a great deal about Korean culture upon returning to to the country of her birth.
“The pageant was actually not why I returning to Korea,” says Yi, who turns 23 this week.
“I came back to be back with my family and to learn about Korean culture, and then the lucky opportunity of entering the pageant came along.”
Boat With 21 North Koreans Found Off South Korea’s Coast New York Times
Twenty-one North Koreans, including women and children, were found adrift in a boat off the west coast of South Korea last Sunday and asked for asylum, the South Korean military said Saturday.
The five-ton boat was spotted by a South Korean Navy patrol 23 miles south of the maritime border disputed by North Korea. The people on board were transferred to a maritime police boat and taken to Incheon, a major port outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.
“When they were found, they immediately expressed their intention to defect,” the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “A joint inquiry team from the related government agencies are investigating what motivated them to defect.”
N.Korean soldiers shoot refugee in China: activist
AFP via Google News
A refugee was shot dead by North Korean border guards last month after reaching Chinese soil in a strengthened crackdown on escapees, according to a South Korean activist.
“During my trip to a border area on October 22, I witnessed a man shot to death after arriving in China,” Kim Yong-Hwa, head of the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told AFP.
The man in his 40s was apparently shot by the North’s guards from near the northern border city of Hyesan and died in front of Chinese soldiers, he said.
“After a sound of shooting across the river, I saw him groaning and crawling on the ground. Several Chinese soldiers were there but did not care,” Kim said.
8Asians.com Readers Asked, John Cho Responds! 8Asians
Do you think it’s harder for the Asian American community to catch their big break in the biz? Why do you think it is or isn’t? – Anunez587
JC: Obviously, it is. You just look around and it’s a numbers game. There are fewer parts for Asians. The concept of “the big break” is something that works against Asians in that the majority of parts available to Asians aren’t meant to break anyone’s career open — they’re modest roles. So even if a person has a long career, there may have never been a “break.” I don’t know if my career has ever really “broken,” or if I’m just descending step by step. The concept of a break implies these floodgates will open and I don’t even think that has happened for me or Kal.
Korean-Japanese billionaire to give away fortune Korea Herald
Han Chang-woo, a Korean-Japanese businessman who founded Maruhan Corp., Japan’s largest operator of pachinko parlors, said Saturday he will donate all his wealth, worth $1.7 billion, to help improve relations between the two countries.
“I’d like to give away all the money I’ve made before I die. I can assure that my personal assets, except for the company to be handed over to my son and some money for my wife, will be used for the inter-development of Korea and Japan,” Han told reporters in Busan.
The 80-year-old Korean immigrant was ranked Japan’s 17th-richest person by Forbes last year with net worth of 132 billion yen ($1.7 billion).
Miele Guide: Korean restaurant finally makes Asia’s Top 20 CNNGo
Seoul took a big step forward as a culinary capital as its chefs won Asia-wide accolades in Singapore last week.
For the first time a Korean restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, was listed among Asia’s Top 20 in The Miele Guide, a compendium of the continent’s finest dining venues, released annually.
Its Jeju pork belly and tilefish dish was highlighted as a great example of what the kitchen talents there can do.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg Opens Up to Flushing Times Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a town hall meeting in Flushing that he would try to help do away with the fines Korean business owners receive for storing kimchee at room temperature.
Asian American Sports with Rick Quan: The Darwin Barney Interview Hyphen
Our friend and sports expert Rick Quan continues his series of interviews with Asian American athletes with a profile of Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The quarter-Japanese, quarter-Korean, and half-Caucasian Barney hails from Beaverton, OR where a love of sports was instilled in him by his father who — at 5’6″ — played point guard as a college basketball player and taught his son to never impose limits on his abilities. Check out the video and learn how the 25-year-old grew to love piano once his parents stopped forcing him to take lessons, how he once thought he was Hawaiian, and catch the classic expression on the face of Dan Uggla from the Atlanta Braves as Barney ended his 33-game hitting streak this past August.
America’s favorite American Idol auditionor has found a new gig – with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
After his Season 3 audition performance in 2004 of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs, William Hung became a viral hit and received a cult-like following, which led him to numerous talk show appearances, three studio albums, and his primetime television show debut on Fox’s Arrested Development. Now, it appears Hung has made a career shift.
According to TMZ, Hung is working for the LA County Sheriff’s Department as a Technical Crime Analyst, meaning he is analyzing trends and patterns in crimes. This can help law enforcement deploy resources in a more effective manner, as well as playing a role in apprehending suspects, solving crimes, and formulating crime prevention strategies.
Beckman’s Kim keeps coming Daily Pilot (Irvine, Calif.)
Running back has been a force for the Patriots, who will face Corona del Mar for the Pacific Coast League title on Friday.
Young Jun wears a vintage leopard jacket over Givenchy’s snarling Rottweiler t-shirt. New Yorkers seem particularly fond of the image’s “step back” message; Rottweiler tees are prowling the streets. Both Young Jun’s baggy pants and his golden wingtip shoes are by Comme des Garçons. The bag slung over his shoulder is made by the Korean design duo, Steve J & Yoni P.
The meeting was recently held in the new Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). What I came to learn was that the very existence of this institution represents nothing short of a miracle and a unique opportunity for change.
The brainchild of James Kim, a Korean-American businessman who survived imprisonment and a death sentence in Pyongyang in 1998, the university is a place where hundreds of North Korean students are receiving a first-class education taught in English by a multinational, primarily Western faculty. The students who live and study here are among their nation’s brightest and best, and most importantly, represent the leaders of tomorrow.
In South Korea, Plastic Surgery Comes Out of the Closet New York Times
Cosmetic surgery has long been widespread in South Korea. But until recently, it was something to keep quiet about. No longer.
And as society has become more open about the practice, surgeries have become increasingly extreme. Double-jaw surgery — which was originally developed to repair facial deformities, and involves cutting and rearranging the upper and lower jaws — has become a favorite procedure for South Korean women who are no longer satisfied with mere nose jobs or with paring down cheekbones to achieve a smoother facial line.
Nothing has changed. After being waylaid by the lame Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in 2008, Harold and Kumar, looking well past 30 — the actors always played much younger than they were — return for another nocturnal ramble that will increasingly move into surreal fantasy. But the situation, for all the 3D claptrap, remains essentially the same: Two reasonably authentic characters tumble into a Wonderland of sheer nonsense.
South Korean pop culture (often referred to as “Hallyu”, which means “Korean Wave”) is a fresh-faced phenomenon. The record companies that currently dominate the country’s music industry date back only to 1995, which means that K-Pop, as a genre and a business, is probably younger than you are. It certainly sounds young– even if you ignore the fact that most K-Pop groups are made up of teenagers, there’s a wild, enthusiastic spirit evident in the way their producers gobble up and spit out sounds like Britney/Gaga Eurotrance, Auto-Tune, rapid-fire rap, swooning Final Fantasy strings, breakbeats, and industrial-strength synths. This music can be flat, derivative, and sometimes really, really annoying. It can also deliver the kind of senses-shattering, hands-in-the-air euphoria that’s a defining marker of great pop.
Blunted in the Walk-In: Eddie and Prodigy Eat Korean at Jung Sik
Jung Sik wants to be the “first high-end, thoroughly modern Korean restaurant in New York.” If “modern” means a Korean Francophile’s expensive and long-winded tasting menu, then they’re undoubtedly modern in every sense of the word. But if modern means something more like Roy Choi, who serves a modern, personal, Korean-American story through $2 tacos, then NY is still waiting for its first thoroughly modern Korean restaurant or, better yet, a Kogi Truck on dub-deuces. Cause if I had a food truck, it’d be sittin’ on 22-inch Daytons with Uncle Murda yelling “Ohhh, I’m gettin’ paper.”
The True Origins of Pizza: Irony, the Internet and East Asian Nationalisms Japan Focus
On September 30, 2011, an outfit named GumshoePictures uploaded on YouTube a video entitled “The True Origins of Pizza,” which, in the format of a brief documentary (3:44), reminiscent of those seen on such stations as the Discovery Channel, investigates an apparent historical puzzle: a series of speakers, from academics to a blogger and a representative of the “Korean Culinary Center,” are interviewed and advance evidence that pizza originated in Korea and had been “stolen” by Marco Polo, much as he had reputedly brought back noodles from China to Italy as spaghetti.
The co-star of Harold & Kumar comes clean about his addiction to Angry Birds and his epiphany after reading The New York Times in print. AdWeek
Give us the skinny on your favorite app.
My favorite app right now is Angry Birds. It’s like a disease. And Netflix, although it’s weird in terms of what’s available lately. I think iBooks is insanely convenient.
What’s your biggest digital indulgence?
An iPad is not particularly necessary, but I got one. But it hasn’t taken over my life.
The Kia Optima may be the winning car of this group, but overall at this year’s TestFest, the South Korean currency was the big winner. Every category in which a South Korean product was entered, a South Korean car scored a victory, with one exception: the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec, which was optimistically entered into the Performance Above $50,000 group of track stars, instead of the Luxury car group, where it more naturally fit.
Jung Gon Kim charged with sexually abusing boys ABC 7
An Ellicott City barber is facing charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy.
Police charged the barber, Jung Gon Kim, 54, with sexual abuse of a minor, second- and third degree sex offense, sodomy and second degree assault.
The victim was a client of the Scissors Sound Hair Salon in Ellicott City.
“The new ambassador, Sung Kim, is expected to go to Seoul around Nov. 10 and he will immediately present credentials (to President Lee Myung-bak) to begin his work,” the source said, requesting anonymity since the State Department has yet to announce a related schedule.
Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, will become the first Korean-born U.S. ambassador to Korea since the two sides forged diplomatic relations 129 years ago.
Kim Jong-il reveals fondness for dolphins and fancy dogs The Telegraph
North Korea’s ailing leader Kim Jong-il has long been known to have a taste for the finer things in life – from Uzbek Caviar to fine French Cognac – but a new list of luxury imports now also reveals a penchant for Chinese dolphins, French poodles, and African aphrodisiacs.
박재범 Jay Park ‘Girlfriend’ [Official Music Video]