The first lady of Japan continued her long-standing support of Korean culture on Saturday, participating in a kimchi-making event in Tokyo with hundreds of people from both Japan and South Korea.
Akie Abe and approximately 200 people joined the event held to celebrate the induction of Korea’s kimchi-making culture, known as “kimjang,” to the Intangible Heritage List of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body. Abe wore an apron and made kimchi alongside Shim Jae-ryung, the wife of Lee Byung-kee, the South Korean Ambassador to Japan.
“I made kimchi with three heads of cabbages,” Abe told the Kyunghyang Shinmun. “I want to feed it to my husband. It feels like making and eating kimchi together help people get along better.” Continue Reading »
The process of making kimchi, Korea’s iconic side dish, entered the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritages on Thursday, according to the South Korean government.
UNESCO selected “kimjang,” a term coined to describe Korea’s tradition of making and sharing kimchi in the fall, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the eighth Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Bak Sang-mee, member of the Intangible World Heritage Section of the Cultural Heritage Committee, said the UN’s cultural body recognized “kimjang” as a significant social practice as Koreans often make kimchi ahead of the country’s long winter to share with family, friends and neighbors. Continue Reading »
Japan ‘disappointed’ by South Korea summit remarks
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Japan had outlined its position on the issues and he hoped South Korea would accept that.
He said Japan would continue to seek to build co-operation with Seoul.
President Park Geun-hye said Japan must apologise for war-time “wrong-doings”.
Japan raps S. Korea for islet claims, alarmed at China’s criticism
Japan’s Foreign Ministry in separate reports has criticized South Korea for selectively interpreting historical records to justify its territorial claim to a disputed group of islands in the Sea of Japan, while registering its concern about China’s stepped-up criticism of Japan over a separate island dispute through its state media.
Together the reports, submitted late last month to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on territorial issues, strongly suggest the ministry’s willingness to seek LDP support in pushing back on information campaigns.
In analyzing South Korea’s recent criticism of Japan, one of the reports says Seoul has interpreted relevant documents and materials over the history of Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan, “in a way that is consistent with its claims to make it look as if the islands are its own territory.”
North Korean Sailors Reported Killed in October Sinking; South Says There Was No Clash
New York Times
A North Korean naval vessel sank last month, killing an unspecified number of sailors, according to North and South Korean news media.
The news first appeared on Saturday when the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had visited a newly built cemetery for the sailors “sacrificed” on board the vessel, a submarine chaser, during “combat duties” last month.
The news agency gave no further details about what happened but quoted Mr. Kim as instructing his navy to “find all the bodies,” hinting at a sizable death toll. Photos of Mr. Kim visiting the cemetery with flowers showed a large mass tomb encircled by what looked like at least a score of headstones bearing the names and photographs of the sailors who had died.
South Korean Businesses Quit Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
South Korean businesses are exiting the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea, making Seoul’s efforts to attract foreign investment to the site an even tougher sell.
At least nine South Korean firms have ended or have decided to end business at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the inter-Korean military border, because of uncertain investment prospects and financial crunches following a five-month operational halt amid cross-border tensions.
Officials at the Unification Ministry in Seoul confirmed two of 123 South Korean firms in Kaesong had fully withdrawn from North Korea after selling out their business assets there. They withheld the names of the companies—one manufacturing electronics parts and the other textile.
Road Voyeurism Fueling Surge in Black Box Sales in Korea: Cars
In the world of the wired, South Koreans rule: millions got hooked on social networking years before Facebook; their mobile phones went broadband first; and Internet connections are faster than anyplace on the planet.
Now they’re going pedal to the metal on the next hi-tech craze: “black boxes” for cars, devices that automatically record video and audio as well as time, location and speed.
What began five years back as a way to protect local taxi drivers from passengers who run off without paying has caught on with other drivers — 2.2 million black boxes are already in use, more than the number of autos sold in Korea each year. Broadcaster SBS has enough clips from viewers that it aired more than 100 morning show segments on car crashes.
South Korea is stuck with Internet Explorer for online shopping because of security law
South Korea is renowned for its digital innovation, with coast-to-coast broadband and a 4G LTE network that reaches into Seoul’s subway system. But this tech-savvy country is stuck in a time warp in one way: its slavish dependence on Internet Explorer.
For South Koreans who use other browsers such as Chrome or Safari, online shopping often begins with a pop-up notice warning that they might not be able to buy what they came for.
“Purchases can only be made through Internet Explorer,” says one such message on the Web site of Asiana Airlines, one of South Korea’s two major carriers.
Michelle Rhee revolution faces massive threat — and new accusations
Education reform lightning rod Paul Vallas – who courted controversy helming school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago — isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But a school board election in Bridgeport, Conn. – the latest district to tap Vallas to oversee reforms — could effectively spell his fate. Tomorrow’s vote will offer the latest referendum on the bipartisan, billionaire-backed mainstream education reform movement, and on a multi-year effort by local Democrats – aided by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee — to defeat or disempower labor-backed dissenters.
“As I’ve gone around the country, I always point to Bridgeport as one of the signs that the people can beat the power,” former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and high-profile reform critic Diane Ravitch told activists on a conference call last month. Tuesday’s election is the latest round in a long-running war over ed reform, and who should shape it, in the largest city in one of the country’s most unequal states.
For the sake of shielding Vallas and his agenda, activists allege that the city’s Democratic machine has acted indifferent or even hostile to defeating Republicans tomorrow.
Convicted sex offender is charged
Wilkes Journal-Patriot (North Carolina)
A man is awaiting trial in Wilkes District Court on 41 felony counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather.
Leonard Lee Yoon, 73, of 540 Obed Heights Drive in the Pores Knob community is also charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses for denying that he was a convicted sex offender when he signed a Wilkes YMCA membership form in April, said Lt. Jason Whitley of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department.
Whitley said 40 counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather resulted from Yoon being at the Wilkes YMCA and one count resulted from him being at the Wilkes County Library from April through June.
Why Girls’ Generation and K-Pop Won Big at the YouTube Music Awards
Wall Street Journal
Last night, K-Pop supergroup Girls’ Generation took top honors at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, winning Video of the Year for their clip “I Got a Boy” — an eclectic, electric mashup of candy-colored visuals that parallels the song’s peppery stop-start aesthetic. In doing so, they beat out a fairly impressive list of video music titans — including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — sending shockwaves of self-congratulatory glee across the K-Pop fanscape.
That’s because, given the YTMA’s parameters, the Girls’ victory was literally a win by, for and about the fans: Unlike the Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards, nominees for the YTMAs were selected solely by algorithm, based on likes, shares, views and other metrics of “fan engagement,” and, according to YouTube, winners were chosen based on how many fresh shares the nominated videos got in the month-long runup to the actual event (with YouTube keeping the vote-with-your-browser window open right up to the actual show itself).
Kimchi advertised in New York Times
Korea Times US
An ad for kimchi, South Korea’s representative side dish, is featured in the Nov. 4, 2013 edition of The New York Times. Actress Kim Yun-jin, known for her role in popular TV series “Lost,” modeled for the ad arranged by South Korean Prof. Seo Kyung-duk, an active promoter of Korea.
Author Catherine Chung: ‘I Want To Embrace The Things That I Am’
Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta’s New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.
In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.
“I tried to pull my hand out of my mother’s grasp, but she held on. She had lost her sister; she had lived in the aftermath of war. This was always what it came down to, in the end. My grandmother had told me once that my mother had never gotten over the death of my aunt. ‘Never talk of it,’ my grandmother had said. ‘Never bring it up.’ “
Could the Royals land a Korean pitcher this winter?
Kansas City Star
There is an interesting prediction about the Royals at the MLB Trade Rumors site.
In a post about the top 50 free agents, the web site predicted the Royals would land two pitchers this winter:
Toronto’s Josh Johnson (no surprise to hear that) and South Korean Suk-Min Yoon.
Yoon, 27, is a right-hander who was the MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2011.
However, this past season, Yoon had a shoulder problem for the KIA Tigers and finished with a 4.00 ERA in 87 2/3 innings. He moved to the bullpen from the rotation. He also pitched in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, allowing two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss to the Netherlands.
Oh Seung-hwan to Start Seeking MLB Club
Samsung Lions’ relief pitcher Oh Seung-hwan will start trying to negotiate a deal with foreign clubs as he looks to potential suitors in Japan and the U.S.
Oh is hoping to find a place for himself in U.S. Major League Baseball, where several clubs have reportedly expressed interest in him. But he apparently sees Japan as his most realistic next destination.
The righty played a crucial role in the Lion’s victory at this year’s Korean Series, which ended last week. Now baseball fans hope he can prove himself as a successful pitcher in the MLB like Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin.
Glenview boutique owner driven by passion for fashion design
Glenview Announcements (Illinois)
Ask Grace Yoon why she decided to open up her Glenview women’s boutique, Ella Louvi and she’ll say her goal was to share her creativity — her clothing designs — with her customers.
“Owning the store isn’t my first passion,” said Yoon, who opened Ella Louvi last July, just months after she and her former business partner, Stella Chun closed their successful store, Stella + Grace. “I love my customers, and I love helping them pick out beautiful outfits, but designing my own line of clothing is my dream.”
Yoon, who came to the states with her family when she was nine years old grew up in the city and in Glenview.
Cooking Without Boundaries
Kentucky-based chef Edward Lee debuts his first cookbook, which draws recipes from his “New Southern” kitchen.
by SUEVON LEE
If Edward Lee’s hunger to decamp to the foothills of Louisville, Ky., from New York a decade ago can be traced to one thing, blame it on the galbi.
In his mid-20s, the young chef was running his own place, a hipster Korean BBQ joint in New York, when one day a major culinary figure known from Chez Panisse walked in and took a seat. Lee sent out his signature item, a plate of grilled galbi short ribs, along with condiments and rice. But anticipation turned to disappointment when the meat came back, barely eaten. Tasting the bland flavor of the meat, Lee set out to procure the best beef he could find from that point on, only to learn that local purveyors had no idea which region their meat came from, let alone what the cows were fed.
Then came the invitation to guest-cook at a restaurant in Louisville the weekend of the Kentucky Derby.
“For a city kid from Brooklyn, that seersucker-and-bourbon spectacle somehow seemed like the panacea to my urban hell,” Lee writes in his new cookbook, Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen, released in May. “I wanted to take my shoes off and walk barefoot through fields of clover, I wanted to walk alongside the cows that grazed on the same grass that was below my feet. I packed my bag for a week. And it was a week that would change my life forever.” Continue Reading »
Domestic Politics, Pyongyang-Style [OPINION]
New York Times
ON Monday, North Korea declared that it had nullified the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, a new level of bellicosity that raised, at least on paper, the potential for the resumption of armed conflict on the peninsula.
The fiery rhetoric seemed to foreign observers a desperate attempt to force the United States and South Korea to restart stalled talks on denuclearization, in the hope of extracting aid and concessions. But recent history suggests that it was motivated less by international politics than by domestic concerns: North Korea’s new hereditary leader, Kim Jong-un, may have been stoking fears of a foreign threat primarily to dampen political unrest at home.
The belligerent talk, and the nuclear test North Korea conducted last month, its third, are part of a pattern that began in the 1990s when the North Korean economy collapsed following the end of the cold war.
PM visits western border island, calls for high alert on N.K. provocations
Amid heightened inter-Korean tensions, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won on Thursday visited the country’s western border island of Yeonpyeong that was bombarded in a North Korean artillery attack in 2010 to encourage soldiers and residents there, his office said.
Tensions have been simmering on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks as North Korea has been escalating its war of words over tougher U.N. Security Council sanctions that punish its third nuclear test on Feb. 12, and ongoing Seoul-Washington annual joint military exercise.
Chung’s visit drew particular attention, as Pyongyang’s media reported earlier Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently guided artillery exercises targeting Yeonpyeong and a nearby island near the Yellow Sea border.
Wall Street Journal
As inter-Korean military tensions rise, two South Korean islands in the Yellow Sea are drawing attention again. Lying just south of the disputed maritime border called Northern Limit Line (NLL), Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong have been a tinderbox for the two Koreas recently—and now Pyongyang has openly placed them in the crosshairs of North Korea’s artillery scopes.
Location: Yeonpyeong is only about eight kilometers, or five miles, from the North Korean coast. Baengnyeong, which lies to the northwest of Yeonpyeong, is almost as close.
Race In America: Asian-Americans & Race
FOX News Philadelphia
It’s a headline that got us talking: A Vermont newspaper decided to run a poster with the words “Fry Rice” on it.
The daily reportedly did this in support of its’ local sports team in a game against Rice Memorial High School.
The problem? The font or print used is associated with Chinese calligraphy.
Some Asian-American readers were offended, saying the “play” on words was both racist and insensitive.
Bank of Korea’s Suh Young Kyung Shuns Schoolgirl Outfit
When Suh Young Kyung joined the Bank of Korea in 1988, officials at the central bank told her to wear a schoolgirl’s outfit. She refused.
Hired with one other woman and 50 men, Suh has risen to be the most senior female executive in the institution’s history. As director of the financial-markets division, she’s in charge of open-market operations to regulate liquidity in the banking system, reporting to Governor Kim Choong Soo and monetary-policy board members.
“They tried to force me to wear the same uniform as high- school graduates while giving money to my male colleagues to buy a suit every season,” Suh said in an interview, wearing a navy tweed jacket and white blouse with black pants. “The BOK was entirely dominated by men when I started.”
Koreans Travel Long Distances For Their Kimchi
Patch.com (Cupertino, Calif.)
For many Korean American families, keeping culture and tradition alive may mean driving on a regular basis to Santa Clara County. Numerous stores in our area cater to the Korean American community, offering them the necessary ingredients they need to cook traditional dishes.
“We get customers (from) as far as Fairfield, Pleasanton, and the Concord areas. Even as far south as Monterey,” said Steve Kim, the owner of Super Kyo Po Plaza in Santa Clara, one of the largest Korean supermarkets in the Bay Area.
He said approximately 1,000 customers come through his doors each day. “They make it a day where they eat out at a restaurant then do other things here, and also do their shopping.”
Korean students balance military service, academics
Stanford Daily (Stanford Univ.)
While his peers worry about what major to declare or their summer plans, Peter Moon ’15 currently faces a different, more complicated decision — whether he will serve in the South Korean military, and when.
A dual American-South Korean citizen, Moon — among fellow undergraduates — anticipates serving in the South Korean military in order to maintain his South Korean citizenship status. He is currently deciding whether he will take time off during his undergraduate career or immediately following his senior year to serve.
‘Our Homeland’ Filmmaker Yang Yong-hi on North Korea, Japan and Divided Selves
Wall Street Journal
It has been almost a decade since Yang Yong-hi obtained her South Korean citizenship, but the Tokyo-based filmmaker still doesn’t know where she belongs.
Born and raised in Osaka to Korean parents, she was just six when her family was split in two. Her father, a North Korean sympathizer originally from South Korea’s southernmost Jeju Island, sent her three teenage brothers to live in Pyongyang in 1971 as part of a repatriation program organized by Japan and North Korea. Ms. Yang, a girl, was the only child to stay home.
SXSW Film: “And Who Taught You To Drive?” [Interview]
There are few lonelier feelings than being in a foreign country where you aren’t familiar with the culture and don’t speak the language. Now, add to that the pressure of having to take a driving test.
That’s the premise of the entertaining documentary And Who Taught You to Drive? Director Andrea Thiele and writer Lia Jaspers filmed three people taking driving lessons in a foreign country—a Korean mother in Germany, a German in India, and an American in Japan. We sat down with Thiele and Jaspers to talk about the film.
Q: Where did this idea come from?
Choo earns widespread respect in move to Cincinnati
Shin-Soo Choo was wondering how many at-bats he’d be getting in a Cactus League game the other day, so he asked Reds bench coach Chris Speier.
When Dusty Baker found out Choo had gone to Speier and not him, he asked Choo why.
“In Korea,” said Choo, a native of Pusan, South Korea, “[the players] don’t talk to the manager. The manager is like a god.”
Baker laughed. “Man,” Baker replied, “you ain’t in Korea now.”
Ever respectful of leadership and ever genuine in his bid to win and be the best Major League player he can be, Choo has earned instant respect in this Cincinnati clubhouse for the way he’s approached this team and this transition. Acquired from the Indians in a three-way trade in December, Choo has wasted no time working the room, making an effort to get to know each guy on a personal level.
Pete Rose and fiancée Kiana Kim do furniture commercial
It makes sense, if you rationalize it, Pete Rose doing a furniture commercial for greater Cincinnati TV. Even these days, regardless of the salaries some athletes make, you’ll see a lot of players doing cheap-looking commercials for, say, an auto dealership. They’ll do it in exchange for a free lease, usually.
But Charlie Hustle doing Muenchen’s Furniture is throwback to a time when pro athletes supplemented their income by becoming actors in “B” productions because they kind of had to. I’m speaking of the 1960s and 1950s, when the genre was young and the production values were, well, not so valuable.
Korean Fine Dining, Re-interpreted
Wall Street Journal
For those looking for a fine dining experience, the Korean restaurant scene can be admittedly uninspiring. Last week, a local food critic noted on Korea Real Time the lack of innovative cuisines in South Korea, especially among Korean kitchens.
Lucia Cho’s Bicena in Seoul’s Itaewon district is one Korean restaurant that is challenging the status quo.