Despite the drama we saw in last week’s episode, things somehow get resolved and everyone pulls themselves together for Young and So-young’s wedding. Even Jessica and Violet share a laugh by making fun of Jowe — probably the one thing they do have in common. Despite the failed bachelor party, the crew goes shopping for gifts and the wedding cake at the Koreatown Plaza. Maybe all this optimism is a good sign for ringing in the New Year?
Scarlet teaches Violet how to fight properly, just in case she finds herself in any more squabbles over a blog post or anything. Christine and Jasmine tackle each other over some ginseng and a boot gets thrown down a floor. Yes, things get nasty between the Chang sisters indeed. Continue Reading »
The Underground Railroad from North Korea to Freedom
Council on Foreign Relations
Former deputy editor of the Wall Street Journal Melanie Kirkpatrick has written a compelling book describing the tortuous path North Koreans must undertake across China to freedom in South Korea and other countries in the West. The book captures the multiple paths that desperate North Koreans have taken upon their departure from North Korea through China and other countries to safety in South Korea and the West. It champions the sacrifices of a range of dedicated individuals outside North Korea who have risked their lives to assist North Koreans in their road to freedom and to provide information back to North Korea about the outside world. And it savages the policies of governments including China, the United States, and South Korea’s progressive administrations for turning a blind eye to the suffering of North Koreans who are victims of an uncompromising totalitarian political system.
North Korea’s first lady ‘missing’
The Telegraph (U.K.)
All North Koreans are required to wear the badge, featuring the face of Kim Il-sung, as a mark of their loyalty to the founder of the nation.
Ri Sol-ju, formerly the lead singer with the Ponchonbo Electronic Ensemble, was only officially unveiled as Kim’s wife in July but had previously been pictured accompanying the “Young General” on his visits to state-run farms, military units and official ceremonies.
Initially, state media missed no opportunity to play up the regime’s new First Lady, showing her at a gala in July wearing a black trouser suit and carrying what appeared to be a Chanel bag.
Gritty Koreatown Block Turns Hot With a Taste of Home
New York Times
When Ja-Bun Kwak opened Kang Suh, her two-level, 24-hour restaurant almost 30 years ago at the base of 1250 Broadway, at 32nd Street in Manhattan, there was just a spare handful of Korean businesses on the block catering to the Korean garment industry and import-export laborers.
At the time, Korean food and culture were even more of an outpost in the life of the city than was this gritty block between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, which was mainly a thoroughfare for commuters using Penn Station and fans headed to Madison Square Garden.
But over time, as the Korean immigrant population has grown, 32nd Street has become a destination for immigrants hungry for a taste of home, as well as for curious foodies.
State turns over audio evidence in Morris Plains prostitution case
The state said Tuesday it has audio evidence it believes will convict a 54-year-old Fort Lee woman of prostitution.
Hye O. Kim was charged with prostitution Sept. 20. Police said VIP Spa on Route 10 east, where Kim worked, had been a front for sex-for-money dealings.
Bigger Than Psy: 2NE1 And The Future Of K-Pop
The event roster for the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, is fairly diverse. On any given night, the arena might play host to an American Idol concert, a hockey game or a death-metal mini-festival. But on August 17th, the main attraction was something unusual even for a bastion of bizarreness.
Lee Byung-hun, King of the Screen
Wall Street Journal
There is something about Lee Byung-hun beyond his deep, intense eyes and commanding demeanor. Undoubtedly one of South Korea’s top actors, Mr. Lee oozes charm on the big screen, as well as considerable talent.
Since his debut, the 42-year old Mr. Lee has starred in 20 movies and 21 TV dramas. His breakthrough was “JSA: Joint Security Area,” directed by Park Chan-wook in 2000, a fictional account of how South and North Korean soldiers at the border become friends but face a tragic end after failing to overcome their distrust of each other and a deep ideological divide.
In his latest historical movie, “Masquerade,” Mr. Lee pulls off a fine dual performance as Gwanghae, a Chosun dynasty king, and a commoner who impersonates the king. The movie has become a huge box office hit in South Korea, hogging top spot for five consecutive weeks. Since it opened on Sept. 13, the movie has attracted more than 9.3 million moviegoers and raked in 1.8 billion won in ticket sales.
Korean pop star Psy performs in Sydney
Sky News Australia
Korean pop superstar Psy has Sydney going Gangnam Style crazy.
Thousands filled Martin Place before dawn on Wednesday to see Psy perform his famous hit ‘Gangnam Style’ – not once, but twice.
Fired ‘Gangnam Style’ lifeguards to get jobs back
Associated Press via Seattle Times
Fourteen lifeguards fired last month after appearing in uniform at the city pool in a parody of “Gangnam Style,” the Korean pop music video that has been viewed hundreds of millions of time online, are getting their jobs back.
S. Korea falls to Iran in World Cup qualifier
South Korea fell to Iran 1-0 in their World Cup qualifier here Tuesday.
At Azadi Stadium, Javad Nekounam’s second-half score gave the 10-man Iranian team a huge victory in their Group A contest in the ongoing final World Cup qualification round.
With the win, Iran pulled even with South Korea at seven points in Group A. South Korea remains at the top of the table, however, thanks to the goal difference advantage.
Five questions with the LPGA’s Christina Kim
There are few people in all of golf who are more entertaining than Christina Kim. Love her or hate her, she never holds back with what she’s thinking, on and off the golf course. Recently, Kim has been in the golf news because of what some are calling a Twitter dustup with fellow LPGA-er Brittany Lincicome, and while we did chat with her about that, it was the other stuff that really was interesting.
How a former Korean CIA building became Seoul’s most underrated accommodations
In the 1970s into the 1980s, there used to be a saying about Namsan, the 262-meter mountain in central Seoul now known for its scenic date spots and “love locks.”
In those days of heightened paranoia about activist shenanigans and North Korean espionage, “going to Namsan” was a euphemism for being dragged into the Korean CIA headquarters for questioning. Rumors abounded that the interrogation led to torture, and possibly death.
Asian-Americans Weigh in on Affirmative Action
AP via YouTube
As the US Supreme Court decides what role race should play in college admissions, some Asian-Americans argue that the use of race as a criteria hurts more than helps. Asian-American college students discuss their personal experiences.
Japan, North Korea Hold First Talks in 4 Years
AP via San Jose Mercury News
Officials from Japan and North Korea held their first government-to-government talks in four years on Wednesday, amid hopes that new leader Kim Jong Un will adopt a less confrontational approach to relations between his isolated, impoverished nation and the outside world. The talks are being held at the Japanese Embassy in China, the North’s closest ally and biggest aid source, which has been subtly pushing for economic reforms and a more cooperative tone.
Police Searching for Koreatown Man, 88, with Alzheimer’s
CBS Los Angeles
Police are asking for the public’s help in finding an 88-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease who has been missing from Koreatown since Sunday.Chong Pal Won, who only speaks Korean, was last seen walking away from his home in the 3600 block of West 9th Street, near Western Avenue.
Slain Dictator’s Daughter Turns to Mother’s Legacy in Bid to Lead South Korea
Park Geun-hye was 22 years old when she washed the blood from her assassinated mother’s dress. Five years later, she recalls in her autobiography, she held her father’s blood-soaked shirt after the South Korean strongman was shot dead. Now, both hampered and helped by the contrasting legacies of her murdered parents, the 60-year-old Park appears on the cusp of becoming South Korea’s first women president.
Veteran’s Passing Touches Koreans, Americans
Every person attending, it seemed, wanted to claim Kyle McClain, 25, as their own. From the members of the Korean Veterans Association who gave a wreath of flowers to the McClain family, to the director of the Americans for International Aid and Adoption who facilitated Kyle’s adoption, to David M. Roden, Honorary Consul of the Consulate of Republic of South Korea and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, also an adult Korean adoptee, who presented a plaque and read honorary proclamations. But it was Kyle’s mother, Geraldine, who allowed everyone to feel that the death of her son was their loss, too.
Asian-American Men Less Likely to Date Interacially
Who you date – as well as who you marry – is one of the most intensely personal decisions someone makes. So it’s easy to overlook the broader role society, culture and yes, even race plays in that decision. Hardy Kim is a second generation Korean-American. He grew up in Gross Pointe, Michigan, and now lives in Oak Park. From an early age, he was told he needed to marry a Korean woman. So naturally, he rebelled.
Police: Group Home Beating Sparked by Cigarette Argument
Livonia police are investigating a beating at a group home allegedly sparked by an argument about cigarettes that left one man seriously injured and another member of the group home facing charges. … A fellow resident of the group home, Kil Won Choe, 47, was pointed out as the perpetrator.
Wal-Mart in Los Angeles Chinatown: Who Gets to Speak For Immigrant Communities?
Open City (Asian American Writer’s Workshop)
How the retail behemoth’s bid to establish its footing downtown is raising questions about the future of Chinatown and the city as a whole.
Frontier Island Residents Fear Another N. Korean Attack
Voice of America
It has been 19 months since North Korea shelled a frontier island, killing four South Koreans. Residents say they are concerned they could soon face another artillery attack.
Rhetoric from North Korea’s new, young leader has many people on Yeonpyeong Island more nervous than usual.
South Korea Wants Two Tracks With Japan
Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d)
The latest flare-up of a territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan shouldn’t prevent economic cooperation between the two nations, Seoul’s finance minister said in Moscow.
Responding to Tokyo’s suggestion that it may reconsider agreements to bring the two economies closer together, Bahk Jae-wan said there should be a firewall between economic and political matters.
Phase 4 Films to Release SXSW Sex Slave Drama ‘Eden’ in Early 2013
Phase 4 Films has acquired all North American rights to director Megan Griffiths’ drama “Eden,” which had its world premiere at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. The specialty distributor has scheduled a release in theaters for early 2013. Based on the true story of Chong Kim, “Eden” follows a Korean-American teenager who is abducted from a New Mexico bar in 1994 and turned into a sex slave in Las Vegas for two years before finally escaping. Jamie Chung, Beau Bridges and Matt O’Leary star.
Auburn Opens Korean Culture Center
The new Auburn University-Keimyung University Korea Center will offer non-credit classes in Korean language and culture beginning later this fall. Taught by a visiting instructor from Keimyung University, a private university located in Daegu, South Korea, the classes will offer the Auburn community a way to understand and connect with the area’s growing Korean and Korean-American population, according to an AU news release.
2NE1 Talk About Frozen Yogurt Toppings with the Fader
Looks like everyone’s K-pop sweet hearts have been making the rounds doing a handful of press interviews with some of music’s elite. The group made the rounds while they were on their ‘New Evolution’ tour in the United States. … CL has been taking the charge during their English only interviews, but you actually get to hear some more snippets coming from Bom and then Dara in this interview. Minzy, the youngest of the group remained quiet and shy.
Classical Musicians Change Names, Forcing Fans to Adapt
WQXR (New York City)
Before he was “Lenny,” Leonard Bernstein was originally Louis Bernstein. The violinist Midori began her prodigy years as Midori Gotō. And the violinist Nigel Kennedy once attempted to drop his first name, although it didn’t entirely stick. But in the department of audacious name changes, the Korean-American violinist Hahn-Bin may be hard to top.
Jeon Tells Stories on Water Lillies
Korean-American artist Kyung Jeon portrays her personal history through water lilies at a dual exhibition currently at Kukje Gallery in Sagan-dong, central Seoul. At first, Jeon’s works look sweet and bright with pastel hues. When examined closely, boys and girls on lily pads have many stories, some of them are dark or violent.
Kicker Jonathan Kim’s Objective: West Point
Los Angeles Times
The varsity football players at Torrance Bishop Montgomery High might want to start practicing salutes to kicker Jonathan Kim, because he figures to one day join his brothers Michael and Justin at the U.S. Military Academy and become an officer. Michael is a senior and Justin is a freshman playing for the soccer team at West Point. Jonathan has started the process of trying to join them, but in football.
Coming to the Taste: Jason Kim
Los Angeles Times
Jason Kim worked in the kitchens at l’Orangerie and Lucques before opening Forage in Silver Lake, which uses as much locally grown produce as possible — including sometimes from its neighbors’ backyards. “We have an abundance of great produce here in Southern California, and I find myself trying to preserve the flavors as much as possible,” he told one interviewer. “As I grow older as a cook, I find myself figuring out that less is more when it comes to cooking with great produce.”
Swimming Bunnies Offer Android Game Solution to Island Spat
Wall Street Journal
An Android game developer has come up with a warm, fluffy solution to the cold, rocky issue of Tokyo’s territorial dispute with Seoul. In the free game, Takeshima Struggle, players race a cartoon rabbit from either Japan or South Korea to an island representing the disputed territory in order to claim it.
In this week’s action-packed episode, the huge event at the Belasco takes Koreatown by storm. Despite all the yelling and fighting that went down last week, the “K-Town” gang manages to pull through the preparations for the event. General Joe Cha finally takes it down a notch to rein in Scarlet before she takes a hike in that hefty backpack of hers.
South Korea Returns Letter From Japanese Leader
New York Times
A letter from the Japanese prime minister to the South Korean president was being refused by both governments on Thursday, as the countries’ latest quarrel over a set of disputed islets spawned a curious spat over diplomatic protocol.
Osaka Mayor Demands Evidence on ‘Comfort Women’
The mayor of Osaka, a strong contender to become the next prime minister of Japan, on Tuesday claimed there is no proof showing that Korean women were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II.
Myungsuk Lee accuses Liu of splitting Korean vote
Queens Campaigner (N.Y.)
A candidate for the Flushing state Assembly seat accused City Comptroller John Liu last week of systematically splitting the Korean community in current and past elections.
Myungsuk Lee, a Korean newspaper owner, held a news conference Aug. 15 claiming he was lured into the election by Liu, only to have the Queens Democratic Party endorse a different candidate in what he contended was a scheme to keep political power in the hands of Chinese candidates.
Demystifying Korean Culture for the Masses
In 21st century America, Korean culture is emerging into the mainstream: Many Americans watch televisions or talk on cellphones made by Samsung. K-Pop singing group Girls’ Generation performs on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin sells Kia automobiles — by doing a slam dunk over one. You can easily find bulgogi (Well, “Bool Kogi” at least) at your nearest Trader Joe’s. In six years, the world will look to the city of Peyongchang as it hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics. And this just in: The hottest Internet meme du jour is a music video that has people dancing “Gangnam Style.”
Yet at the same time, Korean culture remains a mystery to most Americans. Business signs written in hangul are indecipherable, much less pronounceable, to most non-Koreans. Most westerners’ Korean vocabularies rarely go beyond “annyong haseyo.” And for any first-timers eating at a Korean BBQ restaurant, the puzzled look on their faces when presented with the “appetizers” they did not order is a fairly common one.
Korean Activist, Ex-Supporter of North, Plots His Next Move
New York Times
In the 1980s, Kim Young-hwan was a legend among South Korean student activists. His widely read pamphlets converted legions of students into firebomb-hurling agitators against the U.S.-allied military dictatorship in the South. They celebrated the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung and his “juche,” or self-reliance, doctrine and helped make anti-Americanism a centerpiece of the student movement — a legacy that continues to resonate in South Korean politics today.
Software Mogul Challenges South Korean Politics as Vote Looms
After trailing in polls for months, South Korea’s opposition is being tempted by popular support for a political neophyte as a decision looms on its candidate for president in December elections. The maverick’s attraction as an outsider may also be his biggest vulnerability.
Ahn Cheol Soo, founder of South Korea’s biggest antivirus software maker, for a time overtook ruling-party candidate Park Geun Hye in polls after a single television appearance on July 23. The 50-year-old, who has yet to declare his candidacy, is riding a wave of dissatisfaction over slowing growth, a widening income gap and failure to stoke domestic demand.
Kim Jong-un’s Many Faces
Exit Emperor Kim Jong-il (blog)
This is what I think happened. The photographer took the picture believing that he was capturing on the faces of the family members “unconditional devotion” for their supreme leader. The family members were overwhelmed by Kim Jong-un’s presence in their home. What I see in this picture is the photographer’s depiction of “unbridled show of emotion” for Kim Jong-un, not fear. If the editors of the party’s news agency thought the picture translated to fear they would not have printed it or released it.
Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation
Beneath the catchy dance beat and hilarious scenes of Seoul’s poshest neighborhood, there might be a subtle message about wealth, class, and value in South Korean society.
Psy teaches his “Gangnam Style” horse dance on VH1′s ‘Big Morning Buzz Live’
The singer recently stopped by VH1‘s morning show ‘Big Morning Buzz Live‘ to talk about the meaning behind the lyrics of “Gangnam Style,” and his thoughts on the ‘horse dance’ phenomenon. Psy who was hilarious as always even gave hosts Carrie and Jason a personal tutorial on the show.
Rain’s New Movie ‘R2B’ to Get Theatrical Release in U.S.
The movie “R2B: Return to Base” will be released in 13 cities in North America.
The drama starring Jung Ji-hoon, better known overseas by his stage name Rain, will hit cinemas on Friday in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, Honolulu, Toronto and Vancouver.
UFC: Federal Way’s Benson Henderson will defend title at KeyArena Dec. 8
Federal Way Mirror (Wash.)
Benson Henderson is coming home to defend his UFC lightweight championship belt.
The nationally-televised UFC on Fox 5 will land at Seattle’s KeyArena for the upcoming Dec. 8 card featuring the 155-pound lightweight title fight between Henderson and Nate Diaz. It will be Henderson’s second title defense after he beat Frankie Edgar earlier this month at UFC 150 in Denver.
Korea’s best bars to wrap up the summer
We asked a champion bartender to pick Korea’s best bars for cocktails. Here’s his top five.
K-Pop Group The Wonder Girls Interview Akon
Last month, K-pop girl group The Wonder Girls released their new single “Like Money” featuring Akon. The upbeat Tron-esque electro song was penned by Crystal “Cristyle” Nicole who had also written songs for Rhianna and Mariah Carey. Akon and the girls performed the track together at the Green Groove Festival on July 21 and 22 in South Korea.