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March Issue: Kim Yoo-Jung Was Born To Act

Born to Act

South Korea’s most famous child actress, Kim Yoo-jung, makes her U.S. debut in a horror-mystery short film inspired by a dark chapter in East Asian history.

by STEVE HAN

Fifteen-year-old Kim Yoo-jung doesn’t like scary movies. Acting since age 3, she has already starred in 15 films and 17 television dramas, but as diverse as her roles have been, horror is one genre she will never get used to.

“I watch scary movies with my eyes shut,” Kim said in Korean. “I keep my eyes closed and take peeks. I can’t really watch scary movies from beginning to end.”

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And, yet, Kim was in Los Angeles in February to film Room 731, a horror mystery short film directed by Youngmin Kim, an award-winning graduate student at the University of Southern California’s film school. The film, expected to hit the festival circuit this summer, depicts the fate of an amnesiac young girl who finds herself abandoned in a prison cell. 

The film, also Kim’s first outside of Korea, sheds light on the dark history of East Asia during World War II. Kim plays Wei, a tortured 15-year-old Chinese girl who has been traumatized from suffering at a Japanese torture camp. Asian American actors Tim Kang and Nikki SooHoo are co-starring with Kim. Kang, best known for his role in The Mentalist on CBS, also serves as the short’s executive producer.

“It was great for me that our director is Korean,” said Kim, during an interview in the lobby of The Line hotel in Los Angeles. Kim said she received instructions from the director, a South Korean native, in Korean during the filming process. “I can understand a lot of English, but just can’t speak it well enough,” she said. “When I talk to Uncle Tim [Kang], I speak to him in Korean because he understands Korean, and he’ll respond to me in English.”

If Kim was scared of watching horror films before this project, acting in Room 731 only heightened that fear. Even the set where Room 731 was filmed, Willow Studios near downtown L.A., which is often used to shoot scary movies, gave off a spooky vibe, she said. But, like a seasoned professional, she channeled that genuine fear into her performance.

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“It was so dark,” said Kim of the set. “I went in there with our director to get used to the set, and as soon as I entered, I just wanted to get out of there because it was just really scary. I mean, really. Even as the director was giving me directions, I was getting teary-eyed, and I was truthfully feeling fear as we were filming.”

Kim and her mother, Mok Sun-mi, decided she should take on the role in Room 731 not only because they thought it was a good opportunity to work in the U.S., but also because it gave the teenager a chance to learn an important history lesson. Until recently, the actress admitted she knew nothing about the premise of the film, which centers on Imperial Japan’s alleged medical experiments on hundreds of East Asians during World War II.

“I didn’t even know why or how World War II started before this,” said Kim. “I only started doing research after I was cast. I read about it on blogs and I was really shocked. One of the reasons I chose to participate in this film was actually because this film had a message. If this film never came to me, I would have known nothing about any of this.”

Because Kim started acting at such an early age, she has no memory of those earliest days of her career.

Since debuting on TV in a Seoul Milk commercial in 2004 after Kim’s mother submitted photos of her for an online contest, she has emerged as perhaps the most famous child actor in Korea. Many of her 17 TV dramas—notably Dong Yi on MBC—were aired during Korean primetime, and her filmography includes a role in internationally acclaimed director Park Chanwook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeanceand the 2008 thriller The Chaser.

“I only realized that I was an actress later on in my life,” said Kim, who has earned the Best Child Actress Award at all three of Korea’s terrestrial TV networks—SBS, KBS and MBC—between 2008 and 2010. “I realized that, at a certain point, I’d accepted that I was an actress without really knowing how it even started. So I’ve always thought of it as destiny.” Kim, who’s currently attending her last year at Daesong Middle School in Goyang, South Korea, inevitably misses school for a large part of the year because of her career.

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“I actually feel anxious when I’m not acting,” Kim said. “Whenever I’m on a break from acting and go back to school and start to have fun with friends and classes, I start this self-doubt and ask myself, ‘What if I start to dislike acting and like school more?’ And that scared me.”

Kim is fascinated by the differences in the working environments for actors in Korea versus the U.S. She was especially surprised to see how much more protective the American film industry is for child actors, who aren’t allowed to be on set for longer than seven hours per day to ensure that they get enough rest.

“Korea doesn’t have any of those restrictions,” Kim said. “I was so used to filming for 24 hours in Korea, but over here, I actually went to bed early!  It’s impossible to get enough sleep in Korea, and I almost think that stunted my growth a little bit.”

Kim, who’s listed at 5-foot-2, has aspirations of bringing her career to the U.S. if the opportunity arises. She also has a specific role in mind that she wants to play.

“I want to play an evil role,” Kim said. “But it’s never been offered to me yet. My biggest goal as an actress is to play an evil role so well to the point where the audience would curse at me.  That would really mean that my acting was accepted and done well. I want to be a bad person.”

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This article was published in the March 2014 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

 

Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong-un, NK Death Camps, Danji Restaurant

New Kim Jong Eun Film for the Troops
Daily NK

A documentary film glorifying the achievements of Kim Jong Eun is being shown to soldiers in North Korea, part of ongoing efforts to burnish the image of the successor and establish his power base.

Kim, a 28-year old male in the middle of his military service near Nampo in South Pyongan Province revealed the news to The Daily NK today, saying, “They have been showing us the documentary film ‘One Year under the Banner of the Supreme Leader’ since the start of September.”

The expression ‘supreme leader’ lends weight to the supposition that Kim Jong Eun’s takeover of power in the military sector is proceeding well, although it is clearly very early to be producing such propaganda.

Inside Kim Jong-il’s Death Camps
FrontPage Mag

Clearly detailed satellite photos released by the South Korean government reveal a rapidly growing network of six slave-labor camps, home to more than 200,000 North Koreans, one-third of whom are believed to be children.

Located in the rugged, isolated mountain terrain of central North Korea, the gulags are the repository for those unfortunate North Koreans who have committed perceived “political offenses” against the despotic regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong​ ll.

The prison system is divided into areas called “Total Control Zones,” from which no prisoners are ever released. As such, these camps hold up to three generations of North Koreans, many of whom have been born into permanent captivity.

Separated families in Washington
Korea Times

This article was written in support of a documentary made by amateur filmmakers Jason Ahn and Eugene Chung called “Divided Families” about Korean Americans with relatives living in North Korea.

My dad was 16 years old in Pyongyang the last time he saw his mother and baby sister. He is now 78 and living in New Jersey, more than 6,000 miles and 60 years away from his family.

When he left Pyongyang, following the steps of the retreating U.N. forces during the Korean War, he couldn’t have imagined that he would never see his family again. The separation was to be only for a few days, just to avoid the initial onslaught of the communist forces who were sweeping down.

Danji Brings Bargain Korean, Great Tartare to Broadway: Review
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Danji is still something of a work in progress, and that’s okay given the prices.

Does [Chef Hooni] Kim’s yellowtail with jalapeno have that same signature sting as at Gari? No, but the fish has a fresh oceanic oiliness.

Korean fried chicken is famous for its addictive, phyllo- like crust. Here, the so-called “KFC” wings are closer to any respectable version around town.

Bossam, braised pig with cabbage wraps, doesn’t have the same chewy skin as Momofuku’s $200 version — hardly a deal breaker since the sharable dish is $18 here. Avoid pork belly buns, whose natural high-fat levels are sent into overdrive with a slick of mayo. And kimchi paella is unappealingly mushy.

And yet beef tartare, sold-out on three of four visits, is one of the city’s best. Toasted pine nuts, sesame oil and pear add sensuous fruit to a dice of raw beef.

‘The Crucible’ Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life
Chosun Ilbo

A slew of sex crimes against children with disabilities that took place from 2000 to 2005 at a special institute for deaf youngsters remain unsolved six years after they were first brought to light, sparking anger among social groups.

Author Gong Ji-young in 2009 published a novel inspired by the case that reignited public interest in it. Now a new film adaptation is once again stirring controversy among viewers, who are calling for the case to be reinvestigated.

Chevy drivers at GM Korea set Guinness World Record with vehicle logo
CNET

In preparation for Chevrolet’s centennial celebration, set for November 3, 2011, GM Korea gathered 1,143 of its customers in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, to create the largest Chevrolet bow tie and set a new Guinness World Record.

The motorcar mosaic was made up of Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando and Captiva models and measured 688 feet (209.9 meters) in length and 221 feet (67.6 meters). The design was recognized as the Largest Car Logo.

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Monday's Link Attack: NK Famine, Moon Bloodgood, Hines Ward

WFP captures heartbreak of North Korean hunger
CNN International

A four-year-old boy looks straight into the camera. His eyes are dull, his tiny legs crossed underneath him. Choi is an orphan, severely malnourished and too weak to stand.

This is just one of the heartbreaking sights captured on film by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as they traveled around North Korea last month delivering aid to the most needy.

The most deprived are children — WFP estimates a third of those under the age of five in North Korea are severely malnourished, and says it will only worsen if more aid is not delivered soon.

Actress Moon Bloodgood strives to be a role model
Color Magazine

Most celebrities don’t want to think of themselves as a role model.

Moon Bloodgood relishes the idea.

“I wish people thought of me that way, especially young Asian/American girls because it’s so important to have someone like you that you can see in movies or on television and think, she’s just like me,” Bloodgood said. “I don’t know if people even realize I’m Korean – well, my mom is Korean and my dad is Dutch-Irish – but I’m very proud of my heritage. I’ve gone to Korea several times and I identify more with my Korean side than my Dutch/Irish side. I know from experience how good it feels when you see someone of Asian heritage up there on the screen, because there weren’t many of them when I was growing up.”

‘Panda 2′ helmer rings in coin
Variety

Female directors have been gaining ground in recent years — mostly on the specialty scene. But when it comes to blockbusters, it’s still a man’s world. Tell that to Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director of Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s global hit “Kung Fu Panda 2.”

Ban on Styrofoam to Hurt Korean Businesses
Korea Times via New America Media

Korean grocery stores and restaurants in California told the Korea Times that the passage of SB568, which sought to impose a statewide ban on the use of polystyrene takeout packaging, would more than double their operating costs.

“Take out accounts for upwards of 30 percent of business for most Korean restaurants,” said the owner of one eatery in LA’s Koreatown, adding that while options to using polystyrene are available, the costs are formidable. “There’s a good chance [if the bill passes] that take out places will take a big hit in sales as they will have to raise prices to offset the costs of using alternative packaging.”

10 Best Korean Movies With English Subtitles
Screen Junkies (blog)

I bought the DVD for “Chunhyang” so I could watch it with my mother. When I told her what it was about, she said, “Pansori sucks!” We never watched it. Check out this list, “Oldboy” is noticeably absent.

If you enjoy watching Asian films, check out these ten best Korean movies with English subtitles. Some of them can be downloaded online, and all of them are available for purchase over the Internet.

Concept Korea IV Presentation: Doho, Lie Sang Bong, Resurrection by Juyoung, Son Jung Wan, and Steve J & Yoni P
Racked

Concept Korea IV, a collaborative effort between the CFDA and (this season’s Concept Korea winners) Korean designers Doho, Lie Sang Bong, Resurrection by Juyoung, Son Jung Wan, and Steve J & Yoni P was pretty fantastic. We zigzagged our way through the crowd to get a closer look at the designs and along the way we were nearly knocked over by America’s Next Top Model runway coach Miss J. Alexander, who was on his way to greet designer Juyoung. Also there? Model Hyoni Kang and actress Vanessa Hudgens, who stopped by to pose for some pictures.

Abducted son of SKorean businessman freed in Lima
AFP via ninemsn

The son of a South Korean businessman was freed after a gang held him for 19 days demanding a $1.8 million ransom, police said Sunday.

“Kyoung Kim Hee, 18, was released about midnight in a neighborhood on Lima’s south end, and is now with his loved ones,” said General Felix Murga, the police investigating unit chief. Police said they did not believe a ransom was paid.

Hines Ward on Ravens game: ‘We’ll remember everything’
CBS Sports

“It leaves a taste in your mouth,” Ward said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The 2-point conversion [when the Ravens led, 27-7]. The passing at the end …

“We’ll remember everything.”

Celtic’s Ki Sung-yeung & Sunderland’s Ji Dong-won Score Goals
Arirang News

Two Korean footballers Ki Sung-yeung and Ji Dong-won playing for different Premier League clubs each scored a goal for their teams on Sunday. Ki Sung-yeung who currently plays as a central midfielder for Scottish Premier League club Celtic hammered in a drive from 25 yards in the second half of the game adding a goal to Celtic’s 4 to nil victory over Motherwell.

Ji Dong-won scored his first goal for Sunderland in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the English Premier League.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Obama Staffer Promoted, Kim Jong Il In Russia

Korean-American named senior counsel to Obama
Korea Herald

Korean-American Christopher Kang was named last week senior counsel to U.S. President Barack Obama for legislative affairs, according to reports on Tuesday.

Kang, who was on Obama’s legislative affairs staff, will be in charge of judicial nominations, it added.

Beechwood Not Closing
Patch.com

Despite a report last week in EaterLA, local hotspot Beechwood is not set to close for any amount of time, according to a tweet the restaurant sent over the weekend. “Contrary to reports, we are OPEN w/ no set plans to close. Roy Choi developed our current menu & will eventually lead a new concept for us,”

Sylvester Stallone, Todd Phillips Projects Scheduled for Release in 2012
The Hollywood Reporter

The Sylvester Stallone-Sung Kang action drama “Bullet to the Head” is set for an April 13, 2012 release date.

On a South Korean isle, a life of squid fishing is slipping away
Los Angeles Times

Kim Yae-sun will tell you straight out: The squid life is a hard life.

For the 72-year-old widow, who peddles the sea creatures from a waterside stand here, it means rising at 4:30 a.m. and going to church to pray for an ample catch. When her fisherman husband was still alive, she asked God to watch over the squid fleet that heads out to sea each night, the boats strung with lines of light bulbs like Christmas garlands.

North Korean Leader Explores City Where He Will Meet With Medvedev
New York Times

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, spent the fourth day of a weeklong Siberian train ride in the city of Ulan Ude, where he was shown an aircraft factory after taking a boat ride on Lake Baikal and visiting the infrastructure of a tourist zone that is under construction, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

3 North Korean defectors get U.S. scholarships
Yonhap News

Three young North Korean defectors living in South Korea have won scholarships offered by the U.S. federal government for study and internships at American universities, Washington’s top diplomat in Seoul said Tuesday.

Top Gear Motors Into Korea
The Wall Street Journal

The Journal‘s “Korea Real Time” blog reviews the premiere episode of the Korean version of the popular auto enthusiast show.

Michelle Wie defends decision to mix college and golf
Los Angeles Times

Former LPGA great Annika Sorenstam suggested last month that Michelle Wie was shortchanging women’s golf by pursuing her degree at Stanford. ‘Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,’ Wie responds politely but firmly.

Top 5 summer beauty obsessions in Korea
CNNGo

Now that good weather is finally here in Seoul, the downsides are also back with a vengeance, with temperatures skyrocketing and humidity kicking in. To deal with the sweat and frizz, Seoul women have accordingly been switching up their beauty regimes.

Here are the top five summer beauty obsessions in Seoul.

Blind: Film Review
The Hollywood Reporter

Korean writer-director Ahn Sang-hoon unabashedly designs a thriller inspired by Terence Young’s 1967 “Wait Until Dark” which starred Audrey Hepburn.

S.Korea confirms world status with athletics event
AP via Google News

Hosting the 2011 world athletics championships in Daegu completes a prestigious treble for South Korea after the Olympic Games and the World Cup as the East Asian nation confirms its status as a major destination on the international sporting stage.

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Ken Jeong's Parents' Love and Blessings

Actor Ken Jeong hams it up at the premiere of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

by Ann Lee

Let’s say you’re a doctor — and I mean a real doctor, not some resident working 80-hour shifts for barely any pay– and you decide that you want to become an actor. How would your parents react?

It’s unlikely that they’ll be pleased with the decision, let alone support it. They might even start beating their chest and asking God where exactly they had gone wrong in raising you. Sure, a couple of you may have a stage parent eager to live vicariously through you, but in general, Asian people really like doctors.

Given this mindset, it’s refreshing to learn that the parents of comedian Ken Jeong were incredibly supportive of Jeong’s desire to leave his secure occupation as an established physician for the tumultuous world of entertainment.

During a recent interview in Seoul, while promoting the R-rated blockbuster The Hangover Part 2, Ken Jeong talked about his parents’ reaction to his interest in becoming a full-time actor. With his wife already supporting him, Jeong went to his parents Continue reading

Monday's Link Attack: Moon Bloodgood, Grace Kelly

Moon Bloodgood Steps in for Franka Potente
PR.com

The “Falling Skies” star was recently cast in an upcoming independent movie.

When a last minute production snag caused Franka Potente to drop out of the indie pic ”The Power of Few,” Moon Bloodgood quickly stepped up to join the worldly ensemble cast. Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson, Q’orianka Kilcher, Jesse Bradford, Nicky Whelan, Juvenile, and Navid Negahban star in the mystery time-bender being sold by Arclight Films’ at Toronto.

Now appearing in Speilberg/TNT’s ‘Falling Skies,’ Bloodgood plays Mala in ‘TPOF,’ the pregnant owner of a cyber cafe where criminals, smugglers and holy fools converge on a day of possible transformation.

Pettersen downs Choi in LPGA playoff
AP via Google News

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen overcame a nine-stroke deficit then defeated South Korean Choi Na Yeon at the first playoff hole to win the LPGA Safeway Classic.

Q&A: Back injury didn’t keep Danielle Kang from back-to-back amateurs
Los Angeles Daily News

By winning her second straight U.S. Women’s Amateur title, the former Westlake High standout and former Pepperdine golfer pulled off something of a historic comeback herself. Kang was tied for 27th place, at 2 over, during the stroke-play portion of the event at the Rhode Island Country Club. Then, a nagging upper-back problem affected her in match play after scratching out a quarterfinal win.

After a 45-minute chiropractic readjustment, saving a trip for her superstitious mother, who is an acupuncture specialist, to fly in and treat her, Kang recovered to reach Sunday’s 36-hole final, capping it off with an impressive 6-and-5 victory against Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugard. Enough people must have watched it on the Golf Channel: Kang said she got 75 text messages, 40 voicemails and 78 friend requests on Facebook before she even went to her postmatch news conference.

“I don’t accept the person if I don’t have a mutual friend, really,” she admitted. “My brother always yells at me if I accept somebody. I learned.”

South Korea churches’ beacons an eyesore to some
Los Angeles Times

The L.A. Times reports on the current backlash from some South Korean citizens who resent the neon church steeple crosses dotting the nighttime landscape.

Tens of thousands of churches dot South Korea, most with their own red neon crosses. In Seoul, where several churches crowd onto a single block, illuminating their crosses until midnight or later, the beacons combine to color the urban night like a carnival come to town.

“Looking from above, the night scene of Seoul looks like that of a graveyard,” one Internet user complained in a posting.

Englewood Cliffs looks to fund 9/11 memorial
NorthJersey.com

The city of Englewood Cliffs, N.J. is hoping to raise $30,000 to honor two locals killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The benches would honor Rajesh Mirpuri, the borough’s only resident who died in the attacks, and Leonia resident Andrew Jay-Hoon Kim, who also was killed. Kim’s father, Paul Kim, operates a business in town, Cioffi said.

Local teen dubbed ‘the future of jazz’
The Dedham Transcript (Mass.)

As a 19-year-old Asian-American female, Grace Kelly is something of a rare gem in the jazz world. But to her, what matters is that people love her music.

“It’s great when people say ‘You’re great for your age,’” says Kelly, who performs a free concert at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston on Aug. 25. “But I think it’s so much better when someone goes up to me after a show and tells me, ‘Your music is wonderful.’”

Kelly, who has been featured on seven albums, has been called a prodigy by both critics and musicians. The Wellesley-born, Brookline-raised Korean-American is also a bandleader, arranger, composer and singer. Kelly — not to be confused with the late actress/princess, though she adored the other Grace Kelly as a child — traveled to Europe four times and toured in eight countries just this year.

Cho names strong squad for opener
FIFA.com

Korea Republic coach Cho Kwang-Rae has named a strong squad for the country’s opening FIFA World Cup™ qualifier against Lebanon on 2 September. Cho has called up six Europe-based players though is without Bolton winger Lee Chung-Yong (broken leg) and Wolfsburg midfielder Koo Ja-Cheol (torn ankle ligaments).

Korean TV talent search show scored for Muslim portrayal, apologizes
Manila Bulletin (Philippines)

Korean TV talent search show “Star King” has issued an apology after a recent episode came under fire from viewers who criticized the show for depicting a wrong portrayal of Saudi Arabians and Muslims in general.

North Korea to Auction Resort Owned by South
New York Times

North Korea on Monday gave South Korean tourism officials 72 hours to leave a mountain resort, declaring that it will start auctioning off South Korean-owned hotels, restaurants and other remnants of what used to be a symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

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Wednesday's Link Attack: NK-SK Tensions, John Cho, Carolina Kimchi

South Korea Returns Fire After North Shells Disputed Waters
New York Times

The South Korean military returned fire on Wednesday after North Korean artillery shells fell in waters near a South Korean island the North attacked last year with a lethal artillery barrage, Defense Ministry officials said.

South Korean marines based on the island, Yeonpyeong, 75 miles west of Seoul, detected three artillery shots from a North Korean island around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the officials said.

Last November, North Korea launched an artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong, killing two marines and two civilians.

Check out our feature story from this month’s issue on how the island is coping with the attack seven months later.

First Look: ‘A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas’
Slash Film

It’s been three years in real time since we last caught up with stoner buds Harold & Kumar (in 2008’s Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) but it’s been six years of time within the movies since the two friends played by Kal Penn and John Cho last spent time together. Their third film, and their first in 3D (and first outright holiday movie) sees the pair reunited and, judging by the looks on their faces, back in trouble.

N. Korea reportedly attempting to assassinate S. Korean defense chief: sources
Yonhap News

North Korea is apparently trying to assassinate South Korea’s defense chief known for his hard-line stance against Pyongyang, government sources here said Wednesday.

A source said Seoul has “received intelligence” that North Korea is after Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.

Korean kayaker drowns in Otis
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

A 75-year-old Korean man who was vacationing in Maine drowned Tuesday morning after his kayak overturned on Beech Hill Pond, according to the Maine Warden Service.

Hong Sohn of Seoul, South Korea, was about 300 feet from shore when his boat capsized shortly before 10 a.m., according to Warden Sgt. Chris Simmons. Sohn tried to swim to safety before he sank below the water’s surface.

“Unsuccessful attempts were made from people on the pond to help him,” Simmons said. “He was approximately 30 feet from shore when he just quit swimming.”

SKorean police say stock broker jumped off building after suffering heavy losses
Associated Press via Washington Post

South Korean police say a stock broker has jumped off a high-rise residential building to his death after he apparently suffered heavy losses in the global markets turmoil.

Chief investigator Lee Kang-ho said Wednesday that a 48-year-old man surnamed Seo sent his colleagues text messages expressing remorse over the losses just minutes before he jumped from the building.

Jury orders death penalty for woman convicted of killing family
Los Angeles Times

A Southern California jury recommended the death penalty for a Chinese American woman who murdered her husband and two young sons in 2007.

S. Korean man found hanged in airplane toilet
Yonhap News

A South Korean man was found dead in an apparent suicide in an airplane lavatory on an international flight operated by an unidentified domestic air carrier, police said Tuesday.

The 43-year-old man, identified only by his surname Yang, an employee of a private company, apparently hanged himself aboard the flight departing from the Chinese city of Guangzhou for Incheon International Airport on late Monday, according to police.

Brian Myers: Korea’s most dangerous writer?
Yonhap News

He may be the most influential intellectual writer from the Korean Peninsula, but he is not Korean. He is obscure among domestic Pyongyang watchers but writes about North Korea for some of the world’s most influential media.

He is Brian Myers, an American who teaches international studies at Dongseo University in the southern port city of Busan. An academic, author and columnist, he contributes to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. It’s his status as an iconoclast that has won him fame.

Chefs champion tangy kimchi, the classic condiment of Korean cuisine
Charleston City Paper (S.C.)

Who knew there were so many Korean restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina?

To say that kimchi packs a punch is an understatement. It possesses a crunch rivaled only by the best pickles. If its spicy kick doesn’t knock you out of your flip-flops, then its sourness, the product of days, if not weeks of fermentation, certainly will. But if that doesn’t get you, the smell of garlic and fish sauce and onions and who knows what else will surely do the trick.

Pilot from missing Asiana aircraft had $1.7 million debt
Asia One

The missing captain from an aircraft that crashed near Jeju Island last month reportedly had massive debts from guaranteeing a relative’s loan.

Speculation concerning the intentionality of the accident was sparked as it was revealed that the pilot had signed up for around seven life insurance policies with dividends of US$2.8 million (S$3.4 million), just a month before the crash.

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Friday's Link Attack: Charlyne Yi, Clara Chung, Daniel Dae Kim

‘House’ exec: ‘Charlyne Yi is perfect casting’
digitalspy

House creator David Shore has claimed that new cast addition Charlyne Yi is “perfect” for her role.

The Knocked Up actress will appear in the medical drama’s eighth season as a junior doctor who joins House’s diagnostic team.

Yi’s father is Korean and Caucasian, her mother is Filipino.

Q&A with Singer/Songwriter Clara Chung
theotherasians

OA: What does it mean to be Korean American to you? How strongly do you identify with your background?

CC: I’m very much Korean-American. As far as music goes, I haven’t felt any stigma, put downs, or obstacles for being Korean or Asian. I am part of a local community of LA singers and songwriters and I feel really accepted.

Seoul Warns of Latest North Korean Threat: An Army of Online Gaming Hackers
New York Times

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has found a novel way of raising badly needed cash, according to the South Korean authorities: unleashing young hackers on South Korea’s immensely popular online gaming sites to find ways to rack up points convertible to cash.

Despite its decrepit economy, North Korea is believed to train an army of computer programmers and hackers. The police in Seoul said Thursday that four South Koreans and a Korean-Chinese had been arrested on charges of drawing on that army to organize a hacking squad of 30 young video gaming experts.

Hyun-a’s Latest Music Video Too Racy for TV Censors
Chosun Ilbo

The sexy dance moves of 19-year-old Hyun-a, one of the members of girl band 4minute, has caused Korea’s TV watchdog to place a partial ban on screenings of the pop video for her latest song, “Bubble Pop.”

Top 5 Korean Diet Trends
CNNGo

Even though the largest sizes at most clothing stores in Seoul seem to run equivalent to a U.S. size zero, Seoulites are constantly on the lookout for the newest-fangled ways to shed kilos and get that perfect body.

Bridgewater [N.J.] crash victim dies; other driver facing careless driving, drug charges
mycentraljersey.com

A man involved in a serious car accident on July 29 died due to his injuries Thursday, when police also announced that the other driver in the incident is facing three drug charges and a charge of careless driving.

Byung S. Kim, 37, of South Korea succumbed to severe head trauma he suffered during the accident, according to police officer Allen Mele of the Bridgewater Police Department’s Traffic Safety Bureau. The other driver, 18-year-old Alexandra Gerraputa of Massapequa, N.Y., is facing charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of narcotics in a motor vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and careless driving, Mele said.

Students get to be Korean for a day
JoongAng Daily

Kim Bong-gon, 44, brought his best manners to Sungkyunkwan University last week, when he led a workshop on traditional Korean etiquette for a group of students from overseas who were in Korea to attend an international, student-organized forum.

Kim is a renowned etiquette instructor who has just made a new film that he hopes will help further his mission of introducing students, both Korean and foreign, to traditional Korean culture. The students at the forum were among the first to see the film, which Kim will also present overseas in the fall.

Unwanted Missiles for a Korean Island [OPINION]
New York Times

Gangjeong, a small fishing and farming village on Jeju Island 50 miles south of the Korean peninsula, is a pristine Unesco-designated ecological reserve where elderly Korean women sea divers, haenyo, still forage for seafood. It is also the site of a fierce resistance movement by villagers who oppose the construction of a South Korean naval base on the island that will become part of the U.S. missile defense system to contain China.

Daniel Dae Kim in ‘Arena’ Trailer
angryasianman

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