Katharina Zellwegger in her office at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific Research Center. Ms. Zellwegger recently ended a five-year stint as head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Pyongyang. She joins Stanford’s Korea Studies Program as the 2011-12 Pantech Fellow. Photo courtesy of Sangsoo Lim, Yonhap News.
Five years in North Korea might seem like a prison sentence for most, but for Katharina Zellwegger life in the Stalinist state’s capital Pyongyang felt “normal.” Indeed, she concedes from her new office in Stanford’s Asia Pacific Research Center, she misses the “lively social life” she enjoyed with fellow expats and North Koreans alike.
From October of 2006 to September of this year, Zellwegger served as head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in North Korea. A long time humanitarian aid worker with more than three decades of experience, she says the people she came to know during her time in North Korea were “just like you and me.” Continue reading →
Olympic bronze medalist Toby Dawson has only been the coach for the Korean national men’s freestyle skiing team for a short time but he’s already received a shock.
A month has passed since he settled in Korea, and Toby Dawson, a U.S. Olympic bronze medalist skier, has just found out his real birth date.
“I had a fake birth date from the orphanage, which was Nov. 30 in 1978. But two days ago my dad in Busan told me I was born on May 4 in 1979,” Dawson said Wednesday.
Dawson, a Korea-born adoptee, came to Korea last month after being named freestyle ski coach for the national team. And after his official appointment last week, the 32-year-old sat in a caf in Gangnam, southern Seoul, to speak about his plans here.
“I’m just starting to learn so much now, and I’m very excited,” he said with a big smile on his face.
Seoul Patch vs. Reform Club Pop-Up Battle Royale SF Weekly
San Francisco-based Korean American chef Eric Ehler will be mashing up his two pop-up kitchens this Sunday.
Some of the menu highlights include seared rock cod with braised kimchi beans, ham hock, and ginger, and salted caramel ice cream with black sesame rice cake and persimmon. To take the evening to the next level, they’ll play K-Pop and a Korean Dramedy on the projector screen. Bang!
Official Says U.S. Needs Time to Assess Aid to North Korea New York Times
The United States needs more time to decide on possible aid for North Korea because it is not sure humanitarian assistance would reach the people in need, the top American aid official said on Thursday.
Rajiv Shah, the head of the United States Agency for International Development, made the comment amid growing appeals from American and United Nations relief agencies, which have recently called for urgent aid for the most vulnerable of the North Korean population, especially its children.
With Red, [Frampton] pledges allegiance to no single genre, flitting confidently from Blondie-style disco-pop (”Billy the Kid”) and floaty acoustic folk (”The Broken Ones”) to the kind of big-chorus country proffered by her Voice coach Blake Shelton, who turns up for a duet on ”I Will.” The result feels like a farewell to life on the Warped Tour. B
Rising out of the very saturated Los Angeles hip hop scene is Korean-American emcee Dumbfoundead, who has been making quite a name for himself through various viral YouTube videos of his exploits as a battle rapper and his latest venture: a media collective/lifestyle brand known as Knocksteady. All of these efforts have lead up to his latest album titled DFD, which hit the #2 spot on iTunes during it’s week of release last month, shocking many as Dumb is an unsigned act that managed to accomplish this feat with the strong fan base he has built over the years.
DFD’s production is very much in the realm of synthy boom-bap with splashes of alternative rock elements that give off a happy-go-lucky vibe throughout the album. Guest vocalists such as American Idol finalist Andrew Garcia and Breezy Lovejoy along with Dumbfoundead himself provide very catchy melodies and flows that have a lot of crossover appeal while maintaining a genuine everyman atmosphere in the track concepts.
Korean Students Struggle at Ivy League Colleges Chosun Ilbo
The number of Korean students at Ivy League universities is on the rise, but little more than half complete their courses. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, around 110,000 Korean students were studying in the U.S. as of this year, the largest group of foreign nationals for the fourth year running.
Korean-American academic Samuel Kim, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College, reviewed data of 1,400 Korean students at 14 top universities such as Harvard, Yale and Cornell between 1985 and 2007 for his doctoral dissertation and found that only 784 or 56 percent graduated while the rest dropped out.
Deputies were searching for two men who robbed a gas station and shot the owner in the leg Wednesday night.
Two men walked into the BP station at 9702 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and demanded money. As the two attempted to take money from Tae Chun Kang, 42, the owner struggled with them and a gun fired, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Kang was taken to the hospital with a non life-threatening injury, deputies said.
Korea Tourism Organization wages war on ‘Engrish’ CNNGo
Looks like Engrish.com — the snarky website showcasing error-riddled English signs in Asia — won’t be getting as many submissions from Korea.
How awesome is this? Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is offering to reward photographers who submit snaps of muddled signs at tourist spots.
The prize? A gift card of ₩50,000 (approximately US$45) that can be used at any vendor that accepts credit cards — otherwise known as free money.
Since 1999, the KBS comedy show called “Gag Concert” on Sunday nights has been required viewing for those wanting to be part of the cultural zeitgeist. It’s often called Korea’s “Saturday Night Live” for its influence, though obviously not its format or time.
Now, cable station tvN, which mainly broadcasts variety shows and entertainment-celebrity news, is starting a weekly comedy program called “Saturday Night Live Korea.”
And it will be both live and on Saturday night. The show starts this Saturday.
It will have a cast of 16, nine men and seven women. A celebrity will host each week and there will also be musical guests, just like the original SNL on NBC in the U.S.
Toyota Gains From U.S.-S. Korea Trade Pact Bloomberg
The biggest beneficiary of the new trade agreement that will end South Korea’s tariffs on U.S.-made cars may be based in Japan.
Toyota Motor Corp. is looking to profit as it fights a rising yen blamed for an operating loss (7203) in its fiscal first half. Japan’s biggest carmaker began exporting Sienna minivans from Princeton, Indiana, to South Korea this month and may do the same with Camry sedans next year, said spokeswoman Amiko Tomita. The Camry was the third most popular import in South Korea in 2010.
Until this month, the 17 Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Korea were all from Japan. The dollar has declined against the won in the past year while the yen has gained.
“Because of a more favorable dollar-won exchange rate compared with the yen-won rate, Japanese carmakers can shift sourcing to the U.S., allowing them to lower their prices in Korea,” said Christian Yang, an analyst at consultant IHS Automotive. “Japanese imports look to gain market share through more aggressive pricing against domestic competitors.”
Tiger Woods birdied four of the first five holes but a red-hot K.J. Choi did Woods one better with birdies at all five to grab the early lead Thursday in the first round of the Chevron World Challenge.
Choi, a South Korean who won the Players Championship in May, went out with a five-under 31 on the front nine holes of the par-72 Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.
After a bogey at the par-four ninth hole, Woods carded a three-under 33 and trailed by two shots as he headed to the 10th tee.
Preparation of Steelers’ Hines Ward hasn’t changed
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via Boston Herald
The reality is that Ward has had to accept a reduced role since wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery told him three weeks ago that the Steelers wanted to get others more involved in the passing game.
Ward played just nine snaps in Cincinnati, and he caught one pass for 10 yards. Ward started last Sunday night in Kansas City, but he logged just 16 snaps and caught four passes for 21 yards.
“I didn’t ask why or if I was playing bad or the reason behind it. I’ve never once questioned a coach(ing) decision, how they run game plans,” Ward said following practice yesterday. “That’s all that was told me that we want to get other guys the ball. They don’t owe me anything. I just try to go out and bust my tail and continue being the same player. I think you guys wanted it to be about me, but it’s not about me. I’m a team guy.”
Can I just come out and say that Soundcloud is the f-cking tops? I mean, in just the past 24 hours we have been able to hear previously unreleased gems from Brainfeeder’s Flying Lotus and TOKiMONSTA thanks to their accounts on the social networking/music site. The latter just posted a great never-before-heard tune, “Swine and Burgers,” that stems from some recording sessions back in 2009. Why she chose to leave this bumper of a tune off any of her releases is beyond me, but at least we’re hearing it now, right?
Check out our feature story on Tokimonsta from the October 2011 issue of KoreAm.
A Bay Area columnist weighs in after it was revealed that Neiman Marcus security had red-flagged state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi during a previous visit. Hayashi, the first female Korean American to serve in the California Legislature, was arrested for felony theft on Oct. 25.
‘Voice’ Runner-Up Dia Frampton Works With Kid Cudi, Foster The People For Raw Debut Billboard.com
“Red,” Frampton’s debut, arrives Dec. 6 on Universal Republic. She says the album is far more upbeat than Meg & Dia’s three albums and four EPs, owing to her collaborations with other writers in Los Angeles, Nashville and London. Without her older sister to split writer duties — “We don’t work together; she writes her songs and I write mine” — Frampton found the experience different from what she expected.
“This record is very personal, almost uncomfortable,” the 24-year-old artist says after doing a promotional concert at the Hollywood office of Reveille Productions. “I felt very alone on this record. On our last [Meg & Dia] record, we were stuck in this little cabin sharing bedrooms, just the five of us. The guitar amps were in the living room.
NKorea shows leader and his son watching massive live-fire drills amid tension with SKorea
AP via Washington Post
North Korean television has aired footage of leader Kim Jong Il and his son watching massive live-fire drills.
The footage aired on state television Tuesday showed Kim and his heir-apparent Kim Jong Un watching tanks, aircraft, warships and rocket launchers firing at targets on mountains. Dozens of troops were seen parachuting from a plane.
The two Kims were seen speaking to each other as they watched the drills from an enclosed viewing stand with senior military officers.
South Korean gamers suffer joystick curfew shock The Register (U.K.)
A ban restricting all South Korean gamers under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6am is now in full affect.
South Korea, boasting the fifth largest broadband penetration rate, is the first country to implement the controversial initiative under the Youth Protection Revision bill.
The bill, variously known as the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law, had been contested but was eventually passed.
At this stage the ban only pertains to PC and console based networked games including Xbox Live, PlayStation and multiplayer dominions such as World of Warcraft. The government says that within two years networked games using mobile phones will be included in the ban.
Like newspapers all around the world, North Korea’s biggest newspaper Rodong Shinmun is apparently adjusting to new technology.
Word is out that Rodong Shinmun is now providing news on cellphones in Pyongyang. Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper in Japan run by the General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan, published a story about it on Saturday.
It’s not quite right to say the newspaper has developed an “app” since there aren’t yet smartphones in North Korea. It appears Rodong Shinmun is sending out multimedia messages, or MMS, with stories.
Lawsuit spurred by Virginia Tech student’s suicide settled for $250,000 Roanoke Times
The state has agreed to pay $250,000 and create a $100,000 scholarship fund to settle a $43 million wrongful death lawsuit brought against Virginia Tech by the family of a student who committed suicide, according to a court order
The state will pay up to $126,666 in legal fees to the plaintiff’s attorney. The family of Daniel Sun Kim is to receive at least $123,334.
Additionally, Virginia Tech will establish a $100,000 scholarship in Kim’s name, place a memorial plaque somewhere on campus and enact a policy of considering immediate notification of the parents or guardians of any student who is thought to be suicidal.
The Kim family brought the action in Fairfax Circuit Court in 2009 to “learn why Tech didn’t follow its protocols” in responding to a warning that Kim was suicidal, plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Mims wrote in a statement.
Ahn-Joo: Debbie Lee’s Korean Pub Food Restaurant, Her Cookbook + a Recipe for Chicken Meatballs L.A. Weekly
Ahn-joo is the Korean word for pub food. It’s what Debbie Lee serves at her newly opened Ahn-Joo, a Korean snack bar in the Americana mall in Glendale. No liquor there, but Lee frequents Koreantown pubs so she knows the dishes well. And she adds her own spin to come up with a modern take, even turning rice cakes into nachos.
Nothing is cheffy or pretentious. “I’m a cook. At the end of the day, I want to serve people the food that I want to eat,” she says.
For the past month, the biggest story in South Korea’s stock market has centered on a five-piece boy band called Big Bang, and a couple puffs of marijuana.
News that the Big Bang’s front-man had reportedly tested positive for pot threatened to put a crimp in the initial public offering of YG Entertainment, the label responsible for some of the biggest acts in Korean Pop. The concerns were for naught. Last week, buyers snapped up YG Entertainment’s stock like teenagers trying to score tickets to their favorite boy band’s show. The company’s share price more than doubled on its first day of trading, reaching roughly $67 as buyers ordered 561 times more stock than was available. Its market cap now sits at roughly $340 million.
Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks to win Asia Series Yonhap News
South Korea’s Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks of Japan 5-3 to capture the Asia Series tournament in a battle of league champions.
At Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, the Lions, the 2011 champion of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) overcame an early deficit against the Hawks, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) champion. Samsung’s starter Jang Won-sam settled down after a shaky start and the bullpen took care of the rest, as the Lions became the first KBO club to win the Asia Series since it began in 2005. The Lions also avenged a 9-0 loss to the Hawks in the round-robin phase of this tournament.
It started as a challenge. A patently absurd challenge. Could one writer keep up with a real-life Wolf Pack—comic star Aziz Ansari, top chef David Chang, and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy—as the hipster trinity partied through Tokyo, arguably the food capital of the world? (It’s definitely the drunk-karaoke capital.) Brett Martin remembers what happened next. Most of it.
David Chang – surly and hot, the chef who’s delivering Manhattan chic to our high rollers The Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Momofuku Seiobo opened just three weeks ago at the revamped Star in Pyrmont and is already one of the most talked-about restaurants in town, and not for all the right reasons. There’s the online-only booking policy, $175 upfront payment in a dark diner without a view and music too loud for the over-45s.
Chang is a bit surly. The shopping trip to Railway and Rowe Sts in Eastwood to sample the delights of Sydney’s Little Korea doesn’t start well when he is kept waiting 40 minutes after his car fails to turn up. He hops in a cab instead and picks up the organiser of the missing lift – me – on the way.
He doesn’t talk much, preferring to eke out emails on his phone before his New York head office shuts up shop.
Anthony Bourdain called him the hottest chef in the business. At 27 the New York food scene was struck dumb by his French/Japanese/Italian/Korean cuisine, including homemade, fluffy white steamed buns stuffed with braised pork belly and topped with hoi sin sauce and dishes including his spins on ramen noodles, kimchi stews and slow-cooked egg.
Amid Shrinking Budgets, Forever 21 Just Keeps Getting Bigger Advertising Age
(Pictured above: Linda Chang, Forever 21 senior marketing manager and daughter of co-founders Do Won and Jin Sook Chang).
For a privately held fast-fashion retailer that after 27 years in business is still run by its Korean-American founder, Do Won Chang, Forever 21 has been behaving a lot like a big-box giant.
While many stores struggled to stay afloat during a recession that walloped consumer spending, Forever 21 pushed forward aggressively, opening ever-bigger locations and in many cases moving into space vacated by bankrupt businesses. Some Forever 21 shops, at 90,000 square feet or more, now rival a Kohl’s or Target in size.
“Many of [Forever 21] locations look and feel like flagship stores,” observed Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with NPD Group. “Every shopper feels like it’s a great experience for them.”
South Korean pastor jailed for adultery
AFP via Yahoo News
A South Korean Christian pastor was jailed for 18 months for having a decade-long affair with a woman whose wedding he had officiated at, according to a court.
Adultery in South Korea is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison but most offenders usually receive only suspended jail terms and imprisonment is quite rare.
The 51-year-old pastor, whose name has been withheld for privacy, had a secret affair with the woman, 41, for more than 10 years after conducting her marriage ceremony. She and her husband were both followers of his church. The woman was also given a year-long jail sentence.
Tammy Chu was adopted by an American family at the age of nine and raised in rural New York state. She never saw another Korean until she went to college. “I remember what my birth parents looked like, but I forgot how to speak Korean and memories of Korean culture also disappeared from my mind,” she recalls.
Chu became a documentary film director and came back to Korea in 1998 for a project. “When I came to Seoul, it felt strange yet familiar and uncomfortable yet comfortable.”
She now lives in an apartment in Itaewon. She had shuttled back and forth from New York and Seoul for some 10 years and eventually decided to settle down here. Last year Chu, who can now understand a lot of Korean, won the top prize for a documentary at the Busan International Film Festival for her film “Resilience,” which focused on Korean adoptees.
Protests against South Korea’s ratification of a free-trade agreement with the U.S. took another ugly turn over the weekend with the assault of a police chief during a major demonstration in central Seoul.
Park Geon-chan, the head of Jongno Police Station, sustained minor wounds after being attacked by a group of around 100 demonstrators. They were part of a larger gathering of over 2,000 anti-FTA protestors that brought the Gwanghwamun area to a standstill on Saturday evening.
Mr. Park was apparently singled out because of his status and because he was in uniform.
US jury convicts man of visa fraud for recruiting Thai welders, forcing work in restaurants
AP via Washington Post
A California man was convicted of seeking visa extensions for Thai welders purportedly hired for a construction job when in reality they were forced to work at restaurants and live in deplorable conditions, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Yoo Taik Kim, 55, was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles on Tuesday of visa fraud and lying on his citizenship application.
The case was part of a broader investigation into a labor deal that Thai welders claimed promised them legitimate jobs for an American steel company but subjected them to intolerable conditions at the hands of Kim’s manpower company.
Jeff Kim scored four rushing touchdowns and added another receiving as Beckman defeated Ocean View, 62-24, in the second round of the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs Friday night at Ocean View High.
The game was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter as Beckman (10-2) carried a 45-point lead into the final quarter.
Kim finished with 204 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a scoring run of 90 yards midway through the third quarter. He also caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Biedgoly to put Beckman up 28-10 three minutes before halftime.
White Men are Likely to Move Twice as Fast When With a Minority Girlfriend 8Asians
Among young American adults, relationships between white men and minority women move into sexual intimacy and from sex to cohabitation significantly faster than white-white couples or minority-minority pairings, reports a new study by a Cornell demographer. [...] Controlling for such factors as religion and family background, the researchers found that, on average, white male-minority female couples advanced to sex within one month of dating — nearly twice as fast as white-white couples.
A group of elderly South Koreans are campaigning “to generate more interest in the fate of tens of thousands of South Koreans believed to have been forcibly taken to North Korea during the Korean War six decades ago.”
On a sidewalk in central Seoul recently, Lee Mi-il and several other older South Koreans took turns at a microphone, calling out what seemed like an endless list of names. They began in the morning and continued through the night, one faceless name after another — 83,000 in all — ringing out and melting into the cacophony of the capital city’s busiest district.
Yet another mainstream article about the global K-pop phenomenon.
The loudest screaming I’ve ever heard isn’t at a pop concert at the O2, or the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, or the Birmingham NEC – it’s ringing up and down the aisles of a cinema in central London. And the cause of such eardrum-shredding shrillness? Not stadium rock gods or Simon Cowell’s latest pop puppet or a Beyoncé-calibre diva, but a band you’ve probably never even heard of: SHINee, five pretty young men from Korea. This is K-pop, and it may just be conquering the world.
Captors free last of South Korean businessmen held in restive southern Philippines, army says
AP via Washington Post
Kidnappers abandoned two South Korean businessmen in the restive southern Philippines after troops closed in and the gunmen panicked, an army general said Sunday.
The gunmen had been holding three South Korean businessmen. The first, Choi Inn-so, was released Friday, apparently because he had fallen ill and was slowing down the group.
On Saturday, the other two were found in Lanao del Norte province. Army Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes said Wu Seok-bung and Kim Nam-du were weak and starving when troops found them.
A Filipino guide who was seized with the South Koreans on Oct. 21 was reportedly shot in captivity, and troops will continue to look for him and the approximately 15 kidnappers, army Col. Daniel Lucero said.
Gardena husband shoots and kills estranged wife, then himself Daily Breeze (Orange County, Calif.)
A man apparently shot his wife to death at the door of their Gardena apartment, stepped away from her and then killed himself, police said Friday.
Detectives said it appeared the husband, Won Chin, 52, committed the acts Wednesday night in the 15800 block of South Normandie Avenue because of a failing marriage.
“She moved out fairly recently,” Gardena police Sgt. Russ Temple said. “She came over to the house that night and it looks like he met her at the door and shot her with one single gunshot wound to the head.”
Korean Footballers a Step Closer to London Olympics Chosun Ilbo
The nation’s Olympic footballers beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday to top Group A in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2012 London Games.
Led by coach Hong Myung-bo, the team added three precious points to keep its Olympic dreams alive halfway through regional qualifying. It now has seven points from two wins and one draw, while Saudi Arabia is bottom of the table with one point.
As it seeks to become a leader in robotic technology, South Korea is about to put a new type of droid through its paces: a robot prison guard.
Under a project sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, trials of the robots will be held for a month at a jail in the city of Pohang, southeast of Seoul, from March. The robots are designed to patrol the corridors of corrective institutions, monitoring conditions inside the cells. If they detect sudden or unusual activity such as violent behavior they alert human guards.
A councilman from Queens, an Asian immigrant who’s traveled the striver’s path to success, rises to New York’s political heights with the support of a multicultural coalition of voters. His reformist zeal and unique ability to unite fragmented factions — blacks, Latinos, Asians and labor — make him a media darling and a serious contender for what some call the second-most powerful office in America: mayor of New York. But when an Asian American agent is sent undercover to probe the roots of his success, allegations of an illicit immigrant money ring surface, threatening to derail this rising star’s ambitions.
You might recognize this as the story of city comptroller John Liu, who’s gone from Flushing, Queens councilman to putative frontrunner in the race to replace Mayor Bloomberg in 2013 — only to have that status rocked last week by the high-profile arrest of one of his major fundraisers, Oliver Pan, over alleged financial improprieties. Liu, New York City’s chief financial officer and the first Asian-American to hold citywide office, said in a statement that he was “saddened” by the allegations: “If it is true, then the conduct was clearly wrong and my campaign was not told the truth.”
Uncannily, however, the controversy also happens to mirror the basic plot of a novel written in 1995: Chang-Rae Lee’s acclaimed PEN/Hemingway award-winning debut, “Native Speaker.” Reached in Princeton, where he’s a professor of creative writing at the university’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Lee admits to being a bit spooked by the seeming coincidence.
Martin Scorsese Gives a Thumbs Up to UCI Professor Kyung Hyun Kim’s Cinema Book O.C. Weekly
It’s not often that an academic tome–even one related to film–snags a forward written by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, whose latest movie Hugo coincidentally opens nationwide today.
But Kyung Hyun Kim, UC Irvine’s associate professor of East Asian languages & literatures and film & media studies, won those bragging rights, and like else everything in Hollywood it all started with the right connections.
U.S. ambassador to Seoul confident of enduring ties with Korea Korea Herald
U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim expressed confidence in the resilience of the ties between his country and South Korea, saying he believes the friendship between the U.S. and the country of his birth will survive any challenge.
In his second blog post since taking office earlier this month, the Korean-American ambassador said two of his main missions here are to “strengthen and deepen” both the bilateral alliance and people-to-people ties. He is the first Korean-American to serve as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul since the sides established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.
Tales from Asia: Benson Henderson’s tour through Korea and Japan Yahoo Sports
Last week, I was honored to be asked by the UFC to represent them in Korea and Japan. This is my first time overseas, which these days seems to put me in a minority. But I am looking forward to the great events and festivities that are lined up.
The main purpose of this trip is to visit with many of our American troops here in Korea. These men and women do so much for our country, and have to spend so much time away from their loved ones to accomplish that. We sometimes take that for granted.
I also wanted to take this trip for a very personal reason. I am a second-generation Korean-American, and I am visiting my mother’s home country. My Oma (mom) is accompanying me on this trip. Over the weekend, she will get to see many of her family members for the first time in years, and I will be meeting them for the first time EVER! Being able to share this trip with my Oma makes it so much more special.
I never really thought I’d come visit Korea until I was much older and retired, but the UFC has made it a reality. As I am writing this, we are driving through a very beautiful and slightly overwhelming downtown Seoul.
Half-Korean mixed martial artist proud of heritage Yonhap News
Ben Henderson, a U.S. mixed martial artist born to a Korean-American mother and an African-American father, speaks only little Korean.
But that hasn’t stopped him from tattooing Korean characters onto his lithe, yet chiseled frame: his own name, as well as the words for “power,” “glory” and “warrior.”
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency Thursday, Henderson, a Colorado native, said he takes great pride in his heritage.
“I am very proud to be part-Korean, to have Korean in my blood,” Henderson said in a phone conversation Thursday. He was visiting the demilitarized zone (DMZ) as part of an ongoing tour in South Korea, and he’s also scheduled to visit U.S. troops and spend some time with his mother’s family. This is his first trip to his mother’s homeland.
“I think Koreans… have a lot of pride,” he said. “I think that’s where I get it from, from my Korean side.”
While most UC Berkeley students chose to head home for the Thanksgiving break, senior Alex Kim decided to do something decidedly different early Thursday morning.
Kim cancelled his plane ticket home and instead lugged camping equipment and his pet cat Obi to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s front lawn around 5 a.m. There he pitched a tent in solidarity with the Occupy Cal movement that has shaken the campus over the last three weeks.
Interview with Two Brothers Making Products They Love MYX TV
Terrence and Kevin Kim are two Korean American brothers from New Jersey who had a dream. Instead of going down the usual post-college-graduate path that most 22-year-olds follow after their education is complete, the brothers decided to pack up a suitcase each and head for Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.
Fast forward to the end of 2011, and the brothers have traveled all around China and Korea to experience the cultures of both countries by visiting factories, fabric markets, and sight seeing. Influenced by the traditional art, architecture, fabrics, dyeing, monks, etc., they decided to make their dream a reality.
Student kills mother, keeps body at home for 8 months Korea Times
A high school student is suspected of having killed his mother and keeping the body hidden for eight months at their home after being pressured by her to get higher exam scores.
Gwangjin Police in eastern Seoul said Thursday they have requested an arrest warrant for the 18-year-old high school senior, identified as Ji, on suspicions of murdering his mother, 51-year-old Park. Ji is suspected of having stabbed his mother to death at their home in eastern Seoul at around 11 a.m. on March 13. The body was kept in her room for eight months.
According to police, Park kept telling her son that he must enter a top-class university and should rank first in nationwide exams. When he obtained lower scores than her expectations, she didn’t give him food or forced him to stay awake at night to study. Being afraid of her scolding, Ji had fabricated grade reports since middle school. His fear grew as his test scores fell after entering high school.
Sang-Eun Byun, an assistant professor of consumer affairs at Auburn University in Alabama, surveyed hundreds of shoppers at Zara and H&M and found that the limited availability of goods in those stores excited the customers. Even though it wasn’t Black Friday, she said her findings hold true for any shopping situation in which high-value goods are scarce.
Ordinarily, Byun said, shoppers are turned off by crowds. But when crowds create a sense of competition — such as when hundreds of shoppers are rushing to collect marked-down goods — they generate a different feeling entirely. Competition creates what’s called hedonic shopping value, or a sense of enjoyment from the mere process of buying goods.
“At certain levels, consumers enjoy arousal and challenges during the shopping process,” Byun said. “They enjoy something that’s harder to get, and it makes them feel playful and excited.”
North Korea warned on Thursday that any military clash on a disputed maritime border could escalate into an attack on the presidential office in Seoul, threatening to engulf the South Korean leadership “in a sea of fire.”
The threat came one day after South Korea conducted military drills near Yeonpyeong, a front-line island west of Seoul. The display of firepower was timed to mark the first anniversary of the North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong, which killed two marines and two civilians.
Hines Ward’s reduced status does not look as though it will change any time soon, which begs this question: Are we watching the final games of the brilliant career of the Steelers most prolific and decorated receiver?
Golfer Kevin Na Thanks Fans with Charity Tournament Chosun Ilbo
Korean American golfer Kevin Na, who won his first U.S. PGA title on his 211th attempt and his eighth year on the Tour early last month, will hold a charity tournament under his name near Los Angeles on Dec. 8.
Looks like a mullet is required to be a member of the Asian Boyz.
Deputies looking for Asian Boyz gang members wanted in a machete attack also discovered 1,400 marijuana plants worth about $3 million growing in a house on Wednesday.
In addition, authorities seized Ectasy pills and methamphetamine at a house next to the pot grow. They arrested a man and two teens for the assault plus two other people for the drug possession.
Sgt. Steve Kim of the Sheriff’s Asian Gang Team said 30 deputies served search and arrest warrants at five Rosemead locations at 6:30 a.m.
It’s been a strange couple of months for current TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim. Back in August the Canadian-born grappler controversially went against instructions and eliminated herself from the Divas Battle Royal match on the August 1st episode of Monday Night Raw. A few days later Kim announced on Twitter that she had quit WWE, however, she was not permitted to leave.
What followed was a stunning standoff between WWE and their former Women’s Champion, which saw her forced to sit out the remainder of her contract. Kim’s decision to eliminate herself caused quite a bit of controversy, with some figures in the wrestling world who called her actions unprofessional, although Kim stands by the decision she made.
State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi entered the political world as a survivor of a tormented childhood, losing an older sister at 17 to suicide and watching as her disgraced parents burned her sister’s clothes, cut her out of photos and never mentioned her name again.
Yet Hayashi quickly built a name for herself at the Capitol after becoming the first Korean-American woman to serve in the Legislature. She became part of the inner circles of two Assembly speakers. A magazine named her one of the 100 most influential Asian-Americans of the past decade.
Now, a new and puzzling source of shame is threatening to ground this once-rising East Bay Democrat and dash her plans to run for the state Senate: a bizarre grand theft charge that accuses her of shoplifting nearly $2,500 of clothes at San Francisco’s Neiman Marcus on Oct. 25.
While the case has embarrassed fellow lawmakers and could make Hayashi the first California lawmaker in 18 years to be ousted because of a felony conviction, it has focused new attention on what legislative staffers call Hayashi’s overly ambitious and sometimes erratic behavior.
Her criminal case has caused tongues to wag at the Capitol and jolted the tight-knit Korean-American community, where many view her as a role model.
“I’m saddened because she’s somebody that many in the Korean-American community have looked up to,” said Jiyon Yun, a Walnut Creek attorney. “She’s had so many accomplishments and contributed so much to so many efforts and projects, I hope this doesn’t take away from what she’s been working on.”
There will be no repeat of the nightmare four years ago, when attorney David Oh was ahead on election night for one of two City Council at-large seats set aside for the minority political party but lost after absentee ballots were tallied.
Oh today finally bested Al Taubenberger in last week’s election, after absentee, military and provisional ballots were counted. In the final tally, Oh led by 166 votes from election day ballots and absentee ballots. A count today of 755 provisional ballots, used on election day when there are questions about a voter’s registration, did not put Taubenberger ahead.
Oh said he was not surprised by the narrow margin, though he said it was unclear what impact a barrage of negative mailings, radio ads and robo-calls in the closing week of the campaign had on his campaign. That effort was run by a political action committee controlled by Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which supported another Republican in the race.
Holding off some of the biggest names in women’s golf, unheralded Hee Young Park won the CME Group Titleholders on Sunday for her first career LPGA title.
Park, with a closing 70, finished at 9-under-par 279 to beat Paula Creamer and Sandra Gal by two shots at sun-splashed Grand Cypress Resort to win the LPGA tour’s season-ending event. Another shot back were Na Yeon Choi and world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen. Michelle Wie, world No. 3 Cristie Kerr and world No. 1 Yani Tseng, trying to win for the 12th time this season, made brief runs at the championship before finishing in a tie for sixth, seven shots behind.
In an alley just off Garosoo-gil, the tree-lined street in Gangnam that has taken over from Apgujeong as the coolest place to be seen on weekends, is the three-month-old Grill5taco restaurant that has created its own version of Kogi’s fusion of Korean and Mexican foods.
Grill5taco was started by Ban Joo-hyung and Kim Hyun-chul and their original thought was to sell their tacos from trucks just like Kogi does. So they brought one over from the U.S. and hit the streets for a short time last year.
But the police kept slapping them with fines. Apparently, it’s OK to sell food from tents and from trucks that have permission to work in certain spots. But it’s against the law to just drive around wherever you want and sell food.
Mr. Kim said that’s when they decided to open the restaurant. “Garosoo-gil was the only neighborhood we considered,” he said.
Korea Still Sends Hundreds of Babies Abroad for Adoption Chosun Ilbo
Korea is still the largest exporter of babies for adoption to the U.S., highlighting the need to strengthen child protection in the country. According to the 2011 Annual Adoption Report to Congress released Friday, out of the total of 2,047 foreign-born children adopted by U.S. families from October 2010 to September 2011, 734 or 36 percent were from Korea.
The Philippines was a distant second with 216, Uganda third with 196, India fourth with 168, and Ethiopia fifth with 126. Korea last topped the list in 2003 and since then it ranked fourth or fifth until it reclaimed first place this year.
Suspected N.Korean Spy Arrested After Posing as Defector Chosun Ilbo
An alleged North Korean spy has been arrested after arriving in the country posing as a refugee.
The government said Saturday that a routine background check on the individual revealed he had been assigned by the North to conduct espionage activities in the South.
Authorities said the man entered Korea in April after traveling through China and Southeast Asian countries including Laos, Vietnam and Thailand in a bid to legitimately build his cover story as a defector.
A New Voice Grips South Korea With Plain Talk About Inequality and Justice New York Times
Two days before Seoul elected a mayor last month, an unassuming man slipped into the campaign headquarters of Park Won-soon, an independent candidate. Amid flashing cameras, the man, Ahn Cheol-soo, a soft-spoken university dean who had earlier been seen as a contender for mayor himself, affirmed his support for Mr. Park, entrusted him with a written statement and then left.
“When we participate in an election, we citizens can become our own masters, principle can defeat irregularity and privilege, and common sense can drive out absurdity,” said Mr. Ahn’s statement, an open appeal to voters that quickly spread by way of Twitter and other social networks. “I’m going to the voting station early in the morning. Please join me.”
It was a pivotal moment in an election whose outcome has rocked South Korea. In a country where resentment of social and economic inequality is on the rise, and where many believe that their government serves the privileged rather than the common good, Mr. Ahn’s words — “participate,” “principle,” “common sense” — propelled younger voters to throw their support overwhelmingly behind Mr. Park, the first independent candidate to win South Korea’s second-most-influential elected office.
Detroit police Chief Ralph Godbee says Korean-American businesses are donating 600 turkeys for distribution to the city’s needy.
Godbee says the 27th Korean-American Share Day is being marked with an event at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the department’s 12th Precinct station.
A Korean teacher cycling across the country stops in East Texas KTRE ABC (Lufkin, Tex.)
It was a request like no other for the First Assembly of God. A 21-year old teacher from Korea cycled up to the church last Thursday, asking to spend the night in the front yard.
“He asked if he could put his tent up and stay the night to get some rest because he felt more safe staying at churches than he did just anywhere,” said First Assembly of God member, Lesa Rodgers.
“They told him yes he can camp here. So then, I come up. It was cold. So I said look just come on in the church. We weren’t going to leave him there,” said First Assembly of God pastor, Kenneth Reynolds.
Tungin Byun saved up money over the past year. Now, he’s using it to cycle around the US, stopping at churches for rest along the way.
North Korean celebrities are struggling because of the Hallyu Wave allkpop
North Korean celebrities are suffering significantly due to the Hallyu Wave, mainly because South Korean celebrities are gaining much popularity, while North Korean celebrities are becoming forgotten. Multiple insiders state, “People related to the North Korean entertainment business ignore the demands of the people and solely focus on Kim Jong Il‘s propaganda. People can expect to see the end of North Korea’s entertainment industry“.
North Korean youths who defected from the country were able to name several South Korean films including ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ and ‘Scent of a Man‘, while they were unable to recall any names of actors/actresses from a particular North Korean film.
N. Korea crowned world champs – unofficially
AFP via Google News
North Korea’s 1-0 win over Japan last week was not only a famous victory over their bitter rivals — it also made them the Unofficial Football World Champions, according to a tongue-in-cheek website.
The www.ufwc.co.uk site contends that the world title won by Spain in 2010 passed unofficially to Argentina after a friendly win, and then to Japan after the Blue Samurai beat Lionel Messi’s men in October last year.
So when Pak Nam Chol buried his 50th-minute header at Pyongyang’s bitterly cold Kim Il Sung Stadium last Tuesday, prompting rapturous celebrations, it was a goal that also put the secretive state unofficially on top of the world.
Roy Choi of Kogi, Chego and A-Frame says he’ll be opening new restaurant Sunny Spot on Nov. 18 in Venice in the former Beechwood space — “think roadside cookshop, where every day’s a holiday.”
Inspired by the cuisine of the West Indies, Sunny Spot’s menu runs the gamut from double-fried jerk chicken and rum-glazed prawns to slow-roasted whole goat and papaya-guava honey pot salad with crushed cashews, red onion, lime and tarragon (pictured).
An ex-member of an elite North Korean special warfare unit defected across the West Sea on Oct. 30. He crossed the sea on a raft made of tires, it emerged on Tuesday.
Under questioning by the National Intelligence Service, the military and police, the man, who is in his early 30s, said he had been discharged from the marine sniper brigade five years ago and then worked as a civilian member in a military unit.
Watch Margaret Cho Invade Bonnaroo, Accost Indie Rockers Spin.com
Last week, we watched Das Racist drag their parents to Bumbershoot. Today, to herald the release of Margaret Cho’s stand-up concert film, Cho Dependent — and say farewell to SPIN’s first-ever “Funny” Issue — we have footage of the comic and friend-of-indie-rockers everywhere bugging the shit out of everyone backstage at the 2010 Bonnaroo festival to the sounds of her “Baby I’m With the Band” (featuring Brendan Benson). Watch carefully to see who embraces the Cho, and who eyes her warily (the list of guest stars includes Conan O’Brien, Reggie Watts, Doug Benson, The Flaming Lips, Weezer, OK Go, the Gossip, The Punch Brothers, and GWAR).
Hines Ward did not start in Cincinnati, and he played a limited number of snaps in the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Bengals. If the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver has been demoted he is taking it in stride.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Ward said. “We won the game that’s the bottom line.”
Ward said his health wasn’t an issue, and that the coaches didn’t tell him before the Bengals game that his playing time would be diminished.
Anthony Kim has endured plenty of lows over the past 12 months, but feels he’s now on course to hit new highs.
The Language of Many: ‘The Language Archive’ at East West Players [REVIEW] Hyphen
During the LA premiere of The Language Archive at East West Players, the scent of warm bread wafted through the theater. There’s nuance to smells, I’m told, a layering that is discernible to even the most indiscriminate noses. The same could be said of language and of theatrical plays that go beyond just the black and white categorization of “good” and “bad.”
As with my nose, there’s a certain level of layering that I’m oblivious and, like the bread smell, there was something comfortable and familiar with the The Language Archive. I spent the evening trying to figure out where I’ve seen this story before.
Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines wins CIF state girls golf title ESPN.com
Sarah Cho of Torrey Pines won the CIF state girls golf championship in a two-hole playoff over Cha Cha Wilhoite of Palm Desert at the Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.
Cho and Wilhoite were the only two golfers to shoot under par in the tournament. Both were 1-under, 71, after 18 holes.
S. Korean football fans demand coach’s ouster
AFP via Google News
Angry fans called Wednesday for the resignation of coach Cho Kwang-Rae after South Korea suffered a stunning 1-2 defeat to underdogs Lebanon in the third round of regional World Cup qualification.
The official website of the Korea Football Association (KFA) was flooded with critical postings, with one suggesting a petition campaign to press the KFA to dismiss Cho.
Newspapers also lambasted South Korea for playing what Chosun Ilbo daily called a “game of sleepwalkers”.
Asian women struggle to make films City Times (San Diego)
For many filmmakers, the festival serves as an opportunity to create change in the industry through gaining exposure and connecting with people.
“Support from groups like this has been invaluable in helping further my career,” said Mina T. Son, a Korean American filmmaker who screened her short, “Making Noise in Silence,” at the festival. The the short follows the lives of two Korean-American students at the California School for the Deaf. Son returned to the festival to receive an award for Best Short Documentary for the second year in a row.
Derek Kirk Kim Completes Season 1 of ‘Mythomania’ Live-Action Web Series [Video] Comics Alliance
The Eisner and Harvey-winning cartoonist behind such works as Same Difference and Other Stories, The Eternal Smile (with Gene Luen Yang) and Good As Lily (with Jesse Hamm), Derek Kirk Kim has completed the first season of his live-action Web series Mythomania. Written and directed by Kim, the show follows aspiring cartoonist Andy Go as he navigates the joys, challenges, sacrifices, screw-overs and other assorted indignities suffered by those who seek their fortunes in the comic book book business. The show is an honest and personal (perhaps too personal, in the case of episode seven) into what life can be like for cartoonists, and how easy it can be to face not only rejection but also opportunity.
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.