South Korea Proposes Dates for Family Reunions With North
New York Times
South Korea proposed to North Korea on Monday that the two sides hold a new round of family reunions between Feb. 17 and Feb. 22 to allow elderly relatives separated by the Korean War to meet for the first time in six decades.
The South offered to send South Korean Red Cross officials to the border on Wednesday to sort out details with their North Korean counterparts. Both Koreas have suggested that the reunions can be held at the Diamond Mountain tourist resort in southeast North Korea.
“We hope that family reunions will take place smoothly and create a new opportunity for South-North relations,” Kim Eui-do, a spokesman for the South Korean government, said on Monday.
In North Korea, meth is offered as casually as a cup of tea
Los Angeles Times
After the North Korean coal mine where she worked stopped paying salaries, Park Kyung Ok tried her hand at business.
Buttons and zippers, candy and dried squid, fabric, plastic tarpaulins, men’s suits and cigarettes.
“I sold just about everything,” said Park, 44.
But it wasn’t until she started hawking methamphetamine in 2007, she said, that she was able to earn a living.
Methamphetamine, known as orum, or “ice,” is a rare commodity manufactured and sold in North Korea, where most factories sit idle, the equipment rusted or looted. The North Korean government once produced the drug, and others that are illicit in the West. Resourceful entrepreneurs have since set up their own small facilities, and evidence suggests that they are distributing the drug beyond the nation’s borders.
UN not taken seriously by North Korea, says defector Shin Dong-hyuk
South China Morning Post
North Korean defector Shin Dong-hyuk will be in Geneva on March 17, when the United Nations commission set up to look into the human-rights situation in North Korea announces its findings, but he has little faith that anything the UN says will have any impact in Pyongyang.
“Unfortunately, the UN cannot do very much,” Shin, the only person born in a North Korean labour camp to escape to the West, said yesterday in Tokyo.
“The horrible state that is North Korea does not take the UN seriously and history shows us that the organisation has not been able to do one thing to halt the problem in North Korea,” he said.
Japan gov’t distances itself from NHK head’s ‘comfort women’ remark
Tokyo on Monday distanced itself from comments by the new head of national broadcaster NHK, who said the Imperial Army’s system of wartime sex slavery was not unique to Japan.
Mr Katsuto Momii said on Saturday that the practice of forcibly drafting women into military brothels during World War II was “common in any country at war”.
“Can we say there were none in Germany or France? It was everywhere in Europe,” he told an inaugural press conference, according to local media reports.
Bilingual classes gives older immigrants better shot at citizenship
Southern California Public Radio
In the civics class she teaches in a Koreatown library, Theresa Jung speaks in Korean before switching seamlessly to English.
“What is this “D” word?” Jung said, gesturing to a page in the textbook. “Democracy!”
The students – mostly in their 50s and 60s – murmured the word. Jung could tell it was hard for some students to say, and tried to loosen them up.
“Say it one more time, Korean-version,” Jung said.
“Demo-crush!” several students said in unison, laughing.
Jung’s class is part of a newly-launched program to teach English and civics to immigrants in Los Angeles County with limited English skills.
We weren’t violent so it wasn’t rape, insist abusers of girl
Gympie Times (Australia)
A PAIR of 16-year-old boys took turns having sex with an underage girl who was “almost comatose” from alcohol – but still believe they didn’t rape her because they were not ‘violent’.
In a case with similarities to the “Roast Busters” scandal, the 15-year-old victim was heavily intoxicated and the two teenagers plotted to have sex with her.
After she was abused by each boy separately and left naked in a bedroom, she was further humiliated by a group who came in with their cellphones lit up and touched her.
BIGBANG to release new album this summer
Popular K-pop boy band BIGBANG will release a new album this summer.
Yang Hyun-suk, president of YG Entertainment which manages BIGBANG, told reporters on Sunday the five-member band will take the stage in support of a new full-length album “somewhere around July or August.”
During the band’s Seoul concert on Sunday, its leader G-Dragon said, “I feel like we have new family whenever we travel to a new country, so we’re very happy.”
Shin-Soo Choo gets on base any way he can
Part of Shin-Soo Choo’s impressive ability to get on base is that he isn’t afraid to get hit by a pitch.
Choo posted a .423 on-base percentage, the fourth-best in the majors. He also was hit by a pitch 26 times, the most by any big leaguer in 2013.
“Hit by pitch is part of baseball,” Choo said Friday night. “I can’t do anything. If I get scared about hit by pitch, I might change approach and I can’t do anything. Pitchers can throw inside. I can hit it or I get hit.”
Kim lifts Korea to 1-0 win over Costa Rica
The Korean national football team began the year of the Brazil World Cup with a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Sunday (KST).
Without key European based players such as Son Heung-min and Lee Chung-yong, who will surely be included in the World Cup squad barring injury, lone striker Kim Shin-wook scored the game’s only goal to prove his worth ahead of the global event only six months away.
“Players exceeded my expectation,” team manager Hong Myung-bo said. “Today’s match was important in terms of not only the result but also the performance. I’m glad that we won. Players tried hard and they did it.”
Study time almost over for Olympic team
With the Sochi Winter Olympics just 10 days away, preparation time is almost over for Korean athletes who will arrive at the Black Sea resort town burdened by expectations for a historic medal haul.
A record 66 Korean athletes have qualified for the upcoming Olympics, 18 more than the 48 the country sent to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Games. They have been facing mounting pressure for an impressive performance in Sochi, where the country aims at winning at least four gold medals and add to the build-up for the 2018 Games to be held at the Korean ski town of PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.
Twenty-eight Koreans will compete in the speed and figure skating events, 16 in sledding events and 15 in skiing events. Five Korean women will compete in curling and the country will also send two biathlon athletes. Ice hockey will be the only sport in Sochi where Koreans will not be participating.
In South Korea, Spam Is the Stuff Gifts Are Made Of
New York Times
As the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, Seoul’s increasingly well-heeled residents are scouring store shelves for tastefully wrapped boxes of culinary specialties. Among their favorite choices: imported wines, choice cuts of beef, rare herbal teas. And Spam.
Yes, Spam. In the United States, the gelatinous meat product in the familiar blue and yellow cans has held a place as thrifty pantry staple, culinary joke and kitschy fare for hipsters without ever losing its low-rent reputation. But in economically vibrant South Korea, the pink bricks of pork shoulder and ham have taken on a bit of glamour as they have worked their way into people’s affections.
“Here, Spam is a classy gift you can give to people you care about during the holiday,” said Im So-ra, a saleswoman at the high-end Lotte Department Store in downtown Seoul who proudly displayed stylish boxes with cans of Spam nestled inside.
New Year party offers link to Korean culture
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
The celebration of the Korean New Year on Saturday in Des Moines was a big opportunity for Michelle Cortlandt and her family.
Cortlandt’s two children were both adopted from Korea. Since adopting the children, she said, her family has become a “Korean-American family” that emphasizes connections to the children’s heritage.
The observance of the beginning of the year of the horse was marked with food and festivities and a large crowd at Westminster Presbyterian Church
In ‘open letter,’ N. Korea urges inter-Korean dialogue
North Korea called again for inter-Korean talks Friday, this time in the form of an “open letter.”
“It is our determination to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity, completely halt hostile military acts, realize the reunion of separated families and relatives, resume the tour of Mt. Kumgang and reenergize multi-faceted north-south cooperation and exchanges,” the powerful National Defense Commission said in what it says is an open letter to South Koreans.
The move came after the South Korean government rejected the North’s dialogue offer, with “unacceptable” pre-conditions attached, earlier this month.
SEE IT: Marco Rubio stares down the barrel of a North Korean soldier’s camera lens
New York Daily News
Marco Rubio came face to face with a North Korean soldier Thursday at the DMZ but his Communist counterpart didn’t see the Republican as much of a menace, ditching a gun for a camera to snap the Senator’s pic.
Rubio (R-Fla.) appears somewhat dumbfounded as he stares through the thick glass at the “the edge of freedom,” that separates Kim Jong-un’s territory from South Korea.
The GOP star hit Korea on the last stop of his weeklong Asia tour, that also included stops in the Philippines and Japan.
S. Korea chides Japan for renewed claims to Dokdo
South Korea criticized Japan Friday for renewing territorial claims to its easternmost islets of Dokdo, urging Tokyo to heed international warnings against its nationalist actions.
Seoul’s reaction came after Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated his country’s claims to the islets in an address to parliament and after the Tokyo government opened a website promoting its claims to the islets.
“Such groundless claims and useless attempts repeated over time only show the world that Japan is still under the spell of imperialism,” the foreign ministry here said in a statement.
It also shows how hollow Japan’s so-called active pacifist policy is, the ministry said, referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hard-line policy seen as being aimed at exerting more diplomatic and military power in the region.
Virginia Senate passes bill on East Sea name
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Virginia’s state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill supported by the Korean-American community endeavoring to publicize the name East Sea for the body of water between Korea and Japan.
The 31-4 vote Thursday represents a significant victory for ethnic Koreans in the state against high-profile lobbying by the Japanese Embassy in Washington.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dave W. Marsden (D-Fairfax), would require all new textbooks for Virginia schools to use the name East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
LAST month a business student at Korea University in Seoul posted a large bulletin on a wall in the university grounds. In bold black pen, Ju Hyun-woo recounted the week’s events: thousands of railway workers dismissed for striking; the suicide of a farmer in protest at the construction of electricity pylons near his village; and the conservative ruling party’s proposal to expel an opposition politician for questioning the legitimacy of the president, Park Geun-hye. Mr Ju asked readers: “How are you all feeling nowadays?”
Answers came in thick and fast, and most people said they were not fine. Within a few days dozens of handwritten posters—known as daejabo—were pinned up next to his, on issues ranging from high gas bills to gay rights. Now Mr Ju reckons almost 1,000 have been tacked onto university walls around the country. Students in Japan, America, China and Chile have followed, posting pictures of their posters on the “Can’t be OK” Facebook page, which gathered 260,000 followers in a week.
Social media have long been a haven for anonymous dissenting voices in South Korea. But Mr Ju says he wanted to “take responsibility” for his poster: he signed it and stood in front of it for ten hours, engaging passers-by. Breaking with a tradition of politically charged, militant daejabo, used in the past by Korean students to demand change, Mr Ju left readers to come up with their own grievances—and answers.
Seeing none, Korean-American community works to recruit foster parents
Southern California Public Radio
Recruiting foster parents in Los Angeles County is tough. Finding Asian caregivers, particularly Koreans, even more so.
Not one of the thousands of foster homes in Los Angeles County is Korean-speaking — which can make a stressful situation even worse for a foster child who only knows that language.
“Being in a non-Korean home is just shocking to them,” said Mike Oh, a county social worker who works with Asian-American foster children. “We’ve had a lot of calls from the foster parents saying that the child appears to be traumatized, and not eating, not sleeping.”
Asian Americans and the ‘model minority’ myth
Los Angeles Times
Previews of Amy Chua’s forthcoming book, “The Triple Package” (co-written with husband Jed Rubenfeld), detonated a social media uproar among Asian Americans. Many were infuriated by the New York Post’s report that Chua, the self-styled Tiger Mom, was identifying eight superior “cultural” groups in the United States: Jewish, Indian, Chinese, Iranian, Lebanese, Nigerian, Cuban and Mormon. For Asian Americans, the problem is about another Chua production that seems to perpetuate the “model minority” myth and, in particular, the notion that Asians are culturally — even genetically — endowed with the characteristics that enable them to succeed in American society.
Before the mid-20th century, the Tiger Mom did not exist in the national imagination. Instead, Americans believed that Chinese culture was disgusting and vile, viewing U.S. Chinatowns as depraved colonies of prostitutes, gamblers and opium addicts bereft of decency. Lawmakers and citizens deployed these arguments to justify and maintain the segregation, marginalization and exclusion of Chinese from mainline society between the 1870s and World War II. Those efforts were more than effective: to have a “Chinaman’s chance” at that time meant that one had zero prospects.
There is danger in offering culture as a formula for success, because our ideas of culture are hardly fixed. The history of Americans’ views about Chinese immigrant behaviors shows that “culture” often serves as a blank screen onto which individuals project various political agendas, depending on the exigencies of the moment.
English teacher extradited from Armenia over teen sex tape
A 29-year-old American accused of having sex with a teenage girl and posting a video of it online was extradited from Armenia to South Korea on Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice said.
The ministry has been tracking down the suspect’s whereabouts since 2010, when he fled to China as the video stirred a firestorm of criticism in the Korean online community.
“The urgency of each case decides how fast the extradition will take place. In this case, it only took three months, whereas it could take up to three years for other cases,” a prosecutor in charge of the case told The Korea Herald.
Chang-rae Lee: By the Book
New York Times
The author of “On Such a Full Sea” has been rereading the classics he tackled in college — “big, complex works which I found arresting and difficult then and find arresting and difficult now.”
What’s the best book you’ve read recently? And your vote for best book of the last year?
Two first fictions dazzled me in the last couple of years, the novel “Mr. Peanut,” by Adam Ross, and “Battleborn,” a story collection by Claire Vaye Watkins. “Mr. Peanut” is a hybrid wonder, being at once a detective story, an arch gloss on that genre and a bravura romance, totally upended, that employs the possible murder of one’s wife as a means of revealing the manifold facets of truest, desperate love. All this is driven by the edgy sparkle of the prose, which acts not only as a mirror or lens but as an accelerant, lighting up every layer of his characters’ consciousnesses to a degree that feels almost dangerous. Watkins’s “Battleborn” is equally potent even though the stories range widely in setting, time and voice, the modalities coming at you with a ferocity and intelligence that seems like a magic trick. But there’s nothing artificial about these stories, for as you read them an indelible picture begins to emerge of a certain sensibility, maybe borne from the desert West — toughened, resourceful, both hellbent and eternally hopeful.
Korean American dude on the upcoming season of Survivor
His name is Woo, and he’s a martial arts instructor. His dad is a Tae Kwon Do expert, and he was brought up in the Tae Kwon Do tradition. He looks like a surfer dude, and in fact, he teaches surfing for a living. This season, the contestants will be broken down into three tribes: Brawn, Beauty, and Brains. Woo will be part of the Brawn Tribe.
Should be a fun season. I like this female contestant‘s quote:
Reason for Being on SURVIVOR: The chance to experience a once in a lifetime journey and to show everyone that just because I have huge boobs and a pretty face does not mean I am dumb, it just means I look better when I am winning.
I may have to cheer for her just for that.
Korean rock band forays into US, UK
Korea’s top rock band YB has signed a promotional contract with the former manager of Guns N’ Roses as part of an effort to make it into the American and British music markets.
The band’s domestic management said Tuesday that the five-member group, led by vocalist Yoon Do-hyun, will release its first English album in February and promote it with the help of Doug Goldstein, a former manager of the legendary American rock band.
Goldstein saw potential for YB’s success in Western countries after reviewing its music and performances, according to the band’s management.
Male And Female Idol Groups Ranked By Entertainment Reporters
ENews tvN recently ran a survey amongst 30 Korean entertainment
reporters to get them to rank male and female idol groups according to
Find out where your favorite idol group is ranked in different categories like vocal skills and dancing skills.
Online gaming addictions: Sundance films explore a darker side of the Internet
Deseret News (Utah)
For weeks, the young couple would arrive at an Internet cafe in Suwon, South Korea, shortly after dinner and spend up to 10 hours playing an online game that involved raising a virtual child in a fantasy world.
Meanwhile, their real-life 3-month-old girl was home alone with a bottle. The neglect resulted in the infant’s death and involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents.
In mainland China, desperate parents are forcing their teen children into military-style government rehabilitation camps, hoping to cure the youths of a diagnosed addiction to online gaming, which has blurred their distinction between the real and virtual worlds.
Teen star Ko ready to go as LPGA season begins
AFP via Yahoo News
Lydia Ko has jumped to fourth in the world rankings as the LPGA season begins Thursday, but the 16-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander has not adjusted to her lofty spot.
“Not at all, ” she said. “I don’t think it’s something you kind of get used to.”
Ko will play her first event as an LPGA Tour member starting Thursday at the $1.3 million Bahamas LPGA Classic on Paradise Island.
Two more ski jumpers earn spots at Sochi Winter Games
Two additional South Korean ski jumpers have earned spots at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, an official here said Friday, doubling the size of the ski jumping squad.
Lee Myung-gyo, director of ski jumping at the Korea Ski Association, said Kang Chil-gu and Choi Seo-u will compete in Russia at the Winter Games set to begin on Feb. 7. The two will join Choi Heung-chul and Kim Hyun-ki, who’d earlier qualified based on their world rankings.
Under the qualification rules by the International Ski Federation (FIS), a country can only have a maximum of five male jumpers. If a country has more than five eligible athletes, then Olympic berths will be reallocated to next eligible athletes from another country.
For South Korea’s old, a return to poverty as Confucian filial piety weakens
There’s a dark side to South Korea’s 50-year rise to riches: The graying generation that is most responsible for that ascent is living in relative poverty.
In a fast-paced nation famous for its high achievers and its big spending on private tutors and luxury goods, half of South Korea’s elderly are poor, the highest rate in the industrialized world.
Some live in crumbling hillside neighborhoods that lack running water. Others wait in line at soup kitchens where there is no young face in sight. The worst-off comb through garbage, collecting cardboard and paper and lugging it to trash yards, where they can receive several dollars for a pile. It’s common in central Seoul to see hunched seniors gathering scraps.
Chinese Shrine to Korean Assassin Irks Japan
Wall Street Journal
Japan, South Korea and China are sparring over a new shrine.
The opening on Sunday of a memorial hall in China to the assassin of the Japanese governor-general of Korea in 1909 has drawn a sharp exchange of words between Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.
The memorial hall was built at the railway station in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, where Korean national Ahn Jung-guen shot and killed Hirobumi Ito on Oct. 26, 1909.
Modeled on the original façade of the station and with a clock showing the exact time of the assassination, the hall is the fruit of a request by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in June last year.
South Korean Trade Official Abducted in Libyan Capital
New York Times
Gunmen have kidnapped a South Korean trade official in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, according to the South Korean government, which advised its citizens Monday to leave the country.
Han Seok-woo, 39, the head of the Tripoli office of the government-funded Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, was on his way home from work on Sunday afternoon when four gunmen stopped his car and abducted him, officials with the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Both the ministry and the trade agency said they were trying to gather information on the kidnappers and on Mr. Han’s whereabouts.
Bergen Dem Chairman Stellato backs Roy Cho in CD 5 race
There has been speculation for months about whether Bergen Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato would ultimately back Roy Cho, the Korean-American attorney from Hackensack who is the sole declared candidate to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R – 5).
The answer apparently came in the middle of the glittering Rockleigh Country Club ballroom at the Bergen Democratic Party annual Victory Gala on Thursday. And the message was conveyed not completely in English.
In an interview with reporter Yoojin Sung of Korean Radio Broadcasting, Stellato’s comments, later translated into Korean, show support for Cho’s candidacy.
China, South Korea face familiar woes in English quest
Japan isn’t alone in its struggles with teaching English. China and South Korea have experienced similar frustrations, but their responses and results have been quite different.
It’s easy to compare the three nations because of their similarities: English is completely different from their native languages; they’ve all had limited immigration and haven’t been completely colonized by an English-speaking Western power; and all three currently share low birth rates (though China has had an only-child policy that is just starting to be relaxed).
The most obvious difference between the three countries is scale. China’s population is 1.35 billion while Japan and South Korea’s are 127 million and 50 million, respectively. This is relevant to the number of English speakers education systems are producing — all three have a high-stakes college entrance exam on which English is a required subject. In 2013, 9.12 million students sat China’s exam, the Gaokao, 650,000 sat Korea’s College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) while 570,000 sat Japan’s National Center Test. Furthermore, one of the requirements for an undergraduate degree in China is passing the College English Test (CET); in 2013, 9.38 million students sat this exam.
What’s Unnerving About Angela Buchdahl? She Talks About God
Jewish Daily Forward
What has made some people nervous about Angela Buchdahl becoming the senior rabbi at Central Synagogue – one of the two largest Reform synagogues in New York and one of the biggest in the United States – is not that she’s the first Asian-American rabbi. It’s not that she’s a woman or, at 41, so young to lead a congregation whose membership will soon number 2,400 families. It’s not that she’s been working primarily as a cantor for most of her career. It’s not even that she’s the mother of three young children, though that has given some in her congregation pause, Buchdahl said. No, it’s because she talks about God.
“We become very nervous talking about God in the Jewish community,” Buchdahl tells Haaretz. “I made people on the search committee a little nervous about it.”
God is at the center of Buchdahl’s life. Born in South Korea and descended from a Korean king, she has prayed every night since she was a young girl in Tacoma, Washington, with a Korean-Buddhist mother and American-Jewish father. And in her new role at Central Synagogue, she is trying to put God at the center as well.
AB InBev to Pay $5.8 Billion for Korea’s Oriental Brewery
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI) agreed to pay $5.8 billion for South Korea’s Oriental Brewery Co. Ltd., regaining control of a company that became the Asian nation’s biggest brewer under KKR (KKR) & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners Ltd.
AB InBev will fund the acquisition with internal resources, according to a statement from the companies today. The Leuven, Belgium-based maker of Budweiser and Corona will receive about $320 million in cash when the transaction is completed.
AB InBev, the world’s biggest beermaker, is buying back a business it sold to KKR in 2009 for $1.8 billion when it sought to cut debt following InBev NV’s $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch Cos. KKR subsequently sold 50 percent of the asset to Affinity. Since then, Oriental Brewery has become South Korea’s largest beermaker and more than doubled earnings, boosted by its Cass brand.
Living someone else’s life
Property theft can easily be punished as long as evidence points in one direction, hopefully the right one. But what happens in cases of identity theft?
As the online community continues to grow rapidly, netizens are finding themselves hesitant about uploading personal information online, where it can be easily stolen with none being the wiser.
Some websites have developed strategies to prevent this from happening by disabling the right-click button and requesting users to place watermarks on their photographs, but stealing photos and another person’s life still isn’t all that difficult.
3 Arrested in Massage Parlor Prostitution Sting
Bridgeport police arrested three women on Wednesday night during a sting operation at an illegal massage parlor, called the American Asian Modeling Studio.
The officers, dressed in civilian clothes, went to the Asian Modeling Studio at 3853 Main Street at about 10 p.m. on Thursday to conduct an undercover operation.
They said they spoke with to a woman through a barred door and received a price quoted price for massage and sexual services, but were told to come back because the woman working that night was busy with another client, police said.
Skokie Celebrates Korean Culture With 60-Event Series
Skokie Patch (Skokie, Ill.)
Taste kim chi, learn about what it was like for a teen boy to leave Korea when his parents opened a store in the U.S., learn a beloved Korean folk tale and more as “Coming Together in Skokie & Niles Township” launches Sunday, Jan. 26 and continues with programs for about two months.
“It will be a great opportunity for people to experience and learn Korean culture,” said Tom Suh, president of Korean American Association of Chicago (and Chicagoland) at a preview of the event Thursday.
This is the fifth “Coming Together” program, said Susan Van Dusen, who was one of five women who founded the event five years ago; it has previously focused on the Indian, Assyrian, Filipino and Greek cultures. It has grown every year, but has taken a big leap forward this year by including events at the Morton Grove, Lincolnwood and Niles libraries, and venturing into area schools with programs.
Jamie Chung On Once Upon A Time: ‘I Would Go Back In A Heartbeat’
Jamie Chung has a new primetime drama for NBC, but don’t count her out of future episodes of ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
“I think it would be really disappointing to leave the audience with this giant question mark,” Jamie told AccessHollywood.com, following the NBC “Believe” panel (her new show) at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour on Sunday. “I would go back in a heartbeat. I am committed to this show, but I don’t think that door is shut, so I’m hoping that there is something we can do to kind of answer more questions.”
Jamie plays Mulan on “Once,” and in recent episodes, her feelings for another, female character – Aurora (played by Sarah Bolger) – were alluded to.
North Korea to Play Asian Games
Wall Street Journal
The North Koreans are coming again.
Pyongyang said late Monday that both its men’s and women’s soccer teams would participate in the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea, later this year.
The announcement marks a continuation of interaction on the sports field even as ties between the two Koreas remain unstable. Last week, North Korea warned of an “unimaginable holocaust” if South Korea went ahead with military drills with the U.S. planned to begin next month.
South Korea rejected the North’s demand to cancel the drills.
Chef Sang Yoon’s prime rib with horseradish creme fraiche on THE Dish
Chef Sang Yoon was born in South Korea, schooled by some of the finest chefs in the U.S. and Europe, plays hockey and has been called “the godfather of the gastro-pub scene.”
Yoon began his culinary career as a teenager in San Francisco with Jeremiah Tower and Julian Serrano. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America and then spent two years working in Northern Italy and France.
He bought his first restaurant in 2002. It is a renovated dive bar called Father’s Office. It features the Office Burger, which was named one of the world’s best by Esquire magazine. The burger is controversial because Yoon does not allow any substitutions or ketchup in his restaurants.
WE: Chang-rae Lee’s “On Such a Full Sea.”
“More and more we can see that the question is not whether we are ‘individuals,’ ” Chang-rae Lee writes in “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead), his new, dystopian novel. “The question, then, is whether being an ‘individual’ makes a difference anymore.” It seems doubtful, in Lee’s sombre future. Afflicted by swine- and bird-flu epidemics and a profound change in the climate, America, now known simply as the Association, has split into three separate social groups. At the top sit the Charters, a small professional class that has corralled the country’s remaining resources and withdrawn into gated villages. Catering their dinner parties and keeping their cars perpetually waxed are the “service people,” who live in the land beyond, known as the counties.
MINTING JULEP: HOW A FORMER STARBUCKS EXECUTIVE IS USING HER BEST CUSTOMERS TO HELP IMPROVE THE BEAUTY-PRODUCT BUSINESS
She is reimagining the entire enterprise of selling beauty merchandise to women, from product design to the transaction experience. During her four years at Starbucks, Park developed a keen understanding of just how crucial the happiness of the customer is at every turn. “It’s about thinking through every step of the customer journey,” she says.
When she launched Julep, Park’s first move was to open a small chain of beauty parlors. These brick-and-mortar outposts–carefully designed to encourage social interaction via communal spaces with movable furniture–function as mini labs in which to test products on actual customers. Park trained facialists and vernisseurs (a term that is to manicurist as barista is to coffee pourer) to listen closely to reactions and report back. Julep uses that info to tweak details such as colors, packaging, and scents.
Big ambition, big pressure: Seoul’s new art museum is in the spotlight
South Korea’s $230 million National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) opened in November with a towering ambition — become what the MoMA is to New York and the Tate is to London.
The museum couldn’t be in a better location to attract attention — it sits just across the street from Gyeongbokgung, Seoul’s main royal palace, and adjacent to a neighborhood that’s one of Seoul’s most popular among tourists.
Other than Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, a private art museum owned by Samsung, Seoul has no other large museum housing Korean contemporary art.
Korea’s Teddy Bear Museum Makes the World a Cuter Place
Sometimes the world isn’t very adorable. If only it looked a bit more like this! You know, like it were filled with teddy bears.
As recently noted by Korea Realtime, South Korea’s Jeju Island is home to all sorts of interesting museums.
There’s a sex museum, a computer museum, and a teddy bear museum, which features teddy bear versions of famous works of art and celebrities.
North Korea: Kim family’s former sushi chef says uncle was executed over ‘pleasure brigade’
The Telegraph (U.K.)
Kim Jong Un’s uncle may have been executed for his taste in young women and role in maintaining a “pleasure brigade” for Kim Jong Il, a former chef for the North Korean leader has said.
Kenji Fujimoto, a sushi chef who worked for the Kim family between 1989 and 2001, has said Jang Song Thaek was given the task of recruiting women – some as young as 15 – to please the late dictator.
Mr Jang, the uncle to the young leader, would often abuse his position in the talent hunting process, and that may provide some insight as to why he was executed on 12 December 2013, he told NK News.
How is South Korea doing these days?
Guardian Weekly (U.K.)
“How are you all doing nowadays?” The question has been bothering South Korea ever since early December when Ju Hyun-woo, an economics student at Korea University, put up a dazibao – a handwritten poster commonly used by opponents of the dictatorship in the 1980s, taking a cue from the propaganda messages that flourished in China under Chairman Mao.
Appealing to his generation, thought to be largely apolitical, Ju asked: “Is it OK for you to ignore social issues since it is not your business?”
He went on to mention a strike by Korail staff, who fear the national rail operator may be privatised, and the way the state has been operated since Conservative president Park Geun-hye was elected in December 2012.
Korean cartoons on former sex slaves to go on display at French festival
Cartoons about former Korean sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II will be exhibited at the world’s largest comic strip and cartoon festival, the Seoul government said Tuesday.
Some 20 cartoons and four videos including animations by local artists telling tragic stories of the former sex slavery victims will be featured in a special exhibition of the 2014 Angouleme International Comics Festival, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said.
The gender ministry sponsored the festival scheduled to run from Jan. 30- Feb. 2. in the southwestern French city of the same name.
North Korean Refugee Flow Still Suppressed
Wall Street Journal
The number of North Korean refugees arriving in South Korea held steady last year, reflecting continued tightened North Korean border controls since the rise to power of Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said Tuesday 1,516 North Korean refugees arrived in the South last year, up by 14 people from 2012. That brings the total official number of escapees to 26,124, the ministry statistics show.
While many North Koreans leave their homeland for good every year, the number arriving in South Korea tumbled 44% between 2011 and 2012. Activists and recent refugees attribute the decline to Pyongyang’s border crackdown following Mr. Kim’s succession in late 2011.
Key Obama Aide Tipped as Envoy to Korea
Mark Lippert, a key aide to U.S. President Barack Obama and chief of staff to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, is a strong candidate to succeed outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim.
Kim is set to become a deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs.
Sources in Washington on Monday said Kim may be summoned back to the U.S. before his term ends in August of this year, because the current deputy assistant secretary James Zumwalt is likely to be appointed ambassador to Vietnam.
As Asian-Americans Age, Their Children Face Cultural Hurdles
New York Times
Two thick blankets wrapped in a cloth tie lay near a single pillow on the red leather sofa in Phuong Lu’s living room. Doanh Nguyen, Ms. Lu’s 81-year-old mother, had prepared the blankets for a trip she wanted to take. “She’s ready to go to Vietnam,” Ms. Lu said.
But Ms. Nguyen would not be leaving. The doors were all locked from the inside to prevent her from going anywhere — not to the coating of snow that had fallen that day outside Ms. Lu’s suburban Philadelphia home, and certainly not to her home country, Vietnam.
Ms. Nguyen has Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Lu, 61, a manicurist who stopped working two years ago when her mother’s condition worsened, is her full-time caretaker. In Vietnam, if a couple has children, the children must stay home and care for their parents, Ms. Lu said.
Palisades Park councilman steps down due to illness
Jason Kim, the first Korean-American to be elected to the Borough Council, has resigned his elected post citing health issues, but has taken a full-time job as deputy director of the borough library.
Kim resignation took effect Friday. On Monday, he said his decision to leave after reelection to a fourth term and days after being sworn in was not an easy one, but one he said he needed to make for his family. He declined to say what sort of health problems led to his resignation.
“I’m not going to quit everything, but I’m going to take it easy for a bit, but I still have a mission to help the Korean community, and Palisades Park,’’ said Kim. “… I may come back when they need me again, but right now my health issues have scared my family, and family always comes first.”
North Jersey Korean Americans celebrate another year of community’s emergence
The sounds of traditional Korean musical instruments boomed from a fifth-floor meeting room at the Bergen County Administration Building on Monday while about 100 people gathered to celebrate Korean-American Day.
The day marked the 111th anniversary of Jan. 13, 1903, when the first large group of Korean immigrants arrived in what is now the United States. There were 103 Koreans who made the journey, which ended in Hawaii, a U.S. territory at the time.
Since that day, the community has grown to about 1.7 million nationwide, according to 2010 U.S. Census. In Bergen County, there are about 58,000 people of Korean descent, according to 2012 estimates from the U.S. Census. They represent the largest Asian community in the county.
Adopted girl and her mom head from Sacramento to Korea in search of birth parents
Dawson was born Aug. 9, 1992 at a home for unwed mothers in Andong, the “spiritual capital” of South Korea, three hours southeast of Seoul. Her birth mother, a 23-year-old former store clerk, named her Kwon Hee Joo – “Joyful and Pretty Kwon” – and prayed she would be adopted by a family that could give her a good home.
She found that home in Sacramento, and now the Jewish girl from Gold River has left for South Korea determined to find the young woman who gave her up. She wants to explore her own identity, and also to let her birth mother know she made the right decision.
Accompanied by her adoptive mom, Andee Press-Dawson, Fawn boarded United Flight 853 to Tokyo Friday, switching to United Flight 881 for Seoul. “I have such great parents and such an amazing older brother, David, who was also adopted from Korea,” Fawn said, “but something was always missing. Last October, I told them this was just something I had to do. I’m at the stage where I’m trying to find my own identity.”
Big Bang’s Tour Highlights Band’s Enduring Popularity in Japan
Big Bang’s concert at Kyocera Dome in Osaka on Monday showed how K-pop is still washing through Japan. The concert was an unscheduled last stop on their tour of the country but tickets still sold out.
The boy band launched their tour with a gig at Seibu Dome in Saitama on Nov. 16 and continued to Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Sapporo, drawing about 770,000 fans.
“Only a few top Japanese bands such as Mr. Children and EXILE have had such large-scale tours,” the band’s agency YG Entertainment said.
Drunken Tiger Talk Hip Hop’s Early Days in South Korea: “It Was a Secret Society”
Today, one of K-pop’s signature charms are its acts boasting the quintessential rapper—CL of 2NE1, Yubin of Wonder Girls, etc. But hip hop has only been a part of South Korea’s mainstream for a little more than a decade. Korean-American rappers Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae—who, along with their longtime collaborator, New Zealand MC Bizzy, comprise Drunken Tiger—are two of the country’s most respected rap artists. The real-life couple are known for leading the then-underground genre into the conservative nation’s consciousness in the late ’90s.
“Back in the day it was crazy underground,” Tiger JK tells Fuse News for this week’s FUSE LOVES SEOUL: From K-Pop to Hip Hop special. “Hip hop existed, but it was almost a secret society thing. [People would say things like], ‘I heard there’s somebody or a group of people that dress funky, they sag their pants, all their clothes are baggy and they battle.’ It was really crazy because you don’t hear them on the radio.”
Find out more about Drunken Tiger and their continuing quest to break into Korean pop tonight on Fuse News at 7:30/6:30C. Head back here after the show for the full interview.
Magik* Magik Orchestra maestro Minna Choi discusses concert, When We Were Young
Artistic Director of San Francisco-based, Magik* Magik Orchestra, Minna Choi formed the orchestra a mere five years ago and this year will celebrate it’s success with a grand fundraiser – “When We Were Young”. Choi wasn’t much older than five herself when a music teacher spotted her knack for picking out melodies on the piano. A natural talent that has been nurtured with a childhood of piano lessons and a love of pop music, it was not until her first job out of college at a New York studio that she felt the confidence to charge producers for her skills. This prompted Choi to return to formal schooling again and in 2007 she came home to the Bay Area to study at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music where Magik came into being.
What inspired the name Magik* Magik Orchestra?
Classical music seems to always have unpronounceable names. I wanted a name that was playful, whimsical and most importantly easy to pronounce. Also around the time I was dreaming of Magik, I saw a photo of myself as a 5 or 6 year old in a Yamaha Music School group photo with a banner above saying “Music Is Magic”.
Why did you come up with the idea of “When We Were Young”?
Almost every year, we have wanted to do a Magik celebration concert. But this year was the first time that our organization has hit a stride. We now have the bandwidth and creative time to see what is the next step. That we decided is education and outreach to children that we hope to do more intentionally. We get hundreds of requests but only a handful are educational. And I don’t think it’s because there is no demand. We hope to raise some funds so we can do some workshops and be proactive about marketing and letting people, schools, parents know that we are here.
MLB takes formal step for big league clubs to sign S. Korean pitcher
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Major League Baseball (MLB) has requested a status check on South Korean star pitcher Yoon Suk-min, baseball officials here said Tuesday, a formal administrative step before a big league club can sign any professional player from Korea.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said it informed MLB that Yoon is eligible for free agency after being asked about the 27-year-old’s status in the top domestic league.
The request is the second of its kinds after MLB first tendered a status check to the KBO in October when Yoon was still under contract with the Kia Tigers during the postseason.
Bobsledders Book Tickets to Sochi
Korea secured two berths in the four-man bobsleigh event at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Monday due to its strong performance at the America Cup.
At the eighth round of the Cup, the final event of the season, Korea ranked eighth overall due to the combined scores of its two teams.
Pilot Won Yoon-jong steered Team A to fourth place while Kim Dong-hyun guided Team B to seventh.
Bibimbap Recipes That Put All Other Comfort Foods To Shame
We’re big fans of comfort food — we’ve eaten more grilled cheese sandwiches than we care to admit — which is why we love bibimbap. It gives us all the comfort of a bowl of mac and cheese, with the added bonus of not putting us into a food coma.
It’s the simplicity of bibimbap that makes it so special. This typical Korean dish is made up of nothing more than a bowl of white rice, topped with seasoned vegetables, and a chile pepper paste. It’s also sometimes accompanied with an egg and thin slices of meat. That’s it.
Yet somehow, when it all comes together, it tastes like the type of comfort food we’ve always wanted without even knowing it. Maybe it’s the perfect bits of crisp golden rice mixed into the bowl. Maybe it’s the piping hot stone bowl it’s served in. Or maybe it’s all the chile paste we can liberally add in. We’re not sure, but we know you’ll like it.
Photographer creates ‘Google street view’ of North Korea
A Singaporean photographer has offered up one of the most unique glimpses yet of life inside North Korea. He’s done it by capturing hidden corners of the country in a series of 360° photographs. And what’s more, the country’s authorities don’t seem to have a problem with it.
Last autumn, Aram Pan, originally from Singapore, was authorised to travel to North Korea. Once inside the country, he stitched together several photos of the same places to create unique 360° images, allowing people to navigate virtually anywhere inside the picture. Enthusiasts of the project are already comparing ‘DPRK 360′ [the name of Aram Pan's photography project. The initials DPRK stand for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea] to a North Korean version of Google street view. The photographer explains on his site that his work doesn’t seek to tackle politically sensitive subjects, but rather encourages the public to interest themselves in the country and ‘uncover its mysteries’.
His work shows that despite the draconian restrictions which stifle freedom of expression in North Korea, there is still a certain degree of coverage tolerated — so long as it’s not political.
Ready to Rumble
Young Kim wants to bring a conservative voice to the California Assembly.
by JAMES S. KIM
Young Kim has never run for political office. But the longtime congressional staffer feels the time has now come.
“The environment has to be right, the political landscape has to be right,” said Kim, who announced her candidacy for California’s 65th Assembly District last October. “You have to have some sort of backbone or root in the district, either having lived there or worked there for a long time. You don’t just jump in and say, ‘I’m doing it.’”
Her more than two decades representing this community has instilled in her the skills to be the person with just those credentials, she believes. It’s a conviction that she’s developed over time. “I never thought 23 years ago … that I would run for office,” she said. But she added that many friends and community leaders from the district convinced her that she had the qualities to be an effective legislator—and could actually win this race. Continue Reading »