February Issue: Too Young For Olympics, 13-Year-Old Snowboarder Chloe Kim Sets Sights on Pyeongchang
Author: Steve Han
Posted: February 18th, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE , February 2014
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Chloe Kim gets air at the women’s snowboarding superpipe final at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on Dec. 14, 2013, in Breckenridge, Colo. She placed third.

Up In The Air

Young snowboarding star Chloe Kim is not old enough for this year’s Olympics, but has her sights set on Pyeongchang in 2018.

by STEVE HAN

Five years ago, Jongjin Kim spotted professional snowboarder Soko Yamaoka at a famous resort in the Swiss Alps. Chloe Kim, his 8-year-old daughter, had been competing for two years, and he wanted her to pick up a few tips by watching Yamaoka, who finished 10th at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

As he watched Yamaoka riding, just one question came to mind: “That’s it?”

“Obviously [Yamaoka] looked great,” the 57-year-old father of three recalls in an interview with KoreAm. “But watching Chloe all these years, I expected something extraordinary since she was an Olympian. I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s all it took to compete at the Olympics. I really felt like my daughter would be just as good.”

In fact, many in the snowboarding  community had already tagged 13-year old Chloe as a prodigy before she turned 10. The California native started competing at age 6 on a mini snowboard that cost just $25. Only a year later, she won two gold medals and three silver medals, finishing first overall at the United States of America Snowboard Association’s 2007 National Championships in the 6- to 7-year-old age group. Continue Reading »

South Korea Grants Citizenship to Pair of Canadian Pro Ice Hockey Players
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 24th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Swift (left) and Young.

Two professional hockey players who were born in Canada were granted South Korean citizenship last Tuesday, Yonhap News reports.

With the hopes of fielding a strong ice hockey team in time for the 2018 Olympics hosted by Korea in Pyeongchang, the government has relaxed restrictions on dual citizenships for “qualified” foreigners.

Brian Young, 28, and Michael Swift, 27, were naturalized via an expedited reviewing process that allows multiple citizenships for “talented foreigners, such as chiefs of government agencies, legal institutions and universities as well as leaders in fields of business, sports and science.” Continue Reading »

Incheon Airport’s New Terminal to Focus on Pampering Travelers
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 2nd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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A rendering of Terminal 2 at Incheon International Airport. Image via Gensler

Incheon International Airport, one of Asia’s busiest, started construction last Thursday on a second passenger terminal, which is scheduled for completion by the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

The new terminal, which will cost $2 billion, encompasses the third part of the airport’s three-phase construction project. It will include a passenger terminal, new railways and roads and a second traffic center by 2017, the Korea Herald reports.

The 72-gate, 7.4 million-square-foot terminal’s design was inspired by the Asian Phoenix, according to Keith Thompson of the global design firm, Gensler. The terminal will feature indoor gardens, a koi pond and natural lighting that travelers can enjoy while shopping, dining or just relaxing. These will join the various facilities already available in the airport, which include hundreds of shops, a hotel, a skating rink, a golf course and a casino. Continue Reading »

Thursday’s Link Attack: Another Comfort Women Memorial; Will Yun Lee; 2NE1′s CL in Vogue Korea
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: June 20th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Korea Seeks New Talks on Its Nuclear Program, China Says
Bloomberg News

North Korea is ready to return to six-party talks on its nuclear program, China said, the third time this month that Kim Jong Un’s regime has proposed new dialogue after easing off threats of atomic attacks.

The North is prepared for “talks of any form including the six-party talks and hopes to peacefully solve the nuclear problem through negotiations,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on its website, citing comments Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan made while meeting his Chinese counterpart in Beijing yesterday.

Park Calls for ‘common sense’ in relations with North Korea
Yonhap News

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Thursday she will stick to principles in dealing with North Korea in order to transform relations with the communist nation in a way that is in line with “common sense and international standards.”

“South-North relations are at a very important juncture right now. How we do at this point would affect not only the fate of the Korean Peninsula, but also those of Northeast Asia and the world,” Park said during a meeting with members of the National Unification Advisory Council.

“I believe we should break the vicious cycle of provocations and rewards … and lay the foundation for genuine peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula based on consistent principles and trust. For this, we have to build inter-Korean relations in which common sense and international standards work.”

Cheeseburger in Paradise Island
The Economist

Serendipity is not something the visitor to North Korea is likely to encounter often. Guides, with carefully planned itineraries, usually go to great lengths to avoid accidental brushes with ordinary North Koreans, whether they be women selling clothes or maize in the local fly-by-night “frog markets”, or men drinking in local bars.

It is a shame, because such encounters help humanise a poorly understood people: for instance, on a recent visit one 23-year-old North Korean told us shyly that she was besotted with Brad Pitt, which probably went further in busting stereotypes than she could have imagined. Happily, some non-governmental organisations are managing to break through this thick veil of mistrust to foster real engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Singapore-based Choson Exchange, which promotes people-to-people contact between high-flying young professionals and bureaucrats of the DPRK and the outside world, is one.

South Korean Students Demand Faster Action in Election Probe
Wall Street Journal

South Korea student anger is growing over what many believe to be a slow and insufficient investigation into an allegation that the country’s top intelligence agency attempted to influence the presidential election last December.

Last Friday, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office indicted Won Sei-hoon, the former National Intelligence Service chief, on charges of violating the election law that bans a civil servant from intervening an election and the NIS law that prohibits its officials from meddling domestic politics.

According to the prosecutors, Mr. Won allegedly ordered his subordinates to launch a political offensive against opposition party candidates including Moon Jae-jin, the candidate from the main opposition United Democratic Party. Mr. Moon lost the election against Park Geun-hye by about one million votes.

Police seek arrest warrant for ex-vice justice minister over sex scandal
Yonhap News

Police said Wednesday they have sought an arrest warrant for a former vice justice minister who is accused of receiving sexual favors from a local contractor in return for business favors.

Police have been investigating allegations that a number of high-profile figures, including Kim Hak-ui and the head of a local general hospital, received sexual services from a dozen women hired by the 52-year-old construction contractor, surnamed Yoon.

Kim allegedly used his power to influence several court cases in Yoon’s favor in return for the services.

Glendale looking to memorialize ‘comfort women’ of World War II
Los Angeles Daily News

The city of Glendale and a local organization are looking to install a memorial to “comfort women” — the thousands of Koreans and others who historians say were forced into sexual slavery to soldiers during World War II by the Japanese military.

The memorial may be somewhat controversial, however, because while the majority of mainstream historians agree with the history, a vocal minority of ultranationalists and some politicians in Japan contest details of the comfort women story, including the numbers involved, whether the practice was sanctioned by the government and even whether the women were slaves or volunteers.

Today, the design of the proposed memorial will be unveiled before Glendale’s Arts and Culture Commission, an advisory panel to the City Council, which would decide whether to approve it.

Glendale man, 81, with diabetes, dementia reported missing
Glendale News-Press (Calif.)

[Update 5:42 p.m.] Glendale police found Byung Jin Choi just before 5 p.m. in the 300 block of North Glendale Avenue after a passerby reported an elderly person with a walker who appeared to need help. Police said they took him to Glendale Adventist Hospital and have alerted his family.

“He was treated for dehydration, but otherwise seemed fine,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.

Will Yun Lee On The Wolverine
Empire

Will Yun Lee has played a Marvel character before – he was big bad Kirigi in Elektra – but that’s not to be confused with his character in The Wolverine. We know he’s officially billed as Kenuichio Harada, but beyond that Lee can’t say much for fear of spoilers. Still, we did get a few snippets from him on his experience of filming, including Hugh Jackman’s thing with lottery tickets…

Tell us about your character…
I play a man named Harada and he’s kind of a mysterious character, and the way the movie is structured he’s definitely involved in a lot of the relationships between Hugh and Tao and some of the different characters, but you never really know what side of the line he falls on. He’s part of some of the great action sequences you’re going to see.

As Expected, 2NE1′s CL Looks Amazing In Korean GQ and Vogue
Pop Dust

CL’s recent solo debut may not have soared on the charts like it should have, but the trendsetting songstress proves she’s still the baddest female around when it comes to fashion and photoshoots. The 22-year-old, who’s so cool that both Rihanna and Rita Ora follow her on Instagram, is featured in this month’s issues of Korean Vogue and GQ, and as usual, she looks incredible.

Naturally, CL’s gone for an avant-garde, high fashion, you-can’t-afford-this-and-never-will kind of look for Vogue, whereas her GQ shoot is all posturing, gold grills, and bad girl swag.

You can look forward to more of CL’s untouchable style choices when she makes a K-pop comeback alongside 2NE1 early next month. Excited?

One Night Only: Chefs Chang, Choi and Puck
Wall Street Journal

Celebrity chefs David Chang, Roy Choi and Wolfgang Puck cooked and served a one-night-only seven-course meal at the Hotel Bel Air last night.  The event, floated on Mr. Puck’s Twitter account a few weeks ago, sold out within about an hour at $190 a head, plus $80 for wine.

Mr. Chang, famous for his Momofuku restaurant empire, said he flew across the country with some of his staff because, “Chef asked.  Wolfgang is one of the pioneers and the guy that without him, Roy and I wouldn’t really  be here.”  Mr. Puck said the purpose of the evening was to shake things up at his hotel restaurant and tap into the energy of the “new generation.”  Just before service in the kitchen, Mr. Choi watched Mr. Puck gobble up a piece of his sous-vide-and-fried Cornish game hen.  Mr. Choi gripped his head in disbelief.

Iconic Summer Dish: The Real Korean Tacos by Namu Gaji
Zagat.com

LA’s Koji truck may have kicked off a national Korean taco craze, but San Francisco’s Namu Gaji is recognized for an original take on the idea. The Real Korean Tacos, as they’re called, use dried sheets of nori instead of tortillas as the vehicle for BBQ Kalbi short ribs and kimchee salsa. They are available at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and have also become a staple at summer fests like Outside Lands. Now that the restaurant has logged a couple of seasons in the Mission after moving from the original Richmond District spot, they’re a fixture at Dolores Park picnics and parties too.

IOC Inspectors praise Pyeongchang for 2018 Winter Games preparations
AP via Washington Post

IOC inspectors have concluded their second visit to Pyeongchang by praising organizers for making good progress on preparations for the 2018 Winter Games.

IOC coordination commission chief Gunilla Lindberg says the panel has “once again seen good progress” and “an excellent team effort” from the organizing committee, all levels of government and the Korean Olympic Committee.

The commission cited the launch of Pyeongchang’s new logo and finalization of venue plans.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics Official Logo Released
Author: Chelsea Hawkins
Posted: May 3rd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics Organizing Committee released the official logo of the Winter Olympics today, according to the Olympics official website.

The emblem draws from traditional Korean script, taking the first consonants of each syllable of the hosting city’s name. At first glance, the image may appear to be nothing more than a simple house and snowflake, but upon a second look, it becomes clear that the house and snowflake are stylized letters.

Incidentally, the official colors of the Olympics — black, blue, green, red, yellow, and white — are reflected in Korean tradition and ceremony, and are also incorporated into the new design. Continue Reading »

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