Tag Archives: Pyeongchang

figure eight hotel

PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics to Open a Figure-Eight Shaped Hotel

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Seoul-based architecture firm Planning Korea recently unveiled their design for a beachfront resort hotel that will host visitors during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Shaped like a giant infinity sign (or the “ecological structure of a plankton,” according to the firm), the futuristic hotel offers 946 rooms and sprawls across a 29,493-square-meter site in the city of Gangeung.


Tourists will be able to enjoy seaside activities on one side of the hotel and mountain activities on the other, according to Arch Daily. Rooftop gardens line the slopes of the building and opens up to an outdoor swimming pool suspended in a “belt” linking the building’s dual core.

figure eight aerial


On the ground level, Planning Korea plans to intersperse restaurants and shops in order to create a village atmosphere. The resort will also be situated just 3 miles away from the Olympic stadiums and facilities. How South Korea plans to complete construction of the gigantic hotel before 2018 is a mystery.



The PyeongChang Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25, 2018. This will be the first Winter Olympic Games to be hosted by South Korea.


All images via Planning Korea

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South Korean Special Forces Train Shirtless in the Snow

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

While some of us are wrapping ourselves in parkas to keep warm this winter, about 200 South Korean soldiers are training in the snowy mountains of Pyeongchang–shirtless.

Since the two Koreas still remain technically at war with each other, South Korea’s Army Special Warfare Command (SWC) is responsible for handling special operations, including guerrilla warfare, assassinations and counter-terrorism. SWC soldiers are sent to the mountains every year to participate in a 10-day winter warfare training, in which they must acclimate themselves to harsh weather conditions. Temperatures in Pyeonchang can drop as low as negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Below are some snapshots of the SWC’s intense training that were taken on Jan. 8. I recommend playing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the Mulan soundtrack while scrolling through the following photos.

enhanced-buzz-wide-27046-1420833875-14Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

SCW soldiers are required to jog shirtless in subzero temperatures as part of their training regimen.

enhanced-buzz-wide-7088-1420833885-11Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Soldiers must also perform general exercises, such as sit-ups, topless on the snow. The purpose of these exercises is to push soldiers’ endurance to the limit and to help them prepare for any harsh conditions they may face during missions.

enhanced-buzz-wide-12278-1420833885-16Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

All members of the SWC are required to achieve a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

enhanced-buzz-wide-925-1420833879-8Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Soldiers wield combat knives as part of their weapons handling training.

enhanced-buzz-wide-26077-1420833900-11Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

The SWC consists of seven special forces brigades: Eagle, Flying Tiger, Pegasus, Ghost, Golden Bat, Black Panther and Whole World  (formerly known as Black Dragon). In addition, there is a special mission battalion nicknamed “White Tiger.”

enhanced-buzz-wide-26996-1420833894-20Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

In the picture above, SWC soldiers take their positions in a frozen river. The SWC brigades work closely with the U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets.

enhanced-buzz-wide-27102-1420833874-14Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Along with having the ability to withstand freezing temperatures, SWC members must have excellent marksmanship.

enhanced-buzz-wide-30144-1420833886-13Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

During the winter warfare training, soldiers practice tactical skiing while shooting at virtual targets.

enhanced-buzz-wide-12278-1420833900-24Photo credit: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

All SWC members are volunteers who were handpicked to join the elite force.


Featured photo courtesy of Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters



South Korea Refuses to Share 2018 Winter Olympics with Japan

by STEVE HAN | @steve_han

South Korea announced Friday that it will not share its right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang with Japan after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suggested the idea of co-hosting to reduce cost.

IOC officials proposed the option of hosting bobsled and luge events of the 2018 Games in Japan to Pyeongchang’s organizing committee and recommended utilizing existing facilities rather than pouring resources into building new ones. This proposal sparked an angry response from South Koreans, many of whom still resent Japan over conflicting views on politics and history.

“There was no possibility of moving some events overseas, as the IOC suggested to Pyeongchang,” Cho Yang-ho, chairman of the Pyeongchang organizing commitee, said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “It was difficult for Pyeongchang to adopt [the IOC’s ideas] because the construction for all game venues has already started.”

The IOC’s proposal to South Korea came on Monday after its landmark decision to allow host cities of the Olympic Games to move competitions to towns in nearby countries in order to prevent potential bidders for future events from going into further debt. The Russian city of Sochi’s total budget of $51 billion for the 2014 Games has reportedly scared off potential bidders.

Although the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s estimated cost of the Pyeongchang Games is at $10 billion, the IOC suggested that utilizing the facilities in Nagano, Japan, which hosted the 1998 Games could save billions for Pyeongchang.

In 2002, FIFA made the unprecedented decision to allow South Korea and Japan to co-host the World Cup. The rivalry between the two countries was so fierce that it caused serious organizational and logistical problems. As a result, FIFA officially banned co-hosting bids in 2004. It’s safe to say that co-hosting the Winter Games with Japan will create similar conflicts as the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Photo courtesy of Snowalps.com


Kim Yuna Named Honorary Ambassador for the 2018 Winter Games


Former Olympic figure skater Kim Yuna was named an honorary ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, the first South Korean host of the quadrennial competition.


Kim, 24, became South Korea’s first Olympic figure skating gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games and ended her decorated career after winning silver at Sochi earlier this year. Often called “Queen Yuna” by her fans, Kim is South Korea’s most popular sporting figure and has appeared in numerous commercials. Her current net worth is estimated to be $21 million.

According to Yonhap, Kim was one of the key figures who helped Pyeongchang win the bid for the 2018 Games by giving an impressive presentation at the International Olympic Committee session in Durban, South Africa in 2011.

“As a former winter sports athlete and a South Korean citizen, I am very pleased to be able to contribute to the organizing of the Winter Games in my country,” Kim said in a statement on Tuesday. “I worked with the bidding committee three years ago, and I still vividly remember the moment Pyeongchang won the bid. I look forward to an exciting venture with the organizing committee going forward.”

Cho Yang-ho, head of Pyeongchang’s Winter Games organizing committee, said that the committee has high expectations of Kim and believes her new position as honorary ambassador will ensure South Korea’s first Winter Olympics to be a success.

“As an athlete, Kim dominated her sport with confidence and audacity,” Cho said. “I hope her international experience can translate into her activities as our honorary ambassador, and she will be the face of Pyeongchang in international events promoting the Olympics.”

Preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics are underway, including the construction on six of the 13 competition venues.

Kim currently holds the world record for the highest ladies’ free skate score (150.06 points) and combined total score (228.56). She had set each world record three times and never finished a competition off the podium throughout her entire career.


Photo courtesy of Queen Yuna/Flickr

캐나다 국적 아이

South Korea Grants Citizenship to Pair of Canadian Pro Ice Hockey Players

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.”

Yonhap said 46 foreigners have obtained South Korean passports under the new law thus far.

In March 2013, Canada-born, former Edmonton Oilers NHL draft pick Brock Radunske was granted Korean citizenship.

Monday's Link Attack: Dokdo, Steven Yeun, Internet Addicts

Japanese Lawmakers Denied Entry in South Korea
New York Times

Airport immigration officials denied entry to three Japanese lawmakers on Monday, thwarting their plan to travel close to a set of tiny islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. The trio then refused for hours to board a return flight home in the confrontation, which has laid bare longstanding animosities between the two countries rooted in Japan’s colonialist past.

Troy actor Steven Yeun finds success in ‘Walking Dead’ on AMC
Detroit News

The Troy High School and Kalamazoo College graduate was just happy to play Glenn, the pizza delivery guy turned hero.

Now that the show has become the basic cable network’s top-rated offering, drawing a record 5 million viewers, Yeun is enjoying the buzz and his character’s development. There’s also more to love this time around now that the series has a 13-episode run. And when the second season of “The Walking Dead” roars back Oct. 16, fans will see Glenn get a love interest named Maggie (Lauren Cohan, “Chuck” and “Supernatural”) and suddenly have more to lose.

Charges laid in May shooting death
CTV News (Canada)

A man has been charged with first-degree murder on Friday in connection with the shooting death of John Kang in May.

Kang, 21, was shot outside a fast food restaurant near Victoria Park and Finch Avenue East on May 26.

L.A.’s Idea of Korean Food vs. What Koreans Really Eat
L.A. Weekly

Most Angelenos know at least a few Korean dishes. Beyond that, appreciation of the range and depth appreciation of Korean cuisine varies quite a bit. We’re never surprised about the wide swath of positive or negative things anyone has to say about Korean food.

Tens of Thousands Line Up to Sue Apple
Chosun Ilbo

Around 25,000 [Korean] users of iPhones and iPads are preparing to sue Apple for gathering information on their locations without their consent.

Mirae Law, which is representing the Apple users in the collective action suit, said on Sunday that around 25,000 people comprise the first group of litigants, and that it plans to submit its suit at the beginning of this month.

South Korean clinic treats web addicts
BBC News

Like all the children here, Ji-won is learning to spend time away from the internet.

It is something South Korea is increasingly concerned about. Internet addiction has long been recognised as a clinical condition here. And a number of high-profile cases of addicts who neglect themselves – or their children – to the point of death, have raised awareness even further.

A Korean ‘Sacred Duty’ Harbors a Dark Side
New York Times

Amid a rise in suicides and shooting incidents, South Korea’s mandatory military service comes under scrutiny.

Increasingly, the military’s ranks are filled with young men who have not experienced war and no longer consider their 21-month compulsory service a “sacred duty,” as their fathers did, but rather an inconvenient interruption of their civilian lives and careers.

That shift in attitude not only has worried superiors who count on a motivated force, but also has led to a generational clash. Many younger soldiers and marines are now unwilling to accept harsh treatment long tolerated and even encouraged in South Korea as a way of toughening up men for battle, including beatings severe enough to puncture eardrums and cut deeply into thighs.

YG Entertainment CEO Reveals Plans for Movement into the U.S. Market

The head of the highly successful Korean pop label, which includes popular groups such as 2NE1 and Big Bang, said that the company plans a foray into the U.S. market within two years.

I now see the possibilities of advancing into the American market from closely observing the changes that have taken place in the European market. The marketing potential for it is endless. I’m secretly looking forward to the US market as well. China and the US are actually the toughest markets. The US is also the market that most singers are targeting but it’s so big that I think it’s more effective to polish content made in Korea and inform them of it than to promote in the country directly.

A Utopia called Nami
The Nation

One of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea, Nami Island is instantly recognisable as the backdrop for the popular 2002 Korean TV drama “Winter Sonata”.

Yet, without the efforts of Kang Woo-Hyon – “the CEO of Nami Island” – this privately owned getaway would still be quiet for much of the year.

Angels minor league report
Los Angeles Times

Catcher Hank Conger is batting .385 with 15 RBI in nine games since his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake.

O.C. Koreans say Olympics will boost country’s standing
Orange County Register

South Korea’s winning bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics has drawn warm reactions from the Korean-American community in Orange County.

Home to approximately 55,573 Korean Americans, Orange County has the third largest population of Korean Americans in the United States (behind Los Angeles County and Queens County, N.Y.).

Korean-Americans interviewed hope the Olympics will show that South Korea deserves a greater voice in the world community.

Dia Frampton – The Voice Tour in Los Angeles

Tuesday's Link Attack: DREAM Act, Winter Olympics, North Korea

Korean-American student dreams big with passage of Dream Act

College student Jaime Kim was 10 years old when her family moved to Fullerton, Calif. from South Korea a decade ago. What she wasn’t told was that her family entered on tourist visas with no intent to return to Korea.

Kim earned mostly A’s [in school], and began looking at colleges and applying for financial aid. That’s when her mother broke the news – she was an illegal immigrant.

Because of Kim’s immigration status, she didn’t qualify for financial aid. “I was devastated. I was ashamed.”

Kim became active in the student movement to win financial aid for undocumented students and attended Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the California Dream Act yesterday. “This bill will allow me to continue my education,” Kim said.

Quiet digital revolution under way in North Korea
Associated Press via BusinessWeek

North Korea is undergoing its own digital revolution, even as it grapples with chronic shortages of food and fuel. It is still among the most isolated of nations, with cyberspace policies considered among the most restrictive in the world. Yet inside Pyongyang, there’s a small but growing digital world, and a whole new vocabulary to go with it: CNC, e-libraries, IT, an operating system called Red Star and a Web portal called Naenara.

In a world ever-wary of the unpredictable nation’s motives, some see in North Korea’s bid to train a generation of computer experts the specter of hackers launching attacks on the defense systems of rival governments. Others see the push to computerize factories and develop IT expertise as a political campaign designed to promote Kim Jong Un, the reputedly tech-savvy, Swiss-educated son being groomed to succeed his father as North Korea’s next leader.

The country remains one of the hardest to penetrate — by email, by phone, by Internet. But there are signs of curiosity about the wired world outside.

PyeongChang seeking to become tourism hub
Korea Times

As home to some of the most scenic nature and comprehensive leisure facilities in the nation, PyeongChang is hoping duplicate the success of Lake Placid of the United States during and after the 1980 Winter Games, in attracting tourists and international events.

Korea has grown into a winter sports powerhouse in Asia, finishing in the top 10 in the medal standings in the five previous Winter Games.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Esther Kang, Kenneth Choi Q&A, Lady Gaga

‘MasterChef’ contestant eliminated after cocktail party challenge
Digital Spy

Esther Kang has become the latest contestant eliminated from the MasterChef kitchen.

Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot sent Kang home after she failed to impress in either a layer cake pressure test or an hors d’oeuvres challenge at an exclusive rooftop cocktail party.

Kibot: South Korean Robot Reads, Sings and Teaches Toddlers English
ABC News

The Kibot is designed to be part tutor and part babysitter for South Korea’s hard working parents who are intent on making sure their children grow up bilingual in a country where English has become a prerequisite for admission at prominent private schools.

The Kibot, built Korean telecom giant KT Corp., is perfect for Gina Kim, 36, a working mom who puts in a 12 hours a day and sometimes on Saturday. The grueling work schedule makes it hard for her to spend time with her two toddlers Joey, 4 and Juwon, 1.

Three more defendants admit roles in Palisades Park-based ID-theft ring
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Three more Bergen County men have admitted their roles in a large-scale identity-theft ring that ensnared 53 suspects last fall, authorities said.

Sung-Rok Joh, 53, and In-Sook Lee, 33, both of Palisades Park; and Jong-Hoon Kim, 50, of Ridgefield pleaded guilty to a variety of fraud charges in federal court in Newark on Tuesday, said Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Kim was accused of the most serious charges among the three. Authorities said he admitted to fraudulently obtaining two Illinois driver’s licenses in 2008 and using them to apply for credit cards from a number of banks, eventually racking up more than $100,000 in purchases and cash, Carmichael said.

‘Inexpensive Hawaii’ can be found in Belize
Chicago Tribune

Kenneth Choi, who stars in the upcoming “Captain America,” is big on Belize.

N. Korea eyes sharing Olympics in S. Korea
AFP via Yahoo News

North Korea would consider sharing some events in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea — but only if the situation between the two countries improves, a Pyongyang sports official said Wednesday.

The Father of the PlayStation and Japan’s Secret Koreans

Akiko Wada, one of Japan’s most famous singers and personalities, admitted her Korean background a few years back. The very Japanese sounding Wada (和田) is not her pass name; before she naturalized, it was “Kaneumi” (金海). The Korean last name “Kim” is often written as “Kane” (金) in Japanese. Tomoaki Kanemoto, the great Hanshin Tigers outfielder, also admitted his Korean background—though, his admission was less of a surprise. Tech mogul Masayoshi Son, the richest man in Japan, is a third generation Korean Japanese who rejected his family’s pass name, Yasumoto.

Lady Gaga’s BFF – Korean Chef Bo Kyung

Lady Gaga was recently interviewed on a popular KBS entertainment news program that aired on the 9th earlier this month. She briefly introduced herself and then went on to talk about her best friend from childhood, a Korean Chef by the name of Bo Kyung.

Jury deadlocks in officer shooting of mom after chase
Orange County Register

A federal judge declares a mistrial in the civil rights suit brought by the family of Susie Young Kim, 37, of Irvine, who died at the scene of a 2009 shooting with her 1-year-old daughter in the back seat of her car.

LG Pops Out a Glasses-free 3-D Monitor
The Wall Street Journal

On Wednesday, LG Electronics Co. said it would start selling a 20-inch computer monitor that displays 3-D images without needing any glasses at all.

The monitor, called the D2000, will go on sale in South Korea first at a price of 1.29 million won, or about $1,200. It will be available in other countries in October, after the IFA electronics industry convention in Germany in September.

S. Korea to raise minimum wage 6 percent in 2012

A trilateral council comprised of the government, labor and management on Wednesday agreed to raise the country’s minimum wage 6 percent to 4,580 won (US$4.30) an hour next year.

Super typhoon may hit Korean Peninsula
The Korea Herald via AsiaOne

The Korean Peninsula is expected to face a mega typhoon of disastrous proportions this summer, according to the state’s weather agency on Tuesday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration predicts that two or three more typhoons could hit the two Koreas up till September, after analyzing computer simulations.

Korean man burns down own home to spite noisy neighbor
The Korea Herald

A man who set fire to his own home to retaliate against his noisy neighbor was sentenced to two years by Changwon District Court.

The 46-year-old arsonist, who lives in an apartment, said the neighbor upstairs was too noisy and he could not stand it. He said in the hearing that despite frequent remonstrations, the situation did not change.

Frozen Street Food Meal Hits Costco
SF Weekly

The Korean beef taco is now available for bulk purchase. Yay!