Korean American Designer’s Unlikely Hit at Fashion Week
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: February 6th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Korean American designer Richard Chai sent a revamped version of every homebody’s favorite garment, the bathrobe, down the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, triggering an unexpected buzz.

The New Jersey native unveiled the Fall 2014 collection for his Richard Chai Love clothing line on Thursday. A writer on the fashion blog Pattern called the plaid bathrobe an “impressive surprise.”

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked my Twitter feed. Yes, others had seen it, too. Then, the pictorial evidence started pouring in. In fact, no one was tweeting any of the other looks for a while,” wrote fashion photographer Charles I. Letbetter. “The audience was stunned with amazement. Richard Chai sent a bathrobe down the runway. And it was an immediate hit.” Continue Reading »

Thursday’s Link Attack: NKorean Defector Acquitted; K-Pop 101 at KCON; Shin-Soo Choo Has Huge Game
Author: Grace Kang
Posted: August 22nd, 2013
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At Harrowing North Korea Hearings, a Dwindling Audience
Wall Street Journal

Here at the United Nations’ Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea, the heartbreaking stories continue to stream out.

On Thursday, a rapt audience heard harrowing first-hand testimonials from North Korean escapees: widespread orphanage deaths during the famine of the 1990s; public executions witnessed by young children; a disabled man crossing the Tumen River into China on crutches; and starving children forced to eat tree bark, cabbage roots, lizards, snakes and rats.

The only catch is, there wasn’t much of an audience at all. Here in hard-bitten Seoul, home to thousands of North Korean defectors, these sorts of harrowing tales rarely attract the same level of attention found overseas. Some people fear that South Koreans have grown inured to the plight of political prisoners and escapees from the North, 60 years after the cessation of the war that divided the peninsula.

Prominent North Korean defector acquitted of espionage by South Korean court
Washington Post

SEOUL — A North Korean defector was acquitted Thursday by a Seoul district court of espionage charges, accusations initially made by his sister, who said she and her brother had been recruited to spy by the North’s secret police.

Until his arrest eight months ago, Yoo Woo-sung had been among the most well-connected and trusted of the 24,000 defectors from North Korea now living in the South. Yoo, 32, held a job at Seoul City Hall and coached fresh arrivals about their bustling, sometimes bewildering new home country.

His arrest rattled the defector community and raised concerns among activists about the methods that South Korea uses to weed out spies from defectors.

In the past five years, South Korea has arrested 14 defectors as spies, a group that includes would-be assassins and temptresses seeking military secrets.

But Yoo’s case had an unusual twist: He was accused by his sister, Yoo Ga-ryeo, as she was trying to defect from North Korea herself and was being investigated by South Korean intelligence agents.

North, South Korea Finalize Talks on Family Reunions
Voice of America

North and South Korea have finalized an agreement to hold talks Friday on reuniting families separated by the Korean War.

Seoul said Thursday Pyongyang agreed to its offer to hold the talks on the South Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom. It has been three years since the last official meeting between Korean families that were driven apart by the 1950s conflict.

The South’s Unification Ministry also said the North proposed soon holding talks on resuming South Korean visits to its Mount Kumgang resort. Seoul suspended the visits in 2008 following the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist in the area.

Unification Church member inflames self, 2 others
AP via Sacramento Bee

SEOUL, South Korea — Three Japanese nationals who reportedly are followers of the Unification Church suffered burns Thursday when one of them set herself and the other two on fire in a South Korean town known as the heart of the church.

The incident took place one day before the lunar calendar’s first anniversary of the death of Unification Church founder the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, but the motive was not immediately clear.

Gapyeong fire official Kim Oh-Jeong said a 53-year-old woman set herself, a 54-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman on fire inside the lobby of CheongShim Village, a retirement community operated by the Unification Church northeast of Seoul. South Korean news agency Yonhap said the three are church followers.

K-Flicks: Korean filmmakers storm Hollywood
Global Post

If you’re a film buff, you may have heard of a Korean-made summer blockbuster that, strangely, hasn’t reached American shores quite yet.

Starring a line-up of famous Western actors, some critics say Snowpiercer — Korea’s most expensive film ever — represents a potential cultural landmark. Based on a French comic book, it covers a dystopia of post-apocalyptic survivors who, living on a train that travels around the world, rebel against their repressive overlords.

It’s a familiar moral tale about the fall of humankind. But look beyond storyline, and you’ll see that the film says a lot more about South Korea, a nation whose filmmakers are making a sudden splash in Hollywood this year. In fact, Snowpiercer’s renowned Korean director, Bong Joon-ho, is the third star in recent months to make his English debut, while breaking a number of box office records in his home country.

Los Angeles’ KCON aims to take K-pop to another level for fans
Los Angeles Times

Among the many things to do at this weekend’s Korean pop culture convention KCON — sets by K-pop stars G-Dragon and 2 AM, business panels on exporting K-pop and Korean cooking classes among them — some of the most interesting events are about how to become a K-pop star yourself.

Throughout the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena are panels on “Developing K-Pop Songwriting Skills,” “The Art of Remixing and Sampling K-Pop” and “How I Became a K-Pop Choreographer.” You can drop by a space devoted to learning the dance moves from K-pop videos, or a seminar on beauty tips to prime your face for the K-pop spotlight.

As the “hallyu” wave of fun, futuristic South Korean pop culture dominates Asia and continues its inroads in America with acts such as Girls Generation and 2NE1 signing to major U.S. labels, fans here have a growing curiosity about how it all gets made. KCON is there to show them.

Crayon Pop Talks ‘Bar Bar Bar,’ New Fame and Next Single: Exclusive Video Interview
Billboard

To stand out among the tons of K-pop girl groups making waves this year, there seemed to be only two options: Either ooze sexiness with skin-barring outfits and pelvic-thrusting dance moves or stay sweet with fluffy skirts and repeated camera-winks. Most girl groups took the former option, and made some noticeable impact, but without any long-term success.

Then came Crayon Pop, who flipped the scene with the unthinkable. Neither sexy nor cute, they were, intead, straight-out absurd. Their breakout single “Bar Bar Bar” is centered around a dance move called the “Straight-Five-Engine Dance” and a unique stage ensemble of big bicycle helmets and eye-popping tracksuits. It’s helped the group become one of the most talked-about acts this year. The quirky concept has inspired parodies and dance covers all throughout Korea and, thanks to its viral success, the song has finally landed on the coveted No.1 spot of K-Pop Hot 100.

The five members — Ellin, Soyul, Gummi, Choa and Way in their signature helmet and tracksuit getup — sat down with Billboard for an exclusive video interview to discuss their sudden rise to fame, new record deal with Sony Music Korea and what to expect from their hotly-anticipated next single.

Mike Park announces plans to release new Bruce Lee Band record (and 2 other albums) in 2014
Dying Scene

Mike Park, longtime owner and operator of legendary California punk/ska label Asian Man Records, has announced plans to release a new Bruce Lee Band record – along with a new all-ska kid’s album, and a solo acoustic record – in 2014:

“…I’ve been recording lots of new music. Actually, lots and lots of SKA. Sometime next year I’ll have a new kids album that’s all ska and will also debut a new Bruce Lee Band album to relive my 90′s love for SKA/PUNK.

And for those who only like my acoustic stuff, I’ve got that stuff too. So mucho music coming from me this next year. Be well.

peace, mike park”

Shin-Soo Choo-led Reds hold on for 10-7 win over Arizona Diamondbacks
WCPO Cincinnati

Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs to spark Cincinnati’s offensive outburst in a 10-7 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.

The Reds opened up a six-game lead over Arizona in the race for the National League’s second wild-card spot.

Cincinnati remained third in the NL Central, but moved to 2 1/2 games behind first-place Pittsburgh, which lost at San Diego.

Mike Leake allowed four runs in the fifth inning, but was dominant in his other five innings for first win in his past five starts.

Leake (11-5) allowed six hits and four runs with no walks and three strikeouts while the Reds were building an 8-0 lead.

‘Korean Zombie’ likely out one year following surgeries for dislocated shoulder, broken orbital bone
SB Nation

Chan Sung Jung will have to wait a bit longer than expected to get back into the title hunt after his manager Brian Rhee informed MMAFighting.com that he could be out of action for a up to one full year because of surgery to repair a separated shoulder and broken orbital bone.

The timetable for his return, according to Rhee, is dependent on the rehab process.

“Korean Zombie” suffered the injuries at UFC 163 earlier this month during his title fight against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion Jose Aldo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Treat yourself to Korean dumplings at Cho Man Won
Los Angeles Times

Name of restaurant: Cho Man Won

Follow the money: This casual restaurant is owned by the same people as O Dae San, an all-you-can-eat barbecue joint, next door.

What dish represents the restaurant, and why? They’re known for their Korean Chinese cuisine. Although they serve the typical jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles) and jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup), the real treats are their mandu (Korean dumplings). They have jjin mandu (steamed dumplings) filled with kimchi and pork or vegetables and pork, nicely plump in their almost translucent skins. Their goon mandu (fried dumplings) are the typical crescent-shaped deals with crispy skins and also filled with meat. Their English menu with photos makes it easy to order.

Designer Delivery: Richard Chai Unveils eBay Now Tote
ELLE

New York’s famously fast-paced lifestyle inspired Richard Chai to collaborate with one of the city’s many time-saving services: eBay Now. The designer created a tote bag that 200 lucky eBay Now customers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens will get for free with any purchase off the site. The expandable bag fits all of your essentials and features an electric blue-and-white graphic pattern reflecting Chai’s spring 2014 collection. Chai explained the design was meant to be a statement embodying a mix of NYC’s tough reputation and underlying romanticism.

“I was inspired by geometric shapes and patterns, but doing them in a way that feels soft and fluid,” he told us.

Friday’s Link Attack: Michelle Rhee; Fashion Designer Richard Chai; Lunar New Year
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: February 8th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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S.Koreans ‘Indifferent’ to N.Korean Nuclear Threat
Chosun Ilbo

South Koreans seem relatively untroubled by North Korea’s impending nuclear test, even as they worry about the safety of ageing nuclear reactors here. “It seems that only the government, media and some politicians are taking the nuclear test seriously, while the ordinary public is not that interested,” said a senior government official here Thursday.

Even when minor problems are detected at existing nuclear power plants, some civic groups vehemently call for their closure.

Directors of Pen Argyl Korean exchange program plead guilty to charges stemming from son’s sex case
The Morning Call (Lehigh Valley, Pa.)

The parents of a Pen Argyl man who sexually assaulted a student at their family-run Korean exchange program admitted Thursday to misdemeanor charges stemming from his case.

Min Taek Kim, 62, and Yong Ran Kim, 51, each pleaded guilty to failing to report suspected abuse, with Min Kim also acknowledging that he endangered the welfare of a child. Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito gave them both one year of probation.

The Kims operated ACE Academy in Pen Argyl, which housed and mentored students from South Korea attending Pius X High School until the scandal involving their son led the school to cut ties.

Richard Kim, a tutor in his parents’ academy, admitted in May that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old student, escalating from kissing to fondling to oral sex. He is serving five to 10 years in state prison.

‘The State of the Union is…’ According to Michelle Rhee
ABC News

Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, told ABC News the country needs to focus more on public education in order to improve the nation’s economy and increase its competitiveness.

“The state of the union is increasingly going to have to focus on public education and what we can do to improve it,” Rhee, who is a former chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools, said.

Lee Seung Gi Talks Making K-Pop Hot 100 History, PSY’s Influence and 2013 Plans
Billboard.com

At the ripe age of 26, Lee Seung Gi is a veteran in the Korean entertainment industry for accomplishments across multiple platforms. He’s earned titles throughout his nine-year career inlcuding “box office star” (for bringing in the highest ratings for his television drama series) and “chart killer” (for placing his singles at the top of the charts).

At the end of 2012, with the release of his melancholic ballad “Return,” he added one more title to his esteemed list; the singer to earn the longest-running K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1 in chart history so far. His single spent seven weeks atop the chart, surpassing the previous record set previously by IU’s “You and I” that PSY’s “Gangnam Style” tied in the summer of 2012.

Korean American Deli Owner Is A Calligrapher
Voice of America

Kwon Myoung-Won from Korea works hard, like many immigrants, running a small business for long hours every day. But he never lost his passion for the calligraphy he began doing as a boy. Although few may know about this art, some of his works are displayed in museums and galleries across the U.S. and around the world. Kwon’s works at a convenience store in the Washington suburbs, where his art flourishes.

Happy New Year : Ricky Choi rings in the lunar New Year, Korean style.
KQED (San Francisco, Calif.)

“Are you Chinese?” asked the four year old.

“I’m not Chinese, I’m Korean!” my daughter replied with a combination of firmness and derision that only a preschooler could get away with. Excited about Lunar New Year’s Day, her classmate was hoping to connect with an Asian student in the class. Despite my daughter’s response, her classmate’s inquiry was more appropriate than she knew. Lunar New Year is coming, and it is an exciting time for many communities — not just Chinese ones — to celebrate.

Take a Peek Backstage at Richard Chai’s Fall 2013 Show
Elle

Backstage at Richard Chai Love, the designer high-fived his models as they arrived at the clothing racks. The girls huddled in clusters, taking Instagram selfies with their long-limbed best friends, while the boys hid behind the racks of clothes, trying to finish one more game of Angry Birds on their iPads before show time–which began right on schedule, at 11:25 am.

The Asian Wave
New York Times

Five years ago, the Asian tiger was just starting to stir in the world of American fashion. Now, designers whose roots are in China, Korea, Taiwan or other parts of that continent are roaring.

As the New York fashion shows kicked off the international winter 2013 season this week, the “ABC’s,” or “American-born Chinese” have taken a powerful position.

The appointment of Alexander Wang, 29, as creative director of the Paris-based house of Balenciaga would have been unthinkable when European designers ruled the roost — particularly at a house in their own territory.

South Korean’s kind gesture generates online buzz
Straits Times (Singapore)

A pair of white $4 slippers, given spontaneously to a barefoot stranger who boarded a public bus last Saturday, catapulted a South Korean undergraduate into the limelight.

Mr Choi Dae Ho, 22, may be a black belt in taekwondo, but instead it was his gentle act of chivalry that put him at the centre of online buzz.

South Korean employees work excessive hours
Al Jazeera via YouTube

Monday’s Link Attack: Korean Americans for Obama; Fashion Designer Richard Chai; Psy
Author: Steve Han
Posted: September 17th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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Massive typhoon slams North and South Korea
AP via New York Daily News

A powerful typhoon lashed North and South Korea with strong wind and heavy rain Monday, killing at least one person, leaving dozens of others homeless and cutting power to many homes and businesses in the South.

Korean-American voters for Obama
Korea Times

With less than 50 days left till the U.S. presidential election, it’s unclear how swing voters and swing states will tilt the vote in a remarkably stable, yet tight race. But it seems as if Korean-Americans have generally decided which candidate they’re going to stand behind come November.

Despite a struggling economy, polls show one after another that the majority are ready to give President Barack Obama one more chance.

Korean students, parents do their pre-college homework
Los Angeles Times

He’s only 11. Still, BJ Bae blended in with the thousands of people of Korean heritage who swarmed an Orange County college fair this weekend. He stopped to sign up for a concentration test so “I can know what job might be good for me.”

Korea-Japan Standoff: Why Americans Should Care
Huffington Post

Korea and Japan have spiraled into their worst relations in decades over tensions surrounding a few rocky islets in the ocean between them. Koreans call the islands “Dokdo” and Japanese know them as “Takeshima.” Politicians in both countries assure supporters that these barely inhabited spits of land will be defended as theirs at all costs, and the respective foreign ministries have announced multi-million dollar ad campaigns to further publicize their claims.

Korean-American liaison focused on community
NorthJersey.com

Steve Chong already has made his mark on this year’s Bergen County election ballot.

As the recently hired liaison between the County Clerk’s Office and Bergen County’s fast-growing Korean-American community, Chong recently found some mistakes while proofreading the Korean language ballot provided by the state.

For example, near the top of the general election presidential year ballot were the Korean words for “Primary Election.” Another Korean ballot incorrectly described a referendum question as an election to fill a vacant position, he said.

The Strange Fate of Kim’s Video
The Village Voice

From 1995 until January 2009, a music and movie megastore called Mondo Kim’s took up the bulk of a five-story building at 6 St. Marks Place in the East Village. The top floor was rented out as apartments, and the fourth floor was used by Yongman Kim—the owner of the building and of Mondo Kim’s—as office space. The third floor held what was widely considered to be the best, most diverse video-rental collection in New York City.

Toronto Sun

North Koreans find love and refuge in Toronto
Toronto Sun

There is no fear in love, said one speaker, after 15 North Korean refugee couples filed into City Hall Saturday, quietly occupying chambers normally used for council meetings.

To wed a group of refugees in Toronto’s central civic arena was the work of one determined councillor: Raymond Cho.

“All these people said that Canada is paradise, and they say they escaped from hell to heaven,” he said.

For S. Korean Men, Makeup a Foundation for Success
AP via ABC News

South Korean men spent $495.5 million on skincare last year, accounting for nearly 21 percent of global sales, according to global market research firm Euromonitor International. That makes it the largest market for men’s skincare in the world, even though there are only about 19 million men in South Korea. Amorepacific, South Korea’s biggest cosmetics company, estimates the total sales of men’s cosmetics in South Korea this year will be more than $885 million.

The Chosun Ilbo

TV Personality Woo Jong-wan Dead in Apparent Suicide
Chosun Ilbo

Fashion guru Woo Jong-wan was found dead at his home on Saturday afternoon. The 46-year-old TV personality was discovered hanging by his dressing gown belt in the living room by his sister.

In South Korea, K-Pop Gets New King
NPR

For 12 years, Park Jae-Sang — better known to his fans as the rapper PSY — has had a successful career in his native South Korea.

But now, thanks to the viral video for Gangnam Style, his new single, he’s on top of the world.

With 180 million views and counting, it’s the most-viewed Korean pop music video in YouTube’s history. He’s appeared on Ellen, NBC’s Today Show, the MTV Video Music Awards; he’s signed a deal with Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun — and just today, Gangnam Style hit number one on the U.S. iTunes singles chat.

AP

A Step Back
The New York Times

Mancini won the lightweight title with a first-round knockout live from Vegas, the broadcast sponsored by Michelin (“the company that pioneered the radial”), Michelob (“smooth and mellow”) and the Norelco Rototract rechargeable. That was 1982. He was only 21, but already a modern allegory, as bankable as he was adored.

Then he fought Duk-koo Kim.

Kim had hit the Korean exacta at birth: dirt-poor and dark-skinned. But the prospect of a title shot seemed to ennoble him. He became fierce for the sake of his family. At the time of the Mancini fight, his fiancée was pregnant with their son.

If only Kim had taken a step back, he might have lived to see that boy.

Jiyai Shin wins second British by record margin
ESPN

It was getting darker by the minute on what had been a horrific last day, but when it came to the final hole, there was a stunning shaft of evening sun as Jiyai Shin completed her record 9-shot win at the Women’s British Open.

It was the best of finishing touches. Shin, who had won a nine-hole playoff Monday at Kingsmill before arriving at Hoylake on Tuesday, was exhausted but ecstatic. Apart from winning by such a handsome margin, she was 9 under par and had proved herself on a links course.

Jae Su Chun denies claims of abuse
AP via ESPN

U.S. speedskating coach Jae Su Chun has denied claims of verbal, physical and psychological abuse brought by current and former members of the national team, including five Olympic medalists.

Korean-American Designer Shines at NY Fashion Week
Arirang

In the past few years.. at the start of every season, his shows were the ones that usually set the tone at the start of New York’s Fashion Week. His name.. Richard Chai– a Korean-American fashion designer from New Jersey.

In a span of just a few years, Chai has become a household name in many department stores, not only in the United States but all around the world.

Marja Vongerichten Launches BiBiFresh, a Roving Bibimbap-up
Grub Street

Even more bibambap is headed our way: BiBiFresh, the newest rice-bowl player in town, is a collaboration between chef and author (and wife of Jean-Georges) Marja Vongerichten and Tavalon Tea founder John-Paul Lee and, from the looks of it, a serious fast-casual restaurant chain in the making. Customers build their bibimbap from the bowl up with a choice of grains (including quinoa), vegetables, meat, and sauce, and the concept also includes salads and lettuce wraps.

Friday’s Link Attack: Hines Ward, Kim Jong Un, Richard Chai
Author: Linda Son
Posted: February 3rd, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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Harvard Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe
Bloomberg

The U.S. Education Department is probing complaints that Harvard University and Princeton University discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian- American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, a department spokesman said. The agency is looking into a similar August 2011 allegation against Princeton as part of a review begun in 2008 of that school’s handling of Asian-American candidates, said the spokesman, who declined to be identified, citing department policy.

Kyung Namgood, OC Homicide No. 5: Ruben Gurrola, Wrong-Way Driver, Held for Murder
OC Weekly

Kyung Namgood, 53, of Buena Park, was killed early Sunday after the Toyota sedan she was riding in on the 91 freeway in Anaheim was plowed into head on by a Honda sedan driven by Ruben Gurrola, 23, Pomona.

Gurrola is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and driving with a blood alcohol level .08 percent or more causing injury. He also faces sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing great bodily injury and causing bodily injury to more than one victim.

Bakers and Chaebol in South Korea, Let them Eat Cake
The Economist

The hot topic in South Korea is the trend for daughters and grand-daughters of chaebol families to open bakeries and other small food outlets. The chaebol are the conglomerates that dominate the Korean economy, so these plutocratic pâtissières have deeper pockets than any of the little bakers they compete against.

Their baking has provoked outrage. Lee Myung-bak, South Korea’s president, calls it a “hobby” business for rich girls that threatens the livelihood of poor shopkeepers. Lee Ju-young, a member of the national assembly, likens it to Park Ji-sung (Manchester United’s Korean midfielder) lording it over amateurs in a backstreet game of football. A restaurateur in Seoul puts it more plaintively: “These families already control everything else in Korea. Why can’t they leave something for the rest of us?”

Doblin: Politics may Derail Christie Judicial Nominees
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

On Wednesday, prominent Korean-Americans rallied in Hackensack in support of Phillip Kwon, one of Governor Christie’s two nominees to the state Supreme Court. Kwon is the first Korean-American and first immigrant nominated to the state’s high court. Christie’s announcement last week was greeted with cheers. The enthusiasm was short-lived.

Published reports that Kwon’s parents, who own a liquor store in New York, had allegedly made 222 cash deposits that were below the $10,000 threshold to skirt bank-reporting rules quickly sent a cloud over Kwon’s confirmation parade. No criminal charges were filed against Kwon’s parents and a civil lawsuit has been settled. This week, Christie said the investigation into the financial transfers did not involve Kwon.

Seven dazzling days in South Korea
CNNGo

This itinerary is for the helpless Korea virgins (and despite Korea’s burgeoning tourism, we know you’re out there), not been-there-done-that backpackers in search of the obscure. But the adjective “dazzling” here is no meaningless tag. It’s a nod to the process of aggressive elimination and selection that gave us the model itinerary for seven days of travel in South Korea.

Kim Jong Un Looking at Things
The Atlantic

Like father, like son. Since the recent death of Kim Jong Il, North Korean state-run media has been releasing a series of images of the “Great Successor,” Kim Jong Un, visiting schools, factories, and military facilities. These visits, which were frequently publicized by his father and his grandfather Kim Il Sung, are called “field guidance” trips — opportunities for the supreme leader to give on-the-spot advice. For decades, the North Korean myth-making machine endowed Kim Jong Il with amazing wisdom, prowess, and intelligence, and it continues that tradition now with his son, touting him as a marksman, poet, economic genius, and wise military strategist. Little is actually known about Kim Jong Un. Even his age remains in doubt — he may be 28, 29, or 30. Based on the state-released photos collected here, he is following closely in his father’s footsteps, albeit with a touch more visible affection.

Richard Chai Named Filson’s New Creative Director
Styleite.com

Chai has just been tapped as the 115-year-old heritage brand’s creative director. His first task was to design six jackets and three bags for the Filson Rugged Casual Apparel collection, which reinterprets Filson’s classic styles in Chai’s signature fabrics.

Girls’ Generation Create Buzz After U.S. Primetime Debut
Chosun Ilbo

The band’s performance of the English version of “The Boys” on “The Late Show” on Tuesday (local time) was met with a shower of praise on social networking sites including Twitter. The video clip from the show was uploaded immediately after the program aired and received over 710,000 hits in just two days.

Girls’ Generation also received much attention on online news sites. A blog created on the Wall Street Journal is conducting a vote on their performance. As of Thursday afternoon, 77.7 percent, or 1,313 people, gave their approval, saying they are fans. Some 230 people, or 13.6 percent, answered that they did not know the band before, but that they liked their performance. Less than 2 percent gave a negative response.

Popular music in Korea, a Jimi Hendrix Stymied
The Economist

MANUFACTURED Korean pop music, or K-Pop, is riding high on a wave of international hype. The greatest figure in the history of this country’s popular music, however, does not wear high heels, nor miniskirt. Indeed, he does not even dance.

Shin Joong-hyun first learned to play guitar in the 1950s, and soon found a following among the American soldiers stationed here. Jackie Shin, as they knew him, was a master of jazz, rock ’n roll, rhythm-and-blues, and country. He already knew the Americans’ favourite songs, having spent every waking hour listening to Armed Forces Korea Network (AFKN), for many years the sole conduit by which Western music flowed into Korea.

What Heals The World? Soup, Made By Moms
National Public Radio

Maybe that’s why the kimchi soup was so welcome; it happened to be made by a mom named Yesoon Lee. This week I went back to Mandu, her restaurant, to ask Lee if I had found the Korean mother’s cure-all. What does she feed her kids when they’re sick? “Chicken soup and jook,” she said.

Jook is the Korean version of gruel, a dish that’s on the short list of invalid menus worldwide. “It’s for when you have stomach problems,” says Lee, who was born in Korea but raised her two children in Vienna, Va. Her daughter Jean, who’s 36 and a partner in the restaurant (along with her brother Dan), says: “Still, when I’m sick, my mom makes me jook.” She tries to make it herself, but she says, “it’s not the same.”

Ward still planning to play for Steelers
ESPN

“I plan on playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers and going from there,” Ward said at the Super Bowl media center Thursday.

Ward’s chances of returning increased with the departure of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who had been looking to reduce Ward’s role the past couple of seasons. If Pittsburgh is committed to getting back to a run-first offense, Ward’s value goes up because of his blocking.

Ward, who lost his starting job this season, is scheduled to make $4 million in the last two years of his contract but he has said that he is willing to take a pay cut. A decision has to be made by March 1 because of a clause in his contract.

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