Hurst laughs off being called Jenner ‘mystery woman’
NBC Golf Channel
LPGA pro Vicky Hurst unwittingly became “the mystery woman” hugging Bruce Jenner when paparazzi captured them outside a Chipotle restaurant Friday in Malibu, Calif.
The story ran under this headline in the British Daily Mail’s online edition: “Bruce Jenner wears wedding band on right hand embracing mystery woman in Malibu.”
Jenner, the decathlon gold medalist in the ’76 Olympics, is married to Kris Jenner, previously Kris Kardashian, mother to the Kardashian siblings of reality TV fame. Celebrity news sites have been abuzz over the separation and now reports of a possible reconciliation of the couple.
Citigroup Says Client Data Leaked at Korean Consumer Credit Unit
Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Industrial Bank of Korea (024110) said client information was leaked from their South Korean leasing and consumer credit units, the latest instances of data breaches at financial firms in the country.
Authorities found 17,000 instances of leaks of information including names and phone numbers, Citigroup Korea Inc. said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions today. The company was informed of the breaches by the prosecutors’ office in February, it said. The same number of leaks occurred at Industrial Bank of Korea’s IBK Capital Corp., company official Shin Dong Min said by phone from Seoul, declining to elaborate
N. Korea blasts reunification offer as ‘psychopath’s daydream’
North Korea on Saturday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath”.
The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal Park made in a speech last month in Dresden in the former East Germany.
North Korea Marathon Opens Pyongyang Streets to Foreign Tourists
Pyongyang was filled with runners from all over the world on Sunday for the annual marathon, open to foreign amateurs for the first time.
Nancy Q: Wie finds way to make odd putting stroke work
The putting stroke is the one skill that can take on a totally different look from one player to the next. That has never been more evident then when watching the putting style of LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie.
Two years ago I witnessed Wie putting at the Navistar Classic. I was very surprised at how “bent over” she was in her setup. So was every other golf instructor and golf critic in the country! In an interview that week, I heard her say she was the one who decided on that putting style, not David Leadbetter, her teacher of many years.
Learning in reverse brought Kogi chef Roy Choi to the top
All roads lead back to the Kogi truck.
“It’s like my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’m Neil Diamond,” Roy Choi said. “I’ll never be able to outlive Kogi. Kogi is a beast.”
The chef was attempting to articulate what spawning that marvel of Korean barbecued ribs enveloped in tortillas has meant to him in front of a crowd at the 19th-annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. The sprawling two-day event at USC features readings, screenings, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.
The kimchi revolution: How Korean-American chefs are changing food culture
In a recent interview with food writer Michael Ruhlman, celebrity travel/food writer Anthony Bourdain said that “when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American.” By “all,” he mostly meant “both,” since his list boiled down to two: David Chang and Roy Choi.
Roy Choi is best known as the L.A. Korean taco truck guy, and David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group as well as the cult food publication “Lucky Peach.” Bourdain probably intended to mention Edward Lee in this interview as well, insofar as he’d praised Lee’s cookbook, “Smoke and Pickles,” by calling him one of “America’s most important young chefs.”
World Bank’s Kim urges SA to cut red tape around investment
WORLD Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries such as India, South Africa and others in Africa with massive infrastructure programmes should limit red tape to make it easier for investors to bring in the billions of dollars such large projects require.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings on Thursday.
The South African government plans to invest more than R800bn over the next three years on energy, road, rail, school and municipal infrastructure and has called on the private sector to participate. It has identified infrastructure development as one of the areas that can create jobs and provide skills for millions of unemployed people.
Out of the blue
FORAGING in South Korea’s mountains may soon become more fruitful. Since a wild ginseng digger reported the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on April 3rd, the South’s ministry of defence has been ruminating on rewards for anyone who spots an enemy drone. The report followed the discovery of two other similar aircraft: on March 24th in Paju, a border city; and on March 31st on Baengnyeong island, near the disputed Northern Limit Line which demarcates the two Koreas’ maritime border. North Korean inscriptions on the planes’ batteries; an ongoing military investigation into their engines, fuel tanks and weight; and the sequence of the photographs found stored in one of the plane’s cameras suggest the drones were sent from North Korea. For others, their sky-blue camouflage paintwork, identical to that on larger drones paraded in the capital Pyongyang two years ago, was a giveaway.
Merkel vows support for Korean reunification bid
AFP via Google News
Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Germany’s support Wednesday during a visit by South Korea’s president for efforts to unify the Korean peninsular, saying its own reunification gave it a “duty” to help others.
“We would like very much to support Korea in this important issue,” Merkel told a joint press conference with President Park Geun Hye, who is on a state visit to Germany.
“Germany was divided for 40 years, Korea is in such a situation in the meantime” as the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which means the two sides technically remain at war.
South Korea captures a North Korean fishing boat
A day after North Korea test-fired two missiles, South Korea captured a fishing boat from the North that had crossed into South Korean waters, officials say.
The boat crossed the sea demarcation line that separates the two Koreas and was captured by the South Korean navy Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said.
The action comes as tensions between the two Koreas are rising once again. On Wednesday, North Korea tested two medium-range ballistic missiles, firing them into the ocean.
N Korea and the myth of starvation
One of the most commonly cited cliches is that North Korea is a “destitute, starving country”. Once upon a time, such a description was all too sadly correct: In the late 1990s, North Korea suffered a major famine that, according to the most recent research, led to between 500,000 and 600,000 deaths. However, starvation has long since ceased to be a fact of life in North Korea.
Admittedly, until quite recently, many major news outlets worldwide ran stories every autumn that cited international aid agencies saying that the country was on the brink of a massive famine once again. These perennially predicted famines never transpired, but the stories continued to be released at regular intervals, nonetheless.
In the last year or two, though, such predictions have disappeared. This year, North Korea enjoyed an exceptionally good harvest, which for the first time in more than two decades will be sufficient to feed the country’s entire population. Indeed, according to the recent documents of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), North Korea’s harvest totaled 5.03 million tonnes of grain this year, if converted to the cereal equivalent. To put things in perspective, in the famine years of the late 1990s, the average annual harvest was estimated (by the same FAO) to be below the 3 million tonne level.
MANDATORY KIM JONG UN HAIRCUTS A BALDFACED LIE?
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s distinctive hairstyle is the ‘do of the day on the Internet, thanks to a viral report that every male university student in the capital is now under orders to get a buzz just like it. But it appears the barbers of Pyongyang aren’t exactly sharpening their scissors.
Recent visitors to the country say they’ve seen no evidence of any mass haircutting. North Korea watchers smell another imaginative but uncorroborated rumor.
The thinly sourced reports say an order went out a few weeks ago for university students to buzz cut the sides of their heads just like Kim. Washington, D.C.-based Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources as saying an unwritten directive from somewhere within the ruling Workers’ Party went out early this month, causing consternation among students who didn’t think the new ‘do would suit them.
Video shows N. Korea karaoke salons
Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Rare video footage from North Korea has emerged showing men enjoying a night out in a karaoke salon catering to relatively wealthy North Koreans making money from often illicit cross-border trade.
The content of the hidden-camera footage, which could not be independently verified, was released by a South Korean pastor, Kim Sung-Eun, known for helping North Koreans escape to Seoul.
The grainy video included footage of a group of men and women, speaking with North Korean accents, drinking beer, singing, dancing and kissing in a South Korean-style karaoke “room salon”.
“This is a North Korean equivalent of a room salon, in the form of a restaurant combined with a karaoke where women serve male clients,” Kim told reporters in Seoul.
Breaking the Ice in East Asia [EDITORIAL]
New York Times
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan met, at last, on Tuesday. The meeting — with President Obama on the sideline at the nuclear security summit meeting at The Hague — was the result of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy in an effort to mend the seriously deteriorated relations between the American allies in East Asia.
Ms. Park and Mr. Abe had not met since each came to power more than a year ago, breaking a tradition of South Korean and Japanese leaders getting together soon after taking office. Ms. Park refused to see Mr. Abe, saying his government showed a “total absence of sincerity” in addressing the suffering Japan inflicted upon colonized Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Mr. Abe made things worse in December by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals. There was little chance of the two leaders beginning to mend relations without the American push.
Seoul, Tokyo Must Tackle Their Differences Head-On [OPINION]
The leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan sat down together on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague. The meeting, which took place at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands, came at the urging of U.S. President Barack Obama.
The three leaders vowed to stand together against threats from North Korea. “Over the last five years, close cooperation between the three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea,” Obama said. “Our trilateral cooperation has sent a strong signal to Pyongyang that its provocations and threats will be met with a unified response.”
President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe duly echoed the sentiment.
Korean business leader and shopping center owner Sim dies
Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)
Sys-Con owner and CEO Su Yong Sim, the Korean businessman who helped revitalize East Boulevard, died Thursday morning after a prolonged illness.
Sim’s company built several major facilities, including the $65 million Hyundai Heavy Industries plant in Montgomery and a $48 million plant for Donghee America Inc. in Auburn.
His holding company bought Stratford Square shopping center on East Boulevard and built a $4.5 million bowling center there. It also bought the shuttered Up the Creek restaurant nearby, remodeled it and opened it as Sushi Yama.
Food waste around the world
The Guardian (U.K.)
Jeong Ho-jin dons a pair of plastic gloves to show off his most proud achievement as a district official in Seoul, and then uses his keys to unlock a large, rectangular contraption that looks like some kind of futuristic top-loading washing machine. Loaded with bins half-filled with decomposing ginseng, lettuce and other meal remnants, this, it turns out, is South Korea’s high-tech solution to food waste.
Jeong works in one of two districts in Seoul where the high-tech food waste management program is being piloted. The program works by giving each household a card that has a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it containing the user’s name and address. They scan their card on a small card-reader on the front of the high-tech bin to get the lid to open, then dump the food waste into the bin and onto the scale at the bottom, which gives a numerical reading of the waste’s weight and disposal cost.
“Before this everyone paid the same flat rate [for disposal] and they would just throw their food waste away without thinking,” said Jeong.
Korean community centre seeks younger crowd
Vancouver Courier (Canada)
Vancouver’s only Korean community centre has undergone a facelift and will officially reopen its doors April 1.The centre, which is located at 1320 East Hastings St. and has housed the Korean Society of B.C. for Fraternity and Culture since 1991, received a grant from the federal government in April 2013 and began renovations the next month. The grant, from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, provided $226,602 toward the project and the Korean Society and Korean Senior Society matched it with support from the Korean government and member donations. Vancouver boasts the highest Korean population in the country at over 50,000 people.
BigBang’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ tops 100 mln YouTube views
South Korean boy band BigBang saw the video of its 2012 hit song “Fantastic Baby” surpass 100 million views on YouTube Thursday.
The video, which was first uploaded in March 2012, had slightly more than 100 million views as of about 2 p.m., making it the forth South Korean video to hit the milestone, following Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman.”
BigBang became the first K-pop boy band to do so.
Korean Journalist Seeks To Find Out If Beanballs Hurt
One Korean journalist for KBS worked on a feature on baseball players being hit by pitches, and did some firsthand reporting to find out if it hurts to be hit by a baseball. It does!
The whole video report—which isn’t embeddable—is worth watching, and you don’t need to understand Korean to figure it out: Pitches to the head, whether intentional or not, are causing injuries in baseball. The best part is definitely the high-speed camera footage of baseballs hitting a wash basin and frying pan, set to music that sounds like the Halloween theme.
POT by Roy Choi, a Soulful Ode to Korean Cuisine
As promised, POT is a powerful ode to Korean cuisine by one of the most notable Korean-American chefs in the country. Roy Choi opened POT inside The Line Hotel to the public for lunch yesterday, introducing dishes that seem whimsical and inventive on paper, yet incredibly grounded, flavorful, and intense to a fault on the plate. Think “Boot Knocker” stew, Choi’s take on a dish that Korean mothers make after school’s. Filled with Lil’ smokies, Spam, ramen noodles, and more than a few dollops of red chili flakes, it’s about as rich as the cuisine can get, without getting too serious.
The gently wrapped Kat Man Doo dumplings come dressed in soy, chilies, and scallions for maximum effect, while chewy squid gets tossed with rice cakes, onions, and gochujang. In almost all steps, Choi is taking the cuisine of his motherland and putting an elegant, chefly touch that elevates and refines flavors.
Probably the Worst Diary of Anne Frank Cover Ever
Usually, covers of The Diary of Anne Frank feature black and white photos of its author, Anne Frank. Or, you might see tasteful illustrations. You don’t usually see photos like this!
As recently pointed out by Korean-born Twitter user Che_SYoung, a version of this book was apparently released in South Korea years ago by an unscrupulous publisher:
It looks like a Harlequin romance novel! For the past few years, the image of this cover has been floating around online (as I mentioned, it is supposedly real!), and it even pops up when you Google Image search The Diary of Anne Frank in Korean:
Bojagi workshop offered at LACMA
Korea Times LA
[Korean-born textile artist Lee Young-min] currently holds bojagi workshops and leads a community bojagi project at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The program will take place on April 12, May 3 and June 7. The reservations of the workshops for April 12 have been already filled.
“Many parents with their children are taking part in the workshops. They are all beginners and not skilled but they return home with satisfaction of their completion of bojagi artworks,” she said.
She has organized numerous workshops, classes and demonstrations on Korean arts and crafts around the Bay Area. Recently she demonstrated her bojagi and “maedeup” or Korean knots in Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as part of the Asia Alive Program. Lee also participated in Oakland Museum’s Lunar New Year celebration with her bojagi and maedeup artworks.
Thousands Mourn Fallen LAPD Officer Nicholas Lee
Korea Times US
Hundreds of mourners, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Jerry Brown, gathered on Thursday to pay tribute to Los Angeles police Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, who was killed when his patrol car was struck by a dump truck.
Lee, 40, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred around 8 a.m. Friday near Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, about one block across the city line. His partner, who was just three months out of the police academy, was hospitalized and released Saturday night. The two were responding to an “unknown trouble” call when the crash occurred.
An investigation into the crash is continuing, but Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said last week the initial indication appears to be that the truck, which wound up on its side after striking the patrol car, may have lost its brakes.
Japan Prime Minister Says He Will Not Revise 1993 Apology to ‘Comfort Women’
New York Times
Moving to defuse a heated diplomatic dispute over World War II-era history, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that his government would not revise a landmark 1993 apology to women forced to work in Japanese military brothels.
It was the first time since taking office more than a year ago that Mr. Abe has explicitly stated that his right-wing administration would uphold the official apology, known as the Kono Statement. That statement, issued by Yohei Kono, then the chief cabinet secretary, admitted that Japan’s military played at least an indirect role in forcing the so-called comfort women to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
“I am deeply pained to think of the comfort women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering, a feeling I share equally with my predecessors,” Mr. Abe told Parliament. Referring to the Kono Statement, the prime minister said, “The Abe cabinet has no intention to review it.”
N. Korean defectors who once settled in S. Korea face deportation from Canada
More than 600 North Korean defectors, who initially settled in South Korea, are on the verge of being deported from Canada while attempting to take refuge there, an informed source said Thursday.
The Canadian authorities accuse them of disguising themselves as those who just fled the communist nation, said the source from South Korean political circles.
They actually defected to the capitalist South and gained citizenship there, according to the source who is on a trip here after visiting Canada.
“The people with the nationality of South Korea, who fled North Korea, filed applications for a refugee status with the Canadian government. But their applications were rejected and they face deportation,” said the source.
South Korea to join search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
South Korea has decided to send two military aircraft to join the international search and rescue operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
The country plans to send a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft and a C- 130 military transport airplane to carry out search and rescue tasks, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the ministry.
It has also ordered 39 South Koreans from the military to depart for Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to join the international search and rescue efforts, Xinhua said.
Seoul counselors help curb suicide
Thirty counselors at the Seoul Suicide Prevention Center (SSPC) are on standby 24/7 in a fight to bring city’s suicide rate down.
“Suicide is not a disease. An impulse to kill can happen to anyone. When it happens to you, you need people to talk to. That’s what we are trying to do for the callers,” Choi Min-jung, an SSPC counselor, said.
The SSPC, launched in 2005, is under the supervision of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
This reporter spent two nights recently at the center, to observe the counselors’ work. The writer was not allowed to listen to callers for privacy reasons, but overheard counselors often begin the conversations with questions: “You seem angry. Would you mind sharing more about your feelings?”
Sex crimes against minors soars in recent years
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
The number of sex crimes against minors rose sharply in the past five years but more than 40 percent of convicted offenders were released on probation, government data showed Thursday.
According to the data by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the number of sex crimes, such as rape, indecent assault and brokering prostitution, against children and juveniles rose 52.7 percent from 1,068 cases in 2007 to 1,631 in 2012.
The findings are based on a research conducted by the state-run Korean Women’s Development Institute on supreme court cases of sex crimes against minors during the 2007-2012 period.
Korea-U.S. FTA Scorecard Shows Seoul the Bigger Winner
Wall Street Journal
The U.S.-South Korean free trade agreement marks its second anniversary Saturday.
The landmark deal, effective since March 15, 2012, helped boost bilateral trade. A question is which side benefits more? The answer is Seoul, not Washington, according to trade data in South Korea.
Bilateral trade has risen 4.1% for the past two years with the South Korean surplus—or the U.S. deficit—growing, show Seoul’s trade ministry data. The data show South Korea’s surplus in trade with the U.S. widening to $17 billion for the first year after the pact took effect and $20 billion for the second year—from $12 billion for a year before the deal.
Beneficiaries from the two-year free-trade pact include South Korean auto-parts suppliers, petroleum-goods producers and processed-food makers as well as U.S. pumping-machine manufacturers, pesticide producers and fruit growers—whose exports to the other side grew sharply.
68-year old Korean American man left brain-dead after falling accident may save up to six lives as an organ donor
Korea Times US
A 68-year-old Korean American man who was left brain-dead after a falling accident may save the lives of up to six people as an organ donor.
Jung Sang-gil was the owner of Dae Hung Refrigeration who lived in Los Angeles’ Koreatown for 28 years.
He was declared brain-dead after he fell from a ladder on March 6 while climbing onto a market rooftop located on James M. Wood Blvd. and Bonnie Brae St.
Jung was a giving person who had made it known that he would donate his organs if necessary, his family said. He died on Sunday after his family made the decision to follow his wishes. His liver and kidneys have been donated through surgery, and the hospital will use his lungs and other organs after testing them for compatibility.
‘Clergy Academy’ trains recruits on mental health
Southern California Public Radio
In immigrant circles, depression and other mental health issues often carry heavy stigma. Those in crisis may forgo treatment and instead seek help from one of the most trusted people in the community: the local clergy member.
But church leaders lack the training to treat mental health, and the help they provide is often restricted to the spiritual.
“They just say only, “Let’s pray.’ And that’s about it,” said Young Ahn, a mental health services coordinator for Los Angeles County.
To better equip faith leaders in immigrant communities, the county’s Department of Mental Health this year officially launched a program called ‘Clergy Academy.’ Pastors and clergy who go through the 12 courses earn a certificate.
Asian Americans nominated for key White House admin positions
Northwest Asian Weekly
President Obama announced on March 6 that he will nominate Nani A. Coloretti to be the Deputy Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Erika Lizabeth Moritsugu as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Coloretti is currently the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a position she has held since November 2012. From 2009 to 2012, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget. Prior to joining the administration, Ms. Coloretti worked in the San Francisco mayor’s office from 2005 until 2009, most recently serving as budget director. She was a budget analyst for the Department of Public Safety in the state of Hawaii from 1991 to 1992.
Iron Man and Captain America Bound for Gangnam
Wall Street Journal
“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” by the U.S.’s Marvel Studios, will be filmed in Seoul, possibly as soon as this month.
The Korean Film Council told Korea Real Time that the government-supported agency, together with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will sign a memorandum of understanding with Marvel Studios next Tuesday, when details about the location and timing of the shoot will be revealed.
Yonhap News Agency earlier reported that the Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency had met with the relevant agencies on Wednesday to discuss possible traffic control and support for the shooting. According to the report, the movie will be filmed from March 30 until April 12 and various parts of the city, including the bustling Gangnam subway station, will be used as locations.
Examining the recruitment of Shin-Soo Choo
The Rangers made a big move in November trading for Prince Fielder. And, of course, there would be major ripple effects.
The deal came together so quickly that the Rangers didn’t get a chance to inform Ian Kinsler that he was leaving the team that drafted and developed him before Twitter was abuzz with the news.
General manager Jon Daniels closed the deal just before boarding a plane, but it required MLB approval. As is chronicled in an ESPN The Magazine story on Kinsler, the second baseman found out via text after news broke through social media. Daniels was 30,000 feet in the air, and before he could power on his Wi-Fi the blockbuster was national news.
Watch Roy Choi Use Google Glass To Make Irish Burritos (And Get His Recipe)
Roy Choi started a new age in the worldwide street food movement when he opened up his Korean fusion taco truck, Kogi. Since then he’s become the de facto spokesman for street cuisine, and the folks at Google have taken note.
It’s not all that shocking, really, considering that Kogi’s popularity spread like wildfire due to Twitter, technology, and mobile culture. Now Choi is one of Google Glass’ Explorers, testing out the technology and showcasing how it would work in a kitchen setting.
To be honest, the geeky glasses seem like they’d come in handy as a cook. We use our iPad as a recipe reference quite a bit, and the screen can get a little messy. With things perched on your head, it seems like there’s less room for water (or wine, if you’ve been known to sip and cook like us) damage.
Pot Cafe is open in the Line Hotel: French bread pizza, butter mochi bars and more
Lost Angeles Times
Pot Cafe, the bakery annex of Roy Choi’s Pot lobby bar and still-to-come Pot restaurant in Koreatown’s Line Hotel, is now open. Tucked into a corner of the main floor of the hotel, it’s Choi’s version of a Korean bakery.
“It’s set up like any bakery but instead of Danish and croissants and morning buns [there are] red bean buns, cream buns, French bread pizza,” Choi said. “If you walk into a Korean bakery, you’ll know what I’m talking about — like 85C, Paris Baguette. We want to take that whole culture and put our twist on it.”
So in the pastry cases are rows of Asian cream buns with fillings such as red bean, custard and cream; toasted bread-and-butter buns such as Bun B the G topped with honey butter, candied ginger and sea salt and the Kimchi Squat with kochujang chile butter and topped with nori; Hawaiian pull-apart bread; mocha chip cookies (including a gluten-free version); Ritz candy bars; and French bread pizza, including a sloppy joe pizza topped with beefy sauce and melted American cheese.
‘Top Chef’ finalist Shirley Chung’s culinary adventures in South Korea
Las Vegas Sun
“Top Chef” contestant Shirley Chung became a fan favorite as she won several weekly episodes of Season 11 in New Orleans, but there was a coast-to-coast collective sigh of sympathy when our Las Vegas chef was eliminated after making the final three and competing in Maui.
Celebrity chef and judge Emeril Lagasse raved about her cuisine during filming, so much so that one of her winning dishes was added to the menus at all of his restaurants, including here in Las Vegas.
During our weekly coverage of her progress, Shirley, who had worked here for acclaimed culinary kings Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Jose Andres, told me that she was weighing several offers to open her own dining venue here.
Former chef and popular TV show host Anthony Bourdain said that Korean American chefs are at the forefront of American cuisine.
In an interview with food author Michael Ruhlman, Bourdain said a “reverse snobbery” currently exists among chefs and food aficionados, which dictates that in order to experience the best and most authentic food, one must seek out hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop restaurants that don’t cater to the mainstream.
“That’s great but when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American,” said Bourdain. “And they don’t care. They may know what straight-up Korean food is but they sure aren’t cooking it. And they’re pushing everything forward and they’re having an effect on the non Korean Americans. Eric Ripert is messing around with kimchi—how can that not be good?” Continue Reading »
U.S. Bemoans North Korea Nuclear ‘No Show’
Wall Street Journal
North Korea didn’t earn a mention in the State of the Union speech this year but U.S. diplomatic coordination over its nuclear program continued in Seoul on Wednesday.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Glyn Davies met with South Korea’s point man on the isolated country’s nuclear program, Cho Tae-yong, as part of a regular swing through Northeast Asia to confer with officials in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Davies said the U.S. continues to be frustrated by the North’s “no-show on nuclear issues.”
“What we need is not just change in attitude, but change in direction, in fact, concrete steps from North Korea,” Mr. Davies told reporters.
While the U.S. and South Korea are seeking action from North Korea to show its willingness to denuclearize, satellite imagery in recent months suggests the North is making good on a pledge last year to restart its plutonium-producing reactor north of Pyongyang.
NKorea Warns of Tensions Over US-SKorea War Games
AP via ABC News
North Korea’s propaganda machine is churning out near-daily denunciations of the United States and South Korea for a series of soon-to-start military maneuvers, warning nuclear war could be imminent and saying it will take dramatic action of its own if further provoked.
North Korea’s increasingly shrill opposition to the annual joint drills named Foal Eagle looks very similar to the kind of harsh language that preceded the start of the same exercises last year and led to a steep rise in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. That round of escalation culminated in threats of a nuclear strike on Washington and the flattening of Seoul before the maneuvers ended and both sides went back to their corners.
It appears the first stages of this year’s battle have already begun — though some experts say they don’t think it will be as high-pitched as last year’s.
Foreign minister slams Japan for ‘justifying past atrocities’
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se lambasted Japan Wednesday for “justifying its past wartime atrocities,” vowing to make greater efforts to counter Japan’s persistent nationalist behavior.
“After admitting to Japanese soldiers’ involvement, Japan has recently denied it and tried to justify its past atrocities,” Yun said during a visit to a shelter for South Korean victims of the sexual slavery.
Historians say up to 200,000 women, many of them Korean, were coerced into sexual servitude by the Japanese army at front-line brothels during World War II when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony.
The House of Sharing shelter on the outskirts of Seoul is currently home to seven out of dozens of still living South Korean women drafted by Japan.
Why is South Korea plugging unification?
Unification has become something of a buzzword in South Korea this month. President Park Geun-hye emphasised it in her New Year press conference, the opposition Democratic Party did likewise, and journalists, pundits and government officials have followed suit.
But with relations on the peninsula as opaque and as tense as ever, many are wondering what has prompted this latest surge in interest.
If there is one thing the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made clear when he executed his uncle, it is that he is no more willing to tolerate challenges to his authority than his father or grandfather.
South Korea’s Underground Seat Fight
New York Times
Last September, a 55-year-old man lit some scrap paper on fire and threw it into a Seoul subway car as he left the train. He had just been cursed at and kicked by senior citizens for sitting in a seat designated for “the elderly and the infirm.”
The man, whom we know only by his surname of Kim, was sentenced on Jan. 14 by a Seoul court to one year and six months in prison. One news article reporting the results of his trial garnered more than 1,000 comments in just one day, most of which were from sympathetic younger people complaining about being forced to give up their seats on the subway to senior citizens. Mr. Kim is hardly young, but his frustration resonated with the younger generations.
The Seoul subway’s designated-seating section has become a curious backdrop of intergenerational conflict in South Korea. In the 40 years or so since full-scale industrialization began, the social divide between generations has widened. Senior citizens grew up during Japanese occupation and the Korean War, and lived through the era of breakneck economic growth that followed, building a modern country from the ground up in just a few decades, most of the time under a military dictatorship. Most younger South Koreans have come of age in a time of relative affluence and freedom, and like many younger people in East Asia, have gradually become more independent-minded than their elders and less attached to the traditional Confucian values that have been the basis of Korean society for centuries.
South Korea approves $7 billion nuclear project
South Korea has approved funding for two new nuclear plants to boost its nuclear power industry struggling to emerge from the shadow of Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
The project costing $7bn was approved on Wednesday, only two weeks after Asia’s fourth-largest economy announced a policy shift to cut its reliance on nuclear power in the wake of radiation cleanup conerns in Japan.
South Korea still plans to double its nuclear capacity over the next two decades as its state-run industry builds at least 16 new domestic reactors and pushes for overseas sales.
The plants are due to be completed by the end of 2020.
Checks on Korean Flights to U.S. to Be Streamlined
Inspections on U.S.-bound flights out of Korea will be streamlined from Friday, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Tuesday. At present, passengers boarding those flights must undergo two checks, one at customs and another in front of the boarding gate.
The inspection process compels passengers to buy liquid products at airport duty free shops at least an hour before boarding in order to undergo the second check. That has caused 2.4 million U.S.-bound passengers annually to wait 30 to 40 minutes in front of the boarding gate.
The ministry said it reached the agreement with the U.S. government after assessing the level of security in Korean airports.
Christopher Chung tapped to fill vacant council seat in Palisades Park
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The council seat left vacant by Jason Kim, the first Korean-American to serve on the governing body and who resigned earlier this month, will be filled by Christopher Chung.
Chung, 46, who has served on the Board of Education for the past several years, was sworn in on Tuesday night after council members chose him among three names submitted by the Democratic Municipal Committee.
Mayor James Rotundo said Chung, who is also Korean-American, would be an asset to the council.
“He’s young, and he’s energetic,” said Rotundo, calling him a hard worker as well.
Seollal dilemma in New York
For the past few years, certain Korean parents in New York have fought hard to get public schools to recognize ”Seollal,’’ or Lunar New Year, as an official holiday. Now that the new city mayor says he, too, wants schools off for the major Asian holiday, many Korean parents are beginning to have second thoughts.
”Another holiday? I didn’t ask for it. Maybe stay-at-home moms want their children home for Lunar New Year, but not working moms,’’ says Nancy Choi, 42, a dentist with two daughters in elementary school. ”Who’s going to watch the kids when we’re all at work?’’
Like Choi, many working parents aren’t welcoming the idea of Lunar New Year becoming an official school holiday.
”There are already enough holidays aside from all the winter snow days,’’ wrote Kim Jee-ae on Mizville.org, a popular online community for Korean women in the U.S. ”These parents behind the campaign aren’t considering people like us who have to go to work.’’
Meet Carol Kim
San Diego City Beat
Carol Kim believes she’s the first Korean-American to run for elected office in San Diego County, and, to a large extent, she owes the opportunity—along with at least some of her guiding philosophy—to her father.
Kim’s parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in the mid-1970s, after her dad, the son of a low-income single mother from a small fishing village, graduated from college with a degree in chemical engineering and was offered a job in the Midwest. When he and his new bride arrived in Los Angeles with $350 to their names, he learned the job had fallen through. Kim’s mother, who came from a comfortable middle-class family, had been a supervising nurse in Korea, but her license didn’t translate to her new country. Suddenly, they were stuck in L.A. with no prospects.
Kim’s dad started his new life in the U.S. as a day laborer, her mom on the lowest rung at a nursing home. But, in her off time, Kim’s mother made baby pillows and blankets using remnants from a fabric store, which they’d sell at a swap meet. That eventually led to their own clothing retail store, which led to a clothing-manufacturing business and a comfortable life for Kim and her three younger siblings. Kim graduated from UCLA with an English degree, later earning a master’s in education, and went on to a career in teaching and social services.
A Piano Made Out of People: The Magik*Magik Orchestra Celebrates Five Years
In 2010, S.F. indie rocker John Vanderslice wrote the outline of a song called “Convict Lake.” He had just a few chords, some lyrics, and a vocal melody. His demo recording of the song sounds monochromatic, almost empty. Between the percussive strikes of acoustic guitar and the hesitant wisp of vocals, there are chasms of silence. It’s the skeleton of a song, far from a finished product.
Then Vanderslice gave the demo to Minna Choi.
The final version of “Convict Lake,” which appeared on Vanderslice’s 2011 album White Wilderness, bears the same dragging tempo, the same chord structure, and the same vocal melodies, but everything else about it is bigger, deeper, more colorful: There’s a slurring clarinet, flashes of piano, a winking brass section, and the effortless upward lift of orchestral strings. The song has acquired a tremendous new dimension, new melodies and counter-melodies, a richness that wasn’t even hinted at in the demo. It’s as if “Convict Lake” leaped from black-and-white to multicolored high-definition.
Documentary by Ramsay Liem to pass along survivors’ stories from a ‘forgotten war’
Boston College Chronicle
One of the ironies of referring to the Korean War as “the forgotten war,” says Professor Emeritus of Psychology Ramsay Liem, is that it technically has never ended, since no formal treaty between the antagonists has ever been signed.
But for many Koreans, the war is not forgotten, says Liem, co-producer and co-director of a recent documentary that depicts the human costs of military conflict through personal accounts by four Korean-American survivors.
“Memory of Forgotten War,” which Liem produced and directed with his sister-in-law Deann Borshay Liem, was shown at Boston College earlier this month. The program also featured a Q&A with the filmmakers and cultural music and dance presentations that included BC student performers.
FIGURE SKATING/ Asada-Kim rivalry will end in Sochi
Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
Their competitive lives have been so intertwined that perhaps it is only natural that figure-skating rivals Mao Asada of Japan and Kim Yu-na of South Korea sound synchronized in their responses to reporters.
Before the Skate America competition last October, Asada was in a Detroit restaurant, surrounded by a dozen or so reporters who wanted to know if she considered Kim a rival she desperately wanted to defeat.
After bursting out with a laugh, Asada said: “We have been competing together since we were in junior competition, so in my teens I had a strong sense that she was my rival. But now, I myself have become more of an adult so I feel that I want to express what I have done until now through my skating.”
Although the questions were direct ones that Asada does not normally get, she did not change her relaxed expression.
Russia pin hope on South Korean-born Ahn
South Korean-born Ahn Hyun-soo’s defection to the Russian team will not only stir up raw emotions at the Sochi Games but it could also allow the hosts to capture their first ever Olympic medal in short track skating.
South Korea and China have come to dominate the sport popularised by North American skaters after its debut at the Albertville Games in 1992.
But the 28-year-old, who won four Olympic medals at the 2006 Turin Games, took on Russian citizenship two years ago and became Viktor Ahn when he fell out with the South Korean federation over failing to win a spot for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“It was difficult to train in (South) Korea,” Ahn, who has come back from injuries to be ranked among the top four in all three distances, told Reuters.
“For the 2010 Olympic Games, I missed this great competition. That’s why the Sochi Olympics have become my new big goal, which I have been pursuing for all these years.”
The absence of some of short track’s biggest names in Sochi has also shaken up the field.
New Santa Monica Butcher A Cut Above The Rest
Santa Monica Mirror (Calif.)
On a bustling curbside of Santa Monica Boulevard in Mid-City Santa Monica stands a newly opened, slightly unconventional butcher shop.
After opening its doors to the public in mid-December, A Cut Above has drawn attention for its quality meats as well as a wide range of options for its customers.
Owned by Andrew Yoon and Eddy Shin, former college roommates, along with Yoon’s wife, Cindy, the butcher shop carries an energetic vibe and trendy decor.
The owners are accompanied by a staff of young chefs, workers, and servers, who add on to the modern atmosphere. The shop also doubles as a deli, with some seating available for those who decide to purchase one-time meals instead of cuts to take home.
Meet Susie Woo
CSUF News (Cal State Fullerton)
When Susie Woo completed her doctorate in American studies at Yale in 2009, her dissertation on Korean War adoptions and military brides earned distinction.
Today, she is completing a revised manuscript on her doctoral research and weaving what she’s learned into the courses she is teaching at Cal State Fullerton.
“Between 1950 and 1965, nearly 15,000 Korean adoptees and military brides entered the United States as the children and wives of predominantly white, middle-class families,” Woo said, adding that her research “traces the roots and routes of this forgotten immigrant group.”
It argues that U.S. servicemen, missionaries and social workers in postwar South Korea “tethered Americans at home to Koreans in sentimental, material and, eventually, familial ways that unraveled the U.S. government’s ability to contain its political objectives ‘over there,’ ” she said. “Private U.S. citizen involvement intimately changed the lives of Korean civilians, transformed South Korea’s welfare system, and challenged U.S. conceptions of race, kinship and nation during the Cold War/civil rights era.”
Chef Roy Choi embodies state’s most essential skill — fusion: Joe Mathews
Los Angeles Daily News
Californians have fallen in love with the recipes of L.A. chef Roy Choi, the man best known for creating the Korean barbecue taco.
But does California have a recipe to cook up more Roy Chois?
It’s an urgent question. Choi probably comes closer than any living Californian to embodying the skills needed by our state today.
Like Steve Jobs, who combined existing technologies into something new and irresistible (and that you could hold in your hand), Choi has stitched together unlikely ingredients to create the iPhone of food: the Kogi taco. Such skill is sometimes called invention, but the more accurate name for it is fusion. And California runs on it.