Tuesday’s Link Attack: NKorea Acquires Ski Lifts; Japanese Singer Takes on K-Pop; Difficulties of Being Asian American
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: December 31st, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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This photo of Kim Jong Un riding a ski lift is North Korea’s way of flipping off Europe
Washington Post

This photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sitting alone on a ski lift might not look like North Korea flipping Europe a giant middle finger. But that’s exactly what it is.

I’ll explain. Kim is thought to have developed a love for skiing when he went to boarding school (under a fake identity) in Switzerland. One of his pet projects since taking power two years ago has been building a giant ski resort, something that does not immediately serve the world’s poorest country but would be meant as a show of national greatness. So Kim made it a top national priority to build the resort, Masik Pass, and work has been proceeding feverishly.

But Kim’s pet project hit a major snag this August: ski lifts. Kim just could not get his hands on any ski lifts. North Korea doesn’t have the technology to build its own. And the countries that make them all tend to be in the West, where new sanctions imposed in March make it illegal to sell luxury goods to the Hermit Kingdom. North Korea tried offering millions of dollars to Austrian and French companies to import ski lifts, but both said no.

N. Korea may stage provocation against Seoul around March: think tank
Yonhap News

North Korea may stage provocations against South Korea early next year as part of efforts to further ensure internal unity following the execution of leader Kim Jong-un’s once-powerful uncle and his associates, a Seoul think tank said Tuesday.

The North executed Jang Song-thaek on charges of treason, along with other officials in early December. The shocking series of purges sparked concerns over potential instability in the isolated country.

“There is a possibility that the North could attempt provocations at a time when the defense posture is slackened right after the end of military exercises,” between South Korea and the United States, said the Institute for National Security Strategy, which is run by the National Intelligence Service.

S. Korean FM to visit U.S. to discuss N. Korea, regional issues
Yonhap News

South Korea’s top diplomat plans to visit Washington in early January for talks with U.S. officials on key regional issues, including North Korea, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior U.S. officials, foreign ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young said.

Yun and Kerry last had a face-to-face meeting in September in New York.

N.Korea Calls Back Diplomats Close to Jang Song-taek
Chosun Ilbo

Hong Yong, North Korea’s deputy chief of mission to UNESCO, returned to Pyongyang on Monday as part of a wider recall of diplomats who had been close to executed eminence grise Jang Song-taek. Hong follows Pak Kwang-chol, the ambassador to Sweden who returned to North Korea last Friday.

Before Jang was executed, the regime recalled Jon Yong-jin, Jang’s brother-in-law and ambassador to Cuba, and Jang Yong-chol, his nephew and ambassador to Malaysia.

“The ongoing purge of Jang’s associates is an ominous sign,” a source said. “It seems the regime is recalling any diplomats who are branded as Jang’s associates to Pyongyang.”

It’s Not Easy Being Asian-American
PolicyMic

Last week, in a piece for Asian Fortune News, advocates Sharon Choi, Francine Gorres and Tina Ngo argued that many young Asian-Americans constantly struggle with their bi-cultural identities, expected to adhere to multiple sets of norms, none of which quite fit.

“Giving our young people opportunities to share their cultural backgrounds and learn about the experiences and traditions of others is important to youth being able to shape and understand their unique identities,” they wrote.

The issue Choi et al raise is an important one, particularly for many first or second-generation Asian-American millennials who feel they have to live up to two different sets of expectations. On the one hand, we’re encouraged embrace American culture and shed ties to our Asian heritage. On the other hand, we’re expected to maintain our ethnic identity and keep our parents’ traditions alive. Failure to live up to either set of expectations can sometimes lead to fear of rejection or ostracism — even an identity crisis of sorts.

10 Sexiest K-Pop Videos of 2013
Billboard.com

Girl-on-girl kissing. Grinding. No shirts. This year saw K-pop videos provoke more than ever.

Typically, K-pop skews more cute than raunchy, opting to tease rather than let it all hang out. But 2013 was K-pop’s sexiest year by far. From camera angles highlighting the idol’s best assets to choreography that made viewers weak at the knees, the scene upped its raciness while still maintaining its stars’ dignity, unlike — not to name names — select stars of the West.

End your 2013 on a sizzling note with the year’s 10 sexiest K-pop videos.

Korean Cash Takes Broadway Bows
New York Times

SEOUL, South Korea — Only one Korean theater producer has a Tony Award for best musical, a Broadway honor that is coveted the world over. Yet the 2013 trophy for “Kinky Boots” sits inconspicuously here on Kim Byeong-seok’s cluttered bookcase, amid cheap memorabilia from “Cats,” “Grease” and “42nd Street.”

For Mr. Kim, of the entertainment giant CJ E&M, status symbols of Broadway are beside the point.

He put $1 million of his company’s money into the $13.5 million “Kinky Boots” in hopes of getting the attention of top New York producers — seven-figure investments are rare these days — to develop relationships for future ventures. CJ now has the inside track to mount the first Asian production of the hit show, which features songs by Cyndi Lauper, who has a strong fan following here. The goal is to open “Kinky Boots” next fall in Seoul, a hotbed of Western musicals with heart-tugging plots and charismatic characters, like this musical’s fearless drag queen, who saves a shoe factory.

Japanese from Osaka’s Koreatown pursues dream to become K-pop star
Asahi Shimbun

Although Asuka Suemoto has no Korean ancestry, she dreamed of becoming of a pop singer in South Korea while growing up in Osaka.

“It was natural to be around Korean culture,” says Suemoto, who was born and raised in the city’s Ikuno Ward, where one in four residents is said to have roots in the Korean Peninsula.

This fall the 23-year-old took a big step toward making her dream come true with her first appearance at the K-Pop World Festival, a Korean music contest, held in the city of Changwon, in southern South Korea.

Chang-Rae Lee charts a rocky course toward freedom in his dystopian novel ‘On Such a Full Sea’
Cleveland.com

Since his first novel, “Native Speaker,” in 1995, Chang-Rae Lee has been absorbed by questions of identity and culture, proximity and marginalization, “nativeness” and migration, risk.

His writing is supple and poised; his understanding of human nature, richly nuanced. A new book by Lee is cause for giddy expectation.

His latest, “On Such a Full Sea” (Riverhead, 368 pp., $27.95), is both a detour and a confirmation: a detour because, as a dystopian vision, it is unlike his previous narrative forms; a confirmation, because despite that difference, his prodigious talents are still everywhere evident.

‘Songs of the Dragons’ confronts with humor and fury
Boston Globe

With “Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven,” the Apollinaire Theatre Company reaffirms its reputation as the home of the area’s most provocative contemporary theater. Young Jean Lee’s confrontational comedy looks at racism and identity politics with an unflinching combination of humor and fury. Danielle Fauteux Jacques directs the play with a light hand, and yet elicits fearlessly transparent performances from her ensemble.

Lee has built her career around squirm-inducing experimental plays that rip open accepted assumptions around Christianity (“The Church”) and race relations (“The Shipment”). “Songs of the Dragons” explores Lee’s own experience with racism and stereotypes as a Korean-American, and, in keeping with Lee’s style, leaves the audience feeling both amused and unsettled.

“Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven,” opens in utter darkness and the audience spends the first few minutes listening to a director offering suggestions about the intensity with which one actor should slap another across the face. After a few minutes of listening, we watch a video of the repeated slaps, with the playwright as the recipient. It’s a disturbing introduction: Is this passive acceptance of violence a symbol of self-hatred? Before we have a chance to let that idea sink in, the lights change and we are greeted by a perky Korean-American woman (Nicole Dalton) who delivers a speech that is one part shocking and two parts hilarious, opening with the assertion that most Asian-Americans are slightly brain damaged from having grown up with Asian parents, and culminating with the statement that “The wiliness of the Korean is beyond anything. You may laugh now, but remember my words when you and your offspring are writhing under our yoke.”

Free agent pitcher Lim Chang-yong hoping for another shot at majors: agent
Yonhap News

South Korean pitcher Lim Chang-yong, recently non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs, is hoping for another shot at Major League Baseball (MLB), his Seoul-based agent said on Tuesday.

Kim Dong-wook, head of the local agency Sports Intelligence who recently signed on as Lim’s agent, said going to South Korea or Japan is not an option for his client at this point.

Kim was responding to a recent statement by the South Korean club Samsung Lions that they’d open contract negotiations with Lim if he is unable to land with a team in the United States.

Athletes in less popular sports dream Olympic glory
Korea Times

Figure-skating megastar Kim Yu-na and speed-skating champion Lee Sang-hwa are expected to dictate the media attention on Korean athletes at next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Korean athletes competing in less popular sports, however, are vowing to let their presence be known on the world stage.

Korea’s bobsledders are talking about medaling at the Olympics after winning the America’s Cup in March, which represented the first international title ever won by a Korean team.

The team of Won Yun-jong and Jung Jung-lin snatched the gold in the two-men race there.

Korean Sporting Icons Serve as Beacons of Hope in 2013
Chosun Ilbo

Athletes occupied the top three spots in a poll of 300 Chosun Ilbo reporters to determine which Korean celebrities had given the nation the most cause for joy in 2013.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who had 14 wins in his debut season in Major League Baseball, topped the list with 43.01 percent of the votes.

Kim Yu-na, who won this year’s World Figure Skating Championships in Canada in March after returning to competition following a two-year layoff, came second with 8.6 percent.

Dining on dog in the South Korean capital
New York Post

Tomorrow night, I’m going to eat dog.

That is, if I take up a local friend-of-a-friend’s invitation to visit what he assures is Seoul’s “best restaurant for dog.” I debate my RSVP while navigating the hip enclave of Garosu-gil, Seoul’s SoHo equivalent, sipping a $6 Dutch cold-press coffee. Older Koreans believe that dog can cure illness and enhance sexual virility, while the younger ones wouldn’t mind seeing it disappear altogether. Me? I’m both intrigued and horrified. WWBD — what would Bourdain do? — I ask myself.

“OK,” I text him, “let’s go for it.”

Please, don’t hate me. Seoul may be a beautiful juxtaposition of urban cityscape and mountain greenery, but at first glance, the Korean capital feels like a homogenous, uniform mass. Most blocks seem like barely modified remixes of the one before, heavily populated with overpriced coffee shops — from Starbucks behemoths to indie cafes. No wonder I’ve grown famished for truly local, off-the-Google-map gems.

Aria Korean American Snack Bar: Hidden in Plain Sight
San Francisco Weekly

I’m taking a deep breath as I write this, because if there is one hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco that I genuinely (and completely selfishly) don’t want to become popular, it’s Aria. This tiny, ugly, clumsily laid out, two-table “Korean American Snack Bar” run by a sweet, late-middle-age couple on a gross stretch of Larkin Street is unfailingly delicious, yet I’ve never once had to wait for a table to open up.

And now they’ve doubled the size of the menu, so I feel compelled to share as I eat my way through it. Both types of Korean fried chicken are always excellent — as is the dukboggi, a hot and spicy rice cake that comes swimming in a sauce that’s like a hot, seasoned tomato soup. (They have a strangely enchanting density we’ve been assured is somewhat challenging to pull off.) Kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles, might not be the exact same thing as ramen, but they’re good for what ails you. I’m as excited by the japchae (a dish of sweet potato noodles with stir-fried vegetables) as I am by the sundae (which would be panfried Korean sausage, not ice cream). Even the oyster and mushroom porridge calls out to me, to be kept in mind for the next cold snap.

Tasting notes: Urbanbelly’s new menu
Time Out Chicago

Back in October, Bill Kim announced he was moving Urbanbelly, his tiny BYO Avondale noodle restaurant, to Restaurant Row, where it would share space with BellyQ (1400 W Randolph St), his Asian barbecue spot. The move was the result of the restaurant outgrowing its space and Cornerstone Restaurant Group, which already had a hand in BellyQ, taking an ownership stake in all of Kim’s restaurants. When Urbanbelly reopened in early November, there were other changes, too: a small wine, beer and sake list, a kid’s menu and a few new menu items, cooked in a new wok.

The new space is adjacent to BellyQ and twice as large as the old one. As before, you order at the counter, then grab a seat. The dining room has communal tables and one of the brick walls is covered with plants—it’s a pretty comfortable space to spread out and work through the menu.

 

Thursday’s Link Attack: Kim Jong-un Receives Honorary Doctorate; Plastic Surgery Perfected with 3-D Printers
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 24th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Increase in Activity Reported at North Korean Nuclear Test Site
New York Times

North Korea has increased activity at its main underground nuclear test site, digging new tunnel entrances in what could be preparations for another nuclear test, a Washington-based research institute reported Thursday.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, which based its conclusion on analysis of commercial satellite images of the site in Punggye-ri in northeastern North Korea, said there was no sign that a test was imminent.

The report came a day after North Korea’s Foreign Ministry reaffirmed that the isolated country would continue to expand its nuclear arsenal, despite warnings from the United States that it will not engage in the dialogue that Pyongyang is seeking until the North moves toward denuclearization.

Mother: Reunion with US man jailed in North Korea ‘emotional
BBC News

The mother of American Kenneth Bae, who is imprisoned in North Korea, told the BBC his health had improved following two months of medical treatment.

But Myunghee Bae said her worst fear was that he would get sent back to a labour camp.

The Korean-American was arrested last November and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour in May.

Mr Bae, described as a tour operator and Christian missionary, was accused of plotting sedition.

It’s Now Dr. Kim Jong Un, Thanks to Malaysian University
Wall Street Journal

A Malaysian university has given North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a new title – Dr. – offering the controversial figure its first degree to a foreign head of state.

Mr. Kim Jong Un might seem like an unlikely recipient for a university’s degree. But, despite grabbing world-wide headlines through a series of nuclear missile tests and threats to strike U.S. cities, he received an honorary doctorate in economics from Kuala Lumpur-based HELP University.

Paul Chan, vice chancellor and president of HELP, said the award was meant to build “a bridge to reach the people” of North Korea. He said Mr. Kim accepted the degree through his ambassador in a ceremony that was held Oct. 3 in North Korea’s embassy in Malaysia.

‘Choco Pie’ on table for campaign to address N. Korean human rights problem
Yonhap News

Call it the “Choco Pie Project.”

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) plans to give away free Choco Pies near the White House next week in a bid to enhance public awareness of the human rights conditions in the communist nation.

The event will take place at Farragut Square on Wednesday, coinciding with the opening of two-day public hearings by a special panel of the U.N. Human Rights Council looking into the human rights abuses in the North.

Faced with overwhelming pressures, South Korean women have gone on baby-strike
The Economist

Mothers with young children spend nearly five times as long looking after their family and home as fathers do, calculates Jayoung Yoon of the Korea Labour Institute. But at least the ratio is getting better. In 2009 men gave about half an hour a day more of their time to domestic chores than they had done ten years earlier, and women shaved off roughly 20 minutes. In the Korean sex wars, the front line moves slowly.

The burden of child-rearing poses a formidable obstacle to women’s professional ambitions. Women in their 20s now have higher labour-force participation rates than men, but many drop out in their 30s. They typically return in their mid-40s, though often not to the kinds of corporate jobs they held down before marriage. Instead they work for themselves or their families, often with lower pay and perks (see chart 1).

The 54th parallel
The Economist

SITTING IN SEOUL’S Tapgol Park under the bronze statue of a patriotic hero, an elderly gentleman reads his newspaper with the aid of a pocket magnifying glass. When asked, he spells out his name (“Mr Jeon”) in the Chinese characters familiar to Korea’s pre-war generation.

In his younger days Mr Jeon worked as a carpenter and builder. Now 87, he is a regular member of the park’s greying congregation: “There’s no other place to go for an old person like me.” He and his companions spend their time complaining about their ailments and corrupt politicians. “In the daytime this spot is packed.”

South Korea is ageing faster than any other country in the OECD. Last year almost 12% of the population were aged 65 or over. By 2030 that proportion will double. The number of South Koreans of working age will peak in just three years’ time, according to the OECD’s Randall Jones and Satoshi Urasawa. By 2040 their number will drop by about a fifth.

Korean-Americans undertake campaign to help accused intelligence analyst
The Hankyoreh

Korean-Americans are taking part in a campaign to help Stephen Kim, who has been waging a battle in the courts since US prosecutors charged him with violating the Espionage Act by leaking material related to national security in 2010.

“We’ve decided to hold our first fundraiser in Flushing, New York, on November 21,” said Lee Myung-seok, former president of the Korean-American Association of Queens, New York on Oct. 22. “We’ll establish a committee for helping Stephen Kim, and we’ll launch rescue committees in each major city.”

“We’re also planning to send petitions to the White House, the Justice Department, and major media outlets,” Lee said.

Wilmette man’s Barrington Hills home invasion trial begins
Chicago Tribune

Prosecutors and witnesses described two hours of armed violence in a Barrington Hills home nearly five years ago as the trial of a Wilmette man on charges of home invasion and kidnapping got underway in Cook County Circuit Court today.

Kuhn Kim, 28, of the 1600 block of Sheridan Road, is also charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery and other crimes in a 22 count indictment stemming from the Dec. 5, 2008 incident.

The bench trial before Judge Kay Hanlon in Rolling Meadows branch court began following lengthy psychiatric examinations and several incidents in which Kim violated conditions of his $1.5 million bond, including a case of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been in Cook County jail since his bond was revoked last year.

District man sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2010 fatal shooting of Fairfax man
Washington Post

A District man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for the 2010 slaying of a man who authorities say was shot in the face in Southeast Washington.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan sentenced Marlon Williams, 34, in the Sept. 13, 2010, killing of Min Soo Kang, 37, of Fairfax County. According to prosecutors, Williams was identified after he stole Kang’s 2010 Cadillac Escalade after the shooting. The vehicle was equipped with OnStar GPS tracking, which enabled police to locate the vehicle. Prosecutors said that Williams’s prints were found in the vehicle.

Prosecutors said Williams shot Kang about 4:30 a.m. in the 3500 block of Croffut Place SE. Kang was shot multiple times in the chest, face, finger and forearm.

Seoul, San Francisco Mayors Pledge to Strengthen Ties
Voice of America

In South Korea, the mayor of Seoul has met with his counterpart from San Francisco to strengthen sister city relations, and discuss encouraging Internet-based business.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon affirmed nearly four decades of sister-city relations with pledges to strengthen economic, cultural and education exchanges.

Mayor Park praised San Francisco’s reputation for innovative business and said he hoped its Korean-American community could act as a bridge across the Pacific.

High-security isolation for South Korea’s exam-setters
AFP via NDTV.com

Every October, hundreds of South Korean teachers and professors are sequestered – like jurors in a mafia trial – in a secret, guarded compound: prisoners of their country’s obsession with education.

For one month, they are kept in complete isolation under conditions that resemble house arrest, with everything down to their food waste subject to rigorous examination.

Their sole task is to compile the annual college entrance exam – the importance of which in the minds of stressed-out students and their often equally stressed-out parents is almost impossible to exaggerate.

What’s it like to live on $26 a week?
Prince George Citizen (British Columbia)

As a registered dietitian, Erica Kang knows what it takes to eat a healthy, balanced diet, but this week she didn’t consume nearly enough calories and was short many vitamins and nutrients.

Kang didn’t slack off her regular eating routine because she wanted a break nor was she on the latest diet craze, instead she took part in the Welfare Food Challenge to both raise awareness about low social assistance rates in B.C. as well as learn what’s it’s like to live on a food budget of just $26 a week.

“Even for somebody trained, with five years of schooling, I wasn’t able to manage what was an adequate diet for my needs,” Kang said after completing the challenge this week.


Plastic Surgery Perfected With 3-D?
Wall Street Journal

3-D technology is helping plastic surgeons make more-precise cuts and easing patients’ anxiety by giving them an advance look at their future faces. The WSJ’s Kurt Achin reports from Seoul, South Korea.

Thursday’s Link Attack: Kim Jong-Un Establishes More Power; Margaret Cho’s New Show; Justin Bieber in Seoul
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 10th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Korean Leader Tightens Grip with Removal of Top General
New York Times

North Korea’s state media on Thursday confirmed the removal of a hard-line general as its military chief, the latest sign of a military overhaul in which the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, has replaced nearly half of his country’s top officials in the past two years, according to South Korean officials.

The firing of Gen. Kim Kyok-sik and the rise of Gen. Ri Yong-gil to replace him as head of the general staff of the North’s Korean People’s Army was the latest in a series of high-profile reshuffles that Kim Jong-un has engineered to consolidate his grip on the North’s top elites.

Since taking power upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011, Kim Jong-un has replaced 44 percent of North Korea’s 218 top military, party and government officials, the South’s Ministry of Unification said in a report. He engineered this and other reshuffles to retire or sideline the old generals from his father’s days and promote a new set of aides who will owe their loyalty directly to him.

Don’t go to the land of death, North Korean ‘slave labourer’ urges tourists
National Post

A woman who spent nine years in a North Korean slave labour camp has urged tourists not to visit the reclusive state.

As Kim Jong-un, the country’s ruler, oversees final preparations for Thursday’s opening of North Korea’s first ski resort, Kim Young-soon said it was wrong “to pay into the coffers of the regime.” A British company is offering Christmas in Pyongyang, but Ms. Kim, 77, said: “Why give money to a leader who cares nothing for his people?”

As a young woman Ms. Kim danced for Kim Il-sung, then the country’s leader and grandfather of the current leader. A friend of hers was the secret mistress of Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il, and after gossiping about their relationship Ms. Kim was sent to the infamous Yodok prison camp – with her parents and son, who were deemed guilty by association.

S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold joint naval drill
Yonhap News

South Korea, the United States and Japan began a two-day drill in waters off the Korean Peninsula, Seoul’s defense ministry said Thursday, amid heightened tensions with North Korea, which angrily responded to the trilateral joint exercise involving an American aircraft carrier.

The drill, which was delayed for a few days due to a typhoon, started in waters off the peninsula’s southern coast as part of routine trainings, mobilizing the nuclear-powered, 97,000-ton carrier USS George Washington as well as Aegis destroyers of South Korea and Japan.

The training also includes the guided-missile USS Antietam CG-54 cruiser and guided-missile USS Preble DDG 88 destroyer. Fighter jets, anti-submarine helicopters and early warning aircraft will also be included.

South Korea Risks Overplaying Its Hand with Japan
Wall Street Journal

While his many detractors would never admit it, former President Lee Myung-bak oversaw an impressive rise in South Korea’s international profile. This rise, combined with Korea’s economic and technological achievements, have created a new confidence among the Korean public—polling data shows many perceive the country as increasingly influential on the international scene.

The Park Geun-hye administration is now acting on that confidence in its diplomatic dealings, but it is in very real danger of overplaying its hand when it comes to relations with Japan.

So far, Seoul has snubbed most of Tokyo’s advances for high-level meetings and stuck to a line that Japan needs to do more to address historical grievances first.

Seoul warns of frayed ties over Japan’s Yasukuni visit plans
Yonhap News

South Korea warned Japan Thursday that their bilateral relations will face even more difficulties if Japanese politicians go ahead with their plans to visit the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in October.

“Visits to the Yasukuni shrine by ranking Japanese political leaders will not only jeopardize the South Korea-Japan relations but also cause severe difficulties in the steady development of ties among countries in the region,” Cho Tai-young, the spokesman of the South Korean foreign ministry said in a briefing. “I urge them not to pay the visit.”

The call came as two cabinet members of the conservative Shinzo Abe administration — Yoshitaka Shindo and Keiji Furuya — are reported to be planning a visit to the war shrine during the country’s autumnal festival next week.

Samsung Set for $1.4 Billion Windfall After Seagate Stock Sale
Bloomberg.com

Samsung Electronics Co. will reap a $1.4 billion windfall from its decision two years ago to accept stock in Seagate Technology Plc (STX:US) as partial payment for selling its computer hard-disk drive business.

Samsung sold the unit in April 2011 for $687.5 million in cash and $687.5 million in stock. Since then Seagate’s shares have more than doubled and Samsung agreed to sell part of the stake back to the Dublin-based company.

Samsung exited its 22-year-old business making hard drives to focus on consumer electronics, memory chips and medical technology. The world’s biggest smartphone maker will sell back 32.7 million of its Seagate shares for $1.51 billion. It will keep another 12.5 million shares, valued at $561 million based on yesterday’s prices.

Jane Kim Steps In To Help Mid-Market Tenants Facing Eviction
SFist.com

Following on yesterday’s breaking news about the 100+ people getting evicted from two buildings on Market between 6th and 7th, Supervisor Jane Kim is hoping to get the word out to tenants that there may be help for them after all.

Kim’s office spoke to SFist yesterday and they feel as though there may be some solutions no one has talked about yet. They’d like to hear from as many tenants as possible before going forward.

In addition to a meeting this morning in which Kim is discussing some legislation to protect non-profits from eviction (public comment is at 11 a.m. at City Hall, Room 250), she’s joining a meeting with tenants of 1049 and 1067 Market Street tonight, Wednesday, at 8 p.m. in the 4th Floor lobby of 1005 Market.

‘Grandfather’ of Korean cinema sees life through a lens
Yahoo! News

“Film is my passion,” the 77-year-old said. “And you must follow your passion.”

Affectionately known as the “Grandfather of Korean cinema”, a large number of Im’s acclaimed productions have focused on what he sees as the erosion of Korean culture in a society that has seen rapid change in recent decades.

With giant posters of him displayed all over the city, Im has been an omnipresent force at this year’s 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which is screening 71 of his movies while making him the subject of a series of seminars and panel discussions.

Margaret Cho brings new show to S.F.
SFGate.com

Margaret Cho, the comedian, actress and singer, is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated natives. Although her parents, who owned a bookstore in the city, have relocated to San Diego, Cho, 44, says she still feels a connection to her hometown, even if that connection involves a needle.

Currently in the midst of an international comedy tour called “Mother,” Cho called from the road to talk about her tour – which plays the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium on Saturday – her new albums, her revived TV series and her thoughts on San Francisco.

2AM to Grant K-Pop Christmas Wishes with First Solo U.S. Concert
Billboard.com

When Billboard caught up with 2AM in Los Angeles, the K-pop boy band famous for their ballads commented that “in L.A. and the U.S.A., the fans are more passionate.” The quartet will see those “passionate” fans soon with their first-ever solo concert in the United States. 2AM’s “Nocturne in Christmas” show will take place at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia L.A. Live venue on December 15. Merry Christmas, K-pop fans!

Fans can also get up close and personal with the foursome at a “high touch” event held prior to the concert. At these engagements, attendees get to give the 2AM guys a high-five. Based off of boy band B.A.P’s high touch event in New York, expect a handful of fans to be bawling after meeting the idols.

2AM last visited America to perform as one of the headliners at KCON 2013. The boys not only belted out singles like “One Spring Day” and “Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die,” but also performed Bruno Mars’ Hot 100 No. 1 hit, “Just the Way You Are” (below).

G-Dragon was a surprise guest in Justin Bieber’s first Korean concert
allkpop

On the 10th, Justin Bieber’s first Korean concert as part of his ‘Believe Tour’ opened at the Olympic Park’s gymnasium in Seoul. After performing his hit songs for about fifty minutes, he said he would introduce a guest. At that time, G-Dragon made a sudden surprise appearance to perform his song “Crayon.”

G-Dragon was welcomed warmly by the crowd as all of his Korean fans got on their feet. The response to G-Dragon seemed even more enthusiastic than when Justin Bieber was performing! It was very reminiscent of G-Dragon’s own concerts.

After his “Crayon” performance, G-Dragon said before leaving, “As Bieber will show you a better performance, I hope you will have fun until the end.”

Kim Jang-hoon gives out Hangeul T-shirts in New York
Korea Times

Pop singer Kim Jang-hoon promoted Hangeul in the United States with an event giving out T-shirts emblazed with the Korea alphabet in New York, Wednesday.

The event was to celebrate Hangeul Day, which falls on Oct. 9 each year.

Kim and Korean students at New York University handed out 600 white T-shirts in Washington Square Park.

The T-shirts had two variations ― one lettered with “nanum,” a word meaning sharing, and the other with Hangeul, both written in Korean.

The Walking Dead Countdown: Will Maggie Get Pregnant? Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan Talk “Beautiful” Season Four
E Online

Hmm…Does Diapers.com deliver to post-apocalyptic prisons? The Walking Dead’s Maggie and Glenn might want to start looking into such things, because—and we are only speculating here—we have a sneaking suspicion a baby might be on the way for the show’s core couple.

In anticipation of Sunday’s season-four premiere of TWD, we spoke with Steven Yeun (Glenn) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie), and, acting like a true nervous daddy-to-be, here’s how Yeun responded to a question about whether Maggie might ever get pregnant:

“You know, I think that’s definitely a genuine, um, you know, thing that could be,” Yeun stumbled. “And, um, obviously, I can’t really address that at any point. But you know, there’s genuine fears that go along with trying to live a normal life in that world, and that all applies into what makes it more dangerous, or what makes you more vulnerable, so it’s all cool.”

Daniel Dae Kim is proud of ‘Hawaii Five-0′ for its minority representation
Canadian Press via 660News.com

South Korean native Daniel Dae Kim says skirting Asian stereotypes is something that’s been important to him since he started his acting career, first onstage in classic plays and improv comedy and then in onscreen projects including the film “Crash” and TV’s “Lost.”

And it’s a goal he feels he’s continuing with “Hawaii Five-0,” which is into its fourth season on Global and CBS.

“One of the things I’m proudest of on ‘Hawaii Five-0′ is the fact that we have so much minority representation, and it’s not done in a token way, it’s not done in a stereotypical way,” Kim, 45, said in an interview.

“All of us have interesting characters to play, and that is a great direction for television to go in.”

The case against Shin-Soo Choo
ESPN.com

The Mets have turned their attention to the offseason, amid expectations that the Wilpons will be spending like it’s 1998.

And the apple of the Big Apple’s eye appears to be Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds right fielder who was second in the NL in on-base percentage. Choo is a fine player, and I can see why he will generate interest as a free agent, but when I look at Choo I see the next version of Jason Bay — a 31-year-old outfielder with severe flaws coming of a year he is unlikely to replicate.

The biggest problem with free agents — particularly those coming off of great years — is that it’s easy to assume that their most recent season is their true level of performance when it’s most likely not. The Mets can look at Choo’s .285/.423/.462 line and think he will repeat that for a few years, but what if his future performance is more in line with his 2011 performance: .283/.373/.441? Or even worse, 2010: .259/.344/.390.

‘Stun Gun’ Kim stuns Silva with knockout
Korea Times

Kim Dong-hyun lived up to his ”Stun Gun’’ nickname Thursday (KST) at the UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil, where he knocked out crowd favorite Erick Silva in what arguably was the biggest win of his career.

The welterweight fight had been billed as a clash of styles, with the underdog Kim rated a top-class grappler and the explosive Silva being one of the most feared strikers in his weight class.

Kim has a chance against Silva only if he can take him off his feet, observers had said. If anyone of them claims they pictured the 31-year-old Korean dropping Silva with a left, they are probably lying.

Insider Guide: Best of Seoul
CNN.com

In Seoul, you can shop at brilliantly lit malls at 4 a.m., sing karaoke an hour later, then get McDonald’s delivered to your doorstep for breakfast.

The city’s 10.4 million residents can also brag about the world’s top airport (ice rinks and movie theaters included) and a stunningly efficient public transportation system featuring high-tech details from massive touch-screen displays at subway stations to tickers at bus stops announcing which bus is coming when.

Business travelers like to drop by the centuries-old temples and palaces for a quick walk on the way to meetings in the Jongno financial district, while design fanatics devise their own tours of the latest skyscrapers and stadiums.

Owner of Dog Mauled by Pit Bull Seeks Answers
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: August 26th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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A Korean American man in San Francisco is hoping someone will come forward and claim ownership of a pit bull that attacked his dog last week, ABC 7 reports.

Ray Kang was walking his dog, Skylar, a 10-year-old beagle and Labrador mix, at Esprit Park, a popular off-leash dog park in the San Francisco Dogpatch neighborhood when she was attacked.

“Within seconds she was in the pit bull’s jaws and the pit bull was shaking her like a rag doll,” Kang told ABC. “I questioned why, you know, he wasn’t in control of his dog in the first place.” Continue Reading »

Osaka Mayor Remains Defiant Over Comfort Women Remarks
Author: Steve Han
Posted: August 23rd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto asked that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors retract its condemnation of his remarks justifying Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II.

In a letter sent to Osaka’s sister-city, the Japanese right-wing politician said his words were “misunderstood” by San Francisco’s equivalent to a city council as he never “legitimatized or defended” Japan’s institution of “comfort women,” a term used to describe sex slaves.

“My statements … have always been consistent with my concern for the protection and enhancement of women’s dignity and human rights,” he wrote.

Hashimoto came under scrutiny across the world in May, after he said that comfort women were “necessary” for Japanese soldiers during the war. Continue Reading »

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