Tag Archives: Seoul

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North Korea Applauds Knife Attack on U.S. Ambassador

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

North Korea has applauded the South Korean assailant’s knife attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert, calling it a “deserved punishment” for America’s joint military drills with Seoul.

Lippert, 42, received 80 stitches to close a 4-inch gash on his cheek and sustained some nerve damage in his left hand. After a successful surgery, the U.S. ambassador tweeted that he was in “great spirits” and promised to return to his duties as soon as possible.

The attack occurred Thursday at 7:40 a.m. KST during a breakfast forum at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, where Lippert was scheduled to deliver a speech.

Lippert was starting to eat the first course of his breakfast when Kim Ki-jong, a 55-year-old political extremist, screamed, “South and North Korea should be reunified” before slashing the ambassador’s face and wrist with a 10-inch blade. Kim was immediately pinned to the ground and arrested by the police.

Witnesses described the incident to unfold too quickly for security to prevent the knife attack in time, according to Reuters.

North Korea’s state-run media, the Korean Central News Agency, later crowed that Kim delivered “knife slashes of justice.” The agency added that the attack reflected the South Korean people’s protests against the U.S. for raising tensions in the Korean Peninsula through joint military drills with Seoul, according to Yonhap.

The U.S. State Department condemned the violent attack, while South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the incident an “attack on the Korea-U.S. alliance” and phoned Lippert in the hospital, wishing him a speedy recovery.

The Associated Press noted that Kim is a well-known among police and activists as an anti-U.S. and Japan extremist. In 1985, Kim participated along with other hard-core protesters in slashing and burning the American flag on the embassy grounds. He was also sentenced to prison for three years in 2010 after throwing a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador to Seoul. In addition, he visited North Korea with a civic group eight times between 2006 and 2007, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

After his arrest on Thursday, Kim told police that he had attacked Lippert to protest the joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, claiming that it ruined efforts for reconciliation efforts between the two Koreas.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said it was the first time a foreign ambassador to South Korea had been injured in a violent attack.

Since his appointment last October, Lippert has proved himself to be a popular ambassador during his stay in Seoul, as he often posts updates on social media and regularly delivers speeches. His wife gave birth in the capital city, and the couple gave their son a Korean middle name.

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Featured image via Yonhap/Reuters

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Tourists Flock to Hongdae’s Sheep Cafe for Lunar New Year

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Forget cat cafes and dog cafes. It’s the Year of the Sheep, after all. Why not enjoy a cup of coffee and the warm company of a fluffy sheep instead?

Established in 2011, Thanks Nature Cafe may seem like one of the many quaint coffee shops scattered around the Hongdae district of South Korea, but the cafe is actually a home to a pair of sheep. Patrons are allowed to interact with the sheep and are sometimes given hay to feed the animals.

942293_593749257311080_886122712_nSheep meets a puppy at the Thanks Nature Cafe.

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On slow days, the sheep are allowed to freely roam about the cafe. 

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Lee Kwang-ho, the owner of the cafe, said his business has experienced a spike in visitors due to the Lunar New Year celebrations. He claims that with so many South Koreans wanting to see sheep during the holiday, his cafe provided a convenient alternative to visiting a sheep ranch in the countryside.

But it’s not just locals flocking to the sheep cafe. Tourists from around the globe have been walking through Lee’s doors.

“I don’t know how this place was known to the world, but I had visitors from all over the world coming to see my sheep, from Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, even some countries I don’t know well,” said Lee.

15060_627394140613258_1079022977_nLee Kwang-ho with his sheep at the sheep ranch

Unlike most pet cafes, the sheep aren’t looking for adoptions as they are Lee’s full-time companions. Lee diligently takes care of the sheep by keeping their pen clean, bathing them and taking them out for walks for exercise.

Unfortunately, the fluffy hosts only reside at the cafe during the fall and winter months due to their thick coats. Once the weather starts getting humid, Lee sends the sheep back to the sheep ranch and brings back a new pair of woolies around September.

To learn more about Thanks Nature Cafe, visit its Facebook Page

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Photos via Thanks Nature Cafe’s Facebook Page. H/T Rocket News 24

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100-car Pileup Near Incheon Leaves 2 Dead, Over 60 Injured

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Two people were killed and at least 60 were injured on Wednesday morning as more than 100 vehicles piled up on a bridge near South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The collision occurred at 9:34 a.m. on the Seoul-bound lanes of the Yeongjong Bridge, which connects Yeongjong Island, where the country’s main airport is located, to Seoul. Police said the pileup began after an airport limousine bus rear-ended a taxi that had already collided into a vehicle in the adjacent lane.

The crash was most likely caused by the dense fog and icy road conditions. According to Yonhap, drivers could see only about 10 meters in front of them, and the pileup spanned 1.3 kilometers.

Two people were killed while seven remain in serious conditions, a firefighter told the Associated Press. He added that among the injured were seven Chinese, three Thai and two each from the Philippines and Vietnam. Other injured foreign nationals included a Swiss, Bangladeshi, Russian and Japanese.

The bodies of the two victims were identified only as 51-year-old Kim and 46-year-old Lim. While Kim’s body was transported to Myongji Hospital in Goyang, a northern Seoul suburb, Lim’s was sent to Incheon’s Na-Eun Hospital.

The Incheon Seobu Police have created a task force to determine the exact cause of the pileup and plan to look into a nearby CCTV footage.

The Seoul-bound lanes of the bridge were closed after the collision, but was reopened for traffic at 3:12 p.m.

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Featured image via the Korea Herald

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‘Ode to My Father’ Grosses Over $2 Million in North America

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Ode to My Father, a South Korean postwar melodrama, grossed more than $2 million in ticket sales after screening in North American theaters for just five weeks, said the U.S. branch of CJ Entertainment & Media on Tuesday.

Directed by JK Youn (Haeundae)Ode to My Father depicts the life of an ordinary man named Deok-soo, who makes sacrifices to support his family through the tumultuous period after the Korean War. As a young child, Deok-soo gets separated from his father and youngest sister during the Hungnam Evacuation of 1951, in which thousands of refugees fled to the south by U.S. navy vessels. Deok-soo’s last words to his father was a promise to always protect his family. As he matures, his promise leads him to dangerous jobs, such as mining in the German coal mines and doing engineering work in a war-torn Vietnam.

According to Yonhap, the melodrama is currently the fourth-highest grossing South Korean film in North America after blockbuster Admiral: Roaring Currents; Kim Ki-duk’s quiet drama Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring; and monster flick The Host. The film is screening in 18 North American theaters in Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C.

Over the weekend, Ode to My Father also became the second most watched Korean film in Korean box-office history after it surpassed the 13 million viewer mark, according to the Korea Film Council. This milestone comes only two months after the film released domestically mid-December.

While the tearjerker has mesmerized millions of South Korean moviegoers, American viewers may not be as enamored with its overly melodramatic scenes and bullet-point structure, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

You can watch the trailer for Ode to My Father below:

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Featured image courtesy of CJ Entertainment

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[VIDEO] Michael Bublé ‘Falls in Love’ with Dancing Korean Fan at Seoul Concert

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Stop whatever you’re doing because you need to watch this man dance!

On Feb. 4, Michael Bublé held his first concert in South Korea at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium. During an intermission, the world-renowned singer couldn’t help but go off-script after seeing one die-hard fan dancing his heart out in the audience.

“In 174 shows and 33 countries, I have never fallen in a love with a man before. But I can’t stop myself because there’s a dude that’s dancing over there,” Bublé said, pointing to an enthusiastic man dressed in a pink sweatshirt and blue jeans. He then invited the fan to the stage.

Overjoyed, the fan bounced up on stage and embraced Bublé with a big smile. After their warm greeting, the singer asked the man to show off his awesome dance moves. Although the man was shy at first, as the band began playing a rhythmic beat, he started getting into the groove and broke out some sick dance moves.

After his amazing performance, the man introduced himself as Ji-kwang. The 20-year-old dancer is an aspiring jazz artist, according to the YouTube video’s description.

Watch Ji-kwang’s performance below:

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Michael Bublé Covers Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips”

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Michael Bublé uploaded a video of himself singing “Eyes, Nose, Lips” by BIGBANG’s Taeyang on his official Facebook page Tuesday night.

The world-renowned singer was apparently warming up for his Seoul concert at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium when he and his band mates sang the K-pop song. According to the post, an Instagram follower made the song request.

 

Taeyang’s song has been covered numerous times by performers from all around the globe. The music video currently has over 35 million views on YouTube. Earlier last year, YG Entertainment released an “Eyes, Nose, Lips” cover project, in which its artists Akdong Musician and Tablo as well as producer Lydia Paek covered the song.

You can watch their covers below:

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 Photo via Michael Bublé’s Facebook page

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K-pop Star: The Top Dream Job for S.Korean Pre-Teens

Kim Si-yoon and Yoo Ga-eul, right, practice singing with other aspiring K-pop artists at DEF Dance Skool in Seoul. (Photo courtesy of Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

As K-pop continues to expand overseas and generate millions in revenue, thousands of South Korean children are polishing their dance and vocal skills in hopes of becoming the next K-pop star.

Reuters reported last week that a recent survey showed that 21 percent of Korean pre-teens wanted to be K-pop stars when they grow up, making the profession the top dream job among South Korea’s youth. It’s almost hard to believe that about a decade ago, entertainment was considered an inferior career path that was only suitable for high school dropouts. But now, parents are eyeing K-pop as a viable career choice.

According to the New York Times, there are thousands of cram schools dedicated to cultivating the next generation of K-pop idols. Families spend hundreds of dollars on their children’s dance and vocal lessons in hopes of getting them accepted into one of Korea’s top three talent agencies: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment.

“Competition is very intense, and there are so many good kids,” said Park Sook-hee, whose 9-year-old daughter, Kim Si-yoon, is currently preparing for her auditions to get into a reputable agency.

Kim wakes up every morning at 7:30 a.m. After school, she undergoes hours of voice and dance training at cram schools before going to bed at midnight. Despite this overwhelming schedule, the young aspiring K-pop star understands that she must make sacrifices to realize her dream.

“It is tough,” Kim told Reuters, as she prepared to practice a dance routine, despite a bad cold. “So I am trying to have fun and when I make efforts, I can perform better.”

Once admitted into a talent agency, potential K-pop stars follow an intense training program, which includes dance, vocals, language, and broadcast etiquette lessons. Many trainees even drop out of school to keep up with the rigorous schedule. However, training at an agency does not guarantee a debut. With so many young and talented performers vying for a spot in the next idol group, K-pop labels have the power to cut or replace whoever they think is not suitable to debut. As a result, trainees either quit or wait years for the chance to perform on stage. JYP artist G.Soul, for example, recently made his debut last month after 15 years of training in the U.S.

Still, the potential perks from K-pop stardom are enticing, especially the paycheck. South Korea’s National Tax Service recently reported that the average annual income for singers swelled to 46.74 million won (USD $43,000) in 2013. That’s more than a 72 percent increase since 2010. In addition, the Bank of Korea revealed that overseas sales garnered from Korean dramas and music nearly doubled in just five years.

With Hallyu branching out into international markets, K-pop stars now have even more opportunities to travel outside of Asia and meet fans from around the globe, which is another powerful incentive for Korean pre-teens to pursue a career in K-pop.

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7 Unique Beers You Can Order in Seoul

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Remember when we introduced South Korea’s beer and whipped cream combo last week? Well, it turns out that there are a lot of creative beers you can try at local pubs, according to Rocket News 24 and Korean info-guide Myung-poom Yoo-yong Jungbo (명품 유용 정보). Many of these beers are also incredibly affordable, with the lowest price being around $3.

So, if you’re in a mood for a drink that’s more adventurous, here are seven unique beers you can order in Seoul:

Classic cream beer
Pub: 
Chir Beer 369, Price: 3,600 won (USD $3.28)

크Photo courtesy of flycar.tistory.com

After our previous post, many of you asked where you can buy cream beer in South Korea. While there are a couple small pubs that serve this new classic drink, one bar you can visit is Chir Beer 369, which is located in Sangsu, Seoul. Chir Beer is also renowned for its fried chicken, so it’s a good idea to munch on some Cajun chicken wings to balance out the sweet cream beer.

Cotton candy beer
Pub: Bonggu Beer (봉구비어), Price: 4,000 won (USD $3.64)

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 5.02.06 PMPhoto courtesy of 명품 유용 정보

Bonggu Beer is a franchise draft beer bar known for its cheese sticks, french fries and high-quality beer. In addition to cream beer, the Bonggu Beer also serves beer topped with cotton candy. However, judging from the picture, it looks like you have to eat half of the hot pink mountain of fluff before you can even take a sip of alcohol.

Mojito Beer
Pub: 
Romance Salon (낭만싸롱), Price: 6,000 won (USD $5.47)

1598017_1457980351139003_279462513_nPhoto courtesy of Jinzzum

Romance Salon is a cute college bar located near the Seoul National University subway station. The bar serves a wide range of creative beverages, including the cookie beer, mango beer and mojito beer, in mason jars. According to reviews, the bar is pretty popular among young women.

Military Canteen Beer
Pub: Flying Chicken (닭날다), Price: 4,000 won (USD $3.64)

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 4.30.58 PMPhoto courtesy of 명품 유용 정보

Flying Chicken is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in Hongdae. The bar is designed after military barracks and is decorated with U.S. Army-related articles, including a propeller of a transport plane.  While the beer isn’t particularly exotic, most customers like to experience drinking from rustic military canteens.

Butter Beer with whipped cream and waffle cookies
Pub
Hello Hello Ssul (헬로헬로쑬), Price: 7,000 won (USD $6.40)

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Hello Hello Ssul is a cozy bar that’s located in a more quiet neighborhood of Hongdae. Decorated with warm orange lights, the bar has a romantic ambiance that’s perfect for dates. If you want to drink like witches and wizards, then Ssul is a good place to visit as it serves butter beer, topped with whipped cream and a thin waffle cookie.

Frozen strawberry beer
Pub
: Sugatamori (스가타모리), Price: 9,000 won (USD $8.21)

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 5.20.14 PMPhoto courtesy of 명품 유용 정보

Sugatamori is a Japanese-style pub located near Hongkik University. It serves its own variation of the Kirin Ichiban Frozen Nama by adding strawberry juice to the frozen beer foam. The pub also sells makgeolli, or rice wine, that’s combined with strawberries.

Beer-flavored ice cream
Location:
Molly’s Pops, Price: 3,000 won (USD $2.60)

tumblr_m5gv61meFy1rqx7a0o6_500Photo courtesy of SouthKoreanFood.tumblr.com

There are other ways to enjoy beer aside from chugging it from a pint glass. Molly’s Pops sells handmade popsicles with over 20 unique flavors, including powdered soybean, milk tea and squid ink. One of the shop’s most popular flavors is the beer flavor, which is made from real Erdinger beer. Since the popsicle is alcoholic, only customers who are at least 19 years old can purchase it. The shop also sells two other alcoholic popsicles: the Kahula & Makgeolli and Wine & Strawberry. If you’re not in the mood for ice cream, Molly’s Pops also sells regular beer.

Which beer would you like to try in Seoul? Let us know in the comments below.

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