Tag Archives: Seoul

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

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

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

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:


 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

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

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
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)

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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
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)

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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
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
: Sugatamori (스가타모리), Price: 9,000 won (USD $8.21)

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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
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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Chanel to Stage Its First Seoul Fashion Show

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

French luxury brand Chanel has announced that it will be debuting its cruise collection in Seoul on May 4. This will be Chanel’s very first fashion show in South Korea, reports Donga Ilbo.

Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of Chanel fashion, told WWD that show will be held at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), or DDP, a neo-futuristic exhibition hall designed by Zaha Hadid and Samoo. Chanel is no stranger to the DDP as it held its Culture Chanel exhibition “The Sense of Places” at the venue last fall.

As for why the brand chose Seoul as the stage for its May collection, Chanel said the city was a “place where old tradition and state-of-the-art technologies coexist in perfect harmony.”

Seoul is one of three cities Chanel will host its fashion shows. On March 31, the brand will reprise its Paris-Salzburg show in New York before heading to Korea. On Dec. 1, the brand’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld will debut his next Métiers d’arts collection in Rome.


Photo courtesy of Luxuo

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SM Entertainment to Release the World’s First Hologram Musical

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

SM Entertainment will premiere the world’s first hologram musical, School OZ, on Jan. 14 in Seoul, according to Soompi.

Based loosely on The Wizard of Oz, this hologram fantasy musical stars various SM artists, including Changmin of TVXQ, Key of SHINee, Suho and Xiumin of EXO and Red Velvet’s Seulgi. The story will center on the search for Dorothy, who mysteriously disappears before the day of the “Great Knight” championship. The 110-minute show will be screened at the SMTOWN Theatre, taking advantage of the venue’s high-definition screens, projectors and its start-of-the-art sound system.

SM Entertainment will also screen its hologram concert Girl Story, which stars Yoona of Girls’ Generation and SHINee’s Minho, on the same day of the musical’s premiere.

Tickets for both performances will be available starting Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. KST and can be purchased via the app “SMTOWN Theatre” or the agency’s dedicated website.

You can watch the trailer for School OZ below:


Featured image courtesy of Soompi

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick works with fourth graders during Cooking Matters, a nutrition class taught by 18 Reasons, a local partner of Share our Strength at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco

South Korea Indicts Uber CEO

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korean prosecutors have indicted the CEO and local subsidiary of Uber for operating an illegal taxi service, becoming the latest roadblock for the ride-sharing app, according to Reuters.

CEO Travis Kalanick and Uber’s partner MK Korea, a domestic rental-car service operator, were charged with violating a South Korean law that prohibits individuals or firms from using rental cars for paid transportation services without appropriate licenses, said the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of 20 million won (USD $18,121).

Uber said in its statement on Wednesday that it plans to fully cooperate with the investigation and that it is “confident” that the South Korean court will make a fair and sensible judgement.

“We firmly believe that our service, which connects drivers and riders via an application, is not only legal in Korea, but that it is being welcomed and supported by consumers,” said the California-based company.

On Friday, the Seoul city government passed a measure that offered a financial reward of 1 million won (USD $910) for those who reported Uber’s illegal drivers, according to Yonhap. The decision came after Seoul repeatedly accused Uber of engaging in illegal transportation services, which the company denied.

This year has been a rough ride for Uber as it weathered numerous scandals and sparked protests by cabbies around the globe. The company made headlines earlier this month when a passenger was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi.

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Beck Difenbach


Korean American Questioned over Alleged Pro-North Talks

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A Korean American writer faces another round of questioning over allegations that she made pro-North Korea remarks during a series of on-stage talk shows, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Shin Eun-mi, 53, has recently been under fire for making sympathetic comments toward Pyongyang and praising the North’s communist regime. After she was given a 10-day travel ban, Shin was questioned on Sunday by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) for seven hours after conservative groups and North Korean defectors accused Shin and her co-host, Hwang Sun, of violating the National Security Law, which prohibits encouraging North Korea’s political ideals.

The writer is also under scrutiny for her memoir titled, Korean-American Ajumma Goes to North Korea, which chronicles three of her six secret visits to North Korea. While her book positively portrays the daily lives of North Koreans, Shin has told reporters that she has “never glorified or encouraged North Korea.”

The SMPA is currently considering charging her for violating South Korea’s immigration control law, which bars tourists from participating in any for-profit activities. According to investigators, Shin was visiting South Korea under a tourist visa.

Earlier today, President Park Geun-hye voiced her concerns over Shin’s alleged pro-North talk shows.

“It has become a problem as certain people who have made several visits to the North have closed their eyes to the appalling living conditions of the North Korean people or the human rights violations and distorted and exaggerated their certain biased experiences as if they are the real state of affairs in the North,” Park said to her senior secretaries during a meeting, according to Yonhap.