Tag Archives: south korea


‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’ Wins Documentary Award at L.A. Film Fest


by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

Here’s one more reason to watch possibly the most popular South Korean documentary of 2015: My Love, Don’t Cross That River and its director, Jin Mo-young, recently won the Documentary Award at the 21st Annual Los Angeles Film Festival.


On Wednesday, the L.A. Film Fest announced the winners of this year’s festival at the Awards Cocktail Reception. Jury awards were given for U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, Documentary, Zeitgeist, LA Muse and Nightfall, as well as Best Short Fiction and Best Short Documentary. Audience awards went to Best Fiction Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature Film, Best Short Film and Best Web Series.

My Love, which follows an elderly South Korean couple known as the “100-year-old lovebirds,” made its North American premiere at the L.A. Film Fest this past weekend. The documentary captures the peaceful life of a 98-year-old husband and 89-year-old wife in their mountain village home in the Gangwon province until the husband passes away. Since its premiere in South Korea, the film has broken domestic box office records.

Other Asian American filmmakers to garner festival awards included Takeshi Fukunaga, who won the U.S. Fiction Award for Out of My Hand, and Viet Nguyen, who won the inaugural Nightfall Award for independent filmmakers for Crush the Skull.

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Among short films, the Best Short Fiction honor when to Drama, directed by Tian Guan, and the Shorts Jury gave a special mention to actress Kaori Momoi for her role in Oh Lucy!, directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi.

You can check out the full press release for the L.A. Film Festival Jury Award winners here.


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Ramenia 21

Ramenia 21 is the Future of Instant Ramen


by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

We’ve seen water purifiers that double as a coffeemaker, but is humanity ready for a “ramen water purifier”?

Perhaps the Ramenia 21, an automated instant ramen cooker, is too much power for South Koreans to handle, as they already eat the most servings of ramen per year. Worry no more about overcooked noodles, veggie add-ons and the absolute perfection of a square of American cheese. That perfection is captured in the Ramenia 21.

You don’t even have to take the ramen out of its packaging. Insert the entire thing into a slot, like the video cassettes of yore, and the Ramenia 21 will take care of the rest.

It even detects the brand of ramen and plays the jingle of the brand’s commercial. No one can truly ever get Nong Shim Shin Ramen~ out of their head.

Once the Ramenia 21 has removed the contents from the packaging, its “smart package care” system will dispose of the wrappers in the only way possible–by folding them into ddakjis, or paper disks.

From there, it’s only a few more button presses. Break your ramen noodle block into halves or quarters, then select your noodle firmness (anything other than slightly undercooked makes you a barbarian).

Next, it’s time to tap into the topping combination system to choose which fresh veggies to add on. There’s none of that freeze-dried nonsense. Green onions aplenty, always; carrots when you feel like it; an egg, because the yolk is the best; onions if you’re not going out; sausages if you just don’t care anymore—the Ramenia 21 has everything. Of course, we can’t forget that final square of American cheese. Absolute perfection.

The Ramenia 21 is just that. Instant ramen never looked as good as it does on its packaging, until now.

The system also comes with a laser beam to cut your chopsticks perfectly down the middle. No more unbalanced chopsticks! However, the cutting process takes three minutes. Future Ramenia 21 iterations should have faster cutting speeds.

Oh, but what happens if you’re busy doing with an important task, such as binge-watching on Netflix, during the cutting process? No worries, the Ramenia 21’s drone delivery system has you covered.

The Ramenia 21 can be to ramen what the Keurig was to coffee. In that light, perhaps it’s a good thing that Ramenia 21 doesn’t exist in real life.


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South Korean Schools Reopen Despite Widespread MERS Fear


by the Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The death toll in South Korea’s MERS outbreak increased Tuesday even as schools reopened and people recovered from the virus.

Nineteen people have died in the largest outbreak of the disease outside the Middle East, with three more dying since late Monday, the Health Ministry said. More than 150 have been infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome and nearly 5,600 have been quarantined.

The government says the outbreak is slowing, but fear and misinformation are widespread. The virus is believed to be spread in respiratory droplets, such as by coughing, and infections have been occurring in close-contact situations, such as caring for a sick person.

Health workers are spraying disinfectant at karaoke rooms, on public transportation and in other businesses, and teachers are sprinkling salt on school grounds in a misplaced attempt to protect themselves as many schools reopen this week.

About 365 schools and kindergartens were closed as of Tuesday afternoon, compared to as many as 2,900 last week.

The discovery of new cases and a growing number of quarantine orders have critics questioning the control measures.

Officials have struggled to trace and identify people who had contact with MERS patients at a major hospital in southern Seoul. More than 70 people, including patients, medical staff and visitors, have been infected from the facility, which has temporarily stopped accepting new patients and postponed non-serious surgeries as part of its quarantine efforts.

MERS belongs to the family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold and SARS, and can cause fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. Most of the fatalities in South Korea have been people with existing medical conditions, such as respiratory problems or cancer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of a pandemic, saying the virus is not spreading in the wider community and has not mutated to spread easily among humans.

The South Korean outbreak originated from a 68-year-old man who had traveled to the Middle East, where the illness has been centered, before being diagnosed as the country’s first MERS patient last month.


Featured image captured via Reuters Video

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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North Korean Soldier Crosses DMZ to Defect to South

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

A teenaged North Korean soldier walked across the heavily mined Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Monday in a bid to defect to South Korea, the South Korean defense ministry said.

After crossing the 2.5-mile-wide DMZ, the 19-year-old soldier approached a remote South Korean guard post in Gangwon Province’s Hwacheon county at around 8 a.m. on June 15, according to the New York Times. There were no warning shots or exchange of fire, as the solider clearly expressed his wish to defect as he crossed the inter-Korean border, according to defense ministry officials. He is currently being held in custody while South Korean authorities run a background check.

It is extremely rare for defectors to walk across the DMZ, especially since it is heavily fortified with land mines, barbed wire and patrolmen. The last such crossing was back in 2012, when a North Korean serviceman scaled three barbed-wire fences and knocked on the barracks of South Korean border guards. That same year, another North Korean soldier killed two of his commanding officers before crossing the western side of the DMZ.

Most North Korean defectors, many of whom are civilians, usually cross the North Korea-China border and travel through Southeast Asian nations to reach South Korea.

According to South Korea’s unification ministry, the number of North Korean defectors dropped from 2,706 in 2011 to 1,397 last year. So far, 535 North Korean defectors have arrived in South Korea within the past five months of 2015.

In recent weeks, North Korea has been increasing guard patrols along the DMZ in order to prevent defection through the inter-Korean border, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Also on Monday, North Korea said it would release two South Korean detainees who were arrested on May 11 for illegally entering the country through China. South Korea’s unification ministry agreed to the proposal and announced that the two detainees will be received at the truce village of Panmunjom on Wednesday.


Featured image via journeylism.nl

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Seoul Police Arrest Korean American for Taking Upskirt Photos

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

A Korean American man was arrested in Seoul’s Yeongdeungpo District for allegedly taking upskirt photographs of a woman near a subway station on June 1, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The suspect, identified only by his surname Kim, was in the act of taking photos under a woman’s skirt when she noticed and screamed at him. Kim fled, only to be apprehended by a nearby off-duty police officer.

According to Yonhap, Kim “barely speaks Korean” and had demanded to be allowed to return to the United States during the investigation. Although Kim is currently not in police custody, the police have referred the case to prosecutors and requested them to charge Kim with violating laws on sexual violence.


Featured image via AFP

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S. Korea Reports 10th Death From MERS, President Park Cancels U.S. Trip

by The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea reported a 10th death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Thursday, although officials say they believe the disease has peaked.

The victim was a 65-year-old man who had been treated for lung cancer and was hospitalized in the same facility as another MERS patient, the Health Ministry said.

The outbreak of MERS has caused panic in South Korea. It has infected more than 120 people since the first case, a 68-year-old man who had traveled to the Middle East, was diagnosed on May 20.

About 3,800 people remained isolated Thursday after possible contact with infected people, according to the ministry. More than 2,600 schools and kindergartens across South Korea were closed.

On Wednesday, experts from the World Health Organization and South Korea urged the schools’ reopening as the outbreak in the country has so far been contained to hospitals and there is no evidence of sustained transmission in the community.

South Korean officials believe the outbreak may have peaked, although they say the next few days will be crucial to determining whether their efforts to isolate patients and control the disease have worked. Three people diagnosed with MERS were released from hospitals Thursday, bringing the total discharged to seven.

President Park Geun-hye postponed her planned U.S. visit scheduled next week to focus on coping with the outbreak.

Most of the deaths so far have been of people who had been suffering from pre-existing medical conditions, such as respiratory problems or cancer.

Experts think MERS can spread in respiratory droplets, such as by coughing. But transmissions have mainly occurred through close contact, such as living with or caring for an infected person.

MERS has mostly been centered in Saudi Arabia and has a death rate of about 40 percent among reported cases. It belongs to the family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold and SARS, and can cause fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

See Also


President Park Geun-hye to Visit White House on June 16

More Reason for Calm Than Panic in South Korea’s MERS Scare

Korean LGBTQ Festival Kicks Off Despite Protests and MERS


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Featured image via Associated Press/Youtube

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South Korea Pledges to Help Youth Find Jobs Overseas


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

The South Korean government announced on Monday that it will revamp its job creation network to help young people find jobs overseas in order to combat the country’s high youth unemployment rate, reports Yonhap News Agency.

According to Statistics Korea, two-thirds of Koreans aged 25 -34 possess college degrees. However, South Korea’s unemployment rate among young adults in their 20s and 30s with no previous job experience has reached the highest level in more than 12 years. The overall unemployment for those aged 15-29 stood also reached a 14-year high last year.

On Monday, the finance ministry said it plans to overhaul its current K-Move program, a job creation network dedicated to connecting young Koreans to employment opportunities in foreign countries, and aims to find at least 10,000 overseas positions for young adults in 2017. That’s 5,000 more jobs than the government pledged last year.

The existing version of the K-Move program has previously been criticized for recommending unfavorable jobs to Korean applicants. The ministry said it will maintain a database on job opportunities and include information on how to seek jobs in the 15 foreign countries, including the United States, China, Brazil and the Netherlands, on the K-Move website.

The South Korean government is also negotiating with other nations to get them to accept Korean trade certifications, hoping to create more diverse job opportunities overseas. While certain countries only accept Korean nursing and some medical licenses, China hires some professionals with certificates in information technology.

See Also


Young South Koreans Finding That Degrees Don’t Translate to Jobs

The Future of South Korea’s Young Career Women Remains Uncertain

South Korea’s Labor Ministry Under Fire for Sexist Career Advice


Featured image via worldjob.co.kr

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high school mers

South Korea Confirms Sixth MERS Death, First Teen Patient


by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korea on Monday reported its sixth death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has infected at least 87 people since last May, including a 16-year-old boy, who is reportedly the first teenager to be infected with the virus. 

The teen was diagnosed with MERS at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, where he had been hospitalized since May 27 for a different illness, according to Yonhap News Agency

About 1,870 schools in South Korea have temporarily closed after a doctor, who was diagnosed with MERS came attended a conference with nearly 1,500 people a few weeks ago. More than 2,000 people have been quarantined at their homes or state-run facilities after having contact with infected patients.

On Sunday, South Korean government disclosed the names of 29 hospitals affected by the outbreak. A health ministry official said the list would allow individuals to report themselves if they have recently visited those facilities and are showing MERS-related symptoms, according to the Associated Press. Majority of MERS cases can be traced back to Samsung Seoul Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in the city of Pyeongtaek.

Previously, the health ministry had refused to disclose the list of affected hospitals, afraid that it would cause a disruption in medical services.

Despite the rising tally of MERS patients, Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said in a press conference that it is unlikely that the virus would significantly spread further in the country.

“So far, all the MERS cases have been hospital-associated, and there has been no case of an infection in other social settings,” Choi said, according to the AP. “We think we have a chance at putting the outbreak under total control.”

MERS bears a striking resemblance to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). There is no known cure or vaccine to prevent the infection. However, health experts say the disease is not airborne and only spreads through close contact with infected patients.

See Also


More Reason for Calm than Panic in South Korea’s MERS Scare

South Koreans Seeking Transparency Develop MERS Info-Sharing Tools


Featured image via Yonhap

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