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.
Japan ‘disappointed’ by South Korea summit remarks
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Japan had outlined its position on the issues and he hoped South Korea would accept that.
He said Japan would continue to seek to build co-operation with Seoul.
President Park Geun-hye said Japan must apologise for war-time “wrong-doings”.
Japan raps S. Korea for islet claims, alarmed at China’s criticism
Japan’s Foreign Ministry in separate reports has criticized South Korea for selectively interpreting historical records to justify its territorial claim to a disputed group of islands in the Sea of Japan, while registering its concern about China’s stepped-up criticism of Japan over a separate island dispute through its state media.
Together the reports, submitted late last month to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on territorial issues, strongly suggest the ministry’s willingness to seek LDP support in pushing back on information campaigns.
In analyzing South Korea’s recent criticism of Japan, one of the reports says Seoul has interpreted relevant documents and materials over the history of Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan, “in a way that is consistent with its claims to make it look as if the islands are its own territory.”
North Korean Sailors Reported Killed in October Sinking; South Says There Was No Clash
New York Times
A North Korean naval vessel sank last month, killing an unspecified number of sailors, according to North and South Korean news media.
The news first appeared on Saturday when the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had visited a newly built cemetery for the sailors “sacrificed” on board the vessel, a submarine chaser, during “combat duties” last month.
The news agency gave no further details about what happened but quoted Mr. Kim as instructing his navy to “find all the bodies,” hinting at a sizable death toll. Photos of Mr. Kim visiting the cemetery with flowers showed a large mass tomb encircled by what looked like at least a score of headstones bearing the names and photographs of the sailors who had died.
South Korean Businesses Quit Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
South Korean businesses are exiting the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea, making Seoul’s efforts to attract foreign investment to the site an even tougher sell.
At least nine South Korean firms have ended or have decided to end business at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the inter-Korean military border, because of uncertain investment prospects and financial crunches following a five-month operational halt amid cross-border tensions.
Officials at the Unification Ministry in Seoul confirmed two of 123 South Korean firms in Kaesong had fully withdrawn from North Korea after selling out their business assets there. They withheld the names of the companies—one manufacturing electronics parts and the other textile.
Road Voyeurism Fueling Surge in Black Box Sales in Korea: Cars
In the world of the wired, South Koreans rule: millions got hooked on social networking years before Facebook; their mobile phones went broadband first; and Internet connections are faster than anyplace on the planet.
Now they’re going pedal to the metal on the next hi-tech craze: “black boxes” for cars, devices that automatically record video and audio as well as time, location and speed.
What began five years back as a way to protect local taxi drivers from passengers who run off without paying has caught on with other drivers — 2.2 million black boxes are already in use, more than the number of autos sold in Korea each year. Broadcaster SBS has enough clips from viewers that it aired more than 100 morning show segments on car crashes.
South Korea is stuck with Internet Explorer for online shopping because of security law
South Korea is renowned for its digital innovation, with coast-to-coast broadband and a 4G LTE network that reaches into Seoul’s subway system. But this tech-savvy country is stuck in a time warp in one way: its slavish dependence on Internet Explorer.
For South Koreans who use other browsers such as Chrome or Safari, online shopping often begins with a pop-up notice warning that they might not be able to buy what they came for.
“Purchases can only be made through Internet Explorer,” says one such message on the Web site of Asiana Airlines, one of South Korea’s two major carriers.
Michelle Rhee revolution faces massive threat — and new accusations
Education reform lightning rod Paul Vallas – who courted controversy helming school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago — isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But a school board election in Bridgeport, Conn. – the latest district to tap Vallas to oversee reforms — could effectively spell his fate. Tomorrow’s vote will offer the latest referendum on the bipartisan, billionaire-backed mainstream education reform movement, and on a multi-year effort by local Democrats – aided by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee — to defeat or disempower labor-backed dissenters.
“As I’ve gone around the country, I always point to Bridgeport as one of the signs that the people can beat the power,” former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and high-profile reform critic Diane Ravitch told activists on a conference call last month. Tuesday’s election is the latest round in a long-running war over ed reform, and who should shape it, in the largest city in one of the country’s most unequal states.
For the sake of shielding Vallas and his agenda, activists allege that the city’s Democratic machine has acted indifferent or even hostile to defeating Republicans tomorrow.
Convicted sex offender is charged
Wilkes Journal-Patriot (North Carolina)
A man is awaiting trial in Wilkes District Court on 41 felony counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather.
Leonard Lee Yoon, 73, of 540 Obed Heights Drive in the Pores Knob community is also charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses for denying that he was a convicted sex offender when he signed a Wilkes YMCA membership form in April, said Lt. Jason Whitley of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department.
Whitley said 40 counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather resulted from Yoon being at the Wilkes YMCA and one count resulted from him being at the Wilkes County Library from April through June.
Why Girls’ Generation and K-Pop Won Big at the YouTube Music Awards
Wall Street Journal
Last night, K-Pop supergroup Girls’ Generation took top honors at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, winning Video of the Year for their clip “I Got a Boy” — an eclectic, electric mashup of candy-colored visuals that parallels the song’s peppery stop-start aesthetic. In doing so, they beat out a fairly impressive list of video music titans — including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — sending shockwaves of self-congratulatory glee across the K-Pop fanscape.
That’s because, given the YTMA’s parameters, the Girls’ victory was literally a win by, for and about the fans: Unlike the Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards, nominees for the YTMAs were selected solely by algorithm, based on likes, shares, views and other metrics of “fan engagement,” and, according to YouTube, winners were chosen based on how many fresh shares the nominated videos got in the month-long runup to the actual event (with YouTube keeping the vote-with-your-browser window open right up to the actual show itself).
Kimchi advertised in New York Times
Korea Times US
An ad for kimchi, South Korea’s representative side dish, is featured in the Nov. 4, 2013 edition of The New York Times. Actress Kim Yun-jin, known for her role in popular TV series “Lost,” modeled for the ad arranged by South Korean Prof. Seo Kyung-duk, an active promoter of Korea.
Author Catherine Chung: ‘I Want To Embrace The Things That I Am’
Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta’s New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.
In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.
“I tried to pull my hand out of my mother’s grasp, but she held on. She had lost her sister; she had lived in the aftermath of war. This was always what it came down to, in the end. My grandmother had told me once that my mother had never gotten over the death of my aunt. ‘Never talk of it,’ my grandmother had said. ‘Never bring it up.’ “
Could the Royals land a Korean pitcher this winter?
Kansas City Star
There is an interesting prediction about the Royals at the MLB Trade Rumors site.
In a post about the top 50 free agents, the web site predicted the Royals would land two pitchers this winter:
Toronto’s Josh Johnson (no surprise to hear that) and South Korean Suk-Min Yoon.
Yoon, 27, is a right-hander who was the MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2011.
However, this past season, Yoon had a shoulder problem for the KIA Tigers and finished with a 4.00 ERA in 87 2/3 innings. He moved to the bullpen from the rotation. He also pitched in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, allowing two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss to the Netherlands.
Oh Seung-hwan to Start Seeking MLB Club
Samsung Lions’ relief pitcher Oh Seung-hwan will start trying to negotiate a deal with foreign clubs as he looks to potential suitors in Japan and the U.S.
Oh is hoping to find a place for himself in U.S. Major League Baseball, where several clubs have reportedly expressed interest in him. But he apparently sees Japan as his most realistic next destination.
The righty played a crucial role in the Lion’s victory at this year’s Korean Series, which ended last week. Now baseball fans hope he can prove himself as a successful pitcher in the MLB like Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin.
Glenview boutique owner driven by passion for fashion design
Glenview Announcements (Illinois)
Ask Grace Yoon why she decided to open up her Glenview women’s boutique, Ella Louvi and she’ll say her goal was to share her creativity — her clothing designs — with her customers.
“Owning the store isn’t my first passion,” said Yoon, who opened Ella Louvi last July, just months after she and her former business partner, Stella Chun closed their successful store, Stella + Grace. “I love my customers, and I love helping them pick out beautiful outfits, but designing my own line of clothing is my dream.”
Yoon, who came to the states with her family when she was nine years old grew up in the city and in Glenview.
Why Kim Jong Un Snubbed Mongolia’s President
Wall Street Journal
Mongolia’s president had a busy four days in North Korea this week, meeting various officials and zipping around to Kim Il Sung University, a Pyongyang theater, the Munsu water fun park, the border with South Korea and Kim family mausoleum, among other places.
But after Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj had jetted out of Pyongyang on Thursday it became clear that he didn’t meet the one person expected to have capped it all: Kim Jong Un.
What’s with the apparent snub?
Experts say it may have something to do with North Korea’s ambivalent attitude towards the landlocked country to the north-west. The nomadic ancient Mongolians were considered barbarians by the Koreans, according to historians.
When It Comes to Slaying Asian-American Stereotypes, Ads Lead the Way
Before May runs out, let’s spend a few moments thinking about the importance of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when the country recognizes the contributions and achievements of Americans of Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage.
May heralds two important moments in history for the United States and Americans of Asian-American ancestry. In May 1843, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in America, and in May 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed by a large number of Chinese immigrants.
President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1978 to proclaim Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week an annual observance. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush extended the week to a month-long celebration. Each year since then, every sitting president has issued a proclamation commemorating May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Back to Korea
More and more Korean students who have come to the United States to study are on their way back to Korea. They say even the Korean companies here are refusing to sponsor them in order to obtain a work visa, making it impossible for them to get employed and stay in America.
One 25-year old female Korean, identified only as K here, says she’s been spending stressful days since graduating from Cal-State Northridge this year, during an interview with The Korea Times. “I was told since I was a sophomore about how difficult it is to get a job here, so I even changed my major from straight traditional music to more practical management in music, but it hasn’t helped,” she said. “At every job interview, they tell me they find it difficult to hire me because of my resident status, to a point now where I have to seriously consider going back to Korea.”
Many of her friends are facing a similar predicament. She says it seems like one out of ten has been successful in landing a job in the U.S. after finishing their studies here and added, “I even have a friend who got married here but still can’t find a job!”
Review: A one-man revolution rises up in ‘Sake Bomb’
Los Angeles Times
In “Sake Bomb,” twentysomething video blogger Sebastian (Eugene Kim) has a problem few film characters ever face: a sense of relentless, righteous rage for which there is no simple solution. For Sebastian, life as an Asian American male is one of perpetual defense against silent accusations of foreignness, meek quietness and — the one that really stings — small genitalia.
To disabuse the world (or at least his 10 subscribers) of such stereotypes, he bleats the concepts of Asian American Studies 101 over the Internet. In person, he’s even more unpleasant, indicting any Asian woman with a white partner as a self-loathing racist, a charge he doesn’t really believe.
Actress Jamie Chung Reveals What It’s Really Like to Train for a Half Marathon
A little over two months ago I was presented with the opportunity to run the San Francisco half marathon with Nike. It sounded like an almost impossible and utterly scary challenge, but after a solid week of consideration I decided to accept.
I’d never been one to set any fitness goals for myself— I was more of a running “dabbler,” if you will— but over the course of the two months leading up to the San Francisco half marathon, I really dedicated myself to a fitness schedule. That meant getting plenty of sleep, scheduling runs into my morning routine at least four days a week, adding extra protein to my diet to supplement all the calories I was burning, and running in the more supportive shoes Nike Lunar Glides.
As my training progressed I met other women running on the team, like the actress Jamie Chung! I jumped at the chance to interview her, and here are her tips for running, more about her routine, and stellar words of motivation.
Roy Choi serves up an appetizer with memoir ‘L.A. Son’
Los Angeles Times
Several years ago, a cookbook editor friend called asking my advice on whether she should publish Jacques Pépin’s autobiography. Pepin is one of my heroes in food, I told her, but I’d pass on the book — all chef biographies tend to follow the same story arc, there’s not a lot new to be said.
Wisely she ignored me, and though “The Apprentice” turned out just as I predicted plot-wise, it was one of the bestselling cookbooks of the year. I learned two lessons from that incident: I’m a lot better off as a second-guessing journalist, and when it comes to these autobiographies, plot is secondary to character.
What brings this to mind is Roy Choi’s new book, “L.A. Son: My Life. My City. My Food.” On the surface, there is not much to connect Pépin and Choi. Pépin is the consummate old-school professional. Choi is the tattooed bad boy popularizer of the Korean taco and the food-truck craze, thanks to his Kogi truck.
YouTube All-Stars: Why I Love Korea (Interview)
The YouTube Music Awards is going on right now and Seoulistic was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the event! Youtube flew out a few YouTubers to Seoul to film videos to promote the event. Some are in Seoul for the very first time, others have been living here for years. And we thought with these diverse backgrounds, it would be the perfect to ask people what they thought about Korea and what they loved about it! Hopefully, you’ll get to see why we’re running this site and making videos on our YouTube channel!
Roots of K-pop
Everything has its roots and humble beginnings of its own. K-pop is no exception.
While today’s genre is characterized by pretty young boy and girl bands with slick dance routines and computer-assisted catchy tunes, its primitive form nearly nine decades ago was nowhere near any sort of attention-grabbing fanciness.
Back then, the out-dated combinations of black and white traditional costume or “hanbok” was considered the sole “uniform” for singers, with which they solemnly crooned melancholy songs on creaking wooden stages under dim lighting.
They normally confronted another harsh reality after the show: social stigma. In a society affected by Confucianism for generations, entertainment was considered an inferior profession so that its practitioners were belittled with the derogatory nickname “tantara.”
Ken Jeong ready for SportsCenter
I’ve been in Europe this week, so I watched opening night NBA highlights in Dublin. We’ve been on a press tour for The Hangover Part III’s DVD/Blu-Ray’s release but it’s been the release of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin that has been occupying my mind.
I’m a hoops addict — which is exactly why this opportunity to host tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, on the first Friday of the 2013-14 NBA season, is so humbling.
I grew up in North Carolina, which was heaven for a hoops junkie, with Duke and Carolina right there. (Editor’s Note: Jeong attended Duke as an undergraduate and received his M.D. from UNC. He is a licensed physician.)
Footballer Lee Chun-soo Says Sorry for Bar Brawl
Incheon United star Lee Chun-soo apologized in front of the press on Thursday for his involvement in a recent bar brawl.
The 32-year-old former national team member was accused of assaulting a customer at a bar in the early morning of Oct. 14. He faced the press this week and read out a written apology.
The footballer said he wanted to apologize to his fans and the club for letting them down.
Mystery meat dish in Koreatown a tasty surprise
Los Angeles Times
When I was in Korea a few weeks ago, I fell in love with something called tteok galbi, hand-chopped beef short ribs mixed with vegetables, aromatics, sometimes even pork, then grilled over a hot charcoal fire. Tteok is the Korean word for rice cake, but the patties are so called because they look a little like rice cakes, not because they include rice among their ingredients. They are more or less the local equivalent of hamburgers, served bare on a plate accompanied by neither rice nor bun.
The best tteok galbi tends to be served with the bones inserted back into the patties as a sign of authenticity, and maybe to add a little flavor. In Gwangju, there is an entire street devoted to tteok galbi specialists. In Damyang, the home of the dish, a platter of the juicy, crunchy patties joins bamboo “sashimi” as the heart of the region’s famous country meals.
I did not find it beyond imagining that among the several hundred Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, there might be one or two serving some version of the dish.
Korean art on exhibit at world-renowned U.S. museums
Korean art has been regarded as a spinoff from those of China and Japan, which are believed to possess the core of Asian cultural and aesthetic values. It is rare to have the opportunity to appreciate the sheer essence of Korean art on the international scene.
However, as Korea’s national profile is on the rise partially thanks to the cultural influence of “hallyu,” or Korean wave, global interest in Korean cultural roots is also spiking. Ongoing exhibitions in the United States featuring ancient artwork from Korea offer an opportunity for non-Korean visitors to discover the unknown beauty of Korean ancient art which is discernible among Asian cultures.
Supported by the National Museum of Korea, two major exhibitions on Korean art are taking place in east and west coast cities of the United States. “In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty” and “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” allow for a large-scale and in-depth exploration of rare objects from two ancient Korean kingdoms ― Silla (B.C. 57-A.D. 935) and Joseon (1392-1910). It is notable to compare the two distinctive cultures based on different ruling ideologies ― Buddhism in Silla and Confucianism in Joseon.
Instagramming North Korea
Three North Korean boys gaze attentively into the camera lens, their portrait surrounded by selfies and shots of fancy food. Nearby, a female soldier smiles as she salutes, and a woman runs a snack shack in the North Korean countryside.
They are the subjects of the trailblazing Instagram account of an American teacher in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital and perhaps one of the least understood places on Earth.
Drew Kelly, 24, is one of the few foreigners posting photos of North Korea.
Known as the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea is renown for its government’s secrecy and strict control on the flow of information. The country’s authorities and its reclusive leader, Kim Jong Un, severely limit what state media report and the access that foreigners, and especially journalists, have to the country.
South Korea’s Fashion Doyenne
Wall Street Journal
In 1947, at the age of 19, aspiring South Korean fashion designer Noh Myung-ja decided to change her first name to Nora. Her inspiration: the protagonist of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play “A Doll’s House,” about a housewife who leaves her children and husband to discover herself.
Ms. Noh, who had recently ended a marriage of convenience that helped her avoid becoming a “comfort woman” to Japanese soldiers, soon left Seoul to study fashion in Los Angeles. So began a career spanning more than six decades, in which the designer’s name and brand, Nora Noh, became a driving force in South Korean fashion for more than three decades, from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
by JAMES S. KIM
Who’s been cutting onions? Many of us end up asking that question when we find ourselves dealing with unexpected tears. But what about when we come expecting onions and tears? The aptly-named media company “Onionflix” now exists exclusively for that purpose, under the tagline, “Everyone needs a good cry.”
Spearheaded by YouTube stars Mike Song and David Choi, Onionflix launched its official website yesterday, pledging $100,000 to give to filmmakers across the globe who create emotionally inspiring films. Filmmakers can showcase videos that encourage motivation, philanthropy and compassion through Onionflix with an explicit goal of making people cry. According to the company’s mission statement, this “good crying” can bring about a positive influence to both viewers and filmmakers.
The website won’t be merely a gathering of YouTube characters. Their “filmmaker-centric platform” looks to focus on amateur and professional filmmakers by giving them two options: Option A allows the filmmaker to partner with the company and receive 90 percent of the advertising revenues from the website, as well as the Onionflix YouTube channel. In Option B, Onionflix purchases the distribution rights for the videos outright, while giving proper credit to the filmmakers and participants. Continue Reading »
Filming has begun on a new reality TV show made by the same people who brought you the infamous “K-Town” reality show. But instead of following around the young, soju-swilling, drink-in-the-face throwing denizens of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, we will be privy to a sexier, cleavage-ier subculture: the import car scene of Southern California.
Described as a show that “explores the Asian American youth culture of Southern California and encompasses the underground worlds of import car modeling and go-go dancing,” viewers can expect to see the new show, dubbed “Roll Models” (get it?) sometime this summer via the LOUD channel on YouTube.
It looks like at least six buxom young ladies have been cast so far; the show’s producers said on their Facebook page that some “K-Town” cast members will be featured on the new show. Indeed, cast member Jowe Lee recently tweeted photos of himself with several models at Avec nightclub in Huntington Beach, Calif.
So is this finally a show the horny Asian American gearhead community can rally around? We shall see. Until then, check out the “Roll Models” cast members after the jump: Continue Reading »