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Korean Men's Style for Your Boyfriend#1. "Dapper Casual"

Koreabridge - Tue, 2014-08-19 11:25
Korean Men's Style for Your Boyfriend#1. "Dapper Casual"

Originally Posted on Trazy.com 

The Trazy Crew went on a daily journey with our friend Glenn to explore what’s trending now in Korea’s young men’s fashion style. We happen to visit Alvo, which is a select shop located in the small alley in Hongdae, the district of youth, music and vitality.

The shop master of Alvo was kind enough to show us different styles of ‘Dapper Casual’ that Korean men wear these days. Check the video below to see what kind of styles there are.

How would you dress your boyfriend? Which style is your favorite? :)

To make this experience even more fun, we came with a special event for those who watch Glenngogo x Trazy’s first K-fashion video.

In order to participate, simply click on the button below!

Also, we’re going to show you a series of more Korean Men’s Style for you Boyfriend. Please stay tuned! :)

XOXO, Trazy.


a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

4 Years in Korea – How Korea Has Changed 2010-2014

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-08-18 14:31
4 Years in Korea – How Korea Has Changed 2010-2014

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but July 13th marked 4 years in Korea for us! We’re a little bit late on celebrating this, but with our Youtube milestones and summer vacation, we didn’t want to overwhelm you guys with too much of the same thing (that thing being awesomeness hehe)!
Anyway, you may be wondering, “Did you plan on staying this long in Korea?” And the answer is, yes and no! We knew we would be here for more than one year. After the first year, I got an amazing job (the same one I have now), and since then we have found no reason good enough to leave! Now that Evan also has a job he loves, I can safely say that we will be sticking around for much longer than 4 years too.

I’ll save you all of the cliche “It went by so fast”, mostly because we said all that in the video. But what I didn’t say in the video is that every year in Korea has gotten better – more adventures, better Korean, better food, better teaching methods, and just all around a more richer and fulfilling life with each year that passes. We still have other passions and things we want to do and accomplish in other parts of the world, but I can very well see Korea as a home base for us in the future, no matter where life takes us.

Now to get to the interesting bits! Change happens fast in a country this size with this many people. Trends in food and fashion change seasonally, and with new fair trade agreements having been signed, we’ve witnessed an influx of western products into Korea over the past 4 years. In the video we highlight some of these things, but we already know we’ve left out a ton! If you can think of something we’ve missed please leave it in a comment below!

Western chains more widespread

Subway – I remember being excited when we lived in Seoul our first year when we saw the Subway in Itaewon, but now there are too many to count in Seoul and we even have two in Yangsan! It’s weird that there are none in Busan, but I think they will be opening soon. Yay for easy access to sandwiches!

Mexican food – It’s been getting more popular with Koreans every year we’ve been here. There have been a lot of attempts of Korean-Mexican fusion food that has recently become popular in California, but I have to say that most of those have been a fail. If it’s not a fail, it’s so inordinately expensive that it makes it taste worse than it is, if that makes sense. But if you’re desperate, you can actually find Mexican food! Definitely couldn’t in 2010.

There are so many more western chains now that we actually made a video about all the western chains we’ve noticed in Korea! You can check that out here and check the comments for all of the ones we forgot.

Personal Hygiene Products

TAMPONS! They have them now. In 2010 I either saw none on the shelves or 1 box(the cardboard kind) for waaaay more than I wanted to pay for them. Now there is much more of a variety and they’re not AS expensive. But pads are still preferred by Korean women so just be aware ladies!

CONDOMS! They have them now. I never saw condoms prominently displayed in convenience stores or grocery stores until this past year! Isn’t that crazy? Korea also just aired its first commercial for condoms this past year, and since then, I’ve several different brands next to every check out counter. A noticeable change for sure.


The bottom line is that Korean beer is not good. It’s worse than Bud Light in my opinion. But thank god the whole craft beer scene has caught on in Korea in recent years! Craftworks in Seoul has expanded but is now not the only place serving up tasty brews. We have a popular brewery in Busan called Galmegi and we just got a craft beer and pizza place in YANGSAN. We really hit the suburb city jackpot here.

As far as imported bottles go, they are much more abundant and cheaper than they were in 2010. Self-serve beer bars have been really popular the past couple years. These bars have large coolers full of imports that you just get yourself and then pay later by the bottle. They’re still more expensive than we would pay back home, but not by that much.

Fresh Produce & Cheese

Everyone complains about how expensive fresh produce is in Korea. I always think the complaints are hyperbolic, but expats were right about the price of some fruit in 2010. Our first year a watermelon would easily cost you 20 bucks, and blueberries were incomprehensibly expensive! These days a watermelon will cost you 5-10 dollars, which is pretty much the same that I paid in the US.
Blueberries are also much more reasonably priced, although I haven’t splurged and bought them yet. I’d say they’re still about double the price than they are back home.
Avocados and limes are something that I see now in stores that I would have fainted at the sight of in 2010. Avocados will run you about 3 bucks a pop, but for some avocado lovers that’s well worth it!
Cheese, cheese, cheese. Good cheese is now available in stores, but it’s still too expensive for me to buy on a regular basis. I would still suggest buying a block of cheese at Costco for 20 bucks, than 5 slices for 5 bucks. Still though, for cheese emergencies, it’s there for you.

Organized Tours for Foreigners

This is something I’ve noticed just in the last year. It seems like there are countless organized trips for foreigners run by English speaking Koreans usually. (Gyopos or otherwise) I may just have not noticed them in previous years, but I only remember Adventure Korea being the main company that ran organized tours around the country. If you’re planning on coming to Korea in the future, you won’t have any trouble finding weekend trips already organized for you! The only one I’ve had experience with that I can recommend to you is Adventure Korea linked above and WINK-When in Korea.

Teaching Jobs

The ESL market is always changing in Korea, and expats have a wide range of opinions on the matter. In my opinion, not much has changed except for the major cuts made to middle and high school teaching jobs in Seoul and Busan. Being an elementary teacher, this hasn’t effected me, but I know many that have to make the switch from middle or high school to elementary in the past year or two.

As for our public school contracts, they recently capped the pay at 2.7 million won(previously you could make more than that), and they took away 1 week of vacation from our re-signing bonus. So now, instead of 2 extra weeks of vacation, we only have one. But considering it’s amazing we get ANY extra vacation just for staying with the same school, I didn’t think that was a big deal.


Myeongdong is the famous shopping district in Seoul, and in 2010 it was the only place you could find Western clothing chain stores like H&M. This has changed a lot since then, with there being multiple H&M’s just in Myeongdong alone, as well as other neighborhoods and in Busan. You can also find Forever 21 and Uniqlo, a Japanese chain that I like to call the Asian Gap.
Also, as obesity is becoming more of a problem in Korea, I have noticed bigger sizes (that fit me) in Korean clothing sections in stores like Emart. Score!

Again let us know if you’ve noticed other changes, or if you have any questions!
It’s been an incredible four years, here’s to four more?!?!

The post 4 Years in Korea – How Korea Has Changed 2010-2014 appeared first on Evan and Rachel.

Blog:  Evanandrachel.com
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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

And the winner is … Learning2fly high with iTDi

Englishbridges - Mon, 2014-08-18 13:19

Sunday Aug 17, we had a session lined up for Learning2gether. Marijana was going to meet with us to talk about the Comenius project she has been working on recently, and we were all set to go, the Hangout was started and counting down, announcements were made … and then … everything last-minute recanted, Google+ event announcement was reset for 20 days later, all because iTDi had scheduled Shelly Terrell and Sylia Guinan for a closing ceremony right at the time Marijana was supposed to meet with us, and as we have both been participating in iTDi for the past month, she every day and as one of its presenters, me less assiduously but still, almost daily, well iTDi was just the more compelling event, and as such, the most appropriate one for Learning2gether this Sunday.

It was hard to resist the hard-working and fun-loving team of Jase Levin and Chuck Sandy, who kept the ball not only rolling but juggling in the air every day for almost a month, with practical and inspirational talks put on by a panoply of young and energetic teachers, many of whom seemed even younger due to that enthusiasm. Jase set the tone with a rap-a-day, and we getting pretty good at it there at the end. What’s the time? It’s time to rhyme! Chuck lent a sentient dimension with poetry, and Shelly contributed her unbridled enthusiasm in a call for teachers to continue sharing.

I like the way the WizIQ app makes it easy to know what’s coming up, and convenient to join and participate on your iPad

During the event, I discovered that WizIQ was a great match for iPad. On PC I was having to dig out event announcements in order to find the link I needed to click to connect to the sessions, but with the app, you stay logged in, and a swipe at the top updates it for you so you can see at a glance when the next session is, and they all appear ready for launch in the iPad app. And of course iPads are easier to carry around a house than are computers, making it possible to enjoy iTDi almost anywhere; e.g. in the kitchen preparing dinner, or consuming it, as can be seen here

Aug 17 1400 GMT iTDi Summer School MOOC closing keynote by Shelly Terrell & Sylvia Guinan

Closing Keynote: League of Edu Heroes by Shelly Terrell & Sylia Guinan

The only thing I would improve with iTDi is that in order to attend the live events or see the recordings you must first enroll in the MOOC. It would be easier to share with others if there were an open entry, though I can understand that the presenters of this event would want to know who their participants were (still, the MOOC was not technically ‘open’ though it was freely accessible to registered participants). Due to this constraint I’m not sure if the recordings are freely available without pre-registration, but if I find that they are, I will announce that happy fact right here!

iTDi events were taking place all this past month. Here are a few from last week

(this is not a comprehensive list)

Mon Aug 11 1400 GMT Aysegul Liman Kaban on iTDi – Topsy Turvy Teaching Experiences


Tue Aug 12 on iTDi – Social networks in ELT: The Taming of the Shrew by Anna Loseva

Wed Aug 13 on iTDi – Teach Grammar Inductively Deductively & Creatively by Irina Ostapchuk

Wed Aug 13 on iTDi – Self Publishing Your Materials by Dorothy Zemach

Thu Aug 14 on iTDi – I’m going  to italy and  other mistakes  by James  Taylor

Professional Development for Now & The Future by VIcky Loras

Fri Aug 15 Disguising learning via games by Ragu Raganathan

Fri Aug 15 Helping YLs with Language Learning Difficulties by Karen Frazier Tsai

Aug 16 1230 GMT iTDi Pecha Kucha Session by Seven Fabulous Presenters

Reflections on the Pecha Kuch

Aug 16 14:30 GMT iTDi Exploring easy web tools by Nina Septina

Sun Aug 17 1400 GMT Hangout with Marijana Smolčec postponed to Sept 7

Marijana will be participating in the  iTDi event scheduled at this time

Explanation: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/evonline2002_webheads/conversations/messages/31299 

Earlier this week 

Sun Aug 10 – John Hibbs and Jeff Lebow: Connecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices


Mon Aug 11 2000 GMT Leona White – Yikes, I Have Two Days or Less to Set Up My Classroom!

Presented by Leona White, second grade teacher at Samuel Tucker Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia.

Info, and register free: http://www.instantpresenter.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=ED52DA808047  

AltEd Virtual Film Festival Interviews with directors 

Alternative Education Virtual Film Festival: http://www.virtualfilmfestival.com/alternative-education.html

  • Alt Ed Film Fest. It’s a big week for the Alt Ed Film Fest director interviews. Be sure to check out the schedule below to make sure you’re able to join us for some great interviews with the directors of Free to LearnGrown Without Schooling, andSchooling the World.

If you missed any of last week’s interviews, be sure to check them out at https://www.youtube.com/user/vfilmfest/

Tue Aug 12  Bhawin Suchak of Free to Learn 
Wed Aug 13 – Peter Kowalke of Grown Without Schooling

 Thu Aug 14 – Carol Black of Schooling the World

Thu Aug 14 0900 GMT on EdWeb.net – Lee Ann Tysseling: Gaming for Literacy! CCSS and Text Complexity in Video Games

Gaming for Literacy! CCSS and Text Complexity in Video Games Registration: http://www.instantpresenter.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=ED52DC80804E 

Thursday, August 14, 2014 
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (Coordinated Universal Time-11) Show in My Timezone Presented by Lee Ann Tysseling, Associate Professor of Literacy at Boise State University and author of Word Travelers: Using Digital Tools to Explore Vocabulary and Develop Independent LearnersYour students’ work is being affected by their out-of-school video gaming!  The average gamer plays 13 hours a week. (McGonigal, 2011).   
Don’t you wish your students were spending that much time reading and writing outside of your classroom?  Well—in many cases they are!  MMOPRGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games) such as World of WarCraft, Minecraft and Guild Wars 2 are a powerful force in many students’ lives.  The good news for educators is that there are huge literacy demands of the players involved with these and other games.   
In our community’s next webinar, Boise State University’s Lee Ann Tysseling will unfold the literacy demands (text complexity in both reading and writing) of game play and explore strategies to help students learn to apply the advanced literacy skills and strategies they have acquired while playing games to their academic literacy tasks.  If you work with educators who blame video games for almost all the problems of youth, this webinar will provide some concrete responses to their criticisms.   
In addition to vocabulary and comprehension development ideas, Lee Ann will also share ideas for how to transfer valuable gaming soft skills such as persistence, resilience, research strategies, and group work to students’ academic tasks.  If we hope to achieve the goals of CCSS we will need to use every available resource.  Helping students leverage the skills and strategies they have honed in countless hours of gaming is a powerful strategy toward achieving CCSS mastery. Join Lee Ann on August 14 to learn more about gaming for literacy! Sponsored by Filament Games Co-hosted by edWeb.netISTE VEN, and SIIA Join the Game-Based Learning community to access the webinar recording and resources.

Fri Aug 15 Shelly Terrell American TESOL webinar on Transforming physical learning spaces

The following screen with its many links live can be found at http://bit.ly/eltlinks which redirects to




Fri Aug 15 event announced in Learning Revolution calendar

  • Friday, August 15th at 10am Google EdTechTeam Summit: Five Skills to Help You Discover, Use, and Share Great Digital Tools for Learning, As technology is integrated into classrooms, teachers need to know how to discover and use quality tools for learning, while meeting Common Core standards. Learn about five important skills for teachers, including how to: discover high quality apps, websites, and games for students; evaluate the learning potential of these tools; curate tools into useful collections; innovate by reimagining lessons to seamlessly weave in technology using a framework called App Flows; and collaborate by sharing best practices with other teachers on how you’re using digital tools in your classroom. Learn how you can achieve these five skill with Graphite, a free service by Common Sense Media. In a hands-on session, you’ll practice these important skills and reflect on how they can help you integrate technology into your curriculum.
  • For a full calendar of all upcoming events and conferences, click here

Sat Aug 16 – event announced in Learning Revolution calendar

  • Saturday, August 16th at 11:30am Making a Better World: Teaching Digital Citizenship and 21st Century Skills, Students grow up in a digital world with potential for communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creation. How can we help students participate safely, responsibly, and ethically in digital spaces? Learn about the eight 21st century learning skills students need to learn about digital citizenship. You’ll learn about free, research-based curriculum to help teach students safe, responsible, and respectful participants in a digital world, while fostering 21st-century skills and meeting ISTE and Common Core Standards. The curriculum is available online as downloadable lessons, and as iBooks textbooks, with interactive activities, videos, and assessments. You’ll also learn about Digital Passport, a game-based interactive for students in grades 3-5 that teaches the “rules of the road” for digital citizenship, and how to engage families with the Connecting Families program. You’ll do hands–on work by getting familiar with the curriculum, sampling lessons, and much more.
  • For a full calendar of all upcoming events and conferences, click here

Sat Aug 16 – event announced in Learning Revolution calendar

  • Saturday, August 16th at 12pm CR20 LIVE Weekly Show: Paul Bogush on “Assessments That Don’t Suck”, Is there a single kid in your class who looks forward to taking a test? Is regurgitating answers on a test that were learned by studying the night before causing your kids to have massive fits of boredom? Assessments can be fun, challenging, and memorable. Join us as we talk to Paul Bogush who will share 9 assessments that don’t suck during a fun, challenging, and memorable Classroom 2.0 discussion. Details to join the webinar:http://live.classroom20.com
  • For a full calendar of all upcoming events and conferences, click here

Sat Aug 16 on Classroom 2.0 LIVE – Paul Bogush on Assessments That Don’t Suck

Date: Sat., August 16, 2014
Time: 9:00am PT/10:00am MT/11:00am CT/12:00pm ET
Location: http://tinyurl.com/cr20live (http://tinyurl.com/cr20live)

Peggy George, Lorie Moffat and Tammy Moore will be hosting another Classroom 2.0 LIVE show. As an extension to the Classroom 2.0 Ning community, Classroom 2.0 “LIVE” shows are opportunities to gather with other educators in real-time events, complete with audio, chat, desktop sharing and closed captioning. A Google calendar of upcoming shows is available at http://live.classroom20.com/calendar.html

Join us on Saturday, August 16th, when our special guest will be Paul Bogush. Paul is an 8th grade teacher at Moran Middle School in Wallingford, CT. Is there a single kid in your class who looks forward to taking a test? Is regurgitating answers on a test that were learned by studying the night before causing your kids to have massive fits of boredom? Assessments can be fun, challenging, and memorable. Join us as we talk to Paul Bogush who will share 9 assessments that don’t suck during a fun, challenging, and memorable Classroom 2.0 discussion. Paul is a creative, high-energy teacher who is respected and adored by his students as someone who is “not boring and makes learning fun!” He blogs with his students, holds video conferences with students and business leaders, uses Google apps, wikis and Twitter, holds live broadcasts of class activities and uses Genius Hour/20% time. He received grants to acquire technology to record the oral history of the town’s senior citizens, a grant to create a podcast studio, and a second grant to expand the podcast studio. Follow him on Twitter or sign up to receive updates from his terrific blog: Blogush

More information and session details are at http://live.classroom20.com. If you’re new to the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! show you might want to spend a few minutes viewing the screencast on the homepage to learn how we use Blackboard Collaborate, and navigate the site. Each show begins at 12pm Eastern (GMT-5) and may be accessed in Blackboard Collaborate directly using the following Classroom 2.0 LIVE! link at http://tinyurl.com/cr20live. All webinars are closed captioned.

On the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! site (http://live.classroom20.com) you’ll find the recordings and Livebinder from our recent”Featured Teacher” session with our special guest Kyle Pearce. Click on the Archives and Resources tab. When tweeting about Classroom 2.0 LIVE, be sure to use #liveclass20. Special thanks to our sponsors Weebly, The Learning Revolution and Blackboard Collaborate!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE Team: Peggy George, Lorie Moffat, Tammy Moore, Steve Hargadon

Visit Classroom 2.0 at: http://www.classroom20.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Looking For Seomyeon John

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:04
Looking For Seomyeon John

Back in 2003, when there were only two subway lines and every Busan traveler had to make their way through Seomyeon, there was a man named Seomyeon John. He lived in the station, and devoted his life to 'helping foreigners.' He was well known at the time, and got a cover story in the foreigner magazine that came before Haps. But I haven't seen him in a decade, and can't find anyone who remembers him.

In a hope to round up someone who knows something, or just hear another Seomyeon John story, I'm sharing the complete 68 page graphic novel I made about him. If you know anyone who was here in the early aughts, please show this to them! I'd love to know what happened to my friend.

Thank you for reading. If you know anything about John, e-mail me at ryan@ryanestrada.com

If you don't, and you just want more free comics, go to www.ryanestrada.com

If you want to help me keep making comics, visit my Patreon!


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Confucianism Doesn't Explain Everything, but it can Explain Quite a lot

Koreabridge - Fri, 2014-08-15 00:16
Confucianism Doesn't Explain Everything, but it can Explain Quite a lo

Since the Sewol disaster and some rather simplistic reporting of Confucianism being in the reason for so many student deaths, using the C-word has become a bit of a no-no in writing about South Korea.  If you do dare to use it, you risk immediately discrediting everything you write.  "Did he say Confucianism?"  "He must know nothing about Korea, what a fool."

As I wrote at the time, the explanation that it was Confucian values that made those students follow orders and stay below was far too basic.  For a start, many didn't listen and escaped, and in a situation you are not sure about - and rarely are most people experts on ferry safety - you perhaps should defer to those in charge with the supposed experience and expertise.  Not only that, it was insulting, laying the blame on the students for their own deaths, when it was clear they were let down by a grossly negligent ferry company and an incompetent crew.

Turning to Confucianism to explain things was a mistake in this case (for the students, I could see a more complex argument for the company and the crew, but I would more broadly say that Korean, 'respect culture', rather than traditional Confucianism could've been a factor) but let's be honest, Confucianism is a driver of many of the behaviours we see around us on a day to day basis in Korea.  In many cases, common practices have become a slightly altered form of Confucian tradition, but modern culture in Korea still has a Confucian base.  It seems stupid to have to say this, as it is so obvious, but I do think some people might need to be told this brute fact.

Some popular news articles and some in the Korean blogosphere have managed to make using the C-word as an explanation a bit of a taboo.  Actually, I think I agree with the two articles I have linked to and many others on the subject, and I also agree that many people used Confucianism too freely, but it is amazing how things swing to the ends of two extremes and the reactions to such articles have not caused balance.  It has gone from being the one-stop solution to every query about things that happen in Korea, to being ridiculed whenever it is used, even if it is extremely relevant.

I have noticed the ridiculing of those that mention Confucianism a lot in the past few months, but it came to my attention this week when an old post I wrote for Asiapundits on the treatment of women in Korea was shared again by one of the editors and received some attention and comments.  In that article, I used Confucianism to partly explain the culture of patriarchy that still exists in Korea.  If you read that post, you will see it only formed a small part of what I wrote, but sure enough, it was picked up upon and received the usual treatment:

1. "It might further behoove you to read about why these cultural traditions exist rather than throwing it under the gauge blanket of confusion ism." (her spelling, not mine by the way)2. "But Confucianism is such a handy word. Every time I can’t understand Korea, I just use it and pretend I do."
These kind of comments have increasingly become the norm.  But in respect to the treatment of women in Korea, surely it is impossible to say that Confucianism is not involved, it is a huge part of the system of hierarchy we see today, both with young and old and men and women.  In a rather long article, I actually only wrote a few lines about it and I'm not really sure how you can argue against it:

"To do away with nearly two thousand years of Confucian tradition (and about 700 hundred of strong cultural influence through the Joseon Dynasty) is what the women of Korea are up against, so perhaps it is no surprise they are still struggling to make an impact on society for better treatment.  In Confucian thought a virtuous woman is meant to uphold the ‘Three subordinations’: be subordinate to her father before marriage, to her husband after marriage, and her son after her husband dies.  Men can remarry and have mistresses, but women must always remain faithful even after their husbands’ death.  With this is mind it is easy to see why men are still thought of in higher regard."
Most cultures all around the world are still in some state of patriarchy.  I would argue that Western culture is almost completely rid of it now (although I'm sure many would disagree, but that's an argument for another time).  But I don't think it is a stretch to say each of these cultures has had to, or is still battling out of, the old traditions that were enforced by a religion or cultural philosophy.  Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, etc.  Which hasn't tried to subjugate and control women?  They all have their particular ways about doing it, however, and some are worse and harder to escape and fight your way out of than others. Islam is undoubtedly the most oppressive of the bunch in this regard and has easy to identify consequences of its patriarchal philosophy.  The results of Confucian tradition in Korea are not so brutal on women, but they still have a significant affect and the form of patriarchy present in Korea has the obvious stamp of Confucianism about it and the culture as a whole persists in holding women back because of it.  Not solely because of it, mind, but to deny it is a factor is strange to say the least.  My suspicion is that it's down to political correctness.

Political correctness is not always a bad thing, it is good we aren't all going around saying bad words to people and jumping to overly-simple conclusions, and it has raised consciousness about certain issues.  But it regularly goes too far and prevents honest dialogue and that is something I have had to really fight with on this blog.

Reflecting on my time blogging, with just one week left in Korea, I have to say that I have been quite amazed by the aggressive, vitriolic, and ridiculing nature of the responses I have got to my blogs over the last two years or so.  Some people write entire repetitive essays of hate against me on my comments section or on their own sites. In the beginning, it was upsetting, I won't lie, especially as I thought I wasn't really being that controversial or anywhere near hateful.  Nowadays though, it is just time-consuming to deal with.  A new life dawns in Australia and I just don't have the time or inclination to deal with those who say white is black and always misconstrue what I write to be some of the most vile evil know to man, indicative of some of the worst elements in modern society and harking back to the days of Hitler (really, no exaggeration, it's what some people think).  The fact I am a White man also seems to be a real problem for many people (even some White men).  How dare a White man give his perspective on Korea.  What a danger to world my meager little blog must be.

It seems that even with a lightly-read, tiny blog on South Korea, you can't escape the abuse, just by having different opinions to the progressive crowd.  From day one, I have had to fight the assumption that you just can't make and share your own judgements about other cultures and you can't compare other cultures (if what you are saying is in any way negative in nature). Although I should say you can, but Western culture - and in particular American culture - must always come out on the losing side, then it's fine.

Confucianism might be becoming another word us White guys can't use anymore in writing or talking about South Korea, it feels like it is now off the table for discussion.  Keep this in mind the next time you ask a Korean person about why they behave in such different ways to us Westerners, because in my experience Confucianism is as much a 'go to' in their explanations of their own behaviour as it is for us. Why?  Because it really is relevant in explaining Korea, there's no escaping it and people other than Koreans themselves can use it (including White guys), it's just not always relevant in every situation.  So somewhere between 'always relevant' and 'never relevant', I think there might be some middle-ground we can occupy.  How about treating every claim of Confucian involvement in different circumstances on its own merit and arguing the particulars of each case?  Now there's an idea.


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Relax, Korea is not ‘finlandizing’ for China

Koreabridge - Tue, 2014-08-12 12:13
Relax, Korea is not ‘finlandizing’ for China

This is the first of two part series (one, two) I wrote for the Lowy Institute last month. I have the feeling that the centenary of WWI this summer has gone to everyone’s head, because I’m reading lots of posts all over the place about WWI and the parallels to the Asia-Pacific. And while there are some, a lot of this is hype. Northeast Asia is actually pretty stable – until Japan decides it has finally had enough of Chinese salami-slicing in the region I suppose. But increasingly, I think there are a lot of hawks out there, especially in the DC think-tanks and the PLA, who really dislike the status quo and hence over-hype small changes like Xi’s trip to South Korea or yet another North Korean provocation. But there’s no need to add to a march to war with threat inflation, which is what I am trying to counter-act here.

The essay follows the jump.


“This summer has provoked a lot of clamoring about shifting security in Northeast Asia. The general vibe is that Japan’s Article 9 ‘re-interpretation’ reflects a looming Sino-Japanese conflict, and that Xi Jinping’s trip to South Korea is pulling South Korea away from traditional commitments and is part of China’s larger effort to woo Asians away from the Americans. No less than a former Japanese minister of defense has made this latter argument.

While it is indeed the case that Sino-Japanese tension is growing, much of this discussion misses basic sources of stability in northeast Asia, or glosses over national particularities that muddy an easy interpretation of northeast Asia as spiraling tension. My post today will turn on the notion that Korea is ‘drifting;’ my post tomorrow will focus on the idea that Japan is remilitarizing. Neither of these are really true. My own suspicion is that various moves in the region get quickly over-interpreted, because there are a lot of hawks on all sides of northeast Asian security debate who dislike the rather dull, stable status quo.

On Korea:

1. Deterrence in Korea is actually a lot more stable than most people seem to think.

Dave Kang has made this point repeatedly in his work, but this argument is often lost in the media and the punditry. In 2013 spring faux war crisis, I noted that the media took the North Korean war-talk much more serious than the analyst community, with lots of predictions of conflict and over-heated CNN ‘analyses’ of what such a war would look like. I made the same point in 2010, after the sinking of the destroyer Cheonan by the North and its shelling Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea. The media ran wild with stories of Korea ‘on the brink of all-out war,’ but no one I know in the analyst community actually believes that. North Korea does not want to fight. They will get crushed, and the Kim family will be lynched or got to jail.

At the risk of sounding cynical, there is a great of media hype that can be ginned up out of North Korea, and alarmism is always an easy approach. Describing the North Korean Kim monarchy as insane alcoholic sex fiends, providing frightening statistics about the number of cannon and rockets pointed at Seoul, listing the North Korean nuclear tests, and so on make for great copy. But the big story in the inter-Korean stand-off is that it has not turned into a shooting war after all these years. When is the last time you saw that story covered in the media?

2. South Korea-Japan tension is bad, but they are not going to fight either.

Another hardy chestnut of the ‘northeast Asia is sliding toward war’ narrative is that Japan and South Korea can’t stand each, so conflict in the region is unpredictable. It is indeed true that South Korea and Japan barely talk at the diplomatic level. They do not work together; they don’t really care to (unless the US simultaneously arm twists); and the arguments over history and territory are indeed deep. (See the nice new CSIS report on this whole tangle and how to overcome it; my own recent thoughts on this issue at the Interpreter are here.)

But the formal disagreements cover-up a fair amount nonpolitical interchange between the two. As a professor in Korea, I see this all the time. My university, in Busan, regularly runs major exchange programs with Japanese universities in a way that it does not with schools with other countries, and this is common in the Korean university system. There are constant seminars and academic conferences on the difficulties of the countries’ relationship. There are regular efforts to work on history textbooks jointly. I constantly meet students around Korea who study Japanese, went to school there and so on. Both counties enjoy the other’s cultural products too. Manga, film, video games, K-pop and J-pop flow back and forth. There is also a great deal of tourism between the two.

Little of this is covered in the stories about the high-level tension. But there is a pretty sharp cleavage between the formal bureaucratic posturing, and the reality of dense civil society interchange. The mutual US relationship also restrains. It is all but impossible to imagine their use of force against each other while both are allied to the US.

3. South Korea is not leaving the US alliance to cozy up to China.

This is most preposterous of all the recent talk. The claim, well outlined in the link from the first paragraph, goes that Korea is torn between the US and China. It is dependent on China economically, while dependent on the US for security. The Korean government is divided into sinophile and pro-US factions. Xi’s successful recent trip illustrates the Sinic temptation of Korea. Korea will in time finlandize and equivocate on liberalism and market economics.

Once again, there is a grain of truth here, but a lot of exaggeration and little evidence. It is indeed correct that Korea is torn between China and the US. But many states in Asia are. The big internal foreign policy debate for lots of medium powers in the Asia in the coming decades is precisely the same: how to benefit economically from China’s explosive growth without getting pulled into its orbit politically? Not just South Korea, but North Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia all face the same dilemma.

I am not sure what the answer is. It is a hard dilemma, and all these states are going to have to muddle through. Their defense establishments will fret about looming Chinese hegemony, while their business lobbies will salivate over a billion middle-class Chinese consumers. There will be sharp intra-bureaucratic debates in all these states as they balance these competing pressures.

Ideally they would work together to present a more united front to China, but the failure of anything like an Asian NATO, plus the failure of ASEAN to evolve up from a club of government elites, suggest that each Asian middle power is going to tackle this more or less alone. That Korea is already at this point – because China has rapidly become its largest export market – does not make it unique. Indeed the intense focus on Korea ‘findlandizing’ and abandoning the US alliance, penned by a conservative Japanese politician, suggests fairly typical Korean-Japanese sniping in order to win American favor against the other.

The other obvious reason Korea talks with China so much is that China has leverage over Pyongyang. President Park may indeed be the ‘sinophile’ the Japanese are trying to paint her as, but there is an obvious reason: the road to Pyongyang leads through Beijing. Park has to flatter Xi a little if she is going to get any kind of movement on the North Korea nuclear issue, human rights, or unification. For these reason, we should all be pleased for an improving South Korea-China relationship.


Northeast Asia is reasonably stable. Most of its players would rather get rich than fight. Most of its elites know that a war could easily spin out of control. Even the North Koreans know this. And the Park-Xi relationship ameliorates the one part of the status quo everyone does want change – North Korean governance. Despite decades of predictions that war was likely in East Asia, it has happened. There’s more reason for confidence than the media’s routine alarmism would have you think.

Next week: Japan’s Article 9 changes do not signal incipient militarism.”

Filed under: Asia, China, Korea (South)

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether with John Hibbs and Jeff Lebow - Connecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

Worldbridges Megafeed - Mon, 2014-08-11 12:32
Learning2gether in Hangout withJohn Hibbs and Jeff LebowConnecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

Learning2gether Hangout 14:00 GMT, Sunday August 10, 2014

For further information on all our upcoming events please visit


(redirects to http://learning2gether.pbworks.com/w/page/32206114/volunteersneeded#Nextupcomingevents)


How this works at showtime

  • You can listen to the stream here, and chat with us in the Chatwing space below the video embed
  • You can listen to the stream at its YouTube URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXIPPbgRTpM
  • If there is space (up to 10 people) you are welcome to join us in the Hangout on Air
    • It will be a public hangout in the profile of VanceStev on Google+
    • It has an event page: https://plus.google.com/events/cu0fshjcklacqafphdh9dra8gso
    • You can join us via the direct link posted here just prior to show time
      (remind me to post it if you don't see the link here when we do the next one)
    • If the Hangout is full, listen to the stream and interact with us in the text chat
      • You can let us know if you want to join the Hangout
      • We will let you know when space comes available
      • When you enter the Hangout
        • Wear a headset to avoid broadcasting speaker sound back into the Hangout
        • Switch OFF the stream as it is on a delay and will create an echo for you

At around 1400 GMT on Sunday August 10 the play button will start streaming the event live
At the moment the play button plays the recording of that event

During the live event, you can chat with us in the chat space below

 Connect with this Chatwing from any browser at http://chatwing.com/vancestev


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Learning2gether with John Hibbs and Jeff Lebow - Connecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

Webheadsinaction.org - Mon, 2014-08-11 12:32
Learning2gether in Hangout withJohn Hibbs and Jeff LebowConnecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

Learning2gether Hangout 14:00 GMT, Sunday August 10, 2014

For further information on all our upcoming events please visit


(redirects to http://learning2gether.pbworks.com/w/page/32206114/volunteersneeded#Nextupcomingevents)


How this works at showtime

  • You can listen to the stream here, and chat with us in the Chatwing space below the video embed
  • You can listen to the stream at its YouTube URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXIPPbgRTpM
  • If there is space (up to 10 people) you are welcome to join us in the Hangout on Air
    • It will be a public hangout in the profile of VanceStev on Google+
    • It has an event page: https://plus.google.com/events/cu0fshjcklacqafphdh9dra8gso
    • You can join us via the direct link posted here just prior to show time
      (remind me to post it if you don't see the link here when we do the next one)
    • If the Hangout is full, listen to the stream and interact with us in the text chat
      • You can let us know if you want to join the Hangout
      • We will let you know when space comes available
      • When you enter the Hangout
        • Wear a headset to avoid broadcasting speaker sound back into the Hangout
        • Switch OFF the stream as it is on a delay and will create an echo for you

At around 1400 GMT on Sunday August 10 the play button will start streaming the event live
At the moment the play button plays the recording of that event

During the live event, you can chat with us in the chat space below

 Connect with this Chatwing from any browser at http://chatwing.com/vancestev


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether with John Hibbs and Jeff Lebow – Connecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

Englishbridges - Sun, 2014-08-10 13:09

Download mp3: https://learning2getherdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/learning2gether-with-john-hibbs-and-jeff-lebow-pots-smart-phones-and-mobile-devices-pxippbgrtpm.mp3

Sun Aug 10 John Hibbs and Jeff Lebow – connecting participants via POTS, smart phones, and mobile devices

We billed this event as follows:
Three long-time friends get together to swap war stories, lending the perspectives of each’s unique accomplishments, and from the dust arising from the impact each has made, try to create a discernible cloud image foretelling the future of the convergence of telephony and CMC.

John Hibbs and Global Learn Day were early inspiration for Webheads and its three online convergences in 2005, 2007, and 2009, which led us to Learning2gether in 2010. John blogs at http://oregonhibbs.com/. Jeff Lebow has inspired thousands through his Worldbridges network, notably EdTech Talk whose most recent venture is I Have a Question; e.g. http://edtechtalk.com/ihaq15-ethics-innovation. Jeff was an early innovator with Google Hangout in education and we are counting on him to patch John into Hangout through telephony, as we explore the benefits of converging traditional and new communications to develop a vision of a more accessible and far-reaching connectivity than most of us imagine. We welcome YOUR contribution to this important discussion

Where? Google+ Hangout

Who was present?

This was a conversation between Vance Stevens, John Hibbs, and Jeff Lebow in Google+ Hangout to talk about how in this day and age online events can be staged to include people who might not be more comfortable joining by phone. Robert Wachman  and Rita Zeinstejer also joined us in Hangout and Maria Colussa and Peggy George were in the Chatwing text chat and listening to the video being streamed on YouTube.

What actually happened?

As it turned out, John’s situation computer wasn’t up to Hanging Out, but Jeff had anticipated that John might want to patch in by phone and so he had activated a feature whereby you can bring phones into Google events. At the last minute we found that this worked only for video calls via Hangout but not for HoA (Hangouts on Air). So 15 min before show time Jeff was marvelous to behold on the yet-to-be broadcast Hangout as he started thinking and muttering through what he would need to do to have us all join him in Skype, and how he would patch that in through the HoA.

We had just set it up as the recording begins, all of us on Skype and our voices streaming through the HoA but with a problem whereby John could not hear anyone who was in the HoA but not in the Skype call. We got Robert into Skype and both he and I had debilitating echos which turned out in hindsight to be caused by hearing ourselves in both HoA and Skype on the same computer, but with a lag. The solution for us both was to drain the sound away from HoA (I did it by plugging a spare set of earbuds into the HoA computer and throwing that sound overboard and then having Jeff call me back on another computer where I could plug in another set of earphones and hear just the Skype there). Robert managed to solve his problem and once the initial difficulties had been resolved we settled into a conversation wherein we made the point that we had just done what we had set out to do, and that was, to patch a phone call into a free online tool that anyone (in theory, or if his initials are JL) would have available through a browser using only a little ingenuity, Google+ and Skype.

Fortunately the echo doesn’t come out on the recording, the participants do not appear as confounded as they were at the start of the event, the conversation was doable for all participating, and those in the stream seemed to think it went well, despite the fact that it was not even meant to be a polished performance. Our events can by nature and proclivity be experimental. This was the spirit of Global Learn Day from 1994 to 2003, for Webheads since 1998, and for Worldbridges since 2005. We like seeing what works and Learning2gether through trial, error, fleeting failure, and eventual success.

How our hangouts work at showtime


  • Ninghttp://taedtech.ning.com/events/learning2gether-with-hibbs-and-lebow
  • Yahoo Groups: Webheads, Multilit, and Learningwithcomputers
  • Facebook Groups: Webheads, Learning2gether, Multiliteracies, TAEdTech
  • Google+ communities: Webheadsinaction, Learning2gether, EdTech Mojo, MultiMOOC, Intergrating CALL with Web 2.0 and Social Media, Teachers for Interactive Language Learning (TILL)


Earlier this week iTDi Summer School MOOC For English Teachers continues through Aug 17th

Here are a few of the events this week; This list is not comprehensive.

  • Mon Aug 4 Using Multi-path Stories in the Classroom by Marcos Benevides
  • Wed Aug 6 Adam Simpson on iTDi – 10 Ways to Engage Generation Y with Technology
  • Wed Aug 6 Kieran Dhunna Haliwell on iTDi – The Culture Chat Project 
  • Thu Aug 7 1400 GMT Vicki Hollett on iTDi – How To Make Videos 
  • Fri Aug 8 Traditional Games Across Borders by Marco Brazil 
  • Fri Aug 8 Inspiring L2 Writers: Immediate&Motivating Feedback by Steven Herder
  • Fri Aug 8 Jason R. Levine on ‘Meet and Greet in the VC 
  • Sat Aug 9 ‘Web Tools to Make Writing More Engaging by Budi Azhari Lubis’
  • Sun Aug 10 1300 GMT Rose Bard on iTDi

Focusing on Learning: Reflective Learners & Feedback by Rose Bard’


In order to attend the live events or see the recordings you must first enroll in the MOOC


Mon Aug 4 1st pre-conference keynote for the second annual Homeschool+ Conference and Virtual Film Festival

The second annual Homeschool+ Conference takes place August 7th + 8th, 2014, with pre-conference keynotes the three days before. This online and free event provides an opportunity to share strategies, practices, and resources for those involved with homeschooling, unschooling, free schools, democratic schools, and other forms of alternative, independent, and non-traditional education.

  • To attend the conference, to be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, and/or to submit to present, please 
join this network!
  • The conference welcome letter is here.

The Alternative Education Virtual Film Festival: http://www.virtualfilmfestival.com/alternative-education.html

Interviews this week:

  • Tue Aug 5 Interview with director German Doin of La Educación Prohibida
  • Wed Aug 6 Interview with director Cevin Soling of The War on Kids


Fri Aug 8 and Sat Aug 9 Toronto TESL BELTA online conference

Schedule &  Infohttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1q-sCWyfM-gsTTTowfJxnhVEQ2EF8RM4M60P7wARRrfY/edit

Facebook event pagehttps://www.facebook.com/events/867705369910248/

Events took place in one of these online spaces

ROOM BELTA http://lancelot.adobeconnect.com/belta

ROOM TESL TORONTO http://learningtimesevents.org/webheads/


Fri Aug 8 at 2000 GMT Shelly Terrell American TESOL webinar 

Note that times in GMT may vary because the timing is fixed to a local time zone where clocks are moved forward / back periodically

As an example, this is the one for May 16, 2014, 1600 EDT, 2000 GMT


The following screen with its many links live can be found at http://bit.ly/eltlinks which redirects to



Homeschool+ Conference, August 7th + 8th, 2014

Upcoming deadlines: The Call for Proposals for the 2014 Homeschool+ Conference is now open. Conference strands include Learning Theory, Homeschooling, Unschooling, Free Schools, Democratic Schools, Alternative and Non-Traditional Education, Student Presentation, Technology, Politics and Policy, and Faith-Specific Topics.


Sat Aug 9 Nellie Deutsch – Understanding WizIQ – Polling


About the Class: Welcome to understanding the Teaching System on WizIQ. This webinar is part of a series of weekly online classes on the features available on WizIQ to organize online conferences, deliver MOOCs, and teach synchronous and/or asynchronous courses for fully online, blended, and flipped class programs for the private and public sectors.


Sat Aug 9 Classroom 2.0 – Kyle Pearce on integrating tech into Middle School math using iPads

Date: Sat., August 9, 2014
Time: 9:00am PT/10:00am MT/11:00am CT/12:00pm ET
Location: http://tinyurl.com/cr20live (http://tinyurl.com/cr20live)Peggy George, Lorie Moffat and Tammy Moore will be hosting another Classroom 2.0 LIVE show. As an extension to the Classroom 2.0 Ning community, Classroom 2.0 “LIVE” shows are opportunities to gather with other educators in real-time events, complete with audio, chat, desktop sharing and closed captioning. A Google calendar of upcoming shows is available at http://live.classroom20.com/calendar.html.

Join us on Saturday, August 9th, when our special guest will be Kyle Pearce. We are so excited to have Kyle Pearce on Classroom 2.0 LIVE as our Featured Teacher for the month of August! This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about some of the amazing ways Kyle is effectively integrating technology into his Middle School math class using iPads, his Tech Toolbox, blogs, Google apps, Dropbox, going paperless, and more! Kyle is a Secondary Math Teacher and Intermediate Math Coach with the Greater Essex County District School Board leading a Ministry funded 1:1 iPad project called Tap Into Teen Minds. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator from the Class of 2013 and is working to become a Google Certified Teacher. He is currently teaching at Tecumseh Vista Academy K-12 in the morning and focuses on duties for the Middle Years Collaborative Inquiry (MYCI) Project in the afternoon. Follow him on Twitter or sign up to receive updates from his fabulous blog: Tap into Teen Minds

More information and session details are at http://live.classroom20.com. If you’re new to the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! show you might want to spend a few minutes viewing the screencast on the homepage to learn how we use Blackboard Collaborate, and navigate the site. Each show begins at 12pm Eastern (GMT-5) and may be accessed in Blackboard Collaborate directly using the following Classroom 2.0 LIVE! link at http://tinyurl.com/cr20live. All webinars are closed captioned.

On the Classroom 2.0 LIVE! site (http://live.classroom20.com) you’ll find the recordings and Livebinder from our recent”Unleashing Student Superpowers” session with our special guests Kristen Swanson and Hadley Ferguson. Click on the Archives and Resources tab. When tweeting about Classroom 2.0 LIVE, be sure to use #liveclass20. Special thanks to our sponsors Weebly, The Learning Revolution and Blackboard Collaborate!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE Team: Peggy George, Lorie Moffat, Tammy Moore, Steve Hargadon

Visit Classroom 2.0 at: http://www.classroom20.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Pyongyang Racer – Having a Gas in Virtual North Korea

Koreabridge - Sat, 2014-08-09 05:05
Pyongyang Racer – Having a Gas in Virtual North Korea

By John Bocskay


Fowle (left) and Miller

The North Korean tourist industry, such as it is, got some bad press this year when two American tourists, Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller, were jailed, Fowle for leaving a Bible in a sailor’s club toilet and Miller for as-yet-unspecified crimes against the reclusive state. They both join Kenneth Bae, a Korean American missionary who last year was sentenced to a 15-year all-expense-paid jaunt to a North Korea labor camp for Bible-related assaults on the North Korean regime. The takeaway from last year’s news for would-be tourists was to either obey North Korea’s draconian laws, stay away from North Korea entirely, or be Dennis Rodman, who was the only visitor who appears to have had a rip-roaring good time.

One may sympathize then with Koryo Tours, a small British travel agency that specializes in tours to North Korea. What do you do when your job is to lure visitors to one of the world’s least enticing places?

You design a video game.

Working with a North Korea-based company called Nosotek, Koryo Tours commissioned a browser game called Pyongyang Racer, the first-ever video game developed in North Korea and released for foreign consumption. Designed by Kim Chaek University of Technology students, released on December 18th, 2012, and hosted by the Koryo Tours website, Pyongyang Racer was described as “a bit of retro fun” that not only gives the player “the chance to drive around Pyongyang” but to do it  “all by yourself”.

Much has been written about North Korea, and some films and videos have afforded an occasional state-sanctioned glimpse into the entertainment they produce for domestic consumption – think the Mass Games featured in A State of Mind and kindergartners playing guitar, but films produced by North Koreans have gained scant international exposure. In the early 2000’s, I jumped at the chance to see the North Korean monster film Pulgasari when it opened in Busan, though it was justly panned south of the DMZ and few South Koreans I have ever mentioned it to have even heard of it. In 2012, the film Comrade Kim Goes Flying (which Koryo Tours also co-produced) played at the Toronto Film festival in 2012 and even won over some critics, who called it “fun” while noting its “unabashed kitsch.” While it didn’t set the cinematic world abuzz, it was nonetheless a distinct improvement over previous offerings, like the 2008 documentary The Respected Comrade Supreme Commander Is Our Destiny, and represented another baby step for North Korean culture onto the world stage.

When I heard about Pyongyang Racer, I knew that my own destiny was to give it a spin. Sure, I assumed that “retro fun” was probably just a way of saying “shoddy crap,” but I share the curiosity many people feel whenever the smallest bit of cultural information trickles out from the most isolated country in the world. Combine that with my interest in video games and it was a no-brainer.

I clicked the Pyongyang Racer link and was disappointed, though not surprised, when the game failed to load, though I later found out that the Koryo Tours website had been hacked within a couple days of the game’s debut. After moving to a new host, they eventually got the game running, and I finally had my chance to visit this Potemkinized, pixilated Pyongyang.



The “About” link on the game site itself explains that Pyongyang Racer “is not intended to be a high-end techological [sic] wonder hit game of the 21st century,” and my first play confirmed that it lives down to its billing. Technologically, the game is a glitch-ridden throwback to the 32-bit era of the early 90’s, though you’re free to think of it as “retro fun” if you prefer.The controls are clunky and unresponsive, the buildings along the road are drab and repetitive, and it’s not even a “race” but an uneventful drive in a Pyonghwa Motors sedan around the mostly deserted streets of Pyongyang, set to an unrelenting soundtrack of bouncy North Korean music oddly reminiscent of the faux North Korean music in Team America: World Police.

However, despite (or because of) its lack of drama or technical brilliance, Pyongyang Racer is loaded with delightful ironies and inadvertent social realism. Unlike American driving games, where the object is usually to compete with other drivers and flout the speed limit without being caught, the two main challenges in Pyongyang Racer are to scrupulously obey the law and not run out of gas, which would seem to mirror the most pressing concerns of actual Pyongyang drivers. One of the city’s iconic female traffic cops randomly appears and warns you to “drive straight” and to avoid hitting three cars or you will be “stopped for bad driving,” and coyly tells you not to stare at her because she’s “on duty.”

As you drive around, your eyes are more likely to be drawn to your fuel gauge, which depletes rapidly (a full tank lasts less than 2 minutes). You replenish it by running over fuel barrels, which lie scattered along the road, sometimes in the oncoming lane. Lest that sound risky, fear not: there’s very little traffic, and the few cars that do appear have no drivers and don’t move at all, perhaps having been abandoned after running out of fuel.

Though it sounds like a fairly simple task, the first time I played I ran out of gas and the game ended. The second time, I was curious to see what would happen if I hit three cars, but there is so little traffic that I ran out of fuel while looking for cars to hit. It wasn’t until my fourth game that I succeeded in keeping the car moving long enough to ram three other cars. Would I be sent to the gulag for working to undermine the safety of the state, I wondered? Nope. After the hitting the third car, the game abruptly ended. Please forgive the “spoiler”, but it was so lame I didn’t think you’d mind.

The only other point of the game is to collect the little icons that appear in the road next to famous landmarks around the city, which are instantly recognizable if only because they are the only buildings rendered in any detail whatsoever. Running over the icons opens a little blurb about that location. For example, the Arch of Triumph icon proudly states, “Without the traffic jams of Paris.”

Gay Pyongyang

Also unlike Paris, there is not a single human being to be seen anywhere on the map, except the cop who constantly watches you and appears out of nowhere. The game makers seem to assume that thething to do in Pyongyang is to be whisked around gawking at monuments with as little human contact as possible, which again jibes with every anecdotal description of Pyongyang tourism that I’ve ever heard. You also have to remain on the predetermined course. Nobody will shoot you, as happened in 2008 to an unfortunate South Korean tourist who wandered into an unauthorized area at North Korea’s Mt. Kumgang resort, but any attempt to drive off the road or take an unsanctioned turn results in a short screen blackout, after which you reappear pointed in the mandated direction as if nothing had happened.

Despite its failings, the game is actually pretty hard to finish. In ten or so plays, I’ve yet to make a full circuit. The main page has a “Top Ten Champions list” though it doesn’t update automatically; if you get a high score, you are instructed to take a screenshot to prove it, and e-mail it to Koryo Tours, along with your time, the number of fuel barrels and tourist sites collected, and the number of cars you hit. The current high score is held by the improbably named Shinmai McBurrobit, who finished the track in 7 minutes, 17 seconds, while collecting all fuel drums and tourist sites and not hitting a single car – in other words, a perfect game. Move over, Billy Mitchell. There’s a new kid in town.

Pyongyang Racer isn’t going to rock your world, but you’re desperate for a unique peek into the Hermit Kingdom, go on and check it out.


Editor’s note: A shorter, less interesting, and more poorly-written version of this piece appeared in March 2013 on Outside Looking In.

Sweet Pickles & CornSPAC ON FACEBOOK


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Scents of Seoul

Koreabridge - Wed, 2014-08-06 01:31
Scents of Seoul
Spring just transforms the city and people alike.With the heavy coats off, the sun beginning to caress the skin with warmth, and the stark, bare trees beginning to sprout their little green shoots again, there is then the fragrance of enthusiasm and vigor in the city. Cherry blossoms, azaleas and forsythias emanate sweetness in scents and people come from far and near to rejoice in the longer, warmer days.

Cheery cherry blossoms bloom only for a week in spring

cactus budding

pink budsSummertime, though, is scorching hot and humid, interlaced with thunderstorms which do not bring any respite from the hot temperatures. But the people are so cool about it and beat the heat at public parks along the Han river, sniffing the scent of rain soaked grass, ordering anything from chicken to pizza which is handed to them within the next 20 minutes! The place just revels in laziness along with the whiff of smoke from the diligent delivery guys, the energy of the people coaxing you to try their secret recipe chicken, and sweaty kids frolicking around along with the deep sense of serenity. 
Binggsu- Beans on shaved ice with marshmallows and fruits. Unique combination to cool it off in Korea.Summer time fun at Banpo parkLong summer evenings
Fall, in all its color and splendor along with Chuseok~ the most important festival of honoring the ancestors in Korea~ adds in the aroma of family, friendship and camaraderie. This is also when people travel in droves through the length and breadth of the country and savor a totally different essence of the very same places, incensed with the smell of the sweet persimmon fruit.

Sweet Persimmons

Cold, dull winter adds yet another dimension to Seoul, transforming it into a white, icy wonderland. It is easy during this time to succumb into the toasty smell of chestnuts baked on beds of coal or the roasted sweet potato in makeshift stalls that seem to appear in every street corner. But the most satisfying smell comes from ice fishing in Seoul and immediately getting your catch on your plate, roasted, grilled or baked in spices in any of the restaurants nearby.

And then, there are some smell that just leaves one shell shocked. 
Doenjang is made from fermenting soy bean in huge pots and has a bad smell
The Doenjang (된장) or the fermented soya bean paste might have all the anti-carcinogenic properties, flavinoids, vitamins and minerals but it still smells disgusting. 
Drying fish
Dried Fish: Fish smell funny cooked or uncooked. But dried fish which is used as both toppings and side dish and of course, as the main course of a meal, smells really bad.

Kim is the green, papery seaweed, used here for making kimbap. 
The See Weeds: Laver and Kim (김.) The green wonders, packed with nutrition and properties to get rid of cholesterol still smells really peculiar and the taste for it has to be cultivated ...
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

On US-North Korea Relations: in short, They’re Awful

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-08-04 04:24
On US-North Korea Relations: in short, They’re Awful

That picture would be me and the “Great Chosun Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung” (“위대한 조선 수령 김일성 동지,” as they told us to call him) in the Pyongyang subway. You’ll notice that the gold stature is nicer than the passing metro car (right) from the 1960s. That pretty much tells you what, and how awful, North Korea’s priorities are.

The Korea Times asked me to comment on North Korea’s relationship with the US as a part of its review of North Korea’s foreign relations. The original is here and re-printed below. My main theme is that most Americans are unwilling to accept the legitimacy of North Korea as a real, independent country like any other. Not only is it run as a orwellian gangster fiefdom which the world would loathe anyway, it should also be a part of a Southern-led, unified Korea.

Naturally, this worries the NK elite who in turn are hostile back to us. I suppose we could accept and recognize the permanent existence of North Korea, as the South Korean left would have us do, but I must admit I find normalization intolerable. The idea of coexisting with North Korea strikes me as deeply immoral, even if the cost of that attitude is near-permanent tension. I suppose North Korea is one of few global problems about which I am still a real hawk, but North Korea’s human rights record is so stupendously awful – the recent UN report on human rights in North Korea likened the place to the Nazi Germany for christ’s sake – that I just can’t take that leftist route of recognition.

Here’s that op-ed:


“Much recent media discussion has focused on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s successful trip to South Korea. It was widely remarked that Xi visited South Korea before North Korea, and this is often taken to suggest Chinese disapproval of the North Korean nuclear program.

This suggests a happy convergence between China and the United States on North Korea. For years, the United States and North Korea have been at loggerheads, not just over the nuclear program but much else. If China is genuinely breaking with Pyongyang, at least over the nuclear weapons program, there may be room for a Chinese-South Korean-US joint position on North Korea. That would be a break-through.

The American relationship with North Korea has traditionally swung between two poles – grudging recognition of its persistence, and an idealistic rejection of it as a brutal stalinist throwback. There is no obvious solution to this dilemma. In recent years, President Barack Obama has channeled the former impulse with his notion of “strategic patience.” The United States now is simply waiting for North Korea to change, seeing no obvious reason to engage it when engagement so often leads to frustration. But there is no active effort to overthrow it or aggressively demonize it. On the other hand, President George Bush pursued the latter, idealistic course. Bush placed North Korea on the “axis of evil” and sought to pressure it into collapse. In this he was similar to former President LEE Myung-Bak of South Korea. Lee was also a hawk who thought he could push North Korea toward collapse.

This is turn raises the central dilemma of US-North Korea relations – Pyongyang’s maddening persistence and the extraordinary incompatibility between it and the United States. While the US has worked with dictatorships in the past, such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or Park Chung-Hee’s South Korea, totalitarian North Korea is in a class of its own. It the world’s last and worst orwellian tyranny. It is more stalinist than even Stalin’s Soviet Union. Its human right record exceeds even the Taliban in its awfulness. It also has a demonstrated history of expansionism – the invasion of 1950 – and terrorism, such as the bombing of the South Korean cabinet in 1983. On top of this, it engages in nuclear and missile technology proliferation, brews and sells narcotics, counterfeits foreign currencies, and so on.

The contrast with American political values of constitutional democracy is enormous, making it hard for American officials to accept North Korea as ‘just another country.’ The American instinct is to reject North Korean sovereignty as a fraud, to see Pyongyang as a gangster fiefdom run by an insular, paranoid monarchy that should be unified as quickly as possible with South Korea. South Korean conservatives often talk the same way, and this shared, if usually unspoken, rejection of North Korean legitimacy has been the cement of the American-South Korean relationship. By contrast, the South Korean left has often looked for mutual accommodation strategies, which have frequently generated tension with the United States. It is hard to imagine the US ever accepting North Korea as a state like any other, opening an embassy there, encouraging tourism, and so on.

Yet North Korea continues to grind on, to the enormous surprise and frustration of just about everyone. Decades of predictions that North Korea would collapse have been embarrassingly wrong. How North Korea continues to stumble along is a topic of intense debate, but neither the collapse of communism, the famines of the 1990s, nor the demonstration effects of Arab Spring seem to have made a dent. Leadership passed seamlessly from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un. Hence, the US-North Korean stand-off looks set to continue for decades. There is no obvious ‘off-ramp’ or ‘exit strategy’ short of unlikely regime collapse.”

Filed under: Korea (North), United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

MegaGuide to Busan Food & Drink (Renovations Underway)

Koreabridge - Mon, 2014-08-04 00:57


MegaGuide to Busan Food & Drink

The line between places to eat, caffeinate, & imbibe is pretty blurry.  As such, we've created the megaguide below.  We are currently doing a major update of this guide with the help of the Busan Food Facebook Group and Koreabridge community.  Please comment below to let us know names, locations, & info about any closings, additions, and/or changes. Users can also create listings for places that don't already have one by clicking 'create/business listing'. 


* Beomildong  
* Busan Station 
* City Hall
* Deokpo 
* Dongnae
* Dusil
* Gaegeum 
* Gimhae* Guseo 
* Gwangan  
* Hadan 
* Haeundae 
* Kyungsung 
* Mandeok 
* Namcheon 
* Nampodong 

* Saha 
* Sassang
* Seomyeon
* Songjung 
* Taejongdae 
* Yonghodong 

General Reviews *  Vegetarian Restaurants  *    Food DiscussionsOther Guides 

Types of food sections coming soon


  Koreabridge Directory  *   Busan Awesome  *     BusanHaps.com    
  ForeignerWithChopsticks  * Gastric Canvas  *     Facebook

View Busan Guide Map in a larger map


Busan Station/Texas Street

City Hall

  • 이 랴이랴 - Beef BBQ - 13,000-16,000 (for 1-2 people)

 Deokpo (Green line near Sasang)

  • Peueon Thai - 4,000-8,000 
  • Thu Hiền Vietnamese - 6,000-7,000
  • The Thai Restaurant - Deokpo - Thai - 7,000-10,000


  • Japanese - 20,000 (2 people food & drink)
  • Melbourne Brunch Restaurant - Brunch - 10,000

Dusil Station

  • Cappadocia - Turkish - 10,000
  • 이 랴이랴 - Beef BBQ - 13,000-16,000 (for 1-2 people)


  • The Center of Beans - Coffee & Bingsu - 5,000 
  • Green Hanoi - Vietnamese Shabu Shabu - 12,000



  • Manheejee Coffee - Guseo - Brunch/Western - 8,000-15,000  Map


  • Bong G - takeout bar, wine punch by the bag, map
     Bong G – Wine cocktails to go on Gwangalli Beach 
  • Beach Bikini - bar/restaurant map 
  • Beached - bar/restaurant, vegemite available,  map
  • Beer Check Hof
       Beer Check Hof: Gwanganli Beach 
  • Butcher's Burgers - Burgers - 10,000-15,000  map 
  • Cusco - Restaurant, Spit fired Chicken Map
  • Brunch Cafe Ean - 8,000-10,000
     Brunch Cafe Ean 
  • East Village Cafe - Coffee Shop, free Wifi, nice view map
  • Fam Island Sushi Buffet -
  • Four Season Raw Fish - Restaurant, Korean Style raw fish (and live octopus) map
  • Galmegi Brewing - Homemade Pizza & Brewery - 10,000-14,000
    Galmegi Brewing Company    website

  • Guess Who? Family Restaurant -  Restaurant, Buffet, Map
  • Hauljjim - 남천동 동해바다 해물탕 - Namcheon - Seafood/Korean stew - 15,000 (for lots of seafood)
  • Hoa Bin - Vietnamese Restaurant, map 
  • IRANG - Brunch - 7,500-12,000
  • Korean Natural Food Restaurant - Restaurant, Traditional/Vegetarian, map
     Korean Natural Food Restaurant 
  • Papa's Brunch - restaurant, 
       Papa's Brunch - Breakfast, Italian, Chocolate 
  • Pasta e Vino - restaurant, Italian, map
         Italian on the Beach 

  • Saigon “Pho”-  Restaurant, Vietnamese Map 
  • Sharky's - Western & Tex Mex - 10,000-26,000,  map    
  • Shao mei - Chinese 
        Shao mei Restaurant 
  • Table49 - Western - 8,000-20,000
  • Ten Tables
     Ten Tables Burgers 
  • Tremare - Restaurant, Italian, map
    Tremare Italian Restaurant 
  • Tres Bon French Cuisine
  • 설 빙 aka "Seol Bing" - Fantastic Bingsu - 9,000]
  • 이 랴이랴 - Beef BBQ - 13,000-16,000 (for 1-2 people)



Centum City

  • An Chae - Traditional Korean - 8,000
  • Arun Thai - Thai -  8,000-13,000  map
  • Buccellas - Sandwiches - 10,000
  • Cafe de Cine - Restaurant, Italian, 5th Floor Shinsege Dept. Store  map
  • Dos Tacos - Burritos - 7,000-11,000  map
     Dos Tacos  
  • Restaurant inside Spa Land - Korean - 8,000-15,000  map
  • Johnny Rockets - Burgers & Sandwiches - 11,500  map

 Dongbaek (near Haeundae)

  • Sushi Berry - Sushi - 6,000-8,000 
  • House on a Hill - Restaurant, Swiss chalet style, map
  • Morning Glory - restaurant/bar, steak pizza varied menu, (seen in the movie 'My sassy girl')  map
  • Starface - Bar (with food),
      Starface Dalmaji Hill



  • Almost Famous - bar, map  

Mandeok (near Deokcheon)

  • Kooni - Quirky Western - 8,000


  • Korean Natural Food Restaurant - Restaurant, , map  
    Traditional/Vegetarian (reservation one day prior required for vegetarian option)
     Korean Natural Food Restaurant
  • Namcheon - Patbingsu (fresh traditional ingredients) - 2,500


PNU (Pusan National University)

Saha (near Hadan)

  • Geojang Totem House - Amazing roasted duck inside of a pumpkin, side dishes, etc. - 55,000 (4 people)



  • Beom Tae Yehnal Son JjaJang - Chinese (Black noodles, Dumplings, Pork) - 15,000 (2 people)
  • Bibcock - Mexican food - 8,000 -15,000
  • Burgerful - Burgers - 7,000
  • Caffe Star King - coffee shop, map
    Caffe Star King
  • Chic and Beer Plus - Macaroni & Cheese, Chicken Strips - 7,000-10,500
  • Chir Chir - Chicken - 39,000 (3 people with beers)
  • Dajeon (다전) Restaurant and Teahouse - Vegan/Vegetarian Korean - 5,000-11,000  map
      Dajeon Tea House & Vegetarian Restaurant
  • Gyeongju Gukbap -  Restaurant, Pork Soup, map
      A tale of two restaurants: Pork soup restaurants in Seomyeon (Gyeongju Gukbap)
  • Florians’s - Restaurant, Italian Buffet, W20,000  map
  • Hans Brew House  - brew pub, serving meals, map
     Hans Brew House
  • Hamkyung Myeon-Ok - Cold noodle restaurant,  map
  • Hokkan - Bar/Restaurant, Japanese, website, map
     Hokkan Japanese Bar/Restaurant
  • Judie Nine Brau - Restaurant/Brewpub (Judie's Daehwa 9F)  map
      Two Brewhouses in Seomyeon: Judie's Nine Brau and Who?
     Judies 9 Brau
  • King Beer Mart - bar, map
      King Beer Mart – Seomyeon
  • Kraan - 1 meter long skewers of pork (29,000), or beef (39,000) and veggies (2-4 people)
  • Jaws Jjimdak - Chicken platter with noodles, sauce, cheese, toekkbokki, etc. - 25,000 for 4 people (1,000 discount for posting on social media) 
  • Johnson's Diner - Burgers, etc. -  8,000-10,000
  • Makeoli Salon - restaurant/bar, traditional Korean, map
     Makeoli Salon, Seomyeon
  • Maris Angel - Sushi buffet - 16,000
  • Metal City - Club, map
  • Monglit Wine Bar - Bar map
    Monglit wine bar, Seomyeon
  • Pan Asia 팬아시아 서면점 - Thai fusion restaurant - 10,000
  • The Pancake - Restaurant, Western-style breakfast map
      the PANCAKES
  • Sake Dining Bar - Japanese Bar/Restaurant
     Sake Dining Bar, Seomyeon
  • Sorrento - Restaurant, Italian 
  • Savoy - Fish & Chips - 9,000  map
     Savoy Seomyeon   Savoy Fish & Chips
  • Uncle Tomato
     Uncle Tomato Italian Restaurant, Seomyeon
  • Well Being Namsan Vegetarian Buffet - map  
  • Yaman - Jamaican - 8,000-15,000  
  • Yellow Chicken - Fried Chicken - 15,000 (3 people)
  • Zooza
     Zooza, Seomyeon
  • 4 번 출구 or "Exit 4" - Fried Noodles - 19,000 (4 people, probably filling for 3)
  • 콩 밭에 - Korean-momma-that-you-don't-know's home cooking - 7000
  • 팔 색삼겹살 - set menu BBQ (삼겹살) -  30,000 (2 people)
  • 홍 소족발 (Hong So Jok Bal) - Pig's Feet - 35, 000 for large size (4 people) cheaper/smaller available


  • High Bistro - Burgers - 5,000-10,000
  • Bella Luna - Songjung - Handmade Chocolate - 5,000-10,000



 Vegetarian Restaurants & Information

General Reviews/Multiple Locations

Food & Drink  Topics (from the Koreabridge Forums)

 Other Guides

MegaGuide to Busan Food & Drink (Renovations Underway)
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Blogger Beauty Night at Piccasso Studio

Koreabridge - Sun, 2014-08-03 06:30
Blogger Beauty Night at Piccasso Studio It has occurred to me that many of my recent posts have pertained to Korean beauty. I should make it clear that Seoul Searching is not converting into a beauty blog- I'm far too unqualified for that to even be an option. The reason for the increase in K-beauty posts is because Korean cosmetics and beauty trends are becoming so in demand at the moment that I have had a number of opportunities recently to learn more about these trends and products and want to spread the word on to you guys.

The most recent opportunity to crop up was an invitation to a makeup class specifically for bloggers given by Yoohwai Top to Toe at the Piccasso Studio in Apgujeong in celebration of the launch of the new global store, PiccassoBeauty.net.

Although the brand name may be unfamiliar to most living outside Korea, Piccasso is the leading supplier of false lashes and professional makeup brushes on the peninsula. They've been around for about 20 years and are the go-to product for Korea's top idols and entertainers such as Ji Hyun-chun, 4minute's Hyuna, Kim Tae-hee and Park Shin-hye. So, always on the lookout for new products and makeup tips (I need all the help I can get!) I was super excited to attend the class and meet some fellow bloggers.

After arriving, we were treated to some snacks and wine and got to know one another before the class began. Soon enough, our teacher walked us through the entire process of applying everyday makeup- from how to cover up those pesky under-eye circles to ways to make our noses look thinner and 'higher', a beauty feature coveted by Koreans.

The last bit of the instruction, and the part I was most looking forward to, was a tutorial on how to apply false eyelashes. Although I had attempted the feat before, I had never done so successfully. As such, I never bother with wearing them, even on special occasions, as I'd rather not take the risk of them falling off halfway through the night or gluing them on crooked. I learned, however, that the process is actually a lot easier than I imagined... the application just takes some patience and practice.

After the instruction, we split up into groups and were told how to improve our personal makeup look. We were also given the chance to put the eyelashes on ourselves and although mine weren't perfect, they weren't terrible, either. Picasso's eyeMe lashes made a big difference- I did in fact look more glamorous and feminine than when I first walked through the studio doors. Additionally, the lashes were very natural. Maybe I will give false lashes a second chance after all.

Piccasso was kind enough to send all of us home with one of their foundation brushes, a brush pouch, four sets of eyeMe eyelashes and a bottle of wine. Though I probably won't be drinking it before I put my makeup on. Fortunately for you, I'm not the only lucky one here!

PiccassoBeauty.net is offering all Seoul Searching readers a 5% discount on all of your online purchases. All you have to do is enter the coupon code 'seoulsearching' at check out to receive your discount. Additionally, you can get free shipping on all orders over $70USD until August 14th. Don't miss out and find out for yourself why Korea's top beauty icons choose Piccassco.

For additional information on Piccasso, check out their blog and Facebook page.

Words by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Photos by Cory May. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.

Seoul Searching

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean-American, and a Bboy

Koreabridge - Sat, 2014-08-02 14:32
Korean-American, and a Bboy Feature: Michael Jung Roach

I’m Michael Jung Roach—or at least that’s my legal American name given to me by my loving parents (shout outs to my mom and dad if they’re reading this, love you two).

My Korean given at birth is (depending on which Romanization you look at) Jung Sung-Soo – 정성수, and I absolutely love both names.

Fun fact – I’ve totally adjusted to being called my Korean name now that I live in Korea!


Where were you born and raised?

I was raised my whole life in the Midwest—specifically the Crossroads of America, the state of Indiana and grew up in a small town called Plymouth.  I lived there my whole childhood/teenage years before doing big time University life in Bloomington, Indiana. It was there I graduated from Indiana University (HOO-HOO-HOO-HOOSIERS) with a degree in English.

Basically I was surrounded by corn and farms.

My only entertainment in Plymouth was a Wal-Mart, a drive-in movie theater (AWESOME), a normal movie theater, and maybe the occasional restaurant. I’ll tell you it’s awfully fun being raised in a community where you’re the ONLY Korean let alone East Asian ha!

At least everyone remembers you in school.

For real though, I love Plymouth and am grateful to have been a part of the community there—it’s a wonderful place to raise kids, that’s a fact. More on Plymouth, Indiana !

OK, so where do you live NOW?

Currently I am residing in Seoul, South Korea and I feel as though God has planted me here for the rest of my life…or at least a very, very long time.

America you had me for twenty-some odd years so it’s only fair that my birth country gets to bond with me too.

Great, so you’re Korean ethnically. Do you associate with Koreans? Got any K-Homies?

Well, truth be told I never had any Koreans to hang out with in Plymouth because…let’s be frank, I was it.

If you consider playing video games by yourself as a Korean “hanging out” with an ethnic Korean, then yes, I TOTALLY did.

In all seriousness, even in college I only knew really one other ethnic Korean who I would consistently see and chill with (shout out to him, JR, you know who you are).

Nowadays, since I live in Korea, I don’t really hang out much with anyone BUT Koreans, and I am very much liking that right now.

I love all people though, just throwing that out there. It was a lonely, Korean-less childhood unfortunately.

So do you LOVE Korean culture or are you all about that ‘MURICA!?

I in fact do absolutely love Korean culture. Since I was little I always was pretty interested in my heritage,mostly because I was trying to find my identity as a Korean-American. Living here I feel so…at home, as strange as that sounds, and even the second I got off the plane I knew I belonged here. I could go on, but I digress.

I also love my American roots as well, and I firmly believe there are positives and negatives to both cultures, and that it’s important to weigh the two objectively and appreciate what God’s given me. And yes, I do listen to K-Pop and K-Hip Hop.

Have you heard about the Korean diaspora?

Yup, I have, and that’s precisely why I’m writing this. However, I’m not QUITE sure what generation I am as a Kyopo. I guess 1.75 because I was adopted when I was months old? I don’t know.

So what are you passionate about?

I am absolutely passionate and devoted to being a B-Boy, or “breaker”, or in more mainstream media terms a “break dancer”. A primary reason I feel God moved me back home to Korea is to pursue a career in being a full-time pro B-Boy.

As hard as that sounds, so far I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities. It’s pretty much my life—I think about it, eat it, and sleep it.

So any other passions?

My faith in Christ and being a fully-devoted, unashamed and convicted Christian is actually my first passion. In the United States throughout high school and into college I did youth ministry work, and often times even here I find myself counselling others spiritually as a man of Christ. That’s why I talk about God just as much as I talk about my breaking career ha ha! I’m not going to bash you over the head with bible verses or slander you—that’s not what we as Christians are supposed to be about anyway, but yeah, I’m a big fan of the Big Man Upstairs and am eternally grateful to Him for my life.

Random! Favourite food!

Easy. KIMBAP. I could eat that all day, every day. If you haven’t eaten kimbap, you’re not really living. ( I hear you Mike !)

Did you ever visit South Korea before and how has life been there so far?

I never visited my roots prior to about a year ago when I first moved here. Life here has been great actually. Prior to coming I read blogs and articles about kyopos getting “hate treatment” and being looked down on—lots of negative feelings and warning signs of “when you come here, look out”.

However I’ve felt quite the opposite; I’ve had ahjussis and ajummas tell me that I belong here, and that I’m one of them. I’ve even had quite a few say “welcome home”, which always hits me right in the heart.

My age group has also been great to socialize with—sure, I do get the occasional joke or comment of “well you’re not KOREAN-KOREAN yet”, but really to all of us that comes with fluency in the language. I say that only because everyone says, “you’re totally Korean before you open your mouth. No one knows otherwise!”

Yo, what do you think about the Korean Diaspora Project?

I think it’s absolutely wonderful and a great opportunity for like-minded individuals to get inspired and get to network with others that share an invisible but very tangible bond in being a kyopo. I hope it gets even stronger and I wish more than the best for the project!!

Alright, alright, you talk a lot. Anything else to add?

I got you, I got you. I’d just like to tell kyopos everywhere to continue pursuing their passions and dreams fervently, with reckless abandon. Such is the Korean way—it’s in our blood, whether you know it or not!

Furthermore, don’t be ashamed of who and what you are; people might not understand it, but a lot of us do, and for that, we’re all in this together. Be grateful to God that you are what you are and be thankful that you are no one but YOURSELF.
If you want to stalk me…I mean get to know me better, or generally be friends, here are my social network pages:

Twitter/Instagram: @dancermikeroach

Facebookfacebook.com/mikejroach [MESSAGE ME FIRST PLEASE]

YouTubeyoutube.com/user/dancermikeroach [WARNING OLD FOOTAGE WILL BE UPDATED SOON]


Thanks Mike, and hope you keep us posted on what you’re up to ! 

( If you’d like to be featured, just drop us a line on our contact page here. )

Kyopos all around the World





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Zenith Tower Almost

Koreabridge - Sat, 2014-08-02 12:07
Zenith Tower Almost

Few buildings in Korea sparks so many photographers to descend upon a rooftop like the Zenith Towers in Busan. These are one of the tallest apartment buildings in Korea and are located next to the ocean overlooking haeundae and the Gwangali Bridge. Suffice to say that the roof has a pretty impressive view.

Like all good things, it just is too good to last. Due to so many photographers hitting the rooftop there is now enhanced security. By that I mean that the security guys actually watch and do stuff. Being a seasoned rooftopper in Korea, you can usually walk by security with that “I live here” sort of attitude. However, the Zenith guys have been dealing with throngs of photographers for years and thus know how to spot one in a heartbeat.

The other night there were 7 of us and we thought that we got lucky. However, once we got through the doors, we were immediately spotted by security. We thought that we gave them the slip but they knew exactly where we were heading. Within moment of our arrival, we heard them banging on the door. Interestingly enough, they couldn’t get the door open and that extended our brief time on the famous roof a little more. “Get Out!!!” they shouted as they finally found the right door burst through counting how many of us there were.

As we gathered, begged, and discussed our plan with the young security, they calmed down and still made us leave. Overall, they were pretty nice about everything. Whenever this happens the best thing to do is be agreeable. Ask what you need to ask but never get angry or lose your temper. Many times security guards are just following orders but they can also sympathizes as you are not really doing anything too bad. Just apologize and explain your situation. You never know, they may just let you shoot. On this day, they escorted us off the roof.

We decided to head to a fellow photographer, Keith Homan‘s rooftop. Keith is a great photographer who is returning to the States in a few days. He has been an important member of the expat photography community around here and we are sad to see him go. I also wish him all the best in his next chapter of life.

The view from the roof here was great as I had not had the chance to shoot here yet. With so many roofs getting locked or covered in CCTV cameras, it was nice to just relax and shoot with some great photographers.

If you get a chance, check out Keith’s work on flickr and his site, he has some amazing shots that deserve recognition.



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether all weekend Aug 1-3 with MMVC14 and iTDi

Englishbridges - Fri, 2014-08-01 13:07

There have been some remarkable events on this summer. July has seen at least one professional session a day with TTO MOOC and then iTDi. This post documents the last week in July and then takes us to the top of August with MMCV14, a three day conference organized by Nellie Deutsch. We start the week on Friday, Aug 1, 1300 GMT, with simultaneous events for each MOOC (had to choose!).  This carries on through Sunday, traditional Learning2gether day, with the final day of the MMVC14 conference.

I’ll be filling this in as the weekend progresses

Sunday August 3, Learning2gether with MMVC14, Moodle MOOT Virtual Conference

Saturday August 2, second day of MMVC14

Friday August 1, MMVC14 starts at the same time as iTDi MOOC

Fri Aug 1 1300 GMT simultaneous events iTDi MOOC event

Using Videos to Improve Reading Comprehension by Naomi Epstein

Obviously Naomi showed a number of videos meant to prompt reading and expression (as in writing, conversation)

In order to view the recording you’ll need to enroll in the iTDi Summer School MOOC For English Teachers: Fly High With iTDi! runs July 20th – August 17th

In order to attend the live events or see the recordings

Fri Aug 1 thru Sun Aug 3 MMVC14 free online conference

Schedule: http://www.wiziq.com/teachblog/august-moodle-moot/

From Nellie: “You’re invited to join the 4th annual free 3-day online conference from August 1-3, 2014. Recordings will be available for anyone who is registered. You may also access the content and engage in discussions with the presenters and other participants. Certificates are available for those who reflect on 3 of the live classes or the recordings of the webinars.

Here’s the link to the conference: http://www.wiziq.com/course/30546-moodlemoot-2014-mmvc14

There are 26 webinars. Recordings and MP4 files will be available for download. You can check your timezone by clicking on the time scheduled for each session.”

Aug 1 1300 GMT Dr. Nellie Deutsch Opening Ceremony

Class link: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/2016340-mmvc14-opening-ceremony-with-dr-nellie-deutsch

Following sessions for Aug 1

  • 1400 GMT Dr. Jukka Holm and Maija Loikkanen ActionTrack – Learning by Experiencing
  • 1500 GMT Brenda Mallinson Offline Solutions for Online Learning
Earlier this week

Wed Jul 23 Learning2gether with Joe Dale about AppSmashing with iPads

Thu Jul 24 Future of Museums free online conference
Future of Museums, this free, online event will give those of you who work in the museum and archives fields an opportunity to share your passion for the future of museum services, spaces, and innovations. Conference strands include Bring Your Own DeviceLocation-Based ServicesCrowdsourcing, and Makerspaces.

  • Twin Events on the Future of Museums: Wednesday + Thursday. This week will kick off twin events about the future of museums – July 23rd & 24th. Both events are focused on four main themes from the NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Museum Edition: Bring Your Own Device, Location-Based Services, Crowdsourcing, and Makerspaces.
    • Wednesday: NMC Virtual Symposium on the Future of Museums is an exclusive symposium for you, the curators, creators, innovators, museum professionals, and educators. In this limited-space event, engage with panels on these topics and help shape the conversation – get your burning questions answered! There are still spaces left, so please see more information at go.nmc.org/future-museums.
    • Thursday: The Future of Museums Conference will be a free, online, collaborative global conversation about technology, museums, and the future. This event will be held from 9:30am – 5pm US-Eastern Time, and will feature keynote speakers Suse Cairns, Lath Carlson, Alex Freeman, Jeffrey Inscho, Barry Joseph, Elizabeth Merritt, and Holly Witchey, and crowdsourced presentations by your peers. Attendees can expect to learn best practices to implement in their museums, and will hear real-world examples of innovative practices in the field. We are looking forward to these fun events, and to your participation.

Are you planning to attend? Don’t forget to print out this flyer to hang on your door, letting your colleagues know what you’re up to and how they can join you!. More promotional materials are available at http://futureofmuseums.com/page/promotion.


Fri Jul 25  iTDi and Ana Maria Menezes and Jennifer Verschoor


Fri Jul 25 Shelly Terrell American TESOL webinar – 10+ ways to get tech into the classroom

The following screen with its many links live can be found at http://bit.ly/eltlinks which redirects to


Sun July 27  Learning2gether with iTDi MOOC and Chuck Sandy

Date & Time


Session Title and Description

July 27th

1 pm GMT

Chuck Sandy  believes that education has the power to change the world: one student, one teacher, one classroom at a time. He’s is a cofounder and director of the International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi). He’s also  a teacher trainer, essayist, and author of several coursebooks such as the just published Passages 3rd Edition series from Cambridge University Press  which he wrote with Jack C.Richards. His most recent book which he coauthored with Dorothy Zemach is English For Scammers, a guide to writing effective business emails.  Read Chuck’s most recent essays about education on the iTDi Blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

This Is Just To Tell You … (about poetry, projects, and power) In this session we’ll explore the power of collaborative learning using a few simple poems as our starting point.  We’ll do some activities together, develop some additional possibilities, and then I’ll invite you and your students to participate in a collaborative online project in which we’ll build a database of recorded poetry. To prepare for this session please read my iTDi Blog post Invitation Standing: Bringing Poetry To The Classroom

This MOOC is open in the sense that it is free to sign up for and to enjoy, but not open in the sense that its artifacts are accessible to anyone online without pre-condition, which is that you must enroll in the iTDi Summer School MOOC For English Teachers: Fly High With iTDi! runs July 20th – August 17th  in order to attend the live events or see the recordings


Mon Jul 28 IHAQ #15 The Ethics of Innovation


Mon July 28 2014 More than activities: #FlashmobELT by Ann Loseva & Michael Griffin


Mon Jul 28 1800 GMT Open Badges MOOC webinar on Cities of Learning


  • Nichole Pinkard, Associate Professor at DePaul University and Founder of DYN (Representing CoL overall)
  • Sybil Boyd-Madison, Learning Pathways Program Director at DYN (Representing Chicago)
  • Margaret Black, Director of Operations at Big Thought (Representing Dallas)
  • Luis Mora, Administrator at Beyond the Bell (Representing LA)
  • Megan Cole, The Badge Alliance

Our world is increasingly complex and connected. Today’s youth need learning that is powerful and relevant and that links the academics they study today to the real world they will live and work in tomorrow. This is a challenge that no single institution can solve. Our community must come together to connect our youth to rich learning experiences, both inside and outside of school, to discover and develop their talents and ambitions.

The Cities of Learning http://citiesoflearning.org/ offers just that. As a nationwide movement to leverage community and government resources, the Cities of Learning turns a whole city into a campus, opening doors across neighborhoods to ensure all youth have access to creative and academic opportunities in our libraries, museums, parks and other community institutions, as well as to exciting learning experiences online.

Cities of Learning are designed around the principles of Connected Learning, a new approach that builds on the basics, leveraging technology to make learning relevant to the demands and opportunities of the digital age. In addition, the Cities award digital open badges to showcase the knowledge and skills youth acquire during out-of-school learning.

Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with a successful summer program that now continues year-round. This summer, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh have kicked off their Cities of Learning, with Columbus and Washington, D.C., joining the lineup this fall. More cities are planning to launch in 2015.

Join us for a live presentation as we dive deeper into the Cities of Learning movement. Megan Cole, Director of Marketing and Operations at the Badge Alliance, will facilitate the discussion between the key partners and open badges experts that are behind building the Cities of Learning infrastructure and badges systems, as well as local city officials that have had a direct hand in implementing the Cities of Learning program to-date.

  • Review the history of the Cities of Learning vision
  • Discuss what it takes to launch a Cities of Learning
  • Get details on the foundational Connected Learning principles used
  • Receive an overview of how badge systems are created within each city
  • Take a look at what will be happening in four major cities this summer
  • Get answers to questions you might have about the Cities of Learning
  • For more information, visit http://citiesoflearning.org.

To join the live sessions, please use the Blackboard Collaborate Web Conference link: http://tinyurl.com/OpenBadgesCollaborate

Looking forward to your ongoing participation in the Open Badges MOOC! You are welcome to continue to use the MOOC resources (badges.coursesites.com) and submit challenge assignments for review by our experts. You’ll also find an extremely useful set of resources on the Reconnect Learning site.

Anne Derryberry, Deb Everhart, and Erin Knight

MOOC leaders


Tue Jul 29 iTDi MOOC Chuck Sandy and Barbara Sakamoto


Tue Jul 29 iTDi MOOC Marijana Smolcec and Marcia Lima

Link shared during the presentation:

(my badge)

This MOOC is open in the sense that it is free to sign up for and to enjoy, but not open in the sense that its artifacts are accessible to anyone online without pre-condition, which is that you must enroll in the iTDi Summer School MOOC For English Teachers: Fly High With iTDi! runs July 20th – August 17th  in order to attend the live events or see the recordings


Tue Jul 29 Appy Hour – SimCity

Tuesday, July 29th Appy Hour: Inspiring Students to Design Great Cities with SimCity, SimCity is an always-online, fast-paced, intuitive, and forgiving city simulator that lets kids build (and destroy) single-player cities in multiplayer regions. Students can learn about what makes a great city, city management by keeping a budget, running a surplus, or issue bonds to keep afloat. Kids can play together in the same region, or as a single player who manages all the cities in it. In this Appy Hour, videogame journalist, critic, and teacher David Thomas will present on how SimCity can be used by teachers.

For a full calendar of more upcoming events and conferences, click here.


Wed Jul 30 Debora Tebovich and Roseli Serra


Wed Jul 30 Teachers Teaching Teachers

  • Wednesday, July 30th at 9pm Teachers Teaching Teachers, Weekly conversations hosted by EdTechTalk, a collaborative open webcasting community. For more information, click here.


Thu Jul 31 Strategies for a Whole-Community Approach to Digital Citizenship 

  • Thursday, July 31st Strategies for a Whole-Community Approach to Digital Citizenship, How has your school built a positive culture around digital citizenship? How have you involved students, faculty, staff, leadership, and parents? In our community’s next webinar, learn about the three elements necessary to take a whole-community approach to digital citizenship at your school or district: educating students, engaging parents, and enriching leadership. See examples from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Florida, which is a Digital Citizenship Certified School by Common Sense Media. Learn how the school a taught students digital citizenship, see examples of how the school has engaged parents, and hear examples of school leadership. Join Susan and Brad on July 31st and walk away with specific ideas and examples of how you can build a positive school culture around digital citizenship, and involve all stakeholders. Register here.
  • Thursday, July 31st Laura Candler: Active Engagement – Simple Strategies for Success, Another exciting webinar by Laura Candler to jump-start your new school year with simple strategies that you can use to make your classroom more engaging and help kids retain what they are learning. During this free webinar, Laura will share strategies for making every lesson more effective with active engagement. Strategies will include cooperative learning methods, team formation tips, how to use dry erase boards effectively, classroom management ideas, and more. You are also invited to share your own strategies via the online chat during the webinar. If you can’t attend the live session, register to receive the link to the recording. Participants who attend the live session will be able to download an attendance certificate that they may be able to use for PD credit. Register here.


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Storming the Bridge: Busan Hosts Korea’s Greatest Race

Koreabridge - Fri, 2014-08-01 03:30
Storming the Bridge: Busan Hosts Korea’s Greatest Race

Each year, for one day in April, pedestrians and cyclists invade Busan’s most iconic landmark for a n

The Busan miRun is easily one of my favorite events of the year. And it has quickly become the city’s most popular outdoor event besides the fireworks festival.

As you can see in this promo video, there’s also a concert on Gwangan Beach after the race. KPop group 2NE1 sang at the 2013 run.
This is one of the chillest 10K “races” you can attend. Just like Busan itself, the atmosphere is unpretentious – everyone just wants to have a good time.

In addition to the road race, the local broadcaster MBC holds what they call the Bike Festival. It starts in the morning around 9 AM, before the runners go on the bridge.

The race starts near BEXCO and then up the onramp near Busan Museum of Modern Art subway station (exit 5).

Blinding neon colors are seen as highly fashionable and will surely win you cool points with the locals

By unicycle, bicycle, walking or running, it’s a great excuse to get out and burn off that extra weight you gained over the winter.

One runner decided to propose at the top of the bridge. How’s that for romantic?
I’ve photographed this event three years in a row. Next time I’m going to hang up my camera and bike across the bridge.

As the race winds down, people sit around and even lay down on the bridge and take photos.Parents also take their kids out on the bridge as well. It’s a very family-friendly event. But don’t forget the sunscreen.At the time of writing this, there was no information in English about the MiRun. If you don’t register, you can always just walk up on the bridge with the rest of the crowd.If you want to photograph the race, it’s helpful to get a press pass from one of the event organizers so you can get on the bridge before everyone heads up there. Walking on an empty bridge is a thrill in and of itself.Once on the bridge, you’ll be able to see Busan from angles you’ve never seen it before. I know it’s cliche to say, but it really is one day you don’t want to miss.

For more information about the miRun, try Adidas Korea’s Facebook page or the city’s official website Dynamic Busan.

Looking for more stuff to do in Korea’s second largest city by the sea? Check out 48 Hours in Busan

About Author

Pete DeMarco

I'm a travel photographer and writer based in Busan, Korea. You can learn more about me here or connect with me on Facebook and Flickr.





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Teach English and Travel Solo...Like a GRRRL (with GRRRL Traveler)

Koreabridge - Wed, 2014-07-30 09:42


Teach English and Travel Solo...Like a GRRRL (with GRRRL Traveler)Hiya, friends! Who wants to hangout with me and the coolest travel chick in the world?! Hear the ins and outs of solo travel and teaching English on this Hangout with Christine Kaaloa aka GRRRL Traveler and ME! Christine is a popular, respected blogger by both readers and fellow backpackers/solo travelers. She got her start by teaching English in Korea of all places

Grrrl Traveler Links
Website: grrrltraveler.com



See My Videos on Youtube!

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Teach English and Travel Solo...Like a GRRRL (with GRRRL Traveler)
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Sealed in Seoul!

Koreabridge - Wed, 2014-07-30 00:48
Sealed in Seoul!

Yet another reason to be a foreigner in Korea:

You get to do some really cool things for free! You just need to know where to look, register with all the details and show up on time.It really is that simple! Global centers in Seoul really take the cake in providing some awesome activities. I had signed up for the Seal Making activity held by the Seoul Global Culture and Tourism center along with my sons aged 16 and 10 as they are in vacation right now. It was a morning I would never forget. Nor would my sons!

The art of Seal makingPerfectly timed with the return of the Royal Seals of Korea by President Obama, the activity was conducted at the National Museum of Korea, which made the setting so perfect to dive into the realms of the art of engraving Seals. (한국을 새기다) The activity was conducted by a well renowned professor who went on to give us an introduction about the history of seals in Korea and around the world.
It was quite interesting to know that the seals and amulets in ancient Korea was made from the wood of the Jujube tree which was struck by lightening in the olden days. It was believed to provide protection for the holder. And the seals later on were made by different materials, with exquisite and sophisticated designs depending on the social class of the person making it so that it couldn't be imitated.
The top part of the Royal seals
The top part of the seal, called the Nyu (뉴) was decorated with elaborate designs for the royalty like the dragon (to denote the seal of the emperor), the tiger, turtle. The body or the Insin (인신) of the seal is the part which is used to hold the seal. To expel the possibility of an upside down impression, the date when the seal is made is engraved on the place where the thumb is held (Whew! that is a handy trick :)

D's Insi(g)n  
 The face of the seal or the InMyeon (인면) is where the name engraving is done. The Inmun (이문) is the letters or the patterns or design that is used to represent the person for whom the seal is being made. Apparently seals were made carrying the name of the person or a favorite phrase or a cherished design or even the zodiac symbol.

All professionally set for the engraving! My name in Korean, which i wanted to engrave. But later decided to add in a flowerGetting the design on to the seal ~ The easy partEngraving the design on to the stone ~ The fun partAdding more personality to the seal! ~ Dh styleDh's seal all done and tested.D was brave enough to try both the back ground carving and letter carving techniques!Dh was all enthusiasm :)

Sealed on the Board of Fame!
The huge pond in the museum was sporting lilles and lotuses
I could sit here all day, looking at the lotuses

A serene spot in the heart of bustling Seoul

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