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Learning2gether with Jim Buckingham on the Online PD Tutorials Project

Webheadsinaction.org - Wed, 2015-08-26 12:01
Sunday August 23, 2015 What was it about?  We had an interesting discussion today with Jim Buckingham and Tony Waterman about Jim's proposed Online PD Tutorials Project and its alignment with ISTE Standards toward having it awarded an ISTE Seal of Alignment. The idea of pursuing this is driven by a desire to have "our work internationally recognized" so that it has greater credibility in the eyes of both TESOL Arabia members AND those of us who will help realize these. By addressing such standards, we should gain some much valued and highly relevant PD. 

He is proposing an online, asynchronous "co-development consultancy" workshop to help realize this.  Details can be found in this Google folder - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B8r1jrc3n6aifmZ5dF9jQjBTc1JMcXVnbGtSMUhOMTVEMTdKSWp5cnhrdkdLSzRwTXNBN2s&usp=sharing

Find the Learning2gether archive of this event here: http://learning2gether.net/2015/08/23/learning2gether-with-jim-buckingham-about-the-online-pd-tutorials-project/and more information on events of this nature at http://tinyurl.com/learning2gether 

How this worked at showtime Aug 23, 2015

  • You could listen to the stream in the video embedded above while chatting with us in real-time in the Chatwing embed below
  • or you could
  • If there is space available (up to 10 people) you are welcome to join us in the Hangout on Air
    • It is a public hangout in the profile of Vance Stevens on Google+
    • Join the conversation on the Google+ event page: 
    • You could join us in HoA via its direct link posted here at show time
      and posted to Twitter hash tag #learning2gether 
    • 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 via the stream 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
        • Please MUTE YOUR MIC when not actually speaking into it during the HoA

Before, during, and after the live event, you can chat with us in the chat space above
and / or join the conversation on the Google+ event page

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

For further information on all our upcoming events please visit

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

L2W: The DMZ Showdown (Summer 2015 edition)

Koreabridge - Tue, 2015-08-25 11:24
L2W: The DMZ Showdown (Summer 2015 edition)

It has been a while since a Korean soccer player broke his leg in June. Just to let you know why CNN was busy last week with its reporters in DMZ.

It all started on Aug 4th when two South Korean soldiers lost their legs after stepping on landmines planted in DMZ. On Aug 10, with the evidence the landmines were secretly planted by North Koreans, angered South Korean President Park Geun Hye ordered the 11 giant loudspeakers along the DMZ blare out propaganda broadcasting after 11 years of hibernation to have North Korean soldiers and civilians within 24 km from DMZ listen to all the bad stories about their Dear Leader Kim Jong Un.

At 3:52 pm on Aug 20, refusing to take responsibility or make an apology for the landmine accident, North Korean army began to launch four rounds of 76.2 mm shells towards the speakers in western DMZ. Undaunted, South Korean soldiers immediately fired back 29 rounds of bigger 155 mm bombs into North Korean territory, following President Park's earlier pledge South Korea will pay it back 10 times if attacked. Infuriated at the unexpected response from the South, Kim Jong Un declared "quasi-state of war", and gave 48 hours to shut up the loudspeakers or face a rain of missiles falling in Seoul. That ultimatum was made at 5:00 pm on the same day on Aug 20.

Despite the risk of turning Seoul into a Donetsk, President Park instantly raised her middle finger at the ultimatum, flying fully armed F-16 fighter jets over DMZ to provoke North Korea to fire missiles at them so that she has a good rationale to begin bombing Pyeongyang. It took a form of dangerous chicken game between Park Geun Hye and Kim Jong Un.

At 3:00 pm on Aug 22, just two hours away from the 48 hours ultimatum, North Korea and South Korea military heads agreed to sit down for solution. It was a victory for Park as it was Kim that turned steering wheels after begging for the the talks first.

A long 43 hour marathon talks since then was concluded in early hours this morning on Aug 25. The North expressed rare "regrets" over the landmine blasts, and South agreed to turn off propaganda broadcasts, considering no unusual activity along the border occurs, meaning North Korean soldiers can dance to Gangnam Style again from the loudspeakers for any future provocative action from the North. Both agreed to hold reunions for the families separated during the Korean War on the occasion of the Chuseok Holidays in September. So, Korean peninsula is now back in peace, and CNN reporters began to pack their luggage, murmuring "Much ado about nothing.'
The leaders of South Korea and North Korea met twice, once in 2001 when Kim Jongil shook hands with then S.Korean president Kim Daejung in Pyongyang, and the other in 2007 when Kim Jongil welcomed then president Roh Mu Hyun, under South Korea's Sun Shine policy which assumed North Korea will open up itself if South Korea provides financial support. The policy did not work as the money South Korea sent was spent to build nuclear bombs. What is Park Geun Hye's policy, then? Spare the rod, spoil the child. It seems it is working this time, as proved early this morning.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean Deal Reached

Koreabridge - Mon, 2015-08-24 21:47

Another round of marathon talks conclude between North and South Korea with a deal reached to the end the tension. I’ve got the latest updates from the Peninsula. It was not a good day for Chinese markets. Key indices essentially gave back the year in one day. Plus after killing 15 in the Philippines, Typhoon Goni bears down on Japan.

Connect with me on social media and the internet!

e-mail: podcast@asianewsweekly.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveMillerANW
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/asianewsweekly
Podcast: http://asianewsweekly.net

QiRanger on Youtube     QiRanger Blog

Korean Deal Reached
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Dear Korea #129: We Should Be Fine

Koreabridge - Mon, 2015-08-24 15:01
Dear Korea #129: We Should Be Fine

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been receiving these types of calls and messages over the past week or so. I won’t lie, the first time South Korea hit the news for one reason or another? I was a little concerned. After living here for over five years, it’s hard not to be jaded, even when the locals around me seem genuinely scared. That being said, I will always hope for the best.

Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Learning2gether with Phil Hubbard and Vance Stevens on Interactive Participatory Drama and Traci Talk

Webheadsinaction.org - Sat, 2015-08-22 12:59
Sunday August 16, 2015 - 1400 GMT What was it about?  On Sunday Aug 16 1400 GMT Phil Hubbard joined Vance Stevens to discuss how we and the team at CPI (Courseware  Publishing International in Cupertino California) developed Traci Talk and envisaged its use, and accommodate any insights Sherry has after playing with the program. More generally, though, we’d like to open up a discussion about whether there’s a place for interactive participatory dramas these days in language learning. Are there apps out there now that do something similar (branching dialogues with voice)? Would it be possible (or better) to have something like this embedded in a virtual world or other environment? Could a chatbot be programmed as a suitable “suspect”?

How this worked at showtime Aug 16, 2015

  • You could listen to the stream in the video embedded above while chatting with us in real-time in the Chatwing embed below
  • or you could
  • If there is space available (up to 10 people) you are welcome to join us in the Hangout on Air
    • It is a public hangout in the profile of Vance Stevens on Google+
    • Join the conversation on the Google+ event page: 
    • You can join us in HoA via its direct link posted here at the time
      and posted to Twitter hash tag #learning2gether 
    • 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 via the stream 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
        • Please MUTE YOUR MIC when not actually speaking into it during the HoA

Before, during, and after the live event, you can chat with us in the chat space above
and / or join the conversation on the Google+ event page

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

Here is the copy / paste from the Chatwing for this event

 Halima Ozimova    hello6 days agochatWING Halima Ozimova   Vance Is there the chat of the hangout dedicated to using iPad?6 days agochatWING Vance Stevens   This is where we are in Hangout, join ushttps://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/hoaevent/AP36tYctBeUEcnLrkG9r4u6IL_32mLNCbpn0hF3mvDS7xZW5d2Faww?hl=en&authuser=06 days agochatWING Sherry Schafer   Hello everyone!6 days agochatWING Phil Hubbard   hang on, I can try another machine6 days agochatWING Vance Stevens   more info on this topic herehttp://learning2gether.pbworks.com/w/page/32206114/volunteersneededtalking about Traci Talk6 days agochatWING Vance Stevens   more info on development herehttp://www.vancestevens.com/speech_r.htm6 days agochatWING Vance Stevens   these are all important clues6 days agochatWING Vance Stevens   halima suggests this video for trace effects: 6 days agochatWING Halima Ozimova   Thank You for this amazing event!6 days agochatWING Halima Ozimova   +Phil I'd post my reflections athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/402011576597623/6 days ago

For further information on all our upcoming events please visit

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

What I Miss Most About Korea (and I’m still here!)

Koreabridge - Sat, 2015-08-22 05:32
What I Miss Most About Korea (and I’m still here!)

I have been living in Korea for exactly four years now. It’s an amazing experience that has helped me to grow as an individual in many ways. Living in another country has forced me to break many of the mental molds I once had as an American.

I’ve learned that there are many different versions and translations of the bigger picture. What I once thought I fully understood about Koreans has proven to have been a preconceived notion as I look back.

Learning a new way of life, a new profession, a new view on life stretched my heart and mind in ways too countless to list here.

This sequel to my life is proving to be better than the original. It’s incredible to see how all the dots from my past have connected and my new direction makes sense to me now.

Growth as a person is no different than growth of a muscle. The more pressure and resistance you subject the muscle to, the bigger and stronger it will become. The muscle’s endurance will also increase.

If you don’t apply pressure and resistance to the muscle, it will atrophy. So goes the growth process of human nature and personal growth.

When I first came to Korea my life was a dichotomy of circumstances. The thrill of being in a completely new environment was at a peak. Conversely, the sticking points and stumbling blocks of trying to understand the rhyme and reason of everyday Korean life was no less than defeating at times.

When I mix these two worlds together I received growth. Just like one would feel when standing in the mirror after a workout realizing the struggle to make all those workouts is finally paying off. I look back and see that, because of those pressure situations, I’ve got new muscle.

But life in Korea is a doubled-edged sword.

I have been here for four years. This is my home. My place to rest my head. My apartment is my sanctuary – and a nice one at that (finally). I know exactly how to get around. I have my job under wraps. I know what my schedule is like week in and week out. Life is good.

Over the past several months though I found myself getting restless. Not discontent, but wondering. Something is wrong. Is there struggle in all this comfort? The double-edged sword is sawing deeper and I realize something now.

I miss the pain.

Other than only speaking English, is my life all that different than the Korean to my left and right? No, it’s not. We’re walking to the bus together and riding it to our jobs. We’re going for groceries, going out to eat, doing our weekly activities without a single thought. Kind of watching the time go by.

It’s like when you first started with the push-up routine (if…you ever did push-ups before!). At first it was only ten reps, then six weeks later it was fifty. Enter Rocky theme music. Then, over the course of the next six weeks it was…fifty.

Whether it’s uprooting my Korea situation or seeking a new environment altogether, one thing is for sure. I need the fresh struggle back. The pain.

When Vince Vaughn was young and skinny, he was in a comedy called “Swingers”. A movie about a bunch of young comedian wannabes in LA trying to make it happen and their lives in between. One of the dramas taking place in the film was with a character, Mikey, who moved to LA to get away from a recent breakup back in New York City. He obsessed over it.

In one scene Mikey is speaking with a friend who apparently had a similar situation in his life. He asks his friend how he got over it.

The friend tells him that, basically, as time goes by it hurts a little less and then eventually it just goes away. But then he found that he missed the pain.

“You miss the pain?” Mikey asks in amazement.

The friend responds, “Yeah. For the same reason you miss her. Because you lived with it for so long.”

As much as I despise it when I think about it, I also miss the pain now.

The post What I Miss Most About Korea (and I’m still here!) appeared first on Red Dragon Diaries.

the Red Dragon Diaries

ESL, Travel, and Judo!

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Top 5 Vegan (and Vegan-Friendly) Restaurants in Seoul

Koreabridge - Thu, 2015-08-20 00:57
Top 5 Vegan (and Vegan-Friendly) Restaurants in Seoul I often get many e-mails requesting recommendations for vegan eats in Korea. While I appreciate vegan food, and have had some fantastic dining experiences at vegan restaurants in the city, I'm most certainly no expert. So, I enlisted the help of someone who is. Amanda from SoKoreazy.com has graciously offered to share her top five vegan (and vegan-friendly) restaurants in Seoul. Without further ado, here they are:

1. Cafe Suッkara (Sukkara) (vegan-friendly) 

My favorite vegan restaurant in Seoul is not actually a vegan restaurant, though vegan-friendly dishes and drinks feature heavily on their menu. Cafe Sukkara is nestled in a quiet, cozy, and rather nondescript building (noticeable only because of its huge, green wooden door) located between Hongdae and Sinchon. Cafe Sukkara has the perfect cafe atmosphere: dim lighting, low, comfy seats, and a completely open kitchen surrounded by bar stools. In the summertime, they slide the glass doors at the front of the cafe open, and you can enjoy your meal outside on their deck.

The cafe prides itself on using local, mostly organic, ingredients, and the menu changes seasonally. There are usually at least two vegan main dishes on offer, in addition to their always present vegan yeast bread, soup, and salad set. They also offer many vegan desserts, such as carrot cake and raw vegan cheesecake, as well as amazing drinks! I love their seasonal mojitos, made with homemade candied fruit, and their homemade ginger ale is the best I've had anywhere, with the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness.

It's easy to see how much care and attention to detail the staff put into the food, literally, since you can watch your food and drinks being made right in front of your eyes! Their dishes are healthy and quite unique, and I love how frequently they change up the menu. My favorite seasonal dish has been the Lotus Root Patties: melt-in-your-mouth roasted lotus root slices topped with miso gravy and served with pickled carrots, seaweed soup, and brown rice. This is my top pick, for food, drinks, desserts, and atmosphere, they've got it all covered.

Address 327-9 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul; Ph. 02-334-5919; Hours 11am-12am (last order 11pm)

2. PLANT (vegan) 

Before I came to Korea, even before I became vegan, one of my favorite blogs to follow was Alien's Day Out, run by the multi-talented artist, baker, and bunny-lover, Mipa. She set up her Alien's Day Out bakeshop from her apartment and used her blog to showcase her art, beautiful baked goods, and reviewed nearly every vegan-friendly cafe, restaurant, and eatery in Seoul. So, I was super ecstatic to hear that she was opening her own cafe in Itaewon the very year I finally moved to Korea!

I spent my first year in Korea in Ulsan (where I became vegan, in part because of the overabundance of meat and seafood everywhere), and caught the KTX up to Seoul during holidays and long weekends. PLANT was like a miracle to me then, and it still is, to so many vegans and homesick expats alike.

Mipa's layer cakes are out of this world: so light, moist, and made in classic American flavor combinations such as chocolate peanut butter and pumpkin gingerbread. For healthier options, check out her scones and fruit-filled muffins. PLANT also serves lunch, such as noodle or rice bowls, wraps, and burgers; the menu changes weekly, and there are usually three different options. And, if you're a chai-addict like me, you have got to try her soy chai lattes: they are THE BEST.

The only downside to PLANT is that it's located in a very small space, and since it's SO popular, it can be difficult to get a seat. Luckily, everything is available to take away, and they also sell plenty of pre-packaged goodies such as cookies, powerballs, brownies, and even vegan doggie biscuits!

Address 63-15 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul; Ph. 070-4115-8388; Hours Tues-Sat 11am-8pm

3. Everest (vegan-friendly) 

Everest is by no means a vegan restaurant, but is instead the best-loved Indian restaurant in Seoul (maybe even in all of Korea?!) It makes my list of the best vegan restaurants in Seoul because it is freakin' delicious, it is very reasonably-priced (their curries are all under ten thousand won, while at most other Indian restaurants in Korea, you can expect to pay up to seventeen thousand won,) and it is very accommodating to vegans!

There are a variety of vegetable curries on the menu (my favorite is the chickpea-loaded chana masala), vegetable starters such as pakoras and samosas, and plenty of yummy breads. Before you order, make it clear to your server that you don't want any butter or cheese in your food, and you're good to go! Their breads are usually glazed with butter, but if you specify that you don't want any dairy in your meal, they will cook the bread on a separate pan to avoid contamination.

All of the staff speak English, so don't worry about any language barriers. Even though it's located in the kinda run-down backstreets of Dongdaemun, the restaurant's interior is so bright and decorative, and their spacious booths are super comfy.

Address 2-1 Jongno 50ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul; Ph. 02-766-8850; Hours Daily 11am-11pm

4. 산촌 (Sanchon) (vegan)

If you're looking for a fancy vegan feast, or if you really want to impress your guests, you have got to check out this temple food restaurant located down a labyrinth of alleys in Insadong.

You can choose a lunch or dinner set (priced at 33 thousand won and 45 thousand won, respectively,) but be sure to come here hungry and with plenty of time to spare.

The meals are served in a procession of beautifully-presented courses complimented by fermented pine needle wine and tea. Though the food is inspired by Buddhist temple food, it is seasoned with onions, chilies, and garlic (usually omitted from Buddhist cuisine.)

I love bringing visiting friends and family members here because it's delicious, vegan, and they can get a taste of so many different Korean specialties, ranging from jeon to jjigae to kimchi. Their menu also changes seasonally, so you know they're using the freshest available ingredients. The interior is just magical, with ornately carved wooden decorations, creaky wooden floors, and lotus lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant is mostly Korean-style floor seating, but Western-style table and chair seating is also available.

Address 30-13 road (Gwanhun) Gwanhun 14, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul; Ph. 02-735-0312; Hours Daily 11:30am-10pm

5. Mimi and Kelly's (vegan) 

Mimi and Kelly's is one of the more recent vegan cafes to pop up in Seoul, and I sure do hope it sticks around! If you're looking to snack on some scrumptious vegan comfort food, this is definitely the place to go! The cafe is located just a short walk away from the touristy streets of Insadong, and shares its space with a Vietnamese restaurant (sadly, non-vegan.)

Their drink menu is huge, featuring many specialties such as lassis using vegan yogurt, virgin cocktails, various teas and soy coffees, bubble tea, and amazingly thick and creamy milkshakes. Their food menu is quite small. It's not really the sort of place you'd go to for a meal, but their snacks are very hearty and really hit the spot.

You can choose comfort food classics such as mac and cheese, coconut cheese toast, and even vegan Korean honey bread (y'know, those big loaves of bread covered in syrup and cream which you can get in all the Korean dessert cafes.) They also usually have a couple of cakes in their display case. And, they have vegan soft serve ice cream!

Sometimes they offer special dinners featuring dishes which aren't available on their menu, such as pizza and pasta. These dinners are open to a certain number of guests, and you can sign up for them via their Facebook page. The cafe itself is quite spacious, with a large communal table and a number of smaller tables. It's definitely worth checking out if you're in the mood for something sweet or covered in ooey gooey cruelty-free cheese!

Address 188-4 Insa-dong, Jongno-gu; Hours Weekdays 3-9:30pm, Weekends 11am-9:30pm, Closed Wed

About the Author

Amanda is an American expat who has spent the majority of her adult life living in the UK, and the past few years in Korea. She became vegan six months after moving to Korea, and hasn't found the vegan life here anywhere near as difficult as many would expect! She uses her blog, SoKoreazy.com, to review vegan restaurants in Korea and beyond, as well as to write about cute and quirky sights and shopping spots.


Words and photos by Amanda of SoKoreazy.com for Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.

Seoul Searching

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Filipina Wife vs. Korean Husband (Part 1)

Koreabridge - Mon, 2015-08-17 17:10
Filipina Wife vs. Korean Husband (Part 1)

As a couple who lives in a marriage with two different cultures, my husband and I don’t usually see eye to eye on many things. Our hobbies are quite different and our personalities are incompatible. He’s got some habits that I’m not crazy about, and I’m certain that some of my habits also drive him bonkers.

Pettifogging used to be a normal thing for us, but now we usually just laugh off little misunderstandings.

Below is a short video of some of my Korean husband’s habits that irk me.

Do you know anyone who has the same habit?

I will attempt to explain why some Korean husbands behave the way they do, but on this post, I will talk about only three habits that may be true about some Korean husbands or husbands in general.

Help me with the chores, please.

In Korea, husbands rarely help with household chores. According to a report issued by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), South Korea got the lowest rank among 29 countries in a survey of how many hours husbands spend on performing household chores. Korean men are often overworked that even until the age of 71, they continue working to fend for their families. Because of this, most Korean men refuse to participate in housework. How about husbands who are unemployed? According to an article I have read in the Korea Times a few years ago, even jobless men are reluctant to do household chores. Statistics revealed that unemployed husbands spent 1.6 to 3.2 hours doing household tasks, while their wives spent 3.1 to 4.8 hours. While it is common for men to evade housework, Korea’s patriarchal society  may be the main reason why most Korean men spend less time helping their wives at home. As my father-in-law once said, “Housework is for women. Men should not be in the kitchen washing dishes.” Nowadays, more younger couples in Korea are changing this belief. I am grateful that my husband can be easily swayed to help me at home when housework is too much for me. Of course, he complains, but in the end, he helps out, as I always put my “nagging skills” to use. Sometimes I don’t even have to ask him for help. He’ll cook dinner, wash the dishes or take out the trash when he knows how exhausted I am.

Don’t overfeed me!

Recently, muk-bang or ‘eating broadcasts’ have become a trend in South Korea, but before there were TV shows and livestreams of Koreans eating gluttonously while chatting with their viewers, Koreans had long been gourmands (lovers of good food or people who eat too much). Why not? There are tons of delectable dishes to enjoy in Korea. I love Korean food, but no matter how I love, let’s say Korean garlic chicken, don’t expect me to wolf it down when I just finished dinner and I’m still feeling stuffed. This may seem too trivial, but my husband’s habit of “eating again” after we’ve just eaten drives me nuts! I don’t think it’s only my husband or his family who does this. I’ve noticed other Koreans do it, too. This is one Korean habit that my husband can’t change, which gives me a legit excuse for gaining weight. ^^

It’s time to change that stinky shirt!

All right, before I talk about this, please know that I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ALL KOREAN MEN. I repeat, NOT ALL KOREAN MEN… so I hope no Korean will be offended. ^^V

My husband has the habit of wearing the same clothes for days, and this gives me a migraine! He doesn’t smell like a skunk, but being an OC, I just can’t tolerate it. My mother-in-law explained to me that some Koreans don’t change clothes everyday, especially in winter, for the following reasons 1.) they don’t sweat much, because it’s freezing 2.) winter clothes are heavy and takes a long time to dry after they are washed  3.) they are busy and have no time to think about what clothes to wear the next day 4.) older Koreans don’t care much about fashion. I asked my husband why he just can’t part with his three-day (sometimes four/five-day) old shirts and his answer was: “I’m lazy!”


From Korea with Love



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Abe Statement on the 70th Anniversary WWII’s End: A Missed Opportunity

Koreabridge - Mon, 2015-08-17 09:12
Abe Statement on the 70th Anniversary WWII’s End: A Missed Opportunit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave his big speech on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II last Friday. There has been a torrent of comment, much of pretty positive. Jennifer Lind made the good points that a speech like this would have been remarkable by almost any other head of state/government, and that no other imperialists in Asia’s past are lining up to apologize (ouch). So, I agree, it is pretty remarkable compared to the usual nationalist bluster we expect from heads of state and government on such occasions (think Putin the thug).

But it still ducked a lot, and it pretty clearly played up the very wrong, very revisionist WWII ‘victim narrative’ in Japan. That is, that Japan was a victim in the war, because of the atom bomb drop, and/or that its people were dragged into the war by a gang of militarists who didn’t represent the nation. Those interpretations are generous to say the least. Pretty hard to square kamikaze raids and ritual suicide with that.

The following comments were originally written for the Nelson Report. I thank Chris for soliciting me.


“Abe didn’t really say anything remarkable. This won’t lead to a regional breakthrough. He was clearly speaking to his domestic audience and Japan’s former opponents simultaneously, which is why the language is so bland and diplomatic, both exculpatory and regretful at the same time.

A few things leapt out at me:

1. The context provided was that Japan’s early imperial efforts were somehow anti-colonial. For example, colonized people everywhere were apparently thrilled that Japan defeated Russia in 1905. That is pretty self-serving, not to mention inaccurate. The idea that Japan’s use of force in the first half of the twentieth century was to prevent Western domination of East Asia has a been a right-wing historiographic trope in Japan for awhile. But it is far more accurate to say that Japan was mimicking what is saw the West doing in places like India and Africa. There was nothing ‘liberatory’ about Japan’s conflicts, especially in Northeast Asia were Western domination was not a real threat. Japan was empire-building, just like Western states a generation earlier, and it would help a lot if Japanese conservatives would simply admit this.

2. Little agency is admitted. Colonialism and the Pacific War just seem to happen. So “Japan took the wrong turn,” which makes it sound like Japanese decision-makers didn’t actually purposefully and extensively plan the imperial venture over decades, complete with blatantly aggressively moves like Pearl Harbor. This is another rightist historiographic chestnut – that war was someone forced on Japan or that it just came about as a natural outcome of international politics.

3. There wasn’t much on the specifics of the Army’s harshness toward the peoples it overran – no mention of Nanjing, Unit 731, the comfort women system (which was empire-wide, not just in Korea), Bataan, and so on. It’s pretty revealing of the gap between Japan and the rest of the world on this that atom bomb drop was mentioned twice, while the most the comfort women got was an oblique: “women behind the battlefields whose honour and dignity were severely injured.” There’s a lot on how Japan suffered in the war, without the obvious admission that Japan brought this on itself or that Japan’s leaders could have stopped the 1945 bombing campaign by surrendering much earlier.

Good grief. All this kinda makes you wonder what the Japanese put in their textbooks…

4. This won’t do regionally. The ROK and China won’t accept it. There’s far too much justification, avoidance, and self-pity. It’s too bad. This is likely the highest profile chance Abe will get to change the regional dynamic on Japan and the Empire, and he blew it. But I guess that’s just who he is. He really believes this stuff, it seems. Given that China and North Korea are not democracies, he won’t face much critical blowback. He can always point to their worse denialism and brutality. But for democratic partners, most obviously South Korea, this statement will do nothing to relieve the moral pressure Japan faces on history. A Park-Abe summit likely won’t happen, and I bet the South Korean reaction tomorrow morning will be tough.

All in all, a mixed effort that will not change anything regionally. A missed opportunity.

Filed under: History, Japan, World War II

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


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Yes, You Can Get That in Korea. And That. That, Too

Koreabridge - Sun, 2015-08-16 10:19
Yes, You Can Get That in Korea. And That. That, Too

Expats of the ROK, stop if you’ve heard this one: You can’t get “____” in Korea.

“I love Korea,” the imaginary newly-established English teacher from various western countries of the world of yesterday would say to other newly-established English teacher friends at the lone expat-friendly drinking establishment in town, over bottles of Hite because, you can’t get decent beer in Korea, and Hite’s at least better than Cass. “But, you can’t get decent cheese here. You can’t get avocados here. I would kill for some kettle-cooked chips. Powdered coffee is gross, some coffee beans would be nice. What about some toothpaste with fluoride? My teeth are going to rot out of my skull!”

He, or she (or it, let’s just be gender-neutral with our imaginary hero here) pulls back on its cold, dewy brown bottle of brew and makes a face. The beer is getting warm. It hears a rumbly in its tumbly. It is hungry. It needs to feed. While it enjoys Korean food (it is, after all, in Korea), it longs for comfort foods of home: club sandwiches from the diner, cereal that isn’t corn flakes or frosted flakes, and pizza. Especially pizza. Koreans just don’t understand pizza.

Let’s step away from our gender-less protagonist for now. Let’s also assume it must have done its Korean Tour of Duty somewhere not in Seoul, which for a time evolved its international tastes at a rate faster than the rest of this small East Asian nation. But, whether it (or, you, or me) were in the capital, a middle-tier city, or Busan, the second-largest city in the country, there have been a number of items, foods, things in general, that were simply unavailable here.

But, times have definitely changed. Anyone planning on coming to teach has probably pored through blog posts from other teachers in excitement, reading about how things are, how things aren’t. Mainly, how you’ll need to pack this or that before you come, or you should enjoy this or that before you leave your mother country, since you ain’t gonna get it here.

Much of that seems to have become redundant. All the big supermarkets have large varieties of wine and beer–not just sweet wines and standard Korean brews–and even a fair selection of liquors. Besides internationally-known beers, Korea’s Queen’s Ale, 7Brau and Be High, among others, are getting shelf time next to their standard American-adjunct-lager-styled big brothers. All the major convenience store chains today offer many of those beers, as well, often with some kind of “four for 10 (thousand won)” special. Craft beer, which came to Seoul a lot sooner, finally found its footing in Busan in 2013 when Galmegi Brewing Company opened beachside in Gwangan. Their success has resulted in the opening of several other locations, amidst an overall increase in “tap houses” that are serving a variety of both beers brewed in-house and elsewhere in South Korea. Looking through the menu at Owl and Pussycat last night, I noticed there wasn’t a Hite, Cass, OB or Max in sight.

Kettle chips are easy to find these days, whether in the supermarket or convenience store. Home plus sells a number of coffee beans, including store-branded 1 kg bags of Hazelnut and Colombian for 12,000 won (about $10.25. Some of those old blogs probably said the conversion from a won to dollar was pretty even. The good old days). And that’s just at the supermarket. Don’t even get me started on all the coffee in Korea (cheap plug for a concept I kind of abandoned a month ago). Cheeses of a large variety can be easily found in larger supermarkets, some of it a reasonable price. I’ve even seen Arm & Hammer toothpaste!

Avocados have gotten easier to find. I just picked up a few on discount at Top Mart in the middle of the week. Cilantro is still difficult unless you’re near a foreigner market area (like I am in Gimhae, which neighbors Busan to the west) and Mexican/Tex Mex food is still a bit hit or miss (non-existent here, improving in Busan).

Pizza has seemed to be one of the last holdouts. While even a decade ago, you could get mozzarella alongside yellow American cheese, it was waxy, flavorless and cheap. Korean pizza followed the model of places like Domino’s and Pizza Hut and as such most pies, whether from those two imports or home-grown establishments, tended to taste like derivations of Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

And if you were a person of a certain geographical background (I grew up in New Jersey. Tangent, but have you noticed when people are from countries like Australia, New Zealand or England, they’ll almost never say they’re from Sydney, Wellington or London? If you’re American like me, you’ll say you’re from New Jersey, like me. Self-centered assholes), you wished you could find a decent slice of pizza–like a decent beer, decent cheese, decent coffee, or a variety of cereals that weren’t coated in sugar. The slice you could fold, where a little grease dribbled through your fingers, with ingredients that didn’t taste like they only came from a bag, the kind you only seemed to get at home (again, assuming you’re from East Coast USA, and other places where good pizza is common).

Yes, you can get that in Korea now, too.

As Ralph Cramden would say, “homina, homina.” #foodpornography The “White Pie,” garlic sauce, mozzarella, ricotta cheese.

SOL Slice of Life Pizza is absolutely the pizza I grew up with in New Jersey. Everything I said good pizza (for me, at least) should be is there, including the most important (for the business): I cannot wait to go back. And, yes, I know the Kyungsung University area in Busan is a popular area for businesses to accumulate and doesn’t necessarily reflect the average neighborhood throughout South Korea. But even at that this is the first pizza like this I have ever had in Korea (I understand The Booth is also pretty good in Haeundae, but I’ve never gotten to try it. Actually, are they still even making pizza? Their website only lists their Seoul locations and beer only, nothing about pizza…).

It’s all very good (or bad, for one’s waistline, if such a thing concerns you) for those wanting a taste of home, creature comforts, things like that. But…

When I first came to Jinju, South Korea, in 2005 (the details of which that initial attempt at living a Korean life can be perused in greater detail here), I was a very green world traveler. I had only been overseas once, to the Czech Republic with a group in university. Going to South Korea, to live, was an eye-opening, scary experience (scary enough that I got the hell out of here less than two months later). And all of those creature comforts–cheese that wasn’t wrapped in a plastic sheet, avocados, coffees beans and takeout coffee cups bigger than your head–were nowhere to be seen. “Korean Style” fried chicken was already a thing, but the multitude of options were fewer and of a decidedly-less flashy variety, to be sure.

Old school. Remember Donky Fried Chicken in Jinju, Estevez?

And everything felt so… different. True, some of that feeling was likely because I was so green, but Korea really has changed a hell of a lot in 10 years, especially in regard to its unrelenting march toward westernization. Newbies I talk to these days for the most part have said the culture shock they expected to face wasn’t nearly as bad, if there was any culture shock at all. I can’t help but wonder if some of the magic has been lost forever.

I guess I’ll just have to stuff my face with delicious pizza to numb that creeping sense of loss.

I’m hurting on the inside.

Read a review (not written by me) on SOL Slice of Life Pizza here.

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

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3 Things you need to know about Gwangbokjeol (Aug 15), the National Liberation Day of Korea

Koreabridge - Fri, 2015-08-14 04:40
3 Things you need to know about Gwangbokjeol (Aug 15)

August 15 is one of the most meaningful days to Koreans. It is Gwangbokjeol, the National Liberation Day of Korea . You can see many Korean national flags “Taegeukgi” hung in the street or on the windows of the houses.

1. Why is Gwangbokjeol so special?

August 15 is the day when Korea was liberated from the Japanese colony in 1945 and also when Korean government was established in 1948 after overcoming the fuss generated from the liberation. On August 15, 1945, Japan declared unconditional surrender and the World War 2 was over, which made Korea restore our own power. Gwangbok means to regain the light, which perfectly describes the restoration of national independence that was lost for 36 years under the Japanese invasion.

2. People who sacrificed their lives for greater purposes. Ryu Gwansun, one of the most famous independence fighters.

Many people were suffered and killed during the colonial period. Some voluntarily gave up their lives in exchange of the liberation of Korea. Ryu Gwansun (1902~1920) is the most famous figure who became the symbol of the March 1 Movement (1919) that took a big role in taking back Korea’s independence. She was only a 16-year-old student when she organized the March 1 movement at her home town. In the demonstration on March 1st, her family members were brutally killed by the Japanese soldiers and she was imprisoned. Even though she was locked up in the prison, she continued to declare the liberation of Korea. However, due to the harsh torture that 16-year-old body could not stand, she passed away in the prison.

Ahn Jung Geun, the nationalist who killed Ito Hirobumi.

Ahn Jung Geun (1876~1910) was a Korean independence activist and nationalist who is known for his assassination of Ito Hirobumi, the prime minister of Japan and former Resident-General of Korea back when Korea was about to be colonized by the Japan. He shot Ito Hirobumi and yelled for Korean Independence in Russian, waving the Korean flag. He was later sentenced to death by the Japanese government but his views of pan-Asia, a concept of European Union among Korea, China & Japan were highly praised even by the Japanese.

You can visit Ahn Jung Geun’s memorial hall located in Seoul.

Kim Gu, Korean nationalist politician

Kim Gu (1876~1949) is another historic figure who cannot be excluded when talking about the liberation. During the Japanese colonial period, he moved to China to establish the provisional government of Korea that worked as the main quarter for the liberation movements. As he was always threatened to be killed by Japan, he had to move to one place to another frequently, but never gave up working for the liberation.

Finally after the liberation, Kim Gu came back to Korea, but Korea was divided into South and North. He insisted on building one single country, instead of two. However, in 1949, one year later after the establishment of South Korean government, he was assassinated by a Korean soldier. There are many political rumors behind his death, but nothing has been proved yet.

3. The place of despair and will, Seodaemun prison.

When people in Seoul were captured for the action that led to the liberation of Korea, they were sent to Seodaemun prison located in Seoul. People who were captured went to court run by Japanese and were tortured brutally in the prison. After the liberation, the prison changed into an educational place to remember how the prisoners under the Japanese colonial were treated inhumanely.

You can learn more about the historical backgrounds of the anti-Japanese struggle and the historical figures during the colonial rule by visiting the Independence Hall of Korea located in Cheonan.

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Making Korean Friends and Getting a Job in Busan

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-08-12 12:04
Making Korean Friends and Getting a Job in Busan

Before we left the Philippines, I thought that I could easily find a job in South Korea. I heard that there’s a lot of job opportunities in Korea and the pay is really great. When I was doing my research online and reading some blogs about life in Korea, I stumbled across this website: http://mykoreanfriends.com/xe/. I signed up and made my own account. I started making friends (most of them are Koreans) and now they are members of my English study group in Busan. I was also able to find a client who wanted me to tutor her kids starting September through My Korean Friends website. Isn’t it great? If you’re an expat living in Busan and wanted to meet some Korean friends, I recommend you check out My Korean Friends.

Here’s some of the photos during our study group meetups/study sessions. Our first ever meetup took place at the Aqua Place Hotel in front of Gwanganli beach. It’s kind of a meet and greet event. I prepared some fun activities for the group. We enjoyed each other’s company plus the awesome scenery outside the hotel. It was really breathtaking! Our second meetup/study session was at Cafe DropTop in Jeonpo-dong. My study group members are nice and pleasant to talk with. I love hanging out with them.


first meetup (meet and greet event)


2nd meetup/study session


A Nigerian friend of mine who I met via My Korean Friends, sent me this link via Kakao Talk: http://koreabridge.net/.  He knew that I was looking for a job so maybe that’s the reason why he sent it to me. Anyways, I checked out the website and found out a lot of information about life in Korea. The website has different sections: job ads, classified ads, forums, blogs, Q&A, etc. You can find almost  everything that you need to know about living in Korea and getting a job. So I decided to make an account and I often check the job ads section when I was looking for a teaching job. For a non-native English speaker like me, getting a teaching job in Korea is a little bit challenging because most private English academies also known as hagwons only hire teachers who are citizens of the following countries: North America, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.


(source: google)


I’ve sent more or less 15 resumes to different schools via email but if my memory serves me right, only 3 of them responded to my email and invited me over for an in-person interview. I was lucky enough or should I say “blessed” to get a part-time job as a substitute English teacher at a hagwon for 3 consecutive weeks. I’ve never taught English in Korea before. It’s actually my first ever teaching job in Korea, and I am so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. In September, I ‘m going to start teaching private English lessons and I just hope that everything’s going to be fine.


source: google


With God, all things are possible! I am living by faith and not by sight!

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Who Wins: ‘Mr. Bean’ or ‘100 Angry Grandmothers’?

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-08-12 06:32
Who Wins: ‘Mr. Bean’ or ‘100 Angry Grandmothers’?

Hello, fellow ESL teachers. Do you have 10 minutes to kill in a class? Have you already shown your students every (currently available on YouTube) episode of the animated Mr. Bean series? Are your kids bored to death of Hangman or–in the case of South Korea–“Nunchi Game,” where they each stand up in the order of words or numbers on the board and the last one to stand is out? Do you have a class that is relatively advanced in English and can offer some creative discourse? Or, do you have a class that barely offers input at all?

Here is an activity that I have found to be incredibly fun and rewarding for both those able to communicate well in English and those with more limited ability.  Please note, I originally found a much more basic version of this idea on Dave’s ESL Cafe. But, I felt that was a little boring and limited. This way, you’re only limited by how creative the children can get and how weird you want your choices to be (also, if someone else out there has already come up with a version of this closer to my own, just remember the old adage that might or might not have come from Oscar Wilde, “Talent borrows, genius steals.” Which means, yes, I am calling myself a genius).

These were most of the “fighters” in today’s matchups of “WHO WINS?”

I call the game “Who Wins?” or “This vs. That.” It’s a fun debate on who would win in an imaginary fight. First, write down on pieces of paper different things that could fight. These could be as simple (lion, tiger, bird, monkey, etc.) or as unusual (today I included things like “a baby,” “Batman,” “John teacher,” “Mr. Bean,” “a bowl of soup,” “five chickens” and “100 angry grandmothers”) as you want. Make a few or a lot and carry them around the class or throw them in a hat. Have one child pull out a random fighter, another child pull out another. Write the choices down on the board and then pause for a few moments as they laugh at the ridiculous matchups. Then ask the children “who wins??” When they give their choices, ask them “WHY?

Depending on the level of English, you’ll get some really great, creative answers (A girl said “a baby” would win her fight because of her mother. In “Batman” vs. “A Giraffe,” one boy said Batman wins because of his weapons. Another boy, when answering for “five chickens” vs. Mr. Bean, “a bowl of soup” vs. John teacher and “Lion” vs. “a baby,” offered up the same answer: one would eat the other. Can you guess which one??) or at least a simple answer (Lion beats bird because, “strong,” which is better than nothing, especially if it’s from a kid who usually barely contributes). Especially with higher levels, it can be loads of fun when you get a random match-up between “A Baby” and “A Lion,” or “Mr. Bean” and “100 Angry Grandmothers.”

The activity is easily adjustable to the children levels and interest. Throw in a points system that can give rewards for most creative input or simply any input at all. Some kids almost never speak up. With this game, I have found even some of them cannot help but chime in. Or, keep it a free-form discussion.

From my friend Brendan Shea over at The Multifaced Man:

So I just did this with my previously bored summer intensive class students and we had a riot! Robot Obama beat the devil, and Brendan Teacher’s Baby with a rocket launcher beat Jae Won (one of the students in the class) by being too cute to punch. This was a fun game!

1000 grandmothers worked together to use their ‘lovely power’ and ‘soft fingers’ to lull a tiger into a false sense of security only to kill it with their secret dwenjang and kimchi smell powers after it dropped it’s guard. This was my favorite class in a long time.

I think the part that makes it so fun is that it’s only limited by their own creativity. I had a team that picked ‘ant’ out of the hat score points against ‘transformer’ because they said the ant could crawl inside and snip wires. Brilliant, and really fun.

Give it a try and let me know how it went in the comments!

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

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Single K women overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage, 50% of Single men against

Koreabridge - Thu, 2015-08-06 06:07
Single K women overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage, 50% of The matchmaking website Duo surveyed 616 people from the 25th of July to the 1st of August asking about their opinions in relation to the legalization of same-sex marriage. 69.3% of unmarried women agreed with the statement "Same-sex marriage is acceptable." while 50.2% of men were against gay marriage.

Married Korean couple at Seoul Pride, 2015When asked about the reasons for supporting same-sex marriage, the majority of respondents stated that "It is a personal choice to marry who you wish"(67.5%). This was followed with "Sexual preference is determined by nature"(13.6%), and "In order to work toward ending social discrimination of minorities"(12%).

The reasons against same-sex marriage were more varied, including "It could aggravate confusion about one's personal sexual identity"(21.9%), "It could cause social confusion"(21%), and "Sexual preference is a learned behavior"(14.7%). 12.5% of respondents replied "I dislike same-sex marriage for no particular reason."

The survey also asked how you would react if you learned that a family member, friend, or acquaintance was gay. 27.9% of respondents replied that they would treat the person as before; the most common response for women was "I would understand and support them"(36.4%) with men responding "I would seriously find out more and think about it."

Only 12.8% of men responded that they have met someone who has come out whereas 48.3% of women have. While causality cannot really be determined with this type of study, the correlation between knowing someone who has come out and supporting same-sex marriage is clear.
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Critiquing the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-08-05 07:31
Critiquing the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity (The Korea File)

Download mp3

The Jeju Peace Forum was founded in 2001 with the goal of contributing to world peace and international cooperation in the East Asian sphere through multilateral dialogue and community building. 

The 2003 edition of the conference included President Roh Muu-hyun's official apology to Jeju Island for the 4.3 massacre and the 2007 Jeju Declaration envisioned a regional peacekeeping diplomatic role for South Korea based on the Helsinki Process. 

In 2008, with the election of the hardline right-wing Lee Myung-bak government, the foreign affairs ministry changed the name of the conference to The Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity and shifted focus away from co-operative agreements, bringing in big name speakers on themes unrelated to the peace process.

A glance at the list of events, workshops and speakers from the 10th Forum held last May, full of washed-up politicians and discredited neoliberal economic themes, suggests a conference in search of an identity.

Darren Southcott, editor-in-chief of The Jeju Weekly magazine, joins The Korea File to discuss whether or not the Forum has stayed true to it’s roots as a regional peace initiative.

Details on the 10th edition of the Forum can be found here:http://www.jejuforum.or.kr/eng/

For more from Darren Southcott, check out The Jeju Weekly magazine here:http://www.jejuweekly.com/

Music on this episode: 김 수 철 with '내일'

   The Korea File

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Inventions from Korea that you might not have imagined at all!

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-07-29 23:18
Inventions from Korea that you might not have imagined at all!

Good inventions can change the world into a better place. Items invented in Korea also have permeated into the lives of all, making our lives more convenient and more exciting. Can you guess what kind of items were invented in Korea?

 1. Instant coffee mix

About 50 years ago in Korea, coffee was a luxurious drink which was mostly affordable in high class families. However, thanks to the invention of the instant coffee mix in 1976, coffee became inexpensive and people easily began to purchase it anywhere. Eventually drinking coffee got popular among the middle class and was placed as a big part of the Korean culture.

 2. MP3 Player

Most of people might think that MP3 Player was invented outside of Korea. However, Digital Cast, a small Korean company, invented MP3 Player for the first time in 1997. People were shocked by the small size of MP3 player and it was a must have item among the youth back then. Unfortunately, due to the poor marketing management and IMF crisis in Korea, Digital Cast was sold off to Sigma Tel from U.S.

 3. PC Bang (PC Room)

PC Bang is a Korean Internet café and the concept of PC room (or the Internet café) started from Korea. Until the mid-90’s, personal computer (PC) was really expensive and the Internet was not widely distributed. However, as IT industries was nurtured nation wide by the Korean government and PCs were sold at reasonable prices, which eventually led to the installation of high-speed Internet around the country. Due to these reasons, the number of the PC rooms increased rapidly. The PC game ‘Starcraft’ also allured people to visit PC rooms.

 4. Gable top milk carton

When you think of a milk carton, I bet you would come up with the image similar to the one above. The shape of the entrance is called gable top. Dr. Sukgyun Shin, so-called Edison of Korea, invented the new type of milk carton in 1953. Even though the invention was innovative, he couldn’t claim patent because it was in the middle of Korean Civil War. Eventually, this gable top carton was delivered to U.S. by U.S. army and was set as the international standard.

 5. Cheering balloon stick

In Korean baseball games, cheering balloon sticks are everywhere, escalating the exciting mood. These sticks were designed by a Korean company in 1994. These 65 cm long sticks can make sounds 10 times louder than just normal claps. These cheering balloon sticks are used not only in sports games but also in various events these days.

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Korean Royal Cuisine

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-07-29 22:29

We're about to have a once in a lifetime experience eating Korean Royal Cuisine. It's something that even people living in Korea rarely ever do, and it's probably some of the best Korean food we ever had. Check it out for this week's Food Adventure!

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Korean Royal Cuisine
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Teacher’s Real Face

Koreabridge - Wed, 2015-07-29 16:56
Teacher’s Real Face One day, I walked in the classroom and found two of the girls in my elementary class wearing pink eyeliner which they made from clay.“Wow, you girls look prettier today,” I said, trying so hard not to burst into laughter as the girls gingerly walked to their seats with their heads up, so that their clay eyeliner would not fall.“Teacher, we wear eyeliner like you,” one of the girls, Mary, who was barely blinking, mouthed.“I can see that, but mine is black and yours is pink.”“Pink is pretty. I like pink.”“I like pink, too, so sometimes I wear pink lipstick, but I have never worn pink eyeliner.”“Sometimes teacher eyeliner is blue,” the other girl, Tiffany, was now putting back her clay eyeliner that fell as she was speaking. “Yesterday yesterday (the other day), teacher dress is blue, teacher eyeliner is blue.” I was flattered that these kids remember.There is one boy in that class, and I didn’t want him to feel out of place with all the girlie talk, so I began asking the class about the weather and what day and date it was (which they all answered well), but to my surprise, the boy was also interested in eyeliners… not that he wants to wear make up, too, but he was obviously curious. In fact, he was the next one to mention eyeliner again just as we were about to start with our warm-up activity.“Teacher, you have pink eyeliner?”“No, Eugene, I don’t have a pink eyeliner. I use only black or blue.”“Teacher, you buy pink eyeliner and next time wear.”“Uhm, do you think I will look prettier with pink eyeliner?’“I don’t know.”I shouldn’t have asked Eugene that question. ^^That time, the girls were busy putting back their clay eyeliner, which fell everytime they moved or spoke or giggled. Tiffany gave up, but Mary was persistent… and Eugene just would not let up interrogating me.“Teacher, why you wear eyeliner?”“I want to look prettier. Doesn’t your Mommy use eyeliner?”“Sometimes.”“I want teacher next time not wear eyeliner.”“Why?”“I want see teacher real face.”Okay, an anvil just dropped on my head.“But… this is my real face.”Eugene and the girls took turns in skinning me alive with words.“Next time teacher come here and wear no make up,” this time it’s Tiffany making the request.“Sorry, guys, but I can’t do that. I never go to work without make up.”“We want see teacher real face! Teacher real face! Teacher real face!”Ugh, the kids were relentless!“How about I just wear pink eyeliner next time I come to class?”Of course I was kidding!“No, teacher… we want see you not wear eyeliner.”“No make up, teacher.”“Only real face.”“I told you, this is my real face. Do you think there is a monster beneath this make up?”“No.”“Does teacher wear too much make up?”“No.”“Okay, maybe next time I will wear less make up to make you happy. Shall we begin with our activity now?”“Yes.”Kids… ^^ (sigh)


From Korea with Love



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Koreabridge Typhoon Center (Halola Headed This Way)

Koreabridge - Fri, 2015-07-24 11:48
Koreabridge Typhoon Center (Halola Headed This Way)



Latest Satellite Image  *  Latest Storm Track
Korean Meteorological Administration
Typhoon Safety Guide
Past Typhoons: Sanba   Bolaven  Photos

Hourly Local Forecasts

Halola Storm updates

We've heard reports that Busan Schools have canceled classes for Kindergarten and elementary students on Monday, July 27, although teachers are still expected to report for duty. 

From Korea Herald

A small yet powerful typhoon is expected to hit the Korean Peninsula over the weekend amid heavy seasonal rains, the weather agency said Friday. 

Typhoon Halola is anticipated to reach Jejudo Island on Sunday with a speed of 12 kilometers per hour and move to the east coast, including the southeastern port city of Busan, according to the Korea Meteorological Agency. As of Friday afternoon, the typhoon was moving northwest from 440 kilometers southeast of Okinawa, Japan. 

“The typhoon is moving more forward to the west than expected. While Jejudo Island, the east coast and southern parts of the country will likely be affected, it needs to be further watched whether the inland areas will also come under its direct influence,” said a KMA official. 

The typhoon is projected to dissipate over the east coast by late Monday, weather officials said. 

From Chosun Ilbo

Halola, the 12th typhoon of this year, will probably make landfall or come close to the south coast of Korea on Sunday.

If Halola lands, it will be the first typhoon since Sanba in September 2012 to hit Korea directly.

At 3 p.m. Thursday, Halola was passing over waters about 760 km southeast of Okinawa, moving northwest with gales with a speed of up to 39 m/s, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Around 3 p.m. on Sunday, Halola will reach waters 170 km south of Seogwipo, Jeju and head for the Korea Strait as a mid-level typhoon with a speed of 27 m/s, the KMA said.


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Private and Public Attacks on Queer Spaces in Korea

Koreabridge - Fri, 2015-07-24 08:25
Private and Public Attacks on Queer Spaces in Korea In this long overdue post, I am going to move away from my standard role on this blog (provider of English information on gay life and news in South Korea with little commentary on my part), and write about efforts by both the government and the private sector in silencing the gay community and blocking access to resources in ways that are damaging to the community and, in some cases, contrary to constitutional rights. While there was plenty of domestic and international coverage on the push by the religious right to ban Seoul's pride parade in 2015 (and Namdaemun Police Station's compliance through disallowing any gathering), there has yet to be a comprehensive look into the other more nefarious ways in which both public and private bodies aim to cripple the gay rights movement in Korea. This includes the Department of Education's decision to exclude any mention of queer sexualities in the national textbooks, censures of resources for LGBT individuals by the Korea Communication Standards Commission, and Samsung's recent decision to ban social networking applications from their app stores. 
In the sex education guidelines introduced in March 2015, the government aimed to remove any mention of LGBT people in schools. While draft of the guidelines in 2014 mentioned same-sex relationships, Christian groups pressured the department to change these incidents, and the 2015 guidelines said that teaching about homosexuality is forbidden. The international backlash was strong, but short-lived, with the Ministry of Education yet to work toward amending these guidelines that will continue to endanger LGBT teens
Warning message when trying to visit the censored Pinkmap websiteWith information unavailable at school, other institutions have stepped in to provide a supporting role for LGBT teens. But these groups, such as Dding Ddong and Beyond the Rainbow Foundation, have struggled with the government to achieve recognition simply due to the fact that they are LGBT organizations and, as a result, rely solely on private funding. This is compounded by a recent censorship of websites under the Korea Communication Standards Commission, including the ban of Korea's Pink Map, an online tool that showed the location of gay bars, clubs, and organizations. This is in direct violation of the law; while the Youth Protection Act of 1997 stated that minors shouldn't be exposed to the topic of homosexuality censoring gay websites, this was challenged in court in 2004, removing sexual orientation as a category of harm. Apparently, however, it hasn't stopped the KCSC from continuing to censor information made for LGBT individuals. 
The private sector in Korea is also working toward the destruction of LGBT spaces in Korea. Samsung, based in Korea, was recently put in the spotlight for its lack of gay dating programs in its app store. Apparently they ban apps on a country-to-country basis, with Hornet illegal in Korea, Argentina, Syria, and Iceland. Samsung is not alone in this venture, with the normally quite progressive Google also banning Jack'd years ago. But why would a same-sex dating app be against public morals in Korea? Heterosexual apps are widely available and sex between consenting adults of the same-sex is legal in Korea. 
So who is behind all of these efforts to curtail the gay rights movement in Korea? Obviously the small but loud radical Christians play a large part. With their large church memberships and ability to bring people to the polls en masse to vote for specific issues, their power as a group should not be ignored. Institutional realities also play a large part. As the Park administration is able to choose the head of the Department of Education and the appointments of the Korea Communication Standards Commission's nine members are heavily influenced by the president, these institutions strongly reflect the president's preferences.  
In the next election, leaders are needed that protect our freedom to exchange information, gather, and communicate. Unfortunately, as a foreigner in Korea, it is beyond my ability to engage in the political process, push for candidates that represent my values, or encourage others to do the same. But that doesn't make me completely helpless.
Private companies will react to international pressures. Although the Buzzfeed article on Samsung and Google's censorship points to the inherent difficulties of trying to legally influence a company's self-regulations, as consumers of Samsung products, we can push for change. I do love my Galaxy S3, but if Samsung doesn't change their hypocrisy on dating apps in Korea, I have no problem with switching to an Apple product with my next phone purchase. If all those loyal users of gay dating apps and individuals fighting for equality threaten to make a switch, Samsung will surely notice.  Getting Korea's flagship company to change its stance on the provision of gay dating apps would send a message that the international community is committed to the fight for equality and signal to the Korean government that stifling the gay community's voice will not stand. 
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by Dr. Radut