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Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – 해동 용궁사 (Gijang-gun, Busan)

Wed, 2020-07-01 03:00
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – 해동 용궁사 (Gijang-gun, Busan) A couple enjoying the view at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Gijang, Busan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, which means “Korean Dragon Palace Temple,” in English is a reference to Yongwang (The Dragon King) and the Yonggung (Dragon Palace) that he lives in under the sea. Located in coastal Gijang, Busan, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple has perhaps the most beautiful location for any temple in all of Korea.

The temple was first constructed in 1376 by the monk Naong Hyegeun (1320-1376). The temple was built after Naong Hyegeun had a dream. The dream was about the Divine Sea god of the East Sea. During this dream, the Divine Sea god told Naong Hyegeun to build a temple on top of Mt. Bongrae. If Naong Hyegeun did this, the nation would become larger and more stable. So after looking around the peninsula for a place to build a temple, Naong Hyegeun found the perfect place to build this temple. Initially, the temple was called Bomunsa Temple. However, in 1592, during the Imjin War (1592-98) with the invading Japanese, the temple was destroyed. It wasn’t until the 1930s, over three hundred years after its destruction, that the temple was rebuilt. It was rebuilt by the monk Ungang, from Tongdosa Temple, and renamed Haedong Yonggungsa around this time. Large parts of the present temple were constructed over the past twenty years; including the main hall, which was built in 2005. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple belongs to the third largest Buddhist Order in Korea: Cheontae-jong.

You first approach the temple grounds along the coastal waters of the East Sea. The road that leads up to the temple is long and winding until you come to a narrow corridor filled with vendors selling anything and everything. At the entry to this vendor bonanza is a large slender statue dedicated to the Bodhidharma. Having finally passed through the cacophony of vendors, you’ll come out on the other side to be greeted by the twelve zodiac generals that stand three metres in height. It’s a perfect time to take a picture, and people often are.

Next, just before you descend down the 108 stairs that leads to the main temple courtyard at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, you’ll pass by a seven tier stone pagoda with a tire at its base. This tire shrine is for people to pray to so they can avoid car accidents! Yes, seriously: car accidents!

Through the gate with two golden dragons on either pillar, and down some of the stairs, you’ll next come to a statue of Podae-hwasang. This incarnation of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha) is meant to grant a future son if you rub either its belly or nose. And judging from how worn down both the nose and belly are, it would seem like a lot of people want sons.

It’s after passing through an artificial cave that you get the first amazing views of the East Sea off in the distance past the twisted red pines and the stone lanterns that line the 108 stairs. These 108 stairs are meant to symbolize the 108 delusions of the mind in Buddhism. But before heading straight towards the main temple courtyard, hang a left. It’s along this pathway that you’ll come to an outdoor shrine dedicated to Yaksayeorae-bul (The Future Buddha). And continuing, you’ll come to a rock outcropping with a golden Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) sitting all alone on the shoreline. It’s also from this rock outcropping that you can get some amazing pictures of the sea and the temple.

Back on the stairs, and heading straight, you’ll cross over a bridge that allows entry to the main temple courtyard. Along the way, you can toss a coin for good luck. Just past the entry gate, and just to your left, you’ll see a three story stone pagoda with four lions at its base. These four lions are mean to symbolize the four basic human emotions: love, sorrow, anger, and joy.

Now with the main hall to your right, this beautifully built Daeung-jeon Hall is large and ornate. Surrounding the exterior walls to this hall are Palsang-do murals (The Eight Scenes from the Buddha’s Life) and a painting dedicated to Naong Hyegeun and the Divine Sea god of the East Sea, hearkening back to the origin myth of the temple. As for the interior of the main hall, you’ll find a triad of statues under a large red canopy (datjib). In the centre sits Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). This statue is joined on either side by Yaksayeorae-bul (The Medicine Buddha) and Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). To the right of this main altar is a mural dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars) and a Vulture Peak (Yeongsan Hoesang-do) mural.

To the immediate left of the main hall is a large, jovial, golden statue dedicated to Podae-hwasang, again. Next to this statue, for obvious reasons, there’s a Yongwang-dang dedicated to the Dragon King (Yongwang). The Dragon King looks out towards the sea, perhaps longingly looking towards his Dragon Palace (Yonggung). Also in the main courtyard are a set of subterranean stairs that leads into a cavernous shrine hall with a statue of Yaksayeorae-bul inside.

The final thing a visitor can explore, besides the giant golden good luck twin pigs next to the opening to the subterranean cave, is the elevated statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). The serenely smiling Bodhisattva is situated up a set of uneven stairs. This towering statue is known as the Haesu Gwaneeum Daebo, which means “Sea Water Bodhisattva of Compassion Statue,” in English. On all sides, the Bodhisattva is surrounded by shrubbery and slender monk statues. It’s also from these heights that you get a breath-taking view of both the temple and the sea. So take your time and enjoy the view, you’ve earned it!

HOW TO GET THERE: There are two ways that you can get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. One is to simply get off at Jangsan subway station, stop #201, on the second line. From there, you can catch a taxi that will take about 25 minutes and set you back around 10,000 won.

You can take a taxi, which is quicker, or you can take the bus. From the Haeundae subway stop, stop #203 on the second line, you’ll need to exit out exit #7. From there, catch Bus #181 to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. The ride takes about 45 minutes, and you’ll need to walk the five minutes up hill from where the bus lets you off.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10. While not as historically significant as Beomeosa Temple, it more than makes up for it with its natural beauty. While Haedong Yonggungsa Temple can get quite busy, especially on weekends or holidays, it’s well worth the effort to see one of Korea’s most unique temples.


The twelve zodiac generals at the entry of the temple.The seven story stone pagoda with the tire shrine at its base.The amazing view of the East Sea as you make your descent down the 108 stairs.The view of the main temple courtyard at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.The beautiful dragon sculpture in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall.One of the murals that adorns the main hall.A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.The golden Podae Hwasang next to the main hall.The beautiful view of the temple and the East Sea from the statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.And the beautiful statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion).


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The Floyd Protests: The South Korean Police are Far Less Belligerent than US Departments

Sat, 2020-06-13 09:02
The Floyd Protests: Korean Police are Far Less Belligerent than US

This is a local repost of an essay I wrote for The National Interest. Like everyone else, watching the brutality of the US police in the last few weeks has been genuinely shocking. So this essay discusses how a police force with a reputation for brutality during a previous dictatorship came a long way.

This is based on this original tweet thread.

The short version is that the South Korean police haven’t gone through the militarization the US police has. And South Korean police don’t face a heavily armed citizenry, so they don’t need to engage in an arms race against their own people. The result is a disarmed, de-escalatory police culture, which, as an American accustomed to the stormtrooper look and pose of US cops, I find just fantastic. Interactions with the police here are far less fraught and intimidating.

The full essay follows the jump:



The protests in the United States over George Floyd’s death have been gone global. The debate over racism and policing has spilled into other countries, as has a corollary debate about police tactics. Polling consistently shows greater concern about American police behavior than the actions of the protestors, and the list of incidents of police brutality is growing. As police behavior appears unchanged after two weeks of harsh tactics, the demands against the police are now spilling into full-blown efforts to defund departments altogether. A large debate about policing will grip the US in the coming months.

As an American residing in South Korea, the difference in police behavior has long struck me as one of the largest institutional differences and one almost never remarked upon. The following points stem from this sprawling tweet thread on this issue. As Americans look for new models of policing short of the extreme choice of closing departments altogether, South Korea is a nice example of what humane, community policing can be.

During its period of dictatorship, South Korea’s police were quite harsh. (Check this valuable thread for the long take, and this superb movie.) In the 1990s, as democracy enrooted itself, police reform followed. The South Korean police now practice a low-intensity, de-escalatory fashion of community policing I daresay would stun – and delight – most Americans.

For starters, the police are here far more approachable and less intimidating. Wearing regular uniforms and usually disarmed, the sense of anxiety common in American interactions with the police is far lower. There is a conscious effort to avoid the ‘stormtrooper’ look – heavy kit, jackboots, body armor, and so on – so in fashion in US police departments now.

Similarly the macho, ‘warrior-cop’ ethos which has characterized American post-9/11 policing is almost nonexistent here. The kind of domineering arrogance of the police officer in Sandra Bland’s minor traffic stop, and terrifying physical confrontation into which it quickly spiraled, would provoke national soul-searching if it happened here.

This community policing approach is facilitated by the total lack of militarization. As is now well-known, the US Defense Department has donated military-grade kit, weapons, and vehicles to US police departments for several decades. As with shift toward the warrior-cop mentality, 9/11 and notion that police were now the frontline of homeland security against imminent terrorist threats appear to have driven the military bulking up of US departments. Nothing like this has happened here despite the seemingly better militarization rationale of living right next to North Korea. I simply cannot imagine the public outcry here if the police had armored vehicles or routinely carried long guns.

That raises the next big difference – that the South Korean police are usually unarmed. Obviously in dire circumstances, the necessary weaponry is available; South Korea, like most countries, has SWAT-style specialized police units. But the average cop on the beat does carry a weapon, and even the riot police are usually unarmed. This is more feasible than in the US, because gun control is very strict here. The South Korean police are not in an arms-race with their own citizens, as American police are, nor do South Koreans form anything like the armed paramilitaries we saw during the ‘liberate’ protests last month.

Because an unarmed police face an unarmed population, riot squads need not pursue the aggressive tactics widely seen in the US in the last two weeks. The riot police here pursue a de-escalation strategy colloquially known as the ‘lipstick line‘. So when hundreds of thousands of South Koreans protested for months against their corrupt president a few years back, nothing remotely like what is happening in the US now happened here. As in the US today, the entire country was in ferment; huge numbers of people hit the streets week after week for months; and everyone had cellphones. But it all went down peacefully, with almost no injuries; police excess was never even in an issue in the media debate around the marches

Importantly, all these elements flow together to create a healthier, less militant, less domineering police culture and protest experience. Strict restraints on gun ownership mean the police do not need to kit up like Darth Vader. Disarmed police, less nervous about gun violence against them, can then pursues less aggressive street tactics. Moderate, restrained police tactics then signal to protestors that the cops are not a repressive opposition force in a street clash, but facilitators of the protestors’ constitutional right to assemble. Less provoked by the police, the protestors then behave better too, and any troublemakers, looters, and so on are much easier to identify.

The US, by contrast, has seen the opposite: harsh tactics inciting angry protesting and encouraging even larger protests the next day. The Koreans’ gentler tactics also dramatically reduce the likelihood of these disturbing videos of police brutality leaking out for weeks now.

How to get there in the US is a tough question. Breaking down police praetorianism and restoring civilian – i.e., mayoral – control over departments strikes me as the first step. But the larger point is that modern policing does not have to look like US police departments today – military gear, aggressive tactics, rogue behavior, choke-holds, and so on. These are US policy choices which can be changed, and there are other models out there.

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



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BGN Eye Hospital English teachers promotion

Thu, 2020-06-11 02:09

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20200525_해외사업부 영어선생님 포스터01small.jpg BGN Eye Hospital English teachers promotion
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When do you think Covid-19 will no longer be a serious concern?

Wed, 2020-06-10 13:06
Now August 2020 End of 2020 Summer 2021 2022...Maybe Never When do you think Covid-19 will no longer be a serious concern?
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My journey to motherhood, having a baby during a pandemic and etc.

Mon, 2020-05-18 15:17
My journey to motherhood, having a baby during a pandemic and etc.

It has been nearly 3months since I’ve become a mother. I have thought about writing a blog about it a million times, but life gets really busy with a baby!

After 4 years of being married, we realized it is time to bring someone else in the family. How the realization came, that is a crazy story. Few months ago, before I got pregnant, suddenly I was not feeling well for days. That is when it occurred to me, “am I pregnant?”! The thing is, I was not supposed to be at all, but just to calm my worrying self, we decided to have a home test. Like I said, it was supposed to be negative, and we both thought we want it to be negative, but the moment I was holding the ” test stick” on my hand hoping for “one line to appear”, we both realized we’d actually be happy if there are two lines! That was the moment we knew “this is the sign” and that the universe is telling us what we both failed to realize- “we are ready to be parents!”. That night we decided we should go see a doctor very soon to know if we should take any extra preparations.

The next week we went to “Soon Women Hospital”, close to Jangjeon station in Busan. We saw a doctor there and she did a thorough check-up of me. That was the first time I heard about the most important thing about pregnancy, “OVALUATION”. In any Korean hospital, you can check if you are ovaluating in any month by ultrasound scan. In other words, it is actually a way of determining your fertility. Anyways, the doctor asked me to start taking folic acid supplements and encouraged us to try for the baby.

When you try for a baby you probably start googling all the symptoms to see if you are pregnant even before the actual symptoms appears, lol. But truth is, when you are really pregnant, you’d see the unique symptoms yourself and trust me, you will not need google for that. Last year, during the first week of July, I knew something was off. I was getting hungry for absolutely no reason at all, I had high temperature without any cold. After 4days of these, I realized I need to take the test. I took two tests, one that evening and one in the next morning. And there they were, “two lines” we’ve been waiting for!

After 38 long weeks, we finally met our precious, our little sunshine, our baby girl! The journey was never easy. Being a PhD student, everything was even more difficult. I still remember the first few months, when everything used to smell, when all the delicious food tasted like trash, lol. During the 6months, I had tendon inflammation in my left hand which made me unable to use my hand for almost a month. I had to go on full bed rest due to placenta previa during the 7months. Luckily, my placenta moved upward in 2weeks, so I got back to work again and worked till the last day before my delivery. I completed one full semester with coursework with her inside me and hopefully I will complete four more with her beside me.

At 37 weeks 5 days, something was not right from the evening. I thought at first, I was leaking urine, as it was very common when the baby weight puts pressure on the bladder. I could not sleep whole night due to cramping and felt even worse the night after. So, in the morning, when I went to the doctor, she confirmed that actually my water broke! Before the test, she was checking the amniotic fluid level with the ultrasound scan, and it was very low. Ultrasound scans are pretty common in here, they’d make a scan every time you go for prenatal checkups. Anyways, that’s when my doctor decided to induce labor. Later it was found that my water broke anyways, so that was just one more reason to induce labor lol.

I had almost 24 hours of labor. But it was not enough to dilate my cervix fully, and with the low fluid level, the duty doctor decided to go for c-section. I wish there were words to describe the moment when I first saw her. Gosh, it was so magical!

However, our magical moment turned into a disaster. Around that time, “patient 31” made Korea with the highest cases of COVID-19 after China. I remember, in the hospital bed during my recovering days, all I was praying to God, to keep my baby healthy and safe. Every second we were receiving emergency alerts from government, and I was even afraid to go home from hospital, thinking we’d catch the virus on our way. It has been 3months and the situation got just a little better, and yet we are afraid to stay out longer. We wear masks, use hand sanitizer, even I try to sanitize each of our stuffs separately. We did not meet any of our community people on the fear of spreading yet. Sometimes I wish if she could come at a better time! The world is having a hard time right now and for new mothers this is even harder. Yeah, I know, all the parents want their children to be safe. But the new parents are always insecure about if they are taking care of their baby right. And these whole situation puts a lot pressure on them.

I usually take her with me at work. She is still not used to with staying in her stroller. Sometimes she starts crying in her stroller on the way, and the only thing that comforts her then is to hold her. My husband and I both feel helpless then, as her stroller has a curtain, we feel she is a bit safer there than out in the open. Also, she sees us with masks while we are out, and I think our masked faces are unfamiliar to her, so she becomes even more uncomfortable.  

But with all the worrying and disturbing thoughts, it’s not like we are not enjoying parenting. For me, parenting is something in between exhausting and amazing, lol. It’s like, I’m dying for some rest all day, and yet I don’t want to miss a moment. Just looking at her tiny feet and her tiny fingers, my heart melts a million times. Or the time, when she’s crying out loud but the moment I hold her, she’d stop crying. She wants to communicate these days by making noises and smiles when we talk or sing to her. She’s the only person in earth, who enjoys my singing and whistling, lol. Your child can make you feel special in uncountable ways, trust me! 

Life goes on and I know there are a lot of new mothers and to be mothers out there. I pray that god makes things easier for you, just hang in there mamas! I really hope that these dark days will pass soon, and this world will again be a bit safer for our children.


-Munira Chowdhury, 19/05/2020

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Innocent Korean Mistakes That Sound Rude | Korean FAQ

Mon, 2020-05-11 16:38
Innocent Korean Mistakes That Sound Rude | Korean FAQ

It's important to make mistakes when learning any language. You can't learn how to speak properly without first trying to speak.

But there are some mistakes you don't have to make, and should avoid making - mistakes that can sound rude.

I cover some of the most common rude mistakes that Korean learners make, such as using the 자 form, saying 너 or 당신, and more.

The post Innocent Korean Mistakes That Sound Rude | Korean FAQ appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.





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5 Binge-worthy K-dramas on Netflix Recommended by a Korean (feat. Useful Korean Expressions)

Fri, 2020-05-08 04:57
5 Binge-worthy K-dramas on Netflix Recommended by a Korean

Bored at home?

Looking for some new k-dramas to watch?

Check out these binge-worthy dramas on Netflix approved by a Korean!



1. HOSPITAL PLAYLIST (슬기로운 의사생활) + PRISON PLAYBOOK (슬기로운 감빵생활)

A TV series about 5 friends and how their lives intertwine since undergraduate medical school.

For the first time in 20 years, these 5 doctors work together, and restarted a band to relieve stress and have fun during their crazy busy schedule.

It also shows different stories of patients who spend ordinary, yet special moments in a hospital, which is a miniature version of life from cradle to grave.

I love this TV series because it’s all about empathy and good characters.

Unlike most Korean TV shows, it’s pretty calm and puts a smile on my face.

No, they don’t slap each other with Kimchi. (Although, there’s a little naughtiness involving filthy water and a rag thrown at someone’s face.)

It’s the second show in the “Wise Life (슬기로운 생활)” series, following Prison Playbook (슬기로운 감빵생활). (FYI, 슬기로운 생활 has been a textbook since the 80s.)

If you watch them both, you’ll find a lot of the same actors.



최선을 다하겠습니다. (choi-seon-eul da-ha-get-seub-ni-da) = I will do my best.

정신 차려 (jeong-sin cha-ryeo) = Wake up, Pull yourself together or Get ahold of yourself

실세 (sil-se) = Influential person or big shot



A romantic TV show that depicts the top-secret love story of a Jaebeol heiress.

She accidentally lands in North Korea after a paragliding mishap and meets a hot army officer.

Just like the quote, “sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right destination”.

As a Korean, I’ve never really cared too much about North Korea.

But it shows the life of North Koreans (I doubt that it’s realistic, but it was still interesting to watch.)

Another fun part was North Korean language and their slang.

After watching, I realized once again that Hyun Bin is so handsome and Son Ye-jin is so beautiful.



후라이까지 말라우 (hu-ra-i-kka-ji mal-la-u) = Don’t lie in North Korean slang. It’s 뻥치지마 (bbeong-chi-ji-ma) in South Korea.

에미나이 (eminai) = North Korean way to call a “girl or woman”.


3. SKY CASTLE (스카이캐슬)

Want to take a peek at how competitive and fierce student life is in Korea?

This show perfectly captures how passionate Korean parents are when it comes to their children’s education and success.

The story seems a bit exaggerated, but felt very realistic.

It made me glad I was born in the countryside.

It’s a lot more intense than the previous shows, so it’s a good idea to be in the right frame of mind.



저를 전적으로 믿으셔야 합니다. (jeo-reul jeon-jeok-eu-ro mid-eu-sheo-ya hab-ni-da) = You have to trust me completely.


4. KINGDOM (킹덤)

A historical Korean zombie show that features awesome hats.

It’s perfect viewing given the global situation.

I haven’t gotten into it much, because it’s a little too scary.

But people keep asking me what “bakkatyangban” means.



바깥양반 (bakkatyangban) = Husband

This word is derived from the traditional Korean house (Hanok).

Its structure is divided into Anchae (안채 or inside building) where women spent most of their time and Bakkatchae (바깥채 or outside building) where men spent more time.

So, “Ansaram (안사람 or inside person)” means a wife, and “Bakkatyangban (바깥양반 or outside yangban)” means a husband.

In this case, “yangban” doesn’t necessarily mean any class.

Just like when Koreans sometimes say “이 양반아! (ee-yangban-ah)” to call “you” in a slightly rude way or someone pathetic in a light, frustrated way.

It also refers to a traditional lifestyle where the wife was responsible for housework whereas the husband was responsible for outside work.

These terms aren’t relevant anymore, but you’re still judged in Korea by your job title.


5. REPLY series (응답하라 시리즈)

Reply 1997, 1994 and 1988

Looking for some sweet sweet nostalgia?

If you’re curious about Korean life in the 80s and 90s, this might be the perfect TV series for you.

While airing, Korean viewers were so focused on finding out who the main female character marries.

They even created a competition between “어남류 VS. 어남택 (eo-nam-ryu VS. eo-nam-taek)”.

They’re abbreviations for 어차피 남편은 류준열 (eo-cha-pi nam-pyeon-eun Ryu Jun-yeol, meaning “in any case, husband is Ryu Jun-yeol”), and 어쩌면 남편은 택이 (eo-jjeo-myeon nam-pyeon-eun Taek-ee, meaning “perhaps, her husband is Taek”).

And yes, we love abbreviations.

Even the show titles were abbreviated from 응답하라 1997, 응답하라 1994 and 응답하라 1988 to 응칠(R7), 응사(R4), 응팔(R8).



추억 여행 (chu-eok yeo-haeng) = A trip down memory lane, literally a memory trip

쓰레기 (sseuregi) = Trash or jerk



I hope you enjoyed our article.

For more fun and useful info on Korea, check out our blog.

There are helpful guides on Korean translation and how to find great Korean translation service.

This post first appeared on https://linguasia.com.



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Buddha’s Birthday in Korea

Tue, 2020-05-05 22:56
Buddha’s Birthday in Korea

This year was the first year in a long time that I didn’t head out to any temples for Buddha’s Birthday. This is by far one of my favorite times of the year but with the COVID-19 still lingering in Korea, many temples put special restrictions in place. I felt that because I am not a Buddhist, I would not complicate things by attending. I would let people worship in peace.

I also heard that many celebrations would be postponed until the end of May. I think with the drop in the amount of cases in Korea, this might be a better option for everyone. Recently, Korea had 0 local cases and only 4 quarantined at the airport. That is a huge milestone.

With that being said, I decided to stay away from the temples this year and just look back through the years to find some shots to share with you anyway. These may not be the best shots in world but the temples themselves have a unique place in my mind, anyway.


This was one of the first temples that I visited. My late friend Dave Harvey took me there when I first came to Korea. I was blown away by the spectacle of lights that I saw. This wasn’t for tourists and it wasn’t garish in anyway. It was just a beautiful calm place that people went to worship. Especially, during the evenings.

One of my first pictures of Buddha’s

Over the years, I have met the head of the temple and even was lucky enough to get a private tour. Ieven taught English to a group of very scared and very bald kindergarten kids here. This is also a local temple, so it usually only gets people from the area. Unlike other temples in post, Junggwangsa is not on the tourist map, that I know of. Which makes it a little more quiet during this time of year.

Another thing that sticks out for me with this temple is are some of the lanterns themselves. Usually, around the front doors, they have these beautiful chicken lanterns. Not sure why I like them so much but they just sort of fit here. I have to to capture them from different angles over the years and they can be tricky little chickens.


I remember clearly that before I came, I read up on this temple. I marked it in my Lonely Planet book on Korea and even bragged to my family about how close I would be living to one of the largest working temples in Korea or something like that. Of course, at that time I had no idea what Tongdosa was and to be honest, no one in my family really did either.

It wasn’t until years later that I started capturing images here and my parents were really intrigued by this place. So much so that when they came over for my wedding they really wanted to check out this temple. It really impressed them with not only the design but the heritage as well.

For me, this temple has only gotten better over the years. Recently, with the addition of the parade and crane lanterns along the walk up to the temple, it makes for a wonder place to photograph.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get permission to shoot the parade as I just sort of stumbled into it and asked if it would be ok. One of the volunteers showed me where to go and it was a great moment. Not to mention a very beautiful parade.


This place is one that I usually stayed away from to be honest. Bulguksa is a great place to visit if you come to Korea for the first time. For me, I have been here so many times that it just lacks personality.

However, I went there last year around Buddha’s birthday it was great. Sadly, I had battery issues and whatnot but the experience was amazing. It felt like something special was going on and not something done just for the tourists or school trips.

What was great about this experience was the fact that it started just around dusk. This is a perfect time for lantern shots as the sky still has detail and you are not just shooting into a black abyss. This is something that I have been trying to perfect over the years. To get the colour from the lanterns against the blue hour sky.

Haedong Yonggunsa

This places has exploded in popularity over the years. It used to be fairly quiet with the odd tour showing up. However, now it is a major Busan tourist attraction. Truth be told, the area outside the temple has been developed 1000 times over now.

Buddha’s Birthday 2019

The quiet fishing village is now a bustling tourism centre. Just a short walk from the temple is a major outlet mall, an IKEA, the freeway toll gate and the massive Hilton hotel. All of which has been built in the last 5 years or so. So it is understandable that this temple would get overrun with people.

Buddha’s Birthday 2019

It does impact on the accessibility of the temple with regards to places to shoot and the amount of people that come to see the lanterns. It still is one of the better temples to visit in the area especially if you are not in Seoul.


Arguably the biggest and most impressive temple that I have visited is Samgwangsa. Every year they put up a staggering amount of lanterns. It is truly an impressive site and draws a lot of people every year.

Despite the crowds, it is something that you just have to see. I hate crowds, but I will suck it up to get a few shots of this impressive display of hard work and devotion. If you are traveling to Korea during this time, I would implore you to take the time and visit this temple at dusk. You will not be disappoint in the least.

What makes this temple so amazing is that there is a sea of lanterns between two major buildings and multiple vantage points for you to see them from. Surrounding this, you are see a multi-storied pagoda and a few dragons as well! Now that sounds impressing, right?


This final temple is one that I used to visit almost every week. I used to work down the road from it and I had lots of downtime. So I would grab the camera and wander around this large temple. I was trying to find the perfect angle and one that would capture how amazing this place is.

Over the years, I have shot for magazines here, lead workshops, and lead photowalks here. It is always a welcoming place for everyone. I also like the fact that there is some great coffee just down the road from this temple as well.

The bottomline here is that while events likes these are great to see, during this outbreak, we do have to take certain precautions and make adjustments to our schedules. It is just how it is right now.

These temples typically see thousands of people during this time of the year and social distancing is an issue in some of these temples.

With that being said, we should take the time to visit these places with the time comes. They are a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of life in Korea.

The post Buddha’s Birthday in Korea appeared first on The Sajin.


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South Korea’s Very Limited Re-Opening

Sat, 2020-05-02 02:28
South Korea’s Very Limited Re-Opening

This is a local repost of an essay I wrote last week for The National Interest

I wrote it in response to growing interest in the US in ‘re-opening.’ South Korea is further along the corona timeline than the West, and it dealt with corona very well. So if there is any economy ready to re-open, you would think that it is South Korea’s. Except that that is not really happening.

It’s true that restaurants are re-opened, that you can eat in them in proximity without a mask, and that masking generally is declining a bit. But not much. And most things are still closed – schools, concerts, museums, aquariums, marathons, whatever. And the government here is not talking about mass opening at all like the US discussion, especially on the right. In fact, it’s the opposite. The South Korean government keeps saying this will be a long slog, at least for the rest of the year.

The full essay follows the jump:


South Korea has been widely praised for its handling of the corona virus. As a democracy, it labors under constraints a dictatorship like China, for example, does not. South Korea nevertheless managed to beat down the virus’ spread to under ten new cases a day this week, and without the kind of social revolt brewing in the United States now.

As everywhere else, there is pressure to re-open. Everyone is bored and frustrated at home. Businesses are struggling. Families are frazzled at having the kids at home all day every day. People are putting on weight, because they are watching too much TV and over-eating. All the same sort of complaints accumulating on social media in Western countries exist here too. It’s exhausting.

Indeed, ‘corona fatigue’ set in earlier here. Korea’s clampdown began in mid-March, and one can already see the edges fraying. I see fewer masks on the subways. The lines to pick up government-distributed masks are shorter. Bars and restaurants are filling, where people are sitting in proximity and not wearing masks. Panic buying has stopped (although to be fair, there was never really much). The economic costs of the lockdown are now discussed more frequently on TV (although not nearly as vociferously as on Trumpist media in the US).

All this – the apparent success of the anti-virus campaign, the spiraling economic costs, the social unhappiness at being locked indoors all day – has brought the government to experiment with some loosening. Religious buildings have re-opened, although the government has insisted on strict distancing which will likely be hard for the Christian churches particularly given their design. Schools have also been given leeway to re-open, although the implementation of that varies widely. For example, my son’s kindergarten has re-opened almost completely; my daughter’s elementary school is closed completely; and my university is open for staff and required exams. Food establishments seem to be pushing hardest. Restaurants and bars particularly seem to be operating in a pre-corona fashion, probably as much out of desperation for business as belief that the worst has passed.

It is important for Western readers hoping for a return to normalcy not to overrate these moves. South Korea is indeed a useful canary in the coal mine for other democracies in this struggle. It too is a democracy whose anti-viral moves constrained by civil liberties; it has handled the virus very well; and it has struggled with it longer than the West. So it is further along than many other countries and is certainly a better model than non-democracies like Singapore.

But South Korea’s corona ‘re-opening’ is still quite limited. The South Korean government, for example, does not even use such language, as that suggests a far greater return to pre-corona times than it is permitting. There were also warnings almost immediately from South Korean health officials that any re-opening would permit a resurgence of the virus. The Korean CDC is talking about a lock-down of varying intensity for a year – with re-clamp-downs possible if clusters pop up – until a vaccine is found.

This is very different from the American discourse, particularly on the Trumpist right where sympathetic media such as Fox News are hinting that normality could return within in a month or less. Republican governors are now even admitting that their states could see a spike of fatalities as they re-open. The US conservative debate is now increasingly blunt that the economic costs, and the consequent human costs, of the lock-down are exceeding the direct human costs of the virus.

There is nothing like this in South Korea. The response here is far more technocratic. The South Korean president does not give daily briefings. He has given a few pep talks now and then, but nothing with the level of politics and sensationalism characteristic of the US President Donald Trump’s daily briefings. Instead the prime minister speaks a few times a week in a fairly bland tone. But mostly scientists and bureaucrats, such as the head of the KCDC, have been the public face of the South Korean government regarding corona.

Nor has the government contradicted the epidemiologists or sought to dispute their expertise or suggestions. No politician is arguing that the lock-down should be relieved for political reasons, and in the legislative election last week, a re-opening of the economy was not an issue. The South Korean public seems resigned to a fairly long slog and a re-opening in very small steps.

There will be much future discussion about why the stark contrast in the US and South Korean responses, given the plaudits South Korean has received. Some of it will inevitably redound on Trump himself. Trump is up for re-election, and he is itching, for fairly obvious reasons, to restart the economy. An economy racked by plague, contraction, and unemployment will likely cost him the election.

But there is another issue too – cultural memory. South Koreans have been through these sorts of lockdowns before – for SARS and MERS. There is a reservoir of collective patience which does not exist in the West which has not seen something like this since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Trump is not just channeling his own desire to ‘re-open’ but that of a large chunk of the American population in disbelief that the world changed so rapidly.

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



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Korean – Overview and History of the Language

Sat, 2020-05-02 02:27
Korean – Overview and History of the Language

Are you curious about Korean? Or maybe you want to know the difference between the South Korean and North Korean languages?

You’ve come to the right place!

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about the Korean language. We’ll also include some resources you can use if you decide you want to learn the Korean language, or just know how to speak Korean for a trip out to the Korean Peninsula.

Here we go!

Korean Language Overview

The Korean language is spoken by more than 75 million people worldwide. The majority of the speakers live in South or North Korea, where it is the official language. It has its own language family with no other known modern languages in it.

The Korean taught in classrooms and spoken by Koreans today was formed a few hundred years ago. Before that, older versions of Korean were spoken.

Korean Language Dialects

Korean language has nine different dialects. Both South and North Korea have their own standard Korean dialects, which are used in an official setting. In the South, it is Seoul’s dialect. In the North, it is Seoul’s dialect mixed with Pyeongyang’s region’s dialect.

Additionally, there are two more dialects spoken in North Korea and five more dialects spoken in South Korea. Of these, the most different with standard Korean is the dialect spoken on Jeju Island. Because of all of the time apart after Korean War, the Korean spoken in North Korea has become quite different from Korean spoken in South Korea. This is because both Korean languages were influenced by the other countries involved in the Korean War.

South Korea’s Korean was influenced by English and North Korea’s was influenced by Russian. Not only have their vocabularies changed but pronunciation as well.

Besides the two Koreas, there are many native Korean speakers living abroad. The regions with biggest Korean populations are in United States, China, Japan, Canada, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Russia, Australia and Kazakhstan.

What is the history of Korean language?

Earliest forms of Korean language has likely existed since the Stone Age although the specific history of Korean language remains a mystery. Chinese characters were introduced to Korea in the first century BC. They were adapted to Korean language and became known as Hanja.

These characters were officially used in Korea until just 100 years ago, when Hangul, the Korean alphabet, finally became popular as the writing system. Even today, you can still see Hanja in some use in South Korea, especially in official documents.

In North Korea, however, they have officially not been used since 1949. Many words borrowed from Chinese been replaced with native Korean words in North Korea. The Chinese loan words still used in North Korea are written in Hangul now. You can find Hanja in special situations, such as in North Korean dictionaries.

Hangul, the Korean alphabet, was created by King Sejong in 1443. In North Korea, it’s called Joseongul. It finally became the most important writing system in both North and South Korea after World War 2 and Korean War. There are 14 consonants and 10 vowels in Hangul. These are then combined into blocks to form words. Hangul (also spelled “Hangeul”) can be learned in about 1 hour.

Does the Korean language have tones?

No, Korean doesn’t have tones. If you can read Hangul, it’s easy to pronounce Korean words. That’s because most of them are written the same way as they are pronounced.

There are some exceptions, but overall the pronunciation rules are very simple and clear. You will also not find tones in standard Korean so getting started with speaking Korean is quite effortless.

Korean can be written in English letters following an official romanization system. It’s useful for approximating Korean words into English, but it’s not good for pronunciation.

What is Korean grammar like?

The basic word order for Korean sentences is subject-object-verb. However, the word order for Korean is also flexible and the verb is often the only word you need for the sentence to make sense. Like this, it’s easy to start creating sentences right away for beginners in Korean. If you wish to start learning Korean grammar today, start with our guide on Korean grammar for beginners.

There are nine parts of speech in Korean language. These parts are nouns, pronouns, numbers, action verbs, adverbs, descriptive verbs and adjectives, interjections and exclamations, particles and postpositions and, lastly, determiners, pronouns and indeclinable adjectives.

What are Korean honorifics?

The Korean language uses honorifics and speech levels to show the relationship between the speaker and who they’re speaking to or speaking of. Honorifics are important to use when talking of someone with higher status or older age. For example, you would use honorifics if you are talking about or to your parents.

Different speech levels are used depending on who you are talking to. If they are older and have a higher status than you, then you should use 존댓말 (jondaetmal) which is the polite speech level. With friends and people younger than you, it’s okay to use 반말 (banmal) which is the informal speech level. There is also a neutral speech level which you can use in general situations, like with people who are similar age and status to you but not a close friend.

Does the Korean language have genders?

Technically there is no gender in Korean grammar. This means words are not categorized separately, like in French, for example. And because you only need the verb in your sentence, you might not also clearly use “he” or “she” in your sentence like you would in English.

However, by using 그 (geu) and 그남 (geunam) for a man and 그녀 (geunyeo) for a woman in your speech or text, you can make it clear whether you are talking about a man or a woman. Additionally, Korean vocabulary also owns a lot of words that are specific to a gender like 오빠 (oppa) for men, meaning big brother, and 언니 (eonni) for women, meaning big sister, or other familial titles that are specific to a gender.

What is Korean vocabulary like?

Korean vocabulary consists of native Korean words at its core. However, a lot of the vocabulary consists of words that were directly borrowed from the Chinese language.

There are also many words that were adapted to Korean language from Chinese characters. The exact amount of these words in Korean vocabulary is not known, but estimations vary from as low as 30% to as high as 65%.

In addition to these words, as well as the previously mentioned loan words from English and Russian, the Korean language has also borrowed from other languages. For example, there are some parts of Korean vocabulary which come from Mongolian. And then there are some words which were adapted from Japanese, which in turn originated from German.

This has also led to additional differences in vocabularies in use in South and in the North, as North Korea has tried to implement as many native Korean words into daily use as possible, decreasing the amount of words taken from Chinese. Thus, there are some popular vocabulary in use in North Korea that does not exist in South Korea, and vice versa. Over the years the two main dialects of Korean have also developed differences in pronunciation, spelling and grammar.

Korean language and literature

One of the parts of Korean culture that have been the most impacted by the evolution of Korean language is literature. While some form of literature, such as oral literature, has existed since the discovery of the earliest form of Korean, its current form of literature is newer.

Initially, when the Chinese characters were introduced to Koreans, all of the literature, poetry and so on were written in Chinese characters. So technically most of Korean literature before the 20th century was written in Chinese, even after Hangul was created.

The first form of poetry was discovered during Silla Dynasty (57 BC – 935 AD). However, the form of poetry that has best lasted until nearly the modern days, called sijo, was created during Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). The first written historical records, and thus the birth of prose in Korea, date back to Goryo Dynasty (918–1392). All in all, Korean literature’s origins can be traced all the way back to Old Stone Age.

The first modern Korean novel was published in 1917. A lot of the early period for modern Korean literature was influenced by Western poetry which were translated into Korean. By the 1930s, modern Korean literature reached maturity and has continued evolving ever since to what literature in the two Koreas looks like today.

That’s wraps it up for our writeup on Korean. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this and know a bit more about Korean language and culture. If you’d like to learn more we’ve got some fantastic resources on things like Korean slang, Korean phrases, and Korean numbers that you can put into action right away.

We also have a structured online Korean course that will teach you how to have a 3 minute conversation in the first 90 days.

Is there anything else that you’re curious about? Please let us know in the comments below!

The post Korean – Overview and History of the Language appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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The Ultimate Guide to Doing Business in Korea

Sat, 2020-05-02 01:19
The Ultimate Guide to Doing Business in Korea

Thinking about doing business in Korea?

Need to learn about Korean business etiquette?

Navigating the murky waters of Korean Business Culture can be challenging.

There's much to be gained through a successful partnership, but many ways to lose 정 (Jeong), or the unspoken bond that holds the country together.

With the hidden rules that can make or break a business relationship in Korea, it’s important to be prepared.

These simple tips will help you avoid major mistakes when doing business in Korea.



Before You MeetBackground Information
  • Korean Business Etiquette is influenced by Confucianism and Military Hierarchy.
  • There's a lot of similarity with Japanese Business Culture as both use job titles derived from Chinese characters.
  • Your age and job title relative to others determines how you communicate and behave. A higher age/job title will give you more credibility.
  • Most Koreans have been exposed to Western culture through movies and TV shows, and will often have their favorites.
  • Many have studied abroad or interacted with native English speakers at private academies.
  • Regardless of the amount of exposure to the West, Koreans will most likely follow local business protocol.
  • close relationship is the key to doing business in Korea, while planning takes a backseat. Since most businesses operate this way, it’s especially difficult to predict the future, so things are often decided on the fly.
  • The concept of “face” also applies. So make sure never to correct/criticize someone in public. You might be met with a lot of resistance in the future.
  • Flexibility is also very important when doing business in Korea. Don’t be surprised if you end up performing tasks well outside your scope of expertise.
  • Although becoming less important, gender is still a factor. Married males over 40, or “ajosshis”, are perceived as having a higher position in society. Women still handle domestic duties, even when they have their own careers. It’s not uncommon for female managers to serve tea in business meetings.


Dress Code

You will be judged by your appearance and grooming (clean shaven and clean cut are a plus).

Dress shoes, slacks, a button up shirt and tie are recommended.

If you are meeting an ajosshi, or married man over 40, it’s a good idea to wear a jacket and tie.

Your watch will also be judged. Tag Heuer grants instant credibility. Citizen and Tissot are the bare minimum. Anything cheaper than 200 USD is better left at home.

Bring a wallet and a business card holder (full of your business cards), preferably a brand name like Mont Blanc or Gucci.



During the MeetingGreetings

Bow slightly and shake with a loose grip using two hands (a firm grip is a sign of aggression) after the oldest/highest ranking person reaches out.

Business cards are exchanged at the same time while standing, even if you have their contact info.

Don’t make small talk at this stage, just follow our formula unless a question is asked.

Present your business card with two hands when the oldest/highest ranking person presents theirs.

Make sure your info is facing the person accepting the card, so they can read it.

Look at their card for 3 seconds, then say their name and title (add a “nim” at the end of the title for extra points).

Place their card on the table so you can see it during the meeting (don’t put it in your pocket as this is uncommon).


Eye Contact

The older person by more than two years usually makes eye contact while the younger person will look away slightly as a sign of respect.

As a non-Korean, you can simply use soft eye contact.


Meeting Agenda

The main topics in order of importance are:

1. Price Negotiation (they will want a discount)

2. Quality Assurance (especially for ongoing projects)

3. Their Company History and Process (during the first meeting)

You will hear a full presentation on their company history and milestones. Prepare yours as well.

Koreans are vague by Western standards, especially during the first meeting. They will not settle on numbers, dates and specifics.

They will minimize the time spent on details and will mostly be feeling out the situation.


Gathering Information

Don’t expect them to present the information you need. Prepare specific questions.

When they respond that “they aren’t sure” or “don’t know yet”, ask politely when you can receive the information.

Koreans will answer your questions after providing context.

Whereas in English, questions are answered first, then an explanation is provided.

If someone goes off on a tangent when asked a question, ask again for a rough estimate.


Negotiating Price

It’s ok to ask for a discount or an adjustment.

Asking for a final and best offer is considered a bit aggressive.

Koreans won’t say “no”, instead they will say, “it will be a little difficult”.

Expect there to be multiple rounds of negotiations.

It takes at least a week to finalize details.

The decision maker doesn’t usually attend the meeting, and their approval is necessary to proceed.



You will most likely receive a gift near the end of the meeting.

Accept the gift with two hands and thank them. Do not open it in their presence.

 What to Buy as a Gift

You are not required to give a gift unless you are a seller, but something small would be appreciated.

Company gifts (pens, umbrellas, calendars, etc.) are safe choices.

For women, Yankee Candle or L’Occitane Hand Cream.

For men, alcohol (Ballentines or Chivas Regal if you really want to make an impression) or golf equipment including golf balls as they cost double in Korea.



After the MeetingGoodbyes

Goodbyes are short. Repeat the same steps in the Greetings section minus the business card exchange.

Thank them for their time.

If your deal is important to them, you will probably be invited to a meal.

Expect alcohol to be involved.


Having Lunch/Dinner

Most Korean restaurants serve a few main dishes with a variety of side dishes that you can get refilled.

The main dishes sometimes come in a large pot for everyone to share.

So, people in groups tend to order the same thing.

Feel free to order what you want at a western restaurant.

The youngest staff member in each group will set up the utensils and pour the water.

You can gauge how progressive the company is if the oldest/highest ranking person helps out.

When the oldest/highest ranking person lifts their utensils, you can begin eating.


Tips at a Korean Restaurant

Do not lift plates or bowls while eating.

Do not use chopsticks and a spoon at the same time.

Close your mouth when chewing and try not to make noise.

When you’re done eating, put your spoon and chopsticks in their original position.

Koreans normally share side dishes, so don’t repeatedly touch them with your chopsticks.

Small talk during meals is uncommon, especially with middle-aged people.

Seoulites tend to eat quickly by western standards.

The oldest person or the person inviting usually pays for the entire meal.

You might find yourself fighting for the check.

If you are the seller, regardless of age, make sure to fight extra hard for the check.


After Dinner

접대 (Jeopdae, wining and dining) is a very important part of business.

This is sometimes where the deal gets made.

A night out with Koreans will involve bar hopping and possibly 노래방 (Noraebang) or Karaoke.

You can be more informal (semi-formal would be the operative word with basic etiquette still followed) and get to know each other better.

Don’t say no to the first shot of alcohol and make sure you finish it in one gulp (Koreans call this 원샷, one shot).

When an older/higher ranking person pours liquor for you, hold your shot glass in your right hand and touch the bottom of your right elbow or the bottom of the glass with your left hand.

This same principle applies when you pour for others.

If things get really relaxed, you might find yourself playing some drinking games.

Even if you are reaching your limit, do the 건배 (geonbae) or “cheers” motion and lightly touch the glass to your lips and put it back on the table.

If you don’t drink at all, make sure you fill your shot glass with soft drinks and go through the motions.

The most important seat is the center furthest from the entrance.

The second most prestigious is next to the most important seat, where the two can converse.

The least important seat is near the entrance.

If you see that an older/higher ranking person’s glass is empty, pick up the bottle with your right hand as to cover the label.

Touch the bottom of your right elbow or the bottom of the bottle with your left hand.

Pour liquor (usually soju) until it fills 3/4 of the glass.

When you drink, turn your head slightly away from the older/higher ranking person and drink.

Koreans have a variety of drinking games, some involving math.

I advise you not to play them, unless you want to drink a lot.


Follow Up

Make sure to follow up in two days.

Request the information you didn’t receive during the meeting.

If you do not receive it by the date promised, call them on the phone.

Expect to follow up in a week or two.


About Contracts

Contracts should be in both Korean and English.

It’s possible for a Korean court to invalidate a contract if the counter party didn’t understand the terms.

Avoid ambiguous and inconsistent language.

Always proceed with caution and use your best judgement.



I learned these rules the hard way while working in Korea for over a decade.

After starting a translation company, I follow these guidelines whenever I interact with Korean clients.

I hope these tips get the results you need.

Contact Lingua Asia Translation to find out about our services.


I hope you enjoyed our article.

For more fun and useful info on Korea, check out our blog.

There are helpful guides on Korean translation and how to find great Korean translation service.

This post first appeared on https://linguasia.com.



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A talk with creator of Zen Kimchi, Joe McPherson - The Korea Podcast #62

Mon, 2020-04-27 11:38

Joe McPhearson, the creator of Zen Kimchi is joining me on tonight's podcast. He has owned and run overseas businesses, including two restaurants and an award-winning tour company. He has hosted, produced, and directed TV and radio, designed websites, led marketing campaigns, and written for multiple publications. He has traveled globally for speaking engagements and even received personal coaching from TED's Chris Anderson.

These experiences have converted this natural introvert into a person comfortable with audiences and energizing teams.

As founder of ZenKimchi International, he promotes Korean food worldwide through food tours, events, education, communications, and consulting.

He runs ZenKimchi.com, the longest running Korean food blog. He has written for publications, including
- The Wall Street Journal
- Roads & Kingdoms
- Plate
- Vogue Korea
- Newsweek Korea
- Groove Magazine (Dining Editor)
- 10 Magazine (Dining Editor)

His media consultation achievements include
- CNN's "Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain"
- National Geographic Channel's "Chef on the Road" (on-camera appearance)
- The Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern"
- UK Lifestyle FOOD's "Discovering Korean Food with Gizzi" (on-camera appearance)
- PBS documentary "The Kimchi Chronicles"
- Australian TV's "Far Flung with Gary Mehigan" (on-camera appearance)
- British TV program "John Torode's Korean Food Tour" (on-camera appearance)
- Documentary "Savouring Korea" (on-camera appearance)
- Conde Nast Traveler
- Lonely Planet
- The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Los Angeles Times
- Apple Media (Hong Kong)
- Public Radio International
- Monocle

As to myself.
I am an Expat with close to a decade and a half of ESL experience. I operate a private language school franchise in the city of Ulsan, South Korea and know a thing or two about starting and operating an ESL business in South Korea. In this podcast I share some of my ideas and knowledge with a wider audience and also hope to learn new things along the way. I hope to provide our viewers with insights on how to start a Hagwon in South Korea, discuss some pitfalls and success stories, and bring an overall awareness to the beginning and running of innovative companies.

Teaching English in Korea comes with a lot of challenges for both the teachers and owners. In discussions with our guests I try to cover as many topics related to Hagwon Startups and teaching English in Korea as well as globally as our combined experience of this field allows.

As the Living Korea channel matures, and the Hagwon Startup Podcast chugs along, my goal is to include more episodes, in which I get to talk to interesting people doing exciting things in South Korea, outside of their regular teaching professions.

Do expect the unexpected though, as we do not shy away from off-
topic conversation.

 Check out Zen Kimchi online:


Making travel plans to South Korea? Visit:


If you are interested in starting your own English School Franchise in South Korea, Contact me directly through either our ShaneEnglishKorea facebook page:


Or the facebook page for the Living Korea channel:


Support the Living Korea channel on Patreon.

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A talk with creator of Zen Kimchi, Joe McPherson - The Korea Podcast #
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21 Popular Korean Drinking Games

Fri, 2020-04-24 02:01
21 Popular Korean Drinking Games

Interested in Korean drinking games?

Want to make Korean friends fast?

Or looking to make a big splash at your next hweshik?


In Korea they say, "someone who eats lunch alone will never get ahead". The same can be said for those who don’t drink socially.

South Korean drinking culture originates from the Goryeo Dynasty (936–943) and is a large part of adult life.

The Korean drinking age is 19, or 18 in international age (you are one year old at birth in Korea).

Koreans usually begin drinking when they enter uni during a 3-day long OT(orientation), a large tented welcome event.

Needless to say, no one remembers much from those three days, except that they had a blast.

Strong bonds are formed at night that are awkwardly forgotten the next day.

After graduation, things just pick up steam. It’s socially acceptable to show up to work hungover after a hweshik(회식) or office gathering, because your boss is doing the same.

I’ve never met an alcoholic in Korea, but I sure met a lot of “heavy drinkers”.

This focus on social imbibing combined with the high-spirited nature of Koreans make their drinking games the most fun you can have while destroying your liver.


Quick Notes:

Koreans spend a good portion of their youth becoming human calculators, while other countries play Nintendo and watch Yo MTV Raps. I strongly advise against any game involving numbers.

Koreans also play rock paper scissors(가위, 바위, 보) as a sport from a young age and will most likely beat you.

If you’d like to simulate the experience, simply stay up late and play an online game against someone with Hangeul in their username. Except make sure to drink every time you lose.

Let’s just hope that they don’t turn e-sports into a drinking game, because they would eventually conquer the world.



Vinyl Game(레코드판 게임)

Why wait for the Noraebang? Now you can embarrass yourself in a more socially awkward situation while the night is young.

One person starts by calling out a singer’s name.

Then, everyone takes turns singing one verse from any of their songs. The first person to mess up drinks!

A great way to break the ice by ramming into it head first.


Attendance Game(출석부 게임)

What’s more fun than taking attendance? Doing it with alcohol and some shenanigans, that’s what.

One person points at another but says someone else’s name. Whoever gets called has to yell, “here” and raise their hand. Then do the same thing next.

Whoever misses their cue, drinks.

Things get really fun when the speed increases until it’s hard to keep up.

Here it is in action.



This one’s for the dozens of people who want a vocabulary lesson while drinking. Think scrabble with alcohol consumption and awkward physical contact.

Hunminjeongeum is not just a ridiculously long word, it’s also the document that King Sejong created to introduce Hangeul to the masses.

In this game, one person calls out two random consonants while giving the thumbs up in the center of the group.

Then, players jump in calling out words that contain the two consonants, while grabbing the previous person’s thumb with theirs up, forming a chain.

For example:

One person says ㄱ ㅅ

Then calls out a word that contains both consonants like 고수, 감사, etc.

The last person to participate or anyone who messes up drinks.

This sounds easier than it is and we recommend a dumbed-down version in English using just one consonant.


Spoon Game(숟가락뒤집기)

This one is perfect for slower groups (you know who you are).

There are many variations of this game. The object is to flip a spoon while ending up in the majority of flipped or non-flipped.

Everyone sits in a circle with a spoon in front of them.

Then, they either flip their spoon or leave it the way it is after counting down from 3. The person who is in the minority group has to drink.

Another way to play is with rock paper scissors for three rounds with the losers having to flip their spoons.

Needless to say, there will be a whole lot of drinking going on.


The Commie Game(공산당 게임)

This one’s perfect for those unsophisticated types who want less thinking and more drinking.

The rules couldn’t be simpler. One person chooses a comrade, and that person points to the person they want to drink.

Very un-PC but gets the night going quickly.



Babo Game

Babo (바보) is a friendly way to say “fool” in Korean. Children often refer to each other this way, and it’s usually not intended to offend.

It makes sense that a game based on this common slang word would emerge.  

One player begins by saying a number from 1 to 5 while showing a different number with their hand.

For example: The first player says 1 but has 3 fingers up making him/her safe. Then the next person has to say the number of fingers the previous player has up, while having a different amount in their hand and so on.

You lose if you say the same number as fingers you have or you don’t say the number of fingers the previous player had up.

This may sound easy, but in the heat of the moment with alcohol involved, it’s not hard to mess up.

Here it is in action.



Noonchi (눈치) is a very useful term in Korean that means the subtle ability to listen and gauge others’ moods. An English equivalent would be emotional intelligence.

The point of this game is to not be the last person to shout a number.

If there are five players, then each person must call out a number from 1 to 5.

Whoever shouts doesn’t matter, but the numbers must be said in order.

If two people shout the same number at the same time, they both drink and the game restarts. Or the last person who shouts a number must drink and the game starts over.

This requires you to read body language and see if someone is about to speak.


Pro Tip:

As the games heat up and people get a few drinks in them, it’s not uncommon for the group to start chanting, “random game”, followed by someone’s name to let them choose the game they want.

For example it would go:

“Random Game ♪ Random Game~ ______(이)가 좋아하는 랜덤 게임” (___’s favorite random game~)”

It’s possible to cheat a bit by calling out “noonchi game” followed by 1 quickly.

This will save you from drinking, for a moment.



This game is simple to learn, but lots of fun.

The object is to say the numbers out loud starting from 1 but you must clap instead of saying a number that has a 3, 6, or 9.

So if the person before you says 8, you would clap once for 9. But, if it’s my turn and the number is 39, I would have to clap twice.

Whoever ends up saying 3, 6, or 9 must drink! Then it goes back to 1 and starts over again.

Don’t worry though, numbers rarely go that high given the amount of alcohol involved.

To make things more interesting, there is a version where even numbers divisible by 3, 6, or 9 cannot be said either.

Drunk division is never a pretty sight, and I strongly recommend not trying this version with a group of Koreans.


Baskin Robbins 31

This game is pretty straightforward, and no, it wasn’t created by the brand.

However, it often works on a subliminal level to make Koreans crave Baskin Robbins after playing, so chalk this up as a win for their marketing department.

Basically, all you have to do is take turns saying up to 3 numbers in succession until you get to 31.

Whoever says 31 has to do a shot. It requires a little forethought, especially the closer you get to 31.

It’s also possible to coordinate with the group to choose who drinks.

You can even form a secret alliance and take someone down.

Here it is in action.


The Black Knight

Not a game per se, but a special move in the sophisticated art of Korean drinking.

After a few of these games, it becomes quite clear who can hang in terms of alcohol tolerance, i.e. who will get ahead in Korean society.

If you are a team player (or like the person who just lost) you can take a bullet for someone with a lower tolerance by being the 흑기사 (black knight). This simply means you drink in their stead.

In return, the black knight gets a wish from the person. This usually is something light like, “let’s get Baskin Robbins together” or “go buy us some soft drinks”. So get your mind out of the gutter!


Titanic/The submarine

This one has less to do with the movie and more to do with physics.

It’s kind of like a game of chicken with alcohol and gravity.

Sit with your friends in a circle around a table.

Fill a glass halfway with beer.

Carefully drop an empty soju glass in the beer, making sure it floats!

Take turns pouring alcohol into the shot glass.

The amount you pour depends on you, but whoever sinks the “Titanic” needs to drink the whole glass.


Love You

This one doesn’t involve math thankfully, and is great fun.

Sit in a circle of friends with drinks in hand.

The object of the game is simply not to laugh.

Anyone who does has to drink.

The first person turns to the person on the left and says “I love you” followed by any word they can think of.

If they don’t laugh, you turn to the person on your right and try again.

As you can imagine, this one can go from playful to dirty very quickly as the night goes on.


Napkin, Beer, Cigarette

This one involves pyrotechnics and might be frowned upon in some countries.

You start by placing a napkin over a beer mug.

Then put a 100 or 500 won coin(feel free to substitute with whatever currency is available) on top.

Players take turns burning holes into the napkin with a lit cigarette.

Whoever drops the coin into the mug must drink.

I personally have never played this one, since it seems like things would get out of hand quickly.


The Bottle Cap(병뚜껑 게임)

My personal favorite, because it’s the one I had the best chance at winning.

This is probably because it was the simplest one. It’s also a two-parter, which just adds to the drama.

Take a soju cap, stuff it with a napkin (more on this later) and twist the loose metal part until it’s straight (without pulling it off the cap).

Then you flick the dangling piece with your finger.

Pass the cap around until someone breaks it.

Whoever flicks it off makes everyone else drink.


Up and Down

After you finish flicking around the bottle cap, there’s a brand-new game you can play with that same cap!

Who knew that one bottle cap could be so much fun?

Remember the napkin you stuffed into the cap? This is where it comes into play.

The sequel is started by the person who won the first game (the one who didn’t have to drink).

They remove the napkin in the bottle cap and look at the number inside.

He/she announces two numbers, the range in which the number in the bottle cap lies.

For example, if the number is 35, they would say 1-50.

The other players start guessing the number, while the one with the cap hints if it’s higher or lower.

Whoever guesses right is safe (so no shots for them), but the players to the left and right have to drink!



Gyeongma Game(경마게임)/ Horse track game

This one involves some sound effects and intense concentration.

The entire game is played with everyone drumming on the table with their hands to simulate the sound of horses racing on a track.

First, everyone around the table calls out their “horse number.”

Horse number 1 (일번말), horse number 2 (이번말), horse number 3 (삼번말), etc.

After each person gets a horse number, the game starts.

You take turns calling out your number and then the number of the person you want to “attack”.

Horse 1 starts it off and let’s say they attack 3 by saying, “일번에 삼번”, or 1 attacks 3.

Then number 3 would call out their number first and “attack” someone else by calling out their number. “삼번에 오번”, 3 attacks 5.

It’s important to really listen carefully for your number to be called. If you slip up and miss your turn, you drink.

Like most games in Korea, this game is meant to be played FAST.

It gets really chaotic because everyone is banging on the table.

It’s also not uncommon for the same two people to go back and forth attacking each other.

Here it is in action.


Bunny Bunny(바니바니)

This one is a bit childish, but is fun at a certain age.

It involves some cute hand gestures and a massive amount of coordination.

You also need a minimum of 4 people to play.

Everyone puts both hands up like they’re eating while one person chants “Bunny Bunny” once.

Then without stopping, they “pass the bunny” to a random player by chanting “Bunny Bunny” and gesturing with both hands.

At the same time the players to the left and right of the selected person chant “Dang-geun Dang-geun(당근)” (carrot in Korean). The selected person immediately starts chanting “Bunny Bunny” and passes to another player to try to disrupt the chant.

Whoever messes up, drinks. This gets confusing real quick and probably should be played early in the night.

Here is a demonstration.


Pro Tip:

You can even pass the bunny to yourself as a wild card. This all but guarantees victory.


Image Game

The Image Game is a reverse “Never Have I” game with voting.

Except in this case, if you get the most votes you lose (or win, if you enjoy taking shots!).

The first player starts by saying something descriptive, like: “Had most girlfriends/boyfriends”.

Everyone then points at the person they think best fits the description.

The player who receives the most votes has to drink, then gets to ask the next question.

This one can make you reevaluate your life choices by showing what people really think of you.



While sitting in a circle, one person starts by asking a question that refers to someone in the group.

The people playing must point their chopsticks at the person who they think best fits the answer.

The person with the most chopsticks pointed at him or her must drink and then gets to ask the next question.

So, basically the same as Image Game but with utensils.



This one is a simplified version of Simon with alcohol.

As the name implies, this game involves a lot of tapping with your drink on the table.

The first player starts by tapping their drink once, which passes the turn on to the player to their right.

The next player must then decide whether to tap their drink once, twice, or three times.

Tapping the drink once will pass the turn on to the person on the right.

Twice will pass the turn back to the sender to the left.

Three times will pass the turn to the second person the right, skipping the adjacent player.

Whoever messes up the tapping order, by tapping when they’re not supposed to, must drink.

It may sound easy, but each player must pay close attention to how many times the last drink was tapped on the table.


Olympic Torch

This game seems like something one would play in prison, but with pruno instead of soju.

Most Korean males pick up smoking during their mandatory military service.

A player passes around a lit cigarette with his head back and the cigarette up like a torch.

He passes the “torch” to the next player who takes a drag while trying not to topple the ash.

Whoever does takes a shot.

Pretty simple compared to the other games, but most likely won’t be popular in polite society.



I hope you enjoyed our article.

For more fun and useful info on Korea, check out our blog.

There are helpful guides on Korean translation and how to find great Korean translation service.

This post first appeared on https://linguasia.com.



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

2020 KOTESOL National Conference (Free & Online)

Thu, 2020-04-23 14:57


From KotesolConf.com

PDF Program Book

This is probably the most unique conference in the history of Korea TESOL. 

"In a show of solidarity and support for educators facing hardships and precarity due to COVID-19, KOTESOL is moving the 2020 National Conference online and making it free for everyone."

Never before has one of the biggest conferences in Korea been free... and never before has it been this easy to attend for every educator in the world. 

April 25, 2020 marks a new era for English teachers. Instead of setting the alarm clock to wake up early for a KTX ride to a university somewhere in Korea, teachers will get a nice sleep, eat a slow breakfast and then log on to the conference from the comfort of their own homes.

The landscape is changing. The coronavirus pandemic is thrusting education into the future. Dreams of moving everything online are no longer dreams, but emergent reality. Bricks and mortar are being replaced by webcams and microphones.

It would be easy to think the schedule for an online conference would be diluted, weaker, but the KOTESOL National Conference has attracted established names to deliver interesting talks.  Plenary speaker Tomomi Kumai is an intercultural coach with clients all over Korea, Japan and the United States.

Teach North Korean Refugees’ co-founders Casey Lartigue Jr. and Eunkoo Lee are returning to deliver talks alongside Yuna Jung in another highly anticipated KOTESOL Gives Back fundraiser. 

Yunjeong Hwang, an attorney at Korean Law, is sharing legal knowledge for English teachers dealing with labor disputes, such as unpaid wages and unfair dismissal. The impressive speaker lineup impresses even more now that the conference is all online.

The 2020 Korea TESOL National Conference will go down in history. It will be remembered for its uniqueness, its show of support for educators in difficult times and it may just be remembered as the start of an online conference revolution in the world of English language teaching. 

To learn more about the 2020 KOTESOL National Conference and register, see the official website: https://koreatesol.org/nc2020


  • 10:45Opening CeremonyLindsay Herron & Sunil Mahtani
  • 11:00PlenaryTomomi Kumai

    Creating a Safe Space for Transformation

    Raising Intercultural Awareness for Language Teachers and Learners

  • 12:00Lunch hourOpen video library
  • 10:45Zoom Sessions

     Opening CeremonyLindsay Herron & Sunil Mahtani
  • 11:00PlenaryTomomi Kumai

    Creating a Safe Space for Transformation

    Raising Intercultural Awareness for Language Teachers and Learners

  • 12:00Lunch hourOpen video library

Tentative schedule. Times subject to change without notice.


2020 KOTESOL National Conference (Free & Online)
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean Dictionary Apps and Translation Tools

Sat, 2020-04-18 23:34
Korean Dictionary Apps and Translation Tools

Looking for the a Korean dictionary to look up that Korean phrase that you hear all the time?

Or maybe you just want to look up a few words from your favorite K-Pop song.

We’ve got you covered!

Below are the best Korean dictionaries, translators, and romanizers. Most of these tools are available in both website and app form. These will be extremely useful if you’re looking to learn Korean fast or if you want to understand more about Korean culture.

Here we go!

Studying Korean through vocabulary and grammar lessons is an effective way learn the language. To help with that, you’ll want to get a Korean dictionary so you can check out words in Korean easily wherever you are. For example, you might want to look up words you see as you go about your daily life in Korea.

Most Korean dictionary apps and websites still work the best with English to Korean or Korean to English. However, they are gradually getting better with translating Korean to other languages.

And some apps already have great Korean dictionaries for languages other than English. Here are the top picks.

Korean Dictionaries

Below are the top Korean dictionaries to help with learning the language. Generally you don’t need an account to use these, but if you create one, you can save some of the words that you’re trying to remember.

Naver Dictionary (네이버 사전)

This Korean dictionary is a great go-to application and website for when you’re searching for accurate translations from English to Korean and Korean to English. In addition, you can find the dictionary website to hold many other language options, from Japanese to Finnish. It offers you example sentences, the specific word translation (in its noun, adjective etc. forms) and any possible word meanings it may have.

Users of this dictionary can click on the blue speaker icons to practice audio. Keep in mind that not all of the words will have audio, but many do.

The site does have some limitations and isn’t stylistically the most modern option. However, it is incredibly accurate and nicely detailed. It works best when searching for a specific word instead of full sentences. You can also put in a whole sentence, but be aware that it will more likely only offer you each word’s meaning separately if the sentence is complex. It’s excellent for looking up parts of Korean sentences, such as conjunctions, particles, and markers.

This is the go-to dictionary for Koreans since there are many language options. Both the site and the app are great choices if you’re studying the Korean language. You can get the app version for both iOS and Android.

Daum Dictionary (다음 어학사전)

The online dictionary by Daum functions very similarly to Naver dictionary. When you search for a word, it offers you all its known meanings. And if you search by a sentence, it breaks down the sentence into separate words.

Besides operating as an English to Korean dictionary, and vice versa, it is possible to search the dictionary for other languages as well. However, in comparison to Naver, Daum does not have as many languages available. One of the positives is that the layout for Daum is a bit clearer than Naver’s, which may make it easier to understand what comes up in your search.

Daum Dictionary has an app on both Google Play and the App Store.

Translation Tools

Here is a tool you can use for translation of Korean to other languages. While translation tools can be accurate, we recommend learning Korean instead of using a translation site.

Papago (파파고)

Papago is translation site provided by Naver. It specializes in offering translation for Korean sentences. This means that it is not exactly a Korean dictionary, but you can use it to check the meaning of a full sentence or how something you want to say can be said in Korean.

It uses a neural machine so that it can learn from its translation mistakes and gain understanding on what kind of translations you are most likely in need of. Papago is great to use in combination with Naver Dictionary as they complete each other.

For some of your searches, Papago will also offer additional words and idioms that you may be good to remember for the future. There is an audio button for both the input and result.

In addition to the website, there is an app for Android and iPhone.

Korean Dictionary & Translator by Xung Le

All of the dictionaries presented above have been created by Koreans in Korea. This one is different because it’s of foreign making. It’s a free app which users can download for both Android and Apple phones.

There are hundreds of thousands of vocabulary words, phrases and sentences that you can use for learning more Korean. It even includes some Korean idioms, which can be really helpful for your future conversations with native Koreans.

In addition, it offers the ability to review words you’ve learned directly in the app! However, this Korean dictionary only seems to support translating to and from English.

Romanization Tools

These aren’t dictionaries, but they’re useful for writing out Korean words and sentences in romanized English. We don’t recommend using romanized words often since it can make pronunciation quite confusing.

It’s much easier to spend the hour it takes to learn Hangul (Korean Alphabet). Here’s a resource for that: https://www.90daykorean.com/how-to-learn-the-korean-alphabet/

Korean Romanization Converter

This is a great tool for romanizing Korean words. It gives you three different selections, and shows a few different types of results. It’s nice because there are lots of options depending on how you want to use it. The downside is that you need to keep pressing the “back” button each time.

The Hangul Romanizer

This site can easily romanize Korean words using the Revised Romanization of Korean system. It’s useful because you don’t have to type “enter”. Instead, just type or paste the Korean word and it automatically shows the romanization. The downsides are that you may need to wait for the page to load, and the site is down at times.

Hopefully one or more of these websites and applications will be of great help in supporting your journey of learning Korean! Whether you are searching for vocabulary and words, or translations of full sentences, these tools can be very useful.

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for great videos for learning Korean. If you’re looking for a game plan you can use for studying Korean, go here: https://www.90daykorean.com/learn-korean/

We also have a structured online program that will teach you have a 3 minute conversation in the first 90 days.

Do you have a favorite Korean dictionary or translators? Let us know below in the comments!

The post Korean Dictionary Apps and Translation Tools appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Controlling Corona Meant South Korea’s Election was Not Dominated by It

Sat, 2020-04-18 05:46
Controlling Corona Meant South Korea’s Election was Not Dominated by I


This is a re-post of an essay I wrote for the Lowy Institute a few days ago about the recent South Korean legislative election.

This was written before the vote, so it is not a commentary on the results. My concern here instead was to illustrate that democracies can in fact run elections during this pandemic without some Wisconsin-style choice of vote-and-risk-corona or stay-home-and-forego-your-franchise. That was absurd, and the GOP’s disturbing willingness to make voting hard during a pandemic is an embarrassment bordering on authoritarianism. Here are some pics from when my wife went to vote; you can see that it was not some kind of death-trap.

For my thoughts on the results, try this and this. Basically, the right got buried and really needs to figure out what it stand for going forward besides anti-communism. Also, I am uncomfortable that this is yet another missed opportunity for a national referendum on President Moon Jae-In’s outreach to North Korea. Obviously, corona was unanticipated, but it pushed off the agenda the most important, revolutionary policy of the Moon government. That is unfortunate.

The full essay follows the jump:



On April 15, South Korea will hold legislative elections. South Korea’s parliament, the National Assembly, is elected every four years. Composed of 300 members, it has 253 single-member district seats and 47 proportional representation seats.

The Landscape

The left currently holds a slim majority, but the distribution of power is fluid. South Korea’s political party landscape is fragmented. Fifty-one parties are running for office in this election. Most of them are minor, of course, but the proportional representation seats are a constant temptation for the formation of off-shoot and splinter parties. There are enough proportional representation seats to inhibit the ‘natural’ outcome of Duverger’s Law: South Korea has a rough two-party system, but it has never durably congealed. Small parties continue to crop up and get elected.

Further, those parties in the legislature do not cooperate especially well. South Korea’s leftist president, Moon Jae-In, has not been able to rely on a firm center-left coalition. As in typical in presidential systems, where the legislature is elected independently of the executive, legislators are loathe to simply line up behind the executive as in a parliamentary system. The South Korean left is traditionally fractious.

A fracturing of the South Korean right has added yet more alignment problems. Normally more disciplined, the right-wing bloc shattered over the impeachment of South Korea’s previous president, Park Geun-Hye. Park, a conservative, remains a divisive topic. Dead-enders refuse to accept her removal as constitutionally proper; a common theme in far-right discourse here is that she was pushed out in a semi-coup. The main right-wing party has changed its name – for the fourth time in ten years – in an effort to move on from Park.

The upshot is that both right and left are fractured. Each side has one large-ish party aspiring, and failing, to be a big-tent party – the Democratic Party on the left, and United Future Party on the right. Scattered around them are splinter parties who refuse to formally adjoin to the aspiring big tent leader. These dynamics do not appear to be changing in this election. Moon will likely not emerge with a clear, coherent bloc at his back, but will also likely not face a united opposition.

The ‘Corona Election’

The big issue of the election is obviously corona, but not as much as you would think, thankfully. And here is a lesson for other democracies as they struggle to reconcile corona with elections: if you can get your corona outbreak under control – South Korea has been a world leader in this – it need not take over the entire political agenda, nor need it make the physical act of voting treacherous.

Here the world’s oldest democracy particularly has a lot to learn. This is a presidential election year in the US. There are both primary elections in the spring and a general election in the fall. There is a wide-ranging debate in the US now about how to conduct those elections: Should they be postposed? Is that even legal? Should citizens vote by mail to avoid standing in line and contaminating each other? Because the US has responded so poorly to the virus, corona is now overwhelming the voting process itself.

It is also clear in the US that corona will be the dominant issue of the campaign. US President Donald Trump will be measured by how this unfolds, particularly by the state of economy in the fall and the duration of the lock-downs and continuing fatalities. The sluggish US response elevated corona, and the response to it, to the foremost political issue of the election.

South Korea – quite impressively, it must be said – forestalled both of these outcomes. There is nothing at all here like the debacle in the US state Wisconsin, where the US Supreme Court refused to permit overdue mail-in ballots, forcing voters to wait on line to vote and violate social distancing rules. And while will obviously be the ‘corona election’ in South Korea too, other issues have gotten play too. Normal concerns such as the economy or North Korea have not been completely driven from the media debate.

The Outcome

The polls have given Moon’s Democrats a pretty solid lead. This is almost certainly because of the superb response to corona. South Korea’s daily new case load is now below fifty. One can already see widespread signs of de-constriction. My son’s kindergarten has re-opened. Grade schools are scheduled to re-open this week and universities by the end of the month. Compared to the rest of the world, especially the US, this is simply remarkable. Moon deserves enormous credit for this, and it will likely power a leftist victory.

There is a political or ideological problem here though. A vigorous response to corona is not a policy proposal in the traditional sense, so the Democrats’ likely win will tell us little about what they will do. The answer is almost certainly a continuation of Moon’s previous policies – an expansion of the welfare state, more social spending, and most importantly, continued outreach to North Korea. But this is not really what the voters are voting for in affirming Moon’s excellent handling of the outbreak.

Another Missing Referendum on North Korea Detente

North Korea policy strikes me as particularly troublesome in this regard. This will be second election involving Moon where North Korea is scarcely an issue, even though it has come to dominate Moon’s presidency. Moon has also balked at sending his various joint statements with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the National Assembly for any kind of vote. (Moon’s administration has argued that these are not treaties and therefore are exempt.)

This is slippery. Moon won election in 2017 on the back of popular disgust with the right over the Park impeachment. Unsurprisingly, Moon campaigned back then on transparency, accountability, inequality, strengthening democracy, and so on. And while he has pursued a fairly standard social democratic economic line at home, he also initiated a wide-ranging détente with North Korea, far deeper than anything tried by his predecessors. Moon did not run on this, and this outreach has been, unsurprisingly, hugely controversial. Worse, Moon has not solicited South Korean right about this in any serious way, and the result has been sharp polarization. Conspiracy theories are rampant on the right here that Moon is a Marxist in league with Kim Jong Un.

My own hope had been that his election would be a referendum on North Korea détente. 2017 was not that, as Moon scarcely mentioned it, nor has the National Assembly been given a chance to vote on anything regarding détente. And now corona will again change the subject. There will still be no definitive vote on whether the country really wants this controversial course. This was entirely unpredictable of course. But it remains an obvious disjuncture that the most important and controversial Moon policy project has never been exposed to a proper vote.

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



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Nothing's Really Real Podcast: (Ep 73) Open Mic

Tue, 2020-04-14 12:26
Nothing's Really Real Podcast: (Ep 73) Open Mic

 This is truly a special episode. It’s an open mic podcast! Due to the state of the world, I’ve used the power of the internet to gather an awesome collage of artists whom have done time here in Busan - to share their work, using this episode as the stage. This show is really a fine example of the talent we’ve got throughout our community, musicians, poets, comedians, writers and more. It really feels like a classic Saturday night in Busan.
 Tune in to hear the works of Kenneth May, Nick Hemsley, The Bathing Belles, Chris Tharp and Jason Maniccia, Steve Feldman, Julia Rapp, Rob the Universe, Brian Aylward, Mr. Winkles, Amy Rose, Franklin Bongo, Caitlin Celic, Big Paper, Ryan Estrada, Noah Saunders and Mark Zink. 
Most artists have at one time made appearances before on this show, but if not - they have made meaningful appearances in my life. Thank you to all of the artists, and thank you to the listeners. As always, if you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it, and please leave a review on iTunes or whatever app you listen to podcasts on. I’d really appreciate it!

 Nothing's Really Real Podcast:  Soundcloud    Stitcher    iTunesKoreabridge.net/NothingsReallyReal
 @NothingsReally     @nothings.really.real

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Chris Tharp - Conversation with a Busan based writer - Hagwon Startup Podcast/The Korea Podcast #60

Mon, 2020-04-06 12:14

Chris Tharp is joining me on the tonight's episode of The Korea Podcast. Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Chris Tharp has called South Korea home for a decade and a half now. He is the author of "Dispatches from the Peninsula" and "The Worst Motorcycle in Laos," both published by Hong Kong's Signal 8 Press. He a regular contributor to National Geographic Traveler UK, and his award-winning writing has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Foreign Literary Journal, enRoute Magazine, Matador Network, The San Diego Reader, and many others. He lives in Busan with his wife Minhee and a houseful of animals.

As to myself. I am an Expat with close to a decade and a half of ESL experience. I operate a private language school franchise in the city of Ulsan, South Korea and know a thing or two about starting and operating an ESL business in South Korea. In this podcast I share some of my ideas and knowledge with a wider audience and also hope to learn new things along the way. I hope to provide our viewers with insights on how to start a Hagwon in South Korea, discuss some pitfalls and success stories, and bring an overall awareness to the beginning and running of innovative companies.

Teaching English in Korea comes with a lot of challenges for both the teachers and owners. In discussions with our guests I try to cover as many topics related to Hagwon Startups and teaching English in Korea as well as globally as our combined experience of this field allows.

As the Living Korea channel matures, and the Hagwon Startup Podcast chugs along, my goal is to include more episodes, in which I get to talk to interesting people doing exciting things in South Korea, outside of their regular teaching professions.

Do expect the unexpected though, as we do not shy away from off- topic conversation.


Chris' article can be found here: https://medium.com/@christharp/covid-...

Read more from Chris here: https://christharp.journoportfolio.co...

Making travel plans to South Korea? Visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/korea...

If you are interested in starting your own English School Franchise in South Korea,

Contact me directly through either our ShaneEnglishKorea facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shaneschools...

Or the facebook page for the Living Korea channel: https://www.facebook.com/livinkorea/

Online Teaching with DaDa: https://www.dadaabc.com/teacher/landi...

Support the Living Korea channel on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/livingkorea


Liv'in' Korea Crypto Father



Chris Tharp - Conversation with a Busan based writer - Hagwon Startup
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

What do you miss most about LIfe before Covid-19?

Sun, 2020-04-05 02:14
Shopping Freely Eating Out Nightlife Outdoor Recreation Wearing real clothes (beyond sweatpants) Going to Work Meeting New People Nothing. I ♡ being a homebody. What do you miss most about LIfe before Covid-19?
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

FilmLog: Developing Film in Korea

Fri, 2020-03-27 12:02
FilmLog: Developing Film in Korea

If you remember a little while ago, I wrote about how to buy a film camera in Korea. If you haven’t read that, please take the time to read that now, if you want. In that post I talked about a wonderful shop near the Dongdaemun Design Plaza called FilmLog.

After picking up the cameras, I set out to test each one. This was a great experience and a needed one. I soon found out that my Canon G-III, needs new light seals. Shooting film really puts you into a pure photography mode. You are not relying on the computer in the camera at all and that really pushes you to be careful about each shot.

Sending in The Film

Once I had my 2 rolls completed, I sent them off to FilmLog. Now, if you lived in Seoul you could just head down to the shop and hand them in yourself. However, I live in Ulsan, so the method was a little different. However, it was not all that hard either.

one camera that I picked up needs to have the light seals replaced.

Basically all you have to do is send them the film and their address and instructions is in the FAQ section of there site. Click here for that information. The info is in Korean but it is all there. Just clock on the second question from the top. Also, they do speak English, so if you have any questions you can call them or leave a message via their site.

Once you send in the film, you must transfer the money. I just wanted to test the service so I went with a basic develop and scan. For black and white film, this cost me about 8,000 won per roll and around 3, 000 won for the shipping.

The Wait

The film got to the shop in about 3 days. Due to the fact that I sent in Black and White film, I was told that it would take about a week. The communication was amazing and in English.

When FilmLog received my film and payment, they gave me a call and let me know that I have to fill out a form on their site. Once that was done, they responded immediately letting me know when my films would be available to download.

Almost a week to the day, I received text messages letting me know that my images were ready. I logged in and it was amazing.

The Downloads

One of the great things about FilmLog is the fact that you have your images scanned and you can see them there on the site. You can also order prints from there as well.

Your photos appear in a set with the roll of film that you used. You then can cycle through each of the prints and download the ones that you want. You can also delete the crappy ones too.

The overall layout and ease of use is unlike anything that I have seen. That goes without saying for FilmLog as they are completely amazing and I love it. From their film vending machines to the amazing customer service, I will be using for a long time to come.

The bottomline here is that FlimLog is a great service to have in Korea and at reasonable prices. I can’t say enough good things about this shop. You really have to try them out. I certainly will be trying them out soon as I want to run a couple more rolls of film through these new cameras.

Check out their site here. This was not a paid piece, I simply really like their serive and I want you guys to check them out too.

The post FilmLog: Developing Film in Korea appeared first on The Sajin.


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed