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

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

Originally Posted on Trazy.com 

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

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

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

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

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

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

XOXO, Trazy.


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

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

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

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

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

Western chains more widespread

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

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

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

Personal Hygiene Products

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

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


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

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

Fresh Produce & Cheese

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

Organized Tours for Foreigners

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

Teaching Jobs

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

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


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

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

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

Blog:  Evanandrachel.com
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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Looking For Seomyeon John

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Relax, Korea is not ‘finlandizing’ for China

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

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

The essay follows the jump.


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

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

On Korea:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Filed under: Asia, China, Korea (South)

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


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Pyongyang Racer – Having a Gas in Virtual North Korea

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

By John Bocskay


Fowle (left) and Miller

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

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

You design a video game.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Gay Pyongyang

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

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

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


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

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Scents of Seoul

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

Cheery cherry blossoms bloom only for a week in spring

cactus budding

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

Sweet Persimmons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s that op-ed:


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

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

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

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

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

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

Filed under: Korea (North), United States

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


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

MegaGuide to Busan Food & Drink (Renovations Underway)

Mon, 2014-08-04 00:57


MegaGuide to Busan Food & Drink

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


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

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

General Reviews *  Vegetarian Restaurants  *    Food DiscussionsOther Guides 

Types of food sections coming soon


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

View Busan Guide Map in a larger map


Busan Station/Texas Street

City Hall

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

 Deokpo (Green line near Sasang)

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


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

Dusil Station

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


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



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


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

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

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



Centum City

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

 Dongbaek (near Haeundae)

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



  • Almost Famous - bar, map  

Mandeok (near Deokcheon)

  • Kooni - Quirky Western - 8,000


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


PNU (Pusan National University)

Saha (near Hadan)

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



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


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



 Vegetarian Restaurants & Information

General Reviews/Multiple Locations

Food & Drink  Topics (from the Koreabridge Forums)

 Other Guides

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

Blogger Beauty Night at Piccasso Studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean-American, and a Bboy

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

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

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

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


Where were you born and raised?

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

Basically I was surrounded by corn and farms.

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

At least everyone remembers you in school.

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

OK, so where do you live NOW?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you heard about the Korean diaspora?

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

So what are you passionate about?

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

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

So any other passions?

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

Random! Favourite food!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter/Instagram: @dancermikeroach

Facebookfacebook.com/mikejroach [MESSAGE ME FIRST PLEASE]

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


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

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

Kyopos all around the World





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Zenith Tower Almost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Storming the Bridge: Busan Hosts Korea’s Greatest Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Author

Pete DeMarco

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





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

Wed, 2014-07-30 09:42


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

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

Sealed in Seoul!

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

Yet another reason to be a foreigner in Korea:

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

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

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

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

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

A serene spot in the heart of bustling Seoul

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Seoul’s Ban of Uber is a Classic Example of Asian Mercantilism

Mon, 2014-07-28 19:38
Seoul’s Ban of Uber is a Classic Example of Asian Mercantilism


So this is a blog about Asian security, but regular readers will know that I write a lot about political economy too. And nothing drives me up the wall so much as the endless NTB gimmickry so common in Asian to prevent free-trade outcomes that national elites and entrenched mega-corporations don’t like. If you live in Asia and want to know why everything is so outrageously expensive, or why you can’t get technologies/products your friends take for granted in the West, here it is: endless crony protection, tariff or otherwise, to block imports that are superior and/or bring price competition. If the US has had too much deregulation, Asia desperately, desperately needs it. Romney for president of Korea!

Image Credit: REUTERS/Lee Jae-WonUber and Classic Asian Mercantilism

Seoul’s decision to ban a popular app is the latest of many examples of mercantilist policies in Asia.

The debate over the political economy in Asia is often harsh. A long-standing Western criticism is that Asian states use all manner nebulous maneuvers to inhibit local penetration by Western firms or goods that Asian countries would prefer they made themselves. This often applies to new devices or platforms particularly. Hot new items in new markets, where Asian states have few local participants, could mean an entire market is captured by a foreign firm’s trendy new device or service. The government of Korea, for example, blocked the iPhone for almost two years, most suspect, in order to give Korean tech firms time to build a competitor. (Apple, of course, would argue that Samsung simply ripped off its product.) The Korean government did not want a market (phone gadgets) it thought its firms should be good at, to be overtaken by a hot foreign product.

This conflict goes back at least the 1970s, when the penetration of Japanese electronics and cars placed enormous pressure on Western firms. This is the era when Honda and Sony became household words in the West. Western governments were discomforted, but the clearly superior quality of Japanese products in these areas made raw protectionism a hard sell. Instead the argument was to open Japanese markets to Western goods, to pursue, in the language of trade theory, “diffuse reciprocity.” X opens its market to Y, and vice versa, and on the level playing field, firms would fight it out without recourse to government interventions, tariffs, import counting, and so on.

But Japan balked at this notion. Much of its uncompetitive service and agricultural sectors were weak, and the deep kereitsu-government networks made it easy for large market players in Japan to push for protection. As tariffs became harder to defend with tightening GATT and WTO rules, Japan – and the many Asian states, like Korea, Taiwan, and now China, who have patterned their political economy on it – turned to non-tariff barriers (NTBs) such as health and safety restrictions, cultural quotas, “critical sector” opt-outs from trade rules, and so on. Frequently, these are preposterous. At one point in the nasty 1980s fights with Japan, the apparently unique qualities of Japanese snow meant that U.S. ski companies should not sell skiing equipment in Japan. Such flim-flam provoked U.S. counter-pressures, such as of voluntary export restraints (VERs), the Plaza Accord, and thegeneral anti-Japan hysteria of the 1980s, captured most memorably in Rising SunThis mercantilist strategy of high exports, plus gimmicky NTBs to block otherwise competitive imports, is well-described here.

Korea unfortunately has adopted a lot of these bad habits, and the recent ban of the car-ride app uber by the city of Seoul is an almost textbook illustration of why Asian economics is better described as mercantilist than liberal, why Asian-Western trade friction is so persistent, and why Asia-Pacific free-trade rules are both desperately needed and simultaneously evaded.

1. Hot new products that threaten to up-end local markets are blocked by informally government-sanctioned oligopolies.

Examples of this in Korea and elsewhere in Asia are notorious. Hollywood routinely encounters very strict quotas, ostensibly to prevent a “cultural takeover”; this is worst in China. The iPhone and iPad met a torrent of protectionism when they exploded onto the scene a few years ago. Mid-priced Western cars that might directly compete with Toyota or Hyundai were regularly impeded through all sorts of production and sourcing requirements to give Asian national champions a secure local market in which they could charge dramatically higher prices than elsewhere. Electronics too enjoy stiff NTBs. Things like foreign TVs, vacuums, computer parts, and so on are shrouded in bizarre NTBs like “education services” or wildly expensive shipping insurance charges.

Seoul’s slap-down of uber follows this gimmicky, mercantilist pattern. Taxi cab services everywhere have fought uber. It challenges their local monopoly, but of course that is the whole point. This is why start-ups are so valuable and should be nourished, not quashed. They potentially bring new value to consumers and shake up staid markets extracting rents from consumers because of oligopoly. But this manner of creative destruction is particularly feared and resisted in Asia, where medium and especially large firms almost always have deep relationships with government and use that to protect themselves. This is frequently called “industrial policy” – a better term would be “government capture” by interest groups. It is no surprise that large firms in Asia almost never go bankrupt. Indeed Korea does not even have a bankruptcy law, because government bail-outs are so common.

2. Foreign products that are disruptive draw government ire.

The uber coverage in Korea has focused on its lack of a local office and argued that the company is therefore a predator or speculator. It does not create local jobs and “drains” capital out of Korea, because its payment processing center is offshore. This too fits the classic mercantilist pattern, which relies on economic nationalism to discourage import consumption. Economics has long known that consumers display a home country bias. If good H (made in the home country) and F (made in a foreign country) do the same thing more or less and cost roughly the same, consumers are more likely to buy H. All things being equal, they would rather support the home-made product. This is the root impulse of campaigns like “buy American.”

The problem here of course is that such behavior fundamentally violates the spirit of free trade deals, such as the WTO rounds or the recent Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The whole point of such deals is to move beyond economic nationalism and encourage rational consumption: consumers would evaluate goods solely by the ratio of quality (how good is the product) to price (how much they are paying). Americans will recognize that the U.S. cheats on the principle of nondiscrimination with its automotive certificate of origin (COO) rules. Korea is even worse: foreign products are aggressively labeled and often placed side-by-side with their cheaper local clone (see point 3) on store shelves. The foreign product, its price bumped up by all sorts of NTBs, stands in sharp contrast to the local import substitute. Foreign firms, too, routinely face levels of bureaucratic red-tape and politicized auditing in Korea (especially in the banking sector) that lead them to shrink their presence.

3. Import substitution

The great irony of the uber ban is how well the firm actually fits into the current Korean government’s supposed push into services and information. Korea is a manufacturing-heavy economy that is not very competitive in post-industrial sectors. Current President Park Geun-hye has moved to improve this with her “Creative Korea” initiative (CK). This provides seed money to firms and universities around the country to encourage innovative start-ups in a country dominated by massive, slow-moving, rent-extracting conglomerates. Uber is precisely the sort of cool, future-ish app that CK is supposed to inspire. It shows how deep the mercantilist impulse runs in Korea that the government’s first instinct was nonetheless to slap it down, because it was foreign and profitable. The next step is then to clone that successful foreign product, so as to capture its benefits, but deny the foreign firm local penetration. As Samsung in conjunction with the Korean government did five years ago on the iPhone, so Seoul City has said it will do with uber.

Not surprisingly, these practices draw tremendous ire from Asia and Korea’s trade partners, particularly the United States. They strike many in the West as unfair, and the necessary flirtation with xenophobia is deeply disturbing. America’s own economic nationalists, such as Michael Lind or Clyde Prestowitz, counsel the U.S. to mimic these strategies so as to prevent “de-industrialization.” While perhaps appealing to those in the West hardest hit by globalization, mutual mercantilism would push the world economy back toward the 1930s. Far better is to relentlessly push the West’s Asian trading partners to open – which has worked somewhat; the trade environment is certainly much better than it was forty years ago – and increasingly tie them into trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that make such mercantilist cheating illegal.


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


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Busan's Hidden Gem

Fri, 2014-07-25 07:35
Busan's Hidden Gem

With a spread of vividly colorful houses sitting atop a seaside cliff, Taegeukdo Village in Busan (aka Gamcheon Culture Village) looks more like the scenery you’d expect to find in South America or along the shores of coastal Italy even, not South Korea.

This stark contrast to the ultra sleek buildings found in Gangnam, the pale high rise industrial-esque residential apartment towers that swallow most of Seoul and even the traditional Korean Hanok homes, has made the area a popular sightseeing destination for locals and foreigners over the years.

The village, originally formed in 1918 as a community for followers of the Taegeukdo religion, and later refugees during the Korean War, derives it’s name from the ‘taegeuk’ – more commonly known to westerners as the yin and yang symbols, which represent the balance of the universe.

Far from the busy beach scene where most frolic to in Busan, Taegeukdo Village is a perfect retreat to get lost in European-like narrow alley ways and explore a different, more humbling side of South Korea.

Tey-Marie Astudillo
Journalist & Videographer



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Criminal Justice in Korea: Jury Trials

Thu, 2014-07-24 07:57
Criminal Justice in Korea: Jury Trials

We have continued our column from two weeks ago regarding criminal justice, now discussing the relatively new jury trial system in Korea.  We thank the Korea Herald and remind you to read the disclaimer.

Criminal justice: Jury trials in Korea In continuing our discussion of criminal law in Korea, today we discuss a recent addition to the Korean judicial system: the jury trial. 

Before July 2012, all criminal trials in Korea were bench trials, in which the judge decides what is true. This contrasts with a jury trial system where the judge acts like a referee, making sure the two sides follow the law, and the jury of ordinary people decides who to believe.

To qualify for a jury trial, the crime a defendant is charged with must carry a possible sentence of more than one year of imprisonment. Lesser crimes do not carry a right to a jury trial. This is actually not so different from California, where infractions (maximum penalty six months) are tried by bench and not jury. 

Even when the charge is sufficient to warrant a jury trial, a trial by judge may still occur if the defendant waives his right to a jury, or if certain circumstances make the case inappropriate for a jury trial. Those circumstances include if the jurors are so intimidated by violence or loss of property that they cannot complete their duty, or if codefendants do not want a jury trial.

The first step in a jury trial is of course to select a jury. Citizens 20 years old or older are selected at random by the court. Then the judge will exclude jurors who may be biased because they know the people or circumstances involved. After that, the attorneys for each side have a chance to ask questions to try to explore the personality of the jurors and each side has a certain number of preemptory challenges ― jurors they can remove even though the juror was not overly biased, based on the attorney’s preference.

The jury, which is composed of nine people, decides by majority rule. Most juries around the world operate on a majority or supermajority rule. Even in the U.S., where historically a conviction required a unanimous jury verdict, there are many states that have abolished the old rule in favor of majority or supermajority decision-making. So Korea’s approach, though less protective of defendants, is more in keeping with most modern jury systems.

Two factors make Korean jury deliberations very different, though: First, the jurors are allowed to receive the opinion of the judge(s) handling the case, a degree of judge-juror interaction forbidden in many other jury systems for fear the judge will overly influence the jury. In fact, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, it must hear the judges’ opinions. And second, the jury’s decision is nonbinding ― the judge may disregard it. There are no specific criteria for when the judge should disregard the verdict, so it remains almost completely up to the discretion of the individual judge.

Besides deciding guilt and innocence, the jury is also expected to give an opinion regarding sentencing. This is different from in the U.S. or U.K., where generally the jury does not control punishment in any way, except for American death penalty cases, where the punishment of death must be separately assessed by the jury. 

This raises an interesting issue, as previous crimes are considered when determining punishment but not when considering guilt. Evidence of previous crimes is usually considered highly prejudicial, inflammatory and of questionable relevance when deciding whether the defendant committed another crime. But when punishing a person, courts usually consider the criminal’s overall conduct ― past and present ― in determining how severe a punishment is warranted. 

Since a Korean jury gives a verdict on both guilt and punishment at the same time, they will hear all the evidence, including highly inflammatory evidence about the defendant’s past crimes. Many lawyers think that this biases the jury in favor of guilt, as jurors often sway towards a guilty verdict if the defendant has a past record, irrespective of the evidence, particularly if those crimes are egregious.

As we mentioned earlier, the jury verdict is not necessarily binding, but it can have an effect on the prosecution’s ability to appeal. The Korean Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that, unless a prosecutor finds new evidence that would clearly establish guilt, a verdict of not guilty accepted by the lower court should stand.

But of course, that’s yet another situation we hope not to see you in.


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Yo soy coreano

Wed, 2014-07-23 07:01
Yo soy coreano Latin America (South America), Here We Are !

Today, we’ll explore the brief rundown of the migration that occurred which only depicts a handful of events and occurrences amongst a sea of information.  The aim of this article is to promote a general understanding of how the mass emigration occurred, how the Koreans survived and made a living, and anything interesting that we did given our unique circumstances.  Enjoy.

How Did We End Up Here ? 

In 1962, the Overseas Emigration Law was enacted by both countries with a huge intention to strengthen the textile trade.  However, migration to Latin America occurred on a sizeable scale (120,000 Koreans) in Paraguay between 1975 and 1990.

Also, this Law aimed to specifically send Korean farmers and peasants to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia.  This was the plan anyway.

Even though peasants and farmers made the journey to South America, in 1977, only about 1 percent of the Korean migrants were still farmers, the other 99% moved into other vocations.

Hold on second.

Every single farmer or peasant who was Korean just decided to give up farming?!

It turned out that many of the Koreans who made the voyage to Paraguay weren’t all peasants and farmers. They were actually middle-class and had a bit of cash flow as well!  Furthermore, when the Koreans did arrive, the soils weren’t exactly fertile, and so the land was not suitable for farming anyway.

Where Are We Now? 

Now, as far as documentations, the government did keep track of many things and the Koreans weren’t much help in this sector.  Unlike the Swedish, South America had a hard time keeping track of what was what.  Paraguayan visas don’t distinguish between immigrants, long-term residents, temporary workers, and tourists.  So really, there’s no way to tell how many actual residents are living in Paraguay as of now.

To make matters more interesting, Brazil was an attractive place for many people because of their economic and technological sophistication.  Many Koreans moved there without registering themselves with the South Korea’s Representatives, and many just decided not to.

Yup, we just decided not to.
Because we boss like that.

So then, where are we now exactly?

In Brazil, 90% of Koreans live in Sao Paulo in Liberdade, Bom Retiro, or Brás. (48,400 in total)

In Paraguay the majority of Koreans live in Asunción or in Puerto Stroessner. (5200 in total)

In Argentina, the 35,000 population is split between Flores and Balvanera.

Chile has about 2000 people or so.

Each country has their own background and population on wiki: Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile.

So roughly, 90,600 Koreans (documented) are in South America.

Characteristic of Koreans in South America

Sometimes, when you’re not Asian, it’s hard to distinguish between a Chinese or Japanese from a Korean.  But we stood out and for the right reasons too.

Compared to the Chinese and Japanese, Koreans brought around $30,000 in order to financially secure ourselves, which was a lot more than what others brought.  You will never see a Korean in the agricultural department.  Nope, you just won’t.

Also, if you ever come to Paraguay and Brazil, you’ll notice that many families have brothers, sisters, cousins, in other countries including the United States and Canada.  Many Koreans who grow up in South America also end up moving to another country to work, giving them a linguistic advantage over other contenders.  So if you’re in the states, don’t be surprised to hear perfect Spanish or Portuguese coming from a Korean person.  I attended an SAT school in Rowland Heights run by a Korean teacher who grew up in Argentina so I can attest to this!

Oh, Siestas ? We don’t do siestas.

Many Hispanic cultures do a siesta (a nap) during the day, and consequently, their shops remain closed for a few hours.  Well, many Koreans who opened up a store remained opened while most were having a snooze.

As more and more second generations are made, many can be heard referring to themselves as “Porteño” meaning people from Buenos Aires. It’s probably synonymous to Korean-Americans saying they’re “American”.

What Kind of Work Do We Do ?

Well, we did the normal stuff like beekeeping and door-to-door sales.  In the end, many Koreans found their way by opening up their own businesses.

Today, there are about 2500 businesses owned and run by Koreans, mainly in textile industry, electronic engineering, and export-import trades.

Keeping Us Culturally Rooted


With respect to our native roots, in 1972, the Colegio Coreano del Parguay was established and it aimed to bring the Korean culture and language to Paraguay.  You can find this school in San Vicente, in Asunción.

The Kimchi Bus campaign has been touring all over South America so you if you’re lucky, you might be able to eat some homemade kimchi!

To conclude, we’ve only scratched the surface of the Korean diaspora in the South-Western Hemisphere.  If you’d like to read a detailed paper on South Korea’s engagement in Latin America, go here.

The New York Times had an archive about the migration history from real Koreans titled Don’t Cry, This Land Is Rich in Kims and Lees. This was also written in 1995 so if you have a story to tell, please do via email.

If you’d like to learn more about the Korean diaspora in Latin America, here are a few sources I used in writing this article:
Korea, migration late 19thcentury to present by John Lie, Asians in South America by Jeffrey Lesser, and Wikipedia.

Till next time.

your Kyopo friend,


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Fully Booked - Busan's Used Bookstore Closing Sale (July 22~30)

Tue, 2014-07-22 08:01


From: https://www.facebook.com/fullybooked1

It's the end of the world as we know it!! 

Sadly, Fully Booked must announce it will be closing its doors on July 31st! 

All books are on sale starting today! 

Fiction/Self-help paperbacks - $1, Fiction/Self-help Hardcovers - $2
Non-fiction paperbacks - $2, Non-fiction Hardcovers - $4

We will be open July 22, 25, 26, 27, 29, and 30. So get in here soon to stock up.

 Weekdays:  Open at 7pm  

  Weekend: Open at 2pm 

Fully Booked - Busan's Used Bookstore Closing Sale (July 22~30)
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