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All the Coffee in Korea (An Evolving List)

Tue, 2015-06-30 11:00
All the Coffee in Korea (An Evolving List)

Would you like a little T’aegukki with your coffee?

How much is “All the Coffee in Korea” anyway? That answer, to anyone who has walked this country’s occasionally wide, but often narrow streets, is about as obvious as a large, hairy, broad-shouldered waygookin is in a sea of small, curious hangookin children.

A lot (just in case the comment above didn’t make a lot of sense).

Below you will find the evolving (but, by no means conclusive, exhausting or complete… yet) list of places that sell coffee in South Korea. What businesses does that include, exactly? There’s coffee at GS25 and 7-Eleven. Will they be on the list? Probably not, unless they start employing honest-to-goodness baristas. Which I’m not counting out.

Here are some (arbitrary) rules for how a business makes the cut. Don’t see a shop on the list that you think absolutely should be there? Let me know in the comments!

And finally… why the hell am I doing this? I’ll answer that how many of my students might… kunyang (directly translated as “just,” but more like “just because.”). Plus, I really like coffee.

1. Coffee Walk Vol. 2 (Gimhae)
2. Bergamo (Gimhae)
3. Audrey Hepburn Cafe (Gimhae) (Random Weekly Review)
4. Gentle Coffee (Gimhae)
5. Starbucks Coffee (Gimhae)
6. Black Keys (Gimhae)
7. Cafe Do (Gimhae)
8. Cafe Friends (Gimhae)
9. Imperial Coffee (Gimhae)
10. Coffee Tree (Gimhae)
11. Let it be (Gimhae)
12. Angel-in-us (Gimhae)
13. Tom N Toms (Gimhae)
14. Ediya (Gimhae)
15. Dunkin’ Donuts (Gimhae)
16. Caffe Bene (Busan)
17. Caffe Yam (Busan)
18. Cafe Aslan (Busan)
19. Nudge 5 (Busan)
20. Cafe Sweet Coax (Gimhae)
21. Cafe Tirol (Gimhae)
22. The Caffe (Gimhae)
23. Yellow Coffee (Gimhae)
24. L’Revelry (Gimhae) (Random Weekly Review)
25. Caffe Pascucci (Busan)
26. Hands Coffee (Busan)
27. Coffeesmith (Busan)
28. Cafe Nada (Busan)
29. Babeans (Busan)
30. NY Hotdog & Coffee (Gimhae)
31. Waffle & Caffe (Gimhae)
32. Cupcake & Coffee (Busan)
33. Cafe Dou (Busan)
34. Ruban Coffeebible (Busan)
35. Green Bean (Gimhae)
36. Cafe Byul (Gimhae)
37. Nidor Coffee (Gimhae)
38. Coffee # (Gimhae)
39. Na-neun Coffee (Busan)
40. Cafe Corea (Busan)
41. Best Beans (Busan)
42. Cafe Cantata (Busan)
43. BC800 (Gimhae)
44. Caffe D’Ate (Gimhae)
45. Monorail Coffee (Gimhae)
46. Dahlia Dolci (Gimhae)
47. Makimaki Roasters (Gimhae)
48. Grangba (Gimhae)
49. Chung Choon Cafe (Gimhae)
50. Blue Windmill Cafe & Bakery (Gimhae)
51. Irang (Busan)
52. The Venti (Busan)
53. Caffe E Cibo (Busan)
54. Crema (Busan)
55. Cafe Ever (Gimhae) (Random Weekly Review)
56. Cafe Beato (Gimhae)
57. Mins Coffee (Gimhae)
58. Capia (Gimhae)
59. Jajeongo Poong Gyong (Gimhae)
60. Paris Baguette (Gimhae)
61. Tous les Jours (Gimhae)
62. T-World Cafe (Gimhae)
63. Davich Cafe & Caffe (Gimhae)
64. Isaac Toast & Coffee (Gimhae)
65. Dongnae Coffee Shop (Gimhae)
66. Manna Dream (Gimhae)
67. Funny Salon (Gimhae)
68. Happy Coffee (Gimhae)

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

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Naked and Afraid: Korea Edition

Tue, 2015-06-30 01:30
Naked and Afraid: Korea Edition
Get ready: today's post has 50 + pictures.  No, not nudie pics as the title might suggest - we'll get to that later, though.
I had planned on heading out to the beach yesterday.  Blanket, towel, water, and sunscreen in tow, we headed out to Haeundae early Sunday afternoon to pick up a cell phone a friend had left behind at the marina.  That's right - honesty level: Korean, she lost her phone at the marina and someone had picked it up and held it for her to be retrieved the very next day.  

Lucky for us, the marina is near Donbaek station which is coincidentally right near Sushi Berry!  Head out exit 4 and walk straight until you see an underpass on your right hand side with paintings.  Up the street you'll find Sushi Berry on your left hand side.

We were able to get a table within minutes seeing as we arrived around 1:30 PM (they break from 3 PM - 5 PM).  

We shared an order of tempura which was a GREAT choice and was enough for the 4 of us.  

We were also served cabbage salad and miso soup with our meal.

The Shrimp Tempura roll was my favourite with avocado and tons of roe.  It was fresh-tasting, easy to eat, and will be my choice next time we visit Sushi Berry.  The sushi here is North American-style so expect some non-traditional ingredients.

The St. Louis roll was much more decadent and just too much seafood for me.  A deep-fried roll with salmon, crab, avocado, and cream cheese it would be a seafood-lover's paradise but was just a little too much for me.  It's also COVERED in raw onion so if that's not your bag you might want to ask them to leave it off (our server's English was pretty good!).

The group had tried to dine at Sushi Berry the night before but they ran out of rice.  The chef remembered my friend and treated us to an order of Philadelphia cream cheese deep fried cheesecake bites (say that 5x fast!).  

As you may remember, I had planned on getting some rays at the beach.  With a giant sale at H&M Centum City and a proposed trip to either the movies or Spaland (a jimjilbang...we're getting closer to naked times), I tagged along to Centum City (a $4 cab ride from the marina).  We spotted an ice-cream truck and some tents and decided to participate in some social-media promotion for "belief" skincare line in the hopes that we would win a prize.  We got some samples so that was cool, but the real prize was the ridiculous picture we got on the promotional bike (above).

On the top floor of the Lotte Department Store at Centum City there's a magical viewing deck with an "African Village" a "Black Ghost" Pirate Ship, and a Dinosaur Land.  This was the perfect spot to take B & O who were heading to see Jurassic World in 4D later in the afternoon.  The weather was amazing and the views were stunning.  If you're in Busan this is a great spot to take in the sights - free of charge!

My friend G has been encouraging me to check out a Jimjilbang for just over a month now.  These are places where men and women go to get naked and soak in a variety of baths set at different temperatures with sea salt or baking soda or chlorine.  I was incredibly nervous to get into my birthday suit not in front of the Koreans, but in front of my friends.  Isn't it weird to be enjoying pool/ sauna/ steam room times completely in the buff with your gal pals?  Turns out - not so much.  My two Spaland companions showed me the ropes (pay $18 admission, get your wristband so you can put your shoes away, get a locker, and pay for your spa treatments, snacks, and other amenities as you go) before stripping down completely and heading into the shower area.  

Photos c/o Spaland and Onsen Soaker 
After rinsing off, we waltzed into the ladies only bath area where (not surprisingly) nobody cared about anyone else's nudiepants bodies.  There were freezing cold baths, warm baths with jets, hot baths, and a couple of ponds outside (yes - I was naked in the light of day yesterday!).

After soaking/ hitting the saunas for about an hour we headed back to the locker room to get changed.  The lady handing out the pajama-style clothes had given me ladies Medium clothes so my insecurity was already pretty high that the Korean clothes wouldn't fit.  That didn't really matter because right after I dropped my wet, tea towel-sized towel in the hamper we found that my electronic key wouldn't work.  I was naked, cold, and afraid in a Korean locker room.  I stood in front of my locker desperately trying to open the door.  The key clicked, a delightful little jingle played, but the door just would not open.  Panic set in briefly as we tried to find an attendant while entirely in the buff.  Thankfully, we found someone to clean out the water from my lock, the PJs fit, and we headed into the co-ed area with a variety of cold, warm, and hot saunas with a variety of pleasant decor and tons of spaces to stretch out and relax.

In the Relaxation Room you can lay back and watch TV on your own individual screen.  They even have DVD rooms with giant leather recliners and massive screens.  Food and Drink (they even serve Cass and Max, but we didn't imbibe) are allowed in these areas.     

We took some time in the massage chairs ($2 for 15 minutes) before heading into the restaurant for dinner.

We sat on the floor by the window (there are no chairs at the restaurant, but there are many at the cafe).

Beef and Cabbage Soup.

Bibimbap (unless you love fish sauce be careful which of the varieties of kimchi you toss into the mix)

Donkatsu with an awesome soup, wicked cabbage salad, rice, garlic, and raddish.  I think this was the best choice, but I'm a little bibimbap-ed out.

The beautiful cafe (note: you can only get individual ice creams at the downstairs snack bar).

My classy Spaland ensemble ;)

This outdoor co-ed foot bath has soft pebbles to massage your feet.

The cold sauna was...not that cold.

This sauna changed colour and had a few areas where you could lay down and enjoy the show.  I'd like to spend more time in these saunas next time!

This sauna was one of my favourites.  With low lighting and soft music, the marble floor was actually really comfortable and relaxing.

This sauna was really hot - so hot that there was a warning saying not to bring in your cellphone because it might explode.  We walked in to find 4 Koreans playing games with full sound on their cell phones.  Not exactly the relaxing experience for which we were hoping, so we headed out to quieter areas.

After 4 hours (the limit before they start charging overtime) we changed, paid (I had an additional $18 to pay for 30 minutes in a massage chair, my tiny Haagen-Dazs, and a wonderful dinner), and headed out on the subway back to Hwamyeong.  If you're in Korea and missing your North American bath then this is the closest you're going to get to full water immersion (you know - other than the pee-filled kiddie pool or the ocean!).  Here I am fresh-faced and with sauna-dried hair smiling and giving you the thumbs up!  I would definitely recommend SpaLand for your first jimjilbang experience.  It's classier than the experience Conan had in LA (google the video to be scarred for life), and really comfortable.  I'm naked and afraid no longer!

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Mon, 2015-06-29 17:01
Halmoni  There is a halmoni (old woman/grandmother) I always see on my way to work. She is too frail and too old to fend for herself, but she sits in front of a cellphone shop everyday, selling vegetables to passersby. I bought vegetables from her a few times and left her a little tip. I couldn’t just give her money. I know that she would not accept money from me, because that’s how they are in Korea. Even when the person is in need or too weak and too old to work, he will not beg for money. He will work hard for it. One day, I invited halmoni to eat with me, but perhaps she couldn’t understand my not-so-fluent Korean or she couldn’t trust a stranger, so she refused. I would usually greet her and she’d smile back at me. If there is one thing that matters to a Korean elder the most, that would be respect from a younger person in the form of a slight bow or a jovial greeting of “Anyeonghaseyo!”  Last week, when she saw me, she called me out and told me to sit in front of her. She said that she was going to give me some vegetables for free. I said I still have some in the house, the ones that I bought from her, but she insisted and kept asking me to sit down and wait. As she was getting the vegetables ready, I sat there, looking at her, hoping that she is not really alone in this world, that she has children or grandchildren who care for her or visit her sometimes. I remember my mother-in-law telling me: “Those old people you see in Korea who sell vegetables on the street or collect empty boxes and scraps are not poor. They are probably richer than us. Working is a hobby for them. Don’t feel sorry for them.” How I hope that my mother-in-law is right… that the halmoni I always see doesn’t have to work that hard to make a living… that to her, sitting there for hours, rain or shine, to sell vegetables is just a pastime… that even if she doesn’t work at that age, she will have food to eat and enough money to get by. When halmoni gave me the vegetables which she carefully wrapped in a plastic, she held my hands and said thank you before I could thank her first. She put a bracelet on my arm and smiled at me with such warmth and kindness. I said thank you and told her what a beautiful bracelet she gave me. I bid her goodbye and headed home. As I was walking, halmoni‘s voice kept reverberating in my head: “Are you the one who gave me money?” “I bought vegetables from you before, Halmoni.”“No, no… you gave me money. It was you.”“Come here, come here. Sit, sit here. I will give you vegetables. Do you like vegetables?” I thought that I was helping halmoni, but no, I wasn’t… she was the one helping me to realize that a nobody like me can be a somebody to someone.


From Korea with Love



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The Scar of Jeju Island: The Jeju April 3 Incident

Mon, 2015-06-29 06:05
The Scar of Jeju Island: The Jeju April 3 Incident

This is a travel diary of a Trazer Hyoseung Allyson W from Jeju Island. 

The April 3 Incident The April 3 Incident is an unfamiliar yet important part of the Korean history.

To me, Jeju used to be a beautiful island where everybody wanted to visit for their either romantic or exciting vacation. Of course, Jeju Island is still unquestionably beautiful, but when I heard that most of the famous tourist attraction sites were once the graveyards of many souls, I was shocked by the forgotten history, the Jeju April 3 Incident.

 “The Jeju April 3 Incident is a series of events in which thousands of islanders were killed as a result of clashes between armed civilian groups and government forces. It took place over the period from March 1, 1947, when the National Police opened fire on the protesters in Jeju Island, and April 3, 1948, when members from the Jeju branch of the South Korean Labor Party began an uprising to protest against the South Korean government, to September 21, 1954, when people who had escaped from military attacks went back to their homes finally.” – Jeju April 3rd Peace Park

The sculpture was made based on the story of a young mother on the run got frozen with her dead baby.

The official reports say that 14,373 victims were killed but people say that about 30,000 who were suspected as communists were sacrificed by the armed forces, which was one tenth of the Jeju population at that time. I was told that people in Jeju usually assumed that at least one person from each family had been executed during the Jeju April 3 Incident and that most of families in Jeju had ancestral rites on April 3 due to the massacre. 95 % of the villages located in the middle of the Halla Mountain were burned down or completed destroyed and most of the villagers were vanished into the air.

Jeju April 3 Peace Park The park is quite big and it took about 30 mins to look around the whole area.

To understand the Jeju April 3 Incident in depth, I headed to the Jeju April 3 Peace Park established by the Jeju government to remember the tragic incident that should not be forgotten. The Jeju April 3 Peace Park is composed of a museum, a memorial, and a cemetery related with the incident. Especially, the museum is a perfect place to learn the whole story of the Jeju April 3 Incident. In fact, looking at the pictures of the survivors and their scars, I became speechless at the cruelty of the soldiers done to the innocent civilians.

The entrance of the museum is shaped like a cave that people escaped to during the incident. The museum reproduced the destruction of civilian villages. People persecuted during the incident were buried in the peace park The sculptures symbolize the wish that the dead could finally be at rest in peace with the carved shrouds. Keunneolgwe Cave About 60 people were at the cave for escape.

Keunneolgwe Cave in Jeju was the place where I could feel the urgency of fugitives at the incident. During the escape from the soldiers dispatched from the Korean main land, numerous villagers living in the middle of the Halla Mountain or above stayed in the caves to protect themselves from freezing cold. From just-born babies to the elderly, they had to leave most of their households behind them. Most of the caves were exposed to the soldiers and the people were brutally slaughtered without mercy. Even pregnant women were shot and infants were smitten to death. In the excavation of caves that had were occupied during the Jeju April 3 Incident, bones from various ages were discovered along with small household goods, showing that people lived there for a quite a long time but could not go to back their homes.

The entrances of most of the caves from the Jeju April 3 Incident were locked Since visitors cannot go into the cave, explanations on the board help visitors to visualize what it was like during that time. Movie ‘Jiseul’

If you want to know about the Jeju April 3 Incident before visiting Jeju Island, here is a movie I recommend.

The movie ‘Jiseul’ was filmed in black and white to show the tension of the period.

The movie ‘Jiseul’ openly describes the brutality of this tragic April 3 Incident. Released in 2012, the movie tells the story of villagers from one village in the middle of the Halla Mountain who escaped to a cave during winter in order to avoid the military attack. The title “Jiseul” means potato in Jeju dialect, conveying the meaning of survival and hope of commoners who were struggling to maintain their lives. The movie was directed by a Jeju native O Muel and won many international film awards for its realistic depiction of that time.

Reference http://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=657 http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Jeju_Uprising

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We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Korean Media on US Same-sex Marriage Ruling

Sat, 2015-06-27 04:34
Korean Media on US Same-sex Marriage Ruling

Right before heading to sleep last night, my boyfriend and I heard the great news. Same-sex marriage is now legal in the entire USA! We woke up to a number of fantastic memes and posts from friends celebrating this landmark decision. Huffington Post Korea, my go-to news source (yes, I know it is biased) had a very affirmative headline with a "YES" in big bold letters. 
Similarly, news sources in the center or center/left also had a morning news item on the case. 
YTN, for example, included a story on the case with a more neutral perspective and on the front page of the Hankyoreh's website was an article titled "US Supreme Court "Constitutionality of Same-sex Marriage " ... Permission Across the Entire Country"

But how about 조중동? (The conservative newspapers: Joseon Ilbo, Jungang Ilbo, and Dongang Ilbo) This morning, the Joseon llbo did have a post on the ruling, but kept it off of their front page. Jungang Ilbo wins, with an article on their front page titled "Same sex couple can get married anywhere"... The US Supreme Court says Prohibiting Same Sex Marriage is Unconstitutional .  Finally, Dongang Iblo had it tucked away in a small corner on their front page under hot issues. 
Great news for progress, and let's hope this can help mobilize people for the queer pride parade tomorrow! What a great start to the weekend! 

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Poetry Plus+41 (The Return of a Busan Institution)

Thu, 2015-06-25 01:04

Poetry Plus+41

Poetry Plus, the event which kick-started the Busan Art scene in November 2000 returns on Saturday, June 27th, at Eva’s Ticket in Kyungsungdae. The night includes music, spoken word, theater, film, humor, & visual arts on all the big screens. Afterwards, the night will rock on with one of Busan’s finest bands, The Positions!


7:45pm: Gino Brann: “Geetboxing.”
8:15pm: Sarah Hansen: “Don’t Sarcast Me, Mama!”
8:20pm: Ryan Estrada: “Tales of Adventure!” 
8:30pm: Lynn Brown: “Poems.”
8:35pm: Sean O’Gorman: “The Inside-Outside Poems.”
8:40pm: Christopher Beaulieu: A Short Film: “Venice is for Lovers.”
8:50pm: Violet Lea & Robert Coates: “Songs: Guitar Reflections.”
9:00pm: Bob Perchan: “Eros & Exile.”
9:10pm: Catherine Wilson: "Poems on Perspective."
9:15pm: Mike Laveck: "Songs"
9:25pm: Anthony Velasquez: “Wines For Times, A Presentation.”
9:35pm: Ben May, Travis Beagle, Annabelle Murphy, Steve Feldman: “Interregnum I.”


9:45pm: Ben May, Annabelle Murphy, Travis Beagle, Steve Feldman: “Interregnum II.”
9:50pm: Chris Tharp: “The Worst Motorcycle in Laos.”
10:00:pm: Kenneth “K” May: “Skulls.” (w/ Patrick Quinn Carle on violin)
10:05pm: Gino Brann: “In The Meantime.”
10:15pm: Gordon Bazsali, Jr.: “Jazz Dialogue.”
10:20pm: Steve Feldman: “Maximum Quiche”.
10:25pm: Stephen Edward Hampson: “Stand Up Comedy.”
10:30pm: Sarah Hansen: “Dance The Blue Lights Away.”
11:00pm: The Positions: A Full Band Rock Show.

Visual Artists 
Peter DeMarco: Photographs. (Event photo)
Mike Dixon: Photographs.
George A. Boyle: Photographs.
Kelsey Smith: Paintings.
Antony Jackson: Artwork & Master of Voodoo.
Jeff Lebow: Media Guy.

Notes: This is a listening event with periodic audience participation. So, be sure to tune into what’s happening on stage. Also, come early in order to secure a comfortable viewing spot. During the performance, food will be served in the back areas of the establishment.

This event is dedicated to Jen Sotham.

Poetry Plus+41 (The Return of a Busan Institution)
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It’s the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Korea Normalization, and Abe Conceded…Nothing

Thu, 2015-06-25 00:02
It’s the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Korea Normalization, and Abe Conced

Sometimes Japan just brings these troubles on itself…

Anyone who’s read this blog for awhile knows that I get a fair amount of flak from Korean nationalists who tell me that I should stop pointing out how South Korea manipulates Japan and history for its own domestic purposes – no one denies it, mind you, they’re just furious when I point it out – or that I am too friendly to Japan, and so on.

So this post is for you.

I am well-aware that Japan flim-flams, obfuscates, denies and all that. I have said that for years. And last Monday, the 50th anniversary of Korea-Japan diplomatic normalization was a big chance for Abe to re-set the board. He blew it. Maybe we’ll get luckier with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War next month. There will be global attention on Abe then.

The essay below the jump was originally posted here at the Lowy Interpreter earlier this week.



On June 22, 1965, South Korea and Japan signed their “Treaty on Basic Relations,” the fundament for the current relationship. As the fiftieth anniversary rolls around this week, all eyes are on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Next month is also the seventieth anniversary of Imperial Japan’s defeat in World War II and the birth of modern democratic Japan. There is widespread hope – but little expectation, it must be admitted – that on these major occasions Abe will offer some concessions to Korea and the region on historical questions – most importantly: 1) Japan’s general culpability for its expansionism, culminating in the war; 2) its harsh treatment both of conquered peoples, especially the Chinese, and on the battlefield; and 3) its historical representation that frequently portrays the war as something forced in Japan or done to liberate Asia from western colonialism, in which it was a victim (because of US strategic bombing and the atom-bomb drop), and where brutalities such as the ‘comfort women’ system or Unit 731 go undiscussed.

Apologies and Liability

The debate over responding to Korea is particularly contentious. Relations between the two are near an all-time low, and Abe has consistently dodged culpability or cast doubt on established facts. The normalization debate fifty years ago was very antagonistic in Korea. There were mass protests, which the dictator at the time, Park Chung Hee, was able to override through sheer force. But as Korea has democratized, public opinion has become harder to constrain. Nationalist opinion has focused on Japan’s contrition, or lack of. The central Korean demand in the relationship is a sincere apology. Tokyo feels it has done so many times. Hence the stalemate.

A further, often unrecognized, issue is financial liability. The most contentious part of the 1965 settlement is the agreement to forgo all Korean financial claims against Japan related to the war in exchange for extensive financial and technological assistance. Japan did indeed provide this – a point my Japanese interlocutors constantly remind me of. But at the time, the ‘comfort women’ issue – the coerced impressment of Korean women into military brothels – was not widely recognized in Korea and conveniently forgotten in Japan. As the issue exploded in the 1990s, demands for compensation were inevitable. Japan has balked at formal compensation, claiming that the 1965 treaty settled all claims. But Korea at that time was an impoverished autocracy. It is hard to know if a poor, but democratic Korea with its contemporary knowledge of the comfort women issue would have signed this treaty (likely not). That casts doubt the moral propriety of liberal democratic Japan’s legalistic adherence to the claims-rejection clause.

Aware of this and the ensuing reputational damage, the Japanese government attempted to settle the issue with the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF), a parastatal NGO in the 1990s/2000s that sought to compensate the victims without direct government culpability. The South Korean government considered this insufficient and encouraged former South Korean comfort women to reject the money and apology. Seoul attributed the AWF to persistent Japanese atrocity evasion, but not widely recognized there is the large fear in Tokyo that formally abandoning the 1965 denial of further claims could open the door to a landslide of Korean claims against Japan.

My own sense from Japanese colleagues and associates is that the government would like to formally recognize the comfort women and end the issue, but it fears huge liability exposure and opportunism if it steps back from the treaty. Greece, for example, in its tussle with the eurozone troika has recently ‘discovered’ that Nazi-era reparations due to it pretty closely approximate Greece’ current debt. Seoul would need to credibly commit that such blatant manipulation would not occur in this case, but that is nearly impossible. Private Korean citizens and groups could bring all sorts of post-treaty claims, and the Blue House would be unable to stop unwanted court decisions without grossly violating judicial independence. Simultaneously, Korean courts would be under huge informal public pressure to find in favor of the claimants, fueling precisely the claim wave Tokyo fears. Like the apology debate, the issue is stalemated.

What Abe Could Say To Help…but Won’t


Usually these sorts of articles end with arguments that both Japan and Korea need to compromise in order to get along and deal with the really serious issues of their neighborhood – North Korea, China, etc. And so they do. And in my previous writings on this topic, I have often suggested that Koreans might take steps to ease the tension, such as dropping on the needlessly provocative Sea of Japan re-naming campaign that only stiffens Japan’s spine, rather than encouraging reconciliation.

But it must be said at this point that Abe has veered so widely from accepted fact on Japanese twentieth century imperialism, that he must probably make the first move, not just to the Koreans, but to much of the Asia-Pacific region, including the Americans. Here are three steps, blindingly obvious to anyone outside Japanese reactionary historiography, that are needed to bring Japan not just into accord with the region, but also with accepted scholarship in the rest of the world.

1) Japan’s culpability in war-time atrocities is now accepted fact outside of head-in-the-sand Japanese conservative circles. It would help immensely if Abe & co. would simply admit what everyone else knows already anyway. As a critic of my Interpreter writing on ‘Korea fatigue’ rightly put it, we all have ‘Japan fatigue’ too, in that we have been dancing around this otherwise obvious issue for decades. Enough.

2) Japan’s historical representation – at Yushukan, the lack of any museums or architecture on behalf of the victims of its 20th century imperialism, the victim narrative, and so on – is myopic at best, a whitewash at worst. Historians have been saying this for years and years.

3) Visits to Yasukuni do nothing but anger most of the planet; even the emperor refuses to go. Why Japanese prime ministers continue to go confounds everyone.

Needless to say, such moves are unlikely, but these two looming anniversaries are huge opportunities to reset the region’s dynamics in Japan’s favor by finally ending a discussion – about the war – that it will simply never win. Is permanent denialism really a strategy? South Korean President Park Geun-Hye hinted to the Washington Post that deal on the comfort women is imminent; is Abe finally coming around?

Filed under: Abe, History, Japan, Korea (South), World War II

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


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A Tale of Two Co-ops

Wed, 2015-06-24 13:58
A Tale of Two Co-ops So, although B and I are now living in a little golmok 'hood where, let's just say, having a bike with a basket is going to come in real handy, we are just a short bike ride away from a particularly schmancy part of the city which is overflowing with organic shops and food co-ops, which is exciting for me, because it's not a thing that has been a reasonable option given the places I've lived previously. Since we're going to have to go out of our way to get our groceries anyway, we might as well try to put in a little extra effort to be responsible consumers as well.

To be clear, I know co-ops are mostly marketed to people who are worried about things like gluten and "toxins" and words on packages they can't recognize. They're marketed that way because they have to be to get the capital backup they need to survive. The truth is, in my opinion, that our bodies are resilient and built to survive. Of course, some things are better to put in them than others, but I'm a smoker -- I don't really have room to be getting high and mighty on that account.

The reasons I'm excited about joining a co-op are twofold, really: 1. The food (especially the meat and dairy) generally tastes better and 2. I hate what industrial farming has done to the agricultural community. Small farmers need a reasonable amount of support if they are going to be expected to not just pack it in, sell the land and go get a job at a factory (which is a terrific waste of usually generations of handed-down wisdom about the things that we eat and how to make them that is in real danger of disappearing forever). Co-ops help give small farmers and those who don't or can't turn to industrial farming methods a fighting chance.

For something that goes way deeper than the surface-level buzzwords on the subject, I really recommend Dan Barber's book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food (which I got through Whatthebook? for what it's worth). It's nice to read about the organic movement from a chef who works closely with his farm. Much better than hearing about it from fake 'nutritionists' who essentially lord over a peasantry of dieters in denial. Just saying.

Speaking of Dan Barber, I'm not super up on the world of chefs (although taking daylong road trips with two of Korea's top foreign chefs once a month is slowly changing that), but I first learned about him through a new docu-series called Chef's Table, which is also worth checking out. I haven't historically been interested in food as more than, well, food, and a bit for the politics and social implications involved, but this series focuses more on the chefs' philosophies than the food itself (although, of course, it is featured), which is different from most of the cooking/chef-related shows I've seen in the past.

Anyway, I know in the old days I would've spent this whole post ranting about the idiocy of the woman at the Ichon branch of Hansalim who took one look at my face and told me I couldn't join the co-op (when I specifically went there because, seeing the English-language forms for membership on their website, I figured it wouldn't be an issue) because 'foreingers don't stay in Korea for a long time'. Well, and with folks like you around, who can blame them? I put the basket down and walked out. B apparently stayed behind and explained that I was his wife and had been here for nearly seven years, at which point she decided that, actually, I could join (so it's clearly not company policy, and maybe some people will have better luck at other branches, although a tweet to the main branch about the situation has gone unanswered so far). But you know what? No, thanks. I really only expect things to go downhill from that kind of first encounter, and I don't think I'd ever really feel welcome at group activities and lectures this woman is in charge of.

I would like to know why me suddenly leaving the country would be a problem for them, though, since they aren't a phone company. Me leaving and never coming back just means they get to keep my investment. Also, great way to abide by the co-op tenet of community spirit.

So instead, I did a little more research and found iCoop's 자연드림 (it seems to be a rule with co-ops that the name needs to be some kind of clever pun -- this one can be interpreted either as "Nature's Dream", which is their English name, or as "From Nature"). They require a monthly membership fee of 13,000 won in addition to the initial 50,000 won investment, but this is because they keep their prices much lower than other co-ops. You can also reduce your membership fee by shopping there often. To put it in perspective, I bought 80,000 won worth of groceries there tonight, but got them for 60,000 with my membership discount -- so I already more than earned back my fee for the month. The investment money is also returned when you leave the co-op.

The woman running this shop was extremely kind and helpful, and even slowed down her explanation of the whole system so I could follow. She also explained -- as I guess she realized I'm a foreigner and may have more need for imported products -- that  they do offer non-domestic items, but only when they are able to broker a fair trade situation and also contribute back into the community they are taking resources out of in the form of community service and donations.

My point is, the Hansalim woman is an idiot who passed up a loyal customer because she couldn't take five minutes to ask a few questions before making a snap judgment. And in the end, I wound up joining a co-op that I think will be far more likely to make me feel welcome and at home. Even if it is a little farther away.

Long story short, if you're a foreigner, try iCoop.

I'm No Picasso
This is a tale of the seaports where chance brings the traveler: he clambers a hillside and such things come to pass.In Imminent Danger
Bits and pieces about Korean literature and translation philosophy


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

No Public Route for Queer Revolution's Pride Parade?

Mon, 2015-06-22 13:38
No Public Route for Queer Revolution's Pride Parade? The Pride Parade is this Sunday, June 28th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the evening. After all the difficulties we had to deal with to get the parade accepted in the first place, I just want to send out one more congratulatory message to all of the organizers of pride this year who made sure the Pride Parade could take place.

The KQF website has basic English information on the pride parade, but I realized that their Korean website is much more detailed. I saw some questions on Facebook asking for more details on the route of the parade, so here I am writing this post.

First off, the parade will be taking place in Seoul Plaza. There will be a large contingency of homophobic Christian groups protesting the parade, so if you want to avoid their hullabaloo use exit 6 of City Hall Station. Starting at 11 in the morning, you can enjoy the various LGBTQIA booths, talk to activists, and obviously just hang out. The parade is probably going to start around 5 or 6.

As for the route... from the Korean version of their official website:

Every year, we have posted here the route of our parade, but not this year. That's because by placing it here the information can be used to block our route by those against us. We will walk along a road of love and justice. This road will never be blocked by hatred and homophobia. The day of the parade, we will go where we can go. You can find out the route when you come on the 28th! 

So, there you go. Less details then previous years, but all to make sure that we can have a fantastic parade! Hope to see you there.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Cook show craze is sweeping Korea

Fri, 2015-06-19 10:26
Cook show craze is sweeping Korea

Guess who is the hottest entertainer in TV these days in Korea. K-pop idol? Sexy actress? No! It’s CHEF! From 2006 when Olive TV, the only food life style channel in Korea, was launched, various cooking programs starring professional and amateur chefs have drawn viewers’ attention more and more. The term ‘Chef-tainer’ has been coined recently, reflecting their growing popularity in show business.

Chef Choi Hyunseok is the most well-known chef-tainer in Korea. He is popular for his original dishes with his attitude of bravado.

   Starting from cooking contest shows to culinary evaluation shows, numerous programs with various formats focus on cooking processes. Instead of simply showing complete dishes for tasting, the shows usually feature the whole cooking process from the start like choosing menus and preparing ingredients. During this process, characteristics of individual chefs are revealed unexpectedly, adding more fun and making the programs more vivid and live.

   Here are some Cook shows that everybody knows in Korea.

   First is “What Are We Eating Today?” on Olive channel, which introduces essential instructions for home meals that are easy to follow from home.

Two MCs of the show, Shin Dongyup and Sung Sikyung.

   This 30 minute show not only delivers cooking recipes with information, but also focuses on the natural yet hilarious interaction between MC Shin Dongyup, a comedian skilled in making funny situations by his word play, and MC Sung Sikyung, a singer excellent at cooking with comprehensive knowledge. Every Thursday, they invite famous local chefs to learn their secret know-hows.

Spicy stir-fried chicken, famous food in Gangwondo province, was also introduced in the What Are We Eating Today. The show seems like a comedy show rather than a cook show.

The show is aired every Monday and Thursday 12AM and 8 PM on Olive Channel.

Second is “Three Meals A Day” on TvN, a program showing farming life carried out by celebrities who had never been to farm before.

Two main MCs, Ok Taecyeon and Lee Suhjin, learn farming from the step one.

   Located in Oksoonbong in Jeongseon, the countryside famous for its transparent green Cheongpoong lake, the show features the cast, Ok Taecyeon and Lee Suhjin as main MC, living a rural life isolated from the city. The unique thing about this seemingly-boring-but-actually-funny show is that the crew has to not only cook the menu with natural ingredients but also cultivate or catch items from the start. Currently, the cast from the season 3 of Three Meals A Day just finished planting seeds of corn and other vegetables. Guests are invited in almost every episode, adding up the liveliness of the show. The spinoff of this show “Three Meals A Day – Fishing Village’ was also very popular, featuring Cha Seungwon, Yu Haejin, and Son Hojoon.

They even had to build stone stoves by themselves Their meals are usually not fancy but folksy.

   The show is aired every Friday 9:45 PM on TvN Channel.

   Last but not the least is “Please Take Care of My Refrigerator.”

Two main MCs, Kim Sungjoo and Jung Hyungdon, comically produce the harmony with professional chefs.

   Unlike two shows mentioned above, Please Take Care of My Refrigerators star real professional chefs famous in the cooking industry. When celebrity guests are invited to the show and bring their refrigerators, the 8 chefs have to compete with one another by cooking dishes with items only from the refrigerators in 15 minutes. This breathtaking competition among the chefs shows the glimpse of professional cooking, making the viewers awed by the creativity and taste of the complete dishes.

The guests’ refrigerators are always inspected by the two MCs , showing what items are in there. 15 minutes is such a short amount of time, but the chefs succeed in coming up with mouthwatering dishes.

   The show is aired every Monday 9:40 PM on JTBC Channel.

  The cook shows’ influences are incredible among people. When chefs appear on TV, their restaurants or shops become popular so much that making a reservation becomes necessary. Some chefs actually serve the menu that they cooked in cook shows. Why don’t you visit their restaurants? You may have a luck to see them in person.

Chef Choi Hyunseok’s Elbon the Table

In Elbon the Table, you can taste Chef Choi Hyunseok’s creative dishes while enjoy seeing cooks in an open kitchen. Steak with 5 kinds of salt is a recommended dish for meat lovers.

Chef Mihal Spasov Ashminov’s Zelen

Zelen is an authentic Bulgarian restaurant run by two Bulgarian brothers. Not only their menu but also the traditional Bulgarian interior of the restaurant will give you a short trip to Bulgaria.

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

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

MERS Monitoring Board

Fri, 2015-06-19 05:20
MERS Monitoring Board



Originally Published by Korea Medcial Hub

  • 6,729 Under Quarantine
  • 165 Confirmed Case
  • 23 Dead
  • 4,492 Finished Quarantine 
  • 24 Discharged

Update: 2015 June 18 09:00 
It decribes MERS-diagnosed patients' moving routes and MERS outbreaked facilities.


These are some useful websites that show statistics on MERS, patient profiles, and interactive datamaps. They are all in Korean though. If you have any question while reading any of them, comment on this posting. I will answer to your comment as far as I know. Thanks!

*Source for map & MERS monitoring board: The Central MERS-CoV Control Office of the Ministry of Health and Welfare

- See more at: http://www.kmhglobal.com/mers-monitoring-board-datamap-in-south-korea#sthash.OW0dqhe2.dpuf

Jane JangKorea Medical HubTel.+82-2-519-8021hello@kmhglobal.comKakao ID : medicalcuratorViber/WhatsApp Available

Korea Medical Hub (KMH) is a multilingual web portal designed to provide a list of clinics and hospitals in Korea and information on facilities and medical services they offer for international patients coming to Korea for medical tourism.


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

The MERS Panic and Painfully Obvious Need to Clean-Up the Korean Regulatory State

Wed, 2015-06-17 02:58
The MERS Panic and Painfully Obvious Need to Clean-Up the Korean Regul



I wrote a story about the South Korean MERS panic for this week’s Newsweek Japan (available here). Basically, I make the same argument as my friend Se-Woong Koo from Korea Expose (which you really need to start reading). The panic shows just how much South Korea needs to get its act together on public safety and competence in government.

It is ironic that when Park entered office, the biggest fear was ideological – that she might imitate her father’s harsh governing style, or that her term would trench warfare between conservatives and progressives over her father’s legacy. Now – after NIS, the nuclear materials scandal, Sewol, the staffing circus, MERS, and so on – the questions are far more elementary – do Park Geun-Hye and her closest aides just have the basic technocratic skills/focus/interest to run a modern complex country and bureaucracy? I would be surprised if her approval rating breaks 50% again before her term ends. It’s once again around 30%, as it was after Sewol. Competence is almost certain to be main line of critique from the opposition in next year’s parliamentary election.

For previous essays on this topic, go here, here, and here. The full essay follows the jump.


It is now more than three weeks since the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) came to South Korea. This is the largest outbreak to date outside of the Middle East. An elderly Korea tourist apparently brought it back from a trip to Saudi Arabia. Korean doctors originally did not recognize the symptoms, and early patients were either sent home or placed in crowded hospital facilities in close proximity to other patients. This allowed the virus to spread in hospitals where the outbreak has been worst and where public pressure, trending toward paranoia, has been most intense.

At the time of this writing, the total number of infections exceeds one hundred and twenty. At least four people have fully recovered, while ten, all elderly or otherwise ill, have passed away. Approximately three thousand others are in preventive isolation. The virus appear to be most lethal for seniors, the very young, and the infirm. The American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 35% of MERS patients die. In Korea, the outbreak remains mostly clustered in Seoul and its regional hospitals.

Korean media are now suggesting that the virus is mostly ‘contained,’ and that this week may be its peak. If the number of new cases drops in the next week or two, it seems likely the crisis has passed. Neither the CDC nor the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued major travel alerts or otherwise discouraged people from visiting South Korea. They recommend only basic hygienic action such as regular hand-washing. There has been no break-out into the larger population and that seems increasingly unlikely.

Bungling, then Panic

By the standard of the best known recent epidemic – Ebola in 2014-15 – Korea’s MERS contagion is relatively minor. Ebola hit west African states like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea very hard. Over 11,000 people have died since March 2014, with more than 27,000 people infected. Unlike Korean MERS, Ebola broke into the general population. Medical personnel were so routinely infected as well, that the sick sometimes went untreated. Social prejudice and superstition lead to discrimination against survivors. In some cases, military intervention was need to maintain order. Treatment personnel wore dramatic biohazard suits. Foreign attention grew as panic increased of a global spread.

MERS in Korea has seen nothing like this ‘Hollywood’ style disease outbreak. There are no helicopters, camps, or public disorder. Korea’s health system is vastly more advanced than those combatting Ebola. When Korea fought Swine Flu and SARS last decade, it resisted well. Not a single case of SARS was reported because of vigorous monitoring at ports of entry and a dedicated government response structure.

Unfortunately, such protocols were not followed in this case, and a mini-panic ensued, greatly over-inflamed by a sensationalist media response both in Korea and abroad. The government’s initial response was fairly passive, for which it has been strongly criticized. Early suspected patients were sent home and told only to sleep alone and maintain distance from others. No public guidelines were forthcoming to citizens; the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Koran analogue of the US CDC, were not heard from as the early anxiety brewed toward panic.

Little information was shared on who was sick and where, a decision which generated particularly intense anger and confusion. The government initially refused to provide the numbers of the ill, their demographic information, or the hospitals they were in. There is a widespread belief that if the government had provided such information, those who later contracted MERS in hospital might have avoided it by choosing a different hospital. Lawsuits are almost certain in the future, as victims’ families blame the government and seek restitution. In fact, so bad was the panic flowing from the information blockage, that the opposition mayor of Seoul broke with government protocol and provided such information on his own in a dramatic late-night press conference. The ensuing infighting and back-biting suggested that the government simply did not know what it was doing.

The problems continued. Unlike SARS, the government, until recently, did not step in to coordinate the response. President Park Geun-Hye did not hold a cabinet meeting on the issue until June 9, three weeks after the first case appeared and well into the national panic over its spread. Only just this week did she agree to cancel a foreign trip due to rising pressure to lead on the issue. Now, multiple government agencies and task forces have been assigned the problem, yet further compounding confusion about who is leading the central response. In practice, the spread has been stopped by local doctors in the Seoul area hospitals, the real heroes of this story.

Given this botched response, hard on the heels of similarly botched response to the Sewol ferry sinking last year, a minor paranoia has gripped the country in recent weeks. Panicked parents have pressured thousands of elementary schools to close, even though the outbreak is clustered in hospitals. Lurid stories referencing Hollywood imagery of epidemics and contagion have filled the internet. Many trips, vacations, outings, tourist holidays, and so on have been cancelled, again due to spiraling anxiety rather than widespread uptake of the virus.

The hysteria has spread around Asia as well. Hong Kong issued a ‘red’ travel alert. The Shanghai Film Festival told Koreans not to come. Tourists from China and Japan have cancelled thousands of trips. Airlines from southeast Asian countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, have cancelled flights. All in all, it is an awkward regional embarrassment for the world’s fifteenth largest economy and member of the G-20.

Indeed, so much hysteria has built up, both at home and abroad, that the government is now worried a ‘MERS effect’ will tip the economy into recession and damage the country’s national image. This week the Korean central bank cut the prime rate by twenty-five basis points, to an all-time low of 1.5%, to spur post-MERS spending. President Park said, “I urge citizens to refrain from excessively reacting to MERS for the sake of the economy.” So distrustful of their own government are Koreans now, that major media have taken to referencing foreign health authorities, such as the WHO and US CDC, to reassure people that Korea is safe.

The Politics of MERS

As the outbreak winds down, the political debate will only heat up. An enormous outpouring of confusion, then anxiety, and now increasingly anger has washed over the country. The government’s response has been widely criticized as late, botched and, half-hearted, even by conservative media outlets traditional aligned with President Park and her conservative Saenuri (New Frontier) Party.

Indeed, Saenuri itself has split over the issue, with Saenuri parliamentarians turning against the Blue House and their own president. National Assembly elections will occur next year, and the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) is sure to use MERS against the government. President Park though is term-limited to one five-year stint. Hence the internecine Saenuri split. Park’s tepid response does not threaten her own non-existent electoral prospects; she will likely retire from politics after her term, as do most Korean ex-presidents. But Saenuri parliamentarians in the National Assembly will face an angry electorate next year with little help from the unpopular Park. They are turning on her now in hopes that some distance from the administration will help them retain their seats.

It is easy to imagine that the NPAD next year will tie the botched MERS response to last year’s similarly flubbed response to the Sewol sinking (April 16, 2014), as well as the Park administration’s continuing staffing scandals. President Park has seen multiple high ranking officials either resign or be forced to withdraw their names from nomination. For example, she has already had three prime ministers – constitutionally the second in charge, similar to the American vice president – in just twenty-nine months, with yet another expected soon. All this will likely be tied into an overarching opposition narrative that President Park is incompetent to hold the office, and that her party is disinterested in clean government reforms.

President Park’s approval rating has lingered under 50% for much of her presidency, and at one point in the wake of the Sewol disaster it fell below 30%. Gallup Korea places it now at 34%. Given the scandals, Sewol, and now MERS, it is unlikely her numbers will rise above 50% before her term expires in 2017. This could bring the left into power for the first time in a decade.

Competence and the Korean Regulatory State

Longer term issues lurk in the background of this entire debate. MERS, Sewol, and the staffing scandals are only the latest indicators of the deep need to improve the Korean regulatory state and tackle endemic corruption. Park is hardly the first Korean president to wrestle with corruption and scandal. Almost all of her predecessor have been investigated after their presidencies. One even committed suicide, because indictment was imminent. Transparency International (TI), an NGO that ranks countries by perceived corruption, gives Korea a mediocre 43 out of 175. (Japan is ranked 15th; a lower score is better.)

The Park administration however has compounded these traditional Korean corruption problems with even more basic questions of competence and managerial ability. Are she and the people around her – many of whom date from her father’s time in the presidency decades ago – actually qualified and interested enough in directing the Korean state to perform its duties properly? Park’s continuously low approval ratings suggest the majority of Koreans do not believe so.

Park has always been susceptible to such critiques. She is the daughter of a previous president (dictator really), so much of her electoral appeal was in her name, rather than her accomplishments. Although an effective political operator for Saenuri, Park had little actual governing experience before assuming the presidency. Her predecessor, by contrast, had extensive previous executive experience as mayor of Seoul and a corporate CEO. As many people have said of US President Obama, the inexperienced Park may simply be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity and demands of the office. A similar critique was made of ex-President George W. Bush. His president father had established the family name which later made the son a viable presidential candidate. But the son lacked the actual professional qualifications for the office and was then overwhelmed when the Iraq occupation went off the rails and Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

Korea, like most modern, wealthy states, has a large, complex bureaucracy tasked with insuring public safety and regulatory safeguards in an even larger and more complex economy. Yet again and again, issues of public safety arise that suggest that Korean bureaucracy is perforated with cronyism and corner-cutting. Park’s term alone has been deeply unnerving for public safety: In 2013, nuclear power plants around the country were shut down because of faked materials certificates, raising huge safety concerns and depriving the nation of power in very hot summer. The 2014 Sewol investigation suggested rampant cronyism in the regulation of maritime traffic. The ferry was significantly overloaded and a poorly trained crew was allowed to operate the ship, because inspectors looked the other way. And now MERS 2015 once again suggests Korea’s regulatory state is simply not up to the task of competently, dispassionately regulating in the public interest.

These problems are hardly Park’s fault personally, but her disinterest in the necessary reforms is unnerving. Park has repeatedly emphasized more economic growth, with her ‘creative Korea’ and ‘new miracle on the Han’ rhetoric. But much like China today, what already-wealthy Korea really needs now is not just ever more headline growth, but cleaner, less cronyistic, and more transparent growth. Unfortunately, the Park administration has gone the other way on this. Its response to criticism has been a press clamp-down so tough that it has affected Korea’s press freedom scores with external observers like Freedom House. On MERS, it sat on information until a public panic broke out, and the investigation of Sewol was politicized from the start and the ensuing reforms tepid. Indeed so big is the issue of clean, functional government in Korea now, that I predict it will be the centerpiece of the opposition’s legislative campaign next year.

Such questions bedevil any modern bureaucracy: the US looked callous and incompetent on Katrina and Iraq; Japan has been regularly accused of covering up the extent of the Fukushima disaster. But Korea’s TI score and seemingly endless government and regulatory scandals suggest the rot is deep. It is so widespread, that it has even hit Korean foreign policy. Park’s cancelled trip this week was a major visit to the United States to meet Obama, while last year the US and Korea agreed not to turn over ‘operational control’ (OPCON) of the Korean military in wartime to the Korean government in part because of competence concerns on the part of the US military. If nothing else, perhaps Park will embrace a clean managerial agenda, because she will leave the office as one of Korea’s most unpopular presidents if she does not.

Filed under: Corruption, Domestic Politics, Korea (South), Modernization, Newsweek, Scandal

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


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

South Korea’s CARS Epidemic Enters Fourth Decade

Tue, 2015-06-16 15:09
South Korea’s CARS Epidemic Enters Fourth Decade

A Yangpa News Special Report

SEOUL – The OECD has announced that 5,869 South Koreans died of CARS in 2014, which marks the 30th consecutive year that the number of fatalities from the epidemic has topped the 5,000 mark.

One of Seoul’s many high-risk areas

CARS, or Catastrophic Automobile Ramming Syndrome, is believed to affect nearly a quarter million people a year in South Korea. In a country of 50 million, this means that nearly everyone can name a close friend or family member who has been stricken by CARS.

Delivery driver Kim Yeseok has had several bouts with CARS and survived, but some of his friends were not so lucky. “Last year I lost two colleagues to CARS,” said Kim, “A Sonata and a Bongo, to be precise.”

While most victims of CARS survive, many suffer a range of severe symptoms, including massive trauma, internal bleeding, paralysis, compound fractures, third-degree burns, lacerations, coma, profuse bleeding, and death.

The World Health Organization has traced the beginning of the CARS epidemic in part to the rise in private automobile ownership in South Korea. “Since 1985, when the number of privately owned automobiles exceeded one million for the first time, South Korean CARS-related deaths have consistently been among the highest of all OECD nations,” said Doctor Park Jin-hyuk.

While there are a variety of treatments for CARS-related symptoms, experts say that prevention is the best medicine, and that people can greatly reduce the risk of CARS by following a few simple precautions. “Slowing down and wearing a ‘safety belt’ are effective,” says Doctor Park, “but the best thing may be merely paying attention to the warning signs. You can usually see CARS coming and take effective countermeasures.”

Despite the epidemic south of the border, North Korea remains largely free of CARS

Despite the perennially high death toll, the South Korean public maintains a relatively calm attitude about the threat of CARS. “I am very worried about MERS,” said Seoul pedestrian Lee Soon-ja, voicing a popular concern about a disease which at press time had killed a total of 16 people – roughly the same number who are killed by CARS in a typical day in Korea. “I was just now reading about it on my smart phone as I was crossing the street. It’s utterly terrifying.”



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Seoul Admin Court rules that KQCF will have its parade!

Tue, 2015-06-16 14:39
Seoul Admin Court rules that KQCF will have its parade! A quick translation on KQCF's press release on the reversal of the prohibition of this year's pride parade 
The Korea Queer Culture Festival's parade will open according to plans on Sunday, June 28th.  

On the 16th of June, the 13th court of the Seoul Administrative Court accepted the application of the Queer Culture Festival Organization Committee ruling, to, in effect, halt the notice of a prohibition of an outdoor assembly by Seoul's Commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. According to the court's ruling, the notice of prohibition of the KQCF's parade is no longer in effect, making the parade legally permissible. 
The court stated that "By law, forbidding an assembly is only allowed in the case where a direct threat to public law and order is clearly in existence" and that "Rather than restricting the assembly's freedom through prohibition, there are other ways. Forbidding an assembly is the last choice after considering every other possible means. " Furthermore, the court added that "the Queer Culture Festival has taken place yearly from 2000 through 2014, and in consideration of the fact that the Festival Committee has been planning the queer parade for quite some time, upholding the notice to restrict the parade would be damaging toward the Festival Organization Committee in a way that would be difficult to recover from." 
The Queer Culture Festival's Chairman Myeong Jin Kang stated, "This court's decision in relation to the police's unjust notice prohibiting assembly is important. Within a democratic country, built on civil society, the guarantee that society can use their voice has a deep meaning." Furthermore, he stated that he was "grateful for the decision that the Queer Culture Festival's parade can continue into its 15 years, legally working as a communication method in society."
Representative for this lawsuit Chairwoman of the Committee for the Human Rights of Sexual Minorities and lawyer Suhyeon Chang stated "The fact that permits are needed for assembly and demonstration is in violation of Constitutional Law while prior prohibition of assembly and demonstration is severely limited by the Law on Assembly and Demonstration. This is a decision that means that sexual minorities have the freedom to assembly and are treated with equal rights."  
Finally, a total of 112 human rights, civil society, religious groups and political parties of the Queer Culture Festival Board of Directors stated that "The Queer Culture Festival is a place for LGBTQIA individuals to stand together, express themselves, and stand against discrimination, hatred, and prejudices as it relates to queer individuals. The Queer Parade is an event with deep meaning as a place where sexual minorities can march with pride."  They added "As human rights, civil society, and political parties, we welcome this decision of the court, and we will make our best effort to work together so participants can enjoy a peaceful parade as planned." 
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New Findings & Questions on MERS Virus in South Korea

Mon, 2015-06-15 13:43
New Findings & Questions on MERS Virus in South Korea



Originally published by Korea Medical Hub

With the number of MERS-infected patients increasing in South Korea, some of the general opinion on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are becoming doubtable. It’s been confirmed that the type of MERS virus in Korea is same with the one in Middle East Region. However, MERS virus seems to spread beyond Korean authority’s expectation due to Korean own hospital culture and environmental features.

  This posting is all about some new findings or doubts on MERS virus so far in South Korea. It will be helpful to read '10 things you must know about MERS Infographic' published by the Ministry of Health & Welfare on 4 June. 

  • Within 2m -> Far further than 2m
  • Over 1hour -> For about 10 minutes

  It has been widely known that MERS virus spread through droplet infection but it doesn’t seem to apply to Korean MERS outbreak. It spread to not only the people who shared the same room with the initial patient but the one in other rooms at the same level and even to other floors in Pyeongtaek St. Mary’s Hospital where caused the first MERS epidemic trend in Korea. It was assumed that it kept spreading by medical staff’s gown or conditioning equipment in the hospital.

  • 0.6~0.8 person by one patient -> multiplied infected people by one person
  • Weakens after the first generation -> Similar to 1, 2, and 3 generation

  There is a big difference at the contagiosity between Korea and the Middle East. In the Middle East, one person transmitted MERS virus to 0.6~0.8 person statistically. However, the first MERS diagnosed man (68, case 1) had 30 people infected to MERS virus. Also, case 14 (35), also known as a super spreader, had over 70 number of citizen diagnosed with MERS virus. Moreover, case 15 (35), case 16 (40) made multiple number of patients infected by MERS virus. This is not yet finished. The case 14 was one of the 2nd generation of MERS virus and he actually transmitted it to far more number of people than the Case 1 did.

  • Mostly the aged -> increasing the younger
  • 56 people under 50 years old, which is 37.3%
  • 3 out of 5 newly diagnosed patients on June 14 are in their 30~40

  According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on June 15, 37.3% out of 150 number of patients are under 50 years old. Still many believe that MERS virus affects mostly to the aged over 65. Against expectations, 3 out of 5 patients were diagnosed with MERS virus on 14 June, and they were all between 30 and 40 years old. One argument insisted that MERS is mostly contagious among the elderly but it is now losing its evidence.

  • 2 weeks -> Probably 6 weeks according to a study from Saudi Arabia

  There is a question on MERS incubation period that is generally known to be two weeks. Yet, no MERS virus incubated over 2 weeks in Korea. However, some people argue that it can incubate for 6 weeks as a woman in Saudi Arabia had carried the MERS virus for 6 weeks since her first diagnosis.

Notice: I translated this original article in Korean to English. However, I am not a professional reporter or translator so my English article may not be accurate as much as the original Korean article is. Hope you understand this. 
Source: http://www.munhwa.com/news/view.html?no=2015061501070221080001 (Latest Update: 2015-June-15 11:51)

- See more at: http://www.kmhglobal.com/new-findings-questions-mers-virus-south-korea#s...

Jane JangKorea Medical HubTel.+82-2-519-8021hello@kmhglobal.comKakao ID : medicalcuratorViber/WhatsApp Available

Korea Medical Hub (KMH) is a multilingual web portal designed to provide a list of clinics and hospitals in Korea and information on facilities and medical services they offer for international patients coming to Korea for medical tourism.


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Moving Route of Busan's Second MERS Patient (Mr. Lee) Revealed

Mon, 2015-06-15 06:23
Moving Route of Busan's Second MERS Patient (Mr. Lee) Revealed



Originally published by Korea Medical Hub

Summary of Busan's second MERS Patient (Mr. Lee)

  • Male, Born in 1984
  • Deployed at Dajeon Daechung Hospital for his work til May 30 (E-on Medical Solution, 이온엠솔루션)
  • Came back to Busan on May 30 by his car and had stayed at his place in Busan till 31 May


08:30 Departed his house to Mangmi station
08:50 Arrived Sajik Station
08:55 Arrived at his work, E-on Medical Solution
12:30 Had lunch at Gupochonjip noodle restaurant (구포촌집 국수집) in front of his company
18:30 Back to his house and ate out with his colleague (Mr. Nam) for dinner
20:00 Arrived at Youngnam Sikyuk Restaurant (영남 식육식당) in Left East-gu, Haeundae-gu (해운대 좌동)
20:00-21:00 Had dinner with Mr. Nam
21:00-23:00 Moved to Hwanggeum Shrimp Restaurant (황금새우식당) near the first restaurant
23:20-23:30 Stopped by a CU convenient store located near NH Bank
23:40 Mr. Lee went back to his home by taxi, Mr. Nam walked back to his place


05:30 Went to his work by his wheel.
09:00 Arrived at his work
12:30 Had lunch at Gupochonjip noodle restaurant (구포촌집 국수집) near his company
18:30 Back to his home
19:00 Took a taxi and Arrived at Busan Centum Hospital for seeing a doctor
21:00 Back to his home by taxi


08:30 Took his wheel to his work
09:00 Arrived at his company
12:30 Had lunch at Daeeh Daegutang restaurant (대어대구탕) near his company
14:00 Arrived at his home


10:00 Arrive BSH Hanseo Hospital by taxi
13:00 Came back to his home by taxi and took a rest


June 6 2015 (Mr. Lee visited Good Gang-An Hospital ER and went back to his house)

19:00 Took a taxi at his home
19:54-21:10 Arrive Good Gang-An Hospital ER
22:30: Back to his house by taxi


09:00 Took a taxi to Good Gang-An Hospital
09:30 Admitted to the ward in 12th floor


Got hospitalized and stayed in 3 bed room in Good Gang-An Hospital, found coughing on 11 June


Isolated under a negative pressured room. Diagnosed with MERS at 17:40

A group of citizens who have directly or indirectly exposed to MERS by Mr. Lee are being reported and then got ordered to home-quarantined. Furthermore, professors are performing an epidemiologic investigation. Related posing http://www.kmhglobal.com/busan-second-mers-diagnosed-patient-had-met-711-citizens

Notice: I translated this original article in Korean to English. However, I am not a professional reporter or translator so my English article may not be accurate as much as this Korean article is. Hope you understand this.  Source: http://www.ohmynews.com/NWS_Web/View/at_pg.aspx?CNTN_CD=A0002118053&CMPT_CD=SEARCH (Latest Update 15.06.12 21:16)

- See more at: http://www.kmhglobal.com/second-mers-diagnosed-patient-mr-lee-moving-rou...

JaneKorea Medical Hub+82-2-519-8021/Mobile +82-10-7237-8001hello@kmhglobal.com Kakao ID : medicalcuratorViber/WhatsApp Available

Korea Medical Hub (KMH) is a multilingual web portal designed to provide a list of clinics and hospitals in Korea and information on facilities and medical services they offer for international patients coming to Korea for medical tourism.


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Living in Korea: 10 Korean Apps You Need

Sun, 2015-06-14 11:43
Living in Korea: 10 Korean Apps You Need

When you are in Korea, you can download various Korean apps onto your smartphone in order to make your life simpler and easier. Here are ten of the most useful applications for life in Korea.


If you don’t have KakaoTalk on your phone then you might as well not even have a phone. This Korean app is so widespread that even your sixty-year-old boss will send you messages over KakaoTalk rather than regular texts.

Its group chatting feature is also used by many clubs or classes, so if you want to stay in-th-know then you should make sure that you have KakaoTalk. That way you can join in with the group chats. Sending pictures and videos over KakaoTalk is also extremely easy as it has a camera function built in (along with a map function, voice recording function etc.).

If you persuade your family in your home country to download it then you can message them easily and for free using KakaoTalk and send them pictures of what you are up to. As a bonus, you can also use the KakaoTalk Friends to help you express your emotions!

Jihachul (or other subway apps)

There are several Korean apps for helping people navigate the subway, so it is best to download all of them and delete the ones that you don’t like until you find one that suits you. A great one to start with is Jihachul. Most of the subway apps will allow you to click on two stations and then show you the shortest route between them.

There is also other useful information like the time of the last train so that you don’t get stuck on the far side of the city late at night. If you travel to another large city such as Daegu or Busan, then you can often change the city on the app to bring up that city’s subway map instead. Remember to update this app regularly as new subway lines are being built all the time.

Naver Dictionary

Naver Dictionary gives you accurate translations and usage examples of Korean words and will show multiple definitions of words along with Hanja. It is very handy when you find a Korean word that you don’t know, especially as the large number of usage examples allows you to see how the word is actually used, so you can tell if it is used formally or casually (Top Tip: If you want to know how to conjugate an irregular verb, type it into this app and look through the usage examples).


If you want to order food but are too lazy or shy to call up a restaurant then you can use Yogiyo and order food in just a few clicks. Restaurants are divided into categories like ‘chicken’, ‘Chinese’, ‘pizza’ etc. to make finding the food that you want easy. When you order food you can choose how you would like to pay (cash or card), and afterwards you can review the service.


Not strictly a Korean app but Memrise is very useful if you are in Korea. Memrise lets you learn new vocabulary easily whilst you are on the bus or subway, meaning that you can dedicate your study time to practicing using Korean. Anki is another app that you can use to learn new words but Memrise is slightly easier to use on a smartphone. Like Anki, it uses a spaced repetition system so that you learn new words in an effective manner, allowing you to learn more words in a shorter amount of time.

Seoul Bus

Seoul Bus is simlar to Jihachul, but for buses. Using this can help you work out which bus to take to get around Seoul. Like with the subway maps, there are several bus apps so download several until you find one that you like.

Smartbus (전국스마트버스) allows you to find bus stops near your current location, or any other location, and see which buses go to those stops. This feature can be extremely useful in locations like Jamsil intersection where there are about a dozen different bus stops to choose from. It also shows stops outside of Seoul so if you are in the countryside you can easily travel around without getting lost.

Everysing (Smart Noraebang)

If you are sitting at home wishing that you were in a noraebang (singing room) with your friends then Everysing is the app for you. Choose a song and it will play the music and show the lyrics so you can practice singing at home. Unfortunately, it also will rate your singing, you have been warned. As singing is a great way to learn a new language, you can use this app to practice Korean songs without the embarrassment of making a mistake in front of your friends.


Not only can you watch live TV with U+ HDTV but you can also download on demand TV for a small price. If you want to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones on the subway then this is the app for you, but make sure that you don’t shock the person sitting next to you by showing them the latest beheading of a major character from the show. The app also has repeats of many of the dramas that are currently showing on Korean TV so you can catch up with any shows that you have missed. Shows are organized into categories to make finding what you want to watch easier.

Itour Seoul

The official travel app of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Itour Seoul shows you all of the tourist attractions in Seoul and their location on the map. You can also view landmarks and attractions by distance from your current location so you know what things you can see nearby. Much easier than carrying a heavy guidebook around with you or trying to open up an A1 sized tourist map on the subway.


Again, not strictly a Korean app but Skype is very useful for talking to your family from back home. With advances in mobile technology, this app now works as well on a phone as it does on a computer meaning that you can skype your family from around the city and show them a view that is more exciting than your bedroom wall.


These are some of the more useful apps that will help you when living in Korea. Which apps do you find the most helpful?

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

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In the Country

Sun, 2015-06-14 09:52
In the Country

I've had a rather enjoyable week, despite the humidity and the MERS scare. Actually, as horrible as this probably sounds, I'm feeling rather thankful to MERS. For one thing, there's soap in the school bathrooms for the first time since, well...ever? I guess people are actually washing their hands now? It's a miracle! Also, since parents were freaking out about it, my school decided to close for 3 days, because allowing students to roam freely around town is somehow safer? One way or the other, teachers still had to come in, though it still felt like a bit of a vacation.

I've been feeling pretty burnt out lately, so I decided to use all this desk-warming time to learn some new teaching techniques in hopes of fanning the flame of my inspiration. I started a class on differentiated learning and mastery-based teaching methods, and while I don't know how much of this I'll ever be able to apply here in Korea (more on that later) it's all very interesting and inspiring and whatnot.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about delicious food and the fact that my manager is living my dream life. He's teaching at a great school, he has a nice house out in the countryside next to his manageable-sized farm, and he always knows where to go out for a delicious meal.

Look at his cute little cabin!
Making doenjang and soy sauce

On Thursday, instead of going out for lunch, we bought cup ramyeon and kimbap and had a bit of a picnic on the farm. It felt good to sit outside, enjoying the breeze, chatting with my coworkers, practicing Korean...basically the ideal afternoon.

Stealth shot.

 Another great thing about my manager is that he buys amazing fair-trade coffee and makes it for everyone nearly every day. I've gotten so spoiled. How can I go back to those instant coffee sticks?

Homemade wine.
Korean style raspberries.

It's funny...when I lived in a small town, all I wanted to do was get out, move to the big city. Then I lived in the city, and for a while I loved it. Maybe I'm getting older, but lately all I want is a cute little house in the country with a garden and a dog and a cat. I want to pick berries, make my own wine, and chat with my neighbors about the best way to grow tomatoes. Maybe that will happen in Korea, maybe somewhere else. Who knows? But I'm going to start researching how to make wine just in case.

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

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Community supported agriculture: is it worth it?

Thu, 2015-06-11 14:26
Community supported agriculture: is it worth it?

By Taryn Assaf

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a share in a CSA, then you likely already know what they are and how they function. If you don’t (from wikipedia: far more eloquent than me):

“A CSA is an alternative, locally based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they periodically receive shares of produce.”

“CSAs generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, often using organic or biodynamic farming methods, and a shared risk membership–marketing structure. This kind of farming operates with a much greater degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders than usual — resulting in a stronger consumer-producer relationship. The core design includes developing a cohesive consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods.”

CSA theory was developed around three main goals:

“· New forms of property ownership: the idea that land should be held in common by a community through a legal trust, which leases the land to farmers

  • New forms of cooperation: the idea that a network of human relationships should replace the traditional system of employers and employees
  • New forms of economy: that the economy should not be based on increasing profit, but should be based on the actual needs of the people and land involved in an enterprise”

Is it worth it to buy your produce from a CSA? If you believe in this economic model of agriculture, then you may very well think so. I had been wondering for some time, and finally decided to buy a share in Gachi (formerly WWOOF) CSA. I chose the basic couple’s basket, which delivers a weekly share of eggs, one type of fruit and a variety of vegetables to your door. You can expect different produce every week, and the produce changes seasonally.

I asked the folks at Gachi if they could send me one box every two weeks, as opposed to one a week, and they happily obliged. I’ll be receiving a box bi-weekly for the next three months, and I’d like to share my thoughts, recipes and reasons for purchasing with you so that you can decide for yourself whether you’d like to support community agriculture.

Spoiler: It’s totally worth it.

To begin, Gachi is not the only CSA offering delivery in Korea, although it is the only strictly English one doing so. You can read about a couple other options in my previous post: Korean Peasants Sow the Seeds of Nation’s Food Sovereignty

Why did I choose Gachi? Above all, because they offered the easiest English option available. With my limited Korean skills, it was much easier for me to access than the other options out there. However, it is relatively limited in terms of items to choose from: while the selection is fairly good, (they offer add-ons of meat, fruit, juice, snacks and bread) they still lack options for seasonings, sauces, and processed foods (they do offer some, just not as many as other groups). However, if you know where to go for quality sides and seasonings, then Gachi is still, in my opinion, the best option for English speakers.

On to the food.

Note: If you don’t cook at home often (like, every day) this is probably way, way too much food for one person per week. Hence the two-week option.

In my first box, I received: 6 eggs, cherry tomatoes, arugula (rocket), 2 cucumbers, 1 zucchini, 2 heads of iceberg lettuce, about 2 cups of basil, a variety of ssam (lettuce and cabbage leaves), green gochu peppers and bok choy. There was green everywhere and I loved it. (apologies, my pictures are NOT of professional foodie status; but trust the meals tasted yum)

No, I didn’t just eat salad every day, though I definitely could have. Over the two weeks, I managed to use the greens fairly diversely, along with other ingredients I already had to make my meals more balanced. I’m not a vegetarian, but I absolutely whipped up some vegan/vegetarian delights, although some of what I’m going to share with you contains animal protein.

The first thing I made was a large pot of dwenjang soup with the bok choy and green gochu. I added mushrooms that I bought from the market. No pics, but it was enough to feed 6 guests I had for lunch. I could have easily split it up for smaller portions of any soup or stir-fry.

I used some zucchini to make zoodles (zucchini noodles) and whipped up a salmon dish. The zoodles were mixed with carrots and stewed tomatoes, both of which I had lying around. I seared the salmon in lemon butter:

I used the rest of the zucchini to make zucchini chips.

First thing I thought of when I saw the basil: pesto (recipe herenote: you can sub pine nuts with walnuts and pecorino cheese with parm or romano cheese). 2 cups of basil made a load of pesto: I ate pesto pasta for 3 meals this week, and froze the rest. In my first pesto pasta, I sautéed the cherry tomatoes; in my second, I mixed some greens in, and in the final, I seared some Hanu as a nice topper:

I used the remainder of the basil, some ssam leaves, green gochu and some cucumberas an inspiration for vegan rice paper rolls, accompanied by some peanut sauce. I added carrot, mushrooms, and mint that I had in my fridge.

I used my now wilting greens to make a warm salad. First, I sautéed some onion and garlic in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then, I added the greens and let them wilt. I tossed some roasted potatoes in for good measure as well. (Tip for your greens: wash them immediately and then transfer them into an airtight container. They’ll keep for longer in the fridge this way)

The eggs I ate nearly immediately: 6 eggs was not enough. I did make a lovely kyeran jjim (egg stew), though.

All in all, I feel great about supporting Gachi farmers. I’m (partially) engaging in a model of agriculture I believe in, and the food is damn good. The box is not meant as a total substitute for your diet. You need to supplement in order to create well balanced meals, although it is a wonderful foundation that inspired me to be more creative with my cooking. I can’t wait to see what comes next week! I hope this post has made the decision easier for some, and that it has introduced others to a more responsible food system. But to everyone, no matter what you choose, I must say, bon-appetit!

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by Dr. Radut