After John Kerry Visit, Tteokbokki Stand in Seoul Sees Business Boom
by PETER KANG
Customers have been flocking to a small outdoor food stand in Seoul after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made an impromptu visit and ate some tteokbokki, or spicy stir-fried rice cakes.
“I came here for a taste after I heard that Kerry stopped by,” a customer told the Chosun Ilbo.
All 12 seats inside the small makeshift restaurant were full, along with six outdoor seats, which is double the number of the owner’s usual customer base.
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South Koreans Flex Smartphone Muscles
Wall Street Journal
First time on Seoul’s subway system? Don’t expect a lot of eye contact.
Here, almost everyone is busy playing games like Cookie Run, or sending messages on their oversized smartphones.
Those eyeballs add up. In 2013, South Korea jumped ahead of the U.S. in revenue generated from app sales on Google Inc.’sGOOG +4.13% Play mobile store, according to research and analysis firm App Annie, which tracks app purchases.
That makes South Korea, a country of 50 million people, the second-most lucrative country in the world by that metric, just behind Japan.
By app downloads, which doesn’t take into account the amount of money spent, South Korea also ranks second on Google Play, behind the U.S., whose population is six times that of Korea’s.
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North Korea’s top envoy to Britain dangled the possibility of progress in staging reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as he renewed Pyongyang’s demands that Seoul cancel its annual military drill with the United States.
Hyun Hak-bong said in a video interview posted Thursday that the two Koreas can discuss a date for staging the family reunions, breaking the silence the North has kept since South Korea proposed earlier this week to hold the reunions for the aging Koreans.
“As for the practical and exact date, it could be exchanged and discussed between the two sides … Now, we are working on that,” Hyun said in the interview with Sky News, a 24-hour news channel in Britain. Still, he did not elaborate.
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2NE1’s “I Am the Best” Rises to the Top of the Charts After Their Appearance on “The Bachelor”
On January 27, 2NE1 appeared on ABC’s hit reality show “The Bachelor,” fostering a new interest in the girl group in the United States and Canada.
The cast of “The Bachelor” visited YG Entertainment headquarters in South Korea. The show introduced YG to the cast as the place where “K-Pop in South Korea happens,” and compared 2NE1 to the Spice Girls, saying that 2NE1 are megastars in Korea. 2NE1 then welcomed the cast, who came into their dance studio, and taught them the dance to “I Am the Best.”
One of the girls on the show said, awestruck, “2NE1 is huge here in Korea. Their YouTube video has 77 million views. Million. That’s a lot of views.” 2NE1 also invited the “Bachelor” cast to perform with them for “I Am the Best” during their mini concert at Times Square in Seoul.
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K-Pop Star G-Dragon on His Growing Global Influence: ‘I Didn’t Realize How Famous I Was” (Q&A)
Imagine Justin Timberlake’s boy bander-turned-credible musician pedigree and Kanye West’s genre-bending artistic daredevilry, and you’ll get an idea of G-Dragon’s standing in K-pop — though his reach is expanding rapidly beyond Asia.
Juggling equally successful careers as a solo artist and as frontman of the group Big Bang, whose 2012 world tour drew 800,000 fans to sold-out shows on four continents, the rapper, songwriter and producer says, “Before I was physically there in different countries to meet my fans in person, I didn’t really realize how famous I was.”
The 25-year-old, né Kwon Ji Yong, also has attracted recognition from Western peers. A few years ago, Ludacris paid a visit to the Seoul-based YG Entertainment, the record label and agency where G-Dragon, Big Bang and Psy are all signed. “We were showing him some music videos that YG came out with,” recalls Danny Im, a former labelmate who now hosts the talk show Danny from LA on cable network Mnet America. “When they saw GD, they didn’t know who he was, but they went, ‘Yo, that kid’s a star.’” The video was “Knockout,” a track from the Big Bang subnunit GD&TOP, and produced by Diplo. The in-demand DJ returned for G-Dragon’s 2013 solo album Coup d’Etat, a bold mashup of hip-hop, EDM, punk rock and Korean folk that charted on the Billboard 200 and also featured contributions from Baauer, Boys Noize, Sky Ferreira and Missy Elliott.
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'The Bachelor' week 4 recap: Juan Pablo takes ladies to South Korea
The fourth episode of this season’s “The Bachelor” saw Juan Pablo take the ladies outside of the country for the first time. JuanPabs and the ladies flew to Seoul, South Korea. There was a one-on-one date and two group dates.
Lots of kissing, flesh-eating fish, tears, a Korean pop group, eating octopus and, yes, more cattiness. Monday night’s episode had it all. When the episode finished, two more ladies were sent home and the plan to travel to Vietnam was revealed as the remaining ladies sipped champagne.
The group arrived in South Korea for a few days. Juan Pablo can’t even speak English all that well and now, going to Korea, he was forced to try his hand at another language.
The first date card arrived and read, “Pop!”
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Korean Actress Cast in Upcoming “Avengers 2”, Sources Say
By Young Rae Kim
Korean actress Kim Soo Hyun was reportedly cast in the upcoming blockbuster sequelAvengers 2: Age of Ultron, according toTwitch Film.
Kim, 28, not to be confused with the popular male actor with the same name, is not well known outside of Korea and previously went by the stage name Yoo Ri-el. Still, it was reported that she beat out dozens of other actresses — including some top-tier names — to snag a supporting role as a doctor who helps Iron Man. Her English proficiency and familiarity with the action genre reportedly helped her cause.
Marvel has stated that at least 10 to 15 minutes of the film will be set in the swanky Gangnam district of Seoul. Marvel has already hired one of Korea’s top production teams and domestic shooting is scheduled to begin in the springin Seoul and Incheon.
Further information on Kim Soo Hyun and her role in the upcoming Avengers here!
Also check out the actress show off her English proficiency on youtube!
"Glamping" Fad Takes Camping to Another Level
By Young Rae Kim
For those who would like to experience the outdoors but don’t want to take care of business in the bushes or endure days without a hot shower, there is an alternative: Glamping.
Glamping, a word for “glamorous camping,” is a growing trend in Korea, a country that has had a long love affair with the outdoors. With leisure time increasing and TV shows like Healing Camp, gaining in popularity, Koreans are seeking outdoor activities in increasingly greater numbers. Instead of beans from a can and coffee, glampers snack on abalone and sip champagne, at least at one “glampground” located at the Sheraton Walker Hill in Seoul.
Meanwhile, a new design made by the young studio, Archiworkshop takes the humble tent to the next level.
Read more on this new style of camping currently trending in Korea at iamkoream.com!
Korea slams Japan over Dokdo
South Korea Tuesday denounced Japan for Claiming Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in its newly revised teaching manuals for Middle and high schools.
The denouncement follows the Japanese Education ministry’s Disclosure of new manuals stating that Dokdo is Japanese Territory, rejecting Seoul’s earlier Call to withdraw the Claim.
“Japan Will Face the consequences,” said Cho Tai-Young, a Spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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In South Korea, Spam Is the Stuff Gifts Are Made Of
New York Times
As the Lunar New Year holiday approaches, Seoul’s increasingly well-heeled residents are scouring store shelves for tastefully wrapped boxes of culinary specialties. Among their favorite choices: imported wines, choice cuts of beef, rare herbal teas. And Spam.
Yes, Spam. In the United States, the gelatinous meat product in the familiar blue and yellow cans has held a place as thrifty pantry staple, culinary joke and kitschy fare for hipsters without ever losing its low-rent reputation. But in economically vibrant South Korea, the pink bricks of pork shoulder and ham have taken on a bit of glamour as they have worked their way into people’s affections.
“Here, Spam is a classy gift you can give to people you care about during the holiday,” said Im So-ra, a saleswoman at the high-end Lotte Department Store in downtown Seoul who proudly displayed stylish boxes with cans of Spam nestled inside.
Further information and stories for this week here!
BIG BANG to release new album this summer
Popular K-pop boy band BIGBANG will release a new album this summer.
Yang Hyun-suk, president of YG Entertainment which manages BIGBANG, told reporters on Sunday the five-member band will take the stage in support of a new full-length album “somewhere around July or August.”
During the band’s Seoul concert on Sunday, its leader G-Dragon said, “I feel like we have new family whenever we travel to a new country, so we’re very happy.”
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South Korea criticized Japan Friday for renewing territorial claims to its easternmost islets of Dokdo, urging Tokyo to heed international warnings against its nationalist actions.
Seoul’s reaction came after Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated his country’s claims to the islets in an address to parliament and after the Tokyo government opened a website promoting its claims to the islets.
“Such groundless claims and useless attempts repeated over time only show the world that Japan is still under the spell of imperialism,” the foreign ministry here said in a statement.
It also shows how hollow Japan’s so-called active pacifist policy is, the ministry said, referring to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hard-line policy seen as being aimed at exerting more diplomatic and military power in the region.
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LAST month a business student at Korea University in Seoul posted a large bulletin on a wall in the university grounds. In bold black pen, Ju Hyun-woo recounted the week’s events: thousands of railway workers dismissed for striking; the suicide of a farmer in protest at the construction of electricity pylons near his village; and the conservative ruling party’s proposal to expel an opposition politician for questioning the legitimacy of the president, Park Geun-hye. Mr Ju asked readers: “How are you all feeling nowadays?”
Answers came in thick and fast, and most people said they were not fine. Within a few days dozens of handwritten posters—known as daejabo—were pinned up next to his, on issues ranging from high gas bills to gay rights. Now Mr Ju reckons almost 1,000 have been tacked onto university walls around the country. Students in Japan, America, China and Chile have followed, posting pictures of their posters on the “Can’t be OK” Facebook page, which gathered 260,000 followers in a week.
Social media have long been a haven for anonymous dissenting voices in South Korea. But Mr Ju says he wanted to “take responsibility” for his poster: he signed it and stood in front of it for ten hours, engaging passers-by. Breaking with a tradition of politically charged, militant daejabo, used in the past by Korean students to demand change, Mr Ju left readers to come up with their own grievances—and answers.
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2NE1 to Make Appearance on Reality Show ‘The Bachelor’
By Young Rae Kim
One of the most popular female acts in K-pop are set to make a guest appearance on an upcoming episode of the American reality TV show, The Bachelor.
Bom, CL, Dara and Minzy show off their hip-hop dance moves as current bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, and six women take a trip to Seoul, South Korea.
The theme of the date will be centered on 2NE1, who recently collaborated with will.i.am. The K-pop girl group will teach Galavis and his lady friends the choreography to 2NE1′s hit song, “I Am The Best.”
More on 2NE1’s guest appearance tonight on The Bachelor at iamkoream.com
China called on both South and North Korea Friday to take steps to nurture better cross-border relations, with Pyongyang’s “peace offensive” raising fresh concerns that tension on the peninsula may rise sharply again ahead of joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.
North Korea has proposed this week that both Seoul and Pyongyang stop military provocations and mutual slandering to improve bilateral relations, but demanded the cancellation of upcoming South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
South Korea brushed off the North’s proposal that strongly indicated that Pyongyang won’t give up its nuclear weapons program, questioning its sincerity. Some Seoul officials described the North’s latest reconciliatory gesture as a “camouflaged peace offensive.”
More on top stories of last week at iamkoream.com.