Extra! Korea

October 30, 2010

“We met on the bus on Saturday. I love you. Contact me.”

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 5:05 am

A young woman took the bus. The man next to her opened the window for her when she asked, and let her rest her head on his shoulder. Later, she wanted to meet him again, so she hand-wrote a note and posted it at the bus stop.

In the note, she wrote, “I am looking for ’busnam. (nam mans [sic; means] man) He sat in the second window seat from the back on the No. 2000 bus on Oct. 16, 2010, Saturday at Seoul Station, wearing a blue hooded shirt. He opened the window for me and even lent me his shoulder. I cannot sleep because of you!”

She also left her email address and asked the person to email her.

The note was photographed and has now been seen widely through distribution on Twitter.

Something somewhat similar happened two years ago.

A man wrote about a woman he met and fell in love with while bike riding and a woman also posted on an online community about her search for the man who helped her inflate her tire.

People who saw the two postings helped the two connect and they announced their marriage last week.

A lot of Koreans I know have married people they do not love. They were getting on in age, feeling the pressure to marry, and said, “I do” to a guy who wasn’t Mr. Right but Mr. Good Enough. So, I hope things turn out well for this couple, as it did for the one from two years ago.

Hello. I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?

October 29, 2010

Putin’s daughter and Korean fiancee: How old are they & when did they meet?

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 11:25 am

The youngest daughter of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Yekaterina Putina, is engaged to marry a Korean guy. He works for Samsung Electronics and is the son of a former admiral. She plans to emigrate to South Korea and find a job there. Good luck to the young couple.
The news is being carried by the Korea Herald, Korea Times, and the Joongang Daily, and I noticed some discrepancies.
* How old are the young man and woman? Joongang and the Herald say that they are 25 and 23, respectively, while the Times say that they are 26 and 24. Wikipedia (I know …) says that she was born in 1986, and gives as its reference a 2002 St. Petersburg Times article that described her as being 16 years old.
* When did they meet? Joongang and the Herald say in 1997, but the Times says 1999.
It looks like they were both pre-teens when they met, and that puppy love came into full blossom.
In any case, this is good for South Korea. Why? If North Korea ever again threatens to turn Seoul into “a sea of fire,” whoever is in charge at that time can expect to lose one of his nuts. From Russia with love.

October 28, 2010

Going Soon: Yongsan’s red-light district

Filed under: economics, gender equality, hard to categorize, prostitution — extrakorea @ 7:57 am

The area around Yongsan train/subway station is currently being redeveloped. People and businesses are being moved, sometimes unwillingly, either because they have no other place to go or because they feel that they are not being compensated fairly. (The value of the land has gone up to the point that it’s more expensive than some parts of the wealthy Gangnam district of Seoul.) At the beginning of 2009, there was a violent protest that resulted in six lives lost.


Literally across the street from those protests is Yongsan’s red-light district. It’s been known since early 2009 that its days were numbered. Even though the development plans have been put in jeopardy by the sundering of the partnership* between the railroad operator that owns the land, Korail, and Samsung C&T, the company that would have led in financing and construction of the development project, the plans to close down and redevelop the area have gone ahead. Word is that it will be gone within a week.

* See here, here, here, and here.

April 15, 2010

Babies’ Generation?

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 1:31 pm

Remember Wonder Baby? Maybe this young lady is the first recruit of Babies’ Generation.

March 17, 2010

Good Blogs Who Were Never Nominated

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 3:33 pm

10 Magazine’s poll of readers’ favorite blogs is over.

Some good blogs were initially nominated but eliminated in the runoff round (e.g. monster island).

I’d like to mention some good blogs that were never nominated.

* An acorn in the dog’s food

* Ask a Korean!

* Dokdo is ours!

I’m not sure whether or not to mention @koreangov. It went into retirement, but then made a one-post comeback and reactivated its twitter page.

March 2, 2010

Well f*** me

Filed under: hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 2:04 pm

10 Magazine* is conducting a poll entitled “Your Favorite English Blog.” Korea’s most excellent blogs are in the running, including Gusts of Popular Feeling and Brian in Jeollanam-do. (No disrespect to the others that I didn’t mention.) Well, I’m not in the running, which of course is disappointing. Ask a Korean! and Dokdo Is Ours aren’t either, so I feel a little better. Wait a minute, Lousy Korea is in the poll. Well f*** me. The people have spoken, and they want more Springer, less Sopranos.

* It’s about time that Seoul Magazine had some serious competition. Groove and … I forgot their names already … don’t count.

February 15, 2010

Kim Min-seon found not guilty of harming beef importer’s business

Filed under: hard to categorize, pseudoscience — extrakorea @ 10:39 am

Actress Kim Min-seon was being sued by an importer of American beef, A-Meat, for comments she made on her Cyworld,* that she would rather drink poison than eat American beef (because she thought that U.S. beef was all infested with mad cow disease.) Interestingly, shortly before writing these remarks, she ate a hamburger in the U.S. I guess she has a short memory –maybe she did contract the disease after all.
The Seoul Southern District Court has ruled that she is not liable for financial damage suffered by the company.

Judge Kim Sung-gon said in the ruling, “Her article revealed no specific information associated with the plaintiff. So it cannot be seen that her article interrupted its business.”

I guess that means: She didn’t name A-Meat specifically, so A-Meat is succotash out of luck. Kim isn’t guilty of harming their business, just of being stupid.

* sort of like Korea’s version of MySpace or Facebook

February 5, 2010

Dominique Noel defends her “Misuda” friend Rie Akiba and gets attacked herself

Filed under: expatriates, hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 2:24 pm

Previously, Brian (yes, that Brian) brought us the news of how Rie Akiba, a panelist on the show “Misuda” made a grave error when she mentioned that maybe it could be possible that Japan might have some sort of case with regards to claims of ownership over the Liancourt Rocks. Predictably, there was an ensuing brouhaha, with netizens attacking her.

One of her friends, a fellow Misuda panelist named Dominique Noel, came to her defense, and was attacked herself in turn. Another example of netizens’ collective intelligence, I guess.

January 27, 2010

Great video by teacher and his students

Filed under: education, hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 4:00 am

Below is a (great, I think) video that was made by high school students with the help of their teacher. He is known as SightsOfSeoul on YouTube and as bassexpander on Dave’s ESL Cafe, and is the man responsible for the very good The Midnight Runner podcast. (Too bad it’s been inactive for five months.)

January 12, 2010

How about bibimbap for lunch today? If not, I kill you

Filed under: censorship, hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 2:07 pm

You might recall that Kuroda Katsuhiro, Seoul bureau chief of the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun, wrote about the New York Times bimbimbap ad in a way that was not so flattering.

Kuroda used the Chinese saying “Sheep’s head, dog meat” which might be better translated as, “Crying out wine and selling vinegar” and wrote that the people who try the spicy dish will be shocked when they see it all become an unidentifiable mixture in front of their eyes. Kuroda said that the word bibimbap literally means “mixed rice” and described Koreans as people who “tend to mix everything they eat.”

He continued by sarcastically commenting that “Koreans violently mix everything from curry rice to a bowl of patbingsu, an adzuki-bean ice dessert.”

Actually, I can understand what he says about the way Koreans mix their food. Japanese food tends to be very compartmentalized, neatly separated and arranged, and sometimes too pretty to eat. This is one of the reasons that I think that the notion that the Japanese lack a sense of aesthetics is absurd. I wasn’t sure what to make of his statement about “Sheep’s head, dog meat” even though it was translated. I wasn’t the only one.

“I understand that the term is commonly used in Japan, but it is perceived as a very derogatory expression in Korea,” he said.

So how did people react?

Kuroda also said that he has been feeling unsafe in Korea since making the remark. “I received calls, threatening to kill me or asking the location of my residence. I may have to seek protection from the police,” he said.

Maybe they could work this into their tourism slogans:

“How about bibimbap for lunch today? If not, I kill you.”

Nothing could be worse than “Korea sparkling.” And they couldn’t embarrass themselves any worse after that Infinity Challenge episode. Tablo’s brother was not amused either.

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