Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vote for Jeju as the New World’s 7 Wonders of Nature!

Jeju Island, located in the southern part of Korean Peninsula and Korea’s the biggest and the most celebrated island among tourists from all over the world, has been nominated for the World’s 7 Wonders of Nature.

New7Wonders Foundation is a Swiss-based, government-controlled organization, whose main project is to update and announce the Seven Wonders of the World. Jeju Island has been selected as one of the 28 finalists from 440 candidate places in the world based on the votes of more than 100 million participants from all over the world.

To vote, visit the official global voting platform of New7Wonders,, before the official declaration on Nov. 11, 2011.

Source: Koreanet

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jeju Island full of wonders

If Jeju Island, Korea’s southern most resort island, is picked as one of the world’s seven wonders of nature in November, it is widely expected to bolster the country’s image as a major tourist destination and help attract foreign visitors.

Korea has so far been working behind the scenes in promoting the island for a global contest, which began in 2007. But with only 300 days to go before the race comes to a close on Nov. 10, the National Committee for Jeju New7Wonders of Nature here will officially launch a worldwide media campaign today to rally support from not only from Koreans, but also foreign nationals who have experienced the natural wonders of the island.

Mt. Sanbang stands behind Jeju-style thatched cottages. Jeju has the unique distinction of being a location where human life and nature coexist without environmental degradation.
/ Courtesy of National Committee for Jeju New7Wonders of Nature

Jeju is vying for one of seven spots, which will be chosen as the world’s new natural wonders. The contest has been organized by a Switzerland-based nonprofit organization, the New7Wonders Foundation, since 2007 in an attempt to raise the awareness of environmental preservation. The voting is now underway and those seeking to cast a vote can do so either online at its web site ( or via a telephone by calling at 1588-7715.

Jeju is the only East Asian location that made it to the final 28. Mt. Seorak in South Korea; seven sites in China, including the Yangtze River and Zhangjiajie; two sites in Japan, Mt. Fuji and Yakushima; North Korea’s Mt. Baekdu and Mt. Geumgang were eliminated in two previous preliminary rounds.

The final 28 candidate sites include the Amazon, the Grand Canyon, Kilimanjaro, the Maldives, the Galapagos and Butinah Island in the United Arab Emirates, among others.

On Thursday, the committee will hold a ceremony at the Haevich Hotel in Seogwipo, Jeju, to officially launch its global campaign for the promotion of the island as the world’s natural wonder, attracting over 100 local and foreign journalists.

The committee chairman Chung Un-chan, who is also a former prime minister, said it is a God-given duty for both Koreans and non-Koreans to preserve the natural environment of Earth. “In this regard, I strongly encourage all people around the world to join in the voting for the New7Wonders of Nature. This campaign should be a global festival for preserving the natural environment.”

Humans, nature strike balance

Chung also said Jeju Island has been a place where people have been living for several thousand years, adding most of the other 28 finalists are places, which feature either civilization or nature. But Jeju has the unique distinction of being a location where human life and nature coexist without environmental degradation.

“Despite human habitation, the nature of the island has been kept intact since its inception. The time has come for us to let the world know Jeju Island is the only candidate out of the 28 finalists where people, nature, culture, and prehistoric heritage harmoniously coexist at a single location,” he said, urging world citizens to vote for the island.

Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Woo Keun-min said the island will play a leading role as an environmental capital of the world if it is crowned as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. “It is the world’s first and only place to be awarded a triple crown in the natural science field by UNESCO, with designations as a Biosphere Reserve in 2002, a World Natural Heritage in 2007 and a Global Geopark in 2010.”

Woo said the provincial government will make an all-out effort to preserve the natural environment, as well as promote human welfare and sustainable development on the occasion of the two international events — the launching of a national and global campaign to vote for the New7Wonders of Nature and Jeju’s planned hosting of the World Conservation Congress, dubbed the environment “Olympics,” in September 2012.

All these prove that the island has already been certified by the United Nations as a blessed place with natural and environmental resources. Additionally, an executive of the New7Wonders Foundation, Jean-Paul De La Fuente, said he was impressed by the fantastic and mystic grandeur of Jeju in March last year when he visited the island. He expressed marvel at the natural beauty of Seongsan Ilchulbong, or the Sunrise Peak, in eastern Jeju Island, and Manjang Cave, among others.

Selection to boost brand image

If Jeju is named as one of the world’s seven wonders, the designation will likely not only bring more foreign tourists to the island, but also significantly improve the nation’s global brand image as a whole.

Committee Secretary General Yang Won-chan said Korea’s campaign for Jeju will be focused on both domestic and overseas publicity in parallel because the winner is decided in accordance with popular vote from the world’s citizens. “The key success factor is to attract as many votes as possible from overseas because polls cast by foreigners carry greater weights in the selection process. Particularly, we should work harder to garner support from Chinese, Japanese and other Asians because the island is the only remaining contender in Northeast Asia.”

The secretary general then stressed that making Jeju as one of the winners is much more than just extolling the glories of Jeju.

“It is the way to promote the status of Korea and strengthen the nation’s brand power. It is not like winning and hosting a one-time sport event. Winning the selection will be a crown jewel for the national glory of Korea and an asset, which will be handed down from generation to generation,” he said.

However, Jeju is facing several obstacles in its quest to be picked as one of the world’s seven natural wonders. For instance, the website of the New7Wonders Foundation offers services only in five languages — English, Chinese, Spanish, German and Arabic. With no Korean language services available at the web site, it is more difficult for Koreans to follow instructions and cast a vote online.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The South Korean Girl Group Called KARA makes debut in Japanese drama

There was a news on Wednesday it has invested in the production of a Japanese drama in which five-member Korean girl group KARA is featured as the main cast.

The operator of local cable and satellite TV channels such as Mnet and tvN said it has invested in the production of the 12-episode drama “URAKARA” (Inner side of KARA), which will be aired on major Japanese broadcaster TV Tokyo every Friday from Jan. 14.

The drama, produced by Japan’s TV Man Union, is also to be aired in Korea in late January through tvN under the Korean title “KARA’s Double Life,” as CJ Media has built a partnership with Japanese distributor SPO, the Korean company said.

It is rare for a Korean media company to invest in a Japanese drama produced and distributed by Japanese companies, it said.

In the drama, each KARA member is given quasi-real dating missions to attract guys who hold various jobs including politicians, sports stars and chefs.

As “URAKARA” mixes reality and fiction, the audience will be able to see live performances and honest chats from the Korean girl group, the company said.

“Basically, KARA acted in the Korean language. But when they had to converse with Japanese actors, they used Japanese,” said Woo Hyeon-seob, an official at the media marketing team of CJ Media.

KARA debuted in Korea in March 2007 and in Japan in August 2010 with their single “Mister.” The soaring popularity of KARA in the neighboring country pushed the group to reach No. 2 in Japan’s weekly Oricon album charts in October. In November, KARA released another single, “Jumping,” in Japan.

Armed with strong performing talent and model-like looks, Korean girl groups such as Girls’ Generation have penetrated the Japanese media and music markets since last year.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Real Meitei Culinary

Meitei Eel fry or " Ngaprum Atouba"

Prawn Fry or " Khajing Atouba or Bora"

Pork curry with Mustard or " Ok ka Hangamga ga thongba"

Shell Curry or "Tharoi Thongba"

Fresh Water Shell fry or " Tharoi Kanghou"

Fermanted Bamboo plus U-Morok Curry " Soibum Thongba"

Mutton Fry or " Hammeng Atouba"

Plain pork curry or "OK MANNA APHUTAPA"

Pork Intestine or "Ok Maril"

Meitei Chicken Curry or " meitei Yen Thongba"

Real Meitei Pork Curry or " OK Thongba"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cycling at the National Parks of Korea

Autumn is the perfect time for outdoor activities; a crowd of people head to mountain areas to see the magnificent foliage.
Well, if you missed out on the peak foliage season, then how about going bicycling? If hiking is about getting to the top of a mountain, then with cycling, you get to savor the beautiful scenery and ambience you have so far overlooked.

Touring Korea’s National Parks with a Bicycle
The Korea National Park Service announced that they are going to add four more cycling courses to the existing four, so operating a total eight routes.

In the cycling programs offered at the Hallyeohaesang National Park and the Deogyusan National Park, you can rent bicycles for free at the respective park offices.
The Korea National Park Service is planning to create extra cycling courses of 20km at the four parks including Seoraksan, Naejangsan, Jirisan and Woraksan.

Choose a Course that Is Right for Your Capacity

When cycling, it is important to choose a course that fits your strength and skills, and also to be mindful of safety instructions.

For example, if you are on a downhill road, you shouldn’t exceed 10km/h by applying hand brakes. As is common sense, you must wear a helmet as well as restrain from using mobile phones or ear plugs to listen to music. And also, should the unfortunate situation happens where on a downhill you’ve lost control of your bicycle, then you should rather let go of the handles instead of holding tight on to them, which is usually the instinct.

Remember, abiding safety rules aren’t only about your own safety; it’s as much about other cyclists and hikers’ who are near you.
If you are one of those who aren’t really into the taxing, energy-consuming hiking business, then you might want to consider trying a cycling program at the national parks!

Amazing Korea: Korea’s Women of the Sea (Haenyeo)

The no. 1 search word related to Jeju Island of Korea is hands down the “Ollegil (Olle Road).” Just thinking about taking a walk on Ollegil, especially in the autumn with all this beautiful foliage, lifts one’s mood.
Some while ago, though, before Ollegil came to be such a hot tourist spot, the first thing that came to one’s head thinking about Jeju used to be the “haenyeo,” the sea women; they are female divers in the Korean province of Jeju.
The women born in Jeju had to earn a living either by farming crops or picking sea products. The haenyeo often represents a harsh and strenuous life.
What used to amount to as many as 15,000 haenyeo in 1970 has now plummeted down to a mere third of that number; and most of them are over seventy years of age at that, meaning that haenyeo are fast disappearing.

In light of this sad reality, The LA Times published a feature article on Korean haenyeo, their traditions and current situations.

Haenyeo, Epitome of Toughness
The haenyeo is assumed to have first appeared in the primeval! era when people started turning to the sea for food. It goes similar for the haenyeo of Jeju as well, based upon the age of the shrines on the island built for the safety of fishermen and haenyeo. There are several ancient proverbs and old sayings as well that describe Jeju haenyeo’s physical strength and their tough lifestyle.

There is one saying to the effect that Jeju haenyeo don’t stay in bed for more than three days after giving birth to a child, stressing their toughness. Another saying goes “Born as a Jeju woman, she should be able to support her household, no problem.”

The LA Times introduced the life of Jeju haenyeo in its front page, including in-person interviews that actually took place on the island.

The LA Times Illustrates Korea’s Old Tradition

The article of The LA Times, one of the five major newspapers of the U.S, featured the youngest Jeju haenyeo in Korea under the title “Korean island women carry on diving tradition.” The well-researched numbers and figures in the article point to the fact that the number of haenyeo is decreasing rapidly today in Korea.
The daughters who are handed down the know-how of sea-diving from their mothers (e.g. how to avoid sharks and how to hold breath and stay underwater for a long time) are turning elsewhere for other possibilities of living. Although it is true that not many women are obligated to choose the harsh life of haenyeo nowadays, there still are mothers who take pride in that particular calling, and with that calling, having brought up good daughters.
A Korean newspaper once covered the story of a 69-year-old woman who still hasn’t let go of the life of a haenyeo. She started sea-diving at the age of 11, tutored by her mother, and has since lived with and in the sea for 58 years. She says she still goes out to the sea about ten times a month and proudly adds that she has raised a son and four daughters.

Not for Money, But To Keep a Tradition Alive

The LA Times article contains an interview of the youngest haenyeo, Ms. Jae-Yeon Kim, who is 33 years old. Ms. Kim says she learns to become a haenyeo not to make money but because it connects her to her ancestors. She must learn all there is to learn about sea-diving before the elder haenyeos pass away so that sometime in the future she will be able to pass down the skills and the know-how.
The article, while praising Ms. Kim’s courage in having chosen a lifestyle of such harshness in order to keep a tradition alive, emphasizes the need on a more national level for preserving the traditions of haenyeo. The value and significance of that age-long calling is priceless.

Similarity on Black Pottery of Manipur and South Korea

In my stay at Korea I always fascinated to have food in Korean black bowl, I don't know why but now I have realized why?
Somehow there is a strong connection with my home state Manipur with this Korean black bowel. Suddenly I realised that in Manipur there is a place called Ukhrul which is one of district in Manipur.

The Longpi Pottery is quite famous in Mnaipur because I have grown up having various non vegetarian dishes with my father and brothers with this black pot utensil from Ukhrul. And recently I happen to visit the Manipur tourism festival at Imphal Mapal kangjeibung where I encounter this Tangkhul Stall where I able to captured some of the rare so called the famous Longpi Pottery.

The home of Longpi pottery is Ukhrul, a district in the north eastern state of Manipur. It lies about 84 kms to the east of Imphal, which is the state capital of Manipur. The climate of the district is temperate, with the minimum and maximum temperatures hovering between 3 degrees centigrade to 33 degrees centigrade. Best time to travel is between October and March. It takes almost 3 hours by bus from Imphal to Ukhrul. Taxis are also available from Imphal. Imphal airport is 6 kms south of the city and is well connected with Kolkata. Dimapur, which is 215 km from Imphal.

When I introduced myself the shopkeeper gave me a warm welcome and allow me to take whatever I want to take a picture and within a short time he narrated the story of this rare art work.
I was so lucky to met them and even they presented me one of the rare plate of Longpi.I was so thrilled to received the precious gift as I already ga-ga over seeing the pottery only.

It seems the origins of Longpi Pottery are lost in history, but according to Ukhrul District Administration it originated as Tangkhul Pottery. Three clans of Hundung – Hungpung had pottery as their trade. They are Chahongnao, Yarzimnao and Kharinao, and the place where they resided is called Hamleikhong.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gem of South Korean heritage 'Choi Seung Hee'

A legendary Women

Choi was born into a yangban-class family in Seoul, Korea during the Japanese occupation, and was also known by the Japanese pronunciation of her name, Sai Shōki.[1] After graduating from Sookmyung High School at the age of fifteen, she went against her father's wishes to study under modern dancer Baku Ishii in Japan, where she distinguished herself as one of the most talented dancers. She developed her own modern dances inspired by Korean folk dances, which had been considered as lowly works. She was supported by Japanese intellectuals including Yasunari Kawabata, and corresponded with both Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. She was also a vocalist, and made recordings at Taepyeong Records and Kirin Records (in Manchukuo) before making her 1936 album Garden of Italy at Columbia Records Japan.

After the start of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, she was sent on tour of the front lines by the Imperial Japanese Army for propaganda purposes and to raise troop morale.

After the end of World War II, she went to North Korea with her husband, who was an active supporter of the Workers' Party of Korea. She established a dance school and was given an official position within the North Korean administration. In 1951, she was asked to visit Beijing to perform for Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. However, in 1967, she was purged by the party, and disappeared from public view. However, on February 9, 2003, an official announcement was made that she had died in 1969, and a monument proclaiming her a "People's Actress". Issues surrounding her death remain undisclosed.

Choi is recognized as one of the world's finest performers from the first half of the 20th century. She has also taught as a professor at a performing arts university in China, 1951-1952. In 1999, the dancer was named one of the top 20 artists to shine upon Korea by the Korean Association of Art Critics

My own message to my frens n co-bloggers

Hi frens

After a 4 long month break am back to the same routine again ............good to see you all again and am happy to see the warm comments and encouragements from my readers. But I would like to inform you all as I am away from Korea for my studies purpose so I won't be able to updates the relevant information as well as photographs in time. But once I get back to Korea I will be regular a s I used to be and am congratulating to all the 3rd batch winner of WSK.
and a very happy new year 2011..............may this year bring happiness and prosperity to Korea (south n north) plus my own county i,e India.

The rich culture of Korea, let's have a look....!

Korea’s Ancient Capitals

The present is an accumulative total of the past. So, if you want to really know about the present of a country, you need to delve deep into its age-long history.

And learning about its past capitals – the central locations for the country’s politics and culture – will be a very helpful and significant approach.

The cities of Gyeongju, Gongju, Buyeo and Iksan were designated as the ancient capitals of Korea in accordance with the Special Act on the Preservation of Ancient Capitals decree enacted in March 2005.
For a city to become a capital, it must be some place that is well-suited for residence; a strategic location against foreign invasions; and an all-around convenient spot for overseeing the country. That’s why capitals are usually located near a big river, surrounded by mountains, and furnished with a broad expanse of fertile planes.

Gyeongju, Gongju, Buyeo and Iksan

The Baekje Kingdom (18 BCE – 660 CE), one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla, controlled some colonies in China and most of the western Korean Peninsula at its peak in the 4th century and was a significant regional sea power.

In the 5th century, Baekje retreated under the southward military threat of Goguryeo, and in 475 its capital moved to Ungjin (present-day Gongju). Gongju is home to numerous historic sites including Gongsanseong Fortress, Magoksa Five-story Stone Pagoda, and Seokjang-ri Old Stone Age Ruins.
In 538, King Seong moved the capital to Sabi (present-day Buyeo County), home to significant relics such as the five-storied stone pagoda of Jeongnimsa Temple site and Banwollu Tower.

Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC-935 AD) which ruled most of the Korean Peninsula between the 7th and 9th centuries. A vast number of archaeological sites and cultural properties from this period remain in the city. Among such historical treasures, Seokguram grotto, Bulguksa temple, Gyeongju Historic Areas and Yangdong Folk Village are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The many major historical sites have helped Gyeongju to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea.

A Map of Korea’s Ancient Capitals

The Cultural Heritage Administration recently published a map of Korea’s ancient capitals in English as a tourist guide to important historical sites in Korea.

The “Ancient Capitals Tour” map is designed to be easy to carry and use. The map provides information on the history, geography, folklore, and contemporary situation of the four ancient capitals in South Korea: Gyeongju, Gongju, Buyeo and Iksan.

The map also provides useful tourist information, including guides to accommodations and public transportation. Maps will be distributed free of charge at cultural centers and tourism agencies.

Let's have an exotic exploration to Jejudo of South Korea


Love for coffee is getting pandemic these days. You can find a coffee shop in every block of a sizable office district. Some people go so far as buying espresso machines and other coffee gadgets to furnish in their own homes. (Well, being one of those crazy coffee lovers myself, I am just being envious.)

Coffee is a highly sensitive plant, requiring specific growing conditions. It grows in subtropical regions where the temperature stays above 10 degrees Celsius even during winter. That’s why farming coffee has been mostly considered out of the question in Korea.

Korea’s First Coffee Farmer

The first coffee farmer in Korea, Ms. Roh has invested all her money and energy in farming coffee in a 400-pyeong (1 pyeong equals 3.3 square meters) green house in Jeju City since early 2008.

Despite the unfavorable conditions, even Jeju being too cold, Ms. Roh has been persistent in realizing her dream of cultivating coffee. And she has succeeded to reap enough coffee for about 10% of Jeju citizens to sample taste.

And last October, Ms. Roh even held the first Jeju Coffee Festival in her own coffee plantation. At the festival, there was coffee tasting, coffee drinking competitions, hands-on experience of roasting coffee beans and hand-dripping.

Hard Work, But I Love It

Ms. Roh is currently growing some 25,000 coffee trees in a 5,600 square meters plantation. And it is no easy job looking after those highly sensitive plants. They have to be watered twice a day (at the break of dawn and around sunset) for 3, 4 hours. A storm hits, and the fragile plants get all knocked out of their pots, and Ms. Roh has to spend many sleepless days harnessing them back in. They also need to get nutrition shots at regular, designated times.

Roh says she does not expect coffee farming to become a profitable business.

“It’s costly to keep the green house warm and it takes 3 to 5 years from germination to harvest. But I’m doing this not because I want to make money, but because I like it,” says the coffee farmer. And adds, “If I make money later, I would like to build a coffee museum,” expressing her ultimate ambition.