Saturday, February 26, 2011

Click! Online gateways to Korea

"The Korea Herald guide to the nation’s most useful websites"

If you want to do a bit of research before taking a trip to or in South Korea, Now you don't have to rely on either in google or in gude book.

Here are 21 cyber destinations covering Korean travel, history, society and language, targeting both tourists and expats. Non-Korean visitors ― and possibly many Koreans, too ― could find these sites surprisingly addictive as they discover online gateways to intriguing aspects of Korea.


The official website for Korean tourism, Visit Korea ( proudly introduces essential information on culture, travel, festivals and even recipes. The site is a great source for global citizens as the service is available in 11 languages. The friendly and welcoming site offers superb shopping reviews, festival news and travel highlights. Free language and culture lessons are available.

Searching for something out of the ordinary? Adventure Korea ( offers adrenaline junkies a range of short trips around the country. There are a variety of thrilling activities to choose from on the tour site. These include trips to Seoraksan hot springs, Hangang booze cruises, templestays and DMZ trips. Whether it is culture, camping, festivals or hiking, the site offers something for everyone.

Virtual Tourist ( is a practical site offering reviews and comments posted by travelers themselves about destinations they have visited. It is a great gateway for travel enthusiasts wanting to read honest reviews and tips from people who have been there themselves. The site offers a chance to connect with over a million travelers around the world to ask questions and share experiences. There are over 7,000 tips and 15,000 photos available on Korea alone.

For those who want to experience Korean country life, a Korean farm stay offers an unusual but memorable experience. The Korea WWOOF ( arranges farm stays for people who want to embrace the countryside and organic farming. Farm stay guests help with daily chores on the farm such as harvesting, preparing soil for planting, weeding, and seeding in exchange for food and lodging. One can also get to know rural life and culture while mingling with local people. Skimming through feedback from former Wwoofers on the website will give you a sense of what the program is about.

Restaurants, bars, entertainment, travel, shopping and fashion ― you name it, this site has it. ( is an offbeat site for expats in Seoul or for travelers looking for something missing from normal travel guides. Some of the places or activities introduced on the site may not be too Korean. But the site serves the need of expats in Korea looking for both something of their own and something of Korea. You can download issues of the Korea-based English-language Groove magazine, featuring interesting articles on life in Korea observed by expats.


Korea Taste ( takes visitors on a comprehensive tour of Korean food. The Korean tour agency’s official food site features articles on concepts of Korean cuisine, food columns, information on restaurants and recipes in a well organized format with beautiful pictures of dishes and their ingredients. ( invites visitors to try cooking Korean food themselves in a quick and easy way, with video recipes. The recipes don’t require lengthy preparations and the author’s chirpy tone and witty captions in videos never bore. Kimchi-making is the most popular recipe, viewed over 400,000 times, prompting the site’s author to release a Kimchi app for the iPad in May, 2010.

Do you want to know how to make top secret Korean restaurant recipes? ( covers food from recipes to restaurant reviews. This is a great website for food enthusiasts wishing to find the finest restaurants in Korea, with articles and reviews including coverage of international cuisine from Saudi Arabia, Italy, India and France. Food reviews are superb with descriptive opinions and ratings on the quality of food, price and ambiance of the restaurant. The blog is definitely worth a visit for its fun and honest comments. ( is a website promoting Korean food and culture to travelers from all over the world. Worth a visit for those interested in attending a “Korean night dining tour” or “Korean cooking class.” Otherwise, take a peek at, a popular food blog run by the chief of marketing and tours for the O’ngo Food Communications. has some entertaining restaurant reviews with tips for dining out in Korea which even native Koreans may find useful.

Hallyu ( is a home ground for Hallyu fans worldwide with 1.4 million visitors daily, most of them non-Koreans. It is the best organized K-pop website covering latest albums, music videos, TV dramas, celebrity gossips and photos. The site boasts the largest fan base through fan clubs and forums on the website, which enable ardent K-pop fans to mingle online and share news about their idols.

When it comes to K-pop, ( is the fastest news breaker. Latest celebrity gossips and news draw over 3 million monthly readers worldwide and takes Hallyu to audiences beyond Asia. The easy-to-navigate photo section has glossy-style photos of K-pop stars.

Want the latest celebrity gossip? Then ( is the place. An entertaining blog for Hallyu fans with the latest celebrity news, photos and fashion reviews, the site also features photo shoots from Korean magazines, designer fashion shows and celebrities’ street style and performance outfits.

Korean Drama Guide ( is an encyclopedia for Korean drama fans. This impressive site has a massive database on Korean dramas, synopsis and information on TV stars. Few websites can beat the Korean Drama Guide index.

Expat blogs

Videos say more than words. ( is run by a Canadian couple teaching English in Korea, recording glimpses of everyday life here. Martina and Simon fascinate with entertaining and useful videos on Korean culture, K-pop, teaching and ESL lesson materials, and everyday life.

The Marmot’s Hole ( is serious in tone compared to other expat blogs, but the posts dealing with Korean history, politics, North Korea, and U.S. troop presence in Korea draw a lot of readers. Run by 14-year-resident in Korea, Robert Koehler, the blog offers some interesting insights on Korea. The photos taken by Koehler capture the beauty of Korea. ( offers extensive features on travel and life as an expat in Korea. Chris frequently updates with event reviews, adventurous travel articles and helpful tips for newcomers.

Topics are covered with an honest humor, and include intriguing post titles ranging from “You know Korea is your home when … ” to “Destination: Dream Forest.” For a good laugh, read stories in the “Konglish” category.

History, Society and Language

The official international broadcasting station of South Korea KBS World Radio ( won’t disappoint. The station broadcasts news and information in eleven languages: Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesia, Arabic, Vietnamese, Russian, German, French and Spanish. Also, the site has great information on the locations, people, climate, culture and history of Korea. In addition, the site features several recipes for popular Korean dishes, and short language study options are available. ( is an excellent site on Korean history. Starting from Paleolithic period (B.C. 5,000-8,000), the site informs on each period of Korea’s history. In addition, the website provides Korean history videos, MP3 audio and photos of old Korea. The site has extensive resources including timelines and information on other major historical events in Korea. Its only drawback is the slightly drab and simple design.

Koreana (, a quarterly journal on Korean art and culture, helps readers better understand Korea. Sophisticated articles and images depict Korea’s arts, environment, literature, lifestyle and other themes. By clicking the current edition’s e-book, you can flip through the journal and see fascinating and attention-grabbing pictures.

Keen to learn Korean? Sogang University Korean Program ( provides extensive study materials for free on its website. By following the courses from introduction to novice and intermediate levels, non-Koreans can develop their Korean language skills. The module on pronunciation of the alphabet is available in audio files and examples of how to hand-write each character are also available.

P.S : It seems an American man passes on his knowledge on Korean study at Learn Korean Language ( This useful site is run by Russell Holloway who calls himself a “hardcore fan” of the Korean language since he first learned it after meeting the love of his life, who is half-Korean.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

S. Korean researchers find way to fight brain tumors with drugs

A group of South Korean researchers said that they found a way to use drugs to fight brain tumors that are currently treated with only surgery and chemotherapy.

The researchers, led by POSTEC chemistry professor Chung Sung-kee, discovered a way to breach the "blood-brain barrier" to permit anti-tumor drugs to work.

The natural barrier protects the brain from contaminated blood, but it also made it effectively impossible to use drugs to treat brain-related diseases, like tumors. Currently, doctors have to operate or resort to chemotherapy to deal with brain tumors or glioblastoma, which can be dangerous and lead to considerable health side effects.

"The breakthrough was made by developing a 'drug delivery vector' extracted from a substance called Sorbitol that can allow potent drugs like Paclitaxel to reach the glioblastoma through the barrier," the professor said.

He said tests conducted on laboratory mice in the past four years showed good results, and tests on more advanced animals and humans are expected to take an addition four or five years. After clinical tests have been completed, work could start with pharmaceutical companies to develop a workable drug for human patients.

The discovery has been published in the latest online issue of MedChemComm, a British medical publication.

Korean shorts win awards

Korean film director Park Chan-wook’s latest short film “Paranmanjang (Night Fishing)” in collaboration with his brother Chan-kyong, won the Gold Bear for Best Short Film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, which wrapped up Sunday.

Shot entirely on an iPhone, the film competed with 26 other shorts. Park and his artist brother co-directed the fantasy flick starring singer-turned-actress Lee Jung-hyun and actor Oh Kwang-rok. “Paranmanjang” is about a man who goes fishing at night and meets a female shaman. The film portrays images of shamanistic rituals and depicts the transition between life and death.

Park was awarded the Grand Prix for “Oldboy” at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, the CinemAvvenire Award for “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and the Jury Prize for “Thirst” at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His brother, recognized as a media artist, directed shorts such as “Sindoan” and “Flight.”

Meanwhile, rising director Yang Hyo-joo received the Silver Bear award of the International Short Film Jury for her film “The Unbroken.” The film is about a story about two swindlers who are involved in a real accident one evening after contriving a fake car accident to claim insurance payments.

Yang graduated from the Korea National University of Arts this year and “The Unbroken” was her graduation project. She has won numerous awards for her earlier shorts films “One Last Day” and “Jouissance.” Most recently she received the Asian New Force award at the 15th Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards.

Lee Yoon-ki’s much anticipated film “Come Rain, Come Shine” starring heartthrob Hyun Bin and Lim Soo-jung competed for the Golden Bear top prize as the only Asian film but did not win. Hyun’s film “Late Autumn” co-starring Chinese actress Tang Wei directed by Kim Tae-yong was also invited to screen at the festival.

This year, nine Korean movies were shown in various sections of the festival.
source: Korea Times

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Overseas authors introduce Korea to the world

Recently, two overseas writers have been spotlighted by the media for introducing Korean culture and history to the world through their books. (Left: Linda Sue Park (Yonhap News))

Though they were not born or raised in Korea, they have one thing in common: a strong literary passion for Korean culture and history.

Linda Sue Park, an award-winning Korean-American children’s novelist, and Emanuel Pastreich, a U.S. professor teaching in Korea, have helped bring international attention to Korea and its past through their works.

With her book, "A Single Shard," in 2002, Park became the first Asian-American author to win the prestigious Newbery Medal Book, one of the most prestigious children's literature prizes. The story of a potter in the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), the book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies since winning the award. Last year, Park's latest book, "Storm Warning," sold 400 thousand copies.

Recently, Park visited Korea on February 12 to mark the publisher's 90th anniversary with lectures, interviews, fan meetings and other events. This was her second trip to the country since her first visit nine years ago.

In an interview with Yonhap News on Feb. 13, Park said that she decided to write novels to introduce Korean culture to Americans after she discovered the beauty of Korean culture. A photo of Goryeo celadon she found in a library book inspired her to write "A Single Shard."

Park has written about Korean-American children and Korean culture and history in seven of her nine published books, including "Seesaw Girl," "The Kite Fighters," "When My Name Was Keoko" and "Archer's Quest." Her books are used as study materials for Asian history classes in junior high schools in United States, introducing Korean culture and history to American children. Emanuel Pastreich, a U.S. professor who also writes under the Korean name "Yi Man-yeol," recently published an English translation of ten short stories from "The Novels of Park Jiwon" (1737-1805). Park, also known as his pen name "Yeonam," was a leading "Silhak" (School of Practical Learning) scholar during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). (Right: Professor Emanuel Pastreich (from the Solbridge School of Business in Daejeon))

Pastreich is the first person to translate all Yeonam’s novels into English, including "The Tale of the Horse Traders," "The Tale of the Yangban Scholar," "The Tale of Student Heo" and "An Upbraiding by the Tiger."

Pastreich first learned about Park and his works in 1995, when he came to Seoul National University as an exchange student from Harvard University, where he studied classical East Asian literature.

In a recent interview with the Donga Ilbo on Feb.10, a major Korean daily newspaper, Pastreich said Park's stories are charming and show the scholar's realistic insights and contributions to the modernization of the Joseon Dynasty, and his belief that he could change people’s mindsets through his novels.

Pastreich spoke of Park’s sympathy with the lower classes in the Joseon Dynasty as a major characteristic of the scholar’s novels. Detailed descriptions of farmers, beggars, widows and laborers t are not easily found in other Joseon literary works, said Pastreich.(Left: The cover of "The Novels of Park Jiwon" (courtesy of Seoul National University Press))

The professor said he plans to sell his books in both online and offline book shops, in hopes that greater exposure will lead to a re-evaluation of Park and Joseon literature in the West.

Pastreich is currently serving as the director of the Asia Institute at the Solbridge School of Business in Daejeon, Korea. He received his M.A. from the University of Tokyo and Yale College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He also served as the Minister for Political Affairs at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the United States and has taught at several universities, including Harvard University and the University of Illinois.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Another Hallyu impact : 'Late Autumn,' a modern fairytale for adults

Heart-stopping and transcending sentimentality, Kim Tae-yong’s “Late Autumn” is a remake with a greater purpose than simply pairing superstars in a new setting.

The Hyun Bin-Tang Wei vehicle is the fourth retelling of Lee Man-hee’s 1966 “Full Autumn,” which itself is based on a novel. Taking the story to Seattle heightens the feeling of urban alienation and the urgency of an unexpected romance, as two of Asia’s biggest stars become socially outcast ethnic minorities. The film was perhaps unjustly excluded from the Berlinale’s competition pool — though it will vie for the top prize at the Fribourgh Film Festival next month.

While serving her seventh year for killing her violent husband, Anna (Tang, the unforgettable heroine of Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”) heads to Seattle to attend her mother’s funeral on a 72-hour parole — “the first compassionate release ever granted a murderer,” one of her relatives reminds her, before another reprimands his insensitivity.

But her home is no escape. Having grown accustomed to being called Inmate No. 2537, she feels at a loss to see how much the world outside bars has changed. Little children — apparently her nieces and nephews — return curious stares; an old flame is now happily married but still makes her heart flutter with his causal remarks; and her own brother is preoccupied with the inheritance, though their mother has not yet been buried.

She finds solace in the least expected of places — in a complete stranger with questionable motives. Hoon (“Come Rain, Come Shine” heartthrob Hyun), a Korean immigrant who makes a living as a callboy, chances upon Anna and makes it a point to please her, no questions asked. “Hoon appears before Anna like an angel and shines a ray of warmth on her difficult life,” Tang told reporters in Seoul last Thursday following the local press preview.

The actors bring a fine balance to the emotionally dense narrative, with Tang expressing more with her silence (or the occasional rambling monologues in Chinese), and Hyun providing the dynamism and unwarranted humor.

The director brings a subtle, nuanced lyricism to the story, which maintains a strong arthouse appeal, complete with elements of fantasy, while not alienating general audiences. Some of the most intense moments unravel quite unexpectedly, such as the funeral scene which incisively portrays a deep divide that exists within a family and an individual.

In the end, “Late Autumn” is a simple story of girl meets boy — but sometimes the lives we lead as older children come with more strings attached than we wish. Anna is destined to return behind bars in a few hours’ time while Hoon’s hunters trail all too near.

Now showing in local theaters. Distributed by CJ Entertainment.
Source: Korea times

KT chief honored for women-friendly policies

Lee Suk-chae, CEO of KT, received the 17th Gold Award given by the Korea Federation of Business & Professional Women (BPW Korea) during its annual ceremony at the Plaza Hotel, Thursday evening.

The award is given to an individual or a group that has uplifted the status of women and also contributed to enhancing their working environment.

``Some 50 percent of our customers are women and we now cannot manufacture products without considering their styles and preferences. I believe this award is a reminder for me and my company to show further interest and support for our female consumers and also employees,’’ Lee said after receiving the award.

Lee was recognized for the telecom giant’s various women-friendly programs, including leadership programs and smart working centers that allow working mothers to work from home ― part or even full time.

``We will do our best to push the status of professional women. That’s the only way our company and moreover society as a whole can survive,’’ Lee added.

BPW Korea is the local branch of the BPW Foundation, one of the biggest organizations for women in the world. Its aim is to transform workplaces by strengthening the capacity of organizations and business to create a work environment that values the contribution of women.

The ceremonies are held every February in some 100 member nations.

Source: Korea times

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Korean Mushrooms Occupies the Tables of the Swiss

The superior species and high production quality of Korean mushroom is proved through its great texture and taste, already having been renown overseas. Today Korean mushrooms have attracted the Swiss people being one of their favorite dishes.

Korean mushrooms spotlighted as high-quality food. Jelomli, a grand department store of Zurich, the largest city in Swiss has Korean mushrooms on their sales list, sold at the lower ground grocery section, along with a variety of other raw mushrooms. Here Korean king oyster mushrooms are sold by 30-40 franc per kilogram, quite expensive which is equivalent to 35,000 ~ 47,000 won in Korean dollars.

Swiss people, on sunny days, often enjoy barbeque parties with their family and friends sharing grilled meat and sausages, and the Korean king oyster mushrooms as the only vegetable to be added on the main grill list. Taken as a high-quality food item, the king oyster mushrooms are enjoyed for its bigger size and thick texture that is much suitable for a grill party compared to button mushrooms.
In Swiss, now it is not that difficult to meet these mushrooms from Korea in Swiss as they are not only supplied to department stores but also to Migros, the largest supermarket franchise in Swiss.

a Swiss restaurant in Itaewon, Korea> (Photo: Naver blog)

In Swiss, mushrooms are widely enjoyed by the people being one of the most popular food often used as an ingredient for sauces or even as main dishes. Regarding the sales of button mushrooms the amount of its consumption are 13,000 tons annually; 8,000 tons of raw mushrooms and 5,000 tons of cooked mushrooms. Here 7,000 tons of raw mushrooms are produced in Swiss and the import! rate of the total market consists of 15 percent. The Swiss people do seem to favor mushrooms a lot!

Cannot imagine a life without mushrooms!

The Swiss people in love with mushrooms

Even the economic crisis did not stop the Swiss fondness for mushrooms. In the second half of 2008 when the economic situation was not favorable, consumers did not cease to spend money on mushrooms. In 2009, rather the total consumption increased adding 300 tons compared to the former year. In fact, the fastidious Swiss customers looking for the best qualities seem to continuously increase the needs for fresh mushrooms.
Button mushroom is the most largely produced and consumed one in Swiss, which is a very traditional kind. However, Asian kinds started to receive attention along with the rising popularity of foreign mushroom species. These days foreign mushrooms that have been introduced during the 1980~1990s including shiitake, king oyster mushroom, grifola frondosa are now receiving some spotlight. Especially shiitake is enjoying popularity being ranked second in the consumer preference.

It may be no surprise that Korean mushrooms with high quality and taste has successfully created its market in Swiss. It had past 3~4 years since Korean king oyster mushrooms joined the dishes of the Swiss dining table.

Now the annual amount of mushroom import!s are over two hundred million Korean won. This was possible by both continuous efforts put to improving species and through quality control.

In 2009 renowned chefs from all over the world have visited Korea to participate in the ‘Amazing Korean Table,’ and Korean mushroom was used by all chefs. A variety of mushrooms were grilled or slightly boiled to be used as ingredients or become the main dish itself.

The taste and flavor of Korea mushrooms seems to prove its real worth no matter where it is. As the Swiss fondness for mushroom continues the future of the Korean mushroom overseas market is expected to be positive; we hope to create a broader international market, in addition to Swiss, for all consumers who want high quality mushrooms.

Enjoy Korean traditions and folk games on Jeongwol Daeboreum

Jeongwol Daeboreum, the first full moon of the lunar calendar, is one of the biggest traditional holidays celebrated across Korea. On this occasion, has selected two events where residents and visitors can enjoy this cherished Korean holiday.

2011 Dalmaji Festival at Namsangol Hanok Village

Namsangol Hanok Village is holding the 2011 Dalmaji Festival starting at noon on February 17, featuring a wide range of traditional folk games as well as participatory cultural events including kite flying (5,000 won) and traditional mask making (3,000 won). "Dalmaji," or "moon greeting," is one of the most important aspects of the holiday.

The daljib, a huge, cone-shaped bonfire made of dry straw, is scheduled to be lit at 6 p.m. to coincide with moonrise, and is the highlight of the festival. The tradition of burning daljip originated from farmers praying for good harvests. Messages of New Year’s wishes for prosperity are written out by participants and burned along with the straw.

This year, the city of Seoul has gathered different wishes via twitter (@hanokmaeul) in advance. Anyone interested in being part of the event can join, submitting a wish free of charge.

Visitors can also experience other Korean traditional culture practices for Jeongwol Daeboreum, such as cracking nuts and drinking “gwibalgisul,” or “ear-quickening wine.”

At this inaugural event, organized by the district office, attendees will have the chance to experience Korean folk games like yutnori (a traditional board game played with marked sticks instead of dice) and jegichagi (a game where players try to keep a feathered shuttlecock aloft by kicking it), along with the ganggangsullae, a Korean traditional dance. It is also a rare opportunity to enjoy a mix of traditional and modern performances, including traditional percussion music called samulnori and the non-verbal musical, Nanta.

The event is open to Yongsan-gu residents and foreign nationals. There will be an information booth installed at the plaza where you can learn more about Jeongwol Daeboreum and its origins.

Source and for more detail :

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The story of Korean Noodles

The Korean noodles in Korean cuisine and are collectively referred to as "guksu" in native Korean or "myeon" in hanja. Preparations and cooking with noodles are relatively simple, so the history is longer than that of bread, dating back around BCE. 6000 to BCE 5000 in Asia. While noodles were eaten in Korea from ancient times, productions of wheat was less than other crops, so noodles did not become a daily food until 1945 . Buckwheat (memil guksu) and wheat noodles (milguksu) were specialty foods for birthdays, weddings or auspicious occasions because the long and continued shape were thought to be associated with the bliss for longevity and long-lasting marriage.

In Korean traditional noodle dishes are onmyeon or guksu jangguk (noodles with a hot clear broth), naengmyeon (cold buckwheat noodles), bibim guksu (cold noodle dish mixed with vegetables), kalguksu (knife-cut noodles), kongguksu (noodles with a cold soybean broth) and others. In royal court, baekmyeon (literally "white noodles") consisting of buckwheat noodles and pheasant broth, was regarded as the top quality noodle dish. Naengmyeon with a cold soup mixed with dongchimi (watery radish kimchi) and beef brisket broth was eaten in court during summer.

Jajangmyeon, a staple Koreanized Chinese noodle dish, is extremely popular in Korea as fast, take-out food. It is made with a black bean sauce usually fried with diced pork or seafood and a variety of vegetables, including zucchini and potatoes. It is popularly ordered and delivered, like Chinese take-out food in other parts of the world.
Ramyeon refers to Korean instant noodles similar to ramen in general term.

Jeongwol Daeboreum Festival

One of the most amazing fest of the Korean called Jeongwol Daeboreum. The first full moon of the lunar year, called Jeongwol Daeboreum (정월 대보름), is celebrated across Korea. The celebration is a way for farmers to pray for a good crop in the coming farming season. It’s also a time for individuals to make wishes for their future.The central activity of this festival is the burning of large bonfires called daljip (달집) which literally means “moon house”. The base of the daljip is covered by wishes written on paper by attendees. Other activities included looking at the moon while making wishes (달맞이), and swinging cans full of fire in circles (쥐불놀이).
The believers pray for a lucky and healthy year.
On the opening evening of the festival, an impressive ceremony is held: the burn of Daljip. This is a wooden structure which is built every year on the hill top. On the climax of the ceremony, the structure is burnt and the giant flames light the island's sky.
During the three days of the festival, traditional sport contests are held. One of the contests is Deumdol which, in ancient time, was an integral part of the maturity ceremony of the island's residents. In the unusual contest, the competitors carry a stone of 130 kg in their hands. The competitor who passes the longest distance is the winner.
The festival reaches its climax in traditional events, various culture shows and shooting fireworks which are held in the evening.

One should not miss this fire craker fest of Korea specially who are at Korea.

The Medical Service Project Shares New Life and Hope @ South Korea

Do you know much about the congenital heart disease? The disease is due to abnormal heart development before birth that requires postnatal medical treatment. It may lead to premature death if no appropriate surgery is operated, however a successful surgery can grant a new healthy life to a child.

Regrettably, there are many people who are in need of medical surgery but not all receive the opportune treatment. The high costs and lack of professional medical hospitals are doubling the burden. Fortunately, movements of medical support for the global neighborhood have been started, the ‘Korea Medical Service Share Project’ being one of them.

The Korean government financially supports children of neighboring undeveloped regions suffering from the lack of medical facilities by paying all expenses on their visit to Korea for medical treatment; Private medical institutions support the medical expenses by offering voluntary surgical operations. This year’s first patient is Danilya, a young boy from Russia.

A new life to a six-year-boy Danilya

The level of medical treatment of Korea is well recognized on the international level. The number of foreigners visiting Korea for medical surgery or treatment is increasing and every year new surgery method of Korea and its successful cases are introduced overseas.

The Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare has developed a project to position Korea as a global healthcare leader and promote voluntary services overseas.

The project is significant for being a public-private collaboration case while the Korean government provides financial aids covering flight fees and expenses during the stay and medical institutions covers the medical expenses. This year’s budget is 250,000,000 Korean won, which will be used to cure fifteen patients from the neighbors of Korea including China, Russia, Kazakhstan and so on.

Danilya, a six-year-old boy from Havarovsk, Russia was the first patient to meet the Korea Medical Service Share Project. Danilya was diagnosed as congenial heart disease and ventricular septal defect however the family could not afford a surgery and in fact no hospitals specializing in heart disease could be found near the village. It was grateful to receive Irina’s - the mother’s joy and appreciation when she heard the good news from Korea about the medical and financial support.

Sejong Hospital, specializing in heart disease, was responsible for the young boy’s surgery this time. The hospital has conducted about 900 free medical operations for children from twenty nations including Russia, China, Vietnam, and Iraq for the last twenty-nine years bringing new life to them. The hospital explains that it is time for Korea to give back the help it has received from their neighbors in the past and this medical service project could be one example of it.

Sharing the advanced medical technology of Korea with Russia

conducted by Korean surgeons at major Hospitals of Korea>

The operation process of Danilya was covered by RTR, the Russian public broadcasting media and will be broadcasted across Russia in March. ‘Pulse,’ RTR’s self-produced medical documentary program that usually deals with new trends in the medical field e.g. modern medical science, diagnosis and diverse diseases, and new medical treatments, will feature the story on Danilya in three parts. This may as well be a good opportunity for Korea to introduce its advanced medical technology.

In fact, RTR did not only take report of Danilya’s surgery but also covered the current medical technology for cancer, cardiac and vascular diseases, oriental medicine, brain and spine treatment of Korea in depth, introducing the excellence of Korean medical technology.

to a patient that will work as a real arm> (photo: The Joongang Daily)

The Korea Medical Service Share Project will actively continue to support the young patients of China, Kazakhstan and so on. ‘Medical Korea,’ a medical institution to operate free surgery, will be established and promoted through the local media. ‘Global Medical Service Share Corps’ program supported by Hanlyu celebrities will be carried out as well. We expect the project would gradually expand its activity reaching out to more regions and covering more diseases to be cured.

The project embraces the idea of coexistence and the global community. It is grateful for both, Korea who can be help and its neighbors who calls for help – the young children suffering from illness, and the parents who need support to afford medical treatment. A better global community can be upheld by being help for those who need a hand, and this project can be one way to practice the idea. We hope to see more medical institutions willing to donate their excellence in medical technology to bring new lives to our neighbors.

Secret Garden, the TV Drama is not to end

Secret Garden, a Korean TV drama that won favorable attention from the audience for the actors’ excellent performance and its famous lines, has just come to end. As the TV drama of the moment generating a lot of talks, not only its storyline but also the fashion, props and even NG takes became a great interest among the fans.

In particular, the location sites of the TV drama where the main characters’ scenes have been taken were what aroused the audiences’ curiosity the most. Let us have a closer look to the places Secret Garden invited their fans; the workshop location where Joo Won (Male leading charater) and Lime (female leading character) looked through the eyes of love of each other, Jeju hotel site where the two souls were switched and Petite France where the couple has first met.

Petite France, Joo Won first meets Lime

Do you remember the place where Joo Won first meets Lime, mistaking her as Park Chae Rin who Oscar asked to find for him? The romantic and fairytale village that often appears on TV or movie screen is from Petite France, a French village located in Gapyeong-gun Cheongpyeong-myeon, Korea.
The place combined with Goseong Youth Training Center, has sixteen French-style architectures and provides various activities to experience French culture during the stay. The site has a gift shop themed on Little Prince, a representative novel of a renowned French writer Antoine Marie Roger de Saint-Exupéry and a gallery where an exhibition on the theme cock - the symbol of France is on show. Every month they have various events offered, so it would be worth to check out the website at for more information before your visit.

The Seaes hotel in Jeju, the two souls switch their bodies

At the beautiful blue seashore, Joo Won and Lime confronts their destiny that inevitably ties their relationship; their souls switch bodies of each other. This happened right at the Seaes hotel in Jeju, a place of traditional and sophisticated aesthetic where Joo Won frequently visited for his stay. Later the switched souls returned back to their bodies with a kiss, and the bench on which they sat on at that moment as well can be found at this hotel site. The hotel located by Jungmun seashore, Seogwipo-si is a special resort hotel which embraces the beautiful scenery and taste of traditions of Jeju.

The Seaes hotel is unique for keeping the regional features of the traditional housing culture of Jeju i.e. Doldam (traditional gates built with stones) and traditional straw-roofed houses. The guest rooms have private terraces where sunrises and sunsets can be seen and facilities such as open gardens and outdoor pools are offered for the guests. Even Traditional Han Room, a private villa house is offered as a guest house for those who want more privacy during the stay while two types, Ko-dang and Cho-dang is available.

In addition, eight Jeju Olle courses that pass by the hotel is another benefit. This well shows how much the hotel harmonizes with the natural environment. For the excellent scenery, besides Secret Garden, it has a number of TV dramas that took location at the site; Boys Before Flowers, The Snow Queen, and Sorry I Love You. It surely is one of top attractions of Jeju.

Visit the Shelter of nature

Lime and her action training academy, for a workshop, visit the villa the top 1% rich man, Kim Joo Won owns. During the stay, Joo Won stares at Lime with love while she is sleeping; this moment was appreciated as one of the best scenes that excited many fans of the couple.

The scene where the two had a walk with beautiful fallen leaves the following day and the starry nights they spend together was shot at the newly opened Resom Forest at Jecheon city, Chung-buk. As Joo Won has explained to the investors inside the TV drama, the resort aims a resort of nature itself. The site shall cure the exhausted minds and bodies of the tired city people being full of dozens of trees and wild flowers, including a 150 year-old pine tree.

Resom Forest has a number of beautifully named paths; Sosori Baram-gil, Poreureu Solrae-gil, Gajaegineun Goljjack-gil, and Sanbaragi Neungseon-gil and so on. Especially the path the two main characters had a walk together is now entitled as ‘Secret Road,’ sending best wishes to all loving couples who walk the path together. There are also health programs through a walk in the forest such as ‘walking meditation’ and ‘walking the Resom Dule-gil path’ inviting everyone, men and women of all ages to the forest.

Secret Garden made the romantic comedy TV genre, after a six-year period, to win back the top TV audience rating, but would not the real location sites be even more romantic than the TV drama? The healthy, beautiful places with interesting narratives located in every corners of Korea are in fact the secret locations for us. Secret Garden, the TV drama is over but why not visit one of the celebrated sites and enjoy or own secret gardens instead?

Korean-Pop rising into the States, the heart of pop music

In the 70s and 80s young Koreans listened to American pop music admiring the American pop stars, however in 2010 the picture seems to have changed. Hanlyu (the Korean wave) in Japan and Thailand is now moving on to the Northern America; Korea is now receiving fair attention from their American fans enjoying Korean pop music. The fandom of Korean pop music (K-pop) is growing beyond its region reaching to America and Europe, the heart of pop music.

Hip hop, R&B, electronic dance and etc. has originated from the Western cultures, yet these genres have been interpreted by Asian sentiments in Korea and developed a unique style of pop music. It then has been introduced back to the global market; it is pop music but from Korea. A recent research on K-pop video views statistics on YouTube, a global video-sharing website, well illustrates this phenomenon.

Hanlyu/Hallyu in America

The Korea Daily (Korea Joongang Daily USA) totaled the views of K-pop video clips on YouTube of year 2010, which counts those of netizens from 229 nations. 923 video clips of Korean pop-stars who belong to Korea’s top three major entertainment management agencies were analyzed and 793,570,000 was its total hits; by continents, views from Asia was 566,270,000, Northern America 123,470,000 and Europe 55,370,000. While Asia showed the largest number of views yet an increase of those in the US is shown: the number, 94,870,000 views in total, ranked third following Japan (113,540,000 views) and Thailand (99,510,000 views).

In fact, this is not that surprising if we take a look to rising K-pop starts receiving attention overseas. Recently Wonder Girls, a representative K-pop girl group success example in the overseas market, performed on the legendary funk band - Earth Wind & Fire’s 40th debut anniversary opening stage receiving favorable response from the audience.

Wonder Girls earlier performed the opening stage of a mega concert of which top musicians of America including Stevie Wonder had participated; there they received enthusiastic response for their songs Nobody and Tell Me while some fans following their song and dances. With their hit song Nobody, Wonder Girls became the first K-pop start to have their song ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2009 and as well had been introduced by Chicago Tribune, one of the 10 major newspapers in the US, on their daily paper and online site.

After the success of Wonder Girls other K-pop singers has been active to enter the overseas music market. JYJ a boy group of three members separated from the previous Dong Bang Shin Ki is planning to release their first regular album in the US. In fact they are the first Korean singer to make a contract with Warner Music, one of the top three major recording labels in the world; Warner will produce and distribute JYJ’s first US album and Kanye West, a renowned musician and producer will be participating. For such reasons even before its release this album received great attention introduced on the main page of Billboard magazine online.

In addition, BoA, who already has a bigger fandom in overseas as a singer will this time play the main role in Duane Adler’s – a renowned screenwriter of ‘Step up’ and ‘Save the Last Dance’ - new film as an actress.

Why K-pop?

Actually America has much more variety of popular culture; then what makes it possible for K-pop seem to do quite well while American pop world has been dominant? We hear from one American fan, Savannah Daniel who visited Korea to meet her favorite K-pop star G-dragon (a member of Big Bang, a K-pop boy group). She explains her fondness for K-pop is the powerful rhythm and the passion of dances compared to American pop. Last December 26, she finally met her favorite K-pop star happily leaving back to America.