Friday, June 29, 2012

North Korea : Best of Pyongyang's architecture

How much do we know about The North Korea except their aloofness ?

Since the Korean War, North Korean leaders have used architecture to express the national character of the state. Standing at right is the 170-meter Juche Tower completed in 1982 on the eastern bank of the Taedong River to commemorate founding leader Kim Il-Sung’s 70th birthday.

/ Korea Times file
Book offers virtual tour of North Korea's isolated capital
As a general rule, dictators like to use architecture to demonstrate their power and express aspects of national character. North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong-il (1942-2011) was no exception.

Kim even authored a treatise called “On Architecture (1991),” in which he extols the virtues of “Juche” architecture, that is, works that symbolize and represent the state doctrine of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Situated about 240 km from Seoul, Pyongyang is actually closer to Seoul than Busan.

But most people in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula have only a vague idea about what the North Korean capital looks like, as visiting North Korea is strictly prohibited. For those who are interested in Pyongyang, German architect Philip Meuser’s latest book “Architectural and Cultural Guide Pyongyang” offers a visual guide.

Containing fantastic photos and meticulous essays, the book offers a rare glimpse into one of the most isolated states in the world. The Korean version hit bookstores last week.

“Part of my motivation for this book was to do a guide book to a place that you can’t even visit,” Meuser said in an interview with Dwell, a U.S. magazine devoted to modern architecture and design, in February.

Meuser is an architect and general planner for several German embassies. He’s also head of Dom Publishers.
“Setting aside the glaring issues of human rights and social self-determination, Pyongyang is arguably the world’s best preserved open-air museum of socialist architecture,” Meuser said. He visited the country three times while researching for this book. He labeled Pyongyang “a cabinet of architectural curiosities.”
Pyongyang’s architecture largely falls in to two categories. These are: functional (e. g., apartment buildings, government buildings) or monumental (e. g., statues, commemorative or symbolic structures).
The author also pointed out that because Pyongyang was almost completely destroyed after the Korean War (1950-1953), most buildings were built in the last 60 years.

The general tone of Pyongyang’s architecture is authoritarian. Large monuments dot the cityscape embodying Kim’s cult of personality, linked by absurdly wide boulevards and colossal public squares devoid of people.

The book is divided into two volumes.

The first part is a photographic gallery of Pyongyang buildings divided into major architectural categories — urban planning, residential buildings, cultural venues, education and sport, hotels/department stores, transport infrastructure, and monuments. Building exteriors are shown, with occasional photos of parts of their interiors. The photographs of the many buildings in volume I have brief captions or annotations containing facts about construction or features (e. g., capacity) or historical notes.

Volume 2 contains illustrated essays on varied facets of Pyongyang architecture. In this volume, one finds photographs of buildings under construction, photos of North Koreans in other social settings, pictures of leaders and government officials, and posters on the sides of urban buildings or monuments representing the strength of social unity, the relationship between leaders and the population, and other principles of the nation’s ideology.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

'Comfort women' to sue Japan’s ultra-right activist

Japanese supporters of former “comfort women,” who were coerced into providing sexual services to Japanese soldiers during World War II, protest next to a statue representing the women’s struggle in front of Japan’s embassy in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. Survivors plan to take legal action against a Japanese activist who recently tied a wooden stake to the statue.
/ Yonhap

The last-remaining “comfort women,” who were forced to serve as sex slaves under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945), plan to take legal action against Japanese right-wing activist Nobuyuki Suzuki.

Suzuki last week provoked public anger here by tying a wooden stake to the statue of a young comfort woman erected in front of Japanese embassy in Seoul. The stake had a written claim about Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost islets.

“The victims of wartime sexual slavery are extremely angry about the latest incident,” said Ahn Shin-kweon, director of the House of Sharing, a Gwang-ju based organization, Wednesday. “Together with former sex slave Lee Yong-soo and other private organizations, we are considering legal steps.”

Ahn added that undertaking no countermeasures against the incident could send the wrong message to Japanese right-wing groups that it was okay to conduct such defamatory acts against the women.

Lawyers associated with the organization plan to meet with Japanese lawyers next month to discuss how to pursue legal action against Suzuki and where to file the lawsuit.

The comfort women issue remains a bone of contention between the two nations as, despite mounting calls from within to make a breakthrough, Seoul and Tokyo adhere to the position that all matters including individual compensation for the victims who suffered during the colonial era were settled through the 1965 Korea-Japan basic treaty.
Meanwhile, the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, a Seoul-based council which has organized weekly protests every Wednesday in front of the Japanese Embassy since 1992, gave a different perspective in dealing with the issue.

“We are just fooling around if we take action against a (Japanese) individual,” said council members during the weekly rally, Wednesday. “The ones who deserve criticism are Japanese politicians who distort the truth and the Japanese government’s history and education policies that nurture ignorant citizen.”

Concerning President Lee Myung-bak’s comment earlier this month urging Tokyo for “humanitarian measures” for the wartime victims, council members said the government should seek “legal compensation” instead.
The rally this week was the 1,028th.
On the same day, Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the council will receive the grand prize of the 9th Seoul Metropolitan City Women Award for promoting the rights of women through activities such as holding the weekly rallies and opening a Women’s Human Rights Museum last month.

“I hope winning the prize can help us gain momentum in resolving the comfort women issue,” said Yoon Mee-hyang, a co-representative of the council

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Japanese film to make in land of Manipur

This is something very new to us as our land is a small as well as quite aloof from the mainland of India , although we have flourish in digital films. This is about a Japanese girl’s search in the remote villages of Manipur for her uncle, who was a soldier during World War II, and many more stories that unfold during her journey will be shot on big screen.

To be directed by Mohen Naorem, My Japanese Niece will see Japanese model Yu Asada essaying the role of the girl, also named Asada. It is based on the story of the Japanese soldier who was left behind in Manipur after the war and people still believe he exists.
The film will be in Manipuri with English subtitles and later dubbed in Japanese for a release in Japan. The entire shoot will be in Manipur.

Asada Yu

“Down the memory lane, she heard about a Japanese old man who was living in that village for a long time. He died a few months ago. But Asada finds many secrets, memories and belongings of her uncle as well as documents, unposted letters, artifacts and dairies of soldiers who were lost.”
Mohen says 23-year-old Asada from Osaka was excited when she first heard about the project.

According to Mohen who is going to direct the film, “our forefathers and those who witnessed the Second World War will never forget the courage of Japanese soldiers. Our grandfathers called the War as Japan War, showing how popular” is Japan in this state.
“After the recent earthquake in Japan, people from Manipur voluntarily came out to donate and the sympathy was also pouring from every Manipuri living abroad. The Japanese government is also helping Manipur in many ways like offering hospitals and sericulture projects from time to time. It is time to show our love to them.”

Mohen said Manipuri filmmakers have been talking with Japanese, Korean and Russian partners for a joint venture project of popularizing regional talents and cinema.
“We realized the possibility of strengthening such bonding between Japanese and Manipuris through films and choose the subject of the My Japanese Niece hence,” he said.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Making Seoul Safer for Women Lauded as Most Popular Policy

I know South Korea specially the Seoul city as I have stayed there for a year. Korea is quite safe for women in compare with most of the other countries.And recently, the Seoul Metropolitan Government recently announced the 10 most popular policies as chosen by local citizens from a list of 99 implemented by the current municipal government in line with people’s recommendations and requests.

A 10-day online survey aimed at gauging how satisfied people are with the city's projects attracted 27,946 citizens, with 708 posting their opinions.

The most popular policy was making the city safer for women by preempting crimes through careful urban design, such as by installing glass elevators in buildings, as well as mirrors in residential areas, parks, parking lots and on school premises.

Seoul City will announce its guidelines for more buildings and facilities to be built in line with the policy by the end of this year.

Drought sparks Korea

Korea is experiencing a drought, with Seoul seeing the least rainfall over the last 49 days since the Korean Meteorological Administration began compiling statistics in 1908.

In South Chungcheong, North Jeolla and Gyeonggi provinces, the unseasonably high temperatures are crippling farming, and it is uncertain whether the situation will improve.

A KMA official said southern areas will come under the influence of a seasonal rain front around June 23 and the central areas around June 27, but since pressure systems around the Korean Peninsula are very unstable it is not certain when the rainy season will really start.

The KMA predicted the country would see no rainfall soon except for Jeju, which is expected to be hit by a monsoon next Monday.

The KMA said Seoul had only 10.6 mm of rain from May 1 to June 18, a mere 6.2 percent of the 30-year average of 171 mm between 1982 and 2011 and the lowest in 105 years. Other areas including Suwon, Daejeon and Jeonju got 17-46 mm of rain over the same period, 11-28 percent of the average in previous years and a 45-year low. Average precipitation for the whole country was 58.8 mm, 36 percent of the 169.5 mm average in previous years.

Some 72 percent of the nation was rated as experiencing severe drought. The weather agency announces a four-level index on a daily basis taking into consideration factors like rainfall and humidity. The extreme dryness has wrought havoc with 3,686 ha of rice paddies and 4,667 ha of fields, leading to a 15-20 percent rise in agricultural produce prices in the past month.

Along with drought, a heat wave also affected the country.  The mercury in Seoul climbed to 33.5 degrees Celsius, a 12-year high for June.

Foreigners Fall Prey to Korea's Heavy Drinking Culture very fast

Most expats think Koreans drink a lot, and half say they imbibe more than when they first came to the country, a recent straw poll by the Chosun Ilbo suggests.

The poll was conducted in the streets of Seoul on 100 foreigners who have been in Korea for at least three months. The respondents came from 26 countries including Ecuador, France, Mexico, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S.

Some 77 percent of respondents thought that Koreans drink a lot of alcohol, and 48 percent said their alcohol consumption has increased since coming to Korea. Interestingly, 40 percent said their alcohol intake had doubled since they arrived in the country, and six percent said it had quadrupled.

In terms of how often they drink with friends and colleagues, 58 percent said the frequency has risen. Some 25 percent said they drink at least 10 times a month on average.

When asked about their thoughts on Korea's drinking culture, 33 percent described it as "irrational," while 14 percent said it "must be changed." Nine percent thought it was "excellent."

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Why People in N.Korea's 'Rice Bowl' Are Starving ?

Thousands of people are starving to death in North Korea's South Hwanghae Province even though it is the country's rice bowl, according to a defector.

"Villages in remote mountains can resort to slash-and-burn farming to survive, but in lowland areas where there are only cooperative farms, 30 to 40 people in each village starve to death every year," said Choi Myong-chol (not his real name), who used to handle crop harvests in Haeju, South Hwanghae Province. "The reason is that their entire harvest is confiscated," he told the activist website NK Reform.

The Tokyo Shimbun reported in April that 20,000 North Koreans starved to death in South Hwanghae Province after Kim Jong-il's death. "The reality there is that farmers have no choice but to hide rice during the harvest to survive," Choi said. This has happened every year. "This year, authorities appear to have taken extra measures to seek out rice the farmers had hidden," he added.

Choi said the reason for the starvation is the unrealistic crop output goals set by the regime every spring. Cooperative farms in South Hwanghae Province are ordered to produce six tons of rice per 10,000 sq. m, of which the farmers are promised two tons. But the actual amount that is harvested is only two to four tons, which leaves nothing for the farmers.

Harvested rice is distributed first to elite security and intelligence forces and then to ordinary soldiers. Farmers steal rice even under close watch because they would starve otherwise. They apparently steal between 1.5 to 2 tons per 10,000 sq. m of farmland, or about half of the crop. The regime is aware of the practice and sniffs out and confiscates around 30 percent of the stolen rice, leaving some 5,000-7,000 people to starve to death every year in the region.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Korean fashion goes ga ga over the world scenario

South Korea goes worldwide:

The 10 designers pose for a promotional photo of 2012 Seoul's 10 Soul, a global fashion brand project. From left are Lee Seung-hee, Kang Dong-jun, Hong Hye-jin, Choi Bum-suk, Ko Tae-yong, Lee Suk-tae, Im Seon-oc, Steve J & Yoni P, Choi Chul-yong and Sheen Je-hee. / Courtesy of Bridge Company

A global fashion brand project, 2012 Seoul’s 10 Soul, organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has shortlisted 10 Korean fashion designers with long-term support programs.

Now in its third year, the project aims to provide long-term exposure in international markets and help the further development of selected designers. This year they are Ko Tae-yong, Choi Chul-yong, Kang Dong-jun, Choi Bum-suk, Sheen Je-hee, Lee Suk-tae, Lee Seung-hee, Im Seon-oc, Steve J & Yoni P and Hong Hye-jin.
The government runs integrated showrooms called Acrex in Paris and Milan to further promote the brands.
“I am enormously impressed by the capability of Korean artists,” said Alfredo Ferreira, sales director of the showroom. “I expect a lot from the project as the eyes of Paris fashion are currently upon it.”

In Paris, the showroom will open from June 29 to July 3 for menswear and Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 for womenswear. Milan’s showroom will present the men’s ranges through Sept. 25 and from Aug. 27 to Oct. 15 for the women’s styles.
In addition, the 10 designers will showcase their work at an exhibition scheduled around Paris Fashion Week this October to which the press and buyers will be invited.

Previously, the project was more about such one-time events as hosting an exhibition of the designers and an after-party in Paris.
“This fashion project has helped me to jump into the pickiest European market,” said Lee Suk-tae, chosen for the project for three consecutive years, along with Choi Bum-suk, Sheen and Lee Seung-hee. “However, the government needs to support us with a long-term project, rather than promoting single events. Consistency is the key,” he added. Lee is now a sought-after designer by established public relations firms and showroom organizers in France.

The long-term support programs envisioned this year include consultations on brand positioning and marketing strategies; a one-to-one matching service between the designers and agencies specializing in public relations and sales; and continuous brand management and analysis of the outcome.
“We aim to develop our domestic brands to the level of global giants Louis Vuitton and Chanel by 2020,” said Baek Woon-seok, director of cultural industry at the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We also plan to expand this current Paris-based project to other big cities and keep up our support programs to gain recognition in the global fashion industry.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Destruction of Han River Bridge

A picture of Han River Bridge in 1950

/ Courtesy of Robert Neff Collection
Source: The Korea Times News

The Korean War was filled with tragedies and, as too common, often the victims were non-combatants. The country was ripped apart by ideologies and large numbers of people — caring nothing for the politics — were uprooted in their attempts to avoid the advancing armies and battles. Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies during the opening days of the war was the destruction of the Han River Bridge.

South Korea was not prepared for the North’s surprise attack on June 25, 1950. So powerful was the North Korean attack that within two days it was apparent to the South’s military that Seoul could not be held and would have to be abandoned.

American journalist Frank Gibney recalled that for the most part the military’s evacuation of the city was quite orderly with military police directing traffic and soldiers singing as they marched. But it was the thousands of civilians — “women toting bundles on their heads, and men carrying household goods in wooden frames fastened to their backs” — that blocked the approach to the Han River Bridge in their desperate attempt to get out of the city before the arrival of the North Korean troops.

It was in the early morning on June 28 that a fateful decision was made to destroy the bridge in an effort to prevent the advancing North Korean forces from crossing the river. Colonel Choe Chang-sik, the engineer in charge of the bridge, tried to clear it before it was blown up but he failed.

For many, the destruction of the bridge came without warning and many were killed or wounded. Gibney, who witnessed the destruction wrote:

“Lit only by the glow of the burning truck and occasional headlights, was apocalyptic in frightfulness. All of the soldiers in the truck ahead of us had been killed. Bodies of dead and dying were strewn over the bridge, civilians as well as soldiers. Confusion was complete. With the cries of the wounded and the dying forming the background, scores of refugees were running pell-mell off the bridge and disappearing into the night beyond. It was here that we first noticed the pathetic trust that the Koreans had placed in Americans. For 10 minutes we rested on the grass, men with bloody faces would come to us, point to their wounds, and say hopefully in English, ‘Hospital, you take hospital.’ All we could do was point to our own bloody faces and shake our heads.”

With the bridge destroyed, refugees were forced to try and find passage on the small boats that plied the river, but these were only able to carry a limited number of passengers.

The destruction of the bridge did not stop the North’s advance — it merely slowed it down. But it came with a cost. Hundreds of people were probably killed in the initial blasts and others perished in their attempt to get across the river or were caught by the advancing North Koreans.

Choe was also a victim. Someone had to be held responsible for the great loss of life and, although he was only following orders, he was deemed responsible and was executed by a firing squad on Sept. 21, 1950. A later investigation revealed Choe’s desperate attempt to clear the bridge and he was subsequently posthumously acquitted.

Robert Neff is a contributing writer for The Korea Times. Time to time i publish his article in my both blogs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

South Korean is aiming to attract 20 million foreign tourist by 2020

The Korea Tourism Organization has set a goal of attracting more than 20 million foreign tourists by 2020 as part of its proclamation marking the state tourism organization’s 50th anniversary this week.

The KTO is aiming for Korea to be the most competitive country in tourism in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the number of days locals use for domestic travel to rise from eight to 30, also by 2020.

The number of foreign tourists has surged from 15,000 when the tourism organization was founded in 1962 to an estimated 10 million this year.

A total of 143 million tourists have visited Korea over the past 50 years and the tourism revenue generated during the period stands at $160 billion, they said.

The KTO, formally known as the International Tourism Organization, was established to earn foreign currency crucial for economic development in the 1960s and ’70s.

It also aimed to lay a firm foundation for the development of the local tourism industry.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the tourism organization is holding a photo exhibition and concerts this week.

A photo exhibition featuring pictures portraying KTO history continues through June 27 in front of the organization headquarters building in Jongno, Seoul. Concerts are scheduled to be held on Thursday and Friday at the outdoor venue in front of the building.

Boryeong prepares to lure people

The Boryeong Mud Festival at Daecheon Beach, South Chungcheong Province, takes place from July 14-24.

The area is famous for its slate-colored mud with supposed properties to aid the skin.

Organizers say about 2 million people come each year to paint the town red ― and themselves gray.
Top and right Revellers enjoy previous Mud Festivals

It is also one of the most popular festivals among foreigners, with several groups organizing weekend trips being set up to converge on the beach town to enjoy the ooze.

This year’s offerings include a huge mud tub, mudslides, a colored mud zone and a mud fountain. There is a “mud marathon” on July 21.

On top of the quirky sun, sand and slop combination, there will be beachfront entertainment on the opening day from Dal Shabet, Teen Top and Wink.

There will be other performances throughout the festival.

The festival coincides with the Green Groove Festival at the same beach on July 21 and 22. Top performers are Akon, Infected Mushroom, Deli Spice, 10cm, Mighty Mouse. Tickets for Green Groove are 33,000 won for one day and 55,000 won for both days. More information is available at

Accommodation is usually scarce, so it is advisable to book in advance.

For more information, visit

By Paul Kerry (

Go in a groupSeveral organized trips are available for the festival. Here are just a few:

Korean Safari (from Seoul)

July 14-15; 75,000 won

Price includes travel and accommodation

Kimchi Travel (from Seoul)
One day: July 14, 15; 50,000 won

Two days: July 14-15, 21-22; 80,000 won

Price includes travel, insurance, and accommodation on two-day tour.

Adventure Korea (from Seoul)
July 21-22; 81,000 won

Includes travel, accommodation, mud marathon

Daegu Compass (from Daegu)
July 14-15; 119,000 won

Includes food, drink, transport accommodation

Source: The Korea Herald

Friday, June 15, 2012

Books in the market: latest entry

A Shy Smile

Kim Hyeon-gu; dReamN Publishing: 320 pp., 12,800 won

The is a collection of blog posts by a sub-intern at a general hospital, detailing noteworthy happenings in his daily life, from humorous to tragic.

His portraits are much rawer when the angle is turned to the doctors themselves. His seniors constantly yell at him for being slow. The nap room looks like a pig sty. Surgeons have hair that looks unwashed for days if not weeks. There are angry patients and guardians who threaten lawsuits.

Kim writes from a common-man perspective, possibly to increase accessibility, yet it sometimes undermines the seriousness of the content. There is one reference too many to finger enemas, which may be “icky enough” to induce some chuckles from readers but is no laughing matter for the patients.

To his credit, he never shies away from graphic details, making this book worth a glance. It is a welcome departure from the likes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and other beautified white gown-themed TV shows where the subject revolves more around love affairs than the well-being of patients.


Korean Power People In Hollywood

Kyungmin Rachel Lee; Wisdomhouse: 304pp., 13,800 won

Hollywood is the center of the entertainment world and 10 Koreans working at the forefront of the industry there have one thing in common — all of them began their career from scratch and have spent every moment learning it with patience and passion. They neither received special training nor did they have any mentors. They learned and absorbed everything they could and challenged every single opportunity given to them. Such strong determination and courage established their status as influential and successful professionals.

How have they have risen to the top among all the talented, gifted people in the world and how have they survived amid such fierce competition?

This book, written by journalist Kyungmin Rachel Lee, tells the stories about the 10 professionals who have overcome the limitations this marginalized group of people face. The so-called “Power People” have finally become as influential as famous Hollywood celebrities today.

This has all come from their curiosity about the new world, challenging spirit, endless commitment, sincerity and a positive attitude towards life.


Word from Paris

Choi Yeon-goo; Leader's Book: 264 pp., 13,000 won

“Words from Paris” reflects the cultural implications of commonly used words derived from French. Instead of simply translating the words, the author explores the French spirit and compares it to Korean culture.

Author Choi Yeon-goo says French words penetrated Korean culture long time ago and can be found in general terms such as vacance, etiquette, mecenat as well as in brand names including stationary company Mon Ami, Laneige cosmetics and chocolate cake Mon Cher Tonton.

“Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive,” the phrase indicating the arrival of young Beaujolais Nouveau wine each year, is considered a successful marketing strategy, but Choi sees the desire to distinguish the people who speak French. Beaujolais Nouveau is a folksy, cheap wine, but French mark the release date with festivities to differentiate the wine from others and have imparted a new meaning to it, Choi says.

Source:The Korea Times

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who wants to get tan ?

A perfect summer look for all of us: Especially to those who loves Korean products and in Korea.

Key products to protect glowing complexion under sun

The mercury is at its peak, but new cosmetic collections are popping up in stores to tempt everyone with a plethora of skin enhancing products. To lessen the agony of having to find the right summer products. Let's have a look.

Get protected

Whatever the weather, it is important to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB light that can cause premature aging. There are many multi-taskers that doubles as makeup, moisturizers and anti-aging elements.

Brightening UV Defense SPF 30 by SkinCeuticals

This moisturizing sunscreen (55,000 won) can be used daily to even out and brighten skin tone. The long-lasting cream is absorbed easily by the skin without any white residue. It can be used under make-up and is suitable for all skin types since it is formulated for sensitive skin.

Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 by Kiehl’s

This daily, ultra light formula (46,000 won) is one of the classics. It’s fragrance-, color-, oil- and PABA-free (PABA stands for para-aminobenzoic acid, a naturally occurring substance used in some sunblock products that can cause an allergic response).

The moisturizing product provides protection against UVA and UVB broad-spectrum and helps stop the appearance of dark spots, freckles, wrinkles and skin darkening. The texture feels more like a lotion than a cream and it does not appear greasy on the face while giving a matte finish with excellent absorption.

Ultra Sheer Wet Skin Sunblock Body Mist SPF 50 by Neutrogena

Neutrogena’s new spray-on sunblock (estimated at 21,300 won) has landed in Korea. This can be used on wet skin, making it perfect for the beach, pool and while playing water sports. The oil-free product smells mild and fresh and is easy to spray. There is no need to massage it in as it dries quickly without any white smears or dripping off. The sunblock is also recommended to those who are allergic to some sun screens for its portability.


 Mr. Oh!! Moisturizing Balm SPF 30 by

With argan oil ― known as liquid gold in Morocco and rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin C ―’s multi-tasker (25,000 won) offers protection against pollution and other stressful environments. It can be used as part of a daily routine, after toner and essence, and applied as often as needed. The delicate and sweet fragrance lingers on the skin.

Polish bright summer glow

Sun-kissed, radiant skin is at the top of everyone’s wish list as summer comes around. Here is a roundup of products to highlight naturally glowing skin and for those who want to turn to the bottle to fake it.

Sun Beam by Benefit

This is Benefit’s latest highlighting product (35,000 won) in the beam series ― including High Beam and Moon Beam. Dot and blend over makeup on the cheek, nose, brow bones to bring out a complexion with a luminous sheen. It is a tinted version of High Beam but pure gold instead of an orange hue, which might look slightly unnatural. It is also suitable for those with pale skin.

Cabana Glama by Benefit

Benefit released an ultimate faux tanning makeup kit today. The collection (55,000 won) includes mini-sized products ― hoola bronzing powder; foundation faker; posietint; eyeshadow palette; double-ended sponge applicator; mini cheek brush; and step-by-step lessons with tips and tricks. The kit offers a lot of products for the price of a full-sized one.

Bronzing Powder Laguna by NARS

This product (49,000 won) has a cult following. With its subtle golden shimmer, it creates contours for the entire face and the natural look of tanned skin. What distinguishes it is the texture ― it goes on smoothly without leaving streaks on the face. The powder has no reddish tones, so the face won’t turn out orangey. This bronzer is particularly good for fair-skin so people with tanned or darker skin won’t see a big change. Nevertheless, it is a good quality powder that can last about a year.

Pivoine Delicate Shimmering Powder by L’Occitane

Used on the decolletage and legs, the illuminating powder (50,000 won) gives skin the radiance needed especially for this time of year. It also makes the skin feel soft with a rose scent. The powder can also be used on hair, leaving it with a whiff of feminine accents. One or two puffs are enough for a visible shimmer.

Celebrate Lip Tint by Lush

This fizzing champagne lip tint (14,500 won) is ideal for quick makeup touch ups on the go. The tint is made of almond oil and organic jojoba oil. This product is a subtle frosty pink, which makes the face look less washed out while not looking too overpowering. It smells nice and delicious. However, moisturize the lips before using it as it can be quite drying if used too often. “Celebrate” can be used to achieve a more minimal look this summer.

So let's get a Korean looks ............


Monday, June 11, 2012

South Korean SK Telecom starts pre-orders for Galaxy S3

A model holds up Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphones at an SK Telecom outlet in Seoul, Monday. SK Telecom will start taking pre-orders for the handset, already a hot seller overseas, today.

/ Courtesy of SK Telecom

SK Telecom, Korea’s largest wireless service provider, announced Monday that it will start taking pre-orders for Samsung Electronicss Galaxy S3.

SK said that they will start taking pre-orders of the latest version of Samsung’s immensely popular smartphone the third-generation (3G) model today and for the long-term evolution (LTE) version later this month.

Direct sales will start this month for the 3G model and next month for LTE.

Pre-orders for a maximum 5,000 handsets of the 3G model will be taken from 10 a.m. at Those pre-ordering will also have a six month guarantee for returns if they lose the device.

Both models will be priced at around 900,000 won, with the LTE version a little bit more expensive and supporting an additional digital media broadcasting (DMB).

For the 5.1 million SK telecom subscribers’ using the new handset’s predecessors Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 who wish to upgrade, the firm will offer subsidies of 100,000 and 240,000 won respectively.

“Only SK Telecom can afford to support two versions of the Galaxy S3,” said Jang Dong-hyun, SK Telecom’s director of marketing division. “From the know-how we have accumulated since we launched the Galaxy S two years ago, SK Telecom will provide a differentiated service (from our competitors) for our customers.”

The hot-selling touch-screen device has started sales earlier this month in 28 countries, with a company record breaking pre-order of 10 million handsets. The huge popularity worldwide is bringing high expectations from Korean consumers for the release of the phone.

Samsung is boasting its own quad-core processor (the same as in Europe), a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen, voice recognition system, and other high-tech features. The models in the United States carry Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 dual-processor.

KT, the second largest wireless service provider, announced Monday that it will also start taking pre-orders for the LTE version from today, while LG Uplus has not specified any date to do so.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Korean latest Movie

The Concubine (2012)

  • Genres: Romance and Epics
  • Running Time: 122 min.
  • Directed by: Kim Dai-seung
  • Starring: Jo Yeo-jeong, Kim Min-jun, Kim Dong-wook
Synopsis: Living a torturous life of povery and barely able to survive, Hwa-yeon decides to offer herself as one of the king's concubines. Once inside the royal palace, two men are immediately seized by the woman -- the Grand Prince Seong-won, a megalomaniacal ruler drunk with power and lust, and Kwon-yoo, a court eunuch who has everything to lose if his desire for Hwa-yeon is exposed.

Once again Korean Pop band 2PM is on Oricon chart

The members of Korean boy band 2PM pose at a press conference held in Budokan of Tokyo on May 30. Their fourth single “Beautiful” ranked second on Oricon daily chart.

Korean boy band 2PM’s fourth single “Beautiful,” released on Wednesday, placed second on Japan’s Oricon daily chart with over 70,000 copies sold.

The six-member group also released on the same day its first Arena Tour DVD entitled “Arena Tour 2011– Republic of 2PM,” which attracted an audience of some 100,000. The DVD topped Oricon daily music DVD chart and landed second on daily DVD overall ranking.

Title track “Beautiful” was first introduced as the background music for a food advert in Japan. The single includes a song that 2PM member Junho wrote.

The idol group plans to hold a “High Touch” event celebrating its fourth single, scheduled for June 9 in Osaka and June 16 in Tokyo. The group will also attend “MTV VMAJ (VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS JAPAN 2012)” with other famous Japanese artists and perform live.

2PM made its official debut in Japan in December 2010 with their first live event at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Gymnasium in the nation’s capital, a place well known for sumo wrestling matches. They are also popular in other Asian markets including China, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

An Architect's view


A hand-drawn map of Seoul marked with architect and travel writer O Young-wook’s favorite places in the city.

/ Courtesy of Paperstory

Everyone longs to travel and appreciate foreign cities with all their senses open, but such inspiration dulls in one’s home city. Architect and travel writer O Young-wook’s “However, I Like Seoul” (Paperstory, 16,500 won) is a confession of his love for the cosmopolitan city with a population of over 10 million.

O looks at the city he was born and now lives in with a tender, yet professional glance through seven themes — trace, place, combination, sign, symbol, aesthetics, memory and imagination.

He graduated from the department of architecture at Yonsei University and now runs ogisadesign and d’espacio architects associates. The 36-year-old architect has published books on his life in Barcelona, and now turns his attention to Seoul. He characterizes himself as a guy wearing a big red hard hat, from his engineering days.

“I hope everyone makes their own story about the town or village they live in and realize how lively and pleasant the city is,” O says in the book.

It begins with a hand-drawn map of O’s favorite places in Seoul. “Cities with attractive maps do not disappoint visitors,” he writes. He drew maps of Seoul by himself and discovered its grid plan and traces of waterways in alleys.

When his friend Carmen from Spain visited, he took her to a barbeque restaurant for roasted pork rind and passed through alleys with multiplex houses to go to a department store to eat cold noodles with raw fish and “patbingsu,” or shaved ice with red beans.

He wanted to share his daily life with a foreign friend, instead of just visiting ancient palaces or other tourist attractions, and give her an impression of Seoul with a hint of everyday life.

The writer also talks about Kyobo Building in Gwanghwamun, designed by Cesar Pelli, one of the first buildings designed by a foreigner. He does not judge employing international architects to design Seoul’s landmarks, but hopes more Korean architects will emerge.

“It is not about rivalry but identity. When we travel to a city, we see the architecture of the country and region. It hurts my pride as a Seoulite that visitors to Seoul only see a few royal palaces and buildings designed by foreign architects,” he says.

His thoughts on Seoul’s landmarks are revealed in the chapter in which he imagines a “Seoul Seoul Seoul” hotel in Las Vegas. O suggests bringing the Han River and many bridges into the hotel and a replica of Jongmyo, or royal shrine, for the casino and surrounding them with apartment complexes and shopping centers with protruding signboards.

“I think the symbol and charm of Seoul is mixed land use and the city’s context. It might not be beautiful or sophisticated, but it could epitomize Seoul,” he says. However, he admits this plan may not be commercially viable and he does not have an instinct for business.

Seoul is a fast-changing city and characteristics are visible in the downtown landscape such as Bongeun Temple, a 500-year old Buddhist temple, and the I-Park Apartment complex, a typical multi-purpose high-rise 21st century building, in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. “It is like a collage,” O says in the book. “Seoul is a city with a long history and is changing rapidly, so we see buildings from different times with different styles together.”

The book also includes O’s experiences as an active architect in the bustling city and shares his thoughts on designing a vintage-style cafe and “hanok” (traditional Korean house) in downtown Seoul.

O’s illustrations and photos complement the words. Simple illustrations give a sneak peek into an architect’s sketchbook, while small photos are layered to create a bigger view giving a unique perspective on urban scenery.

This book tells how to love Seoul and appreciate the beauty of daily life in an urban area. O suggests five ideas to change the capital such as making rooftop courtyards and balconies without sashes. These ideas are not grand, but could make Seoul a more livable city.

At the end of the book, he adds a short guide for foreigners visiting Seoul as an epilogue — how fried chicken is delivered to coop-like apartment complexes and that many roads do not have sidewalks.

“Take subway line 2 to feel Seoul. It is a loop line and you can make a full circuit in about two hours. Seoul is an administrative, educational, industrial, economic and entertaining city and it goes back to being administrative. It might be confusing at first, but you will realize it has its own system,” O says. “It is time to experience Seoul. You might be bewildered at first, but you will love the city as I do.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Iljoong Calligraphy Hall opens

The Iljoong Memorial Foundation opens the Iljoong Calligraphy Hall, a permanent exhibition hall dedicated to late calligrapher Kim Choong-hyun (1921-2006), in Insa-dong, central Seoul recently.

Late calligrapher Kim Choong-hyun's Hangeul calligraphy
/ Courtesy of Iljoong Memorial Foundation

The hall is located on the third floor of the Baekak Art Center and exhibits Kim’s calligraphy works and and keepsakes.

Born in 1921, Kim is one of the nation’s most celebrated calligraphers, who produced work in both Chinese characters and Hangeul, Korean text. In his time, he was a calligrapher without equal, especially in the palace style of Hangeul. Iljoong is Kim’s pseudonym.

A series of seminars on Kim’s work and life is scheduled for today at 3 p.m. Choi Wan-soo of Gansong Art Museum will talk about his life and personality, while Yoon Yang-hee will discuss his Hangeul calligraphy and Kwon Chang-ryun offers an overview on his Chinese calligraphy work. Lee Dong-kuk, curator of Seoul Calligraphy Art Museum, will give a lecture on Kim’s impact on Korean calligraphy.

The foundation also hosts the Iljoong Calligraphy Award that commemorates the work of Kim and promotes calligraphy. Previous winner Yoon, one of the speakers, will exhibit his work at the Baekak Art Center to celebrate the opening of the hall through June 13.

This year’s winner Lee Don-heung has been awarded .

Additionally, the Iljoong Scholarship  given to five students — Lee Chung-ja, Kwon Hyo-min, Park Joo-yul, Yoo Ki-won and Lee Eun-so.

For more information, call (02) 734-4205.

Korean Art from US

When it comes to art their is no word to explain but to amaze

This file photo shows the Korean Room at the Honolulu Museum of Art in 1927 when it first opened. “Attendant,” right, is a wooden statue which is one of the museum’s earliest Korean pieces and is visiting Korea for “Korean Art from the United States” exhibition at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan, Seoul. / Courtesy of National Museum of Korea

Korean celadon and Buddhist paintings, housed in museums overseas, have returned home temporarily for a special exhibition, “Korean Art from the United States,” at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan, Seoul.

Seven museums in the U.S. have Korean rooms while there is a total of 67 in 22 countries worldwide. However, experts say that the quality of Korean collections is poor compared to those from China and Japan. This exhibit highlights the history of collecting Korean artwork in the U.S. and the importance of Korean collections abroad.

“Through this exhibit, we aim to review the current situation of Korean collections overseas,” said Shin So-yeon, curator of the collection.

The National Museum borrowed a total of 86 artifacts from nine museums in the U.S. — the Honolulu Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Cleveland Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Harvard Art Museums / Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

At the beginning, American collectors were interested in ceramics, especially Goryeo celadon. Some of the artworks were first identified as Chinese or Japanese and later corrected to Korean. The “Masterpieces of Korean Art” exhibition (1957-1959) and “5000 Years of Korean Art” (1979-1981) at major U.S. museums helped fuel interest in Korean art.

The first part of the exhibition is titled “Collecting: The History of Korean Art Collections at U.S. Museums” and features artworks explaining how collections of Korean Art in America began.

Some of the artifacts have long stories behind them. “Maebyeong,” a celadon bottle from the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392), is a collection from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and originally obtained by zoologist Edward Morse, who collected Japanese and Korean ceramics in the late 19th century.

Another Goryeo celadon “Ewer” in Brooklyn Museum was reportedly a royal gift to the missionary Underwood family. Horace Underwood was the founder of Yonsei University and his wife Lilias served as a court physician for Empress Myeongseong.

The Metropolitan Museum of Arts’ “Amitabha and Kshitigarbha” is one of the rare Buddhist paintings from the Goryeo era. This scroll was first believed to be Chinese, but later identified as a Korean work of art.

The exhibit displays major works from each museum in the second section — “Exhibiting: Artworks in the Korean Collections at U.S. Museums.”

The first ever Korean Room in the U.S. was established at the Honolulu Museum of Art in 1927. Hawaii has a long history of Korean immigration since 1903 and such tradition boosted the opening of the Korean-specialized gallery. A wooden “Attendant” sculpture from late Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), which was borrowed to celebrate the opening of the Korean room in 1927 and later purchased, is on exhibit here.

The Brooklyn Museum, which was the first to launch a Korean Gallery in the New York area in 1974, loaned six items including a “Shrine” painting from the Joseon era. Los Angeles County Museum of Art bought a section of the 16th century painting “Water Buffaloes in a Mountain Valley” in 2000 and purchased the newly-located pair in 2005, making the scroll complete.

“Sutra Box” from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, shows the essence of lacquer ware inlaid with mother-of-pearl from the Goryeo period, while a celadon “Ewer” of Asian Art Museum, San Francisco is an example of a ceramic modeled after a metal counterpart.

The exhibition wraps up by presenting a video clip of Korean rooms in U.S. museums and related catalogues.

“Korean Art from the United States” runs through Aug. 5, except for on Mondays. Docent programs are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit