Saturday, September 28, 2013

DMZ Documentary Festival to Be Held in Mid-October

The 5th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will take place for a week from Oct. 17 in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The festival, largely non-competitive, will feature 119 documentaries from 38 countries.

The opening ceremony will be held in Camp Greaves, a former U.S. military base near the demilitarized zone on Oct. 17, with a screening of "Ten Thousand Spirits" by director Park Chan-kyong. The fantasy documentary looks back on the stormy life of a female shaman.

Tickets will be available online from Oct. 1. For more information, visit the festival's website at


Finally our darling Star couple Lee Bo-young and her hubby Ji Sung with their wedding attire ! Let's blessed them for their new inning.

The Classy Looks : Samsung Sells Gold-Finish Phone in Mideast


Samsung Electronics is selling gold Galaxy S4 smartphones in the Middle East to fit in with what has been called the "Louis Farouk" style favored in the region.

The company's United Arab Emirates office tweeted pictures of the phone in colors it described as "gold brown" and "gold pink" on Tuesday.

These products were made specifically for consumers in China and the Middle East, who like their Bling, and have been on sale since August.

Apple also showcased a golden iPhone 5S, which sold out its online store in just one hour.


Colorful Pants Promise to Be Hot Autumn Trend


Long pants in vivid colors are gaining popularity among fashion-conscious women this fall. But though they may look good by themselves, not many women find them easy to wear.

Women who have never worn trousers in vivid colors before may find it easier to start off with practical and versatile toned-down blue pants, which can be paired with virtually anything. Matched with a simple top and a bag with a unique design, they can create a cheerful image.

Red pants are a slightly bolder move. A very sophisticated look can be created with red pants, an achromatic top and gold accessories.


Does Raw Food Really Good for Us ?


Raw food is once again in a vogue as a healthy lifestyle fad, with restaurants springing up and cook books hitting the stores.

Basing their ideas on the nutritionist Norman Wardhaugh Walker, who lived to the age of 99, proponents argue that humans evolved to eat raw food in small quantities, but everything went downhill when they started to "destroy" nutrients by cooking them.

This, they claim, resulted in an emergence of various civilization diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, chronic fatigue and pain. They believe that going back to raw food will set things right.

Whether or not that is sound scientific reasoning, there are certainly advantages to eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.

◆ Weight Loss

Food prepared at any heat under 45 degrees Celsius is considered "raw," with obvious examples including vegetable or fruit juice, green leaf salad, nuts and dried fruit.

Jeon Joo-ri, a cook specializing in raw food, said, "You could call bibimbap raw food. It would be great for your health if you have one raw meal a day."

One of the greatest advantages of raw food is that it is good for losing weight. "If you eat raw food, it takes longer to chew, and you can't eat as much because of the tough fiber," said Jeon. By eating food raw, people can take in natural enzymes and vitamins as they are, whereas high temperatures reduce the vitality of enzymes.

Uncooked food has a high level of active enzymes, helping the metabolism and detoxifying the body because high dietary fiber helps it discharge body waste and cholesterol.

◆ Not for Everyone

But those with weak digestive systems should be careful. Min Hye-sun, a professor of food and nutrition at Hannam University, said, "A raw food diet can help people lose weight, but it can also cause digestive problem."

Jeong Hye-kyung of Hoseo University said, "By eating raw food, you risk not getting enough essential nutrients as our bodies can digest and absorb much less from uncooked food."

Lee Jeong-joo, a nutritionist at Kyunghee University Hospital at Gangdong, said, "Dietary fiber is the most difficult nutrient to digest. Those suffering from gastritis or the elderly with less gastric acid and digestive enzymes are advised to eat cooked food."

Raw food is also not recommended for those with anemia or osteoporosis, because dietary fiber will discharge minerals such as calcium and iron crucial for treating the two conditions.

The key to healthy eating, it seems, is really is to maintain a balanced between raw and cooked food.


Samgyeopsal and Soju the Top Pick for After-Work Dinners among the Koreans

Almost one in three workers eat samgyeopsal or Korean-style bacon when they get together with colleagues for dinner, a recent poll suggests.

Job search portal site Career carried out a poll on 825 employees to find out the most popular dinner menus among those who head out to eat together after work, and 30 percent of the respondents named samgyeopsal.

Bar snacks with beer were the second-favorite choice with 12.3 percent, and fried or roasted chicken came third with 11.7 percent. Sashimi, or sliced raw fish, was fourth with 9.8 percent.

Soju was named the top tipple (40 percent), followed by beer (33.8 percent), and a mixture of the two (20 percent). Makgeolli, or traditional Korean rice wine, was fourth with 3.4 percent, wine came fifth with 1.4 percent, and cocktails and whiskey followed with 1.2 percent and 0.2 percent of colleagues opting to drink these, respectively.

However, experts recommend workers temper their consumption of samgyeopsal, fried chicken and hard liquor, and opt for more low-fat and low-calorie choices that are rich in vitamins and minerals in order to keep their cholesterol and blood sugar levels down.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pre-Orders for Galaxy Note 3 Begin This Week


Mobile operators begin taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 this week prior to its official release after the weekend inside Korea.

KT will accept pre-orders for Samsung's latest smartphone from this Wednesday to Sunday, the company said on Tuesday.

KT will at first offer the handset in black or white, and add pink models to its inventory later. Customers can receive the phone from Monday, earlier than the official release date.

The Galaxy Note 3 is equipped with a 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED screen. At 8.3 mm thick and weighing 168 g, it is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Customers who visit major retail stores run by KT can get their hands on both the Galaxy Note 3 and the so-called "Galaxy Gear" smartwatch, which was unveiled at a major trade show in Berlin this month, to see what all the fuss is about.

SK Telecom and LG Uplus will also start taking preorders for the Galaxy Note 3 this week.


Festival Revives Old Fish Market in Masan


A recent festival at Masan's fishers' market was among the highlights of a campaign to revitalize farmers' and fishers' markets across the country.

Created in 1760, Masan's fishers' market is one of the country's oldest. The festival is already in its 13th year and lasted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 this year.

At the opening ceremony, Changwon Mayor Park Wan-su said the old market is where traders' "joys and sorrows are laid out" and that the city will endeavor to promote the market's growth.

There were traditional performances, fish-related fun activities and a photo exhibition. One vendor said she likes the festival because it attracts a lot of visitors and some of them become regulars.

Masan used to be one of the nation's seven major cities and the center of the province, but in 1980, the planned city Changwon was created nearby and became the seat of the provincial office in 1983.

Government agencies and public institutions soon moved out of Masan, sapping the life from the ancient port. But now such, an array of projects are breathing life back into the downtown area, with the festival is serving as a driving force.

The city of Changwon is making efforts to restore vitality to neighboring areas through various projects in Jinhae and Masan.

"In 2010, Jinhae and Masan were merged into Changwon," a city official said. "We're striving to develop the city by providing support for balanced development and gathering opinions from residents and traders."


Old Chinese Maps Show Dokdo Belonged to Korea


Two old Chinese maps have been discovered showing that the Dokdo islets belonged to Korea, further undermining Japan's flimsy colonial claim to the rocks.

The two maps were made in the 19th century during the Qing Dynasty and were unveiled by Lee Myeong-hee of Kyunghee University's Humanitas College at a seminar on Sept. 6.

One is an eight-piece folding-screen map of the world from 1845 and depicts Ulleung Island and Dokdo in close proximity to the Korean Peninsula, clearly showing that they belonged to the Chosun Kingdom.

The other map, created in 1851, depicts Ulleung Island and Dokdo in the same way.

A Chinese map made in 1845 depicts Ulleung Island and Dokdo (in red circle) as belonging to the Chosun Kingdom. /Courtesy of Lee Myeong-hee A Chinese map made in 1845 depicts Ulleung Island and Dokdo (in red circle) as belonging to the Chosun Kingdom. /Courtesy of Lee Myeong-hee

Lee Sang-tae, another researcher who also presented his findings at the seminar, said, "Study of maps produced by Japan's Shimane Prefecture," which claims ownership of Dokdo, "shows that Dokdo was not identified as part of the prefecture for around a dozen years just before and after it illegally laid claim to Dokdo in 1905."

Japanese maps dating back to 1895 and 1899 and even those from 1908 and 1912 show Dokdo excluded from Japanese territory.

Maps from 1948 following Japan's surrender in World War II and from 1963 also do not include Dokdo in Japanese territory, according to Lee. The expert said this was because Japan "lacked any confidence" in claiming the islets.
Source: The Chosun Ilbo


Traditional Korean Culture Takes to Streets of Istanbul

An expo in Istanbul focusing on Korean culture is drawing more attention than anticipated, attracting over two million visitors in its first nine days, according to the organizing committee of the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 on Tuesday.

By Monday night, 2.04 million people had visited the expo grounds, with around 200,000 passing through its gates every day. The committee expects the total number to reach 3.5 million when it wraps up on Sept. 22, exceeding its original target of 2.5 million.

"We have seen lots of tourists from European and Middle Eastern countries like Bulgaria, Greece and Iran," a committee official said.

One of the keys to the expo's success is its location close to a series of top tourist draws including Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of the Byzantine Empire, Sultan Ahmed Mosque popularly known as the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, which was the residence of Ottoman Sultans in former times.

A traditional Korean dance is performed at Sultan Ahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey. /Courtesy of the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo A traditional Korean dance is performed at Sultan Ahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey. /Courtesy of the Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo

Traditional Korean culture has proved a hit with many European visitors. Some 15 performances were staged by Korean troupes over the last nine days. Groups from Sangju, Mungyeong and Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province presented their local songs and dances handed down from generation to generation at Ayasofya Square, while a traditional wedding ceremony was simulated at Sultan Ahmet Square.

Korean classical music concerts were also staged, as well as taekwondo and B-boy demonstrations at Taksim Square, a popular spot among young people in the city.

Many visitors also got hands-on experience of Korean culture, such as dressing up in traditional hanbok and making Shilla Dynasty-era crowns from gold-colored paper.

Friday, September 6, 2013

'This is where I'll die' (2) : the second and last part of the ilfe story of the late Korean Comfort Women

The Comfort Women issues strike me when I was in my M.phil days where I was opting one paper on Japanese. I find the topic very interesting and relate to my major subject so I wrote a term paper on this issue and got A. Since then I have been promoting this issue to  raise more and spread to many as much to hear the war victime women's unsung stories. This article is taken from the Korea Times English News.

A statue of a Korean woman forced into sexual slavery during World War Two surrounded by protestors outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
/ Korea Times photo by Ryu Hyo-jin

This is the second and last part of the life story of the late Lee Yong-nyeo, a former war-time sex slave, as told to Koh Hye-jung in an interview for the book Testimonials of Korean Comfort Women. The words were translated from Korean to English by Maija Rhee Devine, author of “The Voices of Heaven,” a novel published this year by Seoul Selection. Lee passed away on Aug. 11. This is an edited version of Devine’s translation. — ED.

Biographical information
Lee Yong-nyeo (1926-2013)
(Born in 1926 in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province to a poor family, Lee Yong-nyeo was hired out as a domestic worker when she was eight. At eleven, she moved to Seoul, where she worked in factories or as a domestic until she turned fourteen. Then she was “sold” to a woman running a wine house, where she ran errands and waited on customers. In 1942, when she turned 16, the owner persuaded her to move to a new work place without revealing where the new job would take her. As it turned out, via Busan, Taiwan, and Singapore, she landed in a mountainous region of Burma. In that rugged terrain, her life as a comfort woman began.)

Lee’s words were translated by Maija Rhee Devine
A month after we sailed from Busan, we arrived in Rangoon, Burma. From there, we took a train to a small village. Here, my life as a comfort woman by the name of Harata Yo-o-jio began. When that happened, I said to myself, “Ah, this is where I’ll die.” The comfort station was a two-story building standing by the side of a road. The floor was white plaster, and there was a basement, to which we escaped whenever the air raid siren wailed.

The comfort station was at a distance from the village where locals lived, and I didn’t know where the army compound was, but at night, soldiers streamed in from who knows where. During our stay in that village, I became close to a military support person named Dachewoochi. He supplied us with rice, other food items, clothes, and various sundries we needed. Living just outside the military compound, he lived on a property that looked civilian, and he wore civilian clothes, including a white shirt, which he asked me to starch and iron for him.

One of the women who worked with us committed suicide by overdosing on soju (distilled Korean liquor) and opium. The soldiers made a wood pile and asked us to come and watch the dead woman being burned.

After a year there, we were moved away by truck. On the drive, we saw a hot spring. Soldiers poured the water into large drum cans and sat in them, but we women didn’t.

I lost my mind with homesickness

We drove all day to arrive at sundown at a small village in a mountainous area that had only a military hospital. Our station was located across a small stream from the hospital. All the soldiers coming to us seemed to be associated with that hospital. For the first time, we received a proper physical examination.

The station building had been empty. So, we cleaned it when we arrived. The building was square shaped with rooms in a row on both first and second floors. The building’s roof was high and with inside staircases on both sides. A well-built structure, its front gate area was surrounded by many Buddha statues. On the second floor alone, there were about twenty rooms, one of which was mine. The sign “Comfort Station” hung on the front of the building.

The Korean couple who had escorted the fifty of us Korean girls left us after assigning a room to each of us. Each room was numbered and showed the names of girls, but, being an illiterate person all my life, I don’t know what my number was. The room had a wooden floor and contained a bed and a wash basin. Not having a drain, we threw used water over the railing. The cafeteria downstairs was small and dirty. Three Chinese men cooked for us with the rice provided by the military. For clothing, we wore Western outfits that arrived through the military.

Because I didn’t eat well, my body became weak. About two years into the life as a comfort woman, I contracted malaria, took quinine, which caused jaundice. Through this ordeal, none of the other women gave me any assistance, which worsened my homesickness. Eventually, I became severely depressed for about six months, and I wandered around—even at night. I kept looking at the moon and stomped around. Once, I fell and rolled a ways on the ground. I still have scars from that fall.

Once, I wore the military uniform of the man who fell asleep in my room and tried to sneak into the hospital. When a security guard saw what I was doing, he aimed a gun at me. When he realized it was me, he took me back to my room. Soldiers often took me to the hospital, gave me tranquilizing shots, and retuned me back to my cubicle. At night, I went to a pond and rode a piece of log, saying I was heading home. As soon as people pulled me out of water, I went right back in. I heard these stories after I came out of my trauma.

During this period, a military doctor, a lieutenant, provided me with much care. Toward the end of my ordeal, he gave me glucose shots and comforted me with warm towel massages. He visited me two or three times a week and sometimes force-fed medicine. After I recovered, he often spent nights with me.

We received weekly examinations for sexually-transmitted diseases. When a disease was diagnosed, the afflicted woman’s door was tagged with a sign “vacation,” signaling off-limits to soldiers. The army hospital staff provided us with disinfectants, which, when mixed with water, turned pink to dark brown depending on the amount of water. We washed our private parts with that mixture. It was, if swallowed, potent enough, to kill a person. The soldiers brought condoms, but if they didn’t, I had a supply, and I made sure they were used by putting them on the men myself. But my military doctor friend did not use them. He came to me for over a year, until the war ended.

Upon entering a woman’s room, the soldiers handed over their tickets about the size of business cards. We averaged ten to twenty cards a day, but some women collected as many as thirty. We were told savings accounts were kept on our behalf, but I never saw mine, nor did I dare to ask. Again, the army doctor was an exception; he did not present to me any tickets.

There was an office downstairs, but I don’t remember who worked there. One day, the Korean men and women who brought us to this place disappeared, without saying as much as a goodbye. Later, I believe, soldiers worked there.

Soldiers could enter any of the women’s rooms not occupied by another soldier. Those on leave came during the day.

While I never used make-up, I received from the hospital basic goods such as a clothes chest, a box, and a mirror. During my days of deep depression, I laid these out in the middle of my room, or so I was told later.

Three or four of the women committed suicide. Some women left with officers, with whom they set up housekeeping. Some died of diseases, while others ran away. All in all, the number of women dwindled to about twenty. With permission, though infrequently given, we went on outings. But, because the surrounding area was mountainous, and the locals were foreign to us, we did not dare to run away for fear of getting caught and killed. Once, we were told to come and see the corpse of an American pilot whose surveillance plane was shot down. So, we went and saw a white man who had only his thighs and buttocks left—no head, body or arms.

Shortly after that, soldiers stopped coming; they had all left the area.

End of the war and the military doctor

The war ended, a year after I suffered my bout with depression. The doctor disappeared, too—without a word. I had never heard a single gunshot the whole time we were there. Even at the previous place, when the bomb siren went off or bomber planes flew low, we hid in the bomb shelter, but we were never bombed.

Then, out of nowhere, Korean men appeared and asked us to go with them.

We walked in the rain and heat until our feet swelled and blistered. We crossed a body of water that reached up to our necks, carrying on our heads only rice, red pepper flakes, and salt. Once, we cooked rice in water red with mud. After we walked ten days, resting an hour here and there, we reached Rangoon. There, we learned we would head home, at which news I nearly lost my mind again—this time with joy.

At the refugee camp in Rangoon, which had a large yard like a school playground, we lived together with Korean men drafted into the Japanese military. Women from various locations, about fifty in all, gathered there, and we received cooked food that occasionally featured bits of pork fat floating on top. We were taught how to cross streets, and we even had races. We sang the Korean National Anthem. One evening, a stage was set up, and we had plays and sang songs. I think I sang “Without an Address Plaque nor House Number.” It was always hot there, and groups of us threw some mats on the floor and slept together. We even had a dentist, and I got my molars pulled. We could come and go as we liked, except we needed to return to the camp.

In a large ship, we arrived in Pusan in March, 1946, a year after the war ended. But because of a person on board who was believed to have contracted typhoid, we could not disembark. Then we sailed to Inchon, but we were not allowed to disembark there either. A word that if we turned over our valuables, we would be allowed to leave the ship circulated. So, we took off our gold rings and other items, some of which were gifts from soldiers. Soon we got off the ship, at which time we were given 1,000 won each.

When my friend Duk-sool and I landed in Inchon, her mother and older brother greeted her, but no one waited for me. When I reached our Hongeun-dong family home, they had moved. How dejected I felt. Fortunately, my father’s friend took me to my brother’s house in Euljiro.

There I learned of my father’s death. On December 2nd of 1945, the year Korea was liberated from Japan, he passed away. He was fifty. Back when he sold vegetables in the market and sometimes worked as a porter, he bought small amounts of rice with the money he earned. But he spent the rest on gambling, often letting his family go hungry. It was so miserable for us that once I yelled at him, “Why don’t you drop dead!” Now, those words stab my heart. My younger brother had worked for a business run by the Japanese, but he injured his leg on the job and became handicapped.

As a twenty-one-year-old then, I held various jobs, including working as a restaurant helper and a housemaid. To kill the pain life had dealt me, I drank heavily, gulping two or three bottles of makgeolli rice wine each day. When the alcohol hit me, I wept over my pathetic life. Now, because of bad teeth, I cannot eat or drink hot or cold foods. My stomach is bad, too.

I never expected to live a normal marriage life as other women did. After the “January 4 Retreat,” (UN forces abandoned Seoul January 4, 1951 and withdrew to Pyongtaek-Wonju-Samcheok line) when I went to live in Chungju, I met a man seventeen years older than me and lived with him. But, as I did not like developing closeness with men, we didn’t have a good relationship. Of course, I couldn’t produce an offspring. Five or six years ago, at the age of seventy four, he passed away. My life has been difficult, but I have the comfort of regarding his son as my unofficially-adopted child.

My words to Japanese government

I think I could lead a restful life, even if I live in a one-room rental, if only I could receive compensation from the Japanese government. Since the Japanese invaded our country and did whatever they pleased with our people while living high on the hog, I am not holding my breath to strike it rich with their compensation. I just want a payback for having had my virginity taken away by force. They dragged us away and did with our bodies what they pleased. Now, they spew blasphemies—that we voluntarily walked into that abject life ourselves. Does that sound like a legitimate justification for not compensating us? Hadn’t forcibly luring us away and holding us captive against our will been Japan’s imperial policy after all? The Japanese government must not attempt to wriggle out of their duty to us any longer.

Source: The Korea Times

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Actress Kim Hye-soo attends a red carpet event for her film "The Face Reader" in Seoul

Color me O' Colour, what Color do you like : Significance of Korean Saekdong


                  Before mentioning anything I will tell you my favorite color is Yellow.You know the power of colors cannot be denied, more so, as it is the soul instance of life on earth. Although sight and the human brain has helped in identifying colors and their delights, it is interesting to note what colors mean to us in totality. Colors can define the mood of a person, they can also create a specific aura or energy in the atmosphere. So let's find out what lies in Korean Saekdong.

          These colors symbolise the five cardinal element

                              During my Kyunghee days at Seoul I used to learn "Chum or Dance" . It was fun indeed learning something apart form my main courses . When a teacher asked to get "Chima or skirt" to practice we were so excited . We went to Jongno to get skirt. Since or choiceswere different we got different different colors of skirt. I chose yellow as yellow is always my favourite colour.
Since we  were many to purchase skirt and shoes the owner was so delighted that she provided each of us a free gift and that gift was non other than the small pouch made by Korean traditional colours called "Saekdong" and said that this gift will bring luck and happiness moreover good mindset while in studying. Somehow it stike my heart as we Indian also loves color and very particular about the significance of the colors.

As Korean traditional art relied upon five cardinal colors, blue, red, yellow, white and black.  In Korean, even the rainbow is described as "five-colored."These colors were considered to be closely related to the five cardinal elements of um and yang.  Blue with wood, red with fire, yellow with earth, white with metal, and black with water.The arrangement of colors in traditional costumes also applied the concept of these five cosmic elements.

The five-color stripe on children's sleeves is a typical example, although colors may be added or excluded. It was hoped that the use of the cardinal elements would protect children from evil spirits. The five color stripe in the sleeves of the full court dress of queens and on the wedding garments of commoners throughout the Koryo and Choson dynasties is another example. Regardless of personal taste, the five cardinal elements played a significant role in traditional Korean culture and deeply penetrated peoples' lives and thoughts.

Korean kids were wearing stripe wrist Hanbok on the special ocassion

Saekdong refers to a stripe that features many colors, it began to be used for Hanbok since the Goryeo period (918-1392). Saekdong reminds one of the rainbow, which in turn evokes thoughts of children's dream. Saekdong patterns were commonly provided for children between the age of 1 to 7. The use of wide aray of colors found and in the children's saekdong was rooted in belief could drive the evil spirits away.

This bracelate is one of theprecious gift from my Korean Professor who gifted me , this signify korean five cardinal elements

"In this 21th century Saekdong come to be regarded as the symbol of Korean color patterns."
             According to professor Kim Ok-hyun, a digital crafts professor at Dongduk Women's University, her immense love about Saekdong, the multicolored stripe pattern found in traditional Korean clothes. Not surprisingly, she is an expert in the field, having spent 25 years searching for the original saekdong pattern and recreating its modern interpretations.

She majored in textiles at university and fell in love with saekdong when she was searching for something Korean to enter the Korea Industrial Design Competition in 1984. While doing a research in the origins of the patterns, Kim was fascinated by the fact that the colors reflected the principles of coexistence and extinction based on the yin and yang and the five elements of Chinese cosmogony -- metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. She traced the source of the saekdong colors from Chosun-era antiques, and with the original colors she rediscovered, Kim now makes wallets, bags, ties, scarves and other items.

"Saekdong can become a cultural icon representing Korea, just like kimchi,". But it needs to be protected as intellectual property. "Many people think it is okay to share a design or concept based on traditional culture," she said.


Beautifully arranged Kimchi with different taste and colour
Traditionally, Koreans incorporated five cardinal colors into many aspects of daily life and tradition. The cultural integration of color stems from principles of Eastern religions such as Confucianism and Buddhism. The cardinal colors are associated with the five directions and elements. They often appear in Korean clothing, celebrations, martial arts, architecture, art, food and symbols. A sixth color, green, has also grown to have cultural significance in Korea.
The five elements, though, are more than colors. They represent material elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, water. They represent emotions, from rage to fear to contemplation. They are also associated with organs in the body and with five essential flavors, sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty.
No one element is best or right. What’s important is balance.

As Korean philosophy is deeply rooted in the Taoist concept of yin yang, or eum yang in Korean. (Hence, the prominent red and blue taegeuk in the middle of the South Korean flag.) Yin and yang are forces that are both opposing and complementary; together, they govern the universe. As yin and yang should ideally be balanced, the five elements should also be present and in balance with each other.
White is the most commonly used color in Korea. Koreans were sometimes referred to as "the white clad people." Historically, commoners wore white hanboks, a traditional Korean form of attire. Only royalty and the upper class were permitted to wear colorful hanboks. White is still worn for weddings, new years celebrations and funerals to celebrate the journey to the afterlife.

The color white symbolizes purity, innocence, peace and patriotism. Traditionally, white represents the element metal and the direction West

The color black is associated with mastery and the ending point of a cycle in Korea. Black represents the darkness after mastery has been achieved, the place beyond light. However, because Koreans believe that everything is based on a balance of opposites, darkness is also necessary as an origin for light. Black corresponds with the element of water and the direction North.

The color blue is associated with the element wood and the direction East. In the Korean flag, blue symbolizes eum or yin, which is cool, feminine energy. Eum energy is associated with the moon and is passive, yielding and receptive. Blue is balanced by red in the Korean flag. While red represents the passionate energy of life, blue represents its opposite, death.
Traditionally red is associated with fire and the southern direction. Red is symbolized by yin energy, which represents masculine energy, the sun and the life force. In the Korean flag, red is balanced by its opposite color, blue. The color red also symbolizes passion and, historically, it was inappropriate for Koreans to wear the color red. However, in modern Korea, red is associated with a passion for sports and it is common to wear red to sporting event to show support.
In India, China and Nepal, brides wear red traditionally, as it brings good luck too.
 The color yellow symbolizes earth and the center direction. Yellow represents the starting point for developing knowledge and expanding the mind. As one of the five cardinal colors, yellow was traditionally worn, along with the other four colors, as part of a stripe on Korean clothing. Wearing the five-color stripe was historically thought to give children and royalty protection from evil spirits.
Yellow is an auspicious color in Buddhism, and stands for wisdom. Yellow is sacred, and the color of celebration of spring in India. It is also related to farmers and merchants.
Blue and green were traditionally represented by a single word in Hangul, the Korean language. Western influence brought a change in the view that green and blue are variations of a single color and separate words for each color now exist in Hangul. Currently, the color green symbolizes prosperity, a fresh start and auspicious beginnings. Many Korean storefronts are green to draw prosperity and success to the business.
Since green defined fertility, it was often the preferred color for wedding gowns in the 1400s.
So, what color do you like ?

Colorful Korean Traditional Fan Dance 



Animals, Water Sleds Keep Kids Entertained All Day at Incheon Grand Park

Young mother Iturukan from Kyrgyzstan recently took her son but the pic of the baby is looking like a baby girl to Incheon Grand Park to enjoy its diverse facilities, which include a zoo, an eco-trail and a sledding hill.

They were accompanied by her brother on their day trip to the largest park in Incheon, which sees an average of 5.5 million visitors a year.

A 256,000-sq.-m arboretum near the main entrance boasts a forest of lush broadleaf trees that tower up to 10 m. The 200,000 trees here are divided into three sections -- rare and wild varieties, garden types, and a collection of theme zones.

The Kyrgyzstan family said they were most impressed by a huge rose garden in the arboretum that sees various varieties of the flower -- 11,000 in total -- surround a central fountain.

The family then headed to the zoo where nearly 300 animals, including desert foxes and eagles, await visitors. Most are fairly docile, meaning that it is safe for children to touch or feed them.

The final destination was the sledding hill, the most popular attraction among children. In summer, the 124-m slope is watered using sprinklers, facilitating more exhilarating rides while giving visitors a refreshing shower as they rush pell-mell down it. Water is replaced with snow during the winter months.

For more information, call the park directly at (032) 466-7282. Alternatively, check the city's website at or contact it by phone at (032) 451-1800.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Mountain Valleys Lure Nature Lovers with Serene Getaways


Exhausted by the scorching summer months, people grab any opportunity they can to leave the big city for cooler climes, even as the heat starts to recede and fall approaches.

Below is a list of some valleys that maintain cool temperatures throughout the year and which have become popular retreats for those who want to escape their hectic urban lives and enjoy some fresh air amid pleasant pastoral surroundings.

◆ Eoreumgol in Milyang

Eoreumgol, meaning "ice valley," is one such destination. Rising 1,189 m above sea level, it lies halfway up Mt. Jaeyak in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province and captivates visitors with its lush scenery and frozen streams.

The first thing that comes into view at the entrance is a signboard showing the temperatures of the nearby parking lot and surrounding valley. When visitors see the mercury measures zero degrees Celsius, many cannot believe their eyes. But once they venture deeper into the valley and dip their toes in the stream, they soon recognize how cold it is.

Walking along the 700-m path from the parking lot to the point where ice starts to form, tourists are often left reeling by the sudden drop in temperature. Most amble down the path to find resting places and dip their feet in the stream from nearby rocks, but soon give up on the idea due to the stream's icy touch.

◆ Baenaegol in Yangsan

Baenaegol in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province commands picturesque views as it is surrounded by mountains. As the depth of the valley varies, couples, groups and families with kids can enjoy various water sports like swimming, rafting and boating. The valley also offers a wide range of accommodation facilities.

◆ Seoknam Temple in Ulsan

The valley near Seoknam Temple in Ulsan is surrounded by a forest of pine trees, creating a peaceful and comforting ambience. The small stone towers scattered here further add to the sense of serenity, attracting visitors throughout the year.

◆ Jangan Temple in Busan

Tucked away in Mt. Bulgwang, Busan, this valley close to Jangan Temple boasts crystal-clear, ice-cold streams. As people walk up to the mountain's peak, they encounter various herbs and mountain berries. The more fortunate are also treated to sights of the local fauna, such as wild jackrabbits and squirrels.