Monday, January 20, 2014

Kim Ji-soo Draws on Personal Heartache in Adultery-Themed Soap


Actress Kim Ji-soo is drawing female viewers from their 30s to 60s to the SBS drama "One Warm Word," which airs twice a week. As the soap approaches its halfway point, it is rising in popularity due to its in-depth portrayal of extramarital affairs in a way that is mature and subtle rather than exploitative.

"It does not simply deal with affairs, but also the rehabilitation of wounded hearts in times of tension when such affairs happen. It deals with their psychological struggles and emotional changes in quite a sophisticated way," said drama critic Yoon Seok-jin.

Kim plays the role of a woman who suffers due to her husband's affairs as she tries to deal with her feelings of betrayal.

"The power of the drama comes from the script. The script writer is very good at describing the details of emotional turmoil and confusion that any couple who have become estranged due to adultery would experience," the actress said.
Kim Ji-soo Kim Ji-soo
In the soap, Kim can be seen crying her heart out with bloodshot eyes to portray a woman who is wrestling with the pain caused by an unfaithful husband. She said she drew on her own experience to elicit such a convincing performance: her six-year romance with fellow actor Kim Joo-hyuk ended in 2009, and in 2013 she broke up with her boyfriend who was 16 years her junior.

"I'm over 40 now and I wouldn't say that my love life has been uneventful, even though I don't want to go into any details about this," she said. "But I think a broken heart can serve as a source of inspiration for an actor, because the depth of sorrow you can express becomes much deeper."

Kim is still single. "My view on marriage hasn't changed because of this drama. But it's not such a big deal for me now if I marry or not. Until three years ago, I was very anxious that I wouldn't be able to find my Mr. Right, but now I see more of the burdens that come with marriage," she said.

Her hobbies have also changed in reflection of her more relaxed attitude to life. "In the past, I loved golf and snowboarding. But nowadays I prefer watching movies and reading books. After all that I've gone through over the years, these things keep me calm."

China Opens Memorial for Korean Independence Fighter


China has opened a memorial in Harbin honoring Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, who assassinated the first Japanese resident-general of Korea, Hirobumi Ito, in 1909.

The assassination took place just before imperial Japan's brutal occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

The 200 sq.m memorial was built by remodeling the former VIP room of Harbin Railway Station and offers a clear view of the platform where Ahn shot and killed Ito. A plaque in Chinese states that this is the scene of the assassination.

Displayed inside are materials related to Ahn's struggle against Japanese colonial occupation, including photos and other documents portraying his life and beliefs. They are labeled in Chinese and Korean.

People visit a new memorial commemorating Korean freedom fighter Ahn Jung-geun at Harbin Railway Station on Sunday. /Xinhua People visit a new memorial commemorating Korean freedom fighter Ahn Jung-geun at Harbin Railway Station on Sunday. /Xinhua

President Park Geun-hye asked Chinese President Xi Jinping during her visit to China in June last year for cooperation in building a simple monument, but China went further and built the memorial center, according to the Foreign Ministry here.

It was paid for by the Harbin city government and rail authority. China consulted Korea but Japan has reportedly been left in the dark.

In November last year, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the construction of the monument "would not help" Seoul-Tokyo relations and called Ahn a "criminal."

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei rebutted Suga at a press briefing at that time by saying, "Ahn Jung-geun is a very famous anti-Japanese fighter in history. He is respected by the Chinese people as well."


Most South Korean Men Would Marry North Korean Women


Seven out of 10 single men in South Korea are open to the idea of marrying a North Korean woman, but no South Korean woman would marry a North Korean man, according to a straw poll.

The poll perhaps reflects the popular belief here that beautiful women come from North Korea and handsome men from the South.

Matchmaking company Bien-Aller polled 558 single South Koreans online, and 68.8 percent of men said they are "somewhat positive" about the idea of marrying a North Korean woman, while 84.2 percent of women were "somewhat negative" and 15.8 percent "very negative."

"Women in this country are so picky in choosing their husbands that men are considering North Korean women as an alternative," a spokesman for the company said. "But women place prime importance on educational background, income and manners and have very negative views of North Korean men, whom they associate with soldiers or starving people."

Men are usually are more interested in looks and associate North Korean women with beauty, perhaps from looking at pictures of North Korean performers. In contrast, women here usually picture North Korean men as short, skinny and clad in ill-fitting uniforms.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo News

Avian Flu Outbreak Tracked to Migratory Birds


A virulent bird flu outbreak in North Jeolla Province, the fifth outbreak in the country, was caused by infected Baikal teals, making it likely that the migratory birds will spread the virus to other areas.

Health authorities are on full alert because the migratory birds, which stay in the region until February, will fly over the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area as they head north toward Russia in March.

Tests on Baikal teals found dead at a reservoir near the duck farm in Gochang where the virus broke out first, showed that they carried the H5N8 virus, the same strain found at the duck farm, the agriculture ministry said Monday.

The government concluded that they transmitted the virus through their feces.

Baikal teals fly over a reservoir in Gochang, North Jeolla Province on Monday. /News 1 Baikal teals fly over a reservoir in Gochang, North Jeolla Province on Monday. /News 1

The government blocked access to lakes and reservoirs around the Jeolla provinces where the Baikal teals are resting. It started disinfecting 37 wintering sites of migratory birds.

Some 139,000 chickens and ducks raised at 10 farms in Gochang and Buan were culled and buried between Friday and Monday.

The ministry terminated a 48-hour standstill order for the Jeolla provincial areas after 48 hours on Monday night since there are no more sign of the disease spreading further.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Sony Has Another Stab at Korean Smartphone Market


Sony will have another shot at the Korean smartphone market, which is especially tough for foreign companies, two years and three months after it pulled out.

Once the greatest electronic firm in the world, Sony struggled to keep up with the pace and trends of the market in the past decade. In the smartphone industry it paled into insignificance compared to Apple and Samsung. But now it is determined to reverse its fortunes.

Sony Korea on Thursday launched the top-end Xperia Z1 and wearable device Smart Watch 2. Sony's last smartphone to go on sale in Korea was the mid-range Xperia Ray in October 2011, but it flopped.

The Korean market remained firmly in the hands of domestic makers Samsung, LG, and Pantech because consumers were going after only the premium products.

But Sony is confident that it can grab a share of the market this time based on the experience it has gained since. The Xperia Z1 is a quality premium product, first unveiled at the IFA 2013 in Germany and boasts a high definition camera with 20.70 megapixels compared to the 13-megapixel cameras sported by the best products of Samsung and LG.

This makes it possible to shoot high-definition video and take 61 pictures in just two seconds. The camera is waterproof. The handset is competitively priced at W749,000 (US$1=W1,064) while the highest-spec smartphones by Korean makers cost over W1 million.

Sony struggled in the global market as well, even losing the home ground in Japan to Apple and Samsung. But it started to fight back last year, and market researcher BCN said Sony topped the market share in Japan ahead of Apple and Samsung in June 2013.

The Xperia Z was the bestselling phone in Japan in the first quarter of last year. Although Apple dethroned Sony soon after with the iPhone 5S and 5C in September, that was enough to restore Sony's confidence.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo News

Reality Show Catapults Kim Hee-ae into Fashion Icon Status


Actress Kim Hee-ae is shaping up as a hot fashion icon, with the clothing, bags and accessories she shows off in a cable channel reality program frequently selling out nationwide.

tvN's "Sisters Over Flowers" features episodes of a 10-day backpacking trip to Croatia and Turkey by four veteran actresses -- Kim, Kim Ja-ok, Lee Mi-yeon and Yoon Yeo-jeong.

The trend started with a long black padded coat from Burberry Brit that retails for over W2 million (US$1=W1,063), which Kim wore in the first episode. Despite its expensive price tag, the coat soon vanished from department store shelves across the country.

A loose snorkel coat with raccoon fur by Beaker Lab, a brand targeting young people in their late teens to early 30s, also sold out after the actress wore it on the show -- even though it was designed to be worn by men.

A Cath Kidston bag she was often seen carrying around on the program has also reportedly sold out.

Fruit and Vegetables to Beat the Winter Chill


Many people suffer from cold and flu in winter, but the right kinds of fruit, vegetables and tea can help restore your energy. Here nutritionist Moon In-young shares tips to make tasty energy boosters with them.

◆ Spring Onion and Citron for Fever

The white parts of spring onions contain allicin, which is effective for alleviating fever, sweating, stomach ache, headache, and diarrhea. Drinking slowly brewed root of spring onion is good for fever and flu, but it does not taste very nice.

Boiling the root on low heat for about 30 minutes removes the bitter taste and leaves the brew tasting sweet. Then add a honeyed Korean citrus fruit called yuja and boil for another 10 minutes. This way, even children will drink it without a problem.

◆ Bellflower Root and Quince for Sore Throat

Bellflower root clears the throat and removes phlegm thanks to bitter tasting saponin and inulin. This is one of the best natural remedies for a sore throat. Slice them thinly and boil them. But the bitter flavor may put people off. The solution is to put sliced bellflower root and quince in a glass jar with sugar and store it for a month to later simply add a few teaspoonfuls of it to hot water and drink.

Or a simpler way is to add tangerine peel or yuja when boiling bellflower root to sweeten the brew.

1. Bellflower root and quince tea; 2. Spring onion and citron tea; 3. Dried persimmon "latte"; 4. Radish tea; 5. Tangerine "latte"

◆ Dried Persimmon and Tangerine Marmalade for Chills

There is abundance of vitamin A and C in dried persimmon, which makes it a great remedy for flu and body aches. But their hard and chewy texture may be difficult for a sick person to swallow. A good idea is to make a "dried persimmon latte." Boil dried persimmons until they are fully softened and blitz them in a blender with warm milk. Adding honey or cinnamon will make it tastier. It can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and can be a meal replacement.

Another type of "latte" made with vitamin C-rich tangerine marmalade is also great for cold. It is simple to make. Just mix tangerine marmalade with milk. To make tangerine marmalade, blanch tangerines first and slice them before putting them in a jar and add oligosaccharide. Then keep it in the refrigerator for a week.

◆ Radish for Coughs

Radish is a great remedy for coughs as it is naturally rich in vitamin C and sinigrin in strengthening mucus membranes. Finely grate radish and mix it with sugar before keeping it in the refrigerator for a week, which will make the spicy flavor go away. Then squeeze the radish in a cotton cloth and mix it with hot water to make tea.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Students Plan Visit to N.Korea in Dokdo Campaign


A group of university students and a freelance writer publicizing Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo want to visit North Korea in August of this year to promote their cause.

The Unification Ministry said on Wednesday it has received an application from the group calling themselves the "Dokdo Racers." A ministry official said, "We can't give them a quick answer due to the many variables in inter-Korean relations, but we should be able to reach a decision by May at the latest."

Members of the Dokdo Racers pose during an interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Jan. 3
                       Members of the Dokdo Racers pose during an interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Jan. 3
If their visit is permitted, it would be the first time since 2006 that university students here have visited the North. The last time was a federation of university student councils who went to Mt. Kumgang for a meeting with North Korean student bodies.

The Dokdo Racers want to set out on March 1, Independence Movement Day, from Seattle, Washington and tour 19 countries to promote Korea's ownership of Dokdo.

They hope to enter North Korea on Aug. 3 via China and tour the North for six days. Their six-month trek is to end on Jeju Island.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Changwon Revives Forgotten Street with Music and Art


Changwon City has turned an old alley full of small bars in its Odongdong neighborhood into a new local attraction in a bid to revive the area.

A gate resembling a large horn has been installed at the entry of the street, which runs from Gyeongnam Bank to Odongdong Intersection, while a motion sensor triggers a local folk song whenever people pass by.

Pictures and craftworks along the street explain the origin of the name Odongdong as well as its history, while walls painted in primary colors like deep blue and yellow add a sense of vibrancy.

Many of the works of local painter Hyun Jae-ho can be seen on the walls lining the street courtesy of artists from Changdong Artists' Village, which makes visitors feel like they are privy to a large outdoor art exhibition.

The ground has also been repaved and new streetlights added to brighten the dark alley, with CCTV cameras installed for extra security.

Meanwhile, other renovation projects in Burim Market and Changdong shopping district are also in their finishing stages. The areas will soon feature wall paintings, LED lights and paths repaved using colorful patterns to create a more safe and cheerful atmosphere.

Dongdaemun Never Sleeps

This year's first story for you people...enjoy reading and thanks for dropping by . 

Nestled on the boundary between the central Jung and Jongno districts of downtown Seoul, Dongdaemun Market straddles a 585,700 sq.m area and is home to around 35,000 stores that employ some 150,000 people.

It used to be a wholesale clothing market catering to local customers, but now Dongdaemun Market has secured its place on the international fashion scene and is frequented by customers from around the world. A chief retailer with a committee overseeing the market said every year, more than 2.5 million foreigners visit Dongdaemun Market and generate more than US$3 billion in sales. Annual revenues total around W15 trillion (US$1=W1,068).

◆ Fashion and Textile Hub

The greatest strength of Dongdaemun Market is its "one-stop" system, where the entire process of designing, manufacturing and sales takes place in the same area.

Hong Woon-pyo, who sells women's clothes, comes to work at 9 a.m. and checks fabric samples and accessories presented by a designer. After that, the designer buys fabric and other materials to create a sample outfit and heads to the production line in another part of the area at around 2 p.m. The finished product is brought back by courier at around 7 p.m.

Big store owners in Dongdaemun employ three to four designers and introduce seven to eight new apparel lines every week. "These days, the trend is to come up with a wide range of clothes in small amounts for young consumers who tend to seek uniqueness and individuality," he said.

Dongdaemun-based brands constantly come out with new products, boosting production of popular lines and wasting no time scrapping unpopular ones.

Kwon Jong-yeol, CEO of Bangbang Apparel, which got its start at Dongdaemun Market in 1961, said, "The core competitiveness of Dongdaemun Market is to respond quickly to the needs of consumers by coming out with a wide variety of designs."

This system can be seen as the precursor to the popular fast-fashion brands such as Zara, Uniqlo and H&M. Those fast-fashion brands respond quickly to the needs of consumers, but they are no match for Dongdaemun fashion stores when it comes to speed.

Roh Jeong-ho at fashion retailer Shinsegae International, who got his start selling clothes in Dongdaemun Market, said, "Dongdaemun is the only place in the world where fashion design, production and sales all take place within a five to 10 km radius."

◆ No Longer Cheap Clothes

In the past, Dongdaemun brands were famously cheap. But these days, the top department stores invite Dongdaemun brands to set up shops inside their stores, while foreign buyers favor them for their superior quality with relatively low prices.

This was possible by maintaining speedy production procedures while improving quality. One designer who runs a men's brand, said, "We are targeting high-end fashion clients who prefer clothes that are different to standardized products made by large fashion houses."

Sorce: The Chosun Ilbo