Archive for July, 2010

Who are these people?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 30, 2010 by yujinishuge

I get a lot of spam these days on the blog and the people try to make it so their comments seem legitimate so that they can have a link on my blog somewhere. Here’s an example:

Fantastic blog! I dont think Ive observed all the angles of this subject matter the way youve pointed them out. Youre a correct star, a rock star man. Youve got so much to say and know a great deal in regards to the subject that i think you should just teach a class about it…HaHa!

Notice how the comment says nothing specific and has weird English in it. “Youre a correct star, a rock star man.” What on Earth does that mean?


Korean Taco Craze?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 by yujinishuge

The "Korean Taco"

Special thanks to the Ask a Korean blog and its author, without which I wouldn’t have written this article. He’s also contributed to changing my idea of what “authentic” food is.

After reading this article in the New York Times, I don’t know how to react.  The article is about how the “Korean Taco” is becoming popular in the United States.  The trouble is, that in my opinion, the Korean Taco isn’t Korean.  It’s American to the core.  The title of the article is even “The Tortilla Takes a road Trip to Korea.”  Clever, to say the least, but the tortilla isn’t coming anywhere near Korea (at least not because of the Korean Taco.)  Korean-American restauranteurs are instead using Korean inspired marination techniques for their taco meat.  Korea itself has nothing to do with this story.

The American press has been buzzing about this kind of stuff lately, and I’ve even seen a few cases where the taco truck that they talk about in this article was featured on Korean TV.  But, this isn’t Korean food!  It’s American food inspired by the Korean-American idea of what Tex-Mex is (Tex-Mex itself often mistaken as Mexican food, when it really isn’t) and the Korean-American idea of what Korean food is.

You can search Google for “kogi truck” if you want more information about the origins of the “Korean Taco”.  I haven’t tried, it, and I’m in no way saying that it’s bad, but suggesting that it is Korean food in any way is just silly.  It’s 100% an American creation.  It also appears that it’s becoming really popular and it has inspired copycats.  Some have even attempted creating the “Chinese Taco” or the “Japanese Taco”.  And, if they make a delicious creation that people are willing to spend money on, more power to them.

Was Seoul always called Seoul?

Posted in Korea with tags , , on July 28, 2010 by yujinishuge

Should this be “Greetings Gyeongseong, we are Gyeongseongers”?

Even Old New York, was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it I can’t say. People just liked it better that way! -They Might Be Giants

So go the lyrics in the chorus of a popular song about the name change of the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). The quote can easily be remedied with minimal research. Wikipedia says that in 1664, New Amsterdam was surrendered to the British and renamed “New York”. So we have the reason and the date.

What does this have to do with Korea at all?

Plenty, actually.  You see, I live in a city called Seoul.  It is unique in that it is a major place name in Korea that cannot be written in Chinese characters.  Busan is 釜山 (“Cauldron Mountain”), Gwangju is 光州 (“Light State”), and Pyongyang is 平壌 (“Peace Land”).  Seoul, on the other hand can only be written in Hangeul, or phonetically.  In Korea, Seoul is written as 서울.  Outside of Korea it’s usually written as Seoul.  Japanese cities all have Chinese characters, so the Japanese get around the problem by writing the name of Seoul in katakana (ソウル) , as they write the names of other cities that don’t have official Chinese characters.

What about the Chinese?  Don’t they HAVE to use Chinese characters to write the name of the city?

In 2005, Korea wanted to make a Chinese-specific name for Seoul, and came up with 首尔 (uh… “you first”?  That might be a strange name for a city, but the characters weren’t chosen for meaning, but for sound in Mandarin Chinese.)  Shǒu’ěr is how it would be pronounced in Chinese.  Before 2005, they simply called it by an old name, 漢城 (er… “Chinese City”).

(Edit: Dear commenters. I KNOW that 漢城 was never intended to mean Chinese City. I’m just saying that this is what it translates as in current meanings of the characters. Stop arguing with me about what it might have meant in the past.)

So wait, Seoul wasn’t always the name of the city?

No, not at all.

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Banpo Moonlight Rainbow Fountain

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by yujinishuge

Banpo bridge is a bridge that crosses the Han river. Recently they updated it into a kind of watershow, undoubtedly to attract tourism while showing off how Korea is really high tech. Probably the best thing about it is that it’s for freeeeeeee!

Banpo Moonlight Rainbow Fountain is the world’s longest bridge fountain with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles that run along both sides that is 1,140m long, shooting out 190 tons of water per minute. It’s a must-see when you visit Seoul.

Every day on my way to work, I cross the river, but I haven’t had the chance to see this bridge in action. Maybe one day I’ll stay late simply so I can get a peek of the bridge.


2PM's got nothin' on Jay Park

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on July 26, 2010 by yujinishuge

Jay Park

This article will be mostly old news for K-pop fans, but for the casual K-pop listener, there is an interesting story behind Jay Park and his recent solo debut. The rest of the article will assume you don’t really know who Jay Park is to begin with.
Who is Jay Park?

Jay Park is a Korean-American B-boy and musician (singer and rapper) from Seattle, Washington, USA.  He auditioned for JYP entertainment and was accepted as a trainee.  He trained for 4 years under JYP until gaining his first exposure on a JYP themed reality show called “Hot Blood”.  Here, 13 male trainees were given various tasks and challenges.  The end result was an 11 member boy band called “One Day”.  This was later further split into 2AM and 2PM.  Jay, now going by his Korean name, Jaebeom, was selected as the leader of 2PM.

Tell me more about 2PM.

Okay, well, 2PM was a 7 member boy band that debuted in 2008.  After moderate success with their first single “She’s a 10 out of 10” (10점 만점에 10점), their popularity skyrocketed with their 2nd single, “Again and Again.”  2PM for a time was the top boy band in Korea, consistently beating out Super Junior and Shinee for the top spot.  (Big Bang, Dong Bang Shinki, were on hiatus at the time.)  Again and Again was Korea’s song of the Year for 2009 at the KBS music festival.  Casual fans of K-Pop would have probably been able to name only two members of 2PM without doing research of the group.  Those two would have been Nickhun (a Chinese-Thai-American from California) who appeared in so many TV shows that he developed a popularity separate from 2PM fans, and Jaebeom.

What was so special about Jaebeom?
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Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2010 by yujinishuge

Thanks to all the people who participated in the contest.  I have chosen the winner, and the winner is:…….. Continue reading

Mildly Funny Korean Joke of the Week Part 8

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 22, 2010 by yujinishuge

What was everyone’s favorite snack in the Shilla Dynasty?
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