Archive for China

The train that never stops!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 15, 2010 by yujinishuge

Okay, this is actually an idea that I thought of years ago. I’m sure that a lot of people have thought of it themselves. It’s a train that never needs to stop at stations. This particular one seems to have been designed by someone in China, but there’s no word on whether this will actually ever be made.

Now, there are problems with this design. One mechanical mess up and the carrier car could go flying, killing everyone inside. It will have to be perfected until there’s no chance of failure. Continue reading

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Busan's Chinatown, actually Russiatown, and Hwagyo

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

Chinatown? Oh really? Why isn't the sign in Chinese?

In almost every major city the world over (or at least near it), there is a Chinatown.  Chinatowns usually have gigantic Chinese style ornamental gates, and all of the businesses inside it are owned and run by Chinese.  Some cities I’ve been to with great Chinatowns are New York, Boston, and Shanghai.  (Okay I know, Shanghai is actually in China, but how much more authentic can you get than that?)  There are of course other cities which had a Chinatown, but most of the Chinese people moved away, making the name of the town anachronistic.  Washington DC’s Chinatown at this point is nothing of the sort.  Sure it has a big Chinese gate and a smattering of Chinese restaurants, but the MCI Center (or whatever it’s called now) is also there, and most of the people who live and work there aren’t Chinese.  Most of DC’s Chinese people have moved to the suburbs, specifically Rockville, MD, I think a few streets of Rockville should be classified as Chinatown.  Seoul itself used to have a thriving Chinese community in the area next to Yonsei University, Yonhee-dong.  There’s still a school for overseas Chinese there and lots of Korean style Chinese restaurants, but these are largely remnants of a time long past.  Everyone in Seoul knows that the real Chinatown is in Inchon now.

My trip to Busan earlier this month wasn’t my first, so this information about Busan’s Chinatown isn’t anything new that I discovered, but I thought it would be interesting to my readers.  Chinatown is located across the street from the Busan Train Station.  It has a huge gate showing that it is Chinatown.  Click the picture and look.

A pharmacy in Chinatown. I don't read Russian, so I don't know what that says, but I'm pretty sure the Chinese at the top doesn't say anything about medicine.

Notice something funny?  It’s clearly labeled as Chinatown, but there isn’t any Chinese writing to be seen!  I don’t know the history about Busan’s Chinatown, but somehow between the 1980’s and 2000’s it ceased to be Chinatown and turned into Russiatown. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

JYP's new girl group, Miss A debut!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by yujinishuge

So which ones are the bad girls, and which ones are the good girls?

Miss A’s debut single Badgirl Goodgirl released.

Out of all the entertainment companies in Korea, I think I have to say that I like JYP the best.  The big three companies are SM, YG, and JYP.  SM is the largest and most corporate.  They create stars and hits on an assembly line.  I get the feeling that SM’s music is mass produced, though I must admit that I really don’t know, because I’m not in the music biz.   YG is all about hip hop music, and in an earlier article, I mentioned that it was created by Yang Hyun Seok, who was originally a member of Seo Taiji & Boys.  YG has a definite hip hop flavor moreso than the other two companies.  Finally, I like JYP because Park Jin Young is a musical genius.  Some people like to say that he’s the Korean Michael Jackson.  I’d have to agree that Park Jin Young is in the same league when it comes to making music, but Michael Jackson was the greatest performer that ever lived.  JYP is at his best when he’s making music for other people (Rain, G.O.D., 2PM, Wonder Girls, etc.)  Yes, to make a long story short, I like JYP more than the other two large entertainment companies.

What’s special about Miss-A? Continue reading

The OTHER Korea Pavilion (Shanghai Expo 2010)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by yujinishuge

Note: For the purposes of this article, you need a short lesson in Korean language.

We call the country “Korea” in English, but it’s name in Korean isn’t anything close to “Korea”.

In South Korea, they call it Hanguk.  In North Korea, they call it Choson.  Because of this difference, there is a slight vocabulary difference whenever talking about Korean things.

Examples:

English Word     South Korean Word     North Korean Word

Korean (person)    Hanguk Saram                      Choson Saram

Korean (language) Hangukmal                           Chosonmal

Hangeul                     Hangeul                                   Chosongeul

South Korea            Namhan                                 Nam Choson

North Korea            Pukhan                                    Konghwaguk (Literally, “The Republic”)

Korean clothing     Hanbok                                   Chosonbok

In addition, the country can be refered to as Urinara (meaning “our country”) and the language can be called  Urimal (meaning our language).

Sometimes South Koreans can use the term Urinara to mean only South Korea, while still referring to North Korea as Pukhan, which would imply that they think of North Korea as a separate country, but the term Urimal is decidedly neutral to describe the language itself.

End note!

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Remember when I told you about the Korea pavilion? (Okay I guess I have to call it the South Korea Pavilion in this article)…

Anyway, remember when we were talking about the South Korea Pavilion? It had a 4 hour minimum wait, showed off Korea’s super high technology, and highlighted Korean cultural performances. It was one of the most popular hits of the whole Expo. Well, not too far from the South Korea pavilion was the DPR Korea pavilion.  It was towards the end of my first day at the Expo and I was wondering what North Korea could possibly do to compete with their southern neighbors.  As I was wearing my Expo staff pass that prominently displayed that I was from Korea, I thought it’d be a good idea to hide it as I walked in, so as not to make the staff inside think that I’m somehow a spy for the South Korean government.

OKAY, YES, I KNOW!!!  If I were a spy, my mission wouldn’t be to look at a pavilion that anyone in the expo park has access to.  Also having a badge that says REPUBLIC OF KOREA would pretty much make it obvious that I’m not a spy.  But I just didn’t want to bring any unnecessary attention to myself.  I was determined to talk to the people inside, as these would officially be the first North Koreans (that had actually been to North Korea) that I had ever talked to in my life.  (I encountered many North Korean affiliated Zainichi in Japan, but since they’ve never been to North Korea, I decide that this doesn’t count.)  I didn’t want them to react unkindly to my South Korean staff pass.  So, tucking the pass into my sweaty polo shirt, I waltzed in hoping to find the equivalent of the mass games inside. Continue reading

Shanghai Expo Korea Pavilion (contd.)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 24, 2010 by yujinishuge

Okay, sorry to all who were expecting prompt information about my experience at the Expo.  First, this website is going through a total overhaul.  I suspect in the near future that it will be looking different.  Between that and other projects at work, in addition to the World Cup, I haven’t had time to update about how awesome the expo was.

Anyway today, as promised, I deliver to you the video I took of the Korea pavilion.  My impressions of other pavilions will follow in the coming week.

Shanghai Expo Day 1 (part 2) Other Pavilions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 14, 2010 by yujinishuge

Okay, so I saw some of the other surrounding pavilions on the first day, but I can’t tell you about it because I’ve been instructed by the higher ups not to bring attention to other countries pavilions being better than the Korean one..