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The Epic of Bibimbap - Part 1: Jeonju, Pyeongyang & Yangpoon Bibimbap

The Epic of Bibimbap - Part 1. Don't miss the adventure!


See recipes here:Jeonju Royal Bibimbap, Pyeongyang Bibimbap


Ablaze with the Spirit of Jeon Tae Il: Stories from the Front-lines

By Dae Han Song

November 9-10 marked the largest annual worker mobilization in Korea, the Worker Day Gathering. It is held in the memory of the 1970 self-immolation of Jeon Tae Il whose actions smashed the wall of silence and exposed the horrid working conditions of Korea’s industrialization. His life of struggle and his self-immolation sparked the Korean labor movement and continues to inspire it. In commemoration of this Worker’s Weekend, the Media Team spent the weekend learning about current workers’ struggles and participating in the Worker Day Gathering and solidarity events.


The Subtext of S Korea’s Dislike for Japan is Competition with N Korea

cover1203-thumb-200xautoI just published a long essay about Korea’s view of Japan for Newsweek Japan. Please contact me if you would like the Japanese version. Below is the reprint in English.


4 Hypotheses on Why China Suddenly Declared this New Air Defense Zone

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If you haven’t yet seen the zone’s geography, here it is to the left, complete with its overlap with the Korean and Japanese zones. The most important conflict of course is over Senkaku, but Korea watchers will also note that the Ieodo submerged reef, which Korea claims, is also in the zone. Gotta wonder what the Chinese were thinking by giving Korea and Japan common cause over anything. Foolish.


Undol -v- Radiators

In a classroom I teach in the heating hasn’t been working since who knows when. It has probably been broken since the summer. It’s one of those awful heaters that doubles as an air-conditioner, blowing out dry, heated air, in the winter, and flimsy puffs of cool in summer. Yesterday, I was sitting at a desk rubbing my knees and grimacing one of those ‘oh well you know’ friendly kind of faces towards the students who came in wrapped for artic exploration. I actually felt sorry for them because at least I could stand up and walk around for a little warmth.

I turned to one student, who I knew had lived in the UK for several years and proclaimed ‘what we need here are some radiators!’ to which she gave me a blank look. I remonstrated with her, trying to job her memory to which she replied ‘I prefer undol’. And I thought, ‘oh yeah…but no…’


Learning Korean: Which Program is Right for You?

Considering that fact that Korean is often regarded as one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, those that move to Korea might be intimidated to begin the arduous and often frustrating journey of learning the local language.  But, there can be many benefits to learning Korean.  Getting a grasp on the basics makes expat life far more comfortable and allows one to better understand the culture and feel more integrated with society.  Then there are the added bonuses of more job opportunities and bragging rights.  Because, let's face it... how many non-Koreans can actually say that they speak Korean?

Committing oneself to studying is the first and often most difficult step to learning Korean.  So what about after that?

For those of us who grew up in a country where there is little to no priority on learning a second language, it's difficult to know which study methods and programs work best to memorize vocabulary words, comprehend unfamiliar sentence structures, and perfect one's pronunciation.  And because everyone learns differently, it might take a bit of trial and error to figure out which approach is best for you.

Although I am still very much a beginner, I have attempted a number of techniques and attended a variety of classes to find what works for me.  Below are my personal experiences, including the pros and cons of each.


Hiking in Hanboks to Samseonggung Shrine 삼성궁

Roadtrippin!

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We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Saturday to head down to Jeolla-do, the south-west area of Korea. The fog seeped back into the mountains, the air smelled like dirt and trees, we moved through highways and roads that would leave us southbound. We were pleasantly surprised to find a persimmon farm.


Thickening Russia-Korea Ties is a Good Move for South Korea

b00cacd510614f87ea3a79ff18f43d62f9ea1dd2I wrote a quick piece for Newsweek Korea this week on Vladimir Putin’s trip to South Korea. Find the Korean web version here. Below is the translation.


Anti-Education and My 50% Success Rate at Answering Korean English Exam Questions

So, I am an Englishman flown in to South Korea to help educate their young in English.  In my school my level of English is obviously unmatched (I am English after-all) so why is it I am so bad at answering English exam questions in Korea?

Perhaps I only ever get asked about the tricky questions, or maybe I am just a dumbass, but it turns out that I am right about 50% of the time in my estimation.  In many ways it is embarrassing, why can't a reasonably well educated native English speaker, from England, who has spoken, read, listened and wrote in English all his life, answer questions correctly in a country where the overall level of English is poor (this is not a criticism, just simply that English is not their first language)?


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