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LTW: Tokyo Tension, NK Threats, & Bonus Wage Ruling

1. National
1) Korea and Japan difficult over Mr. Abe and bullets  
The relationship between Korea and Japan is getting sour over two issues. The first one is the controversial Yasukuni Shrine visit by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, which has drawn criticism from the U.S. and China, as well as both South Korea and North Korea. Even more Japanese have negative views on Abe’s visit to Yasukuni that holds 14 of Japan’s Class-A war criminals. The other is over the borrowing of 10,000 bullets from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces by the South Korean Hanbit Unit in South Sudan when there was a big battle in Bor last week. The Japanese government is using the case to bolster its right of “collective self-defense” as the 10,000 bullets to Hanbit Unit was Japan’s first ammunition to another country since World War II.

10 Ways to Stay Warm During Winter in Korea

Let me just make one thing clear.  I am not a fan of Korean winters.  Sure, the snow can be beautiful and the holiday decorations do make me fuzzy inside but on any given day from December to March, you can find me anywhere but outside.  Coincidentally, many Koreans share my sentiments and as a result, there is an abundance of places throughout the country to enjoy the great indoors.

So, without further ado, here are the top ten ways to stay warm during winter in Korea...

The Temple Experience

Exquisite Architecture

Exquisite Architecture

Walking onto the grounds of an ancient temple is an experience like none other. Immediately you are transported to a different world, one where quality and craftsmanship are still well known practices and time itself seems to stand still. No matter what kind of day I am having I can grab my camera, head to a temple and get lost for hours. Exploring the different stone and sand walkways, peaking inside candle lit shrines or watching monks go about their day while I look through my lens and briefly become a part of something bigger.


Busan’s newest tourist attraction: The Sky Walk

Skywalk 2 Busans newest tourist attraction: The Sky Walk

The Sky Walk is about 40 meters above sea level.

Exploring Korea on the K-Shuttle

Seoul, South Korea is slowly but surely becoming recognized as a favorite tourism destination among travelers for its diverse neighborhoods, mouth watering cuisine and exceptional shopping facilities.  In addition, Seoul is constantly making efforts to better cater to the religious, dietary, and medical needs of its international visitors while signage in English, Japanese, and Chinese makes the city easy to navigate.

What most tourists do not realize, however, is that Seoul is merely a piece of the big picture and there are a number of other cities that are well worth a visit, especially for those eager to experience the "real Korea." Many visitors are interested in exploring other regions around the country but often feel intimidated by the language barrier; just the thought of having to plan transportation, book accommodations, and research sightseeing destinations is so overwhelming that most prefer to avoid it all together.

That is, until now.

Enter the K-Shuttle, Korea's newest tour bus that allows travelers to conveniently and comfortably visit the very best the country has to offer in a single trip.  Interpreters of all major languages are with the group at all times and ensure that every aspect of the tour runs smoothly.  Yet, the best thing about the K-Shuttle is that there is no need to worry about planning; tour participants need only to show up, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Translation: Coming Out to Mom


Over at Ehwa's Byunnal Blog, there are a lot of coming out stories posted. One of them was particularly heartwarming to me, so I decided to translate it for my lovely readers. It shows a human face to the LGBT experience in Korea and also demonstrates how everyone's coming out experience is not completely negative in Korea. If you spot any errors in my translation, let me know.

Hiking: Go-Dang Bang

The hike up to Go-Dang Bang yields a really great view of the area around Beomosa Temple and is a great way to spend an afternoon.  We’ve been twice in the last couple of months, and if we lived closer to Beomosa, it would probably become a regular part of our hiking workout routine.

ImageUnlike a lot of Korean mountainside hikes, this one is pretty well-marked and easy to navigate with clearly delineated trails.  Start at Beomosa Temple and, instead of going into the temple proper, turn right.  There’s a sign marking the Go-Dang Bang hiking trail.

The 2014 Asian Games


We’ve all heard about the Olympics, but not all of us know about the Asian Games, this is the largest sporting event in Asia and next year it will take place in Incheon, South Korea from September 19th – October 14th, with 437 events in 36 sports.

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