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Enough is enough: in defense of expensive games and smaller backlogs

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I have been writing since early July for Nintendo Enthusiast, a news and features site focused on everything from the House of Mario. Original article can be found here.

Enough is enough: in defense of expensive games and smaller backlogs

expensive games smaller backlogs

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

Should You Get a Korean Tattoo? + Interview with Koreans

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Over the past 5 years I've been asked over and over about helping people to decide their tattoos. Many people have wanted to get tattoos in Korean (in 한글) and have asked me for translations or advice. I wanted to answer some of those questions by making this video.

Actually, it might be a good idea to *not* get a tattoo in Korean if you're not committed to the idea. This is for several reasons, which I explain in the video, including them still not having the best image (although this is changing), being difficult to get, and the high chance that it won't look good or won't make sense. But if you still want to, I also outline a few tips for how to make sure your tattoo is as good as possible.

To finish this video I went on the streets and interviewed some Koreans to ask them what they think about tattoos. The question that I asked Koreans living in Seoul is this: “외국인이 한국어로 된 타투를 하면 어떨까요?” (“What do you think if a foreigner gets a Korean tattoo?”).


The post Should You Get a Korean Tattoo? + Interview with Koreans appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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How To Say ‘Let’s Eat’ In Korean

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Are you hungry right now and want to get food with someone? Maybe the person you’re with now? Or is there a friend or a crush you’d like to have a meal with? Then it may be the time to learn how to say ‘let’s eat’ in Korean! And that’s what we’ll cover in this lesson! So no more waiting, LET’S EAT!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘Let’s Eat’ in Korean

Now, let’s learn how to say ‘let’s eat’ in Korean. As it’s a phrase rather than simply one word, you may be nervous about remembering it, but it’s actually quite easy!

The most used version for how to say let’s eat in Korean is 먹자 (meokja). The part 먹 (meok) is the stem of the verb 먹다 (meokda) which translates to ‘to eat’. The part 자 (ja), on the other hand, is the expression of suggestion for doing something. In other words 자 means ‘let’s’. It is important to note that 자 is rather informal and should only be used with people that you are at least somewhat closely acquainted with. That is, you should not say this to your boss, or your significant other’s parents, or someone you’ve just met.

If you wish to use the phrase ‘let’s eat’ in a more formal setting, you should replace 자 with (으)ㅂ시다 ((eu)bsida). In this case, the correct phrase in Korean would be 먹읍시다 (meokeubshida). You would be most likely to use this phrase in a professional or a business setting. However, you may also use it with an acquaintance you are not close with.


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences

Couple eating fast food


배고파요? 저도 배고파요. 지금 뭐 좀 먹읍시다. (baegophayo? Jeodo baegophayo. Jigeum mwo jom meokeubshida.)

Are you hungry? I’m also hungry. Let’s eat something now.


다음주쯤이나 같이 점심 좀 먹읍시다. (daeumjujjeumina kathi jeomshim jom meokeubshida.)

Let’s eat lunch together around next week.



내일 저녁으로 고기 먹자! (naeil jeonyeokeuro gogi meokja!)

Let’s eat meat for dinner tomorrow!


So now that you know how to say ‘let’s eat’ in Korean are you heading to your favorite restaurant right now?! Or maybe you’re hungry for more Korean knowledge? Let us know what Korean you’d like to learn next in the comments below!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘Let’s Eat’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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Traditional Korean Hanbok (feat. Minji Teaches Korean) | 한복 체험

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Where would you go first if you rented a Hanbok? I wanted to visit some of the palaces in Seoul. This time I met up with my friend Minji from the YouTube channel Minji Teaches Korean. It was both of our first time to wear a Hanbok outdoors, and we had a ton of fun.

The place we went to in this video is called Deoksu Palace (덕수궁), which in my opinion is the prettiest of all the palaces in Seoul.

Renting Hanbok isn't as expensive as I expected, but it's also not that cheap. The prices ranged from $10 to $30 (10,000원 to 30,000원) depending on the style and where you rent them. But to be honest, the $10 ones weren't that pretty and I wouldn't want to even borrow one of those Hanbok because of how simple they looked. However, the $20 and $30 ones looked beautiful, so that's the range we rented.

$20 to $30 isn't that much, but the issue is that rentals only last for a few hours. Ours were 2-hour rentals, so it's just barely enough time to walk around a few temples and take some photos. If you visit only one temple, it's plenty of time (especially if you take a taxi to get there, although we walked). For this video we visited 2 temples, and walked around a lot, and we had just enough time to film and enjoy the time. However, if I were to rent Hanbok again, I'd pick only one temple and spend more time there relaxing.

The experience of renting a Hanbok was fun for several reasons. I explain in the video as well, but it felt like we were celebrities. Tons of people were staring at us as we walked by (but in a good way) and we got a lot of smiles. I even had a Korean lady say "Very pretty!" to me and gave me a thumbs up. I'd never been called "pretty" before in my life, so it was pretty hilarious. Just feeling special was fun enough, and in addition to being able to take some fun photos, it was overall a very fun experience that I'd highly recommend to anyone visiting Seoul.

A bonus - if you go around April during the cherry blossom season, everywhere in the temples looks beautiful.

The post Traditional Korean Hanbok (feat. Minji Teaches Korean) | 한복 체험 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Jeongtosa Temple – 정토사 (Nam-gu, Ulsan)

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The Daeung-jeon Hall and temple pagoda at Jeongtosa Temple in Ulsan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located south of the Taehwa River that bisects the city of Ulsan, and just south of a very large cemetery called Ulsan Gongwon Myowon, is the beautiful Jeongtosa Temple. This temple is undergoing pretty extensive construction and renovation.

As you first approach Jeongtosa Temple, you’ll notice an upright stone marker that says the temple name on it: 정토사. Making your way towards the temple buildings, and up a slight incline, you’ll notice stone statues dedicated to a dongja (assistant) and Podae-hwasang with a well-worn belly that’s been rubbed for good luck. Book-ending buildings guide your way up towards the main hall on the upper terrace. These buildings are the monks’ dorms, the visitor centre, and the temple’s kitchen.

A little to the left and then back to the right up another concrete incline, you’ll be standing squarely in the temple’s main temple courtyard. Straight ahead is the Daeung-jeon Hall. This large main hall is adorned by various Buddhist motif paintings around the exterior walls like an all-white Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) riding a white elephant. As for inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll find a triad of statues seated on the main altar. Seated in the centre is Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined to the left by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise) and to the right is Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha). On the far left wall is a painting of the Dragon Ship of Wisdom ferrying people across samsara, as well as the temple’s Shinjung Taenghwa (guardian mural). And to the right of the triad of statues resting on the main altar is a multi-armed mural and statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal.

Out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and reminiscent of the famed pagoda at Hwaeomsa Temple, is a four lion based, three tier, stone pagoda. Housed inside are the purported sari of the Buddha. And to the right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Housed inside this shrine hall is a green haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) seated on the main altar. And this statue is joined on both sides by the Ten Kings of the Underworld.

To the left of both the main hall and the beautiful stone pagoda is a large stone statue and shrine dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal. And to the right of this statue is the highly unique concrete pantheon of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. On the top level there are such Buddhas as Seokgamoni-bul and Amita-bul, while the five statues on the bottom represent such figures as Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy), Yaksayore-bul, and Gwanseeum-bosal. I have never personally seen a shrine like this before in Korea.

To the rear of the Daeung-jeon Hall, and up another embankment, is the newly built Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. In fact, the shrine hall is so new that it has yet to be painted with the traditional dancheong colours. As for the murals housed inside the Samseong-gak, you’ll find rather traditional paintings of Chilseong (The Seven Stars) in the centre of the three paintings, while Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) hang to both the right and left of the central mural.

To the far, far right, and housed on an overlooking terrace, is a stone semi-circular shrine dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul. This large stone statue is surrounded on all sides by his sixteen disciples, as well as the Cheonwang (Heavenly Kings). And to the rear of this shrine will be the Geukrak-jeon Hall; however, it’s currently being built. And it’s also from this height that you can look down on the temple grounds and see the large temple murals that adorn the temple buildings like the three piece, twelve mural set, dedicated to the history of Buddhism and Buddhism in Korea.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Ulsan Intercity Bus Terminal in Nam-gu, you can take a taxi. The ride should last about 20 minutes and cost 8,000 won. You can do that or take a bus from just north of the terminal around the KEB bank. You’ll need to head north for about 500 metres. You can then take bus # 401, 307, 124, 417, 482, 712, 134, 432, or 733. The bus ride should take about 20 to 25 minutes. The name of the final bus stop, in Korean, is “공원묘지입구.” And from this bus stop, you’ll need to head north for about 5 minutes (just follow the signs).

OVERALL RATING: 8/10. I was very pleasantly surprised while visiting Jeongtosa Temple. There are a lot of halls, shrines, a beautiful pagoda, and murals to enjoy in and around the temple grounds. The highlights at this temple are the pantheon of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the semi-circular shrine dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul, and the lion-based pagoda out in front of the main hall. But there is definitely a lot to see and enjoy at this lesser known temple near downtown Ulsan.

The entry to Jeongtosa Temple.

The entry as you make your way to the main hall.

The beautiful four lion based, three tier, pagoda reminiscent of the one at Hwaeomsa Temple.

The large Daeung-jeon main hall at Jeongtosa Temple.

One of the murals that adorns its exterior walls. This one is dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal.

The entry between the Myeongbu-jeon Hall and the Daeung-jeon Hall.

One of the three panels that describes the history of Buddhism, as well as its place in Korean culture.

The second panel

And the third.

The stone statue dedicated to Gwaneeum-bosal.

The pantheon of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to the left of the main hall.

A closer look at the statues housed inside the shrine.

The newly built Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

A look inside at the unpainted interior. The two paintings here are dedicated to Chilseong to the left and Sanshin to the right.

A stone statue of Sanshin out in front of the Geukrak-jeon Hall.

The beautiful stone shrine dedicated to Seokgamoni-bul and the Nahan.

A closer look at the disciples of the Buddha.

The amazing view from where the Geukrak-jeon Hall will be housed.

And the temple’s bell pavilion at Jeongtosa Temple.

How To Say ‘Happy Anniversary’ In Korean

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So perhaps you started dating a local after you made your move to South Korea, and it’s now time to celebrate your 100 days of relationship, as is customary in Korean dating culture. You’ve already prepared the plan for the day, and even a lovely little present, or perhaps it’s your close friend who has reached a milestone with their significant other.

Do you yet know how to wish your friend or bae ‘happy anniversary’ in Korean? You want to send them that congratulations text, but you’re struggling to find the words since you don’t yet know how to say ‘happy anniversary’ in Korean.

To erase both complications from your life, today we’ll teach you how to say ‘happy anniversary’ in Korean, and you can happily add another phrase to your vocabulary! Let’s get learning!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘Happy Anniversary’ in Korean

There are few ways for how to say ‘happy anniversary’ in korean. That is, there are a multitude of ways to say the happy part of the phrase. However, to our relief, there is only one word for ‘anniversary’ in Korean, which is 기념일 (ginyeomil). Whichever form in Korean you choose to use for wishing someone ‘happy anniversary’ the word 기념일 will most likely be included.

But which word or words indicating ‘happy’ should you attach? Well, some of it depends on your own preferences, and some of it depends on who you are sending those wishes to. Let’s see some different options that you have!


Sample Sentences

Romantic Couple In Restaurant


기념일 축하드립니다! (ginyeomil chukhadeurimnida!)

Happy anniversary!


결혼 기념일 축하드립니다! (gyerhon ginyeomil chukhadeurimnida!)

Happy wedding anniversary!



즐거운 기념일이 되기 기원해요! (julgeoun ginyeomiri dwoegi giwonhaeyo!)

Best wishes for a happy anniversary!


행복한 기념일이 되기 기원해요! (haengbokhan ginyeomiri dwoegi giwonhaeyo!)

Best wishes for a happy anniversary!


3주년 축하해요! (samjunyeon chukhahaeyo!)

Happy 3rd anniversary!



기념일 축하해! (ginyeomil chukhahae!)

Happy anniversary!


자기야, 기념일 축하해! (jagiya, ginyeomil chukhahae!)

Happy anniversary, my dear!


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


So now you can wish your friend or lover a “Happy anniversary!” in Korean. What other words or phrases would you like us to teach you next? Let us know in the comments below!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘Happy Anniversary’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

South Korea is Now Running Détente with North Korea – and that is Probably a Good Thing

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Image result for moon kim trump

This is a local re-post of a lengthy review I wrote on this year’s détente for the Center for International Governance Innovation. This is the original version, rather than that edited up version. They’re basically the same

Basically, I argue that the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore was a nothingburger, that basically served to get Trump out of the way. The Americans had to be involved somehow given their importance to South Korea security. So Trump had to have something – unsurprisingly, a content-free, made-for-TV summit. With Trump now sidelined, Moon can do his stuff. I figure we’ll be lucky if he can cap NK at its current arsenal without giving up too much. That is the challenge now.

The full essay follows the jump:



In mid-June, US President Donald Trump met North Korean ‘Chairman’ Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Kim governs the North as the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, not as president. The summit was widely criticized in the United States as an empty photo-op, and there is growing evidence that North Korea is not in fact changing much of its nuclear program in response to the meeting. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the North Korea this year to move the process along. This will be the acid test of whether the Singapore meeting changed the US-North Korea dynamic much.

I am skeptical the North Koreans will come around soon; any kind of serious denuclearization will take years and cost an enormous amount of money, because the North Korean program is now so elaborate. But Trump has already declared victory on this problem before the US media and dumped further efforts on Pompeo. So the most likely practical outcome of the Singapore summit is the recession of the Americans from the peace process and its further piloting by the South Koreans, particularly President Moon Jae In. As South Korea’s ally, the US had to be involved somehow, but Trump seems to have moved on, and his interest and knowledge of the relevant questions is thin. In effect then, Moon will run this détente going forward with few American constraints given how vague was the Singapore statement.

The following review covers the summit’s declaration, criticisms of it, the contours and concessions of a more serious deal with the North, and possible future paths Moon might follow:

1. The ‘Sentosa Declaration’

The summit declaration – so named for the small island in Singapore where the two leaders met – has four elements. One is the return of remains of US soldiers from the Korean War. This, while morally important for the families, is not a strategic issue and was appended late by Trump, likely to appeal to his conservative voters.

The main points are: a) ‘new relations of peace and prosperity;’ b) a ‘lasting and stable peace regime;’ and c) ‘complete denuclearization.’ All are somewhat vague; the statement is less than 400 words. So the following is somewhat speculative:

Point a) sounds like a market opening of North Korea. Trump showed a curious faux movie trailer to Kim pitching exactly that. China has similarly argued to the North for two decades that it should embark on a controlled liberalization of its economy, as Beijing did after Mao Zedong’s death. The hope is that a perestroika of the Northern economy along Chinese or Vietnamese lines would, at minimum, improve human, especially food, security in the North. The man-made famine in the North of the late 1990s killed around 10% of the population. A perestroika might also bring mild political liberalization too, moderating the worst, most orwellian aspects of North Korea.

Point b) likely hints at a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War. The two Koreas and the US are legally still at war. The current peace is technically an armistice stretching all the way back to mid-1953. North Korea particularly has long sought a treaty for the normalization and recognition of the North which it implies. North and South Korea make competing legitimacy claims against each other to be the ‘real’ Korea. In practical terms however, South Korea has long since won the inter-Korean cold war competition. North Korea now fears absorption along East German lines, and a peace treaty which recognizes North Korea as a distinct Korean state alongside the South is a long-standing goal. A ‘peace regime’ is a vaguer dictional choice throw around by proponents who fear a formal treaty will be too difficult to get past hawkish opposition in Seoul and Washington. The Moon government occasionally talks this way too. It is not clear what such a regime would be – perhaps UN monitoring of a demobilization along the demilitarized zone (DMZ)?

Point c) is a part of the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization (CVID) mantra which the Trump and Moon administrations have pushed all year. CVID seek to remove all elements of North Korea’s nuclear (and, likely, missile) program in such a way that would make it both impossible to restart and verifiably terminated. This is, of course, a tremendous concession to demand of North Korea, and few North Korea analysts believe that Pyongyang would ever accept this. Or if it did, it would demand such extraordinary concessions – such as the cessation of the US-South Korea alliance – that the US and South Korea would likely never accept. Hence it was not a surprise that Trump was unable to get the “V” and “I” of CVID in the declaration. Pompeo has since been asked about this and responded that these were ‘understood’ as part of the declaration. That is almost certainly not correct and more a political than empirical claim.

2. The Critiques of Sentosa and CVID

There are two main lines of concern with the statement Trump brought back.

First, it is akin to previous statements on denuclearization which the North Koreans have signed with the US, South Korea, and other parties. As far back as 1993, North Korea and the US singed a joint statement on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The North has also agreed to such statements as a part of the ‘Sunshine Policy’ – an inter-Korean détente process from 1998-2007 under previous liberal South Korean presidents – and the Six Party Talks – a George W. Bush administration-era outreach effort which included the Koreas, China, Japan, the US, and Russia. Pulling yet another generic denuclearization statement out of the North Koreans this time around is not really an achievement.

Trump worsened this problem with his particular brand of hyperbole and overstatement. In the months running up to the summit, he and his administration talked about a huge breakthrough in US relations with the North, CVID, a peace treaty, a Noble Peace Prize, and so on. Since Trump returned to the US, he has claimed on Twitter and in Trumpist media that the threat is over, that he has great chemistry with Kim, and that Americans should treat him as North Koreans treat Kim, and so on. Expectations were poorly managed, creating an enormous disjuncture between what Trump appears to believe he has accomplished, and what the North Koreans did in fact agree to in Sentosa.

Second, the statement contains no action items, timeline, or detail. In that sense too, it does not move the process past previous statements. The statement says denuclearization is to begin ‘expeditiously.’ Pompeo has talked of serious movement in the next two to four month, or in the next two years. Both of those timelines conveniently fit the US electoral calendar. The North Koreans are highly unlikely to be so obliging. In past negotiations, they have dragged their feet, asked for huge concessions and side-payments, and insisted on synchronous steps from the US and South Korea. They are likely to do so again.

It is easy to foresee, for example, the North asking for billions of dollars in ‘decommissioning funding,’ which could be political difficult for Trump given his criticism that former President Barack Obama paid Iran as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The US might then try to push those costs onto China, Japan, and South Korea, as it did in a similar effort in the 1990s. All this would be time-consuming and contentious as US partners would resent this treatment.

Another thorny example is the “V” and “I” in CVID. Verifiability will be high bar, because the US and South Korea would likely demand inspectors and cameras. The North will likely fight that as violations of its sovereignty, much as Saddam Hussein did in the 1990s. There will likely also be a sharp conflict over which inspectors. The North will demand them from sympathetic nuclear states like China or Pakistan. The US, Japan, and South Korea will push for the International Atomic Energy Agency or more sympathetic nuclear states like France or Britain.

Irreversibility will be even harder. The nuclear and missile programs are now mature. North Korea has the relevant human capital now. Facilities could be destroyed, but what about the technicians themselves who could reconstitute the programs later? Would those individuals, potentially thousands of scientists and their families, be allowed to leave the country? This would be extraordinarily contentious.

These are just a few of the many thorny issues likely arise. They will likely require years to hammer out.

3. Meaningful North Korean Concessions

The above critiques of Sentosa point to the issues most important to the US and South Korea. Broadly, we are seeking two kinds of concessions: political and strategic. That Trump brought home neither is the grounds for dismissing Singapore as an enormous missed opportunity.

Political concessions are the most important. The most fundamental reason why North Korean nuclear weapons worry so many is the nature of the regime. North Korea is the closest to George Orwell’s 1984 the world has ever seen. Its gulags have been compared to Nazi Germany in the most definitive human rights portrait of the country. Its personality cult is more servile than Stalin or Mao’s. It has engaged in gangster and terrorist behavior for decades – dealing methamphetamines, murdering its critics overseas, attacking South Korean vessels, and so on.

Were the North Koreas to close a gulag, initiate even a bit of liberalization at the bottom, or even pass a genuine commercial law to protect foreign investment in the North, the country’s most hawkish critics would relent. Trump however dismissed human rights at Singapore. There are some hints that Kim himself may want some kind of economic opening, which could in turn soften the regime’s harshest edges. But even if this is true, there is no evidence that anyone around Kim on the State Affairs Commission wants this liberalization.

If North Korea is not going to change, if it intends to remain the orwellian Democratic People’s Republic Korea, then US and allied goals switch to the strategic – nuclear weapons, missiles, biological and chemical weapons, force deployments of the North Korea military near the DMZ, particularly Seoul, and so on. Pompeo and Moon will likely push for movement on these issues in the months to come. Without some progress, hawks will decry that détente is becoming appeasement.

Moon is a liberal who is likely comfortable giving the North pretty serious concessions on strategic questions. But he was only elected with 41% of the vote. South Korea remains politically deeply divided over how to respond to North Korea. If this year’s détente is to survive the next partisan transition in the South Korean presidency, then Moon will have to claw out enough concessions to somewhat placate the South Korean right.

Trump is in a similar bind. Neoconservatives in the US will be looking for these sorts of concessions in the coming months with limited patience. Lindsey Graham, the hawkish US senator, has already said that war will be an option once again, after last year’s war crisis, if the North Koreans do not meaningfully disarm.

The North is currently flirting with an artillery pullback. This is progress, but ultimately the US and South Korea are going to demand concessions on nuclear weapons and missiles. One starting point would simply be a stockpile inventory – how many warheads do they have? (Guesses hover around fifty.) How many missiles do they have? (Hundreds?) How may kilograms of plutonium and highly enriched uranium? (Hundreds?) A basic worksheet on these questions from the North Korea would relieve a lot hawkish anxiety – there would be less pressure to strike if exaggerated estimates are corrected. It is another disappointment of the Singapore meeting that Trump could not even pull something this basic out of Kim.

4. Future Prospects: Moon’s Detente

The Singapore summit did not return much unfortunately. Trump got only another pro forma denuclearization agreement from the North along the lines of many it has signed in the past. This would have been easier to swallow if Trump had not hyped the event so much. But on the issues which really matter – political concessions on human rights, e.g., or strategic concessions such as a missile count – this year’s détente has still not advanced much. To date there has been much pageantry and symbolism: Moon had his own summit with Kim in April, and it was similarly theatrical but thin on detail.

The challenge going forward is to pull costly concessions from North Korea, ideally for as little from the democratic camp as possible. But realistically, the North Koreans will not give away another serious for little. They have been tenacious bargainers in the past. The allies should expect to have to make costly concessions too.

Allied concessions could include sanctions relief and aid most obviously. The North Koreans have complained about the sanctions for years. The North is not autarkic despite its ideology. It needs access to the world economy, and banking system particularly, to finance needed inputs. Similarly, North Korea is poor and its economy fairly dysfunctional. South Korea has given it direct aid transfers in the past. Seoul could resume those. More serious concessions would involve US forces in Korea. The North Koreans fear US airpower, so US air wings could be withdrawn to Okinawa or Guam; US troop totals on the peninsular might also be reduced.

The exact mix of these elements, and Northern reciprocal concessions, has scarcely been broached yet in the media unfortunately. CVID has absorbed much attention, but it should be noted that the North is highly unlikely to go to zero on warheads and missiles. Pyongyang spent fifty years developing these weapons; they provide a powerful deterrent against US-led regime change. The allies must need to grasp that CVID will almost certainly not happen and start thinking about a mixed package deal of concessions and counter-concessions.

All this falls to Moon now. Trump is little interested in the details of a North Korean deal. By his own admission, he did not prepare for Singapore, and he has dropped it since his return, after a few celebratory tweets. Moon has thought about these questions for decades. He is popular and has a majority in the parliament. With Trump self-sidelined, Moon now has the political space to push for a major deal. If he can pull enough strategic concessions out of Kim to placate hawks in Seoul and Washington, he has a chance to break the long stalemate.

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University




Culture Shock in Korea ? (feat. Abby P) | Glass with Billy

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Have you been to Korea for an extended period of time? If so, did you experience any culture shock?

For me, the biggest culture shock was related to Korean food, but a lot of things surprised me living in Korea. I met together with YouTuber Abby P, and we talked about some of our culture shock we experienced living in Korea - including transportation, food, Korean behavior and social norms, and more.

Abby P also made a video we filmed together the same day, about tips for learning Korean. Check it out here:

The post Culture Shock in Korea ? (feat. Abby P) | Glass with Billy appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

iUNIK Korea: Summer Skincare for Sweaty Sallies

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Sugar Beach Toronto Pink Umbrellas Muskoka Chairs Skincare Summer
Sugar Beach in Toronto


It’s been one scorcher of a summer here in humid Toronto.  I’ve heard back in Seoul it’s been record-breaking for humidity, too!  If you’ve read any of my other skincare articles, you’ll know I’m a “no muss, no fuss” kinda gal.  When I moved to Korea, I tried to improve my soap and water habits.  Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the best skincare in the world?  That said, I didn’t have time for 12 steps including a mask every night.  I’m busy and actually have to make time to sleep.  I make an effort to keep an hour or more of fitness 5x a week part of my routine.  Nobody of sound heart and mind is going to lug 12 bottles and jars to the gym.  When it comes to skincare, I want to keep things simple.  If there are too many steps, I lose interest and bail.

ThatGirlCartier Summer Skincare Seoul Toronto iunik vitamin hyaluronic acid vitalizing toner moisturizer cream serum that girl cartier

Toners, Serums, Essences – OH MY!

Back in April (I’m writing this in mid-July), a company called iUNIK reached out to me to review a few products.  They’re a 10-year old company located in Paju, which is the city closest to the North Korean border.  They claim to make products designed simply and for the whole family.  “With minimalism finding skin happiness contrary to the times of excess supply age.”  I have no idea what that might mean, but the word “minimalism” drew me right in!

Always on the hunt for the latest and greatest, I was excited to receive their Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum, Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner, and Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream.  They also sent me their Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel, but it was a miss for me and I only want to bring you products I would buy over and over again.  The whole time I was in Korea, I admit, I had no idea what the difference was among toners, serums, and essences.  All of them felt fairly similar to me.  The only thing I knew for certain was that they went on before your moisturizer.  The biggest takeaway?  All of the above prepare your skin to absorb the lovely little goodies found in your moisturizer or cream, or even other serums and essences if you choose a multi-step routine.  Here’s how I apply my favourite iUNIK products.


ThatGirlCartier Summer Skincare Seoul Toronto iunik vitamin hyaluronic acid vitalizing toner that girl cartier

Skincare Step 1

Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner $21.99
​Hyaluronic Acid 45%
Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruits Extract 5%
(Whitening Functional Cosmetics)

The Claim: “This gel type toner can help to make powerful vitalizing and moisturizing with Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruits Extract 5% and Hyaluronic acid 45%.”

The Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner has no scent.  This toner is really watery and doesn’t have the astringent feeling I tend to associate with others.  I’ve been using it for months now and the bottle looks like it’s barely taken a dent, so great value there!  In my experience, toner can be exfoliating.  This toner is intensely hydrating, instead.  If you put it on your hand you might think it will leave a sticky feeling, but it doesn’t at all.  You’re left with plump, nourished skin!  A lot of people shy away from the word “acid” thinking that it will damage the skin or strip it away.  Hyaluronic acid actually acts as a moisture-binding ingredient in skincare – perfect to prep and prime your skin for whats next, right?

ThatGirlCartier Summer Skincare Seoul Toronto iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum That Girl Cartier

Skincare Step 2

Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum 
Propolis Extract 70%, Double Functional Cosmetics (Whitening & Wrinkle Care)

The Claim: “This Effective Optimal Synergy Serum includes the unique and optimal ratio, Propolis 70% and Vitamin C (Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract) 12% by iUNIK. It can make Calming & Brightening for Sensitive Skin.”

The Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum actually smells like honey!  I’m surprised that other bloggers referred to it as viscous or thick.  Like the toner, it wasn’t at all the consistency I expected.  In fact, it was also quite watery in my opinion.  Maybe my skin is just super thirsty constantly, but it was absorbed quite quickly in a thin layer.  My skin immediately feels as though it’s been soothed after application of this skincare product.  The look of my skin after application is bright and dewy.  There’s a definitely glow-factor with this serum!  In this summer heat, I can’t be waiting around for my skincare to settle.  The combination of the toner and the serum soak up quite quickly and I’m ready for my third, and final, step.

Skincare Step 3

Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream $14.99

The Claim: “Amazing skin moisturizer Beta Glucan, Super Moisture Recharge.  This cream can help to make moisturizing dry skin and improve skin barrier function with Beta Glucan.  Improve skin barrier function calming and protecting sensitive skin. Moisturizing. Light Skin. Skin clearing. Whitening and wrinkle care.”

Beta Glucan is active in cereal and fungus and is found to lower cholesterol.  In skincare products, it reduces redness and soothes sensitive skin.  I had horrible skin as a child, but throughout my teens and adult years have been fairly lucky.  I get quite a bit of dryness/ redness around my t-zone (my nose especially).  Since adding the iUNIK Beta-Gulcan Daily Moisture Cream to my routine the redness and sensitivity has reduced significantly, but is still ever-present.  My face has a dewy glow and feels supple to the touch without feeling greasy.  In the summer especially, I can’t stand that feeling of your moisturizer sweating off.  Thankfully I haven’t had to with this product.  I’ve been using this moisture cream Monday – Friday mornings since April, and the bottle is only starting to dwindle now.  This product is unscented.


My iUNIK Skincare Verdit

Now that I’m back in Toronto, I’m making an effort to live my best life naturally.  I had my hair fixed so that moving forward I’ll be letting my natural brown locks grow in – gray and all.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  I don’t have quite as much time in the morning as I did when I was in Korea.  The gym has taken priority over looking entirely polished and put together.  Unless I’m client-facing or going out on the town, I’ve stopped wearing make-up entirely.  Because of this, I need to treat my skin the best I can.  The ease of use, glowy complexion, and unbeatable pricepoint makes iUNIK an exceptional skincare line.  My morning routine is a lot easier with this trio of iUNIK tools!

Skincare Review: Leegeehaam has quick-drying formulae which I love when I'm in a rush.  My skin feels soft and there's never any hint of shine.

This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of iUNIK products. only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.

The post iUNIK Korea: Summer Skincare for Sweaty Sallies appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

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