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Have a Fright-tastic Halloween at Everland With Ghoulish-ly Good Food and Spooktacular Thrills!

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Prepare your costumes and candy – Halloween’s just around the corner! It’s the time when ghosts, zombies, witches, and all other things creepy appear. Halloween in Korea has become a cultural event that is quite lavishly celebrated in certain areas, especially theme parks. Everland, the nation’s largest theme park, is hosting the Happy Halloween & Horror Nights Festival until November 6th. Head on over today to enjoy some spooky, spine-chilling festivities!

Photo courtesy of Everland

Everything from the entrance sign to parade floats and trees is covered with carved pumpkins, smiling jack-o-lanterns, ghoulish ghosts and gargoyles…. If there’s a place takes their themes very seriously, it’s Everland. They’ve got something for thrill seekers of all ages and the beautifully colored autumn foliage is also in full bloom, making for a perfect picture. Now let’s get into the series of attractions in store for all of you.

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‘Happy Halloween’ consists of fun attractions that are quite light-hearted and fun, providing a family friendly twist on Halloween. Everything is mostly G or PG-rated, so you don’t need to worry about anything popping out and scaring you. The Happy Halloween Party is a dance parade where all types of ghosts and goblins dynamically dance around on decadent, large floats.

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There are also magic shows that overwhelm and empower the audience, a nighttime moonlight parade that’s brighter than the stars in the night sky, and various themed multimedia show performances to commemorate Everland‘s 40th year anniversary.

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Head on over to Horror Village for ‘Horror Nights’ if you seek real thrills and scares, where there’s plenty of attractions that will make your blood run cold. It’ll feel like a walk through one of your most horrific nightmares; the kind that you’ll be glad you woke up from.

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By far the most terrifying and spine-chilling experience is the horror maze. You pay 5000 KRW to walk in the dark in groups of four to six and bump into many different types of ghosts and ghouls that’ll have you letting out blood-curdling screams, as you try and find your way out. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. Check out this terrifying teaser for the maze from a few years back featuring 2PM and miss A’s Suzy.

There’s also the Horror Safari. As your bus descends into the darkness, you’ll start to feel a sense of dread and want to head back, but zombies will chase after you and try to terrorize your bus. Will the bus be able to return without becoming torn apart or stranded? Most importantly, will YOU be able to return alive?

*Note: The Horror Safari is a horror experience that does not involve any live animals.

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Blood Square is another major attraction; a horror village haunted by cursed souls who tried over and over again to calm their souls but failed. Enjoy the flash mob performance put on by shambling corpses in their gruesome, decaying states in the ruined ghost town.

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You’ll probably be exhausted from screaming and running from ghosts and zombies, so fill your stomach with a variety of interesting Halloween menus. There’s everything from hotdogs with fangs and wrapped up like mummies to noodles with cute fish cakes cut into the shape of ghosts. Drinks also have creative names such as ‘zombie latte’, ‘monster blood ade’, ‘eyeball ade’ and ‘blood beer.’

Photo courtesy of Everland

Add some festive cheer to your Halloween celebration at Everland this fall! Since the park is located in Yongin, which is quite far from Seoul, you can use this ticket and shuttle bus package to get to and from there conveniently. Departure and arrival locations include Hongik University, City Hall, Myeongdong and Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station.

For more up-to-date information about the latest and fun things to do in Korea, check out, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop!button_main 2
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Korean Grilled Ribs – GALBI (갈비)

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갈비 (GALBI) is one of, if not THE BEST dishes that you can try while you're in Korea. But it's certainly not cheap.

Of course, all kinds of Korean BBQ are worth trying. And there are a lot of kinds you can try, including 삼겹살 (SAM-GYUP-SAL), 보쌈 (BO-SSAM), and others. This dish is on the next level above everything else.

The smoky flavor you get from the meat, the varied and beautifully-arranged side dishes, the fancy atmosphere of sitting at a table in Korea and having the meat cooked for you (instead of cooking it yourself), and the dipping bowls you get for adding an extra bit of flavor to your meat. All of these combine together to create one of the best food experiences that you can try while visiting in Korea without burning a hole in your wallet.

The post Korean Grilled Ribs – GALBI (갈비) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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Temple Stays in Seoul

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You hear nothing but the sound of crickets and birds chirping as you gaze at the sun starting to peak through far off in the distance, along with the tranquil sound of water trickling down the stream nearby. Sound like a dream? Well, this is a sight you may be able to witness when you experience a temple stay in South Korea. intro-picture

What is a Temple stay?

A temple stay is a unique cultural program that gives participants the opportunity to experience the life of Buddhist practitioners at traditional temples. You can search for your true self and become one with nature, clearing your mind through meditation, prayer, and various activities. Korean Buddhism is a way of mind that helps rejuvenate the soul and body.

Programs are currently offered at more than 50 different Buddhist temples in various parts of Korea. Each temple has its own program and activities based on its location and particular spiritual focuses. You will follow a structured schedule as you learn the prayers, eat vegan food, and attend the morning and evening ceremonies. Religious or not, everyone is welcome to stay for as little as one day to a whole week.

Main Activities

1. Yebul : Ceremonial Serviceyebul

‘Yebul’ is the most important event in the daily routine of Korean temples, with people paying their respects to the Buddha enshrined in the Dharma hall three times a day. The teachings are repeated before dawn, at 10:00 in the morning, and in the evening. It is the main ceremony that regulates the day so it is attended by everyone in the temple compound.

The Heart Sutra and Buddhist chant are read aloud, 108 prostrations to the Buddha are executed, and the Dharma drum, Buddhist bell, wooden fish drum and cloud-shaped gong are stricken in order. The prostrations symbolize a fresh start, ridding you of greed, anger, and ignorance as you learn the precise etiquette and actions for bowing.

2. Chamseon : Zen Meditationmeditation

Zen is known as ‘seon’ in Korean. Chamseon is a form of meditation that allows people to reflect on themselves. There are two forms of meditation that you can choose from, which are ‘jwaseon (seated meditation)’ and ‘haengseon (walking meditation).’ Monks will instruct you on the proper posture.

Jwaseon will have you sitting quietly as you focus your mind on finding peace at heart, usually taking place on temple grounds. On the other hand, haengseon will be held outside as you walk slowly and steadily around a beautiful nature spot.

3. Barugongyang : Monastic Mealtemple-meal

Barugongyang is a unique and special way of eating in Korean temples. Meals are eaten in complete silence and not a single grain of rice or drop of water is wasted. You only put on your place what you can finish. Be careful not to slurp or make any clinking noises with your utensils as you eat.

As it is against Buddhist beliefs to hurt animals, the food is vegetarian and made up of mostly seasonal vegetables which will cleanse both the body and soul. However, stimulating foods such as onions and garlic are avoided as they are thought to create heat, distracting the mind from meditation. Barugongyang teaches the importance of eating food with care and appreciation. You are free to go for multiple rounds as the idea is not to go hungry, but rather simply not to waste.

4. Dado : Tea Ceremonytea-ceremony

‘Dado (tea ceremony)’ is one of the oldest customs in Korea that involves the process of boiling and serving tea. Traditional tea clears the body and mind, and the ceremony focuses on spiritual awakening which symbolizes purification, absorption, and meditation. Making the tea and washing the cups is all part of Buddhist training.

To enjoy the tea, start off by focusing on the sound of water boiling, then relax as you breathe in its soothing fragrance and see the soft and subtle colors. Lastly, feel the warmth of the tea radiate through the cup as you slowly savor the taste.

Temples Offering temple stay programs in English

As temple stay programs have become increasingly popular among foreigners, more and more places are conducting their programs in English so people can understand the meaning and beliefs behind the practices.

1. Bongeunsa Templebongeunsa

This 1,200-year-old temple in Samseong-dong, Gangnam was the head temple for Seon Buddhism during the harsh oppression of Buddhism by the Confucian-favoring Joseon Dynasty. You may think that most temples are located in the secluded countryside, but Bongeunsa has mass appeal as it is set against the backdrop of the modern skyline with Gangnam‘s towering skyscrapers and flashing lights.

You can find out about the temple stay programs they have through this link.

2. Gilsangsa Templegilsangsa.jpg

Gilsangsa Temple is situated on the southern side of Samgak Mountain in northern Seoul. First registered in 1995, some of the buildings have been remodeled though most still preserve their original state. Many people frequent the temple as it is conveniently located in the heart of Seoul. It also serves as a downtown cultural space, offering many programs like classes on Buddhist teachings, temple experience, and temple stay.

You can find the temple stay program schedule here.

3. Geumsunsa Templegeumsunsa.jpg

Geumsunsa is located in the north of Seoul and belongs to the Jogye Order. Thriving with over 600 years of history, this venue is one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Korea and literally means ‘golden mountain temple.’ It features a three-story building called Mireukjeon that contains the world’s largest indoor statue, which stands at 11.82 meters.

To find more about the temple stay program details, click here.

4. Hwagyesa Templehwagyesa.jpg

Located at the foot of Samgak Mountain in the north of Seoul, Hwagyesa Templeis surrounded by beautiful mountains and landscapes that create a serene atmosphere to help visitors escape from urban life. A small water spring named Oktakcheon next to the temple is famous for its supernatural healing powers for the skin and stomach diseases. Legends say the spring was formed from crows pecking away at the rocks.

Check out the temple stay program schedule here.

5. Myogaksa Templemyogoksa

Myogaksa Temple is to the east of Seoul in the quiet residential district of Jongno-gu, Sungin-dong. Established by Monk Taeheo Hongseon in 1930, it is tucked away in the foothills of Naksan Mountain. The location was chosen based on Feng Shui, with the belief that by being situated on Naksan Mountain, it would bring peace and happiness to the residents of Seoul.

Find out more about the temple stay program here.

6. Jogyesa Temple jogyesa.jpg

The head temple of the Jogye order in Korean Buddhism is Jogyesa Temple, located in the heart of the city in Insadong. The temple grounds are surrounded by urban buildings, a great escape from the big city for both locals and foreign tourists and convenient to visit. It is especially packed with visitors during the Lotus Lantern Festival when the entire courtyard is embellished with paper lanterns.

Take a look at the temple stay programs offered here!

7. International Seon (Zen) Centerinternational-seon-center

The International Seon (Zen) Center is a meditation and Buddhist propagation training center as well as a learning facility for Buddhist cultural practices. Its overall aim is to promote awareness of the value of Korean Buddhism and its practices to the global community. It is located in Mokdong. Book a temple stay experience at this location here.

Book a temple stay experience at this location here.

Temple Stay Etiquette & Tips

Temples are a site of historic preservation as well as personal meditation. Therefore, it is very important to keep quiet and adhere to the rules and regulations.


* Refrain from speaking loudly, shouting, running, singing or playing music.

* Physical contact between men and women is strictly forbidden.

* Eating and drinking in undesignated areas or while walking is prohibited.

* No chewing gum, drinking alcohol or eating meat or fish

* No Smoking


* Use the correct side doors to walk into each building. Never enter through the middle as this is for the monks only.

* Whenever you meet someone, greet them with a half bow. You must also bow towards the Buddha when entering and leaving the temple.

* ‘Chasu’ is the posture used when walking within a temple or in front of a monk, portraying a humble mind and silence. Fold your right hand over your left hand at the center of your belly to achieve this posture.

* For Yaebul, enter the main hall through the side door and do three full bows facing the Buddha before sitting on your mind. meditation 2.jpgSo how about it? Find peace in a peaceful environment away from your clamoring and fast paced lifestyle, even if it’s just for a day or two. The temple stay programwill give you the chance to experience and witness something that’s completely different to what you’re used to – and you’re going to love it.

Check out the list of temple stay experiences we offer here and don’t forget to bookmark, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, to find the best deals and fun things to do in South Korea! button31

Photo Credits
“Beopjusa Temple Stay South Korea” By MeganYoungmee
“Tenryuki Kyoto two people relaxing” By Jesper Rautell Balle 
“Temple Stay” By raYmon 
“Temple Stay at Hwagyesa – Meditating” By sellyourseoul 
“Pyeongtaek Cultural Tour – Sudosa Temple Stay – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea – 21 April 2012″By USAG- Humphreys 
“Tea ceremony” By Jordi Sanchez Teruel
“Bongeunsa” By jcs203 
“Gil-sang Sa (길상사) Buddhist Temple, Seoul, South Korea” By Jirka Matousek
“Geumsansa” By Steve46814
“Hwa Gye Sa” By Martin Roell
“Myogaksa Temple” By Sandra K. 
“Myogak Temple3” By culturalcorpsofkoreanbuddhism
“Jogyesa Main Hall” By Steve46814
“Meditation” By Moyan Brenn

101.-105. Coffeenie, Caffe Klavier, Coffee Village, Cafe Olive, Cafe Anz

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Here are a few coffee shops easily accessible from the Guseo (130) subway station in Geumjeong-dong, Busan. I will comment on the places I have visited.

20160927_081446_resized Coffeenie Cafe, the nearest to the Guseo subway station. A clean layout inside, average to decent coffee. I’ve seen another location on a side road in Seomyeon, but definitely not one of the bigger players in the coffee chain game.
20160927_081838_resized Caffe Klavier, near the overpass stairs over a busy highway, Geumjeong-dong. They have a piano! Unfortunately, the rest of the layout of this place is kind of bland. They were, however, great for getting out of the rain one afternoon.20160927_082149_resizedCoffee Village. It’s very popular with the local high school, as it’s connected to it by the same building.20160927_082229_resized Cafe Olive. This was open when I first started at my current job. Then it was closed for months, I assumed forever. Then it was renovated and re-opened! Then, it closed two weeks later. Now, it’s open again. Average coffee, another place popular with the high school kids.20160927_082258_resizedThis is Cafe Anz. And this is Cafe Franz. And, we’re here to pump (clap!) you up! Good folks, pretty decent coffee. It’s an old building so watch your head if you’re trying to head to the bathroom in the back.

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.

How to say ‘Shut up’ in Korean

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Sometimes you might run into situations where someone in your vicinity is either being too loud. Or, maybe you are having an argument and don’t want to hear the other person speak at that moment. Today we will teach you how to say ‘Shut up’ in Korean.

Since this is a bit of a harsh phrase, we will also cover its more polite sister ‘Please be quiet’. While it’s recommendable to try to avoid being rude on purpose towards anyone, it might still be necessary to also know how to say ‘shut up’ in Korean, just in case.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


‘Shut up’ in Korean

shut up in korean


There are several ways to express ‘shut up’ in Korean, but the primary way is 입 닥쳐 (ib dakchyeo). 입 (ib) means ‘mouth’ while 닥쳐 (dakchyeo) simply means ‘shut up’ or ‘keeping one’s mouth shut’. This means that you don’t necessarily even need to add입 (ib) to express ‘shut up’, but it’s good for emphasis.


Sample Sentences

The following phrases are very informal, so make sure you use them accordingly!


제발 입 닥쳐 (jebal ib dakcheyo)

Please shut up


입 닥쳐! 웃긴소리 하지마! (ib dakchyeo! utkinsori hajima)

Shut up! Don’t be ridiculous!


Other Related Vocabulary


Although it might be fun and even useful to learn some bold Korean words, such as ‘shut up’, it’s even more important to know the more polite equivalent expressions that could be applicable to use in a daily life situation. Though, do take note that even ‘please be quiet’ is something that is considered quite informal in Korean language, no matter how formally you try to say it. Therefore, take that into consideration before telling anyone to be quiet – especially an elder person – no matter how annoyed by their loudness you might be.


시끄러워! (shiggeureoweo)

Be quiet! (The word comes from the verb 시끄럽다, which means ‘to be noisy’, so the literal meaning of the word is to exclaim that something or someone is being noisy.)

제발 조용히 좀 하세요 (jebal joyonghi jom haseyo)

Please be quiet

조용히 해주세요 (joyonghi haejuseyo)

Please be quiet

좀 조용히 해주실래요? (jom joyonghi haejusillaeyo?)

Could you please keep your voice down?


A word of caution about Romanization

While we offer a Romanization of the Korean words we teach, it’s best to actually learn the Korean alphabet, Hangul. We recommend that you use that more so than the Romanization which tends to have some variations that can get you and others confused. Romanization is perhaps best left to assist in learning the pronunciation of the words.

Learning Korean alphabet might seem like a scary idea, what with the completely new alphabet system and all, but it’s actually very systematic and simple alphabet to grasp! Indeed, you can actually learn to master Hangul in less than two hours!


It’s actually popular among Koreans to teach their foreigner friends how to say ‘Shut up’ in Korean – or one of its equivalent terms as some of the first things about Korean language. Therefore, you can also use this lesson as a way to impress your closest Korean friends, but please try to otherwise limit the use of ‘Shut up’ in Korean as not to needlessly offend anyone.


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

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series:

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  


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100.”Nostalgia Coffee”

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Here it is. Soak it up, drink it down. After almost one year and three months, the wait is finally over.

Behold: Coffee shop number 100.


Located on the main platform of the Jangjeon subway station (Sinpyeong side) in Busan, this shop serves both hot and cold bevvies, including sweetened and unsweetened coffees, hot chocolates and green tea.

And, so cheap, too! Those 1,500 won monster sized coffees from places like The Venti and 1 Liter might be all the rage these days, but this is the O.G. for discount coffee. Expect to pay between 300 and 400 won a cup. BARGAIN.


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I chose a classic blend of sugar and powdered milk for my coffee, which was served to me in less than 15 seconds. And you thought Starbucks was fast!

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They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. That is pure joy right there, friends.

I have to give credit to Jen Jones for suggesting coffee shop 100. We had just visited a random place across from the subway station and, 4,500 won a cup each later, were left somewhat disappointed. I had wanted to just go for something random because I had not posted on this site in over a year. In my mind, better to get something now rather than overthink the location and then lose interest again.

I am pretty sure she was mostly joking. Nonetheless, whenever I “order” a cup of Korean jet fuel from a random machine, I am instantly teleported 11 years in the past, when I first arrived in South Korea, in Jinju, several years before Korea’s coffee obsession took hold.

In humble Jinju, the only coffee (as far as I knew at the time; I only stayed that time for 6 weeks) was Holly’s Coffee (which came in far smaller cups than what one can now feed their need for caffeine) and the ubiquitous powdered coffee machines that were in far greater quantities then than they are today. While there were other, small independent coffee shops in Korea long before the chains took over, I never visited them.

The vending machines are by no means extinct. But, there are less. Why should there be any, one might think, when there are so, so, so many coffee shops on every street in every city in this small country? But, the vending machines remain. Why? Convenience? Taste? Maybe for some, it too is nostalgia. Whenever I take a whiff, even just a little sniff of this coffee, piping hot, I am 26 years old again, living in a foreign country for the first time, freaking out because everything is different, I have no idea what I’m doing in the classroom and Skype and Facebook haven’t gone mainstream yet.

Smelling a hot cup of sweetened powdered coffee puts me in a time machine every time, much like how smelling a certain kind of rubber transports me back to Christmas 1984, when a five-year-old version of myself was getting his first Transformers toys, and life was simpler.

Life in Korea 2005 was simpler, too, if only because I had not lived here long enough to develop any real connection to it beyond the mystical. And so, whenever my nasal chambers fill up with the powerful scent of vending machine coffee, I’m no longer in the super familiar Korea I’ve lived in and drank a sea of coffee in for almost four years, it’s that other Korea, the one where you could still smoke in the P.C. Bang, where gimbap can still cost 1,000 won and where it seemed like there was a coffee vending machine on practically every corner, the odd-ball Korea of my imagination.

Directions: go to Jangjeon subway station (stop 129), heading toward Nopo-dong, exit the train and look for the machine. Or, just look around anywhere. Recommended brew: the one with milk and sugar. Even I can’t stomach that powder without stuff to cover up its actual taste.

Trump and Northeast Asian Nuclearization: Not as a Terrible an Idea as You’ve Heard

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This is a re-post of something I wrote for the Lowy Institute earlier this month. The original is here.

So yes, Donald Trump is awful. He is a threat to American democracy, an vain narcissist, doesn’t know anything about nuclear weapons or national security, and so on. I know what you’re thinking, so I will say that I mailed-in my absentee ballot today, and I voted for Hillary Clinton.

That does not necessarily impugn all of his ideas however. And when he says that Japan and South Korea might pursue their own nuclear weapons, I have never understood the hysteria that greets this notion. That Trump says it, and that he might not really even understand what he’s saying, does not automatically mean it is wrong.

The debate over SK and Japanese nuclearization is a lot more variegated that we normally hear from mostly ‘liberal international order’ analysts who dominate Washington thinking on foreign policy. The essay below makes several claims, but the strongest to my mind is that a northeast Asian nuclear arms race is already underway; SK and Japan are just not participating in it – which does not mean it is not happening. It is true that they need not to some extent, because they are covered by American extended deterrence, which gives them ‘shadow nuclear weapons’ I suppose.

But the costs of them going nuclear are not that high anymore. Russia and North Korea have both substantially elevated the role of nuclear weapons in their grand strategies in the last two decades. China might start counter-building, but what is China doing for Japan or South Korea that it earns the privilege of them staying non-nuclear? Specifically, if China won’t rein in NK, the case for SK and Japanese nuclear restraint diminishes.

The full essay follows the jump.


One of the great misfortunes of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is that some of the policies he has suggested do actually deserve discussion. But they are tainted by the Orange One’s lunatic style, policy shallowness, and lack of focus. For example, Trump has raised long-overdue issues about America’s gargantuan, expensive global posture – is world-spanning, interventionist primacy really in America’s interest decades after the Cold War? There is disagreement on this; the two relevant intellectual communities on this question – academic international relations, and the think-tank set – seem to genuinely drifting apart on the issue. But Trump, after raising it, has spoken to it only in passing, and in such an off-the-cuff way, that one does not know if he actually meant it. Given that he just went ‘soft’ on his signature proposal – mass deportation of illegal immigrants – he probably does not actually have any genuine beliefs beyond his own narcissism. I’ve argued elsewhere that Asian elites need not worry about Trump retrenching out here. He is almost certainly too lazy and intellectually unfocused to do the necessary hard work.

Nuclear Weapons and Northeast Asia

One of Trump’s most interesting ‘proposals’ – if a slap-dash interview remark can be called that – is allowing Japan and South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons. Of course he did not follow-up on this – because he has no idea what he is talking about – and the Washington consensus against this is pretty strong. The last thing he wants to do is the hard intellectual work to actually argue this. But the issue is hardly so black-and-white. If Trump were not so dumb he might note:

1. Extended nuclear deterrence will always suffer from massive credibility problems.

Because South Korea and Japan do not have nuclear weapons, they implicitly rely on an American nuclear umbrella that, if invoked, would chain-gang the United States into a nuclear conflict. This is obviously hugely risky for the United States, because it requires America to fight a nuclear war when it has not been struck itself, and for that reason, it will always suffer from an obvious credibility problem. Will the US nuke Pyongyang or Beijing for Seoul or Tokyo? My own sense is no. A majority of US public opinion has never supported the US of American ground troops in a second Korean War. I find it even less likely that US opinion would support going nuclear barring an actual strike on the US homeland.

This problem is not new. During the Cold War, US European allies worried about the same thing and ultimately concluded that they needed their own nuclear weapons. They have since managed them responsibly, just as Japan and South Korea would.

2. Japan and South Korea are quite capable of managing the complexity of nuclear weapons.

One of the general fears about nuclear proliferation is that many states are simply not bureaucratically capable of supervising them properly. Well-known concerns include accidental launches or bomb-drops, theft and proliferation-for-sale, the loss of political control of nuclear bases to a rogue actor. These concerns apply to all states, but most obvious to badly governed ones or failed states. Hence there is a great deal more concern about Pakistan and North Korea’s nuclear weapons than Britain or India’s.

But South Korea and Japan have the modern bureaucratic and legal structures, such as tight civilian control over the military and secure nuclear facilities, to be trusted with such weapons. No one serious believes there would be an AQ Khan network out of Seoul or Tokyo.

3. Japan and South Korea are stable liberal democracies.

Another obvious concern about nuclear proliferation is that dictators, or worse, expansionists like Hitler, get them. But this obviously does not include stable liberal democracies like Japan and South Korea. Neither have started an armed conflict since WWII. Both broadly fit the ‘democratic peace’ theory. The same reasons that lead the US to accept Indian nuclearization, while clandestinely planning to take Pakistan’s weapons if necessary, apply here. South Korea and Japan will not lose them, nor use them aggressively, just as France and Britain never have.

4. Japan and South Korea are US allies who would never use them against the US alliance network.

Both are longstanding US allies with deep ties to the US military and Washington, D.C. There is no reason to think their nuclearization would ever threaten the US or its allies – again, just as Britain and France have never used them for coercive diplomacy against the US or its partners.

5. There is already a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia.

One of the most common objections is that South Korean or Japanese nuclearization would ignite an arms race in northeast or east Asia. This may be so, in that Russia, China, or North Korea might decide to build even more nuclear weapons. But Russia already has thousands and Putin has lowered Russia’s threshold for nuclear use, while North Korea has ignored UN resolutions and global opinion for three decades to acquire nuclear weapons. These states have already nuclearized the regional environment, put South Korea and Japan on the nuclear defensive, and forced them to rely on the US for deterrence.

China, to its underappreciated credit, has maintained a small nuclear arsenal for decades (rumors suggest around 400 warheads). But that is more than enough to devastate Korea and Japan; China has not made much effort to rein in its North Korean client’s nuclearization; and Beijing has insistently rejected South Korean and Japanese ballistic missile defense (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense – THAAD) which would obviously make it easier for them to stay non-nuclear.

In short, there is already a nuclear arms race in Asia. Just because Japan and South Korea are not participating, does not mean that it is not happening.

Future Debate

This should not be construed as a full endorsement of Japanese or South Korean nuclearization. Generally, the fewer the states with nuclear weapons, the better. South Korea will almost certainly never use them against North Korea, even North Korea nukes South Korea. And if South Korea or (more likely) Japanese nuclearization pushed China away from its currently restrained small stockpile, that would be clear loss.

Nevertheless, the debate is hardly as clear-cut as the Washington insistence on US nuclear dominance would insist. Japan and South Korea are easily stable, capable, and liberal enough to be trusted with them – if India and Israel can have them without US complaint, why not South Korea and Japan? – while Russia’s lower threshold, North Korea’s rules-be-damned build-up, and China’s foot-dragging on North Korean nukes and THAAD all keep this issue alive. That Trump brought this up and does not understand it, does not automatically delegitimize the debate.

Filed under: Asia, Lowy Institute, Nuclear Weapons

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


Wongaksa Temple – 원각사 (Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The temple courtyard at Wongaksa Temple in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located in the central part of a wide eastern valley on Mt. Muhaksan (761 m) Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do lies Wongaksa Temple. In fact, halfway up the aforementioned valley, you’ll first see a rather plain looking Iljumun Gate with the name of the temple written on it. Passing through this gate, and past a collection of rundown buildings, you’ll eventually come to a paved clearing where Wongaksa Temple lies.

Immediately you’ll know you’re in the right place when you spot the blue metal banner with the words “원각사” written on it. It’s behind this metal banner that you encounter yet another entry gate for the temple. This temple gate is a lot more refined than the first with beautiful floral murals adorning it, as well as a pair of fierce guardians painted on its doors.

Stepping inside the main temple grounds, you’ll immediately notice the temple bell pavilion straight ahead of you. Uniquely, there is a large bronze bell under the wooden structure with another equally good sized bronze bell exposed to the elements with only a neighbouring tree as protection.

To your immediate right is the temple’s visitors’ centre. It’s next to this building that you’ll find the unique main hall at Wongaksa Temple. Stepping inside the nearly square shaped main hall, which is all but unadorned except for the dancheong colours, you’ll first notice the main altar. The main triad consists of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) in the centre and joined by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). On either side of this triad is a smaller wooden pagoda and a stone statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). And all five statues are fronted by a much larger golden statue of Gwanseeum-bosal. The interior of the main hall is lined with smaller statues of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

To the left of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Sitting all alone on the main altar is a seated black haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This older looking statue is backed by an equally older looking painting of Jijang-bosal. To the right of the main altar is a triad of older shaman paintings dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).

Across the temple’s main courtyard, and over a bridge that spans a narrow stream, is the southern portion of the temple. Housed inside an unassuming brick façade is the temple’s Gwaneum-jeon Hall. Housed inside this hall, besides pooling water from the neighbouring stream, is a tall granite statue dedicated to Gwanseeum-bosal.

While the Gwaneum-jeon Hall lies to the right, there is a small courtyard that houses a collection of stupas, stele, and a slender five tier pagoda.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Masan Intercity Bus Terminal, there are several buses that go to where Wongaksa Temple is located. One of these buses is Bus #707. After eight stops, or sixteen minutes, you’ll need to get off at the “Seowongok Ipgu” stop. From the stop, walk about eleven minutes, or 800 metres, to get to the temple. There are various signs leading you in the direction of Wongaksa Temple. You can take a bus or simply take a taxi from the Masan Intercity Bus Terminal. A taxi ride will set you back 6,000 won over the 15 minute ride.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10. There are a few highlights to Wongaksa Temple. The first is the older collection of shaman paintings housed inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. Another is the main altar inside the main hall at Wongaksa Temple. The final highlight to Wongaksa Temple, besides the beautiful Mt. Muhaksan in all directions, is the unassuming shrine hall that houses an elegant statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.


A spider lily outside the temple grounds.


The first of two gates that welcome you to Wongaksa Temple.


The shacks that line the route towards Wongaksa Temple.


The blue metal banner and the second entry gate at Wongaksa Temple.


The stream that divides the temple in half.


The second entry gate at Wongaksa Temple.


One of the guardian murals that adorns the second entry gate.


As well as this beautiful floral mural.


The temple bell pavilion.


The main hall at Wongaksa Temple.


The unique main altar inside the main hall at Wongaksa Temple.


A look across the Myeongbu-jeon Hall towards the main hall.


The main altar inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall with Jijang-bosal front and centre.


The amazing and old shaman triad of paintings inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.


The view from the Myeongbu-jeon Hall out onto the the temple courtyard.


Across the stream is the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.


Inside is this beautiful stone statue of Gwanseeum-bosal.


To the left of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall is this stupa and stele field.


As well as this slender five tier pagoda.

Korea TESOL International Conference 2016

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Korea TESOL 2016

Why Didn’t I Get Involved Sooner?

I’m a big fan of Korea TESOL. One of my only regrets from my time in Korea is that I didn’t get involved in their organization sooner! I met lots of people who were passionate about teaching, which definitely inspired me to bigger and better things in the classroom. Some of my favourite memories were from the conferences, especially the national and international ones. Lots of famous people, both around the world and within the Korean EFL context. And although I’m certainly not famous, I did have the honour of presenting at a few of them, which was enjoyable, in an extremely nerve wracking kind of day!

It’s because of my own very positive experience with Korea TESOL that I want to give their conference a bit of a shout-out on my blog. Here are all the details that you need to know.

What is It?

The Korea TESOL (KOTESOL) International Conference hosted by Sookmyung Women’s University is a two-day conference for English teachers. The goal of the conference is to support KOTESOL’s mission to “assist teachers in self-development and improve ELT in Korea.”

200+ Sessions

The KOTESOL International Conferences features more than 200 sessions. The sessions are an eclectic mix of academic lectures, practical workshops, and discussions, hosted by ELT experts, educators, and scholars. Attendees can focus on sessions for teachers of young learners, university students, or adults. In addition, there are also 101 workshops designed to offer guidance to new teachers or experienced teachers who would like to brush up on the fundamentals. Between presentations, there is great opportunity for networking, as the conference attracts about a thousand teachers from Korea and across Asia.

Save Money: Pre-Register!

Pre-registration for the Korea TESOL International Conference ends October 1st.  The pre-registration discount averages about 10,000 won (see pricing chart below), and guarantees the attendee a conference bag and program book. Conference bags and program books will be distributed on a first come first serve basis, to those who register on site.

For more information about the conference visit

More Details

The 24th Korea TESOL International Conference
Shaping the Future with 21st Century Skills

Date: October 15-16, 2016

Location: Sookmyung Women’s University,
Seoul, Korea


Registration Fees

Registration Type Pre-registration  Price Onsite Registration Price
Members 50,000 won 60,000 won
Non-members 75,000 won 85,000 won
Groups (5+ people) 65,000 won Not Available
Undergraduate students 25,000 won 35,000 won


Twitter: #KOTESOL #2016IC


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