Must-Read of the Week: “Our Happy Time” by Gong Ji- Young

Among the many lessons to be learned from acclaimed novelist Gong Ji- Young’s Our Happy Time, a book that has sold over a million copies in South Korea and was adapted into the 2006 Korean film Maundy Thursday, one is that money can’t buy you happiness. At least that’s the case for protagonist Yujeong, whose abundance of wealth, beauty and fame does little to prevent yet another suicide attempt, landing her in the hospital.

Yujeong begins the story by remembering her deceased love, Yunsu. Gong wastes no time in telling us the reason behind his death: Yunsu was a convicted murderer on death row. This unexpected relationship begins when the suicidal Yujeong joins her aunt on a charitable visit to inmates on death row. There, she meets Yunsu and the two begin having weekly meetings. Needless to say, these meetings eventually progress into a bond much deeper than expected.

We soon discover that there is more to Yunsu than his horrifying crime. The story alternates between Yujeong’s perspective and Yunsu’s prison diary. Through the diary, we learn about Yunsu’s difficult childhood, broken family and ultimately, the reason for his actions. We begin to sympathize with him and see him as a whole person rather than a criminal. In this way, we parallel Yujeong’s journey as she slowly falls in love with Yunsu. Although Yujeong and Yunsu’s time together is tragically brief, they are both left with something unforgettable: They learn to love themselves and life once more.

Details Paper, $16, simonandschuster.com.

This story was originally published in our Winter 2014-15 issue. Get your copy here

 

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Lynn Chen Spends An Entire Day Eating Noodles From “Around The World”

 

Last week, we gave you a list of 10 Asian soups to keep you warm over the holidays. Well it seems everyone is craving noodles this holiday season. Buzzfeed Yellow recently released a video titled “Noodles Around The World,” featuring actress Lynn Chen (Saving Face). There are already a million reasons we’d like to be Lynn Chen for a day, and it seems this video gives us yet another reason.

In the video, Chen spends the entire day eating noodles from around the world. Yes, you read that correctly — she ate noodles all day for work. Where do we sign up for this job?

Obviously, Chen didn’t actually travel around the world in a day to taste different dishes, but she did the next best thing — she explored the different restaurants available in the Los Angeles area.

 

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During Chen’s hunt for noodle restaurants in LA, she was able to visit Sapp Coffee Shop, Papa Cristo’s, Pho 2000, Ma Dang Noodle House and Inti Restaurant. There are a number of other noodle dishes we wish she had covered in this video, but let’s be honest here– that’s already a lot of noodles to fit into one person in one day.

Did she miss your favorite Los Angeles noodle shop? Let us know!

 

Japanese Makeup Artist Transforms Into Audrey Hepburn, Ariana Grande and the One Direction Members

 

A few months ago, we showed you the skills of Paolo Ballesteros, a Filipino host and actor who has undeniable talent when it comes to makeup. Using wigs and his makeup skills, Ballesteros has made himself look like Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce, Kim Kardasian and countless other Hollywood stars.

Well it looks like there’s someone else who has picked up a talent for recreating Hollywood looks. A Japanese makeup artist known as Zawachin has attracted 276K followers on twitter for her monomane meiku (imitation makeup).

While Ballesteros gained popularity for his ability to look like female celebs, Zawachin uses makeup to look like both male and female celebrities. In fact, she transforms into celebrities of various age, gender and ethnicity.

Zawachin often uses masks, objects or even her hand to block the lower half of her face. By doing this, she allows the focus to lay on her eyes and eyebrows. Surprisingly, even though she only shows part of her face, her imitations are practically flawless.

Using impressive makeup skills, wigs and even proper wardrobe, Zawachin has transformed into Avril Lavigne, Ariana Grande and, most impressively, all the members of One Direction. Most recently, she has been able to mimic the classic look of Audrey Hepburn. She was even able to mimic Hepburn’s famous pixie bangs without actually cutting her hair.

Check out the photos below and be sure to check out Zawachin’s twitter account and official website.

 

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Photo courtesy of Rocket News 24

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Photo courtesy of Rocket News 24

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Photo courtesy of Rocket News 24

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Photo courtesy of Twitter

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Photo courtesy of Twitter

Unique Christmas Traditions in Asia

 

Christmas is less than a week away! For many of us, this season means decorating Christmas trees, navigating through crowded malls, playing the Michael Bublé Christmas album way too much and baking gingerbread cookies. But what does Christmas look like for the rest of the world? More specifically, how is Christmas in Asia?

Asian countries have a smaller number of Christians and Catholics compared to the rest of the world. In Thailand for instance, less than 1% of the population is Christian. As a result, many Asian countries who do celebrate Christmas simply follow Western customs and traditions such as Midnight Mass and the exchange of gifts (but not without enthusiasm). In places like Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia, Western customs and traditions are followed, but the holiday has a more secular view than a religious one.

Of course, this is not the case for all Asian countries. The Philippines, for instance, is one of two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia and Christmas is the most enthusiastically celebrated holiday on the calendar. The country is known for celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season which begins September 1st.

We’ve found that the Asian countries which do celebrate Christmas have an interesting set of traditions specific to their country. Here are some of the most unique ones:

 


 

JAPAN

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Photo courtesy of www.smosh.com

In 1974, KFC Japan began to promote fried chicken as a Christmas meal. The insanely successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign made the “Christmas Chicken” bucket an annual tradition. In fact, the tradition has become so popular, people order their buckets months in advance to avoid the two hour line.

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Photo courtesy of christmas-kid.com

In addition to KFC fried chicken, there is one more thing that must be on the table for any Japanese home to feel the holiday spirit: Christmas cake. According to anthropologist Michael Ashkenazi, who studied Japanese culture and tradition, Christmas cake is “sold on practically every street corner.” Japanese Christmas cakes are sponge cakes covered in white cream and ruby red strawberries.

 


 

KOREA

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Photo courtesy of thekoreanway.wordpress.com

Christianity is still relatively new in Korea, so many Christmas celebrations follow that of Western culture. However, Korea has its own version of Santa Claus. Santa Haraboji, or Grandfather Santa, looks similar to the Western Santa, but he wears a traditional Korean hat (갓 gat) and his statues have often portrayed him in a green suit instead of a red one.

 


 

INDONESIA

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Photo courtesy of wkre.com

Although Indonesia is a Muslim country, Christmas is still regarded as a public holiday celebrated by many. Shopping malls are known to cover themselves in Christmas decorations and Santa Claus is even a widely-known figure. One Christmas tradition in Indonesia that we typically see in July are fireworks.

 


 

INDIA

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Similar to Indonesia, India has a very small Christian population, but the 2.3% of Christians (that’s 25 million) are very enthusiastic about Christmas. Religious customs such as Midnight Mass are observed and some even put a small, oil-burning, clay lamp on their roof to show that Jesus is the light of the world. In South India, the tradition of the Christmas tree is alive and well, but instead of pine trees, mangos trees are used.

 


 

PHILIPPINES

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Photo courtesy of hedgy.com

In the Philippines, Christmas is celebrated from September until January. Needless to say, this holiday is huge. One of the most well-known traditions is Simbang Gabi (night mass) which are nightly, dawn masses beginning from December 16th and ending on Christmas Eve. The masses are meant to show devotion to God and create more anticipation for the birth of Christ. After each mass, plenty of traditional food is consumed.

A "parol" is a traditional Filipino Christmas lantern.

Photo courtesy of dopaminejunkie.org

To us, the Christmas tree is one of the most symbolic decorations of Christmas. In the Philippines, it’s the paról. Paróls are star-shaped lanterns which represents the star of Bethlehem which guided the Three Kings. Early paróls were made of bamboo, rice paper and oil lanterns. Now, the art form of making paróls has become as intricate as they are beautiful.

 


 

Know more unique Asian Christmas traditions? Let us know!

Feature image courtesy of dopaminejunkie.org

 

Celebs React Furiously to the Cancellation of ‘The Interview’

 

Yesterday, December 17th, Sony Pictures announced that they would not only cancel all advance/private screenings of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s The Interview, they have completely pulled the plug and will no longer release the film in theaters on Christmas day. In fact, the studio has no further release plans for the film at all.

As you may already know, all of this is in response to cyber attacks on Sony Pictures which resulted in a leak of countless private emails. The hackers, known only as “Guardians of the Peace,” then threatened to perform an “11th of September”-style attack on all movie theaters showing the film which portrays the assassination of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un.

As a result, the nation’s five biggest theater chains (Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas) all decided to cancel showings of The Interview. Sony Pictures then cancelled the film entirely. Despite our efforts to support talented Asian American actors, even our very own screening of The Interview was cancelled.

Sony released a statement on Wednesday:

In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

 

Some support this decision and claim that safety must come first. Others shake their heads in disappointment over Sony’s decision and point out that this cowardice gives hackers even more power to control. Many Hollywoods celebs have put in their two cents and it is clear that this news does not sit well with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Feature photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

 

Indian Comic Book Heroine Speaks Out Against Sexual Violence

 

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in Asian females entering the comic book world. Marvel, for instance, has created two Asian superheroines: Ms. Marvel and Silk. Well, it looks like there’s a new girl in town and unlike the Marvel super heroes, she’s fighting something much more realistic than mutated super villains. She combats the very real issues of rape, sexual violence and harassment in India and all around the world.

“A beautiful woman, wrapped in a sari, sits calmly on top of a ferocious tiger,” NBC News describes. “This is how much of the world meets Priya, India’s newest superhero and a rape survivor.”

 

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From the talented mind of Indian American filmmaker Ram Devineni, Priya’s Shakti’s tale begins with a violent gang rape. As a result, Priya is ostracized by her family and community out of shame. This is when Priya sends an empowering message for women everywhere by not staying silent on the taboo topic. Under the guidance of the Hindu Goddess Parvati, Priya chooses to speak out against rape and other acts of sexual violence.

Devineni say’s he was first inspired to create this comic book after the infamous 2012 New Delhi gang rape. After speaking to a New Delhi officer, he was shocked to discover that many men thought the victim was the one who provoked the rape by being out so late.

In disbelief over this perspective, Devineni spent the following year traveling around India and Southeast Asia to get a closer look at the true nature of this very serious issue.

 

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“Talking with several rape survivors, I realized how difficult it was for them to seek justice and how much their lives were constantly under threat after they reported the crime,” Devineni. told NBC News.  “Their family, local community, and even the police discouraged them from pursuing criminal action against their attackers. The burden of shame was placed on the victim and not the perpetrators.”

Devineni was motivated by real-life stories to challenge society’s fear of discussing rape. He made the comic book even more accessible by adding another layer to it. Viewers can scan the comic book and the animation comes to life. With the addition of sound and movement, he hopes that people will remember that these sort of violent acts actually happen in real life.

“We want people to tell their friends ‘I stand with Priya,’Devineni explained, “and support women’s equality and the struggles of rape survivors to seek justice.”

The comic will premiere at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention from December 19th to the 21st.

 

Feature image courtesy of Bitpage

 

Advance Screening of “The Interview” Cancelled

 

Audrey Magazine and KoreAm Journal will unfortunately be canceling the advanced screening of The Interview, as requested by Sony Pictures. We apologize for the abrupt cancellation and any inconvenience this may have caused. As many of you may know, several major theaters have made the decision to not screen the film for safety concerns. In addition, Sony Pictures has confirmed that it has canceled its Christmas release of The Interview. 

Adding on to KoreAm’s sentiments, it’s unfortunate that this film cannot be shown in theaters at this time. We can only hope that even more films with talented Asian American actors will emerge and they will certainly have our support.

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Angelina Jolie’s WWII Film “Unbroken” Creates Outrage in Japan

The upcoming World War II film Unbroken has not been released internationally yet, but it has already outraged many Japanese nationalists who are attempting to ban the film in Japan. Some are so outraged that they are even extending the ban to the film’s director, Angelina Jolie.

Unbroken tells the shocking and inspiring tale of real-life WWII hero and former Olympic distance runner Louis Zamperini. Inspired by his 2010 biography written by Laura Hillenbrand, the film shows how Zamperini survived 47 days in the Pacific Ocean following a plane crash, only to spend the next two years enduring brutal treatment as a Japanese prisoner of war.

Sadly, Zamperini passed away at the age of 97 on July 2, 2014, but not before creating a strong bond with his neighbor Angelina Jolie.

“I imagine that for the last 10-something years, [Zamperini has] been sitting there having a coffee in the morning and wondering who’s going to make [his story into a] movie,” Jolie told Tom Brokaw on TODAY. “And I’ve been sitting in my room laying there thinking, ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I wanna do something important … I need some help. I need some guidance. Where is it?’ And it was right outside my window.”

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Despite the film’s good intentions, Japan is enraged with the negative portrayal of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. A particularly gruesome passage in Zamperini’s biography mentions the occurrence of cannibalism.

“There was absolutely no cannibalism,” argues Mutsuhiro Takeuchi, a nationalist-leaning educator. “That is not our custom.”

Although there are many, such as Mindy Kotler of the Washington research center Asia Policy Point, who point out that there is plenty of documentation on the torture and abuse inflicted on Japanese POWs, The Review Journal explains that this is not the first time Japanese nationalists disagree:

“The release of Unbroken comes at a time [where] some in Japan are downplaying the country’s colonization of its Asian neighbors and the aggressive acts carried out by the Imperial Army during World War II.

For example, some politicians dispute the role of Japanese soldiers in the Rape of Nanjing, which began in 1937, in which an estimated 300,000 Chinese were killed. They say that is a vast over count.

Similarly, they reject historical studies that show women from several Asian countries, especially Korea, were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military. Some oppose the term “sex slave,” which the U.N. uses, preferring the euphemistic “comfort women.””

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Despite the controversial reaction, Jolie is moving forward with her film. The world premiere was held in Sydney, Australia last month.

The audience seemed particularly impressed with actor Takamasa Ishihara (more commonly known as Miyavi) who plays “The Bird,” a Japanese prison guard who is especially cruel to Zamperini.

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Don’t be surprised if Miyavi looks familiar. He has been in the limelight as a popular J-pop star since 2002, but decided to put aside his lip rings and intricate hairstyles for this challenging role.

“As a musician, I questioned whether I should take a break from my craft to pursue this role,” Miyavi said in a statement last October. “After meeting Angie, it became clear to me that an underlying theme to this story is forgiveness. This resonated with me because that is exactly what I want express through my music.”

Unbroken will debut in U.S. theaters on Christmas Day. Check out the official trailer below.

 

Feature image courtesy of justjared.com

 

EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY: Win Tickets to An Advance Screening of ‘The Interview’

 

Do you want to watch an upcoming blockbuster film starring James Franco, Seth Rogen and Randall Park? Feel like watching this comedy in theater filled with celebs and industry insiders?  Here’s your chance!

Sony is teaming up with KoreAm Journal, Audrey Magazine and London Trust Media to present an advance screening of the upcoming blockbuster The Interview.

Join us for an unforgettable and exciting night at the Downtown Independent theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec 17th.  Contest winners and a guest of their choice will get passes to the advance screening as well as an exclusive after party! Here’s your chance to rub shoulders with industry insiders while you enjoy free appetizers to celebrate the night.

 


HERE’S HOW TO WIN:

1) Like KoreAm Journal AND Audrey Magazine on Facebook.
2) Sign up on the official contest page.
3) Share the official contest page on Facebook or Twitter. 

That’s it! Contest ends on DEC 15TH so don’t miss your chance!


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Wednesday, Dec 17th, 2014

Downtown Independent
251 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

7:30 PM – Red Carpet
8:00 PM – Advance Screening, Downtown Independent (Seated by 7:50 PM)
10:00 PM – Hosted After Party

This advance screening is strictly 21 & over


DISCLAIMER:
-Contest Winners will be chosen at random.
-You must be at least 21 or older apply.
-The tickets are non-transferrable.
-Transportation will not be provided.
-If selected, please bring your ID to the event.

 

 

For any questions regarding the contest please contact: events@iamkoream.com 

 

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Audrey Magazine Is Looking For An Office Manager

 

KoreAm Journal and Audrey Magazine, the longest-running independent English-language publication serving the Korean American community and the Asian American community, is looking for an assistant office manager/administrator to begin immediately. The ideal candidate must have at least 2 years of administrative experience.

Responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to handling all subscriptions to KoreAm/Audrey, managing the accounts, managing payroll, human resources, involvement in KoreAm/Audrey events and more. The ideal candidate must be tech-savvy and be familiar with programs such as Quick Book, Excel and Word.

If qualified and interested in the position, please send your resume and cover letter to James@iamkoream.com and Michael@iamkoream.com.

No phone calls please. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. Salary commensurate with experience.