Time Travel Through South Korea

Korean artist Sungseok Ahn was shocked when he paid a visit to Seoul, Korea. Many of the historical landmarks he had studied about had transformed into bright and shiny skyscrapers over the years.

These emotions inspired Ahn to create the art project “Historical Present.” The idea behind the project was simple. Ahn projected an old image of a popular site onto its current state. The pictures were usually taken at sunrise or sunset when the light is ideal for beaming.

Ahn got the black-and-white photographs of Seoul in it’s former state from an old picture book that was published by the Japanese government when Korea was under imperial Japanese rule. His projections have framed Seoul’s best known and historic surfaces such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Great South Gate.

Using this method of “time traveling” and showing us both the past and present of South Korea, Ahn allows us to “question the way we treat our history and explores the dynamics between space and time at the same time.”

Ahn says this project is about “the “psychological void that emerges as we live our lives forgetting.” He adds that the project is a reminder that “someday…we’re [all going to disappear] likes people in old pictures. Things change and we’re gone.”

Though his words are sad and clearly mourning the past, the photographic in “Historical Present” are nothing short of beautiful.

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Happy Black Day: Korea’s Single Awareness Day

In America, Valentines Day means roses and a box of chocolates for our significant other. It is arguably the most romantic national holiday for us. Nonetheless, for many Asian countries, a single day to show love isn’t enough.

For countries such as Japan, Korea and China, Valentine’s day is celebrated quite differently. This holiday is an opportunity for women to present men with chocolate as an expression of love. Men do not give women anything in return until a month later. On March 14th, otherwise known as White day, men reply to the women who gave them gifts. This gift is a good indicator of whether or not he feels the same way.

As it turns out, White Day is not the only holiday we’re missing out on. A month after White Day, on April 14th, Korea celebrates yet another interesting holiday: Black Day.

As you may have guessed, Black Day is practically the opposite of the two romantic holidays. This is a day is for those who did not receive gifts on Valentines Day or White Day. Yup, this unofficial holiday is for single people.

To celebrate this day, people wear black and eat black-colored food. Specifically, people indulge in jajangmyeon, a noodle dish with a thick sauce made of chunjang (soybean paste), diced pork and vegetables. As sad as this holiday may seem, people have put in efforts to make this holiday fun such as jajangmyeon-eating competitions.

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Yuna Kim Sings (Yes, Sings) Popular ‘Frozen’ Song

Story by Julie Ha. 

Anyone still bitter about South Korean skater Yuna Kim not winning gold at the Sochi Olympics under a cloud of controversy?

Then, it might be worth viewing a neat new video of Kim singing and skating to a popular song from the hit film Frozen. The video is from a newly released commercial for Samsung Consumer Electronics’ new Smart Air Conditioner Q9000.

Can you guess which song from the movie? Hint: “The cold never bothered me, anyway…”

As Kim is heard singing “Let It Go,” the famous anthem from Frozen, Kim is seen performing on the ice and then later recording the popular song with a children’s choir. The video has already attracted 786,000 views on YouTube.

This isn’t the first time the 23-year-old skater has dabbled in singing. She is well-known in Korea for her singing talent and has even performed on Korean TV music programs. In this 2010 performance, she sang the Brown-Eyed Girls’ “I’m in Love” in front of an appreciative audience.

Kim was the first from her country to win an Olympic gold medal in the 2010 Winter Games and controversially won silver in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this past February, infamously losing to Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova. Kim is also a two-time World champion and three-time Grand Prix Final champion. She retired from competitive skating after the Sochi Olympics.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a look back at KoreAm‘s 2013 story about Kim, as she was making her comeback to competitive skating in the run-up to the 2014 Olympics.

 This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

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Website Offering Platform for ‘Discreet Cheating’ Launches in SKorea

Story by Steve Han. 

The above Ashley Madison.com ad shows a drop-down menu that lets users
choose between ”a married man seeking a woman”and “a married woman seeking a man.”

An entrepreneur dubbed the “King of Infidelity” has taken his message of “life is short, have an affair” to South Korea, launching an online dating website meant to “help” married people seek extramarital partners.

Noel Biderman, CEO of Ashelymadison.com, an online matchmaking service for married people, launched the Korean edition of his website this month to “change the Korean society” while gaining profits for himself. He is tiptoeing the line between turning some married South Koreans into adulterers and advocating for what he calls social change, as he says Korea’s laws criminalizing adultery are archaic.

“I have looked through the Korean market and found that more and more people are marrying late, or not marrying at all,” Biderman told The Korea Herald. “At the same time, the rate of divorce, especially for those initiated by women, is climbing rapidly.

“I cannot talk anyone into cheating,” he added. “I am just providing them with a platform that they could (use to) have an affair discreetly … I believe that having an affair could prevent divorce.”

Exactly how Biderman hopes to use his venture to mend South Korea’s rising divorce rate isn’t clear, and he chooses not to visit Seoul because he fears the public may publicly egg him.

“I am dying to see Seoul personally, but the feedback was, ‘If you need a spanking, come to Korea,’” Biderman, a former sports agent, said.

Despite the criticism, Biderman is raking in millions of dollars by running the same website in 36 different countries, including the U.S. and Australia. Ashelymadison.com grossed about $125 million last year, according to the Herald report. It gleans its largest profits from male customers, who comprise about 80 percent of the site’s membership, the article said. Men must pay a “credit” in order to initiate a conversation; in Korea, that amount is 2,150 won ($2); women, however, don’t have to pay a fee.

Biderman said he finds the first three years of marriage the most ripe for cheating. “Those whose wives are pregnant, have kids and are less caring to husbands, those into their 40s and 50s, they are the major targets,” he said, “not to ignore the ‘Viagra generation.’”

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com 

 

2NE1 on ‘America’s Next Top Model’

Recently, we discovered that supermodel Tyra Banks and the contestants of reality TV show America’s Next Top Model were spotted roaming the streets of Seoul to film. Banks and her crew arrived in South Korea on March 21st and since then, more and more exciting news has been revealed.

For instance, a number of entertainment sites reported that model, Lee Jin-yi, could possibly be a competitor this season. Also causing excitement is K-pop group BtoB who will appear on the show as dance judges.

Now it appears there is another K-pop group stirring up excitement. Popular girl group 2NE1 already appeared on The Bachelor earlier this year and now they will be taking part in America’s Next Top Model as as special judges.

According to dramafever, a source revealed, “2NE1 was asked to be on the show because they are a representative K-Pop group and they are also well-known to be fashionistas.”

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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Filming in Korea

Story by Cassandra Kwok. 

Supermodel Tyra Banks and the newest contestants of reality TV show America’s Next Top Modelwere spotted roaming the streets of Seoul, causing a “frenzy” among local media, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Local residents have been reporting on the group’s whereabouts on social media, after host Banks and her crew arrived in Seoul on March 21. The group reportedly visited various city landmarks and popular tourist attractions, including City Hall and Gwanghwamun at Gyeongbok Palace, while filming the 21st iteration of the modeling competition, which will be coed this season.

Various entertainment sites reported that 17-year-old Korean model, Lee Jin-yi, could possibly be a competitor this season. Lee is the daughter of actress Hwang Shin-hye. In addition, K-pop group BtoB will appear on the show as dance judges.

The reality TV show is known for traveling to extravagant locations with the latest trend-setting fashion. Filming of the show will continue for next two weeks under tight security.

Residents of Seoul will be seeing much more than just models wandering their streets as South Korea has been taking center stage for several international productions this year.

In just a few weeks, the filming of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron will be shutting down the streets of Seoul as reports have stated closures of many major roads and specified locations.

Earlier this year, ABC’s reality show The Bachelor filmed several episodes of its season in Korea, with contestants participating in a K-pop performance with idol girl group, 2NE1.

America’s Next Top Model will air on the CW in August.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com.

Korean Parody of “Let it Go” Will Be The Funniest Thing You See All Day

The obsession with Disney’s Frozen continues! In particular, the song “Let it Go” is one for the books. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 86th Academy Awards. This was a historic moment for the Asian American community because this meant that Robert Lopez, co-creator of “Let it Go,” became the first Filipino American to win an Oscar and the first Fil-Am to join a prestigious group called “Egot” —  individuals who have won the four top entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Aside from the Oscar, a simple scroll through YouTube makes the success of this song clear. There have been a number of YouTube covers of the song, many of which are from the Asian community, and even instrumental covers.

And that doesn’t even begin to describe the movie’s worldwide success. For instance, the film is now the highest-grossing animated feature ever in South Korea. This means even beloved Kpop stars can be found covering “Let it Go.”

Recently, we came across something else from Korea that caught our attention. During what appears to be a Korean game show, we found the most hilarious Frozen parody ever. It’s filled with fake snow, perfect lip-syncing and hilarious theatrics.

Check it out below. We promise it will be one of the funniest and most entertaining things you watch today.

Designer Handbag Rentals Available in Korea

Story by Y. Peter Kang.

A new service in South Korea allows women to flash the latest high-end handbag without forking over a lot of dough.

MBC reports that a luxury goods rental service has customers depositing their own upscale handbagwith a broker which then entitles them to pick out a handbag for a fee of about $20 to $30 per week. If the customer’s bag is rented by another customer, they get a percentage of the rental fees. If they don’t add a bag to the pool, they can still rent a bag for a higher fee of about $50.

Members are reportedly happy with the service.

“I think it’s a great thing, to be able to change up your bag for the price of a cup of coffee,” one customer told MBC. “It’s fresh and new.”

MBC reported that peer-to-peer rental services were first popularized in the United States following the Great Recession of 2008. One notable example of a P2P rental service that has taken off is Airbnb, a site in which homeowners can rent out rooms to cost-conscious travelers.

This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.

Recap: Disastrous Vendor Evictions in Gangnam

Now Gangnam, Korea is becoming known for more than just a popular parody song in America. In February, over the course of two days, the Gangnam District Office and police hired a group of 50 city workers to forcefully evict street vendors. This resulted in physical altercations between workers and vendors, and the complete destruction of several street stands.

Running businesses on the streets of Gangnam has been illegal since 2011, without much enforcement. Now district chief Shin Yeon-hee says the area, which has been developing in recent years into a metropolis, needs to be “cleaned up” in order to make Gangnam more “global” and “foreigner friendly” for all of the incoming tourists.

 

Vendors couldn’t do much but watch as city workers not only harassed them, but took hammers to their stands, destroying all merchandise. Police officers stood nearby but didn’t interfere. There have been reports that a few brave vendors have ventured to set up new stands since then.

Yuna Kim in Confirmed Relationship With Hockey Player

Story by Steve Han. 

Yikes! The Queen has found a King.

Star figure skater Kim Yuna, known as “Queen Yuna,” is dating ice hockey player Kim Won-jung, her agency confirmed Thursday.

South Korean tabloid website Dispatch set the Korean Internet on fire Wednesday after releasing a series of photos, one of which shows Kim, 23, taking a leisurely stroll alongside the 29-year-old hockey player in Seoul with her arm wrapped around him. Kim’s agency, All That Sports, later revealed that the two athletes are indeed dating.

“Most of what Dispatch reported is true as Kim Yuna and Kim Won-jung are in a relationship,” the agency said in a press release.

The couple first met in July 2012 while training at the Taeneung Training Center in Seoul where South Korean figure skaters, ice hockey players and short track skaters share the ice rink throughout the day prior to international competitions, including the Winter Olympic Games, according to Dispatch. They began dating in August 2013. Both of them also recently graduated from Korea University.

The photos published by Dispatch were reportedly taken on Sept. 5 last year, which was Kim’s 23rd birthday, but the reporter who broke the story decided to hold them until now to avoid being a distraction to Kim’s preparations for the Winter Olympic Games, where she controversially settled for a silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of host country Russia.

“We set the date for the release of the photos sometime after the Olympics out of consideration [for Kim],” said Na Ji-yeon, the Dispatch reporter who broke the news, according to YTN News. “We decided to release the photos in March after all her [competitions] were over.”

Kim Won-jung plays for the military club Daemyung Sangmu in the Asia League Ice Hockey (ALIH), which is a three-nation league with three teams from Korea, one from China and four based in Japan.

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This story was originally published in iamkoream.com.