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Sunday April 23 : Busan International food and crafts market

Sat, 2017-04-22 10:54

From: https://www.facebook.com/events/1885007781779546

The Busan Foreign Culture Market is a regular (usually monthly) event where people come together to share arts, crafts and food from all around the world. 

At the heart of every market is Culture, Community and Charity with us raising money for several local and international charities. 

부산 외국 문화 시장은 사람들이 함께 모이고 세계 각국의 음식과 공예품을 공유하는 곳입니다. 또한, BFCM가 다양한 지역 자선사업을 위해 돈을 모금하고 모금활동에 참여하고 있습니다.

We also believe in reducing waste with the event serving as a donation point where people can bring along unwanted items which we will then sell, donate or re-cycle for charity. Please check out our FAQ section herehttps://www.facebook.com/notes/busan-foreign-culture-market/faqs/628434080694302

To make the event succesful we need the community to support us so if you would like to donate a couple of hours of your time to help out we will welcome you with open arms, it is a great way to meet new people and give back to the community.

Location location location

British pies, sausage rolls, pate & Bakewell tarts
British chocolates, HP sauce, marmite & vegemite
Fudge, brownies, rock cakes & cookies
Massage candles and soaps 
Calligraphy & crochet
Hand sewn postcards and Busan themed accessories 
Jewelry by Broadhead boutique
Hummus, tzatziki and falafel

HQ Bar
Baked goods and cheesecakes
German baked goodies
Pakistani food - biryanis, samosas
Dips, pots pies, pasta
BAPS tables banana bread and chocolate treats

Beached Bar
Clothing donations and donation drop off point
Teddy bear game
Dill Pickles
Vegan and gluten free baked goods
Jewelry & accesories
Monkey bread

Baked goods
Heat packs
Soaps & beauty products
French baked treats 
Desserts & food from the Philippines 
Fabric & embroidery items



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THAAD is Not about Missile Defense anymore

Sun, 2017-04-16 13:23
THAAD is Not about Missile Defense anymore

This is a local re-post of a piece I wrote at The National Interest a few weeks ago. The graphic here comes straight from the Lockheed Martin webpage on THAAD. There’s so much contradictory information floating around about THAAD, maybe it’s best just go to the website and look for yourself. No, I’m not shilling for LM; I have no relationship. I just thought it would be convenient. And yes, I support the THAAD deployment here.

Anyway, this essay is actually about the politics, specifically that China WAY overplayed its hand against the THAAD deployment in South Korea. Now THAAD isn’t about THAAD anymore. The Chinese have ballooned it into such a huge issue, that it’s now about SK sovereignty and freedom to make national security choices without a Chinese veto. If you want to read why I am wrong, here’s my friend Dave Kang to tell you that I am getting carried away.

I still stand by my prediction though: neither Ahn nor Moon will withdraw THAAD even if they’d want to otherwise, because now it would look like knuckling under to China. Maybe the Justice Party candidate would withdraw it, but she is polling at 3%.

The full essay follows the jump:



The South Korean decision to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system has prompted a major Chinese reaction. The Chinese government has used a wide range of economic pressure against South Korea to reverse its decision. It has severely restricted tourist travel to the country, cancelled cultural events, pursued fatuous regulatory action against the company (Lotte) which sold the land to the South Korean government on which THAAD will be stationed, and, in a move worthy of the ‘freedom fries’ of yore, staged a public bulldozing of bottles of the Korean national alcohol soju.


Campy, yet Serious

This effort is simultaneously ridiculous and clever, campy and serious. On the one hand, it is preposterously obvious that these ‘protests’ are staged. Once again, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated how woefully out of touch it is with modern democratic opinion. The same apparatchiks who mistake ‘praise’ of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in The Onion as the real thing are those who think that a video of a bulldozer driving over soju bottles might somehow appear authentic. If China’s increasing bullying of South Korea over THAAD were not so serious, these hijinks would be comedy material. Indeed my students here in South Korea laugh over this in discussion even as they worry about it.

On the other hand, this a wise way to pressure South Korea if the CCP is absolutely dead-set against a THAAD emplacement in South Korea, which it appears to be. South Korea is a mid-size economy with a few very large exporters selling to a few very large markets. This makes it highly sensitive to the politics of its biggest export markets, of which China is one. Japan too has been targeted in this way by China, but it is more diversified economically than South Korea and so had more flexibility to ride out Chinese displeasure. China has also used these tactics in southeast Asia.

The CCP also retains plausible deniability by routing this pressure obliquely through nongovernmental actors. There has been little overt, ‘track 1’ pressure, likely because Beijing is hoping South Korea will back down without an open breach. But the mercantilist-dictatorial state can ‘encourage’ patriotic action in an economy where something like 80% of firms have some amount of state ownership.

Countries with an open media can surely see through this charade of independent action. But in China itself, this can be marketed as the outrage of the Chinese people, rising up against encirclement by the Americans and their lackeys. And in global public opinion, there is surely enough hostility to the US in places like Russia or the Middle East that this will sound somewhat plausible, or at least be marketed that way by anti-American elites.

Now South Korea Cannot Give In


In South Korea, the recent impeachment of conservative president Park Geun-Hye has opened the door for the left to take power in the upcoming special election on May 9. The left has broadly opposed THAAD. In the wake of Park’s final approval of it last year, several opposition parliamentarians jetted off to China to express their discontent (or ‘appease’ as the conservative press howled). The likely winner on May 9, Moon Jae-In, has expressed skepticism over THAAD before. The other left-wing candidates – there are no serious right-wing candidates given just how badly the Park scandal has discredited the right – have been even more hostile.

Yet I am very doubtful that Moon or any of the candidates, barring the least likely winner on the far left, will remove THAAD. There is indeed still a debate over THAAD’s technical merits. While I believe the case for THAAD is solid, and South Korean opinion generally supports it now given the sheer velocity of North Korean missile testing, there remain coherent arguments in opposition. For example, that it is merely symbolic, because North Korea could use other weapons to devastate South Korea, or that it might simply encourage North Korea to build even more missiles to overwhelm THAAD.

But such technical issues are increasingly irrelevant. The time to debate that was a year or two ago. Back then, the US and South Korea had made extensive track 1, track 1.5, and track 2 outreaches to China on THAAD, to explain its capabilities and consider China’s concerns. All were rebuffed. Instead China has dug in its heels, rather deeply, on this. It has been signaling to South Korea for more year not to deploy, threatening all sorts of retaliation. This has increasingly turned THAAD from a technical-functional issue of missile defense to an expression of South Korean national security sovereignty: does South Korea have the right to make national security decisions without China’s approval? The South Korea media, even on the center and left, are increasingly framing the tussle this way.

Hence the curious, but deserved, outcome for Beijing. Just as a South Korean government which agrees with China on THAAD is likely coming to power, Chinese bullying has painted it into such a tight corner that a leftist president will likely retain THAAD. For at this point, THAAD is not about THAAD anymore; it is about whether China has a veto over South Korean foreign policy. No South Korean president can assent to that.

Filed under: China, Defense, Elections, Korea (North), Korea (South), Missiles/Missile Defense

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



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Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju Island

Thu, 2017-04-13 07:20
Top 10 Things to Do in Jeju Island

Fly just an hour and a half from the capital city of Seoul and you will arrive at South Korea’s resort island, Jeju Island or Jeju.

From UNESCO-certified natural wonders to hundreds of unique museums and attractions, this enchanted island has something for everyone.

To help you get the best out of Jeju, here’s a list of 10 best things to do on the island – try a bit of everything!

1. Get in touch with nature in Jeju Island

When it comes to nature, Jeju has it all. Named as 7 New Wonders of Nature in 2011, Jeju offers pristine beaches, waterfalls, oreums or volcanic cones, lava tube caves and many more awe-inspiring natural wonders that are absolutely bucket list-worthy.

There are so many places to visit in Jeju, so here we’ve narrowed down to five of our favorite spots on the island.

  1. Hallasan Mountain: a dormant volcano at the center of the island with crater lake on the top, surrounded by a national park with 368 parasitic volcanoes.
  2. Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak): an 182m volcanic cone famous for spectacular sunrises.
  3. Iho Taewoo Beach: a beach near downtown Jeju City famous for iconic horse-shaped lighthouses.
  4. Manjang Caves (Manjanggul): the longest lava tube on Jeju with the largest recorded lava column in the world inside the cave.
  5. Jusangjeolli Cliffs: unique volcanic rock formations that look like rectangular pillars near Jungmun Beach

Since there are so many destinations on the island, you won’t be able to visit and see all of them in one day, especially if you are traveling by foot or public transportation.

If you want to maximize your travel, the best options are to rent a car or to book one of the organized tours such as 1 Day Small Group Van Tour and 1 Day Bus Tour or private and personalized tours with a customized itinerary such as Taxi TourPrivate Van Tour or Private Mini Bus Tour.

2. Visit museums with a difference

If this is your first-time in Jeju Island, you will definitely be blown away by hundreds of museums scattered all over the island. In fact, Jeju’s museums are one of the main reasons to visit the island as they certainly offer something more than the classic, boring ones you’ve visited before.

A. Jeju Loveland 

Have fun taking photos in a sexy pose with the sexy and erotic sculptures at Jeju Loveland. Showcasing 140 sculptures and artworks inspired by human sexuality, this unique theme park has been drawing tourists and travelers from all around the world.If you’re with the little ones, don’t worry. There’s a separate playground zone for minors. To purchase 17% off discount tickets for Jeju Loveland, click here.

B. Teddy Bear Museum

Displaying a massive collection of teddy bears, Teddy Bear Museum is one of the must-visit museums in Jeju. Not only children love this place, but adults as well! For more information, click here.

C. Hello Kitty Island 

From galleries, café to a gift shop, Hello Kitty Island offers everything Hello Kitty. Don’t forget to drop by the gift shop and get yourself one of the Hello Kitty-themed goods as a souvenir!Make sure to take advantage of 17.5% off discount tickets before you visit.

See more must-visit museums in Jeju: Glass CastleBonte MuseumJeju Aerospace MuseumPlay KPOP Museum

3. Catch some waves

Offering a variety of scenic watersports and water-based activities, Jeju Island is a haven for aquaholics.Check out the list of exciting water-based activities offered by Trazy.com and book the activity according to your water personality!

  1. Stick-to-the-basics: Discover scuba diving program in Eastern Jeju
  2. Adrenaline junkies: Parasailing
  3. Laidback wanderer: Yongyeon Pond Kayaking
  4. Luxury sailors: Chagwido Glass Yacht
  5. Underwater explorer: Seogwipo Submarine
  6. A ‘reel’ fisherman: Deep sea boat fishing in Chagwido
  7. Non-swimmers: Aqua Planet Jeju
4. Take time to smell the flowers

Jeju offers beautiful gardens and parks to wander through and immerse in Jeju’s nature. Here are five best spots for an idyllic escape with your beloved ones!

  1. Hallim Park: a popular park featuring 9 different themed zones, including Palm Tree Road, Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden, Subtropical Botanic Garden and more and two lava caves.
  2. Ecoland: a family-friendly theme park where you can explore Jeju’s forests on an 18th century Baldwin steam train.
  3. Ilchul Land: a theme park with botanical gardens, a waterfront park, a folk village, a cactus greenhouse and a small lava cave.
  4. Spirited Garden: a beautiful garden with the largest artificial waterfalls in Jeju. Many famous public figures including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao from China, Nakasone from Japan and many more visited the garden.
  5. Camellia Hill: the biggest arboretum in Asia famous for its forest path and beautiful gardens of camellias.

Looking for extraordinary parks? Check out the two popular miniature theme parks below!

  • Mini Land: a theme park with miniature replicas of world-famous architectures and landmark buildings located in the eastern part of Jeju. For more info, click here.
  • Soingook Miniature Theme Park: a miniature theme park that is similar to Mini Land, but located in the western part of Jeju. For more info, click here.
5. Hit the trailsA. Walk through Olle Trails

In Jeju, there is a series of trails called Jeju Olle-gil, which leads through forests, volcanic cones and many other best-kept secrets of Jeju Island. There are 26 routes in total and you can explore three of them if you sign up for a one-day Olle trekking tour. For more info, click here.

B. Hike up Hallasan Mountain

Hiking up Hallasan Mountain or Mt. Halla, and to its peak at 1,950 meters (6,397 feet) above sea level is one of the experiences you must try in Jeju. The reward for hiking to the top are the sight of Baekrokdam, the lake-filled crater, and the magnificent view of volcanic cones in the surrounding Hallasan National Park.It is relatively easy to hike Hallasan Mountain. The hiking courses are less than 10 km in length. Starting at the Seongpanak Entrance, the 9.6-kilometer (6-mile) hike to the summit takes about five hours. But take note that the weather changes constantly and it can be very wind while you are hiking.

6. Savor the authentic flavors of Jeju

Are you a food enthusiast? Try Jeju’s three best local specialties below!

  1. Jeonbokjuk: an abalone porridge made out of innards of the abalone and rice.
  2. Heuk-dwaeji: a juicy and succulent grilled pork belly from Jeju’s native black pig, which is slightly more expensive than regular pork, but well worth it.
  3. Jagalchi: grilled or boiled thinly sliced raw silver scabbardfish

See 9 best local restaurants in Jeju Island.

If you are a Muslim traveler, make sure to check out the list of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Jeju here.

7. Drop by hipster cafes and fine diners

If you feel like you had enough local foods, enjoy a fine dining at Maison Glad Buffet. Then drop by one of these trendy beachfront cafes killer views of the island’s stunning ocean vistas. See Jeju’s 6 best beachfront cafes here.Or try and visit one of the most unique cafes in Jeju, Siwa Dream Foot Bath Cafe. While enjoying a cup of coffee you can treat yourself a nice foot bath to relax your tired feet and freshen up yourself. For more info, click here.

8. Head out for outdoor adventures

When you visit Jeju, never miss out on adventurous activities and experiences that the island has to offer. Make your trip legendary with some of the best adventures below!

  1. Horseback ride: Try horseback riding in Jeju, particularly the shore-front horseback riding. You can take in the view of wonderful Seongsan Ilchulbong, or Sunrise Peak while riding a horse along the beach. Sign up here and saddle up!
  2. Rail bike: Take in Jeju’s stunning scenery with your beloved ones while pedaling along the railway tracks. You can purchase 34% off discount tickets here.
  3. Zipline:  Fly over a forest or ocean! Zipline Jeju offers an adrenaline-pumping zip lining experience with four different options for you to choose from. Purchase 25% off discount tickets here.
  4. Off Road Ride: Seeking for pure adrenaline-filled joy? Head out and explore Jeju’s natural wonders in off-road recreational vehicles at Sunsaemi Park. Grab your squad and enjoy the 12km off-road drive course! Booking is available here.
  5. Hot Air Balloon: Launch yourself a hot air balloon, hop on it and get a panoramic view of Jeju Island at sunset. Make sure to book in advance for this unique and amazing experience here.
9. Soak up the history and culture of JejuA. Experience Jeju’s local market scenes

Experience the authentic local culture of Jeju at five-day markets or permanent local markets. One of the most famous markets is Dongmun Market, located near Jeju International Airport.It is the largest permanent market in Jeju where you can find all sorts of indigenous goods and products such as Jeju citrus fruits. Compared to other seafood restaurants and traditional marketplaces around, the price of the fish and seafood here is known to be relatively cheap.

See Top 10 traditional markets in Jeju.

B. Time travel back to the late 19th century

Housing a folk village with over 100 traditional houses and 8,000 folk items, Jeju Folk Village Museum is a must-visit place for those who want to learn about the island’s rich history and culture. Purchase discount tickets for Jeju Folk Village Museum here.

10. Explore Jeju’s other paradise islands

Though Jeju itself is an island, there are beautiful small islets.

  1. Chagwido Island (west of Jeju): a tiny uninhabited island, just a short 10 minutes ride from Jagunae Harbor, famous as a fishing destination. A boat fishing experience in Chagwido at only $11 is available here.
  2. Udo Island (east of Jeju): a popular island situated 3.5 km off the coast of Jeju, famous for its pristine white beaches, particularly Seobin-baeksa Beach, and black lava cliffs.

Check out more awesome things to do in Jeju Island or other parts of South Korea at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop!

a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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6 Reasons We Probably Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea

Sun, 2017-04-09 02:41
6 Reasons We Probably Why We Probably Won’t Bomb North Korea

This is a local re-post of an article I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago.

Even though we are bombing Syria now and Trump wants to look tough and presidential, I do not think we will bomb North Korea. We’ve thought about it for years and always demurred. Trump, for all his bluster, has changed those reasons for not attacking, so I still think we won’t do it. Maybe Trump really is erratic and unpredictable, but I’d bet McMaster and Mattis are telling him a lot of the same stuff – huge risk or war, Seoul’s vulnerability, trashing of the relationship with China and so on. Are we ready to gamble all that on strikes that might not even work?

The full essay follows the jump:



US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made waves last week when he suggested that military action against North Korea was an option. He pointedly said that former President Barack Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approach was over. Tillerson did not say what military options were under consideration, but bombing is the likely choice. The US has air superiority over North Korea by a wide margin, while it is unclear what kind of naval action would be available, and ground action of course has huge risks.

The idea of retaliating against North Korea has, of course, been around for a long time. North Korea provokes South Korea, Japan, and the United States regularly. Several of those provocations were severe enough that military action would likely have enjoyed some global acceptance. In 1968, the North Koreans captured the USS Pueblo, a naval intelligence vessel, and held the crew for almost a year. In 1969, North Korea shot down a US reconnaissance plane, killing the crew. In 1998, North Korea shot a missile over Japan. In 2010 North Korea sank a South Korean corvette and shelled a South Korean-held island, killing fifty. Yet in each case, the US, South Korea, and Japan choose to defer. The reasons for that restraint are broadly still in place and will likely inhibit President Donald Trump as they have previous US presidents:

1. Seoul is extremely vulnerable to North Korean counter-fire. This is probably the greatest military constraint. South Korea is badly configured for a protracted bout of tit-for-tat retaliation and counter-retaliation with North Korea. This is not like Israel’s ability to strike Arab opponents with limited counter-strike vulnerability. Seoul and its surrounding Kyeonggi province lie right on the demilitarized zone border. Kyeonggi includes 55% of the entire South Korea population and is the economic and political heart of this highly centralized country. This megalopolis makes for a big, hard-to-defend, easy-to-hit target should Pyongyang hit back against an airstrike.

2. Trump would need the political approval of South Korea and Japan. Those countries would bear the brunt of any retaliation. Legally, Trump could proceed of course, but he would destroy the US alliance with either or both if they did not approve. While Japan under hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might run the risk, South Korea is effectively unable to respond now, because its president has been impeached. Seoul is led by a caretaker government at the moment, and the left, which would almost certainly disapprove of airstrikes, is widely expected to win the upcoming May election.

3. Such a strike would not be brief or ‘surgical;’ it could last days or even weeks. As such, it would soon look more like a war rather than a limited action. North Korea has spent decades tunneling to protect its military assets after it suffered under an extraordinarily punishing US air campaign during the Korean War. It has also invested in road-mobile launchers and submarines. If the US were to try to hit all of North Korea’s nuclear and missile assets, the air campaign would likely be extensive and lengthy. If it did not, North Korea might well use its remaining assets to strike South Korea and Japan. The longer the campaign dragged on, the more likely North Korean counter-action would become. A slide toward all-out war would loom,

4. We do not know what North Korea’s red-lines are. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) presumably has war plans, just as we do. Those plans almost certainly have flash-points for how to respond to allied action. Given that its nuclear and missile programs are North Korea’s most valuable assets, after the leadership itself, it is easy to imagine that the KPA would hit back. Also, the longer the US air campaign lasted, the more it would look like a war, not a limited action. There would be rising pressure throughout the North Korean elite to do something, and given that the KPA’s access to the highly-constrained national budget turns on its reputation as the state’s ferocious defender, the brass would almost certainly be howling to hit back hard. Again, the slide from a limited action toward war would loom.

5. North Korea would almost certainly use human shields. Assuming the US air campaign did not end in short order, the North would almost certainly start wrapping potential targets with civilians. The North Korean elite let one to two million of its citizens starve to death in the late 1990s famine. They would have no compunction to once again sacrifice their people.

6. Such an airstrike would wreck America’s relationship with China, the most important bilateral relationship in world politics, for years, perhaps decades. Any US campaign would take place over China’s objection, and the US would almost certainly not provide any advance notification. China loathes North Korea but fears its collapse and US military hegemony in Asia even more. The US has always grappled with how much to let North Korea impinge on its relationship with China. While Washington desperately wants Chinese assistance on the North, it has never risked the entire relationship, in all its many important aspects – trade, investment, China’s dollar reserve holdings, the South and East China Seas, climate change, and so on – on the North Korea question.

These costs and constraints do not make airstrikes impossible, but they have impeded kinetic options in the past, and I see no reason why they do not this time as well. That the US is considering airstrikes anyway, despite these high hurdles, suggest just how dangerous North Korea has now become.

Filed under: Korea (North), The National Interest, Trump, United States

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



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Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips

Fri, 2017-04-07 01:20
Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips About Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

Early April every year, the Simni Cherry Blossom Road, the 4 km road that connects Ssanggyesa Temple and Hwagaejangteo Market, is filled with 1,200 cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  To capture this scenic view, people from all over Korea take a trip to this small village in Hadong, Gyeongsangnamdo Province and have an unforgettable moment with their beloved people.

In the hope that international travelers also get to know about this charming little village, I, a member of Trazy Crew and your best online tour guide for Korea, set off to Hadong to deliver the beautiful scenery of Hwagae Cherry Blossom FestivalTrazy’s Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival tour bus dropped me off at Ssanggyesa Temple. The tour is designed for you to walk about 4 km from Ssanggyesa temple to Hwagaejangteo Market while enjoying the cherry blossom arch over your head.

Ssanggyesa Temple

Ssanggyesa Temple is one of the most popular temples in the Jirisan area and its foundation dates back to the 8th century. The layout of the buildings in the temple compound well harmonizes with the surrounding nature. The colorful, but not necessarily gaudy, paintwork on the wooden buildings doubles aesthetic pleasure in the traditional construction.

Simni Cherry Blossom Road

The road to Hwagaejangteo Market divides into two at the temple’s entrance by Hwagaecheon Stream. Both roads, laid out side by side with the stream in the middle, are filled with densely planted cherry blossom trees. Whichever side you choose, you’ll walk under the beautiful cherry blossom arch. Also, you can switch the road at the bridges that you will encounter a couple of times on your way to Hawgaegangteo Market.

Photo of the other side taken from one side of the streamPhoto taken on the bridge

This cherry blossom road has a nickname. Some people call the road “Hollye-gil” which is translated as “Wedding Road” in English. The myth behind it tells that if a couple walks this road together, they come to get married and live happily ever after.

Tip 1. Try Cherry Blossom Oyster & Ice Cream!

By the time my legs got tired and I needed something to eat, I came across a few food tents and snack bars. While the food is generally slightly over-priced, it is worth trying this unique local food of the area, Beotgul – the cherry blossom oyster.This oyster is caught from Seomjingang River in the local area. Unlike other oysters, this inhabits fresh water and grows as big as a human hand. I ordered one huge oyster. The server lady cut one of the shells off, took the flesh off from the other shell, chopped the flesh into a mouthful size and topped it with sour and spicy chili sauce. If you feel put off by raw freshwater food, you can also ask to cook it.I kept walking towards Hwagaejangteo market, the pick-up point for the tour bus to Seoul. This time I came across an ice cream stall famous for the cherry blossom ice cream. They added cherry blossom syrup in the ice cream mix. The ice cream is very sweet and you can taste the flowery flavor in it. I continued to follow the road with the ice cream on one hand, and the camera on the other hand.

Tip2. Walk More for the Greater View!

As I got closer to the market, the view became even more picturesque because the cherry blossoms begin to bloom near the market and they gradually spread up to the temple, the higher area. My view became brighter and brighter every time I took a step forward. The snow white cherry blossoms absolutely dazzled my eyes.The magnificence of the view reaches its peak at the end of the 4-km cherry blossom road and I finally met Hwagaejangteo Market with its signature thatched roof stores.

Hwagaejangteo Market

Hwagaejangteo Market is located where Hawgaecheon Stream joins Seomjingang River that divides Jeollanamdo Province and Gyeongsangnamdo Province. For its geographical feature, the market traditionally served as a meeting point for people from different provinces. People from Gyeongsangdo Province and Jeollado Province would come to Hwagaejangteo Market and exchange their local produce.The statue symbolizes a pedlar who used to travel across the country to sell goods in Hwagaejangteo Market.You can find locally cultivated green tea and herbs, pottery, and rice wine in the market. The beautiful scenery of the surrounding area attracts heaps of tourists all over the country and the market, of course, serves as an agora for people from different regions to meet.

Things to Check before You Visit
  • Wear in Layers!
    Although it is warm during the day in early April, mornings and nights are still chilly and you definitely need a jacket. The tour starts in the early morning and the temperature is highly likely below 10-degree celsius. It would be wise of you to wear thin clothes in layers during this season.
  • Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes!
    The area is not hilly but you’ll have to walk the 4 km cherry blossom road and more. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Remember When to Visit!
    Cherry Blossoms in Hadong, located in the southern part of Korea, bloom earlier than those in Seoul. Make sure you plan the trip for the first week of April if you want to visit Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival.
Looking for other spring festivals in Korea?

Browse more spring packages and tours at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, and savor the delights of spring with us!

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We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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South Korean Security in the Trump Era

Sun, 2017-04-02 06:22
South Korean Security in the Trump Era

This is a local re-post of a piece I wrote a few weeks ago for The Korea Times. Basically my concern in the Trump period is, how will Trump and Moon Jae-In, the likely winner of the upcoming May 9 election, get along? Or not?

Trump doesn’t care about Asia, except for trade with China. His security concerns turn on Islam, and he was elected for that in foreign policy. His and Bannon’s clash of civilizations frame only works so-so out here. Huntington’s argument required putting China, Japan, and the Koreas into one Confucian civilization, but it was so obvious that they didn’t get along that Huntington was forced to pretend that Japan was its own civilization. Without this frame, I wonder if Trump the non-reader can figure out an approach?

The other thing which worries me is the burden-sharing fight. If Trump presents the ROKG with a bill like he did Merkel, the SK press will go ballistic. Trump might not care though, so ultimately I suggest that it would likely be a good idea for SK to pay a little more so that the issue can ultimately be dropped.

The full essay follows the jump:

The election of Donald Trump as American president is likely a loss for South Korea, or at best a neutral event. The next four years will probably bring a US strategic disinterest in South Korea, and possibly a serious trade dispute. The US-South Korea alliance is unlikely to fracture – it survived the mutual loathing of the Bush and Roh administrations. But sensitive issues, such as Korean defense contributions under the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), and South Korean compliance with the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) are likely to divide the partners once again. This will incentivize Korean conservatives to improve relations with Japan, as occurred in the 1970s when US President Jimmy Carter and South Korean dictator Park Chung Hee fell out. Simultaneously the Korean left will reconsider relations with China.

One caveat to this prediction of course is Trump’s volatile personality and affinity for unpredictability. It is simply unclear how Trump will respond when North Korea inevitably insults him. That said, I doubt Trump will wander into the North Korean policy morass. Trump’s narcissism and laziness strongly suggest he will avoid intractable issues with few public opinion benefits, such the Israel-Palestine conflict or North Korea. A consensus seems to be emerging that Trump ‘must’ deal with North Korea. Reportedly, Barack Obama told him that it is the most pressing issue in US foreign policy.

I doubt Trump sees it that way. The North Korean threat to the United States is a function of America’s alignment with South Korea, and Trump has expressed much skepticism about US alliances. Were there no US-South Korea alliance, it is highly unlikely that small, poor, backward North Korea would have spent the enormous sums required to strike the continental United States (with an intercontinental or submarine-launched ballistic missile). Previous American presidents carried this risk because of a broad commitment to a global liberal order of which South Korea’s evolution from dictatorship to democracy was an outstanding example.

But Trump does not appear to care for such things. His speeches and Twitter comments evince little interest in US leadership of the community of democratic states. Trump himself, with his racism, insults, taste for revenge, hatred of the media, and so on, does not appear much motivated by political liberalism. It is easy to see him cutting deals, his preferred method of operation, with dictatorships without care for smaller states’ fate or US alliance commitments. He has already thrown NATO into doubt, and during the campaign, he flippantly suggested he would meet with Kim Jong Un.

Instead of a liberal community of friendly states, Trump seems to see US allies as burden. They are fleecing the US by not paying Washington enough. Free-riding is indeed an old problem in the US alliance network. American allies spend significantly smaller proportions of their GDP on defense than the US. Washington has complained about this for years. Trump seems poised to make this a major issue.

Besides slacking allies, Trump’s other favorite foreign policy hobbyhorse is trade and the ostensibly unfair trade deals the US enters. Trump has already signaled US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a desire to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement. If Trump holds this course, KORUS would be an obvious future target. It is one of the more important trade deals worked out under the Obama administration; it is new enough that it could be rolled back with only moderate difficulty; and it is with an Asian exporter. Trump has publicly criticized Asian mercantilism as trade cheating since the 1980s.

So what might South Korea do? The emotionally satisfying, and therefore mostly likely, response is to hit back at Trump tit-for-tat. The South Korean government and media will likely assail Trump’s free-rider and trade cheater critiques out of sheer nationalist pique. This is unwise, unless South Korea is ready to carry the costs of a major strategic reorientation, toward either Japan (for conservatives) or China (for the left). For although South Koreans dislike to hear it, their relationship with the US is asymmetric, which gives Trump enormous leverage. KORUS grants South Korean firms better access to the world’s wealthiest market, while the alliance adds substantial firepower, plus intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, to South Korean defense at a very low cost. As North Korea is only a threat to the US because the US is in Korea, Trump could wield the obvious threat of a US withdrawal to extract concessions from Seoul.

A more diplomatic South Korean answer might be to make reasonable concessions, such as greater SMA payments and more committed KORUS implementation, in low-profile negotiations, while ignoring Trump’s public bluster. I imagine European leaders will do this as well. Much of the American establishment, including the military and business community, wish to retain the South Korean relationship. Also, Trump’s many conflicts of interests and outrages mean he may well be impeached or fail to be re-elected. Best to wait out the four year orange storm, rather than provoking Trump’s pride into a conflict where South Korea has much more to lose than the US.

Filed under: Korea (South), Security, Trump

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



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Polling, Public Opinion and the Impeachment of Park Geun-hye (The Korea File)

Sun, 2017-04-02 04:31
Polling, Public Opinion and the Impeachment of Park Geun-hye

What role did public polling play in the spectacular political collapse of President Park Geun-hye? How effective is political polling today? And with social trends pointing to a continuing decrease in the rate of democratic participation, how can polls remain representative?

In our conversation prior to his recent lecture at the University of Michigan, UC Berkley Professor Taeku Lee discusses how the political science of public polling, until recently a primarily American area of study, has gained academic traction in South Korea over the last decade. 

This episode was produced in collaboration with the Nam Center for Korean Studies. Subscribe to the Nam Center’s Youtube channel at umichncks.

Music on this episode is 7080 star 김연자 with 봄비가.

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KoreaFM: Seoul “Asia’s Unlikely Expat Haven”

Thu, 2017-03-30 11:26
KoreaFM: Seoul “Asia’s Unlikely Expat Haven”

Seoul-based reporter Jason Strother recently wrote for the BBC that “while not an obvious choice for the jet-setting expat, South Korea’s high-energy capital has a lot to offer foreign professionals.” Strother joins Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland to discuss the pros & cons of Seoul’s expat lifestyle & how that differs from typical expat favorites in the region such as Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo. Check out his BBC article at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170326-seoul-power-asias-unlikely-expat-haven/.

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Why is April the Best Time to Visit Korea?

Wed, 2017-03-29 09:08
Why is April the Best Time to Visit Korea?

South Korea is a fascinating country to visit at any time of year, and there’s no better time to do so than in the spring, particularly in April.

Read on to find out why you never really need an excuse to visit Korea in April.

1. Hello, Sunshine!

In Korea, April is the month of spring breeze and warm sunlight and the weather continues to get warmer throughout the month.

While the average April’s high temperatures in Seoul are around 12~18ºC (53.6~64.4ºF), the temperatures in the southern region of Korea, including Busan, Gyeongju and Jeju Island, are 2~3 degrees higher.

※There may be some sporadic cold snaps and big gaps in temperatures at night, so make sure you bring a couple of warm sweaters or a light-weight jacket or coat!

At this time of the year, you will start seeing restaurants and cafes reopen their beautiful terraces and locals going outdoors to enjoy family outing or spring picnic.

Travelers enjoying the outdoors in ‘Hanbok’

The weather in April also offers travelers and tourists the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors dressed in Korean traditional outfit ‘hanbok‘ as well.

2. Blooms ‘n’ Blossoms

Weather is not the only reason why April is the best time to visit Korea.

It is when travelers and tourists can witness the spring’s splendor and admire the colorful blooming flowers and the vibrant colors on the streets everywhere.

Here are some of the best features of Spring not to be missed in Korea are: cherry blossoms, tulips and spring flower gardens.

1) Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom season reaches its peak in early April and they tend to bloom earlier in the southern parts of Korea. Most of them fall when there is a strong wind or rain, so be sure to catch them before they are gone!

Breathtaking cherry blossoms at Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

2) Tulips

Don’t be disappointed when the cherry blossoms are gone as there are colorful tulips for you to enjoy.

A. Taean Tulip Festival

Taean Tulip Festival is by far the largest tulip festival in Korea, which features more than 1.5 million of colorful tulips. It is also known as one of the world’s top 5 tulip festivals!

  • Date: April 13~May 10
  • Location: Taean County, Chungcheong-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: Flower gardens (tulips, canola, digitalis, lupine)
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

B. Everland Tulip Festival

If you want to celebrate spring somewhere closer to Seoul, head out to Korea’s largest theme park, Everland. There is an annual tulip festival and a fantastic garden of spring blooms called Four Seasons Garden for visitors to enjoy.

Browse more deals on Everland here.

3) Azaleas

Azaleas are the late-bloomers of the spring season in Korea. You will be able to see them until late-April, so catch them before they are gone.

Goryeosan Mountain Festival

Only a two-hour bus ride from Seoul, you can enjoy a short excursion to Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival. Covered with various shades of pink and magenta azaleas, Goyreosan Mountain in April just seems like an otherworldly place!

  • Date: April 12~23, 2017
  • Location: Gangwha County, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: azaleas, azalea tea tasting, azalea rice pancake making experience
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

4) Spring Flower Gardens & Parks

This April, visit two of Korea’s best-loved spring flower garden and park: The Garden of Morning Calm and Hallim Park. Featuring from fascinating displays of seasonal flowers, tropical gardens, exotic plants to scenic paths, they are the perfect places to revel in spring.

A. The Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm is a popular tourist destination near Seoul where visitors can admire fantastic botanical gardens and flowers all year round.

Every April, Spring Festival is held from mid-April to the end of May at the Garden of the Morning Calm.

  • Date: Mid-April~Late May
  • Location: Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: Wildflower exhibition, cherry blossoms, magnolia, azalea, Japanese apricot, forsythia
  • Book our recommended tour

For more information, click here.

B. Hallim Park

Stop and smell the flowers at Hallim Park in northwest Jeju. Unlike other botanical gardens that display flowers, this park is dedicated to different flowers every month.

In April, the cherry blossoms and canola flowers burst into bloom all over the park!

  • Date: Throughout April
  • Location: Hallim-eup, Jeju City, Jeju Island
  • Best things to see: Cherry blossoms, canola flowers, botanical gardens, Ssangyonggul Cave
  • Buy a discount ticket

For more information, click here.

3. It’s a Festival Frenzy!

Throughout April, a series of unique and authentic festivals will be held across Korea. Here are some of the best festivals where you can release all the pent up energy you’ve been storing up during the winter!

1) Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival

Every April, thousands of visitors flock to Jindo Sea Parting Festival, a.k.a Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival, to see ‘the modern Mose’s miracle’ in Jindo Island and walk on the exposed sea road when the sea opens up!

  • Date: April 26~29, 2017
  • Location: Jindo Island, Jeolla-do (southwest province)
  • Best things to enjoy: Miracle sea road walking experience, hands-on programs including learning Korean folk song ‘Jindo Arirang’ and traditional music ‘Gukak’, Jindo Hongju experience (Jindo traditional alcohol tasting)
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

2) Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal (Tea Bowl) Festival

If you still haven’t experienced Korean tea culture, Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival is the perfect place to be.

The festival gives you the chance to spin the potter’s wheel, paint designs and make your own ceramic tea sets for 4,000 won. You can also taste different types of Korean teas, including omija, dandelion and lotus leaf.

  • Date: April 28~30, 2017
  • Location: Mungyeong, Gyeongsang-do (southeast province)
  • Best things to enjoy: Hands-on programs for making pottery and teaware, Korean tea tasting
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

3) Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeondeunghoe)

The annual Lotus Lantern Festival, or Yeondeunghoe, is a major lantern festival in Seoul that is held to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. There will be a fascinating lantern parade and traditional cultural events along the Jongno Street and spectacular lantern displays at Jogyesa Temple and Bongeunsa Temple.

  • Date: April 28~30, 2017
  • Location: Jogyesa, Bongeunsa temple, along the Jongno Street (Seoul)
  • Best things & places to see: A lotus lantern parade on April 29 (Sat) (Dongdaemun Gate → Jogyesa Temple 7:00pm-9:30pm), Bongeunsa Temple exhibition, Jogyesa Temple exhibition, Cheonggyecheon Stream exhibition

Now, if you are planning your spring trip to Korea, April is surely the best time to do so.

Check out the best tours and travel deals for April!

For more spring tours and travel deals for Korea, make sure you visit Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop!

a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Wed, 2017-03-29 02:04
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense Photographer: danist sohLetters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex both incredibly gratifying and infuriating.  It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend.  It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you.  The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’.  Is this man’s 6th sense?  Has Google created a new alert?  Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

Photographer: Adam BirkettHe Hurt You

In this letter, he finally takes responsibility for all the things he did wrong.  All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen.  How did he come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all?  Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses?  How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

Photographer: Wilfred IvenCreep…Creep…Creepin’

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”.  What about the other times, though?  My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event.  This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip.  How do these people know that you’re off the market?  Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media.  Even if they are able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship.  It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear.  These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

Photographer: Brigitte TohmTell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog.  He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story.  He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both.  We lived pretty close to one another already.  When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall.  I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula.  The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all.  He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job.  We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times.  He owed me nothing.  Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Photographer: Matthew WheelerHieroglyphics

What does it all mean?  Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot.  It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back.  Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle.  He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone.  The best part?  By this point you really should no longer care.

Photographer: Chelsea FrancisGet Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases.  When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine.  Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
Photographer: Corinne KutzIt is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong.  It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your own f*ck ups.  I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience.  Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past.  The notion that I’ll ever see a travel romance again is ridiculous.  We didn’t work out.  I’ve released your ghost.  It is well.

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The post Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

The Toronto Socialite
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Pyeongchang’s Future, 2018 and Beyond

Mon, 2017-03-27 08:13
Pyeongchang’s Future, 2018 and Beyond

An imagined conversation in a city meeting room:

“I think we should host the Olympics.”


“It’s a great idea. It will bring in exceptional revenue in the form of tourists and sponsorships, and it will truly put [insert city, region or country here] on the map as far as respect and recognition in the world!”

“Yes, maybe, sir. But, aren’t you at all concerned about all the other past Olympic cities, whose facilities ended up costing way, way more than planned and many of which were all but abandoned after the events were over? How expected revenue windfalls didn’t appear? Not to mention how all that respect and recognition never really materialized?”

“Well, yes, I did think of those things. It never seems to work out for them…But, it might work for us.”

The not-so-great news: If the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were held today, people would be welcomed by unfinished Olympic villages, infrastructure projects that are incomplete and a scarred landscape where a quiet, rural region has been thrust into the world sphere by Olympic fever.

The better news: The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (not to be confused with Pyeongyang, another issue that has reared its unfortunate head) are still almost a year away. And, as anyone who has spent any amount of time in Korea knows, Koreans are very good at turning a plot of land into a building in less time than you’d think possible.

What promoters expect the area will look like come showtime.

The cautious news: Too often (and, to be sure, even once is one time too many), those aforementioned buildings have been of questionable construction quality. This is absolutely by no means an accusation toward those constructing the Olympic facilities in Pyeongchang. But, the thought is unavoidable when, time and again, priority seems to have been placed on getting projects done, rather than on safety and stability. One hopes they are aware of past disasters and will be able to learn from them, especially for an event that is so very much under the world lens.

The non-Olympic news: There’s more than just the Winter Olympics to enjoy in this small, humble region of Gangwon-do, one of South Korea’s most rural provinces. And, you don’t even need to go in the winter to enjoy them! On a recent trip, I was more impressed with the Sky Ranch and Woljeong and Sangwon temples, than I was with anything associated with the Olympics. Though, to be honest, I am probably not the demographic to ask when it comes to the Olympics.

[Full disclosure: the trip, on March 18, 19, was sponsored by Korea Tourism Organization, to promote the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and the greater Pyeongchang region and to seek opinions from visitors leading up to the Olympics next year.]

As already mentioned, the Pyeongchang Olympic areas that I got to see on my trip are, as of now, still quite raw. Event facilities are still being built and area infrastructure is still in various states of incompletion.

Is this typical for Olympic sites at this stage of assembly? I have no idea, so take from this what you will. But, considering how rural this area is, it should also come as little surprise that a lot would need to be built from scratch for it to possibly be considered viable to host a world-promoted-and-attended event. The idea of a  high-speed rail connecting it to Seoul in particular seems strange, but would have seemed even stranger than it does now before the Alpensia sports park and resort opened in 2011. That it, too, was apparently a bargaining chip toward getting the Winter Olympics eventually should not come as a surprise. This is not a Seoul suburb, this is over 100 miles away. And yet, here we are.

Then, there is perhaps the largest gorilla in the room. Now known as the Jeongseon Alpine Center, one of the most remote places in all of South Korea had once enjoyed protections from the government that were promptly lifted when the country was awarded its Olympic bid. Although officials have claimed some of the estimated 58,000 trees that were removed will be replanted after the games, protestors have called it a “patronizing” effort as some of the trees clear cut for the three-day event were reportedly 500 years old.

All of these dark clouds over what for many is an enjoyable, historical event is a shame. And, it’s as yet unknown whether that high speed rail will help boost the local tourism economy (not to mention how much use it will get after the Olympics are over) or simply ferry visitors into the Olympic village and then back out to Seoul, without ever showcasing the other excellent non-Olympic attractions in the region.

Some members of the tour group taking in a bit of “deok” or rice cake making.Some of the local youth in a quiet downtown part of the area.*flexes* “The temple is that way.”Even during winter, this bridge is beautiful.The author, in his element.

Both Woljeong and Sangwon temples, which are part of the larger Odaesan National Park area, are relaxing and peaceful, a polar opposite from the crowds that took advantage of the currently-free admissions to the Olympic practice events. The Sky Ranch felt like a world away from your typical Korean city, where one is constantly bombarded by some form of noise at every turn. These are the things I enjoyed most during my weekend in the Pyeongchang region.

First-class transportation.

The difficulties regions face in the face of outsized hopes for economic windfalls from the Olympics have become almost cliche. I don’t think anyone really wants Pyeongchang to fail. And, I don’t think it will, during the games. It’s the uncertainty of what happens after the world leaves, and the region is left wondering what to do with what’s left, that is always the concern. And while Pyeongchang does not have to be Rio, or Sochi, or Beijing, or Athens, or Munich, or others that have already seen their Olympic villages go either severely underused or completely abandoned, the concern remains for the country I’ve called home for over four years.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will change Pyeongchang forever. It remains to be seen if that change will be for the better or worse. We’ll find out in about a year.

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.

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Tillerson is, Regrettably, Wrong. Strategic Patience is a Good Idea

Sun, 2017-03-26 01:59
Tillerson is, Regrettably, Wrong. Strategic Patience is a Good Idea.

This is a local re-posting of an essay I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago. And Rex Tillerson’s recent comment that  Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approach to North Korea is over, just highlights my argument. He’s almost certainly wrong, even if he is saying it out of a frustration which most in the analyst community share. We all want to do some kind of game-changer to alter the arc of North Korean behavior, but the non-strategic patience options are all terrible unfortunately.

The Trump people are said to be considering all options, including kinetic choices or meeting with the North Koreans. An internal policy review is occurring. It all sounds very dramatic, but I’ll say for the record that, barring some bizzaro Trumpian meltdown, any major shift is unlikely.

Strategic patience – best understood as containment and deterrence – has more or less been US, South Korean, and Japanese policy toward North Korea for decades. Sure we didn’t call it that, but that’s pretty much what it has been. We’ve had lot of provocations over the years which reasonably warranted counter-strikes, just as we’ve had lots of chances to talk. Neither have worked. So we end up defaulting back to containment and deterrence – waiting for North Korea’s internal contradictions to bring its collapse, and constantly, frustratingly negotiating with the Chinese to cut, or at least constrict, the umbilical which keeps Pyongyang afloat. This is fatiguing and uninspiring, but just about every conceivable policy, barring bombing, has been tried, so I doubt Trump has anything new. Are the Trump really read to risk a major regional conflict?

The full essay follows the jump:



Recently in these pages and elsewhere, I have defended the unpopular notion of ‘strategic patience’ regarding North Korea. The term is an informal one which emerged from the administration of former American President Barack Obama. Like that other informal Obama meme, ‘leading from behind,’ it received wide criticism from proponents – neoconservative and liberal internationalist – of an activist US foreign policy. A common line of criticism is that strategic patience is indistinguishable from doing nothing, and indeed the moniker does suggest that, which is unfortunate. The following is an effort at a more robust defense.

Patience does indeed suggest waiting, and while this seems demoralizing, I defend it, because more active approaches have huge downsides. This is why, despite the regular ritual of North Korea policy reviews when new administrations take over in Washington or Seoul, we usually end up defaulting back to deterrence and waiting for North Korea and its Chinese patron to change.

Specifically, we are waiting for North Korea to liberalize and/or China to realize that its support for North Korea is more damaging than beneficial. Much as we waited for the internal contradictions of communism to catch up with the Soviet Union – which they did by the 1980s – so we are waiting for some kind of opening in Pyongyang. We must also wait on China, because Beijing’s assistance to North Korea buys the regime time and space to escape those contradictions. If North Korea were truly isolated, without its Chinese sponsor and with Chinese cooperation on United Nations sanctions, the failures of the North Korean system would accumulate rapidly, much as they did in the late 1990s.

Obviously, these are high hopes. We will indeed be waiting for a long time. But that does not obviate the strategy. It worked in the Cold War, and just as more active approaches toward the Soviets, like rollback, had large risks that ultimately made patience and continuing deterrence the best choice, so it is in Korea.

Alternatives are Tempting But Risky

On the right, hawks would have us consider kinetic options. Indeed, now that North Korea is talking of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, US President Donald Trump’s administration is apparently considering airstrikes. South Korean administrations too have considered forceful options, most recently in 2010 after two North Korean provocations in six months killed around fifty South Koreans. At the last minute, the South Korean president at the time, Lee Myung Bak, demurred for reasons that are instructive and continue to hobble all kinetic deliberations.

There is little doubt that US and/or South Korea airpower could deal punishing blows to North Korean missile and nuclear sites. North Korean air defense is far behind the allies’ hi-tech capabilities. Rather the concerns are:

1. Airstrikes might provoke a war. The allies would indeed win that war, but the civilian death toll would likely be in the hundreds of thousands, and maybe reach the millions if North Korea were to use nuclear weapons. We do not know what the red-lines of the Korean People’s Army are, but its massive role in the state is predicated on its ability to defend the homeland. Airstrikes would directly challenge that rationale; the brass would like demand a major response.

2. Seoul is hugely vulnerable to retaliation. Even if kinetic action does not spark an all-out war, South Korea is still poorly configured for any kind of lesser, tit-for-tat escalation with the North, because its capital, Seoul, begins just thirty miles from the demilitarized zone. That puts it within artillery range and is the reason why South Korean leaders have never green-lit extensive counter-strikes to North Korean provocations. Seoul is just too vulnerable.

On the left, doves would have us engage North Korea. Yet here too the downsides are large. Just talking to North Korea gives it major benefits, regardless of whether the talks actually go anywhere (this is why North Korea always wants to talk). And North Korea’s history of keeping its word in negotiations is famously terrible. The last major US-North Korea agreement was the ‘leap day deal’ of 2012 (so named because it was struck on February 29). As Ankit Panda notes, it started falling apart within weeks, and taught US negotiators that North Korea under the new Kim was still the slippery, bad faith negotiator it had always been. Indeed in a meeting last year, I heard former US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert say that the North Koreans starting reneging on the deal within days.

Probably the most egregious example of bad faith though is the continuation of the North Korean missile and nuclear programs through the ‘Sunshine Policy’ period. Two consecutive South Korean liberal presidents reached out to North Korea over ten years, 1998-2008. Tremendous efforts were made by the South to bring North Korea in from the cold, garnering one of those presidents the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet North Korea made no real concessions, did not change, and continued its weapons programs and other bad behavior like proliferation, counterfeiting, drug running, and so on. Hence the large risk that deals with North Korea de facto subsidize the regime, because the North will not keep its word, nor tolerate the highly intrusive inspections which would be needed to insure it did.

Given those poor choices on the right and left, the ‘centrist’ status quo of waiting on North Korea, and China, does not look so bad. It is certainly not ideal. It is bland and rather inert, especially for Americans with our tendency towards activism and manicheanism in foreign policy. But it has kept the peace for decades, and the Soviet example suggests that waiting out North Korea may work.

Finally, strategic patience need not mean passivity among the democracies germane to the problem, namely South Korea, Japan, and the US. While we wait for China and North Korea to come around, those democracies can: expand their defense spending (especially Japan), significantly improve missile defense, start taking seriously civil defense against missile strikes on their cities, tighten sanctions, push China at the UN and elsewhere regarding sanctions enforcement, and trim away North Korea’s diplomatic contacts which it uses for illicit, hard-currency raising programs, especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. So yes, we must be ‘patient’ regarding North Korea and China – there is little other choice – but we need not passive at home.

Filed under: Defense, Korea (North), Korea (South), Strategic Patience, The National Interest, Trump

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



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How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms

Sun, 2017-03-19 01:42
How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms


This is one of my favourite times of the year. I know it sounds strange and I should really be talking about “grinding out photos” [insert macho voice] of nightclubs or showing the gritty side of photography by shooting a plate of spaghetti or a stop sign in black and white. This is a time of year that I really do enjoy getting and and just shooting nature. There is a sense of renewal this time of year and I love it. The hardest thing is to try and capture this period of renewal to show other people the beauty.

The blossoms are tricky things to shoot because to our eyes everything is beautiful and evenly lit. However, once you click the shutter everything can change. The reason is that often your camera will expose the image differently depending on how it is metering for the light. Blossoms sometimes trick your camera’s meter because they simply scatter the light or diffuse it in a way that is hard for your camera to automatically meter for. So do be aware of this when shooting the blossoms.

Open Up and Isolate

Roy Cruz offered some great tips in his latest newsletter about zooming in tight to catch some of the details and widening your aperture to get some background separation. This is a great technique and is really popular when it comes to shooting blossoms. The reason is that the isolated subject really focuses your attention on one particular part of the image. With so many blossoms in the frame your brain gets a little overwhelmed. By isolating the subject you can really direct the viewer to that one part of the image that you want to highlight. It also helps keep unwanted details out of focus and could possibly create the illusion of more blossoms.

To achieve this effect I would suggest shooting Aperture Priority and setting it to f/2.8 or wider. You will see a lot of photographers using a 70-200mm lens for this as it allows them to get a bit more reach to focus on blossoms that are a little farther away. However, do be aware that this technique is extremely overused and can lack interest. So take some time and compose your shot well.

Lines and Colour

Adding basic rules of composition will help any photo but here is makes your images have a lot more impact. As I said before, the shallow depth of field shots where all you can see is one blossom up close are used a lot. So it is time to think about other ways to show the beauty of this season. Incorporating leading lines is a great way to add more visual appeal to your image. It takes the reader through the frame and lets them explore a bit of the beauty that you created. These lines can be created using paths or fences but even try to use the branches themselves. Don’t just go for the obvious.

Colour is also what makes this season great. Thus, you should use it to your advantage. This is a season erupting with soft pastel colours and vibrant pops of purple. People are expecting the colour as we welcome the change from the muted drab palette of winter. So try using different filters and effects. Afterall, you are creating art here and not a boring documentary, so feel free to make the colours pop a little bit more than usual.

Subjects and Foreground

Having a portfolio completely full of similar-looking flowers can turn off almost  anyone. It also lacks a story and a sense of place. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring a rebirth in many parts of Asia, particularly Korea and Japan. Not to mention places like Vancouver and Washington, D.C. are also famous for their blossoms. Purely focussing on the flowers loses the sense of place and if you are wanting to show the blossoms in a magazine, you really should let the viewer know where you took the images from. However, it doesn’t have to shout “This is Korea!” but rather at least hint that this is somewhere in Asia or proceed to tell a story. This is where your subject can be important.

Adding something of interest in the foreground of your image and letting the blossoms take a backseat is another way to create more interest in the image. This time of  year you can see blossoms everywhere. This is about the ways that you can use them to accent your image. Not to mention, if you are shooting travel pieces and want to show off the location the blossoms should take a backseat in order to give more focus on the location and subject.


Be a Tourist

With all these techniques and ideas circulating around your cranium, now is the time to get out there! Steve Robinson and I commented recently about collecting so many tips and tricks from ebooks and videos but rarely using them. Here is a great way to finally make use out of that great content that you purchased from places like 5DayDeal. The basic thing that I also hear is from a lot of photographers these days is “I have to get out more” and that goes for me to.

The best way is to do some research and join some groups. For example the Dynamic Busan page has a great post on where to go in Busan to capture the blossoms. Check around your area to see what is available. Perhaps a trip to Kyoto or Busan might not be in the cards for your but do check and see what is going on in your area. Guaranteed there will be a few groups going to shoot, so join there and see what you come up with!

The post How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms appeared first on The Sajin.


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Donghae Line: Busan’s Newest Way to Ride

Fri, 2017-03-17 05:21
Donghae Line: Busan’s Newest Way to Ride

Perhaps I have an outsized interest in the Busan metro system.

To call it a “subway” would be somewhat incorrect, although that’s what I usually say. Even for the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, which is entirely aboveground. To call it “sub”way is to imply it is “sub,” or underground. Even some parts of the Busan Transportation Corporation system could not technically be called subways, since they are above ground. On the orange line, line 1, the train goes aboveground from 125 at Dongnae Station, through 130 at Guseo, then back underground for its remainder. Likewise, the green line, line 2, goes aboveground as it approaches neighboring Yangsan in the north. Line 4, the blue line, also spends some of its time above ground, and even ground level. One could not consider a ground level train as a subway, could they?

Perhaps I have an outsized interest in the Busan metro system.

Thus, it was with great interest that I first heard about the “Donghae” line over a year ago. Living in Gimhae at the time, I did not often spy the ongoing construction of the additional rails, which currently begin at Bujeon Station (the train station, not to be confused with the subway line. See, here I can call it the “subway” since it’s underground) and head east, cutting through parts of line 3, the brown line, line 1 and line 2, then head north into Gijang County, to parts that are as yet untouched by Busan’s 32-year-old metro system. The line officially opened for service at the end of 2016.

The Donghae Line (which, confusingly, is depicted in a shade of blue very similar to line 4, which debuted in 2011) is actually part of what was known as the greater Donghae-Nambu train line, which has connected Busan to Pohang for almost 100 years. The whole thing is rather confusing, since the current Donghae Line that serves Busan finishes north in Ilgwang, home to one of the city’s less widely known beaches. That is the part we’re going to concern ourselves with today.

The Donghae Line is not technically part of the Busan Metro system, as it’s not operated by the Busan Transportation Corporation. So, instead of the 101, 102, 103 of that system’s stations, the Donghae Line operates under Korail’s K110, K111 system. Is this useful information? I’m not sure after writing the above paragraph, but use it if you can. It shows up in all informational materials as being part of the whole transit system, like the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, so we might as well just call it as such. Also like the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, transfers are possible from the Busan Metro. You need to scan out and in to the separate transit ecosystem, however, unlike transfers between metro lines, which do not require an additional scan.

For my maiden voyage on the Donghae Line, I transferred at BEXCO, 205 on line 2, which is presently one of three stations where direct transfers from the metro to Donghae is possible (the other two are at Busan National University of Education, 124 on line 1, and Geoje, 306 on line 3). From there, I followed the easy-to-navigate signage on the walls and floor to a new set of turnstyles that take passengers exclusively to the new BEXCO Donghae station via a pair of long, long airport style moving sidewalks and a long escalator.

As expected, the new station was clean and bright. Nothing super fancy, but all very easy to navigate. What was more impressive was the platform, where copious amounts of light flowed into its partially open-air expanse. Dramatic red metal curved above the train’s tracks, as people waited for their trains to arrive.

And, be prepared to potentially wait. While its DNA might be similar to a metro system, it’s still its own beast. During rush hour, trains will arrive about every 15 minutes. Other times, such as when I went around 3pm, trains come about every half hour. So, be smart and figure out when the trains come and go, just like if you were taking any other regular, non-metro train. Or, chill out and people watch, as I did.

A fun, soft little melody played out as our train came into the station that reminded me of some of the fun little tunes I would hear waiting for trains in Japan. Then, we all hopped aboard what can easily be mistaken for line 5 of the Busan Metro (another line altogether, which is currently scheduled to open in 2021).

Unlike your average train that has rows of seating, the Donghae line’s trains are set up identically to those on the Busan Metro and Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit. Like BG Metro, this line is all aboveground (save for Sinhaeundae, which is listed as partially underground and which I have yet to pass through). But, other than that, I think it’s perfectly suitable to lump this in with the five other lines that are presently serving South Korea’s second-largest city.

Busan’s metro connectivity grows.

The train is obviously getting used, as can be seen from the included pictures. Lots of people. Of course, the somewhat sparse train schedule could also be playing a part. But, whether I was standing or sitting, I was very comfortable and the ride was very smooth.

My trip took me to Bujeon, which, as mentioned before, is not the same Bujeon as the subway line. But, you can get from one two the other from the street in minutes. I’m not sure if plans are on the table to connect the two underground, as has been done with Geoje, Busan National University of Education and BEXCO. Plans for additional stops past Ilgwang on the other end are in the works, but as all the subway maps are presently being updated to just include up to Ilgwang, I wouldn’t hold my breath for whenever those are to be completed.

Overall, I enjoyed my brief (about 25 minutes) trip across town on the new Donghae Line. I hope to take a complete trip, from Bujeon to Ilgwang, in the near future and will update accordingly.

So, yes, I guess I do have a bit of an outsized interest in the Busan metro system. At least conceptually. Ultimately, it was just a ride on a train, albeit a comfortable ride. For me, it’s not just about the nuts and bolts of the operation. I never collected trains growing up. I don’t really care about any other metro systems elsewhere.

But, as I have lived in Korea for four years, two of those in Busan and the other two one city over but still served by the same transportation system, the additions of the new lines and stations (such as the six additional stations coming to the end of line 1 in April, which will make accessible by subway a part of the city I lived in when I first arrived in 2013), a very real excitement has existed when something opens up and changes in my current home. Had I visited Busan the first time I was in Korea in 2005, I would have only been served by lines 1 and 2. Now, there are 6, including the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit and the Donghae Line. For me, it represents an evolution, as well as a greater opportunity to explore this still-interesting, curious place called Busan, South Korea.

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.

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Prof Robert Kelly is back & this time his wife & children are meant to be in shot! BBC News

Wed, 2017-03-15 10:25

Prof Robert E Kelly has returned to BBC News to talk about his unexpected viral fame last week, when his children crashed his live TV interview to the amusement of millions of people who later watched the clip. Prof Kelly, an expert on South Korea, was joined in the follow-up video with his wife, Jung-a Kim and children Marion and James.
He confirmed to the BBC's James Menendez that he was, despite online speculation, wearing trousers during the interview.

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Kelly Family Press Release on the ‘BBC Dad’ Viral Video

Wed, 2017-03-15 08:53
Kelly Family Press Release on the ‘BBC Dad’ Viral Video

Today, my family and I conducted a select set of interviews, with the BBC for the international audience, with the Wall Street Journal for the American audience, and with the Korean media for the local audience here. Here is our statement on the video incident. Thank you.   Robert E. Kelly


“My family and I would like to thank our many well-wishers. We are just a regular family, and raising two young children can be a lot of work. Because of that, it seems that the video has resonated with parents around the world, and we are flattered at the many gentle sentiments about our children. Thank you. We love them very much, and we are happy that our family blooper brought some laughter to so many.

We would also like to thank the British Broadcasting Corporation for its gentle and tactful treatment of the video. We are grateful for their professionalism in handling the exposure of our young children. We especially thank James Menendez, the announcer in the clip, for his kindness during the interview itself.

To the media, we would like to apologize for our reticence. We have been deluged with requests since Friday. We were unsure how to respond, and as the attention accelerated, we became genuinely unnerved. We had no idea how to handle this. We therefore decided to return to the BBC for a follow-up interview for the international audience, to speak with the Wall Street Journal for the US domestic audience, and to hold today’s press conference for the Korean audience. We apologize to the many outlets that seem to find this dissatisfactory. We are doing the best we can. Some have asked for interviews in our home. At this point, we are unready for that. We are hoping to return to normality in the next few days. Perhaps next week if there is still interest.

Finally, we would like to clear up a few of the rumors and controversies around the video:

– Yes, the woman in the video is my wife, Jung-A Kim/김정아, not my nanny.

– The first child to enter is our daughter, Marion Yena Kelly/켈리 매리언 예나, age 4.

– The second is our son, James Yousup Kelly/켈리 제임스 유섭, age 9 months.

– No, Jung-A did not use too much force in removing the children from the room. It is quite apparent from the video that she is frantically trying to salvage the professionalism of the interview. The children were not injured. When Marion speaks in the clip, she says, in Korean, ‘why Mom?’ She is responding in surprise, because we normally do not treat out children this way. Marion’s willingness to comfortably traipse into my home office illustrates her usual ease with her parents.

– No, I was not shoving Marion out of the way. I was trying to slide her behind my chair where there are children’s toys and books, in hopes she would play with them for a few moments until the interview ended.

– Yes, I was wearing pants. I choose not to stand, because I was trying to salvage the interview.

– No, this was not staged.

– Yes, the flat surface to my left was in fact a covered-up air-mattress. Our children like to play and jump on it.

– No, the map was not hung there as a prop. It was a gift and genuinely helps me learn world place names in Korean.

– No, we did not fight about the blooper afterward, nor punish our children. Rather, we were mortified. We assumed that no television network would ever call me again to speak.

– We have no comment on the many social analyses of the video. We see this simply as a very public family blooper, nothing more.”

Filed under: Media

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



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Seoul Saint Patrick's Day Festival March 18th 2017

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:14

St. Patrick’s Day 2017 press release


St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated on March 18th here in Korea at Daesung’s wonderful D-Cube City plaza, Sindorim, Seoul


The St. Patrick’s Day festivities will begin at 1pm and continue until 6pm.

The central theme of this year event is “Visions of Ireland”.


The Irish Association of Korea wants to share Ireland’s rich culture and Celtic history with the people of Korea and it hopes to achieve this through a feast of Irish dancing, Irish traditional music and audience participation.


At the open air festival on March 18th you will hear the traditional and modern sounds of Ireland through the many talented musical and dance acts the festival has lined up. On the day you will hear a variety of instruments like the Irish tin whistle, the fiddle and the accordion. You can watch a fusion of traditional and modern Irish dance performed by award winning Korean dancers, while also listening to the sounds of old style Irish singing and Irish influenced rock music.


Since it was founded in 2000, the IAK has entertained thousands of Koreans and expats alike by sharing Irish culture and a flavor of Ireland. Experience the sounds of a country heaped in tradition, history and culture without even leaving Seoul. Irish music is alive and Irish culture is here waiting to be explored.


There are plenty of family orientated and fun cultural activities ready to be enjoyed like face painting with traditional Irish symbols, demonstrations of Irish sport by Seoul’s very own GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) team, the Seoul Gaels for children or the young at heart to participate in and a fancy dress competition based on our “visions of Ireland” theme.  The best dressed lad or lass will be in with a chance to win a great prize as will the best dressed child.


On the day you will also have the chance to win return flights for two to Ireland, thanks to our kind sponsors Etihad.


Become Irish for the day at this free event. So feel free to come along to make new friends and remember to blend in by wearing plenty of green as a nod to our national colour and to St. Patrick himself.


Once the entertainment ends at Sindorim remember that there will also be a St. Patrick’s Day after party from 7pm until 1am in the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon. This party known as “The Hooley” is a fundraiser for future IAK events and the fun will continue with a mix of live traditional and modern music.


Irish Association Chairperson Andrew Kilbride

“The IAK is a voluntary organisation that promotes Ireland and all things Irish”

“St. Patrick’s Day is a global festival that celebrates Irish culture. This year's festival is very kindly sponsored by Etihad Airways (who are providing our grand prize), Daesung and Korean Air who have very kindly sponsored festival. They are working very hard with us to give everyone in South Korea the unique opportunity to experience the music, dance and arts from Ireland.”

“For people from Ireland or those of Irish heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a very important time to celebrate a culture familiar to them. St. Patrick’s Day is also a chance for Koreans and those from the wider community to learn and experience something new and exciting.

Come along and enjoy being Irish for the day………”


About the IAK:

The Irish Association of Korea is a voluntary organization that promotes Ireland and all things Irish in Korea. Founded in the year 2000, it hosts several big events each year as well as supporting charity projects. 


The IAK offers people the opportunity to find out more about the culture and history of Ireland and its culture. Whether you’re interested in volunteering your time with the group or simply wish to join one of the events, feel free to contact them at;


Email: irishassociationkorea@gmail.com

Twitter: @irishinkorea

Facebook: Irish Association of Korea


History of St. Patrick:

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. Still to this day there are no snakes in Ireland.


Musicians at St. Patrick’s day:

-       Jigs and Reels - Traditional Irish music

-       Boss Hagwon - American Folk

-       Ceoiltoiri Seoul - Traditional Irish music

-       Scott Hildebrand Band - Irish / American Folk

-       Sweet Murphy’s Fancy - Irish Rock Music


and more to be confirmed.



-       Tap Pung – A Korean Irish dancing troup


2017 성 패트릭의 날 행사 보도자료

아일랜드의 국경일인 성 패트릭의 날(St.Patrick’s Day 매년 3월 17일)을 기념하는 행사가 3월 18일 신도림 디큐브시티에서 열린다.

성 패트릭의 날 소개

전 세계에서 기념하는 ‘성 패트릭의 날’은 아일랜드의 수호성인인 성 패트릭(서기 387-461) 이 세상을 떠난 3월 17일에 그를 기리는 축제이다. 성 패트릭은 5세기에 아일랜드에 처음으로 가톨릭을 전파한 성인으로, 아일랜드 교회에서 가장 존경 받는 인물로 꼽힌다. 오늘날 성 패트릭의 날은 전 세계에서 특정 종교나 민족적 정체성보다는 아일랜드 사람들의 포용성과 다양성을 축하하는 날로 자리 잡고 있다. 성 패트릭의 날이 다가오면 아일랜드의 수도 더블린과 아일랜드 이주민들이 자리잡은 세계 곳곳에서 성 패트릭의 날 축제가 열리며 이 때는 도시가 온통 초록색 물결로 넘실댄다. 한국에서는 1976년부터 다양한 방식으로 ‘성 패트릭의 날’을 기념해 왔다. 한국 아일랜드 협회(IAK)가 처음 공식적으로 성 패트릭의 날 행사와 퍼레이드를 진행한 것은 2001년으로, 매년 3월 17일에 가까운 토요일에 행사를 열고 있다. 

샴록(Shamrock) 소개

‘샴록’은 클로버와 비슷한 토끼풀로 녹색과 함께 아일랜드를 상징한다. 전설에 따르면 성 패트릭이 사람들에게 가톨릭의 삼위일체를 설명할 때 샴록을 사용해 사람들의 이해를 도왔다고 전해진다. 이 때문에 샴록의 녹색이 패트릭 성인을 상징하는 색깔로 자리 잡게 되었으며 이 때문에 성 패트릭의 날에는 사람들이 모두 녹색 옷과 모자 등으로 치장하고 축제에 참여한다. 샴록은 또한 아일랜드의 상징 중 하나로 아일랜드를 대표하는 스포츠나 정보기관의 로고에도 자주 등장한다.

성 패트릭의 날 행사 소개

성 패트릭의 날 행사는 3월 18일 오후 1시부터 6시까지 진행되며, 올 해의 주제는 “Visions of Ireland.”이다.

한국아일랜드협회는(IAK)는 이번 행사를 통해 한국인들과 국내 거주 외국인들이 모두 함께 아일랜드의 음악과 춤을 즐기고 아일랜드의 문화와 역사를 배울 수 있기를 기대한다.  

신도림의 디큐브시티 광장에서 열리는 이번 성 패트릭의 날 행사에서는 아일랜드 피리와 바이올린, 아코디언 등이 사용되는 아일랜드 전통 음악과 함께 아일랜드 락 음악 등을 들을 수 있다. 또한 국내 대표 아이리쉬 댄스 그룹이자 대회 수상 경력을 가진 ‘탭풍’이 아이리쉬 댄스를 선보인다. 국내에서 쉽게 접할 수 없는 아일랜드 문화를 성 패트릭의 날 행사에서는 음악과 춤, 그리고 다양한 이벤트들을 통해 누구나 쉽고 재미있게 배울 수 있다. 

음악과 춤 외에도 페이스 페인팅과 코스튬 콘테스트, 아일랜드 전통 스포츠인 게일릭 축구 시연 등 다채로운 행사들이 함께 준비되어 있다. 특히 IAK에서 무료로 나눠주는 초록 풍선과 비눗방울 등은 아이들이 있는 가족들에게 인기가 많다. 서울에서 활동 중인 게일릭 축구팀, 서울 게일즈(Seoul Gaels)는 게일릭 축구에 관심있는 사람들에게 게일릭 축구를 소개하고 직접 시연도 선보일 예정이다. 

매년 행사 때마다 IAK는 활동모금의 일환으로 경품권을 판매하는데, 1등에겐 에티하드 항공에서 후원하는 왕복 아일랜드 항공권 2장이 주어지며 이 밖에도 다양한 상품들이 준비되어 있다. 

신도림 역을 찾는 모든 서울 시민들에게 열려있는 성 패트릭의 날 행사는 일체 입장료나 공연비를 받지 않는 무료 행사이며 가족, 연인, 친구 모두가 함께 와 즐길 수 있는 축제이다. 

디큐브시티에서의 성 패트릭의 날 행사가 끝난 후 7시부터는 이태원에 위치한 록키 마운틴 터번(Rocky Mountain Tavern)에서 뒤풀이 행사인 “Hooley”가 열린다. “Hooley”는 “파티”를 뜻하는 게일어(아일랜드 언어)이다. Hooley에서는 성 패트릭의 날에만 맛볼 수 있는 초록 맥주와 함께 아일랜드 전통 음악과 락 음악의 라이브 공연을 즐길 수 있다. 

한국아일랜드협회 회장 앤드류 킬브라이드(Andrew Kilbride)

“한국아일랜드협회(IAK)는 한국에 아일랜드 문화를 소개하고 널리 알리기 위해 설립된 비영리 단체입니다.”

“성 패트릭의 날은 아일랜드 문화를 기념하는 전세계적인 축제의 날입니다. 저희는 이번 행사를 통해 한국인 및 한국에 거주하는 외국인들이 아일랜드 음악과 춤 및 다양한 아일랜드 문화를 접할 수 있기를 기대합니다. 기네스와 영국항공의 후원으로 올 해 행사는 더욱 풍성한 이벤트들로 이루어질 예정입니다.”

“아일랜드 사람들에게 성 패트릭의 날은 문화적으로 매우 중요한 날입니다. 하지만 저희는 이 행사를 통해 아일랜드 사람들 외에도 한국인들과 국내에 거주하는 외국인들이 즐겁고 특별한 시간을 보낼 수 있기를 바랍니다. 3월 18일 하루는 우리 모두 아이리쉬가 되어보는 건 어떨까요?” 

한국아일랜드협회(IAK) 소개

한국아일랜드협회(IAK)는 한국에서 아일랜드 문화를 소개하고 널리 알리기 위해 설립된 비영리단체이다. IAK는 2000년도에 설립된 이래 한국 내 아이리쉬 커뮤니티에게는 고국의 정서를 느끼게 하는 동시에 한국인들에게는 아일랜드 문화와 전통에 대해 배우고 체험할 수 있는 행사들을 기획하고 있다. IAK는 아일랜드와 한국 및 다양한 국적의 사람들로 구성되어 있으며 모두 자원봉사자들이다. IAK활동에 관심이 있거나 IAK에서 주최하는 행사에 자원봉사로 참여하고 싶다면 아래의 연락처로 문의하면 된다. 

Email: irishassociationkorea@gmail.com

Twitter: @irishinkorea

Facebook: Irish Association of Korea


성 패트릭의 날 행사 공연 팀:

-       Ceoiltoiri Seoul – 아일랜드 전통 음악

-       Jig and Reels - 아일랜드 전통 음악

-       Sweet Murphy’s Fancy – 아이리쉬 락 음악

-       Boss Hagwon – 아메리칸 포크 음악

-       Scott Hildebrand Band – 아이리쉬 / 아메리칸 포크 음악


최종 라인업은 추후 업데이트될 예정입니다.



댄스 팀:

-       Tap Pung – 한국인들로 구성된 아일랜드 댄스 그룹



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How to Enjoy in Gwangyang Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) Village

Mon, 2017-03-13 13:23
How to Enjoy in Gwangyang Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) Village

Gwangyang Maehwa Village, also known as Seomjin Village, is a small, charming local village tucked in the city of Gwangyang, Jeolla Province, at the downstream of Seomjin River, the cleanest water among Korea’s 5 largest rivers.

Every spring, the picturesque view of more than 100,000 plum trees covering the hilly Seomjin Village bursting into bloom fascinates both local and international visitors. I, a restless traveler and a member of Trazy Crew, can’t have missed it out. Let’s peep into what my wanderlust presented me this time!The village is quite far away from downtown Gwangyang, around a 4-hour ride from Seoul, and there is no way to reach Maehwa Village directly. Therefore, the easiest way is to sign up for Trazy’s one-day trip which will take you to the village hassle-free.

The tour is available only on March 18, 2017, so don’t hesitate and book the tour or you will have to wait another year to see these beautiful plum blossoms in Gwangyang Maehwa Village! Sign up for the tour here.

The tour package provides a round-trip transportation and an English speaking tour staff. And you can depart at 2 locations – Sindorim and City Hall subway stations.

For more information on the tour, click here.

Now, if you have booked the tour, take a look at the things you must try or enjoy at Gwangyang Maehwa Village!

1. Get inside Cheong Maesil Farm

The plum blossoms are the starters of spring flowers that mark the arrival of spring in Korea. So if you want to fully enjoy Korea’s spring, this village should be the first spring destination on your list.

And yes, when I got there, these plum blossoms were already greeting heaps of people with their families, lovers and also on their own at the village.

Hong Ssangri Cheong Maesil Farm

It’s this female farmer’s own devotion of 50 years that the whole mountain has turned into a vast orchard that only grows organic plums.

24-year-old young lady Hong SSangri, married to a native Seomjin villager, felt lonely in the rural countryside with a very small population. She thought more people would visit her town if the place was covered by beautiful plum flowers. So she started planting plum trees adding to already existing 5000 plum trees inherited by her father in law.

Now Hong’s Cheong Maesil (Green plum) Farm has become the biggest plum plantation in Korea and thousands of tourists visit the village to see this breathtaking scenery. She made her dream come true! A huge monument greets visitors and tells now you’ve reached the entrance of this plum orchard.

1. Take in the Plum Blossoms Off the Beaten Path

Walking in the uphill path, not only have I seen the scenic view of plum blossoms but also the 50-year dedication of the plum master who planted and grew the plum trees from the bottom of your heart as she brought up her own children.

While it is fun to walk the main orchard paths with other visitors, I also adventured to take narrow paths of which the entrances were somewhat hidden behind the bushes.In contrast to the lively main paths with street vendors, loud music and people beaming at their cameras, I was able to sit and fully appreciate the floral spring ambiance. 

2. Quench your thirst at the beautiful Hanok cafe

The day was sunny and warm, and I soon became quite thirsty. There. I found a cafe with bustling people. This touristy village but still keeping the local tradition has a Hanok cafe boasting the beauty of its curved roof.

3. Try Maesil Ice Cream!

I got out of the cafe and as I headed towards the tip of the hill, I found these countless jars used to preserve plums for various purposes. The plums will be made into plum tea, plum juice, plum ice cream etc.Curious about what it would taste like, I decided to try the ice cream out of plums.

Maesil Ice Cream Shop

A piquantly plummy-sour and sweet ice cream doubled the joy of the spring excursion! Don’t forget to try this ‘Maesil (plum) ice cream’ if you visit Gwangyang Maehwa Village. It’s a MUST!!!! The ice cream costs 3,000 KRW and you can buy it with your credit card. 

4. Cool off at the bamboo forest

After quenching my thirst with ice coffee and plum ice cream, I realized that there was much to explore. Here, as you move your step, the scenery you encounter continuously changes.

On the way to the observatory deck, there is a path that you should not miss. With plum blossoms on the left side and a bamboo forest on the right side, you will feel like walking inside a movie!

5. Hike up to the observatory deck

After passing the bamboo forest, you will see people climbing up the wooden steps, which take you to the observatory deck. It can be strenuous to walk all the way to the top, but definitely worth it.

6. Try Maesil Bibimbap & Maesil Makgeolli

Although lunch is not provided, you can find several restaurants and booths around the village and inside the Cheong Maesil Farm where you can taste a variety of local Korean food and dishes.

The dishes served at the booths inside the farm are relatively cheaper than the ones outside the farm and near the parking lot, so I strongly recommend you to have a lunch inside the farm if you want to save money. The dishes cost around 7000~10,000 KRW per person.I had ‘Bibimbap’, Korea’s famous dish, but it was extra special because it was topped with plums. Other dishes served at the booths include ‘Pajeon (Korean-style pancake)’, noodles, ‘Nakiji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Octopus)’and many more. Some of the booths seem to serve the Cherry Blossom Oysters, or ‘Beotgul’ in Korean, which are also one of the popular local specialties in the area, as well.

Another thing you may want to try or take home with you is ‘Maesil Makgeolli’, which is Korean rice wine made of plums.

7. Get down by the riverside

If you are done navigating the Cheong Maesil Farm, get down to the riverside and you will find the Toad Square. According to legend, a swarm of toads scared the Japanese army away from crossing the Seomjin into northern Jeolla. The name of Seomjin River, or Seomjin-gang, literally means “toad ferry”, from the Chinese characters ‘seom’ (toad), ‘jin’ (ferry), and ‘gang’ (river).


Do try and visit this charming local village in Gwangyang before the plum blossoms are gone!

Once again, as I have mentioned before, it can be very difficult to get to the village for foreign travelers, especially this is your first-time visit. Even driving on your own to the village can be very tiresome as it is located far south of the country. So, it will be the best for you to join Trazy’s day tour to the village on March 18.

Things to check before you visit

Around mid-March, it is warm during the day and cold in the early morning and night time in Korea. It will be wise of you to wear thin clothing inside and bring a thick outdoor jacket as well. Also, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes as the village area is hilly and you will be doing some hiking.

See more stunning photos of Gwangyang Village and the spectacular plum blossoms that I took from the day of Trazy’s tour!




Looking for other spring festivals in Korea?

Browse more spring packages and tours at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, and savor the delights of spring with us!

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Korean News Update – Friday, March 10

Fri, 2017-03-10 10:12
Korean News Update – Friday, March 10

South Korea’s Constitutional Court has permanently removed President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal, triggering an automatic presidential election to be held in 60 days. All that & more on the latest Korean News Update podcast episode from Korea FM.

Stream the episode online at http://www.spreaker.com/user/seoulitup/korean-news-update-friday-march-10

Download the full episode at http://api.spreaker.com/download/episode/11352274/2017_03_10.mp3

Rate & Review this podcast at http://bit.ly/KFMReview

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Assist & its $30 per hour flat rate podcasting voice overs, editing, mastering, transcriptions & even hosting (select a topic, they’ll create & host the podcast). Visit Facebook.com/PodcastAssist for more information. 

Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

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The post Korean News Update – Friday, March 10 appeared first on Korea FM.

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Korean President Park struck out

Fri, 2017-03-10 09:53
Korean President Park struck out

Good morning,

Breaking news. South Korean president Park Geun-hye got fired on Mar 10 when Constitutional Court has unanimously upheld a decision by the National Assembly to impeach her. Park became the first president to be impeached. Park's problem began on Oct 24 last year when local TV station revealed the unhealthy influence scandal Park's female confidante Choi Soon-sil had over the president. South Koreans have been deeply divided between those who were for the impeachment, and against. The downtown in Seoul near Park's Blue House was packed with tens of thousands of protesters every Saturday,holding candle lights (for impeachment) and Korean flags (against) in the past four months. 
An election will be held within 60 days to replace Park. If the election is held today, Moon Jae-in from opposition party is likely to be the next president with nearly 40% approval rating, far ahead of the runner-up with 15%. Despite the court decision, the Korean political theater is expected to be pretty noisy and chaotic until the next election.
My first son just joined the same company his father did exactly 30 years ago. Like father, like son. My son was sitting on the South Pole while his father was camping on the North Pole over Park's impeachment. Unlike father, unlike son.

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