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JANUARY 2015 VOL.

11

JANUARY 2015

Fermented and
preserved foods

Koreans use tradition to store food naturally


Artist

Youn Myeung-Ro

Travel

Cheonsuman

CONTENTS
JANUARY 2015 | KOREA VOL.11 NO.1

04
24

18

28
42

04 COVER STORY

The taste of time


No country enjoys fermented and preserved
foods like Korea

14 PEOPLE

Abstract painter Youn Myeung-Ro


Tea researcher Park Dong-chun

30 CURRENT KOREA

42 GREAT KOREAN

Men in aprons

32 SUMMIT DIPLOMACY

18 TRAVEL

22 SPORTS

36 POLICY REVIEW

24 ENTERTAINMENT

38 CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY

26 SPECIAL ISSUE

40 GLOBAL KOREA

Seosans Cheonsuman
Short track skater Shim Suk-hee
Gugak singer Song So-hee
Bringing down trade barriers
Uncovering a new dinosaur

ASEAN-Republic of Korea
Commemorative Summit

Boosting the economy


Smarter agriculture

Yi Hwang

44 MY KOREA

Learning taekwondo in native territory

46 MULTICULTURAL KOREA

Finnish glass artist Annaliisa Alastaro

48 NATURE KOREA

Seouls northern guardians

50 FLAVOR
Bossam

Building, the Korean way

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Publisher Kim Jae-won, Korean Culture and Information Service | Executive Producer Han Seong-rae | E-mail webmaster@korea.net | Magazine Production Seoul Selection |
Editor-in-Chief Robert Koehler | Staff Writer Felix Im | Producer Shin Yesol | Production Supervisor Lee Jin-hyuk | Editorial Advisor Choi Byong-Gook | Copy Editors Gregory C. Eaves, Jaime Stief,
Hwang Chi-young | Creative Director Jung Hyun-young | Head Designer Lee Bok-hyun | Photography Ryu Seunghoo, Robert Koehler, RAUM Studio | Printing Pyung Hwa Dang Printing Co., Ltd. |
11-1110073-000016-06

COVER STORY

The taste of time


No country enjoys fermented

and preserved foods like Korea

Written by Yoon Sook-ja

COVER STORY

are fermented foods so dominant as in Korea. It is estimated that between 80 and


90 percent of the dishes commonly found on any given Korean dinner table are
fermented. Indeed, its hard to imagine a Korean meal without at least a side dish of
kimchi, the spicy pickled cabbage for which Korean cuisine is almost synonymous.

The excellence of Koreas preserved foods


As a biological phenomenon, fermentation refers to a metabolic process through
which sugars are converted into acids. In food products, this typically means
carbohydrates being broken down into lactic acid using yeasts and healthy bacteria,
yielding a number of positive effects. The most obvious benefit is that it preserves
the food and creates a wide variety of nutrients, including enzymes, vitamins, fatty
acids and helpful bacteria that make the food not only healthier but also easier to
digest. It also gives food a rich, sour taste that stimulates the appetite and gets the
digestive juices flowing.
Fermentation is an ancient technique, with evidence of its practice stretching back
at least 9,000 years. In Korea, it likely came with the introduction of agricultural
practices and the cultivation of grains from China in prehistoric times. Soon enough,
Koreans were fermentating everything, including grains, soybeans, vegetables
and seafood. We already know that, prior to Unified Silla (676-935), Koreans had
managed to perfect the brewing of alcohol, one of the worlds most common uses of
fermentation. This was no doubt helped by the need for alcohol in the wide range of
religious ceremonies that developed thanks to the cultivation of grains such as rice
and barley. The creation of Koreas commonly used sauces and pastes, too, developed
naturally after the introduction of soybeans into the Korean diet.

f you are lucky enough to visit a Korean


traditional home, or a Hanok, youre more
than likely to encounter an area near the
kitchen that is specifically designed for long-term
food storage. Contrary to its Western counterpart,
which is typically dark and cool, this elevated stone
platform, called a jangdokdae, will typically have
good ventilation, plenty of sunshine and several
brown clay pots, or onggi. Lift the lids of these onggi
and youll find an assortment of fermented sauces
and condiments, such as red bean paste, soybean
paste and, of course, soy sauce. These condiments
are said to be so essential to Korean cooking that,
traditionally, one of the best ways to get to know
a family is to try its pastes and sauces. It is perhaps
fitting, then, that the space where these items are
stored is equally important and that, in the words of

another proverb, a familys good taste is cultivated in


its jangdokdae.
Koreans have been developing, producing and
savoring stored fermented foods, or jeojang eumsik,
for thousands of years. As such, one of the most
distinctive characteristics of Korean cuisine is its
rich variety of stored, fermented foods, including
kimchi, Koreas best-known and arguably mostloved contribution to global culinary culture.
Koreas stored foods are a reflection of the nations
geography, history and social development, and to
understand and appreciate this dietary culture is to
gain insight into the Korean soul.
All countries consume some sort of fermented
food, of course. In the West, for instance, foods
such as cheese, yogurt and pickles have long been
dietary mainstays. In no other country, however,

1. Jangdokdae covered in snow


in Jeonju
2. Stew made from fermented
soy beans, or Doenjang jjigae
KTO
3. Raw crab seasoned in soy
sauce, or Ganjang gejang KTO

COVER STORY

Geography and climate have also played a major


role in the development of Koreas fermented
food. Korea is a peninsula, surrounded by seas on
three sides. This has blessed the country with an
abundant supply of fish and shellfish, but in the
days before refrigeration, this also meant seafood
would need to be preserved before it could be sold
in inland markets. Perhaps even more importantly,
Korea is a country with a long, cold winter in
which the cultivation of vitamin-rich vegetables
is not usually possible. Fermentation of abundant
crops such as cabbage, however, allowed Koreans
to continue eating greens throughout the winter.
Both historical and political shifts, too,
contributed to the development of Korean cuisine.
In particular, the rise of Buddhism during the
Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-A.D. 668)
and its adoption as the state religion during the
Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) resulted in a reduced
consumption of animal protein while promoting
a more vegetable-based diet. In fact, it was during
Goryeo times that commonly encountered dishes
such a seasoned or fried vegetables and Korean
pickles, or jangajji, were embraced universally at
mealtimes.
Fermentation techniques are not difficult to

carry out and do not require anything in the way


of expensive tools, allowing even the humblest
of households to preserve the foods they need to
survive. In the olden days, before refrigeration, the
only preservation methods available were natural
ones. What this usually meant was using salt to
ferment and store vegetables, meats and seafood.
Koreans ferment and preserve virtually
everything, and a comprehensive description of
Koreas fermented food culture would require
far too many pages than is currently practical.
Let us look, therefore, at just a few of the most
representative fermented food families.

Jeotgal and other fermented seafoods


Seafood typically spoils quickly, and many cultures
have developed ways to ferment seafood to allow
it to go longer without rotting. This typically
involves making the flesh more acidic, which kills
the bacteria that causes the spoilage in the first
place. To do this, salt is usually added in large
quantities to the flesh, innards and eggs of fish and
shellfish, forcing digestive enzymes to break down
sugars, and allowing the seafood to mature for an
appropriate amount of time.
This is how jeotgal, Koreas commonly eaten

1. Shoppers buy fermented


seafood, or jeotgal , at Incheon's
Soraepogu Harbor at the height
of the gimjang season. Yonhap
News
2. Salted pollock intestines, or
changnanjeot Yonhap News
3. Kimchi and its ingredients

fermented seafood, is made. Like kimchi, jeotgal is


produced from a wide range of seafood products,
including shrimp, shellfish, fish intestines and fish
eggs. It is typically eaten as a side dish, often as a
dipping sauce for other foods, although it is also
used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as Korean
stews. If you visit Seouls sprawling Noryangjin
Seafood Market, youll find alleyways of shops
selling jeotgal by the barrel.
As Korea is surrounded by water, its people have
been eating fish since at least the Neolithic period,
even prior to the introduction of settled agriculture
and grain cultivation. To allow seafood to remain
edible for longer, it was usually salted and/or dried,
a technique that was extended to other kinds of
foods such as fruit, meat and poultry. Chinese
records show that Koreans have been producing
salted seafood since at least the third through fifth
centuries B.C.
In addition to jeotgal, another commonly eaten
preserved seafood is dried fish, or jaban. Mackerel
and pollock, which are produced in Korea in large
quantities, are commonly used for this purpose. To
ensure the fish doesnt spoil, salt is applied to the
flesh to extract the moisture, lowering the pH level
and increasing the acidity. Jaban is usually prepared
during periods when the overall fish catch is good,
and typically served as a side dish for rice in inland
farming and mountain villages.

Kimchi and jangajji


Koreans began preserving vegetables as a result of
the countrys climate and horticultural variation
from region to region. Each season and area of
the country produced its own vegetables, but this
climactic and geographic diversity also placed limits
on the availability of different types of produce.
To overcome this hardship and ensure a consistent
supply of nutritious vegetables throughout the year,
preservation techniques were developed.
Historical records show that Koreans have been
eating salted vegetables for as long as there have
been records of human existence on the peninsula
- since forever, it seems. Kimchi, Koreas most
famous food item, was invented to store vegetables
over the long, cold Korean winter, a time when it

COVER STORY

of the blood, which is often the result of the


overconsumption of meat products.
Another form of preserved vegetable is jangajji,
which involves pickling or marinating vegetables
in soy sauce, bean paste or pepper paste for long
periods of time. Like kimchi, this is typically
served as a side dish, often sliced and seasoned
with sesame oil, sugar or salt. Jangajji comes in a
wide range of forms, with each region producing
its own variety, although common forms include
pickled garlic, radish, cucumber and perilla leaves.
In the days prior to refrigeration, jangajji was, along
with kimchi, practically the only way to enjoy
vegetables during the cold Korean winter.

was almost impossible to grow anything and access


to fresh vegetables was poor. Kimchi was typically
produced at the end of autumn, not long after the
harvest, in a communal tradition called the gimjang,
during which large quantities of kimchi are made
in preparation for the winter months. This process
was designated by UNESCO as a form of Intangible
Cultural Heritage in 2013.
While the basic process of making kimchi is to salt
the vegetables most often cabbage other processes
are added to improve the taste and nutritional value
of the dish. For instance, jeotgal is sometimes added
to the kimchi to give the dish a bit of protein as
well as additional calcium, magnesium and iron,
which are difficult to obtain in the winter months.
Other vegetables are mixed in, too, with the added
fiber effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing
harmful waste in the digestive tract, producing
healthier digestion and lessening the potential for
colon cancer.
Produced during the maturation process, the
lactic acid that gives kimchi its distinctive flavor
also blocks the production of harmful bacteria in
the stomach and intestines. It is also a good alkaline
food that helps prevent acidosis, the excessive acidity

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1. Staff at the Seoil


Nongwon farm in Anseong,
Gyeonggi-do, inspect
hanging soybean blocks,
or meju . Seoil Nongwon is
famous for its traditionally
produced sauces.
Yonhap News
2. Workers hang up pollock
to dry near PyeongChang,
Gangwon-do. Repeatedly
frozen and thawed
throughout the winter,
the pollock is shipped to
market around mid-March
and served in stews and
other dishes.
Yonhap News
3. Pumpkin and other
vegetables being dried
4, Garlic pickled in soy
sauce, or maneul jangajji

Twigak, bugak and dried vegetables


Unlike kimchi and jangajji, twigak and bugak
are not pickled, but rather vegetables that have
been preserved by being fried in oil. They are
often served as a side dish for wine or as a dried
delicacy. Traditionally, they were most often
made in autumn, after the harvest, and enjoyed
during the winter and spring months. They are
most frequently associated with Korean Buddhist
cuisine, since monks, who are prohibited from
eating meat, use the fried vegetables as a nutritional

supplement in their diets.


Twigak are simply vegetables that have been
dried and fried. Seaweed is the most commonly
encountered version, and is often served with a
seasoning of sugar or salt. Bugak, on the other
hand, is made from first applying a glutinous rice
paste to the vegetables, which are then dried and
fried. Commonly used vegetables include potatoes,
chilies, perilla leaves and seaweed. Drying the
vegetables in the sun also has the advantage of
boosting the foods supply of vitamin D.
Another use of dried vegetables is mugeun namul,
which was also developed to provide a rich source
of vitamins during the winter months when there
is hardly a green leaf in sight. Here, vegetables
are dried and stored, and when it comes time to
eat, they are put in water, rehydrated overnight
and boiled. The Jeongwol Daeboreum holiday,
celebrated on the day of the first full moon of the
year, was traditionally marked by serving mugeun
namul such as eggplant, zucchini, chili peppers and
bracken, although nowadays, fresh vegetables are
more commonly served.

Jang: The secret behind the Korean flavor


The Dongguk Sesigi, an 1849 book describing

Onggi: Koreas breathing pots

he large clay jars, or onggi , commonly found


outside Korean homes are used to produce
and store fermented foods such as soy sauce,
soybean paste and red pepper paste. They are an
ancient tool, with evidence of clay jar production
stretching back thousands of years. The jars
attained their current shape and general size
during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
In addition to being time-honored, onggi are
also an especially ingenious piece of technology.
The pots are microporous, meaning that the
clay has small holes in it that allow the contents
to breath. More specifically, they are designed
to allow moisture to escape while letting wind
and air pass through, which helps to prevent

11

spoilage. In addition, because the jars are fired at


low temperatures, they are broken down easily
and 100 percent biodegradable, meaning all the
material can be reused. Indeed,
the onggi are one of the
key reasons why Korea
was able to develop
such a complex
cuisine with regard
to fermentation and
sustain it through
centuries of human
development.

COVER STORY

Koreas seasonal customs, tells us that the most


important work done in the home over the course
of the year is the making of soybean-based sauces
and pastes, or jang, and the preparing of kimchi. Jang
are seasonings used to regulate a foods saltiness and
create a harmonious flavor, traditionally produced
by each individual household.
The production of jang begins with the soybean,
and its rich supply of protein. In ancient times, the
most common form of jang was a mixture of soy
sauce, or ganjang, and soybean paste, or doenjang. By
Koreas Three Kingdoms period, however, soy sauce
and soybean paste had become distinct condiments.
People had grown so good at making jang and other
fermented foods that a Chinese book written in
290 makes note of how proficient the people of
the ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo were at
producing fermented food.
What is not commonly known, at least among
Westerners, is that soy sauce and soybean paste
are two products borne of the same process.
Traditionally, every 10th month of the lunar year,
families would pound boiled soybeans into powder
and mold it into blocks, or meju. These blocks would
then be dried for a week, after which time theyd be
tied up in straw and hung for about 40 days. Next,
the blocks would be placed in a clay jar, mixed
with brine and left to ferment. Over time, a dark,
reddish-brown liquid would separate out. This is soy

sauce. The thick dregs that are left, often including


at least some whole, uncrushed beans, is the soybean
paste. The fermentation process takes about a year,
but some soy sauces are fermented for up to five
years.
Another popular sauce, red pepper paste, or
gochujang, is made from mixing red chili peppers
and glutinous rice powder into soybean paste and
allowing the resulting mixture to age. It came into
being sometime after the 16th century, when the
New World ingredient of red pepper was introduced
to Korea. The addition of the pepper and rice adds
both a bit of fire to the paste as well as a sweetened
flavor, making it a household favorite.
Soy sauce is an amazing seasoning that yields a
mosaic of flavors. It can be salty, sweet, bitter and
savory. In East Asian countries such as Korea, where
vegetables play a larger role in the diet of the average
person, soy sauce is also an important source of
protein, as well as a condiment that can be used to
preserve other foods for a long time, such as jangajji.
Doenjang, meanwhile, is high in protein and amino
acids, especially the essential amino acid of lysine,
which is found only in low amounts in Koreas main
staple of rice. It is also rich in two essential fatty acids,
linoleic acid and linolenic acid, making it effective in
warding off skin and vascular diseases. Linoleic acid,
produced during the fermentation process, is also
reportedly effective in preventing cancer.

The heart and


soul of Korean flavor
Korean food expert Joe McPherson praises
the centrality of fermented foods
Interview by Robert Koehler

Unique in its ubiquity


To McPherson, it's the importance of fermentation to Korea's
culinary culture that sets it apart. I think having fermented
foods as the basis of the food culture is pretty unique, he says.
He points out that most Korean foods require some sort of
fermented product as an ingredient. You need fermented bean
paste, fermented chili paste, soy sauce, he says. All of them are
fermented.
Of Korea's vast number of fermented dishes, he feels doenjang
is the most distinctive. I think it's the heart and soul of Korean
flavor, he says. Doenjang's pungent odor can put some people
off, but it's nonetheless a mainstay of Korean cooking, featuring
in stews, meat dishes and as a condiment for vegetables. Yes,
Japan has a similar dish in miso, but Korean doenjang is more
rustic, more masculine, stronger, punchier, he says.

A delicate balance

Making ganjang and doenjang

ganjang

The beans are soaked in water, steamed for three to four hours, crushed and molded into soy bean blocks,
which are then left to dry. The fermented soybean blocks then are put into a clay jar with salted water to
make ganjang . The mixture is left to mature for 40 to 60 days. Chili pepper and trace amounts of charcoal
are added, as they have a sterilizing effect. The resulting liquid is ganjang, and the remaining solid matter
is used to make doenjang .

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orean food blogger Joe McPherson's first experience with


Korean fermented food was not an entirely pleasant one.
It was a jar of kimchi in my Korean history class in
Alabama, he recalls. It was awful. In hindsight, it was really
awful kimchi. I was just cabbage pickled in vinegar and chili
powder.
The man behind ZenKimchi, one of the world's most popular
Korean food blogs, McPherson has enjoyed many a bowl of
kimchi since then. Having moved to Korea in 2004, he has
been a tireless promoter of Korean food culture internationally,
something he now does professionally through his public
relations firm, ZenKimchi International.

McPherson praises Korean fermentation techniques as a


delicate balance between goodness and rot. He also notes
its ritualization in events such as gimjang , the making of winter
kimchi, and the hanging of the meju , the soybean blocks that are
used to make doenjang and soy sauce. People live with their
fermented products in a way, he says.
He sees potential for the globalization of Korean fermented
dishes. And, indeed, it has already begun. Fermentation is one of
the big buzzwords in America and Europe, he says. It's because
of the health properties and people don't see it as rot anymore.
They see it as a good thing, as an art form. They see there's a
complexity of flavor, that there are a lot of interesting flavors in
fermented food. In particular, we are starting to see doenjang
beginning to be used in many professonal kitchens overseas.
You'll see it mixed into a vinaigrette, or used as a barbecue
sauce, he says.

deonjang

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PEOPLE

rtist Youn Myeung-Ro, perhaps Koreas most


recognized figure in contemporary abstract art,
credits one of his teachers in elementary school with
sparking a creative passion that became a lifelong career and a
spiritual pursuit.
There was a book with four great historical figures, or
something like that: Socrates, Confucius, Jesus and Siddhartha
Gautama. So I just drew my own versions of them, copying
the textbooks pictures, Youn recalls. Right away, my
teacher exclaimed that Id done an excellent job, and for a
while I was the talk of the entire school.

In the eye of
the beholder
Legendary abstract artist
Youn Myeung-Ro avoids labels
Written by Felix Im
Photographed by Lee Hyang-ah

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Transcending historical circumstances


Born in 1936, when Korea was a Japanese colony, Youn spent
his childhood in what is now North Korea. In 1945, when
Korea was liberated, Youns family moved south, eventually
settling in Jeonju. It wasnt long, however, before political
turmoil erupted again. Many of Youns memories from early
adolescence involve the blood, corpses and propaganda of the
Korean War (1950-1953); he was only in middle school when
he saw his first dead body - a group had been dumped near
his home, the victims of a political purge. You dont forget
those kinds of things, he says.
Fortunately, Youns interest in art wasnt diluted by such
experiences, and he continued developing his own style.
Given that the 1940s were a time of extreme poverty,
however, most parents at the time simply wanted their
children to get a steady job, and Youns were no exception.
Even if students sought higher education, parents implored
that they study either law or medicine. Yet I still managed to
convince them to let me study art! Youn recalls with a smile.
Youns days at Seoul National University mark the start of
his professional career. While still a student, he was selected
for a state-sponsored exhibition, the Gukjeon, a formidable
achievement even for established artists. The chosen piece was
something Youn had painted in honor of John Paul Sartres
story The Wall. Produced before Youn had fully embraced
his abstract style, the subject matter is comparatively concrete,
almost portrait-like. That being said, it was still highly
unconventional, as Youns contemporaries were mostly focused
on standard still-lifes and traditional landscapes. Despite the
recognition, however, he quickly became disillusioned with
the mechanics of state-sponsored exhibitions.
I didnt like the idea of ranking art in a sequential fashion,
he says.

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Youn's works on display 2014 Youn Myeung-Ro

Refusing to conform
To put his vision to practice, Youn and a handful of
compatriots founded the 1960s Artist Association at the start
of the decade with the goal of promoting a genuinely creative
movement. To announce its presence, the group held an
outdoor exhibition - the first in the nation - with paintings
displayed on the stone walls near Deoksugung Palace. The
show was a success, and launched Youns career much further
than expected. Although the 1960s Artist Association was
essentially a protest of the Gukjeon and state-sponsored
creativity, many established Gukjeon figures visited the
exhibition and expressed enthusiastic praise. Throughout the
decade, Youn was featured in exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo, Sao
Paulo and other cities. He helped found the Korean Modern
Printmakers Association in 1968, indirectly earning him the
opportunity to study techniques in lithographs, etchings and
silk screens at the New York Pratt Graphic Center.
What an experience that was, going to New York City, to
see some of the worlds best art and museums after only seeing
them through books! he recalls.
Still creating art at 78 years old, Youns work now spans
several decades and genres, and is featured in exhibitions
worldwide. Appreciating his works, often untitled, takes time;
the more you look, the more you see. At first, it appears like
chaos, but you eventually discover an indescribable precision,
something beyond words. If you give something a title,
it taints the viewers experience; they ignore everything
unrelated to that one word or phrase, says Youn, confidently.
Its better to respect the viewers imagination.

PEOPLE

Reviving an ancient tradition


Traditional tea researcher Park Dong-chun brings a timehonored legacy back to life
Written by Young H.K. Pae
Photographed by Lee Byeong-ju

hen I entered the East Asian Tea Culture


Research Center at its location near Seoul, I
expected to be greeted by the sweet fragrance
of tea. Instead, I was met with the scent of ancient texts about
the society and history of Joseon (1392-1910), all carefully
overseen by the centers director, Park Dong-chun.
Parks appearance a scholarly figure in her 60s, smiling
in her modernized Hanbok was in line with what I would
expect from a famous authority on tea culture. As she explains
her craft, I am reminded that
the history of tea practices is
as multigenerational as it is
multicultural: Parks work space
is home to ancient texts, Japanese
iron kettles, Chinese porcelain
teapots, white porcelain saucers
from the Joseon Dynasty and
Goryeo celadon teacups. Park
has dedicated her career to
preserving such an eclectic
history, and has spearheaded
the research and restoration of
Korean tea culture for the past
thirty years. She is no doubt the
countrys leading expert on tea.

Changing with the times


As Parks research can attest that
one cannot discuss tea customs
in Korea without first discussing
the emergence of Buddhism. As
a religion in which meditation
is highly regarded, the spread of
Seon Buddhism during the Silla
Kingdom (57 B.C.-A.D. 935)
also introduced tea ceremonies as one of the forms of practice.
Since then, however, it has undergone considerable change,
depending on the ruling class of the time, Park explains. It
was shaped by Joseon Dynastys policy to oppress Buddhism
in favor of Confucianism, as well as by Japanese imperialism
(1910-1945).
The first time Park encountered Seon-style tea was in 1970,
when she was obtaining a graduate degree in Confucianism
at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul. It was then that she
met the chief monk of Daeheungsa Temple in Jeollanam-

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do, Ven. Eungsong (1893-1990). By that time, the monk had


already put considerable effort into organizing the Buddhist
scriptures and original texts relating to tea meditation. The
monk taught me a great deal about the philosophy and mindset related to tea culture. Despite his old age, he put the
utmost effort into roasting his tea leaves repeatedly. The
process of making tea is a performance; Buddha is in the
teapot. He (Eungsong) did not hesitate to give advice on
my own tea. Living in the temple for four years, Park was
exposed to the teachings of
Seon Master Choui (1786-1866),
who is known to scholars as the
Korean Tea Sage.

A hot technique
Over the course of her studies,
Park researched both the
origin and history of Korean
tea customs and completed
a comparative analysis on
traditional tea practices in Korea,
China and Japan. Her extensive
research appears to have paid
off, as those who try the tea she
prepares usually remark that it
tastes of freshness and purity, or
soswae simple but energizing.
Unlike common tea brewing
methods, Park uses a hot
brewing technique. She pours
hot water over the tea leaves and
allows them to sit for just 20 to
30 seconds. Koreans prefer the
hot and pure taste fit for our
nature, climate and lifestyle,
she explains. It is the essence of the teas flavor that reveals its
purity and fragrance in hot water.
Recognized for its benefits, tea has received considerable
spotlight lately for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
effects. According to Park, good tea must first appeal to the
eye by being clear and lucid. Roasted tea should not elicit
a smell of grass. It is at once refreshing and delicate. Under
Parks care, Koreas tea legacy will continue to be preserved
for future generations to share and enjoy.

TRAVEL

very winter, the waters and wetlands around Seosans


Cheonsuman Bay become one of the worlds greatest birdwatching spots. Come either just before dawn or just after
sunset and youll be treated to the spectacle of tens of thousands of
birds taking off and landing in flocks so large they seemingly black
out the sky. Indeed, over 300,000 birds can be found here, including a
good many endangered species. While not often listed among Koreas
internationally best-known travel destinations, the bay is nonetheless
one of the countrys premier ecotourism spots and an area that offers a
rare opportunity to learn more about the peninsula's avian wildlife.

Seosan's Cheonsuman Bay is one of Korea's best bird-watching destinations


Written by Robert Koehler

18

19

A flock of Baikal teal dances in the sky. Seosan Birdland

TRAVEL

A happy accident
Nestled in a nook on Koreas famously craggy Yellow
Sea coast, Cheonsuman Bays ecology is the result of
a reclamation project that was launched in 1979 to
boost domestic food production and to put men and
equipment to good use as they returned from the
petrodollar-fueled construction boom in the Middle
East. The construction of a mighty, 7.7-kilometer
breakwater produced two huge freshwater lakes,
Ganwolho Lake and Bunamho Lake, and over 6,400
hectares of new agricultural land on a reclaimed tidal
flat.
As intended, the project, which was completed in
1987, did result in a boost in food production. But
it did something else, too. The bays location on a
major bird migration route and its mild maritime
climate, with wintertime temperatures some 1.2
degrees Celsius higher than inland regions, were
combined with the new, rich supply of winter grains
in the post-harvest fields of the reclaimed land,
producing an ideal nesting spot for migratory birds.
Birds of a feather
Since the 1980s, Cheonsuman Bay has been
recognized by birders all over as one of Koreas
premier bird-watching sites. In 1999 it was added
to Wetlands Internationals East-Asia Anatidae Site
Network, a list of wetland locations favored by East
Asias Anatidae, a family of birds that includes ducks,
geese and swans. Every autumn, at the start of the
bird migration season, the town of Seosan hosts the

recognized by their striking head plumage of green, yellow, black and white.
Most notably, however, they fly in large, dense flocks of tens of thousands.
These black, dancing clouds can be seen in the late afternoon, as the ducks take
off in search of food in the nearby rice fields, and in the early morning, when
they return to gather in the middle of the lakes. Its a natural phenomenon so
breathtaking that several years back the BBC sent a film crew to capture it.
Youll find plenty of wildlife photographers trying to do the same.

Where and how to see the birds


The best place to see the birds is Cheonsuman Bays District A, which covers
the area around Ganwolho Lake. Most bird-watchers head to the east end of
the breakwater, not far from the entrance to Ganwoldo, a small island just off
the coast. This is where youll find most of the Baikal teals, and youll find
plenty of other birds as well.
In between the two lakes is Seosan Birdland, a park area with a multimedia
hall, exhibit hall, information booth and other facilities for the convenience of
visitors. Birdland also hosts regular hands-on programs and tours, depending
on the season and weather.
A good pair of binoculars will go a long way, and photographers should
remember to pack their zoom lenses. The birds have a keen sense of both sight
and hearing, so be sure not to wear bright red, yellow or white clothing and
avoid running or shouting.

Cheonsuman International Bird Watching Fair, one


of the biggest events of the birding calendar.
The pleasant temperatures and natural feast
1
provided by the surrounding farmland are an
irresistible temptation to over 200 species of
migratory birds such as wild geese, storks, spoonbills,
mute swans and white-naped cranes. Truth be told,
the growth of the bay as a nesting spot has taken
some of the luster off other previously well-known
bird-watching spots as the feathered beasts abandon
them in favor of Cheonsuman.
One species particularly beloved by bird-watchers,
photographers and casual visitors alike is the Baikal
teal, a species of duck that breeds in Eastern Siberia
and winters in Korea, China and Japan. Once
highly threatened, the population of this species has
rebounded so well that it may be the most common
species of duck in Korea. The males are easily

1. A bird photographer hides


behind a straw screen.
Yonhap News
2. A flock of swans rests on
Ganwolho Lake.
Seosan Birdland
3. Ganworam Hermitage
KTO

Ganworam hermitage
Located on the small island of Ganwoldo, the Buddhist hermitage of
Ganworam is the closest thing Korea has to Frances famous Mont SaintMichel. At low tide, the hermitage is attached to the mainland by a land
bridge, but at high tide, it becomes a true island. The hermitages name means
Observing the Moon, and to be sure, its especially lovely at night when the
moonlight reflects off the water. The hermitage was founded at the start of the
Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) by the monk Muhak Daesa, famous for being an
advisor to the founder of the dynasty, King Taejo (r. 1392-1398).

The coastal road around Ganwoldo is lined by


restaurants, some of which specialize in rice mixed
with beans and oysters, or gulbap. Give Keun
Maeul Yeongyang Gulbap (T. 041-662-2706) a
try. There are a couple of raw fish joints, too, if
that's your thing.

For something a bit different, try the floating


pension in the village of Chang-ri on Bunamho
Lake. You can choose between dome and
container-style accommodations. Call T. 0106432-1535 to make a reservation.

Buses to Seosan depart from Seouls Nambu Bus


Terminal (travel time: 2 hours). From Seosan Bus
Terminal, take a local bus for Ganwoldo.

Seoul
Seosan's
Cheonsuman

Jejudo
3

20

21

SPORTS

A new
queen reigns
Shim Suk-hee wins her 12th gold medal
at the ICU World Cup

Written by Claire Jang


1. Shim competes in the
1,500-meter preliminary at
the Sochi Winter Olympics on
Feb. 15, 2014.
Yonhap News

n Nov. 17, 2014, 17-year-old skater


Shim Suk-hee added yet another
gold medal to what promises to be
an outstanding athletic career. Competing in the
International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track
World Cup in Montreal, Canada, the high-school
speed skater from Gangneung, Gangwon-do,
won the second ladies 1000-meter, her 12th
consecutive gold medal since the beginning
of the 2012/2013 World Cup.

22

Girl power
During the event, Shim crossed the finish line with
a time of 1:30:641, beating her compatriot, Choi
Min-jeong by a mere 62 nanoseconds. Yihan Guo
from China came in third.
Shims strategy for the race was that of a veteran
skater: Saving her strength in the beginning of the
event, she waited until the five final laps to begin
leading the pack and then maintained her pace
until she crossed the finish line.
Following her first-place win for her individual
performance, Shim earned another gold medal for
Korea in the ladies 3000-meter relay shortly after
finishing the 1000 race. Koreas ladies relay team Shim Suk-hee, Choi Min-jeong, Jeon Ji-su and Lee
Eun-byul - clocked a time of 4:09:985, spending
the entirety of the race at the front of the pack, and
leaving Italy, Russia and Canada to claim the next
spots behind them. With the addition of the relay
win, Shim has taken home a total of five medals so
far during the first and second rounds of the World
Cup.
Other Korean athletes have been dominating the
2014/2015 World Cup as well. Rookie skater Choi,
who had come in second place for the 1000-meter
event, won two gold medals after coming in first in
the 1500 event and participating as a team member
in the 3000 relay.

2. The Korean womens short


track skating team smiles as
they show off their medals at
a press conference in Sochi,
Russia on Feb. 22, 2014.
Yonhap News
3. Shim waves the Korean
flag after winning gold in
the 3,000-meter relay at the
Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Yonhap News
4. Shim smiles at the
reception given to her by
students at a scholarship
awarding ceremony held at
Sehwa Girls High School on
March 27, 2014.
Yonhap News

Another Olympic champion, Lee Sang-hwa,


also won five gold medals in the 500-meter World
Cup. Even with an injury in her left knee, Lee
continues to be a contender, collecting gold medals
in multiple events.

Prodigy turned monster


Shim started short track speed skating at the age
of 6 after her brother took up the sport as a hobby.
When she started showing considerable talent,
however, her whole family moved to Seoul to
support her training.
Standing 175 centimeters tall, Shim is noticeably
taller than most of her peers, an issue she has
addressed in past interviews, stating, My
drawback was my height. Because Im tall, I lack
in agility. Most people think that if youre tall, its
a disadvantage in speed skating. But these days my
height gives me both advantages and disadvantages.
Fortunately, her size has also brought a degree of
physical strength that has offered a competitive
edge for the young skater.
She acquired the title Monster Girl in the
Korean media when she competed in the 2012
World Junior Short Track
Speed Skating Championships
in Melbourne, Australia,
an event that brought her
individual gold medals for the
500, 1000 and 1500 events,
and then another for the 3000
relay. At her Olympic debut
at the Sochi 2014 Winter
Olympics, her debut at the famed
competition, she took gold in the
23

3000-meter relay, silver in the 1500 and bronze in


the 1000 event.

Eye on the gold


Many industry experts say that Shim has improved
her performance since the Olympics, which bodes
well for her potential showing at the upcoming
2018 games in PyeongChang. Having proven
herself as a queen of short track, she will compete
in the third round of the World Cup in Shanghai,
and with the fourth round taking place at the
Mokdong Artificial Ice Rink in Seoul.
When someone says short track, I want my
name to be remembered as a hero. A star shines
brightly for a short moment, but a hero continues
to be a hero, so I want to be a hero instead of a
star, commented Shim in an interview. With the
string of gold medal wins and the persistence shes
shown at such a young age, theres little doubt that
Shim will leave a legacy in the field of short track
speed skating.

ENTERTAINMENT

Regaining
the spotlight

1. Song performing in Insa-dong, Seoul,


on March 22, 2014 Korea.net
2. Song receives a plaque from Hanwoo
Association Chairman Lee Kang-woo during
a ceremony to mark her appointment as
promotional ambassador for Korean beef on
March 25, 2014. Yonhap News

Gugak gem Song So-hee breathes new life


into native music
Written by Paola Ebora

tanding tall on stage dressed in an elegant


Hanbok, Song So-hee immediately
commands the audiences attention. Like
a delicate flower just beginning to bloom, her
youthful beauty mesmerizes everyone who looks
at her with bated breath. As she opens her mouth
to let out her powerful and expressive voice, she
captivates the crowd even further, inviting them
into the world of gugak, or national music, a
genre of Korean traditional music.

Against the grain


While there are those who still favor styles from
the past, it is an accepted fact that the majority of
consumers, especially young ones, have their music
players blasting more modern genres such as pop,

rock, hip-hop and the like. From the beginning,


however, the now 17-year-old princess of gugak
has chosen to walk a different path from her peers.
Songs welcome into the world of gugak
happened quite early - as young as 5, in fact.
Having shown a talent for singing at a young age,
her father, who has an ear for traditional music,
persuaded his daughter to develop her abilities in
traditional songs.
Her natural talent went far. After besting many
older artists in local competitions, she progressed
to showcasing her renditions of folk songs on even
bigger stages, performing in broadcasted talent
shows, concerts and other public functions.
In 2008, Song became the youngest grand
prize winner in the history of the countrys

24

longest-running music show, Korea Sings, at


11 years old. By age 12, she made an even greater
impression through her appearance on the televised
talent show Star King, appearing as a charming
gugak prodigy with a mature voice that contrasted
with her innocent charm.
This image of a fresh, youthful gugak artist has
caught the attention of the whole nation. By the
time she was a teenager, she was featured in an
advertisement for a major telecommunications
company. As her public exposure broadened, more
people became intrigued by the young lady who,
along with her beauty and grace, could captivate
people with traditional songs.
Setting herself apart from her contemporaries
in the music industry, Song has worked to bring
gugak closer to younger listeners, finding ways to
promote the genre through popular media.

Revitalizing the old


More recently, through her appearance on the
television show Immortal Songs 2 on KBS, Song
was able to bridge the gap between traditional and
pop music as she sang pop music with a gugak
twist. With her powerful voice, she is able to make
the intricacy of traditional songwriting more
accessible to people who have grown accustomed

25

to modern melodies.
She has now developed from a prodigy into a
traditional music idol, giving gugak a more hip,
updated image.
Songs active promotion of gugak prompted the
government to name her as the Best Korean of the
Year in 2010. She was also appointed as an honorary
ambassador for the Korean National Commission for
UNESCO, as well as to the Presidential Committee
for National Cohesion wherein she helps promote
Koreas traditions and arts.
Gugak is a genre that is an essential part of the
national identity, enriched by hundreds of years
of history and laced with traditions that have been
passed down over many generations. However,
despite the importance of preserving such a
cultural identity, younger generations have chosen
to focus more on contemporary music, often
giving traditional music the cold shoulder. For this
reason, Song just might
be the extra boost that
traditional music has
been looking for to
make people take
a break from the
colorful dynamics
of K-pop and
have a closer
listen to their
native sounds.

SPECIAL ISSUE

Bringing down borders

In effect

n Nov. 10, 2014, a Korea-China Free


Trade Agreement (FTA) was reached in
Beijing, by President Park Geun-hye,
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Commerce
Minister Gao Hucheng and Minister of Trade,
Industry and Energy (MOTIE) Yoon Sang-jick.
The agreement will go into effect in the middle of
next year.

Dominance in the import market


Korea is the third nation to pass an FTA with the
worlds three biggest economies: the U.S., China
and the EU. China is often called Koreas second
domestic market because it is Koreas biggest,
most rapidly growing target for exports. According
to the Korea Institute of International Economic
Policy, the mainland Chinese consumer market is

estimated to grow from USD 4.7 trillion in 2013


to USD 5.7 trillion in 2015, eventually climbing
to USD 9.9 trillion in 2020. Experts believe that
this agreement will lay the groundwork for Koreas
dominance in the Chinese import market.
According to the Korea International Trade
Association, Koreas share in the Chinese import
market was surpassed by Japan in 2005, but pushed
forward to first place by 2013. As of September
2014, Korea had a 9.6 percent share of Chinas
import market, followed by Japans 8.3 percent,
the U.S. 7.8 percent, Taiwans 7.6 percent and
Germanys 5.4 percent. Among these five countries,
Korea is the only country that has signed a formal
FTA with China, which has signed 12 FTAs with
19 other nations. None, however, threaten Koreas
stronghold.

Trade volume with Korea, figures in parentheses


referring to GDP (units: hundred-million dollars)

China

Switzerland, Norway, Iceland,


Liechtenstein

1. Yoon Sang-jick, Koreas


trade minister, and
Gao Hucheng, Chinas
commerce minister, shake
hands and exchange
agreements after the
signing of the Korea-China
FTA, as Korean President
Park Geun-hye and Chinese
President Xi Jinping look on
in Beijing on Nov. 10, 2014.
Yonhap News
2. At a meeting hosted
by Hankuk University of
Foreign Studies on May
27, 2011, EU ambassadors
discuss ways to build a
strategic partnership
between Korea and the EU
following the ratification of
their FTA. Yonhap News

10+ ASEAN
member states

2288

(9 trillion,
469.1 billion)

Korea, China,
Japan, Australia,
India, New
Zealand

EU

EFTA
88

1051

(1 trillion,
108.9 billion)

(17 trillion,
512.1 billion)

Canada
99

(1 trillion,
826.7 billion)

RCEP
Turkey
53

(819.9 billion)

KoreaChina-Japan
Vietnam

India
176

(1 trillion,
876.8 billion)

Indonesia

ASEAN
1353

(2 trillion,
133 billion)

Singapore
325

(297.9 billion)

* Based on 2013 figures


EFTA GDP based on 2012 figures

U.S.A.
1019

A decade of growth
Korea will abolish tariffs on 9,690 products within
10 years, while China will abolish tariffs on 5,846
of the products that imported from Korea. Over
the next 20 years, over 90 percent of products
traded between the two countries will quality for
tariff reductions. As tariffs on another USD 45.8
billion worth of products are eliminated over the
next decade, Korean companies are expected to
increase their exports to China.
When the agreement is fully effectuated, annual
tariff reductions are estimated to total USD 5.44
billion, 5.8 times more than the USD 9.33 million
gained through the KORUS FTA (the U.S.-Korea
Free Trade Agreement), and 3.9 times more than
the USD 1.38 billion gained through the KoreaEU FTA. Minister Yoon Sang-jick of MOTIE said,
The openness is seemingly lower than that of the
KORUS or Korea-EU FTAs, but (is actually) at a
very high level.

27

15
(378.4
billion)

Thailand, Indonesia,
the Philippines,
Malaysia, Singapore,
Brunei, Vietnam, Laos,
Myanmar, Cambodia

Peru
34

(202.4
billion)

Chile

302

(1 trillion,
505.9 billion)

Colombia

(16 trillion,
768 billion )

Australia

Building a foundation
Looking to MOTIEs analysis of the Korea-China
FTA, the preferential tariffs given to China will
help Korean small- and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) secure their competitiveness in steel

26

Currently negotiating

Koreas FTA reach

Korea-China FTA brings promising economic benefits


Written by Young H.K. Pae

Final agreements

71

New
Zealand

(276.9 billion)

manufacturing, petrochemical products, fashion,


infant products, sports and leisure goods, health
products and luxury household appliances.
The Korea-China FTA lays the way for continued
growth in stable fields such as construction, logistics,
environmental work, law and entertainment.
Commenting on the potential opportunities, a
MOTIE official said that Korea will likely dominate
the upcoming Chinese future and luxury markets.
The government anticipates sealing negotiations
with New Zealand, Vietnam and other nations in
the near future. It is also considering partaking in
the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership
and a Korea-China-Japan FTA. Korea also signed
FTAs with both Australia and Canada in April and
September of 2014, respectively.
As of Nov. 28, 2014, Korea exceeded a volume of
trade of USD 1 trillion for the fourth consecutive
year, the nations largest trade volume to date.
From January to October last year, export growth
to FTA partner countries, such as the U.S. and the
EU, was 8 percent higher than the same period
last year. Agreements with major economies are
expected to continue broadening Koreas global
trade network.

SPECIAL ISSUE

1. Drawing of a
Deinocheirus that was
featured in Nature

Uncovering the beast


Enigma surrounding giant ornithomimosaur resolved by team of
local experts

2. Lee speaks at the


press conference
to announce his
Deinocheirus research
results.
3. Photo of research
team next to the
Deinocheirus fossil
taken during their
expedition to Mongolia
in 2009 (Lee is on the
bottom right.)

Resolving the Mongolian mystery


A joint multinational exploration team led by YuongNam Lee, director of the geological museum at the
Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources
(KIGAM), has recently disclosed that Deinocheirus
mirificus, which is believed to have first appeared
70 million years ago, was an omnivorous reptile that
prospered in the late Cretaceous period, eating both
fish and bracken near the shore.
Though there were two new Deinocheirus
specimens discovered in 2006 and 2009 at the Nemegt
Formation of Altan Uul IV and at the Bugiin Tsav,
respectively, it was not until 2011 that the team could
acquire the skulls and foot bones through collectors.
Based on the final analysis, the dinosaur would have
reached 11 meters in length and weighed more than
6 tons. Between 2008 and 2011, the team was able to
establish an almost complete profile of the dinosaur
breed, including bone structure, size, weight and
feeding habitat, based on the study of two complete
Deinocheirus skeletons it had acquired.
The teams research, titled Resolving the longstanding enigmas of a giant ornithomimosaur
Deinocheirus mirificus, marks the first time that
paleontological research of an exploration team led
by a Korean scientist has been introduced in the
prominent environmental research journal Nature.
Deinocheirus is the largest ornithomimosaur ever
known. Lee also pointed out that, contrary to what

Written by Sohn Tae-soo


Photographs courtesy of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources

ince the first observed specimen of


Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by a
Polish-Mongolian paleontological team in
southern Mongolia in 1965, the elusive dinosaur
had been speculated to be an agile and carnivorous
animal - bigger and more menacing than the
Tyrannosaurus rex. Deinocheirus was given its
name, meaning unusual, horrible hand, for that
very reason.
When considering that, up until recently, the

specimen was mainly a pair of forelimbs measuring


a staggering 2.4 meters in length, Deinocheirus had
remained one of the most mysterious extinct beasts
of the last half-century. This is largely because
the varied characteristics of the bones - which
present conflicting traits of ornithomimosaurs, or
bird imitating dinosaurs - had made it difficult
to resolve the animals evolutionary lineage. Not
anymore.
2

28

29

had been suspected in the past, Deinocheirus broad


hips and large feet indicate that it was by no means
agile. If true, the long forearms with giant claws may
have been used for digging and gathering herbaceous
plants. Robust hind limbs with posteroventrally tilted,
wide hips, femora longer than tibiae and massive feet
clearly indicate that Deinocheirus was a slow mover,
Lee added.

A tale for the ages


The circumstances surrounding the discovery of
the missing skeletal pieces sound more like the
plot of an Indiana Jones film than the account of
a team of Korean scientists. When the scientists
first came upon what appeared to be a partially
complete Deinocheirus skeleton, clues around
the site suggested that the missing pieces - the
skull and the feet, often taken for their respective
teeth and claws - had been excavated illegally by
poachers, presumably for private sale. News of the
missing pieces eventually reached a French fossil
dealer, who had noticed similar bones in a private
collection in Belgium that bore the characteristsics
of a large ornithomimosaur. The experts involved
in the original dig were immediately contacted
and, fortunately, the anonymous private collector
was convinced to donate the specimens back to the
original research team, facilitating a groundbreaking
discovery for Lee and his colleagues.
Analysts say that, now that the true nature of
Deinocheirus has been finally uncovered, such a
discovery may be one of the most contentious issues
in the field of paleontology.

CURRENT KOREA

learning how to cook for different reasons. Single


men in their mid-20s to 30s are learning how
to cook to impress women or, if they are living
alone, to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Married men take up cooking to help their spouse
or to initiate conversation with their children.
Kim Jae-yeol, a manager at a marketing
company, said that he started having better
conversations with his family since he started
learning how to cook. He said, On weekends,
my daughter asks me to cook the dishes I learned
that week, and when I do, she takes a photo and
shows them off to her friends.
Sometimes men learn how to cook because
their survival depends on it. For some male
retirees men, if their spouse is working or has
passed away, they have to learn how to prepare
food on their own. For elderly retired males,
cooking helps them be more independent and
avoid becoming a samsigi, an unemployed male
that stays home and waits to be fed three meals
a day. Even though middle-aged or retired men
are learning how to cook for pragmatic reasons,
it does not change the fact that more are finding
cooking to be somewhat enjoyable.

Men in aprons
More men are heading to the kitchen after work
Written by Claire Jang
1

or many years, Korean kitchens were


forbidden to men. There was even a
superstition that the moment a male
walks into a kitchen, he brings bad luck to the
family. Kitchens had been womens territory
for years in Confucian society. However, recent
trends show that the tides have turned. More
men have taken up cooking for a variety of
interesting reasons. A man donning an apron
and chopping onions in the kitchen will turn
fewer heads than it did in decades past.

As seen on TV
Media is also fueling the trend. Its not
uncommon to see attractive men cook on TV. If
the UK has Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay,
Korea has Leo Kang and Edward Kwon, faces of
popular reality cooking shows like Master Chef
Korea and Yes Chef.

1. A cooking contest
for retired men held
at a welfare center
in Seouls Mapo-gu
district
Yonhap News

A cultural shift
Among classes held at educational centers at
department stores, culinary schools and other
public institutions, 20 percent are male and for
some classes, the percentage goes up to 40 to 50
percent. Many are even male-only classes.
Whats all the more interesting is that men are

2. Celebrity chef
Edward Kwon
Yonhap News
3. Dishes made by men
of all ages at a mens
cooking contest in
Seoul's Jungnang-gu
district
Yonhap News

30

31

Kim Dong-suk, assistant director at the Korea


Culinary Academy, said, Recently, the media
has highlighted men with culinary skills, and the
appearance of star chefs like Edward Kwon and
Leo Kang has shown people that men can also
cook.
On another popular show, Three Meals a
Day, two good-looking actors, Lee Seo-jin and
Ok Taecyeon, struggle to feed themselves three
daily meals at a secluded farm in the countryside.
In shows like Dad! Where Are You Going?
and Superman Is Back, celebrity dads are
tasked with cooking and cleaning as well as
feeding and taking care of their kids.
These shows depict the extent to which the
conservative and patriarchal side of society
is shifting. Women now consider men that
help around the house to be attractive. The
advertisement industry has taken advantage of
this trend to promote their products and the
hottest male celebrities are now dominating
advertisements for kitchen-related products.
In ads, it is easy to see male celebrities like
Lee Seung-gi promoting kimchi refrigerators,
kitchenware or electric ranges. The popularity
of these images seems to reflect the trend reflects
womens preference for hunnam, a neologism for
describing sweet and tender gentlemen, over
macho types. Whether men learn how to cook
to attract women or solely for survival, it seems
that cooking is being used as a tool to melt down
barriers and bring people closer.

SUMMIT DIPLOMACY

Celebrating 25 years of ties


Korea, ASEAN strengthen cooperation at ASEAN-Republic of Korea
Commemorative Summit
Written by Korea.net

orea and the 10 nations of the Association


of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
held the 2014 ASEAN-Republic of
Korea Commemorative Summit in the port city
of Busan on Dec. 11-12 to celebrate 25 years of
dialogue between Korea and ASEAN, Seoul's
second-largest trading partner and investment

President Park Geun-hye poses with other national


leaders at the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative
Summit in Busan on Dec. 12, 2014. Yonhap News

destination. During the two-day event, held under


the theme Building Trust, Building Happiness,
Korea and ASEAN explored ways to strengthen
the strategic partnership between the two sides
and bolster cooperation in a wide range of sectors,
including the arts, security and the economy.

President calls on ASEAN to encourage


North Korea to abandon nukes
Prior to the summit, President Park released a
statement to the media in all 10 ASEAN member
states calling on ASEAN to play a larger role in
persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear
weapons and to become a responsible member
of the international community, part of her
administrations efforts to achieve unification and
peace on the peninsula. She said that each and
every member of ASEAN can be of great help in
bringing about peace on the Korean Peninsula
and eventual reunification, as many of them have
diplomatic relations with both Koreas.
She also introduced some plans that are under
way that will strengthen ties between South Korea
and Southeast Asia, including the launch of a
business council to network small- and mediumsized businesses in South Korea and ASEAN states
and the opening of an ASEAN Culture Plaza to
bring Southeast Asian cultures to South Korea.
Expanding economic cooperation between
Korea, ASEAN
At the ASEAN-Republic of Korea CEO Summit,
a gathering of national leaders, world-renowned
economists and global CEOs held on Dec. 11 as
part of the Commemorative Summit, President
Park emphasized the need to increase economic
cooperation between Korea and ASEAN. Korea
and ASEAN need to combine their strengths and
create synergies to infuse new vitality into the
economy of both regions, she said.
In particular, she suggested that Korea and
ASEAN help SMEs in both regions join the
global value chain more easily, and called on big
conglomerates and SMEs to work together in a
creative manner.

32

SUMMIT DIPLOMACY

the year 2020. She also announced that Korea


would share its development experiences in
order to narrow the development gap among
ASEAN members. In particular, she vowed to
help spread the Saemaul Undong, a set of rural
development policies; support the incubation
of talented human resources in science and
technology; and increase the size of the KoreaASEAN cooperation fund to USD 7 million
next year, up from the current size of USD 5
million. The power that led to the remarkable
development of the Korea-ASEAN relationship
is derived from the mutual understanding of our
shared historical experiences, she said. Korea
will share its precious experiences in overcoming
poverty thanks to the aid of the international
community and in achieving industrialization and
democratization in order to accomplish the goal of
common development with ASEAN.
The second session of the summit focused on
international security issues centered on responses
to climate change and to natural disasters.

President Park and the


leaders of ASEANs 10
member states hold
the first session of the
ASEAN-Republic of Korea
Commemorative Summit.
Yonhap News

She also suggested that economic cooperation


between Korea and ASEAN, which had
previously focused on energy and manufacturing,
be expanded to cover the service sector, pointing
to the popularity of Korean pop culture in
Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian food in Korea.
To realize this cooperation, however, she said
regulations would need to be eased. In order for
this potential for cooperation to be realized with
a tangible outcome, it is most important to get rid
of regulations that stand in the way of cooperation
and progress in the service industry, she said,
adding that businesspeople themselves should
communicate with governments and point out
which sectors require deregulation.
President Park also called for the further
liberalization of the Korea-ASEAN FTA, which
took effect in 2009, explaining that the utilization
rate of the Korea-ASEAN FTA among Korean
businesses is roughly half that seen with other
FTAs, primarily due to the lack of high-level
liberalization and complicated rules of origin.
Welcoming an agreement between Korea
and ASEAN on trade facilitation and other
improvements to the FTA, she said, Additional
liberalization measures and improved rules of

origin will follow so that more businesses can take


advantage of the benefits of the FTA.

Upgrading the partnership and sharing


experience
In the first session of the ASEAN-ROK
Commemorative Summit on Dec. 12, President
Park called on ASEAN member states to set up a
2016-2020 action plan that would deepen KoreaASEAN cooperation in three broad sectors: the
economy, politics and the arts. She said, We
need to upgrade our strategic partnership through
more substantial cooperation backed by the
quantitatively expanded cooperation built over the
past 25 years.
She expressed her will to build a win-win
economic cooperative relationship with the
ASEAN Economic Community that will be
established at the end of next year, saying,
Korea will build a balanced, mutually beneficial
relationship with ASEAN aimed at co-prosperity.
She expressed hope that additional negotiations
on the liberalization of the Korea-ASEAN FTA
would be able to take place soon thanks to this
special summit, in order to achieve the goal
of bilateral trade reaching USD 200 billion by

34

President Park gives an


address to open the first
session of the summit.
Yonhap News

Summit adopts joint statement


The summit participants wrapped up the summit
by adopting a joint statement outlining the vision
of the future of the Korea-ASEAN relationship.

35

In addition to strengthening economic ties,


Korea and ASEAN agreed in the statement to
develop the security dialogue between the two
sides, and strengthen cooperation in order to
address traditional and non-traditional security
challenges, including combating terrorism, human
trafficking, illicit drugs, money laundering, arms
smuggling, sea piracy, international economic
crimes and cybercrime, as well as the proliferation
of weapon of mass destruction. Regarding North
Korea, the heads of the participating nations
expressed concern about the maintenance of
peace on the Korean Peninsula and the launch
of ballistic missiles. They urged North Korea to
fully implement its promises as agreed upon in the
September 19 Statement, and to take responsibility
in following the U.N. Security Council's
resolutions. Along with President Park, the leaders
expressed their support for her Trust Building
Process on the Korean Peninsula, the Initiative
for Peaceful Unification on the Korean Peninsula
and for her Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation
Initiative.

Relay summit and Korea-Vietnam FTA


During the course of the two-day summit,
President Park held summits with the leaders
of all participating nations, including talks with
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei held in Seoul
just prior to the summit. During the summits,
President Park and the ASEAN member state
leaders explored ways to bolster cooperation and
discussed matters of mutual interest.
In particular, President Park held a summit
with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of
Vietnam on Dec. 11, during which the two sides
signed a bilateral free trade deal. The agreement
covers a total of 17 areas spanning the whole
economy, including products, services, investment
and intellectual property rights. Since the
establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992,
ties between the two countries have made rapid
progress, in particular in the economic field,
said President Park. This FTA will help further
develop the already close, cooperative relations.

Leaders share opinions at the plenary


session of the G20 summit in Brisbane,
Australia on Nov. 15, 2014.
Yonhap News

POLICY REVIEW

The biggest winner


Koreas 3-year economic plan aims for highest growth rate in G20
Written by Daye Kim

ccording to reports released by the Korean


government, Koreas Three-Year Plan for
Economic Innovation is on track to raise its
GDP more than any other growth strategy proposed
by other Group of 20 (G20) nations, based on
analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD).

Changing the forecast


If the measures of the Three-Year Plan are
implemented, national GDP will rise from its 2013
value of KRW 1.136 quadrillion to KRW 1.437
quadrillion in 2018, the government said. When
compared with the IMFs estimate of KRW 1.378
quadrillion forecasted in October 2013, a figure that
didnt incorporate the impact of the plan, the Korean
goverments proposal represents a 44 percent jump,
or KRW 60 trillion. Korea submitted 105 measures
- behind Chinas 120 and followed by Italys 90.

In comparison, when all 20 member states execute


their proposed measures, the combined GDP may
rise from USD 63 trillion in 2014 to USD 85 trillion
in 2018, the IMF and OECD concluded. Thats
2.1 percent higher than the 2018 GDP of USD 83
trillion projected by the IMF in 2013. This was
reflected in the communiqu from the 2014 G20
summit, which said the plan will ultimately add
more than USD 2 trillion to the global economy and
create millions of jobs.

Collective growth strategies


The international organizations calculated their
figures by quantifying the collective impact of some
1,000 strategies that member countries submitted
ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, held on Nov.
15 and 16. The quantified impact of the reforms
proposed by other countries isnt available because
member nations agreed not to disclose them.
With one of the 2014 summits main themes

36

being growth strategies, member countries came


up with reforms under four categories: increasing
investment, promoting competition, boosting trade
and uplifting employment.
To promote investment, the Korean government
said it would reform regulatory systems, support
investment in small- and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) and invest more in safety facilities. The
government will cap regulations by removing
one regulation when another is added. It will
also spend KRW 85 trillion on social overhead
capital from 2014 to 2017 to expand investment
in infrastructure. With regard to boosting
employment, the government plans to improve
maternity protection and child care support to
help working mothers, while also providing a
comprehensive support system to train and hire
young people.

A welcome shift
The government also vowed to continue
negotiating for more free trade agreements and help
businesses fully utilize existing agreements. It will
deregulate e-commerce to encourage more exports
and imports online. To jump-start competition,
the government said it will deregulate seven service
industries with high growth potential, including
healthcare, education, tourism, finance, software,
content creation and logistics. It will also work to
fight unfair practices by large corporations aimed at
SMEs. Additionally, the government reiterated its
efforts to promote the creative economy, defined
as the convergence of science, information and
communications technology and existing sectors
to create new industries and jobs. Some of Koreas
proposed measures were even reflected in the
Brisbane Action Plan, an international blueprint for
growth among G20 nations.
While each G20 country monitors and assesses
its own growth strategies, a peer review system
with input from the IMF and OECD is designed
to ensure that member nations pursue the reforms.
The G20 will also produce an annual report on the
progress being made, and the IMF and OECD will
help estimate the impact of the measures on GDP
until 2018, the Brisbane Action Plan said.

The main initiatives of


the governments 3-Year plan

Normalizing the abnormal

Innovative economy

- Reduce discrimination
between part-time and
full-time employees while
neutralizing the labor markets
structure

- Support venture firms and


revitalize the startup market

- Establish market economy


principles and apply them to
the field

- Construct a Northeast
Asian oil hub

- Expand economic domain


through FTAs and other
initiatives

- Correct social imbalances


by addressing the intensifying
income gap

Readjusting import-export
balance by boosting
domestic consumption
- Cut red tape in healthcare and
medicine, education, tourism,
finance and other servicerelated industries (readjust
governmental regulations
through newly implemented
taskforce)
- Provide support to SMEs for
exports

- Revolutionize the public


sector
- Upgrade the welfare system to
transmit benefits properly

How society will be affected


by the implementation of such
strategies and initiatives
Present
USD 24,000

Average income
per person

(estimated figure for 2013)

Potential annual
growth

Around 3%

Employment rate

37

65.3%
(as of November 2013, based on
persons aged 15-64)

3 years later

30,000
40,000

Surpass USD
,
well on the way towards
USD

4%
70%

CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY

together more than 150 specialists engaged in agricultural


research, robotic engineering and academic and industrial
cooperation, the symposium was cosponsored by the Korean
Society for Agricultural Machinery, the Korea Association of
Robot Industries and the Robot Convergence Forum, among
others.
The goal of the seminar was to enhance the competitive
edge of domestic agriculture by revitalizing research into
agricultural robots and by encouraging cooperation among
related industries. The symposium was held in two sessions:
Convergence Technologies for Agriculture and Robots and
Related Policies and Plans for Applying Robot Technologies
to Actual Farming.
According to Lee Yang-ho, an administrator at the RDA,
We hope this seminar will lay the cornerstone for developing
agriculture through the convergence of robot technologies,
so that the agricultural sector can function as a locomotive
engine for the growth of the creative economy.

Researchers inspect fresh vegetables at the Gyeonggi-do Agricultural


Research & Extension Services Future Agriculture Research Center,
the first farm in Korea to use robots. Yonhap News

Smarter agriculture
Convergence and synergy to lead to better farming practices
Written by Sohn Tae-soo

n the age of science and technology, the domestic


agricultural sector, including government agencies and
private research institutions, has been putting significant
effort into accelerating the process of applying cutting-edge
technologies to the farming industry.

Gathering to discuss future development


A variety of programs for utilizing agricultural technology namely, techniques to facilitate the growth and harvesting of
animal and vegetable products - are offering a concentrated
academic experience to individuals who pursue careers in the
agricultural and other green industries.
On July 2, 2014, the Rural Development Administration
(RDA) hosted a seminar at the Advanced Institutes of
Convergence Technology, affiliated with Seoul National

University, under the title Development of Future Agricultural


Technology through the Utilization of Convergence
Technology. The seminar drew more than 60 farmers and
researchers devoted to the development of farming robots and
unmanned intelligent agricultural machines.
The participating researchers unveiled their projects in four
categories: research and development (R&D) of unmanned
intelligent agricultural technologies, agricultural robot
technologies and technological convergence, cultivation of
a variety of species of plants, and R&D to build vegetation
plants.
In particular, they discussed pending issues such as
overcoming the shortage of labor in agricultural districts,
agricultural robots as aids in the face of uncertain supply and
demand and the establishment of future cooperation.

38

Taking on the trend


In the meantime, the town of Boeun-gun in
Chungcheongbuk-do is pushing for the commercialization of
high-quality silkworm cocoons with the intention of using
them as materials for producing artificial eardrums. A seminar
was held this past July in Boeun-gun - a trailblazer region
devoted to such industries - with as many as 40 researchers
participating. Similar efforts have already been made in the
U.S. and elsewhere, and Boeun-gun is keeping abreast of
global advances in the field.
Gaining a competitive edge
On April 16, 2014, the RDA held a seminar on the issue of
industrial cooperation for the convergence of agricultural
and robotic technologies at one of its divisions, the National
Academy of Agricultural Science, located in Suwon. Bringing

Information technology meets biotechnology


Meanwhile, an increasing number of local autonomous
governments are moving to adopt the so-called ubiquitousIT-based (U-IT) unmanned autonomous fruit tree-pest
surveillance system. The system makes use of the convergence
of information technology and biotechnology, compared
with previous systems under which farmers had to predict the
spread of fruit tree pests with the naked eye.
The system first targets such fruits as apples, pears, peaches,
plums, apricots and cherries and then analyzes the density of
the vermin, the time of infestation and the breed through an
image-processing procedure on computer servers.
According to online information on the state-of-theart technologies offered by the RDA, the U-IT-based pest
surveillance systems can decipher the image of vermin caught
in a sexual pheromone trap and make a real-time decision
on whether or not to cull them immediately.

1. Spectators witness the world's first grafting robot at an exhibit of high-tech farm equipment using advanced sensors developed by the Rural Development
Administration. Yonhap News 2. Visitors take a look at a farm automation system at the 2012 IT Expo in Busan. Yonhap News
1

39

GLOBAL KOREA

Maritime Affairs (MLTM) at the MOLIT. It


is meaningful that the government found a
new offshore project through sharing Koreas
experiences in building infrastructure, and directly
helped a Korean firm to win a contract.

Korea Land & Housing Corporation

Building, the Korean way


Government assists local construction firms to acquire projects abroad
Written by Daye Kim

new Korean-style residential city will be


built on the outskirts of Santa Cruz de la
Sierra, a major city in Bolivia.
On Nov. 18, 2014, Korea Engineering Consultants
Corp. (KECC), an affiliate of Hanjin Heavy
Industries & Constructions, landed a USD 363,000
deal to create the master plan for a new city that
would be three times as large as the planned district
of Bundang, Gyeonggi-do, the Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) announced.
KECC will survey the soil of the 5,723-hectare
site about 15 kilometers northeast of Santa Cruz

de la Sierra; plan residential complexes as well as


earthworks; recommend how to procure materials;
calculate site development costs for a feasibility study;
and review the projects general outline. The contract
is valid until April 2015.

Exporting Korean cities


The Bolivia deal marks the first export of a Koreanstyle planned city that was thoroughly assisted by the
government, the ministry said.
Although domestic construction and engineering
firms have accumulated much experience in

40

1. Santa Cruz de la Sierra,


a Korean-style new town
to be built in Bolivia
2. Hanwha Engineering &
Construction won an KRW
8 billion contract to build
Bismayah, a Korean-style
new town in Iraq displayed
here in illustrated form.
Korean companies are
building an increasing
number of new towns
overseas.
Hanwha Engineering &
Construction

developing new residential towns here, they have


struggled to win contracts abroad due to a lack of
reputation overseas and a less developed foreign
client network.
To help domestic firms to find new urban
development projects abroad, the land ministry
set up the International Urban Development
Cooperation Center in October 2012, a subsidiary
of the state-run Korea Land and Housing Corp. As
it stands, the Bolivia deal is the organizations first
major achievement.
In May and June last year, the center held a twoweek training program in Korea for government
officials in charge of urban planning and housing in
Bolivia, Peru, El Salvador and Ecuador. After the
program, the municipal government of Santa Cruz
de la Sierra requested the presence of Korean urban
development experts. Five experts were sent to
Bolivia for six months, creating a basic design of the
new city, studying the projects technological and
economic feasibility, and sharing the Korean way of
planning and developing a new residential district.
In September, after learning about Koreanstyle urban development, Grupo Empresarial
Lafuente (GEL), a Bolivian developer in charge
of the project, decided to hire a Korean firm for
designing the master plan.
This deal is the outcome of the governments
support for exporting new residential cities under
the Three-year plan for economic innovation,
said Song Seok-joon, director of construction
policy at the Ministry of Land, Transport and

41

Building towards something greater


Song added that the size of the deal secured by
KECC isnt big, but Koreans firms may win
upcoming deals worth up to USD 730 million
in fields such as design, civil engineering and
construction. It is highly likely that Korean
firms will join the projects that follow, he added,
considering Bolivias hope to adopt Korean-style
urban development.
Operating the International Urban Development
Cooperation Center is one of the governments
many efforts to help the diversify markets for the
countrys construction firms. This past November,
the MLTM invited some 100 government officials
from 37 countries, African Development Bank and
Asian Development Bank - potential clients for
domestic builders - to a training program that
promoted the Korean model of infrastructure.
Korean construction firms won overseas deals
worth USD 48.3 billion between January and
September of last year, up 5.2 percent from the
same period in 2013. In the third quarter alone,
Korean companies were awarded contracts worth
around USD 5 billion from relatively new markets,
including nations in Europe, Central and South
America and Africa - a vast improvement from
the some USD 700 million of deals signed in the
same period in 2013.

GREAT KOREAN

f youve spent time in Korea, chances are youve


seen a depiction of Joseon scholar, philosopher and
poet Yi Hwang (1501-1570), although you probably
didnt know who he was when you casually passed along
the KRW 1,000 note that bears his portrait. While most
countries seem to favor putting presidents, kings or great
warriors on their official currency, Koreas banknotes
are dominated by scholars. In fact, the only monarch to
grace a bill is King Sejong the Great, a leader who was
lauded for being the proficient linguist who oversaw the
invention of Hangeul, the countrys native alphabet.
Perhaps Yi is pictured on Koreas most commonly
distributed note because he was one of the original
voices of the true Seonbi, or noble scholar. In addition
to establishing a uniquely Korean tradition of NeoConfucianism, Yi dedicated his entire life to scholastic
research and personal reflection, forgoing the pursuit of
political power.

Starting early
Yi was born in what is now Andong, Gyeongsangbukdo. Because his father passed away when he was only 7
months old, Yi was raised by his mother, who cared for
him alongside the seven other children in the family. Yis
mother toiled endlessly to support them, with particular
focus put on her sons education. Its said that she would
repeatedly tell her male offspring that they needed to
study and work several times harder than other children,
otherwise theyd be looked down upon for being the
byproduct of a single-parent household. It appears that
such words made a tremendous impact on young Yi,
who finished reading the Analects of Confucius by
age 12 and by 18 had composed one of his best works,
Yadang, a poem about a pond. At age 20, Yi undertook
the massive task of reading and interpreting the Yijing,
the oldest of the Chinese classical texts. Only three years
later, he entered Seonggyungwan Academy, Joseons
foremost educational institute.
After overcoming the death of his wife in his late
20s, Yi eventually passed his civil service examinations
and started life as a bureaucrat at 34. When he lost his
mother three years later, however, he spent the next
three years in mourning, as dictated by filial tradition.
Yi ended up restarting life as a government official at
age 37, but by this point had already grown disillusioned
with the political struggles and corruption of the royal

Yi Hwang
One of Joseon's first true scholars exemplified
the Seonbi spirit
Written by Felix Im

42

court; instead, he chose


to concentrate on
purely scholastic and
philosophical matters,
spending all of his time
in the library. Although
Yi held several
positions throughout
his life, he resigned
from nearly every one,
citing physical illness
as his reason. The royal court always pleaded for his
return, however, as Yis knowledge, wisdom and
sincerity were unmatched. He eventually agreed
to serve as a governor in provinces outside Seoul,
wishing to distance himself from the capitals
politics. In 1560, Yi founded what became one of
Joseons most distinguished Confucian academies,
the Dosan Seodang.

Call of duty
Unconcerned with worldly riches or political
influence, Yi was feeble and poor by the time
he established the academy, yet his devotion to
teaching, studying and writing never faltered.

1. Statue of Yi Hwang
Yonhap News
2. The Four-Seven Debate,
a discussion of NeoConfucianism based on
letters exchanged between
Yi and scholar Gi Daeseung over the course of
eight years, beginning in
1559 Yonhap News
3. Dosan Seowon, a
Confucian academy built
by Yi's students on the site
where he taught them

43

Among Yis many disciples was Yulgok, another


great scholar who is pictured on todays KRW
5,000 note. Still, King Myeongjong (r. 15451567) persistently tried to coax Yi back into office,
although he was turned down every time. When
envoys from Ming China (1368-1644) arrived
in 1567, however, Yi realized that his expertise
was needed. Though it was incredibly rare for a
monarch to make repeated requests for an officials
return despite so many refusals, when King
Myeongjong was succeeded by King Seonjo (r.
1567-1608), Yi was once again called back into
office from retirement. This time he agreed.
A lifetime of intense scholarship, however,
had taken its toll on Yis health. Sensing his
end, Yi composed his Seonghak Sipdo, an
advisory document that offers an analytical and
philosophical approach to ruling a kingdom, and
presented it to Seonjo as his final act of service. In
1570, Yi passed away shortly after requesting to his
son that his funeral be held in a modest fashion.
Legend has it that he died calmly and peacefully in
a seated, meditative position - a fitting way for a
great thinker to leave this world.

MY KOREA

Kicking myself into place

students in our classes, along with working professionals


and a small group of international residents as well.
This particular dojang caters only to adults, so all
weekday classes are held in the evening, with the first
class starting at 6:30 p.m. Each class lasts 50 minutes
and focuses on one aspect of taekwondo. Some classes
focus on learning the pumsae, or forms, for each belt
rank, while other sessions focus on breaking boards, or
having students concentrate on kicking targets, both for
speed and accuracy. An incredibly rigorous full-body
workout and strength-training class is offered twice a
week, and on Sundays they host 90-minute sparring
sessions. The school has six instructors: four Koreans
and two foreigners. All of the Korean instructors are
fifth degree black belts and are excellent teachers. They
are patient, encouraging and very knowledgeable. In
fact, the head instructor was once a member of the
Korean National Taekwondo Demonstration Team.

Learning taekwondo in Korea can enrich life as an expat


Written by Ian Tibby
Illustrated by Kim Yoon-myong

haryeot! Gyeongnye! (Attention! Bow!)


My eyes look straight at the floor as my tense
and anxious body bows to the two judges sitting
behind the table.
Junbi! (Get Ready!)
The three board holders quickly move their wood pieces into
position. I swing a roundhouse kick, my eyes beginning to blaze as
I let out a loud kihap, or yell. There are gasps and looks of surprise
from the other students
My body is vibrating with excitement. Nerves. Power. Energy.
Focus. The sound of wood breaking. It begins.

Same kicks, different vibe


The atmosphere surrounding taekwondo is different
in Korea than what I was used to in the U.S. The
dojang I attended back home was run very much like
a military academy. If an instructor gave a command,
all the students would respond with a loud Yes, sir!
or Yes, maam! Discipline and focus were two of the
key buzzwords. In my school in Korea, there is far less
emphasis on structural discipline. Instead, everything
comes back to working hard and succeeding as an
individual, with the instructors constantly testing your
limits. Ive never left a class feeling underworked Im always sweaty and exhausted, but I feel like Ive
accomplished something.
I have personally enjoyed my year of relearning
taekwondo in Korea. The exercise helped me lose
weight, and I now feel a lot healthier. As luck would
have it, it is also the place where I met my girlfriend. I
can honestly say that my taekwondo experience
has made my life in Korea much better. If
youre thinking about giving taekwondo
a shot, I promise that you wont regret
it. Koreas national sport isnt just for
Koreans: Its for everyone.

My taekwondo journey
Taekwondo has been a part of my life ever since middle school. I
was the geeky, nerdy kid who never liked to play sports, so when
one of my good friends joined a taekwondo academy, my mother
saw it as a good way to get me some much needed confidence, not
to mention plenty of exercise. Starting to practice taekwondo was
probably the best decision
of my childhood;
the sense of
discipline
and focus
that it
instilled
in me was
remarkable. You
train with your friends,
encouraging each other along the way, pushing
each other through your exhaustion and pain to the end.
It was with these memories that I decided to restart my
training when I came back to Korea in 2013. I joined Arirang
Taekwondo in January 2014 and havent looked back since. The
dojang, or martial arts school, is located near Sookmyung Womens
University Station on Line 4. As such, we have a lot of university

44

45

MULTICULTURAL KOREA

hen glass artist Annaliisa Alastaro first decided to


come to Korea in 2006, the plan was to stay for
only a couple of years. Before arriving here, she
had almost no preconceived notions regarding life in Korea.

Campus love
Perhaps Alastaro would have never set foot in Korea had she
not met her husband, Hong Sung-hwan, a respected glass artist
in his own right. Hong, who currently works in both glass art
and architectural design, was in Finland for graduate school
when Alastaro was an undergraduate
student at the same institution, Aalto
University in Helsinki. I spotted him
on campus because he stuck out from
the usual Finnish student crowd, and
remembered him when I ran into him
later, she says. Hong was actually an
accomplished artist and designer by that
point, having held personal exhibitions
all across Europe. Hong and Alastaro
married in 2005 and moved to Korea
the following year with their two
daughters.
I knew absolutely nothing about
Korea before coming here. I remember
seeing a paragraph about Korea in a
school textbook as a young student,
something about traditional fan dances,
but other than that, I had no images
- no preconceived notions at all, she
recalls. I just arrived with an open
mind.

One step at a time


Finnish glass artist Annaliisa Alastaro finds her own pace
amidst Seouls rush-hour lifestyle

Getting out of the city


The newlyweds first settled in Insadong, a trendy area in Seoul with
many shops that sell traditional items,
Glass Studio Annaliisa
but Alastaro didnt feel that an urban
environment was ideal for her children. She has since settled
in a spacious residence in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do, close
enough to the city but surrounded by enough natural space
to nourish a childs growing mind and an artists creative
instincts. After her husband set up a workshop near their
home, it was only a matter of time before Alastaro starting
working on her own projects. Having studied glass art and

Written by Felix Im
Photographed by Lee Hyang-ah

46

47

ceramics, she quickly developed her own style. Shes held a


number of personal exhibitions, and is an established figure in
the local glass arts scene.
Ive always enjoyed creating things with my hands, she
says, whether its sewing clothes, crafting pottery or making
decorations for the house.

Normal yet unique


Alastaro and her family have even been featured on television,
most notably on a documentary program titled Human
Theater in 2009. On the program, the
footage of her family showed images of
a loving mother and father, endearing
and peaceful. Alastaro and her husband
were also depicted as creative souls,
showing scenes mostly shot in their
workshop. The family on TV seemed
a little more unique than we actually
are, Alastaro says. Were really a
normal family. We dont spend all of
our time working on an urgent project
like crazed artists, Alastaro says,
laughing. It is apparent, however, that
Alastaro and her family operate at their
own pace.
Finland and Korea are completely
different, so adjusting to life in Korea
obviously hasnt been entirely carefree.
Finland is known for its long summer
days and long winter nights, its forests
and lakes, an unorthodox but effective
education system and a relatively laidback lifestyle. Seoul, however, is a
hyper-modern arena of IT, fast-paced
residents and a seemingly insatiable
thirst to build anew. From Alastaros
perspective, the role of design and art in
daily life isnt established here.
Glass art, whether its plates, coffee mugs or decoration, is
an integral part of Finns daily lives, as is design in general,
Alastaro explains.
Finns, if they can help it, never use a plastic or paper cup
to drink water or coffee. A common gift for young students
who are moving out is glass plates or cups so they dont have
to eat and drink using cheap, disposable products.

NATURE KOREA

Seouls northern guardians


The peaks of Bukhansan National Park give Seoul residents easy access to
nature and history
Written by David Mason

orea offers us so many great mountains to climb,


and fascinating sites interspersed throughout them
to visit. Many people, however, who have arrived
fairly recently dont realize that some of the most beautiful
and history-packed mountains are easily accessible in the
northern areas of Seoul, in Bukhansan National Park.
A set of 10 major mountains and many significant
subsidiary hills, peaks and crags, the Bukhansan Mountains
have always been the spiritual and physical guardians of
historic Seoul. The Seoul City Wall, built around their
southern peaks, still runs from Mt. Namsan up over Mt.
Inwangsan and Mt. Bugaksan, back down east over the
Mt. Naksan ridge and then completing the circle back to
Namsan.
Contrary to mistakes that can be found on some maps
and websites, there is no single mountain with the name
Bukhansan. The term actually designates the entire
sub-range of mountains that dominate northern Seoul, all
interconnected by ridges. The peaks that are most often
erroneously called by that name constitute the dramatic
tripartite summit of Mt. Samgaksan, or Three Horns
Mountain. Its highest point is Baegunbong, or White
Clouds Peak, at 836.5 m above sea level; the bong at
the end of the name is sometimes replaced with the more
religious suffix, dae, meaning a platform upon which a
Buddha sits to teach.
By any name, the mountains within Bukhansan
National Park are the highest peaks around Seoul, and
highly rewarding on any visit.
They feature dozens of Buddhist temples at their forested
foothills or perched on their craggy cliffs, including
major sites such as Doseonsa, Hwagyesa, Seunggasa and
Mangwolsa. The mountains are also home to a collection
of shamanistic and Confucian shrines, as well as other
historic sites and monuments. Rarely can you find such a
combination of natural beauty and cultural fascination so
densely woven together, with a dense network of wellmarked trails connecting it all.

Bukhansan National Park in winter Yonhap News

48

49

FLAVOR

Bossam
Written by Shin Yesol
Photograph courtesy of the KTO

ossam literally means wrapped, and it's an


appropriate name for this popular dish of boiled
pork belly slices, bean paste, fermented shrimp
and fresh kimchi served wrapped in vegetable leaves.
In the olden days, the dish was served just after gimjang,
when communities would gather to produce the large
amounts of kimchi needed for the coming winter. This

was the time of year when the kimchi was at its crispiest
and freshest, making it a delightful accompaniment for
the pork, which is tender enough to melt in your mouth.
In Seoul, a good place to enjoy bossam is Jongno
3-ga, where theres an entire alleyway lined with bossam
restaurants. Many of these places specialize in gul bossam,
in which the meat is topped with a raw oyster.

50

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KOCIS
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(339-012)
Republic of Korea

Sunrise over Seouls Hangang River

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2015

JANUARY

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or download a PDF file of the magazine
each month.

Theres no better place to see a


sunrise than Jeongdongjin

01

02

, 1 1 ?
Minsuya, irwol irire mwo hae?

Hey Minsu, what are you doing on


New Years Day?

03

.
Jeongdongjine gaseo haedojireul
boryeogo hae.

Im planning on going to see the sunrise at


Jeongdongjin.

04

Jeongdongjinkkaji gagieneun neomu


meolji aneulkka?

Isnt Jeongdongjin really far?


.
haedojireul bogieneun jeongdongjinmankeum joeun gosi eopsseo.

Theres no better place to see a sunrise


than Jeongdongjin.

-
"-" is used when

speaking about the


decision-making
criterion of an action or
condition.

Lets Practice
Lets recommend good travel destinations using the examples below.
/
<>

haedojireul boda / jeongdongjin

To see the sunrise Jeongdongjin

"" is used when


comparing things with
similar degrees. "N~
" means that
N is the best place.

haedojireul bogieneun jeongdongjinmankeum joeun gosi eopsseo.

Theres no better place to see a sunrise than Jeongdongjin.

skireul tada / pyeongchang

To ski / Pyeongchang

Seoul

Pyeongchang

bada-eseo suyeong-eul hada / jejudo

To swim in the ocean / Jejudo Island


/

Jeonju

yeonghwajereul boda / busan

To attend a film festival / Busan


Busan

masinneun hanjeongsigeul meokda / jeonju

To eat tasty full-course meals / Jeonju


Jejudo