Seoul Journal

Seoul Journal

Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:55


Coming Soon

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 05:59

What to Eat

The popularity of Korean food is spreading globally as it appeals to a wide range of tastes and offers diversity in its styles of cuisine. As all-natural ingredients are used to make the majority of Korean foods, many dishes have been praised for their health benefits, including vitamin-rich kimchi, which helps digestion and some say may help prevent cancer.

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 13:33

South Korean Exports Rising

Car parts exports are outdoing exports of finished cars in South Korea. According to a recent article in Korea's leading newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, the improved quality of Korean-made components and more overseas production by Korean conglomerates have attributed to the rise in exports of car parts that is up by 6% in 2013 over the previous year. This rise is nearly double of what the finished automobile industry has seen with their 3.1% increase. According to South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, exports of car parts hit a new record in 2013 at 26 billion won. The Chosun Ilbo also recently reported that exports of IT parts are surging as domestic firms including Samsung boost the proportion of overseas production. In addition, last year exports of semiconductor chips hit a record of US$57.15 billion due to the growing demand in mobile devices. 

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 05:39

Korean Band Fad Goes Global

Asia’s Korean band fad is going global with top Western entertainment venues hosting performances by Korean dancers and musical artists.

K-Pop Goes the World

Surprising Attendance in California

The lights go on. The pounding dance beat starts. And 12,000 screaming fans rise to their feet in the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Acclaimed record producer Quincy Jones watches from his suite. Is this Beyonce? Rhianna? Lady Gaga? Nope. It’s an all-star concert featuring the likes of Girls Generation, Super Junior, BoA, TVXQ, f(x), EXO and SHINee. How can bands not played on American Top 40 radio fill a U.S. arena? Well, these are Korea’s top pop bands, and they played S.M. Entertainment’s third world tour on May 20, 2012. SME, a Seoul-based independent record producer, has held previous world tours with stops in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei. Yeah, but was Anaheim’s Honda Center filled with 12,000 Koreans and Korean Americans? Nope. Around two thirds of the fans were non- Korean, a sign of the spreading popularity of Korean pop.

Click here to see a Photo Gallery of the SM Town World Live III Concert in Anaheim, California

YouTube Sensations

If K-Pop music isn’t being played on the radio, how are fans discovering these acts? YouTube. An unlikely emergent is called “Psy.” He is a flabby, middle-aged looking guy, who with his “horsey dance”, came out of nowhere and took the world by storm in 2012. At the time of print, he had the most watched and most liked YouTube video of all time with over 815 million views and the Guinness World Record for breaking 2.9 million “likes” on YouTube with “Gangnam Style.” Psy knocked viral legends such as Rebecca Black and Lady Gaga down the charts in his international hit count, and became the #1 downloaded song on iTunes. No wonder Schoolboy Records (the label of Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Brown) signed him. Korea’s JoongAng newspaper has reported that K-Pop videos on YouTube were viewed nearly 2.3 billion times from 235 countries in 2011, three times more than the previous year’s record of 800 million views. The majority of clicks were from Japan with 423 million, followed by 240 million views in the U.S., 220 million in Thailand, 180 million in Taiwan and 170 million in Vietnam. But is K-pop growing outside Asia and the U.S.? Interestingly enough, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait brought in 4.8 million and 1.7 million views, respectively.

Monday, 03 February 2014 08:51

Heart and Seoul


Add a little spice to your life with a trip to South Korea

- by Michael Curren

Looking for a getaway? Need to add a little flavor in your life without spending half of your vacation and budget on an airplane? In approximately 2 hours from the time you depart Haneda Airport and for the cost comparable to the bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka, you can be arriving in the heart of Seoul - a city filled with excitement, shopping, nightlife, and a whole lot more. Although the differences in culture between Korea and Japan may seem subtle at first glance, a couple of days in Seoul can be stimulating and refreshing. Whether you are after the spicy food, the warm culture, the hot nightlife or an invigorating esthetic scrub down, a visit to Seoul is sure to stimulate your senses.

Where to Stay

The following are two of the top hotels in Seoul ideal for both business and leisure travelers. Both hotels feature English and Japanese speaking staff.

Monday, 05 May 2014 00:00

Author Kyung-sook Shin

Kyung-sook Shin is a celebrated author in her native South Korea. She made her literary debut in 1985, winning the Munye Joongang New Author Prize for her novella Winter Fable. She recently came to international attention with the translation of her latest book, Please Look After Mom, into a number of languages for distribution in 33 countries. The book is about a mother who disappears and the family’s desperate search to find her. It won the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize for 2011, the Asian equivalent of the Man Booker Prize. The first Korean and first woman to win the prize, she beat celebrated Asian authors such as Haruki Murakami and Anuradha Roy. TJ’s Hong Kong correspondent David Nunan caught up with Ms. Shin at the recent Hong Kong International Literary Festival where she was a featured speaker.

DN: When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
K-s S: My dream to become a writer came very naturally to me. I grew up in the rural countryside, a long way from the city. We raised animals like cows and chickens and then we would kill them and eat them. I had many siblings, many brothers who would bring books home and leave them lying around. I read them and fell in love with literature. Many of the questions I had about life were answered in the books. I loved the characters and felt that I was experiencing the same thing. So my dream to become an author was very natural to me. When I was 16, I went to Seoul to go to high school, and my love of literature got deeper there.

Friday, 03 February 2012 05:41

Kings of K-Pop in L.A.

TVXQ! Wow with First Headlining Concert in L.A.

TVXQ!, known as the “Kings of K-Pop!” and holders of the Guinness Record for Most Photographed Celebrities in the world, performed at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on July 5, 2013. Although the successful Asian band had performed with the 2012 SMTown concert in Anaheim, California with several of SMTown’s top Korean Pop (K-Pop) acts, this was the first time TVXQ! headlined in the U.S. The band is on its “Catch Me” world tour, which began in Seoul in November 2012, went to Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Japan. Following L.A., the tour continues to Santiago, Chile and Shanghai, China.

Monday, 03 February 2014 05:39

Korean Band Fad Goes Global

Two of South Korea’s biggest bands, TVXQ! and Super Junior, have taken their tours global as demand for K-pop grows around the world.

K-Pop Continues to Go Global


TVXQ!, known as Dong Bang Shin Ki in South Korea, Tong Vfang Xien Qi in China and Tohoshinki in Japan, has twice held the Guinness World Record for the largest fan club in the world, with more than 800,000 in South Korea alone. They hold the current Guinness World Record for being the Most Photographed Celebrities in the World with more than 500 million photos taken. TVXQ! launched their “TVXQ! Live World Tour ‘Catch Me’” in November 2012 in Seoul before heading to China, Taiwan and elsewhere around the world. They made history by touring 11 cities in Japan between January and April 2012, doing a total of 26 shows as part of their “TVXQ! Live Tour 2012 ~TONE” with more than 550,000 in attendance.

Monday, 03 February 2014 05:00

The Westin Chosun

The Westin Chosun Seoul is Korea’s first international hotel. This classic hotel was built in 1914 with the first running water, elevator and ice cream in the country, attracting celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Bob Hope. Rebuilt in the 1960s and fully renovated since then, The Westin Chosun is within walking distance of the headquarters of major international banks, local government offices, historic landmarks and thriving shopping districts.

The hotel has 462 guest rooms and 40 suites with the Westin Heavenly Bed, anti-allergy carpets, self-serve espresso coffee machines, mobile phones and high-speed Internet access. Guests can access a business center with state-of-the-art conference rooms and a drug store, barbershop, beauty salon and souvenir shop as well as the City Athletic Club, a Pilates studio, a swimming pool, steam and dry saunas and whirlpools. For corporate events and weddings, there is the Grand Banquet Hall, six mid-sized banquet halls and conference rooms.

Friday, 31 January 2014 06:31

The Grand Hyatt Seoul

The Grand Hyatt Seoul is a hot spot for foreign travelers to Korea. Built in 1978 and fully renovated since then, the hotel is at the foot of Mt. Namsan and overlooks the Hahn River. It is in Seoul’s famed Itaewon shopping district where custom-tailored clothing can be made in as little as a day and good food can be had at many international restaurants.

A problem with the Hyatt, though, is that once you arrive you don’t want to leave. You can fill your weekend at the hotel’s bars, restaurants, gym, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and sauna, and by checking out the live entertainment. The Grand Hyatt Seoul has had a host of famous visitors from Queen Elizabeth to the Prince and Princess of Wales, George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton.

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