Monday, June 27, 2011

International Conference on 'Hallyu'

While hallyu, or the Korean wave, seems to be making headway with K-pop’s surprise expansion to continents other than Asia, people are asking whether it can last. Industry insiders, scholars and journalists attempt to determine its prospects at a conference this week.

The Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), along with the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE), is hosting the “International Conference on Korean Wave” at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Gangnam, Seoul on Thursday.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK), the forum has invited among others Luke Kang, senior vice president and managing director of the Walt Disney Company Korea, Ko Jeong-min, professor at Hongik University, and Christophe de Sabatino, chairman of French animation studio MoonScoop Group.

“A ‘new hallyu age’ is dawning with hallyu’s horizon spilling over into different regions and genres,” said Lee Jae-woong, president and CEO of KOCCA, in a press release. “We are hosting this event to analyze the current situation objectively and then with that basis to draw up future plans to sustain the upward trend today.”

The conference will divide the analysis into two parts: one from the creative industry’s point-of-view and the other from a business perspective. With his past posts at MTV and Monitor Group, Kang is to cover both, according to the program, speaking on the trend of the global creative content market and methods for a Korean business entry.

Kang and the other main speakers for the event have all confirmed their participation at this time.
Both KOCCA and KOFICE are government-supported organizations with the mission to promote Korean culture and creative works within the country as well as overseas.

“Any business or just about any person interested in the Korean wave are welcome to attend,”said Park Seung-ryong, an organizer of the event at KOCCA. It is open to the general public with a maximum capacity of 150.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

DMZ Museum

The tragedy of the Korean War (1950-1953) began on June 25, 1950 when North Korean troops flooded over the border. The Korean Peninsula was tainted with blood of thousands of soldiers, both domestic and foreign. No one won the war and the peninsula had to wear a belt named the Military Demarcation Line from July 1953.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established when both Koreas retreated two kilometers from the truce line under an agreement. After some 60 years, the 248-kilometer-long and four-kilometer-wide territory has become a repository of animals and plants since people are kept out of the area. Nowadays, the zone is rising as a tourist destination despite the restrictions.

Though only few people are allowed to actually go into the area, the story, artifacts and ecological information of the DMZ are kept at the DMZ Museum in Goseong, Gangwon Province.

The museum is composed of a main exhibition and multipurpose center, along with ecological reservoirs and other facilities. Rusted steel helmets and empty cartridges from the war are on display and replica landmines are laid under glass flooring.

"The museum is still unfinished. It will be filled with relics from the DMZ from South and North Korea when the two Koreas become unified. When the museum is completed, the day might be the day of unification," Jeon Chang-june, director of the museum said.

The museum opens daily from June to October but is closed on Mondays during the off season from November to April.

Source: Koreatimes or

For more information, visit or call (033) 680-8463.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Overseas doctors promote Oriental medicine, medical tourism

wo non-Korean Oriental medicine doctors were appointed as goodwill ambassadors to promote traditional Asian medicine abroad by the Korea Tourism Organization in May.

Dr. Raimund Royer of Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine and Dr. Michii Kobayashi of Azalea Oriental Medicine Clinic may be from different countries, but they have one thing in common. Both have been active in introducing traditional Korean medicine to non-Korean patients.

The appointment ceremony was held on May 18 and attended by Lee Charm, CEO of the Korea Tourism Organization.

Dr. Royer is from Austria, and became the first European Oriental medicine doctor active in Korea after passing the national exam in 1999.

Royer plays an active role introducing Oriental medicine to the international community by serving as an executive member of the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine and the Korean Pharmacupuncture Institute.

He first became interested in acupuncture when he sprained his ankle while learning the Korean martial art of Taekwondo in 1987. He decided to study Oriental medicine after his first acupuncture session.

In order to promote Oriental medicine in Korea, Royer says that Korea needs to differentiate its traditional medical practices from the more internationally famous Chinese practices.

He also urged the introduction of a certification system for Oriental medicinal ingredients to win trust on the international market.

Dr. Michii, originally from Japan but now practicing in Gangwon Province, became the first license non-Korean to practice domestically after getting her license in 1984.

Kobayashi has worked to incorporate Western medicine practices with traditional medicine during her eight years practicing in Tokyo, Japan. She has treated more than 12,000 international patients since moving to Korea in 2003.

In an interview on June 7 with the Weekly Gonggam, published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kobayashi expressed her desire to continuously promote Oriental medicine to the world.

She has recently focused her efforts on developing special therapy programs which combine Oriental medicine and spa treatments to attract overseas patients.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Govt. aims to attract 300,000 medical tourists by 2015

The Korean government aims to attract 300,000 overseas medical tourists by 2015 and become a leader in the medical tourism industry.

According to the Ministry of Health & Welfare, in 2009, more than 60 thousand people visited Korea for medical treatment, and more than 80 thousand in 2010.

Thailand currently attracts more than a million medical tourists each year, while Singapore and India bring in more than 700,000 tourists each for medical treatment.

The Ministry of Health & Welfare and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism are currently working together in order to advance Korea’s medical tourism industry. The Health Ministry has worked out seven priority projects, including accommodations for medical tourists, marketing, and translation, along with improving the visa system.

Korea shares development knowledge through WFA program

Since 2009, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been carrying out the “World Friend Advisors” (WFA) program as part of its comprehensive development assistance program, “World Friends Korea,” which integrates international cooperation projects from government organizations into one single group.

Under the WFA program, KOICA has been sending retired government officials and experts overseas to share their knowledge and experience with developing countries in order to contribute to economic and social development.

Last year, KOICA sent a total of 45 overseas for the WFA projects.

In the first half of 2011, KOICA selected 14 people to spend five days at KOICA’s training center in Yangjae in southern Seoul for training in international development cooperation, IT education, cultural understanding and adapting to local cultures.

After completing the education program, the participants will head to El Salvador, Tanzania, Mongolia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Bangladeshi, Rwanda to provide help and advice in various sectors, including education, agriculture, energy, urban development, forestry, vocational training, human resources management, election management, health and welfare and local development.

The members of the delegation include a former university professor, a retired doctor, a researcher, retired government officers and a former military officer.

In a June 12 interview with the Weekly Gonggam, published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, delegation member Ahn Pyeong-guk, a retired officer of the National Election Commission, said he always wanted to share his knowledge with others.

Ahn said he was happy for the chance to go to Mongolia because he decided to share what he has with others in return for all that he has received as a citizen of Korea. In preparation, he has been studying English and Chinese.

Oriental medicine doctor Han Gyu-eon currently teaches at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka through the WFA (Yonhap News)
Meanwhile, Yonhap News reported on June 14 that another WFA member, Oriental medicine doctor Han Gyu-eon, has been teaching medicine in Sri Lanka.

Han was firstly dispatched to Sri Lanka by the Korean government in 2004 and worked there for six years. After a short trip back home, he again headed to Sri Lanka in November last year and has been teaching acupuncture at the University of Colombo ever since.

During his first stay in Sri Lanka, Han taught acupuncture to more than 100 local doctors for six years while working at the Korean Clinic at the National Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital in Colombo. He also treated more than 120,000 patients.

Ayurveda is a traditional medical practice that originated in India. In Sri Lanka, a doctor’s license in Ayurveda requires six years of study, including a five-year university course and a one-year internship.

In a telephone interview with Yonhap, Han said Korean acupuncture is playing a “bridging role” between Korea and Sri Lanka, as more Sri Lankan government officials and local Ayuvedic doctors expand their understanding of acupuncture.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Convenient Traffic System of Korea

Almost all foreigners say that Korea has an excellent public transportation system. In Korea, you can reach everywhere by bus or subway. It is considered a superb system in terms of its access and cleanness.
Korea’s transportation system is now recognized as one of the finest example among other countries. In the past, however, many Koreans complained of ineffective subway and complicated road systems. But after it adopted the transit discount system and better equipped subway systems, situation got much better than ever.

Comfortable Public Transportation System

(Source: Yonhap News Agency)

There has been so much improvement in traffic system, and now Korea’s traffic system is regarded excellent all over the world. Most importantly, the subway and bus companies do not compete with each other for passengers, which became a win-win situation.

(Source: Yonhap News Agency)

For example, the transit discount system helps passengers save their money, which is found only in Korea. For this reason, many policy makers from other countries visit Korea to learn more about Korea’s traffic system. It is common for Korean to pay with digital card when taking a bus, but still in many countries, people are paying cash.
Moreover, a variety of bus and subway line also considered remarkable. Since all buses were divided into four colors- blue, green, red and yellow- according to the routes, it became much convenient to take buses even in rush hour.

Stretching to the world

Korean subway is also well-known for its cleanness in the world. In addition, the screen door is highly recognized as it prevents passengers from harmful air and unexpected hazardous circumstances.

Finally, Korea got to recently export its bus traffic system to Philippines. The official said that Gyeonggi-do made an agreement for mutual cooperation with MMDA(Metro Manila Development Agency) on 27th last month with the attendance of Kim Moon-Soo, the Governor of Gyeonggi-do and Francis Tolentino, the chairman of MMDA, Philippines. Followed by this agreement, Gyeonggi-do will share the policies on Metro traffic systems such as BMS (Bus Management System) and BIS (Bus Information System) and will cooperate on building the infrastructure of Manila.
Gyeonggi-do will share the information on how to adopt CNG bus, traffic card system, and transit discount system and how to build Bus terminal complex.

(Source: Chosun Ilbo)

Korean companies will cover the technical matters. Manila development agency of Philippines Metro announced that they will integrate four major traffic systems such as Metro, Bus, Jeepney, and Tricycle. For this, the chairman Tolentino asked cooperation during his visit to Gyeonggi Province last February. Kim Moon Su, the governor of Gyeonggi-do said that this agreement will help Philippines build more efficient traffic system. Furthermore it will definitely be the innovative traffic system in Philippines as well.

It seems that Korea’s transportation system is moving ahead to the World along with ‘Korean Wave, Hallyu’. However, generosity comes first than institutions and systems. Let’s make the world that human is always comes before the cars.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

May's Family Day in Korea " Kajokdari Nal"

Korea’s surprising number of “red-letter days” or holiday in May can be inspire a range of excitement and emotions. Of course one reaction might be enthusiasm, since holidays usually mean a day off from school or work and joined with family and celebrate the day off. Whatever may be the reaction reaction, it is safe to say that the month of May is one of the Korean calendar’s most festive months. In particular, May boasts a spectrum of special days that celebrate the family especially.

May is called “Family Month” in Korea for various reason. Each year, Children’s Day falls on May 5th, Parents’ Day on May 8th, and Teachers’ Day is every May 15th etc. Although, these holidays are generally inspired from foreign traditions.

Tracing from the olden days: Commemorating family days and teacher days are somewhat different. Joseon Dynasty was established in 1392 by the king Taejo, who sought to distinguish it from the preceding Goryeo dynasty. Part of this transition meant embracing Neo-Confucianism as Korea’s governing philosophy. For some 500 years, Joseon Korea instilled Confucian concepts of social order and hierarchy to dominate relationships between king and subject, and between parent and child.
Specifically, the concept of “filial piety,” or love and respect for one’s parents and ancestors, was seen as a vital family virtue.

According to the Confucian book of rites, Li Chi, at the age of seven, boys and girls must no longer mingle, and at age eight they are to obey their elders. In China some five hundred years before Christ, these milestones marked a child’s transition into adulthood. These days, it’s safe to say that Korean kids stay kids a bit longer, and May 5th is the day they eagerly anticipate every year.

Since 1923, Korea has celebrated its youngsters each May with Children’s Day. Although some joke that every day is a children’s day for Korea’s privileged youth, May 5th is when the entire family makes its way to the zoo, the amusement park, the movie theater or community center. Gifts typically accompany these outings, which is why the holiday ranks alongside birthdays as kids’ number one day.

This year, even President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok joined in the fun by inviting 350 underprivileged children to the Blue House to celebrate Korea’s 89th Children’s Day—after all, they’re also parents and grandparents!

Although a day dedicated to indulging youth may seem inconsistent with Confucian ideals, Bang Jeong-hwan (1899-1931) founded the holiday in 1923 to promote love and respect for youth. The visionary children’s book author argued that children were the future of Korea, which at the time was a Japanese colony. Bang urged adults to “speak to children with respect, and speak softly.” The founder of a children’s welfare organization and Eorinee, a monthly magazine named after the Korean word for child, said that individuals who were treated with respect in youth would grow to become respectful adults. Sadly, Bang died young at just 31 years, but the legacy of his beloved holiday lives on.

As previously mentioned, respect for one’s elders is at the core of Korean culture. In fact, it predates even the Joseon era’s Neo-Confucian philosophy, with historical records from the Silla Dynasty (57 BCE-935 CE) and folksy tales from who knows when consistently emphasizing the tenets of filial piety.

Far from a cultural tenet of a bygone era, to this day, local governments recognize exemplary citizens who have sacrificed to take care of elderly or invalid family. The city of Suwon in Gyeonggi Province hosts a “filial piety” festival each October in honor of one of Korea’s most impressive sons. That son just happened to also be a king. King Jeongjo, a visionary reformer who reigned during the late 18th century ascended to the throne after the murder of his father, Prince Sado. Sado was accused of being mentally-ill by court factions whose motives were probably less than pure. Although Jeongjo is remembered as ushering in a Korean Renaissance, he spent much of his 24-year reign trying to rehabilitate his father’s honor. Both in life and death he expressed his filial piety. Jeongjo chose to be buried alongside his parents at a tomb site near Suwon in a tomb less ornate than his parents’, despite the fact that he was a king.

Although the parents of today may fantasize for a daughter or son as adoring as Jeongjo, they’ll probably make do with a small gift on Parent’s Day. Korea’s children may get to celebrate first, but since 1973, May is also when the nation celebrates its mothers and fathers. On May 8th, children present their parents with a humble red carnation or more practical gifts like clothing or nutritional supplements. As they did on Children’s Day, families frequently will make a trip to parks or museums, which often waive admission fees.

On May 15th, Teacher’s Day completes the May family days trifecta. While teachers aren’t blood relation, per se, they’ve long occupied a special place of honor and dignity in Korean society. Again, education is a highly prized part of Neo-Confucian societies, which is why the nation’s educators have been honored with a day of their own since 1963. I take part last year in my school at Korea.

Each May, Korean celebrate three holidays—important one's are celebrating children, parents and teachers.It's difficult to believe it but that’s not the end. Another official red-letter day, Buddha’s birthday, are being celebrated this year on May 10th.

The month of May also includes two more days of note—Married Couples Day on May 21st and the Rose/Yellow Day on the 14th. One of Korea’s many pseudo relationship-themed days, on this day lovers exchange roses while singles donning yellow attire commiserate other over meals of yellow curry. In Korea, from the formal to the whimsical, there’s a holiday are absolutely for everyone.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My trip to Ulleungdo (one of the South Korean magic Island)

I guess our beautiful trip start with these wonderful starters. Sharing,helping and working together was the motto of the trip and to discover the hidden beauty and magic of this beautiful island.

I was so fascinated with the beauty of the island and the people..which was beyond my expectation..

Ulleungdo is one of the beautiful island of South Korean in the East Sea. Formerly it was known as 'Dagelet to the Europeans', Ulleungdo is about 120 km (75 miles) east of the Korean Peninsula. Volcanic in origin, the rocky steep-sided island is the top of a large stratovolcano which rises from the seafloor, reaching a maximum elevation of 984 metres (3,228 ft) at Seonginbong Peak.

This island consists primarily of trachyandesite rock. A major explosive eruption about 9,350 years ago reached a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 6 and deposited tephra as far as central Honshū over 800 km (500 mi) away, while producing pyroclastic flows on the island and decapitating its top to form a caldera.

The island of Ulleungdo has an area of 73.15 km2 (28.24 sq mi) with about 10,000 inhabitants according to our Guide. It makes up the main part of Ulleung County, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea.

The main city of Ulleungdo is the port of Dodong, which serves as the main ferry port between Ulleungdo and the Korean mainland. Ulleungdo is a popular tourist site may be right nest to the famous Jejudo Island.

The most crowded sea food market near the sea port of Ulleungdo.

The famous "o-zingo or the squid of Ulleungdo.

The guide told us that the main economic activity is fishery, including the harvest of cuttlefish, which can be seen drying in the sun in many places on Ulleungdo. Most Koreans know the island for its cuttlefish. We tried , it was really really tasty...!

A little facts about the place : Archaeological evidence indicates that the island has been inhabited since the 1st millennium BC. The first confirmed historical reference to Ulleungdo is in the Samguk Sagi for the year 512. In that year, the Silla general Kim Isabu conquered the island, which had previously been the autonomous nation of Usan-guk.

Usan-guk did not remain under the Silla yoke, however, and the island did not become a permanent political part of Korea until 930, when it was annexed by Goryeo. Remote as it is from the Korean mainland, Ulleungdo was a recurrent security headache for the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties.

It was devastated by Jurchen pirate raids in the 11th century, and by Wokou pirate raids in the 14th century. A clash with Japan over fishing rights in the 1690s was precipitated by the Korean fisherman An Yong-bok. In response to these difficulties, Joseon adopted an "empty-island" policy which however proved impossible to enforce. The empty-island policy was officially rescinded in 1881, after which the government sought to encourage additional settlement of Ulleungdo.

The precious Thodok , looks like zinseng (one of the Ulleungdo's precious item).

Favorite activities for tourists are hiking, fishing,digging out the roots of thodok and eating hoe (a Korean raw fish dish). Sightseeing boats make regular three-hour circuits about Ulleungdo, departing from the harbor at Dodong and passing by all the points of interest along the coast, including many interesting rock formations and the small neighboring island of Jukdo.

Other scenic sites are Seonginbong, the highest peak on the island (984 m); Bongnae waterfall; the "natural icehouse"; and a coastal cliff from which Liancourt Rocks can be discerned in the distance.

But the most interesting part is that, Ulleungdo people still thanks the foremer Korean president Park Chunghee because he was only president who visited Ulleungdo and does various activities to upgrade the Ulleungdo as the place is away from the mainland Korea. Throughout the journey Mr. Diver keep thanking the late former president Mr. Park Chunghee.

The breath taking scenic view.

You know what travelling with group of people have different ways to enjoy ourselves. You never get bored nor left out, this is the best part I have inculcates from this trip.

I learned from the guide and the driver who ride us with his humorous jokes in every possible part of this magic Island . Ulleungdo have its own unique qualiteis that make different from the others i.e the cleaniest environment and preety womens , kind hearted people , the scary wind which can washed away the houses , the thodok one of the precious herb which is abundently available in Ulleungdo, The dried O-zingo or the squid and of course one and only Ulleungdo people life line the Bokpo waterfall an only fresh water where the 10,000 people are depending on.

We explore around the corn field on the way and even learn the technique of making traditional steam corn

Making topiary for ourselves (the special memoir from the organizing committee)

Friends, seriously I was so mesmerized by this place because after the Dokdo issue Ulleungdo became famous, through this the government transformed this island and made the transportation very good. Now it is so good even if its miles away from the crowded mainland Korea but it does have its own beauty and charm that cannot be faded by the other city of Korea.

Colorful delicious sticky rice in the bamboo container..

Pop stars hold charity concert for NK defectors

Popular Korean stars will take part in a charity art festival for children from North Korea.

The concert, slated to take place at Coex Auditorium, Samseong-dong, Seoul, Saturday, will feature singers, comedians and actors, including K-pop bands Jewelry and December, comedian Seo Kyeong-seok and musical actress Sunwoo.

All performers have agreed to give all the proceeds from the festival to help out families in need.

The annual event, which began in 2007, aims to provide recreation for socially marginalized groups including multicultural families, teenage North Korean defectors and children from low-income households. It is also designed to raise public awareness about the said groups.

Some 70 North Korean teens are slated to attend the concert. In addition to music performances by stars, the lineup also features a martial arts act, percussion band, magic show and acrobatic sequences.

“With this concert I hope to bring comfort to the young adults who feel any cultural, social alienation from our society,” said Kim Sun-ae, chairman in charge of the festival.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hwagae market of the South Korea

Before Internet shopping malls and offline outlets, Koreans used to gather around marketplaces to purchase food, medicine and other daily necessities. Some markets were once-a-month events, while others were held once every three to five days.

Hwagae Market, located near Mt. Jiri, was one of the most popular markets in the country. Located between the two provinces of Jeolla and Gyeongsang, it was an ideal place to buy goods from both areas and it still runs as a market, as well as become a popular tourist spot.

The main products at the market were and still are mountain vegetables. When The Korea Times visited last month, sellers were getting ready for another busy day, displaying their newest products, arranging their fresh and dried vegetables at the front and making samples for visitors to try. Next to the market are small stalls where you can taste local food, from corbicula soup and fried sweetfish to sweetfish sushi.

With more people questioning the origin of products the market has also arranged colorful and welcoming signs on the stalls, complete with a photo of the seller, name of the stall and his or her phone number.

The market may not be as crowded as it was in the past due to more convenient and practical shopping options and may have lost some of its energy, but it was evident that the merchants were proud of their stalls and the basics of buy and sell.