Humour

North Korea’s rant about Channel 4’s planned TV series has now been translated into English on the KCNA Japanese website. Like most of their rants, it’s entertaining in small doses. I’ve often wondered why they invest in a translator that is only semi-competent. Here’s a select quote from the press release: The British authorities should […]

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The Kimchi Slap (in case you haven’t seen it elsewhere)

by Philip Gowman 27 July 2014
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Here’s the full clip from the MBC TV Drama Everybody, Kimchi. The incident in question is at 1’30″: If you’re happy with .gifs, here’s the cut-down version. I wonder how many shirts were ruined rehearsing this scene…

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Dance videos, tasteless films and hair promotions – different ways to annoy the DPRK authorities

by Philip Gowman 19 July 2014
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It’s not just the Americans and the Brits who annoy the North Korean establishment with their irreverant lèse-majesté. Now the Chinese are doing it too. So far the video has been left online: And a reminder of the two other things that recently got the DPRK establishment annoyed: an upcoming American comedy film, and a […]

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Kim Yuna’s Lark of Emergency and other popular classics

by Philip Gowman 21 March 2014
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Browsing in the Hankyoreh yesterday I came across some charming pictures of Queen Yuna. This particular one, with the famous yellow logo on the CD cover … … got me googling for Deutsche Grammophon compilations of Kim’s backing tracks. And I came across this: Scrolling down to the tracklist I find that the label hasn’t […]

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Jungho Oak’s extreme yoga and Sun Salutations

by Philip Gowman 30 December 2013
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One of LKL’s favourite exhibitions of 2013 was Oak Jungho’s solo show at 43 Inverness Street. And that wasn’t just because at the opening viewing, if you sneaked into the kitchen and asked nicely, you were given a glass of single malt instead of the more usual wine or beer. Whisky, at a private view? […]

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Some Quite Interesting Korean folk expressions

by Philip Gowman 27 October 2013
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The witty comedy quiz show QI is now in its 11th series for the BBC, focusing on Quite Interesting facts connected with things that begin with the letter K. Plenty of scope for things Korean to crop up, then. In the episode that screened on 21 September, a series of Korean folk expressions came up. […]

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How can they be so dumb?

by Philip Gowman 13 July 2013
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I’m just wondering how a TV station can broadcast anything that is so obviously a wind-up. Needless to say, the YouTube videos of the stupid newscast have been removed, with the TV station claiming breach of copyright. The KTVU announcer was careful to pronounce Mr Fuk so that his name rhymed with “Luke”, rather than […]

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What the British Say… and what they mean

by Philip Gowman 19 February 2013
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This has been doing the rounds on the internet for a while, but deservedly: a very accurate dissection of the differences between what the British say, what they actually mean and what the non-native-English-speaker, or indeed anyone not British, might understand. Although the table suggests it relates to the British, it’s probably most accurate of […]

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The ROK Air Force parodies Les Mis

by Philip Gowman 5 February 2013
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For those who, like me, find musicals a bit of a chore, here’s a 13-minute parody of one of my least favourites. It almost makes me want to try the real thing all over again. Almost, but not quite. Well done the ROK Air Force’s 22nd Fighter Wing. Les Miserables ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air […]

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Some well-decorated North Korean generals

by Philip Gowman 20 January 2013
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Too good not to share. From Alexander Choi’s Facebook page, North Korean generals in full regalia. Quips left below the photo include “and you haven’t seen what’s on their backs…” “a testament to North Korean medicine that they are able to bear all that weight” There are of course questions as to whether the image […]

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You followed the blog, now buy the book

by Philip Gowman 12 January 2013
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You’ll probably have visited Kim Jong Il Looking at Things once in a while for some gentle entertainment at the expense of the late Dear Leader and his propaganda unit. The blog closed in December 2012, a year after his death, but now you can buy the book, from Jean Boîte Éditions, price EUR24 plus […]

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The London Korean Links Awards 2012

by Philip Gowman 31 December 2012
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The seventh eclectic and highly personal commemoration of the best of the past year. Personality of the Year Runner up There were plenty of personalities in the South Korean Olympic team, particularly the pistol shooters, archers and the gymnasts. But the athlete that everyone will remember is fencer Shin A-lam, cheated out of a place […]

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Elephant learns to speak Korean

by Philip Gowman 1 November 2012
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Well almost. According to the BBC, Koshik the elephant has learnt to imitate human speech and can say five words in Korean: hello, no, sit down, lie down and good. The zoo animal places the tip of his trunk into his mouth to transform his natural low rumble into a convincing impression of a human […]

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How to get a Korean boyfriend

by Philip Gowman 3 September 2012
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Many of you will have seen this already, but I only just came across it via Stephen Epstein’s and Rachel Joo’s fun article on Japanfocus.org on legs, abs, and the surprising de-emphasis of boobs in Korean pop culture. The entertaining video, from My Korean Boyfriend, is particularly fine in respect of its observation of “aegyo” […]

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Exhibition visit: Kim Beom’s School of Inversion

by Philip Gowman 30 August 2012
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Kim Beom is known for his videos of very serious Korean TV newsreaders, their newscasts chopped into a thousand pieces and spliced back together word by word to create nonsense stories. Londoners were introduced to his work back in 2006 as part of the Asia House group show Through the Looking Glass and Untitled (News) […]

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Witty Specsavers ad irritates academics

by Philip Gowman 28 July 2012
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The quick-thinking Specsavers ad capitalising on the Olympic flag gaffe seems to have ruffled a feather in academic circles for being written in bad Korean. So what if “Specsavers” should be at the beginning of the sentence? Putting it there would have completely baffled the non-Korean speaking audience it’s aimed at.

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Japanese invaders colonise Dokdo

by Philip Gowman 15 July 2012
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This month’s Korea.net magazine features Dokdo, but in cataloguing the island’s human and plant inhabitants, the magazine reveals five species with suspiciously Japanese-sounding names that have a firm foothold on the Korean islands. In the plant world, there’s Artemisia japonica var. macrocephala Pampan and Rumex japonicus Houttuyn (both ominously said to be “spreading quickly these […]

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