British-owned culture cafe opens in Bucheon

Thanks to Peter Orange for letting me know about an interesting new venture in Bucheon (부천): Cafe Nicolia, run by British / Korean couple Nicholas and Lia Young. From their website, it looks like a version of Seoul Selection, but obviously with more food and, I’m guessing, fewer books. On my rare visits to Seoul […]

The Japanese counter-wave

March’s edition of Seoul magazine has an interesting article discussing how cultural waves do not travel in just one direction. Supporters of Korean culture are keen to point out the unstoppability of the hallyu: Rain in the Philippines, BoA in Japan, Super Junior in China, TV Dramas everywhere (except the UK it seems). Back home, […]

James Salter: The Hunters

Penguin 2007 (originally published 1956) A ripping yarn set among the US fighter pilots in the Korean war. Apart from the passing references to Korean houseboys, and the fact that the dogfights take place over the river Yalu, there’s nothing to distinguish this novel plot-wise from your average Commando war mag. There’s the experienced and […]

The last days of Daechuri

As a follow up to my previous post linking to Bum Lee’s project, here’s a link to a short film made by Chris and Shirley Gelken at Daechuri last weekend. Well worth a look. There’s some great written coverage and photos on their blogs. A sample of Chris’s photos is shown above. See the full […]

Music to delight a Korean host

An interesting request for advice from a reader. A group of tutors from a British music academy is visiting Seoul on a school exchange. They’ve formed a band and want to perform a Korean number for their hosts. The band consists of bass, drums, guitar and keyboard plus female vocalist, and they are looking for […]

Dinner with the ambassadors

For those who need a warm-up before the event this evening, I’m going to aim to be at El Vino’s for a quick snifter from about 6:15pm if I can escape from work. El Vino’s is on the Barbican highwalks just west of the Wood Street / London Wall interchange, about 30 seconds walk from Young […]

Amnesty at Chatham House

Rajiv Narayan’s talk at Chatham House last week about Amnesty International’s activities and concerns on the Korean peninsula was timely but yet somehow seemed to miss the point. I was reminded about the story of a drunk who was found grovelling on the pavement underneath a streetlamp at 3am. A concerned passer-by asked him what […]

Sorry for the brief interruption

The site was down for an hour or so this evening. Not sure what tipped it over, but it’s up again now. I needed to restore one of my .htaccess files. Lesson to all you bloggers out there: Make sure you keep backups of absolutely everything. And remember where you save it! I couldn’t find […]

Seoul lags as an international financial hub

The Corporation of London has just launched a new index: the Global Financial Centres Index. It’s a way of ranking various cities that aspire to being recognised as international financial services centres. It was launched in Cannes last week at MIPIM, the international property industry boondoggle. The occasion provided the opportunity to update the City’s […]

DPRK Foreign Ministry comment on UNDP withdrawl

Just received Pyongyang, March 13 (KCNA) — The United Nations Development Program recently announced that it would suspend its country program for the DPRK and, accordingly, withdraw the staff members of its office from Pyongyang. A spokesman for the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tuesday answered the question raised by KCNA in this regard. The […]

The Irish Contribution to Joseon Korea

Another post in honour of St Patrick: OhMyNews has a piece on the Irish contribution to Korea’s early modern history Arguably the first Irishman to live in Korea arrived in Seoul in the mid 1890s. His name was John McLeavy Brown, and he was a lawyer by trade, but was employed with the Imperial Chinese […]

Are Koreans really the Irish of Asia?

A St Patrick’s Day special from Tom Coyner. This was written for the Korea Times, but never got published. It is published here with his permission. Read it, then go buy his book, Doing Business in Korea, which is an expanded version of his Mastering Business in Korea mentioned in the below article. The stereotype […]

The art of Daechuri

Many thanks to David Kilburn for pointing out a video project by Bum Lee, animation artist and illustrator. It’s a short film that he shot at Daechuri, a farming village which is to be evacuated to make way for the expanded US base at Pyongtaek. David’s take: I found it creative both in film making […]