You followed the blog, now buy the book

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 […]

The London Korean Links Awards 2012

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 […]

Elephant learns to speak Korean

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 […]

How to get a Korean boyfriend

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 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” […]

Witty Specsavers ad irritates academics

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.

Japanese invaders colonise Dokdo

This month’s 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 […]

Korean Air needs a language consultant…

Unfortunate Korean Air commercial promoting flights to Nairobi, Kenya, and encouraging travels to enjoy the “indigenous people full of primitive energy”. Originally tweeted by journalist Wouter van Kleef, and expanded upon by Al Jazeera, with some of the Kenyan response including this image from C_mwangi.

The London Korean Links Awards 2011

The sixth of LKL’s annual unscientific and very personal recognition of the best things of last year. And in the field of film, books and CDs what is encouraging is that there is so much to choose from. There were also plenty of good Korean cultural events in London, Edinburgh and elsewhere, but there was […]

Don’t do drugs in Korea

What kind of idiot tries to smuggle cannabis seeds into Korea in a jar of peanut butter? Martin Uden advises: don’t try it! Update 28 July 2015: Martin Uden’s ambassadorial blog has now been transferred to the National Archives and can be found here.