Events and activities around South Korea.

Singer/Actor Lee Joon-gi in Trouble With the Military

SEOUL - Actor and singer Lee Joon-gi is in trouble with the Ministry of National Defense.

The singer took part in making a new single while serving in the army - a big no-no according to the Ministry,

“The fact that Lee spent time designated to serving the country for his own profit raises some ethical concerns,” a representative from the ministry said. “Even during a serviceman’s vacation, he is still technically serving the nation and therefore it was wrong for him to record the single."

A representative from the star’s agency had accidentally let it slip that Lee recorded a new song on Friday to release in Japan next month, which angered the Ministry of National Defense. 

He is currently working in the public relations department of the National Defense as he is taking part in active military service.


Haps Promo Video Released

BUSAN - Busan Haps Magazine released their promotional video last night to a full crowd at Sharky's in Haeundae at the 17th issue launch party. The five minute, forty-one second video, was written, directed and produced by Nichole Blair Post.

The promo tells the tale of a girl who visits the city, and is taken around to local sights by her male friend. The video, which was shot last summer, was extremely well-received, a testament to the cast and crew's hard work.

Post attended the International Academy of Film and Television in Cebu, Philippines. Since then, she has returned to South Korea where she teaches English, as well as works on creative projects with other local filmmakers and artists.


Lauren Howells, Joshua Kim


T-ara’s Hwayoung Suffers Wardrobe Malfunction

SEOUL - Girl  Group T-ara had a week of ups and downs, culminating with 18-year-old Hwayoung's left breast being exposed on national TV.

During a live broadcast of the show Inkigayo on SBS, the group was performing their song "Lovey Dovey", when the camera focused on the young singer doing a dance solo, unaware that her breast became exposed. A still-shot of the incident was also taken and circulated around the Internet, becoming the most searched topic of the day on Naver and Daum.

The singer has become very distraught over the incident.

K-pop World Festival a Big Success

CHANGWON - The 2011 World K-pop Festival was held in Changwon on December 7th, with over 10,000 fans packing the Changwon Venodrome. The festival was organized by KBS TV and Changwon City in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Presidential Council on Nation Branding.

The festival brought 21 teams from 16 different countries, including Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, England, and Japan, and 10 teams made it to the final round. Over 30,000 people from around the world had initially tried out for the show.

The Officer Class of Extras

BUSAN, South Korea - The best chance an ESL teacher has of acquiring military experience in Korea is through director Kang Je-gyu. My friend, Jack Glowacki, found this out the hard way. He stood around for hours on Kang’s movie set in the chill of winter last February. As his skin took on a bluish hue, our sub zero hero asked himself: “Do I really want to be here?

The Eyeing Game: Cosmetic Surgery in Korea

BUSAN, South Korea -- Regardless of your opinion on its merits, cosmetic surgery is with us to stay. And if you are living or working here in the ROK, you surely know that you are in the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. 

Seokbulsa Temple

Well worth the long hike getting there, Seokbulsa is ranked #1 for "must see things" in Busan by Lonely Planet. 

Here is a review from Haps.


Seokbulsa: The Hidden Gem of Busan

BUSAN, South Korea --“This had better be the best temple I’ve ever seen,” my friend Cheryl declared after about two hours of hiking as we trudged up the last stretch of an intense incline. She had walked ahead, on a mission to find out if our trek to Seokbulsa (Stone Buddha Temple) would be as memorable as we had all hoped. At a turtle’s pace, the other four of us walked through the main entrance, greeted by the usual colorful wooden structures that characterize Korea’s Buddhist temples.

Analysis: Japan’s Defense Future

KAWASAKI, Japan -- Against these challenges and threats, Japan is fast approaching the need to make several critical defense-related decisions. Japan must re-prioritize its defense spending to effectively deter rising challenges without a substantial increase in the defense budget. Japan must also alter its existing defense policy, which remains rooted in the logic and of the Cold War.

Nude Korean Artist Creates a Stir

Korean-American artist, Miru Kim, who is known for her nude photos in various cities around the world was reportedly arrested in Istanbul, apprehended by police after a citizen reported her for taking nude photographs in an Islamic mosque in the Turkish capital according to news reports.

Kim, a native of Stoneham, Massachusetts who was raised in Seoul, said that her project in Turkey was funded by Samsung.

With a generous sponsorship of Samsung Turkey, I was able to spend five weeks in Istanbul...I photographed some rarely visited ruins in and around Istanbul, and printed eleven new images as a part of the larger Naked City Spleen series.

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