Tag Archive | South Korea

Rebels Without a Cause: Has Drama Become Reality?

Breaking news… North Korea attacks South Korea?! Sounds like the Korean drama IRIS 아이리스 (KBS) is not too far off the mark from a futuristic happening.

When my sister told me about her trip the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between the two polar countries, she mentioned how stringent the rules were and how dangerous visitation is in that area. She had to sign a release paper that basically said that if she crossed the border, she may never come back. If she dares to look or talk to the NK soldiers, she could be shot. Tell me how morbid a little visit to the mountainous border could be.

Well at one point, she told me that her group of American exchange students was such a marvel, that they became a spectacle to see. That is, the NK soldiers came out of their hiding in their isolated offices to stare at them awkwardly and take pictures. When a group of Japanese tourists came afterwards, NK soldiers retreated to their caves and didn’t come out again. Weird people.

On a more serious note, North Korea has been in the news. First, the nation has unveiled a secret, expansive nuclear facility for uranium studies to an American scientist, in hopes of increased nuclear development and action. This will be a problem for the Obama administration, as our president has to deal with a nuclear armament violation. And today, Obama probably has another headache. News came out that North Korea fired artillery at a populated South Korea (Yeonpyeong) island. South Korea hurriedly returned fire with their fighter jets, potentially setting off the next biggest confrontation between the two countries since the Korean War. The nation has declared a state of emergency as many netizens were injured, two SK soldiers killed, and homes up in flames. Smoke hovers uncertainly over Yeonpyeong as the nation scrambles and the world hopes for a diplomatic resolution.



Super Junior, Explorers of the Human Body: Taste of Tea-rror

Explorers of the Human Body, w/Super Junior and Dong Yup

Hands up for Super Junior, as they become lab rats in the name of science!  Korean SBS aired a weekly variety show from November 2007 to February 2008 featuring the popular Korean boy band and Shin Dong-yup, Exploration of the Human Body (인체탐험대/人體探險隊), to answer questions related to the human body, like its some mysterious walking block.  As a future medical student, I highly recommend this show for its mix of educational value, curiosity, and humor.  Each of the 13 episodes follows a theme connected to how the human body works.  And Super Junior’s function?  To be obedient donkeys as they are literally experimented on to answer interesting, curious, sometimes bizarre questions.  It’s amazing to see these singing and dancing sensations learn science with the public.  Plus, I do not think some of the silly nature or content of the show would be acceptable here in America, or anywhere outside Asia. Come Episode 2, some members will test out limits of their body with kilograms of food and beer chugging and X-ray exposure, for fun.

Episode 1:  The Senses,  Tongue & Taste Buds

Goal:  To determine how sensitive Super Junior is to different tastes

Background:  Tongue, the gateway into the inner body, with over 6000 taste buds, is sensitive to 4 basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty).  It’ll be the first SJ experiments with.

Tea Tasting- Shindong starts:  “Our outfits make us look like a whole bunch of doctors came together for a party!”

Yong Dam anyone??

One by one, they think they’re drinking and toasting to delectable tea, since tea is a healthy, prized component of daily life in Asia.  Amidst the happy mood, one by one, beginning with Eunhyuk, each member tastes a shocking wave of tangy pain, known as Yong Dam herbal tea (han yak).  Herbal?  More like a cruel dose of punishment for the naughty on Christmas Eve.  As each person drinks, the others wait down the line, looking like they are doomed for the worst end.  Their faces are classic Kodak moments:  smiley Eunhyuk turns sour (but he gulps it down anyway), Shindong looks like a buck-tooth beaver gasping for air, Hankyung cringes in twisted pain, Siwon actually relishes it, Donghae looks like a writhing baby, Sungmin reminds me of a skunk (with his blond mohawk) that has laid stink bomb on himself, and lastly Kibum the brave lad who downs the bitter tea like it’s soju.  Of course, MC Dong Yup has to do it too to be fair, but his face scrunches up like prunes!

*BUT Yong Dam is not such a bad guy… it’s a special restorative tea that can cure diarrhea and itchiness.  Upon hearing this information, Ryeowook and Heechul reach out for more!

Taste Numbing- Shindong complains the bitter taste lingers in his mouth.  This segways into the next segment to experiment with ways to dull the tasting sensation.  To numb the taste of medicine, you can freeze or dry the tongue.  Bewildered Kangin chimes in, “So you have to put your tongue in the freezer and take it out?” XD  Thinking their brilliant scientists, Suju hypothesize on which is the more effective method and why.  Following through the experiment, they organically split into 2 teams (reminiscent of Moses splitting the Red Sea), a Reaction and Lacking Action team.  Reaction freeze by using an ice cube, while Lacking Action dry with a hair dryer.

Dongyup goes around with a dropper to all their tongues, beginning with Leeteuk and Heechul.  Suddenly, Heechul screams like he’s in a horror movie.  I think the taste of the tea was enhanced with the coldness.  Heechul and Kangin both cringe with the taste, then we see Shindong furiously scrub his tongue with more ice, but to no avail.  He screams like a child anyway and his face scrunches into a pulp.  Certainly, Reaction team chose the worse of the fates and a name that suited their response.  After they scramble around from their suffering, they realize that freezing is a failure.

Man, Kibum is cute and all, but he has a long-ass tongue!  The Lacking Action team takes the bitter tea in stride.  They look like good, happy boys.  So drying your tongue, removing all moisture, helps numb the taste buds.

Gymnema Sylvestre plant from India

In addition, they test out Gymnema Sylvestre herb from India.  After chewing this plant, you actually bizarrely do not experience a specific taste- sweet, salty, sour, or bitter (here, Ryeowook asks, “Forever?” xD).  Siwon, Ryeowook, Donghae, and Yesung volunteer to test out which flavor… and yes, Siwon and Ryeowook get a spoonful of sugar and salt, respectively. I would not be thrilled if I got a spoonful of salt either.  They put on their best poker face as the others try to guess which taste is gone.  The others choose salt, because Ryeowook looks the most awkward, as he did not swallow his salt.  Boy were they in for a surprise!  Also not a good idea to try it with Yong Dam bitterness either…

Turns out, it’s the sugar.  Kangin goes, “The feeling is… you’re chewing on the sand.”  The funny part comes when they try chocolate, the sweetest of all sweets.  Imagine eating the crunchy, creamy Twix or colorful, milk chocolate M&Ms, and not tasting the sugar.  Candy IS sugar, and when the sweet is gone, what IS left??!!  Well, SJ experiments, and Heechul goes, “I lost my sense of flavor!” (eyes bulge).  Judging from everyone’s reaction, it’s best to never try that exotic Indian herb, because you just might never again enjoy your favorite candy bar.

Why would anyone want to consume Gymnema Sylvestre?  In Japan, it’s primarily used for dieting, to suppress the urge to indulge in sweet foods.  The anti-sweet activity is attributed to gymnemic acids, glycosides, lasting up to 2 hours.  It’s also good for diabetes (to decrease blood sugar).

Team Lack Action

Some drying action with a hair blower

2010 World Cup: Bye Bye Victory

Saturday, June 25, yesterday, was supposed to be a memorable day.  I anticipated a bright victory for South Korea and the United States, but that did not happen.  It would have been quite the spectacle if South Korea and United States met for a tete-a-tete in the quarter-finals.  Both teams put in a positive, mighty effort up to the final whistle.

Early morning gathering for the SK Go Red Devil fans

Go Red Devils

Right before the game... the excitement was building

First, the South Korea game was exhilarating, partly because the South Koreans were the underdogs compared to the Uruguayans, at least based on their past plays.  Barely 10 minutes into the game, Suarez approached with a sneak attack for an early goal, allowing Uruguay to be ahead 1-0.  I felt this huge sinking pang in my chest,

Chung Yong's super head goal

and yet, I held onto hope, as the Taeguk Warriors had another whole game to tie it up and score to win.  Uruguay’s obstinate defense was a major roadblock, bouncing out each potential chance at a goal.  And then… by the 67th minute, thanks to Lee Chung Yong’s surprise header, South Korea tied it up to 1-1.  I was bounding out of my seat, seconds leading up to the beautiful goal.  I breathed a sigh of relief, as the chance opened up for Korea to potentially take the win.  Gears switched, as Uruguay changed to an aggressive offense play and Suarez attempted multiple times to bang in another goal.  Suarez eventually scored his second goal of the day, leading to a 2-1 victory for Uruguay.  As Uruguay’s defense took action again, South Korea played to the bare bone to break the solid wall and score goals.  Several close shots were unfortunately missed, the quarter-finals so close within range.

Absolute happiness =)


Suarez the golden boy

Funny picture in slow motion

Running Running

And Happy Boy... Suarez scored... 2X in the game

Lord have mercy on us

Standing Ovation please...

Korea Republic coach Huh Jungmoo giving out some love

The End to a Glorious Journey

South Korea played with pride, bravery, and confidence this year in South Africa.  They have proven themselves on the world stage that they are skillful, competitive, determined, and persevering.  South Korea may have made an early, but grand departure, too early to give them a challenge, but the team has certainly demonstrated great enthusiasm, cohesion, and spirit.  They carried their defeat with proud hearts and a vision for their next journey towards victory.  I believe they will continue to work hard and prepare for the exciting 2014 World Cup game in Brazil.  I’ll be rooting for them again! *Fighting* Go Red Devils come 2014!

2010 FIFA World Cup: Next Stop, Knockout Time

So I’ve been uber-hyped over the last of the team games.  Why? If anyone is keeping tabs on my recent posts, it’s because I’ve been jiving to some Asian love.  My wholehearted support goes out to South Korea and Japan for this year’s FIFA World Cup soccer championships.  Here’s a recap of an eventful week, with both South Korea and Japan moving on to the next Round of 16, the Knockout Round.

Die hard RED Fans like me... Difference only they're Korean, I'm not =)

Taeguk Warriors lookin' proud and sexy on the green fields

This past Tuesday, June 22 was the South Korea vs. Nigeria game at Durban, South Africa.  I was on Tumblr, tumbling away with up-t0-date posts whenever Korea scored a goal, until I had to go to work.  Anyway, it was a thrilling match where the Koreans played incredible offense and the Nigerians put in a great effort up to the end.  So by half-time, South Korea tied it up to 1-1 with Nigeria.  I was practically holding my breath for the entire first half, when Nigeria was up 1 goal, and pumping my fists every time Korea scurried near their goal. Then, minutes into the second half, Park Chu-Young succeeded on a free kick, bringing up the volume to 2-1.

Big Oomph... Ouchies

Playing rough with the goalie...

SK getting near the goal!

And right past the goalie's grips


Racing through the wind to tell his team... 1 step closer to victory

The morale thermometer just spilled over

Looking like sour grapes already

Here’s a snippet of my ridiculous Tumblr posts…

YES Korea scores!!! (6.22.10)

What a wonderful first half!  Korea scores 1 goal, now tied 1-1 with Nigeria… KEEP UP THE SPIRIT and you will have Victory in your hands

WHOA… I’m bouncing to this game now (6.22.10)
Well, here are my minute-to-minute posts as I watch this exciting South Korea vs. Nigeria game… CHU YOUNG!!! scored a goal on a free kick.  Boy did the ball zip past the goalkeeper and right across the edge of the post!…

OMG, 2-1 SOUTH KOREA… this is rocking… I love how ESPN keeps replaying that glorious moment in slow motion~

AND… VICTORY KOREA!!! (6.23.10)
So I had to miss the last half hour of the South Korea vs. Nigeria game because I had work 4:30 pm.  I was bummed for a little bit, but Korea has WON!!!

I finished watching what I recorded, and it was a tie 2-2.  Now, Argentina beat Greece, so they automatically advanced.  But Korea pulled through, with a tie and advancement to the Round of 16. Very exciting moment.

** FIRST ADVANCEMENT TO ROUND OF 16 ON FOREIGN SOIL FOR SOUTH KOREA… Now their next game is against Uruguay, so we’ll see how this plays out.

Oh, just so I have a little bit of American pride, US has advanced along with Great Britain, just barely.  Lucky geese.  ~woot~

"I'm the King of the World!"

Bummed out

The Lone Ranger... Nigerians are out, 3rd African nation out before 2nd Round

With the final 2-2 draw, the Asians make it to the next round, along with the top winner Argentina. Now, Saturday’s game will pit South Korea against scary Uruguay.  MAJOR MATCH to look out for!  But, South Korea is strong, so Uruguay will not beat down their unity and confidence.  According to FIFA.com, the upcoming match should be interesting because Uruguay looks formidable based on previous encounters, all of which South Korea has lost.  Tomorrow’s game will be a rocky battle for the South Koreans.  While SK has appeared weaker on the defense against Argentina and Nigeria and suffered the worst defeat in 12 years (4-1 against Argentina rings a depressing bell), the team has already proven themselves well on the world stage, as they have reached the 2nd round for the first time on foreign soil.  Last time, for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea/Japan, the South Koreans made as far as the semi-finals.  Let’s cross our fingers and arms in support for another Korean victory!

Go REDS, FIGHTING~ Let’s cheer for their defense play

Viva Japan!!

Team Japan

And lastly, just yesterday, Thursday, June 24, was the Japan vs. Denmark game.  With a 3-1 win over Denmark, Japan moves on as the runner up behind Netherlands to the 2nd Round.  There were 2 beautiful free kick goals by Honda and Endo by half-time and a fine finish by Okazaki in the second half.  Kudos to goalie Kawashima, who defended his post bravely.  Then, Tomasson was blocked on a penalty kick, but scored on a quick rebound.  That was unfortunate, but by then, pressure was still on the Danish to clear away 3 more goals to seal a victory, which looked unlikely by the final whistle.  Like SK, Japan has also made the Round of 16 for the first time on foreign soil.  And the Blue Samurai emerged strong, with 3 goals in one match, the first time hitting a high in a FIFA World Cup game.

Now, Japan faces Paraguay next Tuesday, June 29.  This should be an interesting one, since neither team has ever entered the quarter-finals.

The Lone Italian

It’s been a strange year in South Africa indeed.  The North Korea, ranked 105, was game enough to qualify for a spot this year since 1966.  #1 Brazil took a good while to score against North Korea.  Spain, ranked #2 after Brazil, lost to Switzerland.  Most surprisingly, for the first time in soccer history, 2006 winner Italy and runner-up France both were ousted this week before the Round of 16, both ranked in the top 10.  The favorites faced a shocking defeat.  France encountered their own internal problems and mishaps, weakening group dynamics and losing perspective in play.  Now on Thursday, Italy bowed out early to noobies Slovakia, catching an early plane goodbye.  Thus far, South Korea and Japan are on the roll, both ranked in the 40s, beating out higher ranked teams.  Let the Asian Domination continue to rumble…

2010 World Cup Red Mania

Amidst my Korea fever, I came across some 2010 World Cup promotions, featuring the biggest names in Korean entertainment.  The ads, videos, songs, merchandise, energy, you name it, all symbolize the national pride and the talents the country has to offer.

Here’s a SPAO All Generation Ad featuring SM Town-Super Junior and SNSD Girls’ Generation.  It’s the South Korea “Yes! I Red It” campaign for the 2010 World Cup.  They look cool and cute in their “red fever.” I like seeing the sporty, cute look on the SNSD girls and the casual, yet tough-boy style the Super Junior boys take on.

Victory, Peace... the popularity of The SignThis is my favorite song for the season.  And yes, it’s Super Junior, again.  Super Junior’s World Cup fighting song “Victory Korea.” Featuring Yesung, Sungmin, Leeteuk, Eunhyuk, and Shindong (in that order of appearance), the MV is AWESOME.  I’ve watched it enough times to hear, even in silence, “Oh A O… O O A O~…. Victory, Victory, Victory, KOREA!” ringing in my ears. I love part 1:25, where they throw in their signature “Sorry Sorry” dance, with fellow netizens and followers joining in the celebration =D  Gah, I love their energy and pride for the sport and their home country.  I still find it a tad funny that I’m not Korean, but I have so much appreciation for the nation, more than America. Woot! Victory Suju!

Now, I’d like to treat myself to a flaming red T-shirt too!

Ohh La La~ I'd like my own "Victory Korea" flaming red T-shirt for the gym/PJs.

I like this one a lot, where Super Junior rejoices ecstatically at South Korea’s win against Greece on June 12… Their excitement is caught from several different angles… On the second one, Ryeowook looks like he’s flying out of his seat. Weird~

Everyone's very quiet, glued to the big screen tv...and then the big win!

This is the flying Ryeowook one...

When they're not singing, Suju guys are just average sports fanatics

Their happy faces and bear hugs...

Victory Korea song time!

We are One Happy Family… Fun advertisements featuring brand name entertainers in Korea… Big Bang (Taeyang in a fancy face mask, when it’s not peak flu season, is funny… new style for his comeback??), Super Junior (maybe not the whole 13 member gang, but it’s still SuJu), SNSD Girls’ Generation, Olympic medalist Kim Yoona, 2PM (I’m still working on experiencing their music), and more…

Big Bang and Kim Yuna... cute

Big Bang, Kim Yuna, and some other people I don't know... Taeyang in a face mask, priceless

SUPER JUNIOR!!! Shindong, Eunhyuk, Yesung, Sungmin, Leeteuk... the spirits behind "Victory Korea" awesomeness

SNSD Girls' Generation & Super Junior SPAO World Cup campaign... Red never looked more bold

2PM Celebrates! They have a song "What's Your Celebration?" as shown on their proud banner

And for other fans of Rain, 4Minute, BEG, etc… here’s another South Korea World Cup song of celebration.

2010 FIFA World Cup: We Are One!!!

I’ve been excited over this year’s FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.  See, I usually do not watch sports, except for the Olympics, Tennis, and World Cup Soccer, because 1) I play tennis and 2) the Olympics and World Cup only occur, what, every 4 years?! That’s like an eternity… I graduate every 4 years.  Hence, I have something to be pumped about everytime I close a chapter of my life!

A Baller Korean flag

Okay, I’m rooting for South Korea and eh, Japan just a little bit, even when I don’t originate OR live in either country.  Call it Asian cultural pride =) I have more hope for Korea, perhaps due to my recent Korean fever.  Sadly there’s no Taiwanese team to cheer =( And, I’m devoid of the last remaining bits of American pride.  So I end up now, the cheerleader of my home, for the Reds.

Red Devils... Roar

Let’s see, we’re still in the initial Round of 32.  South Korea (47) is in Group B, along with Argentina (7), Greece (13), and Nigeria (21).  Thus far, Argentina has the lead and definite spot in the next round, but the 3 other teams must duke it out by the end of the week to ensure the other spot.  Now, South Korea and Greece are tied in 2nd place with 3 points, while Nigeria has not yet won a game.  In the 6/12  South Korea vs. Greece game, SK amazed the whole world with a 1-0 win.  And in the 6/17 South Korea vs. Argentina game, SK put up a brave fight against Argentina, which had a strong offense team.  SK lost that game, but they still have a good chance for the next round if they muster all their might, spirit, and confidence against Nigeria. Tomorrow evening, SK will battle it out with fellow Nigerian contenders, while Greece will energetically face the Argentenian big-shots.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow…

Here are some highlights from the spectacular SK vs. Greece game…

Pre-game huddle

Goal, thanks to Lee Jung Soo! Team rejoices!

"Hey!! Way to Go Buddy!" Lee Jung Soo high fives Kim Jung Woo post-1st goal

Park Ji-Sung scores the 2nd goal... the Greek guy mopes out.

The ball is coming... their faces are priceless.

Goalie Alexandros Tzorvas, pitiful and downcast, while the flying colors of Korea wave behind him

I conclude with… Victory for Korea =)

Go Go South Korea!!!