Friday, December 19, 2014

X-mas tree shines for all religions at Jogyesa Temple


Buddhist monks and a children’s choir pose for a photo during a lighting ceremony for a Christmas tree at Jogyesa Temple in Jongro-gu, Seoul, on December 17.
Buddhist monks and a children’s choir pose for a photo during a lighting ceremony for a Christmas tree at Jogyesa Temple in Jongno-gu, Seoul, on December 17.


On December 17, the lights of a Christmas tree at the Iljumun, the main gate to Jogyesa Temple, were switched on, emitting an array of colorful lights for the season.

With Christmas Eve just a week away, the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism held its Christmas-tree lighting ceremony at its main temple.

“Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose name is sacrifice and love,” said the Venerable Jaseung, head of the Jogye Order.

“Let us treat our parents, siblings and neighbors like our Buddha and let us live like Jesus, caring for others’ pain and suffering.”

Members of a children’s choir call out, 'Merry Christmas,' and wave to the audience in front of a lit Christmas tree at the main gate to Jogyesa Temple on December 17.
Members of a children’s choir call out, 'Merry Christmas,' and wave to the audience in front of a lit Christmas tree at the main gate to Jogyesa Temple on December 17.


The switch-on ceremony was attended by General Secretary Kim Young-ju of the National Council of Churches in Korea and the Most Reverend Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, as well as monks from the Jogye Order.

During the ceremony, a children’s choir from the temple sang Christmas carols, celebrating the birth of Jesus.

“I am so thankful to all of you for celebrating the birth of Jesus together with us by illuminating the temple with lights on a Christmas tree,” said the Most Rev. Kim Hee-joong.

Since 2010, the lighting ceremony at the temple has been held every Christmas as a symbol of harmony between different religions in Korea and showing a true Christmas spirit.

By Jeon Han, Sohn JiAe
Korea.net Staff Writers
Photos: Jeon Han
hanjeon@korea.kr

A Christmas tree is switched on in front of the Iljumon, the main gate to Jogyesa Temple, as a symbol of unified religions, on December 17. Next to the tree are large lanterns in different shapes, including a smiling child monk, a snowman and a penguin.
A Christmas tree is switched on in front of the Iljumun, the main gate to Jogyesa Temple, as a symbol of unified religions, on December 17. Next to the tree are large lanterns in different shapes, including a smiling child monk, a snowman and a penguin.



Representatives from different religions and a children’s choir sing Christmas carols during the lighting ceremony for a Christmas tree at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul on December 17.
Representatives from different religions and a children’s choir sing Christmas carols during the lighting ceremony for a Christmas tree at Jogyesa Temple in Seoul on December 17.
 
 

'Dokdo is the proper name'


Representative Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said on December 6 that "Dokdo" is the proper name to refer to Korea's easternmost islands.

Royce is known to have said that, "We have to understand history and what abuses occurred, because it is relevant to our understanding of today," during an interview with the Yonhap News Agency at a public hearing.

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Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that 'Dokdo' is the proper name for Korea's easternmost islands. Pictured above (top) is Seodo, the western part of Dokdo, and (bottom) Dongdo, the eastern part.
Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that 'Dokdo' is the proper name for Korea's easternmost islands. Pictured above (top) is Dongdo, the eastern part of Dokdo, and (bottom) Seodo, the western part.

According to Yonhap News, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs chief came to learn about the history of the islands and, more broadly, the history surrounding Japanese colonization of Korea, in 2008 when the U.S. Board on Geographic Names made a decision to change the name it used for these islands following lobbying efforts by Japan.

"We should all just admit history as it occurred. The part of getting the future right is acknowledging what went wrong in the past," he emphasized.

Regarding the Abe administration's denial that Imperial Japan pressed Asian women into sexual slavery for the Japanese Army during World War II, Royce asserted that the historical record about sexual slavery is unambiguous and that Japan's excuses are unworthy of a moment's consideration.

He pointed out that it's just as terrible as the Holocaust and that it is similar to when people deny the massacre of Jews.

He also showed an interest in North Korean human rights issues, mentioning the role of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry's (COI) report on the issue. Introducing H.R. 1771, the body of U.N. legislation calling for the strengthening of financial sanctions against North Korea, he promised that he would make an effort so that the matter gains approval from Senate.

Regarding the possibility of a change in the U.S.' policies toward North Korea, Royce said that there has been no conclusion despite the past 20 years of effort, since the 1994 Geneva agreement. He also added that the House would seek another approach by giving information to society so that the authorities and people in North Korea can access and change their perceptions.

By Wi Tack-whan, Lee Seung-ah
Photos: Wi Tack-whan
Korea.net Staff Writers
whan23@korea.kr

The joys of photography in Korea: when you've got a camera in your hands, anything can happen

I never knew I would fall in love with photography when I came to Korea almost seven years ago. What started out as a simple hobby has turned into one of my greatest passions. Being a photographer in Korea has made it an even bigger joy.

For me, having an endless variety of things to photograph is inspiring. From mountainside temples to dynamic cityscapes, there’s always something interesting to capture. I’ve seen bamboo forests, cherry blossoms, desolate beaches, snowy hilltops, rice paddies, bustling markets, ultra-modern skyscrapers, and colorful foliage.

It’s not only the diversity of subjects that makes Korea such a great place to shoot. Probably the best thing is the spirit and sense of camaraderie surrounding photography here. It’s not uncommon to see groups of 20 or more photographers trying to capture a beautiful scene.

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More often than not, it’s at some remote place before the sun rises, like on a mountain peak or ocean shore. Everyone sets up their gear and then chats, shares some food or drinks, and socializes. It’s easy to feel like you are part of something bigger. Documenting daily life becomes a major event.

I always try to portray the essence of a place when I take photographs. It doesn’t matter if I’m taking a picture of a cityscape from the rooftop of a building or someone’s portrait. I want to represent what is particular to Korea and share that.


Shaman on the Mountain

An experience that was particularly memorable for me was when I saw a Korean gut, or shamanistic ceremony. One day my friend and I were hiking up a mountain to photograph Busan. We passed by a small temple on our way. There was a group of shamans and their followers dancing and singing. Curious, I pulled out my camera as we walked closer. I had always wanted to see one of these ceremonies. They spotted us and invited us in. I asked if I could take photographs and, surprisingly, the shamans agreed.

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I thought we would just sit against the wall and observe until the head shaman pulled my friend aside and started questioning him. “Do you have any pains—mental or physical?” she asked. After a few more questions, she gave her otherworldly prognosis: “You have the ghost of a dead relative inside you. It must be exorcised.”

She performed an ancient ritual to rid my friend of his demons. It was like something out of a documentary movie. Afterwards, they invited us to eat with them. We ended up spending the whole day. I’ve already been back two more times to visit.

I think that’s one of the things that makes taking photographs in Korea memorable. At any moment the unexpected can happen. A stranger will invite you into their home or to share a meal. Living in a foreign country, it’s easy to feel like an outsider. To be a good photographer, though, you need to get close to your subject, to know them as a human being, not just as an object in your viewfinder. The openness of the people has allowed me take photos I normally couldn’t.

Korea has much to offer the avid photographer: beautiful landscapes, opportunities to learn, and the sense of belonging to something bigger. However, it’s the relationships I’ve created here that I will cherish most.

Written by Peter DeMarco
Illustrated by Kim Yoon-Myong

Seoul selected 'best biz meeting city' for 3 years



Seoul has been recently chosen as the best city for business meetings by readers of Business Traveler. The above photo shows a bird's-eye view of Seoul from the peak of Namsan Mountain.
Seoul has been recently chosen as the best city for business meetings by readers of Business Traveler. The above photo shows a bird's-eye view of Seoul from the peak of Namsan Mountain.


Readers of a well-known international travel monthly have selected Seoul as the best business meeting venue for three years running.
Business Traveler announced in its December 2014 edition that Seoul has been picked by its readers as the "Best International Business Meetings Destination" in its annual Best in Business Travel Awards.

The "Best International Business Meetings Destination" category was introduced to the awards in 2008 and has been awarded to such U.S. cities as Dallas, Honolulu and Las Vegas. Seoul has won the award by outperforming these prior winners for three consecutive years, since 2012, winning recognition as one of the leading international business cities.

The U.S. edition of Business Traveler has named Seoul the Best International Business Meetings Destination three years in a row. The above image shows the U.S. edition of the magazine announcing its Best in Business Travel Awards 2014.
The U.S. edition of Business Traveler has named Seoul the Best International Business Meetings Destination three years in a row. The above image shows the U.S. edition of the magazine announcing its Best in Business Travel Awards 2014.


“To receive one of these awards is to be recognized among the elite in our industry by your most demanding customer, the frequent business traveler. That’s what makes the Best in Business Travel Awards so meaningful. Our readers, your customers, these travelers, are the ones evaluating – and voting on – every aspect of every trip,” said Dan Booth, editorial director at Business Traveler in a media kit offered to the award recipients.

Apart from Seoul, the magazine named Korea’s Incheon International Airport as the "Airport With the Best Duty Free Shopping" in its annual awards. It also picked Asiana Airlines as the airline with the "Best Overall Inflight Experience in the World" and as having the "Best Overall Customer Service."

The director-general of the Tourism Policy Bureau in the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Kang Tae-Woong, said, ”We will make efforts to secure infrastructure and develop tourism packages in order to make Seoul the best 'Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions' (MICE) city in the world. We will focus on increasing the number of business travelers who make business trips to Seoul more than once by strengthening our hospitality that targets the overseas business traveler.”

Source: Korea.net

 

Two year-end movies to warm your heart


The year end is just around the corner. Two recently released heart-wrenching movies are being recommended for the season. The two movies share one thing in common, that both are documentaries based on the daily lives of real people.

The first is "My Love, Don't Cross That River," a story revolving around an old couple that has been together for as long as 76 years. The other is "The Hospice (목숨)." It deals with patients in a hospice preparing for their final moments in life. It's long been believed in both the box office and among movie-goers that documentaries can rarely succeed. These two films, however, have broken those perceptions and are on a steady rise.

"My Love, Don't Cross That River" tells the story of an old couple who have loved each other for their whole lives. The protagonists are husband Jo Byung-man, 98, and wife Kang Kye-yeol, 89. Wherever they go, the couple wears Hanbok in matching colors and walks with hands tightly clasped.

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"My Love, Don't Cross That River" shows the romantic daily lives of an old couple.

In the spring, the couple picks beautiful flowers together and pins them in each other's hair. They play with the water in the streams in the summer and in the fall, enjoy the autumn foliage together, even throwing leaves at each other. In the winter, they make snowmen together.

With the passage of time and age, Jo becomes increasingly weak and separation draws near. "I really wish I could go with you," the wife cries in the movie, bringing tears to viewers' eyes.

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"The Hospice" shows the lives of patients and their families at a hospice. It's sad, yet heart-warming.

"The Hospice" tells the story of patients at a hospice who, on average, have 21 days left to live. They are all a special someone to their fathers, mothers, spouses or children. The movie pictures the final moments of the patients in their deathbeds, a time that nobody can avoid, moving the hearts of viewers.

The message that the two movies both pursue is the true meaning of life. It reminds us of things that we have forgotten, but which were never meant to be.

Director Jin Mo-yeong of "My Love, Don't Cross That River" said, "It seems that people of all ages and sexes have sympathy for the love story of the old couple. They've recommended the movie to their parents and family, drawing even bigger audiences."

Director Lee Chang-jae of "The Hospice" said, "Thinking about death and having only 21 days left to live is both sad and scary. However, the movie shows happiness and love as much as it scares you. This movie will give you the time to turn your eyes to things that you have missed out on for some time, such as the preciousness of yourself, your family and your acquaintances."

Both movies bring you to the intersection of life and death, encouraging you to think about "how to live."

Major theaters across the country will be screening both documentaries.
Source: The Korea.net

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Korea land of rising sun is also a land of coffeeholics

 

 Korean loves all kind of flavour mixing with their own colours. It will strange if I don't share about the Korean's passion towards coffee , as wherever you go you will find coffee shop or an easy to make . Let's find out the magic of Coffee among the Korean and their fashionable markets.


By Jun Kyoung-woo
People, especially those engrossed in work, drink coffee as if it's water from early in the morning until late at night. In fact, workaholics are mostly coffee-holics.

Koreans started drinking coffee around the era of the Korean Empire (1897-1910). At the time, coffee was a rarity, but the instant coffee mix brought in by the U.S. Army after the Korean War allowed anyone to enjoy drinking coffee. A perfect harmony of sugar and cream, instant coffee dominated Koreans' taste for nearly 40 years. The sweet taste captivated Koreans who lived in challenging conditions.

What used to be called "dabang coffee," a mix of coffee, cream and sugar in approximately equal proportions of 1:1:1, became widely popular and available from imported vending machines in 1977. Korea's unique coffee culture, in which coffee is served in a small, 120 ml paper cup, was established around this period.
/ Article and photos by Jun Kyoung-woo

The 1988 Seoul Olympics changed everything in Korea, including coffee. Entering the 1990s, the coffee bean trend bloomed. Coffee "shops" specializing in coffee, replaced "dabang," an old-style salon where various beverages were sold. People started enjoying "American coffee" which was as mild as water. Sales of canned coffee and coffee mix also accelerated.

A second wave of change hit the nation a hundred years after the advent of coffee in Korea. The advent of roasteries, coffee shops that roast coffee by themselves, from the 2000s brought the Korean coffee culture to a whole new level.


Small stores owned by coffee masters began expanding from Seoul to the countryside, stimulating our tongues. The skills of the masters evolved ever more meticulously and as coffee consumption increased, higher quality coffee beans started being imported.

Today, there are over 1,000 roasteries in Seoul alone that roast beans and brew coffee in their own ways. Coffee masters became known nationally through social network, media and blogs and several roasting shops grew into larger companies.

The question is, which shops serve the best coffee? Ten places instantly come to mind, but these are publicly well-known. You easily can find them by searching on your smartphone. Instead, I will introduce four coffee shops that offer very special cups of coffee.

4 very special cups of coffee

1. Turkish Coffee

Café de Fazenda

Turkish coffee is basic. The method of boiling finely ground coffee beans in water is an extraction method which had long been used in most coffeeproducing regions. Although the coffee powder resides in the mouth after drinking, the intense flavor and heaviness attracts some drinkers. The café, located next to the Turkish Embassy in Yongsan, is run by Master Kim Sook-hee who is knowledgeable on coffee. Having embassy officials as regular customers, the shop offers coffee that is most similar to the local Turkish coffee in Seoul. Café de Fazenda is strong with the basics. It roasts raw coffee beans of highest quality and offers them in drip, espresso and siphon.


2. Decaffeine for every menu

Espresso House
If you are sensitive to caffeine but cannot give up your love for coffee, Espresso House is the answer. You can enjoy various menus made of espresso extracted from decaffeine beans. It has four different types of decaffeine beans which allow for diverse selection. The shop uses water-processed decaffeine beans which are incomparable to the chemically processed decaffeine beans. Since the barista there has an inclination toward sour taste, all of their coffees have a pleasantly sour flavor. The sour flavor in decaffeine coffees is particularly emphasized due to the processing method. You can compare these with single origin coffees extracted from espresso machines. The café is in an elegant brick building located in Yeonhui-dong, exuding a distinct ambiance. It was built in the 1980s by a famous architect.


3. Different flavors of Vienna coffee

Julius Meinl

Julius Meinl from Vienna, Austria, is a Viennese coffee brand with 150 years of tradition. Opened in Vienna in 1862, it is the first company to roast coffee on a mass scale. Its main menu is Vienna coffee. There are three different kinds – Einspanner, Franziskaner and Wiener Melange – served in beautiful red cups.
Einspanner is the most representative Vienna coffee with a small amount of water in double espresso topped with whipping cream.
Franziskaneris is made of a single shot espresso with steamed milk and whipping cream. Wiener Melange also is made of single espresso, steamed milk and milk foam – it is similar to espresso macchiato. The espresso base is of high quality. The sour taste is mitigated by milk. The shop is located inside Lotte Department Store in Myeongdong.


4. 1L Ice Americano


Deep Coffee
This place is a must if you plan to pull an all-nighter at Hongdae on a Friday night. Monster-sized Ice Americano, its main menu, will quench clubbers' thirst. The size – 1L (compare it with Starbucks' 591ml Venti size) – doesn't compromise quality. It uses top-notch beans and machines, such as the Bell Epoque, a coffee machine which costs over 30 million won (only three are in Korea). Four shots of espresso go into the cup. They serve until 4 a.m.
 

Museum displays Buddhist painting

 


The 13.17-meter-height Buddhist hanging scroll painting is on display at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul through April 26, next year./ Courtesy of National Museum of Korea

By Baek Byung-yeul / The Korea Times


In Korea's Buddhism, which has been an important element of the country's culture and religion since it arrived here at around 4th century, large Buddhist paintings have been used for outdoor rituals

The state-run National Museum of Korea (NMK)'s "The Buddhist Hanging Scroll at Gaeamsa Temple" exhibition, featuring precious massive Buddhist scroll painting, is a rare display that gives a fine introduction on Buddhist ritual in the country.

On loan from Gaeamsa Temple from Buan, South Jeolla Province, the 13.17-meter-height towering painting, produced in 1749 during Joseon Kingdom period (1392-1910), depicts seven Buddhist deities including triad Buddha (Buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas) in the center.

Designated as the country's National Treasure No. 1269, the five-story-high scroll painting is one of the largest "gwaebul" paintings in Korea, according to the museum.

"Gwaebul is the scroll painting used for outdoor Buddhist ritual. Due to its large size, it was hard to find out space for the indoor exhibition. We could find a room in our Buddhist art exhibition room and display Gaeamsa Temple's gwaebul painting as our ninth exhibition of our gwaebul exhibition series," the museum said.

"According to the historical records, the painting was done by 13 painters and 191 laymen and 59 Buddhist monks procured the materials for the painting, and according to the record left in the Gaeamsa Temple, this gwaebul was also used not only for Buddhist rituals but also for rituals calling for rain during droughts," added the museum.

The exhibition runs through April 26, next year. The venue is located near exit 4 of Ichon Station, subway line 4 and the Jungang Line. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 2077-9493 or visit www.museum.go.kr.