From Korea

North & South of the 38th parallel

The Worlds Hardest Languages

Voxy Languages Infographic

If you assumed that Asian languages were the hardest to learn then you’d be right. Based on research done by the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, Voxy has compiled a nice infographic breaking down different languages by the amount of time it takes a native English speaker to achieve speaking and reading proficiency. Read more

Hyundai Hyper-Matrix & Vision Hall

What do you do if you’re in charge of a multinational chaebol and have a few million dollars left in your budget to spare? You create awesomely cool kinetic artwork. Hyundai recently commissioned two stunning installations in South Korea from different art and design studios. Despite being corporate advertising both are stunning. Read more

The Dark Side of K-Culture

A few years back I wrote an article asking whether you could identify a persons race by by looking at their facial structure. To my surprise it’s consistently been the no. 1 viewed page on Randomwire ever since, racking up over 250 comments and much controversy. One of my observations was the growing propensity for South Korean women to get so-called “double eyelid surgery“, a type of cosmetic surgery where the skin around the eye is reshaped in order to create a western style upper eyelid with a crease from an eyelid that is naturally without a crease (a.k.a. “single eyelid”) as most Asians have naturally.

Read more

How To Tell The Difference Between Asian Languages

To the untrained eye or ear, Asian languages can appear completely incomprehensible and indistinguishable from each other. The written characters may as well be hieroglyphs and unlike some other languages, listening in on a conversation isn’t going to give you much to go on. The guide below it intended to provide a simple quick start for telling apart Chinese, Japanese and Korean. You’ll soon find it’s really rather simple! Read more

Return to Busan

Eel for Dinner in Busan

It’s been over a month now since my last trip to Korea but I wanted to share a few photos from Busan (부산) which I visited for the second time since the first in 2008. Busan (or Pusan) is the second largest city in South Korea, located on the southeasternmost tip of the Korean peninsula.

Read more

Moments of Serendipity

Jeonju River in the Rain

One of the most enjoyable parts of travelling is experiencing a moment of serendipity, that is to say coming across something unexpected, or in other words a “happy accident”. During my most recent trip to South Korea the weather was pretty miserable but pausing for shelter on a bridge during a hard downpour yielded a particularly memorable scene… Read more

2011 South Korean Trends

Tesco Homeplus Subway Virtual Store in South Korea

South Korea has long been an interesting place to look at trends in technology and popular culture, such is the effect caused by a population mostly centered around a single city (Seoul) and having rapidly developed over the past 50 years. Every time I visit I’m always on the lookout for what’s trending and below are a few notes I made on my most recent trip: Read more

Match Night Intestines

Match Night in Seoul

This story is a leftover from my previous trip to South Korea two months ago. The date was June 17th 2010 and on the streets of Seoul world cup fever was in the air. For Korean fans the night was not simply about soccer; it was also wrapped up in a sense of national pride, identity, and confidence. These were fans like no otherRead more