‘Across the Tumen’ and ‘Choe Jae-hyeong’ Named Sejong Books
Award promotes quality publishing and a wider reading culture
The Korean editions of Moon Yeong-sook’s “Across the Tumen: A North Korean Kkotjebi Boy’s Quest” and “Choe Jae-hyeong: Independence Fighter” have been named “Sejong Books” by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea.
The Sejong Book awards are hosted annually to promote the production of good books and to encourage the public to read more. The organizers select about 1,300 works, which are then purchased by the ministry and distributed to schools, libraries and welfare facilities nationwide. The government provides other forms of support to selected books as well, including help in converting them into eBooks.
“Across the Tumen” tells the tale of a North Korean kkotjebi, a young refugee from North Korea wandering around China trying to make ends meet. It’s a story of an ongoing human tragedy that has not gotten the international attention it deserves. “Choe Jae-hyeong,” meanwhile, introduces a man who, despite his humble birth, became a mover and shaker among Korean independence activists and a major figure in the Korean-Russian community.
AROUND THE WEB
A miscellany of high-quality hyperlinks from the week, courtesy of SEOUL editor-in-chief Robert Koehler.
European Christmas Market
Don’t miss your chance to experience European holiday festivities in Seoul with the European Christmas Market, hosted by the Seongbuk Global Village Cener from Dec. 6–7. From noon to 8 PM, the area around Seongbukcheon Fountain Square will transform into a lively celebration, featuring food, folk music and gifts from various European countries. Come munch on some gingerbread, see some live musical performances or even take pictures with Santa Claus. Based on the traditional Christmas markets of Germany, this event is co-sponsored by the embassies of 10 European nations, including Germany, of course. In addition to offering all those in attendance a great time, a portion of profits made from the festival will be donated to help multicultural families in need.
There will also be contests for best dancer and best Christmas costume!
GETTING THERE: Hansung University Station íì±ëì
êµ¬ì (Line 4), Exit 2
MORE INFO: global.seoul.go.kr/seongbuk
A Plus Dental Clinic: Offering Quality Care to Seoul’s Global Citizens
Founded in 1996, A Plus Dental Clinic features an elite staff of highly trained specialists who have graduated from top institutions such as Columbia University, Boston University, NYU and Seoul National University. Founded specifically to address the needs of Seoul’s professional expat residents and visitors, A Plus offers the highest quality of care available, combined with friendliness and convenience.
For inquiries in English: T. 02-3442-7616
For more information: www.aplusnetworks.co.kr
La Cage aux Folles
This is a musical that focuses on a gay couple: Georges, the manager of a nightclub, and Albin, his lover and the clubâs star performer. The original Broadway production of 1983 was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical and Best Score. The story revolves around the fact that, despite being gay, Georges has a son, Jean-Michel, the offspring of a liaison he had with a woman during his youth before fully realizing his homosexuality. One day, Jean-Michel informs his father that he wants to marry the woman of his dreams, and that her parents wish to meet him. Unfortunately, her parents are also strict traditionalists who disapprove of homosexuality, so Jean-Michel asks his father to act like a standard heterosexual father. Eager to please his son and make everything work out, Georges asks Albin to promise his absence for the night; as if that weren’t enough, he has to ask Jean-Michel’s mother, whom he hasn’t seen in years, to pretend to be his wife! Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
VENUE: LG Arts Center
PERIOD: Dec. 9-Mar. 8, 2015
MORE INFO: T. 02-2005-0114, www.lgart.com
ADMISSION: KRW 60,000–130,000
GETTING THERE: GS Tower B1 floor is directly connected to Yeoksam Station ìì¼ì (Line 2), Exit 7. Take the LG Arts Center elevator from there.
Priscilla Ahn Live in Seoul
Priscilla Ahn is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who grew up in Pennsylvania before moving to Los Angeles. She started playing the guitar at age 14, and performed in choirs and musical productions throughout high school. She was able to debut after performing a showcase in New York City for Blue Note Records, with whom she released her first album in 2008. Sangsang Madang is a cultural complex right in the heart of Hongdae’s clubbing district, making it trendy, exciting and a people-watching hot spot. It’s also a venue for many local and international artists that are up and coming. The venue also has a design shop with unique gift ideas for friends and family.
VENUE: KT&G Sangsang Madang
DATE: Dec. 5, 20:00
MORE INFO: T. 1544-1555, www.sangsangmadang.com
ADMISSION: KRW 77,000
GETTING THERE: Hongik Univ. Station íëì
êµ¬ì (Line 2, AREX Line), Exit 9. Turn left and go two blocks. Walk through the Walkable Street on your right. Cross the road and go straight. Sangsang Madang is located next to Luxury Su Noraebang.
Collecting Asian Objects in Colonial Korea, 1910-1945
When Western powers started infiltrating formerly closed Asian nations, the cultural artifacts of the countries they penetrated — and often colonized — became exotic products and collectibles of wealthy enthusiasts. Consequently, countless cultural and historical artifacts were taken out of China, Japan and other East Asian countries, and unauthorized excavation projects were carried out in the name of archaeological research. On top of the antique industry, Asian fine art became a field of special interest and the object of extensive studies. During the height of such activity, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the people of the Korean peninsula were most unable to retain their cultural valuables. It was a dark period for culture and historical identity, making the artifacts presented in this exhibition particularly meaningful.
VENUE: National Museum of Korea
PERIOD: Thru Jan. 11, 2015
MORE INFO: T. 02-2077-9553, www.museum.go.kr
GETTING THERE: Take the underpass at Ichon Station ì´ì´ì (Jungang Line, Line 4)
Tenacious D in Seoul
You’ve probably heard of the American rock comedy duo that formed in Los Angeles. Jack Black and Kyle Gass formed the duo in 1994, but only released their first album in 2001. Although the pair started out as a support group for larger bands, their song “Tribute” earned them major stardom. The two musicians met each other at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1989, when they were both members of LA theater troupe The Actors’ Gang. They actually didn’t like each other at first, but after working out their differences, Black agreed to help Gass with his acting in return for guitar lessons. The name for their duo was the mixed result of an audience-based voting session, although, technically, “Tenacious D” didn’t get the most votes. This will be the duo’s first performance in Seoul.
VENUE: Olympic Park Olympic Hall
DATES: Dec. 5–6
MORE INFO: T. 1544-1555, www.olympicpark.co.kr
ADMISSION: KRW 99,000–121,000
GETTING THERE: Olympic Park Station ì¬ë¦¼í½ê³µìì (Line 5), Exit 3
RASKB Excursion: City Shopping Spree
This tour is a hodgepodge of culture, sightseeing and fun. The first stop is the Gangnam Terminal Market area. Well-known for its flower markets, this area also holds a vast array of Christmas tree decorations and clothing shops. Here you can find one of Korea’s most extensive selections of flowers. Both fresh cut and artificial flowers are available in great quantity. After the meeting, participants head off to Jangan Pyoung Antique Market, which offers an amazing selection of beautiful Korean antiques for every budget. The final destination is Garak Market, one of the city’s top produce markets.
DATES: Dec. 13
MORE INFO: See this link.
ADMISSION: KRW 32,000–38,000
GETTING THERE: See link above.
Winter has really begun in Bukchon. Photographed by Robert Koehler.