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a cool bridge 06 busan's other beach 20 lhasa: sans voice 24 showcasing director kim joe young hyun 30

events 05 survival korean 32 short stuff 34 subway map 36

agit 08 hammered babies in busan 10 getting high in busan 22 medical tourism 26 helping those who need it most 28

beaches 12 food 15 sights 16 night life 18

review that's some good eats, charlie brown! 14

new look, new faces

Heading into the first issue of our second year, things are looking a lot different. The ever talented Russell McConnell (you may know him from the mighty One Drop East) has joined the Busan Haps family as Art Director. Creatively, I took the mag about as far as I could with what little skill I had and am very pleased to give Russell the reigns, as you will see for yourself thumbing through the mag. The guy has got serious game. Mikey and I are also very pleased to welcome the inimitable Petra Jung to the family. She is the morning drive host on Busan’s eFm and as the magazine’s Director of Public Relations, we know her charisma and charm will help Busan Haps be known as more than just an “expat” magazine, but a magazine for all of Busan to not only read, but to also express themselves in. This issue we look at that “other” beach in Busan, the one that lives in the shadow of Haeundae’s thousands of parasols: Gwangan. And music writer, J. Lipsky, sits down with the incredibly creative band, Lhasa, and our very talented film writer, Thomas Bellmore, spends time with one of Korea’s best filmmakers, Kim Joe Young Hyun. Then there’s baby hammerheads, Amber Newton on AGIT and what issue wouldn’t be complete without Professor Gus’ “Survival Korean” and the renaissance man himself, John Bocskay, talking food? Enjoy,

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ceo: Ju Shin-hye executive editor: Bobby McGill director of marketing: Michael Schneider art director: Russell McConnell director of public relations: Petra Jung managing editor: Jeff Liebsch public relations: July Chai

contributing writers: Roy Early John Bocskay Thomas Bellmore Jeff Martinez Amber Newton Gus Swanda J. Lipsky Bobby McGill Tory Mock Kelly Keegan Lynsey Bolin Steph Hill Harold Henry Ron Cielo

photography: Eric Reichbaum (Cover) Rachel Bailey John Bocskay Sean Kelly Conway Darin Novak Push Design Jasmine Lee




film maker kurosawa akira retrospective Period: August 10 - 29, 2010 (Closed Mondays) Venue: Cinematheque Pusan (Yachting Center, Haeundaegu, Busan) Free admission For more info: (051) 742.5377 Website: Presented by Cinematheque Pusan / Japan Foundation, Seoul / Korean Film Archive / Film Forum / Embassy of Japan in Korea

events august/september

philippe cognĂŠe, boomon, jim dine exhibition Period: July 18 ~ August 31, 2010 Venue: Johyun Gallery Website: For more info: (051) 747.8853

comedian: ted alexandro

robot world busan 2010

Period: September 5, 2010 Venue: Vinyl Underground Website:

Period: September 8 - 11, 2010 Venue: BEXCO Website: 2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 05


acool bridge by Bobby McGill

Bridges across the world have played an important role as iconic landmarks of a city or country. And then some, like Gwangan's Diamond Bridge, are just plain cool.

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Yah, you’ve seen it. Any Google image search on “Busan” will bring the “Diamond Bridge” right up at the top of your results, and if you’ve taken a gander in person on a clear evening, you have, as anyone else, emitted the requisite ‘oohhs and ahhhs.” No argument here, it is a very cool bridge. But as science strives to reduce all things of beauty under the sun to the most basic nuts and bolts, we here at Busan Haps seek to do the same. The bridge opened in 2003 and links 49 Plaza in Namcheon-dong, with Centum City near Haeundae. If you are looking for a quick escape back to Haeundae after a night in another cityspot, you will no doubt be questioned by the taxi driver with the simple word: “Bridgey?” To which you should, barring you are too cheap to kick in an extra buck, respond “Ne.” At 7.42 kilometers from start to finish, the Diamond Bridge is the longest cross-sea bridge in Korea, as well as the first double-decker marine bridge on the penisula. According to the city, it took eight years to build, consuming the labors of 1.6 million workers with 28 different companies, at a total cost just under 790 billion KRW. The structure was designed to withstand a first level earthquake and, as demonstrated by Maemi and her 160 mph winds back in 2003, a category 5 typhoon. While out on the bridge, you get outstanding views of the Gwangan Beach coastline, the Oryuk Islets, Mt. Hwangryeong, Dongbaek Island, and Dalmaji Hill. And, if you are witnessing it from the shore, you can “oohh and ahhh” at the over 100,000 lights, some of which change colors and hues in the evening to give a dazzling effect off the water below. One wonders how many children were brought forth into the world after a romantic night on the beach staring out at the bridge. Last May, the city opened the span up to

HAPSFEATURE pedestrians, and upwards of 10,000 people made the trek across. There was even Busan’s New Prime Orchestra whipping out some tunes during the event. I have as yet been unable to confirm if they played any Simon and Garfunkel tunes concerning “troubled waters” but, suffice it to say, it was a hoot. While the bridge serves the practical purpose of getting you through to Haeundae quicker than pre-2003, lets face up to reality: It looks really cool. Since construction of the London Bridge, long span bridges across the world have played an important role as iconic landmarks of a city or a country. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York (which I understand you can actually buy) and the Diamond Bridge in Busan, play a role not only as transportation structures, but also something that government officials and ordinary citizens can brag about over drinks. At present, the Diamond Bridge ranks 70th in the world for the longest span from tower to tower at 500 meters, so if you are drinking with someone from Japan, hold your bragging. The Akashi Kaiky Bridge in Kobe spans 1,991 meters from tower to tower, outdistancing the number two Xihoumen Bridge in China by a whopping 341 meters. But hey, ours has prettier lights.

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by Amber Newton

Tucked down a short alley, in the mountainous apartment and market-filled Jangjeong- dong neighborhood next to PNU, a Bohemian artist community has been growing. Since the independent art network group, “Funny Revenge,” created “AGIT Indie Art Space” back in 2003, more and more people have become involved. AGIT exists in a graffiti-covered building that once accommodated a private kindergarten, and appropriately enough for the creative minded, the old playground still remains in the yard as a piece of site-specific art. Today, the classrooms are stuffed with art studios, an exhibit space, a recording studio, and plenty of room to throw parties or events. AGIT attracts an eclectic group of local and international artists and culture-lovers who take full advantage of its free facilities and the chance to network with like-minded individuals from across the globe. The word “Agit” is of Latin origin, meaning ‘to set in motion’, ‘to do’, and ‘to act’. Though discussions do circulate on the correct pronunciation of the word, it is certainly fitting, as AGIT hosts outdoor concerts and parties,

Every month, there is a new exhibition at AGIT, as well as networking parties, outdoor workshops and public art projects.

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public art exhibitions, graffiti projects, fashion shows, freestyle rap events, as well as local activist forums. With the offer of free studio space, AGIT has had countless artists utilize the venue, such as Jeon Junmo, Kim Seunghyun, Jin Sooyoung, Jung Haemin, SSADA, KAY2, and Ryu Hyunwook. The music studio has also been broken in by a full list of musicians ranging from Nachopupa, South Bay, Mama Sun, Genius, Lhasa, and the Psycho Rockets. Every month, there is a new exhibition at AGIT, as well as networking parties, outdoor workshops and public art projects. Artist Residency is also available to foreign artists or those from out-of-town for up to a one month residency. AGIT also supports various local cultural events, such as the Busan Independent Film Festival, the Asia Short Film Festival, the Busan International Performing Art Festival, Busan Biennale, the Youth Culture Festival, as well environmental conservation events and Anti-APEC movements. AGIT is a little off the beaten path. The easiest way to get there is to walk up the hill towards the mountains from Jangjeong-dong Station until the road comes to a bend. Go right at the bend, and then left at the Hill State Apartment complex, while walking up the base of the mountain. About 500 meters past the apartment complex, is a sign directing AGIT’s visitors down the rocky alley that the venue is nestled on. The following directions can also be used in a taxi from PNU or Jangjeong-dong Station: 장전동 까치슈퍼 (힐스테이트 정문에서 위쪽으로 가주세요) 가 주세요. For more info, contact Ryu Sounghyo:, or Koo Hunjoo, the director of AGIT at or go to www.

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“Usually, nobody wants to deal with Hammerheads, because of the risks involved.”

hammered babies in busan by Harold Henry

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Last December, Busan Aquarium in Haeundae came in contact with Keue Kunihiro, a 73-year-old fisherman living about an hour from Kagoshima, Japan. Kunihiro offered up an interesting proposition: Hammerhead Sharks. Apparently, he was privy to a spot off the Japanese coast where Hammerheads bred and offered the aquarium as many as they could hold. The aquarium put in for an order for twenty new born sharks and Kunihiro went to collecting the infant killers. After penning them up just off shore and feeding them for a few months, the sharks were ready for what would turn into a 24-hour ride from sea to land to sea and back to land again. At a going market rate of $7,000 per shark, getting them here alive was a major undertaking put together with the utmost care. Temperature controlled seawater tank trucks with modified anti-vibration holding tanks were pulled up and the sharks were loaded up for the drive across Japan to the ferry in Fukuoka. There, the trucks were loaded on the slow ferry to Busan. Once here, there was the problem of getting the sharks ready for their new home. The waters off of Kagoshima are on average about two degrees centigrade warmer than the seawater Busan Aquarium pumps into its tanks in Haeundae. While the sharks were still in the trucks outside the aquarium, the staff slowly pumped in Korean coastal water while pumping Japanese water out. After this six-hour process, the baby Hammerheads were ready to be picked up in vinyl sheets and placed in their new tank here in Busan. According to Y.P. Pil, general manager of Busan Aquarium, which is the largest aquarium in Korea, housing Hammerheads is a tricky business. “Usually, nobody wants to deal with Hammerheads, because of the risks involved.” Being an aggressive shark, who may very well eat their best friend, you can see the problems involved. In captivity, Hammerheads tend to live about six years. If you have yet to see a live Hammerhead, it is well worth a visit to the aquarium which offers a wealth of sea life from all over the world in a very large multi-level facility under the beach at Haeundae. Unlike Gray Nurse sharks you see at most aquariums around the world, the Hammerheads are constantly moving fast, and the protruding eyes on the sides of their head provide for a visually stunning experience of these natural born killers. “Busan Aquarium is delighted to have the opportunity to introduce this unique shark species,” says Pil. “As Korea’s leading aquarium, our goal is to continue to showcase the wonders of the ocean through awe-inspiring displays for our customers to enjoy.”

fish to eat Ok, so it may sound morbid, but you’ve been looking at fish for the past few hours at the aquarium and you start thinking to yourself: “Hmmm, I wonder how that tastes?” If you do find such thoughts roaming around in your head, then head on out the exit back to the Haeundae Beach boardwalk, hang a left and go all the way down to the south-end of the beach to the Mipo Raw Fish Market. There you will find a slew of different fish dishes from BBQ’d shell fish, to sashimi, live octopus or squid. Some spots offer a nice view of the sea and others offer the quaint feel of old Korea with phallic statues for good luck. Can’t get enough of those, right? After you’ve gotten your fill (of food) head back towards the aquarium and just to your right about 100 meters from the fish market, the Pale de Cz building offers a wide variety of spots to get your drink on after a good meal. There is Gecko’s on the first floor, Sharky’s Bar on the second (with the only shuffleboard deck in town), Miami 88 around the front with a cozy deck and Honolulu if you are looking for a nonalcoholic fruit shake. And of course, what 100 meter walk would be complete anywhere in the world without running into a Starbucks along the way? They’ve got that there, too.



beaches It's hot, hot, hot. The beach is your one and only reprieve, unless you wanna sit home with the air con watching reruns of Lost. But even they were on the beach, right?

haeundae In August every year, upwards of 700,000 people nestle under a canopy of a Guiness record 12,000 parasols along the 1.5 km beach. A ton of bars now are also along the beach, including Geckos, Miami 88, Sharky’s, Rock n’ Roll, U2 and Elune. Beaches and beer, what else is there? Look for volleyball in front of the Paradise Hotel on weekends when there’s room. To get there, take Subway Line 2 to Haeundae Station. It is about a 5 minute walk from there.

song jeong A short taxi ride from Haeundae’s wall of humanity is the much more laid back Song Jeong Beach. The shallow surf is great for swimming and there are several good restaurants and bars nearby. To get there, take Line 2 to Jangsan. From there, it is about a 5-10 minute taxi ride. There are seven daily trains there from Bujeon and Haeundae stations. Also home to Blowfish, winner of Busan’s Best Burger.

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gwangan-li Though better known for the incredible night view of the Diamond Bridge running the full span of the horizon, Gwangan is a great spot during the day. There are usually pickup beach volleyball games every weekend. On the north-east end of the beach is the Millak fish market, with some of the best seafood in town. To get to Gwangan-li, take Subway Line 2 to the Gwangan-li Station. It’s about a 10 minute walk.

dadaepo At the southern most tip of Busan, where the Nakdong river ends its 500 km journey to the sea, is Dadaepo Beach. It is a great place to chill out and have a picnic, collect a few seashells and go for a swim in the shallow surf. Just up the river is one of the best places in Korea to check out migratory birds chilling in the marshes. To get there, grab a bus in front of the Lotte Dept. Store in Seomyeon or take the subway to the end of line and cab it.


that’s some good eats, charlie brown! by John Bocskay

The past few years has witnessed an explosion of big coffee shops in Busan, as one franchise after another has moved in and displaced the independently-owned cafés that used to litter the Korean coffee scene. Some of the franchise shops stand out in some way – a favorite brew, a great location, a killer dessert - and others are interchangeable and are chosen as much for their proximity as anything. Everyone has his or her favorite, and we can debate their relative merits all day long (over cups of coffee, preferably). As a general rule, I tend to root for mom-and-pop businesses over big multinational companies…unless we are talking about coffee shops in Korea. Most of the little cafés in pre-spelling-change Pusan served overpriced instant coffee and were decorated to look like the waiting room of a New England podiatrist’s office. Milk was not a given. Windows were sealed and any tables on the street were there because they were being thrown away. Of the dozen or so places that served coffee in my old neighborhood, the best – hands down – was McDonald’s. Though the mists of nostalgia have done nothing to soften my recollections of those extinct swill factories, one local café whose passing was however mourned was the Nonaim Café near Pusan National University. Kang Jeong-hwa and her husband Patrick Carle combined their brains, beauty, and brawn (I’ll leave it to the reader to decide who contributed what) and garnered a passionate and loyal following during the two years they were in business before family obligations compelled them to close and finally sell the shop in 2007. Ms. Kang now employs her considerable talents as general manager of the recently opened Charlie Brown Café near PNU. Though they use the familiar Peanuts characters under license from an American parent company, Charlie Brown Café’s are found only in East Asia, perhaps playing to the well-known Asian love of all things cute. A four-foot tall statue of Charles Schultz’s lovable loser greets patrons at the door, and likenesses of Snoopy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts pantheon adorn the walls, tables, and plates. The ground floor seating area is fairly small, but there is a massive second floor with spacious open-air patios, free Wi-Fi, and more Peanuts figures, prints, and memorabilia

than you can shake a security blanket at. There is even a small selection of merchandise for sale (t-shirts, bathroom mats, slippers, stationery, etc.) if you’d like some Peanuts to go. The décor is certainly novel, but unless you’re a die-hard Peanuts fan, it is Charlie Brown Café’s other salient feature that warrants your attention: Ms. Kang’s kickass sandwiches and panini. Though listed on the menu as “Snacks”, the four sandwiches (chicken, ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, tuna and egg) and the four panini (chicken, ham, bacon, and grilled vegetables) are a satisfying light meal, reasonably priced at 5,500 won. You may want to wash it down with one of their “Snow” drinks (5,500 won), which are cold smoothies in a variety of flavors: mango, green apple, caramel, yogurt blueberry and several others. Psychiatric help, as always, is a bargain at five cents, assuming of course the doctor is in. On the recommendation of Patrick “The Brawn” Carle (oops), I had the chicken panini – a lightly grilled chicken breast and a slice of tomato nestled on a bed of mozzarella cheese and fresh spinach greens, toasted between two pieces of whole grain bread. The touch that raised it to the next level for me was the liberal smear of Ms. Kang’s homemade pesto, which I smelled the moment the dish hit the table; the heady, balanced aroma of garlic, olive oil, and basil whose freshness is immediately apparent. Ms. Kang’s other big hit is brunch (9,000 won), served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two pancakes, plus two eggs, two sausages, two strips of bacon and tea or coffee equals a fine start to any weekend. It would be remiss to end this review of a café without having said anything about the coffee, so let me say this: the coffee’s fine. All of the usual brews are represented, served hot or iced, competently brewed at standard prices. To my mind however, though nominally a coffee shop, Charlie Brown Café could just as well have been dubbed Peanuts Paninoteche. Hey, that has a nice ring to it. Go ahead, say it a few times. Or don’t. But do check it out on your next visit to PNU. To get there: From PNU main gate, turn right at Busan Bank, and left at the alley just past Coldstone. Make the first right and find Charlie Brown at the end of that alley. From the subway, take Line 1 to Pusan National University, walk out exit three and continue straight for 150 meters. Turn left at the last alley before you reach the main road (Qook shop on corner), make the first right and then the first left.

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check for more listings

food Haeundae Blowfish - Busan’s only surf bar and winner of the Busan Haps 2010 Best Burger Contest. The atmosphere is great--sit on the deck and look out on the waters of Song Jeong Beach. Sunset Lounge - Great BBQ on the roof, near the beach. Try the Ranch Chicken Tacos. Now with Delivery. sunset 051-742-2925 Geckos Bar - The great taste that became famous in Seoul is now in Busan on the beach at the Pale de CZ building. They brought the chef from Seoul to stay true to the original taste. Fuzzy Navel - Better known as a bar, but they serve up some good tacos. Taco Senora - A little tough to find. Take the street next to SFUNZ (Haeundae Station) towards the beach. In a little alley on the left near Save Zone. 051744-4050 An-Ga - Some of the best Korean BBQ in Busan. Exit at Jung Dong subway station towards the overpass. A little pricey but worth it. 051-742-7852 Jagalchi Eel - BBQ eel in a spicy sauce. Goes great with soju. Very popular with Korean celebrities, especially during PIFF. Near Paradise Hotel. 051742-5387 Sharky’s Bar - Arguably one of the best steaks in town at a good price. Also try the avocado bacon cheesburger with a side of garlic mashed potatos. Great stuff. Somunnan Beef Rib - If you have a preference for the gender of your beef, they have 40 years experience serving only female cows. Go figure. Walk the beach road east, a few blocks before you get to the RR tracks. 051-746-0003 Starface - Bar/Restaurant. Just added some good Indian food to the menu to go along with British cuisine including fish and chips. They got some good pizza, too.


Gwangan-li Woncho Eunyang Bulgogi- Very famous for their Hanwoo beef bulgogi. Pricey, but well worth the price. All taxi drivers will know it by name. Saigon “Pho”- Vietnamese restaurant. Across the street from the Starbucks, just off the beach. Big yellow sign. It is on the same street as Hollywood Star. Guess Who? Family Restaurant - Coming from the Gwangan Subway station, make a right at the beach road. They have just about everything on their buffet. Breeze Burns - Have a hamburger on the beach. The most recommended spot on our “Busan Haps” Facebook group. Cusco - Dig on some spit fired chicken. The rice-stuffed chicken is popular. 051-624-0990 East Village Cafe - The cafe is beautifully decorated, has great coffee, hand baked pastries, free WiFi, and a pretty darn good potbingsu. It is located next to Haagen Daz Ice Cream and Hotel Homers with a view of the beach and the Gwangan Bridge. Korean Natural Food Restaurant. Vegetarian food. If you don’t like meat, this is the place that you want to go for a good vegetarian selection. 051-751-5534

PNU Fish & Pork - BBQ Shellfish is their specialty. Cheap. Can sit outside. There are a number of good restaurants nearby. Staff is made up mostly of PNU students some usually speak English. Won Cho - Ultra cool place with all kinds of “real Korea” feeling. There are a variety of traditional Korean dishes from bulgogi (marinated meat) to chicken feet. Located a block upstream on the same one way street as The Basement. Kebabistan - Listing this Turkish restaurant is probably a waste of ink. Everyone has been there. If not, head out gate 1 PNU Subway Station towards PNU. On the left

past the main road. Pho - At the same spot as Kebabistan is a great little Vietnamese restaurant. 2nd floor with a great view of the PNU student throng. Real Vietnamese coffee. Wazwan - Serious Indian food, cooked by top chefs from a family that has migrated around the world to cook fantastic Indian food. No alcohol is served, but you are more than welcome to bring your own jug. A must eat. 051-517-1947. A little trivia: Why is the telephone no. 1947? Taco’s Family - Nice hole in the wall with great burritos. The owner makes his own refried, lard-free beans every week. Also has a decent lasagna, too. It is a few steps just south of The Crossroads. 010-5688-6303

Kyungsung Bae Dae Po - Korean BBQ seafood and meat. About 75 meters from “Buy the Way” towards Megamart. Eu Dae Di - BBQ pork. Across from Thursday Party. Both here and Bae Dae Po have signs written in Korean. So start learning. Pasta Factory - Busan’s favorite place for pasta. The owner Jackie has built an amazing establishment with fantastic food. A must try in the Kyunsung area. HQ Bar - Real American “cuisine” from Mutt’s kitchen. They have great Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches and a good variety of stick in your gut gourmet. Gogiya - Excellent meat restaurant right across from the HQ bar. Great dinner sets and friendly staff. Bey Kebap House - Great Turkish food from the folks that wheel that cart around the Kyungsung area. The restaurant is right across from the Family Mart and the grub is good.

Seomyeon Florian’s - Across the street from TGI Fridays. All you can eat buffet. Loving Hut - Vegetarian. Take Seomyeon Exit 2, left across from Outback. Try the “Noble Spaghetti” or Spicy noodles. Buffalo - It’s got a strange logo with a Buffalo strangling a chicken. No Buffalo on the menu, just great chicken. Back left side behind Lotte. Judie Nine Brau - A brewery with good bar food. Seomyeon Station, Exit 2, up three blocks, make a left. 051-667-7979


geumjeong mountain fortress An ancient wall and guard towers lining the ridge of the Dongnae Area, Geumjeong Mountain Fortress offers not only a view into the past but also a great view of Busan. To get there, take Subway Line 1 to Myeongnyun-dong station. From there, head west. If you aren’t up for a hike to the top, then you can hitch a ride on the bright red and yellow cable car and glide right on up to the ridge in comfort.



worth a good look beomeo temple

One of Korea’s “Great 5 Temples,” Beomeo is an incredibly serene temple complex. Founded in 678, the temple offers a unique view into the life of Korea’s Buddhist Monks, and Korea’s unique interpretation of Buddhism. Take Subway Line 1 to Beomeosa station. Head out Exit 5. From there, you can hop in a taxi or take the city bus up the mountain. Beomeo Temple is open all year.

busan aquarium The largest aquarium in Korea and one of the most highly regarded in all of Asia, Busan Aquarium is a must see. Located literally on (and under) Haeundae Beach, it is a great place to round out a day on the coast. You can check out shark feeding, penguins, and the bizarre looking Eagle Ray. To get there, take Subway Line 2 to Haeundae Station and hoof it towards the coast. 16 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

geumjeong sanseong village ceramics Korea has a long history for ceramics that goes back thousands of years. Craftsmen from all over North-East Asia would come to Korea to study the fine art of pottery, especially celadon, which was prized by royalty in Japan and China. Geumjeong Sanseong Village is a great place to experience it for yourself. Nestled in a nice little wooded area near the Oncheonjeong subway station. Go out Exit 3 and catch bus 203 across the street.

jagalchi fish market Great place to pick up seafood to cook at home or to just kick back and have it cooked for you. Home to the largest seafood market in Korea, Jagalchi is located just across the street from Nampodong, so make it your last stop when you visit the area. As you walk around, you will be tempted by the many ajummae who linger outside hoping to draw customers to their seafood. After they serve you, say: “Jal meo-geot-seumnida.” (I will eat very well).

busan museum of modern art A sprawling 3-story, 21,000 square meter building housing everything from traditional to modern art, the BMOMA is one of Busan’s prized jewels, housing an enormous collection. And it is all available to the public for a mere 700 won. That is no misprint. To get there, take Subway Line 2 to the Museum of Modern Art Station. They are open seven days a week. 051-744-2602


night life

“ I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.” ~Frank Sinatra

haeundae Blowfish Surf Bar - A short taxi ride from Jangsan Subway Station to Song Jeong Beach lands you at Busan’s only surf bar. Club Maktum - One of Busan’s best spots for dancing right across from the paradise hotel. Miami 88 – Two locations at the beach. The original: across from the aquarium, behind the BMW building. Open air bar with large patio. The new spot: On the beach at Pale de CZ right next to Paradise Hotel. Ask for Ricky. 24/7 Bar - A swank new spot in Haeundae with the true lounge atmosphere and a TV spread like you’ve never seen. Fuzzy Navel – Great food, good staff and of course, the fire show. What more do you want? Just off the beach, near Sunset Hotel. Rock n’ Roll House – Bar and Grill with darts/pool/incredible view. On the 14th floor across from the aquarium. Great burgers, cheap drinks. Geckos – The legendary watering hole of Itaewon has finally come to Haeundae. Face the beach, eat a great burger and drink a cold beer. At Pale de Cz. Murpii Bar – On the beach at Novotel. Remodelled and back to its old form, a long time hot spot for singles. 051-743-1234 U2 Bar – Dance Bar/Live Bands. Darts. Pool. Across from the Novotel. The ultimate hip layout and great smelling bathrooms. Yeah, seriously. Sunset Lounge – Named one of the top 10 bars in Korea by 18 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

10 Magazine in Seoul. Weekly special events. 051-742-2925 Thursday Party – 2 locations in Haeundae. Great atmosphere, good beer. Jangsan: 051-7036621. Beach: 051-744-6621 Starface – On Dalmaji Hill. One of the most relaxing bars in Busan. Great music, pool, darts and now they’ve got Indian food along with a stellar plate of fish and chips. 051-742-0600 Sharky’s Bar - The latest incarnation from the founders of Sunset Lounge. Right on the beach at Pale de CZ, 2nd floor next to the Paradise Hotel. One of the best steaks in town and shuffleboard! Club Elune - Busan’s hippest place to dance with the world’s most famous DJ’s.

gwangan-li Thursday Party - Two locations to go with the others in Haeundae, Seomyeon, Kyungsung and now Daegu. The fact that there are so many is telling within itself. In fact, the first one that opened in Gwangan did so well, they opened another location a few doors down. On the Beach. 051-7580822/051-753-6621 Fuzzy Navel - A Kwangan institution, they still have the fire show. Definitely worth a look and you simply can’t beat the location sitting right on the beach enjoying the view. Holloway Road Pub - Located right on Gwangan Beach with a great view of the Gwangan Bridge from the rooftop lounge. Good drink prices and staff. Enoch Mansion - A hip new place with a very lounge-like atmosphere, dare we say Bohemian? Definitely a cool place to sit back, relax and chill with a cheap drink and rich atmosphere. In the alley behind Dunkin Donuts. They even have free DJ lessons if you wanna add a few lines to your resume. Hollywood Star - Relaxed bar a few blocks off the beach. American nostalgia right down to the Harley in the middle of the bar. A long standing spot with the expat community and a short walk from the shore. Pool/Darts. 051-622-6621

seomyeon Metal City - A new and increasingly popular spot. Darts, pool, live music and cheap drinks. Starting to put together a good music scene with some of Busan’s top acts on weekends. 051-807-4807 O’Brien’s - Just past Seomyeon on the #2 subway line, Gaya station. Busan’s only Irish Bar. 051-994-6541 Foxy - Two story dance club in the heart of Seomyeon. Packed during the weekends. Good sound and DJ’s. Fuzzy Navel - 2 locations. Good drink specials and great atmosphere, just like the other four locations in Busan. Great Mexican food now served. Rock n’ Roll Bar - Look for the large sign with Kurt Cobain down the small street perpendicular to Lotte Hotel. Guri Bar - Right behind the Lotte Hotel, Guri bar has been around a long time, with the owner Pan at the helm. Good atmosphere and a great place to kick off the night before making the Seomyeon rounds. Thursday Party - Good selection of drafts and cocktails. Busy on the weekends. Cozy atmosphere, great staff. Can’t go wrong with that.

kyungsung HQ - Very cool place to chill out. Open air, with tables in the window. Great spot for sports. Now with a full kitchen and seriously good food. Darts. Ask Johnny to show you his large check. Club Fabric - Great decor inside, with lots of room. Live music on weekends and great staff. One of the area’s coolest looking spots. Foxy - Same owner as Fabric. Great spot for dancing and very good drink prices. Nice-uh. Thursday Party - Stylish, open air bar with a hip clientele, and a good view of the Kyungsung night parade. Owner, Jacky has found the perfect mix for drinking and relaxing. He has a lot of locations now, so you might get lucky and meet him. Free curry popcorn. New York 88 - Great selection of import beers and cocktails. Dart board, great music including Hip-Hop. They have a wide selection of beers and cocktails. Buy 4 get one for free. 051-622-6988 Ghetto - Urban chic. Very popular with the Korean youth. Cheap drinks and loud music. Yeah! Ol’55 - A great spot for tunes, with an amazing collection of vinyl. Live music on the weekends from some of Busan’s best musicians. Pool table. Very popular open Mic on Wed. Vinyl Underground - This is a long-time legendary spot for dancing and for music. Look for Andy Warhol’s big yellow banana. Start a pool as to when the dangling “d” will be fixed. 051-628-0223 Eva’s - Good menu with a variety of western food to satiate your palette. Good atmosphere and dog-friendly, if you so like. Across from HQ. Kino Eye - Movies on the big screen. Large rectangular bar with a laid back feel. The lights are dim if you want to take a blind date there. Enjoy. Cafe Radio - Cool, quiet, with a great atmosphere. Home to “K’s Wordz Only” once every month. Nice collection of vintage radios on display, but you figured that out for yourself right?



Soultrane – One of the area’s oldest and most well-known foreign bars. In the basement beneath Crossroads. Good setup for live music. The Basement – Celebrating its 8th year, The Basement is one of the most popular bars in Busan. Live music, pool, miniature basketball, hookah and an excellent staff. Open Mic Tues, GermanReggae on Wed. Live music on Sat. Crossroads – Open Mic on Thurs. Great music. 051-5151181. Right in the heart of the PNU district. A legend. Interplay – Live music, Jazz, Korean Indie and punk. Open Mic Thurs. 011-873-2200 Monks Bar - Good spot for Korean indie bands. Great punk scene. Fallen off a bit with the expat crowd, but it is still funky. Red Bottle - Where the old Moe’s once was, now sits the Red Bottle. Still has the cool atmostphere, great English speaking staff and Guinness on tap.


busan’s other beach by Jeff Martinez

When you think about the beach in Korea, undoubtedly your mind flashes on the mass of mayhem that descends on Haeundae Beach during August, covering every square centimeter of sand with innertubes and oiled up bodies. Sure the crowds are fun to watch, but maybe you are looking for an alternative to the Guinness World Record for most umbrellas on a beach. (Don’t believe me? Look it up.) If you want something with a couple hundred thousand less people, Gwangan-li is your spot. Gwangan-li is Busan’s most centrally located beach, and the first thing you notice is there are a lot of coffee shops. Gwangan-li is the best place to enjoy coffee in Busan. Who could pass up sitting outside taking in the great view of the ocean while enjoying a good cup of Joe? From the coffee shop, you can head out onto the sand for a pick-up game of volleyball, cheap surf lessons or just laying around soaking in the rays while later in life keeping your dermatologists kid’s in good schools. But it’s not all about what goes on during the day--Gwangan-li also offers up some excellent nightlife. The consensus from residents, visitors, and business folk in the area is that Gwangan-li really comes into its own at night. Whether it’s a weekday or the weekend, the beach and surrounding area is usually buzzing with activity. American, Matthew Chauncey, who now lives in the area says, “My favorite thing to do is to walk the beach at night with that great view of the Diamond Bridge.” Busan’s largest bridge stays lit up in varying colors until 2 a.m. every night, giving a nice backdrop to the ocean view. Also as you walk along the beach, you will come across several different art installations featuring artists from Korea, France and the USA. Jenny Holzer’s “Messages of Light” features a series of lighted quotes that are projected onto the beach in English and Korean. 20 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

There is also Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s “Le Pot”, which turns more than a few heads, as well as the work of Korea’s internationally renowned modern artist, Paik Nam-June. If you’re looking for more than just a relaxing stroll, then head down on the weekends. Gwangan-li closes traffic on the main road along the beach Saturday and Sunday nights from 9 p.m. through 2 a.m. during the summer, allowing the street to become full of various performances from the new to the old. You can check out Korean skateboarders grinding their trucks on portable ramps, or older Korean singers belting out Korean Trot, Korea’s first form of pop music. It is also one of the few places in Korea hosting buskers. The buskers aren’t just from Korea--currently there’s a group of musicians from Ecuador who will be performing on the beach until the end of August. Gwangan-li also offers some of the most vibrant nightlife in Busan. If you’re looking for western style pubs, then hit up Thursday Party. The first one opened four years ago, but it became so popular they opened a second one only one shop over from the first. There is also the Bohemian feel of Enoch Mansion, the increasingly popular Holloway Pub and a number of other bars that cater to a foreign as well as a Korean crowd. “What more can you ask for?” queried Thursday Party founder, Jacky Bae. “There is a beautiful view, friendly people, and great music. That’s what makes Gwangan-li so special.” Gwangan-li is also home to some great food. There is the massive Millak Fish Center at the south-end of the beach, where you can get fish in every conceivable manner, from cooked to raw to still moving. How can you live with yourself if you go back home without having tried live octopus? Along with a variety of delicious, traditional Korean fare, you’ll find a

The masses have taken the shore at Haeundae, fortifying their position with 12,000 parasols. Not up for a struggle? Then get off a few subway stops before at Gwangan-li. It offers everything you need and actually a bit more.


number of western-style restaurants like Guess Who, with a great view of the beach, and Breeze Burns, which whips up a pretty decent burger as well as breakfast in the morning. If you are looking for something uniquely Busan, you should check out Subyeon park, located at the north-end of the beach. The park is basically a grandstand that goes down to a walkway along the water. At night, the scene becomes packed with friends, families and couples enjoying an evening picnic, though after 10 p.m. most of the families are gone. Some of the restaurants from the fish market sell seafood up and down the grandstand. It can sometimes be downright rowdy--groups of ajummas will sing songs, using whatever empty bottles or anything else they have nearby for instruments. With all this talk of Gwangan-li’s nightlife, you could almost forget that there’s still a great beach. The scene at Gwangan-li is far more relaxed, less crowded and you can actually move around without whacking your head on an umbrella. Since the beach itself is enclosed within a bay, even the waves are more chilled out than Korea’s other beaches. So, rent a raft or an inner-tube and relax on a calm sea where you are less likely to bump into someone else in the water, unless of course that is what you were looking to do in the first place.

2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 21


getting high in busan by Roy Early

There are two kinds of people in this world: those that love amusement park carnival rides and those who could care less. Well, maybe there are more kinds of people, but this is not about them. I love amusement parks and my love for rides big and small came about honestly. When I was twelve years old my father took off to work full-time in a traveling carnival. My mother told us that she saw it coming and was surprised he hadn’t left sooner. Lousy? Yes, but it was her way of comforting my sisters and I. To fill the void, I soon found myself obsessed with that which caused me the pain: carnivals, amusement parks, and funfairs. About twice a year, always in the summer, I would receive a postcard from dear old dad, postmarked from some exotic sounding place like Laramie, Wyoming or Roachdale, Indiana. The postcards eventually stopped, and at the time of his death, my father had been working for a few years as a technician on one of the largest wooden rollercoasters in the United States. I guess he hit the big time: an amusement park that did not move every week. On my first visit to Gwangan-li Beach, I barely noticed the amusement park at the far end of the beach called “Me World.” Never having lived in close proximity to any kind of theme park, I set out to learn as much as I could about the place and perhaps a little about my father. Me World is the amusement park with the giant ferris wheel, located about a five-minute walk south from the end of the boardwalk through the raw fish restaurant area. Modeled after Cosmo theme park in Japan, Me World opened in 22 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

"About twice a year, always in the summer, I would receive a postcard from dear old dad, postmarked from some exotic sounding place like Laramie, Wyoming or Roachdale, Indiana." 2004. In the beginning, they set aside half of the 10,000 pyeong piece of land for a waterpark, which included a pipeline from the ocean to pump in seawater. Plans for the waterpark were abandoned when neighbors complained about noise. The remaining 5,000 pyeong originally contained a gym, an Italian restaurant, a wedding hall, banquet facilities, and several other business. These days most of those business no longer operate, leaving the park to consist mainly of the rides themselves. A Korean restaurant remains, as well as a place selling hamburgers, which go well with a cold beer from the nearby convenience store. When it comes to rides, Mr. Hoon, the parks owner, proudly informed me that Me World’s four major rides all come from Italy. Apparently, the Italians not only make fine pasta, but they also sit at the top of the food chain when it comes to amusement park ride design and safety. Me World’s four major rides are the Power Surge, one of those rides that kind of hangs seated riders out on an arm, while it spins them upside down and all around; the Diving Coaster, a loopless rollercoaster, the immense fifteen-minute round trip ferris wheel, and the Shot and Drop, which straps passengers in using a chest harness and shoots them skywards. Only three Shot and Drops operate in Korea, making Busan kind of special in the realm of theme park bragging rights. Every morning, a team of safety engineers conducts hour-long safety checks and test runs on all of Me World’s rides. This includes all of the kiddie rides as well. Even the Bouncing Castle gets a looksee. In addition, the government visits quarterly for inspections. Safety standards vary around the world at amusement parks, but a daily inspection sounds pretty good to me. Theme park rides are definitely not for everyone, especially when they pale in size comparison to the larger parks around the world. And while Me World’s more daring rides might not be your thing, a ride on the ferris wheel is sure to please anyone. It offers a perfect view of the Gwangan Bridge from a vantage point other than the patio of the myriad of cafes or a stool at Thursday Party. Once you hit the nine o’clock turn, the bridge almost looks like it belongs in a train set. The gondolas are perfect for romantic types, too, offering plenty of time and privacy combined with the unique view. Take that as you will. Thanks Dad. Me World is open from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. seven days a week. One ride equals one ticket. Tickets cost 4,000 won for one, three for 10,000won, and five for 14,000 won. They also sell an unlimited ride pass at 20,000 won. Non-holiday, weekday all day ride tickets are 10,000 won until July 20th. Admission is free.


lhasa: sans voice by J. Lipsky

24 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

Lhasa speaks volumes to Busan without a single word. They execute instrumental-only, melodically driven pieces, infusing rock and electronic into a live show that’ll knock your socks off. Comprised of two American expats, Eric Anderson and Rhylon Durham, the duo first teamed up to compose material last fall and have been gigging around town since then. Lhasa’s catalog has ripened into a distinctly “post-rock” sound, a genre that is massive amongst alternative and indie fanatics of the Western world. Music aficionados of Busan now have the pleasure to partake in the intense peaks and hypnotizing textures of locally brewed post-rock. Initially, they crossed paths via friends of friends, and their mission since that rendezvous was to incorporate an electronic element into their sound. Reflecting back, Anderson says, “We succeeded in making something with heavy electronic components; driving, melodic, with a good sense of rhythm to it. I will add aggressive at times maybe. It gets pretty large sometimes with all the layering. And we keep jokingly describing it as ‘dreamy’ which maybe comes from all the ambient reverb and us doing our best to make things epic.” Durham chimes in, defining their style as “Loop-driven dream rock to evoke your best memories all at once and mix them together until it’s just one big picture you see that makes you say, Yeah!” What this translates into is a sound that is unexpectedly able to render monstrous sonicscapes. Anderson helps wrap your mind around


“We really want it to merge worlds between Koreans and foreigners to get all these great people in the same place and have them meet each other and hang out and hear and see all these awesome things and get excited about the potential of their city and themselves.”

this mystery, “All of our stuff is based on looping. I will play a guitar / keyboard part, record it and then play it back on the fly and continue to add layers. I think our sound is defined most by that. Because I’m looping, I can layer a lot of simple picking parts. That gives it a very different quality than playing a couple of chords. You can also build a really intense wall of noise that way.” Anderson uses a laptop as a synth for keyboard parts and he also plays the computer like it’s a sampler. “If I have some beats or melodic parts that I sequenced previously, I can play them back and loop them as well. That’s what makes it possible for there to be two of us in the band.” Together with Anderson’s “dreamy” guitar and keys, Durham partakes on the layering as well while simultaneously thrashing on his drum kit. “Essentially, I just try to get cool sounds on my sampler that fit with the jams, and try to hit the little pads with my fingers while holding drumsticks and keeping the beat. It can get a bit confusing, but it’s fun to multitask. It can get a bit hairy at times, but I try and keep that mental groove.” Musicians comparable to Eric and Rhylon’s sound include Mogwai, Don Caballero, and Battles. Those bands paved the way and Lhasa exhibits parallels to their guiding predecessors. “I guess the guitar lines by themselves are pretty post-rock. People say Sigur Ros, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. But, we don’t really do anything so slowed down like they do. Rhylon keeps it pretty up-tempo,” says Anderson. Rhylon has been enamored with Chicago natives Tortoise for years, explaining “Their dynamics and layering have an influence. Also, Lymbyc Systym, who we played with in Busan recently, aren’t too far off.” The Lymbyc Systym showcase at Vinyl Underground was dynamite indeed. They have also performed with other bands that the Seoul concert promotion team Super Color Super has gifted upon Busan, including Japanese indie rockers the Moools and the Japanese electronica punks Den!al. Anderson reminisces about a personal favorite. “We got to open for Xiu Xiu (from Beijing) when they came with Super Color Super. Ended up being one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. Awesome to have played with one of my favorite bands.” All of these stellar opportunities have opened up for Lhasa, even though they are so fresh, and it might coincide with the company they keep. Anderson mentions, “Poko Lambro was really supportive when we started and they’re a really entertaining act, as many know. Sleep Stalker from Busan is on my list. Sssighborggg from Seoul as well. (The group) 10 who we’ve played with a handful of times by now. Sunday Losers. Everyone I’ve met through the music scene are good people.” A key component to the boom of productivity in entertainment events and happenings in Busan lately is RAD CITY, Rhylon’s side project. RAD CITY is a communal gathering of experimental art and music. “We really want it to merge worlds between Koreans and foreigners to get all these great people in the same place and have them meet each other and hang out and hear and see all these awesome things and get excited about the potential of their city and themselves.” Through RAD CITY, artists have an avenue to display and sell their work, or give it away scotfree. “We’re always trying to dig up different and unique music, film, live graffiti, and video art to throw in the mix. We’re game for anything, really,” he explains. RAD CITY RADIO is the media outlet for the ensemble. Rhylon produces the shows, and he states that, “There is a focus on the music of those playing at RAD CITY and related events in the Busan area. Also, I’ll be doing profiles of Korean bands that are really swell.” The atmosphere at Busan venues like Kyungsung’s Fabric, Vinyl Underground, Monks and PNU’s Moo Monk, along with the intensity of Lhasa’s instrumental language catapult you to Himalayan heights, and the band name is Tibetan, to boot. Rhylon describes the name choice:

“At the time of forming the band, I was planning my four-month trek through the Indian subcontinent, starting near Sri Lanka. The final destination was Tibet. I definitely had the Himalayas on the brain.” Don’t look for profound meanings of the name Lhasa, as Anderson points out, “I don’t think there was going to be anything deep about it. It’s something we agreed sounded okay. Coming up with a name is hard. You don’t want something too pretentious...or lame.” You can hear Lhasa’s music at www.

2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 25


medical tourism by Steph Hill

Not only is Busan's medical tourism booming, but so is a cottage industry of companies that help bridge both cultural and language gaps between international patients and service providers. 26 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

Though a relatively new player to the game, Korea has been making serious moves in the “Medical Tourism” field with the government tossing in generous support in this growing field of travel. From cosmetic surgery to hip replacements to major work on the ol’ ticker, the industry is attracting large numbers of people from around the world to its surgical shores. In 2009, about 60,000 medical tourists travelled to Korea for treatment of some sort, compared with seven million tourists overall. As a whole, medical travellers spent $54 million during their visit, or about $900 per patient. And the numbers look to grow even higher this year, with Korea aiming for 80,000 medical tourist arrivals by the end of 2010. The government hopes that the number of medi-tourists will rise 16% per year, until reaching one million per annum by 2020. When we come to medical tourism, it is the Americans who make the most of Korea’s inexpensive services. They made up 45.7 percent followed by Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians and Russians, each with 5-7 percent in 2009. Purely from the aspect of cost, it makes sense to combine your stay in Korea with medical treatment, whether it is elective surgery or something major. A heart replacement valve operation costs only 21 percent of the U.S. equivalent, which comes to about a $140,000 savings; and a hip replacement clocks in 38% lower, saving the patient about $26,000. With such dramatic price differences, there is more than enough in savings to cover airfare and a top hotel if you are visiting or a round at the bar if you are here working. Korea has also made great advances in dentistry with the field’s highest technology for implanting procedures, teeth whitening, and gum care all at a reasonable cost when compared internationally. For those looking for elective surgery, be it a nose job, breast implants, laser scrub, liposuction or any of a variety of cosmetic surgery procedures, Korea is the spot. Over the past few years, the industry has set new standards in the field of “self improvement,” making it more and more attractive to those wishing to avoid high cost out-patient procedures back home. That said, in surveys conducted by the medical community and the government, one of the few complaints about having any sort of procedure done in Korea, is a lack of English proficiency among nurses and staff. While the majority of Korean doctors speak English well, it leaves patients a little weary to seek treatment when there is insufficient communication before going under the knife or the laser. To address this problem, cottage industries have sprung up that seek to bridge the language gap and act as liaisons between international patients and medical facilities. One of those is medical tourism con-

sulting firm, Medina, located here in Busan. Started by J.O. Park in 2009, Medina ( offers free assistance to expats or tourists seeking treatment, while at the same time operating a consulting firm that advises hospitals and clinics on ways to become more English friendly. Park’s inspiration for starting a company to help foreigners, as well as hospitals and clinics, came from an experience in England following a bout of food poisoning from Chinese takeout. “I was alone in a foreign country at that time with limited English skills, and it dawned on me that expats and tourists back in Korea probably were going through the same thing,” said Park. One of Medina’s major goals is helping expats living in Korea with elective procedures like cosmetic surgery. As anyone that has been to Korea can attest, the Korean physicians have had a lot of experience in the field, which gives them a wealth of experience in “beauty” improvements, along with all of the latest technology to get it done. So, if you are growing tired of that spot on your forehead, or you are looking to enhance yourself in other areas, so to speak, Korea is your best option. And when your girlfriend or boyfriend or your spouse has a heart attack from how good you look, you can confidently send them to the local Korean medical facility and know they are in good hands.


finally, a

big star by Ron Cielo

Call me materialistic, or starterialistic if you willl, but you would think in a city of 3.5 million people, Busan would garner more internationally acclaimed talent to her sandy shores. While The Basement in PNU has done a great job this year bringing in high-level-talent, mid-levelfamed acts from around Asia and back in the states (Elune has also brought in legit superstars from the DJ world) blockbuster headliners remain elusive to Korea’s second city. Granted, high-level-fame doesn’t always equate to a high-leveltalent. The last big star to pass through was Mariah Carey way back in 2004. I am not a big fan, but it was cool to have a big star in town for once. Thus far this year, Seoul has welcomed Bob Dylan, Kanye West, Usher, Tom Jones, Massive Attack and a slew of others, while our own Busan ‘International’ Rock Festival had only four out of twentyfour acts from outside of Korea, with mid-level American 90’s act Fire House topping the bill. Yawn. Well, finally, the high-level-fame, high-level-talent gods have come through. On September 5th, Busan will welcome the very funny comedian, Ted Alexandro, for one show at Vinyl Underground in Kyungsung. Alexandro has appeared on most all of the late night American talk shows and had two of his own half-hour specials on Comedy Central. Heck, he has even been a guest on The View. (Once again, not a big fan). Appearing along with Alexandro, will be the very talented Seoul comedian, Brian Aylward, who has won top comedian awards in Asia and also pens a hysterically funny column in Groove Magazine every month. Is this the sign of better things to come? Seems to me that a city of 3.5 million souls would eagerly fill an arena for some high-level-fame acts. I mean, I am not asking for The Beatles, but our lovely Busan deserves as good as or better than what they get in Seoul. I mean if you were a top act, would you rather go to the beach after the show, or sit in traffic in Seoul? You can check out more about Ted Alexandro at www.tedalexandro. com or see a ton of his skits on YouTube. Check the Busan Haps site for more info in September. 2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 27


helping those who need it most By Lynsey Bolin

Celebrating 45 years of philanthropy and community outreach, The Busan International Women’s Association (BIWA) is still the only organization of its kind in Busan, and it is run solely by volunteers. Focusing on providing support to needy organizations and individuals, BIWA is more determined than ever to continue its mission of “Charity, Friendship, and Cultural Exchange.” Started in 1965 by a group of foreign and Korean women, the original members included the Busan mayor’s wife, the wife of the Governor of Kyeongsan-nam, and the wives of some high commanders of the Hialeah American military base. Now, with 132 women of all occupations representing over 20 different countries, BIWA continues to focus on the goals of its founders. New president, Lynn Baratta, explains that BIWA was conceived to “foster friendship and cultural exchange among women of different nationalities living in Busan, as well as to enhance charitable activities.” It is an agenda that she hopes to continue after witnessing firsthand the role that BIWA plays in the community. Every month, BIWA supports organizations and individuals that affect hundreds of people. Their contributions help a variety of people in need--from a soup kitchen in Seomyeon that feeds lunch to over 200 people a week, to a student whose only means of support until last 28 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

year for her and her two younger brothers were from her grandmother who is now hospitalized, and her grandfather who passed away. The funds raised come from a lot of determination and hard work. Throughout the year, there are several events to raise money--most notably the Christmas Charity Bazaar and the Spring Charity Ball. Last year alone, BIWA raised approximately 50 million won. Although most of the donations came from the annual fundraisers, other unique ideas from members helped raise money as well. In March of last year, former two-term president, Anna Girsova, spent six months organizing an exhibition of old family photos. The photos included “more than 200 photos from nine countries, and some were aged 100 years,” she recalls. “Not only was it a sentimental project, but looking at the pictures, you realize that coming from different countries and generations, despite the differences we have, we are still the same, just people. Of course, all the donations went to BIWA’s charity fund.” BIWA is not only known for its community work for those in need, but it is also a valuable source of information for women that are new to Busan. Both the former and current president are thankful for the resource and helpful community it provided. When Girsova came to Busan eight years ago, it was her Chinese neighbor that introduced her to the monthly luncheons and coffee mornings. “Even though I didn’t speak English perfectly, I felt very comfortable and welcomed.” Current president Lynn Baratta couldn’t agree more. “I had so many questions when I first arrived about where to find certain things, where to shop and how to find my way around.” Baratta encourages women to join BIWA, even if they’ve been in the country for awhile. The goal of BIWA isn’t just for newbies, but it’s also for anybody who needs an outlet to volunteer and help others. “Please join us for an opportunity to make new friends and the chance to help raise much needed funds to assist those in need in our local community,” Baratta said. For more info check out BIWA’s website at:

rock’n’roll house pub & grill pub & grill

Cheap drinks, fantastic music, great food and a beautiful venue located in Haeundae 051-742-5553

2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 29


showcasing director kim joe young hyun by Thomas Bellmore

There is little doubt that the Pusan International Film Festival is a vital component of not only the Korean film industry, but of Asian cinema as a whole. So many accolades are bestowed upon the largest film festival in Asia that many find it easy to forget the much smaller, yet exceedingly prestigious, Busan International Short Film Festival. This quaint and eclectic offering of short films from all corners of the globe is a stimulating approach to the cinema. Given the recent drought of quality summer films, I would hope that other fervent film buffs had the opportunity to catch some of these remarkable features at the festival back in May. I had the honor of attending the opening ceremony and press screenings, as well as a screening of several notable entries. I decided to focus my attention on a rather slight, yet sweetly accentuated film by Korean director KimJoe YoungHyun. Her delightfully crafted romance, Whoever You Are, weaves together intricate layers of tough social issues that would certainly incite discussion where there would otherwise be none. The film plainly, yet charmingly, approaches issues of abortion and gender reassignment and wraps them around two very identifiable characters. Best of all, this difficult parable takes these touchy subjects and examines them under the microscope of modern-day Korea, pulling no cultural punches. Much to my dismay, some very significant symbolic gestures went under my radar long after the film had ended, and it wasn’t until I spoke with the director herself that I learned what her inclusion of scenes involving seaweed soup meant. Not only is the film an ode to the delicate mindset of women after undergoing an abortion, it is an adroitly tuned piece of film making that boats a superb palette of colors in its cinematography. I had the pleasure of talking with Director KimJoe about her film, going in-depth about the themes driving the beautiful narrative, and the interesting technical choices she made to bring the stunning cinematography to life. Busan Haps: The first thing I wanted to discuss with you was your striking use of color. You told me, briefly before we started the interview, that your use of color was not only a personal expression but also an outlet for your experiences while living in India and absorbing their culture and gaining an affinity for their use of vibrant colors. Perhaps you could explain that a bit more. Director KimJoe: I wanted to show the protagonists ever-changing emotional state through the use of color. At the start of the film, we see the color red during the abortion sequence, in a very dark and morbid manner. It’s a dark, blood-red color that could only be a display of her despair. However, as the film progresses, we see the shades of red that she wears get brighter, until the last scene in the film where we see a bright sort of orange-red color that has our protagonist glowing with a bit of contentment. For me, color is emotion, and that was my way of setting the mood and tone for her characters progression. Take my use of purple as well; for example, used much in the same way BH: I also noticed that the abortion scene, in the beginning, the color was de- saturated. This is especially noticeable considering the vibrant color palette used in the rest of the film. Was this done deliberately? Director KimJoe: Yes, that was my intention. It was kind of a flashback, a traumatic memory, and of course it’s not a good memory. I wanted that to feel very gritty and realistic. BH: It is a very unsettling moment, and we’re hit with it right at the 30 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

the film, an ode to the delicate mindset of women after undergoing an abortion, is an adroitly tuned piece of film making that boasts a superb palette of colors in its cinematography.

start of the film. Most notable about that scene is her boyfriend waiting in the hallway while the procedure is taking place. His demeanor is so casual, so cavalier and seemingly unsympathetic. He lights a cigarette and just sort of saunters around the hallway. I felt like this wasn’t a preachy, overcritical view of men, but a very honest insight into the fact that we can’t really grasp what a woman goes through when she has that experience. Director KimJoe: I certainly wanted to approach these matters delicately, without attacking or being overly critical of either gender. I did, however, want to show that men certainly can’t grasp what it’s like for a woman to not only have an abortion, but what a woman experiences when she is pregnant and all of the changes that her body goes through. It’s that deep emotional attachment that grows out of the physical, and it doesn’t take very long. The purpose of her boyfriend’s attitude was to show that there’s simply no way a man can ever fully understand what that is like. During the Q&A, a male audience member asked me “Do you hate men? If not, why portray men as such negative and unsympathetic characters in this situation?” I had to reassure him that I most certainly did not hate men. I just wanted to show this man’s lack of understanding. If he was such a bad person, why would he be there for her during the procedure? A lesser man would cut and run, leaving everything on her. I just wanted to show that he doesn’t understand what kind of changes she’s had to endure due to this abortion. This wasn’t a film that was made to put men down, or some way to show that a transgendered person is capable of being an even better man than the one she had before. This is a film about how people relate to one another, no matter who you are. BH: What’s very notable is that you manage to tell this story with a 17-minute running time. Some people might see that as a limitation, working within the short-film medium. What sort of challenges did you face with the time constraints placed on the short film? Director KimJoe: My initial plan for this film was to make it 25 or even 28 minutes in length. However, after I finished shooting, I took a step back and really looked at it. I came to the conclusion that longer was definitely not “better”, in this case, because some of the images that I shot turned out to be a bit stronger (due to subject matter) than what I expected. See the full interview and movie at

survival korean

the seasons (part 2) with Professor Gus

summer (yaw-ruhm여름): Summer in Korea is great! There are the beaches, water sports and millions of umbrellas both on and off the beach protecting everyone from harmful UV rays, while water sport crafts of different kinds boarder the multitudes of swimmers, t-shirt clad waders and body surfers. Although bikinis have made their way into Korean beach fashion, Korea still lags behind in thong-wear (for women). You still see the occasional darker than asphalt professional sunbather/Norae-bang 노래방 (Karaoke bar) owner, clad only in a thong/speedo, giving us good reason to take off those sunglasses and burn out our retinas. If you feel like going down for a swim, you can ask:

mWhere is there a good beach? Cho-un hay-soo-yoak-jahng audee ee-su nee-kah좋은 해수욕장이 어디 있습니까?

__(city/region/place/ name)__ has good beaches. ________~ay cho un hay -soo- yoak- jahng ee-sum-nee-dah _______~에 좋은 해수욕장이 있습니다. Is it really crowded? 그곳은 복잡합니까? Gu gohs-un boak-jahp-hahm-nee-kah? If you’re asking this question during the months of July or August, the answer will be an automatic yes (Ne 네). Any other time however, you will get the opposite answer as Korean people strictly adhere to their sunbathing season time table. In Busan, there are four main beaches, the largest of which is Haeundae Beach, followed by Kwangan Beach or Kwangan-li, Song Jeong and Song Do (or Song Island). For those of you who are more adventurous or are in better shape than me, there are some rocky shoals with some sand protruding on them in Ee-gee Park (Ee-gee day 이기 대공원). It’s rather secluded, but it takes a hike up and down a large steep hill to get to there. In many ways, Korean people define themselves by their food. Summertime is no exception. To a Korean person, nothing beats the heat better than a hot bowl of sahm gay tahng 삼계탕 or chicken soup. For those of you who want something cooler, there is Pot Bing-soo 팥빙수 , which is a mix of crushed ice, fruit cocktail and sweet beans. Mmmm-tasty! Ice noodles or Naeng Myon 냉면 is another dish Koreans like to eat in the summer. Part sweet, part sour but wholly delicious. If you want to sample the local fare, here are some phrases that might come in handy:

Where is the nearest chicken soup restaurant? Jay-eel gah-kah-oon sahmgay-tahngjeep-ee aud-ee ee-sum-nee-ka?제일 가까운 삼계탕 집이 어디 있습니까? Do you have Pot Bing soo? 팥빙수 합니까? Pot-bing-soo hahm-nee-kah?

Do you sell Naeng myon? 냉면 팔아요? Naeng-myon pahl-ah-yo? One down side of summer in Korea is the traffic. When going some place with Koreans, it’s a good idea to ask which mode of transportation is best:

Which is the best way to get there, taxi, subway, train or bus?택시 지하철 기차 버스 중 어느 것을 타야 그곳 까지 가장 빠르게 갈 수 았습니까?Taxi jee-hah-chull bu-suh kee-cha joong aw-nu gus-ull tah-yah gu-goat gah-jee gah-jang bbah-luh-gay gahl-soo-eesum-nee-kah? Can we walk there? 걸어서 그곳에 갈 수 있습니까? Gull-aw-saw guh-gohs-ay gahl-sooee-sum-nee-kah? Have fun as you navigate your way through Korean summer (and umbrellas)! 32 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010


government to focus on international marriages

new venue for film industry The roof measures about 1.5 times the size of a soccer pitch and is supported by what looks like tree limbs. Sounds rustic, but it is actually the new, ultra-modern base for South Korean cinema now under construction in Haeundae. The film center is scheduled for completion in September 2011, and the South Korean and Busan city governments have invested upwards of $140 million on the state-of-the-art complex which will eventually house facilities to train animators as well. The Pusan International Film Festival has enjoyed phenomenal success since it began in 1996, through aggressive backing provided by the national and local governments. Last year, the number of world premieres at the festival reached 98, far outpacing the 26 presented at the Tokyo International Film Festival, which is eleven years older than PIFF. This year's Pusan International Film Festival, to be held in October, has a budget of about $8.4 million, three-quarters of that being covered by the national and local government.

34 BUSANHAPS_august/september 2010

After a Busan Court sentenced three marriage brokers to one year in prison on charges of illegally arranging marriages between Koreans and Vietnamese women, the government in Seoul is taking steps to reform the international matchmaking business. This comes after a 20-year-old Vietnamese bride was fatally stabbed eight days after arriving in Korea by her mentally unstable 47-year-old husband. A new commission is being set up to examine international matchmaking businesses and looking for new ways to help expat brides settle into their new lives in Korea. Overall, 47 percent of international brides come from Vietnam, 26 percent from China and 10 percent from Cambodia. Korean human rights activists say some foreign brides are coaxed by false promises or deceptive advertising and welcomed steps being taken by the government.

SFUNZ in haeundae goes through big changes After years of empty floors and vacant space, Haeundae’s SFUNZ shopping center has thrown a lot of money towards creating a pretty impressive new shopping center, reemerging as the Enter-6 Fashion Square. With the famed clothing store Zara acting as the anchor store, the redesign brings in Calvin Klein, Guess, Egoist, Buckaroo Jeans, The Body Shop and Giordano; these all along with major Korean brand names for clothing and cosmetics. Young Poong books is still holding its spot in the basement with a decent English book selection. Oddly enough, unlike any other section of the store, all of the English books in the section are wrapped in plastic and require a clerk to open them for you. There is even a tersely worded sign stating you can only read “PART” of the book. So much for friendly browsing. There is a movie theater on the top floor with a swank new waiting lounge that has big screen TVs, comic books, magazines and free Internet to help you pass the time until your flick.

the dart knight

by Kelly Keegan & Tory Mock

People who’ve met Johnny Jung even briefly will tell you: he is full of charisma and there is nothing modest about him. People who know him well either love him or like him enough to keep listening. One thing we all agree on: the guy can play a helluva game of darts. Last month, Busan-born Jung, who has co-owned bars in Kyungsung, took first place in a national darts tournament. The win put him in the upper echelon of dart players in Korea. Amazingly, Jung started playing darts only two-and-a-half years ago casually with friends. After taking 3rd place in his first tournament in a lower division, he started taking dart playing more seriously. Practicing six to eight hours a day, he developed his skills to the form he employs today. He has since cut back to two or three hours of practice daily, but it apparently hasn’t affected his game. Although most of Korea’s dart players reside in Seoul, and the game overall has seen a bit of decline since its peak last year, the Kyungsung district has more dart machines than any other spot in Korea. While we have some good players here in Busan, Johnny says he heads to Seoul for the top tournaments. “There are only a few guys I can play darts with that are at my level in Busan.” Perhaps most interesting is his pre-tournament ritual. The morning of the competition, you can find him sitting in a McDonald’s washing down two Sausage McMuffins and hash browns with a Coke. The Sausage McMuffins and then beer during the tournament keep him going through the competitions, which typically run about eight hours. Darts have made for a good side career. With each successful tournament, Johnny claims a nice-sized check along with sponsorships. “I never imagined when I came to Korea that I could play darts for a living,” he said with short laugh. “I’ll keep on playing darts as long as I keep on winning.” Or until McDonalds stops serving Sausage McMuffins in Korea . Jonny Jung, left, and his life-dart-partner, Paul Winterburn

2010 august/september_BUSANHAPS 37

Busan Haps Iss 8  

The Magazine for What's Happening in Busan

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