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APRIL 2018

KOREA • Issue 135 • April 2018

POTTERY VILLAGE Ceramics galore in Icheon and Yeoju


DREAMS Building indie ball from the ground up




Learning to be kind to yourself

A SPORT’s CLUB FOR EVERYONE Guide to amateur sports in Korea





20 Indie team works to build baseball culture in Korea

APRIL 2018


KOREA • Issue 135 • April 2018

POTTERY VILLAGE Ceramics galore in Icheon and Yeoju


DREAMS Building indie ball from the ground up



CARING FOR YOUR MIND IS AS SIMPLE AS THANK YOU Learning to be kind to yourself

A SPORT’s CLUB FOR EVERYONE Guide to amateur sports in Korea

With spring upon us, this can only mean one glorious thing – baseball season has started. While many will head out to catch their favorite KBO teams, one indie team has set out to prove that the independent league can be just as good.






COMING FULL CIRCLE One player’s journey back to baseball


50 6





THE WORLD’S WORLD CUP What to expect at this summer’s World Cup


POTTERY CAPITALS OF SOUTH KOREA The best places for pottery in Korea


CARING FOR YOUR MIND IS AS SIMPLE AS SAYING ‘THANK YOU’ Self-care is as easy as saying ‘thank you’


THE VANISHED The Vanished brings thrilling cat-and-mouse chase to the screen


GYEONGJU Looking for a weekend getaway? Check out the history of Gyeongju




General Inquiries







SPECIAL THANKS TO Robert Michael Evans, David Tizzard, Wendy Palomo, Toni Timmons, Jiaying Lim, James Webb, Kevin Lambert, Marie Boes, Eric “McLee” McDaniel, Choi Ikseong, Francisco Rosario, Ramon Ulacio, Maim Kim, KIBA



To contribute to Groove Korea, email or the appropriate editors. To have Groove Korea delivered to your home or business, email To promote and event or share your opinions, please email or the appropriate editor. The articles are the sole property of GROOVE KOREA. No reproduction is permitted without the express written consent of GROOVE KOREA. The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. © All rights reserved Groove Korea 2006






Jinhae Gunhanje Festival April 1 – 10 Jinhae-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do This largest cherry blossom festival taking place in early April when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Jinhae Gunhangje Festival draws in more than 2 million tourists every year.

Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival (Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival) April 3 Around National Assembly Building in Yeouido The street behind the National Assembly Building will be lined with cherry blossom trees again this year and is the most famous cherry blossom street in Seoul. Visitors can take a stroll along the Hangang River through a tunnel of these majestic trees.

Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival April 6 – 8 Jeju National Univ. area The very first cherry blossoms this year can be seen.


Nonsan Strawberry Festival April 4 – 8 Nonsancheon area, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do The city Nonsan’s rich soil and clean water and air give the region a perfect environment for growing excellent quality strawberries. It has been making its mark as the largest strawberry producer in Korea for 90 years.

Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival April 5 – 13 Seokchon Lake, Jamsil, Seoul

Jeju Canola Flower Festival April 7 – 15 Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwiposi, Jeju The Jeju Canola Flower Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Jeju, signaling the start of spring with fields upon fields of bright yellow flowers and famous for honeymooners’ photos.





Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival April 7 – 8 Hwagae-myeon, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do The Festival is held around Hwagae Market, a traditional open-air market situated on the border between Hadong in Gyeongsangnam-do and Gurye in Jeollanam-do. In particular, the cherry blossom trees along the six kilometer road from the market to Ssanggyesa Temple are a fantastic sight to behold. It is believed that if a couple walks down this road holding hands, they will grow old together in an everlasting relationship. For this reason, the road is sometimes referred to the “wedding road” as well.

Jecheon Cheongpungho Cherry Blossom Festival April 13 – 15 Cheongpungho Lake area in Jecheon-si, Chungcheongbuk-do


Taean International Tulip Festival

Gijang Anchovy Festival

Hampyeong Butterfly Festival

April 19 – May 13

April 19 – 22 Daebyeonhang Port in Gijang-eup, Busan

April 27 – May 7 Hampyeong EXPO Park, Jeollanam-do

Busan’s beautiful port city of Daebyeonhang sees the richest harvest of anchovies in Korea. The beautiful sea decorated with a lighthouse is popular for the Anchovy Festival and for tourist attraction; eg the location for the famous Korean film ‘Friends’.

The festival offers visitors the opportunity to get a closer look at ecology, in particular the region’s butterflies.

Selected as one of the world’s top five tulip festivals, Taean International Tulip Festival showcases tulips, lupine, foxglove, lilies and other advanced breeds of spring flowers.





2018 Asia Project: How little you know about me

A Glowing Day: Koen Van Den Broek

April 7 – July 8 MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea), Seoul Gallery

Until April 27 Gallery BATON (65, 29-gil Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul)

The first in MMCA’s 18/19 exhibition series revolving the keyword ‘ASIA’. The exhibition aims to offer new perspectives through which we view the world, while creating an opportunity to cast light on the values and voices of individuals and communities lost in the recorded mainstream history.

The exhibition unveils new paintings by Koen Van Den Broek readily traverse—or question—the boundaries between abstract and figurative art. The most notable aspect of Broek’s paintings are their peculiar compositions, which achieves through prolonged study and effort. Having studied architecture, Broek holds a strong interest in spatial form.


Another Planet: Photographer JP Hong Until April 29 Canon Gallery (829 Sunreung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul) The exhibition invites the audiences to Arctic landscapes including Iceland and Greenland.







April 6 Gocheok Sky Dome

April 27 Olympic Park

Jacob Collier



April 25 Hyundai Card UNDERSTAGE

April 28 KINTEX, Ilsan







Lady Bird


April 4 Comedy, Drama

April 14 Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Saoirse Ronan Laurie Metcalf Tracy Letts

Dwayne Johnson Jeffrey Dean Morgan

A Quiet Place April 12 Drama, Horror Emily Blunt John Krasinski Noah Jupe


Avengers: Infinity War April 25

Den of Thieves April 19 Action, Crime, Drama Gerard Butler Pablo Schreiber 50 Cent



Field of Indie ball team hopes to build, expand baseball in Korea Story EMMA KALKA Photos ROBERT MICHAEL EVANS







aseball has a long history in South Korea. The professional league – the Korea Baseball Organization – has been around since 1982, though the sport has been played in the country for much longer. But something relatively new to the country, though many other nations around the world have it, is independent baseball. It’s a professional league – currently there are four teams in the KIBA that started up last year. But it operates on a different system than the KBO, even though the teams in indie ball often play KBO minor league teams. Choi Ikseong, the founder of one such team called the Journeymen, said that he started the team three years ago to fill a gap in Korean baseball. In America, the baseball league is divided into many divisions such as Class A, Double-A, and the Major League, but here, such a system doesn’t exist. “In Korea, there are only Triple-A and the major league, so young

players who have failed in those leagues have nowhere to play. I have seen a lot of young kids who have entered the big league but were expelled quickly,” he said. “So this independent league is a great replacement for Single-A, Double-A and many other small minor leagues, and also gives players a second chance.”

Eric McDaniel, a player and also instructor for Journeymen, expands on that idea, saying that in Korea many players often see their professional years cut short by having to take two years off to serve in the military. But more than that, he said that he and Choi hope to further develop the independent league as well as baseball culture as a whole in the country. “We know that the KBO is very vertical. And it’s horizontal with its association – it’s rules… So Koreans think it’s only KBO or nothing,” he said. “So, Choi Ikseong and I wanted to provide more opportunities for these kids. Ins and outs of an indie team The independent baseball league in Korea functions similarly to the KBO, though due to the smaller number of teams, they play about 60



games during the six-month season from March to September instead of the 144 games that the major league teams play. They train five days a week and play official games on Mondays, though outside playing other KIBA teams, they also play college teams and KBO Futures League teams. However, unlike major teams owned by conglomerates, KIBA is not limited to the same restrictions in terms of recruitment. They can sign as many foreign players as they can handle. The Journeymen currently have three foreign players – Francisco Rosario from the Dominican Republic, Ramon Ulacio from Venezuela and Eric McDaniel from the U.S. Many of the local players on the Journeymen are former professional players just out of military service and high school prospects who didn’t sign with the KBO right away. Choi, the founder of the Journeymen, has played baseball a long time, including a stint with an independent baseball team in Long Beach in the U.S. The main reason he wanted to create the team was because while the U.S. and Japan have long had established independent leagues, it was something that Korea lacked. He said that he faced a lot of prejudice when he started, with people telling him that he wouldn’t make it. And there were a lot of hardships including financial issues. He explained that often baseball teams are funded by the government,

From left: Eric McDaniel, Choi Ikseong, Francisco Rosario

So this independent league is a great replacement for Single-A, Double-A and many other small minor leagues,and also gives players a second chance. Choi Ikseong, founder of Journeymen



From left: Choi Ikseong, Ramon Ulacio, Francisco Rosario and Eric McDaniel

but governments don’t see the independent league as a business. “For us, we want a more intimate relationship with fans and we’re hoping to turn that into a sports business,” he said. “But the hardest part was the notion of the baseball players, for them to acknowledge there is an independent league,” he said. He added that they don’t have a lot of fans yet because they just started the league and there are also marketing issues and it is difficult to find proper stadiums and venues to use. The Journeymen are lucky enough to play a lot of games at a big stadium in Mokdong.


“However, the level of interest keeps growing, so it has the potential to grow bigger,” he said. For Rosario and Ulacio, both 27, coming to the independent league in Korea was nothing short of a big change. The two played in the minor leagues in the U.S. and came to Korea for the opportunity to break into Asian baseball. Francisco Rosario played for New York Yankees AA program. His defense was compared to Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramon Ulacio played for St. Louis Cardinals AA program pitching consistently 88-92mph and can touch 94mph. Rosario said going from the

Yankees system to an independent team was a near complete turnaround for him. Then, he said, you were given just about everything you could ask for and coming to the independent team was liking starting over. But it’s what pushes him to keep going and working hard. He said for him, the chance to break into the KBO was one of the biggest reasons he came, though ultimately, he hopes to learn a lot and get good experience. For Ulacio, he hopes beyond possibly playing in the KBO, he wouldn’t mind possibly having the chance to play ball in other Asian leagues. But more than that, they just want


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We just came over and try to do our best to help the team, first of all. And do the most that we can. And besides that, if we can hopefully get the opportunity to move up and get picked up by another team like the KBO or whatever, we will do our best to keep playing the game that we love. Francisco Rosario, shortstop

to do their best for the team. “We just came over and try to do our best to help the team, first of all. And do the most that we can. And besides that, if we can hopefully get the opportunity to move up and get picked up by another team like the KBO or whatever, we will do our best to keep playing the game that we love,” Rosario said. Ulacio added that above all his goal is to help the team win in anyway that he can. “So it’s not just this year that we can come over and play in Korea, that we can keep playing here. Help the team and just enjoy and appreciate the opportunity that we are getting over here,” he said. “I don’t want to take it for granted. I just focus on


trying to help the team, in helping lead the young guys that don’t have as much experience as me. I just don’t want to take that for granted. I just want to play hard every day. And do my best – how I always do.” If you build it… Part of building and growing the independent system and baseball culture in Korea, is getting people to understand what players go through in order to play professionally, according to McDaniel. He said that players dedicate their lives to baseball starting in middle school and high school, often joining a sports curriculum in their schools which only focuses on baseball and

sports instead of traditional studies. From there, there is only one place to go in the country – the KBO. With only 10 pro teams and 12 in the KBO Futures League, spots are limited. Not to mention, the KBO holds a near monopoly on high school prospects, making it difficult for them to be scouted by outside leagues. “So you have these kids train like it’s the military for baseball ever since high school, but only have a vertical platform to get there, I mean, what happens after? What other opportunities do they have? They either go back to the KBO system as a coach or be an assistant coach at a high school,” McDaniel said. “They dedicate their whole lives to it and


when they’re done with baseball, they have limited opportunities.” This is where the independent league comes in. At first glance, having another league with more teams provides opportunities for more jobs in baseball from coaches to front office to even instructors. It also provides a second chance to players who have their careers interrupted while they are still in their prime by military service, said McDaniel. Without multi-division leagues in place, players can turn to the independent league to get back into the swing of things. “The indie ball program is more of a facilitation for those kinds of players as well. You have these awesome players from the KBO and then they’re done because of two years? Sometimes they’re in their prime… so we want to provide these kids with the opportunity to play professional ball again because they have that talent,” he said. McDaniel says as a Korean American adoptee who played competitive ball in the States, people like him working in the independent league can also play a role as an international bridge. Not only does he play for the Journeymen and is an instructor, he helps recruit players from overseas and connects local players with international leagues. “In order to grow, Korean baseball as a whole, it needs to internationalize more. It needs to cross its borders. And they need to have people that understand it fundamentally at a player level, at a cultural level and also understand how we bridge it,” he said. He added that Choi’s vision locally is to provide opportunity and to grow baseball as a community. McDaniel’s role in this, he continues, is to use his experience of playing baseball in the U.S. and 10 years running businesses in Korea to help. “I understand both cultures and

industries very well,” he said. “I want to give these kids visions and dreams and opportunities outside Korea. That’s important.” Expanding beyond borders McDaniel said that while he respects the KBO for having a good recruiting and training system in place, there are limitations. And part of that is allowing prospects and player opportunities to go outside of Korea. Korea is a small country, so the baseball industry is obviously going

to be smaller than others like the U.S. As such, with the number of talented players growing, they need to have the chance to find a place even if it’s not in Korea. “There’s no junior college program. There’s just KBO camps. There’s just high school camps. The intermediate program to develop high school athletes into a different level and place them into better opportunities is very limited because of the current system that’s already built that needs to be changed. Because the athletes are getting hugely better

From left: Kim Tae-woo, centerfield; Kwon Hee-do, third base



and not enough opportunities are being provided,” he said. He continues that his personal goal is to show young players a different opportunity and a different way of baseball. That they aren’t just limited to the KBO model. “If you come outside of the KBO because of the army, you’re not left with nothing. You have something here to do it again. Not only are you going to be playing for the indie team, I’m going to be watching, evaluating and scouting you. I’m going to be the one talking to MLB teams, the independent teams all

over the world that I think I can get them placed at,” he said. “But I need to do it now and I need to have the support locally from Korean fans that understand it. And of course, expats as well.” He said that through the independent league in Korea, he can help place players in other countries, whether it’s the Australian League, Taiwan league or even independent leagues in the U.S. On the flip side, he said that it’s important to bring in foreign players to fill the gaps. Currently, Korean baseball is lacking power pitchers,

so this is one place where foreign players can fill in and help further Korean baseball as a whole, which is both McDaniel and Choi’s ultimate goal. “Our vision is the same because he loves baseball, I love baseball. He’s very dedicated to what he does. His passion is baseball. My passion is building business and baseball – the first thing I ever loved is baseball. And giving opportunities to kids,” he said. “I don’t think he or I could be happier, you know, growing the industry and making sure to provide these kids’ dream come true.”

In order to grow, Korean baseball as a whole, it needs to internationalize more. It needs to cross its borders. And they need to have people that understand it fundamentally at a player level, at a cultural level and also understand how we bridge it. Eric “McLee” McDaniel, right field






FULL CIRCLE One player’s journey back to baseball Story EMMA KALKA Photos ROBERT MICHAEL EVANS


f you ask Eric McDaniel what his first love was, he’ll immediately answer baseball. Adopted from Korea to the U.S. when his was nearly four, his parents started playing catch with him when he was six. At the time, they thought he was left-handed so put a glove on his right hand. This mistake would help set him up for a unique ability in his playing career – turning him into a switch pitcher. Meaning McDaniel could go out and pitch left-handed for the first few innings, then switch to his right and still keep going strong. At the age of fifteen his ability spread all over the country since he played for scout teams that traveled all over America.


He had dreamed of playing Division 1 baseball in university and even had several opportunities and scholarships lined up for him, but when his father was diagnosed with cancer his second year of junior college, he made the decision to defer the offers and return to his native Kansas City to continue in Division 2 baseball so he could be with his family. McDaniel’s baseball career was looking good for him though. At Jefferson Community College he was on the All-Star Team his last year in his division. That following summer he played for the Farmington Firebirds, which is considered a pro team of handpicked Division 1 players from across the country. He had a .380 batting average and stole over 25 bases. Then at Rockhurst University, halfway into the season after the move, he was at one point leading the nation in stolen bases and had a .350 batting average in the only wood bat league in university baseball. He had met Coach Blando, who was an official scout for the Kansas City Royals who was prospecting him as a free agent if he finished the season. But due to financial problems and his father’s illness, he made a tough decision. He chose to walk away from baseball. “I wasn’t happy as a 21-yearold kid going back to Kansas City, having this weight on my shoulders. Unfortunately, I chose to quit baseball half the season in and got an internship to do finance,” he said.


I wasn’t happy as a 21-yearold kid going back to Kansas City, having this weight on my shoulders. Unfortunately, I chose to quit baseball half the season in and got an internship to do finance.

During that last year of university, he had the chance to meet his first Korean friend – there weren’t many Korean Americans in his city – which inspired him to start looking into his own roots and cultural heritage. This led to his next big decision. When the stock market crashed in 2008, he quit is finance job, packed up his bags, sold his car, and moved to South Korea without knowing the language or anyone. He hoped to recultivate his culture and eventually connect with his birth parents. His first two years he worked at a hagwon as an English teacher and was able to find his parents, something he considers lucky as most adoptees never get a chance. “I love my American family. I know who I am. And I think that’s very important before you find your Korean family. For me, it wasn’t a sense of closure, it was finding new information that I didn’t know,” he said. “And total forgiveness to have a bigger family.” He continues that even though he was abandoned, he doesn’t blame his Korean parents. He considers it a second chance at life as an opportunity to succeed. For example, wouldn’t have the ability to have such a loving mom and dad back in the U.S. However, he wanted to meet his extended family here that had nothing to do with his abandonment. “Family is about growth. You can’t have that without total forgiveness and love. So that’s my advice to any Korean adoptee. Be ready emotionally before you reach out. Otherwise, you’ll never get what you want.”


After two years in Korea, McDaniel said he wanted to do something different than teaching English, so he started working in event planning. By 2010, he became the head of the company and grew the business so much – cashing in on the import of Western-style nightlife culture with the concept of VIP management, table service and Western DJs – they were doing events every weekend at clubs, lounges, and hotels all over the city. It was then that McDaniel realized that he could do both consulting and partnerships with other clubs while running a club as well. McDaniel’s entertainment company became so good at promotions that they could open a club that could fill hundreds of people every weekend at the same time provide BTL promotions for other venues. And thus, Boombar in Itaewon was born. McDaniel was a smaller cofounder of the club for a time, but then left to start his own restaurant. He created a deokbokki franchise with his older brother, who is also a Korean adoptee and a former chairmen of a top tourism company in Korea. He operated it for two years and learned everything he could about the business. It was during that time that he learned the business wasn’t for him. Therefore, they sold and closed the business and then he worked on redeveloping Club Opium as a partner making it one of the most popular clubs in Itaewon. Eric also produced several shows for the YouTube channel




But I realized I wanted to do more. He realized I wanted to do more. To grow independent baseball association better in Korea.


DigitalSojuTV. It is famous for North Korean Try series and South Korean Girls Try series. After all that, he worked with his longtime friend Rick Heymann, combining Heymann’s 15 years of experience in the music industry at, which is the biggest distribution and label for classical music, with his own experience in DJ booking, artist management and event management to launch the company Stellar Antics Entertainment. Currently, the company consists of McDaniel and Heymann as the two heads, Maim Kim who does PR and hospitality at events, Gang Yueun who is a marketer, and Jin Han who handles marketing and operations. The company specializes in premium events with a focus on music, celebrities and entertainment culture. The music branch provides solutions to major music companies in Korea, while the event side hosts parties at premium lounges and venues all over the city. But even with all his success in business, McDaniel wasn’t done with baseball just yet. Two years ago while filling in as a guest color commentator for the Lotte Giants on an English radio station, he garnered attention from the other Korean sportscasters from MBC Sports Plus. He met Heo Gyu-yeon, a former player, and Ha Myung-jae - both announcers for MBC Sports Plus. They asked about his story and he told them that he used to play in America as a switch pitcher. “Mr. Heo just asked me a lot of questions. And then he goes, ‘Do you want to play again?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely,’” McDaniel said. He credits Julio Franco as his inspiration. Franco is the hitting coach for Lotte Giants farm team and was the oldest person to play in the MLB. He only quit playing professional ball in Japan at the age of 57. “I was like, if he can do it. I can do it. It was simple,” McDaniel said. The following spring, he tried out for the LG Twins. Unfortunately,

he was told two things afterwards – if he was really serious he needed to switch his citizenship and go to military service so he could play as a Korean since spots for foreign players were limited. Or, he could play independent baseball and they would refer him. However, the LG farm team didn’t refer him to the indie team The Paju Challengers as they said they would. While he wanted to go to the KBO as a foreign player, logically, he knew it didn’t make business sense – he knew he wasn’t a top dollar prospect being away from professional baseball for 12 years then at the age of 32. So he continued to focus on business. And then, the following winter he was introduced to Choi Ikseong, the founder of Journeymen, by his long time friend and business partner Gang Yueun. They met and he tried out for the team the following week. “But I realized I wanted to do more. He realized I wanted to do more. To grow independent baseball association better in Korea,” McDaniel said. So today, outside of playing right field for the Journeymen, he acts as a hitting and outfield instructor, a scout and agent for foreign players

– even setting up another branch under his company called SA Sports to manage them – and he is also building a sports academy called Alpha Squad Academy which works with young Korean prospects to prepare them to play baseball in the U.S. He also is part of the management team for the Journeymen called SSOG – Special Sports Operations Group – which is dedicated to developing the indie ball system and culture of baseball in Korea. “Besides baseball, my second passion is making people happy. And the best way I know how to make people happy is creating a platform for people to have fun,” he said. He continued that luckily through his business, he has five revenue streams that intertwine in business practice that allow him to do this. “Because of my passion to make people happy and creating entertainment, and my constant love for baseball since I was four years old, I’m now at a time to give back hopefully what I’ve learned to the baseball industry in Korea,” he said. “And help mentor athletes and other entrepreneurs who are looking for solutions.”

Because of my passion to make people happy and creating entertainment, and my constant love for baseball since I was four years old, I’m now at a time to give back hopefully what I’ve learned to the baseball industry in Korea. 33


Photo courtesy of



The World’s



A rundown of what to expect Story DAVID TIZZARD Photos sourced from Google


eorge Orwell is a name that has often been mentioned in relation to Russia, its history, and its politics. Few, if any, however, will have done so in connection to the great sport of football. In a rather less well-known essay of his from 1941 entitled “The Sporting Spirit”, Orwell described international football as “war minus the shooting”. And, hyperbole aside, he may have had a point. More recently, Calusewitz’s famed aphorism has been rebranded to champion the idea that “sport is politics by other means”. And, with the upcoming FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia this summer, those observations may just prove to be correct. The FIFA World Cup comes hot on the heels of the Winter Olympics that were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. These Games were notable for two things: heralding the start of a possible peace between the two Koreas as dignitaries and athletes crossed the DMZ and headed into Gangwondo; and also the absence of the Russian national team for statesponsored doping. Their athletes were allowed to compete under the Olympic flag but IOC President Thomas Bach publically prohibited the use of the Russian flag in any celebrations in a clear statement of just how the world sporting body felt about the actions of the Russian nation on the world stage. A cyberattack carried out on the official PyeongChang Olympic computer servers during the Opening Ceremony that put the system out for approximately 12 hours was never fully attributed to one country, but many fingers once more turned to Putin. >>



Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese forward for Real Madrid and Portugal national team

Joachim Löw, current head coach of the Germany national team

So now attention turns to Moscow and the recently re-elected president there. Will Russia be able to hold a global event with anywhere near the success of the recent Winter Olympics we have seen here? Moreover, what will be the underlying message and theme that people take away from the competition when it closes on the 16th of June? Some have even questioned the validity of whether it should even be held in the first place following the deaths of Russians abroad. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – himself admittedly no stranger to questionable comments in the diplomatic world – went as far as to agree with comparisons made to the upcoming event with Hitler and the hosting of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Johnson has urged English fans, often notorious on the continent for the unruly behavior, to stay away. The English national football team, however, have qualified in some style under the new young manager Gareth Southgate. And so, having finally got some of the politics out of the way, attention can be turned to the actual sport itself. The last World Cup held in Brazil 2014 was won by a swashbuckling German


team managed by perennial nose-picker and undergarment scratcher Joachim Löw. The tournament itself was made famous by the Germans running riot over the hosts Brazil in the semi-final, destroying them 7-1 and leaving most inside the Estádio Mineirão Stadium in tears. Löw will lead the German team again in Russia looking to emulate Italy and Brazil in successfully defending the trophy. They should qualify from their group but to do so they will have to finish above Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. The South Koreans will remember the Germans from the semi-final here in 2002 when, one step

away from reaching the final in their home country, their dream was finally vanquished by a late Michael Ballack strike. South Korea should consider qualification from the group a success. A lot of their hopes will be pinned on the energy and guile of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min. He has scored 20 goals in his 62 international appearances so far and his domestic form will give the Red Devils great encouragement. Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal will face each other in Group B alongside Morocco and Iran. Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo will no doubt be looking to add to his list of nigh-on

So now attention turns to Moscow and the recently re-elected president there. Will Russia be able to hold a global event with anywhere near the success of the recent Winter Olympics we have seen here?


Lionel Messi, Argentine forward for Spanish club Barcelona and Argentina national team

Son Heung-Min, South Korean footballer who plays as a winger or a forward for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the South Korea national team

incomparable achievements with a World Cup to pull the curtain down on his career. Portugal were the surprise winners of the European Championships in France 2016 so shouldn’t be written off to early. Another surprise team from the France 2016 were Iceland. Their equally mesmerizing and terrifying Viking war chant was probably the most talked about event of the last championship. It was given its most vociferous airing following their well-deserved victory in the knockout game against England in Nice. They will have the pleasure of coming up against Messi and co. of Argentina. Beaten finalists last time out, Argentina have a rich pedigree in this competition. And, while he may have never proven whether or not he can do it on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke, the World Cup remains the only real trophy that Messi has yet to win in football. And considering his career has featured nearly 400 goals in just over 400 games for his club Barcelona, a wise man would not necessarily bet against him. France were hosts and winners of the World Cup 20 years ago with enfant terrible Zinedine Zidane scoring two goals in the final.

They have a young team full of speed and skill at the moment and if manager Didier Deschamps – the captain of that winning team in 1998 and two years later at Euro 2000 – can keep them all singing the La Marseillaise from the same hymn sheet, they will consider themselves well within a shout of succeeding once more. Certainly any team with the attacking talents of Griezmann, Lemar, Dembele, and Mbappe would be considered a threat – even if they do have to carry the oftlackluster dabbing antics of Paul Pogba. Orwell in his essay questioned just why it is that spectators of sports believe that “jumping and kicking a ball are tests of national virtue.” But, despite that wise man’s incredulity – football remains the world’s sport. There are 32 teams in total competing in the World Cup, and it would take a near herculean effort to compile all their various strengths and weaknesses in this short piece. Yet all the teams competing in Russia will secretly harbor desires of conquering the world. Of returning victorious against all other nations. War without the shooting. And, where better else to do it than Putin’s backyard.

South Korea should consider qualification from the group a success. A lot of their hopes will be pinned on the energy and guile of Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.



Seoul Saturday Football & Seoul Sunday Football

For fans of football (that’s soccer for the Americans), there are two long established leagues in the area - both are split into two divisions with Saturday football having a total of 15 teams while Sunday has 12. The leagues are open to players at all levels. Matches are played - rather obviously - on Saturday or Sunday. For more information on how to join a team, join the leagues’ Facebook group pages or visit their websites. Various individual teams also have Facebook pages. Seoul Saturday Football: Teams - Seoul Fever FC, HBC, Seohyeon Celtic FC, SCFC, INTs, AC Villans, Seoul Wolves FC, Seoul Fury FC, Seoul Villans, Phoenix FC, Outkasts, SISC, St. Pat’s Falcons FC, Seoul Cosmos, OPPA, CONQ ShowPage.php • groups/291588784329030/ Seoul Sunday Football: Teams - Songdo Spurs, Dogil, Incheon, Totoro, Wanderers, Anyang, Cheongju, Harriers, Inter Suwon, MSFC, SBFC, Songdo Celtic • https://www.facebook. com/groups/497925220349089/about/

Daegu Softball League Started in 2007, this co-ed softball league consists of two divisions and eight teams.It is one of the longest running foreign sports leagues in South Korea. Games are played on Sundays in the spring. For more information on games or how to get involved, contact them through the league through its website or Facebook page. Daegu Softball League: Teams - All Balls, C-Ball, Dingers and Stingers, Dirtbags, Dream Catchers, Game of Throws, Good Wood, The Hitsters groups/309846349119550/

A sport A guide to amateur sports clubs Story EMMA KALKA


hile there are plenty of opportunities to watch various professional sports in South Korea, for some of us, watching is just not enough. Granted, not everyone can play professionally. For those everyday folks out there looking for a league or club to join - or for those who are just looking for local sports clubs to support - here are just a few options available.

for everyone Seoul Baseball League Started in 2011, the league’s season runs from March to June with a final championship at the end of the season. The teams are all sponsored by local bars and meet up at Gwacheon Government Complex. It’s too late to join as a player this season, however there are still opportunities to go watch games and support the teams. For more information on the league, visit its Facebook page.


COMMUNITY Seoul Gaels Football Club Seoul Gaels Football Club has been around since 2002 and is so far the only Gaelic football club in the city. They have both men’s and women’s teams and often travel to compete in tourneys around Asia. While an Irish sport - it’s said to be the most popular of the Gaelic games - the club welcomes people of all nationalities and playing levels. The group has also starting hurling training as well. The season runs from March to October and training sessions are on Saturdays. For more information on how to join and match schedules, contact them through email or visit their Facebook page.

Busan Flag Football Federation


For fans of American football in Busan, there is an organized flag football league open to any and all. BFFF allows teams of at least six people to join and hosts regular games and tournaments each year. Games are mostly played on Saturdays or Sundays. To get more information, follow their Facebook page.

ROK Ultimate

Seoul Flyers Started in 2006, Seoul Flyers says its a “social club with a running problem.” The group consists of members from various countries and backgrounds, as well as various levels of running. Some do marathons and 5Ks, while others just enjoy getting out and running with a fun group of people. They are open to all levels of runners encouraging members not to worry about their speed or ability. The focus of the group is on health, well-being and making friends. To get more information on how to join, visit the group’s website or Facebook page.

Seoul Sisters Rugby Football Club Started in 2005, Seoul Sisters Rugby Football Club is the oldest women’s rugby team in the country and was instrumental in helping develop two Korean women’s teams. They have played matches around Asia as well as hosting international teams here, and a few of its members have been on the South Korean national team. The club is open to women from all countries and backgrounds. Matches are mostly played against the local Korean teams, though they do occasionally go abroad. For more information on the club, visit its website or Facebook

Founded in 2009, there are many goals of the ROK Ultimate frisbee league, one of which is to promote the game in South Korea at all levels of play. The league has a fall and spring season with 13 teams from all over the country competing. ROK Ultimate is open to anyone who wants to play regardless of skill level. For more information on games and how to join, check out the league’s website and Facebook page.

Other Groups International Sports Club Seoul Expats Handball Club Chiefs Hockey Korea Seoul Tennis Canada Ball Hockey Korea Korea Lacrosse Association Korean Cricket Association Korea on the Rocks



of CultureS

by the Philippine Women’s Club

Women’s club seeks to bridge cultural divides


Story and Photos WENDY PALOMO


The Hanbok and Tea Party organized by PWC

PWC is not limited to sharing the Philippine culture. In its desire to promote mutual respect and appreciation, PWC takes the lead in introducing the culture of the host country in its most attractive form – hanbok fashion.


here are a number of women expat organizations in Seoul. They make the lives of women expats more active and livelier. There are more established ones and some are recentlyestablished organizations. But they all draw women for the same reasons: belonging to a community and having a support group. Expat women, working or not, thrive in a community where they feel they belong. Most often, membership to an expat group empowers the members to do things that were just once imagined. There is strength in numbers, so they say. And when women support each other, incredible things happen. Women expat organizations are known to hold events that benefit noble causes and projects. The Philippine Women’s Club (PWC) is fairly new here in Seoul but it has actively pursued its aim to promote Philippine cultural pride through its activities and has continuously fostered amiable relationships among the local and foreign communities based on mutual respect through volunteer work as well as organization and participation in social and cultural affairs. For Filipino women, the PWC bridges the social

divide with other expat groups. The PWC started in 2013 as “The 601 Habit”. It has done meaningful projects for beneficiaries in the Philippines and here in Korea. In July 2017, it celebrated its re-birth from its original group name to become what is now the “Philippine Women’s Club”. True to its thrust to promote the Philippine culture, the PWC holds an annual month-long program called “Buwan ng Wika sa Korea” every August, a take-off from the Buwan ng Wika celebration back in the Philippines. During these celebrations, interactive lectures on the Filipino culture are done in several locations such as hagwons, multicultural and global centers. Members and volunteers of PWC spend time reaching out to local and expat children to give presentations about the Philippine culture through songs, dances and games. The highlight of the “Buwan ng Wika sa Korea” is the Philippine Jewelry Making. This is a popular and effective activity of introducing the Philippine craft of making accessories using materials from the Philippines. Though on limited slots, this is open to everyone interested to learn and appreciate

Philippine handmade accessories. PWC is not limited to sharing the Philippine culture. In its desire to promote mutual respect and appreciation, PWC takes the lead in introducing the culture of the host country in its most attractive form – Hanbok fashion. Last year, PWC hosted the Hanbok and Tea Party and it was well-received. Participants learned how to do the elegant and graceful ritual of a tea ceremony. Interestingly, timing and order of preparation matter a lot and the way one does it could give varying results – your tea could taste exquisite at its best or bitter at its worst. Preparing tea requires skills… and serenity. The Hanbok and Tea Party was an impressive sight and gave valuable experience. This year, the PWC is hosting another this coming April 28. Participants come in their hanbok and enjoy the tea ceremony and dessert-making at the Korean Temple Food Center in Anguk-dong, Jongno. This promises to be another fun and memorable event. Inquiries and request for reservations, send your email to: The Philippine Women’s Club has a Facebook page (search Philippine Women’s Club). All Filipino and other expat women are welcome to join their activities and be part of the community. As one respected Filipina said, “Remember your roots but expand your worldview”… this is true for all, that’s why sharing of cultures is an integral experience for everyone.



s r t s r e p u S C WW Starlight’s o-wrestling in pr ts ee m e qu es

oduction glittery new pr




COMMUNITY WWC Ring Girls postcard

WWC Superstars official poster


tarlight Productions is at it again! In addition to the aerial elements which has distinguished them in the Seoul burlesque scene, this time they are presenting burlesque with a brand new high spectacle component: professional wrestling. Inspired by the Netflix series, “GLOW,” and their own love of the 80s, producer Flowerbomb and director/ choreographer Sacré Bleu decided to (quite literally) tackle a show unlike anything Seoul has seen before. WWC threads progressive elements, such as an actual twitter fight, with 80s nostalgia for big hair, neon and power shoulders. “It’s a three-way lovechild of Fame, Flashdance, and Rocky,” says director Sacré Bleu. The show is set inside a wrestling ring and features a strong ensemble, impeccable fight choreography, and the left of center charm of 80s cinema. There are segments of pole and chair dancing, tease, live singing, intense choreography, and of course: professional wrestling. WWC was written by three local playwrights, Toni Timmins, Pseudo Nymph and Matt Bokan. The show follows a group of ring girls as they navigate their way around the Dominatrix referee, aspiring wrestler emcee, and a host of wrestlers with personalities (almost) too big for the ring. Each fight is intricately crafted by DongHee who “keeps our cast safe and empowered during his intense fight choreography.”

The show follows a group of Ring Girls as they navigate their way around the Dominatrix referee, aspiring wrestler Emcee, and a host of wrestlers with personalities (almost) too big for the ring

The team for WWC is from all walks of the Korean performance scene. “We are lucky enough to have professional wrestler DongHee from the Pro-wrestling Society, and to have had the chance to pull from the growing acting and burlesque community for this production,” Sacre Bleu said. The director promises that if you attend you’ll recognize a few of the performers. House of Tease’s own Vanessica Carver and Maia Pussy Sparkles, and House of Hathor’s Blue are among the star studded cast. The show will be at G-15 Sonnendeck in Itaewon on April 6th, 7th, 13th, and 14th. Doors open at 9pm and show starts at 10 pm. Tickets are 20,000 for general admission (15,000 if you bring along a ticket from Seoul Players’ Imaginary Invalid [March 24th-April 1st]), and 30,000 for VIP. After the show, DJ REREKAT will be spinning to keep the party going all night.

For all the information, visit the event facebook page at https://www.facebook. com/events/192277101380532/ or check out Starlight’s website at



CarinG for your mind is as simple as saying

Simple ways to remember how to be kind Story JIAYING LIM



The idea of hopeful optimism and being appreciative of the small, simple things in life is gaining traction in psychological care.

P >>

roduction for 2018’s season of American TV series “Younger” finally got underway last month and I am probably not the only one eagerly anticipating the show’s return. In part, lead actor and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster, both in character and off camera, emanates vibes of hope and appreciation, and this positive energy is contagious. Foster shared her mantra on a recent talk show. “The idea of youth is how you look at the world, with hopeful optimism and trying new things.” This was in relation to how she convincingly pulls off her role in “Younger” where she plays a 40-something divorced mother passing herself off as a 26-year-old millennial in order to land a job. The idea of hopeful optimism and being appreciative of the small, simple things in life is gaining traction in psychological care. The evidence supports this: Many studies have demonstrated how expressing gratitude helps alleviate mental health difficulties and chronic occupational stress (American Psychiatric Association, 2017). In fact, positive effects can be felt just after four weeks of a gratitudebased writing activity. Gratitude is greatly aligned with mindfulness, a practice that is increasingly being recognised as a form of exercise for our mind.

Saying thank you for the present (in every sense of the word) keeps us focused on the here and now, rather than us getting lost in past regrets or overwhelmed with future, unrealised wants. These words may sound straightforward and anyone can repeat a cliché, isn’t it? You may wonder how to apply this in real life, where we oftentimes are somehow too busy to afford the time for activities that appear to offer little by way of swift, tangible results. We are too busy to ponder and be mindful, but not too busy for our devices. The ubiquity of instant gratification through smartphones and delivery services (South Korea has pampered us living here with its online shopping and payment systems) makes us forget that life was not always this speedy, in addition to encouraging our need for quick outcomes. Moreover, merely having a smart device around can impact our cognitive functioning. Simply hearing, seeing, or sensing device notifications causes distractions that impair how we perform tasks (Stothart, Mitchum, & Yehnert, 2015). Even the physical presence of a smartphone (get this, it does not even have to be your own phone) can negatively impact performance on cognitively demanding tasks (Thornton, Faires, Robbins, & Rollins, 2014). >>



Little wonder why most of us may now have difficulty focusing on the simple things. On top of this, as adults, we easily grow impatient. We forget that our personality is an amorphous grouping of our preferences that have slowly built up over our lifespan. It was our ceaseless practice of small actions that eventuated as reflexive habits and

Well, what’s one to do about this? It is basic enough and it starts with saying thank you to yourself, being compassionATE toward yourself, and being appreciative of your own efforts. behavioural quirks. We now take things that we had spent decades learning and honing for granted, take it out on ourselves for not picking up or sticking with a new routine, and give up in the face of slight difficulty. Well, what’s one to do about this? It is basic enough and it starts with saying thank you to yourself, being compassion toward yourself, and being appreciative of your own efforts. A way I like to reframe skill acquisition for my clients is to introduce the idea of baby steps. We aren’t even going to call it walking; let us just start with putting a foot forward and feeling the weight of us on this new ground. We can’t walk if we can’t crawl; can’t crawl if we can’t feel our feet on the ground. Being kind to ourselves is at


the heart of it all. It is easy to feel discouraged after the gazillionth time failing at building a new habit or routine, and to resign ourselves to a vicious cycle of defeat and demoralisation. Remember, we weren’t born into this world with our current level of general knowledge and linguistic abilities. These know-how and skills came about following hard effort and no doubt several roadblocks in life. Therefore, having a simple, actionable plan serves as an anchor for us to regroup and remember what it is we hope to build into a positive routine. Here are some excellent selfcare steps that researchers and practitioners recommend to kick-start this process of habit creation: • Say thank you: Every day, jot down one thing that you are grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. It does not have to be a profound or special event. This is where the notion of hopeful optimism is relevant. We may forget to be grateful for the littlest of things, while children, with their wideeyed curiosity and playfulness, are appreciative even of a plain sheet of paper to doodle on or shred into bits. Try looking at mundane, commonplace occurrences with a new lens. In Korea’s spring season, something to be grateful for could be as simple as an afternoon with clean air and no smog. • Take a mindful break: Every day, take a few minutes to stop whatever you are doing and concentrate on mindful breathing or mindful listening. Shift your attention from your actions to your breath (for mindful breathing) or the sounds around you (for mindful listening). Many clients report that even a brief mindful break results in a






A GRATITUDE PRACTICE MONDAY Reflect on, “What am I grateful for today?” Gratitude

TUESDAY Simply give awareness to and notice your in-and out-breaths for a fe minutes

• Be intentionally, consciously kind: Every day, send someone a short message of kind words, perhaps concern, praise, or thanks. We feel good when we help others feel good; social psychologists have found that kindness begets kindness.

Mindful breathing

WEDNESDAY Message of thanks to a family member or friend

calmer, happier them. These breaks can be scheduled with a cue, for instance, whenever your notification sound goes off (that message can surely wait for a minute!) or in line when grabbing a coffee break.

Who would I like to give thanks, praise, or a compliment to this week?

Keep it simple and less is more. The accompanying infographic breaks down a few more self-care steps into an easy five-day plan for you to try from today. Just keep these five items in mind and repeat them regularly to form a new habit of gratitude and kindness. And keep your smartphone out of sight while you do so.

THURSDAY Kindness to others

Tell a shop staff how helpful he/she had been

FRIDAY Lift yourself up by telling yourself, “It’s okay that I had...” or “It’s okay to feel...”

Kindness to self

References: American Psychiatric Association. (2017, Aug 4). Practicing gratitude can be good for mental health and wellbeing. Retrieved from apa-blogs/apa-blog/2017/08/practicing-gratitude-can-begood-for-mental-health-and-well-being Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015). The attentional cost of receiving a cell phone notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 893-897. Thornton, B., Faires, A., Robbins, M., & Rollins, E. (2014). The mere presence of a cell phone may be distracting: Implications for attention and task performance. Social Psychology, 45, 479-488.


You did it! Congratulations! 48

Jiaying Lim is a licensed clinical and registered psychologist with Couchology, a private practice in Seoul, South Korea, which provides English psychological services; evening and weekend appointments are available to accommodate every client’s busy schedule. For more information, visit or like Couchology at https://www.facebook. com/couchology/




Icheon and Yeoju: Pottery Capital of South Korea Artisan shops offer variety of porcelain Story and Photos WENDY PALOMO

always look forward to the pottery classes at the National Museum of Korea, particularly their Blue and White Porcelain and Buncheong Celadon classes. My amateur hands have painted and shaped some of the art works I display at home, but I knew I needed to get my own collection of these precious pieces. So, one cloudy Monday morning, my friends and I were on our way to Yeoju and Icheon, declared by UNESCO to be



a City of Crafts and Folk Art. It was a little over an hour of leisurely driving from Ichon (Seoul) before we arrived at our first destination, Sam Bo in Yeoju. Sam Bo is a blue and white porcelain shop that boasts a large collection of plates and bowls of different shapes and sizes. Personally, I wanted shallower square plates, but I thought I wasn’t prepared for the cost, so I opted for deeper square dishes instead that could work well as serving dishes or pasta plates. Square plates, especially those with corner designs, are harder to make so tend to be more expensive pieces. On our way out, we were treated to a delightful surprise. A kindly ahjussi ushered us over to Sam Bo’s factory located just behind the shop. It was awesome to see the different production stages of these blue and white porcelain pieces. Bowls and dishes were placed in different sections depending on the

designs and they go through a long conveyor where the printing and baking happens. After a good lunch ending with Korean scorched rice called nulungji (누룽지), our group proceeded to Icheon’s Ceramic Village called Sagi Makgol. This place is a haven of handcrafted pottery. It’s easy to lose track of time going from one shop to another and admiring each piece. As you go along, you will be able to see which shops display common pottery items and which produce artisanal pieces. Needless to say, these are more expensive and precious, but they make the trip worth it. Some shops have areas where visitors can easily see artisans at work. We happened to get into one and the three of us had a good laugh when one of the men unexpectedly belted out lines from the song “Unchained Melody” from the 1990 movie “Ghost”.



Where is Icheon & Yeoju?

At the far end of Sagi Makgol, there was a traditional kiln that appears to be for communal use.It would have been incredibly lucky to have caught artists at work using the traditional kiln, but it seems this chance may be reserved for our next visit. What’s to look forward to? Icheon hosts an annual Ceramics Festival. This year, it will be held on April 27 - May 13 at Ye’s Park (Icheon Ceramics Art Village). Check the homepage for more details:

Gyeonggi Province

Yeoju Seoul


To follow Wendy, check out her blog at




The VanisheD (2018)

Written by JAMES WEBB • Courtesy of KMOVIELOVE.COM


escribed modestly as “the first chase thriller of 2018” in the trailers, The Vanished (사라진 밤, Sarajin Bam), or Vanishing Night as it is also known, certainly lives up to that description, balancing several taut mysteries at the same time. Kim Kang-woo plays former chemistry professor Jin Han, who’s wife has recently died. It is revealed quite early on that not only was Jin Han cheating on his wife, Lee Seul-Hyeon (Kim Hee-ea), but he also poisoned her with an undetectable chemical from his lab. The titular mystery revolves around the disappearance of Lee Seul-Hyeon’s body from the morgue and the investigation surrounding that, but a majority of the tension comes from a cat-and-mouse style battle of wits between Jin Han and Detective Joong-sik, who is played by Kim Sang-Kyung. Kim does a great job as a sloppy looking,


profanity spitting detective who is surprisingly sharp, but that shouldn’t be surprising because he plays basically the same character in Memories of Murder or any number of other Korean thrillers. As soon as Jin Han arrives at the morgue, Joong-sik immediately suspects that he isn’t telling the truth. While the story frequently cuts to flashbacks, showing Seul-hyeon as a wealthy, older woman who is domineering and manipulative, someone who only married Jin Han because he was young and handsome, it’s difficult to ever come around to Jin Han’s side. Watching him attempt to keep his crime under wraps as Joong-sik pursues him has a tense cat-andmouse feel. Even while spinning that plate, there’s also the mystery of exactly who took the body. While the police are starting to suspect it could be

Jin Han, the audience knows that’s not the case. In fact, it quickly becomes unclear if Seul-Hyeon really died. Perhaps she was wise to Jin Han’s plan and faked her death and is now getting revenge. It’s also possible that a third party has taken the body and it is an elaborate revenge scheme against Jin Han. The movie never really rules out a supernatural possibility either, so as various items and



clues appear around the building and the power cuts in and out, it seems as if the movie could swerve out of its genre and into horror territory. It also has a somewhat Tell-Tale Heart feel to it, as Jin Han becomes increasingly unhinged as more impossible things that only he should know about constantly appear. The Vanished is actually a remake of The Body (El Cuerpo), a Spanish

thriller from 2012. The basic story is largely the same, but there’s some odd changes that may have been nods to the source material for people who saw the original. For example, when Jin Han arrives at the morgue, he lies to the detective, saying he was at the pharmacy, when he was actually with his mistress. The detective says if that’s the case, he should have painkillers in his


pocket. Jin Han actually produces the painkillers, and his deception is discovered in a different way. However, in the Spanish version, that character isn’t asked about the painkillers until later, and he’s caught by being unable to produce them. In addition, the Spanish version seems to dismiss any supernatural possibilities right off the bat and makes no attempts to look like a horror movie. Kim Sang-Kyung’s detective is also far more humorous and likable. Director Lee Chang-Hee said he wanted to create “a more three-dimensional character” and I think he succeeded. In fact, I think he’s actually made a better movie all around. Most films like this end up living or dying based off how the execute the big reveal, the big twist ending. The Vanished does a good job of providing a satisfying and fitting reveal that really makes the movie worth watching.




For Vagina’s Sake Written by KEVIN LAMBERT • Courtesy of KMOVIELOVE.COM


o say that a film about menstruation would need a female point of view is obvious, but it’s surprising just how important that perspective is in creating a compelling portrait of how politically oblivious public policy around menstruation can be, not just in Kim’s native Korea, but across the globe. For Vagina’s Sake (the original Korean title, 피의연대기, I’m sure is less awkward) opens with the inception of the film’s main premise: why is there so much mystery (even amongst women) around how to manage a period? We meet Kim’s grandmother and she’s making what seems to be a small pouch. We also meet several guests at a dinner party. The guests are sitting around a table and the conversation

turns to tampons. A Dutch guest discusses how she had used tampons for most of her life and she didn’t understand how Korean women could be so reliant on pads. Turns out it is one of several handstitched gifts for the party guests: a pretty pouch for sanitary pads. For some women, the pouch is an oddity. Women might have used tampons for most of their lives. Perhaps, it’s also a question of why it would even be needed; perhaps a purse would be enough, or pockets (if women’s pants had pockets). It could also be a relic of another time, one that begs more questions than it answers. For Vagina’s Sake takes us on a multi year journey, through the history of menstruation devices in Korea, as well as the histories of

other important devices such as the menstrual cup. Several generations of women in her family become her narrators, giving us truly intimate and touching accounts of their experiences with their periods. In particular, the ways of making, washing, and reusing devices, before the time of pads. The film makes some transcontinental detours through its story, visiting a young blogger in the U.K., and reporters in the U.S. declaring 2015 “the Year of the Period”. The film’s playful tone throughout is punctuated by a lovely score and animations that celebrate each interview, even when those faces remain obscured. There are moments where the tone takes a turn for the somber, particularly when it gets political, but even where a tale is a


Several generations of women in her family become her narrators, giving us truly intimate and touching accounts of their experiences with their periods.

struggle there’s still a strong sense of pride in just letting it all out. Within bounds however, as some things are left unseen. It is still taboo, after all. Whether it’s a young girl blogging about menstrual cups staring down a slack-jawed, YouTube peanut gallery, or a feminist political candidate running on a platform prioritizing free sanitary pads for women, the conversation around menstruation remains contentious. The patriarchal nature of governments being a particularly dumb beast, the British parliament considered taxing tampons as a “luxury” which resulted in a strong sometimes hilarious response from women across the globe. The politics of the period in Korea presents an opportunity for the film in its second half, creating possibilities for change. A group of


students protest for free tampons on campus; at the same time, the companies responsible for producing pads raised their prices. It’s a tonedeaf, rage-inducing move in a country where many poor families struggle with the cost of pads. The film is an education in the different ways of managing the bleeding. Of particular interest are the sections on reusable and washable pads and menstrual cups. I was a bit surprised at the absence of discussion about surgical options, IUDs and birth control pills. it is understandable given the time needed to explain and delve into each of these, but considering how common they are, it’s a surprise they don’t get more screen time. For Vagina’s Sake is director Boram Kim’s first documentary film.



Gyeongju A perfect weekend trip to the ancient capital of Korea Story and Photos MARIE BOES




yeongju, located in the southeast of South Korea, is often referred to as the museum without walls. As it has over 2000 years’ worth of history and used to be the capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty. The Silla country was once the wealthiest region on the South Korean peninsula; with many architectural sites still remaining. Unfortunately after almost 1000 years of ruling, Gyeongju suffered from terrible

destruction under multiple invasions. Now, many of these sites have been excavated and reconstructed as it would have been during the Silla Dynasty, which transformed Gyeongju into a popular tourist destination for Korean and international travelers. If you are looking for a fun weekend trip away from Seoul; Gyeongju will not disappoint you. Read on to find out the best places to visit in Gyeongju! >>

GETTING HERE Express bus Gyeongju is located in the southeast of the Korean Peninsula between Daegu, Busan, Ulsan and Pohang. From each of these cities you can easily take the express bus which will take between 40 minutes to an hour. The bus from Gosok Bus Terminal Gangnam or Dong Seoul bus terminal runs once an hour and will take around 4.5 hours.

KTX The easiest way to get to Gyeongju is by taking the KTX leaving from Seoul Station or Suseo Gangnam Station, running once an hour. Depending on the train this will take 2 – 2,5 hours. The Gyeongju KTX stations is located 20km from the touristic center, but is easily accessible by bus or taxi.






Gyeongju National Park




Gyeongju National Park BULGUKSA STATION



More than 20 mountain shaped large and small tombs can be found in the Tumuli Park, with heights varying between 1 meter and 23 meters. All tombs are those of kings, queens and court officials. Most of the tombs are still unidentified up to today. Only one tomb was excavated and is now accessible to public. Displaying a stone-pilled wood-lined chamber type, housing a skeleton decorated with valuable jewelry and weapons.

Gyeongju National Park

9, Gyerim-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea Open all year around 09:00 - 22:00

B Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond

Wolji Pond, previously referred to as Anapji Pond, is a palace complex constructed in 674. The palace, which was blooming during the Silla Dynasty, was used during important national events. Sadly, the ground and palace were neglected after the fall of the dynasty. During excavations and restorations, archaeologists revealed thousands of relics like jewelry, pottery pieces, bronze figures and roof tiles, which can still be seen at the pond’s exhibition hall and the National Museum of Gyeongju. The pond is most popular at night as the lights give the tourist site an extra dimension.


169-5 Cheomseong-ro, Wolseong-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

C Cheomseongdae Observatory

This landmark is an ancient astronomical observatory tower and is the oldest surviving observatory in Asia. The tower stands in a vast park, surrounded by flower fields and tombs, where people like to come for a summer stroll and is a popular place for kids to play and fly their kites. 169-5 Cheomseong-ro, Wolseong-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

D Seokguram Grotto

The Grotto as part of the Bulguksa temple complex is a hermitage located at the top of Tohamsan Mountain. From Bulguksa temple there is a walking trail, which takes around 1.5 hours, taking you up the mountain to Seokguram Grotto - a round-shaped cave with a unique Bodhisattva statue. 873-243 Bulguk-ro, Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea February - Mid March / October 07:00 - 17:30 | Mid-March September 06:30 - 18:00 | November - January 07:00 - 17:00


Bulguksa Temple

The Buddhist temple located in the outskirts of Gyeongju has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites Korea since 1995. The temple constructed in 528 is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist art dating back to the Silla Dynasty. Currently the temple is part of the Jogye order - the biggest Buddhist order in Korea. The temple buildings cover a huge area located in a beautiful mountain park, with many temple halls, pagodas and surrounded by beautiful sceneries continually changing depending on the season. 385, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea March - September 07:00 - 18:00 / October 07:00 - 17:30 / November - January 07:30 - 17:00 / February 07:30 - 17:30

Tips! E

Visit Gyeongju during the cherry blossom season; when the whole touristic center transforms into a pink paradise. Gyeongju has a few quirky museums that are great to visit with kids like the teddy bear museum, the kidult museum and the Gyeongju world car museum. Gyeongju is famous for its local red bean bread, which can be purchased on each corner of every street. Hire a bicycle! It is a great way to visit the sites and parks. There are even some biking trails around Bomun lake and Namsan mountain.


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A Tumuli Park

LISTINGS EMBASSIES American Embassy (02) 397-4114 • 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul Canadian Embassy (02) 3783-6000 • (613) 996-8885 (Emergency Operations Center) Jeongdong-gil (Jeong-dong) 21, Jung-gu, Seoul British Embassy (02) 3210-5500 • Sejong-daero 19-gil 24, Jung-gu, Seoul Australian Embassy (02) 2003-0100 • 19th fl, Kyobo bldg., 1 Jongno 1-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul Philippine Embassy (02) 796-7387~9 • 5-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Spanish Embassy (02) 794-3581 • 726-52 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul French Embassy (02) 3149-4300 • 30 Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

HOTELS & RESORTS Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (02) 2250-8080 • San 5-5, Jangchung-dong 2-ga Jung gu,Seoul


Novotel Ambassador Gangnam (02) 567-1101 • 603 Yeoksam 1-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Grand Hilton Seoul (02) 3216-5656 • 353 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Somerset Palace Seoul (02) 6730-8888 • 85 Susongdong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Park Hyatt Seoul (02) 2016-1244 • 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Lotte Hotel Busan (051) 810-1000 • 772 Gayadaero, Busanjin-gu, Busan Park Hyatt Busan (051) 990-1244 • 51, Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612824, Korea


Seoul National University Hospital 1339 • 28-2 Yeongeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Seoul Samsung Hospital 1599-3114 • 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Asan Medical Center 1688-7575 • 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpagu, Seoul Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) • 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

AIRLINES Korean Air 1588-2001

FAMILY AND KIDS Yongsan Intl. School (02) 797-5104 • San 10-213 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Seoul Intl. School (031) 750-1200 • 388-14 Bokjeongdong, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Branksome Hall Asia (02) 6456-8405 • Daejung-eup, Seogipo-si, Jeju Island Daegu Intl. School (053) 980-2100 • 1555 Bongmudong, Dong-gu, Daegu

Dulwich College Seoul

Asiana Airlines 1588-8000 Lufthansa (02) 2019-0180 Garuda Indonesia (02) 773-2092 •

University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

Jeju Air 1599-1500

Gangnam St-Mary’s Hospital 1588-1511 • 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul

British Airways (02) 774-5511

Yonsei Severance Hospital (Sinchon) (02) 2227-7777 • 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Delta Airlines (02) 754-1921

T’way Air 1688-8686 Jin Air 1600-6200 Cathay Pacific Airways (02) 311-2700v Emirates Airlines (02) 2022-8400

Dulwich College Seoul offers an exemplary British-style international education (including IGCSE and IBDP) for over 600 expatriate students aged 2 to 18 from over 40 different countries. 6 Sinbanpo-ro 15-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea 02-3015-8500


LISTINGS FAMILY AND KIDS Eton House Prep (02) 749-8011 • 68-3 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul A unique British-style Prep School for children of all nationalities from 2-13 years of age. A broad, challenging and innovative curriculum preparing pupils for senior school and life beyond. AMUSEMENT PARKS Everland Resort (031) 320-5000 • 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogokeup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do Lotte World (02) 411-2000 0 • 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul Pororo Park (D-Cube city) 1661-6340 • 360-51 Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul Children’s Grand Park (zoo) (02) 450-9311 • 216 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul Seoul Zoo (02) 500-7338 • 159-1 Makgyedong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do BOOKSTORES What the Book? (02) 797-2342 • 176-2, Itaewon 1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • Located in Itaewon, this English bookstore has new books, used books and children’s books. Kim & Johnson 1566-0549 • B2 fl-1317-20 Seochodong, Seocho-gu, Seoul

HEALTH ORIENTAL MEDICINE Lee Moon Won Korean Medicine Clinic 02) 511-1079 • 3rd fl., Lee&You bldg. 69-5 Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Specializes in hair loss and scalp problems and offers comprehensive treatments and services including aesthetic and hair care products. COSMETIC SURGERY MIZAIN plastic surgery Seoul National University College of Medicine graduate doctors offer the best quality medical services • (02) 515 6199 • Dosan-daero 423 (Cheongdam-dong 91-11), Gangnam-gu, Seoul MVP plastic surgery Welcoming environment for foreigners and friendly staff guarantees a pleasant visit for cosmetic surgery related consultations. (02) 3442 6669 •Nonhyeon-ro 819, Gangnam-gu, Seoul JK plastic surgery center Experience the best medical system in Korea. Its superb system allows the minimum efforts for your medical experiences. (02) 777 0337 • 584-2 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul FITNESS Exxl Fitness Gangnam Finance Center, 737 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


UROLOGY & OB Sewum Urology (02) 3482-8575 • 10th fl., Dongil bldg., 429 Gangnam-daero, Seochogu, Seoul Tower Urology (02) 2277-6699 • 5th fl. 119 Jongno 3-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul DENTAL CLINIC Boston Dental Clinic General dentistry / Periodontics / Orthodontics (02) 3482-0028 • 92-12 5F, Banpo 4-dong (Seorae French Village), Seocho-gu, Seoul OPHTHALMOLOGY Dream Eye Center The best eye clinic for LASIK and LASEK. 3,000+ foreign patients over 20+ years of experience with 0 complaints. If you’re considering getting this, make sure to choose the best. • 1588 9881 • 14 fl., Mijin Plaza, 825 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul ANIMAL HOSPITALS Chunghwa Animal Hospital / Korea Animal Transport (02) 792-7602 • 21-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul /

MUSEUM AND GALLERIES National Museum of Korea (02) 2077-9000 • 168-6 Yongsandong 6-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul The NMK offers educational programs on Korean history and culture in English and Korean. National Palace Museum of Korea (02) 3701-7500 • 12 Hyoja-ro, Jongnogu, Seou This museum has a program called Experiencing Royal Culture designed for English teachers to help learn about Joseon royal culture. Seodaemun Museum of Natural History (02) 330-8899 • 141-52 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Don’t know where to take your kids on weekends? This museum exhibits a snapshot of the world and animals. National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (02) 2188-6000 • 313 Gwangmyeongro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (02) 2014-6901• 747-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • 10:30 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Gallery Hyundai (02) 734-6111~3 • 22 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul The first specialized art gallery in Korea and accommodates contemporary art. • 10 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Plateau (02) 1577-7595 • 50 Taepyung-ro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul • 10 am-6 p. m. Closed on Mondays. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA SEOUL) (02) 3701-9500 • 30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Daegu Art Museum (053) 790-3000 • 374 Samdeok-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu Art space for local culture presenting Daegu’s contemporary fine arts and internationally renowned artists.



Groove Korea 2018 April  

Field of Dream; JOURNEYMEN, Korean indie baseball league, Coming Full Circle; Eric McDaniel, one player's journey back to baseball, A rundow...

Groove Korea 2018 April  

Field of Dream; JOURNEYMEN, Korean indie baseball league, Coming Full Circle; Eric McDaniel, one player's journey back to baseball, A rundow...