The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Author: Bobby McGill (page 2 of 14)

What to do, what to do. Ah, yes. Korean Dinner porn.

Winter got you locked indoors  waiting for spring? Looking for a worthwhile way to pass the weary hours ensconced within the warmth of your ondol? Well, here you go: streaming Korean dinner porn.


Click image for your full-on-animated-foodgasm.

From Kotaku:

One of the most popular mok-bang broadcast jockeys is known as The Diva. By day, she works at a consulting agency. By night? She eats. A lot. The Diva streams daily starting between 8pm and 9pm, with her broadcasts going on for hours. As with many mok-bang streams, it’s a seemingly endless parade of delicious food, whether that’s yummy Korean food, pizza, pasta, steak, you name it.

Take that, Food Network!

Enjoy it while you can — before the KCSC finds out your enjoying it too much.

photo credit: KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea via photopin cc

Food for thought: Just replace the product and apologize for any inconvenience

On Dec. 2 Canadian Richard Wygand posted a YouTube video alleging that his Galaxy S4 was dangerously defective.  In the video Wygand says, “I just plugged it in to charge it. Went to sleep, woke up to smoke and a little bit of burning.”

Samsung didn’t take too kindly to the allegations and demanded Wygand pull the video down. They should’ve figured he would post another video about the company’s demands.

(Wygand) said that in order to receive a “similar model” replacement phone, Samsung allegedly asked that he first sign a legal document that would require him to remove his videos from YouTube, remain silent about the agreement and surrender any possible future claims against the company.

Both videos have gone viral and well, there has to be some head scratching going on somewhere. You can read the rest here and see both videos.

(H/T to Joe McP)

photo credit: via photopin cc

Hyundai’s domestic plant problem

I missed this Reuters piece when it came out back on the ninth, but happened across it this morning. It looks like Hyundai Motor Company is up against similar production problems faced by Japanese automakers with highly-inefficient domestic plants.

How inefficient you ask?

It takes twice as long on average – over 28 hours – for Hyundai Motor Co to make a car in South Korea than in the United States, even though its domestic plants have far more workers for each production line.

Add in high wages, frequent industrial action and outdated facilities, and Hyundai’s hourly labor costs per worker in South Korea, at 24,778 won ($22.26), are 16 percent higher than at its U.S. factories, and triple what they are in China.

As to making a move to shutter the plants, which account for 43 percent of world output, one Hyundai exec told Reuters:

“People ask us why we don’t just produce overseas, given all the labor troubles at home. But our home market is our root and the base for our growth overseas. And there’s a risk in building cars overseas,” said a Hyundai executive from the team that manages its labor relations.

Translated: “We don’t want a shitstorm here at home with a 46,000-strong union.”

A union which has seen their annual pay more than doubled over the past decade to an average of $88,600 – exceeding that of both Toyota and Samsung workers. This has helped make Ulsan the highest per-capita income city in Korea.

The article also notes that Hyundai introduced a new shift system that cut daily production hours to 17 from 20 –bringing about a 7 percent increase in cars produced per hour.

Just so we’re clear: sending nude selfies to strangers or your ex is potentially unwise

You’ve no doubt already heard about the nude Ailee photos released by All-Kpop. (That site’s name certainly takes on new meaning.) But, you are probably asking yourself: ‘What lessons can I personally learn from this?’

Well, for one, don’t send your nude photos to people posing as a famous underwear company. And, perhaps equally important, though no less obvious, don’t send those photos to your ex after you think you’ve been duped.

This from Soompi.

YMC Entertainment released an official statement that confirmed that the female in the photos at issue was indeed Ailee and also offered an explanation. It said, “We’ve confirmed that those photos were taken for camera test after Ailee received a model casting offer for a famous American underwear company while she was living in the U.S.” The agency explained, “Ailee was told that she needed to take the nude photos for an accurate examination of her body, and she agreed to take them under the belief that since it was for a famous underwear company, all information would be secure.”

YMC Entertainment continued that after there was no response from the alleged underwear company in question, Ailee became concerned and reported the issue to the local police. Ailee learned from the police that several other females were scammed in a similar matter, but due to a lack of evidence, there were no arrests. After reporting to the police, Ailee, who was nervous and concerned, consulted with her ex-boyfriend who currently works at the U.S. K-Pop site mentioned previously. During their conversation, her ex-boyfriend asked to see the photos in order to give accurate advice, and Ailee sent them to him.

The agency concluded that it will be taking legal action against the person who leaked the photos. It also asked for support and understanding for Ailee, who is first just another female before she is a singer, and was young and immature when this issue took place.

To “give accurate advice.” Yeah.

And that, “just another female” line is pretty spot-on when describing how most of these entertainment companies view the talent.

Hang in there Ailee.


UPDATE (by Robert Koehler): Here’s AllKpop’s (well, 6Theory Media’s) response to the uproar.

Cyber role play a sex playground for teens

When formulating attention-grabbing titles for a blog post, “Cyber role play a sex playground for teens” has got to be up there as one of the more effective.

This comes courtesy of the Korea Times reporting that cyber role play sex playgrounds are popping up more frequently in the Korean blogosphere. And some of the story lines being created are quite wild.

For example, one plot has a delinquent student caught smoking on the school roof. Soon the student and the teacher are having sex.

Another plot describes a group of homosexual school goons cornering a student inside a storage room and raping him. Or, a famous cartoon character is glorified as he kills himself by falling off a school roof in the most blissful, romanticized manner.

(For the record, in my pre-internet  high school years, I collected MLB signatures at spring training games in Florida.)

The KT says there are 3,520 such role playing blogs on Naver and 351 blogs on Daum with the largest one boasting 6,000 registered members.

You can read the rest here, including one guy’s dismay with the fact that he knows less about sex toys than most teens. Ah, the things we miss out on growing up.

Obama upholds ban, Samsung frets over consumer choice

Obama has denied Samsung’s veto request, deciding to instead allow the ban prohibiting the company from exporting older models of Galaxy S, Galaxy SII, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the United States. This in line with the copyright infringement tangle of which we need not revisit.

Forget the bottom line, it’s really all about respecting consumer rights says Sammy:

“It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer,” the company said in a statement.

That’s nice.

Trade rep Michael Froman emphasized that the decision was not America looking out for its own nor, as some have suggested, that “the specter of U.S. protectionism is looming large.

“The nationality of the companies involved played no role in the review process,” he said. “Both Samsung and Apple are important contributors to the US economy and help advance innovation and technological progress.”

Samsung has the option of delaying the ban by taking it to the U.S. Apple’s Appeals Court. I’ll bet a buck that they do.


Busan Film Fest kicks off

The 18th Busan International Film Festival got started yesterday and will screen around 300 films over the next 10 days. Ben Weller got some nice shots of the red carpet kick-off last night, which you can check out here.

For more info on movies and showtimes head on over to the official BIFF site.

Good Read: Rolf Potts interview

The famed “vagabond,” Rolf Potts spent some of his formative years down here in Busan doing the hagwon thing before going on to make a huge name for himself as a travel writer (Vagabond is in its 15th printing) and a professor at Yale.

Occasional blogger, John Bocskay has a good interview with Potts that’s well worth a read.

While Potts is well known for his illuminating tales from some pretty incredible travel adventures, he has less than kind words for other expat “writers” who have graced the ROK’s fair shores.

Every second person at a given expat bar claimed to be a writer or artist, but you never saw much writing or art. It was all very bitter and petty and self-defeating, and I didn’t begin to write about Korea in a meaningful away until I learned to keep that expat crowd (friends and coworkers included) at arm’s-length and experience the city on quieter, more Korean terms.

You can read an excerpt at Haps or check out the full piece on Bosmosis.

Odds and Ends

-If you haven’t seen the River Culture Pavilion in Daegu, wow –awesome stuff. It was designed by the award-winning New Yawk architectural firm Asymptote.

-In the market for an English village? The Gyeonggi Provincial government is looking to stem budget shortfalls by selling two English villages in Paju and Yangpyeong. For a cool 174 billion won for the Paju site and 70 billion won for the Yangpyeong location, you could be the proud owner –and speak whatever language you want.

-If an English village ain’t your thing, the government is still having trouble selling Woori Finance Holdings. It’s the fourth attempt to sell a 57% stake so you might well be able to low ball the asking price of $5.2 billion. Unsure if Lonestar is in the bidding, but KB and NACF are top contenders.

-Troubling news out of Georgia. A Korean-American husband and wife are being held without bail following charges of child molestation and furnishing alcohol to minors. Said minors were six Korean exchange students both male and female between the ages of 15 and 18 whose parents paid $15,000 for them to stay at the couple’s home while attending school for the year.

According to the KT, the father blames the kids and says he was just trying to make them feel like they were in the homeland.

“The students said they were under stress and wanted to drink some alcohol, so I gave them some drinks, pretending our house was part of Korea,” said Lee. “The students were the ones who came up with a game to kiss and take their clothes off.”

You can see a video report here.

More KBO racism-related controversy

During Sunday’s game against Samsung, LG’s Dominican Republic pitcher, Radhames Liz, hit batter Bae Young-seop in the head with an errant pitch. An ambulance was called in to take Bae off the field and the game continued.

Liz, who leads the KBO in hit batters, then proceeded to strike out the next three hitters and followed it up with a brief celebration on his way off the mound.

The next day, a sports-related comic strip published on by cartoonist Bounce Kim made a wildly derogatory connection between the three strikeouts (K-K-K) and the Ku Klux Klan –showing the ethnic African Liz being angrily chased by a group of white-hooded baseball klansmen.

As of Monday, the cartoon, which can be seen here, had been pulled from and Kim (who is apparently known for his ill-humor) apologized on Facebook.

Was the hand-pumping celebration by Radhames Liz in poor taste? Probably. Heat of the moment aside. And if he has yet to offer an apology, he should. But Bounce Kim went way too far.

The KBO is already reeling from the Shane Youman controversy earlier this season. That whole mess drove the Korean Human Rights Commission to call on the KBO to get a handle on things.

As a fan of Korean baseball and having dealt with players and staff down here in Busan, it’s frustrating that crap like this from one person reflects poorly on the league as a whole.

As one Facebook commenter put it:

“As much as I love my country, I believe my country can do better. And, it disappoints and frustrates me to see some ignorant cartoonist post something like this in the name of ‘I-didn’t-know-it-would-cause-this-much-trouble.’”

H/T to Dan Kurtz at

UPDATE (by Robert Koehler): Congratulations, Bounce Kim—you’ve made Deadspin.

UPDATE 2: Bounce Kim, which turns out to be a pair of cartoonists penning the comic, released a more extensive apology to baseball fans, Liz, and –who they also work for.

Now, let’s see if Nate and Goal pull a KTVU and lets these guys go.

Update 3: So much for that notion. According to SK Communications, parent company of, there will be no disciplinary actions taken against the cartoonists.

Cultural relic to return, preceded by the schmuck who wouldn’t give it up

A 120-year-old bronze engraving plate used for printing currency that was lifted as a souvenir by a U.S. soldier in 1951 from Deoksu Palace, will be coming home to Korea tomorrow.

This following a three year investigation after the family of the soldier, who died in 2010, used a Michigan gallery to auction it –even though the gallery was warned by a U.S. State Department official that it was illegal to sell stolen cultural relics.

The plate ended up getting bought by a South Korean man, Yoon Won-young, who was then residing in America, for a reported $35,000.

After the U.S. tipped off the South Korean embassy of the plate, as well as other cultural relics being auctioned, Yoon shrugged off any patriotic inclinations he might have and rejected a South Korean request to return the 1.5 lb plate to its rightful place in Seoul .

Yoon would have been better off doing the right thing, but no, U.S. authorities arrested him in January (along with a representative of the gallery) and confiscated the plate.

Neither the gallery rep nor Yoon were officially charged, but Yoon was discovered to be living illegally in the U.S. and booted back home to, I would imagine, a displeased ROK government .

Smooth move, Mr. Yoon.

120 Year Old Korean Engraving Plate

The dollar bill-sized plate is adorned with snaking dragons, flowers and Chinese characters that say it was manufactured by the “great Joseon government.” Only 13 of the plates are believed to exist.

In-store promotions that literally suck

Shinsegae Department Store in Haeundae offered up this novel approach to promoting vacuum cleaners this weekend.



Snicker if you will, but check out the people in the background lining up to take that bad boy for a spin. Vacuum very much.

Bet Jurassic it’s a classic

If you haven’t seen this video yet, it’s a hoot.



A strong showing of K-Poptimism

OK, the title is a stretch, but as I am back in Marmot’s mode after a long summer holiday, there it is.

Read a piece in the mighty KT today about Seoul’s plans to erect a coordinated series of displays and tour sites to allow K-pop fans to “learn more about their idols.” The 1.08 KM long street dubbed the “K Star Road Project”, will be erected in Gangnam and is to be completed by 2015.

Kpop Road Gangnam

While the project has the added goal of further promoting Gangnam, considering the recent controversy over Seoul “wasting” 220 billion won on unprofitable projects, doesn’t it seem an overly-optimistic pursuit to bank big money on K-pop’s continued rise?

I am sure it will still likely be going strong by 2015, but what about 2020? 2025? (Granted, some are likening K-pop’s move into the west with the “British Invasion” alongside names like The Beatles and the Stones, so what do I know?)

At any rate, forget all that. We must remain focused on the significance of the forthcoming K Star Road and what it will mean to the world.

As district office head Shin Youn-hee puts it:

“The K-Road project will be a meaningful start to raise awareness of Gangnam. I think that urban planners in New York, London, Paris and Shanghai will probably want to emulate our project once it is finalized.”

Let’s make certain there are sufficient accommodations for all the New York, London, Paris, and Shanghai-based urban planners soon to be scrambling through our turnstiles.

Speaking of Gangnam and it’s icon PSY, Eat Your Kimchi has a good video about his latest product endorsement: Deodorant.

The product label reads:

“Man’s PSY Energy Factory Care Aqua for Man Ever Perfume Deodorant Spray Show Me Your Armpits”

Not often are words so inspiring for the perspiring.

Shame they don’t come in my size

Like many of you here in the hot ROK summer, I’ve been looking for ways to keep cool without putting undue stress on the strained power grid. The Chinese have nailed it.

Images of Chinese children wearing watermelons in a variety of styles have gone viral on social networking sites such as China’s Weibo and even made their way to the country’s TV news.

According to the state news agency Xinhua, the trend started in July in the city of Wenzhou when pictures of a small child in a watermelon suit appeared online. Others then followed as parents tried to outdo each other with elaborate watermelon designs.

watermelon kid china

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