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My first real PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) in where else? Pusan or Busan, South Korea…

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This year was the 12th annual Pusan International Film Festival and since I missed it last year despite being down here in the local area, I wasn’t about to miss it again given that I live in the city. However, before I was able to see the 3 movies I saw today, my outlook was a bit dim. Friends of mine were saying “You have to wait in HUGE lines & it won’t be worth it. You’ll probably get a movie or two that nobody wants to see.” Others were mentioning how hard it was for them to figure out how to secure tickets. Continue reading

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Filed under Entertainment, Globalization, Interesting..., Reviews

Too much computer access in South Korea?

So, in the middle of the country where it’s hard to find convenient transportation minus relatively expensive tax fare, I can find internet access anywhere.  At the hotel yesterday we stayed at, there were 7 computer terminals with T1 or better access.  Today, we just checked into a hotel where if you pay $10 more for a night, you get a room with a PC and internet access for free.  Again, I’m thinking it’s T1 or better access…

Plus, before we found this place, we had a rough time finding where Continue reading

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Filed under Interesting..., Opinions, Random thoughts, Traveling

On the way to Kangwon land

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So, I finally get to take off more than 12 hours of time from work for the first time in 4-5 months. I’m really looking forward to getting away. I decide to go to Kangwon land in the Northeast part of the country. It’s in the middle of nowhere from what I’ve heard and the train to get there is actually a transfer & definitely not a high speed train so it will take a minimum 5 hours to get there, but I’d rather do this than take a bus since either route up or down is at risk of a lot of traffic due to the Chuseok holiday. I’ve seen 5 hour drives turn into 14 hour rides. Continue reading

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Filed under Reviews, Traveling

Protected: Letting out some tears here in Busan, South Korea

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Filed under Kyopo life, Random thoughts

Caveat Emptor: Comfortfirst.com and BabiesExpress.com are Not Customer First

A posting for one of my best friends Crystal … http://whyanmba.com/?p=22

From Crystal’s website which is a good one about MBA’s…

“A brief departure from my normal postings, but I feel compelled to let everyone know about a terrible customer service experience I had in order to prevent others from losing money like I did.

My sister-in-law recently had a baby and as a gift, I wanted to buy her a type of baby carrier called a sling.  She requested one like I had, and picked out a print she liked.  I researched the web and found that most companies carrier that specific brand (Hotslings) and print were out of stock.  The BabiesExpress.com site remarkably showed that the had the item in-stock in the style and size I needed.  I ordered the item and immediately received a confirmation email on September 4th from BabiesExpress.com that it would be shipped – the confirmation email even included a tracking number… for more, please visit: http://yanmba.com/?p=43 

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Forget calling collect, but just call for free…

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So, the costs of calling back home (the U.S.A.) and also the hassle of getting calling cards basically disallowed the right hand side of my brain to put out the extra effort to call…rather, I was so busy that it was tough. However, with the new job and all, I have to make calls constantly abroad and elsewhere. Thus, I found a few means to actually make it cheaper…actually free in many cases. Thus, I’ve made a blog at http://almostfreephone.com where Jumi, a friend from college and I will Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Business practices, Great finds, Great sites

A little Seattle or the west coast of the U.S. on South Korea’s East coast

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I just had one of the best weekends I have ever had here in South Korea. My company had a retreat for the Korean speaking staff out to this place I’m not 100% sure still where it was. I believe it was north of Pohang and the name of the area I believe is either Yeon-duk or Yong dok. It was about 3 hours north of Busan via Bus — the trip was 4 hours with traffic…on a Sunday night.

The views from where we stayed were very California-esque in appearance and Continue reading

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Filed under Korea life, Random thoughts, Traveling

26 years ago and I’m still pissed

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chun-doo-wan.jpgmay-18.jpg

Actually, I had no idea around my 9th birthday, one of the most inhumane acts of violence and one of the most unintelligent political decisions was made in South Korea. Many Korean citizens complain about how the Japanese have taken over the country and raped their women. However, the incident in Kwangju where President Chun Doo-wan unleashed his military to kill over 200+ innocent people was even worse in my book since it was a time where Koreans killed their own brothers and sisters for what? So, they could manage the country better? So, a revolution could reverse what Chun did himself — take over the country via power? It was probably one of the most hypocritical actions Continue reading

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Filed under Korea life, Opinions, Politics, Random thoughts

I’m a machine…

Well, I don’t usually toot my own horn, but lately, I’ve been adding up all the things I’m doing daily, weekly, monthly…

Just today, a good friend of mine told me to get in touch with another fellow Internetpreneur, which I’ll coin moving forward, if not one else has claimed it yet.  This guy named Danny runs a blog called TechnoKimchi.com and gets quite a readership.  When introducing myself, I counted all the things I was doing and it came out to be this…

  • 16 different websites
  • 1/2 dozen blogs (relatively active) including this one
  • incubating about another 1/2 dozen ideas
  • reading and replying to about 200 emails a day
  • teaching from 4 to as many as 9 – 3 hour classes a week on top of prepping for them
  • creating a writing program from scratch to help kids get into some of the most competitive schools in Korea
  • working 50-60 hours in my day job helping my company recruit & manage the HR depts of the company
  • leading a group of relatively entrepreneurial middle school students — possibly creating websites on their own
  • keeping up to date with the latest online trends
  • keeping in relatively decent shape jogging and working out
  • keeping a relatively substandard social life going out a few times a month

How do I do it?  Well, I was talking to my kids today and we were estimating typing speed.  I remember in college or before that, I was clocked at about 110+ words a minute…who knows where I am these days, but fast typing helps.  Not much filtering helps too…but of course this is a bit dangerous.  My daily latte doesn’t hurt as well and the periodic exercising really does support this active lifestyle.  I also try to read as much as I can while on the subway or whenever I have downtime like even on the can when I can.  Am I crazy?  Or am I the ideal employee or entrepreneur?  Who knows…

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Filed under Entrepreneurial life, Korea life, Random thoughts, Work

The 3 F’s in Korea…

It shouldn’t have been any more special than any other Sunday today, but I realized that on this relatively “profound Sunday” there are definitely 3 prominent focuses Korean people place in their lives.  They are, in no special order:

1) Food

Instead of saying “How are you?” in Korea, many people will ask you if you’ve eaten today?  It’s more of a question addressing your health.  Koreans love their health & the health of their loved ones.

Today, I also was reminded of how important eating is in Korean society.  I went to a wedding today.  The first thing we did after getting off the bus shortly before the 1p ceremony was turn in our tickets to the Wedding hall staff and chow down on the buffet.  I wish I had a bigger appetite since they did have a bit of good food available. The big surprise though for the day definitely was that it was “before the ceremony.”  We could of booked before even watching the groom and bride take their vows.  Then again, maybe we didn’t get our tickets until we paid our “dues” or gifts at the front desks.  Koreans don’t mind money either.  Typically, instead of wedding gifts, Koreans bring an envelope of cash and drop it off at either the groom’s or the bride’s designated table where they collect your money & record it.  It is sketched in stone how generous or frugal you were with their gift on this momentous day.

2) Fashion

The whole place was well dressed.  Koreans enjoy and appreciate their fashion.  However, I don’t know if this falls under “fashion” or under “vanity”, but since we’re talking about “f’s” today, I decided to place it under fashion.

Anyway, in front of me were definitely the friends of the young groom and bride.  All these well dressed and groomed young 20 somethings were giggling and having a good time.  The girls typically pulled out their makeup mirrors or whatever you call them to check on their faces — that was no surprise.  However, when the guy who definitely seemed to care about his hair almost as much as the groom did today pulled out one of these makeup cases/mirrors and started to powder his face.  He appeared to be heterosexual given that his girlfriend was right next to him.  However, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen that in my life.  I know there are metrosexuals out there in life, but is this classified as “metro?”  Well, that’s my first witnessing of a metro, if that’s the case…

3) Fun

I can’t get the dang driver of my Korean made cell phone to load the photos and a great video I have of the 6+ bus ride back home.  However, the people in the bus (most of them between their mid 40’s and mid 50’s) were rocking the bus (literally) by jumping up and down and dancing to the 8 million decibel Korean music from the 70’s with a discotechqe beat to it.  Usually, it’s the older folks telling the younger ones to calm down and relax, but this 6+ hour bus ride was one of the longest in my life — not because of the time, but because 80% of the 6+ hours was spent trying to find a way to sleep through all the ruckus or create earplugs out of toilet paper to drown out the noise — not much luck, let’s just say.  I haven’t been this annoyed watching people dance…part of the reason of course was because several crushed my feet with their dancing, some of them accidentally smacked me in the head  and a few “friendly ladies” kept rubbing their butts up against my back while getting their “groove on.” 

Two other “f’s” get honorable mention as well.  The first is “family.”  Koreans really have a great sense of “family” and we should include “friends” in this too.  They love and cherish their fellow Korean.  The treat them with the highest regard and should be credited with having some of the biggest hearts out their in the world.  I do have to admit, sometimes it seems like they go above and beyond to prove it or show it, but down deep, there is really a deep sense of love for their friends and family. 

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Filed under Korea life, Random thoughts

Korean Americans

Jun ChoiInteresting…while creating another blog for work, I ran over a wikipedia entry for “Korean Americans.” I thought it was interesting that there were some interesting stats about people like me…I guess, a category I belong to very specifically. I didn’t know this before today, but in 2005 there were 1,406,687 of us in I believe the United States. I don’t know if this accounts for people like me who are now in Korea…and I’m sure there are more in other countries throughout the world.

I guess there is also a “Korean American Day.” It is supposedly on January 13th. I guess I’d better start celebrating that day by taking the day off. I wonder what my employers in the US would say. After they told me I was crazy, I’m sure I’d say something like “Why don’t you check out Wikipedia? You know the world or at least Google revolves around Wikipedia!” ^^ or 🙂 depending on what country’s emoticon you want for a smile…

I already knew Margaret Cho (Comedian), Michelle Wie (Golf Phenom), Jay Kim (Politician), Sandra Oh (Actor) and a handful of other prominent KA’s (Korean Americans, that is), but there’s quite a list beyond these folks. I’m wondering why “Brandon Na” or “Byung Na” isn’t on this list though. It’s a bit perplexing.

Well, if you want to learn more about us “special” Korean Americans, follow this link…

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Filed under Kyopo life

Business idea a minute…

Over the past 15 years, I think I’ve had about 172 business ideas I’ve thought about, but haven’t implemented.   A little over a dozen became a reality in the hands of others and some are still potentially million dollar ideas.  These days, I’m almost on the verge of starting something with someone…with the advent of blogging & getting paid to honestly be interesting online, I am starting a Top 10 Website of everything & anything that I can think of or know about….check it out at http://top10lists.wordpress.com It’s in the beginning stages…definitely no content online yet, but a bunch of stuff behind the scenes in the works — meaning there’s rough drafts of lists already, but I haven’t published them yet because I’d like to do more background research on them.

 Anyway, so I always check out Alexa’s “Mover’s and Shaker’s” and I see #4 moving up 460% as this website called InXpo.  The details about it say: “InXpo is focused on driving business through interactive online events by changing the way you educate, network, and communicate with employees, customers, suppliers and members.”  I think to myself, “frick!” — another idea I thought about a while back in terms of social networking that I should of implemented when I thought it was possible.  Of course, I had ZERO…minus ZERO in capital & less courage at the time…now, I wish I just had more time.  I need to do more than this & I know my ideas are now getting validated right and left.  While this business wasn’t the exact concept, I know my concept actually has a lot of validity.  I wish I just had the time to write it down & get behind it. 

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Filed under Entrepreneurial life