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Blackjack | Baccarat | Caribbean Stud PokerThree Card Poker | Roulette | Casino War | Tai saiBig Wheel | Slot Machines | Credit Cards Accepted

Paradise Hotel 1F1408-5 Joong-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Koreawww.paradisebusan.com Tel +82-51-749-3550 (Information Desk) +82-51-749-3386

All of these great games and more!

Novotel HotelToyota Dealership

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Spotlight OnRegulars


Four seasons are way overrated. Would have been just fine had Mother Nature simply donned us with two. Oh well, the worst of the three has headed north and here at last we’re done with him. The flowers are out, the jackets are moth-balled away and the birds have returned to mock me for staying behind. It’s a good time to be in Busan.

I think we’ve put together a good read for the onset of good weather. The 5 Questions with one time in-the-Samsung-cross-hairs, Mike Breen, is stellar and anchors more great stuff from Chris Tharp and John Bocskay. The Lotte Boys are back, Jen serves up pierogis (yes, I had to spell check that), there’s a great profile on Sean O’Malley, local expats looking to get played, and Christy out and about town asking folks what they fancy in fashion.

As for winter, all’s well that ends well, and well, I’m glad it ended.

16 The Big Drop

20 Old Before My Time

22 5 Questions: Mike Breen

14 Play Ball!

Lotte Giants Preview

15 A Day at the Races

15 The Man from Downunder

28 Irish I was at Wolfhound

07 Events

08 Earthly Possessions

10 Short Stuff

24 Busan Lifers:

Sean O’Malley

26 Street Chic

32 The Dish: Pierogies

39 Tharp On: Love

18 On the Beaten Path

30 Hotel Guide

34 Food & Night Life


36 Area Maps

41 Subway Map



Old Before My Time

5 Questions:

Mike Breen

16 The Big Drop

39Tharp On: Love


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2011 april/may_BUSANHAPS 05

Busan Haps APRIL/MAY 2011 Issue 12Business Registration Number: 00001

First Publication Date: Sept, 2, 2009Address: Ocean Tower #1726, 760-3, Woo 1 Dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea 612-822

www.busanhaps.comSubscriptions: [email protected]

One Year/6 Issues 10,000 KRW30% Donated to Women’s Shelters

Disclaimer: The opinions in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Questions or comments: [email protected]©2011 Busan Haps Magazine

Submissions: [email protected]

Advertising: [email protected]

[email protected] (한국어)

Office Manager | Soo Park

Publisher | Ju Shin-hyeEditor in Chief | Bobby McGill

Marketing Director | Michael SchneiderArt Director | Russell McConnell

Public Relations Director | Petra JungManaging Editor | Jeff LiebschAssociate Editor | Rachel Bailey

John BocskayJen SothamChris TharpChristy SwainJeff LiebschGreg DolezalBobby McGillRoy EarlyNick HolmbergTory MockLeyla Jeffers Matthew Dewoskin Rachel Bailey


Ben Weller (cover)Mike DixonLeyla JeffersBmcR. Mac


Illustration | Kelsey L. Smith

Hye Jeong BaeLisa Hye ParkJi Su Bae Chelsea Kim


Webmaster | Danny Himes

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John Bocskay: John Boc-skay is a native of Westchester County, New York, and has lived in Korea since the last year of the Rabbit. He can use chopsticks, eat kimchi, and is fine, thank you, and you? He also plays a mean guitar and sings fluently in English. Chris Tharp: Chris Tharp hails from Washington State and has lived in Busan over six years. When not banging on a guitar or screaming into a microphone, he likes to write. If you buy him a drink, he’ll tell you all about the times he met Kurt Cobain, but you probably already know the story. Jen Sotham: has been with Haps since issue one. She hails from New York and has lived in Busan since 2006. Her writing has appeared in magazines, guidebooks and anthologies, including Travel-ers’ Tales: Best Women’s Travel Writing 2008. Christy Swain: No stranger to flips flops, this Kiwi girl is much more comfortable in heels — much to the chagrin of anyone under 190cm. Likes G&Ts and getting caught in the rain, not into cargo pants or men with half a brain. Greg Dolezal: Former waiter, clerk, home builder, home wrecker, surveyor salesman, secretary, temp, projectionist, fundraiser, cam-paigner and festival car-parker. Currently a writer, teacher advocate, radio host, biker, and performing musician. Yeah. Roy Early: Often mistaken for the guy on the couch, Roy Early splits his time between cooking tofu with his family and visiting the Ha-Ha Hole, where he’s known to drink Bud and take the mic. He usually gives it back.


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One Drop East: On Home Ground Album Release Party,April 16 Laluna Bass

One Drop East release their debut album On Home Ground Saturday, April 16th. This is a night that you won’t want to miss. For more informa-tion, go to www.facebook.com/onedropeast.busan

Rock Tigers: World Tour May 1st Vinyl Underground

Maroon 5: May 26th KBS Hall, Busan

Last August, comedian Ted Alexandro poked fun at the fact that he was the biggest foreign performer in Busan since Mariah Carey in 2004. And while he wasn’t that huge to be picking on us, he was, sadly, right.

Maroon 5, the three-time Grammy-award winning American rock-pop band, will pop in for a show at KBS Hall. It’s not a very big venue, so get your historic tickets before they’re gone, or cross your fingers that bringing in international acts is a new trend in Busan.

For tix: www.superseries.kr

The luscious Velvet Geena and the Rock Tigers are bringing their swinging rockabilly sound to Busan before head-ing off to tour Japan, China and the USA. If you haven’t seen them, their sound is infectious and will most definitely drag you onto the dance floor. www.rocktigers.com

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Adagio Coffee

Earthly Possessions

Protocolo Reds

Black Sugar Mask

Minted Rose Lip Balm


With the popularity of sweet reds and cheap grocery store brands in the ROK, it can be difficult for wine lovers to find inexpensive options suited to a more refined palate. However, Shinsegae carries a Span-ish vino that’s a good fix at a reasonable price. Protocolo is a Spanish table wine served at a number of reputable restaurants stateside that can easily ac-company dishes like pasta and red meat or be enjoyed on its own. With notes of dark red fruits, moderate acidity and light tannins, it’s a crowd-pleaser that even pickier wine drinkers can appreciate. And for around 25,000 won a bottle, you can find an alternative to the more popular local choices without breaking the bank.

You can’t throw a rock in this country without hitting a cup of coffee, but a good cup is a rare thing indeed. Kim Young-han, proprietor of Adagio Coffee in Jangsan (located just behind the 2001 outlet) has an alternative to the big chains’ syrupy, whipped cream-topped swill in his variety of delicious, freshly roasted beans. Kim is a java veteran who studied in Japan for a year before his 2003 return to Korea, where he has been roasting exceptional coffee ever since. Adagio’s staff is friendly, and Kim is a capable English speaker who’s happy to explain a little bit about his product while he is roasting the fresh beans you just picked from his wide variety of coffees from around the world. Busan Haps is partial to the Ethiopian Jimma, a slightly sweet, rich and mellow bean that’s too smooth on its own to ever consider adulterating it with the likes of cream and sugar. Go ahead and try it, but we warn you — you’ll never look at a caramel macchiato the same way again.

When it comes to looking good, there are many kinds of women, from those who spend hours getting ready for a normal workday to ladies who’d rather beauty sleep than beautify. However, even those who are more content to simply swipe a little mascara on before they dash out the door know that the real key to beauty is taking good care of your skin. Skin Food’s wash-off Black Sugar Mask does just that. Chunky granules of sugar, suspended in an emollient mixture of oils, shea but-ter and lanolin, dissolve slightly on your skin as you scrub with warm water. The combination of mildly abrasive sugar and rich (but not greasy) moisturizer leaves your skin glowing and silky to the touch. With skin this good, even the early-bird beauty nut can afford to hit the snooze button every once in a while.

Winter’s finally over, meaning the season of ChapStick is coming to a close. Celebrate by giving your lips a lift with one of Rosebud

Perfume Co.’s luxurious lip balms. Rosebud’s Minted Rose Lip Balm, available at Olive Young, will keep you kissable while

giving your lips a rosy tint and a little plumping boost of peppermint oil. Though “Lip Balm” is in the name, this salve can be applied to cuticles, dry elbows, or even your tired feet after a day at work. If peppermint’s not your thing, Rosebud has an extensive line of other

balms and salves that will get you feeling pampered and ready to smooch – just in time for spring fever.

By Rachel Bailey

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Short StuffNew Tourist Information Center Opens at Busan Station 부산역 관광안내소 새단장

The 8th Busan International Per-forming Arts Festival (BIPAF) will take place from May 1st through May 10th this year around the city.Under the theme “Love and Har-mony”, seven foreign and 12 do-mestic plays will perform through-out the ten day event. They aim to showcase many different types of love conceptualized and demon-strated through performing arts.“L’homme de l’Atlantique” by Olivier Dubois will open the festi-val at the Busan Cultural Center, while “Fragments du Desir” by Dos à Deux has been chosen as the closing performance. It runs from May 8th through the 10th at the Busan Cultural Center.For more information on the festival, visit www.bipaf.org (English and Korean available)

제8회 부산 국제 연극제가 이번 해, 5월 1일부터 10일까지 도시 곳곳에서 개최될 예정이다.“사랑, 그리고 조화”라는 주제로, 7개의 해외작과 12개의 국내작 연극이 축제 기간 10일에 걸쳐 공연된다. 이번 작품들은 공연예술을 통해 많은 사랑의 유형들이 다양하게 주제화되고 제시되는 것에 초점을 맞춘다.Dos à Deux(도아드) 극단의 “Fragments du Desir(욕망의 파편)”이 폐막작으로 선정되었으며, Olivier Dubois(올리비에 뒤부아) 감독의 작품, “L’homme de l’Atlantique(프랭크 시나트라의 음악과 사랑)”이 부산문화회관에서 연극제의 서막을 열게 된다.폐막작은 5월 8일에서 10일까지 부산문화회관에서 공연될 예정이다.축제에 관해 더 알고 싶다면, www.bipaf.org에 방문하세요. (한·영 모두 통용 가능한 사이트입니다.)

Last month, the new tourist information center officially opened at Busan Station in Choryang-dong. The new center features all of your tourism needs, including information on sites, local accommodations, restaurants, brochures and videos showing the best in local tourism spots. They also have a foreign interpretation service for those who are in need, as well as an Internet cafe. Completedin 2003, the 24,646 square meter Busan Station is the hub of Southeast Korean train travel, which links Busan to the rest of the country.To get there, take Subway Line #1 to Exit 13.

지난달, 초량동소재 부산역에서 관광안내소가 새단장을 했다.이번 새롭게 문을 연 안내소에서는 관광 정보를 비롯한 현지 숙박,레스토랑,안내홍보물 등 여행지들을 보여주는 영상물도 제공하고있다. 또한 인터넷 카페와 외국인들을 위한 통역 서비스도 이루어 지고있다. 2003년에 완공되어 7천4백여평에 이르는 부산역은 부산과 나머지 다른 지역을 연결하는 동서구간 한국철도여행의 허브가 되었다.

Foreign and Local Plays Highlight Busan Theater Festival 부산 연극제를 낼 국내외 연극들

Gwangan-li Eobang Festival (광안리어방축제)April 22 - April 24The Eobang Festival is a Korean traditional festival which celebrates Busan’s fishing history. It includes various events such as street performances, an opening parade, Eobang re-enactments, candle wishes, fireworks and a closing performance. festival-eobang.suyeong.go.kr

Buddha’s Birthday - Beomosa Temple (부처님 오신 날)May 10Set in a serene setting at the base of Mt.Geumjeongsan, Beomosa Temple is adorned with colored lotus lanterns in one of Busan’s more beautiful, traditional events. The day is usually celebrated with a free breakfast/lunch of sanchae (mountain vegetable) bibimbap and tea.

2011 Hi Seoul Festival (하이서울페스티발)May 5 - May 10Seoul’s most prominent cultural festival, the six-day festival takes place in Yeouido Hangang Park and downtown Seoul. This year’s theme “Communicating with Seou-lites through Nonverbal Performances” encourages citizens to show off their hidden talents.english.hiseoulfest.org

2011 Maifest Festival (2011독일 5월 축제)May 21Started in 2004, the Maifest festival raises awareness of German culture and lan-guage, highlighted by student performances from four local universities and cheap, delicious German beer and sausages. This year’s installment is being held at Pusan National University.

Boseong Green Tea Festival (보성녹차축제)May 4 - May 8Green tea fields, Chasori Park, Jeollanam-do ProvinceThe birthplace of the commercial tea industry, the area is the largest producer of tea in the country. Experience hands-on programs such as picking tea leaves, making tea, sampling green tea snacks, and a number of celebratory performances are also scheduled. dahyang.boseong.go.kr (Korean only)

Be sure to check the festival website or the Haps event page before heading out, as some festivals have been cancelled this year due to recent events.

Spring Festivals

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As the 9.0 earthquake that hit Japan last month rav-aged the Northeast part of the country, many local ce-lebrities have chipped in to help aid the country.Actor Bae Yong-joon, known as “Yonsama” in Japan, donated 1 billion won to the Japanese government. Additionally, actor Ryu Si-won, SS501 band member Kim Hyun-joong, actor Jang Keun-suk and the all-girls group KARA also made significant contributions.In the wake of the disaster, many Koreans have put aside historical differences to help their neigh-bor in need, a goodwill gesture in hopes of improv-ing future relations between the countries.

지난달 일본을 강타한 9.0 강도의 지진이 일본 북부 지역을 폐허로 만들면서, 많은 국내 스타들이 일본 원조에 합류했다.“욘사마”로 일본에 잘 알려져 있는 배우 배용준은 일본 정부에 10억 원을 기부했다. 이에 더하여, 배우 류시원, 장근석, 그룹 SS501의 멤버 김현중, 걸그룹 카라도 기부에 한 몫을 더했다.차후 양국 간의 관계가 발전될 희망에 대한 우호의 표시로, 잇따른 재난으로 인해 절박한 일본인들을 돕기 위해 많은 한국인들이 한일 양국간 과거 역사의 아픔은 제쳐두었다.

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Local Stars Reach Out To Japan 일본에 도움의 손길을 보낸 국내 스타들

More Stuff

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Play Ball!

As the new season is just underway, the Giants have shaken up management in hopes of breaking the playoff curse that has kept them from advancing out of the first round three years in a row.

The biggest change for 2011 won’t be on the field, as Lotte hired former Korea University manager Yang Seung-ho to manage the team. Jerry Royster’s much-discussed contract situation ended with the manager parting ways with the Giants. Royster wanted a multi-year deal, but the Giants brass didn’t want to make that large of a commitment. All the guy did was completely change the culture of the team and lead them to the playoffs in all three seasons he managed.

As far as the on-field changes, Lotte was one of the few Korean teams to pull off a trade during the off-season. As part of a move designed to cut costs for the cash-strapped Nexen Heroes, Lotte dealt a pair of warm bodies for a com-petent starting pitcher. Infielder Park Jeong-joon and pitcher Lee Jeong-hoon were traded for starter Goh Won-joon. Goh went 5-7 with a 4.12 ERA in 131 innings last year. He’s only 20-years-old, and showed a lot of promise with the Heroes in 2010. It’s recently been decided that Goh will serve as the new Lotte closer. His power arm is a much, much better op-tion than any of the guys Royster was forced to use last year.

The new manager has also made a few changes to the lineup for the 2011 season. Hong Seong-heun will be patrol-ling left field this year, while outfielder Jeon Joon-woo has been moved to third base. Utility man Kim Ju-chan should get most of his playing time in center field this year. Lee Dae-ho will likely split time between DH and first base this year, and backup outfielder Lee Seung-hwa will likely be the guy to take over Karim Garcia’s right field job.

Additionally, 24-year-old outfielder Kim Moon-ho has re-turned from his military service. He has a .704 OPS in 67 ca-reer at bats, and with numbers like that, he could be useful off the bench.

Shortstop Park Ki-hyuk is unlikely to return for the 2011

By Matthew Dewoskin

season. Park spent most of 2010 either injured or rehabbing with the futures team. Outside of Park’s “breakout” 2008 season, he has been consistently mediocre. There’s still an outside chance that Park could return with the Giants, but he’s currently recovering after ankle surgery and his 2011 season is in doubt.

Another injury that Lotte fans should worry about is the elbow injury suffered by starter Cho Jeong-hoon. Cho won 14 games in 2009, but was injured in May and went under the knife over the summer. He’s unlikely to pitch in 2011.

Lotte has also signed veteran righty Choi Hyang-nam to add bullpen depth. Choi was last seen in Korea in 2008, but he’s spent the past few seasons trying to find a bullpen job in the States. Choi spent 2010 with the Albuquerque Isotopes, posting a 5.84 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in 24⅔ innings of relief. He’s also turning 40 this season, so his experience is a plus.

Ryan Sadowski will return to Lotte for a second season. Last year, he bounced back from early-season struggles to become one of the more reliable pitchers in the Lotte rotation and finished 10-8 with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 169⅔ innings.

Unsurprisingly, Karim Garcia was not brought back to the Giants. Garcia was one of the two “foreign” spots allowed by the KBO for each team, and is being replaced by right-handed pitcher Bryan Corey. Corey spent 2010 in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines, where he posted a 4.87 ERA with 30 K’s and 17 BB’s over 44⅓ innings last year. He’ll join Ryan Sadowski in the rotation, and based on his excellent preseason, he could be pressed into a lot of service.

Lotte play their home games at Sajik Stadium in Sajik-dong, and their new catch phrase for this year is “30 Years, in 2011, to the Top with Fans’ Love!”

Trust me - it sounds better in Korean. Play Ball!You can check out Matthew’s popular blog, True Stories of

Korean Baseball where he follows the entire KBO throughout the season.

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The 2011 K League season got underway last month, and the Busan I’Park are hoping to improve on last year’s eighth place finish. The team is playing more aggressive football this year under new coach Ahn Ik-soo, and so far, it is showing on the pitch.

One of the players leading the charge is Adelaide, Australia native Iain Fyfe. The 29-year-old, 1.85m central defender is not only known for his good looks, but his ability to play any position on defence.

Having signed a two-year deal to join I’Park from Adelaide United in January, Fyfe has quickly adapted himself to the K League, though some adjustments were needed.

“They play a different style here. It’s much more physical in Austra-lia, but here, the technical ability is much stronger,” he said.

The adjustment to the new culture has also been made easier by having a former teammate at Adelaide United, Shin In-seob, who is fluent in English.

After 10 years in Australia and a year in Scotland, Fyfe was looking to try something new, and he feels the competition in the K League has what it takes to make him succeed.

“It’s a well-respected league, and there’s a huge amount of respect in Australia for Korean football,” he said.

Though it only took two games to net his first goal for the I’Park, big things are in store for the man from down under. And though Busan is more well-known as a baseball town, Fyfe and the I’Park’s new aggressive style are hoping to bring football back into the spotlight not seen since the late Ian Porterfield led them to the 2004 Korean FA Cup.Busan I’Park play their home games at the Asiad World Cup Stadium in Sajik-dong, from March through November. Tickets are 8,000 KRW for adults, and 5,000 KRW for children.You can check out the I’Park’s homepage in Korean at www.busani-park.com or in English at www.busanhaps.com/busanipark

The Man From Down Under


Horse racing has a 90-year history in the country, starting with the Chosun Racing Club, the nation’s first-ever authorized horse racing club. In Korea, there are three internationally re-nowned race parks: Busan Gyeongnam Race Park, Jeju Race Park and Seoul Race Park.

Locally, the Busan Gyeongnam Race Park began operations in 2005. Located in west Busan, near Gimhae International Air-port, facilities include a 2,000 meter sand track, a grandstand/betting area capable of holding 32,000 people, and stables ac-commodating about 1,000 horses. The race park is also home to the KRA Cup Mile, which is the first leg of the Korean Triple Crown on the first Sunday in April.

On Friday afternoons, starting at noon and running through 6 p.m., they run ten races, as well as simulcast other races from Jeju. On Sunday, they run six races, usually starting around 12:30 p.m. and finishing around 6:30. During mid-July to mid-August, when the temperature is very high, racing is conduct-ed at night to protect horses from the heat and provide a more comfortable environment for racing fans.

If you are looking to place some bets, the Korean Racing Association operates five betting types: win, place, quinella exacta, quinella place and trio. The minimum bet allowed is 100 Korean won and the maximum per single bet is limited to 100,000 Korean won.

Admission to the park is 800 won, and once you walk in, there is an information booth which provides race day informa-tion in English.

One of the more fun, yet unknown activities to do in Busan

A Day at the Races

is to go to the horse races – it’s an entertaining and affordable afternoon you won’t want to miss!The KRA runs free shuttle buses to and from Jurye Subway Station (Line 2), Exit 8, starting around 10 a.m. and buses run every 30 minutes until 4:40 p.m. Another shuttle runs from Ha-dan Subway Station (Line 1) and parking is readily available.

By Jeff Liebsch

photo courtesy of Busan I’Park

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One common cultural refuge for expats of any stripe has his-torically been music. And at this point, we don’t care if it’s a Coldplay cover band, a street jazz trio on the Gwangan strip, or belting out Rebecca Black at a Noraebang some Saturday night.

But something different has been happening the past few months: Busan music is growing up. Five years ago, you’d be happy to witness the drunken open mic warbling in PNU. Soon after, original music started seeping onto the scene, as bands formed and composed their own material. The desire to share experience through song has now come full circle, and a curious new trend has developed. In these past six months alone, no less than nine local acts have released pro-fessional-quality albums.

One Drop East is set to join them this month with their debut album, On Home Ground. To the uninitiated few, the name holds less significance than a midnight KBS infomercial. But for those who have witnessed Busan’s own reggae/soul/funk machine in person, the uttering of those three syllables quicken the pulse and conjure blurred recollections of groove-

The passion and the dreams of musicians follow them wherever they go. One of the dreams is to see their music pressed. Several local bands, such as One Drop East, Poko Lambro and Lhasa, have recorded and pressed their own CD's right here in Busan. The dream lives on no matter where your body takes you.

The Big Drop:

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The Low Down on Recording in Busan

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induced ass-shaking. After four years, they’ve conquered the 2009 Busan Battle of the Bands, single-handedly salvaged the Daejeon Rock Festival after a police shutdown, and treated revelers to a marathon four-hour set on New Year’s Eve.

As they are already accomplished performers, why spend all the money and time on such a venture in this inherently temporary and transient scene?

“Everything in life is temporary: different phases and peo-ple,” says Ben May, drummer in One Drop East. “Much like the music from seminal periods of your life - listening to songs with friends in high school or university - when you hear them later, you think back to those times and it’s special to you. These songs represent this time for us, and years from now, we can listen to them and enjoy the memories.”

Mike Laveck, recording engineer and producer for On Home Ground, thinks “it’s a natural step to take in the creative pro-cess. When people start doing original material, you kind of

want to document that.” Laveck, a well-known musician and sound-engineer, main-

tains his own home recording studio in the Kyungsung area. Along with One Drop, he has produced albums from Poko

Lambro, The Defector Frequency, and John Bocskay, among others. He started his label, Mica Mountain Works, after be-ing dissatisfied with a local studio’s insistence on taking too many creative liberties with his own recordings a few years ago. As hobbies sometimes tend to take over one’s life, he devoted a large part of his time and money to build up his studio, and now helps others put their own projects to plas-tic. He even hosts regular, informal jams to further fine-tune his skills behind the console.

However, recording needs not to be only about proper mi-crophone placement and the latest version of Protools. Many artists happily take to whatever means they have at their dis-posal. With minimal spending and creativity, albums can be recorded, produced and distributed with relative ease. Long-time local favorites, Hajimama, recorded their first album all on their own with whatever gear they could borrow or bar-gain for. The album, Banned in North Korea, was easily made available to the masses through the online publishing site, Bandcamp. The group begins work on their second album this month.

Another option for would-be recording artists in Busan is the indie artist collective, tucked up in the hills near Dong-nae, known as AGIT. Well-known for hosting traveling artists of every discipline, exhibitions, graffiti-themed BBQ’s and the popular city-wide summer concert series, Sound Picnic, AGIT also boasts a recording studio, which is partially gov-ernment-subsidized. Both Lhasa’s ^ ̂ ̂ ̂ ̂ ̂ ̂ ̂ ̂ (that’s the album title) and Sleepstalker’s Aisle, were recently recorded and produced by the bands themselves at AGIT’s studio. The projects were so successful, that there is now talk of launch-ing a legitimate label through the artists’ network.

Ever since Edison invented the phonograph, musicians have jumped through countless hoops to get their art re-corded and reproduced. It is no surprise that in this modern world ruled by 1’s and 0’s, they take full advantage of the relative ease by which this can be accomplished. And if these recordings are regarded by their authors as a testament to time spent abroad, it is in good fortune we fans can regard them as such as well.

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On The Beaten Path

Surrounded by Chungruylsa Shrine on the southeast and Geumjeong Moun-tain Fortress from the northern to the southern crest, Geumgang Botanical Garden covers 1,550,00 square meters amongst the old pines and magnifi-cent rocky cliffs. Officially, the city has designated the area as a physical fit-ness park with a jogging path running through it. Along with the botanical garden, there is a cultural relic site, the Dongnae Soldiers Tomb, the 1,260-me-ter-long cable car, which takes you up the mountain, as well as a small zoo. After a good day of cruising around the expansive area, you can head back down the mountain to Hur Shim Chung spa, the largest in Korea.To get there, go to the Oncheonjeong subway station and take exit 1. Head west towards the mountain on foot for about 10 minutes, and you will see the cable car headed up the mountain side. 051-582-3284

When you think of Igidae Park, you may think of narrow roads mobbed with cars and trails teeming with foot traffic. However, with just a little more effort, you can enjoy a lesser-known 2.5-hour hike that skirts the park’s coastline in-credibly scenic coastline. This hike is great for the novice hiker; in fact, the first 30 minutes to a concrete amphitheater would even be an easy walk for your lady friend who wears four-inch heels. The first part of the hike features a wooden boardwalk made of stairs, hand railings and a series of suspension bridges in the shadows of sheer, rocky cliffs. Ditch the high-heels in anticipation of occasional stretches of dirt path should you choose to go past the concrete amphitheater. Go up a massive staircase to the Circle Road to avoid the barb wired army base. After circumventing the army outpost, follow the sign for Chimabawi and con-tinue on to Nongbawi. The boardwalk soon gives way entirely to dirt paths along steep drop-offs, so tread carefully. Stop frequently to take in the local fishermen on cliffs, the dramatic coastline, and even the occasional ROK sol-dier with his machine gun. Continue the moderate climb to Oryukdo Sunrise Park, as the sound of crashing waves accompanies you all the way to the hikes end at SK View Apartments. In the parking lot across from the Oryukdo Islets, ajummas sometimes sell hong-hap (mussels) and culinary adventures such as kol-baeng-ee (sea snails) and hae-sam (sea cucumbers). For more traditional post-hike needs — namely makgeolli, beer and meat — restaurants and marts can be found in the SK View complex. To get there, go to the Namcheon or Gwangan subway stations, hop in a cab and say “Igidae ga-chuseyo!”

The Oryukdo Islets are a string of six islands just off the coast of Busan. This spot doesn’t really constitute much of a ‘path’, since it is actually on the water, but the seventy minute cruise is well worth checking out. The term ‘Oryuk-do’ literally means ‘five or six islands’, which signifies the uncertainty people face counting them from a coastal van-tage point when lucky enough to spot them on a clear day. On the cruise, you’ll get some great views of Haeundae Beach, the Diamond Bridge and Dongbaek Island. Once there, those looking for plush isles of beauty may be a little disappointed at what are merely several outcroppings of rock once attached to the coastline – one of which has a pretty nifty lighthouse perched on top. This is truly one of those instances when you can say, “It was worth the trip,” because the trip is the attraction itself.You can board the boat at the Dongbaek boat pier near the Westin Chosun Hotel. The round trip outing will run you 8,000 won and departs several times daily. 051-746-4242

Oryukdo Islets

Geumgang Botanical Garden Busan

Hiking Igidae By Nick Holmberg

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Old before my time: Korean age


by John Bocskay

As an international traveler, you are used to the idea of vari-ous countries using different measures to refer to the same thing. The same size-four dress in Australia will translate into a size-five in svelte Japan. That which we call a size-eight trainer in London will smell as sweet in L.A. – OK, maybe not – though it will be labeled a size-ten (and will be called a sneaker). Even so, I found it exceedingly weird to board a Korean Air flight in New York as a 27-year-old and disembark thirteen hours later in Seoul at age twenty-nine. I knew I had flown across the International Date Line; was there an Inter-national Age Line that nobody had told me about?

For you fellow Korea travelers who are new to this idea, it goes like this: When a child is born in Korea, he or she is reckoned to be one-year-old, the logic being that this ac-counts for the time spent in the womb. That’s fine if we are talking about zebras or bottlenose dolphins or some other animal with a twelve-month gestation period, but it fails to explain why humans should not be considered nine-months-old at birth. If you’re willing to grant that you are one-year-old the moment you were born, you are then told that you age another year, along with every other person in Korea, every Lunar New Year.

The result of this system of age reckoning is that your so-called “Korean age” and your – let’s call it your “actual” age – differ by at least one year and as many as two, which pro-duces a margin of error that shrinks as you get older, but which is larger the younger you are. For example, a child born one day before the last Lunar New Year (February 3rd), though only five weeks old at this writing, is reckoned to be two-years-old. According to my back-of-the-envelope calcu-lation, this is a deviation of around 2,000 percent! A lot of people say age is just a number, but it’s the Koreans who put their money where their mouth is and cavalierly assign it a grossly inflated number with a fuzzy correlation to the actual time elapsed since your birth.

This system has its benefits. For starters, Koreans forev-er appear two years younger than their stated age and are pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of flattery (“How do you do it, Minji?”). But there are drawbacks too. While it works well enough among Koreans, there is sometimes an awkward-

People say age is just a number. Koreans say it’s just a slightly larger number.

ness when contrasting the Korean age with the other, you know, whatchamacallit age when speaking to everyone else.

What do you call it? Let’s be honest; the phrase “internation-al age” is ridiculous. Nobody outside of Korea uses it, and Ko-reans themselves don’t use it unless speaking to non-Koreans (the phrase they use to refer to their actual age for official purposes is man nai, which translates to “full age”). Saying “My international age is thirty-nine” makes it sound as if your age were some grand and noble compromise like Esperanto, hashed out from a multitude of mutually incomprehensible systems, when in fact, it is a few holdouts (Korea, Vietnam, and parts of China) who figure it differently from the rest of the world. For the same reason, we have to discard “Western age,” as that makes it seem as if we’re talking about some special quirk of French or American accounting. If I say my “real age” is thirty-nine I am condescending, as if the “real” is a wink to my listener that says, “Well, no matter what you say, the fact is I’m thirty-nine.” And if I try to be cute and

clever about it and say something like “I am thirty-nine Earth years old,” I succeed in sounding like a cute and clever jerk. My age – a seemingly cut-and-dried fact like my height or my SAT score – has suddenly become kind of hard to explain.

My solution? I just don’t explain it. When asked, I give my age as I reckon it – “I’m thirty-nine” – and leave it to my Korean friends to mentally add two. Like kimchi for breakfast, “Korean age” is a con-cept that I appreciate, but have not assimilated even after having lived here for several years. Ko-rea can be as old as it wants to be, and I don’t even care how old they consider me privately, but I’ll be forty when I have to, and not a moment – or two years – sooner.

Even so, I found it exceedingly weird to board a Korean Air flight in New York as a 27-year-old and disembark thirteen hours later in Seoul at age twenty-nine.

New York London TokyoKorea

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5 Questions: Mike BreenIllustration by Kelsey L. Smith

Q1You’re known for writing satirical commentary on Korean culture and society. Knowing that Korea

is not particularly fond of outside criticism, do you think this a wise career choice? Or should people just learn to lighten up?

I discovered a secret: Koreans like to be criticized. (Memo to the world: Americans don’t). The idea that a foreigner has to show respect for kimchi to operate smoothly here is a myth. That said, no one likes rudeness. I think readers sense that I don’t take things too seriously. I’m not a scholar or a policy person. I write social commentary to entertain. If I had my time over again, I would have been a guitarist. I want to flip my column up and play with my teeth like Hendrix. That’s why I go for satire from time to time. It’s different. As a form of humor, it doesn’t exist in print in Korea. I have some wicked fun with it. Last year, after the president had approved a plan to turn the DMZ into an eco peace park, I wrote a column saying he’d issued instructions that it be turned into a canal. MB Lee, Cheonggyecheon, Grand Canal, four rivers restoration. Get it? I got an email from the head of a DMZ-related NGO saying, like, “omg, this is terrible,” and I was, like, “like don’t shave your head yet, it’s a joke” and he goes, like, “yeeow, you had me.”


Born in Buckinghamshire, UK, Mike Breen first came to Korea in 1982. He made headlines last year for being on the wrong side of a libel suit from Samsung that stirred world bloggers to a furor until the tech giant eventually backed down. Along with writing boat-rocking commentary in the Guardian, the Washington Times or the Korea Times, Breen has authored books on the Reverend Moon, Kim Jong-il and on Korea itself. He also heads up a public relations firm in Seoul. It’s a lot to cover in five questions, but we tried.

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Q5Back in 2004 you wrote the book The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their

Future Lies. As to the last part of the title, “Where Their Future Lies,” how did you do on your soothsaying, looking back seven years later? And are there any new pre-dictions for the future of South Korea?

My track record on predicting specifics in Korea has been worse that the proverbial monkey picking stocks. But I feel I have a nose for the deep trend. In 1986, at a lunch with the US ambassador, I said I thought democracy was around the corner. That was because the way I noticed the people around me changing, the people in and out of power. The lunch guests and diplomats looked at me as if I was nuts. In the book, I stuck to two forecasts – the Koreans will keep growing. They’ve left poverty behind and will never go back there. Second, they will be uni-fied. Even if everyone is against it now, they’ll still unify when the moment comes. My prediction now? Some-thing is coming down on the North Korea front in the next 100 years. Remember these words. North Korea will be a democracy one day and its people will be free.

Q2In 2009, Samsung went after you for a column you wrote satiriz-ing political “gifts.” What was

it like to wake up that first morning and realize one of the largest companies in the world was suing you for $1 million?

It came in stages. It began Christmas Day. We’d had lunch en famille with Andy Salmon, the author, and were on our way in two cars to a noraebang. It had just started snowing. The editor called to say Samsung had freaked. Its bosses had taken the satire for a real news story. The Blue House had called too, to say it was inappropriate for the president to be an object of satire. Gotcha! I wasn’t too bothered. A few days later, Samsung filed criminal and civil defamation suits. How did I feel then? It is a very strange experience being under attack in public. It’s as if there is this great dark engulfing pressure, full of people’s angry thoughts – about little you. I’d got used to it as a foreign correspondent in the 80s and 90s. It’s not easy, though. One correspondent here cracked up after writing a story alleging election fraud and claimed spooks had put a bomb on her plane. The key to handling such matters is to feel, without deluding yourself, that you are innocent and right. I didn’t see it as Samsung, but rather as a curious cumbersome beast prompted into action by a certain tosspot in the control tower. I knew he was in the wrong. I had a five-hour interrogation by prosecutors and Samsung dropped the charges against the paper and went after me. Then I got angry. I thought, you want a fight, I’ll give you one. Whatever happens, I will win and you will lose. I had to think clearly and avoid posturing like a hero of press freedom because I did not want to damage the newspaper or my business – which, ironically, is public relations, not column-writing. Some very well-meaning people suggested strategies for solving it quickly. But I wanted to do it with my head held high.

Q3 Having been a columnist here for so long, have you seen a change in how receptive

your Korean audience is to your some-times pointed commentary? Do you get much hate mail? And how about the Ko-rea Times? Have they been supportive?

My intended audience in the Korea Times is expatriate. The paper is supportive. In fact, too much so. They run my columns intact, typos an’ all. Korean readers seem OK. They are, after all, more critical of Korea than we foreign-ers. Where we part ways is over issues like Dokdo. That’s because I loathe nationalism. Let me make a distinction. I love countries. In my life, I’ve lived in Yemen, Germany, England, Scotland, America and Korea. I’ve applied for Korean citizenship. Since the earthquake, I’ve become a Japanese patriot. I can’t talk about Winston Churchill without choking. I also get choked up over the Marseillaise. I am a proud American, and Canadian, which is a different thing. Two of my brothers are Australian. I think it’s cool to be a European. Recently, I got emotional reading about Egyptians love of their country. But, nationalism sucks. Speed the day when nations are no more important than provinces and counties are now. I grew up overseas with a Scot-tish father who couldn’t seem to convince foreigners that he wasn’t English. I guess that’s where it comes from. So, on nationalism stuff, I’ll rip into it. I get hateful comments

posted on the paper’s site for that, but don’t pay much at-tention. Why? Because my position is superior. A national-ist has lower quality values than an internationalist. Once this is pointed out, people know in their heart this is true.

Q4As the head of the Seoul-based PR firm, Insight Communica-tions Consultants, how would

you contrast marketing to Korean consum-ers compared to consumers in the west?

Not too sure about the fabled west. My work experience there was three years on a North Sea oil rig, two years on a farm, in factories, and in a bar in Britain, and a year as a reporter in New York. One peculiar distinction of the Korean market is the role of “public sentiment.” I believe this notion has filled the vacuum created by the rapid departure of au-thoritarian leadership. The current idea of democracy among leaders and decision-makers is not that they are elected to represent their constituents. Rather, they believe they must follow the dictates of “public sentiment,” as expressed by the press, NGOs, enough netizens, and mobs on the street. The odd part is there is no such thing as public sentiment. Of my clients, the foreign companies in particular, must pay close attention to this invisible beast. I represented Lone Star Funds for two years. Their business got slaughtered by it.

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They walk among us – though you might not see them. Thousands of expats live here in Busan, but very few stay long enough to be woven and dyed into the fabric of the community, to affect the cultural growth of the city, or to pioneer new roles for foreigners outside of the careers that bring most of them here.

You might not see them at the pub every night, but some-how when they do walk in, everyone seems to know them. There was a time when they might have been regulars, but now they are too busy with families, projects, multiple jobs, and enjoying their access to a side of the city most new- comers don’t experience. Many of these “lifers” have become legal residents, and some can even vote on local affairs. They often have compelling stories and plenty of anecdotes that may have gone untold – until now.

Sean O’Malley is one of those very expats. O’Malley was best known, until recently, as the longest running host at Busan’s 90.5 eFM. When he left, his fans had good reason to lament the station’s ground-breaking on-air talent hanging up his mic. After two years and nearly 600 shows, O’Malley, who has been here in Busan on and off for more than 20 years, decided to return to his studies, but plans to remain in Busan because, as he says, it’s his “home.” He leaves a legacy of tell-it-like-it-is international news analysis and humor that is tough to find – in any language.

“See the World,” an English talk show now under the helm of American, Jay Williams, focused on international events, tech, arts, sports, and anything that interested the host, his long-time co-host and friend, Busan Haps founder, Bobby McGill, and show producer, Na Il-an. For expats, the show was a refuge, since virtually no English language radio programming based in Busan targeted native speakers.

“I listened because Sean chose topics that I would be talking about with my friends back home,” says Chicago native Glenn Scott, 31, a teacher at Gimhae Foreign Lan-


guage High School. “There’s no struggling with the language or cultural nuances. It’s really familiar territory that makes me feel more at home.”

O’Malley first stepped foot on the peninsula as an under-graduate student on a nine-month, eight-country study abroad program. After returning home, he got a master’s de-gree in international relations at Portland State University and returned to Korea eight years ago to teach and focus his stud-ies on Asian culture, politics and language.

Though untrained in broadcast journalism, the station hired O’Malley, a lecturer in the Division of International Studies at Dongseo University, when he showed up at the station just days before its launch in 2009 to offer some consulting. Given his unique voice and point of view, his colleagues at the station agree – he is a gifted host.

“He sounded like someone with years of experience in radio,” says Petra Jung, host of the morning drive show on

eFM. “He’s a walking ency-clopedia – a wellspring of knowledge. What’s best is that ordinarily you’d expect someone with his intelligence to be stuck-up, but he im-pressed me with his warm and sensitive disposition.”

However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, the now vet-eran host recalls.

“The first shows were ter-rible,” says O’Malley. “There was no preparation before the first week on air and I didn’t know what I was do-ing. But, the first few months were fascinating because I

“We were the black sheep of eFM,” says O’Malley. “It’s much more natural to speak without a script, and I think it leads to more interesting and conversational shows.”

In a new series, Greg Dolezal looks at those expats among us who have carved a life out beyond the boilerplate title of “English teacher.”

Busan Lifers: Sean O’Malleyby Greg Dolezal

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could really do or say anything. My goal was to provide the kind of critiques of world events that one would expect in the West and to introduce Busan to expats.”

Before long, the station attempted to alter the content – much to the dismay of O’Malley and some of his guests and fans. Talk show hosts in Korea are limited by the strict supervision of monitors who decide what is appropriate or possibly offensive for the audience – a reality that even Ari-rang’s “Heart to Heart” host acknowledged during a show with O’Malley in April of 2009.

“The only difficulties I faced were the constraints on what we could talk about,” says O’Malley. “But, I never strayed from focusing on native speakers, which I think made it more authentic.”

Luckily for the listeners, his producer went to bat for him countless times to protect the integrity of the original con-cept. Unlike other shows on eFM, “See the World” was unscripted, meaning greater spontaneity and a risk of alarm-ing the monitors.

“We were the black sheep of eFM,” says O’Malley. “It’s much more natural to speak without a script and I think it leads to more interesting and conversational shows.”

While his days on the radio are over for now, he plans to continue teaching at Dongseo under B.R. Myers, a respected expert on North Korean Studies, until he finds the right Ph.D program to continue his own studies. He may stay longer because he wants to be active in the community.

“Busan is my home now,” O’Malley says definitively. “It really is dynamic, and I truly enjoy being here. What troubles me is that lately one has to make an effort - especially in Seoul - to have a truly Korean experience.”

You may not recognize him on the street, but if you hear his voice in a cafe or bookstore, you’re sure to have an engag-ing conversation with a man who has discussed and thought about all aspects of life in Korea.

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Making an Effort in PNUBy Christy Swain Photography by Mike Dixon It doesn’t take a wallet full of won to look great, and as these four stylish types prove, making the effort is the key factor. Sure, we all roll out of bed and head for the closest chain store coffee shop in our dodgy jeans, tracksuit pants or even PJs (some more often than others) but come on people: try and make a night out a little classier, fashion-wise at least! For the ladies, the trends of this season are a nod to the ladylike mini dresses of the 60s and the denim of the 70s, and for the lads, it’s all about biker boys and flared jeans, so embrace your inner Twiggy, Diane Keaton or James Dean and have a bit of fun with it. Fashion is not meant

to be taken too seriously, and it definitely doesn’t have to break the bank. I’m not talking luxury brands and Windsor knots here, but an upgrade from sneakers and jeans doesn’t take much.

PNU, Nampodong and Seomyeon have a great choice of vintage, independent and chain stores, and the online shopping sites like Gmarket, 11st and Auction have some ridiculous bargains. On your next Saturday night, try trading in those cargo pants and flip flops for something a little less “uni-student-on-holiday-in-Thailand” and help make Busan a more attractive place!

Name: RachelAge: 30Job: TeacherDescribe your style in 3 words: structure, Korean/British mix, blackBest place to shop in Busan: Nampodong street stores or the online store “MonoRain”Favorite Korean/international designer/brand: MNG, Zara, Uniqlo for basics, Vivienne Westwood if I could afford it!Do you follow trends? No, I dress for my shape - always skinny jeans and boots with a structured piece and something black.Your “must have” item: My boots - HawkinsOne trend/clothing item you dislike: Anything shiny! Suits, shirts, pants... no-one looks good in shiny!

Name: 이홍주 (Lee Hong-ju)Age: 24Job: Retail workerDescribe your style in 3 words: street, chic, classicBest place to shop in Busan: PNU!Favorite Korean/interna-tional designer/brand: Don’t care about designers or brands, I’m just interested in what looks good.Do you follow trends? Not really, but this season I like the mix of baggy and skinny items.Your “must have” item: Timberland bootsOne trend/clothing item you dislike: I hate anything too casual or sporty.

Name: JoshAge: 32Job: TeacherDescribe your style in 3 words: Denim, country/west-ern mixed with Korean styleBest place to shop in Busan: Nampodong, Migliore in Seomyeon for unique pieces. Online - GMarketFavorite Korean/interna-tional designer/brand: I love Korean brand Gengy House or Westwood if money was no object!Do you follow trends? No, I just wear what works for me. One piece of clothing you can’t live without: My denim cowhide jacketOne trend/clothing item you dislike: A lack of ef-fort bothers me. It doesn’t have to be expensive, even a hoodie can look good - just make an effort!

Name: Eugene HanAge:27Job: Online clothing store owner (www.luckymelody.com) and keyboard-ist for Lady GoodmanDescribe your style in 3 words: mix match, feminine, vintageBest place to shop in Busan: Nampodong vintage storesFavorite Korean/interna-tional designer/brand: Johnny Hates JazzDo you follow trends? Sometimes I follow the trends, but most of the time I choose my own style.Your “must have” item: My favorite necklace: a small heart-shaped pendant on a long chainOne trend/clothing item you dislike: Nothing re-ally. I’m interested in all kinds of fashion.

Street Chic

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Last December, four folks from Seoul dropped a food and drink bomb in Haeundae. Situated in the middle of the path between the subway station and the beach, the Wolfhound Irish Pub and Restaurant started serving a combination of food and drink that thus far had only been available to those in the nation’s capital. Less than six months into Wolfhound’s existence, some foodies find themselves wondering how they ever lived without it. The rest simply enjoy the beer selection and double Jameson for 7,500 won.

It’s not just Busan residents who sing the praises of the Wolfhound’s menu and drink specials, notes Canadian, Wayne Gold, one of the pub’s four owners. “We actu-ally get a lot of visitors from Busan’s surrounding towns, places like Changwon, Ulsan, Masan, and Pohang.” It’s not surprising, given the limited authentic Western food options expats usually find in South Korea.

Expats in Korea’s second-largest city know plen-ty about the lack of Western food in the area. With O’Brien’s closed, they lost the only place in town that served decent Irish pub food. It makes sense then, that Wolfhound’s fish and chips and their famously tasty All Day Breakfast hold sway as the kitchen’s biggest sell-ers. Gold adds, “We sell a lot more club sandwiches and BLT’s [here] than we do in Seoul. It must be hard to find a good sandwich here.”

Being one of the few places in town to grab a breakfast plate and a pint allowed Wolfhound to carve a niche of its own quickly. Digging a bit deeper, they set their open-ing hours at 11:00 a.m. on weekends and holidays, when most bars here tend to open in the early evening. That was a first for Busan, and one that continues to make the hungry and thirsty smile, no matter what time they feel like a full Irish breakfast.

While eating and drinking take center stage, pub does derive from public meeting house. Co-owner Gold en-joys making sure that the Wolfhound holds true to this community tradition by hosting various charity fundrais-ers, and an English book swap on the third Sunday of every month.

“One thing about Busan is that the people are much more polite than in Seoul,” he mentions casually. Busan-ites knew that already, but it does sound nice coming straight from the Wolf’s mouth.

by Roy EarlyIrish I was at Wolfhound

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Hotel GuideHaeundae

The Westin ChosunDo it right and crash in the same room George W. Bush did. 82-51-749-7000 www.starwoodhotels.com

Paradise HotelOn the water, with a casino, excellent spa and a pool. 82-51-742 2121 www.paradisehotel.co.kr

Seacloud HotelLuxury stay, with great restaurants. Short walk to the beach. 82-51-933-1000 www.seacloudhotel.com

Haeundae Centum HotelNear Shinsegae and BEXCO. Good subway access. 82-51-720-9000 www.centumhotel.co.kr

Sunset Hotel72 rooms with, according to the site, “individual design concepts.” 82-51-730-9900 www.sunsethotel.co.kr

Novotel AmbassadorOn the beach. Great ocean view, Murpii Nightclub. 82-51-743-1234www.novotelbusan.com

Grand HotelOne of the cheaper spots on the strip, but still at the beach. 82-51-740-0610 www.grandhotel.co.kr

Hotel Illua Dalmaji HillLovely hotel with stunning views from its perch on Dalmaji Hill. 82-51-744-1331 www.hotelillua.com

Hanwha Resort Beautiful views of Oryuk-do, the bridge and close to the beach. 82-1588-2299www.hanwharesort.co.kr

Busan Youth Hostel Arpina Opened in 2004, a cheap place to stay for the night. Culture center inside. 82-51-731-9800http://www.arpina.co.kr

Business and Beach HotelLocated in central Haeun-dae, with easy access to the local historical sites. 82-51-742-3219http://www.bnbhotel.co.kr

Other Areas

Lotte Hotel (Seomyeon)Lotte runs a tight ship and it shows in the generous customer service here. 82-51-810-1000 www.lottehotelbusan.com

Toyoko Inn (Seomyeon)Across from Migliore, comfortable, clean and af-fordable. 82-51-442-1045http://www.toyoko-inn.com

Crown Hotel (Seomyeon) Mid-range hotel decorated in Korean style, good for travellers. 82-51-635-1241http://www.fnetravel.com/english/pusan-hotels/crown.html

Hotel Nong Shim (Oncheonjeong)Great area around the hotel, head north to PNU for original Busan nightlife. 82-51-550-2100 www.hotelnongshim.com

Homers Hotel (Gwangan)Right on Gwangan beach amdist the myriad of cafes, bars and restau-rants. 82-51-750-8000 www.homershotel.com

Aqua Palace (Gwangan)Beautiful view of the Diamond Bridge, right in the middle of the beach. 82-51-756-0202http://www.aquapalace.co.kr

Commodore Ho-tel (Jung-gu)Beautifully designed traditional hotel. Close proximity to Busan Sta-tion. 82-51-461-9703www.commodore.co.kr

Busan Tourist Hotel (Jung-gu)Conveniently located

next to the train station. Good for a cheap night’s rest. 82-51-241-4301www.pusanhotel.co.kr

Toyoko Inn (Jung-gu)Affordably priced hotel, clean and 10 minutes away from the train sta-tion. 82-51-442-1045http://www.toyoko-inn.com

Phoenix Hotel (Jung-gu)Highly trained staff, close to Nampodong. Popular with Japanese tourists. 82-51-245-8061http://www.hotelphoenix.net

Elysee Hotel (Jung-gu)Affordable hotel with good amenities. Close to Nampodong. 82-51-241-4008http://www.elyseemotel.com

Gukje Hotel (Busan Station)About 3 km away from the train station, close to Citi-zen’s Hall. 82-51-642-1330http://www.hotelkukje.com

Toyoko Inn (Busan Station)The second location, this one is a minute away from the train sta-tion. 82-51-442-1045http://www.toyoko-inn.com

Paragon Ho-tel (Sasang-gu)Business comfort, with close proximity to Gimhae International Airport. 82-51-328-2001http://www.hotel-paragon.com/

Indy House (Kyung-sung University)Super cheap, dorm-style room right in the heart of Kyungsung. 82-70-8615-6442

Busan Central Hotel (Yeonsan-dong)Adjacent to Yeon-san rotary, located 10 minutes away from City Hall. 82-51- 866-6225http://www.centralhotel.co.kr

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The Dish: Pierogiesby Jen Sotham

A dumpling is a beautiful thing, a self-contained little bite of goodness. Growing up in New York afforded me frequent visits to the vast dumpling playground that is Chinatown. The first thing I always do after touching down at JFK is pay a visit to Joe’s Shanghai for their Xiaolongbao. And liv-ing in the Far East, dumplings have become an inexorable part of my diet.

When I first spotted a jar of sauerkraut last year in Shinsaegae’s import-ed food shop (which, to my delight, I also discovered in the Namcheon Mega Mart’s organics section), my mind immediately went to my NYC Ukrainian food go-to, Veselka. A pierogie is just a dumpling, after all, isn’t it? So why couldn’t I make pierogies myself – certainly pre-made mandu wrappers exist for ‘too lazy to make dough’ people like me. It seems I’m not the only one, as I found them all over the place – in every freezer sec-tion of every mart.

And so I give you the recipe that was born of that fateful sauerkraut score, which might give my Ukrainian friends on the Lower East Side a run for their money. This one requires some work, so throw on a good playlist, crack a bottle of vino and tie on those apron strings!

Method:First and foremost, make sure the mandu wrappers, which usually come frozen, are fully defrosted.

On a low flame, heat 1 cup of oil and 2 tbsp. of butter in a pot. When it starts to sizzle, add the onions, and stir immediately so that all of the onions are equally coated. Stir up the onions every minute for about 12 minutes, or until the onions are a deep brown color.

Drain the butter out in a colander, then set onions aside in a bowl. Next, boil the quartered potatoes for 10-15 minutes. They are ready when you can stick a fork in easily without them falling apart. Drain the water. In the pot, mix the potatoes, caramelized onions, sauerkraut, milk, havarti and salt and pepper to taste. Heat on a medium flame, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted.

Remove the mixture from the flame and transfer into a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix about a cup of water with 2 tbsp. flour. Place each mandu wrapper flat, and use your finger to wet the edge, all the way around, with the water/flour mix. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper, then fold it into a half moon shape. With your fingers, gently ‘pet’ the top until there is no air trapped inside the dumpling. Then fold the edges in on themselves, so that the dumpling is fully sealed. Use a fork to press down the edges, both to seal and to create a decorative ridge.

Boil lightly salted water, about 5-6 inches deep. When it is boiling, add 5-6 pierogies, gently, using your spoon to make sure that they don’t stick to each other or to the bottom of the pot. Boil each round of pierogies for about 4 minutes, and carefully use your slatted spoon to slide them out of the pot and drain excess water. Lay each round of boiled pierogies on a large, non-stick surface (I use a plain ol’ ceramic plate), keeping them completely separated. (note, you don’t have to change the water in between rounds). When all the pierogies are boiled, heat about ½ inch of oil in a frying pan, and fry the pierogies until they are slightly brown on each side. Lay flat on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve warm with sour cream, plain yogurt or ranch dressing for dipping.

Carmelized Onion, Sauerkraut and Havarti Pierogies Ingredients: (Makes 25 pierogies)4 Medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered1 Large onion, diced evenly200g sour cream or plain Denmark yogurt ( ½ for cooking, ½ for dipping)100g Danish Havarti Cheese (available at Mega Mart) cubed into ½ inch squares6 Tbsp. SauerkrautOlive Oil Butter½ cup milk1 package (25) round mandu wrappers2 Tbsp. all purpose flourSalt and Pepper

Tools:Medium sized potLarge, Flat, Clean Work SurfaceSmall mixing bowlLarge mixing bowlFrying PanColander with small holesA slatted spoon or spatulaPaper towels (for draining oil)

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Starface - British and Indian food. Good pizzas and Charles makes a mean curry. On Dalmaji. (Check ad)

The Wolfhound - Irish Pub and Restaurant. Very popular for the food. Fish and Chips of course and breakfast all day on weekends.

Geckos Bar - The great taste that became fa-mous in Seoul is now in Busan on the beach at the Pale de CZ building. They brought the chef from Seoul to stay true to the original taste.

Namaste - An Indian restaurant right near the beach restaurant. Real Indian food. namas-terestaurant.co.kr

The Table - Medi-terranean food in Benecity. Top notch, good desserts, get with that Euro-thing.


Hello Kimchi - Odd name for a spot serving tacos, burritos, en-chilladas and excellent fajitas. 2 minute walk from Jangsan Station. (See ad) 051-701-5199

Il Sole - Stellar Italian food, with the best view in Busan from the top of Dalmaji Hill. The T-bone is magnifico and the pasta divine.

Fuzzy Navel - Better known as a bar, but they serve up some good tacos. Across from Wolfhound.

Taco Senora - Tough to find. Take the street going to the beach from SFUNZ. In a little alley on the left, near Save Zone. 051-744-4050

An-Ga - Some of the best Korean BBQ in Busan. From the Jung Dong exit, walk towards Dalmaji Hill. It’s on your right. 051-742-7852

Sharky’s Bar - Arguably

Haeundae Bars

Diamond Lounge - New spot just above Thursday Party. $5 Mojitos on Thursday’s, too. Viva la Cuba.

Club Maktum - One of Busan’s best spots for dancing right across from the Paradise Hotel.

Miami 88 – Two loca-

tions at the beach. Both locations are great.

Drunken Shrimp - It’s a pub and there’s shrimp, lots of shrimp and a great view of the beach.

The Wolfhound – Just in from Seoul, this Irish Pub/Restaurant has one of the best selec-tions of beers in town. Great atmosphere and top notch staff.

Rock n’ Roll House – Bar and Grill with darts/pool/incred-ible view. On the 14th floor across from the aquarium. Great burg-ers, cheap drinks.

Fuzzy Navel - Across the street from The Wolfhound. Nightly fire show.

Geckos – The legendary watering hole of Itaewon is now in Haeundae. Face the beach, eat a great burger and drink a cold beer. Pale de Cz.

Murpii Bar – On

one of the best steaks in town at a good price. Also try the avocado bacon cheesburger with a side of garlic potatoes.

Taco al Puebla - Built his reputation for Mexican several years back. Solid burritos. In the Seacloud Hotel on Beach Road.

The Party - Located in the Pale de CZ, it’s the best buffet in town. Reservations strongly recommended.

Haeundae Food

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Haeundae Barscontd.

Pasta E Vino - Great Italian food, right in the heart of the beach. Good place to lounge.

Fuzzy Navel - Mexican food on the beach. Play nice, the fire show takes precedent to your order.

Saigon “Pho”- Vietnam-ese. Across the street from the Starbucks, just off the beach. Solid.

Guess Who? - Everything on the menu, reasonable prices, good view.

Breeze Burns - Have a hamburger on the beach. It’s a chain,

Gwangan Food

but they do all right with the burger.

10 Tables - Very cool spot to eat and look out at the water. Hamburgers are de-cent and prices ok.

Thursday Burger and Pasta - Recently opened their sec-ond location on the beach. Great food.

Korean Natural Food Restaurant - Vegetarian with a good selection of veggie dishes.

Paris Cafe - Two stories right on the beach with a cozy cafe on the first floor and a sprawling open-air wood and brick dining room up top. Great views. 051-751-2814

Enoch Mansion - A hip place with a hip owner that is still largely unrecognized. Very

Gwangan Bars

the beach at No-votel. Remodelled and back to its old form. 051-743-1234

U2 Bar – Dance Bar/Live Bands. Darts. Pool. Across from the Novotel. The ultimate hip layout lounge life. Weekends draw good crowds.

Thursday Party – 2 locations in Haeundae. Great atmosphere, good selection. Jang-san: 051-703-6621. Beach: 051-744-6621

Starface – On Dalmaji Hill. One of the most relaxing bars in Busan. Great music, pool, darts and now they’ve got Indian food. Charm-ing Charles is usually at the bar with a cold beer and dry wit.

Sharky’s Bar - Right on the beach at Pale de

CZ, 2nd floor next to the Paradise Hotel. One of the best steaks in town and shuffleboard!

Club Elune - Busan’s hippest place to dance with the world’s most famous DJs.

lounge-like atmosphere. Definitely a cool place to sit back relax and chill with a cheap drink and rich sound.

Beached - Kiwi owned, recently opened 2nd floor bar with a great view and great staff.

Thursday Party - Two locations to go with many others. The one in Gwangan did so well, they opened another location a few doors down. On the beach. 051-758-0822/051-753-6621

Holloway Road Pub - Located right on Gwangan Beach with a great view of the Gwangan Bridge from the rooftop lounge.

Hollywood Star - Re-laxed bar a few blocks off the beach. American nostalgia right down to the Harley in the middle of the bar. A

Contd. Next Page

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Gwangan Barscontd.

Florians’s - Across the street from TGI Fridays. All you can eat buf-fet with a wide variety of offer-ings. Good Stuff.

Loving Hut - Vegetarian. Take Seomyeon Exit 2, left across from Outback. Cultish, but truly

Seomyeon Food

veggie stuff. Dig the always-on infomercial.

Buffalo - Chicken chain. Popular with students. No buffalo on the menu as yet.

The Pancakes - Great breakfast menu, blueberry pancakes, real French toast. Heaps of syrup.

Hamkyung Myeon-Ok - Cold noodle restaurant, excellent during the humid summer months.

Fuzzy Navel - Busy on the weekends and some pretty good Mexican food. Worth a stop in.

Seomyeon Bars

Metal City - Solid music scene with some of Busan’s top acts on weekends. (See ad)

Foxy - Two story dance club in the heart of Seomyeon. Packed weekends.

Rock n’ Roll Bar - Look for the large sign with Kurt Cobain down the small street perpen-dicular to Lotte Hotel.

Guri Bar - Right be-hind the Lotte Hotel, Guri bar has been around a long time.

Thursday Party - Good selection of drafts and cocktails. Busy on the weekends. Cozy atmosphere, great staff.

Fuzzy Navel - across from Thursday Party. Fire show and drinks.

Evas - Good pub grub out of Evas kitchen and great atmosphere for drinks. Across from Family Mart.

HQ Bar - Real American “cuisine” from Mutt’s kitchen. Weekly spe-cials and a really great Philly Cheese.

Kyungsung Food

Aussie Burger - New spot in Kyunsung down from Ol’55. Burgers and meat pies. Worth a look.

Burger and Pasta - From the owners of Thursday Party. Great food, good prices. Good wine.

Bae Dae Po - Korean BBQ seafood and meat.

Aile - New Turkish/Ital-ian place in Kyungsung. Fantastic food at great prices.

Gogiya - Excellent meat restaurant right across from the HQ bar. Great dinner sets and friendly staff.

Painted Chair Cafe - Art Gallery/Cafe with brunch. Great for food and a good cup of cof-fee afterwards.

Burger Hunter - Fresh made burgers at a rea-sonable price. Next to Starbucks.Contd. Next Page

long standing spot with the expat commu-nity and a short walk from the shore. Pool/Darts. 051-622-6621

Fuzzy Navel - Similar in style and atmosphere to the one in Haeundae.

Club 3F - A new up-scale dance club with an all white interior, good sound and a great night view of the bridge.


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Fish & Pork - BBQ Shell fish. Cheap. Can sit outside if the

PNU Food

weather is right. Exit 3 from subway, go left.

Won Cho - “Real Korea” feeling. Variety of traditional Korean dishes. Same street as Basement.

Pho - Above Kebabi-stan. Outside of the soup, not very tradi-tional, but close. Real Vietnamese coffee.

Shabana - Serious Indi-an food, cooked by top chefs from a family that cooks around the world.

Taco’s Family - Personal favorite. Owner is awe-some, food good. Lard-free homemade beans.

Kebabistan - New own-ers, good Turkish food with everything from lamb to kebabs. Rea-sonable prices as well.

Soultrane – One of the area’s oldest and most well-known

PNU Bars

foreign bars. In the basement beneath Crossroads. Good setup for live music.

The Basement – Cel-ebrating its 8th year, The Basement is one of the most popu-lar bars in Busan.

Crossroads – Open Mic on Thurs. Great music. 051-515-1181. Right in the heart of the PNU district. A legend.

Interplay – Live music, Jazz, Korean Indie and punk. Open Mic Thurs. 011-873-2200

Monk Bar - Good spot for Korean Indie bands. Great K-Punk scene. Pop in on the week-ends and you are sure to see a rockin’ band.

Red Bottle - Where the old Moe’s once was, now sits the Red Bottle. Still has the cool atmosphere and the new owner seems a nice lot.


Kyungsung Bars

Long Tea - Great Long Islands, atmosphere, pool and darts. (See ad)

Zip Code - Bring a friend on Thursdays, get 50% off drinks. Yea, really.

HQ - Best sports bar around. Great Ameri-can food and drinks.

Club Fabric - Great decor inside, with lots of room. Under new ownership.

Foxy - Great spot for dancing and very good drink prices.

Thursday Party - Stylish, open air bar with outside seating and a good view of the parade.

Blue Monkey - Nice interior, recently opened

bar that is sure to draw a hip crowd.

Ol’55 - A great spot for tunes, with an amaz-ing collection of vinyl. Pool table. Very popular open-mic on Wed.

Vinyl Underground - This is a long-time legendary bar for great live music.

Eva’s - Good menu with a variety of western food to satiate your palette.

Kino Eye- Movies on the big screen. The lights are dim if you want to take a blind date there. Enjoy.

Club Realize - Busan’s true Metal Bar with the occasional hip hop to keep it real. Lots of live stuff on weekends.

Almost Famous - Cool, hip place with live music, and a great vibe.

Thomas Grill - A run-ner-up in last in Busan Haps 2010 Best Burger contest. They serve up some delicious sloppi-ness at a good price.

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We are here. We have survived. After the cruelest winter in nearly one-hundred years, spring has finally staggered onto the Peninsula. The sun slices through the haze of toxic Chi-nese dust just enough to warm our insides and change the ajummas’ perpetual scowls into mild frowns; punishing Sibe-rian winds have been exchanged for soft ocean breezes; the emergence of the world’s best cherry blossoms draw more people than a free Stones concert in Japan, and young lov-ers stroll side-by-side along “aromatic” river banks, thinking about holding hands.

Despite the fact that the ol’ Confucius spirit is alive and well in Korea, real love still percolates and blooms, for this is the time of year when people of all classes, creeds, and races have but one thing on their minds: HOOKING UP. This is the springtime directive, and though I am sure to break hundreds of hearts when I say I am taken, this season of rebirth brings me back to my first year in Korea, and those early pangs of desire.

My first girl in Korea was tall and cool, with sleek black hair and a fondness for blue eye shadow. I met her just one week after being in country and couldn’t believe my luck. She in-troduced me to Korea, acting as a both tour guide and inter-preter, and to this day I owe her a debt of gratitude.

It wasn’t all bliss, however. I soon discovered that she was an expert nagger, digging at me at every chance she could. Her favorite target being my ever-bloating gut, the result of a Cass binge that began my first hour in the country and, sadly, continues to this day.

“You have a big pot belly!” she’d admonish. “Why you have such big pot belly?”

“Uh, I don’t know, I just drink too much beer,” I’d weakly reply.

“You should stop eating dinner.”Let’s be clear here: She wasn’t suggesting that I skip dinner

that night, but rather that I give it up altogether. Can you imag-ine that? Giving up dinner? What would I say to my friends?

“Hey Chris. You wanna come grab a bite with us?”“Sorry, guys. I can’t do it. I quit. I quit dinner. I’m on the din-

ner wagon. I’m in dinner recovery.”We eventually parted ways and I got together with a wispy,

red-haired English girl. I loved her and she loved me, only hers was the kind of love that evaporated every time I left the room. She finally evaporated out of the country, and again I was alone. Cue violins.

Next in line was another Korean girl. She was tiny and ador-able, with bobbed hair and big, forever blinking eyes. On our

first date we walked and held hands. At one point she turned to me, smiled, and said: “I love you, Chris!”

I was trapped. Here I was, on a side street near the main gate of Pusan National University, standing in front of a res-taurant that specialized in BOTH coffee and spaghetti. What could I do but clear my throat and say:

“Uh… I love you… too… Bo-ra.”I have been in relationships for more than a year without ut-

tering those three fateful words, yet there I was, spitting them out on the first date. Dating Hello Kitty incarnate will do that to a man. Hello, Asia.

What I soon also realized was this: Little Bo-ra spoke no English – almost none. I couldn’t speak Korean, so what could we talk about? It was like dating a blow-up doll that required taxi fare. She was a master of the text message, however, and it didn’t take long before I was inundated.

“chris. u handsome.” (heart heart star heart triangle-eyed happy face)

“chris. where meet?” (star spiral heart heart winking kitten)“chris. i miss you.” (spiral star heart heart upside down cry-

ing hedgehog)The bits of English I could make out — but the codes? They

were indecipherable, a gobbledygook of cute symbols, ani-mals, and emoting faces. It was like some kind of Korean girl hieroglyphics, only I lacked the Kimchi stone.

The final text message I received needed no explanation, however. At 4:30 a.m. my sad phone buzzed, delivering the following missive:

“chris. i sorry. we have breakup.”Live by the text message, die by the text message.Now I am older — 40 years old — and wiser, yet still unmar-

ried. Sometimes, when drinking with older Korean men, the subject comes up, causing them to suffer near-aneurysms. Their faces tremble and a frothy mixture of dong dong ju and spittle forms in the corners of their gasping mouths:

“But why? Why aren’t you married?? (shaking head) You must-uh!! You must-uh marry!!!” (slamming hand on table)

“I will, I will,” I assure them.“But when? When???” they invariably ask, not even inquir-

ing if I have anyone in mind yet.Here’s where I pause, respectfully fill their bowl with more

rice wine, and calmly state:“Next spring, here in Korea, under the shroud of the world’s

best cherry blossoms.” This is usually enough to calm them down, at least for the

time being.

Tharp On: Love


By Chris Tharp

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