Author Archives

  • Required Korean History Books™

    ~A 22-book self-directed learning course in English that will ensure a proper understanding of Korea and Northeast Asia. To be read in order, as listed below in rough chronological order.~ “Let only he speak who has a proper understanding of… Read More ›

  • 24 Alternatives to Boracay

    –sorted by Philippine region in ascending population— (i.e., the places with the fewest people, and, therefore, most likely the poorest infrastructure and the hardest to get to, are at the top of this list) Caraga Region (pop. 2.6 million) –Siargao… Read More ›

  • On the Death of Lou Reed (1942-2013)

    Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 Funny, just this past weekend I watched two documentaries with Lou Reed in them, only to wake up Monday morning to find that he has gone to that great Elysian field where all musicians jam. I… Read More ›

  • Kim Seungok (김승옥): two short story book reviews

    Like a hyacinth that bursts into bloom and then fades, Kim Seungok (b. 1941) wrote more than 10 short stories, essays, screenplays and novellas between the ages of 21 and 25, between 1962 and 1966. His stories burst to fame at the time from the pages of Seoul’s newspapers and literary magazines, and most of his works are still read today. Kim led a wave of early and mid-1960s authors who were fed up with the prior dictator’s arrogance and nervous about the new dictator’s tightening grip. He wrote about rapid urbanization and the realities of living in these rapidly growing new cities. He wrote about how the human fits in between the city and the countryside, the modern and the past.

  • Daeseo: Big Heat (대서, 大暑)

    The day of Daeseo, what is traditionally the hottest day of summer — literally the “Big Heat of Summer” (대서, 大暑) — falls on Tuesday, July 23, this year. It marks the beginning of the 12th of 24 solar terms throughout… Read More ›

  • Eat Your Way Across Korea: Ginseng Chicken Soup

    The delicious world of Korean cuisine is broad and deep. From the vast vegetable varieties of kimchi, through to the three pillars of Korean cuisine — red pepper paste, soy sauce and soybean paste — Korean cooking encompasses the expansive… Read More ›

  • World War II in East Asia

    In East Asia, the thing we call “World War II” began three times with three surprise Japanese attacks, in three broad and bloody phases, each nastier and more intense — and shorter — than the prior one, all of them… Read More ›

  • Understanding the U.S.

    Beginner America: To understand the U.S. at the beginner’s level, read David Halberstam, William Manchester and Stephen E. Ambrose for your histories, and then James A. Michener and James Fenimore Cooper for your novels. That’s a good place for beginners;… Read More ›

  • When I say “Seoul”

    Seoul. Seoul is one side of a line of infinitesimal dots. Seoul is always having another human within 5 meters of you 24-hours-per-day: above you, in front of you, behind you, below you, to your sides, all in 3D. Seoul… Read More ›

  • Fix Beijing… and You Fix the World

    China has had a tough past few centuries, especially compared to the easy, pleasant flow of modern North American history. There have been roughly 250 years since the British in North America broke off from the British back in Britain…. Read More ›