Korean culture is one that values food, in which sharing a meal is an essential part of getting to know a person. So how are the cuisines in North Korea different from, or similar to, their counterparts in South Korea? I imagine that many of you reading this article have had some kind of exposure to South Korean food—the spicy Kimchi orbibimbap with beef, various vegetables, and rice all mixed with spicy pepper paste. North Korean cuisines are similar, but different in certain aspects due to geographical and climatic characteristics of the region. Korean food is typically known for its spiciness, but in fact, North Korean food is usually not as spicy as southern ones. Why? Because the climate in south is hotter, they learned to use saltier, spicier seasonings in order to preserve the food for as long as possible. In contrast, in the north because it is much colder, the taste is simpler. While both Koreas eat rice as their main staple, due to the mountainous topography North Koreans traditionally take multigrain rice as opposed to white rice or barley rice in the south where the lands are fertile.
If you’ve read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, you know how influential geography can be on the success or failure of a civilization. Honestly, I haven’t read the book myself, but I did read an article by Diamond summing up the whole book in three pages and, summing up three pages into three words, geography is destiny. He may not put it that strongly, but for example, looking at Europe, the similar climates stretching over the east-west axes facilitated human development whereas Africa and Latin America’s North-West axes hindered them. Other factors included proximity to coasts, domestication of animals, and the geographic susceptibility to disease. There were many other arguments, better explained and stated more clearly, but this is not a book review (but do go read it if you have the time and tell me about it).
GI YOON KIM
“My best friend says, 'Jason, I’m not envious of you. You bring it all onto yourself'”
Grew up in: California
Favorite TV Show/Movie: The Simpsons, Glory
Favorite childhood memory: skateboarding through K-town with his brother
What would you say to Kim, Jung Il if you met him today: “….”
When I first heard about Jason Ahn, I was surprised. Read his profile and you’ll know why: Jason is from California and the Director/Producer of Divided Families (http://dividedfamilies.com), a documentary film that tells the story of the first generation Korean Americans who were separated from their family during the Korean War. He is also a third year medical student at Harvard Medical School. Last year, he finished a year-long study at Harvard Kennedy School, part of his MD and MPP (Master’s degree in Public Policy) joint degree program. In fact, here is a snapshot of his life: he stays up all night waiting for babies to be born for his residency program, comes back home in the morning, catches some sleep, attends a conference, meets up with a MOU Overseas Student Correspondent for a quick interview about his film, before he runs back to the hospital where more babies are born, with barely a time to grab his dinner. Plus, he has to finish editing the documentary film, which is coming out at the end of this year. No wonder his favorite show is The Simpsons— he admits not having watched TV for a long time.
The intensity of his life got me very curious: why is he doing the Divided Family project? What could have possibly ticked this already sleep-deprived physician-in-training to sacrifice more hours of his sleep?
The first Korea Global Forum was held in Seoul, Korea on September 9-10, 2010. Co-hosted by the Ministry of Unification and the Ilsun International Relations Institute, there were 11 countries present, and had Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen, as the keynote speaker.
As a student reporter for Korea’s Ministry of Unification, I had the chance to meet the Assistant Counselor of the German Embassy in Korea, Matthias Vollert. He agreed to sit down for a quick interview about his impressions and Germany’s part in the Forum:
GI YOON KIM
On Oct 9th, there was a prayer vigil at Harvard, Cambridge for the religious and political freedom of North Korea. The service was recorded to be radio broadcasted across the border for the underground North Korean Christians. The event took place on Oct. 10th in Korean time, one of the biggest national holidays in North Korea as its labor party was founded on this day.
The very first Korea Global Forum (KGF) was held on September 9-10, 2010, in Seoul, Korea. Co-hosted by the Ministry of Unification and the Ilmin International Relations Institute and sponsored by Dong-A Ilbo, the Forum was created to foster international dialogue about three main issues: recent security developments in the Asia-Pacific region, issues and prospects for the North Korean nuclear problem, and peace on the Korean peninsula and global security architecture.
With the theme being “The Korean Question in a Regional and Global Context”, the Korea Global Forum is meant to be a consultative body of eleven countries: South Korea, the United States, Japan, China, Russia, England, France, Germany, Australia, India and Singapore, with former and present government representatives as well as private sector experts present. Continue reading