Sunday, 30 January 2011

Discover Korean Food #49: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon's "Dasik, Traditional Pressed Sweet"

Dasik is a traditional pressed cookie, made by kneading fried grain powder, Oriental medicinal herbs or flower pollen with honey. The dough is pressed with dasik molds that have carvings of birds, flowers or Chinese characters. Dasik has a unique taste that harmonizes well with the sweet honey and other ingredients. It was named ‘dasik,’ which means tea and food, because it is usually served with tea.

[Ingredients & Quantity]
20 g green bean flour, 13 g honey
20 g yellow bean flour, 13 g honey
25 g black sesame powder, 9 g honey
10 g pine pollen, 13 g honey
25 g mung bean starch, 13 g honey
25 g mung bean starch, 11 g honey
Strawberry liquid : 7.5 g (½ tbsp) water, 3 g strawberry powder
13 g (1 tbsp) edible oil

Dissolve strawberry powder in water to make strawberry liquid.

1. Add honey to the green bean flour, yellow bean flour, black sesame powder, pine pollen, mung bean starch respectively.
2. Add 1.7 g of strawberry liquid to the mung bean starch, rubbing by hand and sieve finely, then add honey.
3. Knead each stuff strongly.
4. Oil over the press mold, put small amount of the dough into the mold and press down (48 ea).

*The amount of the honey for the dough will be varied upon the moisture level of the ingredients. Knead the dough neither too hard nor too watery.
*Traditionally, Omija water (Omija : water = 1:2) has been used for pink color.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Beyond Boundaries: Japanese Performing Arts for a New Generation A Talk by Atsushi Sasaki

Date: 1 February 2011, 6.30pm
Venue: Japan Foundation London, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EH
Fee: This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to
Organiser: The Japan Foundation

 The contemporary Japanese cultural scene has embraced a drastic change of direction since the beginning of the new millennium, largely due to the upsurge of Otaku culture and its influence upon many art forms including performing arts.

However, while we can observe a marked change in the cultural landscape during the last decade, the current batch of artists are the latest example of a generation in Japan exploring and creating a cultural scene which reflects their current reality.

In this illustrative lecture, Atsushi Sasaki, a Japanese critic whose interests and knowledge easily cross between many disciplines, from music and philosophy to theatre and subculture, will examine the most critical Japanese cultural scenes since the turn of the millennium and introduce the diverse forms and expressions used by Japanese performing artists such as faifai (pictured), an emerging performing arts group which aims to transform the perception of theatre into a type of pop culture.

This event will serve as a guide to the current frontline and emerging trends and players in Japanese performing arts, while also looking to what the future of where these new movements may lead.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Asiana Improves Airport Services

Asiana Airlines (President: Young-Doo Yoon), in accordance to the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism campaign to attract ten million foreign visitors to Korea, will be hosting a variety of airports service campaigns.

Asiana in welcoming the 2011 New Year will host the ‘Grand Welcome Services’ not only on a business oriented level but in a level of personally receiving an important guest at home.

The Grand Welcome Service Campaign is composed of three stages in which the services will be simultaneously commenced on the 25th at airports that Asiana operates around the globe. The three stages will be divided as the 『Grand Welcome Preparation Stage』in getting prepared to welcome customers, 『Grand Welcome Greeting Stage』 responding to customers and 『Grand Welcome Plus Stage』additional services for customers.

Asiana, in order to educate the Airport Service Staff located in 75 airports domestic and abroad, will be producing a UCC video, and develop a campaign web page in which feedbacks among outstanding performances at airports and staves could be shared and feed backed on the web from other staves.

Asiana Airlines Airport Services Senior Vice President Yong-Suk, Joo commented “When a customer first starts his/her airline journey they meet the airline staff first at their departure airport. In order to continue their warm greetings with airline staff we have developed and started the Grand Welcome Campaign. With this differentiated services, we will aid in attracting ten million foreign visitors to Korea.”

In addition to the “Happy Mom Service,” Asiana will be starting the baby carriage cover service on the domestic routes starting from the 25th.

Around 150 baby carriages are transported in the domestic’s flights per day. In order to lessen the damages and preserve cleanliness of the carriages, special covers with buffer pads will be provided. The covers have been test trialed for 2 months and have received positive reviews from mothers.

The “Happy Mom Service” started in October of 2009 in which dedicated exclusive check-in counters for Infants, providing breast feeding covers free of charge (First in the Industry), and free sling services inside the cabins (First in the Industry)

Around 40 thousand passengers have used the exclusive check-in counters for infants, and 5 thousand have used the breast feeding covers.

Asiana’s Happy Mom Service has been highly praised and has received good reviews by young mothers praising Asiana’s services by writing postscripts on blogs and cafes. There are continuous inquires about the Happy Mom Service from other airlines to benchmark the services.

Monday, 24 January 2011

BUNKASAI in London

Date: Saturday 5th March 2011
Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
The ‘Bunkasai’ is designed to introduce various different aspects of Japanese culture to the UK, appealing to fans of both traditional and modern, as well as to the casual and family visitors, by introducing the Japanese language, culture, food and drink.

This is the first time ‘Bunkasai’ has ever been held although it’s sister event, the
‘Japanese Art Festival’ has been held for the past 5 times.
In 2010 approximately 2000 people attended this event, check out and/or
A previous event was held in February 2010, check out and/or

‘On Stage’
• Shamisen
• Shakuhachi
• Martial Arts
• Language panel with Japanese language Teacher
• How to teach Japanese language using Anime song
• Panel by Japanese language students
• How did Anime & Manga give the influence to Japanese study
• Para Para dance,
• Lecture ~ History of Japan, Bushi-do, Shinto, Life style, Kimono & Tea Ceremony
• Kimono fashion show
• Cosplay competition,
• ‘University Challenge’ competition (Anime Club and Japan Society in University)
• Origami table
• Karaoke at night

• Calligraphy
• Tea Ceremony
• Drawing Manga
• Cooking
• Food tasting of Japanese food (normal,vegetarian courses) & Japanese sweets
• Sake tasting study course
• Okonomi yaki & Dora yaki cooking trial
• Wadaiko (Japanese drum)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

AJSW Classical music concert in London

Date: 21 January 2011 from 1:15 to 2:00pm (Miyuki Kato)
Venue: St. James church, 197 Piccadilly, london W1J 9LL

Date: 26 January 2011 from 1:15 to 2:00pm (Emiko Miura)
Venue: St Dunstan-In-The-West, 186A Fleet Street, London EC4 2HD
Tel: 020 72374445
Organiser: Anglo-Japanese Society of Wessex

Born in Tokyo, Emiko came to London in 2007 with an entrance scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied solo piano with Kathryn Stott and Ian Fountain. She obtained the Frederick Jackson Award in her second year and graduated as a Master of Arts in 2009. Before coming to London, she studied at Tokyo College of Music.
Emiko has won many prizes including First Prize in the Japanese International League of Arts Competition, First Prize in the American Protégé Music Competition and she received the Janet Duff Prize (Best Performance of Contemporary Music) from the Royal Academy of Music.

She has performed as a soloist in many international venues including Carnegie Hall, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Suntory Hall, Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum, St Dunstan-in-the-west, St Alfege Church and Bristol Cathedral. Since 2007 she has been invited annually to perform in Tokyo at the international music festival “La Folle Journée au Japon” (a Franco-Japanese collaboration organised by the French Embassy).

As well as Classical performance, Emiko has been studying arrangement and jazz performance with Bruce Stark. Her wide scope of interests has also led to many collaborations with artists and dance groups.
Emiko is based in London and Tokyo, works internationally as a pianist and chamber musician.

ProgrammeJ.S.Bach : Fantasia and Fugue BWV904 a-minor
Takashi Yoshimatsu : Tapiola Visions for the left hand op.92 Vignette in Twilight, Commas of Birds
Mendelssohn : Lieder Ohne Worte (Songs Without Words) Op.19, 38, 67
Andante con moto, Hunting Song, Venezianisches Gondellied, Duetto, Spinnerlied
Kapustin : Preludes Op.53

Miyuki was born in Japan and came to the UK in 1997 as an exchange student and met piano teacher, Dr Michael Schreider deciding on the piano for her profession instead of a ballet costume designer her original reason for coming to the UK.

In 1999 she started her musical education at Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. After the first year, she decided to transfer to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) to study with Dr. Schreider, where she graduated in 2003 with BMus first for performance and Ivor Coles Memorial Award. She gained the fourth prize at the International Piano Competition in Gargano, Italy in 2003, and won the First Prize at the National Eisteddfod in 2004. She won a Diploma of the London International Music Competition in August 2005.

In 2005 she graduated from Postgraduate Diploma course at the RWCMD. During her studies at the RWCMD she won the Jacobson Piano Prize, Chamber Music Prizes and Accompaniment Prize. She has also studied at the Royal College of Music with Gordon Fergus-Thompson. Where she was awarded Postgraduate Diploma in Performance in summer 2007 and Master of Music Degree in Advanced Performance in 2008.

Miyuki has given concerts in Wales, England and Japan which includes recitals in St Martin-in-the-Field and the interlude performance in a Service of Thanksgiving of Sir Hardy Amies at the St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London.

ProgrammeMozart: Piano Sonata C major K.330
Tchaikovsky: Romance F major op.51-5
Sibelius: Barcarolle, Valse op.24-10 and 5
Glinka/Balakirev: The Lark
Liszt: Sposalizio

Monday, 17 January 2011

Tokyo Story (after Hiroshige)

Date: 19 January - 11 March 2011
Venue: Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP UK
Tel: 020 7486 4348

Fax: 020 7486 2914
Organiser: Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Emily Allchurch is a British artist, living and working in London. She creates complex photographic light box images that closely reference old master paintings and prints. Using the original masters as a guide, she carefully reconstructs the scenes by digitally splicing photographs she takes of contemporary architecture and landscape, thus imbuing the work with a modern social context. Tokyo Story is homage to Hiroshige's last great work, 'One Hundred Famous Views of Edo' (1856-58). Transposing his distinctive techniques of abstraction, vivid colouring and composition into photography, Allchurch's recreations are a record of her own journey around Tokyo, revealing a gentle social narrative for the city today.

Emily Allchurch completed an MA at the Royal College of Art in London in 1999. She has since established a reputation for recreations of old master paintings and prints using her distinct digital collage technique. She has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows nationally and internationally. Recent shows include Based on a True Story, Artsway (2010), Perspectives, Candlestar (2010) and Paper City: Urban Utopias, Royal Academy (2009). Her works are in public collections including the Galleria Parmeggiani and the Nouveau Musee National de Monaco. Her last series Urban Chiaroscuro, homage to Giovanni Battista Piranesi's sinister Carceri d'Invenzione (Imaginary Prisons), received wide critical acclaim. The series was published in Portfolio #47 and FMR magazine #5. In 2005 and 2007 she featured in the BBC series A Digital Picture of Britain and Britain in Pictures.

Admission free, Monday – Friday, 9.30am-5.00pm

Saturday, 15 January 2011

An extremely talented violinist, EungSoo Kim & Pianist, Moon Young CHAE

'This is the most beautiful violin sound I have ever heard!!'
(Hungarian Maestro Violinist and Conductor Tibor Varga)

(Strad, Korea)

'An extremely talented violinist with full of temperament, awareness of musical perception'…(Julian Rachlin, Concert Violinist)

EungSoo remarks himself as a musical virtuoso and his wide concert engagements demonstrate this: concerts with Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, Biel Symphony Orchestra, Göttingen Symphonie Orchester, Daegu Symphony Orchestra, Kyungbuk State Symphony Orchestra, Chungnam State Symphony Orchestra, Prime Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Especially, his recital in Poland was broadcasted by Radio Gdansk with very positive critics. Also, his debut in the Berliner Philharmonie hall in 2007 was highly successful and he was reinvited to perform Mendelssohn Concerto, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky Concertos. Moreover, his debut with Khachaturian Concerto in Seoul received overwhelming attention and a fantastic review. The concert was broadcasted on TBS Seoul.

The following concerts are solo performances with Orquestra de Cordoba, Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Mantova Chamber Orchestra, Oviedo Filharmonica, Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra and Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra etc.

EungSoo is a top prize winner of the Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition, Maria Canals International Music Competition, Tibor Varga International Violin Competition, ‘Rodolfo Lipizer’ International Violin Competition and Spohr International Violin competition. EungSoo also played for Leonidas Kavakos, and he praised Eung Soo for his wide and diverse technical and musical capacity.

EungSoo was born in Korea and started the violin at seven. Only after a year, he won the first prize in the Ulsan local competition. After graduating Seoul Arts High School (Prof. Tae-Sik Pyung), he moved to Vienna and studied with the renowned teachers as professors Igor Ozim, Kriszstof Wegrzyn and Boris Kuschnir.

EungSoo has a CD from Azzurramusic supported by the City of Verona and the the next CD from Telos Music Records is already receiving high attention for its extraordinary quality and unique personality.

Moon Young CHAE, a Vienna-based pianist, performed the Grieg Piano Concerto when she was thirteen with Korean Symphony Orchestra where she was commented as a ‘sentational young pianist’. She extended her studies at the Purcell School in London and she studied with the world-leading teachers like Patsy Toh, Yonty Solomon and Irina Zaritskaya. She received the Master of Music Degree from the Royal College of Music where she also performed Scriabin Concerto with the RCM Sinfonietta.

Whilst having studied in London, Moon Young has received numerous scholarships such as Myra Hess Scholarship, Martin Scholarship and she won the Yamaha Scholarship Europe in 2002. Her achievements from competitions include the First prize from the Zinetti International Chamber Music Compeition and Maria Canals International Music Competition (2004), the Second prize in the Concorso Internazionale Ciltta di Pinerolo (2001), the Second prize in the Intercollegiate Beethoven Competition (2001) and the special prize in the Concorso Internazionale di esecuzione musicale Provincia di Caltanissetta.

Moon Young is also a devoted chamber musician. She has performed enourmous chamber music concerts and she has worked with professors like Boris Kuschnir, Pavel Vernikov and Igor Ozim and her partners include Julian Rachlin, Lidia Baich and Alisa Weilerstein and her husband Eung Soo KIM. She also has an album from the Decca with a Scriabin Prelude and the first album with Eung Soo Kim is released by Azzurramusic.

Moon Young has performed in prestigious venues such as Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna, The Purcell Room, South Bank in London. Moon Young performs actively with Eung Soo KIM and as a soloist in Vienna, London, Lindau, Koblenz, Seoul, Daegu and venues including St. Matin-in-the-Field, London, Regent’s Hall (UK) Little Angels’ Concert Hall, Seoul (Korea), Stadttheater, Lindau (Germany), Gesellschaft für Musiktheater Wien, Beethoven Gedenkstätte, Schubertgeburtshaus (Vienna).

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

British government must stop pandering to China

Tibet Society expressed its concerns that human rights have again taken a backseat to economic considerations during the four-day visit of Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. The visit has been accorded a high-level response; there has been a fanfare of announcements including trade agreements worth £2.6 billion between the UK and China and even a ten-year loan of two giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. However, despite the widespread coverage and publicity, there is to be no joint press conference during Li Keqiang’s time in the UK.

Philippa Carrick, Chief Executive Officer of Tibet Society, said, “Apparently any topic is up for discussion during this visit, except, of course, the elephant in the room – human rights. This visit should have been positively used to put human rights on the centre stage, to show China that trade and greater links between the UK and China come with responsibilities. The British government could have grasped the opportunity to protect and progress the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the countries it does business with. Instead it chose to continue to pander to the Chinese government, a government that wilfully persists in oppressing its own citizens including Tibetans and Uighurs and many Chinese. We, the British public, have a duty to speak out and call on the government to uphold the principles by which we are governed. Human rights must not be allowed to sidelined and forgotten.”

The Chinese Vice-Premier’s four-day visit has brought a frenzy of trade agreements, memorandums of understandings, understandings on co-operation and strategic partnership deals. However, there has been no mention of human rights, civil rights, rule of law or corporate social responsibility. It seems that yet again these issues have been sidelined and ring-fenced to only be raised within the ineffectual bi-lateral Human Rights Dialogue, which is due to start only after all the economic agreements have been signed and the Vice-Premier has departed. The lack of importance that China gives to the Human Rights Dialogue, is emphasised by the fact that they have only seen fit to send the Deputy Director of its Foreign Affairs department to “engage” with the Foreign Office team.

When presenting the 12th Human Rights report in March 2010 then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, affirmed he was proud that human rights had moved from the margins to the mainstream and also that there had to be greater global democratic accountability. The Coalition government has reiterated these sentiments with William Hague repeatedly assuring us that human rights is central to all UK foreign policy. All very fine and good sentiments, but currently that is all they seem to be; when will the government act instead of assuaging its conscience through words?

Tibet Society strongly believes that human rights should not and must not be allowed to slip back to the margins where a convenient nod is given to them by holding bilateral talks that have no substantive accountability, benchmarks, formal scrutiny or measurable outcomes. Instead of turning a blind eye to human rights the government should grasp the opportunity that engagement and trade brings. It can be through trade that real progress could be made both for human rights and civil society.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Discover Korean Food #48: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon's "Mandutguk, Dumpling Soup"

Mandutguk is a soup made of dumplings simmered in beef broth, often served in the winter. The dumplings have wheat flour wrappers stuffed with fillings such as meat, tofu, Kimchi and other vegetables. People enjoy mandutguk on lunar new year’s day because it represents fortunes wrapped in the dumplings.

[Ingredients & Quantity]
Broth: 300 g beef (brisket·shank), 2.2 kg (11 cups) water
Fragrant seasoning : 50 g green onion, 20 g (4 cloves) garlic
Dough for dumpling skin : 143 g (1½ cups) wheat flour, 2 g (½ tsp) salt, 75 g (5 tbsp) water
160 g minced beef (top round)
160 g cabbage kimchi
160 g (⅓ cake) tofu
200 g mung bean sprouts, 1 kg (5 cups) water, 4 g (1 tsp) salt
10 g watercress, 7 g (1 tbsp) wheat flour, 13 g (1 tbsp) edible oil
Seasoning : 4 g (1 tsp) salt, 9 g (2 tsp) minced green onion, 5.5 g (1 tsp) minced garlic, 6 g (1 tbsp) sesame salt, 0.3 g (⅛ tsp) ground black pepper, 13 g (1 tbsp) sesame oil
9 g (½ tbsp) clear soy sauce, 4 g (1 tsp) salt
vinegar soy sauce : 18 g (1 tbsp) soy sauce, 15 g (1 tbsp) vinegar, 15 g (1 tbsp) water

1. Clean blood of beef with cotton cloths. Wash and clean fragrant seasoning. Put the beef and water into the pot, heat it up for 10 min. on high heat. When it boils, lower the heat to medium, continue to simmer it for 30 min. Add fragrant seasoning, simmer for another 20 min. Take out the beef from the broth, cool the broths down and filter through cotton cloths (1.6 kg).
2. Sprinkle salt on the wheat flour and knead with water. Wrap it with damp cotton cloths and let it sit for 30 min. (220g).
3. Remove the inside stuffs from cabbage Kimchi,, chop the Kimchi finely, squeeze the Kimchi juice out (85 g). Wrap the tofu with cotton cloths, mash by squeezing (100 g). Wash the mung bean sprouts.
4. Panfry the watercress after coating with wheat flour and beaten egg. Panfry egg for garnish, cut them into 2 cm diaper shape.
5. Blend vinegar soy sauce.

1. Pour water into the pot, heat it up for 5 min. on high heat. When it boils, scald mung bean sprouts with salt for 2 min. chop it into 0.5 cm-long, and squeeze water out (100 g).
2. Mix minced beef, Kimchi, tofu, and mung bean sprouts all together, and season with seasoning (460 g).
3. Roll and press dumpling dough into 0.2 cm-thick and 7~8 cm diameter round disk.
4. Put the filling stuffs (23 g) onto the dumpling skin, fold it into half. Pinch the both edges together roundly.
5. Pour the broth into the pot, heat it up for 6 min. on high heat. When it boils, season with clear soy sauce and salt to make dumpling soup. When it boils again, add dumplings, boil it for 4 min. When the dumplings float on the surface of the broth, lower the heat to medium, continue to boil it for another 4 min. Fill the dumpling soup in a bowl, garnish with watercress and egg strips. Serve with vinegar soy sauce.

*Pork may be an another good meat for dumpling filling stuffs.
*Squeeze the dumpling filling stuffs slightly, or it may become too hard.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

JAPAN UNDERGROUND Returns for February Tour

Venue: 2nd Feb: LONDON, The King Pin Suite / 3rd Feb: BIRMINGHAM, The Victoria / 4th Feb: BRIGHTON, The Hobgoblin / 9th Feb: NOTTINGHAM, The Central
Tickets: £6

The UK’s exclusive Japanese music club night returns, bringing the finest and most exciting rock, pop and dance tunes of Japan to the cities of London, Birmingham, Brighton and Nottingham this February. Expect authentic karaoke, a Japanese style purikura photobooth, Harajuku fashion and the first overseas performance from Tokyo’s urban techno-punk act Hibari!

After its huge success in London, which saw it making the top 101 things to do in the capital before you die, word soon spread across the British Isles and the event’s Facebook page was inundated with requests to bring the party to other cities.

Previously the tunes were supplied by Japanophile, TV star and radio DJ Iain Lee. This time Japanese music journalist Tom Smith will be providing the tracks, incorporating the likes of Mad Capsule Markets, Dir en Grey and Polysics, as well as gaming remixes and pop tracks from Hikaru Utada, T.M. Revolution, Arashi and many more.

Live music will be provided by the electric Hibari, a Japanese double act that captures the energy of Tokyo's famous street performers and delivers it with the punk-rock attitude rarely found in a country that lives by the proverb ‘the nail that sticks out will be hammered down’. Clad in tattoos and piercings, non-conformist Tsutomo (Hibari’s vocalist) refuses to be hammered down and is the epitome of everything the country’s officials fear from its ever growing, rebellious alternative youth.

Couple all this with vibrant fashion styles influenced from the country’s Harajuku, visual kei and Shibuya scenes, a purikura studio from Cosplay Portrait where users can make fun and exciting prints in the style of Japan’s exciting photobooths, merchandise on sale including music CDs, DVDs, video games and an exclusive store at the London show courtesy of sponsors Manga Entertainment, plus karaoke supplied by On Board, tipped as London’s most authentic Japanese karaoke experience with over 60,000 songs available in English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and more!

Get ready to party, Japanese style!
Visit for further details.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Asiana Signs Deal to Receive A380

Asiana Airlines (President & CEO: Young-Doo Yoon) and Airbus signed a purchasing contract for the A380, known as a premium hotel in the sky, on the 6th of January 2011.

According to this contract, Asiana Airlines will receive a total of 6 A380s starting from 2014 and continuing to 2017 from Airbus (Two a year in 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively).

By the end of the year, Asiana will request state-of-the-art cabin specifications and innovative cabin layouts when filing its production order with Airbus to see that Asiana’s distinct, high-end service is realized aboard the new aircraft. Asiana will receive its first A380 in 2014 and will operate this aircraft on its routes to the U.S. or Europe.

Asiana Airlines President & CEO Young-Doo Yoon stated, “Asiana’s decision to acquire the A380 was based on the increase in the number of FTAs in which Korea is engaged and the recent addition of Korea to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Due to favorable factors like these, forecasts indicate a steady and stable 5% yearly increase of passengers to Korea and the Asia-Pacific region. Asiana’s decision to purchase the A380s not only serves to satisfy the increased demand on these long-haul routes, but also fits with the company’s growth strategy coming off a record-breaking financial performance in 2010.

This new contract is in addition to the existing contract Asiana signed in July of 2008 with Airbus to secure the delivery of 30 of Airbus’s newly developed mid/long-ranged next generation A350 extra-wide-bodied aircraft. Asiana’s fleet strategy is to operate a core fleet of state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly, next-generation aircraft to secure its place as a socially conscious global airline.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Definitely In My Back Yard: nuclear power and hometown identity in late-twentieth century Japan

Date: 17th January 2011, 6.45pm
Venue: The Garden Room, The Oriental Club, Stratford House, 11 Stratford Place, London W1C 1ES
Tel: 020 7828 6330.

Nuclear power stations are widely acknowledged to be among the worst of the so-called ‘public bads’—including airports, dams, and incinerators—that central governments impose on local citizens. Indeed, the planned sites of such ‘bads’ are often the focus of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) protests. Why, then, did a small Japanese town vote, in 1984, to invite the construction of a nuclear power station in its back yard—a plant that, if built, will be the closest nuclear facility to Hiroshima? This paper explores the reasons for such a decision, and the reasons that construction of the power station has still not begun, even in 2011. It will argue that the whole episode reveals a profound crisis of rural identity in post-war Japan—a crisis that offers important new insights to our understanding of modern Japanese history.

Dr Martin Dusinberre graduated with a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford. Currently a Lecturer in Modern Japanese History at Newcastle University, he is also Director of the MA in East Asian History there. His first book, ‘Hard Times in the Hometown: a microhistory of modern Japan’ will be published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 2011.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 7828 6330 or email .

Monday, 3 January 2011

Traveling to Seoul but Feeling at Home: Seoul and Seoul Tourism Organization provide host family services for visitors

At the end of November, 200 newly registered families were inputted into the guest-host online matching system for the Seoul Global Family (SGF) initiative, a home-stay program organized by the city of Seoul and the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) that connects visitors to the city with Koreans eager to serve as hosts and guides. The program was launched in time for an expected large influx of foreign tourists during "Visit Korea Year" 2010-2012.

The SGF program was developed to provide not only a more meaningful stay for tourists, but also to encourage cultural exchanges. Rather than staying in conventional accommodations such as hotels, hostels or motels, the SGF program allows visitors to stay with Korean families, affording them a first-hand experience of Korean culture and society.

The procedures involved in applying to become a host in the SGF program include a background check, an inspection of the applicant's household and a final evaluation by the program's operating committee. After passing this initial process, hosts go through customized training sessions provided free of charge by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Tourism Organization. This training program was designed through Sookmyung Women's University for the purposes of providing residents of Seoul with a more open mind towards foreign cultures.

The SGF program has been well-received so far. From July 21-30 last year, the World Vision International Children's Choir Festival took part in the SGF program, arranging for 30 participating children to stay with registered hosts. One host family reported that they felt a familial connection with their guest and a sense of parental pride during the festival's performances. The host family also said that their involvement with the program helped them to become more comfortable around foreigners and left them with fond memories.

Visitors from China and Japan have been showing particular interest in the program. This month, 58 students from an international high school in Japan stayed in Seoul for a school excursion through the SGF Program, through which they were able to learn about cooking and other facets of Korean culture. Beyond this, a variety of guests from these countries have stayed in Seoul through the SGF program.

This year, the city of Seoul and the STO have set a fixed price and established additional benefits for those who choose to enroll in the program. With subsidies from the city government, foreign visitors can avoid additional fees and pay only the actual cost of boarding. Prices have been set at around 40,000 won per night, or a 600,000 won monthly rate. For guests who come in groups, starting at two, an additional 28,000 won is added per night (monthly rates are the same per person). The operators of the program also responded to concerns about a possible shortage of accommodation for foreign guests during Visit Korea Year, providing travel agents and tourism-related organizations with information on the SGF program so they could present it as an option for visitors.

Numerous improvements have been made to the program, including the addition of new ways for tourists to enjoy themselves during their home-stay. A multilingual website (Korean, English, Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese) opened in the beginning of December, through which guests can conduct a search of the registered families based on their specific preferences. The site was designed to simplify enrolling in the SGF host program, offering reservations, which must be made at least 10 days in advance, and online payments.

Further enhancements to the program include a greater range of options for participants, such as cultural exchange programs tailored for children, students and the elderly. Furthermore, the city of Seoul and the STO have engaged NGOs, volunteer organizations, government bodies and other agencies in the effort to create an "SGF experience event." Also starting in 2010 is the "home-stay academy," a free service that provides specialty tutoring services for tourists, a kimchi-making seminar with foreigners and other ways through which guests can experience Korean culture. The Seoul Tourism Organization is also offering 13 free walking tours for guests and hosts to enjoy together.

Applications to become an SGF host were made available at the end of October. Application forms and procedures can be found on the Seoul City website (, the Seoul Tourism Organization website ( and a stand-alone website ( For more information, please contact the Tourism Service Team of the Seoul Tourism Organization at +822.3788.0859.

The East News