Monday, 29 June 2009

Nanta (Reviewd by Michael Leonard)

How often do you read a review of a show and are sceptical about it? Could it really be that good?
The only way to judge is to see it and decide for oneself. Having heard about it in Seoul over the last few years I was intrigued and was determined not to miss the opportunity. So I duly went to the ROSE THEATRE in Kingston on the 16th of June.
The storyline and instructions to the audience, in Korean and English, were projected onto a screen on the stage. Immediately the laughter began and continued right to the end of the show. The story unfolds as three unprepared cooks are informed that they have to prepare a wedding meal by six o’clock. To make matters worse the manager’s nephew is foisted on them with the instruction to teach him to cook. Thus, the mayhem starts and continues throughout the show. All the props used are kitchen utensils and equipment-very sharp knives, pots, pans, brooms etc. The accompanying rhythms add to the atmosphere. A simple concept wonderfully developed into a stage show. The skill of these athletic performers-as four cooks and the manager-is something to see. There is drumming, singing, juggling, magic, mime, martial art moves, the handling of very sharp knives and not to mention continuous humour-all this at breathtaking pace.
Normally a few well chosen words adequately describe a production but on this occasion this will not suffice.
NANTA cookin’ is vibrant, artistic, energetic, pulsating, entertaining, exciting, unforgettable, very funny and downright sensational. NANTA in Korean means “to strike relentlessly” and is an extremely apt title for the show. What memories will I take away?
The nonstop laughter of the audience, the clever use of kitchen utensils (albeit not in the usual way) and the most entertaining and dynamic performance I’ve seen for many a year.

Discover Korean Food #10: Dr. Sook-Ja Yoon's "Chicken Salad" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with The Institute of Traditional Korean Food)

This dish is made with the fat-less chicken breast and vegetables seasoned with apricot seed sauce.
The apricot seed, which tastes sour, helps warm our body.
When the lungs are dry, it helps moisten them and also increase moisture in our body, especially in the stomach.

* chicken breast 300g, sake 1 tea spoon, salt 1/4 tea spoon, black pepper 1/8 tea spoon
* yellow, red, green paprika 1/4 each, respectively
* apricot seed sauce: apricot seed 20g, vinegar 2 table spoons, sugar 2 table spoons, honey 1 table spoon, salt 1 tea spoon, lemon juice 1 table spoon

1. Coat sake on the chicken breast, scattering black pepper over it for basic seasoning. Heat up the pan, spread vegetable oil on the pan and cook the meat on both sides. Tear it apart into 0.7cm by 6cm pieces.
2. Cut the paprikas into halves and remove their seeds, and slice them into 0.5cm by 5cm pieces.
3. Make apricot seed sauce.
4. Mix in the chicken meat, yellow, red and green paprikas and apricot sauce.

* Instead of pan-boiling, the chicken breast may be boiled in water.
* For the paprika, other vegetables may be substituted.
* The apricot’s endodermis can be removed after soaking in boiling water.

About The Institute of Traditional Korean Food
The Institute is a professional research organisation established and devoted to the research, development, popularisation and globalisation of traditional Korean food. It was founded in 1998 then moved on the 8th of November 2001 to the current location: 164-2 Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Byung-Yun Yu and Mami Shikimori at St. John's Smith Square

My last visit to ST. JOHN’S was many years ago.
I was looking forward to it as the Thames Philharmonic-conducted by BYUNG-YUN YU and soloist MAMI SHIKIMORI-were performing.
It was also my first opportunity to listen to the orchestra.
Let me introduce the resident conductor of nine years-BYUNG-YUN YU.
He was born in South Korea and studied violin, piano, composition and conducting there.
In 1985 he was awarded a gold medal in the Korean National Conducting Competition.
In 1992 he came to England, and furthered his studies in violin and conducting, graduating from the London College of Music and Kingston University.
Among his mentors is Sir Colin Davis.
Previous conducting engagements have included the London College of Music Chamber Orchestra and even as far afield with the Karnata Symphony Orchestra in India.
Prior to the commencement of this concert at ST. JOHN’S I was able to meet BYUNG-YUN YU.
His persona gave me the impression that he is lively, agreeable and down to earth.
His performance was full of enthusiasm and energy and he seemed to be completely absorbed by the music he was conducting.
He certainly looked as if he was having fun and enjoying himself.
I mentioned this to one of the orchestra members and she wholeheartedly agreed with me that he was the spark that ignited their performances and developed their skills.

MAMI SHIKIMORI is delightful and was able to spare a few moments of her time after the concert.
She really is a talented and skilful pianist who gave an engaging performance of the Beethovan Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op.73-The Emperor.
She was born in Japan and received her early piano tuition there.
In 1993 she won a scholarship to the Purcell School of Music in London.
Her studies continued at the Royal College of Music where she graduated after gaining the highest distinction of all the students graduating in 1995.
MAMI has also received numerous awards.
This was followed by being awarded a full scholarship to attend the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
She continues to perform in Japan and England.
Her previous performances have been in New York (Carnegie Hall) and in Italy.
I enjoyed the concert.
The orchestra, conductor (BYUNG-YUN YU) and solo artist (MAMI SHIKIMORI) need more exposure at progressively suitable venues when more performing experience can be gained.

Slim, stylish Cyber-shot cameras by Sony offer superb picture quality and outstanding value

Two slim, stylish Cyber-shot digital cameras from Sony offer outstanding quality and value to suit every pocket.
The Cyber-shot W180 and W190 are the perfect no-fuss choice for anyone who needs to capture family moments, holidays and nights out.
Both models look great with slim, clean lines and a choice of silver, black or red colour finish options. Ideal for first-time photographers, they’re beautifully easy to use, with a simple slide switch to select photo/movie/playback modes. For maximum creative freedom, a choice of seven Scene Selection modes adjusts camera settings automatically to suit virtually any subject.
While they offer superb value, the Cyber-shot W180 and W190 don’t compromise on class-leading picture quality and easy-to-use features.
A high resolution of 10.1/12.1 effective megapixels (W180/W190) ensures crisp, detail-packed enlargements to A3 size and beyond. Pristine picture quality is further enhanced by the high-quality 3x optical zoom lens. Smart zoom boosts maximum magnification to a frame-filling 18x for W190 and 17x for W180 for even more dramatic close-ups. There’s also a generously-sized 2.7” Clear Photo LCD screen for a bright, clear view of images and quick confirmation of camera settings.
Improved Face Detection recognises up to 8 faces in a scene, fine-tuning focus and exposure for better-looking portraits. For even happier people pictures, Smile Shutter automatically takes a picture when your subject smiles.
SteadyShot image stabilisation reduces the effects of camera shake when you’re shooting handheld. A special shooting mode boosts sensitivity to ISO 3200, letting you freeze moving subjects with faster shutter speeds or capture atmospheric interiors without flash.
Also supplied, the latest version (4.2.01) of Picture Motion Browser software (for PC) makes it easy to manage and share your collection of digital photos and video clips and for uploading these to YouTube, Picasa or other image and video sharing web-sites.
The Cyber-shot W180 and W190 compact digital cameras are available from July 2009.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Dalai Lama’s 74th birthday celebrations in London

Date: 6th July 2009, 3 pm (Programme starts at 4 pm)
Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1

Contact: 020 7272 1414 /

The Dalai Lama will be 74 on 6 July 2009. To mark the day, the Tibet Commemorative Committee1 is organising an afternoon of Tibetan entertainment on Sunday 5 July at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London. Guest speakers include Sogyal Rinpoche2, author of the bestselling Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and founder of Rigpa.

There will also be:
· Traditional Tibetan songs and dances performed by the Tibetan Community dance group.
· Tibetan crafts, books and cards available at a variety of stalls
· Tibetan food
· Children’s workshops

Discover Korea #5: Incheon (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Korea Tourism Organization)

A gateway to Northeast Asia with both international port and international airport in its hand, Incheon is located in the mid-west Korea peninsula abutting the Yellow Sea.
The Michuhol region became a district of Goguryeo Kingdom under the reign of King Jangsu (475).
The district was referred to as Maesohol-hyeon, until it was renamed Soseong-hyeon after the unification of the three kingdoms, under the rule of King Gyeongdeok.
At the time of King Sukjong (1095-1105) of the Goryeo Dynasty, this area, which was the place of origin of the king’s maternal family, was granted a higher administrative status, and renamed Gyeongwon-gun.
Subsequently, under the reign of King Injong (1122-1146), the place was again moved up the hierarchy of administrative division system, this time in honor of the Lee clan of Gyeongwon (Inju), the king’s mother’s family, and renamed Inju.
Following the rebellion of Lee Ja-gyeom, the clan was severely weakened. In the 2nd year of King Gongyang (1390), Inju was discarded in favour of its earlier name, Gyeongwon-bu.
The region had a close tie to Goryeo’s royal house over seven successive reigns, garnering the nickname ‘Childaeeohyang’ (meaning literally ‘seven-generation royal homestead’).
With the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, Incheon was assigned a lesser status, with its name changed back to Inju.
Its present name, Incheon, was given in the 13th year of King Taejong (October 15, 1413), when the suffix ‘ju’ was replaced by ‘cheon’ or ‘san’ for administrative units lesser than dohobu.
This day is today commemorated in Incheon as Citizens’ Day.

Sea, Sunset, Cruise, Clean Sushi Restaurants, and Scenic Cafes With youth and romance, Wolmido is one of the most famous tourist spots near the Metropolitan area.
On the right is the wide sea, and on the left are the beautiful, exotic cafes.
As you walks along the 1km-long Wolmido Street of Culture, everyone becomes free and romantic.
As you meet street performers, amateur portrait painters, and couples whispering love to each other, you will see all the free sprit and romance of the world here.
In fact, watching the sunset over the ocean from the benches along the street is a great date in and of itself.
Soraepogu grew, as the largest salt field in the nation was developed there in the 1930’s, and as the Suwon-Incheon Railway, the only narrow gauge one in Korea, was opened there.
There you are still greeted by the thick smell of sea and fish, fishery markets, and fishing boats.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Songs of the East & Songs of the West

Date: Sunday, 28/06/2009 from 3.00pm till about 5.00pm
Venue: St Augustine’s Church, One Tree Hill, Honor Oak Park, London, SE23 3LE

Vocal Ensemble Hanabi, a women’s choir of seven are coming from Tokyo to give a concert of Renaissance to modern sacred music, Elizabethan Madrigals and enchanting Japanese songs; traditional and contemporary. They will be joined by the Green Chorus, Nippon Club’s Women’s choir based in London. There will be a joint performance at the end of the event. There will also be a small function afer the concert where all are invited to join the singers to have a chat over Japanese plum wine.

St. Augustine is an Anglican parish church in southeast London located in the Park of 'One Tree Hill' on Honor Oak Park. At our heart is faith in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We seek to grow in knowledge of and obedience to Him. We are committed to the Bible, prayer, being open to the Spirit and serving the people of our community in creative ways. We strive to bring people into a vital creative relationship with our Lord through our worship, fellowship and prayer; teaching and pastoral care; reflection and action. We are committed to fostering and nurturing the depth of relationship between God and his creation and with one another. Everyone is most welcome to come and be a part of shaping our fellowship at St. Augustine. As most of the building is all on one level, there is easy access to all parts of the building including toilets and the parish rooms.

Korean diplomacy in action‏

President Lee Myung-bak visited the United States from June 15 to 17 to hold summit talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. This is President Lee’s fist U.S. visit since the beginning of the Obama administration.

At the summit, the two leaders discussed ways to enhance the Korea-U.S. alliance, jointly respond to the North Korean nuclear issue and agreed to support the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement and boost cooperation in industry, technology, Korea’s low carbon-green growth policy, as well as measures to tackle climate change, the global financial crisis and other related global issues.

President Lee also met leaders of the United States Senate and House of Representatives during his trip, attended forums of both Korean and U.S. business leaders and received an honorary doctoral degree at George Washington University.
At the summit, the two leaders adopted "The Joint Vision for the Alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States" and declared that the two countries will work together to achieve the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, as well as ballistic missile programs, and to promote respect for the fundamental human rights of the North Korean people.

The two leaders also said in the statement that both countries "will maintain a robust defense posture, backed by allied capabilities that support both nations' security interests," and added that, "the continuing commitment of extended deterrence, including the U.S. nuclear umbrella, reinforces this assurance."

Regarding the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, President Lee and the U.S. leader said in the statement that the two countries "will continue to deepen our strong bilateral economic, trade and investment relations," and "recognize that the Korea-U.S. (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement could further strengthen these ties and we are committed to working together to chart a way forward."

On a global level, the two sides also decided to work closely against global terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as other universal matters such as the global financial crisis, piracy, organized crime, climate change, poverty, narcotics, human rights infringements, energy security and epidemics.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Taiko Drumming Taster Workshop

Date: Tuesdays from 23rd June to 28th July
Venue: Tron Theatre, , Education Suite, 63 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HB / St . John’s Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4B

Learn to play the taiko drums with the UK’s top instructors in the field & experience the energy and thrill of playing these beautiful instruments.
The summer taiko course is run by the Mugen Taiko Dojo, the first and only teaching centre dedicated to the art and discipline of Taiko drumming in the UK.
(see: //
Taiko drumming is an energetic, physical and highly choreographed art form which has thrilled audiences worldwide. Originally from Japan, this traditional folk art is now being developed as a modern European art-form
The Mugen Taiko Dojo is the UK’s first centre for Taiko Drumming, based in South Lanarkshire. As well as workshops, classes & courses at the Dojo itself, we have conducted extensive outreach work in schools and communities throughout the UK for the past 12 years, kick-starting a growing taiko scene & helping new groups start throughout the UK.
The performers and teachers with the Dojo are the UK’s leading players in this art-form, all professional players with Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers.


Shinto is the name ascribed to the non-Buddhist religious practices of Japan.
Shinto is today thought of as the indigenous religion of Japan.
However, It was formed from various local Japanese religious practices over a long period prior to written Japanese history, influenced by Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism beginning in the 6th century and first codified with the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century as a response to the influx of “new” religious practices.
These earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified religion but rather a set of practices that are associated with harvests, and annual events along with a clearly defined creation story.
Shinto today is characterized by polytheism, a strong focus on ritual purity, and involves honoring of Kami, or spirits.
Shinto is a orthopractic (right practice) religion where ritual and practice are of the highest importance in comprehending a world saturated by Kami while honoring and celebrating their existence.
Modern Shinto is not vertical in structure and decentralized, although having modern organizations for cohesion, is not one structure, but a conglomeration of similar local or regional shrine practices and festivals with historical overlays of consistency by dress, building styles, and rituals.
Shinto today has about 119 million adherents in Japan, although a person who practices any manner of Shinto rituals may be considered Shinto, there is some debate as to the actual numbers.
It is generally accepted that the vast majority of Japanese people are Shinto.
This same number may also be considered Buddhist and neither faith has exclusivity within their dogma.
Most people in Japan are both by practice.

Purification rites are a vital part of Shinto.
These may serve to placate any restive kami, for instance when their shrine had to be relocated.
Such ceremonies have also been adapted to modern life.
For example, a ceremony was held in 1969 to hallow the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, new buildings made in Japan are frequently blessed by a Shinto priest kannushi during the groundbreaking ceremony, and many cars made in Japan have been blessed as part of the assembly process.
Moreover, every Japanese car factory built outside Japan has had a groundbreaking ceremony performed by a Shinto priest, with occasionally an annual visitation by the priest to re-purify.
A more personal purification rite is the purification by water.
This may involve standing beneath a waterfall or performing ritual ablutions in a river-mouth or in the sea (misogi).
This practice comes from Shinto history, when the kami Izanagi-no-Mikoto first performed misogi after returning from the land of Yomi, where he was made impure by Izanami-no-Mikoto after her death.
These two forms of purification are often referred to as harae.
A third form of purification is avoidance, that is, the taboo placed on certain persons or acts.
To illustrate, women were not allowed to climb Mount Fuji until 1868, in the era of the Meiji Restoration.
Although this aspect has decreased in recent years, religious Japanese will not use an inauspicious word like “cut” at a wedding, nor will they attend a wedding if they have recently been bereaved.

Shinto teaches that everything contains a kami.
Shinto’s spirits are collectively called yaoyorozu no kami, an expression literally meaning “eight million kami”, but interpreted as meaning “myriad”, although it can be translated as “many Kami”.
Kami come in many of forms where some are local and can be regarded as the spiritual being/spirit of a particular place while others appears to have been defined as eternal and described with more “god” like powers of creation.
Kami may also be ancestors or famous persons of Japanese history elevated to a higher status and available for placation at a shrine.
There is a bit of trouble with the definition of Kami being a “god” in the monotheistic definition of the word, but it is generally accepted to describe any supernatural force that is above the actions of man, and is very inclusive of all religious “god”, spirit figures, and mythological creatures in Shinto belief.
Frequently they are described taking human forms, inhabiting inanimate objects, becoming animals, and manifesting as “ghosts”.
All mythological creatures of the Japanese cultural tradition, of the Buddhistic traditional beliefs, Christian God, Hindu gods, Islamic Allah, various angels and demons of all faiths among others are considered Kami for the purpose of Shinto faith.
Unlike many religions, one does not need to publicly profess belief in Shinto to be a Shintoist.
Whenever a child is born in Japan, a local Shinto shrine adds the child’s name to a list kept at the shrine and declares him or her a “family child”.
After death an ujiko becomes a “family spirit”, or “family kami”.
One may choose to have one’s name added to another list when moving and then be listed at both places.
Names can be added to the list without consent and regardless of the beliefs of the person added to the list.
However, this is not considered an imposition of belief, but a sign of being welcomed by the local kami, with the promise of addition to the pantheon of kami after death.
Those children who die before addition to the list are called “water children”, and are believed to cause troubles and plagues.
Mizuko are often worshipped in a Shinto shrine dedicated to stilling their anger and sadness, called mizuko kuyō.
Because Shinto has co-existed with Buddhism for well over a millennium, it is very difficult to untangle Shinto and Buddhist beliefs about the world.
Though Buddhism and Shinto have very different perspectives on the world, most Japanese do not see any challenge in reconciling these two very different religions, and practice both.
Thus it is common for people to practice Shinto in life yet have a Buddhist funeral.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Contemporary Dance Performance to celebrate "The Polish Connection" (Choreography: Yong Min Cho)

Date: 20th/21st June & 27/28th June, 12pm
Venue: Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21 7AD
T: 020 8693 5254
F: 020 8299 8700

Dulwich Picture Gallery will host four performances of a contemporary dance performance overtwo weekends in celebration of its new exhibition, The Polish Connection. The dance performanceis going to be developed in relation to Malinowski’s installation. Working from the 18th centuryportraits of King Stanislaw the vectors of the Polish King’s gaze are manifested as the black lines ofMalinowski’s wall drawing. These lines then will be translated into dancers’ movements. Rolf Gehlhaar’s music based on the sound of English and Polish words is going to provide therhythmic structure for the choreography. The dancers’ movements are going to be closely relatedto the specificity of the unusual spaces of the glass “cloister” and the Gallery’s gardens. Thechoreography, taking the four dancers through the inside and the outside spaces, is going to pointtowards a dreamlike travelling in time.The performance is free of charge.

Choreography: Yong Min Cho
Music: Rolf Gehlhaar
Dancers: Carlotta Bruni/ Georgiana Cavendish/ Yong Min Cho/ Karolina Kraczkowska
Costumes: Jung Yeon Chae/ Yong Min Cho

Discover Japanese Food #4: Atsuko's "Okara Croquette" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Okara is a great by-product from the soy milk making process. It is the solids from the soy beans, which are left behind after the milk has been filtered away. It is high in protein and low in fat, and has many uses in a variety of dishes. In Japan, tofu shops will give okara away for free when you make your tofu purchase. Luckily you can find okara right here in London. If you are passing through Borough Market on a Saturday, keep an eye out for the Clean Bean Tofu stall. It’s freshly made and organic, and if you’re early you can get a bag of Okara to take away with your tofu purchase. Okara will last for a few days in the fridge - it’s best when used fresh.

* Ingredients
(for 8 people)
100g okara
50g minced pork
½ carrot
½ onion
5cm renkon
10g ginger
3g hijiki
1 tbsp sesame oil (for frying)

* Seasonings:100ml water, 50ml sake, 1 tbsp, light shoyu, 1½ tbsp mirin
* For coating:¼ cup flour, 1 egg, 1 cup panko (bread crumbs)
* For deep frying: 20cm deep frying pan, 500ml rapeseed oil

1. Soak the dried hijiki in water for 10 mins so they swell up.
2. Chop the carrot, onion, ginger finely. Roughly chop the renkon so that it has a chunky texture.
3. Heat the frying pan and add the sesame oil.
4. Fry the chopped carrot, onion, ginger then add minced pork and renkon, hijiki and okara. Stir well.
5. When the ingredients are mixed, add the seasonings mixture (water, sake, light shoyu, and mirin). Simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
6. Leave it to cool down.

* Method
1. When the okara is cool enough to touch, make an okara ball to divide into 8.
2. For the coating, break the eggs in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Dust the okara ball lightly with flour and dip them into the egg, then coat with panko. Roll them gently on the bed of panko.
4. Leave them in the fridge for a while to set the panko.
For frying:
5. Bring the oil heat to 170 degrees. *drop a little of panko into the oil to test if the temperature is correct.
6. Deep fry 1-2 in the pan ( don’t put too much into the pan, or the temperature will drop ).
7. Turn them over a few times until they are golden. Drain well.
8. Serve them while they’re hot and crisp.

About Atsuko
Atsuko is from Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands. Kyushu is an island rich in agriculture, with an abundance of fresh local produce, and a reputation for good food. Ceramics are another famous export, with fine porcelains from Arita, Imari, Satsuma, and Karatsu being recognised worldwide. Now based in London, Atsuko has been sharing her knowledge of Japanese cooking with a series of courses which introduce some of the family favourites. For more information on Atsuko’s courses, please visit:

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The King and I

Date: Friday 12 June - Sunday 28 June 2009
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP

The timeless classic musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I, has captured the hearts and minds of millions with its charming story of the British governess brought into the court of Siam to tutor the King's many children. Once within the splendour of the Royal Palace, beautifully recreated within the magical setting of the Royal Albert Hall, Anna and the King grow to understand one another and learn about each other's cultures.
Fully staged in the round, this spectacular new production plays for just twenty performances. The unique love story is told with one of the most glorious and unforgettable scores ever written. The much-loved songs and sweeping melodies from the show include: The March of the Siamese Children, Shall We Dance, I Whistle a Happy Tune, Hello Young Lovers and the unforgettable Getting to Know You.
The King and I is lavishly brought to life by Jeremy Sams (The Sound of Music, Noises Off) and Robert Jones (The Sound of Music, On The Town) with musical direction by Gareth Valentine (Cats, Miss Saigon) and played by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Starring one of the UK's best-loved stage performers Maria Friedman alongside Daniel Dae Kim, star of the hit TV series Lost, this promises to be a memorable musical not to be missed.
Music by Richard Rodgers. Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on the novel entitled Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon. Presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of R&H Theatricals of New York.

Asiana, “Magic Boarding Pass” Program, With the expansion of partner companies, enjoy more benefits

With a boarding pass, a maximum of 60% discounts at major tourist attractions, hotels, and shopping centers are possible through Asiana Airlines’ (President & COO: Young-Doo Yoon) “Magic Boarding Pass” program. Within 4 months, the number of users of the program reached 3,000 people.
It has gained popularity among customers.
Asiana’s “Magic Boarding Pass” program has been carried out since February 1st. Passengers who travel abroad with Asiana Airlines can get a 3~60% discount on products of Asiana’s partner companies by simply showing their original boarding pass and personal identification card within 7 days of their flight.
As of June 1st, the number of partner companies has increased from 33 to 44. Hence, in addition to the already existing benefits, there is a 50% discount on charged fees for exchanging currencies at all branch offices of Hana Bank and a 5~40% discount on performance tickets, such as those of 『Nanta』 and 『Jump』.
Due to its convenience and various benefits, Asiana’s “Magic Boarding Pass” program is used by numerous international and domestic passengers. Moreover, Korea Tourism Organization, Incheon Airport Duty Free Shop, and Airport Railroad Co., Ltd (AREX) have induced the most users.
Furthermore, the number of users has increased by over 10% each month. It is expected that there will be an average increase of 15% per month, due to the expansion of partner companies.
Asiana will continue to increase partner companies, which are located in Korea and overseas, to offer more benefits to its customers.

Monday, 15 June 2009

“Living Heritage”, An Exhibition of Intangible Heritage Properties produced by twenty-five of Korea’s finest Master Craftsmen and Women

Date: 29 June ~ 21 July 2009 (The Official opening reception of the exhibition is on the 29th June 2009 from 18.30)
Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK, Ground Floor, Grand Buildings, 1 - 3 Strand, London, WC2N 5BW

The title Living Heritage is one given by UNESCO that refers to the most fragile of cultural assets: the collective knowledge behind the expressions, beliefs, rituals, dance, music, cuisine, customs and skills of each community. KCC has brought together a vast range of beautiful pieces from 25 Korean masters, each revealing an essence of Korea through its supreme craftsmanship. The pieces will include the finest examples of textiles, ceramics, paintings, silver work, furniture and traditional beverages to name but a few. The Centre will not only be showcasing the work of these masters but also offering an insight into the traditional methods, immense skill and years of training that is behind this level of craftsmanship. The skills used by these craftsmen and women are skills which are dear to Koreans, they represent a link and a connection to our past. Korea has a long history of arts and crafts, a fact that is sometimes forgotten in the face of rapid economic development and mass production. From the arts and crafts, it is the lacquer-ware which comes to the forefront of one’s mind; the skills behind the traditional Korean lacquer-ware reach back over two millennia. The sap of the lacquer tree is extracted and used to coat the most delicate of pieces that once dried creates a gloss and a colour that surpasses other materials. With two thousand years of history looking down on these masters, they understand all too well the importance of passing their skills and knowledge onto the next generation; knowing that should they fail to do so it will be the judgement of history that falls upon their shoulders.

The introduction of these cultural master-pieces also offers a wonderful opportunity for designers and artists in the UK to take inspiration from the majesty of these pieces and also to learn from the wisdom of the Korean masters. It is the goal of this ‘Living Heritage’ exhibition to remind the visitor of the traditional skills inherent in each nation and to reveal the fragility of these skills; may exhibitions such as this long keep these skills alive.

Asiana serves Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) as a in-flight menu from 1st of June till 31st of August

Airlines, (President & COO: Young-Doo Yoon) provides new health foods in the line up of Asiana’s in-flight cuisines, Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) and Neng somyun (Cold Noodles) as in-flight menus starting from the 1st of June till 31st of August.
It is anticipated that by serving summer menus such as Samgyetang will restore energy towards passengers whom lost their energy during the hot, long and tiresome traveling inside the cabins. Samegyetang, Samgyejuk (ginseng chicken porridge), SamgyeJim (steamed herbal chicken) and some of the representing Korean summer menus using oriental herbs. It is said by eating these dishes it restores energy lost from summer heat.
Asiana has also introduced other traditional dishes like the black rice and black sesame soup which will be exchanged for the cold soup provided in the western menu of the business, and first class meals. Cold noodle soup made from kimchee will also be provided as a new menu.
Other special seasonal in-flight meals such as Spring Herb Bibimbab, Plum Punch, and Acorn Jelly Noodles has proven a hit among passengers so it will continue to be provided all year around. Asiana will continue providing a variety of in-flight menus in providing the maximum customer satisfactions.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Japanese Art Festival

Date: 11th ~12th July
Venue: Richmond Adult Community College Parkshot Richmond TW9 2RE
Web site:

On 11th and 12th July 2009, there will be two days of art, cultural activities and fun at the Richmond Adult Community College, Richmond, Surrey, UK, including the Manga & Anime Art Exhibition. Entry to the Japanese Art Festival is free.

Akemi Solloway, the main organiser of the Japanese Art Festival, is a lecturer of Japanese culture and daughter of an old samurai family. It is her aim to present authentic Japanese culture in an accessible and enjoyable manner. In addition to Akemi, the core supporters of this festival are AJAMCA, the Anglo-Japanese Anime, Manga and Culture Association, and the School of Japanese Language and Culture.
In the friendly atmosphere of this event, if you come alone or with a group, you will find like-minded people, interesting things to see and do and the chance to take part in further activities in the UK and Japan.

The Manga and Anime Art Exhibition is an official event of Japan-UK 150, celebrating 150 years of friendship between our two countries. We have also applied to be included in the Cultural Olympiad, which is ongoing from Autumn 2008 until the actual Olympic Games in London in 2012.

Discover Japan #5: Yamagata Prefecture (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Japan National Tourist Organization London Office)

When the British travel writer Isabella Bird visited Yamagata many years ago, she called it the “arcadia of the east,” in admiration of its natural abundance and beauty. Former U.S. ambassador to Japan, Edwin Reischauer, also praised the healthy balance between people and nature in Yamagata, calling it “another Japan, on the other side of the mountain.”
Yamagata Prefecture is located about 300 km to the north of Tokyo. It has a population of 1.23 million, and an area of about 9,300 square kilometers. The Prefectural Government Headquarters are located in Yamagata City. Its latitude is 38 degrees, 15 minutes north, about the same as Washington, DC and San Francisco, USA, Lisbon, Portugal and Athens, Greece.
The major industries are agriculture and manufacturing. The electronics industry is particularly concentrated here. Yamagata is striving toward the development of new enterprises based around Organic Electro-Luminescence technology, and the catchphrase of this effort is “Lighting up the World with Organic Light!”

There are two sides to Yamagata. In the central cities of the different regions, the concentration of various metropolitan functions continues to develop. In the surrounding areas, beautiful natural features such as mountains and rivers offer the blessings of the four seasons and are the source of many of our greatest resources.

Yamagata, a prefecture blessed by bountiful nature, is highly evaluated for its rice, as well as for the top-quality Sake produced from the rice. Yamagata is also a great producer of fruit; production of cherries and pears is the highest in the nation. Yamagata is also famous for its delicious beef. Yamagata is a place with four distinct seasons. In the spring, the melting of the snow brings a fresh green to the trees, and the cherry blossoms bloom. One enjoyable pastime is to watch the cherry blossoms at their peak. In Tendo city, people dress up as Shogi (Japanese chess) pieces and have games of “Human Shogi.” Many people visit Yamagata in June, when the cherries are harvested. During the hot summer, there are festivals throughout the prefecture, and the main attraction in Yamagata City is the “Hanagasa Festival.” During the abundant autumn season, the prefecture is busy with the harvest of delicious fruits such as grapes, apples and pears, as well as rice. A picturesque world emerges as the color of the trees change to red and yellow. In the winter, the hot springs and ski resorts are lively. There are many hot springs throughout the prefecture, and tourists come to visit them throughout the year.

Yamagata is proud of its tradition of craft-making. In addition to the cutting-edge technology introduced in the previous pages, the abundant nature, history and culture of the prefecture has also given birth to masterful and refined methods for the production of handmade crafts. Many varieties of traditional crafts, exemplified by “Yamagata Cast-Metal”, have been carefully produced making full use of these techniques. In the modern era full of machines, mass-produced goods and disposable goods, these products form an enriching part of our daily lives. Each of them is a creation worthy of passing on to the next generation. The tradition of cast-metal crafts has a 900-year history in Yamagata, and has been evaluated highly, producing many “Living National Treasures.” In particular, Yamagata produces more tea urns than any other prefecture. Recently, long-established cast-metal craft companies have been striving to create teapots with lively colors such as blue, green and red, which have become popular in Europe, where interest in Japanese culture is growing. In addition, because of the design and beauty of the materials, these crafts have come to be used in monuments, street lights, bronze statues and signs, playing an important role in the effort to make culture and history more tangible in our towns.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The 26th Korean Film Night (The Marines Who Never Returned by Lee Man-hee)

Date: 25th June 2009, 7.00 pm
Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 The Strand, London WC2N 5EJ

Film Information
(Dora-oji Anneun Haebyeong)" is a superb movie among representative Korean War movies. Released in 1963, it ran for 42 long days, drawing an audience of 194,124. It was also selected as the best movie among the 10 best feature movies dealing with the Korean War. It's a war film describing the friendship of fellow soldiers and the instincts of men in the face of death.

A division in the Marine Corps participating in the Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War successfully moved toward north and defeated the Chinese soldiers, only to realize how cruel war is, witnessing their dying comrades. Characters Jeong Wonju and An Hyeongmin, who are from the same village, along with Donghyeok, Mrs. Jeong, Insuk, a divisional officer named Kang Daesik and marines such as Ha seong are all surrounded by Chinese soldiers and die one by one from relentless sieges, becoming 'Marines gone' except An Hyeongmin. He barely survives and is sent on a stretcher to a nurse officer, Cha SeonYeong, his fiancée.

Winner of Best Director, Best Sound, Best Cinematography at 3rd Grand Bell Awards.
[Sources: Korean Film Archive and]

Korean Air, Number One Global Cargo Airline Five Years in a Row

Korean Air topped the global rankings for commercial airline cargo operations for the fifth consecutive year in 2008, according to World Air Transport Statistics compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

During 2008, Korean Air recorded 8.822 billion FTK (Freight Tonne-Kilometres), topping the chart for International Scheduled Freight Tonne-Kilometres, followed by Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa. Korean Air attained the number one spot for the first time in 2004 and has consistently been one of the world’s top three freight carriers since 1993.

The key elements that have driven the airline’s number one results for the past five years are network expansion, new market development, unified freighter operations and excellent service management.

Korean Air launched freighter service to Navoi airport in Uzbekistan last August and increased frequencies this May. Eyeing potential growth in Central and South America, the carrier has secured a foundation to further develop this market by expanding partnerships with local carriers. For prompt and safe operations, Korean Air has unified its freighter fleet to all B747-400F aircraft and has continued to boost customer satisfaction by thorough quality management.

To accommodate potential cargo demand, Korean Air enlarged cargo handling capacity at its Incheon hub, by increasing Terminal One’s annual capacity from 1.03 million tons to 1.35 million tons and adding a new Terminal Two with an annual capacity of 260,000 tons.

To capitalize on high-potential growth in the Central Asia market, Korean Air has partnered with the Uzbekistan government to jointly develop the Navoi International Airport, positioning the airport as a logistics hub for Central Asia. Korean Air has been taking a significant role in various aspects of the project, including cargo terminal construction, facility expansion and airport management.

“We have continuously expanded and upgraded our services to meet customers’ needs through strong cargo operations”, said Chang Hoon Chi, Senior Vice Present of Korean Air’s Cargo Division. “Rather than reminiscing about past achievements, we look towards the future and strive to accomplish our goal to be the number one commercial cargo carrier for 15 years by 2019.”

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Mishima: A Double Bill (A Theatre Production of Hanjo and Hell Screen)

Date: 16 June - 4 July 2009, 7.45pm
Venue: Oval House Theatre, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW
Tel: 020 86946472
Web: /

Never before staged in the United Kingdom in English, Yukio Mishima’s lyrically imaginative modern adaptations of classical Noh drama and Kabuki merge traditional forms of Japanese theatre with 21st century psychology. Past and present, reality and illusion, life and death, love, greed, anger collide in a world where characters are forced to find the poetic within the mundane and love in the most unlikely places.

A Yukio Mishima double bill:
The turbulent life of Yukio Mishima, one of the greatest exponents of Japanese literature, led him to commit harakiri at the age of forty-five. The haunting beauty of his modern classics, Hanjo and Hell Screen, promise an evening of pure and unforgettable delight at the theatre.

Translated by Donald Keene
Directed by Franko Figueiredo
In this bittersweet story of unrequited love, the beautiful Hanako waits at a train station with an opened fan in her arms, peering into the face of every man who alights, only to return each time disappointed to her waiting-room bench...

Hell Screen
Yukio Mishima’s adaptation of Akutagawa’s short story
Directed by Kwong LokeWhen
Yoshihide is commissioned to paint Hell, he sets about having his sadistic vision recreated before him so that he may paint it with measured strokes... Revealed in a cup of sake with a crimson maple leaf floating on it, his conceit comes with a hellish twist - causing a beautiful maiden to be roasted alive in the inferno of a falling carriage. Such is the price of true art.

Friday 19th June: Post show talk with the creative team special participation by Ecco Shirasaka from CaramelBox Theatre in Tokyo

Incheon airport in Seoul, South Korea has been voted the best in the world

Hong Kong international airport came second, with Singapore's Changi Airport third, in a survey by the British-based Skytrax consultancy group, BBC reports.
The agency interviewed 8.6 million passengers at 190 airports about their experiences, from check-in, departures, transfers, through to arrivals.
Six Asian airports made the top 10, along with Zurich, Munich, Amsterdam and Auckland.

Skytrax said that the voting was very close between the top three airports, and at one point it thought there would be a dead-heat. Hong Kong won the award last year.
Skytrax CEO, Edward Plaisted, said that Incheon had been "in the global top five ranking for the World Airport Awards during the past five to six years, and it is a great achievement for them to secure this premier mark of customer satisfaction."

Incheon airport, about 60km (37 miles) from Seoul, opened in 2001 to replace Kimpo airport as the international gateway to South Korea.
It is one of only three airports in South Korea making a profit. In 2006, it was the 11th busiest in the world for international passenger traffic.

In the regions, Cape Town was named the best airport in Africa, Zurich in Europe, with Tel Aviv winning the award for the Middle East. Dallas/Fort Worth came top in North America, Lima in South America and Panama in Central America.
Skytrax found that Dubai had the best duty free shopping; Hong Kong the best dining; Helsinki the best baggage delivery, and Kansai in Japan the "cleanest airport washrooms".
Heathrow airport in London did not figure in the awards. However, it does merit "three stars" in the Skytrax consultancy rankings, along with airports such as Abu Dhabi, Bangkok and Johannesburg.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Exploring Korea's Cultural Legacy from Past to Present

Date: Tuesday 16th June 2009, 6.15 pm for 6.30 pm
Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 The Strand, London WC2N 5EJ

Hang-Jin Chang and Matthew Jackson will present a series of short films on some of Korea artistic and cultural treasures, and Francesca Cho will introduce a series of modern paintings inspired by King Sejong’s alphabet Hangul, which continues to influence her work to this day.
The films will cover The Sarira Casket, Koryo Buddhist Paintings, Sokkuram, Hanbok, Hangul,
and Korea Today. These were recently shown to more than 2,000 people in Brussels at the Smile of Buddha exhibition, which was one of the largest offerings of Korean art to date with over 60,000 visitors.
The artist’s curator, Francesca Di Fraia, will also give a short talk about the ‘Cycle of Flying Dragons’. As above mentioned, the latter is a series of Francesca Cho’s modern paintings inspired by King Sejong’s alphabet, made in the late 90’s as part of her Bachelor of Arts degree, which will also be on show at the Exhibition Hall Fulham Library from 16th to 19th of July. Francesca Cho is an artist who has worked in the UK for over fifteen years, and whose works are on display throughout Europe.
Matthew Jackson and Hang-Jin Chang are members of the Korean Spirit and Cultural Promotion Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Korea’s history and culture. They currently work in consultancy and the law, both having graduated from Oxford University in 2004, and have worked as volunteer members of KSCPP since 2006.

Sir Howard Stringer, Sony Chairman and CEO, supports The Prince’s Rainforest Project (PRP) and pledges to take action against climate change

In a video campaign message, alongside the PRP animated frog, Sir Howard Stringer, Sony Chairman and CEO, today joined an array of business leaders and celebrities to show his support for The Prince’s Rainforest Project (PRP), founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
The Prince’s Rainforest Project seeks to develop consensus as to how the rate of global deforestation might be slowed.
“Sony has chosen to support the Prince’s Rainforest Project because climate change is without a doubt one of the most pressing issues of our time” says Sir Howard Stringer. “Tropical deforestation and the logging and burning of trees is responsible for a fifth or more of global carbon emissions. That is why the fight against deforestation is a core component of Sony’s environmental initiatives”.
Sir Howard has pledged that ‘going green’ is one of the seven imperatives for the consumer electronics industry and Sony’s commitment in this area has already made a difference. For example, in Europe, Sony significantly reduced its C02 emissions by approximately 90% between 2000 – 2008. The support of the PRP is just one of Sony’s many environmental initiatives.
The Prince’s Rainforests Project (PRP) is raising awareness of the connection between rainforest destruction and climate change. The PRP believes that agreement on emergency action for rainforests is needed ahead of the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. The project recognises the key role that the business, non-profit, and education communities will play in encouraging people to sign up to help put rainforests at the heart of the climate change agenda.
The Sony and PRP partnership began at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards with a PRP award category to document the glory of the rainforests and the devastating impacts of deforestation.
The winner, Daniel Beltrá, is currently photographing the South American, Central African and South-East Asian rainforests. Sony and the PRP are delivering a stunning interactive exhibition that will combine Daniel’s new photographs with Sony technology to allow people to experience the glory of the rainforests and understand their plight. The exhibition will start in Kew Gardens, London from October 3rd 2009.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Discover Japanese Food #3: Atsuko's "Dashimaki Tamago" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Dashimaki is a great dish for packing into your bento (lunchbox). It's made with dashi, making it soft and juicy. You can serve it with grated daikon (white long radish) and soy sauce, or mayonnaise.
The sweet egg roll found on top of Nigiri sushi is made with the same method, but it is much sweeter.
In Japan we make this dish with a square frying pan, as it's easier to roll evenly. You will find a square frying pan in the Japanese grocery shops in London.
Also you can use a normal frying pan, but you might need bit of practice to make the perfect egg roll. A teflon coated frying pan will make it easier.

* Ingredients: serves 4
4 large eggs
Seasonings: 60 ml dashi, 1/2 tsp light shoyu (soy sauce), A little of salt, 1 tsp mirin
For frying:2 tbsp vegetable oil
Garnish: Grated daikon (white long radish if available), Shoyu (dark soy sauce)

* Preparation:
1. Mix the dashi and other seasonings in a cup until the salt dissolves.
2. Break the eggs into a large bowl and crush the eggs yolk then cut the egg white using the chopsticks.
3. Mix 1 into 2 then stir gently.
4. Grate a daikon with grater then squeeze out the liquid, set aside.

*Method: This needs to be done quickly to work. Ready?
1. Heat the small frying pan ( 18cm width ) with high heat, then wipe with a paper towel soaked in oil. This makes sure there is not too much oil in the pan.
2. Make sure the frying pan is hot enough then pour a quarter of the egg mixture and tilt the frying pan to spread the mixture.
3. Break the bubbles on the egg with your chopsticks. When the egg is half cooked, roll the egg towards you, then push to the back of the pan.
4. Spread the oil ( using the paper towel soaked in the oil ) on the pan. Repeat 2, 3 action 3 or 4 times. But leave the egg roll in the pan when you repeat it. Try to pour the mixture under the roll so that it sticks together. This makes it easier to roll the egg.
5. After the last roll turn the heat off. Put the paper towel on the plate and wrap the egg roll in it to be left for 3 mins.
6. Take it out of the paper and cut into 2cm thick slices. Serve with shoyu (soy sauce) with grated daikon.

The East News