Category Archives: Advanced Conversation

Five Years Later

It’s the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, when an earthquake led to a tsunami which led to a nuclear plant being destroyed.  Japanese locals are still trying to cope with both health-related concerns and a huge cultural shift: “In Japanese … Continue reading

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“slinging souvlakis”

The hard-knock life of a New York City street food vendor, and the surprisingly complicated politics around what they do to make a (meager) living: “For $50, just about anyone can get a license to sell food on a city sidewalk. … Continue reading

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Music and Memory

“March for the Beloved” Controversy has erupted over plans to commemorate the Gwangju Massacre.  In particular, people are angry that the singing of the song above will no longer be mandatory: “The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs issued a … Continue reading

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Consider The (Maine) Lobster

Maine is seeing a lobster boom both in terms of pounds caught and demand from China.  It’s good for fisherman, but also kind of complicated: “Each of Maine’s 5,785 lobstermen is an independent business: A license allows its holder to … Continue reading

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Old Wounds

In South Korea, the bodies of fallen Chinese soldiers who fought on the side of North Korea are being exhumed and returned during a relative diplomatic thaw between the two countries: “These are the graves of Chinese and North Korean … Continue reading

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The (Future) (Potential) Smartphone App of Babel

David Arbesu on how computers are making great strides as language translators, but how they will never really be able to replace the wetware of bilingual humans: “But translating is an altogether different task than finding the nearest Starbucks, because … Continue reading

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Holidays In The Sun

In South Korea, a glut of tour agencies are chasing Chinese tourism dollars by offering commissions to Chinese tour agencies.  There are also various kick-backs to Korean hotels and restaurants and shopping areas, leading to one big mess of “dirt-cheap … Continue reading

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We Welcome Our Go-Playing Overlords

A Google-built A.I. named AlphaGo just beat South Korean baduk champion (go in Japanese) Lee Se-dol in the first of five days of matches: “The five-day battle is being seen as a major test of what scientists and engineers have achieved in the … Continue reading

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“third space”

An excellent long-ish form piece from The New York Times offers an overview of the Korean-American adoptee community, and how many of them have decided to move back to the country of their birth: “Lovell was one of the very few … Continue reading

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Dog Politics

While the consumption of dog meat is trending downward in Korea, it’s still a thing.  Some Koreans are even turning the tables on American organizations like the Humane Society, claiming that they don’t rescue Korean farm dogs, but actually exploit … Continue reading

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