Sunday, January 20, 2008

Romanization of Hanguel

Thanks to a comment on Gdogs Daily Kimchi I found Jin Park's blog. The Winter Sunlight. He is doing research into the Romanization of the Korean alphabet (Hanguel). It's a subject I'm sure a lot of westerners are interested in, so if you'd like to help Mr Park out, check out his blog.

My comment was that one thing the government should do is focus on getting everyone to use the same romanization system everywhere.

It's no good the Korea Herald writing Pusan, while everyone else is calling it Busan.

I understand it took a while to change over to the "new system" released a few years ago, but now you have a system please stick with just the one. Any debate about changing it will just confuse everyone.

Korean is difficult to pronounce because westerners are not familiar with it. The romanization is not the problem, because however we say "Bang" or "Pang" (as in "PC Bang") it never sounds correct to Koreans because the sound of the first syllabale is somewhere between the two.

Go over to his blog more discussion on Romanization.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Travel Journalist required to go to Korea

I just got this in a newsletter from Seoul Selection which may be of interest:

The Magazine Seoul Selection is looking for reporters and writers who can contribute pieces on Seoul's travel and culture scene to major global media.

Seoul Selection
is currently bidding for a Seoul Metropolitan Government program to help foreign media cover the city, and we welcome any story suggestions from foreign journalists, regardless of nationality and language.

Selected journalists will come to Seoul for a one-week stay, and be provided with any and all support they require, including airfare, accommodation and interpreters.

Please send your story idea, name of your media company, resume and a story sample to hank < at >, preferably by Jan 21. Even if we fail to win the bid, we will convey your ideas to the city. If you'd like some assistance with story ideas, please ask by email.

I wish them luck in their presentation.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Naked Korean News and Comedy too

The Japan Times today carries the news that Naked News (NSFW) is launching a Korean version of its popular service. ( The story does not seem to be on their website, and their advanced search option has not been updated to include 2008 so here's the story from )

In my last post on Korean blogs I mentioned The Yangpa blog without having visited it recently. When I got around to checking it, I discovered that blog has stopped posting, but The Original Yangpa Blog has started posting again. So, update your bookmarks, blog links and news readers to point to the new site to read more about how the new trans Korea canal will sponsored by Chanel:

The previously unnamed canal will be named Le Chanel de Asia OR Chanel no.1,2,3,4, or 6…..pending negotiations.

and the extra E2 visa requirements demanded by some Korean provinces for teachers, including the One minute breath holding requirement.

Another update is that Joe Mondello, previously at Paintroller, has returned to Korea to study and moved his blog from to wordpress Joshing Gnome

Another piece of good news for those with Apple MACs is that News Net Wire, the RSS reader, is now available for free. I switched to using Google News reader when my license ran out after the first year because I was planning to use a PC, but moving back to News Net Wire is a big improvement on Google.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Korean Blog Nominations for Bloggies 2008

I got a reminder, a request for nomination actually, from another blogger recently that nominations for the Bloggies 2008 have opened.

I duly nominated them, however you have to submit at least three blogs in total. There is a category for Best Asian Blog, so I had a difficult choice picking my top 3 blogs from Asia.

Should I chose the Marmots Hole probably the best known Korea blog? What about Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling and James at The Grand Narrative? Mike the MetroPolitician writes strong and impassioned posts trying to get Korea to like foreigners more. He also runs FeetMan Seoul which could certainly be nominated in Best Fashion blog. While RokDrop , DPRK Studies, One Free Korea and Korea Law Blog provide the serious Korean news stories of the day.

Daeguowl at Kimchi for Breakfast continues to amuse with his skiing antics and lets not forget the lady bloggers : Sara at SaraDevil ,Expat Jane and Cat at SeoulLife.

Busan Mike, Stafford the Chosun Bimbo, Kevin the Big Hominid, TorgoDevil the Geek, David Mr Staypuff , Gdog DailyKimchi and Aaron at Idiot's collective have all provided so much details on their lives thoughout the year.

There's several possible candidates for Best Humorous Weblog : Beloved Leader Blog , The YANGPA, Weird Asia News and Asian Off Beat all provide plenty of light relief.

ZenKimchi's food journal would be a possible for the best food weblog, as would Mary Eats who continues to blog about food and Korean things from San Francisco.

Phil at London Korea Links lists so many things relating to Korea going on in England I sometimes think there's more going on there than in Seoul itself.

Web 2.0 Asia and Techno Kimchi are two good blogs written by Koreans on Technology in Asia that I dip into occasionally. They would be candidates for Best Technology blog.

Some recent new K-Bloggers Seoul Buffoon and Kiss My Kimchi would be good candidates for Best New blog.

And then there are the Japanese blogs : Japundit, JapanProbe and are all worthy candidates.

Lost Nomad has sadly stopped posting, we'll miss his fishing stories and caustic comments, but he was never one for these types of competitions anyway.

For the award for Lifetime achievement I feel there can be only nominee Diamond Geezer. Everyday he posts, without fail, a well written, interesting and engaging item on a variety of subjects mostly concerning life in London. Definitely worth a read, even if you know nothing about London.

Who would you nominate?

Nominations close at 10pm EST on Friday Jan 11th 2008, so you don't have much time to get your nomination in. Once the finalists have been chosen voting starts on Jan 22nd and ends on Jan 31st. The winners will not be announced until March 9th.

Just a small bit of advice if you choose to use the nomination webpage: I almost gave up on the form. It kept coming back saying "Please revise your vote and resubmit". It was only after the fifth time that I noticed that the small red box at the bottom was a "re-captcha" and you have to type in the two textually distorted words. My eyes had completely skipped over the box, I had automatically assumed it was an advert.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Googlegangers for Jon Allen

I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while now, and today's news story on the front page of the Japan Times that Googleganger has been chosen as the Most Creative Word of the Year, gives me a lead in.

The American Dialect Society describes Googleganger as "A person who shows up when you google yourself." An activity commonly known as Vanity surfing or Ego Surfing.

I noticed that 10 of visitors to this blog on Dec 25th had arrived as a result of a search for Jon Allen, so I decided to do a bit of vanity surfing myself and I discovered I was the 5th result in the list. I've just repeated the experiment and I'm down to 11th in the list today. So, just to try and increase my Search Engine rating, here's what some of the other Jon Allens do:

Jon Allen The Close Up magician who "Creates astonishment, excitement and powerful memories."

Jon Allen A Singer from Winchester, England.

Jon Allen Professor of Psychiatry at the The Menninger Clinic in Kansas.

Jonathan O. Allen Assistant Professor in the Chemical Engineering Dept at Arizona State University.

Jon Allen Perl Documentation expert.

John Allen Paulos Professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jon Allen Canadian diplomat. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Israel since June 14, 2006.

Jon Allen A blogger who says "I’m an Artist and a Writer and a Musician with a healthily unhealthy obsession with music of almost all kinds." from Cambridge England.

Jon Allen Marine Laboratory Director at Bowdoin, undergraduate liberal arts institution in Brunswick, Maine.

And me: Jon Allen Blogger and Banking Application support programmer in Tokyo.

Luckily my googlegangers do not star in adult movies or have other unusual professions! Do you have a Googleganger and what do they do?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Diving in Yap, Micronesia

We've recently come back from a holiday on the tiny island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. It was a three hour flight from Tokyo to Guam, we then had to pass through US Customs and Immigration to make the transfer to the next flight which was only an hour in duration.

This is the traditional Men's House

Island of Yap, Micronesia. Mens House. Traditional building
This Hermit crab found the perfect house

Island of Yap, Micronesia. Hermit Crab in discarded film container.
This is another land crab.

Yap, Micronesia. Land Crab
The island is famous for Stone Money, infact they have this as their motto on their car numberplates. These huge stones became highly prized objects around the 1800s and were originally transported to Yap over 300 miles by canoe from the island of Palau.

Island of Yap,Micronesia. Stone money

The Island is also famous for Manta Rays. We stayed at a small diving centre on the island called Yap Rize Diving and thanks to the patience and skill of the dive master, Daisuke, we both passed our PADI open water diving certificate. This picture was taken by him and shows two of the many enormous mantas that congregrate at one particular channel just off the coast for cleaning by small fish. During two of our dives we were lucky enough to get close to many of these creatures some over 2m from tip to tip.

Yap, Micronesia. Manta Rays
To finish, here is a photo of the sunset from the island.

Island of Yap, Micronesia. Tropical Sunset.