Sunday, February 26, 2006

Random Ramblings...閑談...つまらない話

Recently, i went around checking out the rates for a friend who's korean friend is coming over to melbourne for a month to a chance to have a look at the various backpacker accomodations in melbourne. It was really interesting what i found in one of the places.....there was a poster of an island with the korean flag behind it and stating 'I love Dokdo'! For those who don't know, korea and japan had a big fight, a HUGE one, last year when both claimed sovereignty over a group of barren islands off the coast of korea. Koreans reacted angrily when a japanese prefecture passed a law stating that dokdo/takeshima island was japanese and the entire korean nation went into a frenzy with street demonstrations, special classes in schools, internet wars all defending korean right's to dokdo which is effectively occupied by south korean troops. Thus i was amazed to see someone had put a poster proclaiming dokdo/takeshima as korea's in a bakpak accom in melbourne!
further, in one of the places, i was mistaken for a korean again, my 2nd time this yr! but thats cos the place had alot of korean tourists staying so i guess its easy to mix up...
And today i went to help a japanese friend whose here to study criminology expense paid by the japanese govt to move house. Her new place is really neat and nice, a studio with cable tv as well and internet but its expensive $240 per week...but fully furnished...met her japanese friends...mostly post grads here for 1 to 2 yrs...they all had really good english to my surprise and i took the opportunity to talk some japanese and also tell them about my experiences in Tokyo last yr given that they were mostly all from Tokyo as well..there was also one guy who was really cute which further reconfirms my belief that some japanese men are handsome. This guy had that 'masculine aura' and when he was eating ice-cream and licking it, it was attractive too...i had to look away as i stole two glances and felt something...blushing...(i pondered whether to incl. so much detail but i thought what the heck!) We had dinner at Ying Thai on Lygon St which was good and it was paid by my friend who asked us to help her move....

Korean and Japanese Men 韓日男人 韓日の男たち

(Photo to the left is of the Korean actor Won Bin)
As i mentioned in my previous post, i just find korean and japanese men in general really attractive and masculine. Korean men are just oozing with masculinity and are generally well built and tall and usually have masculine sexy voices for japanese men, some look alright whereas some are similar to korean men being extremely masculine and sexy, muscular and have either nice toned skin or nice fair smooth skin....i don't know why i simply find that korean and japanese guys have this 'masculine aura', 男人味 ﹐ coming out from them which is really sexy and attractive, something lacking in Chinese men generally. Chinese men even if good looking just lack that attractive appeal that is present in korean and some japanese guys...i still remember in Tokyo, there were so many attractive guys on the trains every day that i found myself bumping into cute guys almost every other day, they were masculine, polite and had smooth skin...there was once when i went to the police box 交番 in front of Shinjuku Station to ask for directions and omg the two or three policemen there were like the most attractive police i have ever seen! They were all young, well built, short hair and had toned skin and even as i was talking to them, i could feel this pervasive masculinity just oozing out of them, even when one of them spoke, his breath smelt good (i am probably divulging too much detail here!) and i was left thinking did the police force in Japan select only good looking guys or was it just that particular police box, i dun know....then there are the korean guys in melbourne, i mean there was once i met this korean guy who looked so good looking he could seriously be an actor, he was just sooo handsome i could not believe he was walking on the streets of melbourne, THATS how good looking he was...well to me at least...seriously think the korean men and some japanese men are really appealing...this post is just to give an insight into my thoughts and is kinda a change in tone from my other posts given my recent effort to try to personalise and be as frank as i can be in my blog!
UPDATE (13/3/06) I take back what i said about Chinese guys! After saying that Chinese guys aren't good looking i have been bumping into so many cute Chinese boys that i changed my mind and think Chinese guys can be good-looking too!! There is also this Penang boy whom i got acquainted with recently and he is kinda cute and we have some similarities as well but i won't go into detail cos u never know, ppl u know in real life could just so happen stumble across my blog! so yeah, chinese boys can be cute too, haha...

Melbourne guys and girls...墨爾本帥哥美女 メルボルンの美男美女

(The photo on the left is one of my favourite Korean actress, Soo Ae)
I just realised melbourne has tons of good looking asian guys and girls...despite having lived here for ages, i only realised like this past yr.....there are just so many good looking guys and pretty girls here...i don't notice caucasians and have never understood why some asians find westerners attractive cos i don't....its just a personal thing, NOT an attack on westerners, merely my personal preference...
there are alot of pretty chinese girls in melbourne and they are really pretty, nice body, nice smooth skin and wear fashionable clothes...and alot of hot korean and japanese guys around too...i will leave it to another post to describe my thoughts on the amazingly attractive and sexy masculine qualities that korean (and japanese) men have...this post will focus just generally on asian guys and girls....there are also alot of good looking chinese boys around although of cos i never find them attractive even the good looking ones, cos i just feel the chinese (and this incl singaporean and malaysian and other chinese bckgrds) men lack that 'masculine something' which is abundant in korean men....however, i may be biased for some unknown reason and i do admit that i have noticed a few cute ones around law that china guy who was in my summer subject..he was very well dressed too in form fitting shirts, and short pants....and also that aussie-bred malaysian guy in my other class who was pretty good looking and really funny and had a great personality....not to mention the International Law Students Society members, some of whom look like they are part of the Stepford Husbands students, prob rich, good looking, nice built,etc

Anyways, i find asians tend to have nicer,smoother and fairer skin which is important to me and something i find appealing....asian women also tend to have nicer bodies and although ppl say caucasian men have better bodies than asian men being bigger, i tend to disagree given that i think men don't have to be that big to be attractive and asian guys tend not to be as hairy which is good and also are just the right ideal woman would be someone kind hearted, have nice smooth skin and independent at the same time as being feminine whilst my ideal guy would be the same as for women in terms of nice fair smooth skin, kindhearted, gentle, caring,and also masculine, short spiky hair, likes sports at the same time as is a romantic who is intelligent and hard-working in his career, i also love boy-next- door types and not a big fan of bad boy types....but these are just ideals, ideals can always change....the photo is of the korean actress Soo Ae, someone i like alot since she is just so innocent looking and pretty, the kind men would go gaga over to protect...i like her and wish she really went out with Jo Hyun Jae them having filmed a drama years ago called 'Love Letter' but sadly they are only friends (JHJ is this korean actor i absolutely adore, pics of him in my June archives..)

Modern Korea 現代韓國 現代韓国

As anyone who has read my blog must know by now, i love korean stuff and so hope to allow my readers more insight into current events and issues of concern to koreans as well as current trends, popular culture and thinking of koreans and i've included in this post some articles from the national Chosun Ilbo 朝鮮日報 which indicate the progressive nature of much of Korean media which i've picked up despite Korean society being generally conservative in nature. These articles show how korean society is changing and also show how more is being expected from korean men...enjoy...

The 10 Commandments for Men in Love
You have no trouble meeting women, but do you have trouble keeping them? Ever asked yourself why? Perhaps it is because you pay not nearly enough attention to the little things that can be make or break for a relationship at the all-important early stage. With the help of these simple rules from the Chosun Ilbo, perhaps you too can find longer-lasting happiness with the woman of your dreams, or the next but one’
1. Always Say &My’* When Introducing Her
When you introduce her to a friend, say, ※This is my girlfriend,§ rather than just mentioning her name. Especially if your relationship has just begun, this is a good way to bring the two of you closer. It will definitely spice up the chemistry between you. The little word ※my§ makes all the difference.
2. Catch What She Really Means
Most men think when a woman says ※no,§ she really means ※yes.§ Well, sometimes she does. But women don*t always express their opinion in a paradoxical way. Try to understand what she really means. Catch the subtle nuances in her mood.
3. Never Ask Why She*s Crying
The worst thing you can say to your girl when she*s crying is, ※Can*t you stop with the sniffling?§ You*ll just make matters worse. When a woman cries, it*s because she wants you to comfort and cuddle her. Don*t ask why: there are 101 very good reasons, none of whom men will ever understand. So just hand her a handkerchief and put your arm around her shoulder.
4. Compliment Her on Old Pictures
The moment you see the little girl in the picture smiling broadly at you, you*ll notice that time has changed the smile. But when you learn to accept all her past life just as it is you*ll find yourself loving her more than ever. Even when you spot the telltale traces of plastic surgery, never mention the difference until she*s ready to tell you herself. Just offer compliments that tell her she is just as beautiful to you now as she was then. Being too honest can chill your relationship.
5. White Lies Are Forgivable
Of course she knows you*re lying, but she*s still delighted to hear your sweet lies. With white lies like ※You*re my everything,§ ※You*re the most beautiful girl I*ve met§ or ※I*ll love you till the end of the world§ you can*t go far wrong. You*ll never know how happy these words will make her. It*s not so bad to be the boy who cried wolf for a day to make your girl happy, is it?
6. Fight the Urge to Snoop
You have secrets, and so does she. Let each other keep them. Knowing every single thing about her won*t make you as happy as you think. A woman with her own mystery is actually more attractive.
7. Be a Gentleman
Women can never resist a man with good manners. Always walk on the street side of the sidewalk when walking together, lead the way up the steps and never hang up the phone fist. Always ask her what she thinks. You*re sure to score high points from her.
8. Become a Memory Artist
The first day you met, her birthday, the day you first kissed: she will really appreciate it if you remember those special days. Love lives on in these happy romantic memories. No woman can forgive a forgetful boyfriend.
9. Do the Things She Likes
Though you may personally prefer action movies to romantic comedy, gamjatang (boiled potato and pork bone soup) to spaghetti and Internet cafes to coffee shops, you should have the patience to do something she likes. Respect each other*s thoughts and tastes and you*ll find happiness in just doing things as a couple.
10. Here*s Lookin* at You, Kid
This is the most important thing. Women like to look into their man*s eyes during intimate conversation and feel the love in his eyes. It*s easier to win her heart with a single loving glance than a hundred sweet words.

January 25 2006

Most SNU Students Say Yes to Pre-Marital Sex Jan 25 2006
Three out of 10 freshmen at Seoul National University think sex before marriage is fine if they are in love, a survey published Monday suggests. The poll of 2,421 first-year SNU students in 2005 shows that the largest number or 28.1 percent agreed with the premise.
Another 24.3 percent think sex is fine if it does lead to marriage, while 23.5 percent thought pre-marital sex unacceptable under any circumstances and the rest had no opinion. The gender gap was as usual reflected in the answers, with 37.7 percent of male respondents saying sex was fine before marriage and 38.1 percent of women saying no under any circumstances.

Get a Rippling Torso for the Beach February 20 2006
Koreans have never been so obsessed with the toned torso as they are now. TV ratings depend on how long Kwon Sang-woo shows off his chest, and Rain is famous for his combination of a baby face with an improbably bulging masculine body. In fact, torsos are a dime a dozen, and the Korean entertainment business is studded with stars that have perfected a dream body.
The Internet, too, is awash with pictures of ordinary people showing off washboard abs and pecs. A recent photo of an elementary schoolboy with a magnificent six-pack made skinny guys even more self-conscious about their body. But never fear: help is at hand. Double H Multi Gym team manager Yang Deok-il (29), motivator to the stars, says anyone can get into great shape for the summer if they start training now.
Of course the results may differ from person to person, but if you work hard and steady enough, you’ll be ready to show your girlfriend a great chest in just five to six months. Yang warns there is no good in hurrying. Set an achievable goal. Work out with a trainer three to five times a week and learn the right postures and moves. Use the right amount of weights and start with the larger muscles and then slowly focus down to the smaller ones. Intensify your workouts gradually after you get well used to the exercise. And remember: always drink enough water and get plentiful sleep. These are the keys to getting faster and more effective results.
If you want to add volume, nutrition is another major issue. To build a muscular body, a man in his 20s weighing 70 kg and normally taking in 2,500 kcal per day needs 2,800 kcal (carb : protein : fat = 65 : 15 : 20). Aerobic exercise like walking and jogging is more effective in getting rid of belly fat than starving yourself. Protein such as egg whites, milk and chicken breasts are good for you. But if you go without any fat or carbohydrates, you’ll end up looking really starved, like Lee Seong-jae playing an escaped prisoner in the movie “Holiday.”
Also remember that the stars tend to look more muscular in the pictures than in real life due to the posture, lighting and a quick workout just before shooting. Reports tell of teenage boys overseas eating steroids to grow muscles, and some even go under the knife for a thicker and broader chest. Others go on a special diet and a special speedy bodybuilding program for a month or two. But muscles made that quickly don’t last long.
There are about five months to go until the summer vacation. Start with the abdomen, which beginners want the most. Rule no. 1: never forget to stretch your muscles before exercise. You must do three to five sets repeating the same movement at least 15-20 times for each set. If the workout is a little too strong for you, rest more between sets (one minute) instead of doing fewer repetitions.
The photo is also from the Chosun Ilbo article and not something i just grabbed of the net!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Chuo Law Students in Melbourne 中央大學法學生交流 中央大学生との交流

Just to update whats been going on with my life recently since i haven't updated in a while...i did two summer subjects, Civil Litigation and Issues in Japanese Law. I really enjoyed Issues in Japanese Law alot as my interest in Japan got boosted further after my exchange last yr in Tokyo and this is such an interesting subject. We had many guest lecturers coming in to speak to us and this subject also has an annual program of inviting Chuo University 中央大学law students from Tokyo come over to study at melbourne university for 1-2weeks. Thus this year 18 law students came over to study at melbourne law school and we had 2 classes together. This subject basically deals with issues in Japanese law and NOT the substantive law itself given the intensive nature of this course of 2 weeks. (this is usually offered as a summer subject) Topics dealt with this yr included the new jury system to be introduced by 2009, children and juvenile law, the Japanese Constitution and Article 9, the legal profession in Japan including regulations concerning foreign practices and lawyers in Japan,etc. The lecturer is a lawyer at Bakers and McKenzies and has perfect Japanese having studied for many years Japanese including 18 months at Tokyo University. She is extremely intelligent and well learnt knowing many issues concerning Japan such as Zainichi Koreans and their legal problems, Japan's post war war compensation issues, environmental law, Japanese insolvency law,etc.
The highlight of this subject was of cos the interaction we had with the Chuo law students. I got to practice and brush up on my Japanese conversational skills which was fantastic and realised i could sort of hold normal conversations with Japanese people without much problem. I also found out about just how tough it is to become a lawyer in fact it is RIDICULOUSLY TOUGH!!!! Lawyers have to pass the National Bar Exam 司法試験 in Japan which has a passing rate prescribed by the exam council of 3.24% or so which means that if 4000 candidates took the exam in 2005 only 130 would pass it!!! So it is NORMAL for people to fail the first time they take it even though they have studied for years to prepare for the exam. In Japan, to be a lawyer u need to be both rich and smart. Rich so that u can afford to go to the good schools as well as pay for tuition lessons 塾費 for the bar exam meaning u pay for university fees and tuition fees until u pass the exam. Smart cos u need to pass the junior high entrance exams to get into a good jh and then pass the extremely difficult university entrance exam to get into a good university and then pass the MOST difficult bar exam.
On average, the chuo law students have all sat at least 4 times for the bar exam before they passed which means they have tried at least 4 years since the exam is held only once a year...if it were me, i would have gone crazy and given up on the thought of becoming a lawyer after 2 tries but i dun know whats in their heads....i know one guy who sat 7 times and still HAS NOT passed meaning he first attempted when he was 21 and now he is already 27 and he has still not worked yet with his parents supporting him...another tried 7 times and failed also and another was 'lucky' he passed on his 4th attempt, he said he may have gone crazy if he failed again, and i don't blame him! I mean to study for a whole year and know u failed the exam and then having to study again til the next yr and fail again and study again and fail again is simply crazy...i mean u would think after having failed 4-7 years, u would stop trying but these law students....anyways, they are really the cream of the crop being extremely talented and intelligent to even get into Chuo Law School which is in the top 5 of the Japanese law schools the others being (1) Tokyo University 東京大学 (2) Keio University (my Japanese exchange uni!!) 慶應大学 (3) Waseda university 早稲田大学 (4)Kyoto University 京都大学. I realised i am knowing all the elite of Japanese society, myself having studied at Keio last yr and gettin to know ppl there and now getting to know Chuo students who will one day, hopefully, become lawyers and judges, so i try to keep in touch with them...and then i know this guy who is at Melbourne University expenses paid for by his company Tokyo Electric Company 東京電力会社 and he was a Tokyo law graduate which is like THE BEST university in Japan and so prestigious that everyone would practically be in admiration if u said u came from there. And i know this japanese judge here paid by government as good for me to keep in contact with them。。。。。。took some of the japanese students to brunswick street and we had assam fish, belachan spinach, lamb curry and gula melaka at Blue Chillies Malaysian restaurant on Brunswick Street....they were really nice and gave us melbourne students chocolates as presents and their teacher even gave us japanese pouches from japan for taking them nice...the pouch in the picture is the present from their teacher....
PS prinzj mayb u can take this subject if u get the chance, its highly recommended.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wanting to 'Talk About Love' 開始想談戀愛 恋に落ちたい

I have kinda realised although i call my blog a 'personal blog', i have tried to keep it as non-personal as possible cos i am not someone to write about my stuff on the internet and share with millions of strangers in the blogsphere but i thought i would make an exception with this post, just to spice things up abit, make it abit more interesting and also to allow my readers to know just abit more about myself....well, talking about love is the literal translation of the Chinese word 談戀愛 which means to fall in love. Yes, i wanna fall in love.....ever since knowing some stuff and knowing how other people's romances are just like in the Korean dramas and that pure love and what i had previously thought existed only in the movies actually happens in real life, a part of my heart has opened up and there is a yearning, however much i want to deny it, for love.
It would be nice to kiss someone in the alleyway whilst no one is watching, hold hands, hug, have someone to cuddle in bed with, especially during winter, have someone hug you acting as a heater during the cold days in Melbourne, knowing someone cares about your every move and feeling, knowing someone will call u at night to wish u goodnight, have someone hug u from behind, have someone cook a meal for u knowing that the meal is filled with love and tenderness, have a shoulder to cry on when times are bad,
someone for you to care about and cherish, someone u would go out of your way to make that person happy, someone u would be happy if that person was happy and you would be sad if that person was sad, someone to do an eskimo kiss with (in case u r wondering what this is, it is the rubbing of noses, an act which though simple, i have always liked), someone to hold and to hope with, ok i better stop now cos i am REALLY going into fantasy land, alot of the above are already happening with lovers around the world......sigh, i guess a Chinese saying would be appropriate in these circumstances..愛情真的是可遇不可求 ( Love is something you can only hope for, but not something you can ask for).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Korean Film Pick: You are My Sunshine 你是我的命運 君は私の運命だ

This was a box office and critically applauded film in 2005 in Korea dealing with a prostitute and a farmer in a village in rural Korea. The film dealt with many issues SPOILER ALERT (please do not read on from this point if u do not want to know some of the issues that come up, i will however not divulge the ending nor the major plot, just touch on the issues that comes up)
namely, AIDS, prostitution and the oppression of women in Korea. It starred the capable Jeon Do-yeon and the first half was extremely melodramatic and romantic and you would think that this film would be one of those boy meets girl and both happen to be at the bottom of society and will live happily ever after, well you would be wrong. The second half of the film had a complete change in tone and many things occur as you discover that the prostitute has a past which comes back to haunt her and she had escaped to the village to get away from her past. Further, the topic of AIDS was seriously dealt with especially the discrimination against people with HIV in Korea. The status of women and how prostitutes and women were treated in Korea was also broached upon in the film, showing the unacceptable treatment meted out to them. I also found interesting the prostitution business which was shown in the film whereby the brothel is actually a coffee shop which dones the usual coffee and cakes business but had a 'special coffee delivery' service whereby customers would 'order coffee' by ringing in and the girls would deliver the coffee on their bikes to the motel and of cos the men were not really after the coffee and so they would have a transaction and thus the coffee delivery was a cover for them. I wonder whether this kind of prostitution service really occurs in Korea, cos its the first time i've heard of this kinda 'take-away service'. The film is one of the best Korean films i've seen from 2005, indeed, one of the best films of 2005, dealing with a whole range of issues such as AIDS, women, domestic violence(this is the scene where one prostitute remarks about the 'art' done on another woman's face),prostitution, was really very melodramatic and kinda cliche but it worked so well that it was emotionally draining on me and i ended up crying not once but TWO times and my faith in the male gender once again took a nose dive....there was one particular scene which traumatised me deeply, it was a short 30 sec scene but it truly made me disgusted. However, for some men, i am pretty sure they would consider that scene rather tame given the kinda things they watch in their spare time (yuck!!). However, besides that particular scene, the entire movie is not too violent nor sex-riddled and is incredibly realistic and frank in its portrayal of the characters at the same time as being incredibly melodramatic. I know its difficult to understand how it can be frank and yet melodramatic at the same time but it is a carefully crafted film which manages to effect the perfect balance between the two. Recommended!!! Five stars out of Five (basically any film that can make me cry, esp cry twice, will get five stars from me).

Male Discrimination in Korea 韓國男性歧視 韓国における男性に対する差別

This is an interesting article on discrimination against men in Korea, a society well known for its confucianistic oppression of women. It appeared in the Chosun Times Newspaper recently.

Could the clown in the current hit movie 'The King and the Clown' sue the King for raping him? Not under Korean law he can't. The penal code limits victims of rape to women.
The Korean Women's Development Institute last week published a report showing that many laws closely related with everyday life are sexually discriminatory. At the request of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the institute carried out a three-month investigation into 17 areas of Korean statutes including the Constitution and concluded that 159 regulations favor, exclude, discriminate against or cause damage to a particular gender for no good reason.
The majority discriminate against women, but a good few disadvantage men. Half of the 159 articles were related to the Hojuje or patriarchal family registry system and are thus automatically amended once that is abolished in 2007 But the articles discriminating against men still remain. KWDI researcher Park Seon-yeong says, In the past, concern about sexual discrimination was focused on protecting women. But as women gain economic power and the viewpoint on equality has changed, we now focus more on the equality of the sexes.
﹣Men as Rape Victims
One of the most obvious laws to point to is Article 297 of the Criminal Code: Those who rape a female by violence or threat shall be sentenced to jail for no less than three years. For men who have been raped, the prosecution can bring charges of assault, and culprits face prison terms of up to 10 years or a fine of up to W15 million (US$15,000), potentially a much lighter penalty.
Prof. Kim Elim of Korea National Open University points out that it is meaningless to stick to the term ※female§ from the article, which was written in 1953, and that violation of an individual's sexual rights can also occur by way of oral or anal sex, while sexual abuse must be viewed as a violation of human rights instead of an issue between man and woman. The suicide of a soldier who suffered sexual abuse in the Army in 2003 shows that such abuse of men in the military or in prisons is on the increase. Last year, the National Human Rights Commission estimated that 15.4 percent of soldiers experienced sexual abuse in the Army.
﹣Beauty vs. Virility
Current law is less concerned with the appearance of men than of women. A regulation related to election laws shows this aspect very well. Women with visible scars are given disability grade 4 while men are given grade 6. Men would have to lose both testicles to be graded 4. Prof. Kim says, This is a trace of the old social values of the 60s that highlight facial appearance for women and reproductive ability for men.§
﹣Why Can't Men Marry at 16?
According to the Article 807 of the Civil Code, men can get engaged or married when they reach the age of 18 while women can marry at 16. The article was added in a 1960 revision based on the presumption that girls mature mentally and physically earlier than boys and that men should at least have a high-school diploma to be able to earn money and take care of a family. But Park So-hyeon, a researcher at the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations, says, Maturity differs between individuals not genders, and since men and women are both responsible for the family, such regulations do not reflect reality.§Park points out that Germany, Russia and the U.S. once set the legal marital age at 18 for men and 16 for women, but as inequality issues were raised, now the legal age is 16 or 18 for both men and women in most states in the U.S.
I thought this article reflected many of my own thoughts on this issue, things like male rape which is not recognised in many countries. In Malaysia, for example, if a male is raped, it comes under the unnatural sex offences and not rape. Similarly if a woman is raped anally or orally in Malaysia, it comes under the unnatural sex offences as well. I think rape laws must be reformed to include anal and oral rape and not be restricted to just vaginal rape given the fact that both occur frequently as well. Further, it is time to recognise that men can be raped and to give men equal protection too. Further, i was really shocked by the statistics provided in the article that about 15.4% of Korean conscripts and personnels experience sexual abuse in the military. That is a surprisingly large number, and if the definition of sexual abuse meant only rape then it is a truly worrying figure. I think rape of men in the military and in prisons by gay men (and maybe even straight men??) must be dealt with properly and the taboo must be broken as i currently think many men who are sexually abused do not speak out out of shame of having being raped by another man or being accused of actually being gay himself. I also have always been dumbfounded by why men and women had different marriage legality ages, i mean why is a girl allowed to marry earlier than a guy?? I think it is pure partriarchal thinking allowing men to marry 'pure virgin' girls and should be abolished. I will also introduce the box office and critically acclaimed Korean gay-themed film 'The King and his Clown' mentioned at the beginning of the article when i get the chance to watch it.

Gay Japan 同志日本 ゲイ日本

Below is an article from the Japan Times including useful resources on gay Japan.

Finding space in gay Japan 'Rainbow Imperialism' conflicts with concept of 'don't ask, don't tell' By THOMASINA LARKIN
At first glance, homosexual life in Japan can seem quite repressed. Public displays of affection are next to nil, gay Japanese men often live secret lives and it's hard to notice a gay presence at all unless by venturing into Tokyo's "gayborhood," Shinjuku Ni-Chome.
But by taking a deeper look past the surface of society and crossing the linguistic barriers that surround the word "gay," the system in Japan often provides a more relaxed environment for men who sleep with men.
To many, "gay" evokes images of homosexual men out twirling their rainbow flags and proudly expressing themselves with an "I'm here and I'm queer" attitude.
Brought up with this stereotypical understanding of gay life, some foreigners think Japanese men who live in a hushed gay culture should liberate themselves through similar actions.
"My term for that is 'Rainbow Flag Imperialism,' " says Greg Dvorak, an American PhD candidate at the Gender Relations Centre of the Australian National University (ANU) and a visiting research fellow at Tokyo University.
"It's like its own form of colonization. The word 'gay' in English carries a lot more baggage than we think it does. It includes some people but it excludes others.
"There are many men who if you ask if they're gay, they may say no. But if you ask if they've had sex with men or desire men, they may say yes."
Being "gay" in Japan has totally different parameters than what has become accepted in mainstream Western cultures.
The word itself was imported after World War II ended, when American soldiers scoured the streets in search for sexual relations with either Japanese women or men.
Shortly after, one of the first gay bars opened in Shinjuku.
Today, over 200 gay bars are crammed into a maze of streets in Shinjuku Ni-Chome, each catering to a very specific clientele such as "debu-sen" (those who seek fat men), "fuke-sen" (men who love older men) and "gai-sen" ('gaijin' chasers).
Japan has enjoyed a history of open sexuality dating back to the Heian period when samurai and Buddhist monks practiced sex with young male pages. In more recent days, saunas provide meeting places for gay men.
Straight men, as in most of Asia, touch each other affectionately as friends. And Japanese men don't have any qualms about calling another guy cute.
But as would probably be done in the West, none of this is has been stigmatized or labeled as "gay" or "queer" or "homo."
"People don't come out in Japan, they come in," says Dvorak. "The tendency is to find your own space. You don't need to come out to your parents or boss, it's not about how exposed you can be. It's about coming in, like joining a club. You find your own niche. That's what mainstream Japan is like with sexuality."
Unlike Western societies, where people are urged to talk about everything, Japan has an unwritten law of "don't ask, don't tell," where much is left unsaid as a form of respect and politeness to eliminate many embarrassing or potentially dangerous predicaments.
"At home, I've felt very threatened in some situations where if I said I was gay I might lose my life," says Jonah from America.
"Gay bashing doesn't happen here. Gay life here is much more comfortable because being in a non-gay environment is much less threatening."
Another notable disadvantage of the vibrant and open gay scene in other countries is that it can foster pretentious attitudes within queer communities.
"At bars in the States, guys sit around with these looks on their faces like they're too pretty to be approached," says Jonah. This rarely, if ever, happens in Japan, he says.
Gays abroad may feel they have to fit into a perfect pretty mold that has been created by society. As long as they are interior designers, good cooks, witty and stylish, they are accepted into the mainstream. Those are the types represented on TV and in the media. A fat gay South American making breakfast in bed for his lover isn't likely to get much airtime.
"It's a pre-packaged vision of marriage that looks like heterosexuality. That's repression. People who don't fit that model can't find themselves in that. The people who made this rainbow flag kind of world didn't make space for Asians," says Dvorak.
"This liberation idea is very important, the need to be visible and appreciated. But globalization is only taking one particular brand of gayness and selling it to the whole world."
Because many foreigners in Japan don't feel the same pressure to conform to the ideals of "perfect gayness" that they experience back home, they often feel less inhibited when approaching Japanese men.
"If I see somebody I think is cute, I'll just walk right up and tell him or say 'Hi. What's your name?' In America, everyone has so much attitude, I would never do that.
"The guys I meet here are way younger, better looking and in better shape, but I don't feel like they're out of my league. Dating has become a much easier endeavor," says Jonah. Those who want to build same-sex relationships with Japanese into something long-term usually feel it's an impossible feat.
"I can never tell my parents about my sexuality. They could never accept homosexuality," says Ko-Ko from Tokyo, who is currently involved in a long-term relationship with a foreigner.
"They see gay people on TV but they never believe it could happen to them. So I'd never tell them, to keep them happy."
And the gay people they see on TV are never regular gay Japanese men, such as a businessmen or politicians, who have come out to provide a public role model.
Since Japan has yet to pass legislation for job protection against gay discrimination, it's little wonder why Japanese "don't come out, they come in."
While it's easy to be invisible in Tokyo, where many gay men marry and have children, but lead a secret life to satisfy their sexual appetite, it can be especially lonely in the countryside where everybody is connected.
"Outside of Tokyo, foreigners or Japanese can feel very isolated," says a volunteer at a gay hotline in Japan. "I've taken many calls from foreigners entering young adulthood at the same time as they're sent to nowhere-ken, Japan to teach English and they feel very alone. That could be a disadvantage of a 'don't ask don't tell' society where when they never tell, they'll never know."
In addition to the lack of public role models who could help others feel like they're not alone, most media depicts stereotypical gay characters with the aim to entertain the straight public.
For example, TBS's personality Razor Ramon HG (Hard Gay), is a straight man pretending to be gay by wearing leather bondage and cruising around thrusting hips all over the place. And last month, toy company Tomy released "Kurohi-gei Kiki Ippatsu," a game where Razor Ramon hides in a barrel in which the player stabs plastic swords until he pops out of the top. Some believe if there is ever a hope of gaining same-sex legal rights in Japan, Razor Ramon isn't the best image to portray the gay community.
"We're correcting the false stereotypes like Razor Ramon that show a lack of respect and understanding and we are trying to educate Japanese people about the advances in gay rights around the world," says Hiroshi Mochizuki, editor in chief of Gay Japan News, an online media service established about a year ago that currently gets about 50,000 hits per day.
"The lack of knowledge is the biggest problem. At this point we're bringing people together."
Mochizuki also founded a body called Equality, which he expects will be registered by the government as a nonprofit organization within the next two months.
While Equality's first aim is to disseminate information to both the gay and straight community, its long-term goal is to achieve antidiscrimination legislation and rights for same-sex marriages.
He says to do so, he hopes to strengthen the economic muscle of the gay community by bringing together the support of local business.
So for those gays in Japan who don't feel so happy, Equality may be their pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow.
(Names in the article have been changed to protect privacy)
On the Web and in print
Gay Japan News:
Gay Japan and Japanese Gay Resources and Travel Tips by Utopia:*
Japan AIDS Prevention Awareness Network:*
McLelland, Mark; Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age McLelland, Mark; Male Homosexuality in Contemporary Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities*
Saikaku, Ihara (Schalow, Paul, trans.); The Great Mirror of Male Love*
Leupp, Gary; Male Colors* Pflugfelder, Gregory; Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950* Summerhawk, Barbara; Queer Japan: Personal Stories of Japanese Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals
I emailed the journalist telling her what a great piece she wrote and got a reply bck from her telling me that she appreciated my encouragement. The commentary by the American was kinda interesting when he talked about Japanese gay men not having 'the attitude' and that he could get guys 'way beyond his league' in terms of looks and age but i think he missed out the important consideration of whether it was due to internalised racialism on the part of the Japanese gay men and that maybe japanese gay men had as much 'attitude' towards other japanese gay men as in happens in America but that they were making an exception for the white gaijin (foreigner) and maybe if the white man was NOT white but japanese, the same young hot japanese guys after him would not be interested at for thought...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Korean Drama Pick韓劇推薦 コリアドラマおすすめ: My Name is Kim Sam Soon 我的名字叫金三順わたしの名前はキムサムスンです

Just finished watching this fantastic drama which had the highest ratings in Korea last year. It is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh uncontrollably. Really love Sam Soon, she is just such a refreshing change from your usual petite, soft spoken female characters in korean dramas who all look so perfect and fact, sam soon is just the opposite, down to earth, has a temper (unlike the average korean drama female protagonist who never seems to fight bck against her evil mother- in -law -to- be), overweight,average looking, no make-up, swears, farts, eats as much as she wants, is selfish when it comes to love and down right lovable. This is another example of Korean dramas being extremely progressive when it comes to portrayals of women. It is ironic that korean society being THE most confucianist in East Asia, has a media that is surprisingly progressive towards women, even more so i would say than western countries like America where women are still sexualised and objectified, eg Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City both of which feature gorgeous looking women leading upper middle class lives and looking nothing like the average american woman. My Name is Kim Sam Soon however managed to gain immense popularity in Korea due to the female audience being able to identify with her, as her character was realistic and had flaws and viewers could feel a connection with Sam Soon, being able to think 'yeah, i can relate to that'...Even her love rival Yu Hee Jin is not your usual kind hearted lass who sacrifices her love, instead although she was just the kind of girl men would want to protect, given her innocent sweet looks in the drama, she was also selfish in wanting to pursue her love and even expressing her flawed side as well which i found extremely refreshing given that the producers could have easily made her role into one of pure innocent love rival suffering from sickness. Instead, she had a credible and believable character which i could definitely relate to. Daniel Henney, the Korean-American model-actor, who plays Yu Jin's American doctor who steadfastly follows her bck to Korea and is satisfied just being besides her even though he loves her, is also very good in his role. Very believable, they made him the perfect guy, tall, great body, dashing looks, a doctor, has a heart of gold wanting Yu Jin to be happy even if it means he can't have her and wanting to work for Medicines Sans Frontiers an NGO medical group operating in third world countries.
Also liked Sam Soon's english name, Sophie, which she made up for Henry (Daniel Henney) as he couldn't speak Korean, i somehow found the name 'Sophie' really amusing....also liked alot of the things Sam Soon said in the drama which resonated well with me such as 'Don't worry about things before they happen, enjoy the moment' in relation to how when you think you are the luckiest person in this world when you find someone you love and that person loves you, some would start to panic and worry that this is all a dream and that someday you may end up losing and breaking up with that person....her realisation was that ppl should simply enjoy the moment and not worry about the future so much thst it spoils the present....highly recommended Korean Drama so go watch it!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Koreans in Melbourne 韓國人在墨爾本 メルボルンの韓国人

Given my love for Korean dramas, films, popular culture and just Korean stuff in general, i am going to introduce some Korean places in Melbourne. There has been an influx of Koreans into Melbourne in the past 2 years for some reason and there are now more Koreans here than was visible a mere 2 years ago....for some reason, there are so many korean backpackers,tourists,students and also many Korean groceries, restaurants and businesses have opened as well. I will introduce these places and update them when new ones appear. I have actually seen Korean students/visitors on many occasions, once even meeting like 5 to 10 koreans a day on the street which surprised even me. Obviously there are still much more Chinese around but it seems that the no of koreans have surpassed the japanese just from general observations of the city area.
I am really happy given that i am one of the Korean Wave fans (i was a fan even before this korean wave started way bck in 2000) and so more koreans and businesses is good news for me!

List of Korean Establishments in Melbourne:

(1) City Mart Korean Grocery/DVD rental
This is a well known Korean grocery store amongst both koreans and non-koreans selling your average Korean fare of ramyun, kimchi,etc AND it also rents out the latest Korean films, variety shows and dramas having one of the most up-to-date collection of Korean films in Melbourne. Moreover, most of the Korean DVD films have english subtitles and the k-dramas tend to have Chinese subs too, many being pirated versions from China. I frequent this place to borrow Korean films very often cos they have eng subs so i understand....many korean students come here too..LOCATION: Right Across the well known Queen Victoria Market,City. The storefront has large korean characters displayed.

(2)Family Mart Korean Grocery/DVD
This is another Korean grocery again selling all the kimchi,imported korean foodstuff, etc and also allows rentals of Korean films, however, the collection is quite small compared to City Mart's DVD collection. LOCATION: Lonsdale Street, City

(3)Kashin Internet/Games/DVD/Comics
This is situated on Hardware Street and is an internet cafe which provides online games as well as has a rental section for comics and Korean films. Owned by Koreans and frequented by Koreans and some non-Koreans. LOCATION: Hardware Street ,City

(4) Vora Cafe
Situated also on Hardware St just a few shops away from Kazen store is Vora cafe which opened like many of the Korean restaurants and businesses only last year. It sells Korean food and is owned by Koreans with your staple kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbab, and it also sells Ja Jaeng Myun (Chinese Black Sauce Noodles). Tried it but i still prefer the Ja Jaeng Myun i had in Tokyo's KoreaTown Shin Okubo where in one of the restaurants owned by Koreans, the chinese noodles were DELICIOUS! In comparison, the one here is not that good ( in my opinion anyway). Frequented by korean students and australian office workers nearby. LOCATION:Hardware Street, City

(5) Grandma Kimchi
This has three branches and is one of the most well known Korean restaurants in Melbourne. It sells all your average Korean dishes like bulgogi, bibimbab, cold noodles, kimchi hotpot,etc. It has branches in Boxhill, Carnegie and in the city near russell street. I would recommend this place as the food is good and the interior design of the branch in the city is really nice and classy.
LOCATION: city, boxhill,carnegie

(6)Seoul Garden
One of the most established Korean restaurants in Melbourne located on Russell St serving all your normal Korean dishes including, kalbi tang, ginseng chicken tang (yummy!), kimchi soup, noodles,etc. Apparently i heard that when the film crew of the TV drama 'Sorry I Love You' came to Melbourne to shoot some scenes, the cast and crew had meals at this place. LOCATION: Russell Street, City

(7) Seoul Palace
Located in Chinatown and serving again everything you'd expect to find in a Korean restaurant and they have Korean KTV too. LOCATION: Market Lane, Chinatown

(8) There are two korean restaurants on exhibition st which i can't remember the name of and both sell korean food.

(9) The street beside Queen Victoria Market on the side of the Australian Sheep/Wool Tourist Centre has alot of Korean internet cafes and most importantly Korean-style BBQ restaurants where you cook your own meat and have soju. I can't remember the name of this street but it is right beside QV Market, if u walk down you will see the Korean restaurants all clustered up.

(10) Green Mart
Another new Korean grocery which just opened a month or two ago selling Korean imported frozen foods, kimchi, korean snacks as well as Japanese food. LOCATION: LaTrobe St, City Opposite Melbourne Central

(11) Korean Bridal and Make-Up Shop
There is now even a Korean Bridal shop where they provide make-up and services for brides!! It is a really classy place and prominently located at Melbourne Central shopping Mall. LOCATION: Melbourne Central, City

(12) Korean Hand Therapy Institute
In case u're wondering what the heck 'hand therapy' means, don't worry i was completely mystified myself when i came across this on the 2nd flr of Paramount Centre, Chinatown. Basically, after asking the Korean lady inside, i found out it means hand acupuncture. My my my, the range of korean services has really expanded in Melbourne, from the usual grocery stores to hand acupuncture shops now? LOCATION: Paramount Centre, Chinatown

(13) QUA Korean Apparel
Also located inside Paramount Centre selling Korean imported fashion. Has a branch in Boxhill. LOCATION: Paramount Centre, Chinatown

(14) Korean Lunchbox
This is a counter at the Paramount Centre foodcourt selling one of the best Korean Spicy Seafood Noodle Soup i have ever had and i go there often till the point where the owner knows me and knows i always order her spicy noodle seafood soup such that once she sees me, she will know what i want. Offers the best bargain in Melbourne for Korean food i reckon given that its in a foodcourt, the food sold there would cost double in a restaurant i think. Very popular with office workers, non-Korean students as well.LOCATION: Paramount Centre FoodCourt, Chinatown

(15) Oriental Spoon Korean Restaurant
Located on LaTrobe Street right across the Korean bridal shop i mentioned, this place offers all the usual korean fare with nice kimchi hotpots,bibimbab,etc. Right next door is this Korean karaoke place called 'M' and this just goes to show the significant korean population now with many korean karaoke joints popping up around Melbourne. LOCATION: LaTrobe Street, City

(16) BakPak Hotel
This place has many backpackers from all over the world but it also has, i realised, a significant number of korean backpackers all yr round. LOCATION: Franklin Street, City

(17) Melbourne BackPackers Hostel
This place and the many hostels around this area has many korean tourists. LOCATION: Franklin Street,City

(18) State Library of Victoria
A popular studying place for many Korean students of English. You can find at least one or two koreans on any given day. LOCATION: City

(19) Korean Beauty and Hair Salons
One of the most popular businesses that koreans in melbourne engage in is the hair and beauty industry with many korean beauty centres and hair shops opening in boxhill and the city area.

(20) Koreana
This is a Korean hair shop with branches in Little Lonsdale Street and Bourke Street. LOCATION: Little Lonsdale Street, Bourke Street

There are also several more restaurants and korean education consultant centres all over Melbourne, too many in fact, for me to list here. A tip is that most of the Korean eateries advertise as Korean/Japanese places and this is common all over Australia. I just ate at this place called Sushi Max which i had initially thought was Japanese owned but turned out to be korean-owned and they sold one korean dish, pork bulgogi, amongst their sushi and tempura sets. So if you ever see a Korean/Japanese restaurant in Australia, you can be sure it is almost guaranteed to be Korean-owned. I think they are afraid that Korean food is not as popular as Japanese and thus advertise themselves as both. There are also two (or maybe more) free Korean magazines (one is called Korea 21) available at Korean groceries and establishments advertising the numerous Korean services available in Melbourne such as Korean owned education and immigration centres,beauty parlours, restaurants etc. MANY korean students now come to Melbourne to learn English and many language schools are filled with Koreans now. Their numbers i would say have surpassed the number of Japanese students in Melbourne but no doubt still way behind the huge chinese student population here.

I also had a pleasant surprise last week when as i was walking home, this Korean guy (a tourist i think, there being many Korean tourists nowadays in Melbourne) suddenly stopped me and asked me in Korean if i was Korean. I couldn't believe it, it was the first time i had been mistaken for being a Korean and there were so many people walking on the street but he stopped me out of all those people. I was really happy (not that i wanna be korean cos i love being of chinese heritage but I was thrilled anyway) and said in english what, and he repeated in english asking whether i was korean. I said no and asked if he was lost hoping to get to know him better cos i REALLY WANT a korean friend but he said he just mistook me as a fellow korean and so sadly i had to let him go.....but it would have been weird anyways even if i was korean, i mean you don;t just stop ppl in the streets cos u think they are from the same country as you, i mean if he wasn't lost what would he have said to the korean person he stopped? Like 'can you take me around cos i am touring melbourne alone?' That would seriously be kinda weird but in my case, I wouldn't mind one bit given my desperate attempt to find korean friends.