Let’s face it. Hanbok may be beautiful to look at but cumbersome to wear. But 24-year-old CNe Choi is trying to change that. She has been attacked for allegedly debasing tradition, but she has also attracted her share of fans for her unique and daring take on the Korean traditional garb.
Adele Roberts tracks the rise of Korean Pop – the lifestyle, the fashion and the fans – and meets BTS, the biggest band in the scene. Is K-Pop about to take the world by storm?
Adele investigates the secrets behind the genre, delving in to the lifestyle, the fashion, and looking at the fans and the politics that make up the scene…before meeting the K-Pop band who are taking the world by storm. BTS are the first Korean group to break into the US Top 30 and the UK Top 50 charts. So how is a music genre from a country with a different language, different culture and one of the world’s most heavily militarised borders, becoming so successful around the world?
Bikini just got a new food market on first floor with 13 different cuisines. One of the food stalls is a new Korean place called BIBIMIX. They service a great bibimbap with different choices of toppings. Welcome to West Berlin, BIBIMIX! (You can also find Bibimix near Alexanderplatz).
Budapester Straße 38 – 50
The Bikini Berlin brand is synonymous with a new concept for the heritage-listed building complex at Berlin’s Zoo, which is significantly influencing the transformation and success of the City West. An oasis in the heart of the city, an urban hub and social universe.
In need of a day of pampering? Seoul barbershop Herr takes personal grooming to the next level. Video by Black Buddha.
Opened in 1927, Seongwoo Barbershop is one of the oldest in South Korea. Its 68-year-old proprietor-cum-barber Lee Nam-yeol may also be one of the longest-running barbers in the country.
Time seems to stand still here. Since Lee’s grandfather opened the shop under Japanese rule, Lee has kept most of the original furniture intact. A briquet stove warms up a quaint little parlor, where Lee still uses tools from the 1950s — the ones he used as a younger man, beginning to work with his father, who had inherited the shop from his father-in-law.
Patrons from all over the country and varying backgrounds visit Lee. A haircut is 13,000 won, or $12. Well-known figures like the chairman of Samsung Group Lee Kun-hee has gotten his haircut here too. Lee only cares about one thing: giving the best haircut to customers that see the value in his old shop, in his old hands, which Lee calls “the hands of magic.”
Lee’s business has been generally prosperous. The crackdown on men’s long hair during the Park Chung-hee dictatorship throughout the 1970s made for pretty good business, he said. But the barbershop industry has faltered since the late-70s, when ‘decadent hair and cosmetics services’ started sprouting up, essentially providing illicit sexual services behind the facade of being a barbershop. These services largely tainted the reputation of barbers everywhere; Lee says many of his colleagues quit in the 1980s and he himself lost entire customer bases — namely that of children and teenagers.
Back in the day, he used to work 16 hours per day. Today, only nine hours. Due to health concerns, he takes Wednesdays off, but he’s not quitting anytime soon. “I will work as long as my eyes can see and my legs can stand up for work,” Lee said.
The Bamdokkaebi Night Markets are one of the most iconic events in Seoul that runs from spring to fall. We take a glimpse into the city’s vibrant night scene filled with food trucks selling all kinds of festival foods and arts and crafts booths.
Yeouido Hangang Riverside Park offers a place to relax for Seoul residents.
In one corner of the park, there is a group of young people. After making sure that everyone is present, they start drawing lots. They are the owners of food trucks that will participate in the Bamdokkaebi Night Market in Yeouido.
After deciding on the place to operate, 45 colorful food trucks enter the park one after another. The market opens at 6 p.m., but preparations begin as early as 3 p.m.
“We’re preparing early so that customers won’t have to wait long.”
The Bamdokkaebi Night Markets are found at Seoul’s four major tourist attractions, from April to October, on Friday and Saturday nights. Each market has a unique theme.
“We wanted to open night markets that were unique to Seoul. The idea was to create nighttime attractions in Seoul and to support startups run by young people.”
The night markets welcomed 3.3 million visitors last year alone. Due to their growing popularity, winning a concession to operate a food truck was a lot harder this year.
Bikes are more than just a good way to break a sweat…, for some, it’s the main mode of transportation when punching in for work.
For any office worker suffering from quadriceps strain after tackling steep slopes in their daily pedalling, electric bicycle is a godsend.
Cho sung min explains further why it’s becoming one of the hottest items in the nation.
Korea’s e-bike or electric bicycle market,…is growing at a fast pace, with this year’s 1st quarter sales volume of e-bikes increasing at least 15 percent from last year…according to the Korea Transport Institute.
One of the factors that is contributing to this growth is the growing number of workers who commute by bike, with electric motors attached to bicycles covering up to 1 hundred kilometers in one charge..
Take Kim Min-jun as an example,…who resides in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
He rides a combined of 40 kilometers going back and forth to his office, located in Pangyo, south of Seoul.
“I used to arrive at the office physically exhausted. But now, I am less tired thanks to the e-bike, and I still get a healthy amount of exercise by riding it.”
Battery manufacturers are using this uprising trend of e-bikes as an opportunity to boost their sales as well.
Some companies are even providing customized batteries.
“Lithium batteries that are compatible with e-bikes are half the size and possess a life-expectancy that is three times longer than conventional batteries.”
Starting March of next year, e-bikes will also be allowed on conventional bike lanes, and this is expected to further increase the number of people choosing this convenient means to commute every day.
This year marks 30 years of democracy in South Korea. Violent protests in 1987 paved the way for the transition from military rule. Earlier this year, many peaceful demonstrations led to the removal of President Park Geun-hye. But many say democracy is still a work in progress. Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi reports from the capital, Seoul
Music: Blue Skies