Korea

South Korean media wants the world to know that “cherry blossoms originated there”

It’s that time of year again, when the cold of winter fades away and gives birth to the beautiful pink and white hues of cherry blossoms contrasted against their trees’ elegant dark branches. It’s a season long identified with Japanese culture around the world.

However, news organizations in South Korea are declaring that this has gone on long enough and are calling for a concerted effort to let everyone know once and for all that cherry blossoms are theirs.

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Our Japanese reporter shares three interesting revelations he had after studying Korean

Hello, everyone! I’m a Japanese man who’s been studying Korean for three years now. I’ve been doing a language exchange with a South Korean study abroad student in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo “Koreatown” district, learning about both the Korean language and culture.

During the past few years, I’ve discovered several points of interest regarding Japan and Korea. Today, I’d like to share with you three things that surprised me as a Japanese person studying Korean.

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Spot the difference: This gif of Miss Korea candidates is pretty much what we were expecting

It’s probably common knowledge by now that South Korea is one of, if not the most, cosmetic surgery-obsessed countries in the world. It’s a topic that has been touched on pretty regularly here on RocketNews24; last year alone we brought you news of a Korean clinic that makes art out of patients’ jawbones, a girl who underwent an enormous amount of plastic surgery to turn herself into Miranda Kerr, and a Korean reporter who changed her looks so drastically that many were left aghast.

Korean cosmetic surgery, on the whole, is geared towards achieving a standardised set of features that are considered beautiful. And while the entries for Miss Korea may or may not have had a little bit of work done at some point, it’s startling how similar they all look in their competition portraits.

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Eight-year-old mixed-race kid model is the new mini heartthrob of Asian cyberspace【Photo】

Last year, eight-year-old Russian model Kristina Pimenova was hailed by some netizens as the “most beautiful girl in the world”. We have yet to hear of any crowning of the “most handsome boy in the world”, but one particular preteen male model has been getting increasingly popular among netizens in Asia as of late. Meet this charming little lad after the break!

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University students perform 8-minute dance medley of the ‘Evolution of K-Pop’ [Video]

Believe it or not, Korean music hasn’t always been as upbeat, stylish and danceable as the K-Pop we now know so well. It wasn’t until after a revolutionary artist brought R&B and hip-hop to Korea in the early 1990s, K-Pop became the wildly popular world-wide sensation it is today.

With the desire to share their culture with their non-Korean peers, a group of students from American university Wheaton College put together a dance medley showcasing the “Evolution of K-Pop” spanning the years 1994-2014.

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Lost in cultural translation: Korean man’s “get well soon” gift causes raised eyebrows

Being in the hospital for any period of time can be very dreary and lonesome. The bright lights and lack of color surrounding you can make the minutes to feel like hours, and there’s only so much you can do from your hospital bed before you start feeling a little stir-crazy. It’s enough to make you wonder if you’re destined to spend the rest of your days in that white, disinfectant-scented prison.

But a “get well soon” gift from a friend or relative always makes a hospital stay better. It shows that someone out there cares about your well-being and hopes you will be on your feet and home again in no time. Whether the gift is flowers or a teddy bear, anything will instantly improve your situation.

But how would you feel if you were gifted dog meat while laid up in hospital?

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Korean MMORPG redefines character customization with adjustable wrinkles, bone structure

MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) immerse players in virtual worlds, places where thousands or millions are simultaneously engaged in forging new equipment, embarking on quests, or even just fooling around. Given the sheer number of users, players want to feel that their individual game experience is somehow unique. Character customization offers one such avenue.

While many games provide detailed character customization, allowing players to choose from any number of races and classes while also altering build and appearance to their liking, a new Korean MMORPG is blowing the whole system out of the water. With controls for everything from iris size to bone structure, the upcoming game Black Desert all but ensures that no two characters will ever look the same.

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Forget cat cafes, there’s a cafe in South Korea where you can hang out with sheep!

Japan is home to hundreds of animal cafes where guests are able to hang out with catsrabbits, and even owls as they sip lattes and cups of herbal tea. These establishments give their patrons, often people who live in rented accommodation in urban areas, a chance to interact with animals that they would not be able to keep at home due to a lack of space or strict “no pets” clauses in tenancy agreements.

In Korea, however, one particular cafe has upscaled the experience with something much bigger and fluffier than the common bunny, cat or pup. Check out this unique cafe which houses a pair of beautiful, friendly sheep!

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When K-pop clashes with Sci-fi, singing about PMS suddenly becomes a trendy thing【Video】

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is something many women and men are familiar with. Women bear the brunt of it on a monthly basis, while some men are indirect victims due to the mood swings of the “PMS-ing” females around them.

I doubt anyone would disagree that PMS is in no way enjoyable, but for once, the monstrosity that messes up our lives on a regular basis is starting to look interesting as Korean pop idol Lizzy teams up with comedian Park Myeong-Su to sing about it. Check out the music video after the break!

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Netizens get creative with ice cube trays shaped like BIGBANG singer’s nose and mouth

Idol and boy band merchandise comes in many forms, and some if it is downright weird. Take, for example, this official ice cube tray set shaped like the schnozz and kisser of K-pop vocalist and BIGBANG member Daesung, aka D-LITE in Japan. No, we’re not making this up! In fact, this particular piece of plastic pop memorabilia has really got netizens excited, with many taking to Twitter to showcase the “creations” they have made through the use of certain materials in tandem with the ice cube tray. Join us for a variety of disturbing flared nostrils and pouty lips after the jump!

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Fake 7-Elevens across Asia: you can hide, but we’re on to you

Take a quick look at the picture above. Notice anything strange? Perceptive readers may have spotted something out-of-place right away. If you didn’t, well, no worries, but you’ll probably want to facepalm yourself when you take a second look.

Like this Chinese “7-Twelve,” there are a number of fake, localized versions of popular convenience store 7-Eleven scattered throughout the Asian continent. They may think they can slip through the cracks, but perhaps it’s only a matter of time before a lawyer comes knocking at their doors. We have to hand it to them, though–they score high on creativity for coming up with some amusing names.

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Two years’ worth of free pencils swiped from Korea’s first ever IKEA in just two months

The flat-pack furniture superstore IKEA means so many things to so many people. To students, it’s a great place to buy budget tableware, furniture, and bedding when they are setting out on their own for the first time. To families, it means affordable but nice looking furniture. To the unlucky assembler, it’s infuriating builds when pieces just don’t fit together. And to the rest of us, it means Swedish meatballs and ice cream!

Strangely, at the first IKEA store in Korea, which only opened about two months ago, it means something no one has thought about before: free pencils, and they’re apparently being swiped from the store in their thousands every single day.

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The most intense, death-defying military training exercises from around the world

Jumping through a ring of fire. Breaking bricks with your head. Drinking cobra blood.

Those are some examples of what troops from around the world go through as part of military training.

Check out more intense exercises in the following gallery.

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Japan, China, Thailand and Korea summed up in one phrase each – but are they accurate?

A thought-provoking post recently appeared on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo purporting to sum up the national characteristic of Japan, China, Thailand and Korea in one simple phrase each. The post gained a huge amount of attention online for its controversial nature, with many people criticising the reducing of entire countries down to a single limiting phrase. Others, however, thought that the phrases chosen were pretty spot on

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Korean students live out their wildest manga fantasies with amateur “Trick Eye” illustrations

We often say “seeing is believing”, but ironically, our brain and eyes are rather susceptible to visual trickery. Optical illusion art galleries that feature cleverly distorted artworks that manipulate the eyes’ perception of distance and depth have been gaining massive popularity in various parts of Asia in recent months. The original art pieces exhibited at these galleries allow visitors to physically be part of the “3-D” illustration, creating a unique and interactive experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

But why pay to pose with paintings that might not tickle your fancy, when you can live out your fantasies with your favorite manga characters? A bunch of students from South Korea created their very own “interactive” art gallery in their classroom featuring characters from Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball). Check them out!

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“Sorry, Grandma, I thought you were the devil…” – Korean game addiction ad is painfully stupid

The South Korean government recently released a video warning the general public about the dangers of video game addiction. The 25-second ad, which has already been edited and re-released following complaints about its content, shows the ways in which overexposure to video games can adversely affect the mental health of otherwise healthy young men and women.

It’s also spectacularly stupid.

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Korean fitness guru goes from cute to drop-dead gorgeous, sparks beauty standards debate 【Photos】

While it’s hard to believe, not everyone is born fitting perfectly into the extremely high (and sometimes, a little repetitive) standards of what a person “should” look like. Recently, some Korean net users were reminded of this little fact of life when they came across photos of a gorgeously curvaceous South Korean fitness instructor during her days as a cute girl-next-door type.

Not believing the woman could become this dramatically beautiful without the help of a good plastic surgeon, the before and after pics sparked a debate about beauty standards and why we care so much about how we look. Click below to see more photos of the fitness guru who went from cute to va-va-voom.

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Pocky maker claims Korean snack ripped off its packaging design, and it’s hard to disagree

You might expect working at one of Japan’s largest candy makers means every day at the office is filled with smiles, sunshine, and sentiments as sweet as the products they sell. But the management at Osaka-based Glico’s mood is downright sour these days, as the company claims rival Lotte’s new product is such a thinly veiled copy of one of Glico’s hits that it’s a slap in the face.

The company is in no mood to let this one slide, either, which is understandable since some say Lotte has been ripping off Glico for more than 30 years.

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What’s this pink fluff in my beer?! Top 10 exotic beers you can find in South Korea

Leave it to the Koreans to come up with innovative and sometimes bizarre food and beverage combinations. Have you tried the whipped cream and beer combination that we introduced previously? If that hit the spot for you, there’s more where that came from, so read on and find your next drinking experiment!

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An early version of Samsung’s next Galaxy phone might have just leaked

We’ve been hearing for months that Samsung may be designing the Galaxy S6 “from scratch,” but now we might have a better idea of what that actually means. Blog Phone Arena published a photo that reportedly shows an early prototype of the Galaxy S6.

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