The following are the major cultural and tourist festivals to be held in November.

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Boseong Sori Festival
When: Nov. 7-8 Where: Boseong, South Jeolla Province Sori is a Korean word referring to the archetypal human voices with which humans communicate with nature and the universe. It also refers to the combination of the human voice and instrumental sounds, which form Korea’s musical heritage. Boseong is home to pansori, a one-person opera with a percussion accompaniment that has been designated by the UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. Boseong is also a major producing area of green tea. Music lovers will have an opportunity to experience music of Korea and the taste of superb Korean green tea. More information is available at http://www. boseong.go.kr/sorifastival or by calling 061-852-2181.

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Putting statistics on foreign crime into some context
By Matt VanVolkenburg

A juxtaposition of all that is good: creamy egg flan topped with a crisp salty parmesan chip Wagyu Beef cooked Bleu Smoked Salmon done two ways: topped with a grapefruit sorbet and with orange zest
Photos by Daniel Gray

Public outrage in the wake of a high-profile case of child abuse has led members of the National Assembly to turn a spotlight on possible threats to children and end the lax judicial treatment of sex offenders. While this is to be applauded, the manner in which this has been carried out has at times been careless. On Oct. 19, National Assembly Representative Woo Yoon-keun said that the number of sexual crimes by foreign nationals had tripled over the past eight years, rising from 83 in 2001 to 242 in 2008. While this information is troubling, it would seem less so if the Rep. Woo had bothered to put any of this information in context. Considering the foreign population at the end of 2008 was 1.15 million, those 242 crimes result in a sex crime rate of 20.8 per 100,000. When compared to statistics from the Supreme Prosecutors Office which show the sex crime rate of Korean citizens in Korea to be 108 per 100,000, we see that the foreign sex-crime rate is five times less. But this is not an entirely accurate portrayal of these statistics. If it can be agreed that children and the elderly tend not to commit crimes, then it’s worth looking at the demographics of the Korean and foreign populations in Korea. According to the CIA, children under 15 and elderly people over 64 make up 27.6 percent of the population of Korea. According to Korean Immigration Service figures, children under 16 and elderly over 60 make up 8.2 percent of the foreign population. If these low crime demographics are removed when making calculations, the foreign sex crime rate is 22.7 per 100,000 foreigners, and 151.7 per 100,000 Koreans — meaning in this case that the foreign sex-crime rate is 6.6 times lower. While some news media reports in the past have been responsible in pointing out that the rising crime rate among foreigners in Korea is still much lower than that of Korean citizens, Rep. Woo has not put his worrying figures into context. Unfortunately, Rep. Woo is not the sole political voice guilty of this. On Oct. 22, it was reported that the Ministry of Justice had announced it would “revise immi-

gration rules to ban foreigners found guilty of raping Korean children from re-entering Korea permanently,” and that this was “the latest in a series of government measures to keep sexual predators away from society.” It’s unfortunate that this discussion of how to protect Korean society from sex crimes, when discussing foreigners, has focused only on past and possible sex crimes committed by foreigners against Koreans and omitted sex crimes that Koreans commit against foreigners. A 2006 study, conducted on the behalf of the National Assembly Committee on Gender Equality, looked at the sexual activities of Korean men visiting Thailand and the Philippines and found that Korean men were known for habitually doing drugs and seeking out underage girls to have sex with. The National Youth Commission found in 2005 that Korean fishermen were largely responsible for the existence of a teen prostitution industry in the South Pacific nation of Kiribati. A 2003 survey conducted by the National Human Rights Commission found that 12.5 percent of female foreigners working in Korea said they had been sexually harassed by Korean superiors or colleagues. One wonders why more consideration isn’t being given to such sex crimes against foreigners and the need to prevent and punish them. While every effort should be taken to protect Korean children from sex crime and punish its perpetrators, it is troubling that the only available role for foreigners in the current debate is as potential criminals. Reading such alarming statements about foreigners being made in the National Assembly, one wonders of Korea’s elected representatives truly want, as Justice Minister Lee Kwinam recently put it, “to realize a genuinely mature cosmopolitan nation,” or if they see foreigners as a threat in much the same manner as the country north of the 38th parallel. The opinions express here are the author’s only and do not necessarily represent those of The Korea Herald. For more of Matt VanVolkenburg’s writings, go to http://populargusts.blogspot.com — Ed.

Korea Drama Festival
When: Nov. 21-29 Where: Gyeongnam Culture and Arts Center, Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province Jinju is a historic city famous for being the site of a major battle against Japanese invaders. The Korea Drama Festival is Asia’s first drama and video festival featuring dramas from Asian nations. Programs include “Korea drama awards,” “Night of Asian Stars,” “New Korean Wave Star Award” and drama OST concert. There also will be exhibitions, a world food festival and many other events. For more information, call 055-755-2363 or visit the Web site at http://www.kdfo.org

Slow food at OK2 Kitchen
By Daniel Gray

OK2 Kitchen near Itaewon Station is more than just O.K. Originally, I thought the name was a play on the Korean name for traditional house, “hanok,” because the restaurant is set in a Korean traditional house. But after speaking to the owner, I learned it was named after his wife: Oh Jeong-mi. Oh Jeong-mi, known as Jamie Oh, is a famous food stylist, teacher, artist, and curator. Her works have been displayed around the world. Most recently she was the curator of the Gwangju Biennale. The owner is chef Susumu Yonaguni of the pioneering Korean/Japanese restaurant “Eat and Drink” in New York City. The New York Times Food critic, Ruth Reichel said, “Eat and Drink has the feel of a restaurant created by artists for artists.” These two are truly artists and they bring their art and skill to Seoul. OK2 Kitchen reinvents traditional norms with an emphasis on quality, art, and doing things the “slow food” way. So what is the “slow food” movement? Slow food is an idea that was started by Carlo Petrini in Italy to combat the commercializing and mass production of fast food. In 1986, the first McDonald’s was set to open in the historic Piazza Spagna in Rome. Carlo saw this as the harbinger of death

to traditional ways of cooking, so he and his followers protested by standing outside the McDonald’s with bowls of penne. Chefs, restaurants, and diners embraced this ideal and many make their food using traditional ways. Chef Susumu Yonaguni and his wife, food-artist, Oh Jeongmi are heading a quiet revolution. They grow many of their own herbs, they salt their own cod, and they even smoke their own salmon and duck. Every day the restaurant makes fresh bread and puff pastry. While I was there, they were they working on making their own prosciutto, which I was told would be ready in two weeks. (I marked it in my calendar). Of course, two people couldn’t do all this on their own. Chef Yonaguni is not just a restaurateur — he is an educator. He teaches the 12 young cooks that work in his kitchen. The menu is seasonal, so items change based on availability and freshness. You could start out with a pumpkin soup one day, or a sushi tasting appetizer with yellow tail tartar, mackerel, and cerviche on another. I went on a Saturday with a friend and I ordered Lunch Set B with the Wagyu steak. My meal cost 35,000 won ($29.50), while my friend’s cost 20,000 won. Each lunch set has six courses, and each course is well thought out. Our meal started out with a creamy pumpkin soup topped with cream and fresh oregano.

In the center of the soup was a perfect piece of potato gnocchi which harmonized the pumpkin and creamy flavors. This soup was a refined alteration of the Korean pumpkin “juk,” pumpkin and rice porridge. This was followed by two slices of smoked salmon. One slice was topped with a grapefruit sorbet while the other had orange zest and capers. The smoked salmon was richly flavored with the sticky-savory taste of hickory smoke. The next course was a heavenly parmesan flan with a crispy, crumbly parmesan chip. Oh, this dish was a juxtaposition of all that is good. The creamy egg and cream hugged the salty, bold taste of parmesan. I could have simply stopped at this dish and it’s a dish I wake up craving. Looking back, I think I slowly ate this in order to enjoy every last bit. Then my steak came. I had ordered it bleu because I wanted to see how skilled their kitchen was. A bleu steak is covered in oil and cooked over a very hot flame so the outside is seared, but the inside of the steak is quite rare — almost raw. If you have a good cut of meat, this is the best way to have steak. Again, they didn’t fail to impress, for the steak was perfectly seared and it didn’t lose any of its moistness. The steak was paired with a light salad and potatoes. Course five was coffee and

course six was three amazing desserts. The first was a molten chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream. The second was a butterscotch caramel pudding. And the third was a beet brulee cake with Gorgonzola cheese ice cream and crisp cookie strings. Initially, the last dessert sounded utterly disgusting, but one taste made me a believer. The beet flavor of the brulee cake was accented by the caramel flavor of the burned sugar. This was then heighted by the creamy, perplexing notes of Gorgonzola cheese and the fragile, snapping flavor of the cookie threads. Amazing.

Seoul Performing Arts Festival
When: Oct. 13-Nov. 21 Where: Arko Arts Theater, Seoul Arts Center and other venues in Seoul The SPAF 2009 will feature about 40 breathtaking performances, including plays, dances and combination works. Participants will come from Russia, Hungary, Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Norway, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and Korea. For further information, visit the Web site at www.spaf21.com or call 023673-2561.

Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival
When: Nov. 11-15 Where: Geumgang Bird Park, Gunsan, North Jeolla Province Visitors will have the chance to take field trips to observe migratory birds up close, see movies on migratory birds and enjoy cultural events, symposiums and exhibitions. Guided bus tours will also be available. The bird watching corridor (known as Tamjohoerang in Korean), built on the embankment of the Geum River, is the only facility of its kind in Korea. Children can also learn about the ecology of birds at Napo Cross fields. For more information, call 063-453-7213 or visit the event’s Web site at www.gsbird.co.kr (Yonhap News)

OK2 Kitchen
Web: www.ofoodart.com Phone: (02) 797.6420 Prices: A la Cart: 14-36,000 won per dish. The lunch set (20,000, 35,000 won) and the dinner sets (50,000, 60,000 won) are recommended. Directions: Go out Exit 1 of Itaewon Station and make the third right (it’s the one near the traffic light). You’ll see Pacific Shopping on the corner and OK2 Kitchen to the left. Daniel Gray is a food writer and consultant in Seoul. The opinions expressed here are only those of the author. For more of his writings, go to www.seouleats.com — Ed.

In focus: Develop a relationship with subject
The Photo Challenge is sponsored by Hyosung Camera (English: 010-7203-9599) and Babo Shirts (www.baboshirts. com). Winners of the weekly competition receive a 50,000 won store credit at Hyosung Camera and a Babo Shirt. To take part in the competition, simply upload your photo at www.flickr.com/ groups/seoulphotoclub — Ed.
By Aaron Raisey

PHOTO CHALLENGE — Weekly Winner — The entrance of a Naval Museum in Gangneung, Gangwon-do, where there is a battle cruiser and a North Korean submarine on display. The hardhats Brad Church are for visitors entering the submarine.

On Saturday evening I had dinner with several friends that included a couple of fellow Seoul Photo Club members. These guys were photographers with much more experience than I, with time spent behind cameras all over Asia and the sub-continent. The conversation turned to (surprise) photography in

Korea. One of the topics we discussed was how difficult it is to capture Korea meaningfully in a photographic sense. It was difficult to put a finger exactly on why this is. After all, we all have Korea with plenty of temple shots, palaces and traditional markets. But as good as they might be, these photos often aren’t much different from what any tourist with a camera might capture. The consensus seemed to be that vacation-style snaps will be all you produce until you actually develop some kind of relationship with this country.

This relationship could take many different forms, but let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate what I mean. I was talking to another member of the SPC from Busan last week. He spends a bit of time in his local traditional market being perfectly visible with his camera, even if he’s not actively taking pictures. Over time he’s become part of the furniture and is able to take photos comfortably with the willing consent of the locals — capturing them naturally and getting images not normally available to the furtive outsider. He had developed a relationship over time with a group of people. I’ve had numerous experiences like this myself and I can relate a very recent example. I take my film to a lab in Chungmuro in

central Seoul for developing, and while waiting the hour or so to pick up the negatives, I enjoy a beverage at a nearby convenience store (as one does). Directly opposite where I relax in a blue plastic chair is a very small men’s clothing store. Because I am there once or twice a week, camera prominent on the blue plastic table, the 74-year-old proprietor of that shop knows what I’m about. Recently he asked me to take his picture standing in front of the suit-festooned facade of his little shop and we shared a drink after. These situations are photographic gold and are next to impossible to get if you are just breezing by or attempting to operate in stealth mode. These two examples reinforce what we discussed over dinner

— acquiring a benign profile or developing some kind of relationship with people or a particular area, camera prominent, will present opportunities that when captured will powerfully and meaningfully reflect the time you have spent in this country. In addition, the character and atmosphere of your photographs will set them apart from the usual vacation fare. Also, keep that camera visible. Often just the act of extracting a camera out of a bag will send a signal for people to be on their guard — a visible camera tempers this natural reaction in many people. Visit the Seoul Photo Club on Flickr and experience the many different relationships photographers from all around Korea have with this country. (raisey@hanmail.net)

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