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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Thursday, June 29, 2006

stnadard dictionay

What is it with the level of English in Korean language institutions? There was the "Collage of Huminity" banner at the homepage of the Dept of Korean Language and Literature at SNU, and now "The Stnadard Korean Dictionay" at National Institute of Korean Language. This is not just about giving a good impression of a product (Standard Korean Dictionary) that's being marketed, it should after all be an authoritative institution which holds a certain standard in any language. (What am I to say after all, I've had "pubic discourse" written in a conference presentation, and I assure you it wasn't about s€x in Korea.)

And lest there be no misunderstandings, this note originates from my deep appreciation of the online version of that dictionary, which I heartily endorse. (The 찾기 button doesn't work with Firefox, so type the word and hit the enter key.)

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Peter Crouch of England

Instead of worrying about foul or disputable referee calls and foul reactions to disputable calls, let's see what Peter Crouch of the English team can do: anything!
(Thanks to Ainsley Posse for link and laughs.)

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Monday, June 26, 2006

color photos from war-time Korea

Hankyoreh has gotten hold of color photographs taken during the Korean War by a Korean-American who served as a medical officer in the US Marines. Once again it's startling to notice how one sees color photos differently from black and white ones. It is as if history had always been recorded in black and white, and once some events are shown in color they appear much more relevant.
Trams in front of Seoul Station in 1952, Namdaemum gate visible behind.
Interesting to see that the trams were painted green and yellow, which is the traditional coloring of trams in Helsinki.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

new hillside neighborhood museum in Incheon

Visited Flying Net after a long time. There doesn't seem to be so much happening at the moment, not many new texts have been put up in the last few months, but from the latest piece in the long series of "Searching for the Identity of Incheon" I learn that a new museum called Sudoguk-san Taltongne Pangmulgwan, which means "Sudoguk mountain hillside (squatter) neighborhood museum" but which has the official English name of "Sudoguksan Museum of Housing and Living". (The official homepage of the museum doesn't seem to have more than one page at the moment.)

The writer gives a positive appraisal of the museum, and writes the following:
One pays attention to the stories of several actual persons who have lived in the Sudoguk mountain neighborhood. The lives and livelihoods of the neighborhood residents like the paper collector Maeng T'ae-sông, keeper of the coal briquette shop Yu Wan-sôn, cotton ware (sont'ûl) shop keepre Pak Kil-chu, and Pak Chông-yang of Taeji Barbershop have been recreated. [translation AL]

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총비서의 축구 내기

마아릿 펠드-란따
사회민주당 당비서
우리나라는 물론 축구 월드컵에 친줄하지는 못 했지만 축구열기가 올려 있지 않은 것도 아니다. 어떤 사람들이 정신이 나간 상태까지 이룬 것으로 보인다. 핀란드 사회민주당 당비서(총재 밑에 일하는 사람)의 경우만 봐라. 마아릿 펠드-란따 당비서는 독일이 월드컵을 이길 경우에 엉덩이에다 독일 국기를 문신하겠다고 하더라. 이젠 三승無패인 독일이 16강에 깔끔하게 진출했고 이길 가능성이 커짐에 따라 총비서께서 궁뎅이에 무슨 느낌이 있을까.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Korealaispelaajien nimien lausuminen

(Just in case the Finnish commentators were interested to know how the names of the Korean football players are approximately prononounced)

Korean jalkapallomaajoukkueen pelaajien nimien ääntäminen

Antti Leppänen

Korealaisten nimien ääntämisen perusteet eivät ole Suomessa tuttuja, eikä niiden ääntämisasun päätteleminen latinalaisesta kirjoitusasusta ole aina helppoa kieltä osaavallekaan. Asiaa hankaloittaa myös se, että Etelä-Koreassa myös saa itse valita nimensä latinalaisen kirjoitusasun, joten samoista nimistä saattaa näkyä useita eri kirjoitusasuja.

Sekä konsonantteja että vokaaleja äännettäessä tulee huomata, Etelä-Koreassa latinalaiset kirjaimet äännetään englannin kielen mukaisesti.
Etelä-Korean maajoukkueen pelaajien nimien lausuminen suomalaisittain ilmaistuna:
Lee Woon-jaeii un-dse
Kim Young-chulkim jong-tshol
Kim Dong-jin kim dong-dsin
Choi Jin-cheultshwe dsin-tshol
Kim Jin-kyukim dsin-gju
Lee Young-pyoii jong-phyo
Kim Sang-sik kim sang-shik
Song Chong-gugsong dsong-guk
Cho Won-heedso won-hii
Kim Nam-il kim nam-il
Park Ji-sung pak dsi-song
Kim Do-heonkim do-hon
Lee Eul-yongii yl-jong
Baek Ji-hoonbek dsi-hun
Lee Hoii ho
Ahn Jung-hwanan dsong-hwan
Park Chu-youngpak dsu-jong
Seol Ki-hyeonsol ki-hjon
Lee Chun-soo ii dson-suu
Chung Kyung-hodsong kjong-ho
Cho Jae-jindso dse-dsin

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Noraebang, healthy entertainment for people - in 1991

Noraebang entertainment in Sillim 2-dong in 2001. (c)AL
A work on leisure in Korea (Kim Mun-gyeom: Yôgaûi Sahoehak, "Sociology of Leisure") mentioned that karaoke or noraebang arrived in Busan in 1991. That is conceivable, as Busan is close to Japan and has been the first to receive Japanese influence and convey Japanese phenomena to Korea. So I had to go to KINDS see how the appearance of noraebang has been recorded in the Korean media. How interesting that noraebang was first mentioned in the national press in November 1991 as a part of government policies to encourage healthy-minded entertainment establishments that conform to the national sentiments (kungmin chôngsô) and social realities (sahoe hyônsil) instead of extravagant and irrational spending and leisure.

But searching further, already on February 3, 1992 Hankuk Ilbo tells that Japanese-style (waesaek) noraebangs, which first appeared in Busan in early 1991 number in hundreds and are spreading to Seoul. The article also conveys worries of excessive copying of Japanese things and, contary to the wishes of the authorities , harmful influences on the youth. And several of the articles in the list of search results are actually about government measures to control the new type of business and entertainment, added with reports of addiction and excessive following of Japanese culture. For example the president of the student association of Hanyang University, also the head of Chôndaehyôp (predecessor of Hanchongnyon), was being considered governmental honors for campaigning against Japanese-style entertaintment facilities... (Hankuk Ilbo, April 14, 1992).

Funny to think that noraebang, which has been so much part of the Korean entertainment and leisure scene to make it traditional Korean people's art, became common only two years before I first went to Korea. Yi Kyu-t'ae, the highly influencial culture columnist in Chosun Ilbo who passed in February this year, saw already back then (Chosun, April 14, 1992) that the rapidly increased popularity of noraebangs was not unrelated to more traditional Korean ways of singing.

Hankyoreh21 makes a visit to the library of the deceased Yi Kyu-t'ae, which holds some 12-13000 volumes according to the estimate of his son.

Weekly Donga did some work back in 1999 (scroll down) to find out who brought karaoke to Korea. It was Mr Hyôn Ch'ung-dan, who kept a game room (oraksil) in front of the Donga University in Busan. He used to visit Japan often in search of new electronic leisure gadgets, and in early 1991 he brought a song accompaniment machine to Korea. He put Korean songs by himself in it, and installed the machine in his game room in April 1991. It was a glass box for 2-3 persons. Mr Hyôn was already busy at that time developing "multivision" effects, and with the release of the "Assa Panjugi" (앗싸 반주기), developed with Yeongpung Electronics, which showed lyrics in a monitor, the road for the popularity of noraebang was opened. It took one year for the noraebang boom to reach Seoul from Busan via Masan and Daegu.

Update 2, June 16, 2006

G. M. Jeonuchi in the comments:
I have heard (so this could be a 유언비어) that danranjujeom (단란주점) was also originally established as another "healthy" (건전한) means of entertainment, literally meaning a place where people can go and 단란하게 놀아 in a family-like atmosphere. But we all know what "단란주점" means today.
You are not spreading 유언비어 - see the following article in which the word 단란주점 appears for the first time in the national newspapers in KINDS search:
술마시는 노래방」 생긴다/단란­유흥주점 구분키로
[조선일보]1992-06-17 22면 774자 사회 뉴스
◎보사부/술안파는 휴게실은 심야영업 허용술도 마시고 노래도 부를 수 있는 「술마시는 노래방」이 새로운 형태의 주점으로 신설된다.
보사부는 16일 퇴폐유흥업소가 번창하고 건전한 휴식 및 놀이공간이 부족한 현실을 감안,주류 판매업종의 구분을 「단란주점」과 「유흥주점」으로 단순화 시키기로 했다고 밝혔다.
「단란주점」은 술과 안주를 팔면서 손님이 원할경우 직접 노래를 부를 수 있도록 하는 업종으로 영국 등 유럽에서 볼수있는 「퍼브(Pub)」 주점 형태를 말한다.
우리나라 음주문화가 술마신뒤 가무음곡을 즐기는 형태인데도 불구,룸살롱 등 엄청난 과소비를 조장하는 변칙 유흥업소만 늘고있는 현실에서 건전 위락장소를 만들어가기 위해 「단란주점」업종을 신설키로 했다고 보사부는 밝혔다.
보사부는 나아가 현재 대중음식점으로 영업허가를 얻어 「카페」나 「가라오케」 등의 이름으로 술을 파는 변태업종을 모두 「단란주점」으로 흡수하고,종업원을 두는 등 퇴폐행위를 할경우 강력히 단속해 나갈 방침이다.
단란주점은 식품위생법의 적용을 받는 반면,최근 급속도로 번져가는 「노래방」 혹은 「노래 연습장」은 내무부의 풍속영업 규제에 관한 법률에따라 술과 음식을 팔지않고 단순히 노래만 부를 수 있는 장소이기 때문에 구별된다고 보사부는 설명했다.
보사부는 또 음식물취급 업종을 「휴게실 영업」 「다방 영업」 「음식점 영업」으로 구분,술을 팔지 않는 「휴게실 영업」에 대해서는 심야영업도 허용할 방침이다.
보사부는 이같은 외식산업 건전화 방안을 오는 18일 공청회를 거쳐 곧 시행에 들어갈 예정이다.<김영철기자>

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Friday, June 09, 2006

우리나라 정력있는 나라

이거야말로 우리나라 남자들은 기가 살리는 뉴스다. 이거만 세계적으로 잘 알려지면 그렇게 자기나라 여자들한테 버림받고 있는 좀 불쌍한 우리가 인기가 좋아지지 않을까? 핀란드에서 정잣수가 높은 (씨가 센) 양(羊)을 외국으로 수출한 걸로 알고 있는데, 우리 남자들고 그런 세계적인 수출품이 될 수 있으리라. 한국에서 물론 "일본은 꼴찌"라는 제목과 조사결과로 즐기는 이들이 많겠지만 한국은 어떨까? 내세울 것 별로 없을 걸.
일본 남성 정자수 꼴찌
일본 남성의 정자수가 핀란드 남성의 3분의 2에 불과한 것으로 조사됐다.
이런 사실은 일본과 유럽 연구팀이 실시해 일본의사회지 5월호에 발표한 국제공동연구에서 31일 밝혀졌다.
일본과 핀란드, 스코틀랜드, 프랑스, 덴마크 등 5개국을 대상으로 실시한 이 조사에서 일본 남성의 정자수는 조사대상국가중 꼴찌로 나타났다.
이 조사는 환경호르몬이 생식능력에 미치는 영향을 알아보기 위해 실시됐다.
일본에서는 가나가와(神奈川)현의 한 병원을 다녀간 20-44세 남성 324명(평균 연령 32.5세)의 정액을 채취해 조사했다.
연령 등은 각국이 같은 조건으로 실시했으며 금욕기간의 길이에 따른 차이가 나타나지 않도록 보완한 후 각국 남성의 정자수를 비교했다.
조사결과 일본인 남성은 다른 나라 남성에 비해 금욕기간이 긴 것으로 나타났다.
정자수는 일본을 100으로 했을 때 핀란드가 147로 가장 많았고 다음은 스코틀랜드 128, 프랑스 110, 덴마크 104였다.
다만 환경호르몬이 관여하는 것으로 의심되는 정소암과 생식기 이상발생률은 일본인 남성이 크게 낮았다.
연구팀 관계자는 “정자수 차이는 영양과 생활습관, 인종차 등과 관련이 있는 것같다”고 말했다.
입력 : 2006.05.31 09:15 03'
(Dear visitors from the Marmot's Hole who do not read Korean: this note that he deemed worth linking to is about a piece of news, titled "Japanese men's number of sperm the lowest," which tells among other things that the Finnish men's semen is of the highest quality quantity so that if the Japanese amount is 100, the Finnish one is 147.)


참, 한국도 꼴찌로 나오는 조사가 있기는 있었다. 분야도 위와 좀 비슷하네... (말모트를 통해서)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

trackback from Blue House

I removed the Haloscan trackback from the post footer some time ago, as no trackbacks seemed to be sent, and I wanted to keep the footer in one line, to which it didn't fit. So I just checked my trackbacks after a long time, and found this interesting trackback ping from March 17, which goes back to an entry called 《1》 기적과 절망, 두 개의 대한민국 ("Miracle and desperation, two Koreas") in... 청와대 블로그, or Blue House blog, kept under the auspices of Roh Moo-hyun, the president of the Republic of Korea. The entry to which the trackback is linked is about the polarization of the Korean society, a topic which I have treated every now and then. Funny thing is that I have no idea to which entry this trackback is sent, and I have no idea whether some Blue House staff blogger has really sent the trackback or someone's been able to do a prank, but an interesting episode anyway.

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translating Kim Ki-duk's "Haeanseon"

A piece of Finnish subtitles for Coast Guard from the scene in which corporal Kang, dismissed from service, has returned to drill his former subordinates.
I once lamented that I had promised to translate alltogether seven Kim Ki-duk movies that a digital channel operated by the National Broadcasting Company (YLE) was airing this spring. Well, I excused myself from three of those on the very real pretext of having to try to finish my dissertation, but I did not have the nerve to discard the job wholly once I had agreed to do it. Translating Kim Ki-duk films is no pleasant experience, unless one enjoys finding ways to express all the profanities. At the end of April I finished Kim's Haeansôn (Coast Guard, Rannikkovartija), a story of a conscript serving on a coast guard battallion, who goes crazy after mistaking a civilian for an intruding spy.

There were some issues to solve when translating the film to Finnish.

• Military terms of address and reference.
Koreans - at least in the film - refer often to the post (platoon leader, soch'ojang(nim) of the person when addressing a superior and not to the rank, which always is the case in Finland. A movie translation needs to flow smoothly, and the viewer doesn't have time to wander what's meant with the line visible in the screen from 1 to 3 seconds, so in that case I made the decision to use mainly the Finnish practice as long as there was room and time. The problem was that rank was not apparent in the script that I had, and the digital copy I had didn't show the insignia well enough. So I just gave some of the characters a rank which was suitable for the film and made sense for the viewer: sergeant (kersantti), kapteeni (captain) and colonel (eversti).

• Military rank.
In addition to having to give rank for the sake of clarity to characters whose rank wasn't clear from the film, the Korean and Finnish military ranks don't always match, so some simplification was inevitable. It'd have been difficult to distinguish between ibyông(2-byông) and ilbyông (1-byông), so I largely avoided mentioning rank in their case and used mainly just the family name. The rank most often appearing in the film was sangbyông, "corporal" in English, or korpraali by us.

• Speech levels.
Speech levels always are a question to solve. Usually the distinction between panmal and chondaemal, when it needs to be made, can be done with the singular and plural forms of address, but there are contexts when it needs to be disregarded, like in the case of a dating couple, of whom one uses panmal and the other chondaemal.
In the Finnish army, at least in the late 1980s, both superiors and inferiors use the "formal" plural form of address which is becoming rarer and rarer in the civilian world. In the translation of "Coast Guard" I followed the Korean use of speech levels: singular person form for panmal that the superiors used towards inferiors or men of similar rank amongst themselves, and plural forms for chondaemal.

• Others.
Couldn't help playing a little prank in finding a substitute for the ROK national flower mugunghwa (Blue Hibiscus flower), which appears as a password in one scene. Using the Finnish word for that flower (hibiscus syrianus), "sinihibiskus", would have made little sense since few viewers would have recognized it as a name of a flower. So instead I put it as voikukka, (dandelion) which needs no further explanation,

Sshibal saekki
When a line is said repeatedly in one scene, there's no need to have it subtitled every time, but on the other hand it's good to have some text when something is being said, and the translators are paid by the amount of text. In "Coast Guard", shibal saekki or the emphasized sshibal saekki was one of those often-repeated lines. Having the translation in the screen repeatedly ends up not looking nice, so I used my imagination a bit. Once I inserted my own kind of joke by glossing a sentence something like yai sshibal saekki illo wa ("come here bastard") in a fight scene with a very Finnish nyt tulee turpaan ("now I'm gonna beat the crap out of you" or something), an epitome of invited or uninvited Finnish physical aggression.

The prospects that the broadcasting corporation is done with Kim Ki-duk for a while now are good.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

blog: becoming an anthropologist

My former office mate at the U of Helsinki anthro dept, now pursuing her Ph.D. in Chicago, blogs at becoming an anthropologist. Her blog has been up for more than a year - pity I learn about it only now.

H38, U311

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Thursday, June 01, 2006


Kaikki valta kansalle (all power to the people), campaign poster of the soc.dem. party in 1907
It was ten years ago that I went to Korea to attend language classes. That was my second visit to Korea. I had gotten a 6-month language scholarship, but ended up staying 14 months. That means also that for ten years I've communicated with Koreans almost entirely in their language. I had learned Korean for two years (four semesters, four hours a week) in Helsinki by then; in the taxi on our way from Kimpo airport to my boarding room in Sillim-dong, the Korean friend of my Korean teacher who had picked me up suggested that since I've come there to learn the language, we talk only in Korean from that on. So it happened, and I've never looked back.

Oh, the other anniversary is the centennial of the democratic Finnish parliament. Congratulations to the 100 years young.

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