Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"21st Century Family" (21세기가족)

I'm usually not a fan of K-drama, but for this I made an exception.

21st Century Family, Image: tvN

"21st Century Family" (Korean title: 21세기 가족) is basically a Korean version of ABC's "Modern Family" and pretty funny. It features that wild old guy with the nice (fake) hair from those health insurance ads as the Jay (wealthy, conservative, cranky grandpa figure) and enough real humor to keep you interested. Of course there's the hot stay-at-home mom (aka Claire) with the childish husband (aka Phil) and the 1-son-2-daughters mix (dumb boy, hot slut daughter, smart daughter), and of course the grandpa married a much younger hotter woman (aka Gloria), but instead of the gay son there's an ugly slut daughter, though I would definitely do her don't get why she's ugly and her brother who basically is a manchild that still lives at home and despite his heart of gold fails at every job interview. I like American Modern Family, and I like this one too. The plot is different of course but still pretty funny. I like it because it's so unlike normal Korean melodrama.You'll forget that what you're watching is Korean. Or, it will make you think that Koreans aren't so different from "us" after all. Aww.

UPDATE: I had originally linked to a site that provided this show for streaming, but it turns out the content was removed. Therefore you'll have to find your own (legal) way of watching this cute show.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The eeriness of the Sewol ferry's name (세월)

The ferry that recently sunk in Korea was named Sewol, or 세월 in Korean. I had not thought much about this until a Korean friend pointed out how creepy a name it is, given the circumstances.

Ferry Sewol 1

세월 literally means "time" but with a connotation of its movement; i.e. the passing of time. I've tried to come up with a good translation. Let's look at some examples from Naver and Google:

From Naver:

세월 (歲月)- Time
  • 세월이 가는지 오는지도 모르다 (무사태평하다) be unaware of the passing of time
  • 세월 참 빠르다 Time flies
  • 세월 가는 줄 모르고 바쁘게 살았다 I've been so busy I didn't even notice the years go by. 
  • 그녀의 병이 회복되는 데 오랜 세월이 걸렸다 It took her ages to get over her illness
  • 세월이 약이다 Time heals all wounds / Time will take care of this.

Google translates 세월 as Years, Time, The Years, Ages

My friend and I decided that one of the best ways to translate the sentiment of nostalgia or reflective longing of 세월 would be something like "As time goes by".

You can see why this would be a suitable name for a slow-paced, relaxing, easy, reflective, sentimental journey to Jeju. I imagine the old people, celebrating their 60th birthdays, sitting on the deck at sunrise and sunset, reflecting on their long, happy lives.

It also becomes a horribly apt and disgusting name, when you consider the children trapped, floating in their cabins, awaiting rescue as the crucial moments of the "golden hour" slip by.

Author's commentary:

I'm sorry to write something so morbid about this. During this discussion of 세월, I realized the depth of my own uneasy feelings about this event. Perhaps that is why something so trivial as the name of the boat, and its tenuous connection to the event, blew up in my mind. It seems a horrible microcosm of what happened. I don't like to add much opinion to this blog, but all those kids, scared, not knowing what to do, looking to the adults for help. It's too much. I apologize for any discomfort this post causes. 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yellow ribbon to support Sewol ferry disaster families & victims

You may have noticed this image appearing as Koreans' KakaoTalk or Facebook profile pictures recently:

This is a "Yellow Ribbon Campaign" (노란리본 or 노란리본 달기). The text says 하나의 작은 움직임이 큰 기적을 which means something like:
  • One's smallest movements can make a huge wonder, or
  • The smallest steps can have a huge impact, or
  • If we all do a little, we can do a lot, or
  • The littlest things can make the biggest difference, etc.
It's been adopted as a semi-official badge or "yellow ribbon" (thus the bow-tie picture) of goodwill regarding the recent sinking of the ferry Sewol off Jindo to show solidarity with the families of the lost students. 

Source: 카톡 노란리본…‘노란리본 달기’ 확산 “하나의 작은 움직임이 큰 기적을”


Another one that seems to be popular is this:

 This one features the same text as above, but adds at the bottom 다시 돌아오기만을 기다리며 기원합니다 which is something like "Hoping for your return" or "We're waiting for you to come back" "Wishing for you to come back again."
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Naver's English-Korean Translator now available

Update 2016-Sept: 
Also see my post on Naver's newly released official translation app "Papago".

Original post below.

Naver has released a Translation program that appears very similar to Google Translate. It operates, much as Naver Dictionary, as a mobile-friendly website at this link:


Here's what it looks like on my phone:

Naver Translate's mobile site

Here it is in operation:

Naver Translate in operation

You can see that it translates in the "card" style Google now uses. It can pronounce the words, has a "conversational" feature where the translation is displayed full-screen (again, much like Google Translate). It also lists several sample usage sentences displayed in both Korean and English.

 Once you've translated something, you can then "Share" the translation through a variety of apps, though this sharing feature utilizes short-links (via me2.do) as a share medium:

Naver Translate sharing options

It also features a row of emoticons, though I don't understand what they're for. They are apprently for feedback: Press them, and you are asked to submit your comments and feedback, so I guess the emoticons are to indicate your overall satisfaction with the translation?

Feedback option

Anyway, I'm very pleased to see Naver continuing to come out with English-language interfaces for their services. Naver has a wide variety of great features and services; wider, I'd say, than Google ever since Google's streamlining efforts. Google's main advantage, like Facebook's over CyWorld, was multilingual (thus international) support. Here's hoping that Naver continues to provide services in English (Naver Maps, perhaps?)

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RSS feeds from Daum Cafes

It sometimes isn't obvious, but most Daum Cafes have RSS feeds available, which follow this format:

RSS feed: 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Google Maps Pokemon found in Korea

Today for April Fool's Day, Google Maps had a Pokemon challenge. As best I could find, there were two Pokemon to be found in Korea.

The first, which I found at Gangnam District Office in Seoul (map link), was Raichu. In my excitement to capture him, I only took a screen cap after he'd been caught:

 The second was Luxray, which I found while zooming around Busan. He was chilling in a park next to a statue of 송상현 (map link).

I tried this on my friend's phone (set to Korean language) but it didn't allow me to "Start" the chase, so I guess they hadn't translated the Pokedex into Korean?
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