Archive by Author

Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm — 2017

Another year in Korea. Twenty-seven and counting. It’s this time of the year when I wax nostalgia and feel homesick the most. And more often than not, I find myself waxing nostalgia for the time when I first came to Korea. Recently, my friend and book designer, Anna Takahashi, redid the cover design for Waking […]

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Twenty-five Years Ago this Month

Twenty-five years ago this month, I taught my last class at ELS, a language school in Seoul near Kangnam subway station. On November 27, 1992, I said goodbye to my colleagues at ELS and left for Kimpo. I would be back six weeks later, teaching at Yonsei University’s Foreign Language Institute. The two years I […]

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Shootout in the JSA

We had ourselves a little incident in the Joint Security Area (JSA) this week when a North Korean soldier defected to the South. This was the story reported by CBS News: SEOUL, South Korea — Four North Korean soldiers fired about 40 rounds at a comrade fleeing into South Korea and hit him five times in the first […]

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Nuclear Blues

Bradley Martin, the man who wrote the book on North Korea with his Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, was in Seoul recently at What the Book? Bookstore talking about his new book, Nuclear Blues. His new book is a thriller set in North Korea that has everything from evangelists running around, nuclear missiles, a […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part IV

This is Part IV of a five-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired by Barry Lancet’s geopolitical thriller, The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about the DMZ and JSA. This originally appeared in Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm. “How would you like to fly up to the […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part III

This is Part III of a five-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired by Barry Lancet’s The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about “the scariest place on the earth.” Did someone say road trip to the DMZ? That’s what happened in August 2000 when I was invited back to the JSA, […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part II

This is Part II of a four-part series on the Korean DMZ inspired in part by Barry Lancet’s The Spy Across the Table and my articles and essays about the DMZ and JSA. Summer 2000. Somehow I had talked myself into writing feature stories about the 50th anniversary of the Korean War for the Korea […]

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All Along the DMZ — Part I

I just finished Barry Lancet’s heart-pounding geopolitical thriller, The Spy Across the Table, and I really enjoyed the scenes which took place in and around the DMZ on the Korean peninsula. Having been there several times, both as a tourist and a feature writer for The Korea Times, I appreciate those authors writing about events […]

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Perfume River

Perfume River By Robert Olen Butler Hardcover: 272 pages Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st edition (September 6, 2016) Of all the modern writers I admire and who have inspired me the most, Robert Olen Butler would be at the top of the list. Butler’s latest, Perfume River is a literary tour de force. Beautiful, haunting, and evocative, […]

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The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation

The New Koreans: The Story of a Nation By Michael Breen Hardcover: 480 pages Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (April 4, 2017) When it comes to writing about Korea—its people, culture, and history—there is no one better up to that onerous task than Michael Breen who has devoted most of his life observing and writing about […]

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