Hikers trek through one of the newly opened hiking trails in Mount Jiri National Park, which stretches 274 kilometers (170 miles) through three provinces. -JoongAng Ilbo
Mount Jiri National Park, in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, is considered the oldest national park in the country and still stands as the biggest in area.
And it is still making news.
Late last month, the final section of the Mount Jiri’s Dullegil, a hiking trail circling the mountain, was completed and opened to the public.
It has been five years since Soopgil, a private company, started work on redeveloping the trail and four years since the first section, from Namwon’s Sannae to Hamyang’s Hyucheon, opened to the public.
The Mount Jiri Dullegil includes 20 trails and a total of 274 kilometers (170 miles), through 117 villages in the North and South Jeolla and South Gyeongsang. About 44 percent of the paths are forest roads, while the rest are farm and village roads for pedestrians.
The Mount Jiri Dullegil is one of the best examples of successful cooperation between private and public entities. The government spent 6.9 billion won ($5.9 million) for the redevelopment while construction and rebuilding was left to the private sector.
The farm fields of the village of Sanghwang in Sannae-myeon, Namwon, top, and a bamboo forest on the Mount Jiri Dullegil hiking trail, bottom.
“The fact that the Korea Forest Service, five regional governments, residents and Soopgil worked harmoniously to build the Mount Jiri Dullegil will remain in history as one of the role models of successfully building a large-scale hiking trail,” said Jeon Bum-gwon, head of the forestry services department at the Korea Forest Service.
The Jeju Olle Trail on Jeju Island, Korea’s most well-known hiking destination located on Korea’s southern most island, trails are numbered. The Mount Jiri Dullegil names its trails the after the villages they traverse, respecting that the original purpose of the Dulle trail was to connect neighboring villages.
The road from Jucheon, in North Jeolla, to Sancheong County via Hamyang in South Gyeongsang, is about 70 kilometers. It was the first of the Dullegil to be opened.
The section from Jucheon to Unbong and Inwol is mostly flat. After a short forest path in Jucheon, the rest of the trail is on farmland. The road from Inwol to Geumgye, which goes through the villages of Maedong in Namwon and Changwon in Hamyang, was the first dullegil to be built. It opened to the public as a test trail in 2007.
Deunggujae, a hill in between the villages of Sanghwang and Changwon, serves as the boundary between North Jeolla and South Gyeongsang. Passersby may see residents gathering in wetland pastures filled with small tuna fish crossed by lovely paths.
After passing through Changwon, hikers come to the trail connecting Geumgye and Donggang, where there is an area called Yongyudam that is famous for its scenery. Set amid trees and flowers, Yongyudam was frequented by nobility who frequently traveled to Mount Jiri during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Farther on is the village of Jeumchon, which is located on the Donggang River to Sucheol trail. At this time of year, the path is lined with peonies in full bloom. The village also includes a memorial park for the Sancheong and Hamyang massacre during the Korean War (1950-53).
Most trails in the southeast area of Mount Jiri were opened last year. Because they are hilly, they tend to be less crowded than others on the mountain. The Sucheol to Eocheon trail runs along the Gyeongho River. In the village of Punghyeon, there is Sungsimwon, a treatment facility for leprosy run by a Franciscan monastery. Hikers can stay at the guesthouse, as well as attend religious services. “Patients at Sungsimwon will be really glad to see Mount Jiri Dullegil hikers come visit them and walk around the facility,” said Kwak Gyeong-hee, a social worker at Sungsimwon.
The Eocheon to Unri section might be the most difficult of the Mount Jiri Dullegil hiking trail. At an altitude of 800 meters, the trail ends at Unri Village.
Before reaching Hadong, there is an information desk in the village of Jungtae, where hikers must sign a sheet promising not to disturb crops or other private agricultural property.
Yangituhjae peak, which separates the Nakdong and Seumjin rivers, is on the Witae to Hadongho trail. Water that flows north is part of the Nakdong, while south-flowing water is part of Seumjin river. One of the highlights of this part of the Dullegil hiking trail is a large bamboo forest near the peak that contains a variety of trees, including elm, oak and pine.
After the Hadongho to Samhwasil trail comes the village of Daechuk, the site of Munamsong, a pine tree that has been designated a natural monument of Korea. The tree pierced a 1,000-year-old rock and has grown to a height of nearly 13 meters. Every July 15 on the lunar calendar, Daechuk residents have a festival to honor the tree and village.
(Daechuk~Wonbuchun~Gatan~Songjeong~Omi~Nandong and Banggwang~Jucheon)
The 65-kilometer section from Daechuk to Omi is a newer part of the Dullegil that opened this year.
It leads hikers to many attractions, including Hwagye Market and Ssanggye Temple. After walking the Daechuk to Omi trail, visitors reach Daechuk Village on the banks of Akyang Stream. Roads go through small farm fields with colors from light green to deep brown.
The village also is the site of Dongjeong Lake and Bubusong, another pine tree that has been designated a national natural monument.
The trail from Daechuk to Wonbuchun is alive with old tales and myths. There is the Musum Stone, which legend has it is the site where a musum, or male servant, killed himself in agony over his impossible, unrequited love for the female head of the household. Then there is the Doksaemi, a spring that supposedly did not dry during the longest drought in ancient times.
An added bonus this time of year is the colorful persimmon, chestnut and Japanese apricot trees lining the road.
The Wonbuchun to Gatan section is a great way to enjoy the scenery of tea fields, notably the Jeunggeum field. It can be especially beautiful in the early morning, when mountain mist frequently blankets the land.
The trailside from Gatan to Songjeong is burgeoning with cherry blossoms. To get to the Mount Jiri Dullegil from Hwagye Market, catch the bus in front of Hwagye Middle School.
After Songjeong, the trail leads to Omi Village, where visitors can choose one of two paths: the Omi to Banggwang trail leads to Hwaeum and Chuneun temples, or the Omi to Nandong trail, which leads to the Seumjin River.
The two trails however, eventually reemerge at the village of Nandong. From there, the road leads to the mountainous paths tracks of Mount Jiri.
Walking past the Sandong-myeon part of the trail, famous for its Japanese cherry festival, hikers reach Bamjae and, finally, the village of Jucheon.
By Son Min-ho, Hong Ji-yeon [firstname.lastname@example.org ]
‘The shoes change themselves to suit your feet with the passage of time.’ – Hwang Hae-bong, intangible cultural property No. 116
In “Wedding Shoes” by Kim Yong-ik (1920-95), a short story that ran in Harper’s Bazaar in 1956, the protagonist is bewildered as he watches a hwahyejang, or shoemaker, craft traditional footwear.
He describes the hammering of silver nails into leather soles and the bright, colorful silks that are glued onto the sides. The story about the son of a butcher who falls in love with the daughter of a leather shoemaker was later translated into Korean with the title “Ggotsin” (“Floral Shoes”) and became a widely read and talked about piece on the peninsula.
The shoes themselves are now even referred to as ggotsin in Korea.
Traditional shoes often surface in Korean art and literature, their floral patterns seen in the works of renowned painters and their journeys poetically described by trot musicians. But it is safe to say that no other figure is more passionate about the trade than Hwang Hae-bong, Korea’s intangible cultural property No. 116.
The government designates someone as an intangible cultural property when he or she is deemed qualified to carry on a specific traditional practice. Hwang, 60, is the only hwahyejang in Korea today.
Just like the protagonist in “Floral Shoes,” Hwang held his breath as he watched his grandfather lower his glasses to the tip of his nose and adroitly weave boar’s hairs with every stitch. Hwang’s grandfather, Hwang Han-gap (1889-1982), was also an intangible cultural property – No. 37.
In fact, Hwang Han-gap didn’t want his grandson to get into the shoemaking business, saying that the trade didn’t earn enough money. But the Hwang Hae-bong worried these shoes would disappear with the passage of time if he didn’t carry on the practice.
A family affair
After Hwang Hae-bong’s father passed away in 1978 and his grandfather in 1982, he had to polish his skills and practice what he had picked up by watching his grandfather craft the footwear.
While it was clear the skill ran in the family, it took the younger Hwang some time to catch up with the technique and precision of his elders.
In 1999, at the age of 47, Hwang received the President’s Award in Traditional Craft and five years later became an intangible cultural property himself.
While some Koreans think that traditional Korean shoes are made of rubber, that is a common misconception. It is the leather footwear from the Three Kingdoms era (57 BC-668) that has been passed on through the generations.
“Rubber shoes came to the Korean Peninsula in the 1920s and were popular because they were cheap and practical,” Hwang said early last month as he prepared for an exhibition of his works in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.
“But the leather shoes better embody quintessential Korean aesthetics.”
Hwang’s ancestors had been prominent leather shoemakers in Hanyang, Seoul’s old name. In particular, Hwang’s grandfather – who was a third-generation leather shoemaker himself – was thought to be the best of the entire Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was him who made the ceremonial shoes for King Gojong (1852-1919).
According to Gyeonggukdaejeon – Joseon’s book of law first written in 1397 – there were 30 hwahyejang in the Joseon court. The Cultural Heritage Administration says that such figures show there was historically a high demand for the shoes.
“My grandfather would tell me about Gojong’s enthronement with much pride. But he also told me stories of how he had to make white shoes for those mourners who came to the funeral of Queen Min (1851-95),” Hwang said. “He made them with tears. Being the best shoemaker, he couldn’t avoid the duties.”
Revival of traditions
After the Gabo Reform of 1894, during which Korea tried to embrace modern lifestyles as well as political, economic and social ideals, traditional leather shoes with floral patterns fell out of favor.
Even the best in the country, Hwang’s grandfather, received just a few orders a month, mostly for toddlers for their first birthday parties during which parents dress them up in traditional attire.
Things have changed over the past couple decades, especially since the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics, both of which were held in Seoul. The events put Korea on the map of world culture and art and global interest in Korea’s traditions grew.
Hwang said orders for traditional shoes have surged in recent years, slowly but steadily. Most of the orders come from people who want traditional attire for special days of their lives like weddings.
Traditional leather shoes crafted by Hwang Hae-bong
Actress Jeon Ji-hyun, who got married to the grandson of renowned designer of hanbok, or traditional clothing, Lee Young-hee, also asked Hwang to make traditional shoes for her wedding.
Korea’s ggotsin are crafted through a total of 72 complicated, painstaking procedures. It takes three to seven days to make one pair when the artisan works six hours a day. Prices also range from hundreds of thousands of won to millions of won.
But the grace and beauty of well-made traditional shoes are not inferior to luxury designer brand shoes of today, Hwang said.
“The biggest charms of traditional shoes are in the curvy side lines and sharp frontal tips of the shoes,” Hwang said.
“They may seem uncomfortable, but as you wear them they change to the shape of your feet. The shoes change themselves to suit your feet with the passage of time.”
By Lee Yeong-hee, Kim Hyung-eun [email@example.com]
Department stores feeling the pinch of the economic downturn are in heated competition to persuade popular restaurants to open branches in their stores.
But it’s a hard task. Retailers say nine out of ten of the restaurants they approach turn up their noses, thinking they will lose the cachet of exclusivity if their branches are patronized by the hoi polloi or even relatively upper-class department store shoppers.
The reason the department stores care is they’ve discovered that shoppers who have a meal in their stores tend to buy more than people who don’t.
One afternoon last August, Lee Jae-cheol, a member of a food team from Shinsegae Department Store, cooled his heels at Baljae Banjeom, a Chinese restaurant in Ichon-dong, central Seoul, hoping to get a word with its owner.
Baljae Banjeom, which opened eight years ago in Ichon, became a hot foodie destination after bloggers praised the restaurant’s bingwha mandu, fried dumplings arranged in a snowflake pattern.
The owner had refused to make an appointment to see Lee, and he dropped by to try his luck face-to-face. The staff lied that the owner was busy eating, even though he had actually finished his lunch of jjajangmyeon, black bean noodles, a few hours before.
Lee pleaded with the staff to give his business card to their boss. As the days went by, he didn’t receive a call.
Lee didn’t give up. He visited the restaurant four times a week and made countless phone calls until he finally corralled the owner four months later.
Shinsegae managed to open Baljae Banjeom at its Uijeongbu outlet in April. Baljae Banjeom refused to open outlets at the retailer’s Incheon or Gyeonggi stores.
“I finally got the green light from the owner after I promised that the restaurant would get a prime location near the escalator and high sales,” Lee said. “I also promised that his restaurant would be advertised in the shopping booklets we mail to customers to notify them of sales and special events. I insisted he could expand his influence from Seoul to Gyeonggi. You have to be a master of psychological warfare to win the hearts of restaurant owners.”
The other restaurants that Shinsegae lured into its Uijeongbu outlet include Wataru, a ramen house from Busan, and Saint Augustin, a French-style Thai restaurant in Seorae village, southern Seoul.
Aside from Shinsegae, which is Korea’s No. 3 department store, Lotte and Hyundai, the No. 1 and No. 2 players, are also trying to lure hot restaurants into their buildings. Customers who dine on the ninth and tenth floors of department stores, the restaurant floors, will spend more.
Lotte said 45 percent of the customers who dined in their top floor restaurants last year bought more than one product at the store, often on the way down after eating.
Interestingly, 10.9 percent of the customers who ate at the retailer’s restaurants bought imported fashion items and 8.1 percent bought cosmetics.
“The figures show that 19 percent of customers who used our restaurants bought the store’s top-selling items,” said Na Jae-woong, spokesman for Lotte.
Retailers say this is a typical part of the “shower effect” marketing strategy. By placing popular goods on the very top floor of a store, sales on the lower floors increase.
Hyundai Department Store said people who dine at its restaurants spend more, have higher loyalty and come from farther away. The restaurants lure them in.
Shinsegae said customers who ate at the retailer’s restaurants more than 10 times last year and paid with a Shinsegae credit card accounted for 75 percent of the retailer’s entire sales.
Hyundai’s Apgujeong store opened Nadri kimbab (seaweed-rolled rice) restaurant in 2008, and a second branch was opened at its Kintex branch last year.
Nadri wasn’t featured in newspapers articles or blogs. A Hyundai employee fell in love with the kimbab at Nadri restaurant, which was located near Jamsil Girls High School, and he mentioned the place to a colleague in the food department.
To get more of those winning suggestions, Hyundai has been running a “gourmet network” Web page on its internal network since 2008. Hyundai employees can post reviews and pictures of restaurants they have visited.
“The Web page helps us to find authentic gourmet restaurants and avoid restaurants that became famous only after doing intensive promotions,” said Shin Hyun-goo, the Hyundai official who created the Web page.
Lotte is expanding what it calls its “Food Street.”
The food court and restaurants at Lotte’s Pyeongchon branch opened in March, and they take one-fifth of the store’s entire space.
Lotte’s Jamsil branch opened a Mos Burger outlet in March when the retailer finished renovation of its food street.
Mos Burger originally intended to open its first Korean store at a stand-alone location in Gangnam in April, but it changed its mind after Lotte negotiated with the Japanese burger giant for six months.
Lotte said its Mos Burger outlet had 1.7 billion won ($1.5 million) in sales last month, making it the most popular among the 13 restaurants in the store.
“Our main target, young consumers, flock to restaurants and we’ve been making more investments in this sector,” said Na of Lotte.
By Kim Ho-jeong, Kim Mi-ju [firstname.lastname@example.org]
2NE1′s Park Bom recently asked her fans not to play hard to get.
On July 5, Park posted a picture on her me2day account with the comment, “Our song is released. I’m with Sandara Park and we are so nervous. We did our best so please don’t play hard to get.”
People who saw the picture responded: “She’s cute asking people not to play hard to get.” “You don’t have to worry. I won’t.” “Should I try to play hard to get? You’re pretty.” “That will never happen! I’m already listening to the song over and over again.”
Kim Hyun Joong topped the Oricon’s single daily chart with his second single album, Heat.
The album ranked first on the Oricon’s daily chart, selling about 138,000 copies as soon as it was released on July 4.
This sales volume is twice more than that of Kim’s debut album KISS KISS/Lucky Guy released in January last year. It proves Kim’s increased popularity in Japan.
It is also the largest sales volume for all overseas artists in Japan. It’s 5,000 more than that of TVXQ’s Why, which was 133,000.
Kim also sold overwhelmingly more than Morning Musume and Yamashita Tomohisa, who recently released new albums.
Kim’s second single album includes two songs, “Heat” and “Let’s Party.” With Kim’s cool voice, a cheerful rhythm, and an addictive melody that are harmonized well, this album is expected to attract a lot of attention.
Kim is currently promoting his album through Japanese TV shows and interviews. He will also say thank you to his Japanese fans by holding a special event in Osaka on July 7.
2NE1 topped the charts with their experimental new song “I Love You.”
Released on July 5, 2NE1′s “I Love You” ranked first on all online charts, including Melon, Mnet, Dosirak, Bugs, Soribada, and Cyworld.
It also ranked second on iTunes’ Electronic Song Chart, becoming popular in overseas countries.
2NE1′s new song is characterized by the combination of electronic and teuroteu sounds.
Because 2NE1 have been a stylish, trendsetting group, it might sound quite surprising that they’re challenging a teuroteu genre.
However, 2NE1′s “I Love You” sounds friendly and new as its teuroteu melody is perfectly harmonized with an electronic beat.
This kind of experimental song could attract wide attention because it was 2NE1′s. 2NE1 have tried various different genres, including electronic, reggae, R&B, and ballad, based on hiphop since their debut.
Their performance for “I Love You” is also getting many music fans excited. Through the teaser photos released before, 2NE1 hinted a change in their style by showing off their feminine, sexy looks, getting out of their previous strong, powerful images.
2NE1′s first comeback performance for “I Love You” will be given on July 8 on SBS TV’s Inkigayo.
2NE1 will start their concert tour in ten cities of seven countries, titled New Evolution, with concerts in Korea on July 28 and 29 at the Gymnastics Stadium at Olympic Park.
Kim Hyun Joong held Guerilla concert in Odaiba, Japan, paralyzed the crowd.
On 4th, Kim Hyun Joong’s second Japanese single album ‘Heat’ was release at various off-line music stores and reservation sales ranked No. 1, having a hot response.
Kim Hyun Joong held a Guerrilla concert in Odaiba, Japan on 4th at 1pm, as a reward to fans.
Despite the fact that venue and time of the Guerrilla concert was not told in advance, Kim Hyun Joong’s current high level of interest in Japan, instantly gathered large number of citizens and fans at Gundam Odaiba. Such high popularity paralyzed us.
Kim Hyun Joong performed ‘Let’s Party’ from second single album for the first time in Japan. Fans screamed as ‘Let’s Party’ started to play. Kim Hyun Joong’s passionate performances quickly gathered fans and fans were chanting ‘Kim Hyun Joong’. It was estimated that around 1000 fans flocked to the scene.
Rock song ‘Let’s Party’ from Kim Hyun Joong’s second single album was first released during the Guerrilla concert. The exciting rhythms and addictive lyrics received overwhelming interest and response from fans at the scene.
“It’s rare that in spite of weekdays, so many people are driven in a short time,” an official said, “Last year Kim Hyun Joong sucessfully held nationwide tour in Japan and released debut album in Janurary, and once again was able to experience the popularity”.
In the meanwhile, Kim Hyun Joong will be staying in Japan for a while to shoot drama ‘City of Conquest’ and actively involved with TV appearances and media interviews.
Super Junior’s Kim Heechul once again proved himself to have many personal connections in the world of singers.
On July 2, Kim posted two pictures on Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter) and commented “With Lee Jin Ju and Lee Jung Hyun noonas~ It’s been a while since I logged on Weibo.”
The posting shows Kim waiting for his meal to arrive with former comedian Lee Jin Ju and Lee Jung Hyun. In another picture, he is posing friendly with Lee Jung Hyun alone.
Surprised at this unexpected connection, netizens who saw the posting reacted: “Kim Heechul and Lee Jung Hyun? Never thought of this connection.” “I want to have that kind of golden personal connections.” “When will Kim’s list of friends end?”
Recently, T-ara Boram’s sister R.A.M (real name: Wooram) has revealed her feelings of envy towards her sister.
She is a member of the three-member girl group D-unit, which is about to debut. The other two members are Ujin and vocalist Z.I.N, who were trainees at YG Entertainment. Even before their official debut, the girls are to hold an autograph session in Japan on July 7.
On July 4, R.A.M said, through her agency, “I got a lump in my throat when I heard that we were going to have an autograph session in Japan even before the debut. Recently, we had a fan meeting in Korea, and I’m so happy to have another one in Japan. I was envious of my sister when she was working in Japan. I promise to do my best to communicate with my Japanese fans.”
The fan meeting with D-Unit will be held at the head office of Pop Skin and Moiza on the 7th and the 8th respectively in Shin-Okubo. The girls will be shaking hands with their fans and give out autographs for an hour. After the event, they will release other songs listed on the album, “Before the weekends” and “Oversleeping,” for the first time.
The fan meeting was organized by a Japanese Entertainment firm when a staff member realized that R.A.M already had a lot of fans in Japan after the group was formed.
President Bang Yoon Tae of Pasta Entertainment, which manages D-Unit, says, “We’re already receiving proposals from Japan to sign management contracts. I was also very surprised when they first proposed to hold an autograph session. We’re happy about this because they’re just a rookie group about to debut, but it also motivates us to work harder.”
D-Unit will have an official debut performance on August 3. Source:Starnews
Six member group Hello Venus has changed into hot summer girls.
On July 4, the group’s agency, Pledis Entertainment, said, “Hello Venus will release the digital repackage track ‘Like a Wave’ and give return performance on M.net’s M Countdown on July 5.”
In May, Hello Venus debuted with “Venus,” a sensational dance song with a cheerful melody, and received explosive reactions.
The girls’ new song is written by composer Yoo Chi Yeon who participated in producing the first album of After School. It is expected to refresh your summer with the group’s fresh charm and each member’s cool voice. Especially, member Lime participated in producing rap part, showing off her high pitched tone.
Hello Venus said, “With the song ‘Like a Wave,’ we are planning on conquering the stage like a wave rushing upon the beach.”
MBLAQ‘s Cheondung or also known as Thunder has revealed the audio of his solo digital single ‘Dont Go’through online music channels as promised at the latehours of 3 July.
It is an impressive first solo, doing the whole song including the rap on his own. The song had an addictive beat, and sings of a boy’s pleas for his love to not leave him.
Just like the sub-unit formed by fellow members G.O and Mir, who recently revealed their duet track ‘Wild’, this songs were made specially for MBLAQ’s first Asia tour ‘The BLAQ% Tour‘. Both songs will not be promoted, but will be performed exclusively during the tour stops.
Although the audio was just released online, Cheondung has already performed it in Jakarta, Indonesia, the first stop of their Asia Tour. Stay tuned with korea.com as we bring you a wrap-up coverage of the first BLAQ% stop! Remember to check the track out at music sites like Melon, Bugs, Soribada to show your love and support.