Friday, December 24, 2010

In Korea, 'tis the season to make threats

So over at our other blog In Yeon, we have a post about Christmas in South Korea and its growing popularity as Christianity as well as consumer and pop cultures begin to bloom. Korea really is a nice place during Christmas. They do all the lights, the weather is chilly and often snowy. People exchange gifts and it still isn't overdone like in the West.

However, this year, there is a different purpose for the lights and cheer... Propaganda! South Korea have erected a giant Christmas tree at the border with North Korea, likely in a bid to piss them off following recent months of posturing related to the North's sinking of a battle ship and shelling of a South Korean island. 

I personally think it is funny that Christmas lights can inflict such damage to a regime's psyche.

Merry Christmas I guess.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photos from our Korean wedding ceremony

I've finally posted the pictures and given some details about the many ceremonies involved in our traditional Korean wedding over at our blog In Yeon. I really wish I could go back to that moment. It was such a great experience. Thanks to everyone who was able to be there. For those of you who couldn't be there, maybe this post will help you feel like you were :)

Let me know if you have any comments or questions at all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

WAR.... What is it good for?

Sometimes I hate that I come from Canada. We don't know war or hardship or have such a strong sense of patriotism that we get all fiery when someone speaks ill of our Prime Minister. People don't even know our Prime Minister.

That's why I have a hard time understanding the emotions that my wife Rory feels when she heard about North Korea firing on a South Korean island off their Western shore. Every move by the army, politicians, global leaders has been met with a terrible anticipation that this might be the moment Koreans have been expecting for 50 years. This might be the continuation of the Korean War (because the war never officially ended).

I love my country but I don't know how I would react if Alaska shelled Yellow Knife and two soldiers died. It would be unexpected and sad but soldiers die, it's in the job description. I don't know. Anyway, I would see it as an isolated incident as it isn't a situation that's been brewing for generations.

I feel bad for my Korean family who don't know what will happen next. I pray they are well and that this mess ends and that North Korea gets their shit together and we can go back to trying to fix the Palestinian-Israeli-Iranian-Syrian mess, which, naturally seems more complicated.

See my blogpost on the Korean mess on

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

itlnatianle letarissiye daiey

cnsid ring mi naem es jmai READ, wntied te de sundine fer leterussy deaye. THIS as miye balog psot!

Sadly, that is exactly what the world looks like for the 776 million people who can't read - over 90% of whom are in Asia and Africa and 2/3 of whom are female.

September 8th is International Literacy Day, a day recognized worldwide and officially supported by UNESCO and the United Nations.

Literacy has the power to lift families out of poverty in one generation and change the fate of entire communities, particularly in the developing world. Let's make this International Literacy Day really mean something and help more people learn to read.

Today, September 8, Room to Read and Twitter will be circulating a tweet that has been made "illiterate" - symbolizing how every sentence looks to so many people. Share the tweet with your followers and through the tweet, they'll be directed back to Twitter's Hope 140 website ( where they will be able to learn more about what they can do to help.

Go spread words!

Friday, August 20, 2010

How does culture affect genetics

I'm Canadian of European descent. My wife is Korean. And according to a new groundbreaking study, the 'difference between European American and Korean customs is so powerful that it shapes the expression of biology: A genetic profile linked to empathy and sociability yields two very different behavioral outcomes, depending on the culture.'

The study was published Aug. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and it deals primarily with one specific gene that is known for its relationship to the human characteristic of social bonding. Wired has a good breakdown of what the study is all about.

Particularly interesting to me is that the study compares Korea's culture of privacy to the more open societies of North America, where people talk about their problems all the time to anyone that pretends to listen. European Americans with this gene trait were more likely to seek help from friends and family when they were in emotional turmoil. The same gene trait, when found in Koreans, did the opposite. People were less likely to seek help but instead kept their emotions to themselves. Except Korean Americans had similar reactions to European Americans.

The scientists now believe that this gene causes people to be more attuned to their cultural surroundings.

But I don't make that association. From early on in our relationship, my wife has made a clear distinction between Korean's born and raised in Korea and Koreans born and raised abroad, even if they are 100% from Korean ancestry. She, and most of her society, don't consider foreign-born Koreans as 'true Koreans' not because of their biology but because of the way they act, the way they think.

For me, this shows that blood and biology are irrelevant and that culture and the psycho-graphic nature of societies is what makes one's disposition to be more open to their current society. Genes that are expressed more or less in the same way can't be concluded to be the only influence on human behavior. There are reasons why Koreans don't share their private problems with others that go back through thousands of years of war and hardship, customs and formality. And though we are becoming more open in the West about our emotions and talking about our feelings, there are still aspects of our culture that are quite closed. I'm thinking about the Catholic church communities I used to belong to where we were so careful not to be judged. 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the importance of this study and I would welcome any thoughts. I just don't buy it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Studio Photos

Since running our wedding blog, I've been really bad to update this one. I don't know if anyone's noticed but in my heart there is sadness...

But one thing that lifts my spirit is the thought that we have finally received our studio photos that we did before the wedding. Please check them out and tell us which ones you like best. In the mean time, I will try to do some more blogging over on this side.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seoul Mystery Food

Want to know what I'm eating? Check out our latest post on Korean street food over at Rory and my wedding blog, In Yeon.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Famous Koreans marrying on the same day as us!

So it turns out that Jang Dong Gun & Ko So Young, two of Korea's most famous actors are getting married. This is big news for their fans and for most Asians around the world who know who these two people are. I personally don't know them and have never even heard of them. However, they have decided to get married on the same date as us so we are now mortal enemies (just kidding). Read about it over on our wedding blog, In Yeon

Top 5 things that Jang Dong Gun & Ko So Young have in common with Jamie and Rory:
1) The female in the relationship is Korean
2) We are getting married on the same day in the same city in the same area
3) They are marrying in the hotel where my dad is staying
4) They are a good looking couple ;)
5) They are an extremely, super, rediculously good looking couple!

Feel free to make your own comparisons or debunk some in our Top 5 list. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Korean Wedding Planning


New post on In Yeon - our wedding blog about our recent trip to Korea and some of the wedding planning details. I found it very interesting since I don't know anything about traditional Korean wedding or about wedding planning in general. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Lunar New Year!

Today is the Korean Lunar New Year so we posted about it over on our wedding blog. It is the year of the white tiger, which only comes around every 60 years. This is extremely good luck and we are so happy that we will be married this year. Feel free to post a comment about what good luck you expect in 2010.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Search Party: When Google Goes Social!

There is a lot of anticipation for Google's announcement tomorrow of some sort of social media service. Techmeme's money is on a Twitter-Killer type application that will integrate with the GChat interface, as eplained by The Business Insider. The Wall Street Journal pitts them against Facebook. And a good post at Scobleizer explains why Google could outdo all social networks, even the obscure ethnocentric ones that have a lot of innovative features.

But do we really need more? To be honest, I would be happier with some sort of social media integration into the Google search results. The world of search is shifting to the live-stream but isn't there also value in the reverse by allowing people to comment and share search results? Already we have social ranking and comment systems in Google search (see pic) and of course Digg, Stumbleupon and similar but could we not take it a bit further? What if comments made on the post/article could also be expanded into the Google search? I'm sure there are a million other great examples of how search can be improved by social media elements. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I personally don't need another social network. I have my big, public soap box platforms and a few niche hobbyist ones as well. Any more and I will start to explode. Whatever Google comes out with tomorrow, I will be interested and will try and hopefully it will integrate well with stuff I'm already doing. Maybe it will stick and add value to my life. I just don't think it will be killing Twitter or Facebook anytime soon.
Loading image
Click anywhere to cancel
Image unavailable

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Meet the parents (Korean version)

Rory and I were recently in Korea to meet her parents, eat lots of strange foods and plan for our wedding in May. It was a great trip and we will be sharing the details over at our wedding blog. We've also uploaded all our photos. Check them out!

Loading image
Click anywhere to cancel
Image unavailable

Loading image
Click anywhere to cancel
Image unavailable

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our New Wedding Blog: In Yeon

In Yeon 인연, means 'fated' or 'destined' in Korean and that's why we've chosen it as the name of our newly designed blog: We've moved all of our content over from our Wordpress blog and are in the process of automatically redirecting traffic from that site to our new one.

Please check it out and let us know what you think. There is a new photos section where we will be putting pics from our trips and events. Also, we've updated the hotel information section for those of you who plan to come in May.