Korea This Week: November 6th – 12th

In Korea this week: reading groups, nose pegs, and Kristen Kish dishes on cooking.


Reading Together

I came across this piece on how some groups are responding to declining rates of book readership in Korea. One company called Trevari organizes book discussion groups, which readers can join for a fee, and provides a meeting location, mentoring services, and other support when requested.

And many readers seem to be responding:  the company went from 80 members to 1,600 in the two years since its creation. Members note that reading as a shared experience can be more enriching and enjoyable than reading on your own (as a member of an informal reading group I would concur). Given Korea’s collectivist cultural orientation, recasting reading as a social activity strikes this observer as an interesting and potentially fruitful way of getting more people to crack open a book.

A few bottles of wine at the book club meetings never hurts anyone.

DIY Nose Lift

For some reason I can’t fathom, I love reading about weird beauty trends, and the lengths some people will go to to alter their appearances. The following piece discusses the practice of women wedging a curved silicon peg inside their nostrils, which pushes the tip of the nose upward. As is the case with many other trends that pop up from time to time around Asia, the aim of this schnozz-lifting device is to create a more “European” look.

The device is available for sale on Chinese websites, and while the article notes that the trend began in Korea, I have yet to meet a Korean woman who has heard of it.

Doctors quoted in the piece recommend against using the pegs, as they have sometimes caused infections, or have been accidentally inhaled and swallowed by some users. Though it is not mentioned, I also wondered about the danger of the peg becoming a sneeze-launched boomerang during cold season.

An image taken from the Chinese website Taobao shows a before-and-after photo of a woman who has apparently jammed silicon pegs into her schnozzola. I think she looks better in the before photo, but what do I know?

A Quick Read to Whet the Appetite

Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish is an American who was adopted from Korea at the age of four months and grew up in rural Michigan. I liked this recent short profile for the glimpse it offers into her complex relationship with her country of birth and its culinary traditions.

The other big takeaway for me was that I desperately want to try her grandmother’s stuffed cabbage.

Inspired by her grandmother’s stuffed cabbage, Kish stuffs hers with sausage and tops it with bacon. Yes, please!

And how was your week?