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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 21, 2006

Call it Korea town south

By Jeff Chung

I was Atlanta recently and learned that the city is where you'll find the fastest-growing Korean community in the United States.

Los Angeles, New York and the urban nexus of Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Virginia have the largest Korean populations, but Atlanta isn't far behind. The city reports a Korean population of about 60,000, but Korean community leaders say the number is more like 100,000.

Atlanta is seeing a slew of new strip malls packed with Korean businesses, much like L.A.'s Korea town. In fact, many Los Angeles-based small businesses from hair studios to tofu restaurants have opened branches in Atlanta. There are several free daily newspapers in Atlanta's Korea town, filled with advertisements for real estate, restaurants, attorneys, CPAs and Korean supermarkets.

Why, I wondered, of all the places in the U.S. to settle, are Koreans gravitating to Atlanta?

There are several reasons, but a primary one is the low cost of living. Homes and condo prices in Atlanta are nearly a fifth of what they are in Honolulu. You can buy a town home for the price of a fee- simple Honolulu studio. Gasoline is a buck cheaper there.

South Koreans even have easier access to Atlanta Korean Air flies from South Korea to Atlanta daily, and has only four flights a week from South Korea to Hawai'i.

While enjoying lunch in one of the new strip malls, I noticed our waitress spoke a Korean dialect. She was from China. In northeastern China is a province called Yeon Byeon where Koreans have lived for generations.

In the U.S., Yeon Byeon Koreans are building communities in New York and Atlanta. Koreans from Yeon Byeon are the new labor force, working long hours for competitive pay. I heard from a New York broadcaster that the Yeon Byeon Koreans have their own community organization that helps newcomers.

Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD, which televises K-dramas. If you have a K-drama question or comment, call KBFD at 521-8066 or write jeffchung@kbfd.com.




Tonight at 7: Joon is taken to emergency room with laryngitis, but the pediatric ward is full. Yeon-kyong feels responsible for her son's illness, and devotes herself to taking care of him.

Tonight at 8: Yeon-kyong, taking care of her sick son, almost collapses from fatigue. In-seok and Yeon-kyong get into an argument.



Tomorrow at 7:50 p.m.: Seung-hee is stunned when he sees Bok-shil at the party, and Jin-hee is shocked when she finds out Bok-shil and Seung-hee know each other. Seung-hee ignores Bok-shil's calls and messages.

Tuesday at 7:50 p.m.: Bok-shil is overjoyed when Seung-hee visits her. Seung-hee tells her to return to her real house, and asks her to work with him again. But her heart sinks at his response. Jin-hee tells Bok-shil of her new birthday.



Wednesday at 7:50 p.m.: Tae-joon falls ill after hearing the news of Mi-ja's wedding. Feeling sorry for her brother, Sun-hee visits Mi-ja. Mi-ja's father goes on hunger strike.

Thursday at 7:50 p.m.: Jung-ja finds Sun-hee through Mi-ja, and comes to see her with her baby. Tae-soo asks his mother for permission to marry Eun-hwan. Mi-ja tells Hae-joo she regrets marrying the director.



Friday at 7:50 p.m.: The interview rekindles Chae-kyong's scandal, and Hwa-young tries to use Chae-kyong to save her son. To help Chae-kyong, Yool decides to tell the elders the truth.

Saturday at 7:50 p.m.: Shin begs Yool to keep a level head. The clan elders demand severe punishment for Chae-kyong. Shin warns Hwa-young she'll pay if she keeps hurting Chae-kyong.


Hawai'i's Korean-drama fans will get a chance to see 13 stars this Saturday at Hallyu: Shooting Stars Hawaii, a basketball game to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Hawai'i. The teams? Phoenix vs. Hawaii Select. On the Phoenix team are Korean singers, drama stars, comedians and models. They square off against local Korean youths and a former women's collegiate and high school all-star team.

The Phoenix stars are: Son Ji Chang, Park Hyung Jun, Lee Jang Woo, Oh Ji Ho, Lee Jung Jin, Lee Sang Hoon, Cho Hyun Chul, Ko Du Ok, Kim Young Jun, Kim Joon Soo, and Lim Yoon Taek.

Tickets are on sale at the UH box office, UH Campus Center, Windward Community College, RainBowTique Store at Ward Centre, Beauty Touch locations and the UPAS Store at Makaloa, and at www.etickethawaii.com.

The event is from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawai'i-Manoa campus. For more information, call 943-1183 or 228-6500.


On Friday, there will be a pre-game banquet with the stars (it's already sold out!). KBFD, in partnership with The Honolulu Advertiser, will give away two VIP tickets to the banquet and two courtside tickets to the game.

To win, name one star who will play in the game. Send your answer with your name, address and daytime telephone to: Honolulu Advertiser, Island Life, K-Drama DVD, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Or write to islandlife@honoluluadvertiser.com, with "K-drama giveaway" in the subject line. A random drawing will pick the winner. Entries must be received by Wednesday. Winners must pick up the tickets at The Advertiser.