Tag Archives: North Korea

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Bizarre Old North Korean Stamps Celebrating Regal Excess

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On my way out of Deshengmen Tower -- where you'll find a strange collection of ramshackle museums crammed in together -- I noticed the most remarkable thing for sale: old North Korean stamps, celebrating European regal excess! There was the Versailles stamp, which reeks of excessive opulence... Franz Joseph I hot on the chase... And of ...

by Andy Deemer / Leave a comment
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American Imperialist Bastards in a North Korean Comic Book

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I don't speak a word of Korean. I wish I did, if only so I could read this North Korean comic that's been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I'm only assuming these chaps are Meejay Nom, or American Imperialist Bastards. (Okay, I guess I know one word in Korean.) What do you ...

by Andy Deemer / 2 Comments
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The Pyongyang Metro

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North Koreans are proud of their metro. And so they should be. It's one of the deepest, it's breathtakingly gorgeous, and we were only allowed to ride one stop. (Although I've heard tourists can now ride the entire length.) Here are some pages from a great 2004 picture-book I bought in the ...

by Andy Deemer / 4 Comments
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A Vomit Bag from North Korea

I loved the streamlined 1950s design, like a classic car. This was the look of everything on the Air Koryo flight. This trip was about two weeks after Michelle and I started dating. (I guess you know some gal is okay, if she'll agree to go to North Korea on your first date.)

by Andy Deemer / Leave a comment
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North Korean Stamps

Two different directions. (I think these were sent to me by the awesome David & Michelle F, who we met in a tepid Pyongyang BBQ joint.)

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Our Favorite Kim Jong Il Stories…

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I'm very happy, and a little sad, but I know Kim Jong L'il will do a fine job furthering his father's legacy of madness. In the meantime, here's some of my favorite AO Kim Jong Il pieces: - Did you know Kim Jong Il was already a master equestrian marksman at the age of five? - At birth, ...

by Andy Deemer / Leave a comment
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Mad Costumes Across Asia

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As regular readers know, we at AsiaObscura love costumes. We've captured some incredible cosplay adventures here, here, here, here and even here. But it goes deeper. Almost every tourist hotspot across north-east Asia has a rack of costumes, a dramatic backdrop or two, and a whole boatload of awesomeness to dive into. Be ...

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Plan Your Next Holiday in the Glorious DPRK

North Korea isn't all doom, gloom, and Kim Jong-il. Sure, there's vile propaganda, rumors of grim brainwashing, concentration camps and endless misery. But there's more!

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America started the war, and lost it, too.

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"Look at that soldier," said a burly Dongbei redneck, shoving past me to get a better look at the painting. "He's on fire. He's a real man." His sweaty pal leaned in, and laughed. The torched soldier was still letting loose a volley of bullets from his machine gun, mowing down a row of terrified ...

by Andy Deemer / 1 Comment
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French press for “Pyongyang Too”

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When Woo and I handed our tribute, Pyongyang Too, to graphic traveleur & comic master Guy Delisle, he seemed taken aback, confused, perplexed. "Thank you," he muttered, unsure of what he was even looking at. (Barbara Demick--author of the DPRK expose/awesomeromance Nothing to Envy--tried to buy it.) Clearly, he later had a chance to ...

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Happy 99th Birthday, Kim Il-sung!

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Okay, I know he's been dead for a long time -- 17 years -- but since he's still the official (eternal!) president of North Korea. And he'd be 100 99 today!  So here are a handful of cute dear great pictures of the "Great Leader" (수령) from our last trip to the DPRK.

by Andy Deemer / Leave a comment
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Film 101, with Guest Professor Kim Jong Il

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(Happy Kim Il Sung's eternal birthday!)Sergei Eisenstein wrote extensively on film theory.  As did Lloyd Kaufman.  So, knowing what a film buff Kim Jong Il is, I was proud to see he'd already hopped on that bandwagon.  I recently picked up his fascinating 1987 treatise on filmmaking techniques, "The Cinema and Directing." It's short at ...

by Andy Deemer / 2 Comments
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The Best Stamps from Beijing’s Incredible Stamp Museum (including 3-D North Korean stamps!)

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Continuing on from yesterday's post, here are my six top favorite collections from Beijing's wonderful stamp and post museum.... Sorry for the spoiler above. But it's just... too weird. 6. Table Tennis What's there not to love about table tennis?  Mao adored it, so did Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai.  Plus, there's always the ...

by Andy Deemer / 3 Comments
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If Amy Chua was mother to us all, maybe we could do this too…

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The young kids in this video practiced for the entire year, or longer, to get the show right... and it's just remarkable. They're just six or seven years old, if I understood correctly. The whole effort, the Mass Games, is devoted to the Dear Leader (who turned 69 this week) and the Great Leader ...

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Kim Jong Il’s childhood thoughts of America

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To celebrate the 69th birthday of Kim Jong Il, this entire week is jam packed with DPRKoolness.  Today, we explore Kim Jong Il's feelings about America.  Where do they come from?  How did he feel as a kid? Find out, below... (At the age of six) Kim Jong Il harboured a bitter hatred for the class ...

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Kim Jong Il learns to ride horses and shoot guns!

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In celebration of Kim Jong Il's 69th birthday, this week is flooded with DPRKoolness.  Today, we learn that Kim Jong Il by the age of five is a master equestrian. But what about his marksmanship? Can he handle a gun? Find out, in these excerpts from his official biography, below! Young Kim, shortly before he became ...

by Andy Deemer / 2 Comments
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Learn How to Speak North Korean

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On our recent trip to Pyongyang, we picked up this incredible guide to speaking Korean -- clearly with a northern bent.  While the first half is filled with standard small-talk favorites ("How do you do!", "I'm awfully sorry," "It really is heroic," and "It is Juche-oriented"), about halfway through, it gives up any sense of ...

by Andy Deemer / 5 Comments
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The official story of Kim Jong Il’s birth…

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Happy 69th birthday, Kim Jong Il! To celebrate this holy day, this entire week will be jam packed with DPRKoolness.  First, the true story of the birth of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.   These wonderful snippets -- many of them truly endearing, some just funny -- are from volume one of Kim Jong Il's ...

by Andy Deemer / 4 Comments
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The Incredible Furniture of North Korea

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We all knew the DPRK would be fastidious in their care for appearances. Their garish carpets and upholstery harked back to a bygone time (the 60s? even then it probably wasn't in fashion). What I didn't expect was how much they liked their symmetry. Also, although these set ups had their charm and air of welcome, ...

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North Korean traffic lights… um… robot ladies.

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North Korea The DPRK doesn't have much money.  Or electricity. In our hotel, the Yanggakdo, the upper floors had no electricity (save for the one with a handful of Americans/Europeans staying on it).  The Koreans would get on and off the elevator, into a floor of darkness.  Shops with customers were pitch dark. The ...

by Andy Deemer / 6 Comments