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Access Denied

Back in October, the building home to Chongryon (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) in downtown Tokyo’s Chiyoda district went up on the auction block for a second time. The winning bid went to the mysterious Mongolian Avar LLC for 5.01 billion JPY (about 49 million USD). The Korean residents that Chongryon was established for have long been known to be North Korean sympathizers, and the headquarters has been referred to as a de facto embassy in Japan. Yesterday, it was reported that Avar’s bid to purchase the building was denied by the Tokyo District Court. The court blamed it on photocopies of required documents being submitted instead of originals, but there were also rumors that the business...

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Access Denied

Back in October, the building home to Chongryon (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) in downtown Tokyo’s Chiyoda district went up on the auction block for a second time. The winning bid went to the mysterious Mongolian Avar LLC for 5.01 billion JPY (about 49 million USD). The Korean residents that Chongryon was established for have long been known to be North Korean sympathizers, and the headquarters has been referred to as a de facto embassy in Japan. Yesterday, it was reported that Avar’s bid to purchase the building was denied by the Tokyo District Court. The court blamed it on photocopies of required documents being submitted instead of originals, but there were also rumors that the business...

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Defining Mongol

My interview with Mongolian author Uuganaa Ramsay was published in today’s UB Post and is also available online. Check out the interview for more info:   Uuganaa Ramsay went to the UK on a teaching scholarship in 2000, and more than a decade later – now a mother and author in Scotland – she continues to educate. Her newly published memoir, “Mongol” was released in e-book format on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013, and will be available in paperback on January 16. The book explores the junction of her life growing up in rural Mongolia, adapting as an immigrant in Britain, facing the challenge of being a mother of a child with Down’s Syndrome, and living with loss. The...

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Defining Mongol

My interview with Mongolian author Uuganaa Ramsay was published in today’s UB Post and is also available online. Check out the interview for more info:   Uuganaa Ramsay went to the UK on a teaching scholarship in 2000, and more than a decade later – now a mother and author in Scotland – she continues to educate. Her newly published memoir, “Mongol” was released in e-book format on Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013, and will be available in paperback on January 16. The book explores the junction of her life growing up in rural Mongolia, adapting as an immigrant in Britain, facing the challenge of being a mother of a child with Down’s Syndrome, and living with loss. The...

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Big hearts under a Mongolian Big Top

Earlier this month I had the privilege of visiting Darkhan, Mongolia’s Shonhoodoi Circus School. This fall, the International Women’s Association of Mongolia (IWAM) was preparing for its winter jacket drive and asked if I could help find some children who might best benefit from the donated winter jackets they’d be collecting. The director of Darkhan Elite 22, the school where I teach English part-time, suggested the Shonhoodoi Circus School and provided a list of names and the ages of the students there. When the jackets were gathered, washed and ready for distribution, the women of IWAM drove up to Darkhan from Ulaanbaatar to deliver them. Before the hand-over happened, we got a sneak preview of the circus performances that the...

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