Before I leave South Korea, let me report on a few high and low lights:
- As Jungsik (scroll down to the next posting, which reports on problems with this soaring restaurant), South Korea, too, appears to be fraying. At the top, President Park Geun-hye is being besieged with resignation and impeachment notices, all because of Choi-gate. You can read the details, but, to me, this is sounding somewhat similar to Hillary-gate: foundation influence, national security leaks, etc. While her term doesn't expire until February of 2018, she might well be in serious trouble. My prediction as next president? Ban Ki-moon, who will end his secretary generalship of the UN at the end of this year. However, he is 72, two years older than Donald Trump.
- The shipbuilding industry is in a deep crisis. Daewoo, Hyundai Heavy and Samsung Heavy all suffered huge losses last year, and this has continued this year. Worse, there is a major accounting scandal. Mind you, South Korea remains #1:
|World shipbuilding market share by countries (Q1 2015)|
|Rest of the world||340,000||6.1%|
- You having any problems? Nothing compared to Samsung. Not only shipbuilding, but their Galaxy Note 7 is killing them. This Android phablet smartphone was unveiled early in August. Battery explosions forced a recall on September 2. In October, their replacements also caught on fire. All 2.5 million were recalled, and it appears that the company will suffer at least a loss of $17 billion. The problem is the lithium battery, the same type that almost scuttled the Boeing Dreamliner. The future of even electric cars is now in doubt, for putting their best minds to work, Samsung has not been able to determine what is the problem with this battery. Mind you, the iPhone 7 has also suffered from heat and fires, but Apple has thus far been able to keep most of this under wraps. Who said 7 was a good luck number?
- China announced that ultra low cost tours to South Korea will be reduced by 20%, negatively effecting the KOSPI (stock market here). China is ticked off at South Korea for a thing or two, and said the Philippines will gain from the shift. I guess Duterte is not as dumb as most of us thought.
- Wait a minute, all bad news so far. Ah, but Mamamoo is preparing to return. Who? Mamamoo is a South Korea girl group. According to the Korea Joongang Daily, Mamamoo is known for strong vocals and catchy tunes. Wikipedia indicates they are recognized for their retro, jazz and R&B concepts. They kind of remind me of Michael Jackson. I love their name, and they all look desirable:
- To segue into Japan, let me tell you about a new SONY camera. I have been using SONYs now for two decades, but the company recently began selling an anti-tremble camera rated at 42.4 megapixels, capable of taking 12 photos/second, which is not a big deal, because there is another that takes 24 photos/second. You can get an excellent 8x10 enlargement with this camera...8 feet by 10 feet. And it only costs more than $3,000.
So here I am at the #2 airport in the world, Incheon International. My satisfying brunch at the Asiana Lounge:
I could see from my table the 53-floor Tokyo Midtown (in middle with red lights at the top), with the Ritz Carlton at the top. I'll be there in a few days: