June 17, 2019

TRAVELING EDITOR FINDS REMINDERS OF OC IN SOUTH KOREA, NORTHERN JAPAN
RICK REIFF

This report by Rick appeared in Mark Mueller's OCBJ Insider column:

(June 17, 2019) - Your intrepid correspondent has returned from a two-week cruise around Japan that hit most of the tourist spots minus Tokyo.

Highlights included a day trip across the Korea Strait to the "Kingdom of Hyundai" in Ulsan, South Korea, and a tour of its sprawling, five-factory car plant, the largest in the world even has its own ships and port.

Hyundai Motor America has about 500 employees at its North American headquarters in Fountain Valley. It has about about 32,000 factory workers in Ulsan; it's said that a third of all families in the million-plus city either directly or indirectly has someone employed by Hyundai.

I dutifully confirmed the pronunciation of the company name. Yes, it rhymes with "Sunday," sort of. But in Korea it's said with a y after the h and a clipped second vowel: "HYUN-deh." And Koreans pronounce sister company Kia with a hard g, "Gia." Kia Motors America has about 400 workers at its Irvine base.

In northern Japan, the tour guide pointed out the Sapporo Dome, home of the marvelously named Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball team, and noted that its former superstar Ohtani Shohei (family names go first in Japan) is now playing in the States for the Angels; she knowledgeably added that he was back in action following surgery.

Updated June 23, 2019