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Exclusive Interview with Stephen Revere, Founder of 10 Magazine

Exclusive Interview with Stephen Revere, Founder of 10 Magazine

We stopped into the Sinsadong office of 10 Magazine to meet its founder, Stephen Revere. It just so happened that last month Mr. Revere became the 500th fan of the Korea Tourism Facebook Page. To celebrate our growth, we decided to interview Stephen about his time in Korea and his latest project. Read on to find out what we chatted about!

Can you tell me what it is that made you decide to stay in Korea 15 years ago?

Like most long-term expatriates in Korea, I actually didn’t decide to stay here 15 years ago. The first 8 years were all year-to-year. Every year I thought I would probably go home the next year. But I started out as an avid student of the Korean language as soon as I got here, and after becoming fluent in the language and making a lot of great friends I had more career opportunities and more roots here than in the US. Hence I think I’m like most foreigners here – I arrived mostly because of the career opportunities and have stayed because of those opportunities and the great friends I have acquired.

What are some changes that you have witnessed in the last 15 years?

They are countless. I often look around Seoul at the buildings and it seems like 80% of them were all built since I arrived here. The #5 subway line was under construction when I arrived. Since then they’ve added 6, 7, 8 and 9! Some of the changes I love, some I hate but most I’m pretty ambivalent about I think the government should focus more on preserving heritage houses and making sure the entire city doesn’t get turned into one big apartment complex. I miss a lot of what Korea used to be like when people weren’t as materialistic as they are today, but I’m very happy with great advances in infrastructure, sanitation and transportation.

What would you say is Korea’s greatest appeal from a tourism perspective?

Korea’s greatest appeal is that it’s not full of tourists. It’s a wonderful place, with an amazing and inexpensive transportation system, diverse climate and terrain, delicious food, friendly people and at the same time it’s very safe for travelers. But if you don’t speak the language it can seem inaccessible and Korea’s image is not primary on the world stage, hence it is not overrun by tourists. Huge advances in English signage and tourist information assistance have made getting around in Korea much easier, but it’s still not so well known as a tourist destination. I like taking the road less traveled, and if people want to visit a place that’s exotic where you can still spend more time with the native people than being surrounded by other tourists, Korea is about as good as it gets.

As you know, the tourism industry in Korea is quite young. What sort of things would you like to see done in the future?

I would like to see Koreans have more non-Koreans help in marketing this country to the rest of the world. In the last 10 years the number of foreign residents and people who have moved to Korea has skyrocketed, and this is a great asset to Korea itself. These people are experts on their own country and what tourists from their country are looking for. It would benefit Korea to take advantage of the expertise of people who live in Korea and appreciate life here, but at the same time understand the difficulties tourists have while visiting Korea.

If you were a tour guide, and had to take a group for a 5-day trip around Korea, where would you go?

Okay, everyone is different, so I would design each trip especially for that group. However, if I were to make up a trip for my friends it would go like this:

Day 1 – Arrive at Incheon Airport (인천 공항) and head to downtown Seoul (서울) . Go see Miso (미소), the traditional Korean musical. Then take a walk around Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁) and Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)), maybe Samcheong-dong (삼청동) too if there’s time. Take an early evening flight to Busan (부산) and head over to Haeundae (해운대) and then have dinner at Cheongsapo Suminenae Clam Bake Restaurant (청사포 수민이네-link in Korean)

Day 2 – Lay out at Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) relaxing and swimming all day long, then eat at a Pojangmacha tent bar (포장마자, info at bottom of linked page) alley on the beach as the sun goes down.

Day 3 – Catch an early flight to Jeju Island (제주도) Have an early lunch of Sliverfish Stew (갈치조림) at Shinhyeondae Restaurant (신현대식당 link in Korean) in Jeju City (제주시) . Rent scooters ride on the beach-side freeway to Jungmun Beach (중문해수욕장). Check out the beach for an hour or so. Western dinner and margaritas on the outdoor patio of Island Gecko's.

Day 4– Take the scooters over Hallasan Mountain (한라산) , stopping for some hiking and sightseeing along the way. Catch a plane to Gimpo Airport in Seoul. Visit the Hongdae area for an early Korean dinner (한정식) at Namchon (link in Korean), then hit Palm Jazz Bar (link in Korean) for some great live jazz. Then go to Traintrack Grill (기차길 왕소금구이, in Korean) to finish the evening with a little Korean BBQ and soju.

Day 5DMZ tour in the morning, then go see Nanta (난타) . Return for a dinner at Noryangjin Seafood Market (노량진어시장) . Pick out some fresh crab and lobster, along with a little sashimi. Maybe some more grilled clams too. Head to the Hyatt Regency for a good night’s sleep in Incheon before departure in the morning.

That was fun. I’m glad you asked me that question. You may have noticed that I appreciate the culinary aspect of Korea quite a bit.

Where is your favorite place to spend a Sunday afternoon in Seoul?

That is such a hard question. Garosu-gil (가로수길) . No, Hongdae No, it would have to be Samcheong-dong (삼청동). Wait, I can’t forget Itaewon (이태원).

Why are you doing this to me? What did I ever do to deserve such a question?

What sort of food do you recommend for your family when they come to Korea?

Noryangjin Seafood Market (노량진어시장) always comes at the top of the list. That place is an amazing chance to experience some fresh seafood prepared Korean style. The whole experience goes well beyond just going out to eat, and includes seeing the freshest seafood food in its original form. I often show foreigners I take there scallops in their original form – inside shell and all. Remember the butter though, as they don’t use butter much with their seafood here in Korea.

What prompted you to start 10 Magazine?

There was an obvious need for a magazine like ours. Our magazine is all about giving foreigners the tools they need to enjoy life in Korea. Before we started, finding information on the festivals, concerts, parties, marathons, community groups, restaurants and bars was almost impossible. Certainly it wasn’t concentrated in one place. Now people know that if they’re looking to get out and enjoy what Korea has to offer, all they need to do is pick up a 10 Magazine. That’s why our slogan is “Korea Awaits!” Because if you have a 10 Magazine, then you have the means necessary to get out there and experience all that Korea has to offer.

How is 10 Magazine different from other foreign magazines out there?

I believe our magazine provides more necessary information than any other foreign magazine out there. And the whole point is we don’t know what you wanna see, so we supply you with everything. So if you look at our calendar, it starts… in the middle of the magazine begins our calendar and our directory section. And the first section is nationwide and we list all the new movies that are going to be out, new books, and new music, particularly related to Korea. And new items that are going to be available in Korea, e-readers and what not. Then we go into regional calendar. And it goes into the area of Seoul, and there are a few restaurant reviews and things like that. But then it goes into our calendar, which lists every art exhibition, theatre and dance performance, every concert happening all month long, education, conferences, sports and fitness every marathon, and every baseball game.

And our focus is not just on Seoul. That’s the Seoul section I just showed you, but if you move on you can see, here’s Gyeongi with the exact same listings. The stuff in the front is about, places to go, things to do, the major events to go see, we’ve got open mic night nation-wide, which is a huge thing for foreigners to go participate in. We love our open mic nights where we can go do our own thing and put on our own bands and stuff like that.

Would you say you are focusing more on the resident population or on tourists, or both?

Both. We try to split the difference pretty well. Of course we let tourists know everything that’s happening and going on now all over Korea and… but you know, it depends on the tourist. You know there are a lot of people who are here two days and gone. And if we’re lucky they get to pick up the magazine in their hotel. We’re in 8000 hotel rooms in Korea. Yeah.

Can you tell us where we can pick up 10 Magazine?
This is how it’s divided. You can get it at Kyobo Bookstores nationwide… We’re in some airport lounges, in 8000 hotel rooms, and in other hotels you can ask for our magazine at the concierge or they are in their business lounges… These are the businesses that, if you advertise with us you can hand out free copies. And there are also coffee shops that have display copies for viewing. And of course you can subscribe online at

What are your plans for the future of 10 Magazine?

My staff and I all hope to see 10 Magazine grow quickly in the coming years. We hope to offer more pages, more information and gain more subscribers and readers. As our readership grows, so does our budget, and correspondingly so does our ability to give foreigners more tools and better information. I guess that boils down to delivering even better on our ultimate goal - helping visitors and foreign residents enjoy their time in Korea.

Thanks to Stephen for sharing his great travel tips and we wish him and 10 Magazine the best of luck!
Date 06.10.2010


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