Category Archives: KDramas

Her Private Life (Korean Drama Review)

It has been a while since I reviewed a Korean drama! But if you’re looking for something to stream with all your free time…it is free on Viki. I’m giving it 4/5 stars. Solid, but not solid enough to get me to finish. 

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Her Private Life follows art curator Sung Deok Mi (played by Park Min Young, you might know her from What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, Healer, or even City Hunter) and her new boss, painter Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook, who I know as the guy who should have gotten the girl in Mary Stayed Out All Night). Sung Deok Mi acts mature at work, but she carries a secret: she is a huge fangirl of K pop celebrity Cha Shi An (Jung Je Won). And she will go to any lengths to keep her two worlds from colliding. Her new boss, Ryan Gold, also has an interest in Cha Shi An and keeps showing up to the same events. It won’t be long till he realizes her secret…

I love Park Min Young and I think this drama especially demonstrates the much healthier direction K dramas have taken in recent years. Instead of the typical dense schoolgirl with a heart of gold, the heroine of Her Private Life shows brains, ambition, and self-confidence. The main love interest acts with the traditional cold-heartlessness of a male lead, but quickly redeems the stereotype with some truly heartwarming acting and delightfully memorable scenes. And the secondary love interest is…ah…forgettable enough. So no secondary lead syndrome here. 

The plot clicks along at a strong pace until episode 9, which unfortunately displays the K Drama tendency to keep the couple apart with stupid misunderstandings. I stuck around for episode 10 and with the resolution of most of the plot…don’t feel inclined to watch another 6 episodes. I don’t care enough. 

But what I did see impressed me. Besides excellent acting, Her Private Life shines in two ways that don’t traditionally stick out to me: music and costumes. 

The choice of music is interesting mostly because of how often it is lacking. Particularly intense, romantic scenes that you would expect a sweeping score to accompany get acted out int total silence. At first it threw me. But I came to appreciate how much it makes the viewer hold their breath and just appreciate the tension and drama of the moment. 

The costumes are also delightful and very well coordinated between the main leads: lots of linen suits and loose fitting, professional clothing. It ties the main couple together almost from the start because their clothing matches so well. Only when the heroine goes crazy fangirl and wears her fangirl clothing do we see a change. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, which also features Park Min Young wearing a lot of professional, business clothing, does something similar except in that drama the heroine favors pencil skirts and silk blouses. (Also beautifully contrasted with how she initially dressed at the beginning of the drama.)

In conclusion, Her Private Life is artistically quite beautiful, very well acted, and far too long.  But if you don’t mind lots of scenes with the main couple being lovey-dovey while the side stories get wrapped up, I’d recommend giving it a shot. 


A Dream Come True

For as much as I hate on group projects, 7 years ago a group project basically changed my life

As a sophomore in college, I took Personality Theory (unfortunately, a class covering actual psychological theories and not personality tests like I thought.) The professor required group presentations and after we finished studying, my two group members asked if I wanted to stay and join them for, “a Korean soap opera.” 

And, oh, my life has never been the same since. 

We started with Dream High 2 but did not make it very far. 

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Korean dramas usually range from 16-20 one hour episodes. They are one season. After studying together, we would sit on someone’s bed and watch an episode. After giving up on Dream High 2, we switched to Personal Taste (the first drama I ever finished.) 

I remember vividly one scene where we squealed so loudly an RA came into check on us. (And by we, I probably mean me.) 

Meanwhile I started watching Boys Over Flowers on my own. I basically spent the entire Thanksgiving break that year binge watching.

And after that there was no going back. I became obsessed with Korean dramas!

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And I remain obsessed. 

Meanwhile, I began to get everyone around me into Korean drams. My sisters in turn discovered K Pop and quickly got me addicted! 

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Of course, you cannot watch a show about another culture without becoming obsessed with the food. I now consider kimchi more important than dairy. (And I love dairy.)

As for bulgogi, bibimbap, and tteokbokki…my mouth waters just thinking about them. Korean food went from a nonentity in my life to a dietary staple. 

All this to say, for the past 7 years Korea has influenced the food I eat, the shows I watch, the music I listen to, and even the clothes I wear. 

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And tomorrow, I get to visit one of the friends who got me addicted to Korean dramas…IN KOREA!

Can you imagine anything more amazing? 

 

 

 

(As I previously wrote, however, you will have to wait to hear about the experience till I am on a flight back to the U.S. Until then, enjoy the story of my vacation in Krabi with another college buddy!) 


Chicken Feet

If you somehow missed it, I love Asian entertainment. Dramas, manga, anime, I appreciate it all. Consistently in Korean dramas in particular, the heroine eats chicken feet. 

This always baffled me. I’ve SEEN chickens. Their feet do not look edible. 

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Walking back from class today, I saw a food stall with chicken feet! I did this cartoon-ish double take because I could not believe my eyes! I did not think such things existed outside of Korean dramas!

With great enthusiasm, I bought a stick from the baffled chicken woman and practically floated all the way home. I, Amy, was going to try chicken feet!

Eagerly I bit down and found…bone. Cartilage. Skin.

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I Googled – and then YouTubed – “How to eat chicken feet” and watched in amazement as people wolfed these things down. Turns out, these things are supposed to only consistent of bone, cartilage, and skin. 

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It took me 75 minutes to get through the first one. I gnawed on the second one for about 20 minute but my more aggressive approach meant I got more mouthfuls of cartilage and it crunched like a bean sprout. 

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And, um, as much as I wanted to like chicken feet…I really didn’t. I put the rest in my fridge but I do not think I will get to them. I’m just not that big a fan of cartilage and crunch. 


DramaFever Is No More

My favorite Korean Drama streaming service no longer exists. 

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This is quite heartbreaking. I’ve been watching Korean dramas for 6 years now and DramaFever was the best. I even paid for a premium membership. Besides being a source of excellent shows, DramaFever usually produced fun content, from celebrity gossip to drama promotions. (My favorite was an ode to Lee Min Ho when he starred in Gangnam Blues by two YouTubers but I can’t find it anymore so I’m wondering if it got taken down with the site.) Also the K-Drama LoLs videos but they also gotten take down. 

In summary, DramaFever did an amazing job uniting fans from across the world with our shared love of love Korean dramas and it is now no more. 

I guess this means we all go watch on Viki now? 


180 Days

Exactly half a year ago, I was sitting between classes trying to find a Thai language app. I figured it was good to get a jump on it what with my new found interest in Thailand.

Unfortunately, I did not find one. I did notice that Duolingo finally had Korean, though. So I started there.

Today marks 180 days of doing Korean for ten minutes a day! I don’t actually know if I am learning anything, but it is fun.


Credentials

Today I attended a fascinating lecture at the law school titled “Escape from Developmentalism” by Dr. Taekyoon Kim from Seoul University. Unfortunately, only two law students actually showed up, and I was one of them. (Otherwise, the room was full of non-law students.)

Afterwards, the Wisconsin law professor behind me asked if I had a background in the subject that drew me to the lecture. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I told him the truth, 

“I watch a lot of Korean dramas.” 

He replied, “Oh.”

Then walked away. 

I need to work on my international credentials. 


Can’t Wait Wednesday

I love following kattiescottagebooks…I learn about so many different weekly spotlights (like Teaser Tuesdays) and now, Can’t Wait Wednesday! If you like reading about books, you should definitely follow her here.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.

This was an easy pick for me. I can’t wait to read…

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Title: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Publishing date: May 30th, 2017

Plot: Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

 

KOREAN DRAMAS AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION.  It is the combination of two of my favorite things; I’m psyched. There is no way this book will live up to my expectations. It just isn’t possible. I also know this because the synopsis says, “where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten.” That is a blatant lie. Everyone knows that if the heroine is in her true love’s arms in episode ten, something horrible is going to happen because there are 6 more hours to go. HOWEVER, I’m super excited anyway. Hopefully this won’t be the next Girl Online